Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pray for NY... Get a free music download... Explained

"Pray for NY... Get a free music download"... What does this mean???

Here's my best explanation as briefly summarized as possible.

In 2012, after a seven year study by the American Bible Association, it was determined that the area of Albany-Troy-Schenectady was the 2nd least Bible minded city/area in the US. Furthermore, New York state accounts for one third of the top fifteen cities/areas in the US that are least Bible minded with Albany, Plattsburgh, Buffalo, NYC, and Syracuse in the top 15.  You can see the link here TOP 50 Least Bible Minded Areas 

Having lived in New York state my whole life up until now with two thirds of that time living in Albany area - I feel a connection to the capital region and to the state as a whole.

Between personal experiences and direct ministry involvement in my community - there are a lot of people going through life without a sense of hope.  Proverbs 13:12 says "Hope deferred makes the heart sick."

In 2005, I gave my life to Jesus.  Since that time, I am fully committed to the belief that Jesus Christ is the only lasting Hope that exists for the world.

Since, I am committed to this belief, then I believe the only answer for those going through life without a sense of hope would be for them to meet the One who I believe would be their only real Hope - Jesus.

I am further committed to a belief that the dire spiritual case in the state of New York cannot be improved by efforts, approaches, or plans birthed, resourced, and executed from a place of human intellectualism - even when it is birthed within the walls of our church buildings, denominational headquarters, or even from the pulpit.  The spiritual case can only be improved when the effort, approach, and plans are Heaven born, with God alone as the resource, and executed with and under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.

C.H. Spurgeon is quoted as saying, "Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the Kingdom.  If you may have everything by asking in His Name, and nothing without asking, I beg you to see how absolutely vital prayer is."

God does not expect us to come up with a solution to reach others by our own clever inventions.

God does expect us as His people to ask for the solution; and then by faith to patiently receive from Him the wisdom, the strength, and the ability to put into practice that which He, by His unlimited knowledge and foresight, sets into motion by His sovereignty and design leading to the outcome and effect for which we pray for.  Which in this case is knowledge and acceptance of the Hope of Jesus Christ to sweep across the state of New York influencing a "change of heart" leading to life.

So, in an effort to stimulate prayer to God for the state of New York, I am making a song that was written by my wife and I as a prayer, with New York in mind, available as a free music download.  In exchange for the download, I am asking you - one time only - to pray this prayer for the state of New York.

"God.  Great and worthy are You.  The state of New York is losing hope.  And we need You.  We need Jesus.  So we humbly ask You to forgive us of our sins, and help us.  Help us to forgive others.  Help us to live for You daily, and to have the strength to say no to doing wrong.  And we ask this with Your Kingdom, and Your honor in mind.  In Jesus' Name, we pray." 

If you prayed this prayer - Thank you for partnering with me and asking God to help change the spiritual landscape of the state of New York.

You can get your free download of "Arise" at  http://www.noisetrade.com/ianzumback/arise-single

If you would like to raise awareness for this campaign, you can do the following:

1.Link to this blog.
2. Share the following tags on your twitter account: #NYCarise, #Albanyarise, #Plattsburgharise, #Buffaloarise, #Syracusearise
3. Share below images.
4. Stop in to my official facebook page and leave a comment www.facebook.com/ianzumback

God bless you from Susan and I!


Friday, December 13, 2013

It's the Happ - Happiest Season of all!

I love the Christmas season!  So many experiences to enjoy!  In fact - I would concur with Andy Williams that "it's the most wonderful time of the year."

One of my favorite experiences during the "happ-happiest season of all" - are experiencing the sounds of Christmas.

There are so many reasons to enjoy Christmas songs.  They're familiar.  They're singable.  They have a way of warming the soul and inspiring reflection and consideration of blessings.

Though all of these reasons are causing a cooperative effect leading to an enjoyable personal Christmas experience; there's an aspect of the sound of Christmas that is both challenging me and inspiring me as a songwriter.

Christmas lyrics.

Christmas lyrics (apart from and or complimentary to the hymns) provide some of the richest theological, finest articulated, and precisely communicated presentation of the Good News that exists through music.

"Silent night" is clear in it's presentation of the sign that God in flesh would be born of a virgin.
"O Holy Night" conveys our hopelessness in relation to our sins; it informs us of our hope and solution appearing in Jesus Christ; and it encourages our only reasonable response - to receive God's gift of righteous pardon and to worship the world's Savior.
"Joy to the world" calls the listener to prepare oneself with open heart for the coming of One, Who has highest rule and authority; of which all of creation submits itself to with rejoicing - encouraging the listener to join in.

