By Dan Wooding, Special to ASSIST News Service
WILLIAMSPORT, PA (ANS – October 20, 2015) — With a growing number of issues facing the Church in America, some of which has been causing many youth to run from the churches and from God, a missionary and Christian music artist has delivered a powerful message to the Church and to those drifting from Christ.
Chris Pick, an internationally-known singer/songwriter, recording artist, missionary, and advocate for both the Persecuted Church and the Native Missionary Movement, has released a new single entitled “Come Back” which came to him through a special prayer session with a friend, and lots of pain.
Pick explains: “This song was the vision of my good friend Steve Haupert, a chaplain at a local hospital. We would regularly get together and pray at the hospital, during which we would pray over our city, nation, the Church, missions, etc. One day, as I began to pray, he had a vision of Luke 15, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son came to his mind and he said he could picture a prodigal son wearily returning home and then Jesus came running out to meet him halfway with open arms. And Steve turned to me and said, ‘You need to write a song about coming back…coming back to God.’
“At the time, I was reaching out to a guy who had a serious drug problem. One day, I had seen him struggling in a parking lot trying to take four big bags of garbage out to a dumpster from work. I simply helped him out with it one a few occasions. Then one, day he asked if I was a Christian. I smiled and told him that I was and he then asked me what my favorite verse in the Bible was. It turned out that he didn’t have a Bible, so I went and got him a nice one. He was a fellow musician who had even released a couple CDs and wanted to get together with me and work on some songs together. I loved his remake of the classic ‘Blue Moon.’ It wasn’t long after that he sort of disappeared.
“Two months later, a note was delivered to me from a friend of his. In it, he was in jail and that he wanted me to know. I started writing to him and sending him copies of the Voice of the Martyrs newsletters to read. I felt that reading about other Christians in prison would encourage him.”
Pick went on to say that the man was eventually sent to a pre-release center as he waited for a place to go to.
“I visited him every Sunday,” said Chris Pick, “and eventually, he was released. We stayed in touch for three weeks, but then he disappeared again. Three months later, another note was delivered to me with the sad news that he was back in prison.”
Pick said that it was also during this time that his parents contacted him and he began to learn more about him. It turned out that he was adopted and had a 16-year-old son to a woman that he still loved, but had left him due to his drug problems. So Pick started writing to him again, encouraging him to “seek God” and also consider getting help with his addiction problem (knowing that the temptation would be there when he would be once again be released).
Pick said that he was thinking about this young man one evening when he was leaving his regular prayer meeting with his friend and, as he drove off, he began singing out loud in the car, the chorus to the new song that was forming in his mind. And when he arrived home, he wrote the melody and words to it.
“I wrote it to this young man as a letter from God,” he explained. “A few days later, as a cry for attention, he tried to hang himself in prison. This only made matters worse. A week later, his father died of a heart attack, and his mother began to sink into a deep depression. He wrote me saying that he now knew he had to ‘get things right with God’ and needed to be there for his mother and son. He vowed that when he was released he would go and stay with her so he could to help comfort her. He was true to his word. When he was eventually released, he moved to New Jersey to be with his mother.”
Soon after, said Pick, a similar problem plagued a friend of his.
“While in New Jersey, he started recording new tracks and sent them to me,” Chris Pick shared. “He called, and texted me, every day. Then, out of the blue, he contacted me about a close friend of his who was dying of cancer and was rejecting God. He wanted me to reach out to her like I had done for him.”
Chris told me that he felt “uncomfortable” since he didn’t know her and so encouraged his friend to reach out to her himself and share his faith with her.
“He tried and I did the same,” Pick continued. “But her heart was very hardened, and she kept rejecting God and us. It was very stressful for us both. In my last conversation with this guy, we talked a lot about this woman, but I also asked him how he was doing, and also if he was attending church, reading his Bible. He told me that he was doing all these things, but I would later find out that he wasn’t. At the end of the conversation, he asked me to keep his mother in my prayers. She was really struggling with depression. That was my last conversation with him.”
For the next three days, Pick said that he did not hear from his friend and so he called, emailed, and sent texts, but all to no avail. Then, on the fourth day, Pick received a startling message on his answering machine.
