Manic Drive Go Into the Wild

Canada’s Manic Drive have been around since 2004, but recently they’ve taken a new approach to their music. Rather than just writing songs for people who are already on their Christian walk, they’re now also reaching out to people who don’t know about Christ. That decision is represented by their new album and single, both called ‘Into the Wild’.

When they caught up with Alex recently, brothers Shawn and Michael Cavallo explained that they’d been thinking about how we’re all encouraged to go out and spread the Good News. ‘That kind of rang true to us, as Christian musicians especially, where instead of just writing songs for Christians, why don’t we go outside our comfort zones, and write music for people who need to hear it as well.’

The music video for Into the Wild is pretty impressive. Shawn and Michael spent three days shooting with Michigan Director Andrew Smith, who also created most of the props and staging. Then they had to return to the road, leaving Hunter, the child actor in the video, to finish filming. Andrew then spent a further six months putting it together. ‘I don’t like to boast about my own stuff,’ Shawn said, ‘but it’s one of the best Christian music videos. It has nothing to do with me. It’s just this Director.’

In the video, Shawn dresses as a wizard, and protects the young boy from dragon fire with a magical shield. ‘That was really hard,’ he said, ‘to work with the dragon. He’s a good actor, but when he was blowing that fire, it was really dangerous. It’s a one-take thing. He was moody. The guy’s flying in from Europe and everything.’

‘And then I was like hey, can I ride you, dragon? Can I go on for a ride? He wasn’t even willing! That’s the worst part! On set, Hunter was great, but the dragon? Complete jerk!’

The brothers are big fantasy fans, and were surprised that some Christians object to stories about magic. As Shawn points out, the world’s most popular writers of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and J. K. Rowling are all Christians, and their faith had a big influence on their fiction.

And it is fantasy. It’s not real, so you really shouldn’t be offended by something that doesn’t exist.

For the Cavallo brothers, the fantastical elements of the video are just a cool way to symbolise the struggle we’re all a part of. ‘There are evils that we fight and tangle with every day of our lives,’ Shawn said. ‘That’s not just in fantasy, but that’s in our everyday walk.’

‘You’re going to face a dragon. You’re going to face a giant, or some sort of obstacle that’s going to challenge you. And that’s where we’ve got to stand in the faith, and be brave and strong in those moments.’

Shawn faced his own epic struggle while writing this album. They had just heard God calling them to take their music beyond the walls of the Church. But they knew that meant potentially alienating the fan base they’d relied on for years. Sitting at his keyboard, Shawn felt exhausted and scared. He knew all his fears were just distractions, but that didn’t make them easier to set aside.

I just want to focus on Christ, and write some music. And that anxiety, that whole thing of letting everything go, was one of the toughest things we had to do as Christian musicians.

He wrote down how he was feeling at that moment, like he’d reached the summit of a mountain only to meet a giant, like life was just an endless series of obstacles. Out of that, a song started forming. A few days later, he showed his wife what he’d written. She said it was great, but it wasn’t finished. ‘Oh man!’ he thought. ‘I’m already worn out! I’ve got to still work on this thing?’

As he glumly headed downstairs to keep working, she said something that gave him the key to the song. ‘Christ has given you strength for moments like these,’ she told him. ‘And then it all clicked,’ he said. ‘I was like yeah, life doesn’t get easier, but that’s why we need to ask to be made stronger.’

‘No, getting there isn’t effortless,’ he sings. ‘I’m gonna need a hand with this. So help, I’m asking please, there’s gotta be another remedy.’ Easier is the sound of a band taking a risk, stepping into the wild, because Jesus didn’t ask us to stay home. He asked us to pick up our cross, and follow him. (Matthew 16:24 NIV) The path he walks is hard and dangerous, but if we let go of our fears, and have Faith, His strength can help us face down dragons.

Manic Drive’s new album, Into the Wild, is out now.

It Takes ‘Heart’

‘The people had a heart and mind to work.’ Nehemiah 4:6 AMPC

In San Diego there’s a famous attraction called SeaWorld. Back a few years, you could go there and see a strange show: ducks or penguins on roller skates. Lots of people commented that you could see they could do it but their hearts weren’t in it!

Many people are like that—just going through the motions. Don’t be one of them! If you want your life to count, find a cause greater than yourself and give your all to it! Do you recall the story of Nehemiah? He risked life and limb in order to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Even though faced with threats and obstacles, he finished the job in record time. How did it happen? Because ‘the people had a heart and mind to work’. Their heart was in the job—unlike those ducks and penguins on roller skates.

Courage enables us to face difficulty and danger without fear or depression. When Moses transferred leadership of the nation to his aide Joshua, God said to Joshua: ‘Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid…for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ (Joshua 1:9 NKJV)

You’ve got to ‘have heart’. Why? Because anything worth having is worth fighting for! It takes ‘heart’ to face your own fears, confront a bully, or pick up the pieces of your life and start over. It’s easy to talk about what’s wrong, but it takes ‘heart’ to do something about it.

