Posts in Uncategorized
You Are What You Eat: Three Artists that Changed My Life

“You are what you eat”. This is so very true. What you put in determines what you become. There’s probably a great sermon segue in here somewhere but I’m going take it a different direction for a bit. I want to pay homage to 3 artists from my past whose music was seismic in changing the course of the art I was to create. It’s been said none of us creates ex-nihilo” (out of nothing) and in every way that is true of me. I am so much a product of some very key people and moments that destroyed and then rebuilt what I thought creative expression could be, and be for. Gustav Holst: More Than Words I played tuba in junior high band (pray for me). One day our conductor had us listen to a record by English composer Gustav Holtz (1874-1934). That record was The Planets, an orchestral work that attempted to capture the character each planet is said to represent. For instance, Mars is known as the “war planet”, Mercury is “the winged messenger”, etc. Even Pluto got some musical love from Holst. Perhaps I was too young to have encountered something like this before, or, more likely, I had never been forced to thoughtfully consider a piece of music, but whatever the case I was floored. To think: wordless art telling stories, describing abstract ideas like old age or magic! It opened me up to a new vocabulary, one that didn’t require adjectives or pronouns, just notes. It was my first step to my own musical expression, which wouldn’t yet come for a few more years.

Phil Ochs: More Than Entertainment In high school I took a humanities course that proved invaluable to me. Any course that wasn’t algebra proved invaluable to me but this one more so. It was the first class that wet my appetite for philosophy that I would later study in college. One part of our curriculum included the study of civil disobedience. We looked at MLK and Ghandi. One day in class Mr. C.K. pressed play on a Phil Ochs CD. FYI: A CD is a little round piece of plastic that at one time people used to buy to support artists they liked…but I’m not bitter. : ) Anyway, the song I heard was “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends”, a political commentary on the apathy of American culture toward injustices. Phil sang of real world cases like the New York murder of one Kitty Genovese.

Oh, look outside the window, there’s a woman being grabbed/ They dragged her to the bushes and now she’s being stabbed/ Maybe we should call the cops and try to sop the pain/ But Monopoly is so much fun I’d hate to blow the game/ And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends/

All I had known my whole life was old soul music and George Strait tunes: Pleasant, fun songs that were at best anecdotal, sometimes thoughtful but very seldom intending to say something. It was another level of complexity added to what I thought music could be. It was this that lit under me a fire to “preach” as it were, in my songs. You may have noticed by now that I am no Chris Tomlin. My music is not often corporate sing-alongs (which the Church needs to be sure). Most of what I do is either introspection or teaching. The latter I attribute to my first inspiration, Mr. Ochs.

Lauryn Hill: More than Polished Lauryn Hill doesn’t know this, but she taught me that I can be me. Just me without any pomp or façade. One day I hope to tell her that, but until then, here’s hoping she reads unpopular blog posts by under-the-radar Christian singer/songwriters. For Christmas one year my college roommate bought me Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged album. The year before he bought my Finding Nemo which either reveals the complexity of my palette or the bizarre-ness of my friend. For years afterward I listened to that CD almost exclusively, besides an occasional interjection of Shane & Shane or Nichole Nordeman. Man O Man! Hill’s record was so good. Why? Because it was utterly naked. Her, a guitar and one other instrumentalist singing these run-on songs that felt more like rhyming college lectures on the Old Testament or personal journal entries than songs, and what’s more, her voice was totally hoarse! Now, this might sound like the makings of a terrible performance but on the contrary, these elements only added to the charm of it all. She was completely herself, she said what she wanted to say with little regard for the fact that MTV might not be down with the gospel, and she sang her songs with a wonderful rasp that only enforced the sincerity of her lyric. She literally starts sobbing at the end of the record as she sings about the “conquering Lion” breaking every chain. Man O man. I think I need to wrap this blog up so I can go listen to the CD again. This record empowered me to be me on stage and off, not what someone wants me to be. It’s true, I might be further along in my career if I’d just adjust what I do here and there, but I love how well I sleep at night knowing what I am striving to make is art that sounds and feels like me. I have much gratitude for Lauryn Hill who gave me the confidence to do what I do, how I do it.

How about you? What artists have inspired and shaped who you are? You can comment on my site under this blog or post on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/jimmyneedham

What's at Stake: A Look at the Same-Sex Marriage Question

I’ve hesitated for a number of months now of speaking out on this issue.  Perhaps it’s because there are so many diverse opinions on it, even among conservative evangelicals.  Who am I to presume I have the best one?  Perhaps it’s because it is more comfortable to wax poetic on theological maxims in the blogosphere than it is to actually address contemporary moral issues.  Maybe it’s simply that I’ve been scared to have anyone mislabel me a bigot.  But by now I’ve read enough of the life of Dietrich Bonheoffer to know, “not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act.”  In light of that, allow me to speak for a bit on the new hot topic of our time, same-sex marriage. Intentions

My goal in this blog is not to prescribe a particular “war strategy” among my readership.  There are many thoughts as to how to practically affect change in our nation, ranging from legislation and lobbying to complete removal from the political sector.  Each side makes compelling arguments and I for one am not yet settled on either entirely.  Suffice it to say that one strategy that should never be forsaken in this culture war is prayer, for, “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16).

I would rather like to talk about what’s at stake in the embracing of same sex marriage as a constitutional sanction.  As many of you know (hopefully), there are two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court right now that demand rulings regarding the legal legitimacy of same-sex marriage.  Until recently, I hadn’t really thought much of it.  It seemed to me that not much would change about our country should the courts rule in favor of the plaintiffs.  After all, same-sex marriage is already legally legitimate in a number of states and I’m still doing fine.  Sure, I wasn’t happy about it, but it really has no direct impact on my day to day.  Turns out, I was very wrong.  That’s why I’m writing this, so that we as the Church can speak thoughtfully with our friends and neighbors about this very important topic, and so we can prepare ourselves for what waits over the horizon.  There are in fact things at stake in this matter, and I will be arguing them from three positions:  Theological, social, and legal.

The Purposes of Marriage:  Why Same-Sex Marriage Won’t Work Theologically

If you thought same-sex marriage can’t coalesce with the Christian message simply because homosexuality is a sin, you’d be only partially right.  Despite the theological dance that is being done from religious liberals, we know from Scripture that homosexuality is denounced as a sin.  However, what we fail to consider is the inconsistencies that come when an unbiblical union collides with a biblical institution.

Several months ago, I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Pastor Voddie Baucham.  In his sermon he laid out what he sees as the three purposes of marriages.  Namely, that marriage exists for multiplication (bearing children), sanctification (being made holy) and reflection (picturing to the world Jesus’ union with the Church).  The theological problem here is that none of the three fundamental purposes of marriage can be achieved by a same-sex couple.  The first is obvious why.  The final two deserve a word of explanation. As for sanctification, God uses our circumstances and our spouse to draw out of our sinful, selfish leanings and daily make us look more like Him.  However, if the very foundation of your union is itself not pleasing to God, then to be fully sanctified would mean to end the relationship, which is a logically absurdity.  The problem in this case is plain.  As for reflection, nothing to me is as dastardly as the undermining of this purpose.  Each married couple serves as a parable of the archetype: Jesus and His bride.  Any combination of as marriage partners besides one man and one woman serve as poor parables.  Whether we know it or not, when we enter into marriage, we are making statements about God and his gospel to future generations.  We must be careful about what those statements are.