“His mother called me,” he said. “In a calm, but depressed voice, she thanked me for reaching out to him and being his friend. Then she told me he had met up with some old friends, overdosed on heroine, and died. She had just gotten the news herself prior to calling me. His female friend was still rejecting us and refused to answer our calls, so I sent her a text telling her that he had died. Surprisingly she responded saying that she was sad and crying and she felt so bad for his mother. It would be the last text I would get from her. Shortly after, she also had died.”
The tragedy, admitted Pick, sunk him into a deep depression and anger towards God.
“I was mad myself for a long time, feeling that I didn’t do enough,” he said. “I was also mad at God, questioning why He would bring these people into my life for a short time, only to let them fall into destruction. I wanted nothing more to do with the song. But Steve encouraged me to keep singing it because there are others like them out there. And sure enough, shortly afterwards, I met another person like them.
“When it came time to record it, I wanted my good friend Mariah Hostrander to join me on it.”
Pick explained that national Christian artist, Mariah Hostrander, began her singing/songwriting career in 2006 at the age of 13. With influences from BarlowGirl to Paul Baloche, Mariah has captured the muse to deliver a compelling folk-rock and a little pop sound with well-crafted lyrics that tell life stories easy for most people to appreciate. Her first full-length project BEAUTIFUL SCARS was released in 2008. In 2011, she released her first national project PICTURE IT. Late in 2011, she wrote and recorded “Perfect Love” with Dove Award Winning Artists Nathan Walters and Gabe Combs from the group Plus One which has been featured on radio globally. For more information http://www.mariahhostrander.com )
“By featuring Mariah, we were able to make the song a three-fold message about reconciliation…” explained Pick . “…between a husband and wife, between parents and a child, and with God.”
As a missionary, Pick has been lately involved in work in Asia and on Native American Indian Reservations.
“My friends on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation were in my mind during the recording of this song,” Pick added. “They have been plagued with a suicide epidemic since March. I remember being on the Rez back in March and hearing that a child had committed suicide nearly every day. It was awful. And I know so many kids there that struggle with hopelessness and have attempted suicide, the youngest being 12. I was planning a trip out in October, but financial issues held me back. So I am sending this message instead. If the only thing one can get from this song is the fact that God loves them, then I did my part.”
“Come Back” (produced by Bret Alexander, formerly of the 90s pop/rock sensation THE BADLEES) was released Tuesday October 13th on iTunes, Amazon MP3, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Myspace Music, MediaNet, eMusic, Zune, Rhapsody, Nokia, VerveLife, etc.
Also featured is a prayer song (“S.O.S.”) which Pick had written a year ago while stuck in a mission at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation waiting out a snowstorm two weeks before Easter. Produced by John Roginski, it is a follow-up to their highly successful Davy Jones tribute song “Finally Free” performed at several of the late Monkees’ memorials.
Like the artist Keith Green, Pick has struggled with the idea of having people purchase Christian music to hear the message. So, in order to make the message more accessible, a solo version of “Come Back” is featured on Pick’s BANDCAMP page https://chrispick.bandcamp.com/album/come-back-a-message-from-god where people can both listen and download for $1, or whatever they can afford as Keith would say (just type in any amount). The radio edit of the duet with Mariah is available as a free download.
The Davy Jones tribute “Finally Free” is also a free download on this page and featured in the vegetarian cookbook WRITTEN IN OUR HEARTS with proceeds going to Davy’s rescue horse foundation and featuring memories and recipes by friends of Jones’ including Pick, the other surviving Monkees, cast of Brady Bunch and Boy Meets World, etc. More info, check out official video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4Pug1zgy_k )
To read more about Chris Pick, please go to https://www.reverbnation.com/chrispick .
Photo captions: 1) Chris Pick with Mariah Hostrander. 2) Chris Pick recording in Nashville. 3) Chris Pick on a overseas mission’s trip. 4) Chris with his wife, Michelle. Chris Pick pictured (right) with the late Davy Jones of the Monkees. 5) Dan Wooding.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books and has a radio show and two television programs all based out of Orange County, California.
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