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f member • ATMOSPHERE – Every student, faculty and staf st. Chri has made a profession of faith in Jesus received more • FINANCIAL AID – This year, Evangel students ncial aid. fina and than $30 million in scholarships emics and • CHECK US OUT – In addition to rigorous acad will also you gel, Evan at championship athletics, ll God’s fulfi to are make lifelong friends and prep purpose for your life.

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because he makes us feel good. We accept Jesus because he offers redemption from our sins. It is completely supernatural and completely miraculous and has almost nothing to do with how you are feeling. Jesus is the only one who has the ability to offer you forgiveness for sins you have committed. Salvation occurs when you “declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,” Romans 10:9 (NIV).

Rooted in Christ

When you are a disciple of Christ, you are rooted in Him, his teachings and who He is. You do this by spending time with Him. You start this journey by reading the story of his life and purpose here on earth in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) in the New Testament portion of your Bible. The true disciple doesn’t just read his Bible as a daily “to do list” item, but rather he reads his Bible in an attempt to know the mind and heart of God.

Rooted in a Church by josh wellborn


outh ministry and big events go together like Phineas and Ferb, Edward and Bella, or teenagers and texting. But at the heart of every big ministry event is a core value that propels every Christian toward obedience to Christ: Making Disciples. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19 (NIV). If you’re like me, you have observed, maybe even participated in, mass salvation invitations that culminate in dozens, or hundreds, or even thousands of people responding to an opportunity to make Jesus their personal Lord and Savior. Some of these events are flashy. They utilize everything from smoke, lights, and video to live action drama and illustrated sermons that make the Bible come alive for the un-churched and de-churched. If you are a student of the life and teachings of Jesus, you will discover that He did not ask us to put on big events and ask people to pray a “sinners prayer,” He

asked us to do what we see Him do in the Gospels. He asked us to make disciples, just like He did. The “big event” is a great tool for starting the discipleship process. Many times Jesus’ ministry here on earth attracted large crowds. Big events aren’t the end of the mission, but the beginning. The goal is to teach a person how to get rooted in their faith, and ultimately reproduce what God has done for them in others. What does this beginning look like? What is the anatomy of a disciple?

Understanding Salvation

The first, and possibly most important step is understanding salvation. The new Christian is experiencing so many things, it is easy for him to get lost in the barrage of emotion. It is important that he understands salvation is not simply raising your hand, responding to an altar call, praying a prayer and promising to be a “good person.” We don’t accept Jesus


Being connected to a community of Bible believing Christians is essential in the anatomy of a disciple. Jesus’ plan for us to receive instruction, fellowship, accountability, and mobilization for evangelism is the local church. A disciple must be more than simply connected to a church, but rooted in a church. Look at Acts 2 when the church is born—as early Christians were baptized in the Holy Spirit; “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer,” Acts 2:42 (NIV). As the disciple continues to be rooted in Christ and his church, he understands his salvation to a greater degree. The natural overflow of this is to spread the good news of Jesus to the world. My youth pastor used to say, “you’re not truly Jesus’ disciple until you are making disciples.” Learn the “how-to’s” of taking God off the to-do list and more discipleship features at JOSH WELLBORN is youth pastor at Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Michigan. He accepted the call to full-time ministry when he recognized that big events could be followed up with big discipleship.

SPRING 2011 3

letter from the editor

Guest editor @RACHELCOLLINS is the SPRING 2011 editorial intern for OC magazine. She is a Journalism major at EVANGEL UNIVERSITY. BLOgspot: lifeoutoflove.


ou’re a medieval warrior, the battle is on and the enemy is upon you. Fully armored from head to toe, you are prepared—or, so you think. Charging forth as your opponent approaches, you reach for your sword and grab—a handful of air? Oh no, you forgot your sword (and there never seems to be a squire-turned-hero to pull the legendary Excalibur out of the stone around when you need one). Sure, your shield will deflect some of the enemy’s weapons, but without an offense—your sword—you have no way to inflict damage and reduce the numbers of those wielding those weapons against you. Before long, the enemy’s offense is too much against your sword-less state, and it’s all over—you’re defeated.


Most Christians are familiar with the armor of God from what they may have learned in Sunday School, church or family conversations. But there is a deeper meaning of this armor. In life, trials come and go and may be a variety of shapes and sizes. The Bible says that we, as Christians, are in a constant battle (Ephesians 6:12). We need to know exactly what we are fighting for and against. We will not be effective in battle if we do not know what our weapons and shield are. God calls us to be heavenly minded, Kingdom focused and in line with His will and His kingdom. But what does that mean? It means focusing on things out of this world, not becoming consumed with the worries and troubles that may come

our way. We are fighting, partnering with Him for His will to be done on the Earth. The word armor is a description of the metal coverings formerly worn by soldiers or warriors to protect the body in battle. It derives from the Latin word “armatura” which means “to arm.” During the Roman Empire, the armor was a source of protection—defensive and offensive. Ephesians 6:14-17 urges us to be fully prepared as Christians by donning the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit, the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation and the shoes of readiness. Ready to suit up? To get a deeper look into the purpose of each part of the full armor of God, read the extended version of this article at


tells us that the Holy Spirit also has full access to our innermost being. Let’s put these pieces together; if the Spirit has full access to the mind of God as well as full access to our own, it’s no wonder the Holy Spirit is so effective in convicting us of our sin. Dr. Wood suggests we consider viewing the Holy Spirit as the “Healthy” Spirit. “When you consider the fruit the Spirit produces in our lives is for our personal health, it is easy to think of Him in that manner.” (See Galatians 5:22-23.) The “Healthy” Spirit then gives us special gifts, according to 1 Corinthians 12:11.

T h e H o ly S p i r i t

... speaks (Acts 13:2), Testifies (john 15:26), teaches (John 14:26), convicts (John16:8-11), Intercedes (Romans 8:26,27), Guides us into truth (John 16:13), Directs our steps(Acts 16:6,7),Reveals God’s Word to us (2 Peter 1:21)... F o r m o r e a b o u t t h e p e r s o n o f t h e H o ly S p i r i t read “living in the Spirit’ by Dr. George O. Wood.

