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Pay Me Higher – Kirk Cousins Creed Parody

My buds Grant and Danny host a midday show (10am-2pm) on 106.7 The Fan in DC. With Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins’ potential long term extension looming, they asked me to use his favorite band, Creed, for a parody. Here it is:

How Can You Be a Christian and Not Watch Star Wars?

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Ok, the title might be slightly misleading, but stick with me.

I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan in the world. I like the movies. I have fond memories of the three originals (Episodes IV-VI). But to be honest, I saw The Phantom Menace (Episode I) when it came out in 1999, but never saw the next two because I thought it was lame. So do I wear Luke Skywalker PJs to sleep or do I have a Yoda fathead hanging on my wall? No.

But here’s the thing…I do love people. And people love Star Wars. So I’ll love Star Wars. If you want, be a Christian leader, speak out against The Force Awakens or be a contrarian because you want to go against the grain. But know that you are now missing a connection point with 95% of the people you’ll talk to.

In certain areas, be set apart. In certain areas, draw your line in the sand. But don’t draw it between you and millions of other people who you can connect with. Use it as a launching point for deeper relationship, not the launching point of your irrelevancy to their lives.

May the force be with you. (And also with you.)

Nationals Faith Day

Im pumped to be playing pregame at the Washington Nationals Faith Day. Each year, the Nats host a Faith Day where players give their testimonies postgame along with live music. This year, DC area choirs are performing along with the players. This year, they’ve added live pregame music as well. As a Nats fan, I’m excited that we get to be a part in this way. If you’re coming to the Nats/Marlins next Saturday, September 19, come early when gates open and hang with us on the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk Stage!

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Why the Church Should Support Tori Kelly, Evangelist

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“I believe we all have a purpose. No one purpose is greater than another purpose.   You all have a purpose.” -Tori Kelly, last Friday night.

Friday night, Emily and I saw Tori Kelly’s Where I Belong Tour at The Fillmore in Silver Spring. It was exciting for us, because we had tickets to see her in 2013. But the day of her show was the day of Emily’s stem cell retrieval (and essentially the most traumatic day of the entire stem-cell transplant season). So the tickets just went to waste. So Friday, for us, was kind of a celebration of things coming full-circle.

So back to the show…Obviously, musically she was incredible. Rare vocal talent. We got to meet and chat with her for a second before the show and she couldn’t have been nicer and more welcoming. But some of the things she said during the show challenged my perspective.

Tori talked about her family. She spoke so highly of her bandmates. She talked about her song inspirations. During the Q&A, she talked about her logo being inspired by favorite Bible verse (Psalm 91:4). She displayed obvious humility throughout the night, even while the crowd was chanting her name. Her band was visibly praying on stage, if you paid attention. Emily and I had a conversation on the ride home that in many ways, we walked away feeling more like we were at a God-inspired show and heard God-inspired music than at some church events I’ve played at. But the thing is, it wasn’t at a church event. It was out in public. With thousands of people. And it was impactful.

I think many times, as Christians, as pastors, as leaders, we get competitive and closed minded. We have to get people to our church to build our thing. When we do that, we fail to support those people who use their gifts in other ways…in sometimes ways we wouldn’t consider. We fail to get out and meet people where they are. But Tori Kelly is not failing. We are on the same team, and we should act like it. Many other artists who are Christians write positive music. Some with Christ-centered lyrics. But because they aren’t a “Christian artist” we ignore them or write them off. Let’s not get it wrong this time.

Go buy Tori Kelly’s album, Unbreakable Smile, and tell your friends. No she isn’t a CCM artist. No she isn’t on a Christian label. No she isn’t writing the songs we sing in church (but she was videod singing Oceans in Central Park, for those of you that have Oceans as a deal breaker ). But she is making Jesus famous in places where many of us will never go. And, by the way, her music is incredible upbeat, positive and catchy.

Get it here: Unbreakable Smile (Bonus Track Version)

ps. She’s going to win a GRAMMY or two. Just remember that I said that.

 

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Cover video

A couple of days ago I made (and posted) a cover video of one of the new North Point songs, Love Come Down. It’s by no means perfect, but people seem to like it, so that’s cool. Almost 500 views in a couple days…not too bad. Check it out!

 

Non-Profit

For the last five or six years, I’ve been operating my band as a sole-proprietership. That essentially means everything we make when we play somewhere or I sell a t-shirt, etc., is personal income and I have to claim it every April 15. And every time I spend money, it’s legally my personal money, even though it’s separated as a business expense. I make sure everyone else gets paid before I do. My time is invested and spent. That’s just how I’ve operated and I’m fine with that mode of operation. I’ve basically been operating as a non-profit business.

But now I’m getting more and more opportunities and invitations. And wider ones. Recently I was in South Africa doing leadership training for kids and leading worship. Later this month, I’m speaking at a huge youth conference in Florida. Next year, we’re heading to Portland to play at the International UMC Conference. These types of things are in addition to the normal worship leading and playing at conferences we do throughout the year.