And where does that kind of courage come from? God! So talk to Him today.

SoulFood: 2 Sam 22:31–24:25, John 4:13–26, Ps 32, Pro 23:29–35

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

2 Samuel 22:31–24:25 ()

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31   This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the LORD proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
32   “For who is God, but the LORD?
    And who is a rock, except our God?
33   This God is my strong refuge
    and has made my way blameless.
34   He made my feet like the feet of a deer
    and set me secure on the heights.
35   He trains my hands for war,
    so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36   You have given me the shield of your salvation,
    and your gentleness made me great.
37   You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
    and my feet did not slip;
38   I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
    and did not turn back until they were consumed.
39   I consumed them; I thrust them through, so that they did not rise;
    they fell under my feet.
40   For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
    you made those who rise against me sink under me.
41   You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
    those who hated me, and I destroyed them.
42   They looked, but there was none to save;
    they cried to the LORD, but he did not answer them.
43   I beat them fine as the dust of the earth;
    I crushed them and stamped them down like the mire of the streets.
44   “You delivered me from strife with my people;
    you kept me as the head of the nations;
    people whom I had not known served me.
45   Foreigners came cringing to me;
    as soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me.
46   Foreigners lost heart
    and came trembling out of their fortresses.
47   “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
    and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,
48   the God who gave me vengeance
    and brought down peoples under me,
49   who brought me out from my enemies;
    you exalted me above those who rose against me;
    you delivered me from men of violence.
50   “For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations,
    and sing praises to your name.
51   Great salvation he brings to his king,
    and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
    to David and his offspring forever.”

23:1 Now these are the last words of David:

  The oracle of David, the son of Jesse,
    the oracle of the man who was raised on high,
  the anointed of the God of Jacob,
    the sweet psalmist of Israel:
  “The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me;
    his word is on my tongue.
  The God of Israel has spoken;
    the Rock of Israel has said to me:
  When one rules justly over men,
    ruling in the fear of God,
  he dawns on them like the morning light,
    like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning,
    like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.
  “For does not my house stand so with God?
    For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
    ordered in all things and secure.
  For will he not cause to prosper
    all my help and my desire?
  But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away,
    for they cannot be taken with the hand;
  but the man who touches them
    arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear,
    and they are utterly consumed with fire.”

These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.

And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. 10 He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the LORD brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.

11 And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. 12 But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the LORD worked a great victory.

13 And three of the thirty chief men went down and came about harvest time to David at the cave of Adullam, when a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15 And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” 16 Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the LORD 17 and said, “Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.

18 Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty. And he wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them and won a name beside the three. 19 He was the most renowned of the thirty and became their commander, but he did not attain to the three.

20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two ariels of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. 21 And he struck down an Egyptian, a handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah went down to him with a staff and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. 22 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and won a name beside the three mighty men. 23 He was renowned among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three. And David set him over his bodyguard.

24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 25 Shammah of Harod, Elika of Harod, 26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh of Tekoa, 27 Abiezer of Anathoth, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai of Netophah, 29 Heleb the son of Baanah of Netophah, Ittai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the people of Benjamin, 30 Benaiah of Pirathon, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash, 31 Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth of Bahurim, 32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, 33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, 34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai of Maacah, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, 35 Hezro of Carmel, Paarai the Arbite, 36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah, 38 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 39 Uriah the Hittite: thirty-seven in all.

24:1 Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” So the king said to Joab, the commander of the army, who was with him, “Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people.” But Joab said to the king, “May the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king still see it, but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?” But the king's word prevailed against Joab and the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to number the people of Israel. They crossed the Jordan and began from Aroer, and from the city that is in the middle of the valley, toward Gad and on to Jazer. Then they came to Gilead, and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites; and they came to Dan, and from Dan they went around to Sidon, and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites; and they went out to the Negeb of Judah at Beersheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to the king: in Israel there were 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000.

10 But David's heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” 11 And when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, 12 “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the LORD, Three things I offer you. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you.’” 13 So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Shall three years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me.” 14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.”

15 So the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning until the appointed time. And there died of the people from Dan to Beersheba 70,000 men. 16 And when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel who was working destruction among the people, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Behold, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand be against me and against my father's house.”

18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David went up at Gad's word, as the LORD commanded. 20 And when Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming on toward him. And Araunah went out and paid homage to the king with his face to the ground. 21 And Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be averted from the people.” 22 Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. 23 All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” 24 But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.

John 4:13–26 ()

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13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Psalm 32 ()

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A Maskil of David.

32:1   Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
  Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
  For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
  I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
  Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
  surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
  You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
  Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.
10   Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11   Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Proverbs 23:29–35 ()

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29   Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
  Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes?
30   Those who tarry long over wine;
    those who go to try mixed wine.
31   Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.
32   In the end it bites like a serpent
    and stings like an adder.
33   Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your heart utter perverse things.
34   You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
    like one who lies on the top of a mast.
35   “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
    they beat me, but I did not feel it.
  When shall I awake?
    I must have another drink.”

Sat 12 October, 2019


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