Nashville-based Music City Management, helmed by industry professional Josh Petersen, has announced the addition of Centricity Music recording artist and songwriter Jason Gray to its artist roster. Gray, whose music and artistry has been touted as “perfect acoustic pop with the ability to gently turn a common phrase into a work of art” and is “one of the most profound and impactful artists Christian music has ever seen,” has had a very successful career to date. Achieving two No. 1 singles – “Nothing Is Wasted,” which held the No. 1 spot at radio for nine weeks, as well as “With Every Act of Love” which hit top ten on Billboard’s Christian Airplay Chart – Gray has also had five top five radio singles.
“Jason is one of the most talented and smart songwriters I have ever met,” shares Josh Petersen, Music City Management’s owner and president. “I couldn’t be more excited for our new journey together and look forward to helping him tell share his stories and deliver his songs to new audiences.”
Music City Management specializes in artist management, music distribution services, event promotion as well as brand management. Opening its doors in 2012, Gray is the second artist signed to Music City Managment. The company also represents world-renown vocalist and musician Marc Martel, whose voice was most recently featured in 2018’s 20th Century Fox Queen biographical film, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which just won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture-Drama.
“I’ve known Josh Petersen since I was first signed with Centricity Records and he was part of the team that introduced me to radio stations and retailers all across the country,” Jason Gray shares. “I didn’t imagine that I would get to work with him again this closely, but I’m so excited that fate has brought our paths together for a new season of partnership. I feel lucky to get to chart a new course forward with my friend who also happens to be one of the most brilliant and energetic people I know.”
Gray was heard this past holiday season on Marc Martel’s version of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” which was the highest charting new Christmas radio single release, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard National Airplay chart for their last chart of 2018. Gray also headlined his annual Christmas tour, “Christmas Is Coming,” and was joined by Curb | Word artist Stars Go Dim.
Worship leader and songwriter Cody Carnes has released a brand new song “Nothing Else” available now. Click here to stream or purchase the song. He performed the single live last week at Passion 2019, where nearly 40,000 young adults from across the globe filled arenas in Atlanta, Dallas and Washington, D.C. Click here to check out the lyric video for the new single that is impacting fans everywhere.
“Nothing Else is a song about returning back to what really matters,” explains Cody Carnes. “It came out of a moment last year when I realized my heart had wandered into prioritizing God’s hand more than His heart. I was becoming too concerned with what I was getting from Him, and disappointed when things didn’t go the way I thought they should. I don’t want my heart postured toward God that way. The week I had that revelation, this song was written. It’s already been a gift that has refueled, refreshed and reset my heart.”
Carnes, a well-respected worship leader and songwriter, released his debut album, The Darker The Night / The Brighter The Morning, in 2017. He has also co-written many songs with his wife Kari Jobe such as “Let the Heavens Open” from her Dove Award winning album Majestic and eight tracks off of her release, GMA Dove Award nominated, The Garden. The couple also released the well-received single, “Cover The Earth” last year. He will be on tour with Elevation Worship on the “Hallelujah Here Below” tour beginning in March.
Carnes resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and their toddler boy Canyon and they are expecting their second son early this year.
Singer/songwriter Mallary Hope and husband, Ryan Dokke, Sr. VP/GM At Curb | Word Entertainment, celebrated the new year by welcoming their baby boy into the world this week. Jase Dokke was born Jan. 03, weighing 8lbs 10ounces and 19inches long.
“We’ve been praying so hard for our sweet boy and are so excited to finally meet him!” shared Hope.
Hope’s latest release, “Me” will hit the airwaves of Christian radio on Feb. 02. The track, released digitally on Nov. 16, is inspired by Hope’s own desire to abandon the notion of perfection, encouraging fans to be comfortable with who they are. The music video for the brand-new track has already garnered over 146 thousand views since its release, and continues to reach more with it’s poignant message.
“‘Me’ is a special reminder, even for myself, that I don’t have to change who I am or conform to the world to fit in. I am loved and am enough just the way I am. It’s easy to forget the beauty God created us for. I want this song to remind people of that beauty and to feel encouraged that ‘it’s okay to be me,'” shares Hope.
