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believe that we are facing a time in this world like we have never scene. I think the church; Gods people are being called out to respond in a way that maybe it was able to get around before but now is crucial. Now in order for us to continue to stand and be what God has called us to be we must begin to act in a way that I believe we were created to from the start.

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.-John 3:17

It’s crazy how many times I have read John 3:16 but never gone beyond it to get the rest of what was being said.

When God sent Jesus to save this world he didnt send Him to judge it. Jesus never once even tried to judge anyone during His ministry here. I have been thinking so much about how Jesus walked while He was here, how he interacted, what his friendships were like, where He spent His time, and how He dealt with conflict. He had every reason to judge and the authority too but He didnt! We are here to be His hands and feet and continue His ministry and to be like Him. He came to set the example. When He put on humanity though fully God and fully man He didnt judge. He left that job to His Father.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.-Matthew 11:28

What if He had said, those who look right come to me or “those who dont stink come to me or “those without baggage come to me, or only those who rarely sin come to me “or those who have their hair styled in a conservative fashion come to me or only those without holes and metal in their faces come to me or the people without ink on their skin come to me or only people from this denomination or that denomination come to me “or only those from this political party come “or those who worship with this style of music come to me Come to me only if.

There were never any rules or condition on who could come to Jesus. He simply said Come.

If being a Christian means to be like Christ then shouldn’t those of us who call ourselves Christians live with this standard from John 3:17 and Matthew 11:28?

Hello? Is anyone getting this? Let’s be honest, we are all guilty of not walking this out at times. We even judge our brothers and sisters in the church! How about judging other churches or denominations? We compete for whose church is better or has more people or better worship or is more relevant “or whatever! How often have we experienced this within the church? We are dressed in our best Sunday garb sitting in our normal seat when in walks the girl with the ripped clothes, pierced face, and purple hair. We automatically think someone else will talk to her. No one ends up giving her the time of day and even if one person does she fully understands the stares and snickering coming her way from everyone else. She leaves with the same resentment that a percentage of the world already has toward the church and we slap her on the forehead with the Judged stamp on her way out for all to see.

I remember one time I was on my way out of the church to an inner city outreach event the youth group was hosting where we were handing out bibles and lunches to the homeless and addicts and I saw a few of the what I thought to be main youth kids piling into the car with their mom. I ran over to the car and said see you guys out there! The mom looked at me and said my kids are not going. When I asked why, she told me, and I quote, I dont want any of the street people to contaminate my kids.Holy what?!!!! What would have happened if Jesus had acted that way? What if he had avoided ministering to Mary Magdalen in fear of her contaminating Him? What about the beggar?

It is so hard for us to love unconditionally. Its difficult for us to accept people for who they are where they are at in life. We have to remember though that it’s not our job to change people it is our job to love them and to say come. We love and let God take care of the rest. Its that agape love that loves without condition or expectation.

I believe with all that I am that we are in a crucial time of being called to remove the finger of judgment off of people and begin to live out what really matters. I know that as we throw away our people requirements Checklist we will see churches overflowing with the hurting and the lost. We will see hearts changed and restored and a love flowing through the church like we have never encountered before. The church will shine brightly just as it was intended to.

May we all be challenged in this. Loving like this is not easy its actually the most difficult way to be in community but it is right and it is what Christ has called us to. Just as I have said before, if you are going to change THE WORLD you must change YOUR WORLD. Your world is what happens every day. Its who you touch daily and who you encounter. Its the girl at the café who’s desperate for love but hides behind small talk and busy work and the man with outward success who is consumed with materialism and is hopelessly empty and lonely. This is your world and if we all learn to reach out into our little lives imagine what could happen in the world at large. Imagine a world full of people giving their lives to Jesus. That is incredible.  

This is the heart behind my new EP My World with Light. Listen to the songs and let Christ begin to change your heart and move you to shine the light into your world. We can’t leave it to someone else we must sense the urgency and then reach. Thanks for reading.

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Get In

Heb. 13:5 and 6 (the message)
Be relaxed with where you are. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?

Today was Christmas Day. We opened presents, ate good food, and spent the day with family and close friends. It was a great day over all, a full and rich day. As the day concluded I crawled into bed with my computer and flipped the TV on just for noise sake I suppose. As I was l checking my email and fooling around online “Oh Holy Night” began to play on my TV. It was a simple arrangement of acoustic guitar and cello with no voices. I have heard this song a million times as we all have but for some reason tonight I felt like I heard it, felt it, in a way I never have before. I felt like I really heard it. Like I really heard the message and heart of the writer. I began to think through the lyrics of this classic Christmas hymn and was suddenly overwhelmed at the thought of Jesus. The awesomeness of that night and what purpose this little baby was born into. He came to save us all from death, to heal the broken hearted and sick, and to give hope to a hopeless world.
All of this led me to thinking about my life. I begin to think about every worry, every joy, every trial, every hope, every dream, every disappointment, every failure, every mistake, every success, every victory and the list goes on. I started thinking about how Jesus came so simply and beautifully into this world to be a part of all those things I carry. He came so he could be in the middle of it all. The good and the bad.

