Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No More Than I Can Handle...

...With the grace of God that sustains and a peace that passes understanding of course. But I wonder how close I'm getting. I decided to blog this cause I didn't know how I'd fit this update in 140 characters: the last couple days have been a whirlwind.

Wednesday 12/1: Sarah takes Nicky back to Children's Hospital after reported discomfort.

Thursday 12/2: Nicky receives his 8th feeding tube, his 3rd GJ (a replacement) and my mom calls and tells me that my 90 year old Grandma has until Monday to live, if that.

Friday 12/3: Nicky is discharged first thing in the morning and cleared to travel with us to Georgia to say our goodbyes to Grandma. We leave home at 1:40pm and arrive at 12:40 in the morning on...

Saturday 12/4: Nicky turns 2. Grandma hangs on and bounces between lucidity and living in the past. She's bedridden, can hardly see, hear or move but is still the same, sweet, little lady we all love. Many hymns sung and "Jesus, There's Just Something About That Name" sung countless times. Her obvious favorite.

Sunday 12/5: More time with Grandma. Nicky gets a fever. Steelers win.

Monday 12/6: Nicky's fever won't diminish with Tylenol, hovers around 102. We say our tearful goodbyes to a lady about to move into a pimp mansion and have dinner with her Savior and her God, then we hop into the car suddenly at 9:41PM and begin to drive back to Pittsburgh, checking Nicky's temp ever hour. If he hits 103.5 and Tylenol doesn't lower it, we have to stop at nearest ER.

Tuesday 12/7: at 2am maybe, Nicky hits 103.5. Tylenol works and we keep driving. My angel wife, Sarah, stays awake to help me stay awake (along with the prayers of friends and 5 hour energy drinks. blah) I drop off Sarah and Nicky at Children's hospital at 10am, drop of Daniel at friends at 11 and go home to go to sleep. Wake up 4:30pm. Call Sarah for update:

Nicky has severe Pneumonia, they can't stabilize him enough to move him out of the ER and into his room. Heart rate is too high, BP is too low. Fever is still at 104.

My day has been much better than Job's worst, but I'll still say it. "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord."

Dear Lord,
Give Rest to my Grandmother.
Give Your Healing to my boy.
Dona nobis pacem.
In Jesus' Name.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How could a loving god...

I'm a Steelers fan. That's no surprise to those who know me. I live in Pittsburgh. Why people are shocked is beyond me. So, I watched the game with anticipation this past Sunday afternoon as the Buffalo Bills about took it to us; as a perfectly thrown ball fell through the hands of talented Buffalo player Stevie Johnson, wide open into the end zone during Overtime that should have ended the game and sent us home despondent had he caught it. I leapt for joy, and did the Steelers dance with my boys (we won't go into that). But then the humanity began to settle in as I watched Stevie sit on the sidelines dejected and defeated. We all have the ability to let our comrades down, don't we? It's a sick feeling.

Stevie has a twitter account and was very honest about his feelings after the game:

"I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..."
I think it's safe to assume he's not talking to his Receivers Coach...
Stevie has simply posted, for the world to see, a thought that is often too common in the human psyche: "If I speak highly of God often enough, He has the responsibility to make my life run smoothly." Or maybe, "If I honor God, He must honor me" I'm not saying these are the thoughts in Stevie's mind, just that it is an easy emotion to possess: entitlement.

I was reminded last Sunday in church that we read in Isaiah 53:10, "The Lord was pleased to crush" His son, and we think of the suffering Jesus endured. God, having the foresight to know what freedom and glory and victory would come from His Son being crushed, was pleased to do it!!! Now I don't believe this means the Father sat down with popcorn and watched as you and I are pleased with a good movie. But in times of great sadness, one can shed tears with a smile because of the HOPE that we have! God knew the outcome of this apparent tragedy. I've heard it said that "God allows what he hates to accomplish what He loves." (If I could remember who said that, I'd give a reference. When I can't recall, I just say it was John Piper.)

