"Saved by Grace." It's a term often used by those of us versed in ChristianSpeak. We use it so often that sometimes we become, well, almost indifferent to exactly what being saved by grace means.
Some of us, that is. There's a group of seven young men out of Camden, New Jersey who know exactly what it means and have a zeal and a fervor for sharing it with others that is refreshing. They are so zealous about it, in fact, that they've named their band "Saved by Grace". Every place they go, every song they sing, they remind others of their gratitude and devotion to the One who set them free.
They are a bi-lingual band; their music is an upbeat blend of praise and worship, Latin-pop and reggae. They call it simply praise and worship, because that's what their band, correction, their lives, are all about. Praising and worshiping.
The guys range in age from their fourteen-year-old drummer, David Rivera, to vocalist Jesse, who is thirty-something. Five of the members are married; they each have 2.2 children, if you do the math! The wives and children come along on road trips, so it's a lively entourage.
I asked them if they wrote their own music, and the answer was "Well, not really." They generally sit around a keyboard, maybe with a couple of guitars, and they begin to praise and worship God. The melodies and songs are brought forth. They simply "let it flow" and the songs are birthed. By grace. "The hand of the Almighty is in our music," says Josue Rivera, one of their vocalists.
Their goal is to reach the lost, the hurting. In their obvious dedication to the Almighty, it doesn't matter to them who they reach, as long as He can use them. They love to play in camps, churches, festivals, street corners and parks. It is a wide-open ministry, wide open to the leading of Holy Spirit.
“Eloyhim is a big God. We limit ourselves, but God thinks big.”
Jose Martinez, the band's director of ministry, says, "The church has been divided, and that is changing. When the enemy comes against us, he doesn't come divided. We have to stand united. You know, divided we stand, divided we fall. It's not about your church, our church, their church. It's about being sure the will of the Almighty is done."
The band members were all born and raised in the church. But that doesn't guarantee anything, they are quick to say. Again, the saving grace comes in.
Although only two of the members, the Rivera brothers, are related by blood, Jose declares they are indeed a family. "God raised us up together. He brought us up together." The group began as a praise and worship team in their home church, and has gone forward from there.
Jose talked about limiting God when I asked where they wanted to be in ten years. "Eloyhim is a big God. We limit ourselves, but God thinks big." A CD project is in the works, and they never turn down an opportunity to share their God with anyone.
The idea is that whatever God decides to do in their lives will be fine with them. It will be big, because God is big. It will be good, because God is good. Youth camps in Philadelphia, festivals in Florida, street corners in New Jersey. It doesn't matter. They want to play wherever they are needed, wherever God sends them.
This band is sincere. It isn't about music with them. It isn't about money, or fame, or CD projects. It is about praising their Creator. And it's simply become contagious. It's grown.
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