Embrace [Songs of Brokenness]
-- THE EMBRACE (Songs Of Brokenness) -- An entirely new direction in ministry than he was once focused on, Mike began receiving a strong vision of an 'authentic, Scripture-based, unashamed worship' experience from the Lord towards the beginning of 2008. As he dug into the heart of God's inspiration for this project, it was quickly realized that Mike's burden for worship extended far beyond a single album, and two years later, the first entry in a new series of worship albums has been released bearing the badge of this new vision. 'I feel that we, as a church culture, can very easily fall into very safe and comfortable places when it comes to worshipping our God through music. My heart simply breaks when I think of how much of our overwhelmingly amazing Lord we leave on the table by not engaging Him directly through our words, hearts, and spirits. I by no means feel like I have the single solution to an issue like this, but I want to stay faithful to the God I am indebted to forever and follow this passion.' The lyrical content of THE EMBRACE comes almost directly from Scripture, many songs quoting the Bible verbatim. Other lyrics address the heart & spirit of the worshipper, and digs after a deeper intimacy & understanding of Christ. Musically speaking, THE EMBRACE matches up up-tempo beats & anthem guitars with joyous cries of praise, minor chords & subtle percussion with groans of the heart, and soft acoustic guitars & pianos with intimate prayers. 'It got pretty daring,' Mike chuckles, '...but it went where it went. I didn't want these honest, raw lyrics -- or 'musical conversations', as I now call them -- to be draped across a bland, simplistic, 'vanilla' musical backdrop. God calls us to praise Him with our instruments as well as our voices, and I feel that some of the most worshipful moments on this album for me are moments that involve little (if any) singing at all.' The follow-up to THE EMBRACE, aptly-titled THE RISING (Songs Of Redemption), is already in the works to be released in early 2011, and Mike will continue developing the vision for the project from there. 'I don't know what's next... all I know is what God wants to do with this single moment, right here, right now. At this very moment, He's not looking for my faithfulness years down the road...He wants my faithfulness with what's right in front of me. And He wants it NOW. He's blessed this whole project so far in more ways than I can begin to list... The least I can do is continue releasing this heart for worship to the Lord, to allow Him to mold & craft it...' as Mike smiles, '...and not try to steal it away from Him.' Each album in the worship series will also be released with a 40-day devotional that corresponds with each song's lyrics and the Scriptures that they encompass. Devotionals can be accessed through Mike's ministry website. The release of THE EMBRACE also marks the launch of slavespiritministries, an entity that Graff himself founded. 'The meaning behind slavespiritministries is exactly what it sounds like: Our spirits are to be enslaved to our God. Nothing less. He bought us at a price, and we should have absolutely no reason to be frustrated with the fact that He's the one who should be calling the shots with our lives.' As slavespiritministries seeks to work with artists in songwriting, spiritual development, producing, engineering, and recording, it will exist as the label that Mike's collection of worship albums will be released from, starting with THE EMBRACE, continuing with THE RISING, and moving from there. Mike's passion is not easily hidden throughout his work in this ministry -- 'This is His doing. I'm just excited to be a part of it.'