For eight years, I ran a Christian music label on Music Row here in Nashville. My job included production, artist management, promotion, radio, publishing, A&R responsibilities, board meetings and spreadsheets. All of that was part of my job, but if you talked to the artists that I worked with, they would not list any of those things as the most valuable part of what I did for them.
When I worked with an artist one on one, I would explain to them that they needed to plug into something bigger than themselves. The initial fear is that you’ll become a small slice of a pie instead of being the entire pie, but actually, the opposite is true. That is why you see major brands fight to be the official brand of their product for the World Wide Olympics. It doesn’t make their brand any smaller, it gives them enormous credibility, and that makes them bigger in terms of public perception. Being part of something bigger than you gives you a much more credibility and purpose.
Post-election events have angered and saddened me. In any sporting event, contest, and life in general, some people win and some people lose. If that was not the case, we would live in a communist society, in which we would all lose. In any election that takes place in a free society, someone wins and someone loses.The folks who support the candidate that loses are always disappointed, but it never takes long before we realize that there is something bigger than that candidate, or even our ideas. That something allows us to unite as much as possible and move on.
That something is Patriotism, and the reality that we are all part of the greatest Nation in the world.
When you think of our history, what we went through, the struggles and the men and women who gave their life for our freedom, you realize that there is something much bigger than yourself, a political candidate, or even a political party. Folks, that is patriotism! The symbol of all that I just mentioned is embodied in the Stars and Stripes, the American flag.
When I see people protesting the election results or any issue they feel is important, because of the freedom provided by this great Nation, they have the right to do so. However, when part of the protest involves burning or destroying the flag, I see people who think that nothing is bigger than them. Their feelings at the moment outweigh the struggles, the battles, and the blood shed by our veterans, and the sacrifice of thousands of men and women that defend their right to be so misguided. The only thing their actions prove is that they are ignorant of anything and everything that is bigger than they are.
This selfish, small-minded, and immature attitude is not limited to social and political arenas. It has rooted itself in the church, and like any weed, it is growing. I believe some of our core beliefs nurture this type of this deceptive thought process and can only bring us to a point of major crisis individually and collectively in the church.
When I hear sermons that talk about the season of life that I’m walking through right now, I wonder if we realize what we are saying. When Peter stepped out of the boat, he was fine until he began noticing the season or the circumstances around him. When Peter focused on his surroundings rather than Jesus who made it possible for him to walk through those circumstances, he began to sink.
When I hear someone tell me all about the season they are walking through, I want to stop them and tell them, “Don’t tell me how high the waves are, or the wind speeds of the storm around you. Tell me if you can see the face of Jesus.”
Are you looking for it? If you seek Him you will find Him and when you turn your eyes upon Jesus, the things around you begin to fade, and you will walk through fire or on water. Focusing on our season and everything that revolves around us is a slippery slope that I believe leads to a selfish, what’s in this for me outlook, and will ultimately lead to a self-serving gospel.
We have to realize that the Gospel is so much bigger than any one person, church, television evangelist, or movement that we can create. I am nothing on my own, but a lost and confused mess. However, the day I was adopted into the family of God, I immediately became a child of God, royalty, an adopted younger brother to Jesus Christ. I went from lost and confused, living in my own little self-centered world to having a divine purpose and identity.
So think about the Gospel that you are hearing or preaching. Does it make God fit into someone’s little world to make it better, or does it plug them into the Kingdom of God, which gives life and purpose to everyone who receives it?
By David Staton
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in January 2017. For the current issue of SGNScoops Magazine click here.
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About David Staton ( abridged from his website bio here )
[…]In 2004, David partnered with Mike LeFevre to form The LeFevre Quartet. During the seven years that he was the lead vocalist, the group had many hit songs like, “To Get To Jesus”, that Staton penned, “Let Me Tell You ‘Bout Jesus”, “Days of Elijah”, “I Bless Your Name”, “Didn’t It Rain” and many more. The group won many awards including, “Breakout Artist of the Year” and Singing News Fan based, “Horizon Award”. After leaving the LeFevre Quartet in 2011, Staton began working on a solo project and also began singing with Palmetto State Quartet. The group appeared on television and tour with Country Music Superstar, Wynonna Judd while Staton was there.
Through the years, nearly every major artist in gospel music has recorded David’s music. Artists like Gold City, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Kingsmen, Singing Americans, Dixie Melody Boys, Imperials, Dottie Peoples, Ball Brothers, LeFevre Quartet, Palmetto State Quartet, Priority, Trailblazers, The Greenes, Ivan Parker, Brian Free and many more have recorded music written by David Staton. From 2005 to 2013, Staton was the Executive Vice President for Song Garden Music Group in Nashville, TN. In recent years, the National Quartet Convention has asked David to be a part of an industry advisory panel to help artists who need assistance and training. Not only has David made a mark in gospel music as an artist and a writer, he is passing on his knowledge and experience on to new artists which will influence and shape the future of gospel music.