Creative Christian Moments Special Event: The Studio Fall Coffeehouse 2013

The Studio

Creative Christian Moments Special Event: The Studio Fall Coffeehouse 2013

“We believe that God, the original Creator, has placed a bit of His creativity in all of us, and we would love to help you discover and develop your gifts.” – The Studio, Mill Creek Foursquare Church

As I sought the Lord in prayer over what He wanted to say about this event and in this blog, I was given this simple statement: “This is where it begins.” As I reflected on these words throughout the night of the Fall Coffeehouse event, God had me stirred me into the revelation that this is where the future worshipers of tomorrow shall have there beginnings: in pure worship events in small churches across the state which are interdenominational and attended by men, women, and children whom simply wish to praise God. I felt humbled by these words and look forward to looking back at these humble beginnings for the artists as God arises the Pacific Northwest renaissance revivalists. of the arts.

The Fall Coffeehouse was held in the main sanctuary of Mill Creek Foursquare with a small collection of tables and chairs reminding me of one of those basement coffeehouses associated with the city of Seattle. In the lobby, other Christian artists had used their cooking skills to prepare delectable coffee cakes, cookies, and sweets for guest sampling and consumption. The atmosphere was filled with anticipation of the talented artists we would view soon see and hear as they presented their talents to the audience.

The Studio is a relaunch of a Christian arts group in Mill Creek Foursquare in which artists of all levels and skills can gather together to practice their talent, share ideas, share feedback, but most importantly encourage one another in pursuing the creative talent God has created inside of each and every one of us. The official relaunch will occur in 2014 and I will review the art group more in depth in a future blog review.

Before you view part one of the The Studio Fall Coffeehouse event, I would like to apologize for some inconsistencies in the video. Not all of the artists may be covered due to some user error on my behalf while I was filming the video. I have done my best to fix the problem with Adobe Premiere 10 but am still limited to the professional presentation of the material. So I humbly ask you to look past some of the video problems and rather focus on the beauty of the wonderful artists performing.

Our first performer of the night was a young teenage musician by the name of Linzy Collison-Ris. Collison-Ris had performed at other Coffeehouse events and I was eager to hear the music she would serenade the crowd with. What I admire about Collinson-Ris and the other young musicians I will review, is the amount of skill, professionalism, and anointing God has placed upon their lives at such a young age. When Collison-Ris began to sing and play guitar it was though I were attending a popular live concert with a professional who was well established.

The next artist of the night was Steve Sprague who is a long time veteran of The Studio and assists in leadership. I have had the privilege of listening to this song as he wrote it, edited it, and shared his final product with the arts group. I was thrilled to see Sprague take a leap of faith to perform his song in front of a crowd and wondered why he had not done so sooner. Sprague’s performance felt natural and I empathized with his lyrics about the comatose commute as I commute to Bellevue for my day job. Sprague epitomizes the familiar feeling one gets in an unplugged session of an artist performing in a Seattle coffeehouse.

Third to perform that night was a poet named Eli Seekins. Seekins proclaimed a poetic narrative known as the Spoken Word in which Christian artists will discuss an aspect of society and why they need the Gospel message through the use of various poetry techniques. Seekins used multiple references to zombies to describe the unsaved state much of humanity is prisoner to without the saving grace of Christ. Like the Christian saints of the past, Seekins is able to illustrate relevance of the Gospel message to the Pacific Northwest culture much like a missionary does in a foreign country by using analogies and references the ministered to culture is familiar with.

Following Seekins performance was another musician by the name of Nathaniel Chapman. Chapman is gathering quite a musical reputation in the Puget Sound of Washington. Rumors are he has even turned down record opportunities with prestigious Christian labels by direction of the Holy Spirit. This type of behavior speaks volumes about the genuine faith this man of God exhibits in his personal walk as well as his approach to worshiping God through music. Being that I am Irish Irish Scot in heritage (no, this is not a typo as my family can trace its genealogical origins to the Picts on my father’s side and the Scots on my mother’s side), Chapman’s music reminded me of Caledonian worship I would find in the simple towns of the country. The repeated drumming echoed the cultural rich history of the Christian Celts and I look forward to watching Chapman arise in such anointings as St. Patrick, St. Columbia, and St. Bridget.