By Shannon Zabroski


ome people call Him a ghost—something foreign and a little spooky who startles or even scares some people when he shows up. Others view Him as an it—a nebulous form of energy likened to that which powers that drum-pounding, pink bunny who keeps us going and going and going. So, when someone says “Holy Spirit” to you, what comes to mind? You probably even know that He is part of the Trinity, but what does that mean? The reality is, while we know who the Trinity is, we have a very difficult time understanding the concept of one God who is also three distinct persons. Dr. George O. Wood, author of Living in the Spirit says, “It’s like an ant trying to understand the nature of a human being. Some things are just beyond our full understanding.” Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit is easily the most misunderstood member of the Trinity. God the Father? Sure. Jesus Christ the Son? Yep. The Holy Spirit? Well, sort of. He’s like “the force” in “Star Wars,” right? Sadly, we end up viewing the Holy Spirit like a second cousin rather than an equal member of the holy triune God. It is a common misconception that the Holy


Spirit simply “showed up” in the Book of Acts and was either on vacation or non-existent up to that point. Open your Bible and look no further than Genesis 1:2, and you’ll see the Spirit actively involved in the creation of the world. Just like the Spirit brought order to the chaos of the creation process, He does the same in each of our lives. In our many attempts to explain who the Holy Spirit is, our best source is found in the words of Jesus. In John 14:16, He explains, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever…” The word “advocate” can also be interpreted as “helper” or “comforter.” No, the Holy Spirit is not some force floating around ready to fall on our heads when we pray. He is a distinct person within the Trinity and was sent to be up close and personal. But the story doesn’t stop there. If you’ve ever prayed for guidance or desired to hear from God, the Holy Spirit was sent to help us with that. Why does the Holy Spirit’s guidance really matter? First Corinthians 2:11 states no one knows the thoughts of God except for the Holy Spirit. I know what you’re thinking, Well, duh! Of course the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God—they’re one God! But Romans 8:27

Instead of going through life trying to mimic the gifts and talents of others, we need the Holy Spirit to become who God created us to be. The greatest thing about understanding the Holy Spirit’s role in your life is having the opportunity to experience Him fully. Even though the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives even before we accept salvation—drawing us to the decision to accept Christ as Savior—if we stay there, we fail to tap the fullness of the gift of the Spirit He desires all believers to have. Dr. Wood recommends we “wait and remain responsive” to receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit as we see in Acts 2. He also says there is a difference between “receiving the Spirit and being continually filled with the Spirit.” Think about it this way: the fastest car in the world is nothing but an expensive paperweight without the right fuel. The Holy Spirit is the high octane fuel that drives us. We also are in need of constant refueling. Maybe, even though you can’t physically see Him, you now realized that, through all He does to keep you strong, healthy and encouraged, he’s like the best friend you ever had— and then some. For “Holy Spirit Myths Debunked” and info on Baptism in the Holy Spirit follow the links at . SHANNON ZABROSKI pastor/director of Family Life at Christian Life Center (Dayton, Ohio) has three kids, one of whom is named Trinity.

SPRING 2011 5


By Jackie A. Chapman

ou can’t see their faces. They’re covered by lamps, records, teapots, umbrellas—pick your favorite household item. It seems a little strange for a band to hide their faces in a picture, but in the case of Rend Collective Experiment it isn’t about being camera shy. It does say something about how they view themselves as a worship band though. Rend Collective Experiment, from Belfast, Ireland, began in 2004 as a group of friends wondering about God, life and community. Formed from a student movement called Rend, their musings on God turned into music, as heard in the band’s new album Organic Family Hymnal. Band member Gareth Gilkeson


Christian music and worship music should be about individuals. It’s about a body and a movement of people, and that’s what we capture and bring to the rest of the world,” says Gareth. To Rend Collective Experiment, life here is about a diverse group of people on a journey and each person brings something important to the body. That makes the band focus on a collective worship experience with the body of Christ (you in the crowd), not on one set of worship leaders. In any church, the goal of a worship leader is to help the church form a response to God. This band is no different. “We are about encouraging the church in their daily walk with God,” says Will. “It is not wrong for you to want to meet the band afterwards; we like to meet people. But our primary goal is to encourage the church that they are a part of.” Rend Collective Experiment even goes so far as to address the crowd before it begins playing. Often it is Gareth, the drummer, who will come forward and ask the crowd to ignore the space between them. “We tell an audience that we’re not better or more spiritual or more favored of God because we are on the stage. God called us and we’re following Him, just like the next guy out there,” says Will. The band is clear from the start that worship is the body of Christ responding to God (band and audience together). The band separates itself from entertainment, even though Rend Collective Experiment’s style of modern worship with inventive instrumentation and a contagious happy spirit on stage is fun to watch. There is clearly a fun side to the band seen onstage, but Will notes that it is a reflection of how the band is off stage. “On stage looks like off stage. Sure, we are not always joyful and happy

“None of us should come to w o r s h i p a s a r e l i g i o u s d u t y, or as something we have to do. RatheR...a sincere r e s p o n s e f r o m o u r d a i ly relationship with God.” says, “The songs came from an organic environment, searching after the heart of God. We wanted to reflect what God was doing and teaching us, and offer that up for the rest of the world to hear.” A revolving set of musicians mirrors the natural development of the band from the Rend movement. Rend Collective Experiment has about 15 or so people that could show up on stage every now and again, with six full-time “core” members. There is not a true lead singer, though members Will Herron and Chris Llewellyn jointly take that role while the rest of the band varies in shape and size. That could be one reason you won’t see their faces on the album: the pictures might not match the ever-changing line-up on. The larger and more important reason for the no faces rule: “Things are structured so differently because we don’t believe that


like you see on stage. Who is? But there is an openness between us and I think that is naturally reflected on stage when leading worship.” Worship to Rend Collective Experiment is not about putting on a happy face and impressing people with songs. “None of us should come to worship as a religious duty, or as something we have to do. Rather we should come to worship as a sincere response from our daily relationship with God. Worship is continued revelation of God, from what we learn on a daily basis. It is a faithful response to the good times and the bad times. When you look at God’s promises and reflect on the things of God in your life, joy transcends,” says Will, noting purity of heart and sincerity as the two fundamental elements of the worship that arises from our daily walk with Christ. So in the end, the unseen faces in the Rend Collective Experiment’s photos could just as easily be the people worshipping in the crowd, as the band sees each member of the body as part of the collective worship experience. It is then the job of those in the body of Christ to see themselves in the band. JACKIE A. CHAPMAN is a missionary for Global Initiative in Springfield, Missouri.


Watch the video on OCTV at “A mind full of questions With a future unclear But your perfect love scatters fear”

This song on Rend Collective’s album, Organic Family Hymnal , reinforces truth that the love of God transcends every worry. His love leaves no room for fear. •How has God’s love shaped your life/ the lives around you? •WHAT ARE SOME ways you have seen God’s love at work in your life? •HOW CAN YOU BETTER SHOW GOD’S LOVE AND MERCY TO OTHERS? For more information on Rend Collective visit r e n d c o l l e c t i v e . c o m . Ly r i c s © 2 0 1 1 R e n d C o l l e c t i v e M u s i c

SPRING 2011 7

“A g r e at l e a d e r i s a b r o k e n p e r s o n that will discipline him or herself to protect his or her heart and guard his or h e r h e a r t a n d b e u s e d b y t h e H o ly S p i r i t. . . ”


