Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Hi, Julie here and let’s face it—whether we pen novels, poetry, magazine articles or music—we have been gifted by God to write, merging melody or words to move, inspire or motivate people. And I ask you, seriously—what higher calling is there than to move, inspire or motivate people for God?

Today’s guests are two young men who are doing just that. Their aspirations to write music for God, and their trials along the way, are much the same for each of us who aspire to write Christian novels. Todd Creston Larson and Dan Chancellor are songwriters who have answered the higher call to write Christian music, and their story and their music have been an incredible inspiration to me, as I hope it will be for you. They call themselves An Epic, No Less and to give you a glimpse at what these two remarkable guys do, I strongly encourage you to check out their video link below. I will be giving away two CDs of their music today (coupled with two signed copies of my latest book A Hope Undaunted) because their music is just flat-out outstanding! It’s honestly all I listen to these days because it’s that good, and I hope it grabs you like it grabbed me. Here’s the link: An Epic, No Less Video

And now, I give you Todd Creston Larson from AN EPIC, NO LESS:

I'm finding out more and more, how little I have to do with my own faith. I have been given faith, not because I earned it, not because I have had strength enough to believe, but only because God gave it to me, because He wanted me to have it. And, concerning my life and journey with Him, all I can say is that, for my part, I have done my best to manage the pieces that God has given me to work with. I take that back; there have been times when I did not manage the pieces so well at all.

I sing. My "career" in music, to me, has been like a river, like a stream, a kind of winding journey with currents, bends, rapids, ups and downs. There was a long period of time when I was using my musical giftings, but clearly fighting against God's perfect will for my life. You see, while I have been given faith, I also possess doubt. And, during those years that I fought in the stream, it was my philosophy that if I were to achieve success in music, (the only thing, I was convinced, that would bring happiness to my life) it would be because I had MADE it happen. And any success that God gave me was solely because I had the strength and ability to do it MYSELF. In fact, I sincerely doubted that God could handle my music better than me.

During my time in different musical currents, I would hear so clearly, the voice of God telling me it was time to get out of this particular river and move on to the stream where He wanted me to be. Aside from the knot in my stomach and constant anxiety over my music career, God would often speak through the broken-down vans or the record label that dropped us 12 hours after signing, or the manager in LA that stole a thousand dollars from me and was, of course, never heard from again. Looking back now, I’m not sure the Man (God) could have made it any clearer that I was in the wrong stream.

But still, I fought against the current. I did not trust God enough to surrender my musical career to Him. I did not want to lead a life where I continued to be miserable in the occupation I had. I assumed God wanted a life of mediocrity for me. I was also POSITIVE that I did not want to create a WORSHIP RECORD! How could I achieve happiness laboring in an art form that I felt was so neutered and ... just ... boring? Still, the thought spun around in my gut like a tumor: I needed to place my dreams of rock and roll aside and follow His leading in praise and worship music. I suppose God can speak through figurative tumors as well as any other method ...
It took a disaster, but there came a time when I simply could not run anymore from God. I got the guts to leave my current musical endeavors and rearranged my life's priorities, placing my wife Tara at the very top, a person, who in all honesty, had been placed on the back burner in exchange for my zeal for rock and roll success. And with her, we began praying for what would become An Epic, No Less.

My drummer Daniel Chancellor and I hung the title, An Epic, No Less on our worship project after reading a quote talking about the life of Christ. In that quote was power to stifle my fear of a life of mediocrity. Not that the revelation came all at once. Even in the midst of the toil that came from recording our Worship CD (those times when we stared blankly into the carpet after hours of writers' block, or even when I walked out of the studio, declaring to myself that I would never sing again), we slowly saw God pour His blessing upon us. The Lord provided every dime we needed, every idea, every mic, cable, and chance encounter. Hallelujah, we are living examples of God providing for our every need.

Our goal was to create art, skillfully and with integrity, and also be easily accessible to the general population. We wanted it to be something that people would understand immediately, without comprising our own skill. This was not an easy feat. Our result came in the form of a record called We are the Echo of Love, which you can see and hear in the video above.

When it comes to writing music or any art, it's been a hard realization that, despite how much time I put into my craft, my abilities will always be limited. Up until the beginning of this project my outlook on writing music was very totalitarian. I assumed that my opinion and skills were best and any outside suggestions were rubbish. Although we did find limited success being malevolent dictators over the songs we wrote and performed in bands past, we never achieved the proverbial breakthrough that we wanted. In reality, our songs, just weren't accessible to enough people. Putting pride aside, I approached a producer whom I trusted and told him that I wanted he and I to co-write songs and essentially, tell me everything I was doing wrong.

Much like Maverick in Top Gun, I just grip too tightly ... The help of an outsider brought both a lot of freshness and apprehension. But in the end, I put the trust in a seasoned professional. Our styles clicked nicely when writing together. Forgive the metaphor, but I would liken my experience with our producer as him providing me with a piece of bright red construction paper, while it was my job to sprinkle glue and silver sparkles over its surface. In other words, his base for lyrical ideas gave me liberty to find creative moments throughout our music.

After all of this, I know in my heart that I have found the stream I am supposed to be in. To my surprise, I have gained a passion to sing songs to the Lord. I have been released from anxiety and fear concerning my musical career, no longer waking up in the morning and feeling first the dread over my failures. And in this stream, we have seen God's hand guiding us while I have kicked back my legs to enjoy the jaunt. I believe we have found liberty in realizing how little we have to do with God's plan. My philosophy has since changed to: "We must allow God's perfect will and not our own." I realize now that satisfaction and joy have no correlation to success. Real satisfaction comes in simply allowing God to work through us, doing the things He intends for us to do. Simply put, we need only to manage the pieces that He gives us.

