Jesus sure, Grace….whats that?

Actions speak louder than words.

It’s been said that many have never heard of Jesus even in the United States.  I disagree with this completely.  I have yet to meet someone in this country that has not heard His name.  Even more, just the name creates an emotional response or silence from anyone.  It brings joy, anger or makes the room very uncomfortable at the least.  There is power in the name Jesus.

However what I find is that people have not heard about grace, love, forgiveness and acceptance through Jesus.  Most people hear Jesus and have a preconceived idea of stuffy church goers, unattainable perfection, condemnation and overall turned off by the idea because of Human actions.

Instead of telling someone they need Jesus (all be it true), instead love them and demonstrate Christ’s forgiveness and acceptance first.  Don’t shove the dove…be the dove, be the Gospel and demonstrate through your Actions who Jesus is.  This will always invoke the natural question…why are you so kind?   It’s then the name of Jesus will be seen as love and not condemnation.  It’s then that hearts open to the Gospel.

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Today’s Culture listens better to Artsits than Preachers.

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A.C.T. Intl is a Ministry to and for artistic & innovative ministries and missionaries doing Christian work around the world.  A.C.T. exist to address three serious problems facing the Church today:

* First, today’s cultures listens better to artists than to preachers.

* Second, there are few places that integrate innovative and artistic ministry people and projects.

* Third, the Church is losing the assets of some of Her most powerful and effective servants.

They are helping the Church embrace artists and the arts for Christ’s work worldwide; and they are the apparent largest ministry in the world focusing on this task.

Artists in Christian Testimony Intl’s ultimate objective is to see people around the world—as they come to Christ—worship God and express their faith in their own language and cultural style, while mobilizing and training church and mission leaders to more effectively worship and communicate the Gospel through music and the arts.

Your generous donation or sponsorship of Driven 11 (503 Status) not only continues our mission but also the mission of hundreds of other musicianaries across the globe spread the message of Christ.

http://actinternational.org/ministry.aspx?min_id=330

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Debut Pro EP release March 2015 – Driven 11

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Official Announcement – The DRIVEN 11 Debut PRO EP will be released in March 2015.   Lots of time in the studio recording and writing all to bring you the best EP possible… we even brought in some big guns.

Mix Mastering by Marcelo Pennell (Toby Mac, Straight No Chaser and even the Back Street Boys)
Drums by Ricky Free (Leann Rimes, Mathew West and more)
Joel Rousseau Guitar ( Lead Guitarist for the Andy Needham Band)
Production and Co Writing from Lift Music (Dove award winning song writing, Audio A production, Unspoken and more)

Yeah….its gonna be that kind of awesome.

This is just a small sampling of the talent and support that is being poured into Driven 11’s Debut EP.  We will begin our release tour in NY and we are taking requests from venues across the eastcoast for the rest of 2015.  If your band, church or venue wants Driven 11 to perform in your city this year, then hit us up before its to late.

Driven11Music@gmail.com

If you are perfect, then who gets the glory? Part 3 of 3

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On Solid Ground and after a brief rest we began preparing for a hike instead of a canoe trip. Loading as much in our back packs as possible we laid the rest of the gear in the canoe. We each grabbed an end of the canoe and began the hike south along the shore toward or destination.   Our guide was the water and the decision was made to stay close to the shore.   Being in the thick of the woods we would be hiking through uncut wilderness. No path, lots of fallen trees in the way and a few gorges to jump is what was in store for next part of this journey.

The first half mile was nothing but a disaster. So exhausted from the paddling and now carrying a canoe with more weight than one should carry. Again though, being a “Strong willed” individual I was sure we could do it if we just put our mind to it. This did not work out to well. We had to put the canoe down each minute to take a break. It was becoming more and more apparent that bringing the canoe was not practical.   Again I was faced with a decision. However this was slightly different than before. Before I had to make a decision to change direction and not fight the waves. This would allow me to be on solid ground so that I could once again make forward progress. This obstacle had a new element. Forward progress would still happen just at a very, very slow and exhausting rate. The longer we held unto everything we had, the worse it got.

Realty hit me. We had to leave my precious gear and canoe behind. We could not keep going like this. If we keep all that stuff, it would have taken us a full day if not longer to hike out 3+ miles through the thick of the wilderness.   Leaving the gear was a tough choice to make. I invested so much into the boat, paddles, gear, tents, etc. I would be losing so much I thought. Regardless we dropped the boat and gear that was longer needed for this part of the trip.

Good thing to. During our trip we had to climb a small mountain side. Not quite rock climbing but surely not a hike. One false move and we would have been rolling down a 100 ft cliff into the rocky cold water below and remember, no cell phone service to call for help.   There were also gorges that would have been impossible to cross with a canoe. The situation would force us to hike due east several miles. Thus pulling us father away from our course, father from our guide the shore line and slowing down progress even more.

