Headed Home!

This tour has been quite the adventure and is almost over.  We begin the trek home tomorrow from Oman, via Dubai-Atlanta-Home!  We’ve met some wonderful people in India, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Oman and again realize how blessed we are to do what we get to do.  What we take for granted on many levels is out of the ? for so many in the world.  It sure opens the eyes to God’s view of the world He loves and how important a role we play as His hands and feet on Earth.   Thanks for all the prayers!

Chennai-Dubai-Sri Lanka-Shillong

Been quite a road the past few weeks.  Our full band finally arrived by the Dubai concert after much hassle and confusion with visas, etc.  It turned out to be one of the best concerts and events in general.  A King of one of the 7 Emirates States died the day we arrived and the gov’t cancelled most all events but for some reason let ours go on.  We had real favor there which is a miracle itself.  It’s is an unbelievable place, not like anywhere I’ve been.  They tout having the biggest and best of everything and I guess they do, lot’s of $$$.  We went up the worlds tallest bld. the Burj Kalifa, Tom Cruise was filming that day for Mission Impossible 4.  The chopper was flying around the bld filming, we later heard Tom was swinging on the outside of it doing his own stunts.

We went on from Dubai to Sri Lanka and had a warm welcome including some great Tea.  The people have only lived in freedom from war for one year now, this was a first of a kind worship event there.  Went out one night for some Sri Lankan Curry which they say is hotter than most-it was!-and very good.  After a few days there we began a 12 hour trek to Shillong India via 3 flights (all chaotic) and a 4 hour bus ride up into the mountains.  It was one of the hardest days of travel ever for all of us!

We’re in Shillong now still.  The first day we had seminars, concert the next and today was the first of 3 days off which we all are excited about.  Most have gotten sick, I have a bit of a cold now too.  Leann was unable to come to India with us due to visa problems so she couldn’t come.  Just found out she’s sick and went home today instead of joining us in Mumbai in a few days.   Shillong has a rich heritage of faith, 80% are Christians.  Though it’s India it’s really another country almost, with more chinese and mongolian influence than Indian.  We not all that far from Nepal, China, and Bangladesh.  It’s also a Hindu holiday so there have been non stop fireworks to sleep to.  They were going off during the entire concert also.  There must be no restrictions whatsoever because everyone everywhere were involved, a wonder the town’s not on fire.

I’m ready to be home, it’s been a long trip.  We go to Mumbai the 10th, back to Dubai the 14th-most will go straight home to the US then but a few of us will go to Oman for 2 more days then home.  I’ve a feeling Mumbai will be an unforgettable experience from all I hear.  22 million people there.

OK, I’m sippin a tea by a fire in my room nursing a cold-more news soon.

Some live footage!

Bangalore:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ula0jkVBJX8&feature=related

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-TkFsh1mCc&feature=related

Dubai:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1FR-EmdeF4

Chennai

Chennai has been great, just very warm!   There were 12,000 people at the concert along with a myriad of flying insects and dragon flies big enough to cart you off to heaven.  We played for 2 and half hours and that was after departing from the hotel in Bangalore at 5:15am, flying to Chennai, 3 hour sound check due to problems and a few changes of clothes.  All of it worth it, the India people are very humble and sweet and have been very hospitable to us.

Tomorrow Rob, our bass player and Leann will arrive in Dubai and be with us the rest of the tour thankfully.  We’ve missed them for certain.  Don and I have been doing the Everly Brothers version of all his songs on vocals.  The band are a great crew and get along wonderfully well.

Trying to keep on an exercise routine, was amazed I didn’t fall of the tread mill after running a 1/2 hour.

It’s interesting the contrast of 5star hotels (for which we are very blessed and thankful to be staying in!) and the poverty right outside the gate.  I’m learning a lot I’ve never known about this culture and it’s diversity, some very educated and intelligent people here.  Met a new friend in a quaint little collectors shop, one of the oldest in India on the main street in Chennai (Madras.)  He’s a Dentist and was covering the shop for his father.  A Muslim and brilliant man, we had a long chat about the world, Indians, Americans, Music, etc.  I learned much from him I must say!

Today is a day off so I’m catching up and enjoying the down time.  Missing home and all the ones I love!

Tom

Day 2

Got to rest a bit today, ate some great food, wrote some, and even exercised!   Tomorrow starts a pretty non stop schedule, we have  a concert then fly out on Sunday for Chennai.  So far the weather is good, warm but not too humid and evenings are nice.  

Bangalore

We arrived safely in Bangalore!   We got off to a different start than anticipated and planned but it was a blessing, got to be home an extra night with my lovely wife and dogs.  So we flew through Paris instead of Dubai and hopped another long 9.5hr flight to Bangalore.  Got in at 1am and didn’t leave the airport until 3: as half of our bags including all the equipment didn’t make it on the flight from Paris.  So we’re here and diving into seminars in just a few, the concert is tomorrow night.  The people are incredibly sweet and have welcomed us warmly.  More news soon.

