I'm not changing... But my website is. Please stop by there and check out the new design for www.matthewest.com
I'm not changing... But my website is. Please stop by there and check out the new design for www.matthewest.com
My pastor read a statistic in church that I wanted to pass along to you today. The average person speaks between 25,000 and 50,000 words every single day. Every day! At the end of a week, that would end up being about a novel’s worth of words. What if someone was typing down every word you said today, and you could read them back to yourself? Would you find words that you’re proud of? Words spoken out of anger? Words you would take back if you could?
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (James 1:18-20)”
This week, lets be aware of how easy it is to go through the motions with our words. Think before you speak, and ask God to help you choose your 25,000 words wisely!
no, never... well, ok maybe a little too busy to blog these last few days. Sorry to the 3 of you who put their day on pause until a new MW blog appears... As if.
I have been reading all of the new posts daily at our Motions online community, and some posts have really moved me. But one has stuck out, and remained in my thoughts recently. It's the story of Ryan Mcafee, an 18 yr. old kid from Oklahoma who tragically lost his life in a car accident. Not long before that accident, Ryan had posted the lyrics to "the Motions" on his Facebook page, saying he wanted to live his life with a passion for God that the song talks about. "The Motions” was played at Ryan's funeral, and I was told that so many people were so moved by Ryan's life and love for God, that 15 people made a new commitment to Christ right there at his memorial. Here Is Ryan's story from his older brother, Lance. -mw
Where do I begin? How about our God is an awesome God! Why? Well there are an infinite amount of reasons, but let me tell you a story about one of them. It’s a story about my brother, Ryan Allen McAfee. My brother lived his life based on a couple of well-known statements, Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30) and Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 21:31). You see, there was nobody too low or too high that my brother didn’t love or become friends with. Everyone loved Ryan, I never heard a bad word uttered about him, nor did I ever hear him say anything bad about anyone else. Ryan lived like Christ, and was an awesome example of what a Christian in today’s society should look like. Ryan obeyed the Word of Almighty God, he wasn’t perfect, but he strived to be. Even in his last days, he felt the conviction of wanting to do more for Christ, he told of his dreams and how he wanted to change the entertainment industry by letting Christ use him in the films he wanted to make. My brother never cursed, drank, or smoked - he wanted to live in a way that would be honoring to God, his body was a temple.
On Friday, February 27th he wrote the chorus to the song “The Motions” by Matthew West on his Facebook wall:
I don't want to go through the motions
I don't want to go one more day
Without your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't want to spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions
Apparently he was telling his friends to keep him accountable to make sure he was living how he was supposed to live. He always wanted to do more, always pushing to serve. A day and a half later on the morning of Monday, March 2nd - he passed away. He did not get the chance to live his earthly dreams; however he did realize his ultimate dream. He is now with the Lord, he died as a sacrifice, and that is the way he lived his life.
I say that because of what transpired after his passing. At the funeral there were approximately 2,000-2,500 people in attendance, and during it we played Matthew’s song the “The Motions” and the crowd was in awe. Now previously to Ryan’s death I had never heard the song, but when I heard it, I told my mother we had to put it in the funeral; that action was totally God inspired.
Needless to say, God is amazing! At Ryan’s funeral, 15-20 people were saved! Can you imagine? God does indeed work in mysterious ways, it was perfect. If Ryan could have known that even just one person would be touched by the Lord by himself dying, he would have done it in a heartbeat. God has been escalated things ever since then, a news crew has done a story about Ryan, Matthew told his story on KLOVE*, and other amazing things have happened. Little did he know that the world would hear about Christ through his passing. God’s will is certainly being done.
I miss Ryan, but I know he would not want to come back, he is seeing amazing things, and God is still using him here, I'm proud to be called his brother. I look up to him, as I always have; this is just a small story of why God is awesome!
Just remember that God will use you if you are willing; people are watching. When you are gone what will people say? Will they say that you lived a good life or that you gave Christ everything you had? I ask myself this question everyday. Let us show people love, let us give our all to Christ, and let us not go through the Motions!
**Listen to Matthew and Lance's conversation on KLOVE in the myspace player.
Good little weekend on the road. Feels like I was only gone for like 48 hours. Oh wait, I was only gone for 48 hours. Played a conference in Birmingham for 4000 women. That was crazy. They introduced me 10 minutes before our set time, and I totally wasn't ready. So, they were like "Matthew West," and I was nowhere to be found. nice. But the show went well.
Got about 4 hours of sleep, and then we caught the first flight out to Tampa for a concert at Busch Gardens with Sara Groves, Brandon Heath, and Steven Curtis Chapman. It was a hot one! Man, it was so hot outside. The only thing that cooled us off a bit was a ride on the craziest roller coaster called, "Sheikra???" It was unreal. I highly recommend it if you are at Busch Gardens.
We flew out tonight, just beat a storm that was coming into Tampa. Good to be home. Tomorrow, me and the girl are hitting the road. Off to the beach for a few days...
That's all for now, I hope wherever you are, whatever you're doing, your heart is full of love, and your eyes are filled with optimism. Where'd that come from? Either way, have a good night.
Flight To Health
During my recovery from vocal surgery, I sat with a Christian Counselor and friend, Al Andrews. He gave some great insight that you heard on the documentary, but also in person. My time with him was good for the soul. We talked a lot about how people tend to handle tragedy in life. We talked about how tragedy is often associated with death, but that “tragedy” is extended to any loss of innocence and perfection in our lives. My vocal surgery was a tragedy in my own life; a season where my life was less than put together.