 

Taking the Sticky out of the Glue:  The Social Ramifications

As with everything God does, there is deep purpose to the existence of biblically defined marriage.  The marriage union is vital for the stability of culture.  As one pastor put it, “God has created three institutions, marriage (and family), the Church, and the government, and the latter two hinge on the former.”  In truth, this God given institution acts as the glue for an otherwise chaotic society.  Study after study only confirms this.  Children in loving homes of one mother and one father are statistically less likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol, commit suicide, go to prison, live below the poverty line, get pregnant out of wedlock, etc.  To tamper with the understanding of marriage is to remove the stickiness from society’s glue.

 

What Looms Ahead:  The Legal Ramifications

What looms ahead of us?  An assault on religious liberty, that’s what.  Believe it or not, we are on the precipice of a nationwide governmental intrusion into our freedom of religion.  Practically speaking, this final point should open eyes more than anything previous.  Consider what has already happened in states where same-sex marriage has been legalized.  In his article in Decision Magazine, Al Mohler points out, “In Massachusetts, the legalization of same-sex marriage meant the end of the adoption ministry of the largest faith-based agency there…Given its refusal to recognize same-sex couples as candidates for adoption, the agency was forced by law to end its respected adoption ministry.”  In California it is now illegal for a licensed professional counselor to counsel a minor away from same-sex attraction.  Things like these are beginning to happen around the country, but these are just birth pangs.  Imagine what would happen to our ability to practice our faith freely if on a national level our government rules against one of Christianity’s longest held institutions.  What might happen to our religious universities?  Our churches?  What will be the consequence if a church parishioner refuses to perform a wedding of a gay congregant?  Will sermons speaking against homosexual behavior become a hate crime?  We can only speculate.  This much is certain, what was once far away is now very near and we must know that things might never be the same for people of faith.

 

God, Give Us Strength

 I’m not saying our government owes us the luxury of religious freedom.  In many ways I’m surprised we’ve had it this long.  The Spirit opposes the flesh and the flesh the Spirit.  We cannot expect that a secular institution will always uphold our viewpoints.  I thank God that for so many years it has.  However, as our culture takes yet another large leap away from the gospel, I want to encourage all of us who love Jesus to bear this well.  Many societies around the world for most of history have resisted the gospel and persecuted God’s people.  Perhaps it’s our time now to bear up under the coming heat.  I want to challenge you, brother, sister, to be faithful to God’s Word.  May we, the Church, resist the urge to co-opt un-truths in pursuit of comfort.  May we be vigilant in prayer for our nation and each other.  And may we always be marked by kindness and compassion to the gay community, even as we stand firm on the ground of the gospel so that though “they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12)

 

 

CLEAR THE STAGE TOUR: Calling All Fans!

By now, many of you have gotten or heard my new album Clear the Stage. Many of you have also taken time to write me on Facebook, twitter and spoken to me at concerts to share how you’ve been challenged and encouraged through these songs, and in particular, the title track. By the way, if you haven’t heard the song, here’s a link to the lyric video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6smGew7dGto

What you might not know is that this coming Spring I will be doing my first headline tour called, you guessed it, the CLEAR THE STAGE TOUR.

The songs on this record tell the Truth, but songs can only go so far. For seven years, I’ve dreamt of being able to go even deeper.  create a concert experience like nothing I've ever done before.  And now, it’s finally here.

God is after so much more than our sing-alongs and token prayers. He wants are appetite, our desire, our all. This is the heartbeat of our tour. Not only is the message of the night so vital, but the mission is as well. We are partnering with our friends at the Mocha Club to help liberate women in the poverty stricken nation of Ethiopia from a life of prostitution. Currently in Ethiopia, one in nine women sell their bodies every night just to make ends meet. They are without hope or dignity. We want to change that number in Jesus' name, and we know that as we fight for these girls, we will all be changed in the process.  To do this I’m bringing with me my friends, nationally renown speaker Tony Nolan and worship leader Jeff Johnson. These are men with heart, passion and talent. I’m so glad to have them on the team.

WE NEED YOUR HELP Why am I sharing all this with you?   I’m writing because I want your help. I want to get this event into as many venues around the country as possible but I can’t do it alone. That’s where you come in.  If you’ve been impacted by what God has done through these songs in your own life and want to share that experience with others, you can have a hand in getting us to play in your city! Here’s how:

• Talk to some folks in authority at your church, or a local promoter at a nearby theatre, or a promotions director on your college campus (maybe an on-campus organization like a Christian fraternity/sorority). • Tell them about the event, share with them the lyric video “Clear the Stage” to help them understand more about the tour. • Have them, or yourself, send an email to Elite Talent Agency booking@ETA-Live.com or call them at (615) 983-6600 to get details about the event. NO COMMITMENT NECESSARY. This is just to see what costs will be, etc.  They respond quickly, promise! • We will do our best to work with most budgets so don’t be scared to reach out! • Do it soon as we are filling up our tour calendar now!

It's that simple.  One thing I always loved about my fans is that they may be few but they’re passionate! I believe in you guys and know you can help us take this show to people who really need it. I look forward to joining you in an effort to win back the hearts of a generation to King Jesus! Let’s prove together that worship is more than a song!

- Jimmy

UncategorizedJimmy Needham
Resting In The Lord: My August Sabbatical

“The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the LORD. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.”(Leviticus 25:1-5)

In August of 2005, I released my very first independent CD, “For Freedom”. This was the album that got the attention of Inpop Records only three month after it’s release, which ultimately led to my first ever record contract in February ’06. I was 19 when that first album dropped. Still in college with plans to be a history teacher. I’m writing today as a twenty six year old. In a week I will be a father of two. Six years of marriage to my best friend next month. And, this August will also mark seven years since “For Freedom” was released and my career began. So much has happened in these seven years, and I’m grateful for it all.

There is an often undervalued command of Scripture that we find in Leviticus 25. It is a passage on rest. Specifically, God commands that every seven years the people are to cease tilling the ground, gathering it’s fruits, sowing and reaping. “There shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land” (Lev. 25:5). The command served dual purposes. First and most practically, it allowed the ground a year of “recovery time” for it to replenish the nutrients that the soil had lost over the past six years. This rest actually made the soil even better than before so that the next six years could be fruitful and profitable.

The second purpose was not for the soil but for the people: “But in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath…to the LORD.” Every business owner knows, work equals provision. You put your hours of labor every day and yield a return that will provide for you and your employees as well as grow your company. Time off means regression, no production, no provision. This is a terrifying thing. Maybe that’s why so many Americans are work-a-holics. The Lord knows this about mankind, and He knows that what is best for man is not to rest in their own efforts, but to rest in Him. He is their provider and their ceasing from work is a tangible way for them to affirm that.