Next, after Chapman came the worship band called Climbing Calvary. Dual leading in vocals are Dustin Miller, who also plays guitar, and MaKena Bigelow, who also plays piano. Bass is played by Jeff Moss and Max Knibbe plays the drums. As they started to play with Miller and Bigelow singing, you could feel the spiritual atmosphere of the room change as the Holy Spirit filled the sanctuary of Mill Creek Foursquare Church like a tsunami devouring a nation. Like the previous musicians that had gone before them, Climbing Calvary increased the expectation of the Fall Coffeehouse event and would be followed by others with the worshiping mantle.

Kai Chinn was another musician to follow who creates all of his music himself through software. It takes a gifted sound person to do this and this is evident in Chinn’s song he performed.
You wouldn’t think it, but Chinn is also apart of a newly formed heavy metal band in the Puget Sound called Screams of Angels serving as drummer. Chinn’s multifarious musical abilities in both vocals and different instruments have served him well as he encourages others. I look forward to seeing how God will use him in Screams of Angels to share the Gospel message.

Reggie and Rachel Corns were next and sung a song about Christmas to welcome in the coming month of December. The song reflected the importance of remembering the sacrifices Jesus Christ made to bring redemption to humanity. One line that stood out to me was sung by Reggie that stated “I wonder if this Christmas, they’ll begin to understand.” I felt a bit of melancholy during Reggie’s lyrics as he lamented and hoped in the coming generation to remember to teach their children about the message of the Gospel. With such a pluralistic and politically correct society developed around us, society has gone to great lengths to remove anything associated with the message of Christianity. Though the song is a somber reflection of the current days of this generation, Christians can still hope in the message of Christ. Especially during Christ-mas.

Maggie Long was another musician who performed and her song was surprising. Like Collison-Ris, Long’s sophistication of lyrics was awe inspiring and what could not be heard in the video too well was the guitar distortion accompanying her acoustic guitar. Her song was based upon her experiences as a sophomore high schooler on a swim team in which she expressed she was not very good at. She laughingly told the audience how the coach had to call an ambulance because she might have drowned so inspiration for the song comes from this. She jokes she got a good song out of it. “Jesus come rescue me. Cause I’m on my knees struggling to breath. And I’m keeping my head above water, But I won’t last much longer. Cause I’m drowning.” Long’s lyrics speak powerfully to how many people both believers and nonbelievers feel they are drowning in the wake of epic social, economic, and moral upheaval.

Lisa Zobrist was out second poet of the night and exclaimed to the audience that she was taking a step of faith to share the poem in front of live audience. The theme of her poem was God awakening her soul which echoed many of the lyrics from the other artists that performed. Such words like “unplug the ears of your soul” and “taste and see that the Lord is good” to remind herself of the past trials Christ was able to deliver her through. “Oh my soul do you not remember that though there is pain in the night joy comes in the morning.” Zobrist calls us to remember how Christ awakens us to our purpose, promises to supply for all our needs, calls us to continue our walk of faith as people need to see God’s love in our life to see Him. “Awake my soul, awake!”

After Zobrist was another musician named Patrick Neill. Neill presented a simple self-composed worship song that reflected on his own unworthiness and battle with a broken spirit. Neill started off quiet and reserved during the introduction of the song but opened up to bless the audience with his gentle vocals and beautiful chords on the acoustic guitar. Well worth the momentary wait. Neill constantly reminded the audience of Christ’s immeasurable love and ability to dwell with the outcast and the despised with the repeating statement of “you dwell with the broken hearted.”

Next came the country musical performance by Don and Jeff. They sung a comedic performance about a weakness to chocolate that gave the audience a laugh. Tina Johnson was next and shared a personal reading how God had led her in the past and present through trials and tribulations. What did not make the film was Johnson’s paintings which were arranged up front on the tables that have been seen periodically throughout the evening.

Buzz Smith was our last new musician to perform that night before Sprague, Chapman, and Climbing Calvary sung additional songs that did not make it to this review. Smith expressed that his song’s theme was about the concept of home and how he would apply that to church. Smith, like Long and McNeal brought a bit of Christian country to the performance. His concept of home also allowed me to reflect on how as Christians we have this longing to go to our heavenly home much as Paul preached about in Philippians 1:19-26.

