Snow Storm Serendipity

The snowflakes looked like streams of glowing fiber-optic string in the car headlights as we zoomed cautiously down the highway back to Philadelphia. It was Friday night and we had just done a vespers program of The Lamb Wins at Blue Mountain Academy in Hamburg. Jennifer and I talked about the possibility that the concert the next morning at the Indonesian Pioneer Memorial Church in New Jersey would be cancelled due to the bad weather. Jennifer also told me that Deana, who had performed with us at Blue Mountain Academy, would also be coming to the show the next morning. Little did we know that God would end up using what would look to us like disadvantages to his advantage. After waking up early the next morning I called Deana to confirm that we were meeting at Jen’s before heading to New Jersey as a group. She didn’t pick up. I figured she was getting ready or on her way so I decided to get ready myself before heading out to my mom’s snow-covered car. While driving to Jen’s, I called Deana again. This time my phone call woke her up.

“Deana, are you coming to the concert?” I asked.

“Jen called it off because of the snow!” Deana said groggily. After a short discussion, we realized she had dreamed Jen had called the concert off. Then Deana rose and checked out the streets around her house. She found that her streets had not been plowed and she would be unable to drive until they were.

Moving forward, Jen and I left from her home and arrived about 90 minutes later at the church to meet the other singers--Ranny, Krystal and Roxanne. We needed to know if Deana was coming or not because it would affect which songs we would sing. I called her.

“The streets still haven’t been plowed, so I won’t make it!” she said, “But I’ll pray for you!”

It turned out that her prayers may have accomplished more for the Kingdom than her presence and her amazing voice could have.

Earlier that day when we arrived at the church, the parking lot was full of snow. The elders were shoveling away, when a young man named Carlos saw them. He decided to come over and help, even though he had just finished shoveling his own church’s parking lot across the street. They invited him to stay for church and he said he would. He went home to change and began to have second thoughts about coming, but decided he would stick to his commitment. He ended up being tremendously blessed by the service and signing up for The Lamb Wins Revelation Bible studies!

After the service, we all had lunch followed by a screening of The Lamb Wins documentary. After the documentary we had a question and answer session with the director of the film, Justin Mclaughlin, myself, and Jennifer. Carlos asked us a few questions during the session but after it was done, I ended up talking with him personally. The conversation we had ended up being a huge blessing to me. He told me that he was especially blessed by the raps that I did in The Lamb Wins. Being an avid rap fan before becoming a Christian, he had struggled ever since his conversion to find rap that was speaking truth. I resonated with his frustration. He longed for quality music,  finding lyrics that would almost be what he was looking for but yet always missing the mark, even if ever so slightly. I could tell that the rap on The Lamb Wins was meeting a need as he told me again and again to keep doing it and that God had really used it to speak to him.

Please pray for Carlos and for me, that we may continue to grow in Christ and that God can continue using The Lamb Wins and my rhymes for His glory.

- Lee G

God is Teaching Me... (The Lamb Wins) by Lee G

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

I have lived a very prodigal, lavish life. Prior to coming to Christ, I took a rough turn in the 9th grade, becoming opposed to school when a teacher gave me a zero on what I thought was the best thing I’d ever written. After that I barely graduated high school (seriously if not for grace shown by my music theory teacher in particular I wouldn't have stood a chance), then dropped out of college after one day into my second semester to pursue music full time. I had been going to school for business-marketing, but decided my interest was in creating the music and not in learning how to make great profit from it. Add to the equation a 40K college fund that was transferred to my name at age 21 and you have, well, a prodigal life. Interestingly, just as my well was running dry, I gave my life to Christ. Music soon took the back burner as I began to engage in full-time missionary work. I was blessed to be in churches that believed in supporting and empowering young missionary workers (Germantown SDA and REACH Philadelphia). The day I didn't have enough money to buy a toothbrush was the day before I got my first stipend check for Bible work. God was teaching me to trust Him. 

God was not going to let those years developing the craft of music go to waste. He led me to Jennifer Schwirzer who gave me the opportunity to rap and sing on The Lamb Wins, an album based on the book of Revelation. Even this was handed to me with much grace as I took longer than anyone else involved with the project to finish my songs, waiting till the last minute to write many of my verses. My first tour was with The Lamb Wins in Florida and it was booked entirely by Jen. All I had to do was get on the plane. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The first gig was at a campus cafe venue much like the ones I used to rap in when I was seeking to make a name for myself, but now I knew I was seeking to point people to the glory of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! I didn't want it to end. But after the tour was over, it seemed definite that it would unless I stepped into the role of booking agent for The Lamb Wins. God was teaching me to take responsibility.

