Join us for a night of worship with Christian recording artist, Chris August on May 19 at 7 p.m. in the Faith Center Sanctuary. Tickets are $10 an can be purchased online here or at the Faith Center Welcome Center.
“These songs mean more to me than anything I’ve ever done…”
Says the guy who brought us “Starry Night” and “7 x 70.”
Says the guy who virtually swept the Dove Awards, taking New Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year upon the merit of his debut album.
Says the guy who has had a distinct, life-‐altering, life-‐saving encounter with his Maker.
In 2012, amongst tours, a sophomore record and endless miles on buses and planes around the world, Chris August’s entire world turned upside down in a matter of seconds. A skateboarding accident put him in the hospital with a bruised and bleeding brain. It was serious, but eventually, he was stabilized—with a major caveat—he might need a surgery that could incapacitate him for life. Fortunately, after some time and a lot of prayer, the swelling subsided and the physical healing began. And that’s when it got hard.
The pain from his injuries had to be managed. His doctors would prescribe pain killers. When that began affecting his sleep or threw his system off in any variety of ways, the doctors were at the ready with a veritable arsenal of medication.
“My pill box was the size of a laptop,” Chris recalls. “It was crazy. I’d take one thing and then need another to deflect those side-‐effects, and then another and another.”
He knew he didn’t want to live that way and began trying to wean himself off the medication. Not surprisingly, his body, which had become physically dependent on the regimen, rebelled.
He got sick.
He got tired.
He got down.
His mind and emotions were in as much tumult as his body. “I was acting weird,” he recalls. “I just felt weird.” His friends noticed and they suggested he see a counselor.
“And the counselor suggested I see a psychiatrist,” he says with a hint of laughter and a ton of sarcasm.
And while he can crack a joke about the situation today, in the moment, the reality of being a Christian music recording artist clashed with the diagnosis—depression.
“There’s this level of pride that we try to keep and maintain, especially with someone that does what I do,” he shares. “So many people think that us artists have it together.” But he didn’t have it all together. And he knew it.
He knew he was in a downward spiral. He just couldn’t find a way out. Wading through the depths of uncertainty, hopelessness and aimlessness—depression’s signature calling cards—he stared down many sleepless nights and walked through a season of overwhelming loneliness.
“It was by far the hardest year of my life,” says Chris. “But that’s when a huge breakthrough happened.”
On tour with Big Daddy Weave at the time, he had a front-‐row seat to the band’s compassion for people, their fervor for spreading truth and the manifestation of love at every single show. Even now August shakes his head in near disbelief when he talks about the physical and emotional healing he witnessed on that tour.
“They have this ministry time every night at the end of their set where they’re praying for people,” Chris shares. “I mean, I know the Bible says blessed are those who don’t see it and believe, but I just happened to be fortunate enough to see some things that left me saying, ‘Oh my goodness.’
“I became a Christian in my teens,” he continues. “But I had never seen Christians doing the things they would be doing. I usually just went to church once a week, just like everyone else…and that was about it. This was unlike anything I’d experienced before.”
An eye witness to healing and redemption, he began to wonder if these modern-‐day miracles could happen in his life.
“I’m just sitting here thinking, ‘Man, I’m on all this medication. I’m having to take some medication to even sleep at night, and half the time I don’t even think it’s working,’” he remembers. “I said, ‘I’m going to just ask the Lord to heal me of this.’”
And so he did. One year after the accident that sent him reeling, the spirited, pop-‐loving artist who wasn’t even raised in church asked God for a tangible, physical, irrefutable healing. His prayer was answered practically instantaneously.
“It wasn’t a gradual thing,” he clarifies. “It was an overnight thing. I woke up the next day and I didn’t take one more pill, and I haven’t since. That doesn’t mean it’s not still hard at times. It also doesn’t mean that I can just sit back, do nothing and wait for healing to take over. I had to make steps and put in the effort, while walking through it with the Healer…the Maker.”
