Sunday, January 24, 2010


We had another great weekend at Journey Church. Our good friend Sara Scott came in from Charlotte for a visit and co-lead with me. It brought back some old memories of some great worship experiences in Charlotte via CharlotteONE, Southbrook Church, Ridge Church, etc.

Broke 2 strings this weekend in 2 separate services. What is going on? Backups are a good idea. Our sound techs gave me a hard time before the weekend about my diva setup of multiple guitars on stage ... but who's laughing now?

Paul Callaghan, our Creative Arts Pastor, brought a great follow-up message to Pastor Jimmy's talk last week on living a life of faith--that faith is a gift of God that is given and then developed. And that living a life of surrender is a daily process--not a one-time thing. It's about waking up every day like a soldier in a battle ready to receive that days marching orders. And then going and doing them. Great message. Love that guy! Incredible heart for the Lord and has a sincere love for people.

We played:
1. No Reason to Hide (Hillsong)
2. All Because of Jesus (Fee)
3. Revelation Song (Gateway Worship)
4. His Glory Appears (Hillsong)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Takeaways from Dead Preachers: Tozer: Awake

One of my goals this year is to listen to and read more sermons from dead preachers. It's just one of those things that the Lord laid on my heart at the end of '09 that I really want to be faithful in. There's so much to learn from some of these dead preachers who really walked with Christ. Today I listened to a sermon by A.W. Tozer called "Awake!" Incredible stuff! Here are some highlights.

Isaiah 52

1 Awake, awake, O Zion,
clothe yourself with strength.
Put on your garments of splendor,
O Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled
will not enter you again.

2 Shake off your dust;
rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
O captive Daughter of Zion.

Two kinds of sleep:
1. Moral Sleep - that is to commit moral habits that are utterly hateful to God and not know it - acts that are dangerous to the soul and yet not know it - self-destructive and harmful to self and others and yet not be aware of it.
  • Tozer illustrates moral sleep by describing a man who fell asleep drunk across some rail road tracks and was pulled to safety by a passerby. The sleeping man had no idea he was in danger.
  • The New England revival is rarely called a revival - it's called an awakening - we need to be awakened.
  • Gone are the days when the evangelist was out to awaken you instead of comfort you.
2. Spiritual Sleep - to have a cold heart with little privy, little fire, and little worship.
  • Most Christians aren't alert to what's going on in the world around them. They might know the current events in the world, but they don't understand the meaning of what's going on.
  • A Christian ought to be basically a good man ... not by his own nature ... but by the regenerating work of God.
  • Tozer quotes Sidney Harris, a secular columnist who had more spiritual insight in this one statement than many believers:"The modern religious revival leaves me cold, for this reason: men are trying to use God in place of offering themselves to God to be used by Him. No man has a right to ask God for peace of mind unless it's founded on righteousness."
  • If God never answered another prayer for me as long as I live, I still want God to believe that I want to serve Him until I die. If He never did another thing for me ... I still want Him to know that I want to serve Him simply because He's God.
  • This modern emphasis that God is a convenience and that Jesus Christ so kindly died for us in order that we might have peace of mind, makes a mockery of the Gospel. The sinner knows it, and the liberals know it. Only us sleepy evangelicals fail to see it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Great day at Journey Church. Week 2 of "Jump" series. Pastor Jimmy Carroll brought the Word strong on faith-- a fresh look at David & Goliath. Some highlights:

  • Faith is about focus.
  • Faith is given and then developed, not conjured up.
  • As we exercise faith, God proves Himself faithful.
1. My Savior Lives (New Life Worship)
2. Your Name High (Hillsong)
3. Ready Now (New Life)
4. You Hold Me Now (Hillsong)

Happy Birthday Tasha Joy Via

On this day 31 years ago, a beautiful little baby girl was born to Larry and Robbie Litke on a snowy day in Toledo, Ohio. Her name was Tasha Joy Litke, and she became my wife 23 years later on a gorgeous spring day in Charleston, SC. This woman has become my closest friend, my biggest fan, (and nicest critic) my partner in ministry and my traveler in this life's journey. She is faithful, loving, caring, selfless, and a passionate pursuer of the heart of God. I love this woman and I'm incredibly grateful to God for the privilege of sharing our lives together. Thank You, Lord. And happy birthday, Tasha Joy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


We had a great weekend at Oasis Church in Greenwood, SC. My friend from North Greenville College days, Curt Hanna, is the pastor there and doing a great job. They planted the church back in September and are slowly gaining momentum. It's always encouraging to walk into a place like that and see the fresh excitement and hunger and thirst for God that brand new churches have--something that many older, more established churches would do well to learn from. There's a since of desperation and raw passion for God to show up and bless their efforts in the preaching and living of the gospel in their community--because they know and realize that if He doesn't steer, guide and direct this thing, it's not going to last. Oasis seems to be one of those new church plants that get it--that understands that important truth--so, I'm excited to see what the Lord does through and with them in the future.