Daniel, (drummer) Hannah (his wife and additional vocalist), and I are just a few of the pieces in a plan that we feel God has for An Epic, No Less. We play worship songs. And, fortunately, we have had the opportunity to record them. Please take a listen at I hope that the songs encourage you, help you in prayer, and draw you closer to the Lord. In fact, I hope they do the same for me.

Julie here again, and I'd like to thank Todd and Dan for being here because as we all know, music is one of the most powerful forms of writing we have today, especially lyrics and music written specifically to glorify God. So whether you are a songwriter or not, I invite you to leave a comment or question for a chance to win their fabulous CD along with a copy of my latest book, A Hope Undaunted (Whoo-hoo, #5 on Booklist's Top Ten Inspirational Fiction for 2010!!!). I am giving away two of these prize duos (the An Epic, No Less CD coupled with a signed copy of A Hope Undaunted), so let the comments and questions begin!

And may we all hit the "high" notes in the song God has given each of us to sing!


Helen Gray said...

The coffee and tea makers are set for 4 a.m.

So glad that you use your music for God's glory.

Music and writing are both creative art forms that have added pleasure to my life. I spent a lot of years as a church music director.


Anonymous said...

I loved this heartfelt, genuine, God-inspired testimony!!!!
Thank you for sharing:)
Bless you as you endeavor to give our awesome God praise through the music and lyrics!

it is a joy to be considered for this giveaway!
Many Blessings and Smiles,
Charsaltz at yahoo dot com

todd said...

Thanks for encouragment Helen! There really isnt anything more wonderful than good art, is there?


todd said...

to anonymous-

Thank you so much! Please continue to pray for us!

Todd from An Epic, No Less

Critty said...

Absolutely love the song and video! In fact I went and listened to the other songs and they are just amazing. Will definitely be downloading the songs and sharing about y'all!

I love how the title came about and it really made me think but what you said about faith... I found beautiful and so true...something I had never thought of before.

Best of luck to you!

(Hi sweet Julie! <3 you!)

todd said...

Thanks Critty. If you have a chance, please read Is 58:5-12 this was kind of our idea for the video.

-Todd from An Epic No Less

CarolM said...

I can't stream vids /mutter/stupid isp/mutter/ but I'll try to when I'm at a different computer.

Wonderful story!!! I was talking with a friend tonight about how I fought doing something that led to our meeting. But because I did it, there's some really cool stuff in the works with this friend and one of my dear decades long friends [maybe I can talk about it sometime soon... but for now I must be vague...]. PTL for God kicking my tushie where it needed to be!

And JULIEEEEEEEEEEE! So glad you're back, lady! Missed you [and the sunshine you were in ;)] last week.

Stick me in the drawing :).

carol at carolmoncado dot com

todd said...

Sometimes tushie's need to be kicked, ya hurd? ;)

KC Frantzen said...

I'm sneaking in so will listen a bit later when I can crank it up. Thanks for your post!

(And to Julie - congrats on that #5! - for inviting y'all here!)

There is some serious joy in that photo. What's the scoop on that? How did it come about?

So glad you've answered His call! Do you know The Rick Copus Band folks? We met them at a Joni and Friends Warrior Getaway! Fab bunch. They rock the house too!

May at maythek9spy dot com

Diane Marie Shaw said...

Wow, I just listened to a couple of their songs. I can see why you like them Julie.
I would like to be entered for the drawing.
Diane Marie Shaw

todd said...

The photo was just the brain child of the Great Tennyson Tanner.

Duska said...

The more I learn of your heart and your testimony, the more excited I get about your worship project! I definitely want to be entered in the giveaway!

My best to Todd, Dan, and Hannah! And to you, too, Julie!

Ausjenny said...

I enjoyed listening to the song. today has been a horrific day for my country with the floods and devastation so to hear the uplifting song was a blessing.
thanks for sharing. Please dont enter me I have Julies book.

At the moment I am just to numb to think from watching news and seeing and hearing stories. Sorry for being such a downer I think like many aussies we just dont know how absorb this disaster.

Andrea Strong said...

Welcome, Todd & Dan. This is an awesome story. Like KC, I'll have to listen later (if my connection will let me).

I've been there, sort of. As an avid romance reader, I fought God for years on the issue of secular vs. Christian stories.

It was only after I fully surrendered to his will in choosing my reading material that God saw fit to inspire my own stories. I'm just beginning as a writer, but even I know that my stories would never shine outside of the glorious light of God. Someday they will be a reflection of His love for all the world to see.

I'd love to be in the drawing.

andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

Welcome Home Julie! We missed you. Did you bring some of that lovely Caribbean warmth back north with you? I imagine coming home to the Missouri winter would be a shock to the system. Happy acclimating.

Edwina said...

What an anointed song! Isn't it wonderful when we give God what we have and He takes it and uses it for His glory?

Blessings on you and your ministry!

Julie - thanks for a wonderful post!

Lisa said...

Wow! What a road you guy's have been on. I'm glad to see that your writing for God's glory now. He didn't want it any other way!! And Congrat's Julie on #5 spot!!

Kirsten Arnold said...

Wow! What an awesome testimony to start my day! I'm not even sure I need my morning coffee (but I'll have it anyway).

Your line: I believe we have found liberty in realizing how little we have to do with God's plan. Was like a well-aimed arrow to my heart. How true that statement is and how sad that we, or I, often forget just how powerful our God is and how much control He has. (Praise His Name) Thanks for the reminder!

Loved the song and video and I definitely plan on checking out more! Keep up the awesome work!


Sandra Leesmith said...

Julie what a gift you've given us this morning with your friends.

Welcome Todd to Seekerville and thank you for blessing us with such wonderful music.

Yes, the road a musician takes has many similarities to that of an author. My hairdresser is a musician also and we often compare and share our travels on that road. Thanks for sharing yours. What a journey.

You quoted "Not my will but thine" which hit me because that is the verse given to me this year to meditate and ponder and ACT upon.

