Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 57: A Review of Foreverlin’s Album You Remain

Creative Christian Moments

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

Blog Article 57: A Review of Foreverlin’s Album You Remain

Creating spiritual wakes with their music from Wyoming, Christian indie band Foreverlin released an exclusive worship album in 2017 titled You Remain. It has been on my to-do list for a long time but the holidays have a way of backing up my blogging projects a few months. Nevertheless, the second blog article of 2017 will belong to a review of this new album.

Foreverlin is currently composed of three permanent members: brothers Peter and Caleb Blomberg and Burke Florom. Peter leads with vocals and guitar while Caleb focuses more on guitar and backup vocals. Burke provides the drums for the trio as well as occasional backup vocals too. Their website beautifully and accurately compares their music as written towards “fans of Hillsong, Citizens & Saints, and Ascend the Hill” (Foreverlin, 2017, n.p.). If you’ve read my blog enough, this will be our third article featuring Foreverlin and a review of their music.

These past few months have allowed me to reflect on the concept of worship and how ingrained it is into the human experience. The creative intention of God is worship. The theology is as old as Genesis in that we [humanity] are created for relationship with God. Even those outside of the saving grace of God worship something whether it’s themselves, material possessions, political parties, science, you name it. The human experience we call life, is faced with numerous choices of whether we choose to worship God or whether we become enslaved to the false belief that we are our own gods or goddesses. Nevertheless, when the Holy Spirit draws us towards the loving nature of God, Christians cannot help but sing out their love for Him. And in times when songs cannot do this expression justice, talented musicians sing to the Lord through the use of their instruments.

The songs Foreverlin has chosen to cover a wide range of popular contemporary Christian worship songs across Christendom. You Remain is such a carefully crafted entitlement of this worship experience because it sums up the general concept of every song: Christ always remains the center of the Christian life despite what trials and tribulations are presented to the believer. You Remain is comprised of five worship songs entitled “Doxology”, “You Remain”, “Good, Good Father”, “Come As You Are”, and “Here’s My Heart.”

“Doxology” is an ancient Christian hymn modernized for contemporary music by David Crowder. Foreverlin’s version of this sensational classic just makes the listener want to get up and dance to the tune. This desire to dance before the Lord is further influenced by Florom’s intense drum build up throughout the song. Furthermore, its simple lyrics allow the musicians to freely play and build upon one another with their instruments.


“You Remain” is an original track composed by Foreverlin and the song by which the album is so appropriately named. Throughout the song, Caleb and Peter switch off beautiful guitar solos with one another while Peter’s vocals synergize with these instruments to create a vocal powerhouse of sounds.

“Good, Good Father” was originally composed by famous contemporary Christian artist Chris Tomlin and speaks about God depicted as a loving father throughout Scripture. At times, this song can be hard for some of us to relate to because our world is so full of absent or distant fathers. The role of the father has been so diminished for decades that many in the younger generation cannot even fathom what a good father looks like. But when we gaze upon the characteristics of God the Father in the Bible, we can truly see the characteristics fathers should strive to emulate.

If an altar call could be summarized in the form of a song, David Crowder’s “Come as You Are” is this worship song. Foreverlin’s cover of this song takes Crowder’s original version to another level. Such powerful lyrics like “So lay down your burdens, lay down your shame” and “All who are broken, lift up your face” describe

“Here’s My Heart” by Passion is the last song on Foreverlin’s worship EP. The lyrics speak about submitting ever part of our lives to God because of His good nature towards loving and accepting us. The lyrics often echo such calls on prophet’s lives like Ezekiel and Isaiah.

Overall, I would consider You Remain my type of worship music. Everything just works. I’ve said it before and I’ll transcribe it again, there are those whom can play music and those whom are anointed for worship. Foreverlin is one such band. They are anointed to play worship and it’s evident in every song I’ve listened to from this band. Pick up a copy of this album and connect with God musically at a deeper level.

Keep them in your prayers as they continue to reach out for venues, events, and church functions. Connect with them on social media and if you’re in the Pacific Northwest around March and April, try to get them to stop by your town. You’ll be blessed to share your worship experience with these gentlemen as they lead you in a deeper time of knowing God’s presence.

Foreverlin’s Pages
Official Website: http://www.foreverlin.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ForeverlinBand
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/BandForeverlin
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/foreverlinband
Instagram: http://instagram.com/foreverlinband/
Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/foreverlin
Booking/Management: Caleb Blomberg blomby86@hotmail.com

References
Foreverlin. Band Portrait 2017. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ForeverlinBand/photos/a.222591607831289.51810.132751653481952/1201842266572880/?type=3&theater (accessed March 12, 2017)
Foreverlin. You Remain. Copyright 2017 by Foreverlin, MP3.
Foreverlin. You Remain Album Cover. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ForeverlinBand/photos/a.133016096788841.29781.132751653481952/1187166408040466/?type=3&theater (accessed March 12, 2017
Foreverlin – You Remain [Lyric Video], YouTube, 3:36, posted by Foreverlin Band, February 2, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iypPx18i_Ko (accessed March 12, 2017)
You Remain Promo- Foreverlin, YouTube, 0:54, posted by Foreverlin Band, January 3, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMnyxnBOcYU (accessed March 12, 2017)

Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 56: A review of Lisa Mitts’ album Where I Belong

lisa-mitts_where-i-belong

Creative Christian Moments

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

Blog Article 56: A review of Lisa Mitts’ album Where I Belong

It’s 2017 and to usher in Creative Christian Moments fourth year of reviews, I’m reviewing another local musician from Washington State named Lisa Mitts. To us Washingtonians here, Mitts’ name is quite familiar in the Puget Sound area as she has partaken in many different roles throughout her life; some of which include the roles of a wife, mother, worship leader, antihuman trafficking activist, and advocate just to name a few. Mitts and her husband David also host a Friday radio show called the Messianic Lamb Radio.