When you feel like crying out to God in frustration, remember two things:
1.) God can handle your anger.
2.) Jesus' suffering that God willed. Then compare that to a dropped football.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh Yeah, I'm still on Tour

I began in August with intention to blog about every stop on this 48 day tour called the Hope Restored Tour with Big Daddy Weave and Andy Kirk. I got a little sidetracked when my son couldn't keep food down for almost 2 weeks straight. I imagine you understand my attention being shifted.

Through the peace (that passes understanding) that God has given both Sarah and I about the situation with Nicky, and our belief that while we are his caretakers, he belongs to God, I have stayed out on the road, sharing the Good News and encouraging others to take action in sharing that Good News through the ministry of OneVerse. Sarah has been more than capable of caring for Nicky at the hospital 24-7 when he was there and our many dear friends at Crestmont Alliance Church have cared for Daniel and fed our whole family too well! The family of God is precious. Though I heard my share of criticism about my not going home to be with my family, the decision we came to (my staying on the road) is not one we have any regrets about. I have the privilege each evening of sharing about the tour's goal of completing a translation of God's Word into the Ndamba, a language spoken by 96,000 people in East Africa who have NEVER HEARD THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL!
We have seven more shows in this tour (3 in MO, 2 in GA, 2 in FL) and if we can average 22 partners each, the translation will be complete!!! You have made such an impact on the Kingdom and are changing lives and cultures for the better!

So far the tour has taken us from all over the Midwest, up and dow the West Coast, Idaho (below), Utah and Colorado, back through Nebraska, NY, NJ, PA, the Carolinas and quite a few places in between. The beginning of the tour feels like a couple tours ago. And yet it's seem to have flown by!
I've been working like crazy on the new album and hope to be in the studio right after Thanksgiving! Writing songs for the church to use that fall under the catagory of "THIS IS WHAT WE BELIEVE!" I'm excited: stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I believe in Miracles

What an intense month...and a half this has been, since I last blogged. I will try to be brief yet thorough. Nicky, who has been eating through a tube (nose to intestine) since Sept 17th, coughed it up last Saturday after 6 weeks and Sarah rushed him to the hospital for what was the start of 10 days of continuing to try to fix him. I won't go into great detail, as I know it, because I'm sure I'll say something not medically accurate and don't want to debate those details, so here are the basic essentials.

People, yourselves included, have been praying for Nicky's complete healing from EE and EG (refer to earlier posts and tweets for more details) and his other issues which include Silent Aspiration (breathing food, drink, even vomit into the lungs without a physical response like chocking or gagging), Delayed/Empty Gut Syndrome (a very slow digestive process where new food was being mixed with old food that hadn't left the stomach yet) and severe allergies to Soy, Wheat, Barley, Dairy, Eggs, Nuts and something else major I can't remember right now.

MIRACLE #1
The first couple days there, Nicky was biopsied again in his throat and stomach. His EO count before was +100 per biopsy sample (+25 is considered extreme). One thing I know about EOs is that once the body creates them, they don't go away. They are painful and damaging and steroids help stifle the pain. It's considered an incurable disease. He EO count as of now is ZERO! "You give and take away" has an entirely new meaning to me now. Thank You, Author of Life, for healing my son of EE and EG! One doctor said, "I guess...you can say...Nicky no longer has EE." and then just walked out. :)

MIRACLE #2
Next, the doctors said he either had a perforation between his esophagus and airway that was shielded by some sort of skin flap (a cleft that kept them from seeing it the other 3 times they scoped him) OR if not, then he must have a mass at the base of the brain called Arnold Chiari Malformation that affects his swallowing. This would have to be removed surgically and it's not an easy operation. Needless to say, we were praying for a perforation. Who prays for a hole in their kid's esophagus!? us.

So they put him under Friday (5 days ago) to scope him to find a perforation, if not, they'd do an MRI while he was out to check for Arnold Chiari. They found a perforation!!! And the doctor performing the procedure had recently engineered a medical gel to temporarily seal it. He applied it immediately. No MRI needed.