At the time there was no way I could have known dropping my baggage early on would make such a large impact in our forward progress later on. This is the point.

Are you holding on to your baggage? We all have it and it takes the form of bad relationships we hold dear, past regrets you will refuse to forgive yourself for, material items, a grudge against a family member, friend or coworker. This list goes on and on. So much value is put into these possessions and thoughts. The realty is all those past anchors are weighing you down and holding you back. Sure you can grasp that burden with both hands and still make forward progress but you will find your life will be harder and less fulfilling. You may never fully reach the potential and blessings God has in store for you. Blessings that far outweigh the value of what you are holding onto right now.

Today, release the baggage. Forgive someone today, forgive yourself today….this Christmas call that family member and say I love you with no thought as to what emotional return you may get.  When you do, the anchor of the past will begin to lift. You will begin to speed through the wilderness of your life and you can then you can begin scaling mountains and bounding over gorges with ease.

What does this entire story have to do with the title of this 3 part serious? Here it is.

We are on an adventure designed by the great architect of the Universe. Our adventure is full of decisions, mistakes and broken moments. With the right perspective it is actually a lot of fun just like the adventure I had with my brother in the Adirondacks.

God our father desires great adventures for us just like we desire great moments for our children. When our children make a good choice or enjoy the life we help them build we rejoice. It is all designed so that we may have a greater relationship with him. The realty we live in today is full of mistakes and failures. If we were perfect we would not be dependent on his love.  When we direct our adventure, it becomes exasperating. However through those flaws God gets to shine, teach and direct our adventure. He gets the Glory. When we finally release ourselves to his will, his grace…it is then we are made strong and our adventure takes flight.

In closing, the only thing we have to do is Choose, His path or ours? The rest is an adventure designed by the best playground maker ever, so go grab a paddle.

Leave your comments below or let us know what you will drop in the wilderness today!

If you are perfect, then who gets the glory? Part 2 of 3

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The start of our last day on the island was a full on rain storm. Waves were breaking around 3-4 feet on the water and the waves were pushing in the opposite direction we needed to paddle that day. Knowing full well that the canoe we have is not designed for such rough water; we needed to make a decision. Wait a few more hours in hopes that the storm calms down, go now and push the canoe past its capabilities against the waves or paddle with the water to our backs to shore and hike the canoe out.

Either way we began packing up the soaked gear from the night before. Once all the gear was secured in the canoe we realized the storm was not letting up, if anything it was getting worse. In our minds we thought again…yeah we got this. So we made the decision to go now with a very “good” plan of paddling against the waves. The strategy was to start on the back side of the island where the waves were not so bad. This would make it easier to line the canoe straight into the waves once we come around the side. Then we would keep the bow of the canoe directly into the waves. I would take the front and do the strong paddling up each wave to keep water out of the boat and my brother would handle all steering.

Everything was going as planned. Coming from the back side of the island we were met by heavy winds, rain and waves. As each wave came I would give a strong push to keep the water just 1 inch below the gunnel (sides) of the canoe.   Pushing hard and focusing on each wave coming I kept my eyes directly ahead as I had one goal…keep the bow up on each wave. Any distraction would surely mean we would take on water. Pushing with everything I had for a full hour I knew we must have made some great progress. Taking a moment I looked starboard to check how far we have gone…a mile a least right. What I saw was disappointing at best. The island was still right next to us!

An hour of hard paddling and zero progress was made. Top it off I was getting very tired. Keeping the bow above the waves was becoming nearly impossible now. Slowly the waves came closer and closer to the bow and water began filling in. With this I yelled to my brother “we need a new plan”! With that I decided to put the waves behind us and head directly to shore. We were going to have to hike our way out. With that I waited for the right break in the waves and yelled….HARD TO PORT (yes, I actually said that).  We turned extremely fast and before we knew it we were moving very quickly. The waves were now making our paddling efforts pointless. With no effort we were on shore in no time, the waves we were fighting did all the work. Sure we still had to hike out 3-4 miles with no trail, all while carrying a canoe and gear but at least we did not cap size and the adventure did not end.   We were safe and the final destination was actually possible.

