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Over the course of the last 10 years my Christian life has been jam packed with activity, action, study, and reflection. I traveled in full time music ministry for 6 years. I spent 4 years studying heavily on many different topics, like cosmology, eschatology, theology, and science. And honestly, as a result… a lot has changed. I have changed. In many ways for the better. But, in other ways… maybe not. I couldn’t tell you.

All I know is that I will find out on that great day.

Recently however, I have felt a shift taking place. I have felt an urge come over me to slow my studies, to break away from the business of social media smart phones, and to simply live in the moment with God. To simply just breath it all in and exist.

It first came to me when considering the epic life of Moses. He did so much good for the kingdom of God leading the people to freedom, preforming signs and wonders, and being a leader. But, before that part of his life took place, he lived a different life. He spent 40 years in Midian as a meager shepherd. He had a regular job. He likely spent a lot of time in reflection rather than endless studies and worldly pursuit.

We read these events in Exodus 2 through 7.

This period of stillness struck me and has been with me for a while now. And as I step away from the hustle and bustle of smart phone addiction, the question comes to me “what to do with all of this extra free time”?

I could study more… and perhaps write a book on topics I am passionate about.

And while contemplating these things, a fellow believer unknowingly shares Ecclesiastes 12:12 with me.

The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.Ecclesiastes 12:10-14

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It feels good to know what God wants from me right now. And it’s so simple. No major projects. No rush to action. No heavy theological externalization. Right now, God wants me to simply be still and know… know that He is God.

I don’t know what the future holds. And to be honest, I am at peace with that. I have spent the last 10 years pushing myself in different directions non-stop. It’s time to just simply be still and know. I would hope that my time spent in Midian won’t be nearly as long as was the time for Moses. But, I know this… God is bringing me to this place that I might take something from it into a future that He has in store for me.

Moses had to learn to lead sheep before he could learn to lead people.

God is planning to show me something big. I can feel it.

And I will sit in Midian for as long as it takes. All of the studying we do. All of the events, promotion, success we strive for… it’s all vanity. It’s so much more simple than that. Just fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

 

This post is a condensed explanation as to why I have decided to step out of the SDA church after less than two years of involvement in the historicist movement.

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First off, I am still a historicist Christian. No question. No hesitation. Including all that comes with it.

But… there comes a point when you have to follow Christ, even if it means walking away for your church. After less than two years as a historicist Christian (the only church near us that agrees with this eschatology being the SDA church), it was time to step away from the Seventh Day Adventists.

And here’s why.

This particular church in the historicist camp comes with a prophet. And truthfully, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. So, as I embarked on the quest of getting to know this church and this prophet I read countless books from Ellen G. White. Many of them I highly recommend. Her work definitely presents the reader with a true desire for repentance by challenging the reader to be more confrontational about their own personal daily sin.

But, the more I read, the more questions I had for the church. There were quite a few views that she held that I disagreed with (24 elders, Genesis 6, 144,000, sinless worlds… just to name a few). Views that the church itself still holds. And so, I did what any logical person would do.

I went to the church.

I’ve sat down at coffee shops with pastors of the denomination to confront some of the more controversial topics. I’ve sat in offices with deacons asking questions about church practices that don’t line up with the church’s own teachings. I’ve talked with members that were third and fourth generation members on similar topics as well.

And yet, I got the exact same answer from every member, pastors, deacons and longstanding attendees alike.

I don’t know. I haven’t read it. Let me see if I can find someone that knows.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for my decision to leave was a petty one in all honesty and had nothing to do with the aforementioned issues. We were participating in a children’s club for my son. This club held biweekly activities with occasional larger activates on a regional scale. The club meetings were canceled more often than they were held, and at the last minute. We had a regional meet up happening. And the day before we were supposed to leave for the trip I reached out asking for a few details. The reply was that it had been canceled, but they forgot to tell me. Go figure.

I’d had enough.

I can get past the lack of organization with the kid’s club. After all, it’s run by parents and things happen. I realize that this club was and is doing the best they can with the time and resources that it has. I do not fault them for my decision to leave. But, it did mount an emotional strain on top of the already mounting angst that existed.