Yesterday was the Swallowing Test to see if the gel worked. He passed! Swallowed everything, aspirated nothing! Not only that, he didn't even Silently Aspirate, which evidently was not something the gel could have fixed, that was a neurologically issue (the brain telling the throat how to swallow) Sarah said, "It is so much fun watching these brilliant doctors scratch their heads!" God finished what that amazing gel couldn't. Sarah's witness to the hospital staff is one of grace, trust, wisdom, faith and peace. And otherworldly stamina. Your prayers and God's strong arm and loving kindness have sustained her! Thank you!

Once Nicky gets over the cold I gave him, he'll get stitched up permanently. The delayed gut syndrome is something the doctors believe he could grow out of. We have another allergy panel test scheduled for the 19th of November I think, and I would not be surprised if God restores his ability to eat whatever he wants! That's what we pray for. Then he needs to learn, with the help of a therapist, how to eat again. Starting over with a bottle. He's on a GJ tube in the meanwhile.

BE ENCOURAGED: GOD IS ANSWERING OUR PRAYERS AND PERFORMING UNDENIABLE MIRACLES!

Yesterday at noon, Nicky came home. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The New Normal...for a while

Nicky and Sarah came home from the hospital Saturday afternoon. The Home Health Team met them at home to help Sarah understand how to best care for Nicky. He has a little back pack that holds the pump and the special formula that runs through his nose directly to his small intestine. Again, bypassing his stomach. Which is why he is always hungry. I was video chatting with them last night before bed and saw Nicky in the background trying to open the fridge (see pictures below.) Very sad. The good news is that his body is receiving nourishment, even if he doesn't feel it.
His tube started to slip out yesterday, Sarah had made a mark on the tube by his nose, and found it behind his ear. So they are scheduling to go in and fix it. If the tube is too high, it could drain formula to his stomach...which he may expel. He is on a steroid and a reflux medicine. Evidently EE is quite painful and the doctor said he probably has been in pain since birth. Which would explain his incredibly high pain tolerance. He busted his finger yesterday and didn't even flinch.

Some of you have encouraged me to go home. I wish I were just on a personal retreat and could leave to go be with my family, but Sarah and I have talked about this together and what she has told me is, "When I need you to come home, I will tell you to get home, but I am able to care for our family."

She is an amazing woman of God. We also are blessed to have many GREAT friends who have cared for Daniel and Sarah as she cares for Nick. Sarah told me, "Satan would love nothing more than for you to leave the road and the ministry that God has called you to." And yes, my first ministry is to my family, and right now, I'm doing my best to earn a living for them. I have an opportunity to live a life of faith in God's sovereignty and trust in His perfect plan before my audience every night as I praise Him for who He is, regardless of my circumstances. This is a trial for us, and while my being home would provide emotional support for us all, my wife relies on God for her stability and He sustains her. Bottom line, we have prayed through tears, including my staying out or coming home and we believe that right now, God would have me remain on the road.

But I'm counting down the days ;)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Who will save him from this body of death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So sorry that I have not blogged an update since Monday. Many of you follow me on twitter and you have been keeping up with my plethora of updates there, and your responses have brought encouragement to Sarah and I. I cannot thank you enough.

The nutshell, if I can do that, is this. Nicky has what is called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. There is a strong chance the eosinophil cells are also in his stomach and potentially his small intestine. He has been unable to keep most foods down for close to 3 months and unable to keep anything (anything) down since last Friday. He has been on an IV since Sunday evening (5 nights ago) and has been in the hospital since then with Sarah and some the best doctors we could hope for.

Yesterday, a feeding tube was inserted through his nose all the way to his small intestine because all 8 special formulas had been rejected orally. Which means thrown up. He rejected his first 0.5 ounce of formula #8 (which he had kept down the longest) through the feeding tube after about 20 minutes I believe. But the few ounces they gave him last night (directly to the intestine) has remained down.

Problem number 2: He aspirates nearly every time he swallows food or liquid, which means it goes into his lungs. He also aspirated some of the bile that he was expelling from his intestines.

