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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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!