Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - New Videos!

Hello from my hometown of St. John's, Newfoundland!

We've just finished the busiest stint of our East Coast Tour

12 events in 11 days in 7 communities

We left Ontario just after Labour Day, and this week, for the first time in almost 2 months, we will start to drive west.

In lieu of a post today, we wanted to share some pieces of our concert with you. These come from our recent concert at Church of the Good Shepherd in Mount Pearl, NL. Thanks to Matt for the video!

How Great Thou Art

We created this arrangement a few years ago for our Infinitely More debut CD. It's become a standard in our repertoire, not just for its message of praise, but also for its ability to cross boundaries of generations and denominations.

Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem

Gerald and I wrote this song last Christmas, to celebrate the love and hope that started in Bethlehem, but has the power to spread across the world. This year, it became the title track of our first Christmas album!

We hope you enjoy these videos! To see photos from our East Coast Tour, please click HEREWe ask that you please continue to keep us in prayer as we travel across the country, and share our final performances of this tour. Thank you!

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Write Bad Songs!

One of the great blessings of this East Coast Tour has been the chance to mentor singers, musicians, and songwriters. We've met many of them through our workshops, but we've also met lots just through our concerts. Every so often, a young person will come up after a concert and say, "I want to be a musician too."

We'll ask if they sing or if they play. Are they taking lessons? In school groups? Have they put on a local show yet? Are they in the church choir or band?

Inevitably, the conversation will come around to songwriting. It usually goes like this:

Us: "Do you write your own songs?"

Them: "No."

Us: "Have you tried writing?"

Them: "Well, yes, but my songs were terrible, so I gave up."

At that point, you can hear our hearts break a little.

At first, I tried to sound comforting, consoling them with cliches: "It's okay. We all write some bad songs. You can do it. Keep trying..."

But on Sunday, I met an 11-year-old who told me:

"I tried writing, but I failed miserably. My songs were awful!"

That word: "FAILED"

What a powerful word. It can shut down the best of intentions, the most noble efforts, the lifelong dream.

And yet, if we let it, it can transform our world. It can be the great lesson learned, the giant mountain we overcome, the mighty leap to success.

So when she said, "I failed,
I exclaimed, "CONGRATULATIONS!!!!"

She looked at me like I had three heads.

"Congratulations!" I reiterated. "Writing bad songs is the first step to becoming a songwriter! Write lots and lots and lots of bad songs. Each one will teach you something, and before long, you'll notice you're writing good songs."

I could see the plan forming in her head. I could almost hear the songs writing themselves in her imagination. A smile crept across her face.

When we parted, I said it again, "Write lots of bad songs! Promise me?"

"I promise, " she said.

The Dream was alive again...

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Thanksgiving Blessings...

Let us come before him with thanksgiving 
and extol him with music and song.
Psalm 95:2 

Happy Thanksgiving!

This past weekend, we joined with people across Canada to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. For us, the list was long:

- our families, our friends, our health, and our livelihood
- God's grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love
- our skills and talents, and the opportunity to use them together to serve God and God's people
- and the list goes on...

It was just over a year ago that we made the decision to take Infinitely More on the road full time. It's been an interesting journey, with a huge learning curve. We've had some set backs, such as losing our first Prairies tour due to illness. There have been amazing blessings, like our Covenant Award Nominations, and our winter in St. Andrews By-the-Sea, New Brunswick.

I often describe our life as an Adventure. People generally smile when I say that, until I reveal the truth of that statement:

Every real Adventure contains great challenges, devastating failures, and amazing successes. 

Adventures are not for the faint of heart. That's why we tend to avoid them and choose safer routes. But even in the hardest part of the Adventure, you can still see God at work. 

This week, two great examples showed themselves:

We are currently on our East Coast Tour. We're singing 30 events in 9 weeks in 5 provinces. Scheduling this tour was a bit of a plates-on-sticks trick, balancing driving routes with concert times, making sure we didn't exhaust ourselves while also covering all the areas that wanted our ministry. In a piece of timing that could only be God's, we found ourselves in Botwood, Newfoundland, for Thanksgiving. Botwood is my Mom's hometown, and still home to my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. For the first time ever, we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving together. What a blessing...