Back in 2014, I conducted an interview with Mitts about her music career and her involvement with antihuman trafficking efforts in the greater Seattle area. Below is a link to learn more about her and her music. https://barryirwinbrophy.com/2014/09/16/creative-christian-moments-blog-article-31-email-interview-with-musician-lisa-mitts/

You can also listen to powerful testimony interview conducted with Carrie Abbott from Relationship Insights about her life including the inspiration behind her music and her survival of a horrible personal attack. http://carrieabbott.com/ministering-songs-for-life/

To date, Where I Belong is Mitts’ fifth album. In her own words, Mitts states that these “songs have been inspired out of a deeper revelation of abiding in the love of Messiah [Jesus Christ] without the self-induced pressure of having to strive or earn God’s love. We all begin our walk with the LORD out of a pure raw desperation knowing that there is nothing we can ever do to earn this love – it is not based in works, rather the opposite. But somehow we get sucked back into the lie that says ‘we will never attain it’, or ‘it’s our fault that we aren’t walking in His promises’, when in fact it has nothing to do with our works.” (Lisa Mitts, 2017, para. 1)

Mitts’ fifth album also enjoyed contributions from Derek Hoiem of Rain On Me Productions, Jeff Coult, Lise Peterson, John Barksdale, and Heidi Collins (Lisa Mitts, 2017).

Mitts cites that her inspiration for this album grew from a deeper revelation of the love of God towards her and those around her. Mitts also states that she wrestled with the pressures of striving to earn God’s love and perfectionist expectations that often try to creep back into a new believer’s life. In summation, her entire album is devoted to dismantling these false expectations by letting the love and grace of God suffice in a believers own shortcomings.

“It is because of what Christ did for us as the eternal Lamb of God. He was and is and will always be provision for the sin of mankind, as well as our own individual sin that provides such an incredible reality of the unending love of God. As the scripture says in Rom 8:31-39. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God!” (Lisa Mitts, 2017, para. 1)

Much of Mitts music I have had the privilege of listening to is great unplugged worship. Where I Belong continues this tradition with beautiful acoustics and piano serenades as she incorporates her Jewish heritage into many of the songs. Vocally, Mitts has such a distinct voice that can penetrate the soul of the listener. Here music is enchanting, unique, and audibly soothing to the listener. Where I Belong is such a refreshing sound.

Furthermore, Mitts offers samples of these full tracks you can review before purchasing.

“Where I Belong” begins with a folk guitar opening but quickly transitions into a full worship song accompanied by piano and drums. Much of lyrics focus on addressing listeners whom have strayed from the path of walking with God as He draws them back to the path of Christianity through the use of His Holy Spirit. The song also focuses on abiding in the presence of God. A foundational principle Christians grow into is abiding in the constant presence of God. This is often achieved through regular prayer, worship through song, and personal times of reflection on the teachings of God. As a Christian progresses in the sanctification process, he or she can sense God’s presence more consistently through these spiritual disciplines. Furthermore, when a wayward Christian strays from walking with God in this capacity, it is the longing of the Holy Spirit in their hearts to return to this regular fellowship.

If one could put a prayer to music, Mitts’ song “Come Fill Me” is that songs. The lyrics draw on her desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit in a greater capacity. Throughout the New Testament, this theme of being filled with the Holy Spirit is addressed again and again. Much like abiding in the presence of God, being filled with the Holy Spirit allows the Christian to accomplish tasks that are alien to the natural man (those whom are not Christians). Often examples of this indwelling of God is seen how the Christian talks and acts towards people as well as in supernatural experiences often contrary to the natural world. These include healings, signs and wonders, as well as overcoming personal vices that have often defined a person in a negative way. Like abiding in the presence of God, being filled with the Holy Spirit occurs in greater levels as the Christian progresses in their relationship with God over a life time.

“A New Song” describes how God deliveries people from personal captivity through His fiery passion for people. “A New Song” also discusses the basics of walking with the Lord to the new Christian. Music wise, the guitar is emphasized the most in the song with periods of mandolin like chords appearing throughout the song. This song is also figurative of the new Christian in that each person’s life is compared to a song we sing to the Lord. Each decision of Christianity begins a new song, which woven together with all the other songs of Christians to form an unimaginable concert of beauty.

For those unfamiliar with the Book of Psalms all of these were actually ancient worship songs composed by King David of Israel and many others. It has been Jewish tradition to sing these songs in services. In celebration of her Jewish heritage, Mitts continues this tradition with her song “Psalm 91” reciting the entire psalm in musical form. Psalm 91 discusses the Lord’s protection in great detail to the listener.

But do not just stop at these four songs I have reference; Mitts has eight more songs that you can listen to and purchase on her website, Amazon, or iTunes.

How best can you support Mitts as she continues to produce amazing music and advocate for human trafficked survivors? Book her for your next church or ministry event. You can also donate to Destiny House Restoration Center if you’d like to get involved in local human trafficking prevention within the Seattle area. But most importantly, continue to pray for Mitts and that God would open doors that would not shut this year.

The Christian Musical Renaissance continues to blaze through the Pacific Northwest.

Lisa Mitt’s Pages
Official Website: http://www.lisamitts.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LisaMittsMusic
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/onmmitts/about
ReverbNation: http://www.reverbnation.com/lisamitts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaMitts
Pinterest: http://instagram.com/lisamitts
Instagram: http://instagram.com/lisamitts
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/lisa-mitts/id359488551
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/lisa-mitts/67/52a/b76

References
Abbott, Carrie. Interview with Lisa Mitts. Relationship Insights. Spirit 105.3, April 16, 2015. http://carrieabbott.com/ministering-songs-for-life/
Brophy, Barry. ‘Blog Article 31: Email Interview with Musician Lisa Mitts.’ Blog. Creative Christian Moments, 2014. https://barryirwinbrophy.com/2014/09/16/creative-christian-moments-blog-article-31-email-interview-with-musician-lisa-mitts/.
Mitts, Lisa. “Lisa’s Bio.” Lisa Mitts: Ministering Songs for Life. http://lisamitts.com/product/where-i-belong/ (accessed February 8, 2017)
Mitts, Lisa. Portrait of Where I Belong. Lisa Mitts: Ministering Songs for Life. http://lisamitts.com (accessed February 26, 2017)

Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 55: A review of Wolves at the Gate’s album Types and Shadows

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Creative Christian Moments

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

Blog Article 55: A review of Wolves at the Gate’s album Types and Shadows

Annnddddd…they’re back! Yes! Wolves at the Gate has released a new album and you can listen to the entire thing for free on YouTube!

Last time I reviewed Wolves at the Gate, I discussed the unfathomable depth of theology placed in every song they have written in their past albums. As I was finishing this blog article, Wolves at the Gate has just released their new album Types and Shadows, which I will review today. My review would have come sooner but two weeks of sickness and my day job kept me distracted. Excuses aside, here is my review.