Seriously when you think about it, why would we even question it but we just jump out there and act before consulting our amazing God. I do anyway, sigh

Since I'm a Seeker, I can't win your CD so where can I buy it? The link you gave us allows us to download it, but I don't play music much on my computer. I'd love to have the CD.

Julie or Todd please put the link for purchasing for us. Thanks.

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, GOOD MORNING EVERYONE -- am I delinquent today or what??? Just rolled out of bed so I must still be on Caribbean cruise time ... which is getting up any ol' time you want!!

WELCOME AN EPIC, NO LESS, and a HUGE thank you to Todd for not only writing this incredible blog today, but for being so diligent and on top of it in fielding questions/comments (uh ... actually responding at 12:45 AM rather than waiting till almost 8:00 AM like Miss Lazybones here!).

Todd, you don't know it, but we at Seekerville are famous for our Cyber-buffets, so let's start this day out right with plenty of cinnamon hazelnut coffee, Jamaican Jive and any other flavor coffee your heart desires. Then belly up to the bar for a breakfest buffet that would make the Carnival Dream proud -- any and everything you'd want and WAY too much of it, so you are the chef!!

Dive in, all!!


Renee Ann said...

So glad I read this today. Thanks for sharing this post, Julie! This is exactly the kind of music my students are drawn to--a new, unique sound but the same "old" story: Jesus. At my school, we have a worship band for our chapel, and the kids play guitars, piano, and bongo drums. I rejoice to see them expressing themselves through music.

And I appreciate Todd's personal testimony. Some of the seniors in my class are struggling with the same issue: how can giving myself to God free me to be all that He intended and not make me a carbon copy? (We just finished reading The Screwtape Letters, parts of which speak so well to this issue. Have you read it, Todd?)

We're enjoying a snow day today in upstate NY (yay!), but I'll have to share this video with the kids tomorrow. Blessings all!

reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

adge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adge said...

I read a verse just this past week that goes with what Todd said in the beginning: But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children not born of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. John 1:12-13.
Don't enter me in the contest because I already have the prize, but this was a nice post!

Pepper said...

Oh My Goodness
What a story for the heart!! For MY heart!

Thanks Julie for introducing us to Todd and Daniel's 'calling' & ministry. I can't wait to learn more.

Todd - I LOVED this quote from your post:

"I'm finding out more and more, how little I have to do with my own faith. I have been given faith, not because I earned it, not because I have had strength enough to believe, but only because God gave it to me, because He wanted me to have it."

Whew - what a beautiful mystery that we are loved like THAT! As much as we want it to be about us, it's always been ALL about Him! And I'm so glad!
Thanks for sharing today.

Julie Lessman said...

HELEN!!! You astound me, girl -- right on top of it with the caffeine lifeblood -- THANK YOU, sweetie!! And why does it not surprise me that you've given so much of your time to the Church in the past, as a music director??? Anybody who serves us coffee day in and day out, no matter the hour, would certainly serve a church well in many capacities. Thanks, sweetie!

CHARLOTTE!!! Hello, my friend, and thanks for stopping by. Our God is, indeed, awesome and we need all the praise and worship we can get on His behalf, and to me, nothing brings me closer to the throne of God than worship music ... ESPECIALLY that of An Epic, No Less!! Have a great day, girl!

CHRISTY!!! Soooo good to see your sweet face this morning (well, in my mind, anyway!) -- thank you for dropping by to say hi and listen to this amazing band. And I agree about the title and really SO much of what Todd said spoke to my heart, so I'm glad it did for you too. Stay warm, my good friend, and keep those prayers coming ... :)


Ruth Logan Herne said...

I stopped by earlier and read this wonderful post but then had to SHOVEL...



But I just want to congratulate you guys on your patience, perseverance, persistence and faith. These guys have heard me extol the virtues of letting music and lyricists inspire our writing. If talented people like you guys can write a song and send a message in 20 bars, then why do we have trouble with 40-100K?

Bless you for spending the day with us and thank you for sharing your story and your music!

Helen, I'm grabbing coffee to get me through the next round of shoveling because Lake Ontario is kicking up her heels with this Nor'Easter and concentrating her efforts on my farm driveway.

And I'm dropping off yellow cupcakes with almond frosting and sprinkles.

When life gets tough, add sprinkles.

Julie Lessman said...

CAROL!!! You have GOT to get to a computer where you can listen to this video, girl, because I have a feeling you will love it!! Why? Well, because you're just a little close to the edge like me, which is why I like you so darn much, you know?? And I missed you and Seekerville, too, SOOO much!! Warm weather is nice, but there's no place like home ... with a fire, hot cocoa and Christmas decorations still twinkling in my hearth room ...

KC, thanks SO much for the congrat on the Booklist Top Ten. I guess you can tell I'm pretty proud of that because it DOES help to cushion the blow of bad reviews, thank God!! And I agree that there is some serious joy in that photo, but then if you knew Todd's counterpart, Dan Chancellor (whom I've known since he was a baby, but have never actually met Todd), you would understand the joy and uniquity of that amazing photo. Great job, guys!!

DIANE ... I am SOOO glad you can see what revs me about this CD, because it just carries me away into a mode of worship that is soooo awesome!! Thanks for listening to it, my friend, and good luck in the contest!


Pepper said...

One more thing, Todd:
Your pic is cool! Love it!

And I just finished listening to Echo of Love.
GREAT message- and it's already replaying in my head.

CarolM said...

Okay, Julie, just for you - I'm TRYING to get the video to DL. Vimeo doesn't like me much though. YouTube I can usually make cooperate if I beat it hard enough. I may have DH download it at work and bring it home.

I'm not holding my breath for downloading it here :(.

I get what you're saying about there's no place like home, but when the wind chill is like -15, I'll take the Caribbean ;).

CarolM said...

Except you can't DL the video - all the other vids I've watched on Vimeo you could [but that was the purpose of those particular vids]. :p

Ah well. I'll email myself the link for when I'm at school next week - or maybe try my phone...