Problem 3. Allergies. He has a level 3 allergy to gluten. A level 4 allergy to soy, wheat and barley and a level 5 allergy to eggs, milk and all nuts. Sarah had a salad last night with nuts on it, kiss Nicky's head an hour later and he had a reaction. A level 5 allergy involves discoloration and anaphylactic shock.

That's where we are. We can pray specifically for his healing now. Thank you for joining us in praying for our little baby boy. Sarah and I feel strongly that God wants me to stay on the road for now and continue to sing His praises with you. So I find myself in Bakersfield, California, but my heart is with my family and I pray for Nicky's healing, my wife's strength and Daniel's peace and patience as he stays with dear friends.

Community, praying for us and caring for us, is essential, we can't do this alone. And when we feel alone, we remember Emmanuel. God with us.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Formula 1...through 8

Today was the day the Doctor's tested for allergies with a blood sample to determine what Nicky is allergic too. Results haven't come in yet. They also tested 8 different formulas for Nicky to attempt to ingest orally. We only needed one to work, but none of them did. The second formula he kept down 2 ounces then minutes later 2 more ounces. Then he lost it. Three through seven also rejected (this is taking place over a period of hours, to pace the poor kid, who wants to vomit that much in a short period of time, you need a break) Number 8 he kept for 15 minutes then lost it. The doctors were hopeful that he may have kept it down and wanted to try again. Mommy stepped in and said, "Enough for the day." I'm so proud of her. He was very tired and needed sleep. Tomorrow we try again. Still an empty belly. Sarah is being visited and has been brought food. Daniel is having a blast with friends. Our family is not alone. We are so thankful to our friends and family for their love and support. And thankful to you for your prayers.

Michigan's Mixed Emotions (Nicky)

As I sat down in the back lounge of the bus yesterday in Berrien Springs, Michigan with my Troy Polamalu Jersey on, ready for the first NFL game of the regular season to start, the phone rang as soon as the big NFL song started. It was my wife, Sarah, calling to inform me that she was taking my youngest, Nicky, back to the hospital. He was diagnosed with EE (Eoniophilic Esophogitis) last month after being unable to keep most foods down for the month prior. He has been on a steady diet of yogurt, goldfish and dry cereal. Until a couple days ago...he can't keep anything down, not even water. Sarah said she was crying out to God during church, "I have food and can't feed my child!" Daniel went home with friends and Sarah took Nicky downtown Pittsburgh and after finally reaching Nicky's specialist at home, he was admitted.

They are doing blood tests to discover what allergens are in his esophagus, hopefully we find one, then we can address the issue. They were going to do a feeding tube last night, but he needed to be hydrated first. So fluids all night long, then they are going to attempt to feed him a special allergen-free formula orally, if he does not keep it down, they will insert the feeding tube nasally. But as of now, nothing has been in his little belly for a couple days. And my son is hungry. Sarah said she'd never been so excited about a feeding tube, "He'll have food in his belly!"

He is being well taken care of. His mother loves him dearly. His doctors are the best and he's on the top of the list. His God has always had Nicky firmly in His hand and loves him more than anyone could. The community of friends that we love so dearly are taking care of Daniel, cutting our grass, etc.

If you've come to my concerts you hear me talk about Trust vs Clarity. I'm trusting. When the time comes for me to fly home I will in a heart beat. But I ask for your prayers for us as Sarah and I have decided that I remain on the road for the time being, sharing the love of God through Jesus with you.

The Steelers won yesterday. My boy is in a hospital bed. As Mac Powell said, "Some things are more important than football." I'll keep you posted.

Much love.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

MARION ILLINOIS

We have been playing the most ugly venues, just hideous, like this one. The Marion Cultural and Civic Center. See what I did there: sarcasm. This is my second time playing in Marion, Illinois; the first being last year with Glory Revealed. The show was fantastic, the place was packed and the people sang with gusto. Beautiful.

