Joey O'Connor explores Warren Berger's excellent book A More Beautiful Question. Beautiful questions can lead to new breakthroughs, fresh ideas and new innovations. Listen in to Joey's Facebook Live event about asking beautiful questions...
New on The Grove Blog is our Grove Artist Gathering Highlight. We offer you a key question from April's Grove Artist Gathering. Singer/songwriter, Bob Bennett, not only shared his incredible music, but his insights on the creative writing process. In whatever art form you practice, how do you deal with the "Editor" in your head? Is it a friend or assassin? Read on...
Does hurry delay the things of God in your life? Joey O'Connor shares some important truths learned from a recent Journey retreat. Allowing our creativity and art to stream from the overflow of our hearts is far better than trying to drink from the dry wastelands of unsatisfied thirsts and unmet longings. Read more...
Are you in a season of feeling like you're wandering aimlessly around with your art? That you have no traction in your career or that your dreams are in a perpetual state of stall? Perhaps you recently launched...
Happy New Year to all of our Grove Friends! We're looking forward to a great 2014 with you!
Chris Falson: One Moment...A New Album We'd Like to Share!
This just in... our friend Chris Falson has just released a very cool new project. (I'm listening to it as I write to you now...) Chris' new album is filled with heart-felt, earthy-toned acoustic worship tunes. Not only is the album a deep reflection of Chris' relationship with God, what I love most is that it came out of extended time alone with Him. (Just click on the artwork above to listen and purchase One Moment on Bandcamp...I just downloaded my copy!)
Isn't that when our best work is born? When it flows out of deep relationship with our Creator? We're happy to share Chris's album with you and hope you support his creative work. Here's Chris's story... in his own words...
During the summer of 2011 we had the keys to a friend’s house in the hills of Carpinteria. Most weekends we would escape the hubbub of Los Angeles for the tranquil vibes of humming birds, wind in the willows (gum trees actually) and long walks around the mesa. One week, while my wife was away visiting family I decided to have a time of quietness… kind of a retreat up in these hills… and to experiment recording my personal worship times without the assistance of a recording engineer. So I set up my portable recording studio in the living room overlooking the coast of Santa Barbara (its tough but someone has to do it)… placed a few mic’s for vocals and guitar… and just sat there for hours singing my favorite worship songs and hymns to God… and this album is the result.
It’s completion is another story. While I had some deep ‘moments’ with God I couldn’t really hear anything of beauty in these tracks. As is often typical for an ‘artist’, I was too close to them. These recordings remained on my hard drive for over a year until two good friends, Gavin and Natalie Fuller emailed me to say how much they loved my new album. “What new album” I replied. It turns out that I had mistakingly added these files to a batch of Quicktime files Gavin needed for a project we were co-producing. My next step was to get a ‘second opinion’ and so I took the tracks around to my studio engineer friend Tony Green… told him the ‘saga’… and as he listened (and mastered the album)… he told me… in a nice way… that I was an idiot for holding back this album. That why we need good friends!
Jon Foreman-Why Switchfoot Won't Sing Christian Songs
Roy recently shared with me a few thoughts by Jon Foreman and why Switchfoot won't be singing any Christian songs. I did some research and found that this was originally posted on Tim Challies blog 10 years ago in 2004. (Thank you Tim for sharing with us!)
Jon Foreman's words are as relevant today as they were 10 years ago. We have much road to travel in our understanding of the Church, the arts, and living in the realm of God's beauty, truth and goodness.
Read below...we'd love your comments on this important topic...let's keep this conversation going!
Responding to the idea that a book, a song, or a t-shirt simply can't be Christian, Jon said,
To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple SF tunes. In true Socratic form, let me ask you a few questions: Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s Christian? What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds. The view that a pastor is more “Christian” than a girls volleyball coach is flawed and heretical. The stance that a worship leader is more spiritual than a janitor is condescending and flawed. These different callings and purposes further demonstrate God’s sovereignty.
