Monday, June 13, 2016

Roots. Revival. And Why the Holy Spirit Has Me in Texas.

As I closed my eyes in prayer, I saw this striking image of an invisible hand uprooting a great tree. Dirt and dust clung to the roots as the invisible hand pulled it from the ground. Then I saw water, rushing through the weaves and tangles in the roots, washing away the dirt and dust, and leaving the tree, floating detached from its last remembrance of home. The tree hung mid-air, the wind blew between it's roots. Alone.

Then, with one, decisive action, the invisible hand plunged the tree with its roots, deep, into new ground. Blink. It was over.

In the Fall of 2015, the Lord had uprooted me. After a year of constant, grueling travel, with great success but even greater desolation, the Lord, violently pulled me out and away from everything familiar. I didn't release a Christmas record, parted ways with my management team and cancelled my Spring tour dates. I paid my debts, moved in with a friend, and entered into a season of prayer.

Packing my life into a Uhaul trailor and heading to Dallas.
From the time I woke up, until the time I fell asleep, I prayed. If I felt moved to call someone, I would call them. If I felt moved to go somewhere I would go, and I would pray. Looking back, it amazes me how grace-filled that time was. Though I wasn't working and had no income, I was not afraid. I was not anxious. I was just listening. And the Lord provided in abundance.

Many of you have been looking at my social media posts and I'm sure you're confused: Nashville, New York, Dallas, Baltimore, Dallas...where am I?

I've prayed a lot about sharing this story's one that I've really only shared with close friends, families, and those involved. But I believe that now, it's time to share with you.

It was about 2 years ago, around this time, I first witnessed the wonders and supernatural miracles of God. Within the first week I watched as God healed a man with a torn ACL and a girl with a broken ankle - a few days later I watched in wonder as the name of Jesus helped a crippled man walk and removed 15 years of chronic pain. As I searched for answers and understanding, Jesus brought incredible people into my life. He brought those who could prophesy and others who could teach and some who could discern spirits.

I started talking to priests, friends, lay persons, skeptics...what does this mean? As I asked more questions, the Lord revealed more of His power.

I watched as Jesus worked in stage 4 cancer patients and made tumors disappear. He gave prophetic images and brought deliverance. And each time He worked, I witnessed the Kingdom grow. I witnessed conversion.

But then, I witness something that stirred so deeply and so profoundly in my heart that it changed everything. It was the realization that Jesus would work through ANYONE who asked. He didn't show partiality or preference. The concept that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit were reserved for only rare and very pious mystics was wrong.

As I shared the knowledge that I was learning with others, I watched them, almost immediately begin to act, to the same degree, in the same signs and wonders that I too was witnessing. We were all acting in the charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was spreading like a wildfire. The harvest was indeed plentiful.

So I researched. I studied. I learned. But even more, I prayed.

View from the round table at the Dunwoody Seminary.
On June 2, 2015, I met with a group of clergy, scholars and lay persons in the basement of the Dunwoody Seminary in New York, and finally shared the vision that Jesus had been growing in my heart during my months in prayer.

I dreamed of building a brick and mortar school of Discipleship - where students and catechist come to receive in-depth training on how to operate in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Of a future, where it was ordinary for Catholics to prophesy over each other, and pray for miraculous healing, and for deliverance. Where a non-believer walks into a Mass and can not help but be moved to his knees, crying out, "Surely, God is in this place".

Under the supervision of a few faithful priests (most especially, Fr. Michael, my pastor), I've was given an opportunity to try to bring this vision to life. I was invited to Mary Immaculate Parish in Farmers Branch, Texas and was given permission to begin assimilating the collective teaching of the Catholic Church on the supernatural charisms of the Holy Spirit and to prototype a course to teach ordinary Catholics how to grow, mature and act in these gifts.
The Beta Class participates in round table discussions
of Holy Spirit 101 in September of 2015.

The course was academic in nature, subdued and unemotional. Our first class began in August of 2015. By the end of the 5 week program, 39 of the 40 students were operating in the supernatural. I watched with wonder as these average, ordinary Catholics began to prophesy, heal, and deliver in the name of Jesus.

We did not teach individuals about one or two charisms we thought that they possessed, we did not divide them into groups based on ability and we did not teach anything that was in the realm of speculative theology. We taught with conviction that each member possessed the Giver the of the gifts and therefore, had the potential to yield to any and all charisms. We stressed docility and listening to the voice of God. We preached obedience and we taught only the approved teachings of the Church.
Photo taken the day we got the imprimatur from
Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Diocese of Dallas.

In February of 2016, the curriculum received a nihil obstat and imprimatur. Today, the course, called Holy Spirit 101, is shaking up Farmers Branch, Texas. In less than a year, our monthly Nights of Healing have become the largest, regularly occurring Adoration/healing nights in
the Dallas Diocese. The Lord is working mighty wonders - bringing families together, curing the sick, casting out evil and growing the Kingdom of God.

