Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter Jam 2010 Phenomenal, Chance to Win Here Give Yourself Away

This is NewSong's Arise My Love, a great worship song. I hope you enjoy it.

Hey gang!

It’s Sunday night, great football is on television and I am typing away. I meant to get to this when I got home from Champaign last night and then again after church this morning, but life happens and it is a whole 24 hours after the event, but I have to say Winter Jam 2010 was awesome! As I am writing tonight, the gang is finishing up a show in Des Moines, Iowa.

I left in the pouring rain here in Effingham and by the time I reached Champaign at a little before 4:30pm, the rain had stopped. I walked around the building to find the line extending way into the deep recesses of the west parking lot. I’m talking about a quarter-mile to the end of the line. A group of people I didn’t know called out to me as if we were friends and asked me if I just wanted to hang out with them since the doors had just opened. I got in the door within two minutes. That was a nice little blessing.

Next, I started walking around to find a seat. I walked to the far side, which was the right of the stage and found a seat in the first row of the bowl section. I might have been 50 feet from the stage. No obstructed view and comfortable seating. As far as my picture taking, the only obstructions would be instruments that were placed near the front of the stage, but those didn’t hurt me too bad.

I had thought the show was starting at six and I was right about that. What I didn’t realize was that there were three performances before the show and they started at 5:15. That meant I got great seating and only waited for about ten minutes.

Eddie from NewSong came out as the master of ceremonies and host for the evening. He introduced the first band named Revive. I had never heard of them before, but they were a high energy group from Australia and did three songs including the title cut from their CD, Chorus of the Saints. You could tell the original Newsboys were an influence of the group. They were good and the CD is worth a listen on Amazon to see if you like them.

Next out was Robert Pierre. In the ten minute wait, the advertising showed a video which made light of Robert catching a leprechaun and him telling us not to always believe what we hear. The guy sounded popish, but dressed more in the style of southern gospel. He was a hit with the girls, but to be honest, I liked the song he sang for the offering later in the show than I did his three song set.

Finally, to close out the pre-show was the Sidewalk Prophets. Honestly, I wanted to see these guys because of loving The Words I Would Say. I was hoping for a longer set for them than three songs. The first song of the set stunned me though. They began with a redo of Michael Jackson’s Man In the Mirror. Let me tell you, this was one of those performances that make me wish I was a rule breaker and recorded concert material. Not only was the song fantastic, lead singer Dave Frey was a dead ringer vocally for the King of Pop. I was like, “WOW!!!!!!!” They closed with The Words I Would Say and it was the first real harmonious song of the night as the crowd sang along and it sounded great.

The pre-show was over, the Winter Jam theme song started and out came Fireflight. The crowd was pumped for their entrance. The highlights of their set came as they introduced the first song, the title cut of the new CD coming out on February 9, For Those Who Wait, and closing with Unbreakable. It was sad to see them do a short set, but OK because they will be back at Agapefest in Greenville on May 1.

Then the hosts of the tour, NewSong, came out and did a great set. I didn’t realize Russ Lee had come back to the group. I’ve long been a fan of these guys right after I got saved when I heard My Heart’s Already There. Most of their performance was off the new project, Give Yourself Away. Speaking of which, we’ll talk more about giveaway at the bottom of the article, so hang around. They closed with Arise and the crowd was beginning to take a worshipful stance. I wanted more and most everyone else did too. There were so many songs they could’ve done, but they were great!

That brought out the Newsboys. I haven’t seen the group perform since Disney’s Night of Joy in either 2000 or 2002, but it was definitely different to not hear the Aussie accent of Peter Furler. Not that I minded that much. I got to see DC Talk’s Michael Tait as their front man. They had a great set that included a fantastic worship section and the highlight of that was being able to see the entire crowd of near 10,000 people worshipping to He Reigns. The view took me back to 1994 at another Newsboys performance at Creation East in Pennsylvania. There isn’t much that can top a crowd of over 50,000 worshipping in a corn field, but watching this crowd worship made me think of being around the throne in heaven and how we’ll be in eternity in praise of God. I couldn’t help but get a little teary eyed with the awe of that song.

The Newsboys ended with DC Talk’s classic hit Jesus Freak. It was pretty cool to see a new breed of teenagers knowing that song like they were actually old enough to remember it. The song was #1 on the charts in 1996, the year that many teens in the middle of the crowd age wise were born.

To conclude the first half of the show, speaker Tony Nolan took the stage and shared about being a ten year old scared into the kingdom. He spoke powerfully and many from the crowd gave their lives to Christ. Then NewSong shared the testimony of the Holt International, a worldwide ministry helping adopt children from other countries. At the end of the show, there were over 270 children helped by donations from the audience.

During the intermission, I checked out all the tables and purchased a Sidewalk Prophets shirt, the Newsboys’ pre-sale of their upcoming project Born Again and NewSong’s Give Yourself Away CD. After getting some much needed nourishment for the diabetic, I almost missed 10th Avenue North’s entire performance. I did, however, catch their last song, the former #1 song, By Your Side.

After they finished, the feature presentation artist, Third Day, hit the stage and performed several rocking songs off of their platinum CD Revelation. They also had a worship set that included the lead singer of Revive and Dawn Michelle of Fireflight. It had been since Rock the Universe in Orlando in 2001 since I had seen them and they were awesome.