How would I summarize such a spiritually moving event from The Studio? I would go back to the original words I summarized in my opening remarks: “this is where it begins.” Where do I see these artists going? Young artists like Collison-Ris and Long remind me of the Barlow Girls taking their first steps into the mainstream music scene. Sprague, Chapman, Smith, and Neill could be the next Steven Curtis Chapman, Todd Agnew, Phil Whitcomb, or Jeremy Camp. Chinn and his band Screams of Angels may be future Scream the Prayer participants. The Corns, Don, and Jeff could be sharing more Christmas songs and comedic performances for multitudes. Seekins and Zobrist could be sharing more life changing poetry throughout churches and cafes across the Puget Sound. Johnson’s paintings could be in museums in this city. Climbing Calvary could be the next Third Day, Casting Crowns, or MercyMe. The possibilities are endless because we serve a God of the impossible in Christianity. What is most exciting about the possibilities I have stated above is anything is possible with these artists because they have been obedient to God with their talents whether they are called to change one life or multitudes for the Gospel message.

If you would like to support The Studio you can continually lift up this ministry in prayer, reach out to the group through the church’s website or social media pages, donate art supplies or money to purchase art supplies, but most importantly come and participate in the group. Who knows? I am willing to wager that many of you reading this post have hidden talents inside of you that God is waiting to birth into fruition. Below are links by which you can contact the artists to learn more about their work or host them at an event.

Related Links:
The Studio Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thestudio.mc4s or https://www.facebook.com/groups/357084777658415/
Nathaniel Chapman’s Musician Page: https://fandalism.com/salvationsinger
Climbing Calvary’s Band Page: https://www.facebook.com/climbingcalvary
Kai Chinn’s Musician Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kai-Chinn/135469136471463
Linzy Collison-Ris’s Musician Page: https://www.facebook.com/linzymusic
Maggie Long’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/maggie.long.969
Jessi McNeal’s Musician Page: http://jessimcneal.com
Patrick Neill’s Musician Page: https://www.facebook.com/PatrickNeillMusic

References
Mill Creek Foursquare Church. “Home.” Mill Creek Foursquare Church. http://www.mc4s.org/ (accessed December 2, 2013).
Fall Coffeehouse. By Mill Creek Foursquare Church. Directed by The Studio. Main Sanctuary, Lynnwood, WA, November 23, 2013.
The Studio. “About.” Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/thestudio.mc4s/info (accessed December 29, 2013)

Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 13: Video Documenters Will Decker and Tim Scott and a review of their television series Travel the Road

travel_the_road

Creative Christian Moments

“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”

Blog Article 13: Video Documenters Will Decker and Tim Scott and a review of their television series Travel the Road

I am a passionate movie lover. My wife and I enjoy nothing more than viewing a well written story in a movie theater, renting one from Red Box, or streaming an indie film on Netflix. What excites us even more is when the film has Christian elements or depicts a Christian story that honors the historical documentation of the Bible. As I research and write more and more reviews about Christian artists, I am excitably encouraged at how God is using film to share His Gospel message. With this discovery, God has opened my eyes to an even newer medium (for me anyway) of how documentaries and reality television can be used to spread the Gospel message.

In 1998, two missionaries named Will Decker and Tim Scott began recording their experiences and published these episodes in 2003 in a documentary/reality television series entitled Travel the Road. While surfing Netflix one weekend in the summer of 2013, my wife and I discovered this documentary series and were instantly drawn to the show. We spent many days watching episode after episode of the journey of Decker and Scott into some of the most dangerous and remote places on earth to preach the Gospel. We felt apart of their missionary journey as they opened up about who they were with the audience and shared moments of trials and tribulations that would test the very limits of their faith. We rejoiced with them as they shared the Gospel message, felt empathy at their frustrations as they faced harsh conditions, and felt compelled to intercede for missionaries as we watched them get swindled and almost killed by people who would wish them harm.

Travel the Road depicts the honest realities of the missionary calling. After watching all three seasons and the numerous amounts of episodes within each season, it would take multiple articles to discuss all the different experiences that keep you engaged as a viewer. For the sake of this blog entry, I am going to discuss three of the most prominent episodes and episode series that I favored the most.

