One Voice

Download the song for free on NOISETRADE.

Some time ago my friend, Josh, and I were working with Crossroads Missions in New Orleans. We started talking about song writing and he told me about a chorus he had written that he used during a chapel time with the mission groups that were coming in [which is most of the chorus that is currently in the song].  I loved the focus on unity – especially in the context of the hundreds of churches, mission groups, and denominations working together during the rebuilding phase in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  My intention was to wrap some verses around the chorus and call it finished but it got shelved.  A couple years later I heard a teaching from another friend of mine about the words “hallelujah,” and “amen.” In summary, he stated that these two words were powerful because, in every language they were found across the globe, they meant the same thing: to praise God and to agree together.   I decided to do some of my own research about it and found this:

  • Hallelujah: Halal means to be clamorously foolish in praise and it combined with the name of God -Yahweh.
  • Amen: To agree, in unison, that something is truth.

This idea seemed to work well with the flow of the chorus that Josh wrote so I began to rework the song to incorporate a response with Hallelujah and Amen in the bridge and ending.  I wanted the song to be accessible lyrically and musically catchy so that it would be easy for people to sing in a short amount of time.  I began working out some lyrics for the verses that would help to explain the context of the response and serve as a connector for the chorus and bridge.  The final result became a congregational worship song that proclaims unity among believers and ends with a built-in response for any culture or language that might sing it!

Recently, a friend of mine suffered the loss of his mother.  He mentioned to me, as an encouragement, that the words “hallelujah” and “amen” are even being sung i
n heaven [Rev 19].  He was moved by the thought of his mother singing this song alongside him as we sang it in the services the week following her memorial.

It is exciting and humbling to see our new church community embrace these songs and to watch God use these them to minister to people in celebration and even in pain. I am thankful that God would use ordinary people like Josh and myself to write new songs and to inspire others to find refuge in His name.

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Children Of Light E.P.

I have been working on a New Worship Album with the College & Career Ministry at Faith Bible Church, CITIZENS.  We wrote the songs on the Children of Light E.P. to fortify the Fall Retreat theme, IDENTITY, and recorded them as a way embed these lyrics into our minds and hearts as we went back home.  The theme revolved around rejecting lies that Satan throws at us through past failures, media, exaggerated romance, and porn to embrace the truths that God has spoken through His word and even specifically to us as individuals.  We hope that the ebenezer we have created is honoring to our King and speaks life into those who listen.

All songs are available for free download at Noisetrade.com.  Please, check it out and share with your friends!

Children of Light EP Cover

Ultima Veritas | Washington Gladden

“In the bitter waves of woe,

Beaten and tossed about

By the sullen winds that blow

From the desolate shores of doubt,­­

 

When the anchors that faith had cast

Are dragging in the gale,

I am quietly holding fast

To the things that cannot fail”

-Washington Gladden

 

Maps & Guides

FloraCafe

A map by definition is a diagrammatic representation, usually in 2 dimensions, of an area showing it’s physical features.  In short, it’s a summary of the real thing and, due to it’s “broad-stroke” representations and the exclusion of minute details, it becomes compact and manageable.

I have guided many prayer walks in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans while I lived there and handed maps to all those who came along. If I could walk with you down the streets now, you might come across:

  • huge junk shops/flea markets that are filled from floor to ceiling with wacky treasures that are waiting to be discovered
  • Cafe Flora and wonder when you took a wrong turn into an exotic foreign country.
  • You might meet Bill and his dog as he weaves together handmade necklaces on the porch of a vacant, abandoned house that he has lived in for over 3 years.
  • You may see a park filled with young, homeless travelers who’ve organized incredibly competitive kickball tournaments.
  • It’s possible you’ll find a voodoo priestess down Rosalie Alley who actively practices rituals for public observation.

However, none of these things could have been seen by simply looking at the map!

The neighborhood is dynamic, moving, and alive!  Some of it is shocking and other parts are beautiful but you will not fully understand it until you walk the streets for yourself. While there are many uses for a map, you must put it down and actually walk the streets to get to know a neighborhood and see how she lives!  A guide can tell you many stories and even show pictures of notable place, people, and happenings but you have to go there for yourself to experience the sights, sounds, and smells and to feel the environment as it envelopes you!

It is quite common for us in the American Christian culture to reduce our interactions with the scriptures to manageable bites by listening to a weekly sermon or catching a daily devotional thought from a coffee table book.  Many would object, “what’s wrong with devotions or sermons?!”  Nothing is wrong with these components themselves but the problem is found when they become an end in and of themselves instead of a means to an end.  Psalm 12 verse 6 says, ‘The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”  How quick we are to satisfy our spiritual cravings with mere summaries and circumvent the scriptures almost completely.  It’s an ancient and clever trick by the enemy: distract with what is good to avoid what is perfect and pure.

  1. Maps: Books, creeds, devotions, commentaries, bible study notes, and systematic theologies.
  2. Guides: pastors giving sermons [both local and far], teachers, parents, and friends.

This is a call to put down the maps and start walking through the streets of the biblical text for yourself. Stop living vicariously through the spiritual lives of others and dig into the scriptures on your own.   As you walk the streets of the biblical text getting to know the God who wrote them be changed by them.  As you are changed, take them into your neighborhoods where they can, by your representation, change the community surrounding you.  When others begin to ask about the difference in you, guide them to the pure scriptures, the source, the voice of God so they walk the streets for themselves.

For A Leader | Aaron Keyes

[Re-blogged from Aaron Keyes.  Check out the original here.]

For the last several months, I’ve been learning about the power of Blessing. There’s been no more helpful aid than a book by the late Irish priest, John O’Donohue. I discovered his book To Bless the Space Between Us a few years ago, and it’s been simmering in my soul ever since.

My all-time favorite Irish worship leader, Eoghan Heaslip, was teaching for our worship school a couple years ago, and he ended his lesson with the following blessing, from O’Donohue. I’ve been meditating on these words ever since. May they take root in you, as they have in me.

.

For a Leader
May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not.

May you be hospitable to criticism.
May you never put yourself at the center of things.

May you act not from arrogance but out of service.

May you work on yourself
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.

When someone fails or disappoints you
May the graciousness with which you engage
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue to be a servant of the frontier
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old,
And you never become a functionary.

May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime of the bleak question.

May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.

May leadership be for you
A true adventure of growth.

-John O’Donohue
(To Bless the Space Between Us)