Marked 4 Life Introduction

M4LEarlier this year, the band, Marked 4 Life asked if I would record them. Normally, I would say “no” to these types of requests due to the fact that I’m pretty over-committed as it is, but I made an exception since I’ve known most of the band members for a decade and most of them are still in High School, yet they’ve been together as a band for over 5 years I believe. They are also very important to my home church, TCC as they serve as the youth band, and do occasional gigs for the kids. Work and Soundwave have consumed most of my time over the past couple of months so I’m just now finishing up one of the three songs we recorded and I figured I would share it with you. This is the pre-master version, and won’t be downloadable, but the EP will hopefully be available sometime this year.

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I did want to let you know I’m running a little behind on Podcast 68, but my goal is to have it posted by mid-June. I’ve got everything tracked and have begun editing so I may have it done sooner – stay tuned!

Podcast Sixty-seven

You may not hear any familiar melodies as this podcast is mostly original. I’ve adopted a fairly new process to recording the podcast. Rather than attempting to record all 30+ minutes in one sitting, I’ve just sat at the piano and pressed “record” as the Holy Spirit has led throughout the past quarter. It has been working out okay so far. It also gives me an opportunity to select the best recordings out of many, and there was a really bad 15 minutes of recording I was happy not to have included in this podcast. You may notice that it may have a slightly different sound than previous podcasts. I’m still perfecting the audio recording and mixing aspect of the podcast even after almost 5 years. I pray this podcast encourages you to spend some quality time with our Maker.

A quick update – Yoko’s sister, Eiko is doing so well now that the hospice where she was sent to spend her remaining time here on earth is preparing to discharge her since her condition has improved so dramatically. This is truly an inspiring testimony in development! Our God is an Awesome God! Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

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Miraculous update on the prayer request

Our prayers have had a tremendous impact! While Yoko was in Okinawa visiting her sister, God opened up a perfect opportunity for her to share the love of Jesus with her sister, and Eiko agreed to pray with her and received Jesus into her heart! That which seemed impossible God made possible!

I had also asked for prayer that God would put in Eiko’s path believers. Before Yoko arrived in Okinawa, she was transferred to a hospice founded by a Christian, filled with Christians, prayer rooms, live worship, and New Testament Bibles! Out of all the places she could end up, this is truly a miracle.

One more update – Eiko’s health appears to be improving! In fact, she has improved so much that the staff at the hospice have encouraged her and her family to get a second opinion. She is also out of the wheelchair and is getting around more on her own. Still no official word yet on the cancer, but I believe God has fully healed her from this terminal disease! My prayer now is that she will fully recognize God’s Hand in all of this and give Him all the Glory – please pray with me, also that the Holy Spirit would give her boldness in her new faith.

We hear these sort of stories on occasion, but something this close to home just leaves me in awe of God’s Wondrous Mercy and Grace! Please continue to pray for her and her family as I believe through this the door will be opened for the rest of Yoko’s family to know Jesus! I post this with much love for you all and can’t thank you enough for your prayers as they have had a miraculous impact.

Our God is an Awesome God!

A quick MTPB update – Podcast 67 has been recorded and I’m in the process of editing. My goal is to get it posted this weekend or next so please stay tuned.

Porta Fidei – Soundwave – DCYC 2013 Theme Song

The band site, www.soundwave.cc is still down for maintenance, but we wanted to get Porta Fidei, the theme song we recorded for DCYC 2013 available to everyone. We’ve worked tirelessly in the studio to get this recorded in time for the event and want to present it as our gift to everyone who is a part of this ministry that has done so much to impact the lives of youth in the Austin area for Jesus Christ! We hope you enjoy the song.

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You can also play it in the browser here:

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If none of the ways above work, try this:

Porta Fidei

 

Huge prayer request – please pray now and often for…

Yoko’s oldest sister, Eiko was recently diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. It has already spread to her brain and liver and the doctors are giving her 2 months to live. She has 3 siblings ranging from 20 years old to 9 years old. She is only 48 years old, and has played a very special role in Yoko’s life as she’s mailed stuff and communicated more than anybody else in her family except for her mom. She is scheduled for radiation therapy on Monday. She does not know Jesus, and Yoko is planning to fly to Okinawa soon.