Billboard.com exclusively premieres SWITCHFOOT’s powerful music video for “Let It Happen,” the fourth instant grat track available to fans who pre-order the band’s album, Native Tongue, available January 18 via Fantasy Records. The music video celebrates the brotherhood of the GRAMMY® award-winning rock band with footage from their 20-plus year career. To watch the music video and read an interview with frontman Jon Foreman, click HERE.
“We are a band of brothers. We’ve weathered many storms together, and I’m sure there’s more to come. But music has always been where we find our voice, our way to sing back into the storm. In a volatile world of uncertainty, this song is a steady reminder to embrace the moment, to embrace each other and to embrace a narrative bigger than the storm,” expressed Jon Foreman.
Let it happen
Tomorrow knows what tomorrow knows, you can’t make it get here sooner
Let it happen
I don’t know what the future holds, but I know you’re my future
PRE-ORDER Native Tongue here.
SWITCHFOOT’s previously released instant grat tracks and music videos include the title-track “Native Tongue,” “Voices” written by The Foreman Brothers, Brent Kutzle and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Tyler Spry as well as “All I Need.”
SWITCHFOOT also announced the North American leg of the Native Tongue Tour, which kicks off in Asheville, N.C. on February 14th. (Full list of dates below.) Colony House and Tyson Motsenbocker will join SWITCHFOOT as supporting acts. Tickets on sale now. Click HERE for more information.
In the midst of an impressive career spanning more than 20 years, Native Tongue is an inspired work of insight and passion from a band that continues to find strength in our differences and hope in what binds us. The 14-song project, recorded primarily at Melody League Studios in the band’s hometown of San Diego, Calif., includes a wide array of music from the hard-hitting anthemic title-track to more reflective songs such as “Prodigal Soul,” “Joy Invincible,” and “Voices.” The band interlace empathy and introspection, urging us to “use our lungs for love and not the shadows.” Native Tongue also features a moving collaboration with Kaela Sinclair on “The Hardest Art.”
Native Tongue Track List:
1. Let It Happen
2. Native Tongue
3. All I Need
5. Dig New Streams
6. Joy Invincible
7. Prodigal Soul
8. The Hardest Art (Feat. Kaela Sinclair)
9. Wonderful Feeling
10. Take My Fire
11. The Strength To Let Go
13. We’re Gonna Be Alright
14. You’re The One I Want
Native Tongue Tour Dates:
Feb. 14 The Orange Peel – Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 15 The Mill & Mine – Knoxville, Tenn.
Feb. 16 Tabernacle – Atlanta, Ga.
Feb. 17 Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, Tenn.
Feb. 19 The Fillmore Silver Spring – Silver Spring, Md.
Feb. 20 The Fillmore – Philadelphia, Pa.
Feb. 22 Wellmont Theater – Montclair, N.J.
Feb. 23 The Paramount – Huntington, N.Y.
Feb. 24 House of Blues – Boston, Mass.
Feb. 27 Carnegie Music Hall – Munhall, Penn.
Feb. 28 Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, Ontario
March 01 House of Blues – Cleveland, Ohio
March 02 20 Monroe Live – Grand Rapids, Mich.
March 03 The Fillmore Detroit – Detroit, Mich.
March 05 The Pageant – Saint Louis, Mo.
March 06 Egyptian Room at Old National Centre – Indianapolis, Ind.
March 08 Park West – Chicago, Ill.
March 09 Park West – Chicago, Ill.
March 10 The Sylvee – Madison, Wis.
March 13 New Daisy Theatre – Memphis, Tenn.
March 14 Club Brady – Tulsa, Okla.
March 15 House of Blues – Dallas, Texas
March 16 House of Blues – Houston, Texas
March 18 Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater – Austin, Texas
March 19 Aztec Theatre – San Antonio, Texas
March 21 Iron City – Birmingham, Ala.
March 22 The RITZ Ybor – Tampa, Fla.
March 23 House of Blues – Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
March 24 Revolution – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
March 27 State Theatre – Minneapolis, Minn.
March 28 Sokol Auditorium – Omaha, Neb.
March 29 Uptown Theater – Kansas City, Mo.
March 30 Fillmore Auditorium – Denver, Colo.
March 31 The Depot – Salt Lake City, Utah
April 03 Rialto Theatre – Tucson, Ariz.
April 04 The Van Buren – Phoenix, Ariz.
April 05 The Wiltern – Los Angeles, Calif.
April 06 Arlington Theatre – Santa Barbara, Calif.