I was reminded of how easy it is sometimes to grow overwhelmed with our lives. We get overwhelmed with the good things and the bad. We get distracted and chaotic in our heads because they are so full of just…stuff.

I stumbled upon the passage in Hebrews and I wrote at the top of this note because it hit my heart big time. This little baby Jesus that came into the world with such purpose. This little vulnerable child would someday be called “fearless no matter what and ready to help”. Jesus has made a promise to us in these words. He’s saying chill out because “Ill never let you down and never walk off and leave you. I love that it says, “We can boldly say it”. It is a true promise so we can say it with sincere hearts. For me, sometimes I have to be reminded of this promise. When life is complete chaos, things don’t end up how we planned, and people turn their backs on us we can say, “God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me”? If we could just live our lives consistently like we believe this. ☺

Tonight as this amazing day is ending I feel encouraged and driven in the purpose of Christ. God wants us relax and trust Him with our “stuff” so he can use us for His kingdom, for His glory. God wants to make you and me an inexhaustible supply or channel of the resources of God in this life. If we are bogged down with “stuff” we can’t be a very affective channel or supply for Him.

I let go of all my “stuff” so that I may boldly say,

I will not be double minded for it is not faith. I fix my heart on where God is going and I am committed to His purpose in me. I believe with my whole heart that I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed, the decision has been made and I have stepped over the line. I will not look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed, my future makes sense and I will not buy into colorless dreams and tame visions. I belong to Christ and His plan for me and I will never stop getting into life.

HUNGER

sonrise

Last weekend Sonrise Church hosted my EP release party and they invited the band and I to come and lead worship for all of their corporate services as well. It was an awesome weekend. We did a total of six services starting the weekend on Saturday night.

If you can imagine the band and I were  beat. We had one more service to do at 4pm and I pretty much had no voice left after singing all weekend and was struggling even to talk. I could tell the band was struggling a little too and I knew we needed to push ourselves and we needed Jesus.

God will always call us to push beyond how we feel to accomplish His plan and the beauty is, He will always give us the strength to endure and complete that which He has called us to.

I grabbed my bible looking to find strength. The Lord lead me to a scripture and I cannot remember now where it was but it said something to the effect of “God calls us to be ministers in times that are favorable and times that are not”. I realized that in my weakness I had lost sight of the fact that we are all ministers and that God calls us to push beyond how we feel and rely on His spirit. “Though my heart grows weary Jesus remains the strength of my life”. I shared that scripture with the band and encouraged them in this truth and though physically we all still felt exhausted I believe His spirit fell on us as we headed into the service.

The service that was happening that night was called “Light My Way”. It’s a service for those struggling with addiction and ex cons that are assimilating back into society. We had an awesome time with God in all the services and it was great to experience Him in this intimate group too.  As we began to worship, the presence of God fell in that room. I had no voice and yet through the power of God I was able to sing, the band was beat down but through His presence they played with conviction and without missing a note. I felt Him close with just a few of us. I opened my eyes during the worship time and saw 25 people with hands stretched as high as they could reach, I heard voices singing as loud as possible, and I saw tears of healing streaming down the cheeks of men and women.

I think there were a couple things at play here.

The first thing is that as I had explained, we had nothing left to give in and of ourselves. We were useless in our flesh and so we needed Jesus to move. I hate that we have to get to that place sometimes before we let Jesus do His thing. He is just waiting around for us to get out of the way so He can really work.  Enough said here.

The second thing was hunger. A pure hunger for Jesus.  This was really the stripped down and unglamorous service. No hype or special effects just people desperate for Jesus. Jesus said, “come as you are” and they did. Broken, weary, hopeless and in need of a savior, burning with a hunger so consuming they couldn’t help but worship without reserve and He came and met us where we were.

Jesus loves to move for all people, it just takes is a little bit of hunger.

Sonrise church is an amazing church from their regular corporate gatherings to their special focus“Light My Way Service”.

 

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We believe strongly that God has called us for a specific mission. Simply to be a light to this world and to help others who maybe have lost their light. It is a crucial time for the church. We must begin to shine our light into the world (which means outside of the church walls) and be the hands and feet of Christ. To love people, to serve people, to remove the finger of judgment and embrace everyone. Jesus said, “come unto me ALL you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”. He didn’t say “come unto me some of you”. “Christ in me the hope of Glory”. It’s in us and we need to give the glory out…

We want to invite you to join us on our journey…will you join with us? It’s about the kingdom of God. Whatever church or background you come from doesnt matter in His kingdom plan. Our job as children of light is simple:

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt 28:16-20

“9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13

The band and I are so excited to release our latest project “My World With Light” to you! We have been working hard on it this year and doing our best to seek the face of God every step of the way. Take a moment if you will and go to our site and have a listen. We are introducing a brand new sound and vision for the next season. On our site there are two different spots you can download a FREE Mp3 “All That I Know”. It’s one of the tracks off the new EP. 
Please go enjoy that free gift from us.