It is clear to me that the lyricists of the familiar Christmas songs that we sing during the holiday season were not writing jingles.  They were submitting "an account for the hope" that was in them through song by offering Good News to their audience.

Would you pray for me as I continue to grow as a songwriter, that I would prove faithful "to holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain" ????

Now go and enjoy the sounds of Christmas!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Where does my help come from?

I was able to share a song I had written with my church family two weekends ago.  The name of the song is 'Where does my help come from?' It will probably be one of the songs I record in March.
If you'd like to hear it, here you go>> LISTEN to 'Where does my help come from' HERE <<

I penned the song, inspired by personal events taking place in my life, and a Psalm that God led me to on a day that I really needed to read it. If you'd like to read the Psalm, here you go>>PSALM 121<<

Without getting into all the details, my family was going through a really difficult time.  We were in the middle of our trial (roughly 3 years in - I think).  Over the course of our trial and challenges, God proved Himself faithful to send the help that we needed to get us through our challenges.  Furthermore, God not only has gotten us through, but is giving us the grace to overcome and have victory.

As I've contemplated the help that God brings to those of us that ask; and His manifold grace - I could write a book on the many ways that God helped my family and I over the past 6 years (and maybe someday I will!)  After sharing the song, and some of the story behind it - I continue to reflect back on what I'm about to share.

During our family struggles, at times I had the same mentality that Naaman had.  (Read Naaman's story)
I wanted God's help on my terms and in the way that I had thought would 'bring Jesus the most glory.'

But God had and always has His own terms.

What I found through my experience was that God brought the help in a way that was different than I had "planned" or expected Him to.  I had a predisposition about how God brought help.  Looking back now, I'm pretty sure that at times my predisposition actually got in the way of God getting my family the help that we needed.  But God showed us grace and was patient with me.  Now I'm learning to receive God's help on His terms day by day, and moment by moment.

So... if you're reading this... do you need God's help today? (trick question.. :)...) Seriously though...

If you do need help, and are asking the Lord for it- are you predisposed to how He should bring it?  Furthermore, are you predisposed at how you're willing to receive His help?

I leave you with this..  I didn't realize how much my religious predispositions were able to influence my ability to receive the Savior's help.  According to the gospels, there were a lot of men who had religious predispositions, and were unable to receive the Savior's help too.

God help us to receive your help and healing on Your terms, and in the best way possible.  Your way.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Our songs will be forgotten....I hope.

I have the privilege of sharing my music a few times this coming week.  Thursday, I'll be heading back to the city I grew up in to lead an evening of worship.  Saturday and Sunday, I'll be sharing one of my songs with my church family at their two weekend worship services.  As I'm preparing copies of a demo takeaway to bring with me, I'm forced to contemplate the vision of what I believe God is sending me to do through this ministry; and contemplate that eventually the songs that I'm sharing will be forgotten.  I hope to accomplish (very briefly) 2 things in this blog today.

#1 - Introduce you to the objectives/vision of this music ministry
#2 - Make a good argument why our songs will be forgotten

Q: Why should I share the objectives?
A: So you can pray for me to be faithful with what I believe God has entrusted to me.  Every church website seems to have 'What is our vision?' or 'the mission of....'  They have an objective that God has entrusted into their care to manage and execute (with God's help).  I believe God will use the vision/mission sort of like the bumpers on the bowling alley that helps the ball hit the pins.

Q: Why do I need to argue that our songs will be forgotten?
A: Because they should be.  What should be remembered or asked is 'how did God use the songs (whatever they may be) to make Jesus more famous and to advance His work in the lives of others?'  Frankly, the songs ought to be a small branch that grows off of the trunk of the ministry taking place. The songs should bear fruit that expresses the Root that supplies the nourishment to bring it to bear.

I pray that these objectives would work in beautiful harmony to make me and my music forgettable - and make Jesus completely memorable. 

1. Refresh the saints - (Acts 3:19, 2 Cor. 1:3-4) I hope that God refreshes the bride that He loves so much by (a) allowing us to encounter His presence in such a way that refreshes our souls and (b) allow my hardships and how He comforted me through them to be used to comfort those in the midst of hardship.

2. Build community -  (Acts 2:46) I hope that God uses the evenings of worship, and all ministry resources to build relationships.  Strong relationships equal strong community.  Strong Christian community equals advancement of God's work in the lives of others.

3. Bring low a culture of 'worship leader worship' & lift high the Name, the Work, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ - (John 3:30) Remember that part about making my music forgettable - and making Jesus completely memorable. John set the standard for every worship leader.  "He must increase, but I must decrease".

4.Touch lives - (Isaiah 61:4) If God shows mercy to bless the objective of 'Building community', the outcome will be a growing number of lives that are touched.