April 07 Warfield Theater – San Francisco, Calif.
April 09 McDonald Theatre – Eugene, Ore.
April 10 Crystal Ballroom – Portland, Ore.
April 11 Neptune Theatre – Seattle, Wash.
April 12 Neptune Theatre – Seattle, Wash.
April 13 Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Vancouver, British Columbia
A couple of days ago I was eager for some encouragement, so put the question out to Twitter: What’s something encouraging you’ve seen in your church over the past few months? The answers were a blessing to me! And, just so you can be encouraged as well, I thought I’d share some of them with you. Here’s how the Lord is at work in churches around the world… (If you receive this via the email newsletter, you may need to click here to read it properly.)
We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this month. We scripted a video for our celebration, but then we also asked each interviewee to tell us one thing they love about our church. Every single person said it’s that the word of God is faithfully preached week in and week out. 🙌🏼
— Chelsea Stanley (@chelseakstanley) January 4, 2019
Good attendance of AND participation in a new pre-service prayer time, music team growing organically with humble servants, fairly smooth transition of new lead pastor, many new members joining and plugging into ministry right away.
— Jordan Smith (@Malfhok) January 4, 2019
Our church started an American Sign Language class so that we could love and care for a little one in our congregation who is deaf. Every time I see someone sign to him my heart overflows.
— Elizabeth Garn (@GarnElizabeth) January 5, 2019
We’ve had 30-40 former cult members leave their former cult and embrace Grace. Several have been baptized. They are doing very well finding their way into the church. It is very exciting.
— Scott Reavely (@ScottReavely) January 5, 2019
An urgency for older women to take more seriously their calling to mentor younger women.
— Lynn Trigg (@LynnTrigg1) January 5, 2019
1. People turning from sin and self sacrificially loving others. 2. People praying. 3. People studying the Bible 4. People enjoying and sharing the gospel. https://t.co/eo6m9KWGkx
— Larry Norman (@fotidzo) January 4, 2019
Church members asking to meet early morning to pray (not because I told them they should!) and a younger generation taking on the mantle of responsibility
— Dafydd Job (@DafyddJob) January 5, 2019
A 74 year old man that was born again by hearing the Gospel preached and the Spirit of the Lord drawing him to repent and the conversion was made!New creature in Christ Jesus! The right way as the Bible speaks of ,still works !
— G. William Knott (@Gknott1970) January 5, 2019
The gospel wasn’t forgotten, or buried beneath Christmas. It was both proclaimed and practiced. There are no other things more encouraging than that!
— Chris Thomas (@cbthomas76) January 5, 2019
Our church (membership around 300) sent a family to plant a church in Japan. They are the 38th missionary family we have sent out in the last 12 years!!
— Trent Cornwell (@TrentCornwell) January 5, 2019
Willingness to work through differences and a desire to share the gospel.
— Jarrod Murdock (@utjrod) January 5, 2019
The commitment to the God’s Word. Growth in number is happening but are not the most important thing, our caracter has been improved and the action that reflects on our communion. Praise the Lord!
— Elielder B. Melo (@ElielderBM) January 4, 2019
Our former teaching pastor worked w/ our elders very amicably as he made plans to move back to his home state; our elders worked carefully & prayerfully to select a new pastor; and our church has gladly welcomed & received the new pastor (I think!). Very thankful for this body.
— John Veazey (@JohnGVeazey) January 4, 2019
My church in MS took over the property of a church that had closed its doors in Rochester, NY, hired a pastor to restart it, sent teams to renovate the building, and three young families are moving there to live and serve.
— Bob Rogers (@DrBobRogers) January 4, 2019
Ordination of 4 new deacons, 2 baptisms (in December) and spiritual growth in a church that was on a downward spiral. Satan will not have victory in our city!
— Crystal Brewer (@crybrew) January 4, 2019
We are starting a one-year journey through the Bible at all our locations and discussing the sermons in our LIFE groups. It’s a great way to encourage everyone to read through the entire Bible if they have not already done so.
— Cliff Clayman (@cclayman77) January 4, 2019
In his prayer before starting his sermon, our pastor always prays for a local church.
— Elaine Mazzo (@psalm16v5) January 4, 2019
If you’d like to read more, you can see the whole conversation right here.