When I found out, I immediately started to pray that God would put in her path people who know the Truth, and God has already answered that prayer. Within days, Yoko’s mom told her that a parent whose child attended the same private school her daughter went to asked Eiko point-blank if she believed in Jesus and Eiko did not know what to say. Yoko’s mom made it sound like an awkward encounter, and the fact she said “believe” instead of “know” is a little odd, but the fact that Eiko felt it important enough to communicate this encounter to her mom, and for her mom to communicate it to Yoko means something. I do believe this was a direct answer to my prayer considering that only around 1% of Japanese know and believe in Jesus as their Savior – truly a miracle!

It will take many more miracles for Eiko to believe in Jesus, but with God,  ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! Please pray that Eiko’s heart would continue to be softened, that she would be open and curious about the Truth, and that she will begin to seek out the Truth! Also pray that God through the Holy Spirit would prepare Yoko for this unbelievably important encounter – that God would give her a courage and boldness she’s never experienced before. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give Yoko the right words in order to speak the Truth in love in a way that Eiko will hear, understand, and receive.

Also, please pray for healing. I truly believe through healing God could open the doors for Yoko’s entire family to come to Christ. The doctor stated it would take “a miracle” for her to make it through this stage of cancer. We know our God is more than capable of miracles.

I thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart for praying with me – Eiko means so much to Yoko, and even more to our Loving, Heavenly Father.

2013 Goals for Music to Pray By and more

It is often times difficult to find balance in life is it not? This year has been the most challenging yet, and I feel as though I have grown closer to God more than ever! He has been so faithful! I am so excited about 2013. The goals I hope to reach next year seem impossible, but with God, ALL things are possible. (Matt. 9:26) Here they are in no particular order:

Start and finish the next Soundwave album – We will start recording our next album after DCYC in January. Jeremy has enough songs written and so far what I’ve heard has been amazing. I am truly excited about God’s plans for us!

Retake the new CCIE Security Version 4 lab exam – In order to avoid taking the written exam again, I will need to attempt the lab exam by November 14th. For those who don’t know, I attempted version 3 of the lab last month and did not pass. The new version has a huge amount of new technology so I have hundreds of hours of preparation to undertake before November.

Finish the Music To Pray By Album – This is a difficult one since we plan to release the Soundwave album early 2014, a large amount of my spare time will be dedicated to Soundwave in the studio.

Post quarterly Music To Pray By podcasts – I believe part of the reason it has been difficult to be consistent in the podcasts is I’ve had unrealistic goals. A podcast every 3 months should be an attainable goal. This means podcast 67 should be posted in February.

Remain faithful to the Worship Team, the Ministry Leadership Team, and our small group at The Connection Church – This has become almost second nature, but does require time and is a very important goal. Our church has continued to grow and reach the lost for Christ and it is truly exciting and inspiring to be a part of it!

With my “day job” of IT consulting absorbing around 50 hours of my week, there are two remaining parts of my life that I know have to take priority over everything. My time with God and my time with my family. 2013 will truly be a great year, but I believe above all, seeking first His Kingdom (Matt. 6:33) and trusting in The LORD with all of my heart (Proverbs 3:5-6) is my true goal as I try to find a balance.

One more thing – I made a minor change to Podcast 66 about 4 days after it was posted to bring down the midrange a little since it was a bit much so if you’d like the update, just unsubscribe, delete the old podcast 66, resubscribe, and you should be prompted to download it again.

Podcast Sixty-six

I think this might end up being my favorite podcast to date. What God has brought me through over the past 7 months is expressed in this music since even today I fail to grasp the words to properly convey what God has done in me.

Even the technical part of getting this recorded was met with enormous opposition. I had hoped to post this on Wednesday, but two completely separate devices in my studio  failed – one of them is still dead. Praise the LORD it is finally done as I silently hope my computer doesn’t crash before I  click “Publish”.  🙂 The two familiar songs I used go way back. The titles are “Holy, Holy, Holy LORD”, and “I Love You LORD”. I also wrote song with the primary lyrics being, “I stay my mind on You God”. I hope to someday make it into a full blown song with verses and a bridge, but I’m not really a lyricist, nor was Moses a speaker so we’ll see where it goes. I pray this podcast blesses you as much as it has blessed me and thank you for your patience. I’ll post an update within the next couple of weeks regarding some of my future plans for this ministry and life in general though His Kingdom will I seek first.

