Month: October 2016

When Love Bursts Forth: A letter

 

By Jonathan David Faulkner

Dearest Fiance

I do not remember what the weather was like on March 30th of 2016 at 6:16 in the morning. The sun may not have been up yet or maybe it was just peaking over the tops of the trees behind the parking lot that dominated the landscape out my dorm room window. Just back from a work out, scrolling through matches on Eharmony, finally clicking on the picture of the girl I had been matched with two weeks prior. Reading the words; “I am looking for someone I can do ministry with.” Clicking the communication button, getting a near instant response, not sure what to expect, still doubting if I should even be on a dating site at all, finding the instant and constant communication until you had to go to work very refreshing and kind of nice. If I had only known this was not going to be a passing conversation like so many of my previous matches I had communicated with. If I had known that six months later I would be getting down on one knee and asking you to marry me, I may have been less nervous or maybe I would have ran away for fear of the unknown.

A week into communicating we shared our weaknesses. You opened up to me about your very mild Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger’s). Making an extra effort to reassure me that it is very mild, saying that: “I would not know you had it if I had not been told.” Explaining to me the many challenges that this brings to your life, leaving me in wonder at how you worked in a noisy environment every single day. Taking care of babies, meeting their constant needs, stepping totally out of your comfort zone and peaceful inner world to do a job that overwhelmed you most days, I admired that, I was beginning to admire you. As I talked to you about my own disability you were gracious and kind in your responses, reassuring me that it did not change your desire to communicate with me and later reassuring me that it did not factor in your decision to date me. I remember being blown away by that fact, for so long I had been so afraid no one would want to marry me for that reason. You showed me I was wrong.

Then there was the day we skyped, talking about our pasts, the hurt and pain of broken relationships and the hardships we had both faced at the hands of the church. We talked about how God had brought healing into our lives and how much we had grown in love for Him over the previous year. About how our faith in Him had been strengthened through your ASD Diagnosis and mine through the concussion and subsequent year of recovery that took me from my comfortable pulpit in Kansas to my dorm room at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. About being raised in Pastors households and the calls of God on our individual lives, each conversation, finding ourselves liking the other more and more.

And how about the first time we skyped, oh how nervous I was, we both were, not sure what to expect but knowing we were starting to like the other. It was a beautiful moment for us, seeing each other for the first time, conversing as if we had known each other for years. We were very intentional about our friendship, grounding it first in the word of God and in our love for Him and allowing Him to build it up and take us deeper. Encouraging one another to walk closer to Him daily, each time I liked you more, each time I spent more time searching in prayer to discern God’s intent for this. I met with my older sister, a counselor, to learn more about ASD so I could better care for you and build you up. We got closer and closer and closer, I went to Ohio to visit one of my spiritual sisters who was graduating from college and you went to California to your brother graduate and we stayed in contact. We talked about meeting, I bought a bus ticket. I came to see you, I talked to your dad, we started dating and things just kept getting better.

We found we could communicate, you let me into your comfortable, organized world and I started to fall in love with it, with you. Then one day, when I was out for a visit, with the fear trying to drown me I told you, I said it, looked you in the eye and said “I Love you.” We were sitting on the living room couch, still trying to shake off the last vestiges of sleep. The first ones up, as we are both morning people, talking about something, I do not remember what it was.

Not to long after that we shared our first kiss, on a foggy morning down by the river where I would propose two months later. It was perfect, as perfect as something can be on this Earth. So natural, so gentle and so loving, then we spent a good deal of time talking about being careful with such a gift because we wanted to honor God.

In August you met my parents

In August I asked your parents for you hand

In September school started and two hours began to feel like 2 days.

In spite of that we still grew closer, we came out stronger, on October 7th I washed your feet and asked you, my best friend and sweetheart to marry me and you said yes. Making me the happiest man on the planet at that moment, taking the hand of this pauper and walking with Him and with God into whatever is next.

Yes, 7 months ago I did not know you, but now I cannot remember what life was like before you. Your inner-world is such a beautiful and wonderful place to be. Your kind and gentle love reminds me first of Christ and points me straight to Him. I get to love you, with those big, tight hugs that you love, rocking you gently back and forth while reassuring you that you are the only one for me. I get to love you, I do not just want to love you, I do, but I get to love you. I like you, I love you, you have brought so many colors into the world of this blind man.

Baby, we are never gonna have a lot of money, we are never gonna have a big house or a nice car. But we will have each other, we will have the love of God and the love of friends and family. We will have the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which has brought us together and, in 7 months, bind us together as husband and wife.

When Love bursts forth, beautiful and wonderful things happen. Healing is found, hearts are warmed and others are touched. The Gospel is shared and the greatest example of Christ’s Relationship with the church is seen by all who are watching.

My beautiful Bookend

Sincerely

Your Fiance!

Review: Disciple – Long Live the Rebels

By Jonathan David Faulkner

 Release Date: October 14th 2016

9/10

It has been a little while since I wrote a review (since I left Altrocklive.com in 2013) but maybe it is time to dust off those critical skills and write a review and what a better album to do that with then Disciple’s latest album Long Live the Rebels.