I wanted you to know all that so that I can inform you of something. This August, in honor of my seven years of laboring in the studio and on stage, and in keeping with the essence of the levitical command, I have decided to take a Sabbath rest. Not for a year, but for a month. From August 5th until September 5th I intend to one thing, rest. My goal is to take thirty days to press into the Lord and to invest in my family and friends. I am hoping this will yield two results: First, that just like the fallow soil replenishing its nutrients, my heart will grow a renewed fondness and desire for Jesus, that He would expand my appetite for Him and then satisfy that appetite. I’ve been going virtually non-stop for seven years and there is no question that on some level, my relationship with Him has suffered because of that. I look forward to hours of uninterrupted God-time to pray, read and enjoy being in His presence. The second outcome I am aiming for is to remind my heart that it is the Lord and not my labors which provide for me and my family. Despite misconceptions about my financial situation as a recording artist, if I’m not on the road, I’m not making money. Thirty days of no income is no fun, but I believe and am trusting that God will provide in the interim. The Lord says to the people, “The Sabbath of the land shall provide for you” (v. 6). It’s a funny statement. It’s like saying, “not providing will provide for you.” Our provision is not by works, but by God’s grace as we rest from our works! This beautiful passage is a shadow, an arrow of the future grace that was to be poured out on people when Jesus came to earth. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And that, not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Not by works so that no man may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9). My God “provides for His beloved even in their sleep” (Psalm 127:2)!

So, what can you do during this next month? Well, I would deeply appreciate your prayers. Pray that I would actively not waste my Sabbatical. Pray that I would work hard to rest. Pray for new vision from God about what these next 5-10 years hold for me and my family. Pray for new inspiration for songs when I come back. Pray for provision for us in these next months. You can also pray for my wife, Kelly. August 16th she will be giving birth to our second baby girl, Sophia Quinn. We are so excited and would greatly appreciate prayers for a smooth delivery and a healthy little girl.

I consider you all my family, which is why I want to inform you of all these things. We are all in this together, working and resting for one glorious purpose: that in all things we would make Jesus famous!

Good Luck Being Good

1. You shall have no other gods before me. 2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them

3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain

4. Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.

5. Honor your father and your mother

6. You shall not murder.

7. And you shall not commit adultery.

8. And you shall not steal.

9. And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.’

(Deuteronomy 5:7-21 Edited)

Israel was summoned to a meeting. Down from the mountain came Moses to speak to God’s people. What followed would become one of the most famous passages in all of Scripture. Churches, city centers, courthouses and classroom walls would all be emblazoned with these words millennia later. Folks would build whole cultures around them. Major motion pictures would be made about them. Men would lose status and reputation for upholding them. Others would lose their lives for ignoring them. These words have undergone such scrutiny, so many interpretations, applications and misuses that there is hardly anyone (at least, any westerner) without an opinion on what has come to be known as the Decalogue, or the 10 Commandments.

So the scene has been set. God issues 10 Commandments to His people to obey completely. Picture yourself standing at the mountain’s base for a minute. Fire and smoke swirl all around you. The Lord of glory’s majestic voice bellows through you as you hear Him speaking from heaven. What awe you must feel at His words! What terror! What can you say? What should you say? Well I’ll tell you what Israel said: “Yessir!”. Israel said to Moses, “Go near and hear all that the LORD our God will say, and speak to us all that the LORD our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.” (Deut. 5:27).

Now, maybe this promise doesn’t phase you. God said “obey” and the people said “done”. No big deal, right? The problem is, Israel wrote a check they simply couldn’t cash. Look at God’s words to them about their noble pledge.

“And the LORD heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:28-29)

You get the sense that the heart of God was touched at their promise, but ultimately the wisdom of God knew better. He said “O that they had such a heart”. What was God’s response to His people when the pledged allegiance to Him and promised to obey His commands? He said that they didn’t have the heart to do it. I believe that this phrase is one of the most important passages in all of Scripture. It’s important because it’s the exact same thing God says to us when we think that we can be good enough to meet His perfect standard. “O that they had such a heart”.

C.S. Lewis once said, “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good”. I don’t know about you, but I was raised with the understanding that the Commandments were the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Good people kept them. Bad people broke them. It was important, therefore, to do your best to obey. What I didn’t know was that the same Bible that told to obey also told me I lacked the ability to do so! The thing is, you don’t need to be taught this truth. Just go try to be good for one day. I mean, really good. How’d it go? Fact: We are all terrible at morality. Even when we get the external actions down, our heart’s internal motives are usually selfish and prideful the whole time. God demands goodness. Worse, God demands perfection, and all we do is sin. Is there any hope for us?

The answer is yes! But it isn’t found in more trying. Believe it or not, it’s found in open-heart surgery. Many centuries later, God spoke through the Prophet Ezekiel to the nation of Israel. Through the Prophet God gave His people insider information on how he intended to fix their sin problem. “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

The problem: God demands our obedience but our hearts won’t let us obey him because they are sinful. God’s solution: Give us a new heart. He removes that old stony heart that doesn’t care for Him and gives us one that beats for the things He loves. This was fulfilled after Jesus rose from the grave and sent His Spirit to live inside every believer. This is the great promise of the Old Testament fulfilled!

I pray this comes as a relief to those of us who have tried to be good enough for so long and have always failed. May we learn to cease trying in our own power and yield to the Spirit of God who gives us new desires and causes us to be obedient. Maybe you read this and think, “I have no idea what this means. I thought Christianity was about being good and moral.” May I say to you, there is only one way to be good, and it’s not by working harder. It’s by trusting in and treasuring the one who worked on your behalf, Jesus Christ. He achieved what we could not: Pleasing God perfectly. Give Him your sin and let Him give you His goodness. Then you will truly be free to obey all God has commanded you, for His glory and your good.

HOLIDAY SALE!
Greetings!

WOW...It's hard to believe that 2011 is almost gone. This has been a blessed year for Kelly and me, along with our new baby, LIVELY!

I know you have a crazy schedule, like everybody does, so I won't take up much of your time. I just wanted to let you know that our Holiday Sale is underway on all the Jimmy Needham items online. All shirts have been reduced to $6 - $8.00 each. All music is $9.99.  We have sweatshirts, pictures, pic cards, sheet music....anything and everything Jimmy Needham is now on sale.

Quantities are limited and so is the sale, so maybe think about doing some of your holiday shopping with us online.

Please click on the store link above for all the savings.  Prices online have already been reduced.  Thanks for your partnership with us and we hope you and your family have a blessed holiday season!

