New Year, New Store!

Hope everyone’s 2017 is amazing so far! Hard to believe that we’re already 8% through the new year already.

But we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce our new store! People have been asking us about new apparel and today’s the day we launch our latest design:

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For all you fans of the Netflix series Stranger Things, our latest t-shirt design is sure to turn things Upside Down! As always, the purpose of our apparel isn’t just to make clothes with our band name on it… the purpose is to allow the design to break the ice with someone so that you can tell them how Jesus is your shameless plug!

What better way to start a conversation than with Stranger Things?

Currently, this is the only t-shirt available in our store… You guys totally wiped us out of all our other shirts & hoodies (another popular item)! So for now, our only apparel are the ugly Christmas sweaters and this new Stranger tee. We’ve also added a new stock meter so that you can see how close things are to selling out. Don’t miss your chance to get these limited designs! Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

And if shipping isn’t your thing, you can always pick up any of our merch in person at an upcoming event in 2017 (dates coming soon)!

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O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Advent #4)

Isaiah 53 tells of a Savior who comes to pay the ransom of the captives. We know now that this is the Savior we rejoice in, our Lord Jesus Christ. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is an invitational song that calls us to acknowledge the coming of this Savior. It is said that there are 7 verses to this song – one verse per day to be sung leading up to Christmas.

I love this song because its lyrics are so poetic and the music has different possibilities as well. For us, we often sing it in the major key which makes it feel more hopeful and expectant of Jesus, though you may be more familiar with the style that is a bit more minor, which I think draws a tone that is more desperate and longing for Jesus. Either way, the idea we are looking at on this fourth and final week of Advent is how we look forward to the arrival of Christ the Lord.

And it’s finally here.

With Christmas just a few days away, I’m reminded of the lyrics in one of the verses: “O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here. Disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight.”

This is what we’ve been waiting for! “Dayspring”, meaning the dawn, has come and the darkness is no more because Jesus is born.

All the preparing, all the readying has led up to this moment. What we’re asking of Emmanuel (God with us) is big. This same God who has made the promise to deliver us from sin has fulfilled it by sending His one and only Son. There is no better news than this Good News, and though a baby, He is our King!

You may not be singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” every day this week but I hope in your heart you are preparing a way for the King. Though it’s often associated with Jesus’ birth, this song also hints to His second coming. I think this is a great way to tie together this Advent series… On the outside, much of what we have done (and are doing) this month may feel like “Christmas cheer” but in the end it should still be worship for the Savior of the world.

May your Christmases be filled with rejoicing as we celebrate the birth of the Lord who has come to set us free and bring joy to the world!

Reflection Song: Because Of Your Love

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Advent #3)

“Hark” means “listen” or “pay attention”. Isn’t it so easy to get distracted during Advent? We may not have the privilege of hearing angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King” like in this song but we do get to join with them and with all of creation in praising our Emmanuel, God with us!

Take a look at Luke 2:10-15. God grants us peace, just as we sing “peace on earth” thanks to Jesus, the Prince of Peace. So what does that cause us to do?

Not only is the song saying we should listen to the angels, but it actually invites us to “join the triumph of the skies”! What I’m saying is this: Christmas isn’t a passive, bystander, sideline-type event. Just follow the example of the shepherds in the passage. When they listened to the angels, it didn’t stop there – they acted upon it!

So what action is it for you today? Is it spreading the Gospel to frantic shoppers at the mall? Is it joining your local church’s caroling group? Is it helping the less fortunate on Christmas Eve/Day?

We always take this season to be a season of giving and receiving. But take a moment to “pay attention” and look further & deeper. In this season, what is this incredible peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7), causing you to do?

Let’s give glory to God in the highest!

Reflection Song: All To You

O Holy Night (Advent #2)

This week at our home church we sang “O Holy Night”, which may seem out of the ordinary since it’s a song typically sung on Christmas Eve. But the message of the song is something we can carry throughout all of this Advent season, isn’t it?

We’re always looking for a way to have a “holly jolly Christmas” when it is, in fact, a holy Christmas.