5.Rescue souls - (Acts 16:31) 19th century evangelist, D.L. Moody is quoted saying these two separate quotes. (1.) "The voice of sin is loud, but the voice of forgiveness is louder." And (2.) "Real true faith is man's weakness leaning on God's strength."  I hope two things happen as a result of this music ministry in this area of ministry objective.  When someone is listening to this music ministry in their car, on the computer, at a worship service - I hope that the sound of God's forgiveness would overwhelm the inward shame that keeps them from coming to God, and a recognition of their weakness would resound to their open confession of a need for a strong Savior to rescue them.

So there you have it.  The objective of the 'Ian Zumback music ministry'.  

Now for a brief summary of the 'argumentation' part that I promised in this blog.  Why should any of the music that I'm writing and sharing matter - if these objectives are not being accomplished?  I might have a good hook or a memorable lyric; but how is that meaningful in light of eternal matters?  That's why my music should be forgettable.  If God chooses to use the music as a vehicle to stimulate, support, or accomplish making Jesus memorable to others - that's where this music can find meaning in light of eternal matters.

In short paraphrasing, Rich Mullins shared at a concert once that God chose to speak to Balaam through a donkey.  So if God chooses to speak through you or your music - before you esteem yourself too highly; consider the company that you now keep that God chooses to speak through.

I hope that you'll pray for my family and I to stay faithful in these matters.
Thanks for letting me share!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

JESUS...(Messiah, Lord, Quarterback) ..a parable..

Hi and welcome back (or just welcome if its your first visit) to doing life together in my area of internet real estate.  I woke up yesterday having a dialogue with myself about how Jesus was like my quarterback and that I was His wide receiver.  <<PAUSE + DISCLAIMER>> If you haven't read my introductory blog entry - now would be a good time before you read any further Introductions - CLICK HERE... I can't wear a mask here in my own blog after I wrote about masks MASKS - not the Halloween type..  So expect transparency here.  Without it, we're just not going to be able to get to know each other.

Moving forward...  Yes!  I woke up having this dialogue in my own head about Jesus being like a football quarterback and me being his wide receiver.  

I took to the prayer closet (which most days happens to be our family bathroom) and began to prayerfully seek and contemplate 'Jesus being my QB'.

Here's what I came away with from my initial prayer time...

1.     Jesus is calling the plays. If I want to hear where He needs me on the field to catch His pass, my eyes need to be on Him.  My ears need to be attentive to His play action calls.

2.     When I'm in position rightfully, the coverage will be intact.  Right???

3. If I catch the pass, and the play goes the way He called it - I should be able to make the play that He called - and the credit for the execution of the play should go back to Jesus, the QB. 

Ok.  Since I’m writing my best attempt at a parable – here’s the part where I personally process this parable attempt (some would call this the self-discovery portion of today’s blog)...

The field is my life.  The plays are God’s direction and will for my family and I.  In order to see and hear God’s direction and will for us, I need to watch Him and listen to Him to discern the plays. 

If I’m discerning the plays correctly, and my teammates are helping me discern the plays – I ought to catch the pass, advance the ball (sometimes to an endzone), and make Jesus more famous, right?

So what about the times, when I know I’ve discerned correctly.  My eyes are watching.  My ears are open.  Direction is confirmed.  I step out expecting my coverage to be intact and WHAM! 

I get hit.   

I usually get up, get back into the huddle,  try not to get hurt, get in right position, watch for the ball…

BAM!  It happens again.
I’m on my back.

Man!!!  I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing!   My eyes are on Jesus.  I’m praying.  I’m studying God’s word.  I’m learning to honor God more and more in my day to day life – but the coverage keeps on getting busted, and I’m on my back again.

Now I’m getting sore and a little headshy.
A little less likely to reach out for the ball…

That is until I begin to contemplate my teammates and former ‘wide receivers’. 
Teammates Saeed and Nagmeh Abedini.  Teammate Richard Wurmbrand.  Teammate Wang Zhiming.  High level “wide receivers”. 

I needed to replace a hot water heater today.  Nagmeh Abedini doesn’t know if her husband is even alive.  I was barely ‘hit’ today.

But when I do get hit hard, getting hit doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not discerning the play correctly.  1 Corinthians 16:9 does indicate that God has adversaries that set themselves against His work, right?  Maybe I’ll be used sometimes to get the ball in to the end zone, but it was still the QB who deserves the credit for calling and executing the play.   

OK.  I think I’ll reach out for the ball again today, and say yes to being Jesus’ wide receiver.

How about you?