Jimmy Needham

 

Avril Lavigne, Invisible Rings & True Freedom

“All my life I’ve been good, but now, oh oh oh I figure, ‘What the hell?’” –Avril Lavigne I had the radio on the other day when the new Avril Lavigne single came on.  You’ll remember Avril as the 5 foot nothing punk/pop chick who dominated the early 2000’s with her single “Complicated”.  It seems things have gotten decidedly less complicated for the girl recently, at least according to her latest song, “What the Hell”.  In this very catchy number that had my attention right away, the chorus arrived as she sang, “All my life I’ve been good, but now, oh oh oh I figure ‘What the hell?’”  Touching.  However that line rubs you, one thing is true, it’s bigger than just a pop song.  It’s a statement on freedom.

Do you hear what she’s really saying?  Listen closely.  Here’s the ethic of the song in a nutshell:  Morality, law abiding, manner minding has its place, and I’ll obey for a while because it’s what I ought to do.  But when it really comes down to it, what I ought to do is never what I want to do.

In other words, the good we do is done out of a sense of duty at best, and at worst, a fear of punishment.  But never is it done out of desire.

The Lord of the Ring

This isn’t something new.  We’ve known this about ourselves for millennia.  There is an ancient Greek parable called “the ring of Gyges”.  The story was told of a shepherd named Gyges who discovers a ring that makes its wearer invisible (sound familiar?).  Gyges takes the ring and upon arriving at his king’s palace, slips on the ring, and, protected by invisibility seduces the queen, murders the king and takes control of the kingdom.  The point of the tale was that even the most moral man, when given proper protection from consequences, will defy his ethic and act selfishly and wickedly.

Opera House Thieves

Perhaps this is too pessimistic for you.  Maybe humans are better than that.  Of course, you haven’t found any magic rings lately either, have you?  However, that was precisely the case for a group of gift shop employees in the 1970’s.  Chicago Public Radio’s podcast of “This American Life” just did a segment on a group of volunteer workers at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C.  It seemed there were some major financial discrepancies in the books for the little gift shop below the performance hall.  More than 40% of the gross income was going missing every month.  That’s over $100,000 a year.  When they finally investigated the matter, they were shocked to find not just one criminal, but the entire volunteer staff as the guilty party.  You see, there were no real records being kept of the comings and goings of money and merchandise.  This meant there was no real way for a thief to be caught.  One by one retirees, war veterans, patrons of the Center, would slip on their invisible rings and take cash and goods right out of the store.  Maybe there’s more to this Gyges thing than we first thought.

But what if it didn’t have to be like that?  I mean, are we destined to always be kicking against the goads of the Law?  Must we always feel like muzzled animals, longing to cut loose from the restrictive bonds of ethics to live, well, like hell?

Open Heart Surgery

Thankfully there is hope, and as always, it’s found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  You see, Jesus didn’t come to earth to make mean people act nicer, or liars behave more honestly.  Christianity is NOT just behavior modification.  It is heart surgery.

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

The Prophet Ezekiel foretold how God had decided to handle Israel’s sin issue.  It wasn’t more laws or better disciplinary measures.  He knew the human heart would ultimately resist anything telling it what to do.  There was only one option left:  Remove the source of the problem and replace it with something better.  He gave his people a new heart.

The implications of this are massive.  Don’t miss this glorious truth!  It is one of the biggest distinctives of Christianity.  Jesus didn’t just save us.  He gave us His Spirit who now lives inside every believer.  This Holy Spirit gives us a whole new set of desires.  Seriously.  I’ve experienced this.  Before Christ I was a deeply committed pornography addict.  Then Jesus saved me in high school.  For the first time ever, and ever since, I distained my old habit.  I didn’t want it anymore.  I actually began to desire purity.  Now I am not only free from that addiction, but it was my glad choice to do so.

True Freedom

John Piper puts it this way:  “True freedom is doing what you want to do, when what you want to do is what you ought to do.”  You want to know what real freedom is?  It’s not the escape from morality, but the willing, joyful embrace of it.  It’s obeying because it’s a joy to obey.  But be advised, this kind of freedom is only possible through a heart transplant.  The good news is the surgery is free, and I hear the Surgeon is a pro.

“Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always…” Deuteronomy 5:29

“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Ezekiel 36:27

New Blog: My New Website!
Hey fam!  Wanted to update you briefly on the new site.  It’s…new.  I know, pretty cool.  Not just anybody can have a website you know.  It takes someone with credentials, someone with clout, someone with $5 a month to spend.
www.jimmyneedham.com
Yes the rumors are true.  We’ve updated my site, and there’s some neat things I want you to check out. For starters, you’ll find all my blogs, vlogs and clogs(just go with it) right there on the home page to check out.  There’s a place for comments so be sure to add your two cents.  Check my tour schedule to see if I’m coming your way soon.  You’ll also find new and cool info on my band and me by clicking on the “Band” tab.
All you girls need to check out “Kelly’s Page”.  My wife has some incredible insights on dating, marriage, relationships and walking with God that she posts on this link.  (P.S. our baby girl, Lively, is due in January.  Feel free to click the tab to see how you can help.)
Finally, I have a special gift for the FIRST 100 people to buy a shirt from the website.  We’re giving away a FREE 6 SONG E.P.!  I don’t sell this CD individually anywhere so I’m excited to be able to offer it to you with this deal.  It has exclusive, unreleased songs and acoustic performances of some of my favorites from my previous records.
So, please drop by.  Stay a while.  Be encouraged by the writings and links I’ve posted.  I hope you enjoy the new site!  Peace!
Jimmy
Denmark, Bonhoeffer and Telling the Truth

September 30, 2010 Denmark has been wonderful so far.  Our concerts have been well received and despite the language barrier, I think people are really understanding what I’m trying to share.  That’s really good news cause my Danish is absolutely horrible.  Really. Could be the most difficult language I’ve ever tried to speak.

Sprinkled into our week of concerts have been these “pseudo shows” that I do during the afternoon hours at Denmark boarding schools.  They feel more like speaking engagements than concerts.  Basically, for one hour the whole school (predominantly 14-18 year olds and teachers) come into the lecture hall and hear from a real American recording artist, a.k.a Yours Truly ; ).  Though the schools are Christian based, they are not deeply focused on the Gospel.  So many of these kids, most actually, are professing non-Christians.  Some of the teachers aren’t even believers themselves (which is kinda funny seeing as it’s a Christian school!).

So for the past 2 days I have gone and spoke/played for these students.  I understood that a gospel presentation would be in order so the first day I psyched myself up about my Danish mission field.  I spent time thinking, working, crafting the most compelling gospel presentation I could.  Something that would really connect with them.  Words that would stir their affections for God.  Analogies that would enlighten them and compel them toward the cross.  I thought and thought and then it was finally time to speak.  It bombed.

It could have been that these kids couldn’t have cared less that there was an American there to speak to them.  It certainly showed on their faces.  But I think ultimately I failed because I didn’t let the gospel be the gospel.  If only I would have heeded the wisdom of Bonhoeffer.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man who believed that Truth could stand on it’s own two legs.  A German preacher and teacher in the 1930’s and 40’s, Bonhoeffer had a powerful ministry to his people, being a lone voice of truth and sanity in an otherwise truth-less and ruthless Nazi controlled Germany.  To be sure though, Bonhoeffer’s “power” as a teacher of God’s word was not because of his charisma.  His sermons often felt much more like collegiate lectures than rousing gospel messages.  He spoke with clarity and authority, but he did not lean on the crutch of rhetoric to win his audiences.  He let the Truth of God’s Word do all the work.  He was a firm believer that a congregation ought not believe a message just because the speaker was clever in his emotional manipulation tactics.  It seems Dietrich Bonoeffer stood as judge over me yesterday as I spoke to those students.