By Rachel Collins


istory shows that many great leaders began their roles of leadership at young ages. Steps and seasons transformed each of them into the leaders they are today. Transformation is key to living the life of a leader—in all areas of life. The life of a leader requires walking openly before God, letting Him lead you, setting spiritual disciplines and making investments in preparation for that specific dream that God has placed in your heart—even when you are young. Matthew Barnett, author of the book The Cause Within You, says he believes it is important to become immersed in God’s plan for your life. “Often times, young people have dreams, but as they get older they begin to lose those dreams,” he says. Matthew is the co-founder of the Los Angeles Dream Center, serving victims of sex trafficking, drug dealers and the homeless in the Los Angeles area. His journey is a testimony of the importance of dreaming. At a young age, Matthew chose to surrender his life to the will of God, which opened up doors that he could have never dreamed. “I came to Los Angeles at 20 years of age, and I thought I had all these plans of how I was going to build a church and how I was going to get a big old building and all these great things were going to happen, but when I got here, God just spoke a word to me.” “I don’t believe that your cause just falls out of the sky one day. I believe

that when people use whatever they have in their hands, whatever God gives them, whatever resource or place that they’re in, that they don’t have to look for their cause. Their cause will find them,” Matthew says. “[God] said, ‘I want you to lay down your plans, take everything you think you should do to build a church and I want you to start serving people in the community with whatever you have in your hands.’ As I began to serve with whatever I had in my hand, God began to bless it,” Matthew says. “God began to give me dreams that I never knew that I had.” The life of Matthew Barnett is one example of the life of a young leader.

“Mentors have been in my life to instruct me, and they have been there to tell me ‘You’re going to make it,’” Matthew says. Learning takes place in all areas of life, especially early on in life. Mentors have the ability to guide and teach based on what they have already experienced. Leadership is a calling that every young person has on his or her life, whether it is leading a Bible study or leading a worship team. “What I would encourage this generation to do is first of all not to let fear of dreams that are bigger than them stop them. The only way that you will overcome fear is to have a dynamic, personal relationship with God. He will reveal to

“I don’t believe that your cause j u s t f a l l s o u t o f t h e s k y o n e d ay. I believe that when people use whatever they have in their hands... Their cause will find them.” Another key signature of a leader is humility. Leaders cling to the fact that when we are weak, God’s power makes us strong. “[Leaders] walk humbly before the Lord when they’ve gone through a broken experience. They’re not quick to judge others. They’re ready to have compassion and they develop intimacy with Jesus and a passion for Him,” Jeff Swaim, senior director of church relations at Convoy of Hope, says. “[God] begins to capture the areas of the heart and changes our view of things.” Leadership requires responsibility, which may create an overwhelming feeling. It also requires discipline. “A great leader is a broken person that will discipline him or herself to protect his or her heart and guard his or her heart and be used by the Holy Spirit,” Jeff says. Walking close to God while in a season of leadership is crucial. Mentors, people who have walked the path you are currently on, are important in the life of a young leader specifically.


anyone that is hungry to find out what his or her cause for life is,” Matthew says. “God is looking for someone who is willing to surrender his or her ideas and plans.”


RACHEL COLLINS, OC intern, is a journalism major at Evangel University.

What makes a student leader •Genuine, authentic, solid walk with God. Those

around you, your peers, can see that you walk close with the Lord. Great leaders are led by God.

•Committed prayer life. You are in constant communion with God and remain sensitive to His voice.

•Heart for evangelism. You have a heart for God’s

people and you have a desire to see them come to know Him.

•Respect for authority. You are servant-focused and have a desire to follow the heart of the ministry.

•Good attitude. You remain confident in the perfect will of God and put your trust in Him even when circumstances do not seem to be in your favor. For the complete article go to .

—Rachel Collins and Eric Braswell

SPRING 2011 9


By Becky Tidberg

she “endured it, embraced it and held on for dear life.” Spending time with true friends and professional counselors, Katelynne learned to lean on Jesus. “The only thing that truly helped was the power of prayer. With God, anything is possible.” No one could face an onslaught of continual bullying and not come out a little scarred on the other side. Saddened that she’s become accustomed to bullying and able to let most of it slide off her emotions these days, Katelynne’s new mantra is: “I’m not going to allow others to control how I feel about myself.”

Got Your Back


roken, hated, trash and worthless, were just some of the words to describe how bullies made me feel.” Those words resonate with generations of students who’ve faced the linoleum undergrowth of the blackboard jungle. Most students, however, can’t boast the accomplishments of the young woman who said them: Katelynne Cox. At 16, Katelynne is releasing her first fulllength album One Girl in May with Red Hammer Records. As she worked toward a career in music, Katelynne modeled and won more than 75 state and national titles including Miss Washington Pre-Teen in 2006 and National Miss American Jr. Teen Victory 2009. In 2009 she was named one of Hollywood’s most beautiful people, and she appeared on the cover of Super Model Unlimited in 2010. With a resume like that, it’s hard to believe this beauty queen and budding musician battled bullies.

H e y, J e a l o u s y As she walked through the halls of her junior high and high school, the experiences Katelynne faced are at once horrifying and all too familiar.

Having supportive parents and one best friend to walk the road with her helped Katelynne through the hills and valleys of school. They constantly reminded her of God’s plan for her life and encouraged her to use her gifts and strive for her goals instead of giving in to the pressures of the world. Strong, successful and spirit-filled, Katelynne has come into her own, releasing a new album even while finishing her high school career. She now understands how insignificant high school drama really is. “It seemed like the end of my world,” Katelynne says, “and now I know it was just a blink in time.” A blink that will have echoes for years to come, helping make Katelynne into the strong woman she has become and is still becoming. “My sophomore year I was grabbed by two large guys, pinned against a wall and then sprayed with an entire bottle of cologne. I was too embarrassed to call my dad, and I didn’t want to be labeled a ’snitch,’ so I walked around the rest of the day reeking of Tag. There was another time, while working on a project outside, that a classmate put a ton of berries in my hood without me knowing. When I took the sweater off in class, berries poured all over the floor and I had to crawl and pick them up while my classmates looked on, laughed and whispered names.” Katelynne’s bullies took their ammunition from her success. Throwing phrases at her like, “I want to see you fail.” Jealousy bubbled through their words and actions. But even knowing that the people who tormented her were uncomfortable with her success didn’t make Katelynne feel any better.

Deal With It At first she didn’t deal with her anger, instead bottling the onset of negative feelings by burying fear, anxiety and humiliation deep inside. Katelynne had to mature more quickly than she would have liked, hardening herself against comments and taunting. Instead,


I f y o u a r e t h e v i c t i m o f a b u l ly :

S tay P o s i t i v e : Bullies find their power by accentuating a person’s flaws or by creating a lie and repeating it so often the victim believes it. Find the truth about yourself and your God, and know it.

S tay C o n f i d e n t: Bullies grow every time you shrink from them. Be confident in yourself and tell them to leave you alone. Tell them you aren’t the lies they are telling. It isn’t any fun to bully someone who doesn’t cry or cower.

S tay S a f e : Use the buddy system or avoid an area where your problem person hangs out. Running isn’t the mark of a coward if it keeps you safe.

S tay C o n n e c t e d : Fear of being a “snitch” or further mocked if you tell an adult sometimes keeps us from doing what most needs doing, so tell someone. And keep telling someone until you find a solution. Are you a “Christian” bully? Read the article at .

