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New Podcast for Brilliantly Brave Parenting 

I recently participated in an interview with my friends Brad Mathias and Robert Beeson from Brilliantly Brave Parenting. We talked about many of the issues we face as parents in today's culture. It was a lot of fun. You can check out the full interview HERE. Make sure you like, share and follow this great organization!

I am Kwame! 

My wife and I just returned from a phenomenal trip to Ghana, Africa. It’s just so wonderful to see the amazing things that God is doing around the world!. I had the opportunity to visit several radio stations, churches, and various villages where our organization, Reach Beyond, is building water wells, bringing medical assistance, and sharing the word of God. 

During our stay, I met one man in particular who inspired me in so many ways. His name is Kwame. 

Kwame was the son of a fetish priest. Most Americans would just refer to him as a witch doctor. Many years ago, a missionary couple, Mark and Peggy Jones from Minnesota, moved to his village to learn their language and translate the Bible for them. Most of the schools in the area were missionary sponsored, but because most of the families could not afford to send their kids to school, the Christian population was very low. 

Though Kwame was quite the handful, Mark took to him and offered to pay for his education. His father allowed it, and before long, Kwame understood the message of the Gospel and asked Jesus into his heart. His whole life changed. His motivation to help translate the Bible soared. Even his witch doctor father supported him by not giving him meat sacrificed to idols - he would actually find meat outside of their village to prepare special - just for his son.  

By the time Kwame finished University, the missionary had passed away and his wife had moved back to the states. Not wanting his mission to die with him, Kwame took it upon himself to complete the translation of the New Testament in his own native language. But he didn’t stop there. 

Realizing that most people in those villages where he lived were illiterate, he realized that they needed a way to actually hear the word of God - so he built a radio station that broadcasts for miles and miles - preaching and teaching the word of God, and occasionally covering sports as well. As Kwame says, if you want to be a fisher of men, you need a net. 

And then, seeing the desperate need for clean water around those communities, Kwame built a water bottling facility, where he not only meets the need for clean water, but also pours into the local economy by providing jobs for many workers. He also produces bags of water that can be purchased for pennies and sold on the streets by others within their community, providing a livelihood for many people who would otherwise be out of work. 

And as of today, nearly 70% of the population around where he grew up confesses Jesus as Lord of their lives. 

Kwame says the radio and water bottling is just his hobby. His real mission is to continue translating the word of God for other village areas around Africa. He has already translated the New Testament in NINE other languages and is currently working on the Old Testament in his own. 

Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us of the parable of the seeds (Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15 respectively.) The thing that touched me the most is that Kwame made a choice to be good soil. When Mark Jones came to town, he could have done what others did and ignore him, avoid him, or just stay at an arm’s length. But instead, the seed that Mark sowed into Kwames life has now produced incredible fruit. I know Mark is celebrating his many accomplishments with that great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1). I don’t know about you, but that inspires me. And I am more determined than ever to be good soil!

Here is Kwame

"Heart of America" Limited Edition Painting 

Greetings friends!

I recently completed this beautiful flag painting and I want to offer it as a limited edition series painting.

I sat down to paint with the idea of having an item in my office that would remind me every single day to pray for our nation, our leaders, and that God's hand would guide us as a country. I hope it speaks to you as it does to me. I hope that every time you see it, you'll remember the treasure we have as a people, and that together our future is bright indeed. 

Your painting will come autographed and numbered. There are only 300 available, so secure yours today by clicking here.

'Reach Beyond' -- Powerful Song Encouraging Christians to Share Faith -- Moves Toward Top of Charts 

Song climbs to No. 11 with no promotion; funds mission work around the world

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 22, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- A song written by a missionary with no ties to the music industry hit the Billboard Christian Soft Adult Contemporary music charts, rising as high as #11 without industry promotion - all because it offers hope to a broken heart through personal worship and healing to the world. 

Photo: American Idol finalist and Christian recording artist Phil Stacey.

The song "Reach Beyond" was written in Asia by missionary Ty Stakes who works for the  missions ministry of the same name (www.reachbeyond.org). The song is a worship anthem to the One who reached beyond the glory of heaven to redeem a broken world.  It also challenges listeners to move beyond their comfort zones and tell others about Jesus. 

Arranged by Dove Award winner Chris August and performed by American Idol finalist and Christian recording artist Phil Stacey, it has been on the Billboard Christian music charts for 10 weeks, rising as high as No. 11.

