What would you attempt if you weren’t afraid to fail?
It’s a placard on my managers desk. Every time I walk in his office I stare at for a few seconds and then try to make an honest evaluation of if I’m living by that creed. It was right after we had finished the Winter Jam 2012 tour. Arguably the most successful tour that Building429 had ever been a part of. 48 cities in sold out arena’s all around the country…. And we had the blessing of being on the tour as our song “Where I Belong” began to take the country by storm. Pretty awesome to watch God move like that. Yet, coming off of that tour didn’t feel like we were in a chill mode at all. In fact in the early part of that tour I had already had a few conversations with people about the possibility of us writing for a new record.
I’ve got to be honest… I used to write around the clock… 24/7, 365 days a year. It left me empty… it left me in a place of constantly chasing the next big song. It honestly hurt my ability to focus on my family… it was as frustrating and irritating as someone who keeps updating their twitter/facebook status in the middle of a date. I constantly had to tell myself… “come on Jason, be here, now…. The songs aren’t from you anyway.” Seriously…. I would run to my guitar any time any crazy idea came to mind out of some obligation to capture every thought… often times hushing children who just wanted to be with daddy while I’d try to write out an idea. Then one day I came to the idea that maybe I needed to trust this great God that I was writing songs about with the writing of the songs. That’s when I finally became a real writer. I got rid of all the noise and stopped writing with every Joe Blow songwriter in a frantic and hopeless effort to write the big song, and started writing with just 2 people and ONLY when it was time for Building to record a new record. It was the best decision of my life.
Freedom had come in the form of simplicity.
Faith replaced fear and on our record “Listen to the Sound” God showed me what He could do with my willingness to truth him as a songwriter. That doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes freak out though. Honestly at the beginning of the newest record my confidence was a bit shaken just by the daunting task of writing a new batch of songs and getting it whittled down to 10 that would be the new record. Song selection is like pouring your heart out on 20 canvasses and then allowing your closest friends fire buck shot at the ones they don’t like until there are 10 left. It’s brutal to say the least because as I say “The writer loves all of his children/song equally”. That’s a weird way of saying that you pour everything you have into every song and you have to be prepared to hear that your amazing thought processes may not actually be that amazing.
So there I was at Gabe’s (my manager) office when he brought it up. “Sooooooo”, he said, “What are you thinking about the next record??” What was I thinking??? I was thinking can’t I have a little more time to enjoy our brand new #1 song?? Haha. That little placard was staring me in the face and I couldn’t help but think….. that’s it…. Whatever THAT is… I want to do that. “What would I attempt to do if I weren’t afraid that I would fail?” What kind of songs would I write. What sounds would we try? How far could we push the envelope while staying true to the form that brought us to this dance? How far could we walk the tight rope???
Then this thought popped in my head. What if we wrote a record about who we are in Christ instead of constantly recounting who we were before?? What if we wrote a record out of confidence in what God’s plans are? What if we stopped cowering because of our weakness and began to stand confidently because of His strength in us?
My mom always said I was born to be a flame…. Maybe she was on to something… maybe… wait… she was right I was born to be a flame… but I want to…. do something bigger…. be a connector, an initiator, be the spark plug that moves the pistons….. I want to… Yeah!!!
Well then I want to light a BONFIRE!
In fact….. I’m gonna light a bonfire!! No, WE’RE GONNA LIGHT ONE TOGETHER!!!