If we have to identify the largest single influence on the Epistle to Diognetus it would have to be the Apostle Paul. Ernst Dassman comments that, ‘The utilization of Pauline theology reaches an astonishing intensity in the epistle to Diognetus’ and ‘not merely in the abundance of Pauline terminology, which the author cites or paraphrases into his own account, but rather in the exposition of central concerns found in Pauline theology.’ Similarly, Charles Nielsen states that ‘Pauline influence appears not only very often but also at crucial points where the actual definition of Christianity is at stake.’
Although the only explicit citation of Paul is in the homiletic section (Diogn. 12.5 = 1 Cor. 8.1), even so, the whole of Diogn. is permeated with Pauline allusions and echoes. The Paulinisms are the most apparent when it comes to a critique of circumcision (Diogn. 4.1, 4 = Phil. 3.2-5; Rom 2.17, 25-29), the depiction of Christians as possessing a heavenly citizenship (Diogn. 5.9 = Phil. 3.20), the rhetorical appeal to their mistreatment in the world (Diogn. 5.8-17 = 2 Cor. 6.8-10), their custodianship of a divine mystery (Diogn. 10.7 = 1 Cor. 2.1, 7; Col. 2.2), the contrast between Spirit and flesh (Diogn. 5.8, 6.5-6 = Romans 7–8; Galatians 4–5), and the announcement of God saving the lawless and unrighteous by sending the Son of God who by his righteousness could justify them (Diogn. 9.1-5 = Rom 3.24-26, 4.4-5, 5.6-8, 6.23, 8.3, 32, Gal. 4.4, Tit 2.14, 3.4). The author attempts to rise up to meet the challenge of the cultural despisers of the Christian religion in the Graeco-Roman world and he employs Pauline motifs to that end.
 Rudolf Brändle, Die Ethik der ‘Schrift an Diognet’: Eine Wiederaufnahme paulinischer und johanneischer Theologie am Ende des zweiten Jahrhunderts (ATANT, 64; Zurich: Theologischer Verlage, 1975), 206-16; Andreas Lindemann, ‘Paulinische Theologie im Brief an Diognet’, in Kerygma und Logos: Beiträge zu den geistesgeschichtlichen Beziehungen zwischen Antike und Christentum (FS Carl Andresen; ed. A.M. Ritter; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1979), 337-50; Ernst Dassman, Der Stachel im Fleisch: Paulus in der frühchristlichen Literatur bis Irenäus (Münster: Aschendorff, 1979), 254-59; Rolf Noormann, ‘Himmelsbürger auf Erden: Anmerkungen zum Weltverhältnis und zum “Paulinismus” des Auctor ad Diognetum,’ in Die Weltlichkeit des Glaubens in der Alten Kirche, eds. B. Aland, C. Schäublin, D. Wyrwa, U. Wickert (BZNW, 85; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1997), 199-229; Michael F. Bird, ‘The Reception of Paul in the Epistle to Diognetus,’ in Paul in the Second Century, eds. M.F. Bird and J.R. Dodson (LNTS 412; London: T&T Clark, 2011), 70-90; Matthew Thomas, Paul’s ‘Works of the Law’ in the Perspective of Second Century Reception (WUNT 2.468; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2018), 119-21.
 Dassman, Der Stachel im Fleisch, 254 (‘Zu einer erstauntliche Intensität gelangt die Verwertung paulinischer Theologie dann bereits im Diognetbrief.’)
 Dassman, Stachel im Fleisch, 255 (‘nicht allein die Fülle paulinischer Wendungen, die der Verfasser zitierend oder paraphrasierend in die eigene Darstellung einfließen läßt, sondern ein Eingehen auf zentrale Anliegen der paulinischen Theologie’).
 Charles Merritt Nielsen, ‘The Epistle to Diognetus: Its Date and Relationship to Marcion,’ ATR 52 (1970): 88.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
As the New Year begins, people make resolutions, most of which are broken by the end of January. But, strangely they are all about what people are going to do, rather than what they are not going to do.
Have you considered making a list of what you are not going to do during the coming year? If so, I suggest that you begin with your thought process.
One of my favorite quotes is from an unknown person: “Sow a thought and you reap an act. Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Some decisions lead to amazing destinies!
It is said that we become what we think about all day long. The seedbed of sin is in the brain. What you think about you do and what you do becomes a habit that becomes a part of your character.