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Quick update…

Our God is Faithful! This year has truly been life-changing for me, and I question whether I would have made it through without your prayers. I’m a little over 2 weeks away from my exam, and though I’m about 20-24 hours behind my study schedule, I have peace. I’ve already begun the editing process of Podcast 66 so it will hopefully be posted within weeks after my exam. My next consulting venture is a two-month long project in Houston so please continue to keep me in your prayers. For Jesus!

The invisible war wages on!

It is difficult to get into the details of what has happened to me over the past 3 months, but I feel it is important to share this with you. Mid-April was a huge turning point in my life. I had just left my job at AT&T to become a consultant with a much smaller company, the Soundwave tour was in full swing with weekly practices and concerts, there was my commitment to The Connection Church ministry leadership and worship teams, and Yoko and the kids were getting ready to leave for Okinawa without me for 3 weeks. On top of all of this, the enemy took huge advantage of a very weak point when I was under for a dental surgery. I literally thought I was dying and it was as though every Truth about our existence in God’s Word ceased to exist and my entire foundation was shaken to the core. I was flooded with more doubt and depression than I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I began to spend every spare moment I could find listening to God’s Word in the car, praying, reading the Bible, but the “near-death experience” had me convinced EVERYTHING was meaningless. It was so crushing that it took me 3 days just to recognize it as a spiritual attack. When I did, the enemy no longer tried to hide the evidence of the attack, which increased exponentially with fear added to the mix – unexplainable fear. I immediately began to call and text family and friends to pray. That night, I sought after God and relied on The Holy Spirit more than ever.

Over the past few months, there have been victories, but there have also been struggles with depression, doubt, and fear like never before. A split-second thought followed by wave after wave of spine-chilling goosebumps, sometimes occurring over and over for hours! Throughout most of my life, the enemy has used my flesh with sinful desires and bad habits, occasional doubt, etc., but this was different. It was truly a non-stop war on my mind. I have never had thoughts enter my mind that made my soul cringe like this – thoughts I don’t have the words to describe, and the enemy would trick me into pondering these thoughts to the point of spiraling into deep, dark depression that would last for days. Over time, God began to bring into greater light the spiritual war that was going on. Truth in the scriptures like 2 Corinthians 10:5, prayer, family (especially my bro David), and the same Power that raised Christ from the dead gave me renewed hope and peace. Our God is so faithful!

I truly believe that God is doing some GREAT things through this ministry and the enemy is not happy about it. Prayer IS the way we wage this invisible war by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and this fact has never been more real to me. A few days ago when I posted on Facebook asking for prayer, it had been another very rough few days dealing with a weight of depression that had no explanation whatsoever. I could literally feel the depression lift as you guys prayed for me.

I hope this encourages you to pray continually. Pray for the state of our nation. Pray for those affected by the Colorado shooting. Pray for the unsaved in your churches. Pray for your pastors, your family! …and if you have time, I am eternally grateful for any prayers lifted up on my behalf. Satan is a formidable enemy, but GREATER is He that is in me than he that is in the world!!! – 1 John 4:4

A long overdue update…

So much has happened since my last blog post almost 2 months ago! Soundwave has played at over 8 concerts/events across the state of Texas as part of “The Start” tour.  Please check out our new album here if you haven’t already. Our drummer got married this past weekend. Of course, Soundwave played, which made us seriously think about doing wedding gigs for a living. 🙂 We have our first out-of-state concert in Kansas in a couple of weeks. It’s gonna be off the chain!

Things have been full throttle at The Connection Church. We are now serving for 3 services on Sunday, and ministry is happening! Rene is doing an amazing job leading worship, and Cole has been delivering powerful, applicable messages with passion 3 times every Sunday. It is truly an honor to be a part of that ministry, and if you live in the Austin area and don’t have a home church, I promise you it will be worth your time to come check it out!

Yoko and my two precious children went to Okinawa, Japan to visit her side of the family. They have been gone for a week and a half with a little over a week to go. I miss them so much. Please keep them in your prayers.