I am really enjoying watching God raise up the Christian metal movement. We are watching countless people come to authentic faith in Christ because a brave remnant understands the depth of compassion Christ extends to the lost by walking into lion’s den of the mainstream heavy metal community. An accurate comparison of this unfathomable compassion from these Christian musicians would be in a recount of the Gospel of John where Jesus meets the woman at the well in Samaria. (John 4)

At the time, Jews and Samaritans equally hated each other; the hatred was so strong that Jews looked down on the Samaritans, classifying them as half bred outcasts. Jews would purposely travel extra miles around the city of Samaria to avoid having contact with the people. But with one prophetic act from Jesus in conversation with the woman at the well, the whole town comes out to see Him and believe in His message. Jesus shatters the stronghold of division by reuniting a lost group of people with God, the Father.

In Jesus’s own words in John 4:35b, He rebuked His disciples, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Afterwards, Jesus and His disciples spent two days there ministering to the people because of their openness to the Gospel. “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him [Jesus] because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39a) and “they said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world” ” (John 4:42).

When Jesus touches the lives of outcasts, whole cities and ethnic groups are forever transformed. Like the Samaritans, men and women within the heavy metal community know despair, they know struggle, they know shame. I was one of them and it just takes the bold actions of one Christian to share the compassion of Christ with them. If you have spent any honest amount of time combing through Christian metal forums, you see this in action all the time: discussions of faith, the Gospel and its relevancy, and men and women crying out on places like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Ministers we need to take notice that God is drawing the outcasts of society in this eleventh hour of ministry opportunity. Do not let this moment pass you by as the Holy Spirit draws people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Types and Shadows has such bold, intentional, and deep lyrics. Just watch some more videos below about the process of writing these songs and the meaning behind the albums from Steve Cobucci and Nick Detty.

Like Detty stated in the first video, much of my times was spent thinking and contemplating the deeper meanings of each song in correlation to the journey of the Christian. So many of these songs summarized the intellectual battles of my own as I struggled with Christianity and battling my own personal sins. Cobucci has such a way of tapping into the cries of the soul that can only be reveal by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. This album was very sobering for me in that I spent much of my time reflecting on where God found me as a sinner and where He has brought me through His redeeming grace.

I love Ben Summers’s bass and Abishai Collingsworth’s drums. I studied a bit of bass playing in my teenage years, so I hold a special respect for Summers and letting it be heard throughout the songs. So many bands want to hide their bass in the background, but Wolves at the Gate allows Summers to demonstrate his skills in this dueling of instruments alongside Cobucci’s guitar. Collingsworth’s drums are so intentional with ever snare and crash played. He really pours his heart into every note that he is playing. It all just works. The passion is there. The intensity is there. Everything is just so well guided by the Holy Spirit’s use of their talents. Now to transition to the songs themselves.

If I could summarize Types and Shadows with a Biblical verse it would be with the following passage from Isaiah 65:1, “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me.”

“Asleep” is the first titanic title to grace the ears of the listener. It is a slower metalcore song with a beautiful Song of Solomon reference in the chorus. The lyrics discuss the struggle of weakness in striving. Vocals are very gnarly and more at the forefront than some of the other songs. The song felt like a personal struggle of sin and atonement in pursuing relationship with God. The person is almost arguing against the love of God offered by Jesus towards him/herself while be countered by the tsunami of God’s love.

“Flickering Flame” begins with a beautiful guitar introduction by Cobbucci. The screaming and singing just work in harmony from Detty and Cobucci. This song is such beautiful ballad from the vocalists. Collingsworth’s slow drums just work so well within the song. They create such an intentional sound as though his life depended on the precision of every note. This combination works well with the lyrics. Detty’s outro note hold is so powerful. It felt like shockwaves were shattering walls of sinful strongholds for the listener.

“War in a Time of Peace” begins with a mellow intro of simple guitar and bass; almost a Carlos Santana feel with some of the chords. This song addresses those fighting against the Gospel with such powerful verses as “Lay down your arms young one, I realize it’s hard to see the war is won my son.” Overall, the lyrics address the internal conflict unbelievers have in accepting the Gospel message. Christ’s supremacy is also identified in that the spiritual war is already won [on Calvary] with His sacrifice.

“Anathema” speaks about the desperation of the human soul trapped in isolation, shame, guilt, and depression. If someone were dying without any hope, this song’s beginning would summarize it perfectly. “Glory speak to me. Call me upon my name. Tell my soul to live!” I love the desperation of this chorus. It is the veiled cry of every man, woman, and child’s soul outside of Christ. It summarizes the state of the human soul outside of Jesus Christ so well in its need of resuscitation.

“The Aftermath” begins with the vocals of Steve Cobucci reminding me of Chris Cornell from Audioslave. The instruments are begin mellow but progress with bold bass and crashing drums. “The Aftermath” addresses humanities inherent nature to conceal and hide secrets that can be blacker than midnight. Like many of the other songs above, “The Aftermath” ends summarizing the redemption of Christ towards the listener.

Recognize the name of “Fountain”? If your one who knows Church hymnal history it is the one written by William Cowper of the mid-1700s. It is such beautiful confirmation from the Holy Spirit about His movement in this area. I predict we’re going to see more of this occur within the decade. Such a celebration of the ballads from centuries ago to the orchestrated sounds of today’s music. Nothing speaks more depth and theological truth like hymns from the past three centuries of old.

“Weary Ground” is a fascinating song addressing the theological concept of creation groaning in eager expectation of Christ’s return and the revelation of His people. “Weary Ground” also addresses that inner groaning of the Christian souls desire to see Christ return and restore all things from sin sickness. (Sin sickness is a term used to describe the decaying nature of the world as a result of the original fall of Adam and Eve. It’s like tainting water with poison, slowing damaging and ultimately ending the drinker’s life.)

A user on YouTube even compared the song “Lowly” to a rendition of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. I do not believe one could receive a better summation to this song. It’s mellow, slow in the best of ways. I’d describe it as one of those rare slow rock songs heavy metal bands are now for performing every now and again. The Summers’s bass and Collingsworth’s drums are ripping the entire time while Cobucci and Detty continue their awesome acapella on the album.