Over 100 students have completed the course and now it's time we begin to share it with the world. In the next 6 months, we are looking at having prayer teams available after Mass, beginning a street evangelization ministry and developing 3-day weekend retreats to send students out on mission to share this knowledge with other Catholic Churches.

Some have called us charismatic. Others ask if we are part of the Renewal. But I say we are disciples. We are here to preach the message of Jesus Christ - of repentance of sins and salvation.

As for me, I am still writing music. I am still touring. I do not believe I will ever stop doing these things. However, I feel that the Lord has planted me here in Dallas with the Arise Ministry program.

Please, pray for Arise Ministry at Mary Immaculate. Pray for continued revival in the American Roman Catholic Church.

All my love, and I promise to write again soon,


To learn more about Arise Ministry at Mary Immaculate, visit:

Friday, May 1, 2015

A letter to my old self and maybe my future self too

You love performing, you love creating - it's "the best feeling ever and I'd give anything to be able to make art for the rest of my life" least, that's what you said until one day you realized, the obvious. That all around you are people who can sing better, write better and perform better. By some random distribution of Divine grace, "they" were gifted with more talent than you, and no matter how hard you practice, learn, or try - "they" will always be better than you. 

You mentioned how easy it was for them to get so many Likes on their Facebook page, or how everyone in your local town will go to their concerts, but not yours...

So, you said you were thinking of giving up. You said that maybe it is God's will for someone else to live your dreams, someone else to live your life, because you simply aren’t. good. enough. 

At first, I was angry and stunned. How could you say such a thing?! To think of quitting - giving up! Why would you let other people live YOUR dream?

But you were reasonable. hopeless. determined. 

I wish I could've reached through the pages of that journal and told you the truth.  That the only person who can tell you if you are “good enough” is God. And what makes you great is NOT your talent, intelligence or special skill set, but God’s anointing. If God has called you to do something, if He has placed this desire on your heart, than you ARE good enough, even if, objectively, you’re not performing at the highest level. 

I would've reminded you that talent doesn’t move hearts, the Holy Spirit moves hearts. 

Lastly, I would've told you that God was the author of Moses’ stutter, David’s smallness, and YOUR little talent. God gives good gifts, perfectly, intentionally and God’s work is never inadequate. 

I'm sorry that you had to learn those lessons the hard way - I'm so sorry that you had to learn them in the storm - in the darkness made darker by the lies you believed. My heart aches, remembering the tears, the confusion, the paralyzing anxiety. I kept reading your words, each page addressed to God and lined with tears - I watched as God stripped you, again and again of pride, false humility, vanity...all within the tender embrace of desolation. 

But while you couldn't see it at the time, one day you would come to learn an even greater lesson: that the desert is not your destiny. 

One day you'll realize that the story of Jesus does not end on the cross, and neither does yours. Because if we join Christ on the cross, we also join Him in the resurrection. 

The desert is not your destiny, my friend, my past self. Your destiny is the promised land, the resurrection, the Father's blessing. So remember, even when the night is dark and all hope seems lost, joy comes in the morning. 

Hang in there, old self, for God came so that you may have life and life to the full. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Learned My First Year as a Full-Time Musician

I remember receiving the phone call that began my professional career as a worship leader. I was singing at a summer camp in Texas. It was Monday morning, July 28, when the assistant manager at the restaurant I worked at in Nashville called to inform me that I had been fired. When I got off the phone, I was stunned and in shock. I had 2 performances scheduled and 1 month in savings, a 4 song EP, and a 12 hour drive back to Nashville. In a daze, I stumbled into the chapel on campus. "Jesus, it's all on You. I need a miracle".

Twelve months later, I've had a #2 record on iTunes, performed in front of 15,000 on the main stage at Lifest, and landed a spot opening for 2 major Christian acts on a packed, fall tour. This year has been the wildest ride of my life. Here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned as full-time worship musician:

1. God’s Law NEVER violates God’s will

It’s a mantra I repeat to myself each time I get anxious about an upcoming bill or expense. God cannot lie. He will never forsake or abandon me. He is faithful. I'm confident that life as a worship leader is where God is calling me, yet oftentimes, in order to be obedient to that call, I must take big risks ...risks that look to the outside world as downright foolish: starting a trip when there's not enough money to get home, flushing my savings to pay for a photo shoot, being honest in a business dealing where the norm and the easier thing to do is to be dishonest...

Yet every time, when God has asked me to give him everything, He has returned onto me seven-fold. When circumstances were impossible, God provided. Each. And. Every. Time.