This morning, I sat with God’s Word and let it do it’s convicting work on me.  It worked…real well.  Here is what I read:

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with loft speech or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

If the biggest stud in Christendom didn’t rely on cleverness of speech but the power of the Spirit to persuade his audiences, I would be a fool to not follow in his steps.  So, this afternoon I had a second chance to make things right.  I stood in front of another group of Danish high schoolers and shared the simple gospel.  It felt clumsy, but honest.  As best as I could, I let the Lord do the talking.  I don’t know what was done in the hearts of the students today in that room, but in my own heart I found peace knowing that, if any were to come to faith in Christ today, their faith would not “rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Thanks to my patient King who kindly corrects me every step of the way.  May I forever resolve to know nothing among people except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Grace Amazing

September 14, 2010 "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins...But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." Ephesians 2:1, 4-5

Before you start reading, I'd like for you to make a list.  With a pen and piece of paper, write at the top:  "Things Dead People Do." Take a minute to list out all the activities that can be accomplished by dead folks, and then let’s reconvene...

Good to see you back so quickly.  If your list was longer than 0, you might want to stop watching The Sixth Sense so much, because the truth is, dead people don't do ANYTHING.  It's in the very nature of being dead.  Beyond decomposing, the dead really do astoundingly little.  They don't read or write or think or pray or eat or drink or... you get the picture, right?

Now, do you suppose that the Apostle Paul might have been trying to tell us something when he wrote to the Ephesians that formerly they were "dead in your trespasses and sins?"  If you're Paul, and you could choose any word in the entire world to describe what it is like to be an unsaved soul, why choose the word "dead?"  I think it’s because he wants his readers to make that analogous leap and think through its implications.  Let me explain.

God gets the most glory when we get the least credit.  Remember the story of Gideon?  Gideon was about to lead the army of Israel into battle against the Midianites.  He had 32,000 soldiers at his disposal for the battle.  But God knew something about Israel's heart: "The Lord said to Gideon, 'The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful saying, 'My own power has delivered me''" (Judges 7:2).  God whittles Gideon's numbers down to a meager 300 men.  The story ends, consequently, with God giving victory to Israel in battle as they completely defeat the Midianites.  What is the point?  God looks that much more amazing, merciful and powerful when He gets full responsibility for the good things that happen to us.

If that be the case, I think we can all agree that the greatest good thing that has happened to us in our own life is our salvation:  God becoming man to die on a cross "to purchase for himself a people for His own possession" (Titus 2:14).  If ever there was an act of God that could make Him look ultimately glorious, it is the act of redemption.  And, true to form, God allows Himself the complete credit for it.  Remember that verse in Ephesians?  "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins...".  We were completely dead before Christ.  Spiritually speaking, we didn't even have 300 men.  We had zero.  We could no more save ourselves than a dead man could get out of his coffin on his own.

Here's the beauty of the story.  Just three verses later in chapter 2 Paul writes this:  "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)"  (Ephesians 2:4-5).  Even when we were dead Christ saved us!

In my song, "Grace Amazing," that is exactly what I'm singing about.  We will never truly appreciate what Jesus accomplished in our salvation until we realize how desperate our situation was.  Please take the time today to admire your Lord.  Let the implications of these truths land on you, and allow them to stir your heart's affection for the One who raised our dead souls to life!

A Lesson From Atheists

July 30, 2010 Everyone needs a super-villain. Traditionally among us evangelicals, atheists have tended to fit the bill. What better fall guys than the folks who don’t even acknowledge that there is a God! I know this is true because, if a preacher really wants to give a shocking conversion story from the pulpit, he might tell of an atheist he once knew that became a Christian. The ultimate non-Christian coming to Christ is always sure to wow a crowd. Yep, for all intensive purposes we Christians have come to think of the atheistic community is our nemesis; the Vader to our Skywalker, the Longshanks to our Braveheart, and for those who can appreciate the reference, the Skeletor to our He-Man.

But I got to thinking one day and realized something. Though we disagree on virtually all things spiritual, I have come to appreciate one particular aspect of their position: They have one.

What do I mean? Well, two months ago I found myself standing on top of Mount Carmel in the Middle East. Kelly and I took a 12 day tour of Israel together. So amazing. One of our first stops was at this very historic site. As a brief refresher, atop Mt. Carmel is where the famous God vs. Baal showdown happened in 1 Kings 18. The nation of Israel was acting ridiculous as usual. King Ahab had the whole Jewish nation worshipping idols like Baal and Asherah as well as worshipping the Lord. God’s prophet, Elijah, was sent to rebuke the king and his people. He told the king to summon the whole nation of Israel and all of their prophets. They were to build an altar of sacrifice to their god and Elijah was to build one to the Lord. Whoever’s God came down in fire and consumed the sacrifice, he was God. Before the showdown (of which God dominated) Elijah had just one thing to say to the nation of Israel. “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.”

Seems like the folks in Elijah’s day aren’t so different from our generation. I don’t know about you but I’m growing tired of a lot of the “limping about” I see running rampant in our Christian culture. Not many Christians have the guts to pick a team and stick with it. I wonder sometimes if God isn’t calling out from heaven, “How long will you go limping between two opinions?” I see it in myself sometimes as well. Our hearts have such a propensity toward the middle ground, toward serving God and our idols. We might not make little statues like old-school sinners did, but we’ve got our own gods, and their much more portable. Work, fame, money, school, family, our spouses, our stuff, food, friends, and my personal favorite, ourselves. Seems many of us limp between serving God and the world.

My brother was a “limping Christian” for a while. He had a salvation experience in early high school but like a hot shower when you’re already sweaty, it didn’t take. It was church on Sundays, jerk on Mondays. He was crude, crass and Christian. One day I sat him down at my house and said something a bit unorthodox. “David,” I said, “Could you do me a favor? Just one small favor for you older brother. Could you admit you hate Jesus?” He looked shocked. “If you could just do me that favor it would make my day.” “Why?” he asked, stunned. “Because if you’d finally admit that you hate Jesus then you won’t have to bother with faking it for one day a week just so you can sin all you want the other 6 days. It really works out good for everybody. You wouldn’t have to lie so much when you tell people you’re saved, and you won’t make God look so bad either. The downside is you’ll go to hell when you die but hey, at least you’ll have been honest.”

Silence.