Bad thoughts conform us to the world and lead us to sin. Paul, writing in Romans tells us to rise above the world in order to discern the will of God.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. Romans 12:2
Yes, God calls us to rise above and be transformed with a renewing of our mind and to think about whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, things of excellence and anything worthy of praise.
So as we usher in this new year, let’s make a list of things we won’t think about and concentrate on the renewing of our mind.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
As our mind is stayed on Him, we grow in faith, grace and character. May this coming year be a blessing to you and may you concentrate on being a blessing to others.
By John Grant
Used by Permission
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practising attorney.
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“(What I have done in the past) is nothing compared to what I’m going to do! I’m going to do a brand new thing.”
Isaiah 43:18-19 (Life Application Bible)
As we contemplate the freshness of a new year, we’re tempted to quickly rejoice over God’s words to Israel. Who would not want to be part of God’s “brand new thing”? We get excited as we pray for and anticipate a new work of God in our lives and in the world.
Anyone who has ever worn beautiful new shoes, however, may wish to think carefully about the possible consequences of new things. The shoes looked so good when we tried them on, and we even made sure they were the right size, but walking all day in that new purchase frequently gives us second thoughts. And all of us who start a new diet know that discouragement frequently settles in around the third day!
It is right and good to ask for God’s new things, but are we ready for the sacrifices that may accompany the blessing? Does commitment accompany the request? The new thing that God began in the life of the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road would take him into hostile cities, over stormy seas and through many prison cells. He learned to say “press on” long after the newness had worn off.
Father, my heart is stirred when I think of all the new things you want to do in and through me, but help me understand that following you is a lifetime decision. Thank you for staying with me even when the days are long and the newness has worn off. In Jesus name, Amen.
by Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission
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Washington town is choral central, says one reader
I was thrilled to read the Oct. 22 Heart of the News article “How choirs build community.” Until recently, I lived in a small town in western Washington where every elementary school – all three of them – has a full-time music teacher and a choir. Most of the local churches have choirs, and there are three community choruses. Occasionally, some of the groups perform concerts together, which involves hundreds of children and youth singing, community choruses collaborating on a large choral classic, and church choirs sharing a Good Friday cantata with their combined congregations. I think of this town as choral central.
One of the best events has been getting various singers together from schools, churches, and town halls to celebrate Veterans Day. This has happened every November since 2010.
These programs include patriotic music sung by the often very large choir, a singalong with the audience, and a medley of the service songs, with veterans proudly standing during their service branch’s tune.
People in this small town have built some strong community ties through choral singing. Thank you for highlighting the power of choirs in your piece.
Value of tiny books through the ages
Regarding the Nov. 23 Monitor Daily article “Move over, phones! Make room for books that fit in a back pocket”: I haven’t seen the new mini books that are discussed in the article yet, but I am looking forward to it. I have and treasure about 60 of the Little Leather Library books.
The Little Leather Library books were published in the very early years of the 20th century. These books were green, leather-bound, and each contained a significant piece of literature that was important in that period (1900-20).
Rosella A. Alm-Ahearn
West Covina, Calif.
Kicking off the new year with a new song, worship leader, and songwriter Meredith Andrews has released the title track “Faith And Wonder (feat. Cody Ray Lee & Abbie Simmons) [Live],” from her upcoming live EP Faith And Wonder (Live), which releases on March 8, 2019. This song features UPPERROOM’s Cody Ray Lee and Abbie Simmons and is co-written by the vocalists along with Bethany Wohrle of Bethel Music and Andrews’ husband and the EP’s producer Jacob Sooter.
“Abbie has such an incredible and unique voice and the lyrics of this song speak to my heart in a special way,” shares Andrews about the title track. “It’s about the power in Jesus’s name, living life full of faith and wonder and always having a heart posture of awe in God’s presence.”
Get the song and pre-order the EP here, and click below to watch the live music video of this song. On her first live EP, Andrews invites the world to experience a very special night of congregational worship that took place in downtown Nashville at her home church The Belonging Co. on September 26, 2018 for her upcoming live recording.
In anticipation of the upcoming release, Andrews is releasing new singles digitally leading up to the six-song EP release. In addition to today’s song, she will release “Open Over Us (Live)” on February 8, leading to the full EP release in March. She released “A Million Saints” last month – click here to watch the live recording.