Escaping the Wolves, and Walking Like Lions

When we asked him for the backstory, Skillet’s John Cooper confessed he actually hated his own band’s name. We are Leo frontman David Duffield doesn’t have the same reservations when it comes to his band. They chose the name to symbolise the boldness and courage they want to live out.

‘I think the idea for me is, with the world that we live in, there’s a lot of opportunities in life where you can either choose faith, or you can choose fear or doubt. And for me, being lion-hearted and having that mindset, is about a community and a group of people who are choosing faith. And it is a choice. It is what I believe in, and it’s what I’m going for, and I just want to reflect the beauty and the strength of God.’

When Alex mentioned John Cooper to David, she had no idea that he and David actually live just two blocks apart. Cooper has helped out the band by giving them support slots, and introducing them to the guy who set up their first record deal.

But David also sees him as a personal mentor. ‘Loads of times we went out for coffee, and I just said “Dude, tell me how to do this. I need help.” He always had time for me. Even if he didn’t have an answer, I could tell that he cared. And he’s a great example of someone who—from marriage to money to walk with God—really lives it.’

David and the band are trying to walk courageously in a practical way, committing to write and release 12 songs in 12 months, starting in July last year. David admitted they were finding the process super challenging. ‘It’s right on the edge of possibility,’ he said. ‘Some days it feels like I’m so excited, and we’ve got this. And then other days, I’m like oh my gosh, we can’t do this.’

we’re just relying on Him, and leaning into Him for rest and inspiration

When we caught up with David, the band were struggling to keep up with the pace, but pushing themselves has also led to some of their best material, including Vision180 favourite Your Voice, Eyes on U, featuring Ryan Ellis, and an upcoming collab with Elizabeth Grace. ‘It puts us in a place where we’re super dependent on God, and we’re just relying on Him, and leaning into Him for rest and inspiration.’

As if they weren’t busy enough already, We are Leo have also visited more than 150 schools in the last two years. They’ve been working with a faith-based non-profit helping teenagers struggling with their mental health. For David, it has been an eye-opening experience. ‘My life is so good, and I have had a lot of struggles for sure, but in the last couple of years, God has just really blessed me. And so it’s kind of like remembering what it was like to be in high school.’

The chance to uplift people through music has really impacted the band. But David has been moved personally by the one-on-one connections he’s made. ‘Most times after we play, people will just come up to us, and hug us, and they’ll just cry. I won’t even say anything. I’ll just hold them, and be like “Hey God, let me be a conduit to your love.”’

Especially for teenagers, self-doubt, judgment and confusion can get super overwhelming as we’re growing into ourselves. Inspired by John Chapter 10, Your Voice is a powerful reminder that there’s a Good Shepherd who wants to lead us through our hardships.

‘All these other wolves are just noise,’ David sings.  ‘Jesus talks about wolves all the time. Things are trying to get us distracted or off focus. And he was super real about that. Hey, there’s wolves out to get you, but I’m your Shepherd. I’m going to lead you to where you need to go. So it’s just my reminder to keep listening to the Voice I know, and to not pay attention to the other stuff.’

We reckon that listening for God’s voice is one of the reasons We are Leo are kicking so many goals right now. They’ve still got a couple months left in their year-long songwriting challenge. Stay tuned to Vision180 to hear their new tunes as they come.

Listen to their new collab with Elizabeth Grace below

Mountain Moving

‘Even if you say to this mountain, “Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” it will happen.’ Matthew 21:21 BSB

Jesus said: ‘Whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’ (Mark 11:23–24 NKJV)

Now, Jesus didn’t relocate any physical mountains during His time on earth, so what was He talking about here? The problems we face in life! And notice something important: He talks only once about our need for ‘faith’—and three times about what we ‘say’. We need to ‘speak’ out His Word, not just think it. If you don’t have enough faith to move your mouth, you won’t have enough faith to move your mountain!

It’s all about the Word! The Bible says, ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’ (Romans 10:17 NKJV) When you verbalise God’s Word, things start to be in motion. Your ears hear it, your mind is renewed, your focus is changed, and the thing God responds to—faith—rises up within you. And when you hold that position of faith, refuse to budge, and keep speaking God’s Word, the mountain in your life starts to shift.

As long as you keep saying what you think and feel in your natural mind, the mountain will keep standing like an immovable object. But when you stand on God’s promise and declare, ‘I may not know how or when, but I know you’re moving aside in the name of Jesus,’ your mountain will move!

SoulFood: Num 4:34–6:27, Mark 6:1–13, Ps 37:1–7, Pro 11:1–2

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

Numbers 4:34–6:27 ()

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34 And Moses and Aaron and the chiefs of the congregation listed the sons of the Kohathites, by their clans and their fathers' houses, 35 from thirty years old up to fifty years old, everyone who could come on duty, for service in the tent of meeting; 36 and those listed by clans were 2,750. 37 This was the list of the clans of the Kohathites, all who served in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron listed according to the commandment of the LORD by Moses.