Is it holy when we get frustrated when another shopper takes our parking space? Or when you flip out when the item you’re looking for is out of stock?

While most of the time we may be running around like a headless chicken, checking off items on our shopping list, going from point A to point B to point C, etc., “O Holy Night” reminds us that we need to stop and give glory to the King. How are you spending your time leading up to Christmas?

Who knows? You could be having a great Christmas season. Or maybe you’re feeling nervous, concerned, or distressed. But consider this: we get to take part in something incredible together; looking forward to an event that is indeed a holy moment… the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Luke 2:8-11 says:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

What great news! We hope this truth brings you peace as you continue this second week of Advent. Christmas Eve may still be weeks away but that doesn’t make this song any less meaningful to us. Let’s keep preparing the way for Emmanuel, God with us, as we continue to shift our view of these popular Christmas carols.

Reflection Song: Here Today

O Come All Ye Faithful (Advent #1)

Right before the Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping craze, I saw stores starting to sell Advent Calendars (these are charts with numbered flaps, revealing a special message, picture, or prize as you count down to Christmas). And every year, without fail, I debate whether I should buy the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar. But this year, before I could even decide, it had already sold out online and in stores. Wow!

On this first week of Advent, we wanted to ask… How do you prepare yourself for Christmas? For many, it means getting your shopping done. Others might go all out with their lawn decorations. But the word “advent” is defined as the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. What are we counting down to?

To Christians, Advent is the coming of Christ. We’re preparing the way and getting ready to adore our Savior whose birth we celebrate on December 25. That’s the whole “reason for the season”! I hope you’re anticipating this celebratory moment as this special day approaches. In Luke 2:15-16, the shepherds were anxious for Jesus’ birth! They couldn’t wait to come and see, to greet Him, to honor and adore Him.

So for Week 1 of Advent, feel free to begin enjoying the festivities and jolly celebrations (after all, tonight is the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting) but don’t let that eclipse what this season is to our faith. Let’s be joyful and expectant this Advent Season:

Make a way for Jesus! O come, let us adore Christ the Lord!

We hope these short weekly excerpts will help you see these Christmas “carols” in a new light as we count down to Christmas together!

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.Psalm 95:6-7

Reflection Song: You Are Greater

Christ Alone, Cornerstone

We recently got back from leading praise at the GKUMC Retreat and from the worship, to the people, to even the food… what a weekend!

The theme of this retreat was Building Brick By Brick. Which may make you wonder, what’s at the base of your life? What’s your foundation? The writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The beautiful rest on the foundations of the necessary”, meaning that before a structure is built, it’s important to examine the foundation. In fact, other scholars, poets, and other notable figures have emphasized the importance of a solid foundation as well.

One reference that might come to mind is Matthew 7:24-27, which is the parable of The Wise And Foolish Builders (also known as “Build Your House On The Rock”).

But the idea is this: a foundation (or cornerstone) carries & supports not only the weight of the building, but also withstands any extra weight that may come its way such as the people, furniture, vehicles, etc. Therefore, good planning is a must! Without a solid foundation, you won’t have strong & level support for the structure.

Likewise, when we follow after Jesus and live by the Word of God, we are building upon the rock. The support we find with this Cornerstone would be able to withstand the extra weight of people, situations, difficulties, and other storms of life. But as we see in the passage in Matthew, those that don’t build their lives on solid ground but rather on sand will experience their structure falling with a great crash.

The way the retreat wrapped up was perfect. The backbone of that last message was to put God first. When you go through your list of important things, is He first? Or do you build your structure on fleeting things, unreliable objects, sinking sand? If we want to make it, we can’t do it on our own strength and planning. We need to live by God’s Word and trust in the course He’s set for us.

Simply put, we ought to follow after Jesus. I don’t know about you today but when I reflect upon my life, He’s been faithful time and time again. No one and nothing else can compare! Let’s continue to refocus and plan our lives to be built upon the solid rock, Jesus Christ, who gives us level support and satisfies our every desire!

