Thursday, June 30, 2011

Artist Alert: Ben Kasica Announces Latest Moves

Ben Kasica shocked us by leaving Skillet earlier this year after being the lead guitarist with the band since 2001. Ben has written a personal letter for all his fans about what he is now up to:
Dear Friends,
Many of you know after 10 years of playing with Skillet, I've chosen to move on. Many people have questioned why I would leave a band ‘at the top’ to pursue ‘smaller’ things. Here is my answer.
When I was 16, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime – to play guitar in my favorite band Skillet. I had been a fan since I was 12, attending loads of concerts, "moshing", proudly wearing Skillet t-shirts, etc. I never thought I would ever actually be in the band. I was just a normal kid that loved God and believed He had the best for me. But, through a good friend, I got a call for an audition and somehow really believed in my heart it was going to work out. Two weeks later, I was on the road touring and playing in the band. Ten years, almost two million records, countless amazing fans and a myriad of priceless memories later, I'm here writing this memo.
I grew up on Christian music and it maintains a special and unique place in my heart for the way it inspired and shaped me as a child and for how it has contributed to my maturity as a young adult growing up in the business. I often think back to when I was a 12-year old kid, lying in bed with my headphones blaring, dreaming about being a rock star. I think every kid has moments when they dream big dreams like these. The trouble is, most don’t really know how to ever achieve those dreams, even if they know a sense of calling from God. This next phase of life for me is committed to seeing others’ dreams become reality and encouraging people along in their destiny in God.
I recently formed a company called Skies Fall Media Group. The name ‘Skies Fall’ was inspired by the imagery of the Kingdom of Heaven coming down to the earth. The mission of the company is to facilitate a wide range of creative business development in the world of the arts and media. Initially forged as a small recording and production company in 2005, the company was expanded in 2008 to take on artist development, publishing and management and become an artist-centric independent record label, Skies Fall Records. Coinciding with the record company, we operate a full-service recording studio where we are writing and producing music with our clients.
To artists, I hope to be an encouragement to you to continue in your heavenly calling and that you would know refreshment in your work; that you would be reminded of when you were a young musician dreaming of doing music, when you were on a mission to make a difference in this world, speaking the most powerful language in the world through music; that the long drives and early mornings and the absence of normal church-life would be met by a renewed desire to live out the mandate of God on your lives; that you might actually live in the fullest measure of who God created you to be.
Pope Benedict XVI met with artists in the Sistine Chapel recently and said, "You are the custodians of beauty...you have the opportunity to speak to the heart of humanity, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement. Be grateful, then, for the gifts you have received and be fully conscious of your great responsibility to communicate beauty, to communicate in and through beauty! Through your art, you yourselves are to be heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity!"
I hope that together we can make a difference in the world, that we can communicate the heart of God through creativity and inspiration. I hope that together we can set precedents in business, the arts and media worthy of being modeled by the world. I hope that our success not be gauged solely by sales and numbers, but by our honor for each other, by our excellence in our spheres of influence and by the measure we allow the Spirit of God to lead us. I’m privileged and excited to join you in these endeavors.

Sincerely yours,
Ben Kasica
Skies Fall Media Group


Ben has already been working with Skies Fall Media Group prior to his leave of Skillet. He worked with Tate Olsen's strings group Cellofourte in creating the album A String Tribute to Skillet which featured all-strings versions of hit Skillet songs. The album can be bought at Cellofourte's website, cellofourte.com.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Free Music: "#putyourloveglasseson" by Beckah Shae

Album NameiTickets.com is currently offering Beckah Shae's new single "#putyourglasseson" for free to all members of the site. Membership is entirely free, so if you do not have an iTickets account yet, you can register for free here. Once that is complete, head on over to the downloads page to get your free song. Now, the page currently has a mistake on it, and the title of the song on the page says "For Such a Time as This" instead of "#putyourloveglasseson." At first, I thought that perhaps the email I recieved had made the mistake, but after downloading and listening to the song, it is indeed "#putyourloveglasseson." This song has a great beat and I'm sure you will love it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bible Verse of the Week: 1 Samuel 16:7b

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b
One thing to remember is that God is unlike man in mind. A lot of times, we tend to interpret holy things by human standards. God thinks so differently than we do in a way that we cannot fathom. It is human nature to classify or judge someone by their appearance. People do not like others, and look down on them, if they are wear odd clothing or are un-socially correct in stature. However, in reality, so long as one is a true believer in Christ, it really does not matter if one is too short or not smart or ugly or wears old clothes. We should not be judging others, because that is not what God called us to do. We need to keep in mind that we should not worry about making our outward appearance seem beautiful, cool, or whatever else is appealing, because God does not care about those things. "The Lord looks at the heart." That is all that matters-our heart. No matter how we are on the outside, in the end, it all depends on the inside. ~ Jesselyn