My dad used to always tell me I should learn the business aspect of music. Now, if I wanted to receive the blessing God was clearly handing to me, it would mean applying myself in a way I had had the luxury of avoiding until this point. I embraced it and booked my first tour in California. Alison Brook, John Millea and I helped Nathan Renner with an evangelistic series on the book of Revelation. We performed at other churches in our spare time. The pressure was real as I organized and managed the tour, hoping that the newly married Alison and John (not with each other) would make enough money for it to be worth their while. It was not as enjoyable as the other tour because I often allowed myself to feel pressured and stressed. I hope in the future I can be more trusting in God’s care. He worked everything out and we did exceedingly and abundantly better than we expected. I enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones, hearing elderly ladies say they liked my raps, and taking in the beautiful countryside of Central California. My house parents made me feel at home and cared for; I couldn’t have asked for a better host family in Sonora. God was teaching me to enjoy working for Him.

I realize this interesting balance. I know I must make every effort to make this work, at the same time I know that God is the one who makes it work and without him it will fail, even if it appears to be successful by some standards. It is a month to month thing, and unless more shows are booked, The Lamb Wins tours will not continue. I ask that you will please pray for me, that I am repentant, humble before God and do not presume upon His kindness but at the same time that I am at rest and at peace in His protective care. He is calling me, and He is equipping me. I know my only safety and true joy is in heeding His call and abiding in Him. He is teaching me to trust Him responsibly.

The Lamb Wins on the Road by Jennifer Jill

"The Lamb Wins on the Road" by Jennifer Jill

Like many middle-agers, I have felt a desire to mentor and support young people. This desire has taken shape in The Lamb Wins project. From the beginning, it was mostly about giving them a platform from which they could launch their ministries. When in 2011 I officially teamed up with two young adult artists, Delon Lawrence and Lee Givhan, to produce The Lamb Wins, my thoughts flowed in this vein: This project will give young people experience with writing, recording and producing music. It will create great, scripturally-based songs, and a few people will hear them. But then it will likely die an early death because with all these young people darting every which way like a herd of cats, getting married, going to college, finding jobs, we won’t be able to tour, and touring is the only way to promote music.

I’m happy to say I erred.

The Lamb Wins tour is a thing. It’s legit. Sure, it rattles along like an old box car, often seeming about ready to fall apart. But it holds together still, one loss making way for another gain. Producer and promoter Delon moved to California; Lee stepped up and became promoter and booking agent. Soaring tenor Matthew Resendez went off to college; soaring soprano Christa Deana Mitchell stepped in and learned his parts.i. Again and again as divine providence supplements human limitations, I must admit The Lamb Wins is God’s project, and He has plans for it.

At this stage, we have two teams:

The local touring team performs mostly in about a three-hour radius of the Philadelphia area and, at any given concert, may include Jennifer Jill, Lee Givhan, Hillary Blair, Roxanne Horrell, Giselle Satterwhite, Ranny Wenur, Jason Shiavonne and Christa Deana Mitchell.

The distance touring team handles longer tours that involve flying somewhere, and is comprised of full-time artists who are free to leave for more than a week—Alison Brook, John Millea and Lee Givhan.

Either the local or the distance touring team can perform concerts, or provide special music for evangelistic efforts, or even preach the evangelistic sermons! Here’s an example of how this has worked: Currently the distance team is assisting pastor Nathan Renner by providing music for a Revelation seminar in Sonora, California. Since the series lasted three weeks and they had some free time, TLW team booked eight additional performances in the area. Pastor Renner found hospitable church members to take in the artists, and the church paid the travel and an honorarium for the artists.

Should your church wish to book TLW to provide Revelation-themed music, we will work with your budget and try to create a win-win situation. Typically we will ask you to cover travel and provide housing and food for the team, plus a small honorarium if an extended stay is involved. If you want to explore these options, contact Lee Givhan and start dreaming- leegivhan@gmail.com

This past Sabbath, something really epic happened for the first time. The Lamb Wins local touring team and the distance touring team played possibly around the same time. Or at least the same day, within the span of a few hours. Maybe it took about three hours, anyway, for the sound waves from Christa Deana’s high notes to warble all the way across the country and resonate with Alison Brook’s. At any rate, the heavens rang in worship of the Lamb.

i. By the way, don’t feel bad for anyone; if Delon and Matthew come home, we’ll just move over and make room for them again. The beauty of an artistic collective is its flexibility.