Whatever your big dream is, pursue it with reckless abandon. If it's truly God's will for your life, everything - from bills to family responsibilities to your daily business practices - will be provided for, because God cannot lie. His will for your life will never violate His law.

2. Stop seeing other musicians as competition, and start referring to them as either friend or “Standard Bearer”

In the beginning, I was deeply intimidated by artists who were better or further along than me. At parties I wouldn't speak to them, I'd certainly never ask to hang out with them, and I feared ever having to share a stage or play a venue that they had previously played. But then, one day, I watched this guitar player I knew get the chance to meet a world-class player. My friend's reaction astonished me. "Dude," he began, "I am such a fan of that last record you put out. I've been trying to learn that rift, but I can't quite get the finger pattern down. How did you do it?" I watched the two musicians bond and at the end of their discussion, my friend's skill had improved and he had also endeared himself to the professional. Today, that friend is playing full-time and enjoying a successful career. 

The truth is, we're only going to be as good as the company we keep. If you want to be a better player, spend time with the better players, learn from them, be mentored by them.  See them as either a friend or the standard bearer for how much more you need to learn and strive for. This is also a truth when looking at musicians rising below you. If a newer act is having momentum, rather than fear that they'll eclipse you, befriend them, and then step up your game. 

3. Persistence and work ethic will always beat talent 

One of the most trying experiences I had this year was on a flight next to another new, Christian artist. As the plane was taking off he said, "I don't understand why you're having such success right now. I mean, no offense, but I'm a better singer than you, a better musician and I'm a really good songwriter."

That comment was the crack that quickly opened the flood gate of insecurity. I began to get really anxious before performances, convinced that it was only a matter of time before people realized that there were better singers out there, better writers, and better musicians. 

Before the year had passed, that artist on the plane, frustrated by his lack of growth, gave up the dream, left Nashville and moved home. I watched worship leaders change genres, hoping to find more success in pop music, only to attend a party and hear that they were quitting too, and starting graduate school in the Fall. 

I remember a coffee date with a struggling artist, one who I had identified as better than me. "Well, have you reached out to media outlets in your niche?" "No," he replied. "How often are you updating your social media and writing new songs?" "Eh, I don't really like doing those things," he responded. Then he looked at me, "hey, how did you book that gig two weeks ago?" Confused, I responded, "I called and asked. Have you ever asked anyone to let you come and play?" He looked down at his coffee cup, "no." He still hasn't been able to quit the day job. 

The biggest lesson for me was that this business has never been about being the most talented, because if it were, I certainly would be out of a job.

No matter where you see yourself on the talent spectrum, keep trying, keep moving. You're only gonna get better, and your fan base will only keep growing.

4. There are NO gate keepers 

I’ve seen a lot of Christian musicians (especially in the Catholic market) really sabotage their chances of success this year because they THINK certain publishers or promoters are the “key” to success in the market. They focus all of their time and energy trying to get their attention, impress them, to "be chosen."

Here's the hard truth, the thought that any one person is the gatekeeper to your success is a myth. It’s not true. We live in the digital age - your "big break" can be anywhere and sometimes you've got to make it for yourself. Even more often, you're going to need a string of "big breaks" to ensure continued success.

Your leverage as an artist is not the label guy but your fan base - and nothing will motivate that big business player to work with you than recognizing that you are leading a proud and excited fan base. 

Which brings me to my next lesson,

5. More than labels, radio promoters, and managers, the FANS are the most important person in your life. Treat them accordingly. 

They are literally the pillars who hold you up and allow you to live the life of an artist - without their support, you would still be working as a bartender. If the idea of strangers wanting to get to know you frustrates you, if you have to keep “your privacy” and refuse to update your social media, if you don’t want to do the meet-and-greet after the show, then please, find a new career. 

These guys are your best friends, your allies, your cheerleaders. Love them, thank them, and always treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.

6. If you’re not regularly facing your demons, you’re not doing it right

If you spend a lot of time with me, you've heard this a bunch: That which is most sacred is most profaned. The enemy attacks things in the order of how holy they are. That which is most holy gets attacked first, with the most intensity and ferocity - and everything else get attacked according to the degree of its holiness.

In the human experience, what makes a person holy, but fidelity to God's will. Your faithfulness and obedience to God's call is both what makes you holy AND what the enemy is most attacking in your life.

Meaning: if your call in this life is to be a musician, than this path is going to be a minefield of anxiety, doubt, fear and insecurity. 

But why is this so?

As I try to make sense of it I've come to think that it is through the wounds of Christ that we are healed, and thus, as persons made in Christ's image, it is by facing our own wounds that Christ heals us. God doesn't just want you to be a successful musician, he wants you to be a holy one, one without fear, one without doubt, one living fully alive. But love can only cast out fear if we first face it.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Walking into the Unknown

I folded the screen of my laptop computer down and began to slowly inhale and exhale. I place my hand to my forehead to wipe the sweat away when I realize that my palms are sweating too. "Jesus," I pray, "I trust in You." It takes 10 minutes before my heart beat is normal again and I can return to my checklist. "Jesus," I pray again, "I trust in You".