This record is meant to energize the masses. It’s meant to be a bold statement of faith and confidence in a God who isn’t a fable. He isn’t an imaginary figure. He’s not something that we made up to make ourselves feel good about our lives. He’s spent 10 years making us ready for this moment. We we’re meant to lead… so we’re going to… the cost is irrelevent… the truth must go forth. So we’re going to incite a little bravado, a little confidence… maybe start a Holy revolution. That’s the idea and we’d love to invite you to be the Revolution with us. The meek, the mild, the weak, the lonely, the desperate….. that doesn’t begin to describe the 12 people that Jesus surrounded himself with. The disciples were strong, courageous…. outspoken, daring men…. And they got A LOT done for the kingdom. They made mistakes, but they were powerful men of God. We feel that it’s time for this generation to reclaim the banner of courage and remember that our God is able. So with that we introduce the title of our new record:
We Won’t be Shaken
Our new record and in my opinion in represents the pinnacle achievement to date of Building429. We stretched ourselves in ways that felt like natural progressions…. But with new sounds that would’ve been completely foreign on any of our first 4 records. We feel that we’ve brought the best parts of Building429 into this new record whilst leaving some of the extra noise behind. Some will say “Well Jason, I’ve heard you say that before and we’ll just have to wait and see if it’s your best.” I understand your skepticism, but in a career that has stretched longer than anyone thought it would we have never been so supremely confident in God’s plans for Building429 to LEAD. This year will be a banner year for us. I am sure of it, but it will only be that because of what God has done… not us. In fact, there is 1 song on the record that may seem a bit out of place at first, but I encourage you to pay close attention to it. It’s the very last song of the record and it says this:
ALL THE GLORY
Turn my world upside down
Turn it all inside out
You take the least, and make them first
Pour yourself on those who thirst
You use us when we are weak
You use me because I am weak
Its Here I find
You lift me up Just to lift you high
This never was about me
You get all the glory
You get all the glory
If I stand
It’s only that I’m in your hands
It never was about me
You get all the glory
You get all the glory
You’re the author of it all
And so I live to make you known
You take the last, you take the low
You make something beautiful
You use me because I am weak
You’re ways are higher
You’re will above my own
Your glory is greater
You’re story will be told
God wants to turn your world upside down, as He has ours, for His glory. But He can’t do that if don’t consistently lay it all on the line. You can’t be lazy and you can’t be scared. God can do amazing things through people with faith the size of a Mustard Seed. So what will you do?
What WOULD you attempt if you weren’t afraid to fail?
What would YOU do??
A Night of Hope and Healing: From the inside
There is no doubt that every artist in the arena felt called to be there. The list was amazing. Building429 was just one band in a HUGE lineup of artists who decided to go and do whatever we could to try to bring some light into extreme darkness. We were told when it was over that 75,000 people had watched the livestream along side the 10,000 people in the arena. The Lord’s will was done… that much was obvious as the night went on.
What wasn’t so obvious??? What were we supposed to say? What would be too much, and what would be too little? Backstage there was a sense of togetherness. We were all confident that God would show up, but no one knew exactly how. I remember when we found out that we were going to be the first band on. 10,000 people still mourning the loss of such precious lives only a month after the tragedy…. How would they respond? How should we approach it?
There were pretty much no sound checks at all that day. It was a line check… “can you hear the click track and a little bit of everything??? Good… moving on”. Michael got there just in time for us to play “We Won’t Be Shaken” our brand new song 1 time and then sound check was done. We literally rehearsed it in the dressing room the rest of the day preparing for the first time that we would share a song that we felt was meant for the night.
Numerous conversations throughout the day with our friends left us somewhat confident, but to be honest everyone was shaking in their boots (even the big, BIG dogs were obviously tense). We prayed a lot, asked for a lot of advice… and then there we were side stage watching Max Lucado and the Mayor of the City pray for the Lords will to be done. That was the longest prayer of my life… listening intently to the words of his prayer…. Lost in thought and in my own prayer that God would use me.
Were we nervous???? I admit it… I’m never nervous… but I was literally quoting the lines to “We Won’t Be Shaken” over and over again in my head until the second that we were announced. Which then posed another problem… what were the words to “Listen to the Sound”? That’s right after all these years… when we were about to play a song called “We won’t be shaken” we were all shaking to our core.
Funny the way that God works though. We think we have to have the answers…. But that’s where we mess up. It’s not about planning the perfect sermon it’s about getting out of the way and allowing Him to move. “Seek and you will find, Knock and the door will be opened” that was my biggest prayer for an area that is deeply non-religious. “Lord let them have open hearts…. Let them be willing to knock tonight”
I know it was no mistake that we were the first on…. It was God’s design for me to feel small and insignificant. It was God’s design for us to lead the charge…. He knew that our first show of 2013 needed to be about HIM…. And it was. Was it perfect… nope…. But it didn’t have to be.
Our 3 songs were literally a blur…. It was over as fast as it started. All I remember was that the first 2.5 minutes of “Listen to the Sound” were really intense and then we hit “Amazing Grace” and the room lifted… the lyrics started penetrating hearts and the whole room seemed to relax a little. Where I Belong was AMAZING and then came the song we’d never played in a concert or rehearsal hall together. Psalm 62:2 on our hearts, we just went for it. It felt huge, and when we walked off the stage we knew we had accomplished something…. we opened the gates and the spirit came walking through.
