9.25.2015

The past week has been an extremely busy one.

If you didn’t know, we released the first single “Center My Life” from our upcoming record “This Glorious Grace”!

This has taken lots of time and work, but we are so stoked to have finally started the release process! Here is the live video for the first single, “Center My Life”!

Along with the live videos, we have made tons of other resources to come out with the songs! Each song has a video the explains the story behind the song featuring the writers of the song. These videos are some of my favorite parts of this whole album project. The videos show the heart behind the songs, the theology, and what was happening in these songs and how they came to life. Here is the story behind the song “Center My Life” featuring two of my good friends, Brett Land & Aaron Ivey.

We also have resources for worship pastors and band members for each song as well! This has been my primary focus for the past month or two. For each song on “This Glorious Grace”, we filmed and produced a video of how to play the parts for each instrument used in the song. For example, on “Center My Life”, we made videos on how to play the drums, bass, bass synth, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and keys parts! So needless to say, this has been a huge project for me. Five or six instruments per song, multiplied by eleven songs is between 55 and 66 tutorial videos!

Though this seems like a tedious task, it is one that we know is fruitful. And I know this from personal experience. Four or five years ago, I was using the tutorial videos made by Austin Stone Worship to learn how to play the songs so that I could lead them for my local church. It is an absolute honor to now be the guy making these videos to send out all around the world! Here is one from “Center My Life” featuring my good friend Dietrich Schmidt.

In the past week I have also had the opportunity to lead worship a couple different places. This past Sunday I lead worship for Grace Bible Church Southwood in College Station, Texas. It was a great Sunday being able to encourage the body of Christ, and remind each other the truths of the Gospel! I lead:

Love Shines – Austin Stone Worship

The Lord Our God – Passion

Forever – Kari Jobe

Nothing But the Blood – Hymn

You Are God and You Are Good – Austin Stone Worship

Then on Wednesday I had the privilege of leading for our Austin Stone Worship staff meeting that we call Worship Huddle. Each week we gather as a team and share breakfast, worship and pray together. It was an absolute blessing and honor to get to lead worship for my brothers and sisters on this team, who I look up to as leaders in my life. These men and women have poured into me and I loved getting to encourage and lead them towards Jesus.

Thursday night, we had our monthly Worship Collective. The Worship Collective is a monthly gathering for anyone that helps facilitate corporate worship at the five campuses of The Austin Stone. We have a vibrant and collaborative team of worship leaders, musicians, production teams, visual artists, songwriters and storytellers that are leading our church every single week in adult worship, kids worship, and students worship. And most of them are volunteer! The Worship Collective is the time where we get to serve and pour into our team.

This week we served our team a buffet from a local taco truck and had a word from our Worship Pastor Aaron Ivey. Then we all broke up into our individual campuses (North, South, West, Downtown AM, Downtown PM and St. John) and had a time of worship & prayer. It was a beautiful time and the Lord has absolutely blessed us with an incredible team. Here is a photo from right before all of the team got to dinner taken by my roommate and fellow Worship Resident, Kenny Klinglesmith.

Pre-Collective

I am super thankful that God has allowed me season in the Austin area, and specifically for my time at The Austin Stone Community Church. I’m able to be poured into, sit under incredible teaching, and given the opportunity to taken ownership of things, alongside a team, that are greater than any of us by ourselves.

The Lord does not need us to do His work. He is almighty and surely powerful enough to accomplish whatever He pleases on His own. (Ex: creating the Earth, holding all things together, etc.) But, He has chosen us to walk alongside him and do His work with Him. It is the greatest honor we could have. However, we must depend on His spirit to do the work through us. Without it, we have no chance.

I encourage you this week to seek Jesus more so than you have in the weeks past. To embrace the gifts that He has given you, and join in the work He has laid out for you!

1 Corinthians 12 tells us “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” He has given us every spiritual blessing necessary in Christ. We are to be a people empowered and lead by the Holy Spirit. God the Spirit brings all things promised by God the Father, through the purchase made by God the Son. The Spirit inspires the Word of God, enables us to understand, believe and follow His word, guarantees our salvation, and gives us gifts for ministry.

The Church needs your gifts! They are from The Lord.

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9.17.15

I’ve recently realized that it is incredibly hard to try and put what I’m experiencing, learning and doing all in to this blog post. I wish all of you could sit under the incredible teaching, and be apart of the family that I am blessed to call home here in Austin.

With that being said, here is my attempt at summing up the last couple weeks.