His eyes grew wide. Then they began to fill with water. But they were not the tears of a kid with his feelings hurt. They were tears of repentance. For the first time in his life something clicked. He learned a simple truth that changed him forever: It is infinitely inconsistent for us to say we love the God of heaven, and live like hell. David picked a team that day. And can I tell you something? You have never seen a more deeply committed teenage believer in your life. For hours everyday he would sit with God’s Word in his bedroom and let it soak into his bones. He started treating my parents with respect. He began sharing the gospel with his friends, buying them Bibles and going through all the Old Testament Messianic passages with a highlighter to show them that Jesus was in fact the Christ. It was a beautiful transformation. No longer was he limping between two opinions. His soul was settled in the house of God.

So I got a question: Who in the end receives the harsher judgment? Which of the two do you suppose more deeply offends the heart of God? The committed atheist or the half-hearted, half-affectionate, half-loving pseudo Christian who could never make up their mind who they wanted to serve? I’m going to let that question echo out without answer. If you feel unsettled, it’s okay. Sometimes it’s good to be unsettled.

So this one goes out to all the Ahabs out there limping between two positions: Take a lesson from your atheist “enemies”. Pick a team. I pray you side with the one true God, Jesus Christ. There is no sweeter place I know than to be hidden with Christ in God. But even if you don’t, you might still be doing something a lot more God-honoring than what you’re doing now. (no hate-mail please. I don’t have time to read it. : p)

As a side, but deeply important note: If you’ve tended to think of atheists (or any group of people) as your enemy, or the “bad guys” or have looked to them as the scapegoat for your anger at the problems with the world, please stop! The real issue is not with them. It’s never been with them. Crack the good book and take a look at what Paul has to say about it. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). Our battle isn’t with people, it’s with the powers we can’t see. Please don’t let people be your super-villain. The only person that gets to be your super villain is yourself. I know, cause I’m my own worst enemy most of the time. Let’s love them with a Christ-like love, and pray that God would open their eyes, that they would escape the snare of the devil, being held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

(I would love for this blog to be a jumping off place for conversations and comments. Please feel free to comment any thoughts, questions, confessions etc. that you’d like. My only caution is to steer away from gossip or boasting or anything not life giving. Let’s honor God with our dialogue, folks.)

An inside look at 'Nightlights' from Jimmy Needham

July 14, 2010 How would you say your sound has progressed from previous releases into Nightlights?

I think the best way I can describe it is, As I've gotten older, so has my sound. This is the closest I've ever been to the way my music sounds in my head. I grew up on older, vibey music. Stuff like Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and James Taylor. It's only fitting that this record would have that flavor to it. In fact, in honor of James Taylor's music, I did a cover of "How Sweet It Is" on the album. I feel like I'm finally arriving at my own sound. It's taken some tweaking over the past 5 years, but I would hope that my fans would appreciate the maturation that has happened from the last two albums to Nightlights.

The concept of being nightlights when compared to Jesus is expressed in “The Reason I Sing,” and in the benediction at the end of the record. Could you elaborate on this idea?

I find that there is a big tension in the Christian Music community. On the one hand my mission from the stage is completely about the promotion of Jesus. On the other hand, if you come to my shows, you won't find Jesus in the spotlight, you'll find me. You won't find Jesus' face being sold on paper for $3 at merchandise booth, you'll find me, beaming out at you with my pearly whites. My point is, there is a big element of self promotion that happens in this business, and I struggle with it. This really came to a head for me about a year and a half ago. I realized that I had lost my joy for what I did. Stepping out on stage used to be this rewarding experience where my biggest concern was whether the gospel was presented clearly to the folks there. Now it was, "how many C.D.'s did I sell tonight?", "How many folks came?", "Where is my song on the charts this week?". Let me tell you, too much of that can wear a person out. I was spent. If this is what making music was all about, I wanted out. But praise God for opening my eyes to my sin, and to the truth. At about that time, I was reading a book called "The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer. At the end of a chapter he had written the following prayer. It convicted me so deeply then and still does today. "Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee, even if as a result I must fall into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream." That's the hope of this new record: That we would care so deeply and singularly about the fame of God on earth that we would be completely indifferent to what happens to our own name in the process. When we see God for who He really is, like a bright blazing sun full of strength and wonder, we can begin to see ourselves properly, as nighlights against a blazing sun.

Can you tell us about how fans were involved in choosing the album's cover?

Well, the scoop is: Me and my label found ourselves in disagreement about which cover we thought was best. We had a couple variations of the same idea but couldn't settle on one. So we thought, "Who better to ask than the people who are buying the CD?". So, we posted the 2 possible covers on my facebook page, facebook.com/jimmyneedham. A few hours were given for votes and then we tallied them up. Of course, the one I liked best won. My fans have such good taste.

Do you have a personal favorite song that you're most excited about on the album?

I'm very much excited about the opening track, Moving To Zion. I wanted to start the whole record off with this song because it is the epitome of the new sound that I've tried to create on Nightlights. It's very funky and almost has the feel of an old "spiritual". Plus, it is one of those songs that I feel like I communicated exactly what I wanted to. A lot of research and thinking went into the crafting of Moving To Zion and I am very pleased with it. It's also super fun live.

What music have you been listening to lately?

I'm kind of unusual when it comes to listening to music. Chances are, if I was listening to a handful of artists 4 years ago, I will be listening to the same 4 artists today. So, with that in mind, lately I've been listening to a lot of Stevie Wonder, Michael Buble, Adele, and folks like that. The newest addition to the Jimmy Needham palette has been Jon Foreman and Randy Newman. Honestly, when I'm running or on long drives I'm usually listening to sermon podcasts. I highly recommending checking out my friend Ben Stuart with Breakaway Ministries. One of the best expositors of the word and communicators I've ever heard.

What is the story behind the song, “Grace Amazing”? It definitely seems like a new sound for you.

Grace Amazing was a sort of a dream-come-true for me. It started with a song idea I had about God's sovereign hand in our salvation and how truly remarkable it makes His grace look. I called up a friend of mine, Shane Barnard from Shane & Shane, to help me write it. For those who don't know, I've been a Shane Nerd for years. He graciously accepted and we wrote most of the song together. I really felt like it needed one last surprise though, so I Trip Lee a ring. He's a hip-hop artist out of Philadelphia and a good friend of mine as well. Somehow, from this hodgepodge of songwriters, all with different musical styles, the song Grace Amazing came about. It has such a cool and unique feel and the response to it in concert has been outstanding.

On your last album, Not Without Love, there were a couple love songs, and more come out in Nightlights. Is the creation process different for you when you’re writing songs for your wife when compared to writing more praise-directed songs?

Believe it or not, the songwriting process is very similar for both. This highlights a very important point I'd like to make about Christian music. The reason this process is similar is because as a Christian I believe that creating a song that celebrates my wife can be just as spiritually significant as writing a song that is explicitly about God. Why? Because for the believer in Christ, everything is sacred. For the Christian, everything should be an act of worship. "Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). Even the eating of food can be worship, so why should a song about the wonderful God given gift of my bride be any less God honoring than a worship song? For the spiritual, all things are spiritual. Therefore, in my writing process, I still pray that God would give me creativity and an ability to communicate the truth that I want to express. I still thank Him alone when the lyrics come, and I still consider it Christian music.

