With Us

We all know what it’s like to feel black and blue – battered by life, beaten up and bruised by stuff that we go through along our journey of faith. Sometimes we feel like we’re on our knees and that God is no-where to be found. But He always comes through for us, and, whether we feel Him near or not, He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.

Below I share two videos. The first video is of some powerful testimonies of friends who have gone through tough times recently, but who have come through with massive stories of God’s faithfulness.

The second video is our music video with a spontaneous time of free worship at the end. The track was recorded live at our pad in London, with a make-shift PA, but we trust that it’ll be a blessing for some struggling in their own black and blue times. We’ve gotta be better as church at walking through very tough stuff together and having songs not just of victory and faith-filled declaration but also of lament to enable us to boldly come before our Daddy God together, Who wants to know how we’re really doing.

My prayer for you watching this is that you would know the presence of Jesus with you wherever you’re currently at, whether mountain or valley, and that faith would arise in your heart that the very real, living and all-powerful Comforter is with you as you listen and sing your own new song.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1: 3-5

 

 

 

Original articles: With Us Live & With Us: Oikos (Behind the Scenes at Home)

Let the broken-hearted rejoice

In God’s hands. When my life is in God’s hands, everything looks very different. I wrote ‘Let the broken hearted rejoice’ when my sister, Liz died.  The words of the poem describe how I felt at the time.

 

It is hard to imagine that God can meet you in such a place of pain, grief, loss and brokenness and speak words of comfort and strength.  But this is just what He did.  Life can look so different when God has his hands on it, moulding, making and transforming it.  In order for this to happen, I have to surrender to Him – I don’t find this easy!  But when I do, it’s SO worth it.  The key factor is to remember how much He loves me then it isn’t as difficult as I thought.

If I give my pain to God He will transform it to make something beautiful.  I cannot do this, but He can.


Let the broken-hearted rejoice

My heart breaks,
There is such pain,
Raw, sore hurt,
But Lord, you are here
To comfort me again.

You touch my very soul
With your tenderness,
Your gentleness;
You bind up my wounds with your love.

When the waves overwhelm me,
I stand,
For you hold me in the palm of your hand.

You reach down into my soul,
You lift me up,
You place my feet on the rock.
You take my pain,
You mould it, and transform it,
Creating something new,
Something beautiful, unbelievable.

Your hands work with such love.
Compassion flows through your fingers,
Deepest love controls your every touch.

You will fulfil your purpose for me.
You glorify your name.
You are so gracious to me,
So patient and kind.

You heal the broken-hearted,
You bind up their wounds
With your unfailing love,
Your faithfulness,
Your mercy
And your grace.

You lift up those who are bowed down.
When I feel all is lost,
You find me again,
You lift me onto your shoulders
And carry me home.

Let the broken-hearted rejoice . . . . .

Sunset-Cover

Breaking Through the ‘I Can’t Do That’ Barrier

A couple of years ago David, our worship team leader, challenged the team to each find one thing within our walk with God or within our music to improve and take up to the next level. We spent weeks talking and praying about what that could look like and each person set themselves a different goal to achieve.

For me, I knew it was time to work on harmonies.

Harmonising was something I had never been any good at. The few times I gave it a go I would simply get it wrong. It was frustrating and embarrassing to keep messing up in front of people and as there were plenty of other singers in the team who are amazing harmonisers; I found that I could get away with just singing the melody most of the time.

This spared me the embarrassment of making mistakes each week, but there were drawbacks. There were times when I knew the songs would sound better if there was just one more part in the mix. Even then I couldn’t bring myself to try a harmony, even when I could hear in my head what was missing from a song, I couldn’t fill the gap because stamped firmly in my mind was big block letters that said ‘I can’t do that’.

I had drawn a line over my singing that said I can never improve pass this point.

I think many of us can find ourselves contained by the words: ‘I can’t do that’. Now, some ‘I can’t do that’ phrases are completely unimportant; I can’t break dance, but I don’t lose much sleep over that one, but other ‘I can’t do that’ phrases have a far bigger impact on our lives, such as:


    I can’t control myself
    I can’t change
    I can’t do this anymore

Big or small things, the more we let our ‘I can’t do that’ barriers build up the more limited we become. ‘I can’t’ can take away our courage to try new things and diminish our confidence. It can be especially crippling in our creativity. It locks the door firmly shut before we have even tried the handle. ‘I can’t do that’ will erode our freedom a little bit at a time.

When we look at the things we can’t do we can feel defeated from the start. But what we need to recognise is that when we say ‘I can’t do that’ what we actually mean is:

    I can’t do that easily

or

    I can’t do that quickly

and

    I can’t do that alone

To say ‘I can’t do this’ is defeatist but to recognise that ‘I can’t do this easily’ is realistic. It leaves room for hope and possibility.

