Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

So often in life we say, “thanks”. We instinctively reflex and it comes out, or we say it begrudgingly, or sometimes (sometimes) we really mean it. But just as many of us grew up reading, the Bible gives us one really good reason to be thankful:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…”Psalm 107:1-2

During Thanksgiving time, it’s easy to “give thanks”. Going around the dinner table sharing what you’re thankful for, or going to church and giving a little more for offering during Thanksgiving. I mean, what’s not to be thankful for?

Plenty, actually!

We can count our blessings, be grateful for all the stuff we own, or the people we know, but what about the difficult situations? What about the difficult people? For some of us, what about that difficult job, or that difficult family member? Are you still thankful?

I was reminded of the story of the Israelites fleeing from Pharaoh’s men in Egypt. There was no guarantee of safety. There was an army chasing after them. It seemed like the worst day in the world. How can they give thanks? How can they be grateful?

We all have storms in life. We go through things where it feels like there’s no hope. But just as the Israelites did, we need to trust God even in the rockiest moments. And maybe you’ve had that kind of moment already where you can look back and realize that God was working on a solution for you, where God pulled you to safety so that you too would have a story to share. …Maybe you’re going through that moment even now. But that shouldn’t stop us from praising the Lord or offering a heart of thanksgiving.

It’s easy to be thankful for the great & fluffy things. But look at the trials & storms around you. Can you be more grateful for these as well, for how God is using them and using you to give you a story of His faithfulness? I know I need to work on this as well! So won’t you join me this Thanksgiving and shift your perspective a little bit so that we ask God for His clarity in order to see that indeed He is always good & that His love endures forever. Let’s truly give thanks for everything with a grateful heart…

Reflection Song: All To You

Epic

The word “epic” can be defined as: a long poem or narration telling of heroic deeds, figures, or adventures. But more commonly, we probably use it as an adjective defined as: monumental, great, grand, etc.

Either way, we got to be a part of Saga Church’s pre-launch service last Sunday for their new ministry: EPIC.

It all goes back to where we come from with our band name, Shameless Plug. Everyone has a story to tell and at the center of ours is Jesus. We want to make Jesus our shameless plug in this world so that He would be that epic heroic figure.

In John 3:16-17 it says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

We experience so many moments and events in our lives but nothing is as epic as the way that we were saved by the grace of Jesus Christ! If we had one reason to boast in His name and proclaim the good news, this would be it!

So today you may be considering things to be amazing and awesome, but what’s receiving the glory? Do you see God as epic as He really is in your life? Let’s shift our perspective to the great story that God is writing in our lives and be bold & boast in Him!

Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31

Reflection Song: God Our King

God Our King Released Today!

Friends,

‘God Our King – EP’ released today in digital stores! If you haven’t already, please check it out when you get a chance. This is a limited release so if you are interested in a physical copy, be sure to order one in our Store!

As always, feel free to help spread the word on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with hashtag #GodOurKing!

‘God Our King – EP’ is available for download in our Store, iTunes, GoogleAmazon, and CD Baby. Stay tuned for more information and thanks everyone!

-Shameless Plug

In The Light

We just spent most of this week with Pilgrim Youth Group at their “In The Light” winter retreat. Looking back, I can’t imagine a better way to wrap up 2014 and kick off 2015! There were incredible times of worship, fellowship, and new relationships being made… an all-around encouraging retreat. But when I heard the theme “In The Light”, I couldn’t help but think about the old dc Talk song from my own youth group days. The lyrics go like this:

I keep trying to find a life on my own, apart from You
I am the king of excuses – I’ve got one for every selfish thing I do
What’s going on inside of me? I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions that I’m still a man in need of a Savior

I wanna be in the light as You are in the light
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my light and be my salvation ’cause all I want is to be in the light

Maybe you’re reflecting upon the past year and as you look at yourself you see darkness, regret, or shame. But on the contrary, we are co-heirs with Christ who are meant to shine! We’ve all heard the passage before from Matthew 5: you are the light of the world… So where does that leave us?

