10.29.15

So it’s been a month since my last post, and a lot has happened.

As some of you may know, we released a new record on October 16! This Glorious Grace was a huge project that involved a community of songwriters, musicians, filmmakers, storytellers, and worshippers from The Austin Stone Community Church who all came together in May of 2015 to record a live album.

We had been meeting for a while once a month as a Worship Collective. Worship Collective is anyone and everyone who helps facilitate worship at any of our five campuses. Whether that be leading at a main campus, or running sound in the kids ministry, worship collective is for that person. We wanted to take time to serve the people that serve our flock tirelessly and with total faithfulness each week. This monthly gathering has been one of the sweetest times we have, and we wanted to capture that for this new record.

Our worship pastor, Aaron Ivey, came to us residents with a vision. A vision of an incredible chandelier, with the idea that on their own, the individual bulbs really aren’t that impressive.  Sure, they put off a little light, but they are easily covered, easily put out. However, if there is an army of lights, that’s something you can’t hide. Something you can’t cover up. Something that will absolutely illuminate darkness. So Aaron wanted us to build a chandelier that would hang over the band as they record the album, representing the team that God has assembled here. We had no idea how we would do it, but we knew that it would be done. Here are some photos from the process of building.

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All of that to be said, the new record has been a major blessing to our church, and seems to be blessing and equipping the Church as a whole as well. One of the privileges I have as being the Worship Resources Resident, is that I have access to and help run all of the social media platforms for Austin Stone Worship. I say this is a privilege because I see most or all of the response we receive about the new album. It has been absolutely beautiful to see how these songs have blessed the body of Christ.

If you’re interested in watching these films or listening to the album, you can do so here!

www.thisgloriousgrace.com

or on iTunes HERE.

The week after we released the album, our supervisors were gracious to allow all of the residents go on a two-and-a-half day retreat. We were blessed by a member of our church that let us stay at his families’ ranch house. The time we spent together was incredible! We started each day having breakfast together, and then praying, worshipping, and sharing stories of God’s faithfulness with each other. It was a time that definitely united us as a team and as brothers and sisters.

Each afternoon we spent time broken up into smaller groups to write songs. We believe that as artists/songwriters/worship leaders, we are to be faithful with the gifts that God has given us. That being said, we set apart specific time during the day to practice that rhythm, to exercise that muscle. By the end of the two-and-a-half days, there were some phenomenal songs written by my incredibly talented brothers and sister. It was an extremely encouraging and restful time of reminding each other the truths of the Gospel.

This is a photo of my friend Taylor Delange during one of our songwriting sessions out in the wild. IMG_5579

In the last month the Lord has also blessed me with the opportunity to travel and lead worship for outside events. In the past month I’ve lead at Grace Bible Church in College Station, Forest Glen Retreat Center outside of Huntsville, and Camp Buckner in the beautiful hill country. It is always a blessing to be able to lead others in worship and connect with other brothers and sisters.

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As I’m nearing the end of my residency here at The Austin Stone, things are getting more real. If I’m honest, I’m pretty terrified about transitioning out of the place that I call my home, from the people I call family. The Lord has blesses me with more than I could have ever hoped or imagined with this Austin Stone Worship community. Sharing life with these people has been without a doubt the most beautiful seasons of my life.

A friend shared this with me there other day. You may read it and think, “well duh, you should have known/thought about that already.” But for some reason, I really hadn’t. I feel like when I think about being sent out to a place for the sake of the Gospel, I try to find examples of people in Scripture to relate to. A Paul, a John the Baptist, a Phillip. But so often I overlook the person of Jesus. Jesus left the most comfortable situation, with the perfect community in God the Father, to come to the world for people that desperately needed Him. That needed a way to the Father. That’s my calling. That is our calling. It’s selfish of us to think we are meant to stay in comfort. God is calling us out.

With that being said, please continue to pray for my transition as it is QUICKLY approaching! Please pray for Addison and her job and her family.

I love you guys!

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.

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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.