Tom

Passion and Greatness

Passion And Greatness 
Article by:  Tom Lane
Passion and greatness are inspiring and people are drawn to both.   As a ship is steered by a rudder, we are certainly steered by passion.    “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (Matt. 6:21) Greatness isn’t an absolute and is relative to the standard of measure we use.   There are some artists that have achieved greatness and undoubtedly a very focused passion is what in part led them there.  What I call great you could easily regard as NOT so great.   So who’s standard do we rely on and esteem most?  If I tallied up a few artists I think are great now versus when I was younger the list would look very different.  Most I would still love and may even use the word great in conjunction with their names.  But over time what stands out are the few who’ve truly laid down their own greatness in order to be used for God’s glory.  Because the glory road is a harder road to Go and requires sacrifices that go completely against the grain of creative people.   However, Glory shines bright through the one fueled by a passion that is bridled and fully surrendered to God.
In the early days of Rock, music was by no means technically, sonically, or musically perfect.  Guitars were out of tune, tempo drifted like the wind, vocals weren’t auto tuned to perfection, no beat detective, no cutting and pasting, etc.  Yet the passion and raw expression was unquestionable and has proven for some to be timeless.   In an age where technology rules and is more accessible than ever before, one thing is still true- you need the passion!  Without it you don’t really have much.  You have to create and capture the essence of something great for it to really become great.
There was a time when record labels took years to develop their artists and their music.  It wasn’t as easy as just sticking any and every one that could play or sing in front of people.  Long before artists were seen they were heard.   All the greats started somewhere and spent time honing and defining their passion into what we now know them to be, It wasn’t overnight and cost them something.  With worship music now being a genre and career choice, there’s much more opportunity and possibility of foregoing proper development.  For the world, development is more about the music/image/market worthiness.  For Christians, it is more about the heart, so to follow the worlds example is not our way.  The criteria to be an artist, whatever title we wrap around it-even Worship Artist, should be about the quality or fruit of a ministry/life first.
In my mind there are two roads creative people can run down.  You can “go your own way” as Fleetwood Mac put it, or to put it as Elvis sang it, “I did it my way!”  or you can do it God’s way.  Many misguided christians have mistakenly attributed their success and fame to God, adding His name to their ministries and businesses as if that alone legitimizes whatever they do.  What’s wrong with that is; what God has asked and requires of us, is in many ways backwards and in direct opposition to our own passion.  Doesn’t mean He hasn’t given us the passion in our hearts; but the fullness is not attained by going our own way, doing our own thing, and being whatever/whoever we want or dream.  It’s best summed up this way, “Seek Ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added  unto you.”  (Matt. 6:33) It’s the righteousness part we misunderstand or glide over if we’re not careful.  We are not called to fame or riches, though we may have them and God does allow them.  We are called to a priesthood and a lifestyle of holiness.
Not many bands set out to be priests.  Many have a history of some kind in the church but don’t seem able to maintain an obvious and dedicated passion, to bring glory to God. At some point usually it becomes about their glory whether intended or not.  Wanna be clear that I am not picking on one side or the other, we are all human.  Christians love, idolize, promote, exploit, and crucify their heroes just the same!  Read the history books.   What I am suggesting is that many whom God gifted and called have missed the road entirely though musically they are greatly revered.
The beauty of art and music is, no one rule covers or applies to all creativity.  It is a free gift from the Creator Who simply asks that we freely give it back to Him from our hearts.   There is a lot of freedom involved!   At some point, because we have free will we have to choose whose glory we are going to invest in and pursue.  For a band or artist to set their aim on being known or discovered can be a distraction and become an all engulfing pursuit.  The more you chase and pursue, the more you become responsible for and feel you have to maintain.  That pressure alone has driven many way off course from where they started.  I’m not talking about the pursuit of a passion in the sense that you do all you can to create and improve.  Striving for excellence is good; believing you have to be on a platform to really impact is not!   By all means make your music as great as you can make it, focus and be diligent to steward the talent you have.  But don’t let the talent lure you away from the calling of God on your life.  It is not the end but a means to express devotion and love to and for God.  God is passionate about people and their souls.  The goal is always the same for Him, to seek and save the lost, commune with his people, and receive our lives as acts of worship.  
So if you are trying to find your vibe, your sound, your image, your look here’s what I pray.  Be creative, be yourself, be diligent; but above all know, understand, and commit to being who you’re called to be first.  And be able to articulate what that is!   Don’t wait for others to tell you what you need to say and do in order to succeed and fill the role of Christian Artist, get it for yourself.  God is not silent and is still speaking.  When you’re on the stage it needs to be about more than just your music.  Doesn’t mean it all has to be “worship” music or “Christian” music either, just don’t be nebulous or naive about the calling!
Passion is a gift, greatness is a noble and worthy pursuit, but glory makes the difference!   Aspire to live a passionate revolution centered around God’s kingdom and glory.  Live sacrificially, serve the world, walk humbly with Him and trust him to thrust and propel you into spheres of influence and platforms as He sees fit.