These opinions expressed in this blog are not endorsed by the NFL.  They would be endorsed by Tim Tebow (I think.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tim Timmons and why I need him

Thursday nights, you can generally find Susan and I at the local Celebrate Recovery meeting in Glens Falls (CR for short). Although I have the privilege in the leading the worship, its not my only reason for being there.  Susan and I are on mutual recovery paths for various struggles (individually and as a couple) and are blessed to have a Christ centered recovery group to attend locally.

This past Thursday, I taught Tim Timmon's song 'Cast my cares' to the group.  The song really connected with me, and connected with those in attendance.  I shared a little bit of what I know about the equation of Tim Timmon's life story with our group..  If you don't know the equation - here's a quick summary.

Tim Timmons' ministry -
Living with cancer + filled with the joy of the Lord + writing songs = blessing others.

After the meeting - a guy approached me to let me know how much the song blessed him.  We struck up a conversation about the song, and it's relevance in and for our modern church culture.  After the conversation, I realized that I need Tim Timmons' example today.

In Tim's first single, "Starts with me" - the first lyric is "What can I do to leave a legacy?".  The bridge lyrics are "I really wanna change the world... I really wanna sing Your song... but I know revival's gotta start with me.." (English teachers - please show grace... this is songwriting!  Moving on..)

I've been in a lot of prayer meetings, and have led them.  It's a recurring theme in a prayer meeting to hear others pray and cry out for revival.  I used to do it myself.  When I was young in the faith - revival was a word that I associated with conversion in masses and holy living on such a large scale that it affects various sectors of cities, states, and if possible, the nation to turn to God (remember the Ninevites & Jonah?)

But if I may, there seems to be something in our church culture that's holding back revival.


People celebrate Halloween once a year, and many in the church are demonizing them for their participation.  But a lot of us are wearing masks all year 'round (strike 2 with english teachers..)

It hurts my heart to know that many people in the church come in through the doors week after week, portraying a neat, and tidy life on the outside... when on the inside, they're struggling to hold things together and not let anyone else know what pain, difficulties, and struggles they are facing.  I know because I used to be one of those people.  

But over time, I think I've learned at least 3 reasons why this is not healthy (for me anyway).  It could be one of the primary reasons that personal revivals are on the decline...
1.Wearing a mask is lonely and isolating
2.Wearing a mask disallows friendship and trust building with others
3.Wearing a mask blocks God from bringing full restoration and healing to our lives.

But presently - God is elevating Tim Timmons to be a more prominent and visible figure in Christian worship.  Could it be, that God is actually responding to Tim's prayer right before our eyes??  "I really wanna change the world....  What can I do to leave a legacy?... Revival's gotta start with me.."  Is it that God is making his life more visible to be an example to us.  Is God telling us through Tim to take off our masks??

Check it out - Tim doesn't have a choice about his cancer.

But he did have a choice whether or not to hide the pain of it, the difficulty of it, behind a mask - by writing songs that are not as open hearted and honest as the music he chose to write.

But he is choosing to step out in faith, with no mask, baring all - and it seems to me that God is sending a powerful message to all of us who are watching and listening.  His music is connecting with people on deep levels.  People are being comforted with the comfort that he is receiving from God (in real time).  People are being challenged by his example (well at least one guy is - me).

Pretty cool.

Any way - glad we could do life together again today in the blog-o-sphere.

Now do one of the following...
a.Eat candy corn
b.Go to a Saturday night church service
c. Watch Tim Timmon's video for "Starts with me" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pslWA2VRmxg

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Introductions are awkward most of the time.  This is no exception.  My name is Ian Zumback and this is my little piece of internet real estate in the blog-o-sphere.  If you are reading this, whether or not you know me, I'd like to say hi.  In as fast an elevator speech as I can give, most of my social media has the following biographical information about me...

"A Forgiven, Redeemed, Jesus lover, Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Friend, Songwriter, and Servant...fully alive and free by the grace of God... to be continued."

That order changes a lot depending on the demands of the day - but at most times I pray are in full cooperation making up God's story in my life as I take this journey day by day.

And that's pretty much why I'm blogging now.  God's writing a story in my life.  And it's time to start sharing.  Though most of the content that I share through social media will have mostly to do with the path that God is leading me in sharing my music.. The blog will have more to do with doing life.

Some of it might be what God's teaching me that day.  Some of it might be me bragging on my wife and son, and family.  Some of it might be ministry objectives (so that if I stray - I can be accountable to you).  Some of it might be me sharing stories behind songs I've written.  Some of it might be the struggles that my family and I face, and how God's leading us through them.  It's all about sharing the journey and at the end of the day (or at the end of each blog) - I hope that one person gets more famous... Jesus Christ.

So that's it.  If you are interested in doing life together in the blog-o-sphere, then come on back.
I've always heard that the best introductions are short ones, and I feel I've overstayed my welcome.