The club was excusable.

But, in regard to faith, I had to take a stance. Peter explains it best when he said; “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”.

I even had one member tell me they refuse to talk about such things when I asked them the simple question, “What do you think about Ellen G. White’s un-fallen worlds“.

I am at a point in my life where I am done playing church. I want answers. And in just two short years it became very apparent to me that none of the people I have met in the SDA community have an established reason for their faith. Not the pastors, not the deacons, nor the members.

This experience wasn’t just secluded to merely one body either, just to clarify.

I believe the historicist view. I think many, but not all, of Ellen G. White’s writings are worth reading.And I would recommend them to others. But, with reading comes questions. Questions you would hope the church can answer.

They couldn’t.

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I am an all or nothing kind of guy when it comes to enjoying the things that inspire me to action. In many ways this is awesome, because, once I get going on an idea there are very few times when I find it hard to not attain at least a little bit of success in my pursuits. Just to give a few minor examples would be to point out some of the things that I have goofed off with in the last few, more recent years.

I operated an Etsy store designing and selling embroidery and screen print patches. I chased this venture for nearly two years, I think. Within that short time the store exploded with sales exceeding an average of 10 to 12 sales per day. I don’t remember exactly, but when I decided to step away from it, deleting the store, I think it had something like 10,000+ five star reviews. That’s pretty good for just being a hobby.

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Before that, obviously… if you have read my bio, there was my music career in the mid-2000’s which went full time for 6 years nationally. It got to that level not because of skill or talent, but because of the “all or nothing” mentality that seems to burn within me.

Then there was the very short stent were I decided to start a podcast about the growing Cosmology Debates on social media and, especially Youtube. I didn’t expect it to grow very quickly, but… by marketing it to the right crowd it somehow managed to gain 100+ subscribers and over 150 listeners per episode before I deleted the podcast. This number may not seem like a lot, but the podcast was only live for a few months and I think I only did something like 5 or 6 episodes.

There was also the time I became an author, publishing a dozen or so books, some full length novels and other short novellas with various publishing companies. That pursuit grew very fast and was likely one of the ventures I spent the most time and effort on outside of touring. I managed to lock a contract with my favorite publisher at the time and even had my all-time favorite author of the time review one of my books. But, alas, I trashed that venture also, giving all of my published titles to a close friend who did most of the post editing for my work prior to publication.

And now, I have started up a home studio to record and publish music as a studio artist. And within the first 6 months of owning the studio gear I managed to release a three song EP with a record label out of Iowa.

So, here’s the thing… if I don’t have to try so hard to move forward successfully on something, why have I quit time and time again to do all of these things if they were being successful? And, if I am likely to quit something after it becomes bigger than my goals intended for them to be, why start something new to begin with?

Honestly, I feel like stepping away from each past pursuit is justified in its own right due to personal reasons (tour, being an author, the patches, the podcast, etc…).

But, this blog post isn’t about me justifying via excuse my reasons for quitting while being so called “ahead” of my goal expectations for each project.

This rant is more about being the type of person with the “all or nothing” mindset trying to cope with downtime in life. We all have seasons where things are busy and we are moving forward with goals. For some it might be building a career or creating a family. For others it might be launching and maintaining a podcast, youtube channel, or writing a book.

Right now, I find myself in this so called downtime phase in life where things are moving at a specific pace outside of my control. I am in my mid-30’s, leaning toward 40 and somehow, in some way, life has managed to make an adult out of me without my being aware. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just looking back, somehow it feels like it happened out of nowhere. I’m at a transition stage in life where I am not committed to any one creativity based project which frees me up to do anything. The possibilities are endless. While at the same time, the life transition of moving and starting a new job is keeping me from committing to anything as well.

So, if it’s all or nothing… right now, my mindset is leaving me in the nothing phase. I have literally had the last week and a half off from work, and yet I haven’t seized the opportunity by utilizing that time for creativity. I’ve just been stooping.