Thank you guys for continuing to support us as we pursue the vision, mission, and dream God has placed in our hearts. We are ecstatic about this next season and eager to see what God has for us. We can always use more help! If you feel moved to do so we wanted to list some ways you can be a part of this journey with us.

1. Tell everyone! Tell your friends, coworkers, and family about us! Tell strangers! 🙂 
2. Come to one or two of our events and bring friends!

3. Buy our new EP and/or a copy of our first album. (available now right on our site www.ariaanaforian.com) it takes money to continue doing what we do so we need you! Ok I swear the rhyme was an accident I’m not that lame. 

4. Lastly, if you are a pastor or leader please connect with us on some level. We want to know you! If it’s just to support with prayer we love it! if you want to have us come spend some time with you and/or your church contact us. We are currently booking for the next few months and would love to hear from you.

If you want to send us a note back of how we can be praying for you we want to hear! The band and I get together once a week to pray, worship, and rehearse and we will stand with you so clue us in 🙂

Thanks for your time in reading this update…we love you!

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“This World” is a new song that will be appearing on the Rock Rwanda compilation record in an effort to raise awareness and support Africa New Life Ministries and on my latest EP due out this fall. The song was written from the perspective of a broken, weary, desolate, and hungry soul. It was written from the perspective of an orphan.

 

It was not long ago that my world collided with a beautiful soul named Enric Sifa. Enric is a survivor of the genocide that took place in Rwanda several years ago. He lost his family and lived on the streets for most of his childhood. Enric and I had met on myspace through a friend and had kept in touch as best we could via email as he was in Africa and I the States.

 

It was on April 17th 2008 when Enric walked into the Guitar Center that I was managing at the time and we exchanged silly grins as we realized the smallness of the world. That Enric had flown all the way from Africa strolled right into my life. I am grateful for that day and not only to have made a great friend but I was changed forever in a few minutes. Enric’s good friend had brought him in to buy him a new guitar and He had brought in his old one. I bent down and opened the old case to find a worn down guitar with severely old strings and a hole in the body. This is the guitar Enric had been playing for a long time without complaint. When I went to pick of the guitar and look at it Enric held it and did not want to let go. His friend assured him it was alright and he slowly handed it to me.

 

I can imagine what must have been going through his head. This loud music store and some girl he hardly knows now is taking his most prized possession. I asked Enric if he was ready to look at some guitars and he grinned from ear to ear and so did I. I took him back into the acoustic room and it was in that room that I was changed. The instant Enric walked in his eyes filled with wonder and he let out a loud gasp of amazement. Amazed at guitar-covered walls. Floor to ceiling guitars. I told him he could play anything he liked and he looked at me in awe and said, “I play these guitars?” He pointed to the one he liked and I handed it to him. He sat down and began to strum it. He closed his eyes as if in complete contentment with all that was going on and he said, “I have never heard such a beautiful sound”.

 

My eyes filled with tears and my heart was moved to its core.

 

Everything going on in my life in that moment became insignificant and unimportant as I watched my new friend in wonder and thankfulness.

 

That day I learned something. I saw what joy really means. I saw what faith really means. I saw what humility really looks like. I saw my friend who had lost everything dear to him so full of joy and faith. I saw an example that joy is possible when all hope is lost and peace is touchable when the storm is raging on around me. I saw brokenness made whole. I saw Jesus more then I had ever seen Him in one person. I saw Jesus in this orphan boy from Africa. I saw Jesus in Enric.

 

For some time I have been moved by the devastation going on in Africa but it was this night that I was called out even greater to actually do something about it. There is a country that’s dieing; an entire generation that’s literally dieing. As my burden for the people of Africa grew stronger and stronger my heart was overwhelmed. As an artist I new what I could do.

 

So this song is not only for the people of Africa but it’s for all of us. It’s for the broken and rejected. It’s for the weary and down trodden. It’s for the hungry and the weak. It’s for anyone who needs a hand of mercy extended to them or that little ounce of hope to help them get through just one more day. I pray this song speaks to you and moves you as I was moved that night. I pray that if your hopeless right now you would find hope. That if you’re restless you would find peace and if your broken you would find healing. I pray that if there is sorrow in your heart you will find joy. Lastly, I pray that if you’ve lost your way you would find the faith to believe again.

 

“Come to me all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

 

To hear the song, click the small “powered by reverbnation” found on the right side of the screen. Please feel free to come back and let me know what you think!