9.17.2014

The Skeleton Key

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:10-14 (ESV)

There is no doubt we can be our own worst enemies. We have the ability to allow our wants, desires, and other peoples influence take us from the path in which God knows is best for us. However, the great news is that there is always an open door back! Like the dad of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, Father God welcomes us back into His court (time and time again). God's forgiveness abounds so much, that even a man who openly denied Christ (Peter) before his crucifixion (Luke 22:54-62) went on to deliver the message of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36).
 
The key is to always seek God. 
Seek Him in your highs and lows, obedience and disobedience.

Only through Christ are we made perfect, alone we will never be. Yet, that doesn't mean in the midst of whatever we are going through that God doesn't care, whether it be by our own design or another's.
He is creator of the world, and He loves you so very much! Remember, it is by Him you are alive. It was by Him you were born.


For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39


9.16.2014

So I'm gonna fangirl for a moment ...

Friday I was blessed with the opportunity to be a volunteer at the Rend Collection, Urban Rescue and Moriah Peters show at the Variety Playhouse in Little 5 Points for the Art Of Celebration Tour. Initially I was not scheduled to be at this event, but someone asked me to cover their shift, and I could .. so I did.

I first heard about Moriah on Air1's "behind the music" featurette a few months ago. Her song "You Carry Me" is a soulful tune that speaks to my core (however interestingly enough it is not my super fave from her latest album, but I digress). It was my unspoken prayer request that I got placed at her table for merchandise. And guess what, I did. Pre-show I was introduced to and given the low-down from Jesie, a talented and very nice thirfter, whom is a multi-instrument performer in Moriah's band.
Even though I was working the show, I was able to watch Moriah perform "You Carry Me", which totally blew me away. The girl is great live yall, like I mean FOR REAL. Not to mention she had on mermaid pants that changed color, handmade by her sister. Later chats were had about her sister totally getting an Etsy store, and duplicating the lovely princesses who desire them.

From the time Moriah finished her performance until the doors to the venue closed, it was such a blessing to see crowds of people who had never heard of her all echo their admiration. From little baby girls to granddads they spoke in agreement, "that girl is awesome". Not only is her voice, and her message amazing, but her personality is as well. After the show she came to the merch table for a meet-n-greet, and had a real, personal encounter with each individual who came up. She signed cds, posed for photos, doled out positive affirmations and encouraging scripture, and thanked every one of them for their support. When the last fan had left, she thanked my co-volunteer (Sarah) and I, and gave us a little gift. Then we all chatted while Moriah, Jesie, Sarah and I packed up, and parted ways.

Seriously, did I mention Moriah is only 21. So humble. So real. This girl will undoubtedly go far in life. Many blessings to her in Christ! 

Now, as mentioned above I was given a little gift which happened to be a signed copy of her new album Brave, which has been in my cd player since Friday about 11pm. This album is FOOD FOR THE SOUL! Admittedly, I don't listen to a lot of female singers, but Moriah is on another level. She speaks about things that which relate to us all, and her voice is so unique! Perhaps I could give you someone to compare her to, but that would be unfair, as it only lasts for a second. She stands on her own. There is not one song on this album that I dislike. So with that being said, here are my five favorite tracks (at the moment, out of the eleven) in order of appearance on the album. Did I mention, I really like the album? I hope you enjoy them, as much as I do, or even more!


     


9.08.2014

Singleness Isn’t a Curse - Daniel Boterf [Guest Post]

Thanks to Daniel (aka fella with an awesome beard) for allowing me to post this on here! I hope you all are as enlightened, encouraged and blessed by it as myself!

Singleness Isn’t a Curse

It seems like everyone is either getting engaged or married right now! Many of my closest friends are now headed towards marriage, and I am super excited for them!
Now, I’m going to be honest, I have felt kind of lonely and out of place. A lot of my friends are dating and/or getting married, and in my close circle of friends I am one of the only single people. This started provoking thoughts like:
“When will it be my turn?”
“Why can’t I experience what they are experiencing?”
I was worrying so much about whether or not I would ever experience what my friends were experiencing that I lost sight of what was most important: Seeking God. Whether I am single, dating, or married, I should always seek the Lord and worship him daily. This wasn’t my posture. Oh, no. I was not content with just being single. I wanted a relationship. I didn’t want to be single anymore. God then reminded me of a story my dad told me a while back. A story that I will always remember.
My dad had just turned 20 and really desired to find a wife. He looked everywhere for “the one,”  but couldn’t find her. His dad (my grandpa) sat him down and read Matthew 6:33 to him. Which states:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
My grandpa told my dad to seek God! “You get so caught up in looking for someone to marry that you have lost sight of what really matters. Seek God and then He will add these things.” Now 20 years later, my dad has shared that story with me multiple times, but I have really taken it to heart recently. Singleness isn’t a disease or a curse. It is a gift from God and should be treated as such. My desire to find a girl should not supersede my desire to seek after my Lord. He is all in all, and He is better.
Through this I have learned 3 things:
  1. Singleness is a gift.
  2. Do not let your singleness rob you of the joy that God has given you.
  3. Use your singleness to glorify God.
Lastly, I want to share what the next verse after Matthew 6:33 says,
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34
God is sovereign over our singleness, our dating, and our marriages. He knows what He is doing. Don’t worry. Trust Him.