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish’

Luke 14: 28-30

Jesus is saying here to think carefully before you commit to being His follower because there is a cost involved. This principle is true for lots of things in life. Any big goal comes at a price. There is a cost to breaking through an ‘I can’t do that’ barrier the same way as there is a cost to building a tower, or a cost to following Jesus.

In my goal to learn how to harmonise I knew that the price would be my pride. Reaching this goal would mean putting myself out there, making mistakes, slowing down in practices, and getting it wrong in front of people. My weaknesses as a singer were about to be exposed; that was the cost.

So apprehensive, but determined to finally tackle this, I asked the singers who were excellent at harmonising for advice and found that they were happy to help. Opening up and saying ‘I am struggling with this and I want to get better at it’ was the best thing I did because it allowed my friends to get behind me. They instantly put me at ease and gave me all the support I needed. Quite simply, they were fantastic.

I quickly learnt that the embarrassment of making a mistake wasn’t nearly as bad as the shame I had felt before on giving up on something just because it wasn’t coming easily to me. I also learnt how encouraging, patient and kind our worship team are.

I filled my days with singing and as I practiced I rediscovered how much I love music. I turned the radio up on every journey to and from work and tried to copy the harmonies on any song I could find. I recorded parts into my phone so I could listen to them over and over again at home. In practices I tried to add them, and when I made mistakes and got it wrong, I kept on trying.

Slowly, over the following months I got a little bit better at harmonising, and it got a little more easier. Then I got a little more confident, and it got a little easier. And making mistakes became less traumatizing each time I made one. And gradually finding and singing harmonies felt more and more natural.

Now I know that my harmonising goal was a really small, unimportant goal in the grand scheme of human accomplishment, but it mattered to me. This small achievement added a new lease of life for me in worship; I now had more choices in how I sing, I had new ways in which to worship God, I had more to contribute to our worship team. I was that much more flexible and more willing to take risks. I won a little victory over an ‘I can’t’ in my life and it simply made me want to sing more and more!

I have discovered that just because something is small, it doesn’t mean it’s not big enough for God to care about. God’s kindness and interest in us reaches all the way to smallest details of our lives; like the number of hairs on our heads.

God is with us in all things and I think it gives Him great pleasure to watch us take the skills He has given us and strengthen them; He is with us when we test our limits and He guides us to stretch them further. He is a good teacher who delights in us as we learn new things.

Galatians 5:1 says that ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free’. In Christ we are free; free from sin, free from condemnation, free from judgement. Jesus came to set us free from everything that makes us slaves. So if our own fear and insecurities are holding us captive, then Jesus can free us from them as well. His liberating power has no boundaries.

Sometimes we have all the faith in the world that God can do anything and still be crippled by doubts in ourselves. We need to recognize that the God who can do anything is at work in our lives too.
A part of living in the wonderful freedom we have in Christ, is to keep on pushing through the ‘I can’t do that’ barriers that keep us contained. From out tiniest hopes to our wildest dreams I am constantly amazed at what is achievable with God.

Once I tackled the ‘I can’t harmonise’ barrier I set about breaking free from some of the other insecurities that hold me back. Some battles are harder than others, many are on-going, but I am determined to live in the freedom Jesus has given me.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

Lightning

Lightning is a song that was written as a collaboration. My Aussie friend Jacob Darlinson came to me with a partially written song and asked me to help him finish it.

Song writing with someone else is a different challenge in comparison to writing on your own. There is a level of vulnerability in it as it takes courage to share creative ideas with other people, what you may think is great other people may not understand or connect with. You can clash in your styles or over where you think the song is going.

However alongside these challenges, there are a lot of positives to co-writing with people; you can bounce ideas, lyrics and melodies off one another and often come up with a much stronger dynamic to a song.’Lightning’ is an example of this. Jacob came to me with a song that was already close to being finished but was lacking a bridge. After listening to it I had a different thought of how that bridge could go, so together we created a more rounded song.

Jacob’s back in Australia now and he recently recorded this performance of our song. I’m really excited that it is going to be played at Soul Survivor Melbourne this year.

 

 

Dance Again

Dance Again is the new album from Life Church in Bradford. What we love about this church is how their songs reflect the journeys of real people around them. They take what they are going through as a church; the good, the painful, the struggles and the victories and turn it all into worship.

This video illustrates this beautifully; the prayer of one woman becomes the song of praise for many.

 

Dance Again is out on May 26th and you can pre-order it here.