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Phil 1:21 - "For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain."
~ Tuesday, September 11 ~
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GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT GOD’S WORD

I remember praying these words, “God, I want to know Your Word more.”

I remember His immediate and vivid answer, “Well…then know My Word more.” 

Ever since then I have made a commitment to memorizing Scripture. It has been the best decision of my spiritual life since following Christ. 

With some quick math, I figured out that if you memorize two verses a day you can have the New Testament memorized in around 7 years! I realize that initially sounds like a long time but 7 years ago I was 20 years old and that seems like yesterday! If the Lord wills for me to live…the days are going to pass…I might as well make good use of them. What a powerful and wonderful tool to know God’s word on that level!

What a blessing to be able to read God’s Word at all?! What a precious gift He has given us and one that we ought not take lightly?! 

God has done an unbelievable work in me through these passages and has opened my eyes to truths that have literally set me free in many ways. Not to mention the times that I was able to speak truth into someone else’s life or situation through God’s word because of this commitment to memorization; truth that I would not have been aware of without these verses being logged away. 

I started in 1 Peter because I have always loved that book and Peter’s tenacity in his faith. After I completed that I moved on to his second letter. Then on to Jude and finally just finished James a few days ago. 

When I moved on from Jude I really wanted others to experience the life-change and deepening of their faith that I was in this way. So…I invited people to join me in memorizing James. I was shocked at the amount of people who did, indeed, join me on that venture and was so encouraged when people would tell me, whether at shows or over Facebook and twitter, how God was using It to change them. That’s what His Word does! 

We have just recently started on Paul’s first letter to Timothy and am praying diligently that God will do a great work in my heart and the hearts of those who are joining me in memorizing this book. 

I wonder if you would consider joining us as well? It is not easy and sometimes time-consuming but always worth it and will always be the best spent time in your day. 

We have called it “The Challenge” and if you are interested, here is the Facebook and Twitter page links:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Challenge/208590572525678

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thechallenge10

Even if you decide not to join us In “The Challenge”, I do hope that you are committed or will make a commitment to knowing God’s word on a deeper level.

God bless.

-Alan


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~ Tuesday, April 3 ~
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Not What You Do But Who You Are

I have spent much of my life, like others, concerned with what I was either doing currently with my life or what I was ultimately going to do with my life. Mostly with good intent, I was always wanting to be doing something “of significance”. I think my greatest fear is being insignificant.

Whether it was where I was going to go to college, what I was going to study, what career path to choose, where to live and everything in-between, my mindset was always, “what would be of the most significance?” Thankfully, God has opened my eyes to a WONDERFUL truth. HE DOESN’T NEED ME. He was fine before my efforts and He will be fine after them. He is, however, very invested in who I am and who I become.

He has taught me, through His word, that God is SO much more interested in WHO I am and less with WHAT I am doing.

2 Peter says this, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly-kindness; and to brotherly-kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

There it is! Just by chasing after these qualities, I am promised that I will NOT be ineffective and essentially…NOT insignificant. That’s the answer. I don’t have to worry about doing anything particularly. I just need to possess these qualities more and more and God says the rest will take care of itself.

Moral of the story…allow God to change WHO you are to be more and more like Him and what you do will be exactly what He wants from you…and ultimately…there is nothing more or less that we could ever want. 


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~ Sunday, November 6 ~
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Making Every Effort

In 2 Peter, Peter uses the phrase “make every effort” multiple times. Each time he is referring to a different action.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly-kindness; and to brotherly-kindness, love.”  2 Peter 1:5-7

“And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.” 2 Peter 1:15

“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.” 2 Peter 3:14

For some reason, this phrase really struck me. I began to pray that God would show me what it means. The reason I felt the need to ask for clarification is because it seems a bit vague. Or at the very least, it seems somewhat complicated if taken at face value.

I believe God gave me that clarification and I wanted to share it with you.

Did you know that we are called to perfection? The common saying, “nobody’s perfect” is true but ought not be used as an excuse or comfort when we do mess up. 1 Peter says, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance, but just as He who called you in holy, be holy in all you do. For it is written, ‘Be holy as I am holy.’” Holiness is the goal.

I say that because that is the foundation for meaning of the phrase “make every effort.”

I believe God’s word is urging us to strive for perfection and not settle until we arrive there. That is what Peter means when he says “make every effort.” I also am aware His word indicates that we will never quite arrive until we are made perfect when His glory is revealed. However, although it may seem trivial in comparison to His perfection, we ought to be getting closer each day.