“Broken Bones” is a bold confrontation of the inner sin of the heart by alluding to Matthew 23 in which Jesus confronts the religious leaders about their inner problems in comparing them to whitewashed tombs. “Washed in the blood or just in the water?” That’s a verse that’ll preach in and of itself. As bold as this passage of Scripture is from Jesus, Wolves at the Gate offer such a compassionate hand to the listener to “don’t be nervous to face the truth you’re not fine, you never were. So don’t be frightened to see the Light when you open up your eyes.” “Broken Bones” is such a sobering song calling people to face their problems and stop avoiding them outside of the redemption of Christ.

“Convalesce.” If one song title could sum up an entire song, this is the one! This is by far my favorite song. The very definition of convalesce is “to recover health and strength after illness” [that illness being humanity’s sin sickness nature] (Dictionary.com, 2016, n.p.). Lyrically, it’s so bold confronting both the listener dealing with shame and the listener opening resisting God. How can one not weep over such a powerful truth? To bare the shame of humanity. Someone reading this needs to hear that today: that Christ bear your shame…Let that settle.

“Chasing the Wind” is my second favorite song on the album. Chasing the wind reference. While reading Ecclesiastes last week, this song reminded me of it. If I wrote a letter to everyone running from God and chasing the pleasures of the world, this would be it.

“Hindsight” is a beautiful retelling of the life of Peter in the Gospels. The words are so poetic. Cobucci writes lyrics like “I walked on the tempest, I saw the waves below my feet” to describe the passage of Matthew 14:22-23 and “in service I was fearless; attack my king, my blade you’d reap” to describe Matthew 26 and John 18. I think we’ve all been Peter at one point or another in the journey of Christianity. Sometimes we are walking on the water with God and other times we our outright denying Him by our words and deeds.

“Grave Digger.” If I had a song to describe the many people I have met digging their own pit of despair this is it. “Grave Digger” literally blows pride and self-reliance apart. It’s like ripping a band aide off of pride’s festering sickness. How much more blunt does one have to be than these following verses “My pride wrapped me tight and it laid me down to sleep. Telling me all that I build and find I keep. All that I made was a terrible cold grave. In death here I laid is there any way to save my soul?” But as blunt as “Grave Digger” is, Wolves at the Gate ends this song again with the compassion of Christ’s saving grace offered through the Gospel message.

If you know me well (or have read my blog enough times), Christian music holds such a place in my heart. I enjoy nothing more than delving into the orchestration of instruments and the philosophical lyrics of songs. At times it can come off as coldly opinionated. It’s not birthed from a place of ego and criticism but of a place of passion that the exponential potential Christian music has in that it literally save lives; lives from eternal damnation through the separation of sin from God.

Any band that streams an entire album will most likely win my support. It speaks about the honesty and transparency of their music. Wolves at the Gate has proven this with every song created and album released. They’re not afraid to approach hard topics without compromising their Christianity, gaining the respect of both believers and unbelievers. In some circumstances, Wolves at the Gate’s album will be the only chance an unbeliever has to hear the Gospel message. How can we not support them?

Keeping praying for these guys!!! God is moving so powerfully in their music and at their concerts. To the band members, I would encourage them to keep going! Your instrumental sound and lyrics are so handpicked by God that the Holy Spirit is drawing people from all walks of life to the knowledge of His saving grace through Jesus Christ. You have been so instrumentally picked by God (no pun intended) to accomplish something unfathomable for the Kingdom, that ministers are going to begin to come to you and say things like “teach us how to reach the lost like you do. I’ve watched more people come to Christ at your concert that have visited my church in the last few years” as signs of His hand upon your music. Dream big and once you’ve done that, dream even bigger. Become His instrument in all that you do.

Remember to keep supporting Wolves at the Gate by purchasing their music, merchandise, and following them on social media. Help them keep music as their career so they can continue to reach the unreachables. Blessings!!!

Wolves at the Gate Links:
Official Website: http://www.wolvesatthegate.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wolvesatthegate
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wolvesatthegate
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/wolvesatthegateVEVO or https://www.youtube.com/user/wolvesatthegateband/
MySpace: https://myspace.com/wolvesatthegate
Instagram: http://instagram.com/wolvesatthegate

References
Dictionary.com. “Convalesce.” Dictionary. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/convalesce?s=t (accessed December 16, 2016)
Wolves at the Gate. Types and Shadows Album Portrait. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/wolvesatthegate/photos/a.10150127268589108.320802.19155784107/10154707650799108/?type=3&theater (accessed December 16, 2016)
Wolves At The Gate – Types & Shadows (Album Stream), YouTube, posted by solidstaterecords, November 9, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCslpjrb7cYgWhahq-qIjo_yAllHJVk_Q (accessed November 20, 2016)
Wolves At The Gate #TypesAndShadows – Faith & Lyrics, YouTube, 3:52, posted by solidstaterecords, December 16, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgWH12heaEg (accessed December 16, 2016)
Wolves At The Gate #TypesAndShadows – New Record Meaning & Sound, YouTube, 2:59, posted by solidstaterecords, November 7, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qytPvjgWc9Q (accessed December 16, 2016)

Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 54: A Review of Guy S. Stanton, III’s Christian Fantasy Novel Fire Prophets, Book 1: The Way

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Creative Christian Moments

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

Blog Article 54: A Review of Guy S. Stanton, III’s Christian Fantasy Novel Fire Prophets, Book 1: The Way

Fantasy and science fiction: It’s a genre few Christian writers have adequately explored but an underground fire of inspiration has burst forth within the self-published author community. They are ready to tackle these new grounds of ministry with pens ignited with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, forerunners of the past, have demonstrated to us that Christian imagery can be carefully woven through the tapestry of storytelling. This tradition has continued in one such self-published author named Guy S. Stanton, III. Stanton’s Fire Prophet series introduces the reader to a fantastic world of imagination inspired by Biblical passages used to personify creations’ praising of God.

Throughout the Bible, numerous passages reference the praise of objects, landscapes, animals, plants, and even the universe in a constant state of praising God. In passages like Luke 19:40b, even Jesus Himself stated in rebuke to the Pharisees that “if they keep quiet [referring to crowd praising Him], the stones will cry out [with praises].”

A literary critic could easily dismiss these personifications as just that but even science has documented this “music” of the universe through the study of soundwaves and frequencies associated with stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies. (Don’t believe me, try a web search! It’s a fascinating study of the cosmos!). Almost every animal on earth uses some form of music to communicate. Even plants respond in better growth to certain styles of music. Based upon all of these examples, I would conclude that we are created for worship. So with this peculiarly placed idea, Stanton wove a story of fantasy celebrating the Christian imagery and theology.