The day was kinda funky though, an example of when you don't have an actual plan for the day, it can just drag on until the show. None of us guys did any exercise since it was kinda gloomy: I blame it on the barometric pressure as opposed to laziness. I was gonna get picked up at the hotel to go back to the venue, so I was sitting by the pool under heavy cloud reading a Clive Cussler novel when the sun came out and everything changed. I called B (Tour Manager and fellow Pittsburgher) and cancelled the runner picking me up, bought a Snickers, read another chapter and stared to doze, then I did. I conked out for 45 minutes, I'm sure my mouth was hanging wide open, the skin on my face tight when I woke up from the sun, but I felt rested and glad to catch up on the lack of sleep that you invariably get when trying to sleep on a moving bus.

After the show, we mingled with the people of Marion, wished Christian and Ashton Happy Birthdays and were privileged to have our friend Isaac pray for us again. Joe Shirk's (BDW Keyboardist/Bus Driver) parents visited and his mom brought two breakfast casseroles. Nothing like b'fast at 11pm. Incredible. Then the Shust boys had movie night in the back lounge until 3:00am. Some movie about New York in the 1940's and Cannolis. We watch it every fall.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

CHICAGOLAND

Big day yesterday in Suburban Chicago. I jumped of the bus first thing and without even checking out the venue I hopped in a car and went to the hotel. My daily plan is to exercise in the morning and either catch up on sleep in the afternoon or write. Yesterday was a writing day. I got a beautiful 45 minute run and then did 4 phone interviews ('phoners' we like to call them) while I walked through Goose Lake Park in Medinah. Then I ran back, ordered an Italian Beef sandwich and a cannoli, thus nullifying my run, showered and began my first online writing session with Carl Cartee. We wrote a killer song based off of verse from Psalm 46 and 47, Nehemiah 1:10 and John 1:5. "Clap Your Hands" I think we're gonna call it. Skipped dinner because my friends the Freemire's were bringing us 2 deep dish pizza's from Lou Malnati's after the show, which is turning into one of my favorite traditions. Obviously. ...and that of my bus-mates.


The show went incredibly well, people were engaged and worshipped, I love it when people get lost in the worship of their Savior and unabashedly demonstrate their love for Him in song. It's beautiful. The biggest news: 28 people partnered with oneVerse.org last night!!! The 96,000 people in East Africa who speak Ndamba are coming closer and closer to hearing the Word of God for the first time ever! Thank you, Chicago!

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Face North and real subtle like, turn left"

Nathaniel's answer to the question "How is it that you are going to Kentucky when there's a War going on?" Last of the Mohicans. Great movie.

We played our 4th show of the Hope Restored Tour last night in Somerset, Kan-tuck-KEY outdoors on a beautiful overcast evening at the end of a beautiful sunny day. The threat of a tropical storm putting a damper on the evening was never realized and the parking lot was full of close to a thousand Kentuckians. Wow. Spellcheck actually recognized the word Kentuckians. The stage was small but the crowd was full of energy and thankfully I love the guys in my band, so I don't mind close quarters.

My manager, Moose, drove up and wore purple in support of his beloved Minnesota Vikings and watched them lose on the bus. I ran in at one point near the end of Big Daddy Weave's set to check the score and was ready to go back on stage and sing the final worship songs with them, and right before I knew Mike was gonna call me back up, I started to leave the bus, but in the darkness of the mood lighting for the big game, I couldn't find the handle to open the door. I heard him call me and lo, I was still on said bus. I made a fashionably late entrance to the stage, while Jeremy continued to vamp on the opening riff of...well, I won't tell you what the song is, you'll have to come to a show.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hope Restored in Sheboygan

The first show of the tour is often the most difficult, but while last night had it's share of challenges, it proved to be the best first show our little band ever had. We fell out of the bus, bleary eyed, and walked into the theatre to see the above view. Breathtaking.

We stayed at Blue Harbor Resort for the afternoon which is right on the water, the weather was perfect, the waves crashed into the jetty with the lighthouse, cooling me on my little run. (Got some new running shoes: about time) I skipped lunch and practiced my 'appeal', as they call it in the business, for oneverse.org. I'm the guy who goes out after an incredible video and tells people how they can be a part of bringing the Word of God to people who have NEVER HEARD it. So I strolled the beach and spoke to the seagulls. That's not me in the picture. I took the picture. That guy's 70.