We ought to strive to be the light we were meant to be – to strive to be more like Jesus! We believe 2015 is going to be a great year… not just because of all the new movies coming out or our own personal New Year’s resolutions, but because it’s another year to press on and reflect the image of Christ (and you can’t create a reflection without light!). That means in your schools, homes, workplaces, etc. too!

Start this new year by admitting that you’re not perfect but need the One who is. Jesus is the One we need and the One we need to obey. Let’s work on being more like Him, making our lives holy and pleasing sacrifices of worship, and trusting in His holy Name. No regrets, no guilt, no fear… let this year be a year where you prosper – make 2015 a great year for a new “you” to be in the light and shine the light of God!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Reflection Song: Christ Is

Endless Love

How amazing is God’s love? It is everlasting. It is unconditional. It knows no bounds.

We recently led worship at IN2 Church’s Crosswalk lock-in where they had the banner above, representing God’s neverending love for us. Throughout the night, people wrote on heart-shaped post-its with what they are thankful for and posted it on this banner. This should get us thinking… especially in this Thanksgiving season, what are you grateful for?

Lamentations 3:22 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” One thing we can count on is God’s never failing love for us. And with His one and only son, Jesus, and the cross, we see His love displayed for us and making a way for us. This endless love is not something foreign or alien, but familiar and given freely to us by the grace of God. Because His love is endless, so should be our response! This reminded us of our song Unending Praise:

Lord, I live for You… Lord, I give to You unending praise, unending praise. More than anything, be my everything. We give You praise, unending praise.

Just as how we are the recipient of God’s unending love, may God receive unending praise from us – that our response to His love may be worship, that our lives would be worship, and He would be the object of our worship.

No matter what hardships you may be going through & experiencing, remember your relationship with the Lord and who He is. For starters, Psalm 145 says He is gracious, compassionate, loving, and good… so you are not in this alone. God is for us and Jesus Christ is the sign of His perfect love for us. Be encouraged today as you begin a new week for His glory. Be thankful and find peace & joy in His endless love for you!

Reflection Song: Here Today

Don’t Be Left Out!

Don’t be left out! We are officially running low on our current “Snellen Chart” t-shirts (can you read what it says?). Only a few left in each size/color (medium in navy sold out) so head over to our Store to place an order, or visit our next event’s merch table!

What kind of design/colors would you like to see for our next shirt?

Radio Play Update

It’s been a little quiet as we’re preparing for some retreats this summer, but it’s so encouraging to see that our music is still being heard! We just saw an update today on some new plays across the world in countries like Austria, Namibia, and Ukraine.

If you have yet to get our album, you can buy it in our Store or on iTunes, or even stream it on Rdio!

And feel free to send us an e-mail if you’ve been using any of our songs for worship at your church! We’d love to hear how God is being glorified in your ministries.

Unending Praise Turns 1!

Can you believe that we released our debut album Unending Praise 1 year ago today? We’re so thankful for all the supporters of our music & ministry over the years, and we know that this is just the beginning!

Still don’t have a copy of our CD?

Why settle for $14.98 at FYE, $19.09 at Tower Records, $23.39 at Amazon, $28+ on eBay, or anywhere else? Here are a couple ways to get our CD as low as $5 for this 1 year mark!

CD Baby has a deal that offers 3 CDs for $5 each (including Unending Praise). Unfortunately, it’s a bit tough finding albums this way, so we’ll also be running a promotion in our store for merch bundles. If you’ve always wanted our Snellen T-shirt for cheap, this is your chance too! And as always, you can stream our music with services such as Rdio (direct link).

New music is on its way! We’ve written several songs already and can’t wait to share more information soon on how we can make this happen together. Thanks, everyone, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

(Wow that’s a lot of links. But one last thing: don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list to get a free download of our Easter song “He Has Overcome”! Stay tuned tomorrow as we continue our blog series for Lent.)