I also made the decision to leave AT&T after 8 years and accepted an opportunity at Accudata Systems as a Senior Consultant. It’s been almost 3 weeks now and I have to say that I love it and can’t wait to see what God has in store for me in this role. Adjusting to this new world has been a welcomed challenge. I also committed 10 hours a week to AT&T temporarily to help in the transition so I’ve had no time to devote to the MTPB album. Thankfully, this is only for a season.

One last thing – some of you may remember when I put everything on pause to focus on obtaining my CCIE. Well, I’ve decided to go for a second CCIE in Security. This time the plan is to spread it over a year in order to have more of a balance between family, ministry, and work. I am still planning to have the MTPB album out in Q1 of 2013. Please keep me in your prayers as I go through this very challenging time.

Podcast Sixty-five

In this podcast, I used songs Soundwave prepared for DCYC – they are “Strong Enough to Save”, “Your Name High”, “Forever Reign”, “Always”, “Your Great Name”, and “Our God”.  I think this is probably the first podcast ever to be original-free, although, it does contain some originality. Those who like consistently quite and peaceful podcasts may not enjoy this one as much since I get a bit loud in some parts. It may be a few months before the next podcast is posted, but I’ll try to make it softer. I thank all of you who continue to use this ministry to enhance your prayer time. I’m blown away at the number of downloads that happen on a daily basis.

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Podcast update and Soundwave video…

It has been too long since the last podcast. For this I apologize. Podcast 65 is almost ready to track. My goal is to have it posted by the end of the week. I’ve also scheduled a week off from work this month to spend time on the album. I haven’t made much traction on either front the past few months, but I do believe one day there will be much more time to devote to this ministry. Great things are coming – I will trust in You oh LORD!

Soundwave had the CD release concert last month, and some friends of the band put together a really nice “official” video of one of my favorite songs. Here it is:

DCYC 2012 (Mass of Communion)

DCYC 2012 was the best yet. Over 2,200 young people came out to sing and worship with Soundwave and it was an awesome time of ministry. Jeremy talked about some new arrangements of songs used in the Catholic mass by Matt Maher and mentioned the music and charts would be posted on my website so you can download them here:

 Mass of Communion Download

I’m not catholic, but I have grown to deeply respect the catholic church especially after attending events like DCYC and being a part of the lives of some of my best friends in Soundwave who are devout catholics. Like Jesus said in Matthew 7:16, …”You will know them by their fruit…” Here’s one of my favorite songs from Mass of Communion:

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We had a great time the past few days and we’re even more excited about the CD Release Concert on February 4th, 7:00 PM at The First Assembly of God Church of Lockhart off 183 before you get into Lockhart. If you’re in the area, please come and check us out. It’s going to be awesome!

“The Start” tour is here!

I cannot believe it has been almost 2 months since I last posted any updates. For that I am sorry, but there is good reason. Now that Soundwave’s new album, “The Start” is about to be released, we have been intensely preparing for what God has in store for this ministry. Since my last podcast, we’ve done a weekend-long camp for some little ones, we’ve had a number of practices, and I’ve spent many many hours preparing some new technologies that should help us in a major way when playing live. We’ve also done four in-home pre-release concerts the past 2 weeks. Here’s a song from one of them requested by the host called “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan:

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This weekend is DCYC, an event we’ve been a part of the past 2 years, and it continues to grow. So far, there are over 2,100 young people signed up to attend, and we are stoked! After this, I’m headed off to Canada for a week (work related), and the weekend I get back is our CD release concert in Lockhart.

Soundwave has a few more concerts in February and March, but I hope to record and post another podcast between now and the end of March. I actually recorded a podcast in December, but had technical problems again. I’ve also started work on the “Music to Pray By” album, and I’m torn between putting time and effort into that project and posting podcasts.  Sometimes it’s difficult to find a balance.

With all that said, I am truly blown away at the number of downloads MTPB has had even without new podcasts. The site has just recently hit over 500,000 downloads with an average of over 1,400 downloads a day now. To those who continue to use this resource to enhance your prayer time – thank you. These numbers are truly inspiring to me.

Podcast Sixty-four

What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! I won’t bore you with all the details, but the end result is I finally have a new podcast. You’d think after 3 years of doing this I’d have it down but I don’t. This podcast required a massive amount of editing, but I think it turned out okay. I did find some ways to improve the audio over the previous podcasts. The only issue is there’s too big of a dynamic range so had to go a little overboard on the compression and limiting.