That is the conundrum of an all or nothing mindset. When you have set yourself to doing something, you get it done. But, when life forces you to slow down, a person with the “all or nothing” view, tends to just sit stagnant under those circumstances (now, I could be wrong. Which is why I am just speaking for myself here).

And thus, here I am feeling stagnant.

This isn’t to suggest that I am unhappy. That is far from true. I have just been doing a lot of internalizing lately and I have concluded two facts. One, I love the pursuit of pursuit itself. And two, I am entirely burnt out on the internet and the mass consumption of entertainment provided by mainstream society. It is corrupting our humanity to the core and creating distance, not only between varying cultures in local communities, but also within individual households as well.

This creates a problem… because, every venture that I have been successful with has been due to the fact that I am good at “online social networking”. I wouldn’t have become a full time touring singer-song writer without Myspace. I wouldn’t have become a successful author without Facebook. I wouldn’t have had a successful Etsy store without Instagram. The podcast wouldn’t have been successful had it not piggybacked off of my previous successes along with Youtube. And even now, my latest EP Ignorance is Woe got picked up by a record label because I operate a website, which in its own right is an online social media platform.

I am absolutely tired of the internet, but it is the internet that has allowed me the luxury of being semi-successful at my creative pursuits.

Couple this together with the stagnant position I am currently in due to a life transition taking place… and with being someone that is the “all or nothing” type in regard to pursuit, a slow season can tend to make you a little twitchy (for lack of a better term).

Obviously, once my family is moved and done with the relocation process, I will still continue to write and produce music in my home studio. But, I don’t know that the music venture will be my primary platform of creativity driven focus. Since I am in this stagnation stage, my prayer is that God will speak to me and show me what I should be doing rather than the usual… me just listening to my gut and doing what I want to be doing.

God has a purpose for my life. And right now, outside of providing for my family, I don’t know what that purpose is.

This is the issue of an “all or nothing” mindset.

We tend to not like the question; what next? And besides, as a Christian I know the primary focus with creativity should be to spread the gospel. But, as I look at the world, too many Christians have switched to strictly “online evangelism” (I can witness to you so long as I don’t have to interact with you). Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tool and a great platform that I myself have benefited from as the listener.

However, this isn’t good. And I want to do something for Christ. But, how can I do that without settling into the internet as my outlet like so many other Christians have begun to do? There has got to be more to life than this.

And yet, that still leaves me with this… what next?

It feels good to see my meager graphic design skills still getting used in the music world, let alone for Christ’s sake at that. Today I put together a flyer for a show coming up in Nebraska for a few of the bands associated with the label I recently signed my latest release  (Ignorance is Woe) with, Raven Faith Records.

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The label has been really great to work with so far and it feels good to get my hands dirty again doing design work, even if it is just on the side here and there. So far I have gotten to do a few major things like a few album covers and tour posters, and bandcamp layouts… as well as a few little things, like the flyer you see here. I think it would be pretty cool down the line to get my fingers wet by having a crack at maybe even doing some merch designs for the label as well. It’s been forever (way back to my tour days) since I designed my last t-shirt. Surely, one of the Raven Faith bands will need something along those lines sooner or later.

If you haven’t checked out the other bands and my brothers and sisters in Christ on the Raven Faith Records roster, you should!

And, if you’re in Nebraska… go to this show and donate to the flood relief.

Good morning internet world.

I don’t know about all of you, but I have a lot going on in life right now. Buying a house… selling a house… building a family and raising a 5 year old… etc. The other day my son and I for some reason were talking about an old dog that I used to have named Captain that lived on the road with me while touring State to State. So, I pulled up some old photos from my tour days to show him the dog. With that, I began reminiscing about the different things I found myself getting into while living the tour life. Here are some of the old photos that I managed to find from back then.

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We really are only here for a moment. Make the best of your moment. My prayer is that I raise my family right in the sight of God while reaching out to lost sinners for Christ’s sake the best I can before now and the end.

Because, it’s going to be here before you know it.

One way to make the best of it would be to check out these old songs from back then. You can download them for free on my Bandcamp Page.