Articles written by PurposeCity which feature Christian insight into today’s music.

Good Friday

Good Friday: How Love Wins

To any of you who have not purchased what is in my opinion one of the greatest Christian albums of all time, buy yourself this precious gift. The CD is called “Music Inspired By The Story” and it features some of the top Christian artists singing songs from many different Bible characters perspectives. The way in which Nicole Nordman, the lyricist, and Bernie Herms, the composer, express humanity and God’s love in this musical composition is nothing short of an inspired masterpiece. Yes, I am this passionate about it and the dozens of people I have convinced to purchase this album have agreed with me! If you own this CD, you know I am right and please leave a comment as to which is your favorite song (mine changes constantly).

As I shift gears, I personally have been inspired by one of the songs on the CD called “This is How Love Wins.” The words leave me in tears every time. As we approach Good Friday, I’d like to reflect on Jesus’ death through the eyes of a very unlikely man. You see, the word “Cavalry” makes me emotional. For those of you who read these articles each day, you can refer to my “Love at First Sight” article to further understand my connection to, and passion for, the streets I walked in Jerusalem that led to a deeper understanding of God’s great love and the personal song it inspired called, “He Gave Calvary.” This passion is understandable because this is where Jesus began the journey to win us back. We were nothing more than common criminals, thieves, who had robbed God of so much love and repaid Him with constant disobedience.

We were just like Joe. Who is Joe, you are probably wondering? I am glad you asked! Joe was a kid who was always getting into trouble and from a young age had a bit of a mean streak. He tried hard to please his parents while in elementary school, but after his many attempts to win their love had failed, Joe decided he would capture other people’s attention by being the neighborhood troublemaker. Joe was a small kid who always boasted scuffed up knees and smelt of rotten eggs. By middle school, Joe embraced his evil by causing other people pain in any way he possibly could. He would throw rocks and break windows, bully other children, and disrespect adults. Needless to say, school was mostly spent in detention and the principal’s waiting room. It wasn’t long before Joe’s family split and his now single-mother had to take another job to pay the bills. This resulted in Joe living out his nights home alone. Joe knew he was abandoned, unloved, and a mistake. In fact, deep down he wished he could change who he was, but he had established his identity as a hoodlum and he was committed to be something, even if that something was a no-good teenage boy. As Joe grew up, fathers kept their daughters far from Joe and Joe became increasingly lonely. Joe had no friends, no one who loved him, and he had no education or promise of a future. After dropping out of school his sophomore year, his time was spent drinking, smoking and trying to experience new ‘highs.’ By the time he was nineteen, he was out of juvie and back in jail a year later for car theft. There seemed no hope for Joe. Many years later, Joe found himself on death row for murdering four girls who were all teenagers. No one would be sad to see Joe pay for his sins and no one would ever love Joe. Yet, this is not what happened in Joe’s story next.

Here are some of the words to the song “This is How Love Wins,” will you pretend with me for a moment that this was Joe’s voice singing these words?

My life began like any other man held beneath a mother’s loving gaze
Somewhere between now and then I lost the man I could have been
Took everything that wasn’t mine to take but love believes that it is not too late
Only one of us deserves this cross, a suffering that should belong to me
Deep within this man I hang beside is the place where shame and grace collide
And it’s beautiful agony that He believes it’s not too late for me

This is how love wins, every single time
Climbing high upon a tree where someone else should die
This is how love heals, the deepest part of you
Letting Himself bleed into the middle of your wounds
This is what love says, standing at the door
You don’t have to be who you’ve been before
Silenced by His voice, death can’t speak again
This is how love wins

We now see that Joe, this fictional, no-good character, did one remarkable life changing thing – he allowed God’s love in. He surrendered to Jesus and called Him Savior – repenting of all his sins. Joe’s story could have been similar to the nameless thief on the cross who accepted Christ just moments from his last breath and who is now in Heaven with our Lord. Joe could be countless little boys who are growing up right now, unloved, unwanted and yet, they also still have one final hope: redemption through Jesus. Even if you see yourself as a pretty good person, there is probably a part of Joe that is a part of you. We are all sinful, lost, hopeless, people without one truth: Good Friday. Good Friday and Jesus’ decision to embrace Calvary that allowed all the average and horrific Joes, who could never be good enough in their own right, to become royal children of a King. This is how love wins, every single time.