"The song is a call to bring people to a deeper level of passion for the Lord, and the resulting passion we should have to reach others," said Wayne Pederson president and CEO of Reach Beyond, a ministry that helps uses media and healthcare to reach the unreached with the love of Christ. 

"The song's lyrics talks about what God is doing in our lives," said Stakes. "He has done so much for us - far more than we can imagine - and all we need to do is simply respond to that and share it with other people."

Ty and his wife Paula, live and minister in Asia and are actively involved in running the work of Reach Beyond in the region through Christian radio station planting, starting community healthcare initiatives and developing partnerships with local believers.

"Jesus told us to reach the lost.  It was a commission, not a suggestion," said Phil Stacey. "I hope the personal and potent message of this song inspires people to tell others about Jesus -- whether it's in their immediate communities or in a country thousands of miles from home."

All proceeds from the song, "Reach Beyond" will go toward Reach Beyond's ministries to help take the gospel to people who have never heard the name of Jesus. This includes radio and media programs worldwide that communicate the gospel, and community healthcare clinics around the world. 

"Reach Beyond" can be downloaded on iTunes:itunes.apple.com/us/album/reach-beyond-single/id944122831. The latest Christian radio ratings are available here: charts.bdsradio.com/bdsradiocharts/charts.aspx?formatid=23 

For 83 years the passion of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) (www.reachbeyond.org) has been to make disciples of Christ. Using mass media, healthcare and education and working with partners around the world, Reach Beyond has ministries in more than 100 countries. The gospel is aired in more than 120 languages and dialects. Thousands of healthcare patients are meeting Jesus. Local believers are being trained as missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers.

Phil Stacey croons some tunes at Hohenfels 

HOHENFELS, Germany -- Hohenfels' Club Beyond welcomed former American Idol finalist and Navy veteran Phil Stacey for a free community concert as part of October's National Anti-Bullying Month, recently.

Stacey's song "Be good to each other" was picked to be part of the National Bullying Awareness Campaign.

"I feel my job as a singer is part of my job as a human being. I'm supposed to be touching other people's lives, doing the best I can to be a positive force in the world," Stacey said.

As a Navy veteran, Stacey said he has a passion for the military community, and was thrilled to be asked to tour across Europe by Club Beyond and interact with military children.

"They're the leaders of tomorrow," he said. "I want to inspire these guys because they'll go home and they'll be leaders. And when they say 'Guys, that isn't right to treat people with disrespect,' people are going to listen to them."

Known primarily as a contemporary Christian performer, Stacey said the issue of bullying crosses all denominational boundaries.

"No matter what your religious affiliation, or even if you have none, bully awareness is something we need to talk about," he said. "The problem today is there are more fierce consequences (to bullying.) Lots of suicides, drug addiction -- because they get home from school and they see it online."

Stacey said he enjoyed hanging out before the show and getting to meet many of the Club Beyond youth members.

"These kids here are special," he said. "I'm going around talking bully awareness -- these kids are amazing to each other. They treat each other with such incredible dignity and respect. This is more like a 'congratulations you guys are awesome' show."

Stacey has toured with the likes of Taylor Swift and Trace Adkins, but his down-to-earth demeanor earned him many fans at Hohenfels.

"I got to hang out with them a few hours before they actually did their performance, and they're so laid back, so funny, so sarcastic and just a great group of guys," said 16-year-old Mikaela Strange.

The son of a preacher, Stacey grew up in a musical family and has been singing his whole life. 

"Music was a way of coming out of my shell," he said. 

Stacey sang lead vocals in the Navy Band Southeast, but his musical career really took off when he missed a friend's wedding while deployed.

"He said the only way he'd forgive me is if I auditioned for America Idol," Stacey said.

One of 103,000 other hopeful contestants, Stacey waited in line for 13 hours for his chance to perform. While there, his wife gave birth, and Stacey said that made all the difference.

"It's not about how well you sing, you need a great story," he said. "There were weeks when I was terrible, and people would vote me through. I guess they were like, 'Yeah, he just had a baby, he needs a job.'"

It was more than a story, though, that carried Stacey through to the top five of the competition, and he has the record deals to prove it. 

His first album, the self-titled "Phil Stacey" peaked at number 8 on U.S. Billboard's Top Country Albums. His latest album, "Into the Light," reached the 27th spot on U.S. Billboard's Top Christian Albums.

"I'm very fortunate," he said. "I love my life."

For Stacey, though, it's not about the glitz and glamour.