Many songs are worthy of being written. Switchfoot will write some, Keith Green, Bach, and perhaps yourself have written others. Some of these songs are about redemption, others about the sunrise, others about nothing in particular: written for the simple joy of music. None of these songs has been born again, and to that end there is no such thing as Christian music. No. Christ didn’t come and die for my songs, he came for me. Yes. My songs are a part of my life. But judging from scripture I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing. I am a believer. Many of these songs talk about this belief. An obligation to say this or do that does not sound like the glorious freedom that Christ died to afford me. I do have an obligation, however, a debt that cannot be settled by my lyrical decisions. My life will be judged by my obedience, not my ability to confine my lyrics to this box or that. We all have a different calling; Switchfoot is trying to be obedient to who we are called to be. We’re not trying to be Audio A or U2 or POD or Bach: we’re trying to be Switchfoot.
You see, a song that has the words: “Jesus Christ” is no more or less “Christian” than an instrumental piece. (I’ve heard lots of people say Jesus Christ and they weren’t talking about their redeemer.) You see, Jesus didn’t die for any of my tunes. So there is no hierarchy of life or songs or occupation only obedience. We have a call to take up our cross and follow. We can be sure that these roads will be different for all of us. Just as you have one body and every part has a different function, so in Christ we who are many form one body and each of us belongs to all the others. Please be slow to judge “brothers” who have a different calling.
Click below in the comments to respond to Jon's words...what do you say?
Merry Christmas from The Grove. It's not too late for you to grab some great new Christmas music! We're excited to announce All Is Bright, a brand new Christmas EP by our friend, Kim Johnson.
It's such a privilege to share wonderful Christmas music from a member of our Grove community of artists. If you want to be encouraged in your worship of Christ this Christmas and bless your friends with wonderful music, please share All Is Bright by Kim Johnson. Click below to grab your copy today! And Merry Christmas!
When Roy and I began to promote today's free Grove Teleseminar, What Would Jesus Say to Artists Today?, we were a bit blown away by how many of you responded... thank you!
We simply asked the question and over 30 of you responded with your thoughts and comments with what Jesus would say to artists today... or should we say, "What Jesus IS saying to His artists today?!"
If you missed this free online conversation, just click here and you can listen in. For you writers and note-takers, we put together a downloadable PDF for you to follow along.
Or if you just want to listen and scribble, just listen and scribble. (I, Joey, usually making inter-connected triangles when I scribble...probably an Irish-trinity-pathology of sorts.)
Take a Deep Soak in This!
Roy posed this question of what would Jesus say to artists today to his friend, Brett Maybury, in Nashville. Here's how Brett responded... our jaws are dropping at the depth and generosity in what he offered... which is why we are so thankful he graciously allowed us to share it with you.
Here's what stirs in my heart - what I think Jesus would say:
I love you. I am the Creator of your heart, your mind, your frame, your being (Job 10:11; Psalm 119:73; Isaiah 44:24). I love you. It is my delight to sing over you, filling the heavens with a song that is uniquely yours (Zeph 3:17). I love you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up. I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139:2-3). I am not far-off and not angry with you. I will never leave you (Joshua 1:5). I am the complete expression of love (1 John 4:16). I love you.
My love for you releases and waits. You are free in your choosing. When you fill your life with the things of this world, you will find me waiting. When the work of your hands drives the purpose of your day, you will find me waiting. Like a father who waits on a farmhouse porch for his child to come home or return from the field, you will find me waiting. I am always here for you, waiting. In the quiet you will hear me calling your name. Turn and you will see me (Luke 5:31-32). It is my desire to give you all that I am my child (1 John 3:1). I love you.
Are you weary? Are you tired? Do you feel burned out on religion? (Matthew 11:28-30) Do you feel abused from being treated like a product? Remember who you are. You are mine. I have saved you (Isaiah 43:1). Look to me and I will rescue you from your striving. I will shape you, carefully, lovingly, like a potter masterfully shaping clay (Isaiah 64:8). Look to me and your worry will loose its hold. It is my perfect love, not your effort to control that will remove your fears (1 John 4:18). Your identity is not in the results of your creative expression, the verdict of the reviewer or the position you hold. Your identity is in me (2 Cor 5:17). I love you.
