Michael James Band Testimony:
“God Saved Me From Suicide”
Michael James Band is a contemporary Christian band from the East Texas area. If you’ve never heard of the band, take the time to get acquainted, because you soon will. The Michael James Band has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in Christian music: Amy Grant, Kutless, The Afters, Sidewalk Prophets, David Crowder Band, Jars of Clay, Mercy Me, and Jeremy Camp. Their music has great hooks and solid Christian heartfelt lyrics. Songwriter/lead vocalist Michael James offers genuine lyrics that draw from a back-story of God redeeming him out of alcohol and drug use. I recently asked him to share his music and story with Rocking God’s House.
I decided to commit suicide…
God intervened in the most incredible way!
Define The Michael James Band in a few words.
Our goal is to show the love of Christ through our music as well as reach a generation who has turned away from God. To minister through music.
What’s currently going on with the band?
We’re currently going back and forth from Nashville at this time working on a new three-song EP with producer Jeff Pardo. As an independent artist, it’s a lot harder to record all the songs at once, so we’re raising money [they’re currently accepting PayPal donations using the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org] and hoping to have it ready by February or March of 2015. We’ll be releasing a radio single just after Christmas.
Tell me about the other band members.
We’ve all grown up in church and played with different worship bands. My keyboard player Jon Webster toured with Kari Jobe and other well-known artists. My bass player is very similar. He just relocated to Dallas from Nashville. Morgan Good and Stephan Good are brothers. The band is comprised of professional musicians who all play full-time.
Morgan Good – Drums, Stephan Good – Lead Guitar, Chad Evans – Bass, Jon Webster – Keyboards
Tell us about your past.
I have a crazy background. I grew up in church. My dad is a pastor. I never made any connection to Christ growing up. I just went through the motions.
After graduating high school I joined the Marine Corp for some purpose in my life and to define myself. That worked for a little while. I got married at that time — way too soon to a girl I didn’t know well. My wife at the time was pregnant with my daughter, and when she left, it completely tore me apart. After a very messy divorce instead of turning to God I got mixed up in drugs and alcohol.
I was now out of the Marine Corp and working as a bodyguard. I was on a very destructive path. I didn’t care what happened to me. I pushed away church, family, and friends. I completely isolated myself. I came to a point where I was sick about not having anyone in my life. I was depressed and feeling alone, I’d hit rock bottom.
I was making good money but never had any because I was spending it on partying, trying to fill a void. I decided to commit suicide. I was barely talking to my family, and when I did, I’d get angry because my mom and dad would preach at me. That made me feel convicted; I didn’t want to feel convicted. I didn’t want to feel anything. I just wanted to be numb. I wasn’t ready to deal with all the baggage.
I didn’t tell anyone about my plans. I was going to go to my job that night to commit suicide. The family I was guarding wasn’t going to be there that night. So I made up my mind. I took all sorts of drugs to ease the thought into my brain. Before I could carry through, God intervened in the most incredible way. As I was getting ready to leave for work, I got arrested for drug possession walking out the door. God completely stopped me. Sadly, even then I didn’t see it.
I sat in jail for about two days without any outside contact.
I don’t want religion,
I want a rescue from the God I heard about all my life!
A few days prior, I later discovered that my mother had offered a prayer asking God to do whatever He had to do wake me up and save me. That’s exactly what happened.
I got out of jail and went to my parents house to sleep everything off. I woke up on a Wednesday afternoon after a good day or so of sleep, and went over to my parents church. It was an old Pentecostal church. The church was empty.
I just wanted to play the piano, not to repent. I just wanted to play because music was always such a big part of my life. As I readied to leave, it felt like someone hit me on my back of my legs with a wooden plank. I was forced to my knees, and I broke down crying. I felt this was my last chance. I said, “God, I’ve got to have something real, I can’t do this anymore. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me, I need you. I don’t want routine or church tradition. I don’t want religion; I need rescue from the God I heard about my all my life.” I needed that God to save me.
That occurred August 28th of 2012. I got up from that altar, and my life has never been the same. God has completely changed my life. Two days later I quit my bodyguard job. God called me into the music ministry.
Now I share my testimony at adolescent drug and alcohol rehab facilities for kids — kids in the same place I once was. When playing an event and the opportunity arises, I share my testimony. Why? Because God saved me and allows me to do this. It’s not by anything I do, but by God’s grace.
“Hold On” and “Father’s Hand” are great songs with an equally great message. What inspired them?
When I wrote “Father’s Hand,” I was really praying for direction in my music career. Sometimes we try and rush God and get impatient on things we’re promised. But we want what we want in our time. So I was praying and asking God to do certain things, when I should have been holding on to what God’s already promised me, and not trying to rush it or force God’s hand.
Now that you’re remarried, how do you balance family as an aspiring Christian artist, following your life lessons?
I’m a personal trainer, a worship director, and a Christian artist. I’m gone more than I’m home. When you’re married, it is very hard and stressful in the music industry.
Number One: The sharing of faith: it’s important to have someone who shares your faith. The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked.
Number Two: The sharing of vision: they have to believe in what you’re doing. My wife is very supportive, and knows that it’s God who has called me to do it.
Not only do I choose to be the person I’ve become, but I have to do it. I told God if he would save me from where I was at, I would give him everything I am. All my time, my money, my family, everything I own: it is His!
Your earlier material was a bit more country than your current material. Is that on purpose?
It’s been fairly conscious. I come from a small town in East Texas, so I’m surrounded by Southern Gospel and Country music. We’re trying to steer more toward a contemporary Christian sound. Our producer (Jeff Pardo) sometimes asks me to take out the country swing [laughing]. Jeff is helping us sound more contemporary.
What’s ahead for the Michael James Band?
Our current single “Father’s Hand” is getting good movement on a number of radio stations. We’re preparing to release “Going Back,” a song which is my personal testimony of what God has done for me. We’ll be releasing “Going Back” early in 2015.