Resolved to read the Bible, “like nobody’s business,” he would spend hours poring over the Old and New Testament. He studied Hebrew and Greek to help him take in the fullness of the Word.
“I spent hours every day digging deeper,” he shares, “learning more about who God is and who I can be. I wanted it to be on my mind all the time.”
He didn’t stop there. His prayer life began to shift. It became a conversation instead of just supplication; a necessity rather than an accessory.
“There’s a moment in the Bible when Jesus prayed over someone who wasn’t fully healed, so
He prayed for him again,” says Chris. “If Jesus had to pray twice for someone, I’m going to pray 2,000 times and keep asking and walking, knowing that He is healing me.”
Day-‐by-‐day, step-‐by-‐step, the journey hasn’t necessarily been easy, nor has he arrived at some ultimate destination. Never one to assume a flawless façade, despite his profession, Chris is transparent with his struggles. Fortunately, for the rest of us, his struggles, victories, losses and gains quite often come with a melody and a hook. “I’m figuring it out like everybody else,” he says. “I just happen to be a guy that writes songs.”
To be fair, he’s a guy who writes lots of songs. Rather than be stifled by everything going on in his life, he allowed it instead to fuel his creativity. For this record alone, he wrote nearly 90 songs. And one of the first comes directly from the pages of the story God has been writing in his heart for the past few years called, aptly, “He’s Still Here.”
“So many people think that God healing people was for 2,000 years ago when Jesus was here, but that’s the point of the birth, cross and resurrection,” he says. “He’s still here. He didn’t leave. He’s not still in the grave. He’s still moving and healing and restoring. The first step of that for me is believing it. You can’t receive it if you don’t believe it. I said, ‘Lord, I believe that you are still here and that you are still healing, and I want you to heal me.’”
Words that transparent and raw require production that is equally so, and Chris knew just the person to help him pull it off. Ed Cash, the multi-‐award winning producer who worked with Chris on his first record—the one that not only put Chris on the map, but shot him straight to the top of the CCM world—happily came on board for album number three. Along with Ed, guys like Sean Moffitt and Mark Endert, who has worked directly with one of Chris’s favorite artists, John Mayer, were a part of the mixing and mastering team that helped create what will likely be perceived as Chris’s finest work to date.
While there are certainly nuances and moments that resonate with a John Mayer or Boyz II Men vibe, both of whom have been inspirations for Chris throughout his career, this album is not pristine, overly polished or overly produced. That decision was made in part for the raw, sonic experience Chris was going for, but more intentionally to support the weightiness and the message within these songs.
“I love pop music,” Chris shares. “That’s what a lot of Christian radio is playing and it would probably have been a smart business choice to go that direction, but I felt like it would be a lie because that’s not at all where I was when I was going through this and writing this record and figuring it out.”
To capture the most authentic sound and genuine emotion possible, Chris and Ed opted to track the entire album live—pretty much the opposite of most music that’s recorded these days. Working from scratch tracks, they pretty much “pressed record and just played the music.” The resulting songs are soulful and honest, not to mention, a lot of fun to record.
“Muddy Waters,” which Chris pseudo-‐affectionately calls “the depression song,” is a soul-‐ stirring, foot-‐stomping romp through a battle that almost anyone can relate to. The crunchy guitars and Mark Broussard-‐esque approach flips the potentially dark subject matter on end making it a bit more tongue-‐in-‐cheek—which is just more signature “Chris.”
“I take my jokes very seriously,” he says seriously (pun intended). “I’ll work on the jokes as much as the music. I feel like that’s part of the calling for what I do. I want to encourage people but I want to make them laugh. There’s nothing I love more than making people laugh. But in the midst of that, sometimes when you make them laugh, you can impact them with something that will encourage them and they’re more likely to be open to hear it.”