38 Those listed of the sons of Gershon, by their clans and their fathers' houses, 39 from thirty years old up to fifty years old, everyone who could come on duty for service in the tent of meeting—40 those listed by their clans and their fathers' houses were 2,630. 41 This was the list of the clans of the sons of Gershon, all who served in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron listed according to the commandment of the LORD.

42 Those listed of the clans of the sons of Merari, by their clans and their fathers' houses, 43 from thirty years old up to fifty years old, everyone who could come on duty, for service in the tent of meeting—44 those listed by clans were 3,200. 45 This was the list of the clans of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron listed according to the commandment of the LORD by Moses.

46 All those who were listed of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chiefs of Israel listed, by their clans and their fathers' houses, 47 from thirty years old up to fifty years old, everyone who could come to do the service of ministry and the service of bearing burdens in the tent of meeting, 48 those listed were 8,580. 49 According to the commandment of the LORD through Moses they were listed, each one with his task of serving or carrying. Thus they were listed by him, as the LORD commanded Moses.

5:1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead. You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.” And the people of Israel did so, and put them outside the camp; as the LORD said to Moses, so the people of Israel did.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the LORD, and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong. But if the man has no next of kin to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution for wrong shall go to the LORD for the priest, in addition to the ram of atonement with which atonement is made for him. And every contribution, all the holy donations of the people of Israel, which they bring to the priest, shall be his. 10 Each one shall keep his holy donations: whatever anyone gives to the priest shall be his.”

11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “Speak to the people of Israel, If any man's wife goes astray and breaks faith with him, 13 if a man lies with her sexually, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and she is undetected though she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her, since she was not taken in the act, 14 and if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself, or if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself, 15 then the man shall bring his wife to the priest and bring the offering required of her, a tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance.

16 “And the priest shall bring her near and set her before the LORD. 17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthenware vessel and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. 18 And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD and unbind the hair of the woman's head and place in her hands the grain offering of remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. And in his hand the priest shall have the water of bitterness that brings the curse. 19 Then the priest shall make her take an oath, saying, ‘If no man has lain with you, and if you have not turned aside to uncleanness while you were under your husband's authority, be free from this water of bitterness that brings the curse. 20 But if you have gone astray, though you are under your husband's authority, and if you have defiled yourself, and some man other than your husband has lain with you, 21 then’ (let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse, and say to the woman) ‘the LORD make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the LORD makes your thigh fall away and your body swell. 22 May this water that brings the curse pass into your bowels and make your womb swell and your thigh fall away.’ And the woman shall say, ‘Amen, Amen.’

23 “Then the priest shall write these curses in a book and wash them off into the water of bitterness. 24 And he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain. 25 And the priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy out of the woman's hand and shall wave the grain offering before the LORD and bring it to the altar. 26 And the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering, as its memorial portion, and burn it on the altar, and afterward shall make the woman drink the water. 27 And when he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has broken faith with her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away, and the woman shall become a curse among her people. 28 But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, then she shall be free and shall conceive children.

29 “This is the law in cases of jealousy, when a wife, though under her husband's authority, goes astray and defiles herself, 30 or when the spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he is jealous of his wife. Then he shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall carry out for her all this law. 31 The man shall be free from iniquity, but the woman shall bear her iniquity.”

6:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins.

“All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long.

“All the days that he separates himself to the LORD he shall not go near a dead body. Not even for his father or for his mother, for brother or sister, if they die, shall he make himself unclean, because his separation to God is on his head. All the days of his separation he is holy to the LORD.

“And if any man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it. 10 On the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two pigeons to the priest to the entrance of the tent of meeting, 11 and the priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned by reason of the dead body. And he shall consecrate his head that same day 12 and separate himself to the LORD for the days of his separation and bring a male lamb a year old for a guilt offering. But the previous period shall be void, because his separation was defiled.

13 “And this is the law for the Nazirite, when the time of his separation has been completed: he shall be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting, 14 and he shall bring his gift to the LORD, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin offering, and one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15 and a basket of unleavened bread, loaves of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and their grain offering and their drink offerings. 16 And the priest shall bring them before the LORD and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering, 17 and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of peace offering to the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread. The priest shall offer also its grain offering and its drink offering. 18 And the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire that is under the sacrifice of the peace offering. 19 And the priest shall take the shoulder of the ram, when it is boiled, and one unleavened loaf out of the basket and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite, after he has shaved the hair of his consecration, 20 and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD. They are a holy portion for the priest, together with the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed. And after that the Nazirite may drink wine.

21 “This is the law of the Nazirite. But if he vows an offering to the LORD above his Nazirite vow, as he can afford, in exact accordance with the vow that he takes, then he shall do in addition to the law of the Nazirite.”

22 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24   The LORD bless you and keep you;
25   the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26   the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

Mark 6:1–13 ()

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6:1 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.

And he went about among the villages teaching.

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

Psalm 37:1–7 ()

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Of David.

37:1   Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
  For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.
  Trust in the LORD, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
  Delight yourself in the LORD,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
  Commit your way to the LORD;
    trust in him, and he will act.
  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.
  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

Proverbs 11:1–2 ()

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11:1   A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,
    but a just weight is his delight.
  When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with the humble is wisdom.

Sat 02 May, 2020


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