If you need to be freed from guilt and sin, Good Friday makes this possible. It’s a beautiful gift and one where love wins. The following is a Scripture that allows you to change your story. If you are a Joe, the good, bad, or ugly version, I challenge you to allow love in,

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”  (Romans 10:9-10)

If this was your fist time truly believing these words, please send us an e-mail so that we can begin to help you on this amazing journey. If you are a believer already, please don’t forget to intentionally seek after other ‘Joes.’ You have truth that they need and Good Friday is a perfect time to start allowing love to win.

Love

Learning How to Love

I am a big fan of the artist Noah Gundersen. I have sat and listened to his album over and over – captivated and challenged by the lyrics of his songs. Likely none more so than the song ‘Ledges’ with the particular focus being, “I want to learn how to love, not just the feeling.” There is something to what he says here.

Often in church we talk about the Greatest Commandment and how it defines what love is and how we ought to respond. Loving God with our core (everything in us) is only accomplished when we love others before ourselves. In fact, 1 John 4:19 reads,

“We love, because He first loved us”

The interesting thing about Gundersen’s song “Ledges” is that we should move past the simple feeling of love and instead, learn how to love to our fullest – moving to the stage of being fully focused on unconditionally loving others.

Here is a quote from CS Lewis that I know really speaks to the issue at heart,

“Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.”

Meshing the Word with both Lewis and the lyrics from Noah Gundersen’s song should be an inspiration to us all to move from the hypothetical to the practical, which is love as action.

Can you imagine if an entire generation grabbed this and lived it out? And how do you, personally, plan on learning to love, moving past the internal desires we hold for the simple ‘feeling’ we call love in society today?

Applause

Remember The Applause

When was the last time you truly applauded something? Maybe you cheered loudly as you sported your team’s color for the Super Bowl or perhaps you’ve recently seen an amazing concert where you screamed as you heard your favorite song. Regardless of when, where, or for whom you ‘applauded,’ there is something exciting about giving praise. As Christians, we are called to make loud applause for our King. We know this and we have been programmed to think that our applause happens most consistently during weekly worship services. Yet the reality is, an applause is short lived and we are called to live out a standing ovation in all things, at all times, when it comes to proclaiming Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Applause has become a rather secular word in many ways within our culture. Lady Gaga was not shy when she sang ‘the applause, applause, applause’ entertaining fans throughout the nation. Yet, as I was contemplating the idea of applause, I realized that it is merely a way to give proper attention by honoring a certain thing at a very specific time. Whether it is a sporting event, a musical show, or an election, applause is a form of human involvement that esteems something. However, by the same token, applause doesn’t last forever. Applause is specifically designed to eventually die out. One of the best Biblical examples I can think of is the celebration of Palm Sunday. Jesus came into town on a donkey and was heroically honored through the act of people throwing down palm branches and applauding His entrance:

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13)

Yet, we can read on and see that the beautiful response He received eventually became silenced and met by a new crowd with a very different opinion proclaiming “crucify Him” instead of “Hosanna.”

So how do we keep our applause resounding?

How do we, as Christians, allow people to see our excitement about our faith? Indeed, we have something worth focusing our attention on completely and fully through our loud praises. How can we allow others to participate in the greatest celebration we and they will ever know? I have created a way in which I remember to applaud Jesus in my everyday life through a helpful acronym entitled CLAP:

C – Correcting
L – Long
A – Adore
P – Point

C-L-A-P encompasses some of the important elements to living a life in standing ovation, a life in unending applause for who Jesus is and what He has done.

The first step is held within the C, which stands for C-orrecting.

The truth is that we all have to correct some areas in our life for our applause to ring out authentic to others around us… and we can’t correct without first surrendering. If we truly want to be transformed into the likeness of God, we must be willing to surrender and correct the areas in our life which are currently not bringing the rightful praise to our God.

Next we must L-ong for His presence.

It is pointless to applaud someone or something you have no desire for.We can’t long after something without having a desire first.We must learn how to long after Christ and His heart. In fact, praying or singing, “Break my heart for what breaks yours” is one of the most humbling and dangerous prayers. As we long for God in all areas of our lives, we desire to see His heart for things clearly – this gives Him a lasting applause.

