Anchored

Another year has come and gone… Recently coming back from a retreat with a theme of “Anchored”, we remember that Jesus is our anchor in the storm. Our hope is anchored in Him, especially when we’re faced with uncertainty or when oceans roar!

A lot can happen in a year and I’m sure we all had our fair share of ups & downs in 2018. Isn’t it always so easy to thank God and trust in Him when everything’s going your way? But when things start getting a little shaky, who do we hold onto? When our path starts to waver, who do we lean on?

Hebrews 2 challenges us to keep our hope in Christ and not on any other future hope. Jesus is our solid rock & firm foundation! In a construction sense, Isaiah 28:16 says that Jesus is a tested stone, or a cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. And those who believe in Him will not be disturbed. What a great promise that is!

You see, we have an assurance in our anchor, Jesus Christ. We won’t drift away or be shaken because like an anchor, what Jesus has done for us through His death & resurrection is the steadiness and security we desperately need! Without Him, we’re relying on our own strength and surely we’ll fail… Why wouldn’t we trust in the One who keeps us grounded in His never-ending love and consistently provides for us?

So with 2019 just around the corner, our hope & prayer for you is that you will be anchored in Christ. That could mean more Quiet Time during the week, keeping a steady Bible reading plan, attending an early morning prayer gathering, or maybe something else that the Lord is tugging you toward! But may next year be filled with much hope in Him as you continue to grow in the Word and seek Him more!

Happy New Year!

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” – Hebrews 6:19

Reflection Song: Christ Is

Top 10 Posts Of 2016

2016 was an interesting year, wasn’t it? It was full of ups & downs for entertainment, politics, and, I’m sure, for your personal lives as well. But it’s important to stay rooted in what helps you stay rooted in God. And so we thank you for joining us for another year of quick thoughts on our site. We hope to bring you new music in 2017, but in the meantime please enjoy our ten most visited entries of 2016:

1. Lent, Week 5: Prepare The Cross
2. Lent, Week 1: An Early 40 Days (Prepare Yourself)
3. Christ Is Risen!
4. Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart
5. Almost God
6. Good Friday?
7. Advent 3: JOY
8. Prepare The Way (Palm Sunday)
9. Lent, Week 6: Prepare Resurrection
10. Advent 4: PEACE

And here are our top posts from previous years. Thanks, everyone, and Happy New Year!

2015
2014
2013

Preparation

Winter Storm Jonas – aka Snowpocalypse 2016, Snowmageddon 2016, Snowzilla 2016… A lot of records were broken with some cities on the east coast reporting over 24 inches of snow, wind gusts over 85 mph, and unfortunately even deaths.

So you tell people there’ll be a major winter storm and what do they do? They stock up on food, water, supplies, flashlights, a full tank of gas in their cars… What do you do? You prepare!

And when it comes to what we do at church, it’s no different. The preacher prepares the sermon, the worship team prepares the songs, the fellowship committee prepares the refreshments, etc. But what about the rest of us? We come to church to worship God and how do we prepare? By waking up 30 minutes before worship, scarfing down whatever breakfast we can find, and barely making it to the first song?

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were prepared to do what they needed to do when they chose to worship God instead of King Nebuchadnezzar. And Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman at the well and emphasizes that how we worship is very important, which means the way we do the how is also important. That means it’s very possible to come to church and still completely miss the whole purpose of worship!

Everything we do from the moment we step outside of Sunday worship to the very moment we step back in the following Sunday is still worship. These gatherings of “corporate worship” on Sunday are an opportunity to turn our cries of private worship into a public one… the culmination of a whole week of worshiping turned into a response when we gather together.

All that we do leading up to Sunday worship is critical – from what we watch & read before going to sleep, to the music we listen to on the car ride to church, even our attitude & spirit as we walk into the sanctuary. As the church, we have a duty to prepare for worship just as much as the preacher and worship team. Let’s not simply go through the motions and “get away” with it. Let’s constantly be in the mindset of worship so that we can be ready when we meet together again.

Reflection Song: Prepare The Way

Top 10 Posts Of 2015

It was a great year for movies, music, and of course our blog! We’d just like to take a moment to extend our gratitude as we head towards the new year. It may have come and gone all too quickly for you, but we hope you can continue along this journey with us as we share posts with you in 2016. Here are our most visited entries of 2015:

  1. It Is Finished
  2. Smiling Galaxy Cluster
  3. In The Light
  4. Temple Of Legos
  5. Perfect Love (A Valentine’s Day Blog)
  6. Love God, Love Others
  7. Post-Easter Self-Control (Fruit of The Spirit)
  8. Christ Alone, Cornerstone
  9. Epic
  10. God Our King

And here are our top posts from previous years. Thanks, everyone, and Happy New Year!