BTW, I’m told some of the artists didn’t sound that good online…. Give them all a break. All of us were just trying to keep it together out there… the emotions we all felt were unbelievably intense. I tend to tow the tough guy line…. But when we walked off the stage I was in tears…. And I know that everyone else fought that same knot in their throat all night.
That said… don’t ever doubt your ability to be a vessel that God uses even in the darkest moments of another persons life. Just remember that we are told to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto our own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your path straight” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Maybe you don’t understand, but you can trust. Maybe your afraid to sit and cry with the broken hearted, but you can submit to his will. It’s not about you….. your answers, or your thoughts…. His are so much higher than ours….. so TRUST HIM and be what He’s called you to be. His Hands and Feet.
We’ll never forget that night as long as we live… we hope and pray that the effects are lingering still. For those of you who joined us online, we honestly wish you could’ve been in the room. For Newtown, CT our prayers continue and though we still don’t have all the answers… we know the one who does. Stand firm in your faith…. Fight for what is right and true… Never lay down, never give up…. Our God will have the final victory. Our battle cry is this:
The Lord is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress and I will NEVER BE SHAKEN.
This world has nothing for me
This life is not my own
I know you go before me
And I am not alone
The mountain rises higher
The way seems so unclear
I know that you go with me
I will never fear
I will trust in you
Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
We wont be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
We won’t be shaken
You know my every longing
You’ve heard my every prayer
You’ve held me in my weakness
You were always there
So I’ll stand in full surrender
It’s your way and not my own
My mind is set on nothing less
Than you and you alone
I will not be moved
Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
We wont be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
We won’t be shaken
We will trust in you
We will not be moved
We will trust in you
And we won’t be shaken
Hello to the world that I’ve been neglecting for some time now. I do truly apologize for my absence. I’m going to bring this BLOG to you REAL though… I mean I’m gonna let you inside some of my greatest fears and discouragements so that I can make some sense out of the struggles that I’ve faced for the last 15 years as a singer. The truth is that it has only been in the last year or so that I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m not just some guy who worked his tail off with less talent and therefore figured out how to create a viable career in music. Lets be honest, the people that I most look up to in this world are now some of my peers. I always hoped that in getting to know them I would find out that they were just like me…. limited in some way or another, but blessed with an amazing ability to work at their craft until they just figured it out. I am sad to say that the closer I get to these people the more I find that they are exactly what the public thinks they are…. AMAZINGLY talented. From Bart Millard, to Mac Powell, Steven Curtis, to Matthew West, Mark Hall, Russ Lee, Michael Tait, Matt Hammitt etc. etc. I’ve always been a little bit frustrated when I got close to them because they could do something easily that came with a lot of difficulty for me: SING.
I know what you’re thinking… “yeah but Jason, you’re a great singer too” and yes, I do believe that… but honestly not until the last 2 years have I started believing that I was great too. Why??? Because all of the other people mentioned above seemed so bullet proof. They never seemed to have off nights… and notes that I just can’t physically sing came out of their mouths like it was nothing. Obviously the closer I got to these people the more that I heard them night after night after night, the more in awe of them I became. Likewise, I became more and more concerned that I wasn’t really meant to do what I doing because obviously God hadn’t given me the natural talent that he had given all of them. I literally started thinking that maybe it would be better if I was just a guy off the stage who designed services and was a “Worship Pastor” who never sang and only did artistic development in the younger budding artists that would be in our churches worship program….. to say nothing of Building429. I literally believed that Building429 was actually held back by my inability to sound like the rest of the CCM world that ruled the radio… so it was a forgone conclusion that sooner or later we would be done and moving on… after all if God wanted us to continue to do this he would’ve given me the same natural abilities as the others artists in our industry RIGHT????
I used to get so frustrated that I couldn’t sound like Bart Millard… no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t do it. But God doesn’t need another Bart Millard does he? He’s got the one he wanted right now as the lead singer of Mercy Me. How about Jamie Grace? I’ve heard a hundred new versions of her recently… but none are going to work because God is interested in the unique. We are all made differently for a reason. He’s already got a Jamie Grace and she’s just plain awesome… why?? Because she’s not trying to be anything other than her… (just a quick lesson for all the budding artists). Coldplay knock off’s beware…. there’s already a Coldplay and God is an artists… not a replicator… he designs….. He begins…. he wants us to do the same.