My friend told me about a term called, “Flight to health.” I guess this is a counselor’s term used to describe a patient’s common way of coping with tragedy. There is a tendency for a person to convince themselves they are back to “good” before fully allowing the heart to grieve, or receive all that the tragedy might be wanting to show a person about life.
During the 3rd segment of the film, my life was beginning that “flight to health.” But my conversation with Al, was never far from my mind. I had just come through this incredibly intense time of brokenness, and seeking God. But now that my surgery was behind me, and the doctors were telling me I could slowly get my life back to normal, I kept feeling myself wanting to jump right into a sprint. Photo shoot, recording studio, I couldn’t wait for everything to be back to normal. I had to keep reminding myself not to fly to health too soon, both physically and spiritually.
When I was silent for two months, I felt like God was waking me up every morning long before the sun, sometimes 4 or 4:30 am. I was so tuned in during those broken times, that I would wake from even the deepest sleep, retreat to my music room, and spend time with the Lord. But as life began to speed back up, those precious mornings alone with God were less and less frequent.
I have learned the importance of spending time with God, and putting him first not just when I my life is in crisis, but also when everything is getting better. We must not fool ourselves into thinking our strength is enough to make it through the day, even if it sometimes feels like that.
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek His face always. (Psalm 105:4)”
Thank you Christopher Cross for that appropriate song reference... Just got back to Nashville yesterday afternoon. Returned home from the Music Boat 2009. What is the Music Boat 2009, you might ask? Well, it's the Music Boat after Music Boat 2008... Ok, not funny. It's a Christian Music Cruise packed out with about 2000 people, and a bunch of artists like myself, Mercyme, TobyMac, Hawk Nelson, 33 Miles, Jars of Clay, and the list goes on... We spent 4 days on the boat, stopped in Coco Cay and the Bahamas. And all along the way, we all did concerts for the people. It was good times. I was accompanied by my band, my parents, and a princess named, Lulu. Mom stayed home with our newborn, and Lulu came out with Daddy. That was fun! Here's a couple shots from our show on the pool deck on the last day. It was stinking hot, but I chose to wear jeans anyway... what was I thinking. I should have worn shorts, and then jumped into the pool right after the show... Maybe that's what I'll do on the Music Boat 2010...
A Season of Silence
I think I was less afraid before my surgery than I was in the weeks that followed. Before the surgery, I think I just kept telling myself that I was going to be fine, that my voice was going to recover. It was after the surgery, that the surgery itself became more real, if that makes any sense. I didn’t feel good at all. Couldn’t eat anything. Felt like a truck had just driven through my throat… I was groggy from the medicine, and with that feeling comes a sort of depression. I was depressed. I looked at my calendar, suddenly wiped clear because I couldn’t tour without a voice. I couldn’t talk to my daughter. Couldn’t talk to my wife. I was handed a dry erase board and a marker as my only means of communication. Like I said, depressing…
I remember after one show a while back, a woman came up to me and told me about her battle with severe depression. She said, many days, it was next to impossible just to get out of bed. Have you ever been there? Are you there right now? Have your seemingly impossible circumstances made it impossible for you to see any light at the end of the tunnel?
Here are a few questions I found myself asking during my 2 months of silence, and the answers I felt like God gave me through scripture. These really helped me face depression, my fear, and the uncertainty of tomorrow.
What if I’ve lost my voice for good?
“Be Still and know that I’m God. (Psalm 39:10)
What if I lose my record deal? Music is all I know how to do.
“We have not been given a spirit of fear but of power of love and of a sound mind.”
Why is this happening to me? I can’t take the weight of this trial.
“Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28”
What if I can’t provide for my family?
“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)
I have to admit, I'm pretty excited that today my album is featured on amazonmp3.com's "Daily Deal." Which means that people can buy it today, as a digital download, for only $1.99.
So if you don't own Something to Say yet, or if you know people who don't but should, today is the day to remedy that. Because it'll only be $1.99 through the end of the day ... tomorrow $1.99 will only buy two songs ... you get the idea ...
This week we just released the first of four segments of my documentary, “Nothing To Say,” that we have released on Tangle.com. For those of you who are following along with the documentary, I thought I’d write a weekly blog to give you a greater insight into what I was experiencing during that particular time in my life, what God was teaching me through my trial, and maybe encourage you to see Him at work in your life right now as well.
Some of you may have already seen bits and pieces of the film, or maybe you’ve seen the music video for “The Motions,” that also has footage from the film. Either way here’s the short version of what the film is about. When I found out I was going to have surgery on my vocal chords, I was devastated. Being a singer, that’s the last news you ever want to receive. The thought crossed my mind, maybe I’ve sung my last song. In the days before my surgery, I was battling several different emotions, and trying to hand all of my worry and fear over to God was proving to be a great challenge. But as I began to write in my journal, I felt like God was telling me that He was still going to use my voice, even in silence. And this is where the idea came from to turn on a camera and film this season of silence.
Little by little, my heart began to wrap its arms around the notion that God was at work in this, and He was going to use this difficult time in my life to encourage somebody else during theirs. You see the footage of my checking in for surgery, and my parents and family all came into town to be there for support. My father prayed for me before surgery and we quoted Phillipians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.”
It’s like this, sometimes the worst case scenario becomes reality. Sometimes, you really do have to have surgery. Sometimes, your loved one really does die. Sometimes, your child really does fall into drug addiction and leaves home. Sometimes, your parents really do divorce. And when you find your life staring a worst case scenario in the eye, you find comfort in words like “I can do all things through Christ.” You remember that his strength is greater than your strength, but only when your own strength is gone can you realize that.
When your strength is gone, read Phil 4:12-13, and remember where true strength comes from.