God give us the strength and faith to make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with you.

Tags: alan powell
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~ Saturday, August 27 ~
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TWO THOUGHTS ON BIBLE STUDY

What a privilege it is to be able to read God’s word?! A privilege that we need not take for granted. A privilege that many people in today’s world are not afforded. There are people around the world this very day that are putting their lives and their family’s lives in danger by possessing and reading this precious book that most of us have multiple copies of and could add to that collection at almost any store in town. Cherish the Bible as if it were your sustenance for life…because it is. 

That being said, there are two things I want to encourage you in regarding bible study. 

First of all…dig deep!! Scripture is such a wealth of deep and meaningful spiritual truths. Be hungry to pull from it every ounce of goodness possible. How do you do that?…There are many options. However, let me mention a method of study that is probably not going to be most effective…simply reading it. Tragically, most of us, when we finally pick up God’s word and want to hear from Him, will just open it up to a random book and passage or turn to where we last left off and read. Let me say, there is nothing wrong with that by any means and it is infinitely better than not reading it at all. But if we are really wanting to know exactly what God was intending to tell us, there is some digging that needs to be done. I am not saying that every verse has a hidden meaning that we will miss without an in depth exegesis of each word…just that sometimes the real truth is deeper than what our English translations can really interpret and/or deeper than our current pool of knowledge will allow us to see. 

So what then…how do you dig deeper? One of my favorite tools in studying Scripture is called a commentary. Simply put, it is smarter people, who know more about Scripture as a whole than I do, explaining what they believe the word of God to be saying and diving into those deeper truths I am talking about. If you are serious about your faith and want to grow in your knowledge of God and His word…you need one. If you want a recommendation, John Macarthur is the best there is in my opinion. I do not agree with everything he thinks but he is certainly a man of God who has spent his life in pursuit of the truth of the word of God. Let me say this, Scripture is perfect…men are not. A commentary is not Scripture but can often help us get a better understanding of what Scripture is really saying. 

Second thing…translations!! 

They are soooo important. Bottom line, our English language is not fully capable of interpreting for us exactly what the original texts were trying to say. For this reason, there are some differences in translations. 

Ask almost anyone who is somewhat knowledgable about translations and they will tell you that the NASB is the most closely and reliably translated version of the English Bible. However, because of that literal translation sometimes it can be awkwardly worded. Many people think the ESV is next in line and the NIV is still a very popular, solid translation that feels more natural to read and study.

Let me give you an example. This is the spark that prompted this whole blog. As some of you may know, I am currently studying 2 Peter. I am studying in the NIV (1984 version) and this is what 2 Peter 2:9 says:

"If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials…"

I was so confused when I first read this verse because of what 1 Peter’s obvious message was regarding trials. All throughout Peter’s first book he seems to make it very clear that trials are something that God allows and uses purposefully to strengthen our faith and to bring Himself glory both now and when Jesus returns. So then, when I read this verse here in 2 Peter and the context that surrounded it, I found myself trying to make puzzle pieces fit where they weren’t meant to. Guess where the problem was…the translation! Guess how I found that out…digging deeper! John Macarthur’s commentary on this passage states that this greek word ought actually be translated “temptation” (and it is in the NASB by the way) and more specifically means “an attack with the intent to destroy”. What a difference! This is not the same as the trials that Peter was talking about throughout 1 Peter, this is an attack from Satan that is meant to destroy us. When you know that and step back from the passage and see it in the context of it’s surrounding verses…it makes much more sense. Such a remarkable truth that I would have missed out on had I not forced myself to go deeper than just the words I initially read and try and see what God was really writing to me.  

I want to encourage you. There is so much waiting for you in God’s word. Seek it out as if it were this world’s greatest treasure…it is. 

That is all…peace and love. 


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~ Wednesday, August 24 ~
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Breaking Through the Darkness

Over the past few weeks, the guys and I have had the opportunity to play “Where the Light Is” at a number of shows. Such a blessing because just as I share before we sing this song every time, it’s basically my story with a melody sung over instrumentation.  Without fail, every night, someone will come up to me after the show and ask me how I got through such a dark time because they are in a similar position and can not seem to break out. I want to share with you what I share with them in case it can help encourage your faith.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

This is the answer at it’s core. The super familiar verse that many of you have heard many times. This is how you “break out.” This is how I did.

