How Apollo LTD Got their Name

For Jordon Philips, the hardest part of being in a band is working out what to call it. ‘We’ve always hated naming bands,’ he admitted to Alex. ‘It’s the worst!’ Adam Stark shouted in the background. Read on for the story of how they decided on their name, or listen to the podcast of their conversation with Alex below.

The bandmates first met at Belmont University, in Nashville, where they now both live. Jordon had moved there from Atlanta Georgia to study, but Adam had grown up there. ‘He’s actually a Nashville local,’ Jordon said, ‘one of the very few people in the world that’s from Nashville, born and raised.’

When you arrive on campus, you line up to find out where to go next. They looked at a piece of paper, and said ‘your roommate is Adam Stark’. The guy right next to him spoke up. ‘Hey! I’m your roommate!’

that was the beginning of a perfect partnership. Together, Jordon and Adam have shared stages with the likes of Panic at the Disco and Ke$ha. But their band’s name shows their ambition to reach still further and higher.

Jordon’s uncle was an astronaut, so as a child, he attended shuttle launches, and developed a love for the universe. When they were going through the ordeal of coming up with a name for their new band, they got thinking about the promise of the Apollo Program.

‘The Apollo Program started when John F. Kennedy said we’re going to go to the moon by the end of the decade,’ Jordon explained. ‘And actually NASA had no idea that they were doing it.’

Everybody at NASA kind of looked at each other, like oh my gosh, did the President just say what we think he just said?

‘It was born out of an ambition, and a desire, to do something that hadn’t been done before. And so for us, taking that leap of faith from our old band, and just kind of being inspired there, we felt like Apollo was just kind of a cool name, and had this kind of meaning to it inherently that we just identified with, of doing something new and fresh..’

As for the LTD, Jordon says that came about much more spontaneously, to ease their worried lawyer’s mind. ‘I don’t care if you add three letters to your band name or what,’ he’d told them, ‘but it can’t just be Apollo.’

NASA’s great ambition was to reach the moon, but Jordon and Adam’s hope is to reach God. These days, that goal can seem as crazy and outlandish as JFK’s big dreams, but they’re determined to fulfill His plan for them. And Jordon can see how God was working that plan out in his life over time.

His father was working in full-time Ministry, but it wasn’t until he was 13 that Jordon had what he called a ‘head-to-heart moment’, and started asking questions about what being a Christian really meant. ‘How do I live a life in Christ? What does it look like to live a life where God manifests himself in me, so that I can be a source of goodness in the world, and a source of light for people?’

God gave him two gifts to help him answer those questions. The first was a supportive family. ‘I was very fortunate that I did have good parents,’ he said. ‘They really encouraged me to find what made me really passionate.’

It was his parents who bought him his first guitar for Christmas. Ten-year-old Jordon played it so much that by Christmas night he’d broken it. ‘They were like, well, it seems we must be on to something here with this guitar thing.’

That guitar, of course, revealed to him his second gift from God, his musical skill. ‘As my faith evolved,’ he said, ‘I had music there, that I could really begin to connect with God’s purpose for my life.’

There isn’t a more ambitious goal than finding your Godly purpose. And Jordon points out that God has many more ways of using people than art or music. ‘It can be accounting, or numbers, or Math, or science. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular. It’s just something that makes your heart sing, and something that makes you really joyful.’

And that process, just by the very fact of doing it, brings God joy, to see his creation experiencing the fruit of the God of the universe.

We reckon Jordon and Adam are working hard to live up to their band name. They’re also hoping to come and party in Australia soon. In the meantime, why not take a moment to think about whether you’re seeking out God’s purpose with the same courage and ambition those astronauts showed when they reached for the moon.

Jesus’ Blood

‘The blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.’ 1 John 1:7 NKJV

Blood reaches every part of the body with a precious cargo of oxygen and nutrients. It carries life, energy, nourishment and healing. The white cells function like paramedics, cleansing wounds and healing disease. They serve as a militia fighting off potential attackers.

There’s a spiritual lesson here! We each need the life-giving blood of Jesus to cleanse us, protect us, and sustain us. And we need it every day. The Bible says, ‘If we walk in the light as He is in the light… the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.’ That means as you continue to walk with Jesus, His blood continues to cleanse you from all your sin.

Ask any doctor: blood determines who a child’s real father is. And the blood of Jesus proves you are God’s redeemed child; otherwise you’re just a fake-heir trying to receive promises reserved for members of the family.

Every one of our heavenly Father’s blessings flows to His children through the blood. It’s what enables each of us to stand before Him, righteous and qualified to receive His blessings. Unless we understand that God accepts us because He sees us through the blood, we’ll be empowered but insecure—using our spiritual gifts but living with needless guilt.

No matter how badly you’ve been hurt in the past, by the power of Jesus’ blood you can tear down every stronghold in your family and break every chain that locks them into a prison of the past. Take a moment today to thank God for the blessings of Jesus’ blood.

SoulFood: Acts 24–26, Matt 11:1–9, Ps 1, Pro 16:10–15

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Acts 24–26 ()

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24:1 And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul. And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying:

“Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.”

The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.

10 And when the governor had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied:

“Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. 11 You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, 12 and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. 17 Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings. 18 While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia—19 they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, 21 other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.’”

22 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.

24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” 26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

25:1 Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem—because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. “So,” said he, “let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.”

After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove. Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.” But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?” 10 But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. 11 If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.” 12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”

13 Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. 14 And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, “There is a man left prisoner by Felix, 15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16 I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. 17 So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. 18 When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed. 19 Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20 Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. 21 But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.” 22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” said he, “you will hear him.”

23 So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he had done nothing deserving death. And as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. 27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.”

26:1 So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:

“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

“My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

“I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

12 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” 29 And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”

30 Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31 And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Matthew 11:1–9 ()

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11:1 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.

Psalm 1 ()

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1:1   Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
  nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
  but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
  He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
  that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
  In all that he does, he prospers.
  The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
  for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Proverbs 16:10–15 ()

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10   An oracle is on the lips of a king;
    his mouth does not sin in judgment.
11   A just balance and scales are the LORD's;
    all the weights in the bag are his work.
12   It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
    for the throne is established by righteousness.
13   Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
    and he loves him who speaks what is right.
14   A king's wrath is a messenger of death,
    and a wise man will appease it.
15   In the light of a king's face there is life,
    and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.

Sat 20 July, 2019


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