“This sandwich is in mint condition.”

Jonathan has just returned from a week long stint on Long Island playing music and speaking to a youth camp at Island Christian Church and what a week it was!

He and the band left at 4am to catch their flight and *hopefully* the first train out to the city. Jonathan’s sister Becky was the shuttle, packing all five guys and their equipment in her car and get them where they needed to be. The guys realized that the train would be leaving at the exact time they would arrive at the station. Being the New Yorker at heart and not wanting to wait another two hours, Jonathan sprints out of the vehicle, guns blazing towards the train, yelling at the conductor to wait while the rest of these Southern boys are politely thanking Becky for the ride over. Becky knows what’s at stake and she’s yelling at them,”SHUT UP AND THANK ME LATER!  RUN!!!” Somehow, they all made it just before takeoff.

City Boys!

Jonathan was the official tour guide and these Florida boys were blistered up by the end of the day rockin’ the city with their cool band boots yet were beyond satisfied that they experienced New York at it’s finest. NY pizza and the famous Bacon, Egg and Cheese bagel with hashbrowns was on the menu and they enjoyed every minute of it. Central Park, Ground Zero, Manhattan, the works.

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Playing at Youth Week 2014

They rehearsed 5 hours on Saturday, were up early Sunday morning to play at the church and Jonathan had the opportunity to speak.  The congregation was amazed. This was the same Schroer-kid that was a trouble-maker years ago. Many, many people came up to him afterwards to hug him and even spoke of how much his mom, Arlene had impacted them. It has been 2 years since her passing and this was the first time they’ve been able to see Jonathan and tell him in person.

The week flew by! Becky and long time family friend Gina Lang kept up with me sending me photos and video clips as well as FaceTiming me live  (thank you LoRd for technology!) while the band played. I felt like I was there myself. Joram danced naked in the bathtub while we watched “Daaa-eee” play music from the iphone.

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Facetiming Daddy during band practice

After each evening session, the guys would hang til midnight or later playing sports with the youth. He said they became like family in that short week they were there. Jonathan said it was like two worlds colliding: His new life, the band and all these people he grew up with. For Becky, it was a dream come true. She’s been praying for Jonathan to come out and lead worship for years. She and her kids were there every second “stalking” Jonathan and helping out in any way they could. She was a HUGE support to me that week and blew me away with herinvolvement with the band and kids at Youth week.  I am so blessed by this family.

Youth Week 2014

 

The band returned Thursday morning and had a hard time saying goodbye. It was like that “mission-trip high” kinda week.  Jonathan said he and the band got to worship in a whole new way that he hasn’t experienced before. THe only minor setback was at 2am before their flight home, Jonathan was slamming some Swedish fish and suctioned out his crown from a root canal he had a few years ago. He’s fine now but I think he might lay off the Fish for awhile 🙂

We are blessed! What an incredible week!

In His Grip,

Amy

Centerpoint!

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What a great God we serve! It was so awesome to be a part of an event for the A21 Campaign and the End It Movement!

After a day of scrambling to fill missing spots in the band, we’re off to the races. We met Anthony Rick, the drummer from Coastline Community Church who actually preached a sweet message last weekend. He’s a fabulous drummer and we were so grateful that he was willing to jump in last minute. He got to learn the songs on the way over to Tampa where we met the bassist for the night.

Band practice itself was a bit rough but throw in a spaghetti dinner and we’ll recover!. The night started with the Icarus Account– twin brothers from Satellite beach who rocked the mics with their sweet harmonies and made all the ladies swoon.Next was a speaker for the Rachel Project, a local organization supporting the restoration of those involved with human trafficking. Turns out, the Tampa Bay area is #3 in the state of Florida for human trafficking. Their first week of operation, their safehouse was completely maxed out, with hundreds on the waiting list. Heartbreaking.

Kristen spoke next. She has been involved with the A21 Campaign since she was 16. In high school, she and a group of friends raised over $30,000 to help raise support for A21. She challenged the crowd, “If I could do this, you can too. It just takes a willing heart. Everyone can make a difference.” She spoke from Nehemiah and how when there was devastation, his heart was broken and God gave him favor to build a wall which represented safety and protection for his people. It was so difficult to hear of the stories of the women and children who have been trapped into slavery. I know I wasn’t the only one that shed tears. Kristen’s hope was that by spreading the word, people will educate themselves and others and that we can begin dismantle of power of these criminals. Education is were it begins and yes, the numbers look dismal now but there is hope for future. We must act now.