In Stanton’s own words, he describes himself as “a dreamer, a poet, a lover, a husband, a father, and a man of God. I’m inspired by what I’ve seen and what I’ve read, but what I create with my words is where I dream” (Amazon, 2016, n.p.).

Stanton’s story opens with the traumatic tale of Tarik as the fire warriors lead an onslaught upon the Roalain Plains, wiping out his friends, his family, and everyone who is close to him. With instinctual survival coursing through his body, Tarik is forced to flee into the forbidden forest. Tarik is then forced to survive through the many encounters he has ultimately revealing that he is part of the grandest of conflicts between the forces of good versus evil.

Stanton’s story is very much a fantasy parallel to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress from the 17th century. Furthermore, I enjoyed the Jewish mythology he incorporates into some of the creatures Tarik meets. Stanton has done his homework on the Jewish traditions of the Bible and honors them through the characters he has incorporated into his story.

Korva the tiger was my favorite character for me. When the reader first meets her, Stanton introduces her as this mystic character that may not be trusted. But as the story progresses, Korva becomes one of Tarik’s most loyal companions offering protection, wisdom, and strong ally to fight alongside. Her character definitely reminded me of C.S. Lewis’s Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia.

Through the different lands Tarik is led through, the story peaks at his climatic battle against a horde of dragons. It’s a page turner that will captivate the reader to the possibilities of what modern Christian fantasy can become. I look forward to the other books to come with this series.

How can you support Stanton? Lift him up in prayer. Ask the Lord to deposit more ideas as to teach Christian principles through the use of fantasy and science fiction. Support him through purchasing one of his stories, following him on social media, and hosting him for a book signing. Self-published authors need all the support they can get, so connect with him. I look forward to watching Stanton continue to write Christian fantasy and hopefully see a movie for one or many of his stories in the near future.

Guy S. Stanton, III’s Pages:
Personal Website: http://words-of-action.com/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guy-Stanton-III/e/B00G7QFGL4
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7364735.Guy_S_Stanton_III
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLKES_Hhv9d2XeLTvcSYgg
Google+: https://plus.google.com/107550521740724972559

References
Amazon. “About the Author.” Guy S. Stanton, III. https://www.amazon.com/Guy-Stanton-III/e/B00G7QFGL4 (accessed November 29, 2016)
Stanton III, Guy S. Fire Prophets, Book One: The Way. eBook. United States of America: Words of Action, 2016.
Words of Action. Fire Prophets Book Portrait. Fire Prophets. http://words-of-action.com/the-way-book-1/ (accessed December 9, 2016)
Words of Action. Guy S. Stanton, III Portrait. About the Author. http://words-of-action.com/about/ (accessed December 9, 2016)

Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 52: A Review of Wolves at the Gate

wolves-at-the-gate

Creative Christian Moments

“Reviews of up and coming artists within the Christian Community.”

Blog Article 52: A Review of Wolves at the Gate

“What good can come from Nazareth? Come and see” (John 1:46 paraphrased). What good can come from Christian metal? Come and hear. And it’s the hearing part that often pushes many people away.

While the influence of Christianity continues to filter through ever sub-genre of society imaginable, God is doing miracles, signs, and wonders amongst the least of these: the heavy metal community. And it is no surprise, that evangelists entering this often marginalized mission field are armed with a tenacious love towards their people built upon an uncompromising foundation of Biblical principles. Within the Christian metal music itself, bands like Wolves at the Gate are unapologetically preaching the Gospel message through song lyrics and their music. I have not seen more theologically based lyrics in Christian contemporary music since some of the hymns from hundreds of years ago.

One has to look no further than in Wanderlust’s Christian documentary about the power of the Holy Spirit entitled Holy Ghost to witness the saving power of the Gospel message. The scene I reference is where Brian “Head” Welch (Korn), Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu (Korn), and Todd White of Lifestyle Christianity are sharing the compassion and healing power of Jesus at a Korn concert. About ten minutes into this scene, whole crowds of people (who would never enter a church) are giving their lives over to Christ. It was a powerful scene to watch as more people came into the accepting and saving grace of Jesus Christ. And is some ways, these numbers eclipse some of the ministries I know in authentic Christian conversions. Personally, I found myself weeping in response as I reflected on just how hungry the heavy metal community is for the authentic Gospel message.

It is no wonder that Christian metal bands like Sleeping Giant report that God is working the miraculous at their concerts. Throughout history, the Lord has shown up in power for people who take risks and pioneer mission fields that no one else is willing to enter. These individuals are not miracle chasers. Miracles are simply a byproduct of the Gospel message being preached in its full capacity, which every Christian has access to.

Now for the skeptics reading this blog post and willing to write off Christian heavy metal, during this blog post I will dissect three songs below and their Scriptural significance. Now let’s transition to getting to know the members of Wolves at the Gate. I know it’s a little outdated but their 2013 interview with Metal-Cross in Enumclaw, WA’s Creation Festival answered much of my questions and skeptical nature (especially the meaning of their name).

Since their founding in 2009, Wolves at the Gate has had many talented members come and go. The songs I will be reviewing touch on some of the works of these past members including Colin Jones (unclean vocals), Dave Nester (drums), Ryan Connelly (drums), Anthony Caturano (unclean vocals), Ben Millhouse (drums, percussion), Jeremy Steckel (lead guitar), and Dylan Baxter (drums).

Current members of Wolves at the Gate include Steve Cobucci best known for his rhythm guitar; Ben Summers on bass and backing vocals; Abishai Collingsworth tearing up the drums; and Nick Detty on unclean vocals (screaming for the lay person) and piano.

Right from the introduction, Wolves at the Gate demonstrates their musical skills with the eclectic drums and rifling electric guitars through their song “Heralds”. The orchestra complication of their music is Einsteinian. It feels as though they have taken apart ever instrument to its foundation to discover just how far these instruments can be pushed musically. By far, this is my favorite song they have written because of the sheer skill of instruments displayed. Their music is brilliantly unpredictable. Just when I think I am anticipating how their next chord or percussion progression will occur, they take my preconceived idea and blow it away. Their music has that Anberlin feel to it with overly complicated music harmonized just right in every capacity. It just works, which also attests to how these gifted musicians can work together in synergy.