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.Philippians 3:7-11

Reflection Song: Because Of Your Love

Fourth of July Giveaway!

With July 4th just around the corner, what better way to celebrate freedom than with some freebies?

Since our EP God Our King recently released, we want to give some copies away next week to celebrate. Entering is super easy and we’ll have 3 winners!

Friends, all you have to do is simply subscribe to our monthly mailing list… That’s it! If you’re already subscribed, then you’re in it to win it. You have until July 4th, 11:59pm EST to sign up. Winners will be contacted by e-mail on Monday, July 6th and will be mailed a physical copy of the CD.

Journey Of Faith

With summer here, many of us may be wrapping up the school year – some may have graduated from school while others may be moving on to a new job… Wherever we are, it’s important to continue to live faithfully in our Christian journeys.

Last month we had the opportunity to lead praise for the Cornerstone Church Retreat where the keynote speaker Rev. Brad Paik shared on this journey of faith. How often do you feel like your faith journey is out of touch with the rest of your life? It may be difficult to see right now, but when we take a step back we should be able to gauge where we are heading with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says that we live by faith and not by sight. Much of what we do – our actions, our impact, etc… – is visible but with God, sometimes things are unseen. Does that make it harder for you to grasp where God is leading you? It says in Luke 18:8, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Perhaps you have some aspects in your life you need to work on so that you are more available for the Lord. Continue to trust in Him even in the transitions or storms of this life.

Your next chapter may be here and the future may seem distant or unclear. But as we remain faithful, take one step at a time with God. He is with us and He is for us.

Reflection Song: Prepare The Way

God Our King

Day in and day out we depend on so many things: technology, schedules, our own strength… But when the storms of life hit us, who do we turn to? God, our King, is awesome in all the earth – the same God that breathes into our lives and our lungs, the same God that deserves the worship from our hearts and tongues. We should trust in Him and glorify Him above all.

The Bible says that even the kings of the earth belong to God (Psalm 47)! When we think of this King of kings who is all powerful, yet sends His Son to make us new, it’s just so humbling and amazing!

If you take a look at our album art for the EP of the same name, you’ll see the irony of the crown. Jesus, who should be crowned with honor and glory (Hebrews 2:9), suffered the mockery of the crown of thorns. We trust in God our King who cancels the record of our sins and makes us new through the grace of His redeeming Son.

God Our King
Words & Music by Andy Lee

Lord of heaven and of earth, You’re the last and You’re the first
You stand firm when all else falls apart
You’re my anchor in the storm, You’re my shield and You’re my sword
I will trust in all You say You’ll do

Majestic in power
The King of kings

From my life to my lungs
You’re breathing Your breath in me
From our hearts to our tongues
We give glory to God our King

Spirit of the living God, You give life that goes beyond
Any sin and every kind of grave
Make us one, it’s by Your love; Make us new, it’s by Your blood
By the grace of Your redeeming Son

You are, You are
Maker of all the earth
You are, You are
King of the universe

Because Of Your Love

We owe it all to God – our hearts, our words, our lives… every moment. 1 John 3 says that if we are children of God then we will do right because of His love for us. “What great love the Father has lavished on us!” (1 John 3:1)

And it’s because of this great love offered to us that we are able to offer everything to Him. Our song “Because Of Your Love” is a list of results of God’s incredible love for us as a response of worship.

Just as it says in Ephesians 2:4-9, we have been made alive with Christ because of God’s grace and love. So with these new & transformed lives, we now make Him our purpose and our focus. After all He’s done and all He does, how could we do anything less?

Because Of Your Love
Words & Music by Andy Lee

My heart is bursting with the massive love that You have for me
My heart is chasing after You, oh God, You’re the lover of my soul

It is Yours
After all You’ve done

Because of Your love I’m saved by grace
Because of Your love I’m unashamed
Because of Your love I say Your Name
Because of Your love, because of Your love I’m changed

My life is bought by the blood of Christ that was bled for me
My life is naught unless it’s lived for You, You captivate my heart

Every word and every thought
It is Yours after all is done
Every moment that I’ve got
It is Yours after all You’ve done