BECKY TIDBERG with the help of husband Paul has parented over 100 children. To find out more visit

SPRING 2011 11

Michael Hanlin May 2010 B.S. in Accounting, B.S. in Finance Southeastern University

May 2010 Accountant in Cash Management Solutions at Lockheed Martin

Read Michael’s “Great First Job!” story:

Strong in your faith. Good at what you do.

The salt of the earth. 1000 Longfellow Blvd. Lakeland, Florida 33801-6034 863.667.5018 toll free 800.500.8760


SPRING 2011 13

By Amber Weigand-Buckley


he first time I met Franny she was a few weeks shy of her 23rd birthday and introduced as “the new girl” on Fervent Records. It was an insta-friend connect as she sat across the couch from me in Nashville during Gospel Music Week chatting about her memories as a Fine Arts participant and hanging out with friends at nationals. “I don’t think I even advanced in songwriting when I went to nationals. Now I am a professional songwriter. I have a publishing deal. That blows my mind. I never would have foreseen that.” Now less than three short years later— BOOM. God’s plans were bigger than contracts, recording deals and even chart-topping success. He’s taken that girl across the red carpet at the Grammys, put her in the center stage spot as Dove 2011 Artist of the Year and two-time Female Artist of the Year and allowed her voice to be one to influence—steering this generation toward God-purpose. But


for Franny, the most incredibly mindblowing title of the past three years is wife to Matt Goodwin (former drummer of Newsong) and mother to 7-month-old Matthew Elijah. The new mom took time during a Winter Jam 2011 tour stop to talk with me about her latest project A Hundred More Years, which debuted at No. 1 spot on the Christian SoundScan Album Chart and No. 16 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Listen in:

Amber: What do you see as the common thread stitching A Hundred More Years? Franny: The record really has a theme of just God’s love. I didn’t really do that on purpose—it just sort of happened that way. It is a snapshot of the many different ways God shows us His love for us. We’re never too far away from it. He’s always there waiting for us. It is so simple, but definitely something that we

need to be reminded of. Amber: Even though “This is the Stuff” has had such great chart-success, what song do you see as your signature on the new album? Franny: When an album is so new you definitely like every song. There is a song on there called “Angel By Your Side” and I wrote that a couple of years ago. I’ve really just loved the song from the beginning and think it’s really special. It’s a ballad about being there for someone when they’re going through a difficult time.

Amber: I’ve always admired you as being a very disciplined person in regard to your physical as well as spiritual health. Why are spiritual disciplines important to you—especially now that you are a mom and have a busy touring schedule? Franny: For me, the days I don’t wake up first thing and spend time with Him I definitely feel it. [Spending time with God] is a different thing than what I do [to serve Him]. There’s something about giving Him the best of your day and allowing Him to permeate all your thoughts and all the things you do from the very start. It sets the tone for the whole day and I think that’s super important. It’s something I’m working on and trying to get better at. Amber: What is one thing you’ve learned about God that you wish you knew as a teen? Franny: [To be confident] knowing that God always has a plan. Even when you think there is nothing good that is going to come from this and it’s so sad, so hard and so difficult. Sometimes we think, God is just mad at me or He doesn’t want me to be happy. And some things seem so important when you’re young. However, I can look back on my life now and say “well God did that on purpose

because He had a better plan for me that I couldn’t come up with on my own.” I definitely think that’s something that I’m still learning, but wished I knew a little better when I was younger.

Amber: What Fruit of the Spirit would you like to see worked out better in your life? Franny: Probably patience. I definitely could use more of that. Every once in a while I’ll be in a long, slow line at the airport in a bad mood, but I won’t [be snippy]. I’ll choose the right attitude and at the end of the line the TSA person will be like, “Oh, I really like your music!” and I’m like “Oh, I could have completely changed this moment if I had given in to the way I wanted to act.” Amber: Tell me a little bit about a devotional book that you have been through in the last year that really challenged you in your walk with Christ. Franny: My husband and I are actually going through something with our band everyday that we’re on the road. It’s Let Go by Fenelon. It’s really good and challenging. The chapters are short [letters]. We read them right before we go on stage, then talk and pray together. So many of the letters are about dying to yourself and allowing God to use trials in your life for his purposes—not shunning those difficult times. The modern church doesn’t really talk about suffering and trials very much but if you look back at the heroes of the faith in the Bible, they all went through a ton of stuff. It’s good to remember that God uses those things in our lives and in our hearts to draw us closer to Him. Amber: If you had one prayer that you want this generation to take hold of, what would that be? Franny: My prayer is that young peo-

ple’s hearts would be captured by God— for His kingdom and the people who are lost—and wouldn’t be too distracted by the glamour of the world because it’s really not what it’s cracked up to be. AMBER @ONCOURSEGIRL would also like the fruit of patience to be worked out more in her—especially during the morning commute. Send your comments and questions to her at Find out Franny’s tour dates and news at


Watch the video on OCTV at “Before I was a thought on earth You knew me then and You gave me worth When all of this is said and done You will be the One I’m standing on” This song from Francesca’s new album, Hundred More Years, is A reflection on God’s constant faithfulness. • What does the word, “faithful” mean in your life? SHARE A specific situation where God has shown Himself faithful? • WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOD BEING CONSTANT IN YOUR LIFE AND BEING FAITHFUL? • WHAT ARE SOME AREAS IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU STRUGGLE WITH BEING FAITHFUL TO GOD? • WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU CAN BETTER DEMONSTRATE TOTAL GOD-RELIANCE? For more information on francesca battestelli visit f r a n c e s c a m u s i c . c o m . Ly r i c s © 2 0 1 1 f e r v e n t r e c o r d s .

O N C O U R S E V O L . 1 9 , I S S U E 4 ( I S S N 1 0 6 1 - 0 9 5 2 ) S p r i n g 2 0 1 1 i s p u b l i s h e d q u a r t e r ly b y N at i o n a l Y o u t h M i n i s t r i e s o f t h e A s s e m b l i e s o f G o d in partnership with The Alliance for AG Higher Education ©2011 by The General Council of the Assemblies of God (Gospel Publishing House), 1445 N. Boonville Avenue, Springfield, MO 65802, (417)862-2781. Periodicals postage paid at Springfield, Mo. Printed in the USA.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ONCOURSE, 1445 N. Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802.


SPRING 2011 15

seeking god through the daniel fast


enee was in her early 20s when she participated in her first fast. Although she grew up in a Biblebelieving church, Renee never heard a sermon on fasting until she went away to college. It was during this time that she accepted her pastor’s challenge to participate in a 3-day commitment at the beginning of the year. That first fast opened Renee’s eyes to the benefits of this powerful spiritual discipline. Over the next several years, whenever Renee encountered difficult times in her life, she would fast and pray. As a result, she has seen God do amazing things in her life and can testify to the truth of God’s promise in Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Renee


has experienced firsthand the faithfulness of God to satisfy those who truly hunger for Him.

What is fasting?