2014
2013

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.

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

Top 10 Posts Of 2014

As this year comes to an end, we want to thank you for keeping in touch with us. Your tweets, messages, Instagram comments, etc. encourage us and we hope that our posts do the same for you. Here are our most visited entries of 2014:

  1. Hand Of God
  2. The In-Between: Transitions In Worship (As seen on The Church Collective)
  3. Honesty Is The Best Policy
  4. The Father Heart Of God
  5. Endless Love
  6. Jesus Saves
  7. The Day After The Most Depressing Day Of The Year
  8. True Love (A Valentine’s Day Blog)
  9. Multitasking God
  10. Masks And Make-Believe

And here are last year’s top posts. Thanks, everyone, and Happy New Year!

New Songs In Church

“Of course he’s doing his songs…” is what some may be suggesting when you use your own songs in church. But more on that in a little bit.

We’ve heard it many times before from Psalm 96: “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth”, which could refer to spontaneous times of worship or, for the purpose of this post, a new song you and your team have planned. For example, you’ve heard the new Passion or Hillsong album and you want to try the title track on a Sunday… what do you do?

When I select songs, I’m very intentional. What I mean by that is I make sure I’m not slapping together any 4 songs together as an “emergency setlist”. In fact, I often prepare setlists weeks in advance. This may come as a surprise to some of you, while for others it may be the norm already. But introducing new songs is the same deal: we don’t want to impulsively throw a new song at our congregation or even our team. It takes planning! In addition to our older post What Kind Of Songs Do You Pick?, here are a few thoughts when it comes to new songs:

  1. Listen to the song carefully. How easy is it for your average congregation to learn the melody? How many times would you need to “introduce” it before it’s more naturally sung? When we introduce a new song at our church, we use it about 3-4 times within 2 months (which may even involve back-to-back Sundays) before including it in our regular rotation of songs.
  2. In a given year, I only allow a handful of new songs. That means I may not even get to the latest single by “So-and-so Worship Artist” because I don’t want to overwhelm the church with too many new songs at once.
  3. If you plan on introducing a new song, always take a closer look at the lyrics and even ask your worship pastor (if you have one, or another one of your pastors) if it is scripturally sound.
  4. What other songs are you including when you lead this new song? Make sure that you are surrounding it with more recognizable songs to balance the familiarity of songs and flow of worship.
  5. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, notify your team in advance! The only thing that makes teaching a new song harder is a band that doesn’t completely know the song either. Imagine if you were out in the pews trying to learn the song but the lead vocalist is unsure of the melody… or the words on the screen don’t match… These factors make your job that much more difficult.
  6. Added bonus: if the song in question is played frequently on the radio and your church has some avid Star 99.1 / KLOVE / etc. listeners, then half the battle is won!

Once the new song is in place, feel out how the congregation is responding to this song to determine if it works (or will continue to work) in your church.

Now onto originals…

If you write your own songs, like we do, you may feel led to introduce some of them in church. This is where you really need to get objective and answer the same questions as unbiased as possible! With the songs that you write, do they fit in Sunday worship context? And feel free to check out other factors in What Kind Of Songs Do You Pick?.

We want to be careful that we don’t come across as “self-promoting” because that shouldn’t be the reason why we’re writing these worship songs in the first place. We’re not worship leaders to promote ourselves, but to promote Christ. And if we’re called to be worship leaders, we ought to be leading both on and off the stage. If we’re leading both on and off the stage, then your fellow brothers & sisters in Christ will probably be eager to learn something new with you!

For us, we generally use our songs if: A) it fits a sermon topic or theme for that particular day/event or B) if the song was birthed out of something we experienced together as a church. If you can relate to B, then that’s great! That means it’s not so much “my song” (you, the writer) but “our song” (us, the church)!

It’s easier said than done, for sure. You’ll find that you like these new songs, while your drummer will like those new songs, etc. But it goes back to what we wrote in our previous post: it’s important that as leaders we lead intentionally – this stems from the very beginning when we select the songs to how we decide to actually lead and connect these songs. Let’s be intentional and humble in all these processes. We’re merely the vessel for these songs to be led & sung in worship by the church to our Lord Jesus Christ!