Captcha: hideas - what my isp is right now :p

Julie Lessman said...

DUSKA, thank you SO much, and WOW, I really like your name, very unique! Is that your given name and if so, is there a story behind it?? And you know what, for me, the heart and testimony of the musicians is what gives the music so much power, in my opinion, because anyone whose heart and testimony is on fire for the Lord has His anointing ALL over it, like these two young men, right?

JENNY, our hearts and prayers are with you guys Down Under that a flood of the Holy Spirit's power will rise to counter the devastation of the flood waters that have been raging. God bless you and your country.

Hey, ANDREA, thanks, girl, for the "warm" welcome back!! And "shock to the system" doesn't even begin to cover it when one goes from 80+ temperatures to 9 degrees, ESPECIALLY when it was 65 when I left. I returned home wearing only a sweater and flip-flops, so yep, nobody can ever accuse me of being smart ... :) Good luck in the contest, my friend!


Julie Lessman said...

EDWINA SAID: "Isn't it wonderful when we give God what we have and He takes it and uses it for His glory?" AMEN to that, my friend, because EVERYTHING has sooo much more depth, shimmer and shine when He is in the middle of it, radiating His blessing and grace!! Thanks for coming by, Edwina!

LISA ... thanks for the congrats, sweetie, the Booklist ranking was a blessing for sure! And part of the reason I wanted to have An Epic, No Less on was because the story of the "road they've been on" is so indicative what God can and will do for each of us as writers if we just take a deep breath and get out of His way!! :)

KIRSTEN ... grin, yeah I'd say the music of An Epic, No Less could almost take the place of coffee in warming the blood and revving the bones ... almost!! But the two together??? LOOK OUT!! :)


CarolM said...


Got my phone to play the vid and you're right, Julie. [Almost had to beat it into submission, but it cooperated before then.]

Loved it!


I'll have it echoing in my head all day ;).

Great job to the musicians!

Julie Lessman said...

SANDRA ... Thanks SO much, my friend, and we will see what we can do about sending a CD your way. I realize that this type of writing (songwriting for God) is a little bit out of the norm for Seekerville, but I realllly felt compelled to introduce An Epic, No Less to this audience because the anointing on their music is SO strong and writing is writing, whether novels or music, right? Sooo glad you like it!!

RENEE ANN!!! BLESS YOU for sharing this video with your students!! I gotta tell you that ANYTHING that can reach the young people today for Christ sends goose bumps up my arms because we SOOOO need to reach out to them in a manner they will receive. That's one of the kinships I feel with An Epic, No Less, because my writing is considered a bit edgy for the Christian market, but my hope is that it is edgy enough to reach many of the young women who might not pick up a typical CBA novel. BUT ... they might just read one if temptation and sexuality were presented in terms more applicable to what the young girls encounter today. So three cheers for St. Paul who admonished us to be all things to all people for the sake of Christ!


Julie Lessman said...

SANDRA ... Thanks SO much, my friend, and we will see what we can do about sending a CD your way. I realize that this type of writing (songwriting for God) is a little bit out of the norm for Seekerville, but I realllly felt compelled to introduce An Epic, No Less to this audience because the anointing on their music is SO strong and writing is writing, whether novels or music, right? Sooo glad you like it!!

RENEE ANN!!! BLESS YOU for sharing this video with your students!! I gotta tell you that ANYTHING that can reach the young people today for Christ sends goose bumps up my arms because we SOOOO need to reach out to them in a manner they will receive. That's one of the kinships I feel with An Epic, No Less, because my writing is considered a bit edgy for the Christian market, but my hope is that it is edgy enough to reach many of the young women who might not pick up a typical CBA novel. BUT ... they might just read one if temptation and sexuality were presented in terms more applicable to what the young girls encounter today. So three cheers for St. Paul who admonished us to be all things to all people for the sake of Christ!


todd said...

I love love your testimony andrea!

todd said...

For the question about about where an individual can pick up our music. please take a look at
also if vimeo is difficult to load try

thanks much your encouragement everyone.

Also, I have yet to read the screwtape letters, although i have heard much about them

todd said...

btw. Im off to work now, but Dan will be commenting on here shortly.

Julie Lessman said...

ADGE!!! That Scripture gave me chills, girl, because it is SOOO true and so relevant to our blog today -- thank you for sharing!!

PEPPER ... I love that quote, too, because it underscores the fact that without God, we can do NOTHING, not even believe!! Hope you are doing well, sweetie!

RUTHY ... thanks for the cupcakes with sprinkles, cupcake, and my heart goes out to you with all that shoveling, but just think how many cupcakes you can burn off!! And I love your statement that: "If talented people like you guys can write a song and send a message in 20 bars, then why do we have trouble with 40-100K?" The answer? Because you and I like to foam at the mouth, and you can't do that adequately in 20 bars ... :)

Hugs, Julie

Pepper said...

Love you-
and love having you back.

After reading the post (and since the university is cancelled due to snowy weather), I had to go to the piano and diddle with a song.

God sends inspiration from all sorts of places :-)

Julie Lessman said...

PEPPER ... yeah, talk about ear worms, eh, you know those tunes that live inside your head like Mama Mia music??? I listened to this CD like twice and BOOM ... it was traveling with me EVERYWHERE in my mind, blessing the socks off of me!! :)

CAROL, you sweet thing, you, trying sooo hard to see this video!! If you can view Youtube, just type in An Epic No less, and the video is Echo of Love. Good luck, sweetie!

TODD ... thanks so much for buzzing by today before work and hope to see you later on. Have a GREAT day!!


Casey said...

...despite how much time I put into my craft, my abilities will always be limited

LOVE THAT!! PERFECT for what I needed today. Wow, that just right there takes so much weight off my shoulders. Doesn't mean I still shouldn't try my hardest, but it makes trying my hardest an easier goal to attain.

