Sunday, July 2, 2017

TAKE THAT BOOK: M@'s Book @ Creation Fest East

Hello you beautiful followers of Relient K,

My name is Nicholas Michael Reeves, who most call Cole. I’m from Middleburg, Florida, a small rural town just southwest of Jacksonville. I am writing for the Freshest Blog In The World to tell you a super rad story that happened at Creation Fest East in Mount Union, Pennsylvania. If you were at the show, or if you watched the live stream that is now on Youtube, you may be asking the questions: Why did the crowd keep chanting, “Take That Book?” What book was this? Who wrote this book? And why?

Well first, I’ll tell you the short scoop of what went down:

I drove 877 miles with a book in hand that I wrote for Matthew Arnold Thiessen. I came to give it to him, to say thank you, to tell him of the profound ways his lyrics, words, and music have shaped and molded the heart that beats within me today. That book was given to him, in front of the 50,000 person audience in the mountains of Pennsylvania, with only two songs left on their setlist. M@ walked to the end of the stage, received it from my hands, and set it atop his piano. He then sang the bridge of Be My Escape with my book wrapped around the microphone. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

So yeah, that’s the short scoop. But who wants the short scoop? You folks who are reading this most likely love and appreciate the wonderful, esoteric world of RK, and that means you probably love details, and stories, and life, and all the good, beautiful things. So I’m going to tell you all about it: my trip, the show, the book, and the heart behind it all.

3 weeks ago, I was drinking a cup of coffee in my hometown, and I thought, I want to write Matthew Arnold Thiessen a book, and I want to drive to Pennsylvania to give it to him. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted it to entail, or how I wanted to go about it, but I began writing it anyway. On the first page of the book I wrote this:

“I am writing you a letter for so many reasons, the first being to say thank you. The second, to describe to your influence on my heart and my soul. The third, to describe the profound ways you have changed the fabric of my life and my becoming. The fourth, to tell you a story, or actually, many, many stories, that all lead back to one. And the fifth, to hear myself let you hear me.”

So basically, I wrote M@ a book about who I am because of Relient K. Through Relient K, God has gripped my heart, maneuvered me into a walk with Him, and drawn me into a life of His upward calling. I summed it up to M@ like this:

“I believe the Holy Spirit has gripped my heart, maneuvered me in and drawn me to a path of Christ’s upward call through the far-reaching branches of your deeply-rooted writing. I’ve experienced an imprinting on my heart, the truths of the Gospel, the wonders of grace, the miracles of healing, the essentiality of the cross in the frameworks of each distinct part of my life, and an abundance of other things like that as well, through your voice.”

That will be all that I quote from the book I wrote M@. After all, it’s his book, and for him and only him, but I wanted to paint for you the picture:

I wrote Matthew Arnold Thiessen to thank him, to tell him I’m so grateful for his lyrics, his words, and his melodies. To tell him is a hero to me, a role model, a friend, and brother in Christ. To encourage him and portray to him that his writing led some random young kid in the Sunshine State into a deep, intimate relationship with Christ.

I went about telling him this through the lens of the 2009 record Forget and Not Slow Down. I told my testimony throughout each song, citing lyrics from the record, sequentially, that told of my battles and struggles as a Christian, and as a human.

I am a firm believer that this is the most beautiful record ever made by Relient K. Its raw, honest, vulnerable and deep-rooted aura is so unique in the world of music, Christian rock, punk, etc. When I think about FANSD, I think first about the beautiful truth of grace. The record has time and time again allowed me to explore into the parts of me that are supremely broken, and that exploration has led me to a place of understanding God’s healing hand, and his sovereign touch.

I also think about forgiveness, I think about restoration, and I think about a look into a well in the desert, from a lion too recognized by defeat, as he shakes his mane, and overcomes, all in the hands of Christ.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t listened to FANSD (I’d be shocked if that were the case), go listen to FANSD, like right now. It’s way better than this, I promise you. If you’ve listened but not so intently, go challenge the record. It’ll do much more than prove itself to you.

So yeah, that was the scope of the book. It was super long, and I hand wrote it in this book I got from India. It was leather and what not, and it’s pages were crisp. Nothing like fresh paper and a nice expensive pen. Ha.

So then I drove to Pennsylvania. The drive was captivating and mesmerizing. Being from Florida, I never get to see mountains or hear streams flowing through them. By the time I reached Agape farm and watched RK checking the sound, I wanted to move to the great state of PA. It was so very beautiful.

So the show starts, and I am in the front section near the right of the stage, and everyone around me is asking about the book I am holding in my hands. So I told the short scoop that I told above: “I’m from Florida, I wrote M@ a book about how his words has shaped my testimony and my walk with Jesus today.” Everyone thought it was super neat, they were super encouraging, and so kind.

As more and more people began spreading the word about the book I’d written, the conversations about it grew. Before I knew it, people were giving me their front row spots against the railing so that I could get close enough to M@ for him to come get the book.

If you’ve never met an RK crowd, you should know, the RK family is close-knit & sincere, and the environment of there shows is so uniquely cool.

So the show starts, and let me just say, it was A M A Z I N G. It was my 5th time seeing the K Car, and tied with every other time for the best show I’d ever seen. They played a variety of the old goods and the new goods, and I poured all my heart out into that Pennsylvania night, singing loudly along to the RK melodies.