I wish I could commit to doing these more frequently, but with work at AT&T consuming more and more of my time, family, Soundwave, and {hopefully} a Music To Pray By album by early 2013, I’m going to keep it at once a Month for now. God bless all y’all who are listening, and please keep me and my family in your prayers.

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Podcast 64 is coming soon…

I had to work overtime to get it done, but after listening to the recorded tracks, I’ve noticed distortion throughout the podcast. I was determined to get this out tonight / this morning as you can see by the timestamp of this post, but I’m out of time and I really need to re-record the audio so I will get it done tonight after work. Thanks for your patience, prayers, and understanding.

Podcast update and Soundwave’s new album “The Start” preview

The past few weeks have been a bit chaotic for a number of reasons so instead of further neglecting the family and forcing out a podcast today, I decided to take it easy and hang out with the wife and kids. I’ve already got the next podcast recorded and a very small part of it edited so I should have enough time throughout next week to get it posted next Sunday.

However, the new Soundwave album, “The Start” is finished and I have the master. We’re just waiting on album art so we can send everything off for print. The official release date is set for February 4th, but I believe we’ll have the album available for purchase at the beginning of the year. Below is a 5 minute preview of the album, which really doesn’t do it justice – I basically took out parts of what are currently my five favorite songs:

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While you listen, here are a few things I’d like to share about the album:

– Soundwave started recording this album almost a year and a half ago
– It was tracked, edited, produced, and mixed from start to finish in my studio
– There was no “outside influence” on any part of it. Every part came out of the hearts and minds of the band and a few very close friends of the band
– I consider this one of the greatest musical achievements I’ve been a part of to date
– I know I speak for the whole band when I say to God be the Glory, and we pray the words and the music contained in this album open up the hearts and minds of all who listen to the wonderful salvation of Jesus Christ!

Podcast Sixty-three

I finished mixing the Soundwave album last week so I’m back at it – thanks for your patience. This podcast, I only used “Hosannah” for a brief period. The rest is original – some from previous podcasts and some that’s fresh and new. An interesting stat about this podcast is it’s the first to be exactly 30 minutes long! I admit, I stretched the end out a little, but it was already pretty close. I added a bit more gain both at the pre amp and in software using a little more compression and gain on the limiter to try to even out the level a bit. There is quite a bit more dynamics in this podcast compared to the previous two or three. This time, I wanted to keep the dynamics as original as possible, especially during the soft parts, and I didn’t change the level on some of the louder midi notes like I have in the past. I think it turned out better this way. I’m sure I’ll get better at holding back more as I record so please bear with me as I continue learn and grow in this ministry.

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The new website has officially launched!

It’s actually been up for a while now so most of you have probably already noticed. There were quite a few issues when it was deployed by the developers almost a month ago, but they are all fixed! The site is now available in over 50 languages which is also a huge improvement. This ministry reaches believers all over the world! Alex Anze is testament of that, and he has been a huge blessing to this ministry. Not only did he design the new album art as mentioned in this post, but he’s also responsible for this website. Below is the original graphic design he provided for the developers to use in building it. They did an outstanding job translating the graphic into what you see now and I’m truly thankful all this has come together. God is good! Feel free to comment on the design if you like. In the meantime, Podcast 63 is in the works and should be posted this Sunday evening.

Is the Texas drought ending? Is prayer a factor?

Over the past few months, people throughout Texas have been praying for rain. We have had the worst drought in my lifetime this year. I took the family to Burnett for a “Day out with Thomas” and on the way saw some amazing damage this drought has caused. Here are some images:

These are very small examples of some of the damage. There have been hundreds of fires all over Texas, and as a result of this horrible drought, there has been a surge of prayer at church, schools, rallies, and in homes all across Texas for rain. There was the prayer event in Houston inspired by the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, and now I believe we are truly witnessing an answer to prayer. The Bible has many examples of God’s people praying for rain and it’s very clear in Zechariah 10:1 Who sends rain. We’ve had modest amounts of rain over the past month but are in desperate need for more and theres some promising chances of rain in the forecast so please pray with me for Texas – that God sends thunder clouds full of rain! Thank You LORD for Your Grace!