Lyric wise, “Heralds” is pouring out Biblical references all over the place. It’s like they took every Bible Scripture reference imaginable and detonated it into one song. “Let the dead bury the dead” is a direct reference to Matthew 8:22 and Luke 9:60 about the cost of discipleship to the Christian. “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us” is a direct reference to Isaiah 6:8 in his calling as a prophet to Israel during the rebellion against Assyrian conquest. “You will suffer but my strength is enough” alludes to 2nd Corinthians 12:10, which discusses the Apostle Paul’s strength in Christ amongst trials of persecution. Ultimately, the whole song alludes to the story of Isaiah 6 in parallel to Christ’s mission of redemption to humanity.

Or maybe you prefer the acoustic version?

“Dead Man” is powerfully both instrumentally and lyrically in these heavy metal and acoustic versions. The song reminded me of a heavy metal version of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” published in 1799. Throughout the lyrics, the listener is told the tale of how the singer was once a “dead man, a stranger with no home” and how God forgave him by the sacrificing works of Jesus Christ. “Dead Man” could best be described as a musical version of a Christian’s foundation class.

Like “Heralds” above, “Dead Man” is filled with Scripture allusions and references particularly to the basic Gospel message found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Personally, I think this song has become my new salvation song in that so much of the lyrical content reflects my own spiritual journey towards Christianity. And for those skeptics of unclean vocals, Detty’s vocals in the acoustic version are angelic and choir like. I always smile with amusement when a screamer can demonstrate to the listener their acapella like voices through acoustic and unplugged versions of their songs.

“What kind of love is this, friends? What kind of love is that is so big, so without bounds, that He [Jesus Christ] would come, He would want, He would want to do so much to rescue people who wanted nothing to do with Him? Who fought Him even when He came to cleave us from hell? What kind of love is it that sees us in our filth, comes to rescue us, sees us resist that rescue, but continues to rescue us anyway? What foolishness is this? That He would come offer us rescue and we would say, “No!” Why? What are we gaining by our resistance? Oh, how glorious He is, that He saw you like that and didn’t give up!” (Wolves at the Gate – The Father’s Bargain, 2016)

The opening sermon in the beginning of the “The Father’s Bargain” is a mind bender in that it shatters any preconceived philosophical question one might have about Jesus Christ. “What kind of love is it that sees us in our filth, comes to rescue us, sees us resist that rescue, but continues to rescue us anyway? What foolishness is this?” (Wolves at the Gate – The Father’s Bargain, 2016). God’s love is unfathomable. Just when we think we have figured out God in our preconceived box of His characteristics, He shatters it with a deeper understanding of His character. The tenacity of God’s love and compassion for humanity cannot be comprehended.

Like “Dead Man”, “The Father’s Bargain” is a retelling of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. “Objects of justice, deserving of wrath” is a paraphrase from Romans 9:22 and Ephesians 2:3 describing how our sin nature made us deserve the wrath of God under the Hebraic Law. “No one can contain the power and depths of My abundant love” is a summation of Romans 9:38-39. “For even all their righteousness is just a filthy mess” is a rewording of Isaiah 64:6 which states “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” “Did we earn such love and grace? Oh we couldn’t earn a thing, and there is nothing we can bring. So receive this love and grace, believe His love and grace” summarizes the message of “The Father’s Bargain.” We cannot earn the love and grace of God no matter what good deeds we think we have; God’s saving message through Jesus Christ is a gift to receive.

But wait…we have a last minute addition to this blog article. Just over a week ago, Wolves at the Gate released a new track entitled “Flickering Flame” from their up and coming album Types and Shadows. The most striking change in their music involves Detty demonstrating the power of his voice during the chorus ballads of the song. The intro has that nu-metal vibe to it with a slower gnarly guitar. Cobucci and Summers deliver grittier electric guitar chords marinated with a bass technique familiar to Brian “Head” Welch’s band Love and Death. Collingsworth’s drums remind me of the early days of the nu-metal movement from the late 1990s and it works! Their music is like a reinterpretation of the beginnings of the nu-metal movement.

“Flickering Flame” discusses the internal battle between the spirit and the flesh under the premise of a crisis of faith for the individual. It is that flickering flame of hope in the Gospel message that becomes the pedestal by which the Christian can stand in triumph through trials and tribulations.

If we are honest with ourselves and Christianity, I believe it is the familiar and the local which tend to be the hardest to evangelize.

The corporate Church tends to view the importance of missions as an event in which one must travel to some far off country but like Jesus told his disciples in the parable of the women at the well “open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for the harvest [describing all the Samaritans that accepted the testimony of Jesus Christ because of the woman at the well’s testimony].” (John 4:35b). God has a repeatable habit of choosing the least qualified individuals to accomplish amazing feats for His glory. How could God not use the Christian metal movement?

The amount of resistance to the Christian metal movement is staggering. One would think that Christians would support one another going into the darkest parts of society with the Gospel message but religious dogma creeps in, trying to strangle the move of the Holy Spirit. Every major movement in Christianity has met resistance from the religious unwilling to embrace the new moves of God throughout our 2,000 year history. Hopefully, we can change our behavior to join God in the new things He is doing amongst marginalized people groups instead of resisting His changes. New methods do not mean to compromise or negate foundational Christian teachings from the Bible but rather an adaption of methods to relay the Gospel in a meaningful connection to this current generation.

Historically, we are witnessing something beginning to synergize as the message of Jesus Christ reaches not only different countries, languages, and people groups, but for the first time in humanity’s history we are witnessing the depiction of the Gospel message in ever form of human expression fathomable and globally.

But like so many power moves of God, this is only the beginning. Wolves at the Gate and others following in their pioneering footsteps of sharing the Gospel message through Christian metal is just one of many methods by which God shall reveal Himself to this current generation. I am excited to watch the fruit of their labor blossom as God continues to reveal Himself in the most unlikely of artistic genres.

If you enjoyed the music from Wolves at the Gate, make sure to purchase their CDs or MP3s online. Follow them on their social media pages. If you are a youth pastor or ministry leader, why not host them for your next ministry event? And above all else, continue to pray and intercede for this band as they continue to snatch the lost from the jaws of Hell.