Know what I mean??

I would love to be entered, Julie. :) Thank you for sharing this today!

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, PEP, it's good to be back to reality, which is where I am most comfortable, regardless of the temperature! You know what, YOU were one of the main people I was thinking of when the idea came to me to feature An Epic, No Less because I know what a prolific songwriter you are, so I am THRILLED this blog today sent you to the piano! Love you, too, sweetie.

DAN!!! Looking forward to hearing from you today, my friend, and when you log on, would LOVE to know a little background on the video. It looks like it was shot in a church (HOW cool and appropriate is that!!), so how did you manage that and what church is/was it? Also, how long did it take to film the video and put it together? Finally, since it is only you, Todd and Hannah (Dan's wife) in the video, I'm guessing you had to overlay various parts of music you all played?


Myra Johnson said...

Julie, thanks so much for bringing Todd and Dan to Seekerville! What a blessing!

Todd, I think you covered it all--the twists and turns of the creative journey, the doubts and questions, the times we resist God's will and strive to make things happen the way WE want them to.

What I love to remember is that we are creative children of a creative God, so our gifts and talents--even our creative imaginations, aspirations, and dreams--come straight from Him. We please and honor God when we use those gifts for His glory.

Digging for Pearls said...

Loved the analogy with this post.

Jodie Wolfe

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks for sharing! I just downloaded the album from iTunes, so don't enter me in the draw.

Mary Connealy said...

I've talked with a few poets and songwriters and I think it's a fascinating gift, to think in such poetic terms. To think in such BRIEF terms.

It's really a very special gift.

I've written a couple of songs and to me, it's an odd exercise. I can't really do it until I start. Does that make sense? I don't have the right mindset to pull a musical turn of phrase or poetic turn of phrase out of a given situation.

I really respect that gift some have for thinking this way.

Mary Connealy said...

PS, I know it's my job to be saracastic here at Seekerville.

I will try and get my mind straightened around and be back.

Lorna Faith said...

Love that song..."Echo of Love"! Awesome:) Feeling that Love Revolution myself...and pray that it comes out everyday ~ just in my walk thru life:)
Thanks for your honesty and reminder to "lay it down" because it's all for Him anyway!
Count me in for the giveaway...


Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Thanks for sharing the really good music!

Jenny, the floods are devastating. I hope relief comes soon to the people affected.

Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

a great posting, julie :)

kmkuka at yahoo dogt com

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Todd! Your testimony reminds me of my journey from writing secular books to writing Christian fiction. I love creating the faith journeys of my characters. Now I wonder why I took so long to get the message.

Your music is awesome. God bless you as you use your talent for Him.


Missy Tippens said...

Wow, what a powerful song and testimony, too! Thanks so much for sharing with us today. I've already passed the link to my college son to share with his friends. I know he'll love your music!

And now, I'm going to go download the songs, too. :)

misskallie2000 said...

I love listening to music and reading and to have both in a giveaway is awesome. This CD sounds like a wonderful testimony and the book has been on my wish list for some time.
So glad I saw the email and came by to enjoy the interview and thanks for sharing with us.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Wendy said...

I love Christian music. It really speaks to me so I really love finding new artists!

Andrea Strong said...

Okay! It took and hour and a half for the video to load with my lousy connection, but it gave me something to look forward to while I cleaned the bathroom. And it was definitely worth the wait.

I'm also listening to the album as it loads, one song at a time.

Very, very good. I have a 16 y.o. nephew I think would really like this.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to hear something new and so wonderful.

Soccerkidsmom said...

What a wonderful testimony and interview. I love reading and I write book reviews for inspirational and Christian books; have never really thought of it as serving God with my writing. I guess it is since I'm helping get others to read the great books that have helped me. :) Christian music is all I listen to now, it helps inspire and uplift me to be a better person for God. Thanks for this giveaway and interview. May God bless you as you continue to serve Him.

Julie Lessman said...

CASEY GIRL, I don't know ANYBODY who tries harder than you at everything you do, sweetie, so YES, I do know what you mean about it taking weight off the shoulders of we anal types (oooops ... just lumped you in with me, which may or may not be a compliment!!). Now ... if I can just find something that will "take the weight off" my waist and hips ... :/

MYRA SAID (and very well, too): "We are creative children of a creative God, so our gifts and talents--even our creative imaginations, aspirations, and dreams--come straight from Him." Preach it, sister, you are SO dead-on!!

Thanks, JODIE -- SOOOO good to see you here, sweetie and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours!


Cindy said...

Thanks Julie for introducing me to a new artist. Living in Nashville, I know several people in the music industry and I know how difficult it can be. It will be an honor to add the members of An Epic No Less to my prayer list.

Please enter me in the drawing for the cd and book.



Julie Lessman said...

VALERIE ... you won't be sorry, sweetie, except when you find yourself humming it from now until kingdom come, but nothing's better than that with music that glorifies God. Thanks for coming by!

MARE ... uh, yeah and that does make sense, which is kind of scary if you really think about both of our minds. And I gotta tell you, girl, that new picture of you is drop-dead adorable, seriously!! LOVE the long hair!!

LORNA FAITH!!! What a perfect name to live the "faith" in spreading God's love. Is Faith your last or middle name??? And consider yourself in the giveaway, girl -- good luck!


Daniel said...

Thanks so much everyone for sharing your stories and comments. It is a blessing to know that God can speak through little Todd and Dan. We can't thank Julie enough for setting this up and opening the door to let the good Lord speak.

The video was shot in an old church on KingsHighway in St. Louis, MO. It's almost in North Saint Louis and is completely abandoned. It's hard to tell in the shots, but the building was in really bad shape. Windows smashed out, and evidence of the less fortunate living within the rooms. It was interesting!