Our new record, “This Glorious Grace”, is coming out in less than a month! That being said, we’re releasing singles starting next week up until the release of the whole record! Along with the actual songs (that have already been finished), we have resource videos for worship leaders and band members that show how to play the parts on every song. These videos have been my responsibility. There are eleven songs on the record, and five instruments in the band (drums, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keys). Therefore, we had 55 videos to film and edit to go along with the album! (And actually a couple more added due to things like bass synth etc.) And that is just our side of it! The Story Team is releasing a beautiful live video for each song, as well as stories behind why each song was written featuring the writer of the song. So there is A LOT of content coming out with this record! And we are stoked. These videos have been my primary work-load for the last few weeks. But I’m near the end!Matt Graham

This is a photo of Matt Graham, who is the bass player for the Aaron Ivey band, as well as my roommate. This photo was taken while we were filming the bass resource videos.

Dietrich

This is a photo of my desktop while I was working on the piano resource videos! The guy in the photo is Dietrich Schmidt, who is the piano/keys player for the Aaron Ivey band, and also my roommate! Dietrich will also be a groomsman in my wedding!


At the beginning of this month, we had five new residents start with us in Austin Stone Worship. This has been a really fun and exciting time helping the new guys learn the basics of being on our team and seeing them start to take ownership and begin to make relationships. With the new set of residents has come some new responsibilities as well. Residents are now learning things in the production world as apart of the residency. This includes setting up and tearing down the stage, lights and audio at the high school where our downtown campus meets. As well as running production aspects of services when we aren’t playing or leading ourselves. IMG_5303

We transform this empty gym into a room that is filled with people worshiping Jesus through song, fellowship and the reading of His word. 

This is a short video I shot on my phone from the 7:00pm service at our downtown campus from 9/13/2015. It’s pretty awesome what God can do with people willing to serve and worship in a high school gym. IMG_5269

This past Sunday I got the opportunity to help produce the 6:00pm service at our St. John campus. This is a photo of my friend Taylor Delange and I having a little fun on the job before the service started.


For the past month, our church has gone through a series called The Art of Neighboring. The Austin Stone normally isn’t a church that has sermons based on topics or themes for a random series. We are a church that teaches directly from the Word of God. So most of the time, if you visit a campus of The Austin Stone, you will find that we are working through a book of the bible. However, this past month we have partnered with churches from all over to study what God’s Word says about loving your neighbor. It has been an absolutely incredible series, and has opened my eyes to the people around me. It has helped me to realize that God has placed us exactly where we are so that we can participate in His story and watch Him move in absolute power. And that it is impossible for us to say that we have a love for God, but not show love for others around us. That compassion is not just a feeling but it is doing – and fulfilling a need. It is a feeling, a brokenheartedness, that is backed up with actions. True compassion for others always requires sacrifice.

God has proven Himself faithful through what He has been teaching me and my roommates through this series. In our neighborhood, we have been praying that God would let us meet the people that live around us, and invite them into our home or into our backyard. That we would have opportunities to hang out with them and to love on them, and ultimately share the love of Jesus with them.

So last week, we had been praying that God would give us the opportunity to invite two of our neighbors that we had met over to have dinner with us. We were having a group of people over, and through it would be a great opportunity to have our neighbors over as well. The days leading up to the dinner, we never once saw our neighbors. We were constantly on the lookout for any sign of them, and got absolutely nothing. But then, as we were cooking dinner, one of the girls that lives next door comes and knocks on our door! It was as if God was telling us, “I’m in control, we’ll do this in my own time.” It was beautiful. She didn’t end up coming to dinner, but we were able to sit out on the front porch and talk with her for about 20 minutes. Then a few nights later, her and her sister came back over and knocked again! This time we were able to sit outside and have nearly an hour long conversation with them! Our relationship with them is definitely growing, and now feels way more like a friendship than an awkward neighborly acquaintance. We are praying that God would continue to move and work through us and that we would see salvation for them!

We have also been able to have really great conversations with two people who work at a local sandwich shop a couple minutes from our house. It is just really apparent that the people of our city are desperate for something more, they just don’t yet know what that is. Pray for us that we would be faithful to share Jesus with them!

Here is the last sermon in our Art of Neighboring series from our head pastor Matt Carter. 


Prayer Points

  • Pray for our new record “This Glorious Grace” and that God would use it far more abundantly than we could ever hope or imagine to take the Gospel to new places and to encourage believers to love and follow Jesus more.
  • Pray for our neighborhood and community that we would be able to see Jesus save many more for His glory!
  • Pray for Addison and I as I get closer to my transition back to Wichita Falls. Addison recently got a new job and is settling in. She will soon move into the apartment that we will eventually be in together.
  • Pray that God would help me to remember that His plan and will is perfect and that I can trust Him. That He has ordained where I’m going to live. Leaving my friends, family and church here in Austin is definitely not going to be an easy thing, but I know that Jesus is better.
  • Pray for our Austin Stone Worship Conference that is coming up November 10-12! Pray that God would use us to help equip and train worship pastors and other church leaders so that they could shepherd and pastor their local churches well!