The next part of C-L-A-P is to A-dore.

Adore is a beautiful word and I love the very sound of it because to adore something is to be completely overwhelmed by its entirety. I adore my puppy. She can do no wrong. Even when she is wrong, I see her wagging her blonde tail and sticking out her little pink tongue and all is forgiven. We must adore Christ. We must applaud Him by constantly recognizing that He is a good God and that He loves us. It is very hard to adore something that you do not love. We must recognize God first loved and adored us. If you struggle with adoration, perhaps you need to fall in love all over again with your Savior.

Finally, we must P-oint.

We must release our hands metaphorically from making noise and point to something bigger than ourselves. Pointing requires focus just like a bow and an arrow needs a target. We must make sure that our actions are pointing towards a Kingdom mindset. It is very hard to focus on something that does not consume and capture your mind.

To truly applaud God as center of our lives we must re-learn how to C-L-A-P. We must be willing to correct through surrendering the areas in our lives that are doing Him a disservice as His ambassadors. We must long to be with Him. The more time we spend desiring Him, the more He hears the praise, glory and honor He is due. We must also adore Him. We can adore Him through all areas of our lives, while we serve others and while we serve His personal purpose for us. Lastly, we must point to Him. It isn’t enough to just correct our shortcomings and then long after and adore Him; we must point others to Him. Our applause is muted if we are unable to share it. The joy of cheering is best done in a crowd. We should want others to applaud Jesus just as much as we enjoy devoting our attention to showering Him with lavish praise.

I encourage you to remember the “applause, applause, applause” as Lady Gaga so aptly said. Remember it when you give short lived applause to temporary things. Remember it when you participate in it with others and I pray that you remember to live it out through the use of a C-L-A-P-ping when it comes to your faith. I can only think of one reason to give a standing ovation for eternity with saints and angels surrounding God’s throne and I want all of us to get better at practicing it while on earth, all the while, helping others applaud with permanent tribute.

 

Love at First Sight

Love at First Sight

Do you believe in love at first sight? I always thought this to be a very shallow question – anyone who has been married for years will agree that true love takes time. Sure, you can like or lust after someone in just one glance, but to fall in love is a process…at least this is what I always believed.  However, as I began to really ponder the idea, I began to realize that there is one exception…

If we were to ask our Creator about love at first sight, the answer would be unmistakably… yes.

So many authors, poets, artists, and lyricists  have tried to beautifully articulate the word “love.”  Yet, no poem, song,  movie or story can compare to that of God’s love for us. He loved us so much that He gave everything for us and it was absolutely love at first sight. You see, I believe when God spoke it is “very good” over mankind, He instantly knew that nothing could separate us from Him:

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning–the sixth day.(Genesis 1:31)

I’d like to share some something I wrote when traveling to Israel a few years ago. The trip was a graduation gift from my in-laws and obviously it became the trip of a lifetime the very moment I stepped foot on that holy ground. Being where Jesus spent His precious time on earth was beauty beyond words. I got to see all the sites that I had read about for so long. I saw my faith come alive before my very eyes. To fully capture this scene would be like trying to explain a sunset to someone who cannot see colors. This was my experience during the remarkable time I spent in Jerusalem. What I would like to share are words from a song I wrote called, “He Gave Calvary.” Please take a second to look over the significance of Calvary to our faith:

When you hear Calvary- Do you sense the mystery?
When you hear Calvary ­ Do you see love amazing?
When you hear Calvary ­ Do you find life’s security?
Cuz’ when I hear Calvary ­ I know Jesus loves me

Yea ­ He loves
Yea ­ The story’s been told
Yea ­ It never gets old
Lay at His feet ­ For He gave Calvary

When I think of the sacrifice ­ What a high price it was to pay
I feel forgiven ­ Even as I’ve gone astray
Been made righteous ­ Death’s not mine to claim
When I hear Calvary ­ I know Jesus loves me

Yea ­ He loves
Yea ­ The story’s been told
Yea ­ It never gets old
Lay at His feet ­ For He gave Calvary

Down the Via Dolorosa ­ My sins were His to shame
When He bore the cross in my place ­ My life forever changed
The nails that pierced His hands and feet ­ Took my scars away
And Jesus loves me this I know

Yea ­ He loves
Yea ­ The story’s been told
Yea ­ It never gets old
Lay at His feet ­ For He gave Calvary

Yea ­ He loves you
Yea ­ The story’s been told now ­ It never gets old

Lay at His feet ­ Surrender everything
For He gave you Calvary

Click Here to Listen to the Song.

