Zach shares what’s next for us as a band…
It has always been God’s plan to bless every nation of the earth through His people. This isn’t a New Testament principle, it a theme that is woven from the first to the last page of scripture. God’s purpose was to take Abram, make a nation out of a barren couple, and through his line, bring a Messiah that would be the Savior of the world (Genesis 12:1-3). The Old Testament is full of Gentiles who were grafted in to God’s covenant people, and some (Rahab and Ruth) were even included in the very earthly genealogy of the promised Messiah. Over and over throughout the prophets and psalms, the Holy Spirit speaks of proclaiming and singing God’s praise among the nations. And one day, the Lord promises that people from every nation and tongue will gather as His purchased people around His throne, declaring His praise and enjoying His goodness forever. Yes, His kingdom is very intimate and personal, but it is also completely global and massive. And it is moving forward this very day all over the earth. You cannot have a heart after God and not care about what He is passionate about. He loves the nations. All of them. This attitude is not reserved for a select few in the Church, but it is the very burden of the heart of God. And it becomes ours when our hearts are captured by His. When I was sixteen, Jesus completely wrecked me and ruined my shame, along with my plans of a safe, comfortable life. For months afterward, I walked around in a love-struck daze, simply enjoying the overwhelming goodness of God. But then he brought people into my life that were contagious with God’s passion for the nations, and I started to realize that God doesn’t bless us simply for us to sit in it. In fact, our very fullest enjoyment of God’s goodness hinges on us sharing it. As C.S. Lewis said, praise is the consummation of enjoyment. You can’t fully enjoy something without it overflowing into praise and telling others about it.
As a band, God has given us the gift of being able to travel all over this beautiful country, meet amazing people, and be carried along in His kingdom work. But the idea of being a part of God’s work across the world has been rolling around our hearts for some time. We’ve all been able to experience this individually in different places, but the idea of joining what God has given us through melody and word with His passion for the nations has been really exciting. However, this was only a vague desire until recently. Through vehicles like iTunes and Noisetrade, God has taken our music all over the world. Several of these people have made contact with us in response, including a pastor in England and a radio station in Scotland (among others in that area). We also have friends in Dublin who are there specifically to be salt and light in the arts community. Then, last winter we met an artist named Drakeford. He’s from the States but has spent significant time in England, and is not only a kindred heart spiritually, but also an excellent musician with experience playing all over the world.
When we were having a band retreat to seek the Lord for this year, I threw out this idea—what if we went to the United Kingdom and Ireland this fall… with Drakeford?! As it turned out, Drakeford and his new fiancé (who is from England) were going to be in England this September! It resonated with all of us, and Meleah began doing her thing and connecting with every friend we could possibly think of within the European continent. There was only one problem—in order to get the best ticket prices for the window we were looking at, we would need to buy tickets before we left to go out of the country for a month. However, getting people to nail down events and dates for September all the way back in May and June was proving to be impossible.
Thus, on the eve of us leaving, we were at a place where we had honestly stepped out as much as we felt free to, but were hitting a wall. We were okay with it. For us, it just felt like perhaps this wasn’t the right time. However, all of that was about to change in a matter of hours.
The next morning, I boarded the plane and sat down in my seat next to a kind stranger. We made conversation and discovered that we were both believers on our way to serve abroad. He was headed to connect with a ministry that takes God’s word to places where it is illegal to own a Bible. As we talked and I listened to his stories of God’s faithfulness and power, a fire that had been smoldering inside me began to come to life. I got off that plane with a new friend, and an incredible burden to live by faith again. I was tired of living based on what I could see, and I wanted to step out and trust in what the living God was able to do.
During our next layover, my Mom called me and asked me if I had been able to think and pray about the UK more. I told her about my conversation, and she said that a dear friend had set that day aside to fast and pray for us, and that she, along with others, were praying for us too. Mom encouraged me to not give up on it, and to simply see what the Lord might have for us. So, I found an empty gate and opened up my heart and the word to our day’s reading. The passage was speaking about Isaac being the son of the promise, and the main cross-reference was the verse from which we derive our band name, Galatians 4:28. My pulse was quickening, and I felt the Lord zeroing in on me. As I was reading this, I heard Ellie Holcomb singing through my headphones about giving thanks to Him among the peoples and singing His praise among the nations. Then, I looked up and saw a plan taxiing across the tarmac with a green cloverleaf emblazoned across it. I laughed out loud, thinking, “Really?!” Just to confirm my suspicions, I tracked down an airport employee to ask where Aer Lingus flies to, and he grumpily told me, “Aer Lingus… Aer Lingus goes to Ireland.” I trotted back laughing to myself—“I guess we’re going to Ireland too!” I told Meleah what had happened, and as it turned out, we had received some more concrete feedback from our contacts that very day. I called Mom and Rachel before we boarded again to tell them the news. Kristian would have to wait since he was gallivanting around Europe all summer. As the golden hour of the sunset painted the distant city skyline in warm hues of honey and amber, we knew that our Good Shepherd had yet another adventure in store for us.
Honestly, at this point we don’t know exactly what it will look like. We know that Drakeford and his fiancé will be with us for a good portion of the time, and that we will be playing at some churches, coffee shops, a college, and eating fish and chips. We’ve even met one of our host families from Liverpool already. We are looking forward to playing and sharing with whoever will listen—be they churched, un-churched, or unsure. We want to be the very best stewards of this time as is possible. Meleah is working overtime connecting and communicating, but there is still much that remains to be seen. We’ve already bought our tickets, but have no clue how we’re going to really pay for all this (I’ve volunteered one of Kristian’s kidneys, just in case). So here is how you can be involved:
- You can pray. Pray that God’s unstoppable kingdom would shine forth with power, grace, and beauty, and that we would be caught in the wave of His work there. Pray for revival and a refreshing work of His Spirit.
- Pray that we would steward this journey incredibly well in the preparation, execution, and aftermath.
- Pray for open doors. Pray that we would be able to see the Divine connections He has planned for us.
- You can contact any friend or friend of a friend you possibly have in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, or the Royal family.
- Pray for provision financially. It’s not like we’ve got tons of Benjamins laying around, but we know that God isn’t short on cash (to quote Switchfoot)!
- You can mail us a check (8704 Morris Glen Court, Chattanooga, TN 37421) or send us money via PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- You can come to our house concert in Chattanooga August 28th, bring a friend, and drop a tip off afterward!
- Or you can buy copies of our live album or our upcoming UK/Ireland tour t-shirt and sticker. All proceeds will help us make that hop across the pond!
Most of all, here is the takeaway: don’t live your life based on what you can see or comprehend with your natural mind—live by faith in the God you cannot see and follow Him to places you would never dream! Trust that He is able to get you where He wants you, and that everything could change in a matter of hours—just keep your heart and your eyes open. Let’s live for what will matter for all of eternity—the unending glory of Jesus!