8.10.2014

*** Renevus Interview ***

Thanks to JesusFreakHideout I was blessed to interview Renevus for their site. I recommend you check it and them out right here (or below). Also, pick up a copy of their new EP on itunes right meow! Also, many thanks to muh friend Gideon aka G for taking the time for this, and also always answering my random text message questions. 



Indie worship band Renevus (reh•nuh•vis) hails from San Antonio, TX and has been busy promoting their latest EP, We Will Rise. Holly Marie recently caught up with the band's vocalist, Gideon Roberts, to discuss the band and their new music...
This interview took place in April 2014. 

  • JFH (Holly Marie): Can you tell us about the band name Renevus? What does it mean? And how did you come up with it?
    Gideon Roberts: Renevus comes from Latin - "nevus" means "birth mark" and "re" means "again." It indicates that when we come to Christ, we are made brand new with a completely transformed identity. When the band was in its beginning stages, we wanted a unique name that conveyed a lot of meaning.

  • JFH (Holly): How/When did Renevus start?
    Gideon: The idea behind our band began in the spring/summer of 2010. I partnered with some friends to start a band and ministry that would authentically communicate the Gospel and to create unique and fresh music. Over the next 1-2 years, the band went through a series of changes that left only two members remaining, me and Christian Tristan (electric guitar). In the spring of 2012, we began to see real progress, and as of [2014], we have released an independent and co-produced EP, later followed with the single "We Will Rise" in July. The band consists of myself (Gideon Roberts), Christian Tristan, Mitch ViVenzio, Tyler Jack Polinski, and James Fulmer.

  • JFH (Holly): What are the top things that you all hope to convey to those that you come across as a band?
    Gideon: Christ. It all comes down to Christ. Sure, we want to be an awesome band and be excellent in everything we do. But we want that to pale in comparison to the significance of Jesus. If people leave a concert with only an impression of how great our music is, then we've missed the point of why we come together as a band and ministry. We hope every person that comes to hear us and talk with us sees the person of Christ in us.

  • JFH (Holly): The band has seen some changes over the past year and a half. Would any of you care to share some highlights and/or lessons?
    Gideon: We have definitely had our fair share of changes - Band members, style of music, and most importantly, the changes that have changed us.

    One highlight was a change in our roster over a year ago. William Flato and Daniel Lockerbie, our previous drummer and bassist, respectively, went away to university, leaving us with some big shoes to fill. A few months later, we were blessed to have not two, but three new band members join us. We have been playing together ever since.

    On the other hand, a lesson we have learned is communication. Communication is huge in any type of relationship. Take marriage as an example. If spouses don't communicate, the marriage can become unhealthy. The same is true for other types of relationships, band members included. We have learned to talk more and talk often - to make sure we are clear with each other and to always remember to build each other up so we can grow not only as musicians, but as believers.

  • JFH (Holly): How would you describe your sound for those who've yet to hear Renevus? And how do you hope to set Renevus apart from other bands in your shared genre?
    Gideon: Indie-rock Worship with hints of folk, blues, classical, etc. It has always been a bit of a challenge to classify our "sound." That's probably because we typically create the sounds in a song based on its message or theme; to paint with a broad spectrum of colors to show different dimensions of the songs. We love to use unique instruments and sounds with a lot of ambience.

    A blurb from our Producer's website about our single and style:
    "Renevus is a Christian indie rock band that writes fantastic and unique worship tunes. Tidbit for music nerds: one of their songs has an instrumental break in the 11/4 time signature. We are beginning a new single called "We Will Rise" this week. It's 7+ minutes of atmosphere-y worship goodness. Soon after the single drops we will be embarking on a full 6-song project, about which I am SUPER excited. I respect these guys very much as songwriters, musicians and people. Pumped!" (mattadlermusic.com)

  • JFH (Holly): All of your music thus far is available on iTunes (Rejuvenation) and your new single; "We Will Rise" goes to benefit "Feed My Starving Children." That's pretty awesome for a band with only one album and one other single ("Better Place Now") out beforehand to do. Tell us about your inspiration for this? (And how did you team up with FMSC?)
    Gideon: The song "We Will Rise" came from a time of tragedy. After the Colorado Batman premier shooting in Aurora Colorado July 20th, 2012, I recognized one of the names on the list of victims. It was someone I had gone to school with and the tragedy hit home and really became a time of mourning for the entire band. However, that mourning turned to joy when we looked to the hope that we have in Christ.