While these things have been going on, I’ve had other ideas to push things further. I had someone donate a guitar for me to take to South Africa, which I left with a new friend I made there. I did the same thing in Ecuador a few years ago. Gap Community, the organization we were with in South Africa, asked if I had any connections to provide a keyboard to a church in Zambia. The point is, somehow, I’ve become a point person for collecting and donating instruments to people that otherwise can’t get them. I’ve also started consulting/training other worship leaders and artists how to do what I do. And those are just two quick examples of things that could continue as is, or  grow in the future. But as it is now, I’m limited with what I can do.

SO: things are expanding and I want to do more. So I am currently in the process of starting a non-profit ministry. Through this, I’ll be able to empower others and reach people using primarily, but not limited to, music and other creative arts. Not only will our non-profit be a 501c3, tax exempt, organization, but it will allow me to get others involved to use their gifts to impact the world. Recently I had someone ask if my ministry was a non-profit. They wanted to make a tax deductible donation, but as I explained how things functioned, and described that they couldn’t donate as a write-off, I realized I have been aligned in this world to do something even bigger but I was limiting myself. There are people who want to make an impact in the world, but will never the opportunities that I have. So I want to bear that responsibility. We will start small and simply employ those I already work with, but has potential to expand to unknown possibilities. Only God knows where this will lead.

In the short term, it won’t change much in what you see from me or the band. This will just widen the scope of what we can do as things move forward. So don’t worry, we’ll still be around the same places you usually see us.

I believe this will be a game-changer for the band and provide more opportunities for Emily, the band, you, others and me to make a mark on the world. We are going worldwide wide wide wide.

I know this seems very vague at the moment. I promise there are tons of ideas stirring in my head. Stay tuned for more info soon…

Thanks for supporting, as always. I truly want this to be something we do together.

 

The Wammies

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We are pretty pumped to invited to play at The 2015 Wammies. The Wammies are the Washington Area Music Awards, aka Washington Area GRAMMYS. I’ve been nominated, and even won one in the past. They don’t typically have Christian artists play live at the event, but in addition to being nominated for three awards (Gospel Vocalist of the Year, Gospel Group/Duo of the Year and Gospel Album of the Year), we are going to be rockin the Wammies stage for the first time.

Tickets are available to the public for $35. If you tickets, let me know and I can get get them for $15.

Thanks, as always, for supporting, reading, praying, etc.

Glory to God,

Keith

Africa

We have some exciting news to share! Emily​ and I are planning to travel to South Africa this April with Gap Community to work in the township of Kayamandi (pictured above). As part of this mission opportunity, we’ll be working in a primary school with 12-13 year olds and telling them about the vision God has for their life and the love of Jesus. One goal is to adopt the math classroom, upgrade the floors, windows, chairs, desks and paint an inspirational mural on the walls so the students are continually reminded of their value. Emily is especially excited about the opportunity to paint, and I’ll be able to play and lead worship. We’ll also be helping develop leaders amongst high school students and women (which is an abnormal opportunity for them) and teaching some basic self-defense in other areas.

I’ve already had a generous fellow worship leader donate a guitar, strings, picks and a capo for me to take, with the understanding that I’ll find a teenager there who can develop worship leading gifts and leave it for him!

As you might expect, these types of trips can be expensive, but we fully believe this is an opportunity God has given us for His purposes. It’s a little bit rare for us too, because we have to raise double the amount since we’re both going. Together we need $6000 to make this happen. We’re asking for you to prayerfully consider supporting us in this trip. If you’d like to, there are a few ways you can do so:

1. You can give online via gofundme.com (http://www.gofundme.com/m3w9ik)
2. You can donate money by sending either cash or check directly to us, with Africa in the memo line.
3. You can make a tax-deductible donation by making a check out to Gap Community, with “Keith and Emily” in the memo line.
4. Pray for our trip and our fundraising efforts.

 

If you’d like our address to donate, please message me.

Or you can mail to Gap Community at:

GAP Community (West Coast Headquarters)
1315 Pacific Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

 

We love you,
Keith

 

Jammin Java

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Thanks to everyone who bought tickets and came out to Jammin Java last week. I can’t explain to you how amazing it is to shine the hope and light of Jesus in a place that doesn’t typically host Christian artists/worship bands.

Our vision for the night was to impact the community and build a relationship with this premier venue, which happens to be 3 miles from where we live and 2 miles from our church campus. Jammin Java was unbelievably supportive and thankful for the friendliness and respect their bartenders and servers had from the band, other musicians and all those who were there. The manager could hardly believe that we nearly sold it out and said he’d love to have us back.

Stay tuned…

Know Your Why

Yesterday I preached at my church, Vine Church. The sermon was called, “Know Your Why” and we discussed how to align what we do with our why. You can check it out below.

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