We luckily got in right before renovations began. The developer let us use the building (after many phone calls:)... and finally gave us permission to shoot in there (completely unsupervised:)... that was blessing in itself!

The day we filmed at the Church it was about 100 degrees outside and inside probably 110 degrees or hotter. Very dusty and 8 hours later, we packed up and took off to cool off.

The other shots were filmed in St. Louis, MO at random locations and in Southern IL in old basements of farm houses, etc.

The feedback from the video has been great to see. Many music biz people (we have met along the way) said... Wow, you must have spent 30K dollars on this video. Nope! God hooked us up with Tennyson Tanner who tithed his time to give us something special, on a very limited budget. He since has been blessed with several big film contracts for the state of IL Hwy department. Interesting how God gives back...

Anyways. I"m rambling now. If you have time, just in case anyone missed it... Tennyson did an interview with us and live footage combined. You can see that here:

It has some testimony and the quote about how the worship project was named.

DUSKA, - my wife Hannah (in the band) says hello. She mentioned that your father was the pastor of her church for a long time... very cool.

Ausjenny said...

I just wanted to let you know a couple of the rivers peaked overnight a metre lower than expected thats about 40inches. and one about 36inches lower. While its still devestating this is a small joy and I do believe its all the prayers. It will still take along time to recover and more areas are still preparing for flood but it was so good to wake up to some good news. My country does thank you for all your prayers and will need them for time to come.
I hope you dont mind me updating I am feeling so much better hearing this today.

Casey said...

Jules, lumped in with you?? Any day!! Thanks for the sweet compliment, even if most of the time it's an argument about the truth of it... :)

And that "weight"?? Pssssh. You look great. :)

Julie Lessman said...

EVA MARIA -- thank YOU for coming by to listen to it, sweetie -- MUCH appreciated!

KAREN ... SO glad you enjoyed it! Always good to see you here, my friend.

JANET ...gosh, I forgot that you wrote secular before you went Inspirational!! Sooo glad you switched!! :)


Julie Lessman said...

Oh, MISSY, I'll bet your son will LOVE the download too, so thanks for sharing it with him.

MISSKALLIE -- well, girl, we will just have to see what we can do about getting both the CD and the book in your hot little hands. Good luck in the contest!

WENDY ... Give Epic a shot because if you love finding new artists, these guys are just the ticket!


fhz648 said...

How did you get together? I have always been into music since I started piano lessons at 5 years of age (now 62) and still playing ( not professionally, just for fun and GOD ).

Julie Lessman said...

ANDREA!!! Gosh, you're even more of a driver than our sweet Carol M. above, so good for you, girl!! Sooo glad it was worth it, and YES, by all means, pass the word to your 16-year-old nephew!!

SOCCERKIDSMOM ... you bet writing reviews is serving God with your writing, girl!! Uh ... especially if you write a good review about any of the Seekers' books, okay? :)

CINDY, you are SUCH a doll!! Of course, there was a rumor going around to that effect, but your willingness to pray for these guys just proves it -- THANK YOU!! And thanks for coming by today too.


Julie Lessman said...

DAN!!! Welcome to Seekerville, boy, and I LOVE hearing the background on the video. Clicked on the video link to make sure it worked first thing this morning and couldn't help myself -- got sucked in watching it again. I'm guessing it's my 10th time now ...

Oh, JENNY, that is GREAT news!!! We will keep the prayers coming ... And OF COURSE we don't mind the updates, are you kidding??? We appreciate them!

CASE ... uh, you obviously have not seen me PRO-CRUISE, but then, come to think of it, you've never seen me PRE-CRUISE or EVER, for that matter. At my age, pictures lie, Case, and don't you EVER forget it ... ESPECIALLY if you have an artist husband who is a MASTER at PhotoShop. God is SOOO good!! :)


Lindi said...

Really liked the video! Thanks for sharing. I love me some good music! And thanks for the testimony. Very inspiring. God will guide us and be there with us the whole way.
Thanks again for sharing.

Daniel said...

HI FHZ648!, previously, Todd was playing with very good musicians with all of his bands. When he asked for me to play some worship songs with him... I didn't think I was good enough and even fought him off for a little while.

Spiritually, I wasn't in the best spot, but also I just didn't think the ability was there. I prayed about it and now feel like God is putting me in this band for a reason. It gives me time to spend with the Lord. Sounds strange leading worship for others, but I feel as tho God is spending time with me.

Prior to me playing music with Todd, he helped me alot, even when he was with his other bands... When I was going through things, he was a friend who would pray for me and keep me thinking clearly.

Now we play worship together... hope that helps explain things a bit:)

The Vimeo link I posted above is the interview that helps explain things also:)

Julie Lessman said...

FHS648 ... thanks for asking that great question because I wanted to know that too!

LINDI ... So glad you enjoyed the video and I'm thrilled Todd's testimony inspired you like it did me. Good luck in the contest!

DAN ... I knew a little bit of your background with Todd, but I appreciate the full scoop above -- thanks!!


Kav said...

Better late than never, right? (Oh dear, I hope I used the right than/then...I'm still a bit shellshocked over the Grammar Queen's visit.)

I am just getting into Christian music so this is a timely subject for me. I clicked on the link and was totally captivated by the music, video and message. Very touching. Thanks for introducing me to An Epic, No Less.

Heidi Larson Geis said...

Julie! Thank you for sharing your heart, and this awesome band! I love BOTH!! And I am not surprised to find your new book at #5...I just can't believe I don't have it yet!!

Todd, I always appreciate when people are willing to be transparent when sharing their journey. We have a lot more than our "Larson" in you, I thought I knew better than God how my life should go, and like you, I needed a disaster to get me to see otherwise. I am so thankful for my disaster...through it I have learned just how passionately God loves me, and just how useless I am without Him. Thank you for your testimony, and your music. I will be praying that God continues to bless you as you serve Him!

Beverly Gluck said...

