Be Still Vol. 1

This summer was the first year that I was the speaker at youth camp more than I was the worship leader. Two of the camps I taught had the theme, “Be Still and Know That I Am God.” I definitely questioned God on the wisdom of His choice of speakers on this particular topic. I felt extremely unqualified. But God led me through some really awesome stuff while I was preparing for camp, so I thought I would share it with you all in a series of blogs. I prefer to teach exegetically, helping people understand what the Bible actually says verse by verse and what it means for their lives. But for the morning sessions of these camps, God had me teaching much more application. It was hard, but good for me.

We talked about spiritual disciplines. Growing up I was not fond of this topic. It sounded like work. And as I understood it, if I worked correctly and worked hard enough, God would meet with me. That may sound like good news, but it actually wasn’t. Because I knew that I probably wouldn’t do it correctly and definitely wouldn’t work hard enough. It turns out that’s not really how it works at all. Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases” (ESV). In other words, He does exactly what He wants and only what He wants. I cannot force Him to meet me by going through some ritual. So does that mean all our rituals are meaningless? No, not at all. It just means they work in a different direction than I thought. The ritual doesn’t force God to meet me; it prepares me to meet Him. Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and spiritual disciplines guru for this generation, describes it like this: “The spiritual disciplines place us before God so that God can transform us.” So through this series of blogs, we are going to look at the idea of engaging God, not forcing His hand, but making ourselves available to His presence, His will and His power.

And for all your campers, this will be a good review, with something new at the end. Looking forward to it.



Student Life Lee University Campers

Hey guys, what a great week. Thanks for worshipping with us. Here’s a list of the songs we sung this week and where you can find them.

Song of Moses (Praise the Lord, our Mighty Warrior) on Dwell CD by Aaron Keyes and the upcoming CD by Unhindered

You Are Good on How To Be Loved, my new CD releasing this fall

God Undefeatable on a new live CD by Austin Stone Community Church releasing this fall

You Are For Me on the Kari Jobe CD by Kari Jobe

Rise and Sing on Hope Rising CD by Fee

Most of the rest are fairly well known and easily available. The link below will take you to chord charts for all the songs.

We’d love for you to comment below and share your stories about what God did in your life this week. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Area One Camp

Hey guys, what a great week of camp. Thanks so much for taking this journey with us. I can’t wait to hear some of your stories about what God did in your life this week and what He will continue. Remember even as you go home, don’t let your schedule run your life. Be still and know that He is God.


FUGE Camp with Landon Dowden

Hey everyone. Thanks so much for worshipping with us this week. It was truly an honor to be a part of what God did here at Ridgecrest. We’d love to hear more about what God did in your life this week if you’d like to post below. But I wanted to let you know where you can find the songs we did this week if you want to jump on iTunes and download them. Or you can always head to the store or Amazon or wherever and buy the whole record.

Song Title / Artist / Album Title

Rise and Sing / Fee / Hope Rising
Found / Aaron Ivey / Between the Beauty and the Chaos
Hallelujah (All I Need) / Stephen Cole / Catalyst Music Project
Dance With Me / Chris Quilala / Consumed: Jesus Culture

Thanks again.


Set from Online Camp Worship

Here are the songs we played tonight in the service that was streamed live
online. If you saw it and wanted any song info, here it is.

Song Title / Artist / Album Title

Rise and Sing / Fee / Hope Rising
Found / Aaron Ivey / Between the Beauty & the Chaos

Your Great Name / Michael Neale / Shine Out
Grace Like Rain / Todd Agnew / Grace Like Rain
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) / Chris Tomlin / See The Morning

How He Loves / John Mark McMillan / How He Loves

Thanks for worshipping with us.


Returning From Camp In India, Pt. 3

I saw college students do motions to songs. I mean, Big House. They were unashamed and if this was worship, they wanted to be a part of it. I saw students sit for over two hours on the ground, worshipping and being taught. There were no side conversations. Their attention did not drift. Because they longed for what they found there. There were very few cool illustrations and no jokes. They didn’t need to be entertained. They wanted to be taught. They wanted to be transformed. It was challenging to me.