We're using video that plays along with our songs, and therefore use a metronome in our in-ear monitor mixes (a click) to keep us synced up with the video...beside the fact that the click disappeared for about 5 seconds then came back on (if you were there, that's the moment when all four of us started turning around...to see if we were still in sync with the lyrics) and my guitar didn't get tuned for the last song, everything went without a hitch. God was glorified and His Word was spread, not only in Sheboygan, but also to the Ndamba people of East Africa.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tour Rehearsal Day 1

Pretty excited about this tour. Had a great day of rehearsal, albeit a little bit trying with the video. Technical stuff is way over my head for one reason...it drains me emotionally. So when I spend time trying to troubleshoot why the computer isn't doing what I want it to do...I get frustrated and need a nap. So, I'm very thankful for the people that God has put around me to figure out those things, so I can focus on other things.

The band sounds great as always: Duffy, Josh and Nate. I got to hang out with the boys from Big Daddy Weave and Andy Kirk and kinda get to know the guys we're going to spend the next 3 months of our lives with. Close to 50 shows! OneVerse is sponsoring the tour and they are doing magnificent work around the world providing the Word of God to people who have never heard it! I'll get to talk about them every night and give people an opportunity to be a part.

Oh yeah, and we'll play some big daddy music lifting up our King! So come on out!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Swirly Lines

I was cutting the grass last week at my home in beautiful Western Pennsylvania where I try very hard to keep beautifully parallel lines in the grass, alternating direction so that the grass is pushed North then South, creating the light-dark-light-dark pattern. While it may not look as magnificent as PNC park, I'm proud of my work.

Then I bought my boys a toy lawn mower. I had one when I was a kid and loved helping my Dad cut our grass. I told Daniel about the plan. "Straight lines. Up and back. Follow my lead." Of course, he's all over the place. Having. A. Blast. Helping his Daddy!

And I let him. I look behind me and my perfect plan for my yard has swirly lines all over it. But I let my kids help. I don't need their help, their lawnmower doesn't even have a blade. But I love that they love to help me. It warms my heart in a way that sitting down at the end of the day and marveling at the job I did all by myself Never will.

And it made me think about how God has called us to do His work. To be His hands and feet. Something He could do a lot better by Himself. It made me wonder if He smiles when he sees us try, despite our shortcomings, because He loves us with our shortcomings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Remember When I Used To Blog?

Twitter-0 killed the blogger-o star.

I've been a bit preoccupied with a little thing called "Relocation" Our town home in Atlanta has been on the market for 3 years and although we did not get a buyer, we have a committed renter. So we decided that "It's time to move on. It's time to get going. What lies ahead I have no way of knowing. Under my feet, the grass is growing. It's time to move on. Time to get going." (Tom Petty) After years of thinking we'd move to Hawaii (2002) then Florida (2007) then Nashville (2008) we realized that all of the those scenarios ended with, "Then after a while we'll move to Pennsylvania." (The land of my youth) Deciding to skip more transition, Sarah and I agreed after much prayer, that we would just go straight to Pennsylvania. 18 months later, we were finally able to pack up the house! Very quickly: we had 5 days to move out!

We found a place in PA and Lord willing, we'll close on it soon. In the meanwhile we're staying in Northeastern Georgia with my parents. Which is a ton of fun believe it or not! What a blessing it is to have a healthy family dynamic!

I've been spending the last week and a half going to Toccoa Falls College's practice rooms to work on my songs for a new album. I'm being quite proactive, so there is a lot of time for more songs to come but I'm excited about what I have already. Actually, Josh, Duffy, Scotty and I spent 5 days in a lake house near Clayton, GA to write music (no lyrics yet: intentionally) for the new album, and had a great and productive time!

My apologies to everyone who follows me on twitter, who already knew all of this...but here is new news: a new website is currently in the works and my blog will move to aaronshust.com It will be more of a one stop shop (like a real live website!) instead of a splash page connecting you to all my social networking sites. You'll have shows/tickets/pics/video/blog/etc. I'm rather excited. I'll probably blog more.