When you fast, you deny yourself food, or certain foods, for a specified period of time as an act of surrender and worship. You are, in essence, saying, “God, I have to have your help in this situation. I don’t know what to do, and I’m willing to sacrifice my plans, my physical comfort and my desires so I can hear from You.” Fasting, when accompanied by fervent prayer, will help you develop intimacy with the Lord like nothing else can. You will experience a greater sense of His presence in your life, along with the joy and blessings that come from obeying His Word.

Types of Fasts

When most people think of fasting, the first image that usually comes to mind is a person going without food for several days and drinking only water, broth, and/ or juice. However, there are basically four types of fasts: 1) absolute, 2) supernatural absolute, 3) liquid and 4) partial. An absolute fast is a fast from all food and liquids for a few days, while a supernatural absolute fast requires refraining from eating and drinking for a longer

partial fast, in which commonly enjoyed foods are restricted. Many people choose to undergo a partial fast since they are able to have some foods, which is much less intimidating than a liquid-only fast.

The Daniel Fast

grow closer to the Lord. Don’t make the mistake in assuming fasting is only for older, more mature Christians, like pastors or church leaders. God invites each of us to draw close to Him through prayer and fasting. That includes you. Are you hungry for the Lord? Consider seeking the Lord through the Daniel Fast. Pursue your Savior with great passion. Make every effort to read his Word, spend time with Him, and pray. Matthew 5:6 makes it clear that God will reward you. That’s a promise you can count on.

One partial fast that is becoming increasingly popular is known as the Daniel Fast, which is based upon Daniel’s experiences as recorded in the Bible. In Daniel 10, God gave Daniel a vision, allowing him to foresee how the Israelites would suffer because KRISTEN FEOLA is author of The of their sin and rebelUltimate Guide to the Daniel Fast, a lion. Daniel was so upset resource for individuals and groups who are participating in the Daniel about what was going to T h e D a n i e l F a s t c h a n g e d m e . P h y s i c a l ly, I Fast. She has worked as a personal happen that he entered trainer, nutritional consultant and fitended up cutting back on animal products. It into a state of mournness instructor. Kristen and her family also helped me lose a pound or two. Spirituattend James River Assembly in Ozark, Missouri. Her ing, or fasting. The blog address is a l ly, I f e lt c l o s e r t o G o d . I b e g a n t o a s k f o r Bible says that he ate no more help from him when doing tasks at hand, choice food and had no Disclaimer: You should always consult your physician before beginning any type of fast, including the Daniel Fast. whether it was getting directions somewhere meat or wine for three o r w o r k i n g o n h o m e w o r k . I b e g a n t o p r ay t o G o d weeks (10:2-3). Most m o r e t h r o u g h o u t t h e d ay, j u s t t h a n k i n g h i m commentaries agree that such desirable for everything he was doing and asking for his foods probably included g u i d a n c e . A l s o, I f e lt t h e c o m p u l s i v e n e e d t o bread and sweets. The do more good deeds for the people around me •Find a friend who will fast with English Standard Version and got more involved with my church. During you and be your accountability of Daniel 10:3 says, “I t h e D a n i e l F a s t, t h e c o n s ta n t p r ay i n g b r o u g h t partner. ate no delicacies,” and me closer to God and helped me to understand •Challenge your small group to do another translation puts m o r e o f w h at h e i s r e a l ly a b o u t. the Daniel Fast together. it this way: “I did not eat any tasty food” (NASB).” • R e a d yo u r B i b l e a n d p r ay f i r s t The goal on the Daniel thing in the morning, before your Fast is not to duplicate d ay b e g i n s. Daniel’s menu but to D a i ly I h a d t o m a k e a c h o i c e o n m y f a s t t o d i e • B r i n g D a n i e l F a s t f r i e n d ly s n a c k s imitate the spirit in t o m y f l e s h a n d l i v e b y t h e S p i r i t. I l e a r n e d w i t h y o u w h e n y o u ’ r e o u t a n d a b o u t. which he sought the what it means to find satisfaction in God T h at way yo u ’ r e p r e pa r e d w h e n fa c e d Lord. Daniel ate simple rather than being satisfied through my with a temptation to eat something foods, taking in only d e s i r e s ! G o d s h o w e d m e h o w t o w h o l e h e a r t e d ly that’s restricted. what was necessary for seek Him, how to wait on Him, the importance physical sustenance. His • R e c o r d p r ay e r r e q u e s t s a n d of persevering through trials, to focus on passion for God caused answers in a journal. o t h e r s r at h e r t h a n m y s e l f, t o b e r e n e w e d a n d him to long for spiritual • U s e T h e U lt i m at e G u i d e t o t h e r e f r e s h e d by H i m a n d t o a lways t r u s t H i m w i t h food more than physiDaniel Fast to help you on your everything in me. cal food, which should j o u r n e y. be the ultimate desire of anyone choosing to period of time than the absolute fast. It participate in a fast. Therefore, is referred to as “supernatural,” since the foods that are allowed on the Daniel Fast Snacks •Apples with almond butter length of the fast is medically imposDaniel Fast are fruits, vegetables, •Baked Tostitos with salsa sible without the divine empowerment whole grains, beans, legumes, or guacamole of the Holy Spirit, such as when Moses nuts, seeds and oils. Restricted •Celery with peanut buTter, went without food or water for forty days foods include dairy, meat, sugar, raisins, and sunflower seeds on Mount Sinai when he received the all forms of sweeteners, yeast, •Dried fruit and nuts •Fruit smoothies Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28). A refined/processed foods, deep•Hummus and vegetables liquid fast involves eliminating food and fried foods and solid fats. •Larabars (fruit/nut bars) FOR MORE MORE FAST consuming only water, fruit juices, and/ The Daniel Fast provides a •Trail mix SNACK IDEAS VISIT or vegetable juices. Another option is a unique opportunity for you to ULTIMATEDANIELFAST.COM

Caleb, age 17

Important Tips for Your Daniel Fast

Samantha, age 19


SPRING 2011 17


o, you’ve decided to get serious about studying the Bible? Awesome! You should know, like any commitment, this is going to cost you —to claim anything else would be dishonest. However, what could be a better payoff than to know God better and understand His plan? The first thing you need to know is that God is not trying to hide or confuse you. The Bible is not just for super spiritual or seminary-trained individuals. Nor is the Bible a book of hidden codes or magical formulas. Rather, it is the primary way God has chosen to communicate with us. Since the Bible is communication, it follows some basic rules. For real communication to occur, the writer and the reader have to be on the same page regarding 1) purpose, 2) language, 3) culture and 4) context.

In all communication the communicator has one intended message and meaning for each word. Unfortunately, almost every word in every language can have multiple meanings. Just think of words like “table,” “trunk” and “reservation(s).” Therefore, the first job of a Bible reader is to ask, “What is this writer trying to say?” An example of this is John’s description of Jesus, “ ... the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jehovah’s Witnesses have always insisted that this verse should be translated “and the Word was a God,” which takes away from Jesus’ uniqueness and deity. Therefore, we must ask, “What would John have meant?” Well, as an observant Jew, John would have prayed the Sh’ma three times each day. In this prayer, Jews quote the words, “The

LORD our God, the LORD is one.” In this way, ancient Jews proclaimed their belief that there is only one God. Therefore, John could not have thought of Jesus as only one of many gods.