Oh Julie, it is so good to have you back in communication. Sounds like your trip was beyond wonderful. Isn't God good to those who love him!
Thanks for bringing us to the experience of this site today. You can always be counted on to lead others to God inspired ways.

todd said...

You are right Heidi! Isnt it liberating to know that he is in control. ps see you at the family reunion. uff dah!

Debbie Clark said...

What an awesome testimony of finally doing what God wants us to do. It seems like we have to be hit over the head before that happens. Would love to win one of the CD's and the book. Thanks for the chance of winning.

debbiemcla at msn dot com

CarolM said...

Julie said:

At my age, pictures lie, Case, and don't you EVER forget it ... ESPECIALLY if you have an artist husband who is a MASTER at PhotoShop. God is SOOO good!! :)

I am replying:

Okay - God is SOOO good!! :) And your hubby is a master at PhotoShop, I'm sure, but as for the rest... Well, one of these days we'll meet in person and we'll just see... I don't buy it for a minute.

I do hope your toes have warmed up from your flip flop incident ;). If not, you can come sit by my fire and we'll talk about this. =D

KC Frantzen said...

Todd and all,
Worth the wait to crank it up and enjoy the video. Thanks!

You have quite a ministry! Very interesting story about how the video came about. Love that.

Julie ~ is this a new Caribbean word? "uniquity"

Aus Jennie - we ARE praying. "Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." Glad for that update!

Cindy - we're practically neighbors if you're in Nashville!

Would you believe my veri word is "undef" ?? ha!

Linda said...

I already have read your book and it was of course spectacular, but I would love to win An Epic No Less! Terrific musicians.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Julie Lessman said...

KAV!!! You bet, sweetie -- better late than never is one of my favorite mottos because it's SOOO true!! Of course, I tend to be a habitually late person, so naturally I believe that! Thrilled that you like Epic, girl, and anxious to see if it gets under your skin like it did mine!

HEIDI SAID: "I have learned just how passionately God loves me, and just how useless I am without Him." Oh man, girl, you said a mouthful there!! Particularly the word "useless," which I'm feeling a lot this week as I tread water in getting things done. Cannot even imagine trying to do any of this without HIM!!

BEVERLY!!! Sooo good to see you here, sweetie, and thanks for your kind words. I especially loved your question, "Isn't God good to those who love him!" If Christians could just bottle that concept and sell it, the world would be a different place, wouldn't it?? To love Him above all else is the only path to peace, blessing and hope. Period. Good luck in the contest, my friend.


Ann Lee Miller said...

Ooh, ooh. Pick me. :)

Julie Lessman said...

DEBBIE ... uh, yeah ... I've been "hit over the head" so many times, I don't know if I'm coming or going, but it always sends me in His direction, thank God!! Good luck in the contest.

"Well, one of these days we'll meet in person and we'll just see... I don't buy it for a minute." You're on, girl. How's your eyesight???

KC!!! THRILLED you took the time to crank up the video, girl, because I do NOT lie!! Okay, okay, I may be known to embellish here and there, but NOT on the talent of these guys -- it's all fact, no brag. And I will have you know, young lady, that "uniquity" is a viable word found in at least four dictionaries!! I know because I checked it out a long time ago when I was writing travel copy and the word "uniquity" sounded soooo much better than "uniqueness," you know??? It does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it? :)


CarolM said...

Glasses on or off?


Julie Lessman said...

LINDA, you sweet thing, you -- THANK YOU for your interest in Epic because you will LOVE it if you win it, girl. And, uh, thank you for reading my books, too, sweetie pie -- SOOOO appreciate your support!

ANN!!! Gosh, girl, haven't seen your cute face since that rash of blog giveaways I did at the release of A Hope Undaunted last September ... how many of my books did you end up winning, anyway??? :) If you win this one, it will be WELL worth the trouble because it comes with a CD as you know ... :)


Ausjenny said...

KC our former PM (prime minister who happens to be a christian) summed it up he said 5 words "Thank God it stopped raining" If it hadn't the flood would have been way worse as the last few days up to 12 inches were falling in a day in some places. They are only expecting passing showers the next few days there so thats wonderful.
The peaks in New South Wales are lower than expected also so far which is so good too.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

I'm fairly certain my husband Billy aka "Stick" has run sound for you guys in Marion Illinois at Life Church. Were one of you in Scuff prior? I think you've been to our recording studio. LOL! Or maybe that was your bro. Anyway, it's a small world, eh?

Awesome to have you visiting Seekerville today! It's wonderful that you're using your talents for Him.

God bless!

todd said...

haha! yeah totally know stick!!


Rose said...

Music is my favorite expression of faith. Although I'm sure the people in the pew in front of me feel differenly when I'm singing!

Best wishes with your career, An Epic, No Less.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Todd, thanks for sharing your music with us! I watched the video and love the song. I have three teenage sons and am sending them the link to your album. I'm so glad you're using your gift for God. Just reading your blog post tells me what an awesome writer you are and that you write from the heart. Songwriters are some of the most amazing writers to me. I have a HUGE admiration for you guys!

Please include me in the drawing! Will the CD's be autographed? I would love to have one.

Julie, Thanks so much for sharing these guys with us! Hugs, girlfriend!


Julie Lessman said...

CAROL ... both. I'm not taking any chances. :)

JENNY ... it sounds like the worst may be over, girl, at least I pray so.

WOW, CHERYL, talk about a small world, for sure. Although with Billy in the music industry and you guys living fairly close to St. Louis, I guess it's not too unusual.


Julie Lessman said...

TODD ... I want to thank you and Dan for dropping by today and for the great blog. Whoever wins your CDs will sure be thrilled, both when they receive them AND a little bit down the road when you guys are famous! :) God bless you in your endeavors!!

ROSE ... :) You are too cute, sweetie. Hope you don't sing off-key like I do ...