What is the background behind the song, “Part The Clouds”?

Have you ever just come to the place where you're tired of all the fluff? One thing that frustrates me deeply is beating around the bush. We're all guilty of it on some level. The fear of being rejected and the need to be liked paralyzes us so often from saying what's true. This song is an invitation to change all that. What if we began to treasure the God of the gospel more than our own reputation? How much more boldness would we have to preach the truth to our friends, our neighbors, our family? I am not calling us to be jerks. The Bible clearly commands us to "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). But I am calling us to have honest, truth-filled dialogue with the people in our lives, even if the content of that dialogue might be hard to swallow. The truth is, the gospel of Jesus is offensive, no matter how nice you make it look. It's like trying to sugar coat a steak: It will never improve the flavor. So knowing this, let part the clouds of vagueness and half-truths and show the world the Son for who He is.

What has God been teaching you lately?

I've been really learning a lot about what it means to feast on Jesus. What I mean is, the Bible uses a lot of food and drink analogies when it refers to what Christ should be for us. He is the "manna from Heaven", the "fountain of living water", "the bread of life", his body is like wine to us. All this language has deeply convicted me because it's made me realize that I seldom feast on Him like I would a good meal. Often, I am content with just knowing facts about my God, and not really knowing Him. I've decided I want to treat Him like He says He wants to be treated: He is the all satisfying, savory, wonderful, filling Bread of Life sent from the Father for my satisfaction. I want to feast on Christ like this.

Darkest Just Before The Dawn

June 23, 2010 There I was, pounding my fists on the ground, crying out to God on my face in our music room. “Lord, have mercy!” Could this really be happening? Again? Kelly was already asleep by now. I couldn’t blame her. It was already late and she had been through so much these past weeks. It was the night before it happened.

It’s been a difficult year and a half for me and Kelly, to say the least. For those of you who don’t know, it was last August that we decided to start trying to have children again. Kelly was pregnant once before back in 2007. We were about 5-6 weeks in when we noticed something wasn’t right. Not many days later we lost our first baby. It was an interesting mix of emotions for us as we had no real connection with this little life yet but still were experiencing grief. We both knew that new mom’s frequently miscarry their first child so there were no real red flags at this point. Shortly after last August, another positive pregnancy test came along, only this time there was very little time for us to celebrate as Kelly miscarried shortly thereafter.

I didn’t know what to think. What does this mean for us? Is this a major problem or a common occurrence with a lot of new parents? One thing was for sure, we were going to wait a good while before telling people we were pregnant the next time this happened.

Would you believe it? Last November Kelly surprised me with a positive pregnancy test wrapped in a gift box! It was a good gift. We both really felt like this would be the one. It just made sense. We prayed about it, and really trusted him for the safety of our little one. 5 weeks went by, then 6. It was a landmark we hadn’t crossed before. We started telling family and friends. We celebrated and laughed and rejoiced. Needless to say these things bolstered our confidence in the baby’s health. That was, until Thanksgiving. Kelly came to me and said that she was bleeding again.

My heart sank.

How? Why? It didn’t seem fair. How could a good God let this happen again? We immediately went to the doctor’s office and they put Kelly on bed rest. That meant no activity at all; just lying down and waiting. Some weeks had past but things weren’t looking good. In fact, symptoms were escalating.

One night I snuck out of our bedroom to pray and seek God. I put Shane & Shane’s song “For The Good” on repeat and just sat. All at once, in the midst of that oncoming tragedy, God gave me the good grace to see and trust Him in a new way. The lyrics of that song echoed in my mind, “When darkness is surrounding me, by Your Spirit, Lord, help me see You are working all things out…for the good of those who are called by You, for the good of those who are in love with You.” I was struck by Paul’s words to the Romans, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

I remember for the next hour grieving and rejoicing all at once. I knew that things didn’t look good for our baby and it might not even make it through the night. On the other hand, I knew my God. I had walked with Him for 10 years now and I trusted Him. I trusted His strength to save and heal, but I also I trusted His wisdom and love for me. That night, through the tears I prayed, “God, You know better than me what will bring You the most glory and me and my family the most good, so do whatever you want. I trust You.”

Even now I feel that combination of sorrow and yet complete joy. I worshipped God that night.

That next day, God, in His infinite wisdom and sovereign love took our baby home to be with Him. Those next months of recovery were difficult, confusing and lonely. Kelly felt it the hardest. She will tell you it was a very dark season for her. What were we to do? How were we to make sense of it all? Would we ever be able to have children of our own? Questions spun in our minds.

To find out what might be wrong, we went to a fertility clinic. They did some blood work and other tests and we eventually discovered that there was in fact something keeping us from carrying a baby to term. Kelly had a particular condition in her womb that was not allowing the babies to have enough room to grow full sized. It was ultimately the thing killing our children.

We had an answer to the “why?” but now could anything be done to fix it? Praise God that the answer was yes. A minor surgery on Kelly righted the whole issue with her womb. The doctors said that pre-surgery, she was at a 70% risk of miscarriage. After the surgery her risk went all the way down to base line. We were so grateful to hear the news. A few weeks of recovery and we would be ready to try again.

It’s always a struggle to see God’s purpose in the midst of tragedy. Many of you have gone through things like this. Many of you have experienced much worse. It’s hard to see God’s wisdom and love when what is happening to us seems less like the work of a wise benevolent being and more like the cruel joke of a villain. Kelly once said to me, “God doesn’t have to pull back the curtain to show you His purposes, though sometimes he graciously will.” In our case it was a month ago that He pulled it back.

Kelly was spending time with a friend of hers who was a nurse. She learned that the condition she had was actually quite serious and the consequences of it could have been devastating. Had she been able to carry a child the full 9 months with her condition, the most likely outcome would have been stillbirth because the child would have suffocated for lack of room in the womb. If it was born and lived, there was an extremely high chance of severe physical and mental deformity that could eventually kill the baby. In many of these cases the mother would sustain so much damage during birth that the uterus would have to be removed and they would never be able to have another child. Worse still, often during birth mothers had lost their lives. We would have never been able to prevent this had we not had 3 back-to-back miscarriages. O the depth of the wisdom of the knowledge of God! He spared us from even worse grief though it came through suffering. We were both blown away to hear these things.

Well, believe it or not, this story has a happy ending. After all these things had happened, I was asked to be the worship leader on an overseas trip. We found ourselves on our way to Israel for a 12 day tour of the Holy Land. Some days into the trip we realized that Kelly was “late”. We didn’t want to get our hopes up so we waited and waited. Still nothing. Our first night in Jerusalem we left the hotel and snuck to a shady little convenient store and bought a pregnancy test. God had taken us halfway around the world to tell us the good news. We are going to have a baby!

It’s been 12 weeks now and not a single problem yet. Kelly is healthy. The baby is healthy and growing strong. It’s about the size of a plum this week (why do they measure size in terms of produce anyway?).