For those who have not learned the biblical languages, this can be a difficult area. Thankfully, there are Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, online resources, pastors and teachers to help us understand the Bible’s use of words. For example, in Matthew 5:18, Jesus said, “ ... one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (NKJV). A good Bible dictionary helps us understand that the jot is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the tittle is the smallest part of a Hebrew letter. Therefore, what Jesus is saying is that not even the smallest change will happen to God’s Word until the end of time.

In American culture, everyone knows what the “thumbs-up” sign and “eat your heart out” means. However, those outside our culture might not understand. The same is true of us when we receive communications from a culture as different as biblical culture. An example of this is Jesus’ command to his followers: “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you ... shake the dust off the soles of your feet for testimony against them” (Mark 6:11, NASB). Although this act doesn’t mean anything in our culture, it must have meant something to Jews in Jesus’ day. By reading the words of great rabbis of the time, we learn that this act was done by Jews when returning from pagan lands because even the dirt from those places could make them


“unclean.” So when this was done to a Jewish town, it said to its citizens that they had behaved as badly as pagans.

The other day a student said to me, “Shut up!” If people who heard him had only heard those words, they’d think he was being incredibly rude to his professor. However, if they’d heard the entire conversation, they’d have known that I had just given him incredible news. What my student was actually saying, in light of the larger context, was “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” In Philippians 4:13, Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Really? Did Jesus ever empower Paul to live without eating or drinking again? Pass through walls? Disappear? Obviously not, so does this make Paul’s statement false? Another look at the historical context reveals his real intent: he had been experiencing imprisonment, poverty, hunger and pain (Philippians 4:12). What he’s saying is that in spite of all this, God’s incredible power was enabling him to handle every negative situation. How practical and relevant to our situations is that? Does understanding and applying the Bible take time, effort and practice? Sure, but every acquired skill requires that. Is all that worth it? To get to know God and His plan for us better? You bet! WAVE NUNNALLY is professor of biblical studies for Evangel University. For more information about the 19 endorsed AG Colleges, Universities and seminary visit




and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


Now what should we take away from all this? Is the lack of a binding New Testament passage and Jesus’ statements proof that the Sabbath no longer exists? Not at all! The Sabbath has not passed away, but is now fulfilled and found in a Savior who died and was resurrected for our sins. The New Covenant believer finds their rest or “Sabbath” in opening their hearts to a Savior whose yoke is easy and burden is light.


t’s not hard to Google “The Sabbath” and instantly find many different thoughts about the modern application of this biblical principle. Many still observe the Sabbath in the strictest sense of Mosaic Law. Others have a very relaxed view and even believe that the Sabbath ended with the Old Covenant. Some believe the Sabbath is Saturday and some believe it is Sunday. It’s interesting to find such vast differences on the topic, but it’s also worth noting that in all the different beliefs on the Sabbath, you can find people who love the Lord. Whenever topics with such varied views arise, we always need to look to the Bible and, more specifically, to Jesus. When I began to dig into the Sabbath from a “New Covenant” standpoint, it surprised me to find that the Sabbath is the only one of the Ten Commandments that is not mentioned as binding in the New Testament. Jesus himself, with his disciples, was accused of not observing the Sabbath in Mark 2. Jesus responded to the accusation in verse 27-28


I strongly believe that the principle of setting aside one day in seven for rest and renewal is still important, but the greatest principle is that we have found true rest in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“When I began to dig into the Sabbath from a “New Covenant” s ta n d p o i n t, i t s u r p r i s e d m e t o f i n d t h at t h e S a b b at h i s t h e o n ly o n e o f the Ten Commandments that is not mentioned as binding in the New Testament”

with this statement, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus also said in Matthew 11:2830, “Come to me, all you who are weary

MUSICIAN AARON CRIDER is a former Fine Arts participant who attended Southside AG in St. Louis, Missouri. For more about Aaron and his music visit .

SPRING 2011 19



t age 11, Jamie Grace was diagnosed with a life-altering condition, Tourette’s Syndrome. Over time, what was meant to be a curse turned out to be a blessing instead. Jamie grew up in a “musical” family, as her dad played the drums and her mom was a southern gospel singer. “One day, my granddad brought over a drum and a guitar and gave them to my sister and me,” Jamie says. Jamie began to play the drums, which eventually decreased the side-effects of her condition. From there, Jamie learned how to play the guitar and began to sing and write songs. She developed a passion for music and came to the conclusion that she wanted to pursue music as a career. As she grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, Jamie learned two life lessons: ministry is a way of life and life is good, even when it is hard. The motivation to press on through her condition began at an early age. Jamie’s mom began homeschooling her when she was 3, which enabled her to graduate high school at the age of 16. Now 19 and a junior in college, Jamie hopes to motivate others as well.

“I want to be able to reach other young girls that may be going through a tough situation,” Jamie says. At the age of 14, she started an organization called Teens with Tourette’s Syndrome (TTS). “It turned into something a lot bigger than what I expected,” Jamie says. She began to travel across the nation and the Tourette’s Syndrome Association contacted her and asked her to partner with them. It was then that she realized her passion for speaking. Jamie says she was shy as she was growing up. However, because of her life circumstances, a boldness arose within her. “I love sharing my story, motivating my peers and encouraging other teenagers. I want to be able to reach other young girls that may be going through a hard time in life. It’s a time in your life that is filled with insecurities and fears,” Jamie says. Jamie has recently become involved with the Revolve Tour ( and is able to share her story across the nation. “I am able to motivate people just as I was motivated when I was younger,” Jamie says.


Jamie is currently studying Child and Youth Development with a focus in Children’s Ministry. “I want to reach the people that God has given me a heart for,” Jamie says. She hopes that this college degree will help her prepare to reach the audiences that she wants to reach with her music as she incorporates it with her story. Just recently, Jamie had the privilege of signing with Gotee Records and has released her debut EP titled Hold Me, which is the title-track for the album featuring TobyMac. She says the song communicates the truth that God will always love and never leave His children. She is currently in the process of producing a full-length album. Jamie’s story is proof that situations that may bring discouragement can ultimately create a presence of hope. “The one thing I always say is, ‘Hey, God, show me how to dream on. Show me how to get through this.’ I have to let God work through me so that I can be able to share my story and encourage people,” Jamie says. RACHEL COLLINS @RACHELCOLLINS joined the OC staff as intern for the Spring 2011 semester.



Name: James Stuart B i r t h d ay: June 19, 1566 Occupation: King (VI of Scotland and I of England) / Published Author Hometown: Edinburgh, Scotland / Hampton Court in England


uring the regal age of William Shakespeare, the great Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh and Francis Bacon—on the sidelines is a somewhat odd-looking character. James Stuart of Edinburgh, Scotland— son of Mary Queen of Scotts. His tongue is oversized for his mouth making him difficult to listen to—especially when speaking Latin. He dribbles when he drinks, waddles when he walks and never bathes because he’s afraid of water. He faints, even as an adult, at the sight of an exposed blade or sword. He is kidnapped at least nine times before he hits the teen years. To top it all off, no one around him really loves him until he’s 13 and fully wields the Scottish crown.