Brief context:

About three years ago, I was entirely too close to walking away from everything that matters in this life. My faith…my family…truth. I was in such a dark place that I could not see left from right, up from down or wrong from right. And the worst part…I didn’t know I couldn’t see it. I was blind to my blindness, which is worse than being blind. I lost sight of truth and was allowing Satan to tell me that I was seeing clearer in the dark. Therefore, I kept walking and he nearly lead me off a cliff. You see, that’s what Satan does. If you give him control…he will lead you to certain death. Remember the story of the demons driven from the man living in the graveyard. They begged Jesus to allow them to go into the pigs…he allowed them and what did they do…drove the pigs off a cliff. That is always evil’s intention: to destroy those it inhabits. I was nearly another casualty but by the grace of God and the power of love and forgiveness…I am writing you now with fingers attached to a body that inhabits a soul that remains committed to the kingdom of Light. 

Back to the verse:

Therefore, what does the verse have to do with my story and/or the answer to the question I am inevitably asked every time we sing the song? Answer…everything. 

I could show you a frightening journal entry that was and still is my exact turning point. In summation it says, “God, I don’t know if You are there. What’s more, I don’t know if I care. However, I do know that somehow I still have a strong understanding that chasing You and therefore, doing what You would want me to do is what I ought to do. I know just as strongly that it is not what my emotions are leading me to but for a while, I will neglect them. I will move forward based on what I know in my head is right not what my heart is saying.” It was almost like a test for God. A trial. I didn’t have a specific amount of time set but I knew that He would need to move in me fast. So I followed through. I spent time in His word and talked to Him daily. It was like pulling teeth at first. However, as the days went by the fog cleared. He broke through. That’s just it…I didn’t break out…He busted in and saved me. He doesn’t do this without invitation and an opening. Before I knew it…what I wanted was more of Him. My emotions finally coincided with Godliness. 

That’s what the verse means. That’s how you “break out.”

When we delight ourselves in Him, He changes who we are to be more like Him. He changes what we want to be what He wants for us. That is when He gives us the desires of our heart…when our heart is like His. 

That is all…peace and love.

Tags: alan powell anthem lights where the light is breakig through the darkness
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~ Sunday, July 17 ~
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The Remedy for My Greatest Fear

For as long as I can remember, I have never been bothered by the common “greatest fears.” Public speaking…not an issue. (one of my favorite things, in fact) Dying…death hasn’t scared me since I found Christ at age six and believed with all of my being that there was an eternal paradise waiting for me because of what He did on the cross. Dying alone…I haven’t been alone at any point in my life and am confident that even if I lost all human relationships in this life, I would have a Heavenly Father who would always be with me. However, there is one possibility that has always terrified me. My greatest fear is living my entire earthly life without making some sort of significant eternal impact. 

I have just recently began a study in 2 Peter. Not even 10 verses into the book God has relieved me of that fear. 

2 Peter 1:5-8

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly-kindness; and to brotherly-kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

There is the remedy for my greatest fear!! What a relief! No longer do I need to worry about living a life of significance. Peter tells me, through the Holy Spirit, that if I focus on possessing these qualities, insignificance is an impossibility! Amen. 

Not a whole lot else to be added to this amazing realization. However, I did want to mention this thought and hope that you can learn from and relate to it: My overwhelming desire to live a life of significance is probably my greatest strength and greatest weakness at the same time. While this passion has driven me to aspire to know God more and find ways to have an impact for Him and His kingdom on many occasions, it has also driven me to “do ministry” for the sake of significance instead of the sake of Christ. 

Bottom line: Focus on Christ…He takes care of the rest. 

Peace and Love


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~ Monday, April 25 ~
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Humility

I never really thought that humility was a very difficult concept. I mean, how hard is it to be humble before a perfect and holy God. Anyone who has even a vague understanding of His majesty and power would have no problem considering themselves less than equal by comparison. HOWEVER, I did not totally understand exactly what God was calling me to in regards to humility until I started diving into 1 Peter.

"All of you, clothe yourselves in humility TOWARD ONE ANOTHER, because, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

I was called to humble myself toward other people!! This realization rocked my world. I have always known that I was supposed to do unto others as I would have them do to me but this is different. Humility is a mindset. I, in a very real way, am called to think higher of others than I do myself and act on that.

Sometimes that’s not hard at all. Sometimes my humility towards someone else is deserved and so it is easy for me to be in that mindset. As an example, in regards to golf, it would not be hard for me to be on the golf course with Tiger Woods and be very humbled about my own golf game. I would GLADLY take any advice he would have to offer and would soak it up like a sponge. However, to further the example, if I am on the course with an inexperienced player and yet they persist on giving me pointers on my swing, it would be very difficult for me to “clothe myself in humility” toward that person.