Openness is just what he’s hoping for on songs like, “Drop Your Stone.” The song deals with mistakes people have made and the missteps other people make when those mistakes are discovered. Rather than condemnation, August paints a picture of grace with a wide-‐sweeping brush, narrating the stories of a single mother on welfare, a man dealing with drug addiction and others who often bear the brunt of societal judgment. Begging the question, “Why are we so quick to judge?” he chooses not to dismiss what he says is still sin but reflects instead with lyrics like, I see their eyes lost and lonely looking back … I remember when I used to look like that, until the day that your grace came and rescued me.
“When I sang that song in the studio, I did three takes and I was literally in tears,” August remembers. “I couldn’t do another take. I hope that song speaks to people like it speaks to me.”
That type of raw emotion flows through another song he wrote specifically about his grandmother who was very much a part of his life. She passed away last year, after which Chris wrote one of his most personal lyrics ever, which turned into the song, “Paradise.”
“I was on tour when she passed,” Chris remembers. “And I started writing this song just saying this is not goodbye. I’ll see you in paradise.” At this, he pauses, emotions and nostalgia once again thick in his countenance.
Leave it to Chris, though, to once again propel the conversation forward with a bit of humor, as he talks about the powerful anthem and the album’s first single, “The Maker.” The lyrics weave a story of the wonders of creation, so it was only natural to shoot the music video in the midst of one of its most beautiful corners—upstate Washington. Chris describes the mountains stretching tall, the sky going on forever and the water as crystal and clear as any he’d ever seen. The stunning backdrop elevates the lyric and makes the viewer feel like they could be there with Chris in the wilderness, even though Chris is quick to joke that he’s really, “more of a Holiday Inn Express person than a wilderness guy.”
Regardless, the emotion Chris releases throughout The Maker is nothing if not real. There’s nothing manufactured or forced. Out of 90 songs, the songs chosen are all charged with intention and written out of a place of great pain and greater redemption. And for Chris, that’s really all that matters.
“There’s nothing better than when you’re at a show and someone comes up before or after and says a song impacted them,” Chris says. “Sometimes it’s crazy and sometimes it’s just as simple as someone saying my music helps them turn around a bad day. I never take that for granted. Some people will even say, ‘I know you hear this all the time, but …’ I always stop them and say,
‘No, I don’t. And even if I did, it’s so encouraging.’
“Without that, all I’m doing is making music. It’s just songs and melody and what’s the point?” he concludes. “But when it’s impacting someone and inspiring them and encouraging them and the Lord’s in it…at that point, it’s much more than just music.”
Easter weekend is one of our favorite weekends here at Faith Center. We love seeing all of the church come together as one over the course of three days. Together we will remember Good Friday and Christ’s death, and then celebrate his resurrection and promise to us on Easter Saturday and Sunday.
This year we will once again have a special order of events for both Good Friday and Easter. Our Good Friday service is always a somber night. We will have various guest pastors and speakers sharing with us as we reflect on the narrative of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. We will close our service with communion in remembrance of the sacrifice in which He gave and new life we have received.
On Easter Saturday and Sunday we will have the ultimate celebration! The services will include new songs, a choir, testimony videos from congregation members, and segmented teaching. Each service will also have special prize winners. In the foyer you can find a family photo booth and Faith Center merchandise (t-shirts and stickers) on sale!
Be sure to get to service early as seats fill up. Overflow seating will be available in the Faith Center Dome.
Good Friday Service- April 14, 2017 – 6:30 p.m.
Easter Saturday Service- April 15, 2017- 6 p.m.
Easter Sunday Service- April 16, 2017- 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m.
It started with a Facebook post. Vicky Armstrong, Faith Center’s Uganda Mission Team leader, put out a plea on the social media site asking for a CPR dummy. But when days passed by and no responses came back, she began to accept that it wasn’t going to happen. That’s when an old friend gave her a surprise she would never forget.
The Uganda Mission Team is travelling this week to the Nakasangola District of Uganda in Eastern Africa. There, the team of five will work at the African Hospitality Institute, a school founded in 2006 by Christian missionary Maggie Josiah. The Institute transforms the lives of at-risk youth by offering vocational hospitality training to Ugandan young adults. In a country with over 80% unemployment, the program helps graduates obtain highly sought-after jobs in the tourism industry.