No matter what your spiritual view of the world, Will Decker and Tim Scott depict the real spiritual warfare that occurs with Christians as they reach the lost with the Gospel message. Throughout the series, Decker and Scott face hardships that seem to arrive at inopportune times as though they were planned. One such example occurred in episode 1 Season 2 entitled “The Journey Continues: Los Angeles”. As they were finishing editing their footage for the first season, their brand new Macs got a virus “randomly” known as the “666 Virus” which depicted various satanic numbers and pictures. The ironic coincidence was that to “cure” this virus and hopefully recover their footage they had to use a program known as the “exor cyst.” I chuckled to myself as this episode reminded me of other similar coincidental experiences I have experienced personally and have heard from other Christians as we follow God. Spiritual warfare is very real. The irony of this situation, after they almost lost the footage in a plane crash during the first season reminds the Christian to be on guard against Satan when you pursue your calling because opposition is almost surely to come against you and usually in a subtle way. But the Christian does not have to cower in fear of such opposition because we have victory over Satan through the cross of Jesus Christ and His blood which was shred for the world which is stated multiple times throughout much of the New Testament.

Another episode series that produced some laughs with my wife and I was when he was joined by some friends in different episodes whom had been home producing and editing the show. When they arrived you could anticipate that Decker and Scott knew these guys were probably not ready for the environment by their comments and mannerisms but as typical guys do, they let them push along and experience the hardships for themselves. There is such comradery amongst them and even through the various bruises, cuts, and leeches as they traipsed through the the harsh tropical jungles of the Pacific islands and countries. What I favored most about this particular episode series is that it revealed the very real human sides of Decker and Scott in more of a relaxed setting that are sometimes missed or overlooked from missionaries. I was reminded of my own friendships with others and the pranks, jokes, and experiences we had as shared memories.

Most Americans and those around the world are familiar with the negative views of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but what the media has failed to cover through their deplorable approaches to promoting left and right wing agendas is the humanitarian successes as well as the inconceivable experiences by which the Gospel was presented to the most unlikely given the war torn circumstances. One of my favorite episode series in Travel the Road occurred in Season 3 in Afghanistan Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 entitled “Journey to the Line”, “Terrors of the Night”, and “Fog of War.” During this three part episode series, Decker and Scott had the opportunity to minister to the soldiers serving in Afghanistan as well as the tribal groups who had never heard the Gospel. The encounter that surprised me the most at the awe of the Holy Spirit’s work to use what the tribal groups could understand, we events of miraculous random rain occurrences in such a desert scorched land. During the episode, the tribal group elder spoke about how when the Taliban took over Afghanistan in the 1990s, rain stopped falling and they experienced years of drought as a result but when the American and Allied soldiers showed up, random floods of rain began to fall in great amounts not witnessed in decades. Many of the tribal groups expressed that God was with these soldiers because of this miracle much like what was experienced in 1st Kings 18 when Elijah prayed for rain to fall on rebellious Israel once again after 3 years of a drought. This miracle opened up opportunities to share the Gospel with the tribal groups whom were usually very much hostile and closed to the message of the Gospel. After sharing the Gospel with many of the tribal groups, Decker and Scott asked the viewers to pray for rain for Afghanistan as a sign that God remembered them through Jesus Christ. As I reflected on this event, I was compelled to join them in this prayer that God would use this miracle to spread the Gospel message of Christ and invite you to do the same.

If you would like to support Decker and Scott as they continue to preach around the world as the Holy Spirit leads them, first and foremost lift up their ministry in prayer. You can also follow their blog on WordPress for devotionals and updates of their progress, follow them on Facebook, purchase their DVDs, or donate to their next missionary journey through their official website. But most importantly if you feel called to be a missionary, pursue this passion whether it would mean traveling to some remote part of the the world like Decker and Scott do or simply sharing the Gospel locally with a neighbor. We are all missionaries in one capacity or another as Christians and what matters most is we obey Christ’s command to share His message with the lost.

Travel the Road’s Pages
Official Website: http://www.traveltheroad.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/traveltheroad
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/traveltheroad?feature=watch
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/m/user823522
WordPress: http://traveltheroad.wordpress.com

References
Daystar Television. Travel the Road Banner Image, 2013. http://www.daystar.com/shows/travel-the-road/ (accessed December 2, 2013).
The Purpose, YouTube video, 2:15, posted by traveltheroad, May 24, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu9EKEd9Bts (accessed December 2, 2013).
Travel the Road. “Fog of War: Afghanistan Part 3.” April 29, 2006. Episode 14. Netflix video.
Travel the Road. “Journey to the Line: Afghanistan Part 1.” April 15, 2006. Episode 12. Netflix video.
Travel the Road. “Terrors of the Night: Afghanistan Part 2.” April 22, 2006. Episode 13. Netflix video.
Travel the Road. “The Journey Continues: Los Angeles.” January 28, 2006. Episode 1. Netflix video.