When the 8th song started, a group behind me exclaimed, “Tell M@ you have a book for him!” I had been waving the book and yelling his name between every song, but I was not taking it seriously enough. I was just jamming. So from then on, I really started screaming between every song. Yelling as loud as I could to get his attention. All of a sudden, I had about 50 people screaming along with me. But M@ still could not hear us. After all, the festival was massive, and the lights were probably blinding for those on stage. It was getting discouraging to want to give him the book and him not hear us, but I knew it would all work itself out.

With just 2 songs left, after Mountaintop and Don’t Blink, a group behind me started a chant: “TAKE THAT BOOK! TAKE THAT BOOK! TAKE THAT BOOK!”

I’d say a hundred people joined in, but M@ thought we were singing Jingle Bells. Then Hoopes looks over at him and says something along the lines of “Bro, I think they’re saying, take that book!” And then M@ goes, “Oh, yeah, take that book!” And he runs out to me. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

When M@ ran out, he bent down to talk to me and said, “This is mine?” “Yes,” I said. “You wrote a book for me?” He was so astounded. “For you, I wrote it for you. It’s my testimony, it’s FANSD, my walk, who I am. Thank you so much, I love you man!” He smiled so big. It was so b e a u t i f u l. As he walked away, I broke down, weeping.

I’d say I wept for a thousand reasons in that one tiny moment that forever changed me as a person.

My dear friend looked at me, and crying, said, “That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” I asked what was meant by that, and why, and she said, “In that moment you were doing everything you were born to do.”

My gratitude to that line extends further than words could ever say, but here is why that moment meant what it did to me:

I am a person who loves writing, who loves love, who loves pouring my heart into everything I ever find. I love people, I love art, I love honesty and courage and transparency. I love showing gratitude, I love kindness, and I love Jesus.

And in that moment, I got to thank the one person who has taught me so many of those precious things throughout the last seven or eight years.

I finally was able to pour my heart into him, to tell him everything I had always wished to tell him, to recognize as him as being a dear friend, leader, and mentor of mine.

I think many of you know exactly what I am saying and what I mean:

Matthew Arnold Thiessen has reshaped so many of our hearts and souls. He has given the Relient K fan base a new ‘language,’ I call it, to talk and approach the world in a way that is tangible but yet so mysteriously beautiful.

Without him, we wouldn’t know the world we know, and we would not see the world we see, we would’ve never heard music the way we do now, we would not read poetry, or lyrics, the same.

We would not see the moon and think of not photographing it.

We would not see a hospital and think of salvation on a deathbed.

We would not think anything too special when the weather was clear and the high was 75.

We would not know of the music we have always craved that breaks our heart so much for the Lord, but also draws us and pulls us into Him.

We probably would not know the word proverbial.

And there are a million other examples!

And I finally got to thank him for those things, those life-changing, soul-altering things.

So I wept. I wept because I’ll never be the same, and I never was the same, now 0r when I met Relient K through my sister’s car speakers back in 2009.

The RK crowd was so kind to me. I had a family there. Before I knew it, so many people were getting my number, and my Instagram (@nicholasmichaelreeves), and those things. I met people from several states, a wonderful group of men from Brunswick, GA, who I want to start a band with.

I was crying, years worth of tears, and I was being hugged and lifted up and cherished. The people were so beautiful, so sincere, so genuine and real and authentic.

When Be My Escape played, M@ picked up my book from the piano he originally rested it on and sang the bridge through the pages of the words I had written him. I was crying so hard I could not see that that was happening until family around me told me so.

I remember weeping through the second chorus of Don’t Blink. You know, “Hold on, now don’t you blink, or it’s gone.”

That song always reminds me of my great aunt, the most wonderful lady in the world. Though she is growing old and her life is difficult, her heart is seeping with contagious, pure joy. To see her is to watch a sunrise forever. I love her. The lyric from that song, “You’re the only person who reminds me, love is beautiful and true, life is beautiful and new,” has always reminded me of her.

So you can see I was a mess, haha.

When the show ended, M@ ran off the stage with the book I had written him. It was a beautiful sight. (Sorry if I’ve used that word too much — there is no better one to use).

I began walking to my car as I had to begin my 877-mile journey back home.

I drove in silence for a time, taking in the mountains lit fully by fireflies. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.

After 15 hours, I made it home. The last 2 hours of the drive, I listened to FANSD, and cried, thanking God for his beautiful orchestration. For making me His, for loving me, and for providing me with such influences like Thiessen & Hoopes & Douglas & Tom Brey.

After the nap I took when I got home, I went and told my aunt the story. The same aunt that has always been the face of the song Don’t Blink for me.

I told her this whole story and I read her the entire book I wrote for M@. I was highly emotional. When I finished, she looked at me and said, “I know exactly how you feel about this, and why you feel that way?”

“How?” I asked.

To which she responded, “Because you’re my Relient K.”

Those words will be on my body on a day when she’s no longer here. I’m sure you can imagine what such words mean to me, what they would mean to any follower of RK.

What I can say from all of this is that I am incredibly grateful for Relient K, for all they have taught me, for their ‘language,’ for their understanding, for their persistence in writing and making beautiful sounds.

I am constantly and eternally changed by Matthew Arnold Thiessen, and that is beautiful to me.

If you are still reading this, I thank you so much. This is so dear to me, and I hope it is for you, too.

Again, my name is Nicholas Michael Reeves, who most call Cole. I’d love to talk with anyone and everyone about Jesus, about RK, about life, about music, about mostly anything.

Find me on IG or email me:

With love in Christ,


P.S. watch the livestream here:

M@ gets the book right after Mountaintop, with about ten minutes left in the video.

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