It’s time to get to the bottom of Peter Furler. You were curious (and so were we) what inspires the shiny-headed, pensive and poetic Aussie who fronts the Newsboys? Why the shaved head? What’s up with those quirky lyrics? You asked and we got … the answers. Read on.
Peter Furler is one tricky package to unwrap. On the surface, this dark-eyed rock singer may appear brooding and complicated, but inside he bubbles light and simple wisdom. Continually poking at life from every different angle, Furler discovered that everything does really point to God. And that, my friends, changed everything.
1. It seems as though the group (Newsboys) has had a great spiritual growth. What were the biggest contributors to that growth? – Paula Bright, Hill AFB,Utah
In the last few years, we’ve been asking for the Lord to teach us His ways and to lead us, guide us and help us to seek first His kingdom. We’ve also asked Him to give us a love for His Word. That prayer has been answered.
2. How do you keep a balance between Peter Furler, well-known Christian celebrity and Peter Furler, man of God? – Gina DeLude, Carson, Wash.
Well, I try to ignore the first guy. I try to make him decrease. One of the most wonderful things John the Baptist said was, “Christ must increase and I must decrease.” That’s a model for all of us. So, that’s how I deal with that guy. I try to kill him is what I try to do.
3. What has God been teaching you lately in your quiet times? – Kim Hankins, Escondido, Calif.
To be more quiet, listen and obey. If we get those things sorted out in that order, then great things can happen.
4. As a popular Christian music group, does it concern you that fans might be worshipping you, rather than who you sing for? How do you handle this? – Lori Johnson, Florence, Ore.
I don’t feel that people are really doing that, to be honest. That’s old school. It’s an old myth. I think people are more mature than that. They know that’s not what they need to be doing. I don’t entice it, that’s for sure.
5. Why do Christian music stars look the same as secular stars? Shouldn’t we be standing out from the world? – Darrell Gus, Madera, Calif.
I can only speak for myself. Every bit of clothing I have on could be bought at any department store in America. There are some who are probably trying a little too hard to be relevant. I don’t agree that that’s the way to people’s hearts, not people that you want to reach. On the other side of it, I don’t know how much it depends on what people think people should look like. Let’s look at the facts: If John the Baptist walked into a church dressed in camel hair, chomping on a locust with a bit of honey dripping down the beard, he’s probably going to look like he’s out of any rock band these days. But, whenever you wear something a certain way to try to impress people and feel that’s the only way you can have an encounter with them, you might be on the wrong path.
6. What made you shave your head? Is it a statement or a preference? – Jerry Polorny, North Manchester, Ind.
I shaved it when I was about 15 years old, and that was probably a statement. I was into skateboarding, and I was just a punk. Now, it’s more a preference. You know how people part their hair a certain way because they feel that it might look a little better that way for them? For me, I feel a bit better without.
7. Have you ever been secretly envious of Phil Joel’s long, blonde tresses? – Abbey Stirgwolt, Wadsworth, Ohio
Yes. One time, we were in South Dakota. It was December, and it was freezing cold. We were walking in this blizzard, to a bookstore, and I was quite jealous of it then, because his head looked a lot warmer than mine.
8. Your lyrics are such graphic mental pictures: “They don’t serve breakfast in hell,” “I’d rather be dipped in bubonic plague,” “Bury them all (burdens) in a landfill.” How do you come up with these lyrics? – Sheri Nelson, Magalia, Calif.
The world is kind of that way isn’t it? I would say it’s a few things. One would be the culture we’re from. We come from the deep South, you know, a long way across the earth (Australia). Also, the guy that I write a lot of the songs with, Steve Taylor, is someone who has traveled the world. He’s a great lyricist. He comes up with most of the good stuff.
9. What do you do when you’re not singing? – Bethany Cook, Gerber, Calif.
When I’m not singing, I read. I like to read a lot, chat with friends and spend time with my wife (Summer).
10. Are there children in your and Summer’s future? – Connie Schilling, Vacaville, Calif.
Well, I’m not sure I’m the one to answer that. In the last few years, we’ve had all sorts of strange happenings in the group. It’s been made clear to us that children are a blessing from the Lord. We don’t have much say over when we’re born, who our parents are, what our name is going to be or when we die. So, for people to say, “I’m going to have three kids, you know ? ” Do I love kids? Yes. Would we like to have them? Yes.
11. What is the one question you would ask the Lord if you could ask at this very moment? – Ashley Busk, Auburn, Calif.
It’s questionable whether we could even speak. But if I could, I would ask Him, “When? When does earth finish and heaven start?” I know it might be a different time for all of us, but how long? How long do we gotta sing this song?
12. Do you ever get bored of performing and just wish you had a normal life? – Kimmy Anderson, Elbert, Colo.
I don’t know what a normal life is. I don’t know if anybody has a normal life, really. Even someone who might think their life is quite boring still probably isn’t normal, because it’s a boring life then, isn’t it? I think it’s dangerous to think like that. I’ve found when you start thinking about what you’re going to do with your life, you start to think about yourself too much. One of the most dangerous questions we can ask is, “What am I doing? What am I going to do with my life? What am I?” So, I don’t think that way. I usually think, “What can I do? What should I do?”