    With the song, we wanted to do more than just put it up on iTunes or merely be something that benefited us. We wanted the song to be a blessing to others. Originally, we were looking to assist a charity that had given aid to those affected by the atrocity in Aurora. Later on, however, God had opened a door to partner with Feed My Starving Children through a friend. We partnered with Texas Mobile Pack, the meal-packing branch of FMSC, and decided to give half of the sales to the organization. They recently had a packing event where they packed nearly 420,000 meals in only two days. That's enough to feed 1,150 children for a year. We're excited to help in any way we can, especially for next year's goal of packing four million meals for children around the world.

  • JFH (Holly): What other artists/music inspire you as a musician and in your life as a believer?
    Gideon: Gungor, Future of Forestry, Switchfoot, Bellarive, Rend Collective, Citizens, Kye Kye, and Phil Wickham have all been great influences to us as Christ-following musicians. Some of our greatest inspirations as believers are Shawn McDonald, Daniel Bashta, Jimmy Needham, Rich Mullins, Hillsong United, King's Kaleidoscope, Elevation Worship, and David Crowder.

  • JFH (Holly): What's next for Renevus?
    Gideon: We [have recently released a] new studio EP, "We Will Rise," named after our single. Recently, we were fully funded in a Kickstarter project to be able to record the project. We [released the record in May]. We are also looking to record a music video in the very near future, Lord-willing. The music video will likely be from a song from our EP. Lastly, [we've been out on a] Summer tour and [have been] booking youth camps, music festivals/events and venues, and church concerts. Along with this, we will be investing into the local church and youth in San Antonio and Austin. Our hearts' desire is to invest into as many people as we can.

  • JFH (Holly): What has God been teaching you lately?
    Gideon: As a band, we have been reading and praying through Ephesians together. There is so much about identity in the epistle and understanding our place as citizens of God's kingdom and members of his very household. Understanding our identity as believers and the glory it is to live for Christ and his unshakeable kingdom. We have also been learning and re-learning that it's really not about the music. It's about worship - no matter the genre or style of a song or artist, we're called to worship and to demonstrate Him beyond the music - such as being more intentional in using scripture during shows and worship times. Worship is a lifestyle choice of looking to Christ.

  • JFH (Holly): Any Final Thoughts?
    Gideon: Thank you so much for allowing us the opportunity to be interviewed for your site. JesusFreakHideout.com is considered to some a staple and we are honored to be a part of it. Also, don't forget to check out our EP, [which released] May 3rd. Most importantly, never forget that Jesus loves you! God bless!




    Find out more about Renevus at www.renevus.com and you can buy their EPWe Will Rise now on iTunes.



  • 8.04.2014

    Selective Memory

    This weekend I got the lovely opportunity to volunteer as a Saturday greeter at the Jesus Culture Conference in Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia World Congress Center. Normally, merchandise is my area of choice when giving time to such events, but circumstances voided that as being possible and I now know why ... I needed to be given a new dose of perspective.

    By no means was I what I refer to as one of the "lucky ones" in my own youth.  The kids and teenagers that grab a hold of the truth of salvation, and just DON'T LET GO. They embrace Jesus and the truth of the Bible with all of their heart(s), and from a very young age seek to do His will, and in the process end up sparing themselves a lot of pain and regret (that we bring upon ourselves for the sake of/fight for "independence"). I believed in Jesus, trusted Him as savior,  was baptized, did Bible-drill, choir, and various other church participation things, but did not really experience Him (as I know now He can be experienced via the Holy Spirit) until I was out of high school. Not to mention that time in my life was a bit out-of-the-box as far as environmental factors go, but I digress.

    To say that I have an optimistic view of the world be far from the truth. I would most likely be considered realist (some circles may even say pessimistic). I believe what the Bible says about the later days, and stand in agreement with many others that we are in them. I don't believe social security will be around by the time I hit retirement age (if the world even stands that long), I think that we are distracted by many unnecessary things, and are (as believers and followers of Jesus) more focused on making people happy with what we speak, rather than speaking the truth (salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone, would be a prime example). However, make no mistake, while I denote realist instead of optimist, I do have HOPE .. HOPE and FAITH that all things work out for those who call upon God as Father. HOPE and FAITH that one day this world will end, and those who have accepted Jesus as Savior will bask FOREVER in His greatness with no more sorrow and no more pain. If you have had a chance read 31 Rays of Hope then you know I also view the word FAITH as KNOW.  

