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. 


It’s a cold Saturday morning and I’m glad to be home!  Traveling is grand but there’s no place I’d rather be than here.  The dogs are a handful but our joy, the house is small but we absolutely love it.   We are blessed!

Patty and I still marvel at the second chance we’ve been given in our marriage.  To come through divorce and re-marry each other and realize the weight of each others loss only to recover it is no less than miraculous.   Though we are more diligent to work on it, vigilant to protect it, grateful to have it; we know only too well how much opposition there is to marriage. And that it requires ultimate surrender to God to maintain.  
Though she is my life and I love no one more, she is completely God’s first!  I can’t control or dictate what she does or thinks to my own liking.  I also don’t want to!   The beautiful thing is how her devotion to God only strengthens her desire and resolve to be a great wife to me and not because I ask her to be.  
We know and pray for many marriages in the grip of heartache and death.  We’ve come from death to life again in our own so we know it’s possible.  There are two things I know from our own experience.  One is, though we do all we can to save it-God alone holds it together.  Two, He won’t force His way on either one of us.  His best is there for having but comes at a cost and begins with our own death.  
The miracle you may need can’t happen till all the old dies first.  A counselor said that to us early on in our descent to divorce and I felt like punching him.  Turns out he was totally right.  Our will, our plans, our desires, our pasts, our issues, our sin; have to go in the ground and be buried properly for new life to come.  We won’t feel like we did always, we won’t have what we want-when we want it always, we won’t have a perfect spouse, etc… etc… But we can always count on there being a struggle and battle for marriage!  Most fail because they refuse to fight fairly and communicate through it.
If you wish to hold on to and honor the vow you made “to never let go and leave the other,” first there needs to be a laying to rest the false picture and reality that it’s supposed to look and feel a certain way for it to be God’s best.  If you’re in it, it’s God’s best.  Any tempting to believe it’s better elsewhere is a lie.  I can’t make you trust in truth nor convince you of what is truth, you have to decide first to believe what God calls truth or not.  If you have chosen to accept His word as truth then my encouragement is to call the lie a lie.  You are not better of somewhere else, alone, or with another.  You will be your best if you allow God to restore what is destroyed.
To help pick up the pieces and move forward I want to also challenge you to do something:
 One-even if you’re sick of the other, learn to pray together.  Bring your deadness, numbness, pain, hurt, anger, etc. to God with complete honesty and candor.  He is Big enough to deal with it.  
Two, realize you can only control You so focus on You and not your mate.  The problem is always half Your responsibility and the solution can only come if you’re working on you and not trying to mend the other first.  
Three, get help if you need it.  Let a trusted and proven advocate of God’s truth and way speak into it.  Don’t stop after one or two counseling appointments fail, they’re a bit like medication-you have to try more than one sometimes to find the right cocktail.  Christians are just as, and sometimes more than, clumsy as anyone else.  They say funky things, betray confidences, make mistakes, take sides, gossip, etc.; welcome to humanity- keep trying anyway!!  You need the strength of others to help carry you.
Last,  though time is not the healer itself, it does facilitate the process.  Takes years to get into our messes and time to get out.  So far I’ve never experienced a magic wand type of healing.  Thankfully God is merciful and works over time as a skilled surgeon to cure the inner problems.   We can fully believe that we’ll never get over something that’s happened or been done to us.  But over time He really can change what a heart believes.  That’s the miracle we lived and experienced.  A bit of advice; watch your words to yourselves and each other in the process, their power is strong and can add years to the recovery.  
Let Your own idea of the ideal marriage go and start the miraculous adventure and journey of surrender.  It works and it’s worth it! 

Don Moen Europe/Africa Tour Dates

Nov. 27 – Leave home for UK

Nov. 28 – London, England

Nov. 29 – Tilburg, Netherlands 

Nov. 30 –Netherlands 

Dec. 1 – London

Dec. 2 – London

Dec. 3 – Lagos, Nigeria

Dec. 4 – Lagos

Dec. 5 – South Africa

Dec. 6 – South Africa

Dec. 7 & 8 – South Africa

Dec. 9 –  Accra, Ghana

Dec. 10 & 11 –  Accra, Ghana

Dec. 12 & 13 – Accra, Ghana

Dec. 14 –  Headed Home!

Dec. 15 – Arrive at BNA!

Marriage: Worth Fighting For!

When we are asleep we are most vulnerable to carefully laid strategies of a very real opponent.   A good marriage, which by God’s design is the best example of His love for Humanity, is a prime target for a patient enemy.   And there’s no such thing as a fair fight with him, the only way we overcome and defeat him is God’s way, period!

In my lifetime I’ve heard enough sermons to fill an ocean and know enough religious jargon to write a dictionary.  All my knowledge and experience did not make me impervious to a plan that gradually killed my marriage.  The greatest miracle I’ve seen however is the resurrection of my marriage even after we were divorced!   We’re living proof of what God can do with dead stuff.

