A couple weeks ago, my fellas and I took a little road trip to Sauget, IL to a venue called “Pops” to hear a show played by this guy:

Owen Pye is someone you need to know. He’s someone I’m thankful I know. He’s this ridiculously talented musician, singer and songwriter who is also a husband, a daddy, a peddler of high-energy soft drinks and general all-around hilarious person. And best of all? He loves Jesus. Here’s his adorable family:

We met the Pye’s 3 years ago at a launch team meeting for August Gate Church. Owen, the budding musician, working a factory job by day and then writing, playing and singing his heart out by night…and Jillian, his faithful companion, ridiculously talented in her own right (check out her blog and you’ll see what I mean), doing everything in her power to support his dream. They were a sweet, dear couple, brimming with hope as they awaited the birth of their baby boy, Cash Lincoln. Soon after Cash arrived on the scene, they became Covenant Members of AG, and Owen started playing with the AG band. Then they joined our Gospel Community, and that sealed the deal for us…we were (and are) fans.

Last year after the release of his latest album, The Truth About Man, Owen was signed by SloSpeak Records. We could not have been more thrilled, especially when we realized that being signed to a record label in California did not necessarily mean that the Pye’s would MOVE to California. :)

Now that I’ve given this brief back-story on The Pye’s, I’ll get to the gist of this blog post. As we sat in that venue listening to the two bands play before Owen, I was literally in awe of all it takes for bands to survive. Being talented is not enough. The band that played first was so good…seriously, they had TWO drummers playing at the same time, creating this rich symphony of booming rhythm, and then the lead singer had this loud, pure, clear voice that would put ANY American Idol or The Voice finalist to shame. They opted to play first, because after their set they had to quickly tear down and get on the road for a show they had in Carbondale at 11pm that SAME NIGHT.

Being involved in the Pye’s lives, we’ve seen first-hand the ups and downs that people who are trying to “make it” in the music industry experience on a daily basis. As Owen sang his heart out during his set, I thought about all the Pye’s had been through just since we’ve known them…all while trying to figure out just what it is that God wants to do with this gift he’s obviously given Owen. We’ve watched them try to reconcile the fact that God has given Owen this talent, this dream, with the reality that the dream doesn’t pay the bills (yet)…it’s a gut-wrenching thing to reconcile, and I’m convinced it’s the thing that keeps Owen from gaining weight. :) As I listened to Owen sing, to the depth of the songs that he had written, I was overwhelmed with a sense of pride. Because I know him, I know where some of those songs come from. I know the blood, sweat and tears that he and Jillian put into getting the last album recorded, then taking their family on tour to promote the album. But the pride I felt was not just because Owen was “using his gift.” It’s because I’ve watched him use not only his gift to glorify God, but the pain and disappointment and struggle associated with that gift to glorify God as well. It’s a beautiful thing.

At the very end of Owen’s set at Pops, a venue that is located right smack dab in the middle of chemical plants and strip clubs, he sang this chorus…

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

For me, this isĀ Success.