Every year for the last 6 years I’ve had to go to a vocal doctor to make sure that everything is ok related to my vocal chords… it’s just something that every singer should do if they want to keep their voices long term. This day was like every other vocal doctor appointments I’ve had through the years… the constant fear that they’re going to say “YEP YOU’VE FINALLY BLOWN IT OUT>>>>> YOU’RE DONE” and if not that, then knowing full well that they would probably say something like …. “You’re vocal chords are swollen and you need rest”…. (which is always hilarious because B429 plays 150 shows a year and I was leading a ridiculous amount of services at my church as well this particular year. You can’t just start canceling shows or services because you feel bad… in fact Building429 has never cancelled a show, I’m proud to say, because of my voice)
Always the same fear accompanies the same doctors office… I HATE IT. Anyway, it came time for me to have my vocal chords “scoped” (which is the worst thing ever… picture gagging on a metal camera that is shoved down your throat… ugh) and as the doctor was taking pictures she suddenly paused. Then she said something horrifying… “OH, WOW” which in my head calculates as: “yep you’re done”. She asked, “Do you have a hard time singing high notes?” ….. “yeah???” “Well, you were made that way!” “What do you mean???” I asked. She continued: “You actually have a malformation of your vocal chords… they don’t form a straight line when you sing…. no matter how hard you try you will never be able to fully align your chords, which makes it easier for you to sing low and a LOT harder for you to sing high.” I thought in my head ….. ok so it’s official… I’m not supposed to be doing this. Then she said something that caught me off guard: “Yeah, but you also sound so cool because of the same issue….. The raspy sound of your voice is the way you were built too… air is always escaping through your chords even when you talk… which is what makes you sound so much like FM radio!”
What???? Wait, you mean you think I sound good???
That day was the day that I realized that my perceived weakness was actually my strength.
I’m surrounded by people who sing higher notes and with more ease than I can imagine, but no one sounds like me….. I sound like me. God made me differently.. and why would he want it any other way? Ultimately if it were my talent that made me great I could try to take credit for it… or even if it was my hard work that made me me… I could take credit again. But it’s not…. God made me sound the way I do… and therefore… He gets the glory. The doctor had suddenly opened my heart to remember the many thousands of conversations and emails that I had received over the last 12-15 years when people when on and on about the “way my voice sounds”. It finally occurred that those people knew something I didn’t: I was gifted to be ME…not a copy of everyone else.
I depend on God in ways that most people can’t imagine because for me to do what I do night after night and sunday after sunday demands an “all in approach”. If you’ve ever seen Building429 in concert you might have even thought… Geeze that lead singer is like, really into it… YEAH I AM…. but why??? Because to sing the stuff that we write I have to throw my whole body into the process. I sound like me… which is cool, but to do what I am required to do (sing in radio range) I literally have to go full on. It’s not emotion… it’s reality that I literally don’t know if I’m going to hit some of the notes until they fly out of my mouth… EVERY NIGHT I DON’T KNOW. There is only one way to feel confident that I’m not going to screw up….. GO ALL IN. TRUST THE LORD… Believe that there I am here for a reason and BELT IT OUT.
I’m currently on tour with NEWSONG… and they are the most AMAZING singers on the planet… so you can imagine my excitement when I heard they wanted me to sing a part in a couple of their songs…. ugh… I thought: “I’m gonna get killed”. Then came the rehearsal…. I sang the part the way that I would… and when I finished it they gave me this compliment: “We’ve never had anybody just OWN that part like you”. I smiled to myself and thought…. well if it was easy for me I wouldn’t have to throw everything I’ve got at it every time!! Mission accomplished… I didn’t suck and I had held my own on the stage with these RIDICULOUS vocalists.
The more that I opened my eyes to the fact that my perceived weakness was Gods intended strength the more that I began to notice the same thing in other people all around me.
