Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Struggle

We are free to struggle
We're not struggling to be free
Your blood bought  and makes us Children
Children drop your chains and sing!

Tenth Avenue North, "The Struggle"

Within the world of Contemporary Christian Music, there are a number of artists who I have a great amount of admiration for. The artists in that category have gone the extra mile with their talents, with their music, with how they use those gifts to reach others with the love of Christ. Men like Steven Curtis Chapman and his family have used his fame to shine a spotlight on adoption, orphan care, and mission work. Bands like Casting Crowns are all about being "real" in their songs, whether they're talking about suffering, praise, how we fall short as humans, etc. Mark Hall, the lead singer, has written books and filmed prayerful meditations that have been eye-opening for me in my spiritual life. If I were to mention all the Christian artists I look up to though, I'd be here all night typing. 

I first experienced a Christian band called Tenth Avenue North a couple years ago when their hit single "Healing Begins" came on my radio. While I had heard about them before, I had never heard their music or understood who they were as a band. After I had heard Healing Begins a number of times, I decided to search the internet for a music video for it. I've always loved seeing what visual perspective artists add to a song I really like through a music video. In stead of a music video, I found a "Video Journal" talking about where the song came from and what the band hoped would touch people about it. As I listened to the lead singer, Mike Donehey, express the redemption we have in Christ so beautifully, I knew these guys were special. I bought both of their albums and listened to them heavily. Tenth Ave's sound is something of a soft rock/pop with a little bit of ballads and acoustic vibes mixed in on the side. With both of their first two albums, they managed to combine a solid mix of diverse song styles and lyrics that either described where I was at the time or renewed my hope in the saving power of Christ. 

In March of 2012 Tenth Ave put out a one or two minute long video announcing a new album they had coming out called "The Struggle." I had continued to watch Mike's video journals (sometimes more than once) ever since I had found them, and this new record idea- a record about the struggles of faith in our everyday lives- seemed like a really fresh, beautiful idea. 

3 months down the pipe the band released a 5-minute overview video summarizing on a more in-depth level than before what exactly "The Struggle" was all about. As they played snippets of the songs in the background, my excitement increased- and thus I waited the 3-4 months before the CD came out.  To say the least, I "struggled" a bit with patience ;)

With the new record came a new tour schedule and a new set of cities they'd be playing in. Living in Upstate NY isn't quite the same as living in Tennessee or Texas as far as accessibility of Christian Music goes, unfortunately. Thus, when a band comes anywhere from 1-3 hours within driving distance of where you live, you jump on it if your schedule's open. When I saw that Tenth Ave would be coming up to New Jersey with the incredible Audrey Assad and a newcomer worship group from Ireland called Rend Collective Experiment, I instantly wanted to see if there was the slightest chance I'd be able to see them in concert. I am blessed to say that I am going, and I'm sure it's gonna be a great night of praise and worship with a ton of brothers and sisters in Christ. 

All of this brings me to the reason for this post: I am inviting you, the reader of this blog post, if you have the time and live within a reasonable driving distance of Middletown New Jersey, to come today, Friday September 14th, to come to New Monmouth Baptist Church for a 7:30 concert featuring 3 awesome Christian witnesses/artists for a night of testimony, praise, and worship. All the information (or information for other tour dates if you live elsewhere in the US but still want to see this awesome tour live) is at the link here.

Tenth Avenure North has had a tremendous impact in helping me realize the true love, forgiveness, redemption and freedom God has for each and every one of us. If you have the time and the means, do not miss this tour if they come to a city near you!