Until then. Twitter on!
aaron

Monday, January 4, 2010

What My Twitter/FB Peeps want from CCM

when asked...
-Honesty. i want to hear the "wrong" solution. and a song with no resolution. (rhyme not intended)
-Lyrically? lot's of metaphor. Musically? Whatever God leads you sweet awesome people of Christian music ministry (aw thx)
-About God overcoming our hardships and not letting our circumstances define us.
-Musically...united meets brewster...united type songs, brewster solos. That would be friggin awesome!
-I would like to hear songs that actually make sense in everyday life, use everyday language, and are interesting ro common peeps (...or...)
-I want to hear some creativity in the music instead of the same ol' same ol'. I also want to see more depth in the lyric writing
-Originality, more artists taking risks and not chasing other artist's hits. Deeper lyrics across the board with few exceptions
-I'd like more beatles in your music with a little U2 in the guitars and maybe some myriah in the vocals. go. (lol)
-Lot's of metaphor,different sounds or mixes?is that the word? different sounds,lot's of melodies
-I've noticed that more & more CCM artists are becoming worship-centered in their songs & songwriting....nothing wrong with that!
-I really luvd ur Version of Silent Night. Guess I'd love 2 hear some of the old songz interpreted in a more modern way=) (thx, chucks)
something different and doesn't sound like everything else. I don't know what that sounds like. Ive been listening & listening & still can't figure out what it is I'm looking for.
-Pick up where u left off with Take Over, clean simple melodic not over-produced, solid message. My favorite AS record (so far) (cool thanks)
-I'd like more quiet songs where the singing takes center stage. Like "Carry Me Home." But the songs could be slow or fast.
-A version of with everything by hillsong by and a collaberatio of u and Phil wickham
-less talk, more rock. ( :) )
-I'm tired of seeing Christian versions of secular stuff, I want people to make music they want to make, Not just music that will be popular and get a lot of attention, more messages like the unedited "My Jesus" from Todd Agnew. (good song!)
-Something new and inventive. New chord structures. Something that takes me beyond myself. Chart some new styles.
-"More love oh Christ, to Thee" and unapologetic truth logically thought out (i.e. nix the vague, go deep) there is something different between talking about someone we don't know, anyone can do that- &telling of a Christ you've met
-Love to hear more edgy original stuff. something that sounds different from what's out there and not a copy of a secular trend
-There are some mainstream artists I would love to see collab with CCM artists! some positive artists that would be compatible

And from Facebook...

-i'd like to hear more melodic rock stuff. Less of the 3/4 ballady kind of rock that everyone seems to be doing. With the Lord's blessing, we'll have our album done this year, too. See you on the charts! (tell me if I'm there)
-Electronic nuances with your trademark acoustic pop and worshipful lyrics. I am currently digging Jars of Clay and Paper Route, and Switchfoot's latest. Stay true to your roots.
-Lyrics inspired from the book of Romans, please! :) (awesome)
-I like that idea -- Word of God put to music.
-More scripture set to music. That is what I love so much about the Glory Revealed cds!
-I think it needs more cowbell! (thanks Uhly)
-How about a song about going to Krispy Kreme and doing a flip on a beam (do the bear, Matt)
-If it isn't broke, don't fix it, I say!
-I pretty much like everything anyway, but to answer your request: How about some local bands - The Wrecking (Maine) Lyrically - I'm partial to songs about God's incredible love for us (such as "More" - Matthew West, "My Savior My God") or applying to everyday life/how we can live for Him - anything Leeland, several of Third Day, Todd Agnew, Addison...
-I think that the lyrics should totally be inspired by Scripture. And have them set to music in the likes of Skillet, Kutless, etc. would be awesome.
-Any music you do will be a blessing to us all...I love the booklet that comes in your cd's...getting an Ipod soon first music on it will be all your albums...my fav of yours come to me... (see, when Jesus writes the lyrics, they're really good, eh?)
-I like songs of praise & worship I can sing to God. My taste in music is eclectic, so I like many styles.

Thanks all!