You bear my image and unique design. You are made to create. The artistic voice I gave you is for your joy and my delight. I will purpose the journey of each artistic expression. Do not compare yourself with others. This will only trap you in places of discouragement, pride or envy. Do not try to make things happen in your strength. Find rest and release in me (Psalm 46:10). Place before me your art, as you do your life. In trust and surrender see what I will do. The culture around you will always drag you down to its level of immaturity, but I will bring the best out of you. I develop well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:1-2).
I am calling the artist to a higher calling than decoration and propaganda. As you continue to join with other worshippers, encouraging love and helping out, I will awaken you to the gifts of my Spirit (Hebrews 10:22-25). Artistic expression of all kinds will teach and prophesy, convict and heal, bring wisdom and clear understanding, build faith and release the miraculous (1 Cor 12:7-11; Eph 4:11). The surrendered life of each artist and their artistic expression will be like wheat seed buried in the ground. The cost of this burial will give rise to an experience and expression of my Kingdom (John 12:24-26), changing the landscape around.
I am calling you to life my child. I am calling you to me. And on that day when you depart this world, your life and art will continue to speak, because of love. I love you my child.
Wow...thank you Brett!
We'd love your comments to Brett's words and your reflections on the teleseminar. Please comment below...
I'd like to invite you to join Roy and I for this free Grove Teleseminar next week! We're inviting you and our artist friends online to join the conversation.
What Would Jesus Say to Artists Today?
Free Grove Teleseminar (One hour)
With Joey O'Connor & Roy Cochran
Thursday, December 19
9am PST, Noon EDT
(Phone & Web options)
What would Jesus say to artists today? It's an intriguing question, isn't it?
What would he say to you? To me?
What would Jesus say about your life? Your heart? Your craft? And your creative calling as an artist?
Jesus spoke to all kinds of people from all walks of life. He surrounded himself with a crew of followers that, at a glance, wouldn't be your first pick if you were choosing sides for a game of kickball.
Artists are a unique breed. A creative tribe that we think Jesus really cares about. Join as we explore the provocative question of what Jesus would say to artists today.
We'll kick around some ideas. Ask a few questions. Engage you in a stimulating, hopefully very encouraging conversation.
Who knows? Jesus just might have something to say to you. We hope you'll join us.
Joey's "Heart Attack on a Plate" Christmas Appetizer
Okay, I'm quite embarrassed that I am adding inches to your waistline this Christmas, but after last night's Grove Christmas party, I had quite a few requests for this incredible appetizer.
As many of you know, we love great food at The Grove. The culinary arts are in full swing at The Grove (and if we were all honest, we would say it's our favorite art form!).
I learned this recipe from my sister Loretta years ago. I have made it an annual tradition that whatever I don't finish the night before, I eat for breakfast the next morning because it's soooooo good! And so easy-peasy to make!
Heart Attack on a Plate Christmas Appetizer
Ingredients & Instrucciones
One Brie round
One Pillsbury French Roll bread tube
Couple cups of Pecans
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Kalua (a coffee-flavored, rum-based liqueur from Mexico...not Hawaii!)
Box of your favorite crackers.
Preheat oven to 350.
Put said brie in a baking dish. POP! that Pillsbury dough boy puppy open (Sidenote: my best friend in elementary school was Taylor Pillsbury of Pillsbury family fame). Tuck the french roll dough in a circular fashion around le brie!
Dump and I mean, dump the pecans on the brie. Or lightly scatter if you wish.
Sprinkle, pour, shower or flourish the brown sugar over the pecans and da' brie.
Then, bring it on! Lightly pour the Kalua over the brown sugar, pecans and dough...it's very cool watching the brown sugar absorb the Kalua. This recipe has a lot of flexibility...go light or heavy on the brown sugar, pecans, or Kalua...you decide!
Slide your incredible concoction into the oven for 15 minutes or so. Be careful...one time, I put a bit too much Kalua on top and the oven door blew open from the overheated alcohol fumes! KA-BOOM!
When the Pillsbury bread is lightly brown, you're ready to go! You can serve it with crackers or just dip the bread into the brie cheese.
Imagine this: Warm brown-sugared bread with dripping Brie piled high with Kalua-laced pecans.
Share this with your friend and you'll have friends for life.
Click the social tabs if you'd like to share this recipe now...