For someone who talks to crowds night after night about stepping into fear, I find it ironic, that since moving into full-time ministry, I've never been more afraid. It seems nearly every day, God calls me to face a fear, a wound, a doubt, an anxiety. And no matter how many times I do it, it doesn't get easier, though the process is becoming routine. Cold sweats, nausea, indigestion...these things are as common as breathing in my life now - but here's the liberating fact, they no longer have power over me.

I'm finally back in Nashville after 3 solid months on the road and it's overwhelming to think about how much life has evolved. In the beginning of 2013, I was tempted to throw in the towel and give up. I had no record, no gigs, no fan base and after 6 months of songwriting under the mentorship of a well-respected music publisher, I had just flown to Colorado for a key meeting, with the hopes of signing my first deal, and I was stood up! I realized how amateur and vulnerable I was and the road ahead looked long, and hard, and uncertain. It felt like everyone around me was telling me how "great" I was, but no one was investing or keeping their promises. Everyone was keeping their distance, waiting to see what I would do and where I would go. I was alone.

I drove home to Louisiana for a weekend to try to sort things out and decide what I would do next. Who did I think I was, trying to "make it" in Christian music? I was trying to compete against the major labels and artists who had been touring for 10 or more years. And who was I, but a nobody waitress working at a mexican restaurant with little connections and even less money. Who was I kidding?

But when I imagined quitting, it was impossible. I couldn't separate my identity from writing music. When making of list of potential careers that interested me, the only one that did was Christian Music. There was no other desire. I remember thinking that I would prefer to be a homeless songwriter than not a songwriter at all. I wasn't willing to give up the desire.

And so I drove back to Nashville and released a 4-song EP, ADOREMUS. Within 24 hours, it was in the Top 100 on the iTunes Gospel New Release Chart. I began to book a few dates, on the weekend, in different cities around the country. In June, I hired a publicist and recorded a music video, in July I played my first series of summer camps and got fired from my restaurant job, by August I was featured on Sirius XM & Catholic TV and had been on the radio with the likes of Matt Maher, Ike Ndolo and even Audrey Assad, in September 30,000 copies of my single "Face to Face" had been given away and by October, I had counted that I'd only been in Nashville for a total of 5 days, because the rest of the time I'd been on the road, touring. I had traveled nearly 10,000 miles in 3 months and gone from a full-time waitress to a full-time, touring musician.

But would you believe, that this time of abundant blessing has also been the most difficult Fall of my life? I find that I'm constantly uncomfortable, constantly being asked to do things that terrify me like taking big financial risks, sifting through contracts, being asked to "prove" myself to major industry players and always being the musician with the least amount of record sales, smallest fan base and shortest time on the road. 
To make matters more difficult, through this process, the ugly, dark areas of my heart are being revealed to me. Like how deeply insecure I am about my voice & songwriting abilities, or how much of a people-pleaser I am, or how I don't really know much about the music business...

Yet between the new worries & the daily panic attacks, there's a sense of freedom. Freedom that fear does not control me and can not stop me. The knowledge that there is nothing physical that stands in the way between my heart's deepest desire and the God who shaped it. That I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am deeply aware that I stand at the bottom of a great mountain and that there is a long road in front of me. I am just beginning. But I am NOT stopping. Because this is my cross, my vocation, my calling. Daily, I experience healing as God draws me closer to Him. I need His perfect love, everyday, because it is the only things that casts out the fear. Because, when I look into my heart I find that there is no other desire, but this one: To pursue His heart.

So when the cold sweats come, when the nausea rears its ugly head, I say to myself the truest, most simple prayer of my heart, "Jesus, I trust in You". Then, I take a deep breath, pick up my cross and walk into the unknown.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

:: Featured in Worship Leader Magazine

What do Hillsong Live, Aaron Shust, New Life Worship and Tori Harris have in common?

They were each selected to appear on this month's issue of Worship Leader Magazine's SongDISCovery disc.

Get your issue today at:

Friday, August 30, 2013

:: Tori Harris Featured in "A Dreamer's Wife" Blog

This morning, Tori Harris was selected as the August 'Dreamer in the Spotlight' for popular blog, "A Dreamer's Wife". The article is a question/answer interview giving all the scoop from Tori's most recent tour through the North East, as well as a look into what's coming next.

Special thanks to Stefanie for writing the article! You can read it HERE

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

:: Cabrini Highschool Performance + Adoration

On August 27, Tori Harris drove down to New Orleans, Louisiana where she shared her testimony and led students in Adoration at Cabrini Highschool.