So, as I was preparing to walk the Via Dolorosa, the road of suffering, I wanted to take it all in. I’m a very emotional and sentimental person, so  I decided to buy a pair of leather sandals that would only be worn to walk the exact journey that Jesus took to pay for my sin. I wanted everything to be perfect and I wanted the streets to be quiet. I wanted to hear the Lord’s whisper to me and I wanted to take in every moment of pain in order to better experience His great love for me. But….that is not what happened at all!

The streets were loud and noisy and the road, to my disbelief, was in the Muslim quarter of town and had become a modern day marketplace where you could purchase your choice of religious trinkets. It didn’t matter if it was Jesus or Allah, as long as you were buying something. I became devastated and angry all in one heap of emotion. How could the Via Dolorosa be treated with no regard? How could this location be in a part of town where no one believes in the Truth? Then I heard a whisper from the very heart of God, “Do you think this walk was quiet for Me? Do you think that everyone stood in silence as I went to die for their love? I came for everyone, including everyone you see here, just as much as I came for you.”

Only tears could express the rest of my journey that day.

The love of God could physically be felt in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the Church which stands where the hill would have been where Jesus was crucified). Like a record that skips on a particular word, my mind was stuck on the word “gave.” This is the exception to the phrase love at first sight….Jesus’ love for us is immediate and permanent. I physically saw the very spot where all of history was changed. I stood on the very spot where the precious blood of Jesus was spilt. His love seemed to echo from the wooden cross where I knelt. As tears poured down my cheeks, I understood the love that is unexplainable.

The song I wrote above is about the love and gift of Calvary. He gave everything. He gave you Calvary. So, regardless of your love life or who you are or aren’t spending it with this year, I hope you take a moment to bathe in God’s love for you. It’s personal, it’s perfect and it’s forever. So while I never believed in love at first sight, now I do.

 

How to Lead Worship

How to Lead Worship

As someone who has lead corporate worship in the Church for the past ten years, I’ve come to understand and appreciate the importance that music plays in people’s lives. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow famously wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” So it should come as no surprise that the songs we sing on Sunday morning can, and should, have a profound impact on the gathered Church.

That’s why, as a Worship Pastor, I take the task of planning a worship service very seriously. While worship is about so much more than music, there’s no avoiding the fact that music has a vital role to play in our worship. God Himself commands us to sing His praises all throughout Scripture (Psalm 96:1-3, Psalm 47:6-7, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16), and we ought to do so to the best of our ability (Psalm 33:3).

I need to be careful, however, to always ensure the spotlight is on God, not me. After all he’s the one we gather together to glorify, not the worship band. So, I can focus on choosing songs that will allow me to show off my voice, or I can focus on choosing songs that the congregation can easily learn and sing along to. I can focus on choosing the latest and greatest songs that may lack theological content, or I can focus on choosing songs that proclaim the character of God and the work Jesus accomplished on the cross. I can get caught up in my own little world while leading worship, concerning myself more with my own worship time rather than the congregation’s ability to worship, or I can focus on helping people encounter God through the songs that we sing. While it seems obvious where our focus should be, how many times have you sat through a church service where the opposite was true?

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you the outline I use when planning a worship service that helps me keep God as the focus above all else. If you’re a worship leader, my hope is that while reading this “how to lead worship” you’ll prayerfully take these thoughts to heart:

1. Live a Life of Worship

Does your life throughout the week reflect the image you project on Sunday morning? As a worship leader, the greatest impact you’ll have on the lives of your congregation is the example you set with your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter how great a musician you are, or how well planned and executed your worship set was on Sunday morning if your life outside of church isn’t a reflection of the One that you lead people to worship every week. That doesn’t mean we need to be perfect. Far from it. But we can’t lead people in true worship if we don’t experience it in our own daily lives.