God has made a beautiful, powerful story for us out of what seemed to be our darkest days. If ever we trusted Him it is now. He is a good God and he always does what’s best for His children. I hope that truth leaps out from these words. We’re so excited for you all to share in our experiences with our little one as they happen. Keep checking this page for updates. Also, if you’re interested to hear kelly’s take on the matter, she’ll be posting a blog about all this very soon. Just go to kellyneedham.wordpress.com.

More to come, gang! Love you guys!

-Jimmy

JIMMY NEEDHAM'S 'NIGHTLIGHTS' BECOMES RECORD BREAKING PROJECT DEBUTING AT #9 ON THE CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN COMBINED ALBUM CHART AND #1

May 27, 2010 The Project’s First Single, “Yours To Take,” Is The Highest Debut This Week At #23 On The Christian AC Indicator Chart

Nashville, TN (May 26, 2010) ---- It’s been a whirlwind of activity for singer/songwriter Jimmy Needham around the release date of his third project, Nightlights. The project’s street date was May 18, 2010 and immediately the album sent fans into the stores and online to buy a copy. For the first time in his career, Needham debuted at #9 on the Contemporary Christian Combined Album Chart with sales that doubled his first two releases. At the same time, Nightlights reached the #1 position on the Digital Album charts.

After the success of Needham’s first two projects, expectations were high for the development of this artist and Needham did not disappoint his fans, radio or media. CCM magazine proclaims, The growth curve climbed exactly as imagined…the Houston native’s progression continues at the same impressive rate as before on Nightlights. Radio is also responding to Needham’s first single from the album, “Yours To Take,” as it’s the highest debut this week at #23 on the Christian AC Indicator chart.

"Jimmy has truly become an artist whose staying power continues to rise with each new release,” says Andrew Patton, GM/VP of Label Operations, Inpop Records. “The growth in sales and continued strong radio airplay shows the consumer base responding and growing with each record. Just spend a few minutes listening to fan comments on the social sites or through digital outlets, and you'll see for yourself the impact his songs and artistry is having on people."

Nightlights was produced by Calvin Turner (Marc Broussard) and features twelve new songs written or co-written by Needham, with the thirteenth song being a remake of the pop classic, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” Millions of fans were treated to a live performance of the new tunes during a worldwide broadcast of Needham’s CD release party in The Woodlands, TX. An upcoming feature in the Houston Chronicle will feature the concert in an artist profile of Needham on May 28th.

Needham was in Nashville this week to perform “Yours To Take” live on Nashville’s Fox 17 TN Mornings and then taped “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” on WSMV’s Better Nashville. The show will air on May 28th. The following week, Needham has several interviews on tap that includes Lifeway’s Stand Firm Magazine, The Christian Manifesto and CMAddict.com.

About Jimmy Needham: Needham released his first album, Speak, in 2006, on Inpop Records, and it generated respect and well-earned recognition from the Christian music industry for this talented singer/songwriter from Katy, Texas. The CD generated three singles “Fence Riders (#14),” “Dearly Loved (#8),” and “Lost At Sea,” which charted for an incredible twelve weeks at the #2 position. Needham’s second project, Not Without Love resulted in four hit singles including “Forgiven and Loved” as the break-out Christian AC hit, climbing to #6 nationally, while “A Breath Or Two,” peaked at #3 at Christian CHR radio. Needham's third album, NIghtlights, debuted at #1 on iTunes Top 200 Christian & Gospel Albums chart and #25 on iTunes Top 200 Albums chart for all genres of music. Media reviews and interviews have been overwhelmingly supportive of Needham and NIghtlights. For press and tour updates please visit www.jimmyneedham.com.

About Inpop Records: Inpop Records is an independent Christian music label based in Brentwood, Tenn. Founded in 1999 by newsboys founder and longtime frontman Peter Furler, artist manager Wes Campbell, and Australian businessman Dale Bray, Inpop is home to some of the best-known bands in Christian music. Distributed by EMI Christian Music Group, Inpop Records has become one of the top-selling independent labels within the industry, having established a reputation for seeking out the best artists in emerging talent and for expanding the Christian music marketplace with sound and ideas. Inpop artists have scored numerous No. 1 radio hits, earned multiple awards and nominations and achieved recognition around the world. Inpop's roster includes newsboys, Superchick, Mat Kearney, Shane and Shane, Jimmy Needham, Newworldson and Article One, among others. For more information, visit www.inpop.com.

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Media Contact: Janet Bozeman/Bozeman Media 615-376-22465

A Blog About Booking (well, a copied one at that)

March 30, 2010 When I saw this blog from our friend Johnny Diaz, I thought it answered so many of the questions we get on Jimmy Needham as well, that it was worth your time to see it... Jimmy's manager ~~~~ I can't tell you how many times people have messaged me through Facebook and Twitter saying, "Jimmy, you should come play in(your city here)" To which I reply, "I'd love to where do we start?" Ya see, I'm not actually the one who puts on concerts. Sure, I play music, but I'm not the one who gets the venue, does marketing, gathers volunteers for merch, security, ect. I don't do those things people like YOU do. The good news is, I now work with a booking agency to help step by step along the way. If you have the desire to bring me to your church (and a little bit of money) they can help make it happen. They're called the Jeff Roberts Agency.

Info: Jeff Roberts Agency 3050 Business Park Circle Suite 301 Goodlettsville, TN 37072 615 859 7040

http://www.jeffroberts.com/ Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jralive Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jrabooking

The best news is, I don't require thousands of people in the audience or tens of thousands of dollars to perform. Think your church and your budget are too small to put on an awesome concert? Try me! Contact Jeff Roberts to see.

(Thanks Johnny for the great blog)

Nightlights Pre-Sale Event NOW GOING!!

March 25, 2010 WOW!

The first few hours of our Pre-Sale event for "Nightlights" is going like gang-busters! Thanks for being such an awesome group of fans. A few common questions have come up, and so we thought we would answer some of them here:

1) I don't live in Texas and can't come to the album release event. Is that ok? Yes! That is totally ok. While we would love to have you there, we know that not everybody will live in Texas, or be able to drive to the shows. We trust that the entire package will help to "ease the pain" of not being able to be with us for the event. Just listen more to your immediate download!!

2) Is the Nightlights t-shirt a girls cut or a regular t-shirt cut? It will be a regular, standard t-shirt. Please order accordingly!

3) Is there a way to buy multiple copies of the record if I want to give them away as gifts, or provide some to my youth group? That is a great idea! We will be adding an additional package for a special discount on multi-CD purchases. This will NOT include all the bonus material in the main package, but will be a bulk discount order for 10 or more CD's of NIGHTLIGHTS. Look for that on Monday or earlier.

Please share the news of your excitement for Jimmy's new CD with all your facebook friends as well. The more people who know the better!

Also, make sure to tell your local christian radio station how much you want to hear Jimmy's new single "Yours to Take" on air! And if you ARE hearing it, make sure you tell them Thanks!!

Enjoy your weekend! Happy buying!

Jimmy's management team