On the front side of a love relationship it all looks good and we are in a true sense, “blinded by the light” a bit.  It’s awesome for sure but the feelings most of us make lifelong commitments by are fleeting and deceiving.  I can make no sweeping statements regarding other’s marriages but for my own, it has been very high and very low too!  Nothing has tried and hurt me more and no other relationship holds the mirror up to me as vividly, where I see the core of my own shortcomings.  What a good marriage will do is illuminate everything that lies within, good and bad alike!  

My wife and I now find ourselves warring, not only for our own marriage but scores of others who are at deaths door as we once were.   That’s certainly not to say we’ve been there done it and have it all figured out now.  We are much more protective, work harder to communicate and listen well, but still have to practice putting some tools we’ve learned to use in order to get through any impasses and over walls we build over time.   We do love each other more and are more committed than ever to doing life and love God’s way because we know first hand it works no other way.

When friends tell me of their deepest darkest hours I can relate much more than I’d care to admit.   I may have never signed on for marriage had I known what I would really encounter.  I remember one counselor saying to me, “you’re in Gethsemane and there’s nothing anyone can say or do to absolve of you of that experience.”  Christ went through it alone and there’s a certain amount of the experience we endure alone, doesn’t mean God has forsaken us though!  There was a time my instinct was to blame God.  I do know this, He’s never ever left me but has allowed me nonetheless to go through hell and back.

Marriage is always worth the fight and you do have to learn to fight for it.  You also have to learn to fight healthily as a couple.  We come into a marriage with a tractor-trailer full of issues and behaviors that we’ve spent our lives with.  We develop survival skills and they are ingrained in our being and guess what-the rest of your married life will be a journey of unpacking that crap and getting beyond an individual, self serving lifestyle.  You are two not one any longer and while you can be selfish and do ultimately whatever the heck you want to, it will not lead you to a whole and holy marriage.  It may well lead you back to alone!

If you have found yourself in a marriage you never imagined you’d be in, welcome!  You are now in the very marriage God would have you be in, there’s no other Best Case scenario for you.  He wants it to work and be healthy and knows what it will take to get you both there.  Though there are times when one of the party opts out as you can’t control another’s choice, you can always do your part-your best!   That’s where the miracle starts.   Healing is not a magic pill or a single visit to the counselor’s office.  It is a process and you can trust God’s process unlike any other!  The one thing you have to do that no other can do for you is Choose.  Resign yourself to surrender your own rights and wants and choose to stay in the fire just as you would stay in the bliss. 

It would require a book to tell you our whole story but suffice it to say, part of my problem was a serious inability to deal with my own pain coupled with a very real propensity for depression, which made me a self focused human being in order to survive.  So running from pain vs. dealing with it was my way and God let me run till I hit the wall and gave up.  It cost me a lot and I’ve had to painstakingly go back through the muck and mire in my life to relearn how to survive without leaving my wife alone to deal with life.  

You have your own stuff, your own way of dealing or NOT, and you have your own opportunity to flesh it out within your marriage.  If you learn to do it now rather than later you’ll lose less in the process and get to greener grass sooner.  If you neglect, ignore, run, quit, etc. then you’ll carry that caboose right into your next relationship!  It never disappears or just goes away; the crap will always hit the fan, trust me.

There are many great resources and people that can help but God alone can prescribe what you need and you have to be willing to deal with Him first then you’re marriage!   Coming from one who’s dealt with God a long time, there’s no greater grace, strength, mercy, kindness, and friendship anywhere to be found than in Christ alone! 

Marriage: yes it’s worth fighting for!


Revive South Africa

December 26, 2009 – January 10, 2010

We are taking 25 of our Revive staff to Magaliesburg, South Africa to serve as staff for a YFC camp led by our dear friend- Rolf Weichardt.  800 kids are coming from all over South Africa- from very diverse and challenged regions.   Many of them live lives that are hard for me as an American to even begin to understand, dealing with AIDS, poverty, war, and much more as a normal part of their world.  Though we’ll lead in worship, train, and teach the primary role will be to get to know and love these kids and help them understand Who God is and what He has made them to do in life!  
This is also a great opportunity for our extremely gifted and talented staff to be missional and grow as leaders.   Revive! is about reaching youth and young people with the truth we know will change the course of their lives and helping them mature as Christians in order to fulfill the calling of Jesus to GO into all the world.   These young leaders already understand missions as a way of life in their own back yards and around the Globe.  We are greatly inspired by them and feel honored they’d follow us across the planet to serve!  
Please pray with us as we take on this trip and lead the team.  Each of these college age staffers are raising their funds just as we are so it’s a big step for all!