“They all loved the crown, but they we feel like a new Bible refused to see the little boy beneath it,” should be created.” says David Teems, author of Majestie: The And, in spite of initial opposition by his King Behind the King James Bible. right-hand advisor on church matters, Despite it all, this young king, who was Richard Bancroft, James agreed. He saw orphaned at 11 months old (sources suga new translation of the Bible as a way to gest his mother and an accomplice killed disperse majesty and to reacquaint the his father when James was 6 months old. people with a sense of divine right and His mother was imprisoned and executabsolutism, a concept he, as a monarch, aded), was brilliant. He could speak Latin vocated in support of the Anglican church. and Greek before he was 5 years old. “The Anglican church revered their king, “His teachers brutalized him emotionally, and James liked that,” David says. but he eventually became a good ScotJames also thought a new Bible might tish king,” David says. He was brilliant, be a way to bring peace and unity to his but he was quirky.” people, as there was still some divide David describes James as colorful, alive between the Catholic and Protestant and animated, bringing a lovely, contrachurches. James agreed with his cousin dictory psychology to the whole mix. He Elizabeth I who said, “There is only one would have described himself as a ChrisJesus Christ, and the rest of it is an argutian. He would memorize whole chapters ment over trifles.” of the Bible, and as a child he had the “[It] was so far ahead of her time to say Bible read to him at every meal. More that and it’s true today. We argue over than most of us today, he was steeped things most of the time that we really and saturated in Scripture. But he was no don’t know how to explain anyway,” saint. He could pray and refer to God in David says. conversation or during a public address, David says the King James Bible did and then turn around and use coarse something that no other English Bible— language or tell a dirty joke. At the same no other English book—has ever done. time he found himself surrounded by Scholars still consider the two greatest godly men, particularly Lancelot works of the English language to be the Andrews, whose sermons James slept complete works of William Shakespeare with under his pillow. and the King James Bible. “There is a flawed humanity behind the Our newest Bibles, like The Message, King James Bible, which makes it that reflect today’s age of information—of much more appealing to those who, like shoveling down quick bites of data so we myself, need encouragement like that,” can move on to the next thing as quickly David says. “Here’s a guy who is so ordias possible. nary doing the extraordinary.” “There is something about the King When James became King James I of James Bible that I pray to God this England in 1603, he set up three confergeneration never misses, because it ences. The first was to end the 20-year represent something that is excellent in war with Spain, the second was a failed our language,” David says. “But we’re attempt to get Parliament to join Scotgravitating toward and we’re acquiring land and England together and call the an appetite for what is irrelevant, what is country Great Britain, and the third, the trivial and, worst of all, what is mediocre. Hampton Court Conference, was where The lyricism and rhapsody of fine writing the King James Bible was born. During is being substituted for speed text. Great the second day of the conference James books or great movies make you wait listened to Puritans complain and there is something powerful about stuff like crosses and in that. But today’s generation wedding rings being too symsort of says, ‘I don’t have time to bolic for use in the Anglican wait.’ The downside is that it afchurch. He shuts their grievfects the way we perceive things, ances down one by one, until and I really pray that can change.” at the end of that day, almost HEATHER VAN ALLEN lives in Springfield, as an afterthought, John Missouri. Reynolds, the spokesman for FOR MORE INSIGHT the Puritans, says something INTO MAJESTIE, VISIT to the affect of, “Your majesty, DAVIDTEEMS.COM.


SPRING 2011 21


ndiana Jones is my favorite movie franchise because I have so much in common with the character. We both possess a winning sense of humor, an interest in archeology and biblical history and a fear of snakes. Also, we both look great wearing a fedora and leather jacket while holding a bullwhip. But that’s a given. One of my strongest bonds with this fictional character is love of adventure. True, I’m not traveling the world to prevent people from recovering the Ark of the Covenant. But I did once travel my house all day to recover my missing keys. So Indiana Jones and I are practically twins. My latest adventure tested my full set of action hero abilities. My greatest and most difficult search was to find regular prayer time. In fact, my personal quest was so challenging it made Indiana’s story of saving children and the Sankara stone from the bloodthirsty Thuggee cult look like a walk in the church foyer. The first thing I did before embarking on my journey was consult former colleagues who have had similar quests. By scientifically analyzing the data I received, I realized that they all had one common denominator: excuses.

3 . “God knows what I need so I just spell out the alphabet to Him and let Him put it together anyway He thinks best.” 4 . “The last time I prayed on my knees my arthritis kept me stuck there for two days.” 5 . “At my church they always have prayer right before they take the offering. Now I’m too scared to pray on my own ‘cause I think my wallet will empty automatically.” 6 . “I have an inner ear infection. If I bow my head I’ll pass out.” 7 . “I used to fast and pray, but I discovered that I spent all my time praying for food. So I developed a fast-fast; it takes about ten minutes.” 8 . “I pray on Sundays, so it carries through the rest of the week like rollover minutes. That way if something happens to me on Thursday afternoon, I’m still covered.” 9 . “I have a prayer list in my journal; God can re-read my list there every day if He wants.” 1 0 . “I can’t find God on Facebook.”

Top Ten Excuses

1. Helps us accomplish the impossible. (Mark 11:23-24) 2. The lost get saved. (Luke 18:13) 3. Sends laborers into the mission field. (Matthew 9:38)

1 . “I prayed that God would help me pray more…I’m waiting on His timing.” 2 . “I’m sponsoring a child in a third world country to pray for me.”

As an archeologist, I realized researching ancient texts regarding the topic of prayer could provide insight. Naturally, the texts I chose came from the Bible.

T o p T e n R e a s o n s t o P r ay


4. Saints are strengthened. (Jude 20, Matthew 26:41) 5. Backsliders are restored. (James 5:16-20 6. Acquire wisdom. (James 1:5) 7. Defeat the devil. (Luke 22:32, James 4:7) 8. Cure the sick. (James 5:13-15) 9. Brings peace in our jobs and count r y. ( 1 T i m o t h y 2 : 1 ) 10. Forgiveness of sin (1 John 1:9) Armed with the above knowledge, I quickly determined that I needed to conquer the Valley of Prayer Excuses at the Temple of Self. I discovered the perfect time for prayer is ALL the time. No matter where we are or what our circumstances might be, prayer can become a thrilling, daily adventure allowing us to be transformed from non-active pew warmers into full-fledged action heroes. Prayer is a treasure map to untold riches where YOU become Indiana Jones. I invite you to set out on that life-changing journey by bowing your head to pray. A great adventure is waiting and there’s no excuse for missing it. TORRY MARTIN @TORRYMARTIN sends special thanks to his friends Cheryl Ariaz Wicker, Michael Joiner, Bill Patterson, Dave Trouten, Ed Vandemark and Gary Voelker for their excuses for this column. For more Tennessee Torry antics and info visit




