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04/26/14 - East Palatka, FL
04/27/14 - Hilliard, FL
04/27/14 - Orange Park, FL
05/04/14 - Murfreesboro, TN
05/18/14 - Auburn, NH
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The Cross in Japan
Posted By Phil Stacey March 09, 2014

List25.com has a page that features the top 25 most gruesome execution practices contrived by man, including schaphism, sawing, flaying and others. To be repectful I'll concede the details, but I certainly invite you to research the horrors associated with each of these methods. Needless to say, each of them are horrific in their own right. Guys like me find it difficult to look away from such accounts. I read each method word for word. They make me cringe and (unfortunately) chuckle at the same time.

Seeing how terrible each of these methods were, I was suprised to find crucifixion at Number 2. The further down the list I went, I began thinking that maybe it hadn't made the list at all. Being nailed to wood didn't really seem that bad in light of some of these others. But as crucifixion was explained in further detail, I understood why it ranked so high.


It seems that it was common for criminals to be nearly beaten to death before they were crucified. They were then forced to carry their 300 pound cross to their execution site. After being nailed (naked) to the cross, many would take days, even weeks, to die. Sometimes the executioners had to crush the bones in their legs so the weight of their bodies would buckle, causing suffocation. Others would die within hours due to the severe beating they received before hand.


This is the death that Christ endured. For those who may not be ready to take the Gospels' word for it, there were at least two (possibly three) non-Christian historians from that time period to write about Christ. Those historians confirmed that there was in fact a Nazarene named Jesus, called the Christ. He was well known as a miracle worker. He was killed by crucifixion and his followers began making claims immediately that he was divine and had risen from the dead. These are undisputed, non religious sources. Again, I invite you to research this for yourself.


What was not included in any of these accounts? This: Any indication at all that Rome considered him a threat. So why the crucifixion? Why the Roman punishment? Why kill him at all?


As we drove down the streets of Okinawa yesterday, I saw a few crosses along the bustling streets, indicating, of course, the presence of a Christian church. The cross has come so far it seems. An image that I'm sure once possessed crippling fear upon the very mention of it now stands as a beacon of hope in a nation that is somewhere around 1% Christian. People wear it in their ears, on their necklaces, inked on their skin. I wonder how many actually understand the profound transformation that image has undergone because of Christ. It may as well be another miracle accredited to him.


Japan is actually home to one of the largest mass crucifixions in history. It happened around the 17th century, when the western world was making such waves in the east that places like Japan were losing their identity and culture. So many of the missionaries associated with the rapidly spreading faith were put to death in the same manner Christ suffered. All these years later, it is still somewhat oppressed. But many Japanese have become strong believers in Christ. They are establishing new churches all around the country.


I for one am happy that in most of these instances, Christianity has not taken away from the culture of Japan at all. It possesses the same beautiful architecture, landscape, cuisine, and art as before. But within this relatively young movement, Christ is now featured amongst it, as if he belonged there all along. Not only does he not deplete beauty, he adds to it indefinitely. The cross being featured during our drive is not like seeing the piercing neon "Fireworks" signs that pollute the otherwise breathtaking views as you drive through the hills of Tennessee. It is beautiful. It is hopeful. It is gracious.


It fits.


 

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Abstinence what!?
Posted By Phil Stacey January 26, 2014

I've spent the last two weeks in Chicago area schools and churches speaking with teens about why they should consider sexual abstinence as a priority for their lives.  Because of the risk involved with so many watchdog organizations, I'm actually pretty stunned that public schools would allow a Christian Entertainer like me to address the subject to their students, and I've been careful to respect and try to reinforce the good relationships these schools have with the organization that recommended me.  So I've been speaking from a universal perspective as opposed to being preachy and burning bridges between local religious organizations and the schools that work with them.

I've had several people let me know what a waste of time this is. Some have sent comments like, "I can imagine how well that's going over!" Or, "You won't have much of an impact there."  I've had a few sympathize with me about how awkward it must be to talk about sex with teenagers.


Actually, I'm not uncomfortable with it at all.


47% of high school students are having sex. And why wouldn't they? Our culture is highly encouraging of promiscuity, and it has been for several generations now.  We see sex in movies, we hear about it in music, we see it on commercials and in the photos plastered in the hallways of malls around America.  It's literally all around us. But I've got to tell you - in case you didn't already know - sex is a pretty amazing thing.  In fact, it's one of life's greatest joys.


So why am I making the effort to encourage students not to have sex?  Why do I care? Well actually there's several reasons.  Here's a few:


Teenage sexuality is too often related to teenage suicide. From girls who have sent nude pics to their boyfriends that ended up on the web, to gay students who have come out only to be rejected and bullied by their peers, to boys who have been accused of rape and are looking at hard prison time and a lifetime stamp as a predator, suicide too often accompanies teenage sexuality. 


Also, the risks of sexual behavior amongst teens simply outweigh the rewards. Even though most teenagers are using protection now when engaging in intercourse, studies still show that 25% of teenage girls have an STD. ONE HALF of all sexually active young people WILL get an STD before they are 25. 1 in 6 people have herpes. 50% of sexually active people have HPV! 3.7 MILLION people have Trich (a parasitic STI).  There are 700 THOUSAND new cases of Ghonorrhea in the US each year, and about 1.2 MILLION Americans are infected with HIV. Not everyone will get an STD, but for those that do, it's a game changer.


Next, pregnancy. A study by Planned Parenthood shows that 4 out of 10 girls in America will be pregnant at least once before they are 20. 26% of these pregnancies end in abortion. 15% end in miscarriage. And for the others, there is adoption or teenage motherhood, which is the leading cause for teenage girls dropping out of school. Less than 2% of these girls will go on to earn their college degree before they are 30.  Teen pregnancy doesn't have to be a game changer, but statistics tell us that most of the time, it is.