Now take the analogy of golf away and I am left with real life situations. Depending on the person, (my respect level for them based on achievements or their character or their spiritual maturity) there are times when humility toward another person is very easy and even in my own eyes is deserved. However, you will notice in the verse above there are NO stipulations on which people we are suppose to be humble towards. It simply says, “clothe yourselves in humility toward one another”. It means everyone. Therefore, those individuals who I have a hard time being humble towards, it means them too.

As always Christ is the best example. He was literally perfect and yet in every interaction with a fallen and sinful man or woman, He humbled Himself and often even served them right where they were. I think of the time that He washed the feet of His disciples. What an act of humility?! To Jesus, it was not a matter of who deserved what. He knew He was more deserving of respect than they were, He was God! He also knew that just a matter of days from that moment, they would ALL betray Him. Nonetheless, He HUMBLED Himself toward them and washed their feet.

To this you and I are called.

Peace and love


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~ Friday, April 15 ~
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Things you may not know about the Anthem Lights fellas…

So it’s not always about being deep and serious…sometimes it’s just fun. So…on that note…things you may not have known about the fellas. (just off the top of my head)

CALEB

- doesn’t understand the whole “dog thing” —- he’s not a fan —- doesn’t necessarily dislike them…but certainly doesn’t like them (he has a story to go along with this but you’ll have to ask him yourself for that)

- drinks a LOT of coffee

- left a full-ride scholarship to Liberty University to join Anthem Lights (true of Kyle too)

- has crazy good vocal control (for all you singers out there you know what I’m talking about)

- both his phone and his laptop case are red (just now realizing this…maybe he has a thing for red??)

- LOVES sitcoms of almost any kind…if it’s a sitcom on tv…he is probably following it every week

- I am shocked to be learning recently that he is quite forgetful sometimes…has left his jacket in hotel room or dressing room at least twice this tour and something else of great importance that is currently slipping my mind…still…very surprising to me

KYLE

- nicest guy you have probably ever met but doesn’t really care about animals. when i was first getting to know kyle i expected him to be the kind of person that would feel bad about killing even a bug…i was definitely wrong about that

- is really fast

- VERY up-to-date on pop culture

- has stupid good pitch (again for the singers)

- wears yellow corduroy pants and yet somehow … it doesn’t look ridiculous

- is in my phone as “kyle kupretty” 

- can be very enthusiastic about small things and it is often hilarious

- i’ve never seen him mad

- if you think he looks like “edward” from twilight…you’re not the first…

CHAD

- has and wears a shirt that he has had and worn since 8th grade

- chews on straws a lot

- has two tattoos (cross on his back and Jesus fish on his wrist) —- wants a bunch more

- great falsetto (singers…you know)

- will probably not talk to you if you are wearing a Florida Gator logo of any kind

- has a thing he does with his left hand while recording vocals in the studio that he never does on stage or anywhere else really…it’s strictly a studio vocal booth thing

- we have fierce ping-pong matches that are usually very close but i don’t think i have ever actually beaten him…i’m talking like probably 100 games…always close…never won…boo

- sweats like he has been playing tennis for 4 hours when playing ping-pong

- says the word “color” and “collar” the exact same way…pronounces them both like “collar” 

- has been one of my closest friends for close to ten years but for some reason (that we are both still trying to figure out) was not in my wedding —- my bad

- would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it

- is a phenomenal driver and has probably saved my life at least twice with his evasive driving maneuvers 

- has a dog named kale that is a BEAST - 100 pound black lab

- was there the night i decided i was going to marry this girl named “brycie” - i was barely 17 - she and i started dating basically the next day - been married now for 5 1/2 years…that’s my girl

k..that’s all..thought you may enjoy

peace and love

Tags: alan powell anthem lights caleb grimm kyle kupecky chad graham
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~ Thursday, April 7 ~
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Tough Question…

Here is a question I received anonymously. This may be the most frequently asked question to us as believers from nonbelievers. 1 Peter says: “always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We are mandated to be PREPARED for the TOUGH QUESTIONS. That being said…I certainly do not have all of the answers but I wanted to share with you my thoughts on this tough subject…ready…go. 

p.s. —— these are tough truths to handle…just sayin’

The question…

I’m a teenager and I go to a public high school, so I am constantly being taught things in school that sometimes collide with what the bible says. Also, I’m around many people who deny God’s existence. A few days ago, a conversation in my class came up about natural disasters and things that have occured in the past that have lead the to the death of millions of people and other global issues and someone in my class who was a non-believer said that if there were a God, he would have never let such things happen to the earth and innocent people. I know that God exists, and I know that He has a plan for all of us, plans to prosperous us and not harm us, but sometimes I just don’t understand why world tragedies happen. Why are innocent children hurting every day? Why are people suffering from poverty and natural disasters? I believe, but sometimes I just don’t understand things like this. Why do you believe that such tragedies occur to innocent people?

