Thoughts on 2015 . . .
Considering that not long from now will be the one year mark since recording “Time to Move On” puts us in a little bit of a tailspin. Considering that that EP, “For My Good”, and our first Christmas project all happened in 2015 makes the tailspin substantially more dramatic. Who is like the Lord to give such good gifts that stun us and glorify Him simultaneously? And Who is more lavish to multiply our small ideas (which He sows in us) into Kingdom meals that feed His flock? He
*delights* to give the Kingdom (Lk. 12:32)!
Distinct moments from 2015 rise to the surface. One of the most sacred is singing “For My Good” with a group from our church’s youth and some of our Haitian church family at a dump in the Dominican Republic we visit each year. The community nearby, where some of our friends live, had lost a man to an aggressive shooting just the night before. From our own town, we caught wind of an apparent terrorist shooting that same day, not long after we sang. The empathy of Heaven, all bound up in our Lord Who suffered more than any other, bent so close that day, and the Truth of that song has never landed so clearly in our hearts. Because truly the Gospel tore through soul-ground that day which normally seemed as cracked and hard as the trash-tracked land itself. Life from death. Joy from raw sorrow. When we came back home and shared a couple of months later with our Chattanooga family what the Lord did in the Dominican, we sang that song again with some of our students in the youth band. Knowing some of their own stories of Jesus’ redemption, looking out to see more students worshiping from their own ground of sorrow redeemed- it undid us yet again and does still.
When 2015 began with the bold-faced declaration of “moving on”, our hearts definitely put up a fight. We knew growth meant growing pains and pruning and we didn’t want it. But it’s been one of the most intensively refining years as sons and daughters of Christ and in the callings that come within that identity in our callings. Whether it was Rachel taking vocal lessons and finding the Lord ever patient to spiritually heal things that kept her physical voice held back and unsure, or Kristian getting to experience the joy and honor of baptizing some of his friends and students he had once led in Children’s ministry in church; we have all grown immensely in receiving and being settled in Whose we are and who we are so we can steward more responsibility in greater freedom. Some of the growth this year hasn’t been rapid fire or very concrete. But it’s all been a definite releasing into greater confidence of what He’s already called us to personally and what He’s called us into as a group for now.
Whether singing joyfully and boldly into the face of cancer and death with a dear friend in Ontario, hearing “My Hope And Anchor Stay [I Love You Too]” sung in Spanish from God’s people like pure diamonds in a ramshackle village, or hearing the sound of liberated hearts declaring “Free indeed is the one the Son sets free!”, these Truths have been beautifully wrecking us and releasing us to praise the One who is our Living Hope. Together, we can rejoice under the banner that, indeed, our Jesus can and will turn it all around for good. And this hope is secured because He was dead, but now He is alive, and we have received the staggering invitation to trade all the brokenness that we are for all the glory of His resurrection life. Thus, we are no longer defined by our wounds, but by the wounds of the One who loved us and gave Himself up for us. Because of this, as we move into this next year, we can move forward in freedom and confidence to take the land that He has promised to His sons and daughters in Christ. He will go before you and make a way through the waters before you!
And we know He is making a way before us as well. That the Lord has good things prepared for us to walk in the coming months of 2016. That He is leading us into a good land. So do stay in touch and be watching for things to come . . .
And here’s a treat from a spontaneous worship session in the heart of a ministry dear to our hearts.