Am Empire is a real rock band (read not wimpy) that recently released their label debut, Kings. Listeners will note the hard guitars of Andrew Stanton and Dan Otis. Andrew Stanton is particularly awesome. Listeners will note the driving drums of Eric Martin, perfect bass lines of Joshua Case and rock-n-roll voicals Austin Lyons. But listeners will also notice a theme running through the album. Kings—abandonment. Austin and his family were abandoned by his biological father when he was very young, and then abandoned again by Austin’s stepfather a year-and-a-half ago. Initially, Austin reacted with anger, but “[Kings] started to turn as I was probably midway through the writing process. At first I just needed to let loose. And then half-way through the songs I started to talk to the guys and say, ‘Would it be okay to make this album about this? I think it would be good for other people, and obviously it would be good for me. I think a lot of people can relate to it, so maybe we can help other people through this.’ ” The band agreed, and put together a collection of songs in different stages of the grieving process. The result is Kings. “We decided to name the record Kings because it signifies the head of a household, and if you’ve been abandoned, you want to look past that person and try to be better when you grow up,” Austin says. “The goal

is to take up the crown that person left behind and be better than the person who left, which can really apply to any type of relationship.” Austin says it has not been easy putting his raw feelings out into the public eye, but it’s been worth it. “There are days where everything’s totally fine. Most days it’s totally fine. But there are days where I’ll be interviewed and I don’t really want to talk about it because I’ll be having a hard time with it. I knew that was going to happen going into it, and I knew the guys would support me with that. It’s a hit I’ll take for music and for people and for my grieving process. I think this album was definitely to help me and definitely to help people. You know God is involved in all that. This all happened for a reason.” Kings is a journey through abandonment to forgiveness. The album is complete, and is a critical success, but Austin’s journey isn’t over yet. Austin says that the last line on the album, “You wished me away, I wished you well,” is “probably one of the most important lyrics on the whole album. It’s one of the most important to me. The whole album is basically this struggle with being abandoned and trying to overcome it. The last song just summarizes the story, and that last line is me speaking to my step-dad and my dad: ‘You just stopped caring; you left. Even though you did that, I wish you well. I forgive you.’ And I haven’t honestly


forgiven my biological dad yet for the stuff he did to me and my family. I’m still working on that. But just the other day, the day the CD came out, my step-dad texted me about something—it wasn’t about the CD or anything— and I told him ‘I forgive you, and I’m not going to hold anything against you, and I want you to know there is a song about you.’ So, I definitely made progress, but there’s more progress to be made.” ERIC BRASWELL reflects the sorrows of his soul through poetry, but is afraid to show anyone else because he thinks people will laugh at him. Read his HELP ‘For the Guys’ blog at

Who’s talking about I Am Empire? “I Am Empire has revitalized my faith in modern rock.” – “This is a band to keep an eye open for in the future and r o c k fa n s yo u m ay h av e j u s t found yourself a new favorite band.” – “It’s a shame they’re not better known.” – SPRING 2011 23



hen you walk by the “man cave” of flat screens TVs at Best Buy, the glow, rumble of surround sound and comfy chairs is naturally designed to pull you in. However, it only takes a few minutes to see that the televisions with the best pictures and the bigger price tags are strategically placed next to the lower quality models. Sideby-side, in the dark, there is no doubt which set is using every bit of that 1080p. So, what if your spiritual life was projected on a man cave flat screen? Would it be bold with “reach out and touch it” beauty or pixilated and a bit hazy at times? There are signs, but they often aren’t that obvious. Take a few moments and see if you can identify any of the following high definition faith markers in your life. Also, identify any areas that may need tuning.

HD Faith has a firm foundation.

This is huge! Even if you’ve heard it before, take a second and think about what that means. A firm foundation goes beyond a daily devotional life of prayer and Bible reading, although that too is extremely important. It means believing Scripture when it says God loves you more than all of His creation and He has a plan for your life, not just everyone else’s. It also means facing life’s challenges, doubts, questions and fears with Truth rather than emotion. Here are a few Scriptures to chew on. Don’t just read through these but study them, wrestle with them and hold tightly to them until you believe and live them. • Psalms 119:68: “You are good, and what you do is good.” Get this deep in your spirit—God is good and does good, period.


• Proverbs 3:5-6: God can be trusted and when we trust Him, we’ll be amazed at the things He will do in and through our lives. • Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” • Psalms 103: This entire chapter is a great reminder of who God is and how much He loves us, His children. • Psalms 139: A glimpse into how much care God took in creating us and the plans He has for us. • Also include Isaiah 26:3, Psalms 106:1, Psalms 118:6, 1 John 4:4 and Isaiah 55:8-9.

HD Faith takes risks.

A high-definition life of faith cannot be a safe life. The song, “Start Over” by The Afters, says, “You’ll never live trying not to die.” Often we hesitate to take risks because of fear of failure or criticism, but that’s not a life of faith. God is not a safe God, and many times what He asks us to do requires risk on our part, but there is no substitute for living a life of obedience. We will see God do incredible things when we step out in obedience, take the risk and watch Him come through. Our faith grows more from seeing God do something we never could have done on our own than from almost any other life experience. Don’t live a life of fear; take risks. Begin living the abundant life Jesus promised.

the difference in our lives.

HD Faith serves others.

It’s easy to limit serving to helping out at a soup kitchen. However, serving should take place in our families, churches and schools as well. Serving should never be done for serving’s sake or out of obligation, but because of our love for Christ. We’ll be amazed how much our faith grows when we no longer focus on ourselves and allow God to use us to work in people’s lives. Be careful not to limit the ways God can use you to serve those around you. With God, the possibilities are endless. This is not an exhaustive list of HD faith qualities, but it will give you a gauge to determine what you’re broadcasting. HD faith isn’t dull, boring or mundane. Even if these three words seem to describe your faith—more than alive, vibrant and thriving—ask God to show you where He needs to grow you. He will help you. We can’t walk through this life on our own and God doesn’t expect us to. He’s there, ready to guide every step of the way when we are obedient to tune in. ABBY SMITH is the administrative coordinator for student discipleship.

HD Faith b e a r s f r u i t.

There should be a difference in the way we live our lives, so much so that those who don’t know Jesus will notice. Living a life of faith with a total trust in God will turn heads—more than an 80-inch flat panel with base-dropping surround sound. Sure, we’ll never be perfect and we’ll have our moments of doubt and fear along the way. But remember, we face those with the truth of Scripture, not with our emotions. At the end of the day, our friends won’t be able to help but see

SPRING 2011 25

volume 19, issue 4 / spring 2011









COVER design: josh carter PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Aaron Crider, Gotee REcords, iSTOCK, torry martin (, ThomAs Nelson, Tooth & Nail & word label group,




All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.


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The Spring 2011 Student Discipleship edition of ONCOURSE is packed with articles that will help you grow strong in your relationship with Ch...