During the Faith Center team’s two-week stay, they will provide the students with an opportunity to practice the hospitality skills they are learning. The team also plans to teach first aid and CPR. That’s why when Haider Ajina with the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka messaged Armstrong, he was not only doing a friend a favor, but helping change the lives of hundreds of future Ugandan youth.
“I had given up and thought that maybe getting a CPR dummy to bring to Uganda wasn’t God’s plan,” Armstrong said. “Ten seconds after I had given up hope on getting it, I got the message from Haider.”
After seeing Armstrong’s post, Ajina had contacted Humboldt Bay Fire Chief Bill Gillespie to see if the city fire department had any CPR dummies to loan or donate to the cause. It just so happened, Humboldt Bay Fire was “cycling out” and replacing two dummies currently used for monthly medic and first aid classes. The lightly used dummies had been in service for almost four years, helping teach life-saving skills to people across the county. Now, they have a permanent international mission to complete.
“God is good all the time,” Armstrong said as she hugged the CPR dummies close. “Our prayer has been answered.”
To learn more about the African Hospitality Institute and the lives it is helping to change in Uganda, visit: http://ahi-ug.org.
There are many different things that can cause us to drift and few that hold secure. When we face changes, challenges and struggles, we can lose touch with our faith and the very relationships that anchor us. Learn more about the hope that anchors our lives April 28-30 at this year’s Men’s Retreat at Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds in Occidental, CA.
This year’s featured speaker is Pastor Danny Bennett. Danny is the pastor of Hope Church in Santa Cruz, CA. He and his wife Jenny pioneered the church five years ago out of their living room. It is now a thriving community where every week lives are being transformed and people are opening their lives to Jesus. The heartbeat of the church is to help people find and follow Jesus in a “no perfect people, come as you are” atmosphere. Trusting God, taking risks, and dropping in to the “deep end” have been themes since the beginning. Life is never boring when you say “yes” to God! Danny loves life, his family, surfing, fishing, skateboarding, riding bikes with his family, and a good burrito. He has two children, Ruby Sunshine (10) and Kalé (2).
Sixty-six books tell One Story. It’s a story about One Hope. It’s the story of One Love. (Not to be confused with the Bob Marley song or the U2 song.) It’s about the One Way, Truth and Life: He is the One True God:
He is the Life and you and I only have one life to live. During our current series we will be following the Story from book one of the Bible (Genesis) through the resurrection (Easter weekend). Each message will shed light on another facet of the amazing God who has planned and purchased our salvation. Let’s go on this One journey together between now and Easter.
Since we know the One, let’s keep in step with Him as He offers us His hope, His love and His life. Remember, every great movement and all significant change begins with one person.
Pastors Matt & Heidi Messner
Raising young kids is hard — especially when one has a severe ADHD diagnosis. He has some severe behavioral patterns that escalate quickly, and often the cool-down process takes a while. Sometimes, like in many households, bedtime is an absolute war zone. It’s like they’ve forgotten that we just did this 24 hours ago.
When my oldest has hard days at school or at home, it usually carries over into bedtime and makes it exponentially more difficult. So tonight when it was time for the bedtime routine, it was interrupted by an outburst. This was the biggest outburst we’ve seen in quite some, and it was accompanied by some disciplinary action.
The cool-down process, surprisingly, did not take very long. In the process of cooling down and trying to get him back in a good mood, I joked about how my feet were stinky (which was the case; I’d been working all day). I thought he would just be 6-year-old-grossed-out, but instead, he said. “I have an idea. I want to do for daddy what Ms. Melanie did for me at nighttime church.”
He then started the process of getting a washcloth, a small towel, and a bowl of water. You see, a couple of weeks ago, at Celebration Place, the kids learned the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Their feet were disgusting, and the King of kings humbled himself as a servant for his friends.