I look forward to watching Wolves at the Gate’s music continue to grow and blow any preconceived notions out of the water. Prepare for revival to break out during their concerts as God continues to use “the least of these” during this “eleventh hour” ministry opportunity. May God grant them dreams of song lyrics and musical chords from heaven. May restoration occur between people through the relationships they cultivate amongst their fan base. Godspeed, Wolves at the Gate! Continue to let God use your talents to accomplish the impossible.

Wolves at the Gate Links:
Official Website: http://www.wolvesatthegate.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wolvesatthegate
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wolvesatthegate
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/wolvesatthegateVEVO or https://www.youtube.com/user/wolvesatthegateband/
MySpace: https://myspace.com/wolvesatthegate
Instagram: http://instagram.com/wolvesatthegate

Make sure to follow Metal-Cross’s YouTube page in support of their interview: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYBC9_1ahbW4n_vRjatjSKw.

References
Wolves At The Gate – Dead Man, YouTube, 4:04, posted by wolvesatthegate, April 16, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yns5lkZfq-w (accessed August 26, 2016)
Wolves At The Gate – Dead Man, YouTube, 4:23, posted by WolvesAtTheGateVEVO, July 17, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fpZ3yIc9cs (accessed August 26, 2016)
Wolves At The Gate – Flickering Flame, YouTube, 4:31, posted by solidstaterecords, September 16, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWjzxisyjwo (accessed September 19, 2016)
Wolves At The Gate “Heralds” Music Video, YouTube, 4:04, posted by solidstaterecords, September 10, 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6968u4GOKA, (accessed August 26, 2016)
Wolves at the Gate. Profile Portrait. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/wolvesatthegate/photos/a.466594274107.274828.19155784107/10154522916279108/?type=3&theater (accessed September 19, 2016)
Wolves At The Gate – The Father’s Bargain, YouTube, 6:31, posted by solidstaterecords, June 5, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYgi_0BVilU (accessed August 26, 2016)
WOLVES AT THE GATE – Official Interview 2013, YouTube, 7:23, posted by METAL-CROSS, August 18, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn2Hn1OvWA8 (accessed September 6, 2016)

Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 51: A Review of “This Joy” by Amy T

Amy T

Creative Christian Moments

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

Blog Article 51: A Review of “This Joy” by Amy T

It is an honor and privilege to watch God continue to use the underground Christian rap movement in the Seattle region with soul saving songs rhymed with instrumental beats that bludgeon even the best of today’s secular rap music. Can God use rap music to to save souls through the preaching of the Gospel message? Absolutely, and one only has to look at some of the most hardened, crime ridden, and impoverished neighborhoods of the greater Seattle area to witness the dramatic restoration of community, family, and safety returning there. The Holy Spirit is rippling across the Pacific Northwest with this continued renaissance revival of the arts at the hands of everyday Christians presenting their talents before the Lord. It is a joyous experience to witness this powerful move of revival.

Joy is so intertwined within the lifestyle of the Christian as well as the Scriptures. Christianity is celebratory bringing forth joy in every sphere of influence, since the early church was born up unto this present age. Amy T’s album, This Joy, is a celebratory anthem of the joy of the Gospel message and the privilege of presenting it to the masses.

Amy T, the husband of Christian rapper Barnabas (Daniel Lefotu), is becoming a more familiar name amongst the Christian hip-hop community as the two of them tackle the Puget Sound area. With the celebration of fifty artists reviewed so far, this blog post will take us back to the beginning in reviewing Barnabas’s equally talented wife.

This Joy does everything the album title would suggest: produce the joy of the Lord in every capacity. (Yes, I am a bit cliched here)! Ever song delivers an equal powerhouse of praise. Lefotu’s lyrics are bold, blunt, and intentional as she does not shy away from preaching the Gospel message throughout her songs. Instrumentally, Amy T’s music is mixed beautifully and once again shows the power of the independent artist. Below are my two favorite songs discussed in depth.


“Time” introduces the listener to a chorus of chanting piano and electronica sounds reminding me of a 90s dance club throwback. It’s catching and then hits the conscience as Amy T discusses the philosophical aspects of time, including its finite nature. The chorus directly references Hebrews 10:23, and also alludes to the Christian concept of running the race of faith marked out for the believer in Hebrews 12:1. Lefotu’s music strikes deeper though, the concept of time whether a Christian or not is entrenched in the back of the minds of humanity because our life here is finite. But it is the gift of the Gospel message that allows the sinner the option of always redeeming the time they have left, no matter how late a new believer may arrive. The hope of Christians is spending an eternity with a God whose created them for fellowship, so time in this life is merrily a preparation for things to come. It is joyous and celebratory as we live “life abundantly” (John 10:10a).


Who likes to wait for something? Not in today’s society of instant gratification. I must confess at times I struggle with waiting for breakthrough in my own life. “Patiently Wait” by Amy T addresses this concept like a sledgehammer to a glass window. Her lyrics are convicting and compelling as she confronts the soul’s prideful statements of self reliance. Waiting patiently can often last months or even years; experience has also taught me that usually within the time we want to give up, our breakthrough for success is just moments away. Personally, I found this song an anthem for my own season of life within 2016.

Now, I will transition to a new song Barnabas and Amy T have written. I know-I know, this is a review of This Joy (and it’s taken me a year to write) but why not preview what is to come. “We Got Today” was release twenty-nine days ago on Sound Cloud. “We Got Today” challenges the listener to with a sense of urgency to make the most of each day because we are not promised tomorrow. But rather than fulfil instant gratification about indulging in today, Barnabas and Amy T challenge us to offer our best daily because God will take care of the needs that arise tomorrow or in the days to come.

How can you support Amy T? Follow her on social media, help promote her music, and schedule her along with Barnabas for your next ministry or youth event. As this dynamic duo of a couple continue to grow in their music, continue to pray for them and their ministry. As I close, I am reminded of when I attended community college in 2007 with Daniel Lefotu and the many times he would speak about Amy. Now seeing them married and perfectly complementing each other in more ways than just music, I look forward to the revival that will break out within their future concerts. Continue to write music Barnabas and Amy T. We look forward to watching God elevate this Christian couple as mentors to the next generation.