"I just did a stadium show just last week," he said. "But I could get paid $25,000 for a show and it wouldn't be as rewarding as being with these kids."

Stacey said he also wanted to help draw attention to Club Beyond, the chapel based, community focused program sponsored by military chaplains as part of the overall Command Religious Program.

"It's a wonderful organization. Sometimes we all need people to lean on, we need people around us who care about us, and they're here. They're available for the people in the community and I want to encourage families to take advantage of their presence," Stacey said.

"Students have come in and told us it's like family here, that they can be themselves and it's a different atmosphere than they find anywhere else," said Michelle Hollenbach, Hohenfels' Club Beyond community director. "To know we can create that kind of community for them is really rewarding."

The show was a huge success with Stacey and fellow performer Trevor Hager interacting with the crowd, answering questions and encouraging the audience to sing along.

"If you don't know the lyrics just make up random syllables. I did that for a whole season on American Idol and nobody caught me," joked Stacey to the crowd.

Through the songs, stories and the discussions, Stacey's message and genuine caring shone through.

"I really loved his stories, and just coming out of this, I feel like I'm a whole new person," said Strange.

Reach Beyond, American Idol Finalist Phil Stacey Release Powerful Song Encouraging Christians to Share Faith in Jesus 

Proceeds on iTunes Go toward Funding Mission Work and Community Development around the World 

Contact: Ty Mays

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Jan. 28, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- American Idol finalist and Christian recording artist Phil Stacey recently teamed up with Reach Beyond (www.reachbeyond.org) to record a powerful and compelling song -- "Reach Beyond" (www.reachbeyond.org/media/single) -- that serves as an anthem to remind Christians that Jesus reached beyond the glory of heaven to save broken humanity.  The song also encourages believers in their efforts to tell others about Jesus. 

All royalty and sales proceeds from "Reach Beyond" will go toward the ministries of Reach Beyond, whose primary purpose is to reach the unreached with the love and message of the gospel. Ministries of Reach Beyond that will receive funding include radio and media programs worldwide that communicate the gospel, water wells in Ghana, community health clinics in Ecuador and Ebola prevention programs in Africa. 

The song is currently available on iTunes (itunes.apple.com/us/album/reach-beyond-single/id944122831) and other digital music services, including Spotify, Amazon, Google and several more.

Stacey was a top five finalist on American Idol in season six and has recorded three top 40 Christian and country music hits. "Reach Beyond" was written by Ty Stakes, executive director of the Asia Pacific Region for Reach Beyond, and composed, arranged and produced by Dove Award winner Chris August (www.chrisaugustmusic.com). The song's message encourages Christians to recognize the price Jesus paid and the responsibility believers have to model Jesus and "reach beyond" to others.  

"I was thrilled when Reach Beyond approached me about recording this song," said Stacey. "My heart has always been in tune with global missions, and I hope the personal and potent message of this song inspires people to tell others about Jesus -- whether it's in their immediate communities or in a country thousands of miles from home."

The lyrics challenge listeners to move beyond their comfort zones, remembering what Jesus has done in their own lives to bring them to Him:

No turning back now, I offer my life. 
Help me follow Your example and be a living sacrifice. 
Use my voice, Lord, oh, use my hands, speak the truth, 
Touch the hurting, let the broken understand... 
That because of Your love, You would reach out to me. 
No one You've created is beyond Your reach!

    "I've been privileged to devote my life's work to reaching the lost with the gospel," said Stakes. "The lyrics to 'Reach Beyond' are a personal reflection of what I've experienced and the importance of never giving up in our efforts to reach the lost. My prayer is that the words will remind people that our work is not done once we become Christians. In fact, it's only beginning." 

    One listener on iTunes, who gave the song five stars -- the highest rating -- said, "Loved it! An anointed song of mercy and love!" 

    To download "Reach Beyond" on iTunes, visit itunes.apple.com/us/album/reach-beyond-single/id944122831.

    Additional information about Reach Beyond and its efforts to plant radio stations around the world is available at www.reachbeyond.org.  
    For 83 years the passion of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) (www.reachbeyond.org) has been to make disciples of Christ. Using mass media, healthcare and education and working with partners around the world, Reach Beyond has ministries in more than 100 countries. The gospel is aired in more than 120 languages and dialects. Thousands of healthcare patients are meeting Jesus. Local believers are being trained as missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers.

    To schedule an interview with a key leader from Reach Beyond, contact Ty Mays @ 770-256-8710 or tmays@inchristcommunications.com

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