LINNETTE!!! Thanks for sending the link to your three teenage sons ... WOW, are you the only girl in the house or do you have a daughter, I hope ... or at least a female dog?? Unfortunately, no, the CDs are not autographed because I will be sending them out, but the book will be! :)


Audra Harders said...

Amazing, amazing story guys! It takes incredible courage and strength to let go of what we think is right and hand it over to God. Afterall, it's our life anyway, isn't it?


When God places that burning desire to achieve, to create, to *arrive*, we too often want to chalk it up to our own ambition. Couldn't be further from the truth.

The more you feel the calling, the more you need to realize the Lord didn't plant that seed in your heart for nothing.

He has plans to use it for His Glory.

An Epic, No Less is a shining example of that grand plan. I may have dropped in to the party late this evening, but I'm leaving with a heart full of inspiration.

Thank you coming to Seekerville and Julie, welcome back, girlfriend!!

todd said...

No no, Thanks to you Julie. I really do hope this article adequately speaks our heart.

Julie Lessman said...

AUDRA!!! How the heck are you, girl?? Hope the book is going well. I promise to get a review written soon, sweetie, for both you and Tina.

TODD, trust me, everyone here can see your heart very clearly, I assure you, and we all love you and Dan for it! Here's to blessings galore for you both in 2011.


Joetta said...

Julie - I've seen you in person and you are even thinner and cuter than all the pictures in the world! Your husband does not need to photoshop or fix any of your pics! (especially the lip gloss lol!)
I LOVE your writing and your spunky personality! wish I had more of your energy! thanks for sharing and encouraging all of us today!
I'm bringing a cup of strong, hot coffee and fresh fruit (can you tell I'm trying to stick to my diet!) - strawberries just came in season here in warm, sunny FL! (actually it's freezing tonight! it's supposed to be in the 30's!) I am ready for warmer weather!

CarolM said...

Without my glasses, you'd be a big blurry blob. Even at close range.

With them, I'm going for... what Joetta said ;).

Julie Lessman said...

Come on, JOETTA, we both know you were on STRONG cold medicine when we met in November, so your assessment of my weight is suspect, girl!! :) And keep in mind that I just came home from a cruise ...

Join the club, sweetie, I'm on a diet too, and it sure doesn't include strawberries, you little brat, NOR warm weather. Thirty degrees sounds downright balmy to us right now, compared to our 13 degrees ...

Thanks for stopping by, sweetie. You are a blessing!


Julie Lessman said...

CAROL ... leave the glasses at home when we meet, okay? :)


CarolM said...

13? that's a heat wave!

We're at 1 right now I think! Wind chill well below.*

I'll just wear my contacts then.

*[yes I know there's lots of places worse for longer - but it's COLD!!!!!]

Ausjenny said...

Julie, the worse is over for some areas and hasn't happened for others. the area involved is massive and now there are flood risks in a couple of other states too. we wont flood here but we have had almost an inch in less than 2 hours. This sort of rain is not normal for us. where I am we have a yearly average of 22 inches.
parts of Victoria that are now flooding not as bad but bad enough still have high river levels from the rain in December which was record rain fall then.
But for Brisbane the worse is over. I cant watch anymore. I find its like watching a train wreck you know its going to be bad but you cant stop watching. the more I watch the more emotional I would get. I have found I need to turn it off and just watch the news or little updates. The problem is I have free to air tv and its on most of the channels I get the only other 2 are childrens and I dont really want to watch Angelina Ballarina! Im actually to tired to even really read. I have been sweeping water from the areas it gathers in so I dont have an issue myself later but I know the garage will flood again. thankfully everything is up of the ground.

Pam Hillman aka "Ma" said...

What a wonderful testimony! And that video was so evocative. I wanted to crawl right inside and find out everyone's story.

Great harmony, and the empty (echoing) church was a perfect backdrop for the empty buildings in the rest of the video.

Okay, I'm really not Caroline Ingalls. I need to change my pic back to ME. lol

Cathy Shouse said...

I enjoyed the telling of your story. Thanks for your honesty.

Please put my name in for the prizes.

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

Julie Lessman said...

CAROL ... One degree??? YIKES!!! Which is unusual that you would be colder than we are (we are at 5 degrees this morning) because you are farther south. Oh, well, I'm not complaining ...

JENNY ... I am glad the worst is over, but will keep praying. And I totally understand why you have to not watch the news anymore ... it just pulls you down, and you have to stay up to pray.

PAMMY ... thanks for stopping by, girlfriend, and Caroline and you have a similar hairstyle, right, so I'd say the pix is appropriate. :)

Hey, CATH, SO good to see you, girl -- it seems like a while since I've seen your sweet face pop up, but maybe that's because I've been gone. Anyway, you're in the drawing, so good luck!


Elisa Maria said...

So glad to be introduced to your music and read your testimony. We are blessed to be chosen to glorify the Most High with the gifts he has given us, but in His hand, those gifts go beyond our imaginations. Blessings.

Amanda Stephan said...

Thank you for serving the Lord in this way. It's so nice to hear about you ~ thank you for sharing!

May each one of us find that serving the Lord is the most wonderful thing we can ever do

kjv1611as at gmail dot com

Julie Lessman said...

ELISA MARIA -- I love your comment:
We are blessed to be chosen to glorify the Most High with the gifts he has given us, but in His hand, those gifts go beyond our imaginations. BEAUTIFULLY SAID!! Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the contest!

AMANDA ... AMEN TO THAT, sweetie!! I know for me, serving the Lord with my writing is such an honor and a privilege!! Thanks for coming by and here's to a win!


Debbie Clark said...

Hi. Just needed to tell you that I was unable to post an email through your websystem, because I have MSN and for some reason it will not let me send emails thru Windows Live. You would think that since they are both from Microsoft that they would interface. Anyhow, please make sure that it doesn't go to your junk mail. Thanks. I am very pleased to have won a CD & book.
Debbie Clark