2. Is God the Center?

When we sing, the purpose should be to bring glory to God. Whether we sing songs about His holiness, His love, His righteousness, or the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, our songs should always be firmly focused on God. But so many modern worship songs today focus on us, rather than God. Other songs, while having a great melody that’s easy to learn and which may elicit an emotional response, offer little theological content. Do songs like this bring glory to God, or glory to us? Our focus must always be on singing songs that bring glory and praise to God alone.

3. Traditional vs. Contemporary

There was a time when I refused to lead my congregation in the singing of hymns. Because I grew up in a traditional Baptist church that sang only hymns and choruses (with as much liveliness as you’d find in a morgue) I associated hymns with that negative concept of church. I doubt I’m alone in experience. But because of that kind of experience, I believe many of us pit traditional hymns against contemporary worship songs as if they’re adversaries, when in reality the opposite is true. I now have a deep appreciation for hymns because of the rich theological content they contain, and I love how their more complex lyrics can so nicely complement the simpler lyrics of many modern worship songs. So I don’t advocate singing only traditional hymns or only contemporary worship songs in your worship service. Instead, the ideal scenario is a healthy combination of the two.

4. Balancing Complexity and Simplicity

Poet William Cowper once wrote that “variety is the spice of life,” and I believe that’s true of the music in our worship services. If we sang only hymns we may gain a strong theological foundation for our worship, but we might lack modern worship music’s ability to emotionally stir our affections toward God. But if we sang only modern worship songs, we might make worship more about the way we feel than about who God is. So it’s not a matter of focusing on how complex hymns can be, or how simple modern worship songs can be, but rather it’s a matter of balancing the two together. Personally, I incorporate at least one hymn into every worship service, and often it’s more than that. The real goal should be to ensure that your worship service has a nice mixture of more complex, theologically rich songs (hymns or otherwise) and simpler worship songs that enables everyone to worship God with both their hearts and their minds.

5. Avoid Mindless Worship

Mindless worship creeps into our worship services more than we realize. If we sing the same songs often enough, eventually we stop thinking about what we’re singing, and the words can lose all meaning to us. That’s one reason why I like to introduce a new song at least once or twice a month. A fresh song can often give us a fresh perspective. It’s also the reason I don’t force songs on my congregation if they clearly don’t connect with them after a couple attempts. It doesn’t matter how much I love a song, if it’s not connecting with the congregation then there’s no value in singing it. But we can’t always do new songs, so it’s important to help the congregation connect, or re-connect, with the old faithful songs. That might mean incorporating a personal story with the song, reading Scripture that ties in to the message of the song, or simply reading some of the song’s lyrics before to let the meaning sink in. Whatever method you choose, remember that the end goal is to help people encounter God.

6. The Twenty-Year Rule

A few years ago I read a book by Bob Kauflin titled, “Worship Matters.” It’s a must-read book for every worship leader. But if there was one teaching from the book that stuck with me above all else, it was Kauflin’s concept of the Twenty-Year Rule, which he describes as follows:

“If someone was born in our church and grew up singing our songs over the course of twenty years, how well would they know God? Would these songs give them a biblical and comprehensive view of God, or would they be exposed only to certain aspects of his nature and works? Would they learn that God is holy, wise, omnipotent, and sovereign? Would they know God as Creator and Sustainer? Would they understand the glory and centrality of the Gospel? Or would they think worship is about music, and not much more?”

The Twenty-Year Rule is at the forefront of my mind when picking songs for Sunday morning. While every song I pick isn’t going to be a complex breakdown of the character of God, as we’ve already discussed, I do want to make certain that the songs we sing paint a picture of who God is. That might mean I focus on His holiness one week, His love the next week, etc., but in the end I want to ensure my congregation is getting a comprehensive view of who God is.

7. Tell the Story

In the end, it all comes down to telling a story. Years ago, when leading worship was still very new to me, I picked songs without much rhyme or reason. All I did was follow the standard worship service model: start with a few fast songs and work your way towards ending with a few slower songs. I’d make sure a lot of these songs were done in the same key as well, because naturally that meant they fit together better.

