We ended the first night unlike any night I’d ever spent in Nashville, on the steps of the Ryman Auditorium caught up in the power and comradery of praise and worship. We had the opportunity to learn the tremendous and tragic story of the Ryman. The fact that sin-soaked Nashville had been established in lawlessness and lucrative carnal satisfaction of every kind and the one man who was called to preach the word in a contemporary Sodom had the Spirit of the Most High so much on him that when a hit was placed on him, the wealthy representative who came to set him straight was converted, saved, and fill with the Spirit to the point that he was led to purchase a plot of land and build a church (the Ryman) for the preacher to base operations from. But because a successor with the same zeal and fervor was not found the city fell into the famous cycle of the prophets that’s outlined in detail in the bible (read Judges if you don’t have a clue), and eventually there arose a nation that knew NOT the Lord, and the Ryman became a hotspot for country music more so than the gospel. Now known as the “Mother Church of Country Music” (I feel like I need to repent just for typing that), we were diagrammed the horrendous mountain that lied before us as warriors commissioned by God to bring unadulterated truth to hurting souls through art; we took our first small and feeble step towards the gates of Abaddon to take back the holy ground perverted by the hands of humanity’s mutual enemy.
After the overdose on coffee to jumpstart the day (I didn’t get to sleep until 2am and had to wake up at 6am to make it through private God time and on the city bus in time to get to our base of operations, Rocketown), we sat through a series of invigorating talks by some pretty influential individuals as it concerns the music industry. I will put a synopsis below.
Ted Bruun – The Fall
Ted goes on to finish the powerful testimony he began the night before by sharing that during a church trip he fell 72’ (seven stories) off of a cliff, face first onto jagged rocks into a crevice while the tied was coming in. And instead of dying on the spot (I know of people who, while wearing a seat belt, died in car wrecks going 30 mph, a fall from that height roughly equates to a 200lb individual going about twice that), was able to walk away from the event with almost NO life altering effects. In short an undeniable miracle happened in Ted’s life and that caused both him and an atheist psychiatrist to have to rethink EVERYTHING. It outlined how our lives have purpose wrapped in every moment in every second, even when we do not realize it and only solidified his argument that our purpose as artists is both in dire need and of dire importance to the Kingdom of God.
Nate Larkin – Temptation
Nate Larkin gave us a very real and transparent view into the unfolding of his life; a poignant and powerful testimony that both outlined the difference of the self-made Christian persona vs. the actual Christian character and the futility of fighting life’s battles alone paired with the illusion that self shame requires battles to be private. Our journey into the enemy’s camp will come with all sorts of trials, temptations and outright battles. And the powerful message I found wrapped in his testimony was that when these things come, our family that we have in the touring team must be a first line of earthly defense and strength as we band together and call upon the name of our Master to triumph daily over BOTH our private and public battles.
Jerry Bryant – Suiting Up, Armed, and Ready Together
The words of Jerry chimed in perfectly in step as he expounded the reality of our warfare, the necessity of standing together in responses only from the Lord, and ESSENTIAL strategies that will help us as warriors in battle. I dubbed these as war tactics 101 on my phone. I really wish everyone who ministers in any capacity could have heard it. I will ask Jerry if he doesn’t mind me sharing it.
Grant Norsworthy – Fair Dinkum
In our over saturated culture of image, persona, charisma there is very little room for authenticity and truth, and the pursuit of “fitting into the mold” can often overshadow the truth found in being who you are created to be. Grant takes this time to bring us to the sober reality that we must be honest with ourselves, honest with others and honest with God above in order to be the most effective for His kingdom and to be able to be the best we can be as we grow. For sometimes, we are unable to see the plank in our own eye…
Ezra Boggs – Communicating, Telling the Truth, etc.
Beer and Bible Consortium. Ever heard of it? You should. Take off your religious sunglasses and stop casting me to hell for saying beer and bible in the same sentence and know that this consortium led by the phenomenal Ezra Boggs is one of the foremost organizations in the country that converts atheists and agnostics to Christianity. It is an open apologetics lesson and Q & A session in the middle of what many would call the enemy’s camp. A bar. The strategies given by this man are invaluable if you ever expect to know how to effectively combat the enemy in regards to mindset and human logic. His teachings make the average warrior the evading unbeliever’s nightmare as Truth effectively and lovingly expressed mixed with unbounded love and desire to know a person can NEVER be destroyed. Sometimes the most effective weapon before speech is truly listening.
Allan Aguire – The Interview
Ever heard of Christian Rock? Yea, this guy and his band basically pioneered it. He sits down for a candid an frank interview with Ted Bruun about the sacrifice, dedication and faith required to pursue one’s divine calling in music. It’s highlighted that waiting for that moment in life when you are stable enough to “go out and minister responsibly”, fellow ministers know that speech, “why don’t you get that high paying job and you know when you’ve saved up enough you can use that job to fund your ministry” However, the reality that was shared through it is that moment almost never comes. That the more we look to finances to free us up for more ministry, the more we become bound by the chase to get enough finances for that freedom until we ultimately realize, the bills never stop; the need never ends; no matter how much you work to store up enough it is virtually impossible to arrive at that moment when you can say, ok. Let’s tour the country and spread the name of the Lord, without being at an age that is waay past the individual’s prime and a good age away from the birth of the vision.