He’s not a shredder… never really got into that…. but he is a TONE MACHINE. Why…. he could’ve decided that he just wasn’t cut out for guitar, but he didn’t….. he began to dig to find his own gifting…. and guess what it is?? TONE. Honestly speaking he is a tonal genius and nobody… short of “THE EDGE” himself can come close…. Is he going to rip a solo… maybe from time to time, but that’s not his strength… his strength is in making 1 guitar sound HUGE and fill an entire mix.
“The Edge”… the only reason he is “The EDGE” today is because he couldn’t play like everyone else… so he developed his own strategy on how he could still be Formidable. Now every worship band in America tries (horribly) to imitate him…. (BTW it’s dotted eighths guitar players)
Dude sounded like a FROG ya’ll. (What a wonderful world) Most people probably thought his voice was horrible the first time they heard it…. but it wasn’t horrible. It was different and therefore he was a MONSTER.
Nat “King” Cole:
Famous for his massive records… the guy was like me… he could only sing in 1 and a half octaves….. which is NOTHING…. but he honed it and made it AMAZING.
So with that said, I now come to the challenge… has it ever occurred to you that the thing that you want to give up may actually be God’s will for you…. it’s just not meant to be easy? What if the reality is that we need to rethink and revision what we consider a weakness? What if you could begin to believe that God may have actually given you your imperfection as a way to make you unique? So you’re not perfect…. neither are the ones who you think are so good. We are all imperfect, but your weakness is what makes you unique enough to stand out.
My last question of this BLOG could change your life
What is your weakness? How can you turn it into a STRENGTH… just by changing your perspective?
Everyone needs a Michael Anderson.
People come to see Building 429 shows and they always tend to be really stunned at the way that we interact with each other on stage and off. Yeah the show is HIGH intensity and yeah we are a united front when we walk on the stage. To the public we always stand United, but it hasn’t always been that way. In fact we come from a very different place. A place that most bands know all too well. We come from a place of complete chaos and dissension. Seriously… that’s where we come from. If you were to hit the rewind button on Building 429’s career and take it back 4- 5 years you would see a VERY different thing. You would see us in the middle of a turbulent series of months where the two leaders of the band were at complete odds. You say, “the leaders of the band….. I thought ya’ll were all equal?” Well we are… but two of us have been here the longest and as such we are the two guys that carry the leadership banner most of the time. But there was a time when we (the two leaders) HATED each other. What? Gasp, shock, you’re horrified I know!! That’s just the truth. Michael and I literally did not like each other at all. It took us a while to figure out why…. and that almost killed our band and our relationship, but we did figure it out THANK GOD.
It’s not so much that Michael didn’t like who I was, or that I didn’t like who he was…. we just didn’t understand that way we each processed things. Here’s how we look personality wise:
Michael: Glass half empty
Jason: Half full
Michael: Logistical thinker
Michael: OCD Attention to detail
Jason: ADD attention to NOTHING
Michael: 8 lane highway direct express to the destination.
Jason: 2 lane country road to somewhere…. wait … where were we going again?????
Michael: Silent leader
Jason: Vocal Leader
Jason: Center of attention
Ultimately we were at odds most of the time because he was a buzz kill to my excitement, and I was a buzz kill to his reality… because the things I would think up wouldn’t ever happen.
So how do we co exist on such great terms today???
I started paying attention to him and trying to understand where he was coming from… and he started believing that the crazy stuff in my head might actually be achievable. More than that… I started to realize that the reason he was in my life was because God needed me to have someone like him as bumpers for the bowling alley of life.
Here’s the thing…. i am a great leader… I know I am…. but I become even greater when I embrace the gifting of the people that God has put around me. I came to realize that Maybe Michael wasn’t a liability, maybe he was a HUGE strength because let’s be honest… I don’t want to deal with the stupid rhetorical math of money… Michael LOVES THAT STUFF. I don’t want to deal with the Merchandising side of Building429…. I want to have input on designs but I don’t really care how many of each t-shirt we have in inventory. When I’m on stage I am not focussed on anything other than connecting and leading the people in front of me… but every night Michael can see what I can’t see…. and his analytical mind sees the way that we could be better even if we KILLED it.
Likewise… Michael knows that I am a songwriter at heart… and he let’s me be the songwriter I was born to be. Michael knows that in front of a crowd 99 times out of 100 my instincts are going to lead us to a pretty awesome connection, so he let’s me be free. He also knows that when we do meet and greets and interviews that it’s best for me to lead the way, because that is my gift. He’s not threatened by the fact that I am the leader in Public…. because he is equally the leader in Private.