One of the coolest parts of the weekend was the fact that my wife, lowly meek and mild, Tasha Via, actually co-taught in a Q & A format with pastor Curt. Yep. You read that right. If you know my wife, you know that she is a behind-the-scenes kind of woman. But she took on this task of teaching brilliantly. She knocked it out of the park. The topic was biblical submission of wives to their husbands--a topic that Curt wisely wanted to handle carefully and tactfully, so he had Tasha do the majority of the teaching. Tasha studied like crazy over the past week and handled this tough and sensitive issue with grace and ease. She was poised and confident. And I am such a proud husband.

Thanks again Curt, for having us down to minister to and be ministered by your people.

We played:
1. Marvelous Light
2. Glory to God Forever (Fee)
3. Grace Greater Than Our Sin
4. Mighty to Save

Thursday, January 07, 2010

New Project Updates

Today we're finishing up the final overdubs for the last 5 trax of the new record. Everything's going really well and I'm pumped about how they're turning out. This album will combine the 6 tunes from ATG and make it a full-length. Pretty excited about it. Although I thought it would be completely different from The Healing in terms of its singability, it's actually turning out to be more corporate in nature than I had originally thought. So, that in itself is pretty exciting. I've got a great group of guys working on this with me. Scott Spruill, Andy Cherry, Tim Morrison, Stuart Clark, and of course, Jake Hunter, our fearless engineer.

Tasha will be here later this afternoon to finish her parts. Our good friends, the Newmans, from Southbrook Church, are watching our kiddos this afternoon so that Tasha can be here both in body and in mind :) Thanks guys!

Tomorrow we head down to South Carolina where we'll spend the weekend with some old friends from college, the Hanna's. Curt and Morgan planted Oasis Church about a year or so ago and we have the privilege of leading worship for them. On top of that, Tasha will actually be playing a big role in the service itself as she speaks about biblical womanhood and submission. It'll be kind of a Q & A format with Pastor Curt. So, pray for her as she prepares. It's gonna be awesome.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Loved being with my friend, Jason Lang, at South End Baptist Church in Frederick, MD yesterday for the first Sunday of the new year. Jason is the Associate Pastor of Family Ministries and he and I grew up together in the same church in Roanoke, VA where my Dad pastored for 15 years. It was awesome to reconnect with him. At one point in his sermon yesterday he quoted J.I. Packer from his book Knowing God. It one for the journal, to be sure. His text was 1 Corinthians 10:31 and he made the point that, by our very nature, we (people/humanity) like to receive glory. But we do a horrible job at bringing glory to God. Packer says,

"We are a modern people. And though we have, as a rule, great thoughts about ourselves, we have small thoughts about God."

On the way home from church we passed this hotel sign and I stared looking puzzled, trying to make sense of it. Zoom in and see if you can make some sense of it. Are the church and the love chapel one in the same? Hmmm....what kinda church is this???!!

We kicked an old-school set, but had a blast doing it:
1. Holy is the Lord (Tomlin)
2. The Solid Rock (Hall version)
3. When I Survey (Passion
4. Mighty to Save

we also did a few of our own:
5. Altar Call (Keith Green)
6. God Be Praised (Via's)
7. Grace Greater Than Our Sin (Via's version)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A Look Back - Part 4

The top 5 events/happenings/highlights of 2009 for the Via Family

#5 – God Be Praised live worship CD – As if the move itself were not enough, that very same week Tasha and I were privileged to be a part of the first live worship recording of Journey Church’s 4-year history on October 30. It was definitely a night to remember and the Spirit of the Lord descended upon us in a very special way. But the week leading up to the recording was about as chaotic and eventful as a McCallister family Christmas (refer to Home Alone 1 and 2). Since I was given the role of a co-producer of the project, every night of the week was occupied with rehearsals, meetings and final arrangement and writing sessions. During the day we would unpack boxes and transform the Hambrick’s basement into a temporary dwelling—a family purgatory, if you will. And every night, we’d make the 45-minute trek to Journey, wondering what to do with our youngins. The kids more resembled pin-balls than human beings as we bounced them around from family member to friend, from playgrounds to playrooms, from McDonald’s to Chick-fil-a. Micaiah became a big fan of being a stage-prop. Lying him on the stage to feel the rumble of the bass in his tiny frame was just as soothing to him as any vibrating baby seat out there. Oh, how blest ‘tis the innovative mind of a young mother! I love that woman! All in all, God Be Praised turned out better than any of us could have ever imagined. And for a 4-year old church using their own volunteer musicians, it’s pretty amazing. Thank you, Lord. May You continue to be honored through this project and more to come.