    Saturday, I saw that hope manifest itself in a room of children, teenagers, and (a handful) of adults alike. All worshiping the Father in one accord, giving thanks to the Son, and giving reign to the Holy Spirit. You see as a greeter my job was to stand in the ballroom, and help assist people with finding a place to rest their laurels, and the perk being I got to see the worship bands and the speakers. I got to commune alongside of a variety of faces, in which admittedly I was curious if many of them even gave a hoot about God and the great commission, or where just there for some awesome music. Of course the church I attend rarely has youth (homeless ministry in Little 5 Points, Atlanta, Georgia), so color me floored when Lou Engle announced partner prayer time, and two delightful teenagers asked if they could come pray with me.

    We grabbed a hold of each other's hands and took turns praying for our loved ones, our hometowns, the future of this nation, and on about the third go around, I remembered what it was like to be a teen. The words that escaped my lips were utterances for the youth that feel abandoned, that feel like they have no value ... the ones that seek to end their lives, the ones that cut themselves, the ones that feel unloved, and are victims of abuse (all forms). As the words in Jesus name amen passed my lips, the pressure tightened on my left hand, as the young woman who was standing on that side started to cry. As the tears rolled down her face, she spoke to God, and asked Him for protection, and strength to get through all that she had to encounter in her life which touched on sexual purity, drug resistance, (being a victim of) bullying, and a variety of other things. My heart broke as I heard her honest confession. You see I know what age we are living in, but I failed to think about the emotions of the generation who are being brought up it. A generation that is without-a-doubt hurting, but who still demonstrate a desire for God, because they know it is Him who provides their strength!
     
    Their light has to shine brighter, their focus as to be spot on, their convictions grounded in Truth , and their faith has to be unwavering as to not be persuaded by one of the mixed "religions" that are being peddled. They must be brave, and willing to stand up and proclaim I AM COUNTER CULTURE and I AM OK WITH THAT because I SEEK TO PLEASE GOD rather than man.

    What can I do? What can you do? Well most importantly PRAYER. Pray that the almost-growns, semi-littles, and uber-littles of this world be "lucky ones". That they develop an unquenchable thirst very early in their lives for Jesus, and for spreading the Truth of the Word. Next, and just as important, would be to simply show love to whomever you meet (*LoveIs* John 15:12 after-all), as you never know what small act you could do for someone could spark their path towards salvation, or point them in a direction towards their destiny.







    7.17.2014

    I may not be perfect, but my Savior sure is.


    I grew up with a military dad. What exactly does that mean? While although he did not enforce a super tidy space (it would have been futile to try anyways, clothes belonged on the floor back then after wearing them), he did expect the best from me in regards to my grades. Of course, best might be slightly skewed as bringing home a 97 (A) was not acceptable. He beckoned for something over 100, which meant I had to knock out some extra credit questions/tasks. This repeating occurrence through-out school, in conjunction with a few other life events and seemingly pre-disposed traits (displayed at a very young age), has shown and echoed through-out my life, I extremely dislike to fail.

    This desire for perfection gives a doorpost for attacks, as no one is on point 100% of the time.

    None, but God come in human form as the Son, Jesus Christ that is.

    It is written in Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” And Ecclesiastes 7:20, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” But for the betterment of all mankind we know the truth of Yeshua, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

    Of course, reading the verses are all well and good; it is coming to the true understanding of this fact and applying it that sometimes takes a bit more tick-tock on the clock. If you are like me, you may have struggled or perhaps are currently struggling with the idea that God is mad at you. This is in part result of the mind of an attempted perfectionist. If we harbor negative emotions within and towards ourselves for not being “on-point” of course (we think) our Creator would think the same thing right? FALSE! He knows the very number of hairs on our head, and knew us before the foundation of this world, and totally sent His son to die on our behalf BECAUSE of ours sins (past, present, and future), in which we might be reconciled back to Him, so ...

    You, nor I, nor anyone else will ever be “good enough” to get into Heaven. It is a free gift, as written in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

    May we remember, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 
    God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—  he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
    Romans 3:22-26

    So perhaps instead of us trying to be some unattainable version of ourselves, we should start to see the world/people around us that is in need.  Embark upon the call that has been given to us all, the Great Commission perchance?


    Additional Reading -> Romans 5:12-21