Next up was Jonathan and the band. It was an incredible time of worship. Everyone was lost in the moment singing songs like, He Will Come and Awaken Me. Jonathan challenged everyone to remember it was at Jesus’ darkest hours that he begged his disciples to stay awake;  Here we are in the midst of a dark time in history, more people are enslaved now than in history and the Church is called to wake up.

The night finished with another band and after packing up, we needed food! Jonathan, Andrew, Jordan, the drummer Anthony, myself and a friend headed to Chili’s. We talked about the night and how cool it was to see God orchestrated the event. “It wasn’t about us,” Andrew said, “God put that whole thing together, we just got to play music. We just got to worship along side everyone else.” Anthony agreed, “I was ministered to in the drum cage. God was doing something big and it wasn’t just about us serving people musically, I was encouraged just being there.”

Sometimes when we lead people in worship, we can make it about how good we played,  what we sounded like or even stress out about messing up. But when we take the focus off ourselves and put it back on God, it let’s off the pressure us and He gets all the glory.

What a night it was indeed! We are thankful to be a part of it.

In His Grip,

Amy

**Check out the A21Campaign, the End It Movement and if your from the Tampa Bay area, the Rachel Project to find out how you can get involved. Education is the first step to conquering this devastating crime in our country. You can make a difference!!

An Open Door

A few months back we were wanting to go forward on a Florida Tour for Jonathan and the band. I went in to more detail in this post. I can’t tell you how many times in the last 3 years we have given this over the LoRd. He has the power to raise up and bring down. We’ve seen it. There’s no point in trying to push our own adgenda. It’s really all about Him and what He wants.

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JSM hits CCM

So awhile back I wrote about the Tour. Here’s the update:

Our home church asked Jonathan and the band to lead for the weekend. I was excited and a bit nervous. The CD came out well over a year ago and is this congregation ready?  It be such an unusual style of the way things are done- would it be accepted?   We were told earlier this week by  two local churches that some of Jonathan’s songs have been played for their congregations. Sweet.

Jonathan had picked the song Reign to do. It’s the most intense on the album, very theatrical instrumentally. Definitely not the way we usually play music around here.  Ok, here we go! He intro’d the song with how it came about during, a difficult time in the life of his family and how the LoRd really spoke to him through the devastation.  He encouraged  the people using the Scripture in Exodus 15 :

“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like You, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders?

“The LoRd shall reign forever and ever.”

Saturday night was rough. I tanked my solo on the keys and the overall set just seemed off. Sunday morning was a whole different tune. Literally, the first service was packed and they knew the song! Wow! The 2nd service, even more of a crowd! The audience sang so loud their voices carried in the overhead mics and it messed the band up on part of the intro! We recovered, and played on. The crowd cheered as we finished the song. To God be all the glory!

Jonathan and I talked about so much concerning this band and “where it’s going.” It’s a scary thing to try to share the stage with God. It’s a constant reminder to continue in humility especially on stage and if the LoRd wills and opens a door, we’ll walk through; no more trying to make things happen.  For now, it was a great weekend.  The band stayed available after the service to pray for people and my boys and I  wrapped up the weekend with much-needed, Level 10 naps.

No matter what, He reigns. Hallelujah!

Amy

Tour! …cancelled

We’ve been planning for months for Jonathan and the band to go on Florida Tour in the fall. How cool is that?!? Last year, we thought there was nothing more to the project and we were gonna close up shop but after some prayer, the LoRd really brought it back to life again.

In February, two of the most amazing musicians came on the scene.  They both love the LoRd and basically finish each other’s sentences musically. The first time they had practiced through Jonathan’s Run to You album, they nailed it perfectly. THese guys come prepared.

So months of planning began. I was in the middle of studying to take the State Boards for Nursing, juggling a babe, and contacting churches and venues for the band to play. I couldn’t quite figure out how to be a “mom’ to 6 grown boys and LoRd, puh-leese help me learn how to cook before August! ok, I”ll cross that bridge when we get there. We set budgets, had fundraiser events and a worship night which was very well received. Moving forward!