Amy T’s Pages
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amytmusic
Band Camp: http://amyt.bandcamp.com/releases
Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-278643930
iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/this-joy/id920908577
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/This-Joy-Amy-T/dp/B00NR42YAU
Google: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Amy_T_This_Joy?id=Be7yatsiylqig7afc3cg4qnbsqa

References
Amy T. Portrait. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/amytmusic/photos/a.816333665084950.1073741827.816331418418508/824723877579262/?type=3&theater (accessed August 28, 2016)
Amy T. This Joy. Copyright 2014 by Amy T, MP3.
AMY T – Time 2015, YouTube, 3:19, posted by AMY T 2015, April 18, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmvUV9PO620 (accessed September 4, 2015)
Barnabas and Amy T. We Got Today. Copyright 2016 by Barnabas and Amy T, MP3. https://soundcloud.com/user-278643930/we-got-today
Patiently Wait (feat. Barnabas), YouTube, 3:29, posted by Amy T – Topic, November 14, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fip_9WZk5K4 (accessed August 28, 2016)

Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 50: Book Review of Dr. Clay A. Kahler’s “The Fallen”

The fallen

Creative Christian Moments

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

Blog Article 50: Book Review of Dr. Clay A. Kahler’s The Fallen

How far can one preacher go to achieve reconciliation with a family member? What if it meant reconciliation with your brother on death row, facing execution for gruesome murders? That is the conscience searing question that Kahler asks of his readers in his novel The Fallen.

Set in a gritty, dusty, and small western Texas town, Kahler examines this question between two brothers and how the choices they make lead them down paths of polar opposites of the moral spectrum of society. What captivated me most about Kahler’s story is the realism involved with the characters. Both Johnny and Coy are given the same parents, same set of circumstances, and same developmental environment, yet their lives could not have turned out more different. Below is an audio version of the first chapter you can sample.

About the Author
In Kahler’s own words, he describes himself as “always [striving] to get the most out of life” (Kahler, 2016 a, para. 2). Kahler served in the United States Army in the Desert Shield and Desert Storm conflicts, as a police officer, bounty hunter, and preacher (Kahler, 2016 a). “Clay has served as the President of San Diego County Southern Baptist Pastor’s Association, on faculty at Southern California Bible College, on faculty at the Southwest College of Biblical Studies, and served as the Founding President of the Soldiers of the Cross – Christian Motorcycle Club” (Kahler, 2016 a, para. 5). Kahler has “written for Preaching Magazine, Christianity Today, and To His Glory, as well as a number of other journals and periodicals” (Kahler, 2016 a, para. 2).

My Review of the Story
I have two words to describe Kahler’s novel: captivatingly intriguing. Though it was short, I could not put it down. In the beginning, Coy Allen learns that his estranged brother is on death row and he must come to terms as a minister to bring the Gospel message to him before his execution. The reader is then presented with a series of flashbacks paralleling the lives of Johnny and Coy Allen and how their choices forced them down different paths in life. Johnny’s life of horrible circumstantially bad choices digs him deeper and deeper into a life of crime. Paradoxically, Coy Allen’s choices, though challenging at times, leads him on towards the path of a successful minister. With a series of visitations between the two brothers, Kahler fills his story with twists and turns around every corner (which I will not delve in to keep it spoiler free). Kahler’s correctional officer experience is accurately described within the prison setting of the story and through the lives of the characters’ experiences. It is most realistic account that I have come across outside of meeting men and women who have served time in prison.

The biblical concept of reconciliation is rampant throughout the story. Kahler weaves such an honest portrayal of the process one goes through in coming to terms with forgiveness of family members. Many of the chapters are filled with personal conversation between Coy and God as he processes the emotional pain, hurt, and anger he feels towards his brother and the consequences of his choices. This process of wrestling with forgiveness and reconciliation often sparks more questions than answers at times for the Christian.

I mean how does one reconcile with someone who has significantly wronged them? How does someone reconcile with another person who will not even acknowledge their wrong doing? How does someone reconcile with another person who believes that they themselves can never receive forgiveness?

The Greek word commonly used for forgiveness found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark is aphesis meaning “deliverance, pardon, [and] letting go of” (Bible Hub a, 2016, n.p.). The Greek word commonly used for repentance found in the Gospel of Luke is metanoeὁ meaning to “change one’s mind or purpose” followed by an accompanying action of this change (Bible Hub b, 2016, n.p.). Reconciliation becomes a direct byproduct of repentance and forgiveness from both parties at odds with one another. Only the redemptive, transformative nature of the Holy Spirit inside the believer can accomplish this goal. Human effort always fails to meet our own mental altruistic ambitions in this regard.

The Apostle Paul is a classic example of reconciliation. In the first few chapters of the Book of Acts, Paul is actively persecuting Christians until he encounters Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul then completely changes his life as a result and becomes an adamant supporter for Christians. It took some time for these believers to accept Paul’s conversion, especially since it was highly likely that family members and friends that Paul had authorized for murder were a part of the congregation or had witnessed these deaths themselves under Paul’s leadership. Nevertheless, they did and the Apostle Paul became one of the most influential leaders in Christianity.

Kahler’s novel is going to be a movie soon too so why not pick up a copy and support him from one of the links below. If you are a reader looking for something other than fiction, why not pick up a copy of one of Kahler’s theological books, too? Kahler and other Christian authors like him will be the first fruits of a shift in Christian fiction story telling within the coming years. I pray stories would arise within him and others like him. Remember to connect with Kahler through his social media pages and lift him up in prayer as the Lord leads him on a new path towards the release of The Fallen movie in 2017.

Clay Kahler’s Pages
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1197118.Clay_A_Kahler
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFallenTheBook
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/RCRUSA
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cakahler
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Fallen-Clay-A-Kahler/dp/1480013838
SmashWords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/241893
Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5365990/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_1

References
Bible Hub. “Aphesis.” Strong’s Concordance. http://biblehub.com/greek/859.htm (accessed May 3, 2016)
Bible Hub. “Metanoeὁ.” Strong’s Concordance. http://biblehub.com/greek/3340.htm (accessed May 3, 2016)
Kahler, Clay A. “Personal Biography.” Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7873025/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm (accessed April 28, 2016)
Kahler, Clay A. Profile Portrait. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cakahler (accessed April 28, 2016)
Kahler, Dr. Clay A. The Fallen. San Bernardino: Sharing the Word, 2011.
The Fallen. Novel Portrait. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/TheFallenTheBook (accessed April 28, 2016)
The Fallen Chapter One Audio Book, YouTube, 11:18, posted by Clay Kahler, November 16, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmDBiG_abwk (accessed April 25, 2016)