To say that 2009 was a year of transition and changes for the Via Family would be the understatement of the year. And yet the Lord continues to prove Himself faithful and steadfast on our behalf. Our prayer for ourselves and for you in 2010 is that it will be a year where we experience the overwhelming love, grace and faithfulness of Christ. That it will be a year where we embrace the twists and turns of life, which never exist outside of the sovereign hand of God. And that it will be a year marked by increased growth in our spiritual and personal lives, for the sake of His Kingdom, His fame and His renown. God bless you and happy new year.


Friday, January 01, 2010

A Look Back - Part 3

4. The Move – Moving is always a pretty big transition, no matter what stage of life you’re in. For us, having three children increased our load exponentially since our last move. (Seriously, how do you pack space-hogging junk like exersaucers and Little Tykes yard ornaments without going completely insane? The devilish inventors of such toys probably chuckle to themselves on a regular basis imagining the poor saps like me losing their religion while trying to cram them in the remaining nooks and crannies of the rental van.) In addition to the added junk (in spite of our countless trips to the Goodwill drop-off), we actually had to move twice. When our house sold in Charlotte, we still had not found one in Raleigh. So, we put everything in storage and moved in with some wonderful longtime friends, the Hambricks, in north Durham. Their finished basement became our humble abode for the next month while we continued house hunting. They were incredibly gracious to us and we were grateful to God for their hospitality. After four weeks, we finally landed on a great little house in north Raleigh in the quiet little Mayberry-type town of Rolesville—the kind of town where you know everyone on a first-name basis and the yocals in their pickup trucks insist on honking obnoxiously with every pass of your house. And heaven forbid you’re trying to check your mailbox on their way by, for the honking will surely not cease until you wave back. And I’m not talking about a friendly little courtesy wave. It’s gotta be the whole-body wave to shut them up. The kind that gives you an ice-cream headache afterwards. Anyway, we love where we live. It’s quaint and perfect for us. And my new argyle sweater I got for Christmas fits perfectly with the feel of the town. Thanks Santa.

So, why did we move? Well, I can think of several reasons.

A. Primarily so that I could take a position at Journey Church as an artist-in-residence. Journey has been a God-send for us and the partnership that we began with them almost two years ago blossomed into a very organic and natural relationship. Journey is one of the most kingdom-minded churches that I’ve ever known or been a part of. What they care about most is making the name of Jesus famous in our city, not the name of Journey or any of the peripheral issues that are so easy to get caught up in. That, among many other things, is what led us to Journey. They allow me to be gone two weekends out of the month (how many churches do that?!!) to continue pursuing this ministry of worship that God has given to Tasha and me for this season of our lives—to continue helping other churches develop their own worship ministries—to continue leading worship for student events and conferences—to continue writing and creating—to continue being the father and husband that I am called to be.

B. Family Support – There’s nothing in the world like having family close by. My three brothers and their wives and kids are all here in the RDU area. That's something we greatly missed in Charlotte. And now our kids get to grow up with their cousins, I get to work side-by-side my brother, Smooth, the student pastor at Journey, and we get free date-nights. Sweet heavenly savings!!

C. College sports are pandemic in the Triangle! Thank you, Jesus.

A Look Back - Part 2

The top 5 events or happenings of 2009

#3. Selling a House – They say that selling a house is one of the most stressful events of one’s life. Whoever “they” is, is right! If you’ve never sold a house, I envy you and will pray daily for your soul that you never have to go through this experience. In fact, I think I’d rather have my bottom lip gnawed off by a pack of rabid muskrats then to have to go through that agony again. Granted, it wasn’t the worst experience of a lifetime, but it definitely ranks right up there on the top of the list somewhere. Don’t get me wrong. Our realtor was great about showing the house and getting the word out. And considering the current national housing crisis, the very fact that it sold in under 45 days was a huge blessing in itself. But I don’t think that Tasha and I were prepared for just how emotionally taxing it would be. From the initial preparation of getting the house painted and the roof replaced (not to mention the countless chiropractor visits and co-pays after my falling off our roof experience), to the ongoing negotiations and mind-games with our first bidders that rivaled any game of World Series Poker, the whole experience was about as mentally exhausting as Paris Hilton on Jeopardy. But, by the grace of God, the house sold and we moved on to Raleigh where some great things awaited us, not the least of which was the fact that I would be serving on staff with my brother at a really great church called Journey.