New Video Series from Just 2 Techy

I've told you all about my friend Mike from Just2Techy.com. Mike is the one who did most of the designing for this blog as well as create the blog button. If not for him, this site would not be half as nice as it is now. Well, Mike is obviously a tech expert (just check out his website and you'll see what I mean), and he has begun a new video series to go along with his site. The video series will contain video reviews for different products, and you can watch Episode 1 right now on the website! The first episode is more of a fun video and Mike reviews an energy drink you might not have heard of. Whether or not you enjoy energy drinks, you'll enjoy watching the video as it is HILARIOUS! Go here to watch the video, and after watching, be sure to leave a comment as well as check out the rest of the site. You'll be happy you did!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Song/Video of the Week: "Reach" by Peter Furler

Peter Furler made a surprise exit from newboys in March of 2009. While surprised, fans instantly wondered what his next moves would be. Well, Peter could not stay away from music forever. He has released his debut solo album on June 21, and the first single "Reach" now has a music video as well. The video features Peter playing drums, guitar, and singing while the song lyrics show up on screens behind him. I'd like to thank my buddy Josh for suggesting this video to me. He sure has good taste, don't you think? ;)


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bible Verse of the Week: Acts 2:4

"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:4
So simple, and yet it evokes a strong message. The days would be so blessed if all of us now were filled with the Holy Spirit. Only from having the Holy Spirit come the blessings of comfort, purity, peace, and life just to name a few. He cleanses us and sanctifies us to holiness. We live no more in darkness but in light in God. He removes the utter emptiness of our lives and fills it with the hope of the Lord. He comforts us by taking away our worries and troubles replacing them with peace. He does what He chooses; He gives us life and answers our pleas. How wonderful it would be and how content we would be if we could feel God's Presence every second of our lives. That is my prayer today, and I hope that will be yours as well.
~Jesselyn

Giveaway: "On Fire" by Peter Furler via ChristianMusicReview.org

You all know that I now work for ChristianMusicReview.org (CMR), a site mostly dedicated to Christian music. Right now, CMR is holding a contest in which copies of Peter Furler's debut solo album On Fire will be given to the winners! All you have to do is go to contest page on the CMR website and fill in your information. (Note: The contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada at least 13 years of age.) This contest ends June 30, so hurry and enter! And be sure to check out the rest of the CMR website (which is currently in renovation) while you are there!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Song/Video of the Week: "Stronger" by Mandisa

Everyone knows Mandisa from tobyMac's music. When she began her own solo career, we were all interested in hearing what she would have to offer. The first single, "Stronger" from her latest album What If We Were Real is now hitting number one on many radio stations, and this is no surprise. Mandisa seems to have matured musically since the beginning of her career and if she keeps writing songs like this one, than she will continue to do well in the music field! The music video for "Stronger" is this week's song/video of the week.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Free Music: BEC Recordings 10+ Song Sampler

BEC Recordings is offering a free 10+ song sampler via their Facebook page. I do not have the track listing for it yet, but I do know that the sampler includes songs from Kutless, Jeremy Camp, Manafest, Bebo Norman, Aaron Gillespie, Hawk Nelson, and more! To download the sampler, you must first "like" the page. Then, just click "VIP Exclusive" on the left sidebar and click "Unlock Download." Now, there is currently a problem with unlocking the download and most likely, you'll get an error message after clicking "Unlock Download," but this is not too much of a problem. After you get the error message, just click the "Skip" button next to the unlock button instead. That will change the buttons to a "Download" button that will begin your download. It's that easy! If you have any more questions, just leave a comment on this page and I will answer. Thanks to Jay for the tips on this free music offer!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Free Music: "Courageous" by Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns will be releasing the new album Come to the Well on October 28, 2011. The song "Courageous" will be on the record as well as on the upcoming Christian film Courageous. A music video for the song has already been created and will be featured on the movie. Right now, you can watch the video as well as download the song "Courageous" for free only on Godtube.com! The only catch is that you MUST have an account on Godtube, but this is entirely easy to create. Just go here to register and then go to this page to download your free song! Finally, to watch a trailer of the film itself, go to the Godtube page of it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Song/Video of the Week: "Feed the Machine" by RED

This week's song/video is the first music video and the second radio single from RED's latest album Until We Have Faces. "Feed the Machine" is the opening track on the RED album, and the video is explosive! It is actually a full seven minutes long and is quite intense. Give me your take on it after you watch it here on Justin's Christian Music Spot!


Bible Verse of the Week-Deuteronomy 16:9

"Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous." Deuteronomy 16:19
A lot of times, situations need a third party that simply observes. This verse is one of the many laws that God gave to the Israelites. As stated, bribery lacks justice. I believe that a bribe has the purpose of corrupting the behavior and performance of a person. According to the dictionary, the verb 'to bribe' means to influence or corrupt. A bribe is dishonest and is only made from lips that are lacking integrity. A bribe sounds good in the beginning, which falters the wise. When it is finished, the induced victims realize how foolish they were. It is awful to be the affected one; it is worse to be the briber. As Christians, we should speak only righteousness. Our words become twisted and unholy when we purposely seduce others. Not only are we perverting justice, but we are sinning against another and, ultimately, God. He gave us so many commands; the least we can do is obey one of the simplest and remain honest.
~Jesselyn

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Album Review: "The Journey" by Stuart Townend

This album review is the first review I wrote for ChristianMusicReview.org! It helped earn me an official spot on the CMR Team as a reviewer (not just interim). Go here to read the review on CMR, and be sure to check out all the other reviews on the site!
Genre: Folk/Modern Hymn
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Stuart Townend is an English music artist who has written over 100 worship songs and hymns that have been sung in churches all over the world. His songs include “In Christ Alone,” “The Power of the Cross,” and “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us,” and he is considered a modern hymn writer. The Journey, Townend’s eighth studio album, contains a modern Folk style and is filled with Christian themes, particularly God’s great love for us.