We’ve also learned the subtleties of our leadership styles. He gives me the right to share my heart at any point in the show as a point of deferment. In turn when he thinks the point has been made and I should stop talking he gets the right to crank us back into the set as a point of deferment. That makes us both better. You don’t know it, but every night right in front of your eyes at a Building429 you are watching the act of compromise on stage. The whole time you think I am in control… as the Public leader, but in actuality he is in control as well as the Private leader! Pretty cool huh?
The more that I chose to learn about the way he thinks, the more I was able to implement some things that allowed me to meet him on common ground. It’s true…. the more I learned about his way of handling things, the more that I started trying hard to at least act like I care about details. I found myself beginning to see how the glass might be half empty sometimes. I began to process the idea of allowing him to lead in business meetings. I found myself actually deferring to Michael on the order of our set… and the way we put our productions together. He did the same for me…. and little by little we began to find common ground!
But here is the single biggest thing that changed our world. We made a decision that it was imperative that we never try to beat each other. That’s right…. I can’t beat Michael…. I don’t even try. I don’t try to win arguments with him. I try to find compromise because the only way that I win is if WE WIN.
When we decided that we had to win together everything changed. Suddenly there was no competition for leadership…. why because we were in it to win it together. In fact there was no way to win separately. If you’re in a band hear me….. “THERE IS NO WAY TO WIN SEPARATELY” You will fail if you’re goal is to win internally. You will ultimately put your well being above the rest of those that you work with… they will see it and they will quit… and you will be DONE.
What’s the point of this blog? Who is your Michael Anderson? You might think you hate this person…. but then again maybe God wants them in your life so you can be more than you ever thought you could be.
If you don’t have someone who disagrees with you and challenges the way you think… you are probably on your way to some ungodly behavior. SERIOUSLY.
If all you ever do is surround yourself with Christians you will eventually find you heart for the lost and broken fading to grey on your way to being a modern day Pharisee.
If all you ever do is surround yourself with non-believers you will find your faith waning on a daily basis till there is none left.
If you’re a singer/songwriter and all you ever hear is how great you are… I would dare say no one is telling you the truth.
If you don’t have someone who will challenge you… I’m telling you now… you better find someone, because you need it.
We all need checks and balances…. my biggest check and balance on the road is MICHAEL ANDERSON. So who is yours???
Oh yeah… if you’d like to know more about my boy MIKE… follow him on twitter @michael429 or look him up on Facebook… and yes he friends everyone!!
Walking through the airport this morning I caught a glimpse of a special Father-daughter moment and it melted me down a bit. Dad had just come off of a plane and he was holding the hand of his little toddler blonde haired blue eyed girl. Everything was normal until dad said a simple phrase “Do you want to run?” The little girl looked up at her dad and smiled and then did her best version of an awkward little run through the concourse… I started smiling from ear to ear, and then realized that quite a few other people saw the same thing and they were all smiling too. A cold hard airport concourse had just turned into a school yard for this little girl, but it had also transformed the hustle and bustle of the airport into a memory of a schoolyard for everyone who saw it.
Why did she run??
For exercise?? Of course not…. For a Race?? Heck no. For a profit??? NO! She ran for the sake of freedom, and it transformed her world and everyone else’s world around her into a better place. Now answer me this… when was the last time that you just let loose and ran…. down a hill….. come on, I know you’ve done something impetuous in your lifetime. When was the last time that you did something for the sake of freedom. When was the last time you dreamed a crazy dream?
What were the risks incurred by the act of running for this little girl?
1) Well obviously she might fall. Yes, but she could fall walking too
2) People would see her. Yes their is an inherent danger to standing out… we have to face our fear of being seen…. but come on man… do you really want to hide your whole life?
3) People could watch you fall. Yes they could, but what if you don’t fall?
Have you ever considered what might happen if you chase your dream and don’t fail?
When did we get so pragmatic? So focused on getting work done. Working so hard for our little pink houses…. trying to figure out how to get ahead and all the while losing what gave us hope, for the future and a peace for today.