Everyone was kind. They took care of us so well. One young man wouldn’t even let me fill my own plate. He always served me, every meal, all week. But in their kindness, they didn’t avoid the truth. If they had a hard question about something I said, they asked it. And if they didn’t get it the first time, they asked again. I was grateful for the atmosphere of truth and love that I found there.

Once the camp was done, a couple of guys took Aaron and I to see some sights in that part of India. We saw some of the ancient carvings and such, but the last stop took the prize by far. The tomb of the apostle Thomas is in Chennai. We went to the church built on the site. It was amazing just to be that close to the stories I’ve always heard. I can’t imagine what it would be like to go to Israel. I was so humbled to be there. It is over 3000 miles from Jerusalem to Chennai, and that’s measuring in a straight line. It must have taken most of his life just to travel there. But in a land where Hinduism reigns, there are sincere Christ followers. And it started with him.

I’m not an apostle, but I can’t imagine having that kind of dedication, that kind of impact. It pushes me to study, to prepare, and maybe to take risks.

And then it was time to come home. I ended up traveling for longer than I was actually in India. But it was well worth it. I hope to return. And I hope that you will join me in praying for these fellow believers, these brothers and sisters across the world. They need strength. They need wisdom. They need courage. And soon, I’m going to find a way for you to give to support this camp in the future. So that’s coming soon. Until then, pray.

And maybe you can let me know what part of the world is on your heart. And what ideas you have about God’s heart for there. I’m looking forward to hearing about it.


Returning From Camp In India, Pt. 1

I couldn’t think of a catchy title that would make you want to read about my trip to India. I couldn’t come up with a clever phrase that would somehow encompass a weekend of Christians training themselves in a land where they make up less than 3 percent of the population. I couldn’t find the words to describe God moving among a people who are unashamed and devoted to Him. So I apologize for the title, but I believe the story that follows will both challenge and encourage you.

About a month ago, I was playing a show in Plano, TX. Afterwards, a guy walked up and told me he had already been out to his car about to leave. But God had told him to come back in and invite me to go with him to India. Naturally, I am usually a bit suspicious when people tell me that God has a message for me. But God didn’t send a message for me, He just instructed Aaron to invite me. So I politely declined, saying that I was busy through July but would he email me and tell me more about it because I would like to pray for the trip. He had told me he was going to India to participate in a Christian camp for students. It sounded really interesting and I did want to know more about it.

Fortunately, he actually did email me. And invited me again. He said he understood I was busy but he really felt led to invite me. Now, that starts to mean more when you get to know Aaron and realize that this isn’t something he does all the time. He is not often led to approach people he doesn’t know and invite them around the world. But this time he listened. And extended the invitation again. So I looked at my calendar and surprise, it was the one weekend I was home. But I was supposed to lead worship at my church. So I called the church and found out that the worship leader I was supposed to replace was actually going to be back, so they were hoping I wouldn’t mind not playing that Sunday. So suddenly I was free. I talked to Jenny (my wife) and she said, “Well, you can’t NOT go.” After correcting her double-negative, I agreed that it was something that must at least be looked into. So I emailed Aaron back. By this time, Aaron had had a death in the family and was unavailable for a few days. So I assumed this was going to fall through. Then suddenly he emailed me back and we had about 48 hours to figure out the travel details. They all came together and I went to an office here in Austin that was able to quickly arrange for a visa for me. I was going to India.

Now if you had asked me a month ago, which major nation in the world do you know the least about, the answer would have been India. I knew nothing. Hinduism and something about cows. The sum total of my knowledge. But now I was going. And the camp already had a worship band. They wanted me to teach. Two session on music and two session on addiction.

So I got on a plane and went. I left on Wednesday at noon and got there Friday morning. I’ll tell about the camp tomorrow…