After an instrumental of church bells, the album kicks off with “O My Soul” which immediately introduces the listener to the folk genre of the album. All five verses and the chorus speak of God’s strength and great love. In one of the verses, Townend sings “When I wake, I know that He is with me. When I’m weak, I know that He is strong. Though I fall, His arm is there to lean on.” This is just one example of how encouraging this song is. “By Faith,” a song co-written by Keith Getty, is about

Friday, June 10, 2011

Free Music: Creation Festivals 10-Song iTunes Sampler

Until July 31, 2011, Creation Festivals is offering 10 free songs via iTunes! Here is the song listing:
  1. Joyful by Brenton Brown
  2. God of Second Chances by Carlos Whittaker
  3. Death In His Grave by John Mark McMillan
  4. Let It Shine by Sons & Daughters
  5. One Song At a Time (feat. GabeReal of DiverseCity) by Jamie Grace
  6. Background (feat. C-Lite) by Lecrae
  7. Sunset, 1989 by Swimming With Dolphins
  8. Hourglasses by Shine Bright Baby
  9. Good to Know by Francesca Battistelli
  10. You and I by Chris August
Obviously, you MUST have an iTunes account to download the songs. Unfortunately, I could find no other way to download it, so if you do not have iTunes, you cannot get the songs. Registering for iTunes is free, though, and you will not be charged anything unless you actually buy something from the iTunes store. To download the 10 song sampler from Creation Festivals, go here. If you do not have iTunes, you can download it here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Free Music: "Need You Now" by Addison Road

Here's a free song for you from FreeCCM.com! Addison Road is a band that I'm sure you have heard of, and you may or may not have heard "Need You Now" by them. To download your free song, first register for free at FreeCCM here and then go to the downloads page to find the song. Also note that you can download some other songs in the Free Downloads archive such as "Today" by 33Miles (my favorite from their latest album Today), "Like the Sun" by Stellar Kart, and "Slow Down" by Chasen. FreeCCM will give away free downloads very often, so be sure to read the newsletters from the site. :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bible Verse of the Week-Luke 11:9

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Luke 11:9
If you do not ask, you will not be given anything. If you do not seek for something, you will not find anything. If you do not knock, what door would open? I read this verse as spiritual asking, seeking, and knocking. It is a promise that anything we ask of God (there are some limitations to "anything") He will give us. When we seek Him, His Word, or His guidance, we will find it. And when we knock on His door, it will be opened to us. Of course, on the flip side of the latter analogy, Jesus knocks on our doors; if we hear and open the door, He will come in. This verse is Jesus's comforting promise in which we should hope in and remember. If nothing else, we, as Christians, will always be received when we come to the Lord. ~Jesselyn

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Song of the Month: "I Lift My Hands" by Chris Tomlin

Chris Tomlin makes great worship songs. 'Nuff said. His latest album And If Our God Is For Us... featured "I Lift My Hands," a new worship song that Chris promoted during live concerts before the release of the album. Now, Chris Tomlin has released a music video for the song which you can watch right here! I don't know about you, but I love watching Chris Tomlin play the piano, something you will see during the video. Not surprisingly, the release of the song's music video has made it the Song of the Month for May.



Bible Verse of the Week-Jeremiah 17:10

"I, the LORD, search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." Jeremiah 17:10
I do not know about you, but I feel kind of sheepish whenever I read this verse. Man can be very good at hiding and covering up feelings, thoughts, actions, and words. Man can hide sin from other men, but man cannot hide sin from God. God knows all things which includes everything we think and do. I recollect many purposeful sins that I did but thought with satisfaction that no one would ever know; no one did find out a lot of times. I now fear what God was thinking at the time, and I am certain that He was displeased with me! However, because I have a merciful Father, I know that He forgave me when I asked of it from Him long ago. If there is a recurring sin that one is committing, and is hiding the sin quite perfectly, would not his conscience just kill him if he read this verse in the Presence of God? My preposition to you is to pray for God's forgiveness for any sin that you have, for He is faithful and just and will grant forgiveness and cleanseliness when you confess. If you are feeling so weighed down by a sin, remember that God does not tempt us beyond what we can bear and always provides a way for us to stand up under it. And as an extra incentive for you to act in obedience, remember that God will reward you according to your behavior. ~Jesselyn