Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Worship Wednesdays - Why I Celebrate Birthday Week!

This is a week when we gather around tables, share time with family, eat great feasts, and celebrate one of the finest holidays of the year... my birthday!

Yes, I know there's another holiday tomorrow 
and that's a fine one too, 
but today is my birthday!!!

In my family, we celebrate Birthday Week. When Gerald and I first started dating, I was mocked for celebrating Birthday Week. I was told it was silly and maybe even a little childish (insert my snort of derision here...). Of course, it's also piles of fun, so it was no surprise when in just a few years, another Birthday Week started to appear in March...

I actually love that my birthday falls so close to American Thanksgiving, as I consider Gratitude to be a large part of my birthday celebrations. The whole point of Birthday Week isn't to receive a week's worth of presents, but to enjoy a week's worth of presence:

I take time each day to enjoy visits with friends and family, sometimes with a party, but mostly with hours spent eating treats or sipping lattes.

I spend a little extra time in Scripture and prayer, talking to the One who knew me before my first breath, who "knit me together in my mother's womb".

I respond to each message I receive on Facebook, giving thanks for the ability to keep in touch with friends from around the world with a few simple key strokes.

I praise God that I am able to make a living doing something I love so dearly, and I also take time off and enjoy the blessings of rest and restoration.

I reflect on the past year, giving thanks for blessings, challenges, and lessons learned.

I spend time looking ahead to the next year, dreaming of new challenges and asking myself questions like "How can I become more _____?" and "How can I do _____?"

Birthdays have taken on new meaning since May 3, 2009. On that day, Death passed near us and God said, "Not today." I'm so incredibly aware that, with a slight adjustment in trajectory, I might not be here to celebrate this birthday. So I will never complain about my age or my years. I want to live long and earn lots of wrinkles. I will live life to the fullest, choose the adventure over the comfortable, never miss a chance to say "I love you" and turn everything I am and have over to God...

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev'ry thought is love.
For ev'ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.

(My Heart is Filled, verse 3. By Keith & Kristyn Getty.)

Happy Thanksgiving! 
And for some of us, Happy Birthday!
Let's give thanks...

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page & visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Worship Wednesdays - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Years ago, I discovered the teaching of John Maxwell through his book, Talent Is Never Enough. Since that time, I've been following his books and videos, gleaning tips and advice for communicating with others.

Whether you're a worship leader, a preacher, a concert artist, or a songwriter, communication is the key to what we do. We can believe the Gospel all we want, but if we can't communicate it to our audience and congregation, it's lost information.

Recently, John paired with speaker Les Brown to create a fun and informative series of videos, called "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". Each interview shares their experiences as speakers and preachers.

For todays' Worship Wednesdays, I suggest you pull out your notepad, 
watch these videos, and take lots of notes. Enjoy!

The Good:

The Bad:

The Ugly:

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page & visit us every Wednesday!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Covenant Awards

Last night was the big night! Talented Christian singers, musicians, songwriters, and producers from across the country gathered at the Crossroads Television Studios for the annual Covenant Awards. Sponsored by the Gospel Music Association of Canada, the Covenants represent the highest honour in the Canadian Christian music industry.

Last year, we were excited to join the party for the first time. 
Last night, we were honoured and humbled to attend as 3-time Nominees.

Since receiving the news of our nominations, we've received many messages of love and support, and we're so grateful for every single one. We were nominated in categories stocked with amazing and accomplished talent, so we had no expectations of winning.

But cliches are around for a reason - it truly is an honour just to be nominated.

We didn't prepare any thank you speeches, but since we have this platform, 
we want to take a minute and say:

Thank You 
- to each and every person who has been and continues to be a part of our music and our ministry
- to everyone who bought a CD or downloaded a song
- to each person who hosted or attended a concert
- to Denny Martin and Carmon Barry who produced our nominated CDs
- to our friends who encourage and love us
- to Helen, Hollis, Sandy, & Gerry - our wonderfully supportive parents
- and most of all, to the God who called us to this crazy life of music ministry, who continues to surprise us at every turn, and who - despite our doubts, questions, fears, and struggles - holds us so securely in the palm of His hand

Congratulations to all the Winners & Nominees! 
We took some photos to capture the night! 
You can see them HERE.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Worship Wednesdays - In Flanders Fields

This Sunday, churches across Canada will have a moment of silence. We'll give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy in this country and remember those who gave their lives in pursuit of those freedoms.

For most of our us, our remembrance won't be complete without hearing the classic poem, In Flanders Fields. In our new Infinitely More tradition, we sing it, set to Gerald's evocative music. I asked him to share this very profound writing experience:

In Flanders Fields has always been the poem that, like everyone, I would hear every Remembrance Day.  It was meant to be honoured and there was always that gulf of silence that ensued afterwards that made more sense the older I became.  Two years ago when I felt the approach of Remembrance Day it struck me to write a musical setting for a worship service, but I didn’t give it much thought beyond that. I woke up on the Friday morning however and for some inexplicable reason I felt a deeper compulsion to get it done.  I felt a burning need to somehow touch these words if I could.  Call it patriotism or if you will and more accurately, call it a haunting.  I got up that day and in a very short period of time I transcribed a piece of music that I felt had been given to me.  The prosody worked.  The weight of the music seemed to match the poem.  There was that ache and hope that only history can give.  Since then it has become a regular staple in our repertoire around this time of year.  And as always, it is dedicated to the men and women who have given their lives in the hope that the better angels of this world would hold tightly to its momentum…and of course to John McCrae who first penned the words…

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, 
between the crosses row on row. 

In Flanders Fields. Words, John McCrae. Music, Gerald Flemming.

We give thanks.
We remember....

You are welcome to use this video in your church this Sunday. 
Please just let us know so we have some sense of where our music is traveling!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page & visit us every Wednesday!