Tag Archives: Matthew West

Real Connections = Real Change

7 Jun

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Often times, I think we, as Christians, feel like we aren’t doing enough to reach others or we get caught up in how many people we can influence. Of course, with the emphasis on the New Evangelization and this being The Year of Faith, many of us are focused on how we can better spread the truth of Jesus and the faith. This is something to which we are all called for sure and needs to be done.

Sometimes, though, I think we are distracted by the “big picture”. The truth is, as the quotes on this page point out, that showing love to our spouse, children, and neighbors is the most powerful and meaningful way that we can bring about change in our culture.

I think many of us who are busy working and raising young children, especially, may feel like we aren’t contributing as much as we’d like in our parishes and communities. (For me, personally, this is why I love to blog. I am able to work a full-time job, take care of the family that God has blessed me with, and still feel like I’m offering something outside my own little world.) We need to remember, though, that building strong, loving families is the foundation of our society and is worthy of most of our time and attention. Being able to sacrfice for our children in this way, enables us to grow in selflessness and be more open to whatever God is calling us to do now and in the future.

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When we do find ourselves in situations where we can reach out to others beyond our family, we are still called to focus on each individual person. As last month’s featured Dreamer Ryan Eggenberger encouraged, “Everybody – every single persion – is worth it to God. That means everybody – every single  person- is worth it to you and to me.” When we, through our actions, express to someone else that they, alone, matter to us and to God that is when real connections and relationships bloom. This is when we are most like Jesus.

It is, of course, easier said than done at times to take ourselves away from our work, thoughts, and to-do lists to really be present to others. Going outside of our comfort zones to really make a connection with someone can make us vulnerable to being rejected, but without taking risks and listening to promptings from the Holy Spirit, life would be pretty lonely.

I think a great example of someone who is living out this idea of influencing others by making deep connections is Contemporary Christian Music artist Matthew West. Matthew’s two most recent albums consist of songs that were inspired by stories of  specific individuals. He read thousands of letters sent to him and then crafted some of these into hopeful and healing songs. On Matthew West’s website he shares the real-life stories behind each song. The cool thing is that several people are relating to these songs, even though each one was written for a particular person!

If you have not listened to Matthew’s latest Into the Light CD yet, I highly recommend it! My girls love dancing and singing the words, too!

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We all have a role to play to bring others closer to Jesus. It can be as simple as making eye contact and giving a smile to a stranger – or your child. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

A Randomly Chosen Winner? {Matthew West – December’s Dreamer in the Spotlight}

21 Dec

There are times in life when you just know that God is trying to show you something, and what I’m about to describe is one of those moments…

Last Tuesday, Adam and I were blessed to be able to enjoy an intimate mid-day performance in downtown Nashville by Matthew West that will air on SiriusXM’s The Message. (Thanks to my supervisor for letting me have a late, extended lunch!) While the concert itself was amazing (and I will talk about it more in a little bit), the story of getting the opportunity to go is pretty awesome, as well, so I’ll start at the beginning…

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Over the Thanksgiving weekend we spent time at my parents’ house. I heard my dad showing Adam the latest Matthew West CD, Into the Light, that he recently bought. (I was familiar with Matthew West’s background and some of his music already, but not a dedicated fan – yet!) We started discussing how he is the type of artist that Adam aspires to be and it would be neat if he could meet with him over lunch or whatever to ask him some questions and get some insight into how he balances family and music, etc. About a week later, my dad emails me details about an opportunity to randomly win two tickets to an in-studio performance by Matthew West in Nashville. Without giving it much thought, and noting that the timing was too perfect to be a coincidence, I entered the contest. A few days later I received an email that I was one of the winners! I really wasn’t surprised that I won, because I sensed that God was trying to speak to us, especially Adam, through Matthew. (I later found out that even my dad wasn’t surprised, because after I told him I entered the contest, he decided he didn’t need to enter it anymore!) Let me just note, that if it wasn’t for my dad getting Matthew West’s CD and showing it to Adam just a week prior, he probably would not have alerted me about the contest!