And then there's abortion. Of the 1.2 Million abortions performed in the US each year, 20% are performed on teenagers. While abortions in themselves are physically safe for the mother, many women are left dealing with the emotional wounds for years to come. Whether you are pro life or pro choice, it must be considered that nearly half of our country considers abortion murder. I personally hold this view and grieve over the nearly 57 million abortions that have occurred since Roe v Wade. This number is astounding to liberals and conservatives alike. We lose nearly as many Americans each year through abortion as we have lost in every single one of our military campaigns combined since our founding as a nation. Something to consider, and as Christians, to pray about. It's important to note that the number of pro-lifers goes down each year. But it's also important to note that it would be hard to maintain a pro-abortion view after reading testimonials from the many former abortion clinic owners, doctors and nurses that have changed their views to pro-life that are easily available by doing a web search. 


Promiscuity also limits individuals abilities to develop strong committed relationships. As Bruno Mars states in his hit song Young Girls, "love don't exist when you live like this, this much I know."


"So", you may ask, "how then should our young people fulfill their sexual needs?" Well, if you share my convictions, you know that God has designed us to share our lives with one individual. For those who do not, it's tough because there are no clearly defined lines and there's always room for grey area.


I discourage pornography.


I discourage pre-marital sex of any kind.


But people have got to live their own lives and the decision is ultimately theirs to make.


Here's the good news. Although its alarming that 47% of high school students are having sex, that's down double digits from when I was a teenager. More and more people are being careful about the decisions they make. These students are smart and they know that the decisions they make today will ultimately impact the men and women they will become. And I for one want to commend that. I want to encourage that wisdom. I'm not out here to sprinkle fairy dust on people, sing Kum-ba-ya together and start a cult of people who don't ever get to have sex. I'm in the life altering business. A decision for abstinence can literally change the course of someone's life. 


And while I actually anticipated snarky looks and boredom from the students, I have experienced none of that.  The response has been amazing. We've had people staying after assemblys to speak with us one on one, we've had teachers and students quoting some of the things we've said on their own Facebook walls, and you can look on Twitter and see for yourselves the number of students that have publicly told me how our assemblies have changed the way they saw things. We are making an impact.


We have a generation of young people that are incredibly intelligent. They have unlimited potential! We need to encourage good decisions in this area.  How many would be politicians or athletes or businesswomen have not realized their potential because of promiscuity? Too many to count.


If you have children, my advice is be open with them about sex.  Let them know that you care about the decisions they make in this area and tell them what your own experiences have done to form your opinion on the matter. If you are a Christian, show them what the bible has to say about sexuality.  A great place to start is I Corinthians 7.


I have 2 pieces of advice for my daughters. I know it's probably not the best advice, but its what I've got. And it does work best with girls.

Number One

When you are tempted to make a stupid decision that could be life altering, let one of your friends make it first and see how well it works out for them.

Number Two

When facing life decisions, don't make decisions based on who you are.  You have weak days.  You have sad days.  You have stupid days.  So never make decisions based on who you are.  Make them based on who you WANT to be.

Choosing to wait for someone who will commit the rest of their life to you is a wise decision.  Is it possible? Yes.  1 in 30 Americans wait until marriage to have sex.  In highly religious groups, that number goes up to 1 in 5.  That's pretty amazing considering that the average guy doesn't get married until he's 29.  It is possible and it's becoming more likely as people become more informed.

The fact is, God has given us this great gift of sex.  It's proper function can be amazing.  It doesn't lead to guilt, heartbreak, loneliness, or feeling taken advantage of.  It does leave you feeling loved, wanted, desired, and satisfied.  There's crazy room for exploration, experimentation, and mastering the art of being lovers. It's not the slightest bit dirty.  It's beautiful.


I've put a lot of numbers and statistics in this blog, but I want to encourage you NOT to take my word for it.  Research the subject yourself!  You'll be fascinated by what you find.


 

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Happy New Year!
Posted By Phil Stacey January 07, 2014

Happy 2014!

First of all, thanks to everyone who came out to concerts, services, festivals, games and everything else we've done this past year!  I'm excited to say that 2013 was my busiest year to date!  We did more than 280 concerts in 10 different countries.  We've played Stadiums, Arenas, Theatres, Churches, and Schools all around the world!  We've had television and radio appearances and we've made new friends everywhere.  And so far, it's gearing up to be another great year.


We're releasing our first single in 5 years to radio in the next couple of months.  The song was released last year and is called I Will Go With You, so be listening for it on your local Christian Radio Station.  


We've already booked nearly 70 engagements for the year, including a tour back to Japan, Indonesia, another trip to Europe, and a two week tour around the Chicago Metro area this month to promote abstinence to young people all around the community.  We'll be joining my friend Shennette Howard from the Roar of the Jaguars and PASS Network for Life for this run of dates and I'm extremely excited about it!  We're also in talks about a trip to Guatamala for this summer and another trip to Austria later this year, so we'll keep you posted on that.


We've spent several weeks in the studio and have recorded some great material.  We're also still writing great music and should be realeasing something before too long.


I'm excited to welcome Trevor Hager to our ministry team.  Trevor has been with me most dates this past few months.  He's a gifted new artist and I'm excited that he'll also be releasing an album soon.  If you've not been able to hear him in one of our concerts, I'll let you know when his stuff hits itunes, so you can check it out.


 


Until then, thanks so much for your continued support and prayer.  Our goal above all else is to show love to people all over the world through music and represent Christ in each community we visit to the best of our ability.  We look forward to seeing you all down the road!


 


God bless you and have a wonderful new year.


 

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