Response…

There are a couple of HUGE assumptions that are being made in these questions. In those assumptions lie the problem with the statement of your non-believing classmate: “if there were a God, he would have never let such things happen to the earth and innocent people.” 

Assumption number one: innocent people

There are no innocent people. There are certainly people who are MORE evil than others and purposefully do harm and inflict pain but NO ONE is innocent. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Because of that sin, evil has entered the world and has set it on a downward and destructive path ever since its conception. Therefore, we ought not be surprised at ALL at these natural disasters that occur as our world falls apart because of the sin we have introduced. 

Let me ask the question that is inevitably on your mind now. “Ok, so people may not be perfect but that doesn’t mean they deserve what happens to them all the time; tsunamis, hurricanes, murder etc.” Who is to say what we deserve and what we do not?? God and God alone. And He has already stated what we deserve in His word…we deserve death. Anything less than that is mercy. Praise God for His mercy. And the question that follows that, “is it fair that some have to deal with more harsh realities than others??” Answer…no. Bottom line…God is not fair. He never claimed to be and most honestly…you and I do NOT want Him to be. As mentioned, FAIRly speaking, we all deserve nothing more than death.

Assumption number two (the BIG BIG BIG one that SOOOO many make…including Christians—-a LOT): that God’s number one concern is ANYTHING BUT His own glory

When your classmate made this statement, “if there were a God, he would have never let such things happen to the earth and innocent people”, he was assuming that God’s number one priority was to protect the earth and innocent people. Otherwise, he would have no problem with things the way they are. Let me throw out an over-the-top comparison to make it clear. Your classmate would probably not say, “if there were a God, he would never let so many cars be painted yellow.” That sounds crazy right?? It only sounds crazy because it is clear to everyone that the existence of God is not based on His ability to keep yellow cars from being made because we do not think, generally, that His purpose is to forbid them. However, for some reason (not Scripturally based) our culture has made the assumption that His purpose is to keep bad things from happening and protect people. That is just as false as the yellow car thing. God makes it VERY clear in His word that He is about Himself. He is about His glory and His purpose and the purpose of everyone and everything He created is to declare His glory. 

Therefore, if you look at these disasters and evil things that happen as something that God allows because: 1) our sin has brought the evil into the perfect world He created and 2) He uses those things to bring glory to Himself, there is no reason to question His existence in any tragedy. As a matter of fact, His existence is all the more evident as you look at them. 

It has never been, it isn’t and it will never be about us. This world and the next are about the God who started it all. We simply play our part.

"Dear friends, do NOT be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you…"

- 1 Peter

Peace and Love



Tags: alan powell anthem lights christianity tough question
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~ Tuesday, March 29 ~
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"Glory Yet to Be Revealed"

As some of you may know, I have been spending a lot of time in 1 Peter. Paul is continuously speaking of this “glory that is yet to be revealed”. It seems obvious WHEN this glory will be revealed, namely when Christ returns and we see Him face to face, but Paul does not even attempt to say what it is. The reason, I think, is because our mortal minds can not begin to fathom such glory and certainly are incapable of putting it into words. Needless to say, the idea of this “glory yet to be revealed” has been bouncing around in my head for a while now.

Also, as some of you may know, us Anthem Lights boys are blessed to be out on the road with Revive and Building 429 right now. Well, if you have listened to Christian music at ALL in the last 8 years you are probably very familiar with one of the Building 429 tunes called “Glory Defined.” I was watching the end of their set the other night and as soon as they got to the chorus it hit me…this “glory that is yet to be revealed” is exactly what B429 has been singing about for the last 8 years. I have always liked the song but never really understood what that first line of the chorus was talking about. You guys know it…”When I wake up to find…YOUR GLORY DEFINED and I will finally bow at your feet.” It was really cool to know that someone else had wrestled with the same questions and even cooler to see how they were able to turn that into a song that has ministered to hundreds of thousands of people. 

Peace and Love

Carry on…

Tags: alan powell anthem lights 1 peter revive building 429 gory yet to be revealed
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