I’m so indebted to Celebration Place and the work they’re doing with our kids. I know my kids are tough on them (it’s no different than at home). But they love them unconditionally, and the smallest gestures in teaching a story reaches into their souls. I cried. My wife cried. His little heart showed through all of the hardships he endures on a daily basis. God revealed how he doesn’t make mistakes in his creation. He showed me that, despite the flaws and inadequacy I feel as a parent, God already had a plan for my kids.
My oldest may not have fully understood what took place tonight. But I did. God used him as a servant to my heart. And this is a night that will rest in my heart for a very long time.
– By a Celebrate Recovery Dad at Saddleback Church
Monday nights Celebrate Recovery offers childcare for infants-5 yrs. and Celebration Place (CP) for K-5th graders while their parents attend Celebrate Recovery meetings.
We love providing a safe, fun place of refuge for our children at Faith Center. Celebration Place is a unique ministry that reaches kids where they’re at- giving them a chance to work on their own hurts and hang ups in their lives. We have a team of incredible loving volunteers who work with these children, but we need more of them! We need more volunteers who will help with Celebration Place or child care one or more Mondays each month (or back up as needed).
Help lead the change in our community by transforming the hearts of children for Jesus.
Adults and teens interested in helping with Celebration Place or child care, please contact Lindsay Santche at (530) 559-0271 or Susan Jones at (707) 442-1784, ext. 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrate Recovery is held every Monday beginning at 6 p.m.
6:00 to 6:30 p.m. – BBQ Dinner ($3/adult, $2/child)
7:00 to 8:00 p.m. – Large Group General Meeting
(live music, recovery chips, and teaching or testimony)
8:00 to 9:00 p.m. – Open Share Small Groups
Find out more about Celebrate Recovery at Faith Center here.
Married couples, your retreat is just around the corner. Join us February 10 and 11 (with an optional second night on the 12th) at Gold Beach Resort in Oregon! With rooms overlooking the beach, paths to the ocean and the mouth of the Rogue River just a short drive away your weekend is set for fresh air and romance.
The retreat conference will include supportive teaching, meals, and fun activities for couples. You will not want to miss this reasonably prices highly beneficial weekend.
One night (Feb. 10) retreat option: $125 per couple
Two nights (Feb. 10 & 11) retreat option: $225 per couple (limited quantity)
Price includes lodging and conference only.
Attendees are responsible for their own transportation to and from the resort, as well as cost of food while at the retreat.
The deadline to register is January 28.
By Matt Messner
#MerryChristmas #QuittingSocialMedia #Learningtosayno
More and more of my friends are quitting social media entirely. I miss their posts, but I get it. It used to be that only some people were on call for limited periods of time. This is no longer true. Thanks to our smartphones, we are all available to “everyone” 24 hours a day, seven days a week (As of 2015 68% of all American adults have smartphones).
People send us (“us” meaning every one of us with a smartphone) messages to our phones demanding meetings, a call, or an immediate reply. It doesn’t matter what we are doing or what time of the day or night that it is.
In our sincere desire to be caring, we try to meet these demands and to respond to these requests.
It used to be that when a minor crisis hit us we had to prayerfully process the situation. We had to wait a couple of days to address the situation. We had to meet with someone face to face. The waiting period allowed for our emotional decompression and for God to meet this “need” through other means.
Now we are able to immediately post (vent, rant, etc.) our problems for the world to see. Screaming into the void easily takes the forms of slander and gossip – bringing a very negative and sometimes hostile tone to the atmosphere of our social network.
When we are frustrated about something, social media also allows us to go directly to the person in charge, sending them a private message, expecting a quick response.
Expressing ourselves in these ways brings us an immediate sense of gratification, while burdening our “friends”.
Here are two important questions:
- Have we become more co-dependent and less God-dependent?
- Are the expectations and demands that we put on some of the people in our lives unrealistic?