13. What did you want to be when you grew up? – Eric Campos, El Paso, Texas
My first job out of school was as an aquatic instructor, which was teaching people to surf, canoe, swim and scuba dive. I thought that was what I was going to do in my life. But my parents moved to Queensland, a couple of thousand miles away. I told them I wanted to keep the job, and they said that was fine. So, I helped them move up there ? and I never went back (he stayed in Queensland). I know now that was what you would call a defining moment in my life, where things would be a lot different if I hadn’t taken that path.
14. Have you considered doing a solo album? – Dean Hamilton, Papillion, Neb.
Not really. I’ve thought about it, but at the moment, there’s so much work with the Newsboys. I’m a bit of a team player. Phil is a far superior singer than I am. Jody is too. So, I really need those guys, and Duncan’s drumming and Jeff’s keyboard-playing, and Jody’s guitar and Phil’s bass. They add so much, that if I didn’t have them, I would probably be in a lot of trouble.
15. What do you think is God’s vision for the future of the Newsboys? – Anna Schumann, Denver, Colo.
For us to decrease and Him to increase, that’s a continuum. I think it’s a matter of seeking, more fervently, the kingdom, and looking after your families and loving them as Christ loved the church. That’s enough for a man to do in his life.
16. What inspires you? – Douglas Clifford, Auburn, Calif.
People inspire me. Creation inspires me. And the Creator inspires me. A mistake we make is we don’t stop to smell the roses. I really see God in creation. And that’s something I haven’t always done. I’ve just asked God to show me His wonders, and He has.
17. What’s your favorite thing about Jesus? – Jaina Gulseth, Redmond, Ore.
Obviously, His blood is my favorite thing. I like that He’s unpredictable and He can’t be set in a profile. I like about Him that there’s no better alternative.
18. What are your top three reasons for loving God? – Alex Do, Hanover, N.H.
My first one would obviously be for what He has done through His Son. Another thing is that He loved me first. I think I love Him because He is love. We can love Him because of who He is, too. He is mysterious in some ways, but I guess that’s what I love about the Bible. I love that He has left His Word here and it’s something that, when I walk through, I get to know Him better and I love Him more. Also, I love that there wasn’t anything that He left out of the Bible. The Bible tells us everything. It covers even the heartache of mankind, the joy and the hope.
19. What is your definition of being a Christian? – Daisy Lopez, Chicago, Ill.
It would be someone who is a disciple of Christ. Someone who believes that Jesus is who He said He was and is. That’s what it is to love Christ and to believe: to follow His commands.
20. What are some of the things you do daily to keep your eyes and mind on God? – Angela Heath, West Jordan, Utah
Getting a holy habit of spending time in His Word is a discipline. It’s not to try and gain knowledge, but you become a lot more aware of God when you’re in His Word. You start to know what the Shepherd’s voice sounds like because you’ve known what He has said before. It’s a habit of starting the day out that way, for me, personally. Again, it’s asking for that love for the Word; it’s a prayer that God seems to be quite swift in answering.
21. What is the most valuable thing you have learned in all your years as a Newsboy? – Emily Annis, Wallingford, Conn.
Deny yourself as a sacrifice unto the Lord. The key is in the last few words: as a sacrifice unto the Lord. Believe me, I don’t want to come off sounding like I’m a saint, and I do this all the time. This is just the most valuable thing I know. Whether I’ve learned it or not, I’m not sure. But it’s something I practice. What it means is that a lot of times we want things our own way or we feel so strongly about something that to surrender is really hard. I don’t think we should ever try to do things to make other people happy. I think we should do things as a sacrifice unto the Lord, which in turn, will make people happy.
22. Aside from the Bible, what book or author do you get inspiration from? – Cynthia Donna, Rio Ranch, N.M.
I have about 10 writers that I really enjoy. I’ll just name a few: Philip Yancy, Frederick Beekner, CS Lewis, GK Chesterton and Thomas Merton.
23. If you could be someone in the Bible who would it be and why? – Jenny Salgado, Glendale, Ariz.
I think what the question means is, is there someone in the Bible who I have admired? Obviously, other than our Savior, it would probably be Daniel. I love reading the book of Daniel. We can get so caught up in our own subculture ? It’s getting kind of crazy where we have our own music festivals, our own bumper stickers, our own T-shirts and our own rock stars. We get in this little camp. I don’t think we’re going to reach the world that way. I’m not saying that we’ve got to be like the world, but we are in it. Daniel was a great example of someone who stuck to the rock. He was someone who was highly esteemed by God. He was a strong believer and a great man, but he was also in government, and it was believed that he possibly ran Babylon for a few years while King Nebuchadnezzar went mad. So he was someone who stuck to his principles. I think he wasn’t trying to please anybody except God. I like people like that.
Copyright © 2004 Christian Music Planet, used with permission.
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