For $10, I got to see eight Christian groups and artists perform. The price of admission wasn’t even close to what the show was worth. Mac Powell even said near the end of Third Day’s performance that many people came to the show with real struggles going on and needed to know that there was a Savior that was there for them. People were able to enjoy a fantastic show and forget about the world for a while. He’s right. But I think he also challenged us all to love and care for those that came with those problems and to come back to our homes and home churches and carry a stronger belief in that message.

After the performance, Eddie announced that the show had 35 more dates to do and was in Des Moines tonight. He asked that we pray for the tour. This wasn’t just for the artists and speakers, but also for all the helpers on the tour stops and for the fans that needed to receive and grow in Christ in each city. I think it’s the least we can do. This year, Winter Jam is going to 44 cities total. If 10,000 is the average (which is what showed here in Champaign), that means that the tour is delivering the message of Christ to over 440,000 people in those stops. Your prayers can change lives, so I do ask that you join in praying for the tour.

If you are looking for a great person to hook to in your journey with Christ, I encourage you to look for Tony Nolan on Facebook. You can find him in two ways. The first is by looking up his name on Facebook’s search, but the easier way is to enter the phrase enjoyingjesus. Yes, all one word. Tony will share with you not just things going on with the tour, but he is also sharing devotions to enjoy a new or growing walk with Jesus. I encourage you to give it a look.

After the show, I strolled around to meet and chat with some of the artists. I didn’t have a ton of success, but I did have two great moments. The first was finally getting to chat with Michael Tait briefly. While waiting for a group to come up for autographs, I shared with him how he and his bandmates from DC Talk were a part of my salvation walk when I met them in the Charleston Civic Center on April 1, 1994. I got a moment to thank him for being a part of that. We hand bumped as I had to keep moving and it blessed me that I actually got to share with him.

The second moment was getting to hang out with Sidewalk Prophets. These guys are my 33 Miles equivalent of 2010. I expect you to see great things of these guys. I really do. They were all great and posed for a picture with me and it was a blast to just spend a few minutes with them. I got a photo of Fireflight and of Robert Pierre as they were talking to other fans.

It was a night that reminded me why I think Christian music is so important to peoples’ walks. Music can touch a part of our soul just words miss. Sometimes the music is the key to opening the door so that the musicians and our friends can talk to us. It was the key that my friend Alvin used all those years ago to bring me closer to understanding that I needed Jesus and the salvation that only He can give. They aren’t the entire package. They are role models, but the everyday role models of our friends and family take us the rest of the way. The musicians use their gifts to help them move us closer. I can only pray that many were moved closer in Champaign and on every stop of the tour.

Tomorrow, One Man Revival gets back on the trail of talking about our spiritual gifts. Amazingly, Tony Nolan even jokingly asked for the gift, the gift of intercession. He was doing a promo for me and didn’t even know it.

Finally, I almost forgot the most important part. You can also win here. NewSong gave a second copy of Give Yourself Away to me when I bought the first copy last night, so I want some lucky reader to have it. What do you have to do. Simple. Respond to this thread telling me what you like about Winter Jam, if you get to see it, or the most influential Christian group or artist in your life and why they are. Respond in the comments between now and next Sunday night January 31, 2010, at midnight Central Standard Time. I will randomly select one winner from those responses and get that person the other copy. Remember, to win, you must respond in the comments here at

I love you guys!


ms said...

I was looking to see what winterjam was going to be like since its the first time I'll be going. Glad i read your comments. I have to invite more people to come with me.

Anonymous said...

How do i enter your contest?

Frank Jenkins said...


There is a little over 24 hours left in the contest. You have to read the article and read the end to get the contest details. So far there are no official entries. I'm actually stunned.


Steve said...

I saw Winter Jam in State College last night. My favorite part was Tenth Avenue North as their vocals were amazing and they made a lot of music with just 4 pieces. The sounded simple yet sophisticated. I would also just like to add that I am new to the Christian music scene. I grew up in a home that was more God-fearing and didn't listen to this type of music. Then, I went through a rough time in my life and it seemed like there was no one to lean on. I was "scanning" the stations one day and heard Sidewalk Prophets "The Words I Would Say" and I wished I had heard that song at that point in m life. Since then I started listening to a lot more Christian music (I have so many good songs to catch up on!) When God put that song on that radio station at that time that day, He showed me there was nothing wrong with praising Him this way. Now I can't get enough!


Frank Jenkins said...


Awesome! State College is where Penn State is,isn't it? I remember the days of being a teen and seeing Joe Pa and the Nittany Lions playing West Virginia. I love Christian radio and how it has grown over the last decade. A lot of great stations out there.


Steve said...

Yes, State College is where Penn State is. It was really cool. I have been to a lot of "big name" concerts when I went to school there like Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Maroon 5, but last night was as full as I have ever seen the BJC (including basketball). Like I said I never really followed Christian music before so it was awesome to see how many peoples' lives it has made a difference in. I got there at like 5:000 (when the doors opened) but missed Revive because the lines were so long. I ended up having to settle for a seat in the top tier, but it was AMAZING to look down from up above at all those swaying arms during Newsboys. I liked it a lot.

Frank Jenkins said...


Send me your address to You are the winner of the NewSong Give Yourself Away CD. I'll get that out to you as soon as I receive it.

Thanks for commenting!

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