If you have a smartphone, here is some advice:
- Be sensitive to the demands that you make of your leaders (and friends). Some people understand the “big picture” of how many groups and individuals are requesting their time (especially during the holidays), but most people do not think about this (I see this especially with pastors and ministers). Most people (myself included) desperately want to meet everyone’s needs and expectations, but cannot possibly do it. Attempting to do so often comes at the expense of one’s family or personal health. We don’t want to disappoint people, but we cannot meet every demand. When we try to meet the demands without establishing clear boundaries of our limitations, we disappoint people and feel the strain in those relationships. This is unfortunate since this does not mean that we do not value a group, or love a person. In fact, the opposite is true. We just haven’t learned to say “no”.
- Learn to say “no”. It is up to each one of us to train the people in our lives that we are not on call. Just because a person can message you does not require an immediate response. You don’t have to feel guilty by responding at a more appropriate time for you. You are not being antisocial media. You don’t have to throw out your smartphone to create some breathing room in your life.
I am not going to quit social media, but I am learning to say “no” more often and I am learning to not feel obligated to immediately respond to every demand. This isn’t selfishness, or a lack of love. It is self-preservation, prioritization and perhaps one way that we can help everyone lean on God a little bit more while still loving one another.
Can you relate?
Matt Messner is the Lead Pastor at Faith Center Foursquare Church in Eureka, California. At least for right now you can find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
After six years of faithful and fruitful service, Curt and Rachel McMurray-Branscombe will be moving on to the next season of their journey. This will take place in February, with their final Sunday being the 12th. Their plan is to take a six month sabbatical in Spain. This is something they have been saving for and looking forward to for some time.
As the director of our Creative Worship Team, Curt has had a broad spectrum of responsibilities, including worship leading, volunteer recruitment and development, department oversight, scheduling and developing worship teams, and much more.
We believe that the Lord has brought Sarah Babcock here to be our Worship Leader. She graduated with a B.A. from Epic Bible College with an emphasis in Worship Arts. Sarah has extensive experience at leading worship, leading worship teams, directing choirs, and more. She has a heart for worship, a heart for the Lord, and a desire to empower people to use their creative gifts for the Lord’s glory. Her official start date is February 1st, 2017.
We are also hiring Zach Stewart to be our Music Director. Zach is a gifted musician, a graduate of the Redwood ELN, and will have completed the Foursquare Church Residency program. He also has been serving as our music coordinator for Faith Center South. His official start date is February 1st, 2017.
Rachel is currently serving as the Pastor over Missions, Outreach and Small Groups. We are actively interviewing candidates for this position. Please keep this in prayer. We will let you know as soon as the Lord brings along the right person to assume these responsibilities.
We will be doing something to honor Curt and Rachel with the staff and with the congregation in February.
We have big plans for Christmas weekend this year and are so excited for you to join! Our staff has been working hard, with the help of many volunteers, to prepare for this year’s celebration.
We would like to first, thank all of our volunteers from acting in the advent skits and Christmas productions, to singing in the choir, playing instruments, doing lighting, sound and media- to the behind the scenes volunteers who serve our area homeless, those hurting during the holidays, and those who help through prayer. Our volunteers are key to God’s work here in Humboldt, and we are so honored to serve with you.
Now, for our big Christmas plans:
On Saturday, December 24, join us for our Christmas Eve Production, “Wonder Awakened: Love is Born”, at 4 and 6 p.m. in the main sanctuary. This year we decided to take a break from our annual Christmas play. We have been doing Christmas plays at Faith Center for six years. This year, our seventh year, we may be taking a Christmas of rest, but we still have something big for you. We are celebrating Christmas in a way we’ve never done before. Our Christmas Eve Production will be filled with song, dance, art, new media and live music. Messages will be interspersed throughout and will end with a candle lighting. We would love for you to join us for this evening of wonder.
Then, on Sunday, December 25, join us for one big Christmas Day service, “Home for Christmas”. We will be serving a free breakfast at 9 a.m. and then will have a family service at 10 a.m. in the main sanctuary. Kids are invited to come in their pajamas and bring a quiet toy, joining the adults for this very special service.
Have questions about Christmas at Faith Center? Please contact us at (707) 442-1784 or email@example.com.