So back to the SiriusXM performance at the Bridgestone Arena… There was only about 40-50 people in this small room above the Visitor’s Center, and I’m sure each person that day was supposed to be there for a reason. (That’s the great thing about Matthew West’s concerts – I don’t see how anyone can leave and not be affected and changed in some way.) Adam said that he could feel the Holy Spirit in the room, and I definitely agree!

For those who aren’t familiar with Matthew West, his past two albums have consisted of songs written about some of the heart-breaking personal experiences he has received in over 20,000 letters. Each of his songs is about a specific individual and what God’s response would be to offer hope and healing. To listen to the songs and read these stories, check out Matthew West’s website. He has found a way to make his music career not about himself, but about encouraging others! How refreshing and inspirational! It’s something that Adam has really struggled with lately when thinking about his future music plans. He does not want to do music for his own sake, for money, or for fame. Adam wants to use his music to make a difference and he doesn’t want to promote himself just to try to gain more fans.

Adam said that this is the first time he has listened to live music without focusing on whether or not the singer hit the right notes or if the right part was played. He went to the performance totally open to listen with his heart. I can’t tell you how many times Adam gave me this look of, “Are you serious? Is he reading my mind? This is crazy!” Matthew also had his daughter, Lulu, there with him. Like us, he has two little girls, so that’s just another reason Adam feels he can relate to him. During the interview portion of the show, Matthew was asked if it was hard to be on the road when his girls were so young. Matthew stated that he struggled with it a lot and wondered if it was really God’s will to pursue his ministry while leaving his family at home. He said that God has provided ways for things to work out, and now they are able to home-school their girls so his family can be on the road with him when he goes on tour. This is one of those times when Adam looked at me with eyes that said, “Wow, this guy is totally like who I want to be! What is God trying to tell me?!” Adam has talked often, recently, about wondering if God would want him to be away from the girls and our family to pursue music.

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After this amazing performance that will be airing at some point on The Message (Keep an ear out, those of you who have SiriusXM!), we all got to do a little meet-and-greet with Matthew and he signed free CD’s!! Adam is still processing everything that happened in that hour-and-a-half on a Tuesday afternoon! God was definitely speaking and we’ll be keeping everyone updated on the next steps!

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Please check out Matthew West’s music! He’s bringing truth and hope to people in a real way! Artists like him should be supported! I know that he has at least two new devoted fans in Tennessee!

Merry Christmas and see you back at A Dreamer’s Wife in 2013!  I’ll leave all you dreamers with the lyrics to Matthew West’s song, Do Something!

Verse 1:
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around

So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty

Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”

He said, “I did, I created you”

Chorus:
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

Verse 2:
I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”

Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

Chorus:
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something (yes, it is)
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

Bridge:
We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won’t stand still (x3)

Chorus:
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

It’s time for us to do something (x2)

Read more: http://artists.letssingit.com/matthew-west-lyrics-do-something-mdw36nq#ixzz2FhDtRCYs
LetsSingIt – Your favorite Music Community

Making an Impact

2 Jun

Lately, I’ve been paying attention to successful artists who seem to have the same goal that Adam is pursuing.  One artist who I’ve listened to since his first single, “Stay Gone,” came out awhile back, Jimmy Wayne, has many positive and meaningful songs.  I have been rocking out to his latest CD in the car for the past several months.  He has a great voice and some catchy melodies.  Jimmy has also used his fame to bring attention to a good cause.  Last year, he walked across the country to bring awareness to foster children who are aging out of the system.  Jimmy was in the foster care system himself when he was younger.  I think it is amazing to see someone sacrifice and give back like that!  Check out http://meetmehalfway.jimmywayne.com to read more about his story and his project.

An artist who recently caught my attention, when I was reading an article about this month’s local celebrity parent in June’s Nashville Parent magazine, is Matthew West.  He is a Christian artist who is married with two daughters.  I checked out his latest album, The Story of Your Life, on iTunes and all the songs were written about the life experiences that he read about in over 15,000 letters.  I sampled a few and was very impressed.  It’s refreshing to hear acknowledgment of real pain and difficulties, as well as hope.  His website is www.matthewwest.com.

Update:  Adam survived his first two full days with the girls – all went well!  I also survived my first couple days in the office.  It’s always a little interesting when you come back to work to find that you have double the responsibility, but I’ve worked in the field of social work long enough to know how to go with the flow… Thankful for the job!