Had we stayed on the water we would have eventually gotten so tired that the boat would have filled with water, the canoe would have capsized and we would have put ourselves in a very bad position. We would have been completely soaked, with no gear, in the water swimming to shore.…..Yup ….you see it coming don’t you…the parallel. If not, it’s time to get in the boat. Poor pun intended.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

I love a good challenge but I have learned that when I rely on my strength to smash against the waves of life’s challenges and not Gods I find myself tired, frustrated and making no forward progress. Many times I have to turn around from the path I am on. Reflect and rest in his strength for a while till he brings me to a place where I can turn around again. Once I finally make that full 360, this time with a renewed focus on solid ground; its then I begin making forward progress to the goal. The journey is still long and hard…but at least when I am on the right path, with the right motives, relying on his provision…its then I will succeed in the adventure the lord has for me.

What waves are you trying to fight in your life? Are you relying on your strength instead of his? Is it time to turn around for a season to rest on his strength until you can get back on his path? Is it time for a 360?

Please leave your comments below and stay tuned for part 3 of 3 coming soon.

If you are perfect, then who gets the glory? Part 1 of 3

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Pelican Canoe

Did you know that you can rent an Island in Lake George, NY? 4 days, only 60 dollars, I know right! You get your own private Island for 4 days and guess what…no cell service. My brother and I could not resist. We planned the trip for months and then the day came. We packed up the canoe and paddled about 3.5 miles to the ranger station to check in. At the station the ranger asked us what kind of boat we had. We said a 15 foot canoe. At this he paused and said… “You don’t have a motor boat? I better hurry up then, a storm is coming in and you have another mile to the island. You guys going to be alright”?  The above canoe is the actual one we used that weekend.

Apparently taking a canoe in this far was not normal but we figure…that’s right.. we are adventurers, we got this. Soon after leaving the ranger station we arrived at the island, set up camp and ate what little food we had. You see we only brought enough food for one day. We were determined to catch fish each day. If we did not, well God must want us to fast, at least that was the thought.

We had a blast swimming, exploring the lake, fishing and fellowship; and yes we had a fish for every meal during the trip. However as the end of day 2 approached the “Storm” the ranger was talking about was now in full force. Winds were high so we had to weigh down the tent so it would not blow away. The wind was not an issue yet. The rain though was so intense that water was coming in sideways filling the tent.

No one slept well that night. My brother and I were soaked and the waves crashing on the shore was more than we could ignore.   The next morning (Day 3) the rain did break from time to time throughout the day. It was just enough allowing us to dry off all the soaked gear.   Our gear was no longer dripping wet, just very damp. We were doing our best to prepare for another stormy night ahead, securing everything down. It was pointless. The rain and wind came in with even greater force this night. Needless to say we had another night of limited sleep and all our gear was once again soaked.

This may sound like a nightmare to most but we were having a great time. Feeling like true outdoorsman, against the elements two brothers were surviving on fish and water. Here is the realty though and the point of part 1 of this series.   My brother and I caused our own adventure. We knew weather was coming in days before by watching the weather channel. We also knew that we did not bring enough food to eat. Even the ranger gave us a very clear warning saying a big storm was coming in.

Will Robinson’s robot was saying “Danger, Danger” but we went ahead anyway. How often do we do this in our own lives? The warning signs are there and God is saying, no no no, don’t touch…that’s a hot surface. Yet we just ignore it and place our hand directly on the stove top.   This is usually followed by “God why did you burn my hand”? Then we soak in our own self-pity blaming God for what happened.

Let’s assume for a moment I did not want to be soaked all weekend. Would it have been fair of me to complain to everyone that the weekend was horrible because it rained and we got soaked? We also only ate fish cause we ran out of food. Of course this would be ridiculous. We had plenty of room to pack more food. I could have easily scheduled another time for the trip way before we got in the canoe. I could have turned around while at the ranger station or I could have packed up earlier in the morning on day two before the big storm really hit.  The signs and opportunities to course correct were everywhere.

A good Friend of mine from NY once said to me, “Dominick…People do, what people want to do”. You see If you find yourself in a storm, chances are you ignored the signs and quite possibly planned it that way. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy.   Are you a victim of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If so what can you do today to shape your future to one that aligns more with God’s will in your life. Because the realty is…People do what people want to do.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this 3 part adventure series” titled “If you are perfect, then who gets the glory”?

Back on Tour in 2015! Why not your city?

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Currently I am booking the “Live Free” tour which begins in January 2015 and will continue to April.  A new EP will be available during the tour featuring newly recorded songs.  A free T-Shirt and a Great Commission CD/EP will also be given out at every event.  Don’t miss a chance to have DRIVEN 11 perform in your city this year.

It would be wonderful to add your church, camp or conference center as one of the many destinations.   Please contact me today with any questions on how DRIVEN 11 can enhance one of your events as a solo artist or if you would like to host an open DRIVEN 11 performance at your location in 2015.

Dominick Cox
Driven11Music@gmail.com
WHAT IS DRIVEN11 –VIDEO LINK