Jonathan and I hit a turning point in planning for the Tour in the summer.  We gotta lay this thing on the altar and sacrifice it to the LoRd. We want this so badly, so does the band. This would be so disappointing to them, to us, and to everybody else that’s been supporting us this entire time. But it was confirmed. CHristian musician Evan Wickham said that if you are not playing your music in your own church, you have no business taking them elsewhere. Ouch. He’s right.

We haven’t been able to play these songs regularly in our worship sets at church despite people asking. We have volunteer musicians and people in our congregations and choir inquiring about these songs all the time. The band has even got the blessing and support from the leadership of the church to go on tour. But it’s true, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense if other churches were playing these songs and not our own.  Jonathan once described it like boats. When you have a smaller church, it’s like a canoe, you can put the paddle in the water and maneuver in a different direction rather quickly. With a megachurch, it can be like turning the Titanic.

So for now, the Florida Tour has been extremely scaled back. Its super-disappointing and yet  we know that if God isn’t for it, it would just be a waste of time and energy. We once again wait. And pray. Believing that God can make a breakthrough in our own congregational worship and do a new thing. It’s not about “Jonathan’s songs”, it’s about what He wants to do. We will submit to those plans, even if these songs aren’t necessarily a part of it. We are just called to serve.

I’m so thankful for the reports from the congregation and all across the country from those who have heard these songs and been encouraged in their own personal lives. Our prayer is that God would continue build up His Church through them. His will be done. What an awesome thing it is to be used by God and submitted to His plan.  We want to lay our lives down before the LoRd, and whatever He wants to do with it, it’s up to Him.

“Unless the LoRd builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it.” Psalm 127:1

On a high!

We are on a 2 week high. Seriously.  My amazing husband and I just finished up this weekend on our old stomping grounds in Viera.. Let me  just bring you up to speed:

My husband Jonathan spoke last weekend at our church. It was incredible. He taught about Jonah, the prophet that ran from the call of God and how the story is more than just a man and a whale. I was blown away by how much is beneath the surface of this story! I encourage you to check it out.

This past Friday, an episode of RealTalk the Pod released, fresh out the oven. In Episode 42, our friends and podcasters Ethan Sansoni and Bryan Saylor interviewed  Jonathan about the Run to You CD he recorded last year, the death of his mom and the birth of our son, Joram. This episode made me laugh and cry.  I continue to refer people to this episode because of its rich and humorous content.

Finishing up with weekend, Jonathan and the band were invited by  Pastor Dean of the CCM Viera Campus to lead worship and perform at their Saturday Summer Night. Side note: Jonathan and I used to be a part of the Viera campus before we got moved to Melbourne. Although it’s been about  4 years since we served at that campus, the people there are so welcoming and treat us like family. We were overwhelmed by the response of the people. I would’ve thought they had forgotten us by now. But these guys make us feel special every time we’re around.

There is something about a ministry that takes on the personality of its leader. Pastor Dean Corns is one of my faves. He’s family oriented, people-focused, a gifted preacher and a visionary. He’s also an incredible time manager.  After the worship set that weekend, as Jonathan and I were backstage,  he made the announcement to the congregation that because Jonathan is an extension of the Viera family, they should treat him as such.  “It is a special thing for something like this to be birthed from our own church. Buy his album and merch to show your support for what God is doing.” We were floored.

As the service closed, the congregation flooded out of  the sanctuary and like a stampede, headed right for our table. We are gonna need backup! I couldn’t have done it without the support of our great friends Ethan, Bryan and the super-supportive sisters Sarai and Damaris- all sporting our freshly-pressed tees  and tanks, working the table like true champions. The grandparents baby juggling while the band performed some of the songs off the album at the Summer Night.

As we wrapped up after the Sunday services, we reflected over lunch the highs and lows in ministry.  Obviously, the LoRd has blown our socks off the last 2 weeks and yet we know that we gotta keep focused, willing to stay the course, regardless of the highs and lows.  Yes, there are some major burdens to bear in ministry and absolutely some incredible  highs.  But we are not called to complain, or even grip too tightly to the victories or sorrows. We’re called to serve. We cannot live on the highs of yesterday. We must be ready in and out of season and be open for whatever He has for us TODAY.  And that, my friends,  makes us free. Wow, I was so blessed and overwhelmed by this weekend. And tomorrow is a new day!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Keep truckin’ forward!

Amy