An open note to my brothers and sisters in Christ

My first post on this subject got a good bit more dry and lecture-like than I originally intended because I frequently crave structure when I write. But you know, sometimes you just need to be raw and honest. So that’s what this post is going to be: raw and honest; I’m just going to be informally candid here.

I know… this is my third post in a row writing about this, but rarely has a subject reached so deeply into my heart and grabbed hold of it like this one has:

*”No one knows… what it’s like…to be free…”

*”Does anyone know… what it’s like… to be free…?”

The best way I can describe what has been happening to me lately is to simply say that God has lit a fire in me with regard to unbelievers. And I saw the movie Left Behind at the theater a week and a half ago, which only added fuel to the aforementioned fire. Although no one knows for sure exactly when this scenario will take place, for those of us who believe the bible, we know the Left Behind scenario (minus the fictional characters’ storylines) will happen…sometime. Since you can practically cross-reference biblical prophecy with the evening news these days, it appears as though there is at least a small possibility it may happen at some point in the not too distant future. (However since I’m sure every generation before mine has probably thought the same thing, it’s equally possible my generation won’t, in fact, be alive to see it.) That’s just it though. We don’t know. Jesus could return in several minutes, days, weeks, months, years, decades, or even further down the road than that. But whether He returns for His church in my lifetime or not, I want to know I did whatever I could to share God’s love with as many people as possible. I don’t want to have regrets thinking, “I could have/should have done more.”

I still don’t know exactly what all of this is supposed to look like for me on a day-to-day basis. But I’m ok with not knowing. God knows – and that’s all that really matters. All I can do is continue to pray for more and more opportunities to share His love, courage to step up and walk through when He opens a door, and His wisdom to say the right thing.

I am not a great Christian. I stumble and fail Him daily. But I love and serve a GREAT God, and He can use anything and anyone to reach whomever He pleases. I am honored that He chooses to use me at all to love people for Him and to further His kingdom in some small way here and there.

Do you have a fire burning in your heart to see the lost come to faith in Christ? If not, what’s quenching it? If Jesus came back for us tomorrow, who would you regret not sharing the gospel with or showing God’s love to? What’s holding you back?

*from the song “Free” by Total Surrender

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Total Surrender’s Heaven – CD Review

From their Christ-centered, God-glorifying lyrics to their uplifting, sometimes upbeat, sometimes ethereal and worshipful, but always ear-catching, soul-stirring sound, Total Surrender’s new CD Heaven just grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go.

Each song – from the catchy, memorable first track “Lift Up Your Eyes” to the last striking, almost haunting strain of the title track “Heaven” – warmly invited me in, lifted me up, and made me want nothing more than to worship.

Dylan Bradshaw’s vocals blend smoothly and exquisitely with his lovely wife Rachel’s harmonies. As well as being a talented singer and songwriter, Dylan plays the guitar with an easy, natural flair and Rachel’s artistry on the keyboard contributes beautifully to the strong melodies. The focused intensity of Jim Landolphi’s drumming is solid and tight; alternately laid back and energetic, his rhythm is always controlled – perfectly driving the songs. Together, their sound is intricate, elaborate, and sophisticated – praising God together in such a way that you can’t help but be drawn in too.

More to the point, their considerable musical abilities have challenged and encouraged me in my faith to the point that I am forever changed in how I see unbelievers. Since the first time I heard the song “Free,” God has been shaking me up and doing something new. I love all of their music but that song stood toe-to-toe with me, confronted my faith, and said, “Ok, this is all very nice but it’s time to kick things up a few notches.” Lately, the echoes of the chorus run around and reverberate in my head and heart – “do you know… what it’s like… to be free?” Now, everywhere I go I am filled to overflowing with love for everyone I see until my heart feels like it’s going to burst; yet at the same time I’m pierced with a grief so deep I could sit and sob for days knowing that most (if not all) of the people I come in contact with DON’T know what it’s like to be free – because they don’t know Christ. While I’ve always had a desire to see the lost come to faith in Christ, the depth of this ache and passion burning in my heart is new – it keeps bringing me to tears. The songs “Free,” “Wonderful Light,” and “Give It All Away” make me want to run up to every single person I see, wrap my arms around them, and tell them how much Jesus loves them. So I have begun approaching my interactions with others much more prayerfully, asking God for more open doors, and as a result He is providing me with many more opportunities to show His love to others. I’m thankful to Him for using this wonderful music as a catalyst for a closer walk with Jesus.

The poignant melody of the title track Heaven is a vivid reminder that this world is not our home; it has not only further fueled the longing to go home myself one day, but has inspired me to seek and be open to every opportunity to share Christ with others – I am filled with a profound desire to see everyone go home to Heaven.

The songs on Total Surrender’s “Heaven” paint an intimate picture of the love of our Savior, praise God for who He is, serve as a reminder of the glorious homecoming that awaits us beyond this earthly plane, call believers to a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father, cry out to unbelievers to seek God before it’s too late, and bare the hearts of three very special people whose lives are totally surrendered to Him.

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