I finally have had a chance to sit down and reflect...And, there is no better time than this, to write my first blog and make it about my first, national tour experience. 
 
Every time the phone rings I can guarantee that it's someone I know, getting ready to ask, "How's the tour going?" in their most excited voice. I have to be careful when I respond though, to not crush anyone's genuine excitement for me or misrepresent the truth. So, I respond with my most positive tone, "It's better than expected and yet more challenging than I could've ever anticipated." This usually leaves people dazed and confused. 

With the first quarter of the tour behind me, I am so thankful for the opportunity to the people in Phoenix, Amarillo, as well as other cities to be "Automatic". It's very exciting to see the twitter feed and to see people being blessed by my music. I'm so excited for my next project! I literally think I might have two features a song! I am also excited about the connections I've made
and the alliances I've created that will last a lifetime.
 
However, I believe that it was through my challenges that I've actually experienced the most fulfillment. For those who don't know, I was approached with this opportunity to open up for the Move Tour, but that opportunity cost a significant amount of money. Money, I didn't have! But then God has moved the heart's of people to believe in the grace that He has placed on my life and that was nothing short of humbling. Not long after being approached, I was off to new cities where I hoped to be greeted as a brother in the Lord, but I very quickly realized that Christ like behavior is powerfully suppressed with the desire to be entertained and hear the next best thing. So,the mental anguish and questioning began which few artists are prepared to handle, though my mentor did a good job trying to prepare me. Often I experienced questions like: Will they like me? Am I
good enough? Should I even be doing this? just to give a few. At some points I longed to be in my wife's arms and to see my boys look at me as if I was the coolest person on earth. After experiencing a couple of broken promises and hearing the green room stories from the "Headliners", I quickly realized that just because the genre is called "Christian Music", Christ-like behavior is sometimes seldom seen.
 
My young industry friends and I talk long and hard about the state of the industry. We spend a lot of time analyzing what's wrong with the industry and what direction it's heading in.  Of course, just like any good Christian boy would, I tell myself and my other young industry friends that, "I would never do that." I vow to never become a slave to the art of music. I vow to make sure that Christ is always clearly seen in my music. I vow to never allow myself to be aligned with individuals, even professed Christians, who do not exhibit the character of Christ. I vow to never let success and fame change me. However, one of my worst fears is knowing that sinful desires deeply seated in my heart are waiting to call my bluff on all those wonderful vows I so confidently professed. 
 
Looking back on the first leg of tour life I realize I absolutely don't have a shot without Christ. I'm sure when people see"shot" they immediately think that means having a shot at success but that's not it all. I don't have a shot of making it out of this industry without being torn to pieces, compromising all of my values, and embarrassing my faith and family unless Christ is strong in me.  I don't care what I sell or don't I just want to be found faithfully exalting Christ and encouraging God's people to place their hope and devotion in Him. (I say this with the utmost humility and knowledge that every time I minister, these convictions will be challenged and sometimes I may buckle under pressure.)

I heard a message on the way back from Columbia, South Carolina where I sold a whopping 2 cds (good enough to pay for two meals at Chic-Fil-A). Lol!!! The message arrived at a place where the speaker said that for the people who are the closest to God they've almost all said that there were long periods in their lives where God seemed totally absent. The preacher said that at these times where God seemed unresponsive that their motives, dreams and love for Christ were purified. Embarrassed I ask myself, "Why am I doing this? For them or for Him? The song says,  "What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy..." So, I thank God for reminding me that this industry can't satisfy me! I also thank God because as he purifies me, my motives and desires He becomes clearer, His touch more warm and He becomes altogether sweeter as the days go by! Stay tuned for my blog on the second half of the tour and if you feel led sow into what God is doing in me, if not I love you!

 Grace and Peace