Honestly I didn’t see what the end result of the little girl in the airport’s run was. I didn’t care… the simple fact that she started the run gave me a sense of happiness that I can’t describe…. and a sense of hope. It honestly changed my whole outlook on today. Maybe that’s the reason that we should run. Maybe if more of us would strike out on a path toward a dream that we’ve always had it would inspire more people to do the same, and before long we could change the culture to a more dream filled culture. A dream filled culture THRIVES. Is America THRIVING today?? No… America is “getting by”.
I mean think about it… why was OBAMA so popular 4 years ago?? “YES WE CAN” that’s why… 1 simple phrase that people believed in. I didn’t vote for him, but I had to admire the way his optimism set people on fire…. when he got elected I HOPED that he would be all that he said he would. Why are people so frustrated 4 years later? Mostly because somehow the “exceptionalism” of America has been deemed a bad thing. Now we’re being told that the exceptional is BAD… SERIOUSLY???? Think about it… why did America become the super power that we are?? Because we BELIEVED WE COULD BE. Because we believed that we could rise up and lead the world. That the lives of our children would be better than ours and because we believed prosperity was achievable?
Take a look at our country… ask about the current debt crisis and economy and they all say the same thing “hopeless”. Well then I submit to you that we’ve already lost.
What is a characteristic that all of the richest people in the world share??? Optimism… the belief that in the end, they will achieve what they set out to do regarless of the current circumstances. We could all learn from that couldn’t we? Did you know that subjects who visualiaze making every shot from a freethrow line actually make more shots than the subjects that don’t? There is an intangible quality that is impossible to quantify that makes you BETTER when you believe things like “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”.
I want my son and daughter to believe that they can do ANYTHING that they set their minds to, but how will they ever believe that if I haven’t lived that out in front of them??
I want my church worship team to believe that there is no ceiling on our ability to lead the city of Clarksville and the world, but how will they ever believe that if I don’t exemplify the dreamer?
I want the crew that rides on the Building429 bus to believe that they can achieve any dream that they desire, but how can they believe that if I don’t chase crazy dreams too?
Hilarious isnt it, that the most successful things in my life were all pipe dreams! haha. People told the core group that started our church that they would never make it, and that they shouldn’t try… but they did, and in 7 short years our church has become the biggest church in Clarksville, TN with eyes on influencing the WORLD. WHY? Because 20 crazy people left the sure thing… believing there was more… and RAN!!!
Building 429 is still a miracle. We were huge in 2004 with a massive hit song “Glory Defined” and then we faltered and people started chattering about how we should hang it up. Perhaps the thing I am the most proud of is the way that my brothers and I got back up after getting knocked down so far and still believed that God could do something spectacular with us. (HELLO…. “Where I Belong”)
Here’s the point of all of this…..
I think by and large we dream way too small. As a nation we need a new DREAM. All of us. I think even now I’m personally dreaming too small. So how can we dream bigger? How can we start to practice optimism on a daily basis? We serve a huge God and He can do all things right? So why not YOU? Why not US??
Some questions to consider:
1) What can I do on a daily basis to help myself get into the practice of dreaming big?
2) What dreams did I have that I let go of long ago, but are still viable today?
3) What proactive steps can I put on paper to help me begin to move toward bigger dreams and the HOPE that comes with that?
4) How can I exemplify the heart of a little girl running through the airport for my friends and family so that they will find the joy that comes with dreaming and believing as well?
My hope is that you will find the courage to roll down a hill with your kids, or dance like a fool at the park with your wife and enjoy the blessings that this life has to offer. In the end dreaming is what keeps my heart satisfied… because without a vision, a hope, a future… what do we have?? Breath????? It’s not enough. “Sometimes it feels like I’m Breathing but am I alive?” Great question…. RUN… you’ll find your life!
Slow Burn Vs. Fast Burn
The plight of many a youngster today seems to be the thought process of “going viral”. Even my son who is only 9 is constantly talking about videos that his friends have shown him of animated stick figure cartoons that are getting millions of hits. On my plane ride to Manila I sat beside my road manager, Josh, who is a bit younger than me.Therefore has a much different perspective on a lot of things in the world than I do. He was mentioning that he had a friend that was in the middle of marketing a new record for an artist that has been around for a while and is need of a bit of a shot in the arm. He and his friend apparently had been dissecting a bunch of viral videos on youtube in an effort to try to figure out what this artist might be able to do to capture the attention of new fans. Of course that led to my road manager challenging me to find something cool that Building 429 could do that might go viral in an effort to continue to fan the flames of the fire that we’ve started this past year. So I sat and thought about it for a minute and then challenged his thought process with this.