Few bands have been able to stay relevant over a 24 year career. Some do not even last that long, stopping at 15 or 20 if they are lucky. However, since 1992 Disciple has been rocking our hearts and encouraging our relationships with Christ. First introduced to them by their 2005 breakout hit “The Wait is Over” and instantly hooked by their lyrics and passion for the message of Christian Faith that is intricately woven into every song the band fronted by talented vocalist Kevin Young quickly became one of my favorites. The band has helped me through many a dark time in my life and my only way to really thank them has been to review their music (this is my fourth Disciple review). In a way, I grew up with Disciple, having been born in 1991, a year before they were founded.

With that background I hold the band to a very high standard both musically and lyrically. Fans have come to expect a lot from the band that wants to be “Unapologetically Christian.” For fans who are used to that approach to songwriting from the band they will not be disappointed. If fans were concerned the band might be slowing down after 24 years, they will not be disappointed at all. If anything their previous record, the independent outing, Attack should have been a warning, the band was only going to get heavier. I suppose working with producer Aaron Sprinkle and Tooth & Nail should have been a sign to all of us too about what was coming from the band that has left no stone un-turned when it comes to rock and roll.

Yes, Disciple has gotten heavier, though there are no tracks like “The Name” from Attack which may be the heaviest song Disciples ever produced. The album has a consistency to it that Attack did not. Every song until the albums closer “Empty Grave” boasts heavy guitars and unique rifts allowing Disciple to avoid sounding like themselves and keeping this record unique. The inclusion of a second vocalist, guitar player Joseph Prince (“Erase”, “Not today), adds a nice contrast to Young’s soaring vocals and passionate screams. If you think the album is totally unique think again, there are pieces that will remind people of previous record. For example the synthesizer that stars the lead of track “First Love” will remind the listener of the opening track from Horseshoes and Handgernades the rifts on “Come my Way” will remind the listener of tracks from Southern Hospitality and the arrangement of the hard-rocker anthem “Underdog Fight Song” will take the listener back to By God or Disciple. These similarities are welcome and even refreshing as they create a feeling of Nostalgia and the listener does not feel as if he/she is listening to carbon copies of those two albums.

Lyrically the album will remind listeners of O’ God Save Us and Horseshoes and Handgernades. Breaking from the more worship focused lyrics found on their previous outing the band focuses more on the struggles we face in everyday life and God’s grace, love and compassion for His saints. Songs meant more to minister and encourage the listener rather than bring the listener to a place of worship. “Come my Way” deals with the call of temptation and darkness and the desire to give in but also with the strength of God to overcome those temptations and say no to that desire to sin. The Album Opener “First Love” is about falling away from God and confessing that sin and being restored to God. The artist wrestles with not having a word to describe what he has become before God in his sin but wanting to come back to his first love. “Black Hole” talks about the effect of sin on the human heart. Written from the prospective of God the song shows the immeasurable grace of God towards those who are hurting and suffering. Young uses Crucifixion language on the bridge to tie the song together, a beautiful reminder of grace and truth in the middle of a darkened world. The song “Erase” deals specifically with mistakes we make and God’s desire to bring healing into our lives; “When you say you’re not okay, my heart it breaks to heal your pain, I will erase your yesterday, you’ll be okay, My love is greater than your mistake.” Finally the album sums up all these themes in the song “Empty Grave” which stands out not only because of the different instrumentation but because of the writers amazing insight into the power of salvation by God. Taking us from the death of sin to the life in Christ, filling us merely because He is alive and has brought us back to life, the song is, a beautiful putting forward of the Gospel Message.

After 24 years it is clear from Long Live the Rebels that Disciple is far from slowing down. The band continue to produce absolutely incredible music that ministers to the heart of the hurting and broken. Showing them that the love of God can reach them in their deepest pain and bring them to new life in Christ, there is no place God cannot reach us, nothing we can do that can separate us from Him. That has been the message throughout Disciples long career and their latest album only reinforces that message of deep faith.

In short, if you do not have this record yet, go out and get it, it is worth the buy.

  1. First Love (4:50)
  2. Long Live The Rebels (3:40)
  3. Secret Weapon (3:41)
  4. Erase (4:01)
  5. Come My Way (4:20)
  6. Underdog Fight Song (3:17)
  7. God Is With Us (3:24)
  8. Spirit Fire (3:09)
  9. Forever Starts Today (3:22)
  10. Black Hole (3:29)
  11. Spinning (3:13)
  12. Empty Grave (3:00)

 

Jonathan D12973040_10154269785339245_3845786340930956602_oavid Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry

God’s Heart Announcement!

From the Desk of the Jonathan David Faulkner; 

It is great joy and immeasurable happiness that I announce to you, my readers, my engagement to the most amazing woman of God Rachel. It has been over six months since we first met through the chat on Eharmony and four months since I asked her father if I could date her and asked her out. In that time we have grown to love and appreciate each other.

As you can imagine this has been a wonderful time for Rachel and I and we are pleased to share this news with you. It happened last Friday when I showed up to her house to surprise her when she got home from work. We then went down to our favorite spot by the river that runs past her hometown and got down and washed her feet. Promising to serve her for the rest of her life if she would have me. Then, after walking around for a while, talking and laughing and reminiscing we stopped as I got down on one knee and proposed.

She said YES!!!

Then we went out to dinner and then home to celebrate with her family.

God has been faithful through this entire process and has made it clear to us that this is His intent and plan for our relationship. We have a wedding date slated for May of 2017. Thank you for your continued prayer and encouragement as readers. I love you and hope you will continue to enjoy the God’s Heart For Those Website.

Jonathan David Faulkner

God’s Heart for Those