Saturday, February 18, 2012

Thanks to our Barnabas Friend

One of the unexpected blessings Timmy and I have enjoyed with our kids is a shared love of Christian music between the generations.
We have Sullivan's namesake to thank for that gift: Steve Riley.
Until we met Steve, Timmy and I never knew the vast ocean of encouragement that could shape our lives through Christian music.
Steve had probably met many like us in his past.
We had heard that if it wasn't a hymn written many years ago, it couldn't be Christian.
This left us and all of our peers to dine on whatever the world had to offer in the form of music. A daily diet of the world's philosophies left us spiritually anemic as teens and eventually
a young married couple.
Steve's unspoken ministry was that of encouraging his brothers and sisters in the Lord by introducing them to Christian music that would serve to deepen their walk with Christ.
Steve would make sampler music tapes that he would entitle "Barnabas 1986" "...87", etc. and give them to musically spiritual-deficient friends like us.
It was on those sampler cassettes that we first heard "Steven Curtis Chapman", "Phillips, Craig, & Dean", and countless others who would sing words that convicted, challenged, and spurred us on to a deeper, more committed walk with Christ.
The lyrics were God-filled messages that penetrated every crevice of our once
world-saturated days.
Suddenly, God was everywhere and was sending His words to us through song.
What a great source of encouragement Christian music became in our lives.
From a trial we would face while serving as house parents at the children's home where we first met Steve,
to seeking guidance before attending a heated homeowner's association meeting,
to driving to the hospital for the birth of a baby,
the music has delivered God's messages to us just when we needed them most.

Because of the way the music has ministered to us, Timmy has prioritized taking all of us to concerts whenever our favorite musician-ministers are in town.

We enjoyed seeing Casting Crowns for the first time.
We've enjoyed worshiping with Steve Green, Third Day, Steven Curtis Chapman, Phillips, Craig, & Dean, Chris Tomlin, Tenth Avenue North, Matthew West, Sonic Flood, and others as we've traveled all over the place to be part of the praise and worship services.Surely, some of my most precious family memories have been made as I watched my children worship the Lord in song.
Sheridan is dreaming that she's actually seeing in person the group whose song she has her own made-up music video for: Casting Crowns singing "Courageous"

Our family will always be grateful for Steve's influence in our lives.
Sullivan Riley will serve as our forever reminder.


Carla said...

I couldn't believe reading that we were at the same Casting Crowns concert that night! I'm surprised we didn't see your sweet family standing in line or something. We are good friends with Lindsay McCaul, the first singer at the concert, (she was Chantelle's dearest friend growing up),so she got 4 tickets for us to come meet all of the singers back stage and hear the concert. We absolutely loved it and had so much fun!! I and the 3 oldest children went while Doug took care of the younger 3. What special memories we will always have of that night. I love Casting Crown's music.

Connie Leis said...

AWESOME! I too am so happy for 'Christian Music' to listen to! Don't get me wrong I love the Hymns~but there is nothing like listening to k-love all day on the radio. That is all I listen to. It seems like any other kind of music literally hurts my ears! If that makes since.
Thanks for sharing your family pictures. The donuts looked yummy! Gene and I deliver donuts to nine Dunkin Donut stores 10 nights a month and we cannot stand the smell of them any more, but yours looked very yummy!
Connie Leis
Oh yeah by the way I didn't know if you knew that Sara is engaged and she is also in England tis semester studying abroad. :)