Of all the artist’s that have gone “viral” who are still relevant 5 years later?
Should I really push all of my efforts to a short term solution in a long term game??
Well the first thing that jumps in my mind as it relates to artists going viral is the band OK Go! If you don’t remember, a couple of years ago they came out with a video of them using treadmills to create this weird dance to the soundtrack of one of their songs. Cool idea right??? Yeah but… where are they now? In fact… what if they showed up to one of their shows and tried to just play the song that they did the video to? Would it work? I doubt it…. in fact I daresay that I’ve never heard another one of their songs and I wouldn’t care to hear anything they did… unless I could see the weird treadmill thing. Which is what brought me to a question that stumped Josh pretty good: Name one band that went viral that actually still has a career 5 years later. He couldn’t do it. After we mulled that over for about 30 minutes he brought one artist to my attention that is undeniable… Justin Bieber.
I thought about that for a while and then I posed this question…. would Justin Bieber be who he is today if he didn’t go WAY beyond the viral videos and get into the work of building a BRAND?? That’s an easy one right? The answer is NO. The kid has been touring his tail off proving that he’s not just a gimmick.
I’ve heard Dave Ramsey speak on his show a lot in the past about the fact that there is no “get rich quick” scheme that actually works. He goes so far as to say in several of his conferences that he’s never met someone who got rich quick doing any program that didn’t also go bankrupt long term. What does that have to do with Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Etc.
There is no get rich quick scheme that will sustain you…. yeah sure you can create a buzz with you wacky video… maybe a million people will view it, but ultimately if they are interested in the video you made and not the BRAND of you… then you and your brand will eventually go bankrupt. Oh and yeah you will be making the people of Facebook and Youtube richer while you go viral… I promise they’ll make more off of your viral video than you ever will… remember you uploaded it to their servers and therefore it’s theirs? Their advertisers will pay them HUGE money for the video you made and got famous off of… but you’ll be famous for 6 months max unless you figure out how to catch lightning in a bottle again… making them more money again….. you get the point right?
Consistent creation of exceptional art might take longer, but it will also burn longer.
www.Ronedmonson.com is a well known blogger/pastor/influencer in my life and I’ve heard him talk about this even on a church level. Churches that grow rapidly are also at a greater risk for rapid loss as well, why?? Well because people fall in love with the thought of the church, not so much the substance of it. It’s new it’s fresh, and it’s cool… but sooner or later that runs out and you have to show people that you and the brand you represent is going to be relevant to their lives long term… not just when it’s fun.
Every person who goes viral on a social media will have to face up with the reality that at some point they have to actually put the work in too. Yes you may be found on youtube, but you can also easily be forgotten on youtube as well…. Props to people like www.jamiegrace.com and www.justinbieber.com for the hard work they’ve put in to back up their lucky break on youtube.
By the way… if you disagree with me on this feel free to challenge, but the proof is in American Idol. How many people have been HUGE stars… I mean the talk of AMERICA only to completely disappear?? Well out of all the people who have been on the show these are the ones that come to mind as current successes:
There have many with 1 big hit…. but everyone else is having to get back to the reality of WORKING THEIR TAIL OFF to make it happen.
So here’s the point: even if you hit it out of the park going “viral” you still have the whole “put up or shut up” moment waiting after you get over the initial success. Me personally, I like the story of Coldplay, or the Foo Fighters, or Mettallica, or in our market…. Mercy Me, Tobymac, Steven Curtis Chapman.
I think we have a tendency to try so hard to find the gimmick that we miss out on substance that could give us a far greater edge than the gimmick ever would.
Long term substance always wins… and that’s what we as a church, an artist, and as people should be chasing.
“Viral” is just a way to be found… not a way to stay found… the question isn’t how do we go “Viral” but rather, how do we stay “relevant” as we create the art that we love so much. Better yet don’t put a name on it… just create, get better, challenge the status quo in your field so when lighting does strike you’ll be ready to harness a fast burn in a long burn system. You see “Viral” isn’t bad, it can be harnessed. However, without substance it can also be your undoing.