I’ve learned a lot since then. I’m still very concerned with songs fitting together, but in a much different way. I realize now that the songs I choose need to tell a story. A big factor in being able to do that effectively is working with your pastor to know the sermon topic and Scripture he’s going to be teaching on each week. Armed with that information, you’ll be able to more effectively select songs around a particular theme that will complement and enhance the message being preached. If the theme is about the holiness of God, then tell that story with your song choices. If the theme is about Jesus as our Savior, then tell the story of our trespasses with sin and the Amazing Grace that God offers us. People connect with stories. And if your songs tell a story, then your congregation will experience a greater connection with God through singing them.

Remember that in the end your primary role as a worship leader is to be a teacher. If you’re telling a story, it’s for the purpose of teaching people the meaning of that story. Through the songs that you sing, you’re teaching people who God is and what He has done. And that’s a great story to tell.

 

Grammys

The Dark Side of the Grammys

I must warn you in advance, this is likely not the article you’d expect with a title like ”the dark side of ___.” You see, often our first inclination is to judge, condemn, or point out flaws in something. But, the reality is, whatever your thoughts or opinions were about the 2014 Grammys, there was a “dark side” that few realized and it is something that took place completely outside of the event in downtown Los Angeles. Let me explain:

The Grammys  undoubtedly attempts to push the envelope more and more each year. Whether it is the outfits worn, the speeches gave, or the significance placed on certain, let’s call them controversial, acts, the Grammys thrives on the cultural response to the events of the evening. That response is actually what keeps the Grammys such a popular event. It’s probably not something we’ve considered very much, but if no one bothered to talk about the show after it was over, would it still go on from year to year? Likely not, or at least not anywhere in the relative capacity it is at today. Therefore, to say the show lives or dies on the viral nature of the discussion that comes afterwards wouldn’t be much of a stretch.

When the 2014 Grammys ended, the corresponding chatter was easy to navigate, especially given social media. This global conversation is where the “dark side” of the Grammys really shines. You see, there were two juxtaposing viewpoints that I personally witnessed both during and afterwards.

  • One was of praise for the performances, the event, and the rather shocking nature of particular moments.
  • The other was outcry – hoards of people condemning, attacking, and lashing out against both the event itself and the people participating.

While it wasn’t very shocking in the moment, in hindsight, it was the nature of the particular crowd attacking that might have been the most shocking of all – the Christian community. I witnessed pastors, teachers, Christian celebrities and more verbally assault the individuals that partook in this event in extremely public ways. It wasn’t even as though it was simply a thought or a utterance in private, people actually took the time to write out hateful thoughts that were meant to read exclusively by the people they influence. This, my friend, is the dark side of the Grammys. In essence, an event aimed completely at making noise has baited millions of Christians into spewing hateful propaganda across the globe all by means of social media.

What kind of example does this set? What does this say to people far from Christ about who Jesus is?

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:44)

As Christians we screw up all the time and we explore this issue not to judge ourselves, after all that is much of the point here. You see, this isn’t meant to rally cry to be more “perfect Christians.” After all, being Christian means knowing you can never be perfect. Instead, what we must remember is that when things outrage you, when things get under your skin, when things seem so far removed from God it is actually an OK thing. Why? It gives us as Christians an opportunity to interject the LOVE of Christ into the conversation.

It allows the opportunity to surprise others with hope. It allows us to shock the world, truly showing what it means to display the grace, mercy, and love that Jesus has shown us.

The dark side of the Grammys is that its controversial nature gives the enemy an opportunity to knock down the message of the Gospel by the very people of the gospel. Therefore, not only do I encourage you to surprise someone with love the next time your first intuition is to lash out, but I encourage you to use this as an opportunity to admit you screwed up – to plainly say to people – I shouldn’t have acted the way I did. I guarantee you if we did that the conversation would change – the conversation would quickly move from what “she was wearing” or what “he did,” to look at how “God is moving.” I’ll be the first to admit, I am by no means perfect and I’ve done quite a bit of this myself – I need God’s constant reminders to always display the love of Jesus over what my flesh would like to say. However, if more of us start doing just that, listening for those gentle reminders, the conversation in this country, in this world, will change. How awesome would it be if instead of waking up to negativity and slander, we arose to people passionately embracing others and people finding the true hope of this world – what a controversy that would be – a story that would undoubtedly change the headlines and show the beautiful opportunity within the dark side of the Grammys.