And here's another: We've accepted a concert for November 2 in Hillsborough, New Brunswick. This concert will be after we leave Newfoundland, on the way back to Ontario. Remember how I mentioned balancing our driving routes? Well, this one is terrible! We'll take the ferry on Saturday, giving us a 6 hour drive (not including breaks) on Sunday before the concert that same night. We're happy to do the concert, but the drive has been stressing me out. But last night I thought, "When do the clocks change?" They fall back on November 2! We'll get our extra hour on the day of the drive. You can't tell me that's not God's timing!

I don't know what your Thanksgiving was like. Perhaps you're in the part of the Adventure that feels more like a challenge, or even a season of failure. Let me encourage you to look for God's blessings in this time. I assure they are there, and they are waiting to be found by you. He has not forgotten you. He is still with you. There is no end to the love and blessings He has for you...

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

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

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - We Are The Face Of Jesus

The story begins in August, 2013. It was a sunny morning in Chamcook, New Brunswick. We'd had a beautiful concert the night before in St. Andrews By-the-Sea, and we were ready for a relaxing day off. Gerald, as usual, had risen early. I found him at the kitchen table, with that new-song look on his face.

For a long time, he'd wanted to write a new lyric for the classic tune, Shenandoah. "Listen," he said...

We are the face of Jesus
And the world, the world is watching.
We are the face of Jesus
And everything we do reflects upon our Lord...

It was so beautiful, and fit with the melody so perfectly. I've always loved writing that calls us to be accountable in our role as Christians. With the slightest word or action, we can affect another's belief in God. We can draw people to Jesus with our love and our kindness, but perhaps even more easily, we can repulse them with our judgment and our hypocrisy.

When I heard the first verse, I was reminded of the classic hymn, Take My Life and Let It Be. What if we were the eyes of Jesus, the hands of Jesus, the heart of Jesus...

Gerald was also thinking this way, so as we continued our tour, we started to write the remaining verses. But something wasn't clicking. The arc of the song wasn't complete. We couldn't find that final piece of the song puzzle.

The following week, we found ourselves in Berwick, Nova Scotia. The volunteers from Servants Heart Ministries has brought us into the area to sing fundraising concerts for two mission teams. That night, we met a group of teens who would be traveling to the Dominican Republic to build houses. Their excitement and passion for the trip was electric. When we left the concert, we had our final verse:

We are the hands of Jesus
And the world, the world is needing.
We are the hands of Jesus
And every house we build will be filled by His love.

The following night, we were in Kentville, Nova Scotia, to sing the final fundraiser. We told the crowd about the song, and how the teens had inspired the final verse. And with handwritten lyrics in front of us, we debuted We Are The Face Of Jesus.

The teens that inspired our final verse...

Since that time, we've had the chance to sing the song for churches, clergy, and retreats. It resonates with people who are aware that their faith walk is also their witness to the world.

When we decided to step into the studio this year, 
We Are The Face Of Jesus was an obvious choice. 
You can hear a sample from the final recording here.

Just a few weeks ago, we found ourselves in Kentville again, and we were able to sing We Are The Face Of Jesus for the 2015 missions team. We pray that each of us, as we move through this world, will represent the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness of the One who loved us first.

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

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Guest Post by Gerald Flemming

Today we feature a guest post by my husband and partner in all things 
Infinitely More - Gerald Flemming. 

By Gerald Flemming

Embracing a vision can be a difficult and frightening thing. When your calling appears to you, when you feel it in your heart and there’s that undeniable pull towards the light, what do you do?

Do you throw yourself without delay into the abyss hoping that it is the real deal? 
Do you deny and continue on your current path? 
Or maybe you find that copacetic middle ground that neither commits nor denies, 
but seeks with curiosity?  

It’s amazing that God’s limitless patience and grace has space for all three of those choices. And as we walk down those separate roads there always seems to be constant and quiet reminders that seek to turn us toward a singular purpose. Sometimes it’s people who walk into our lives and whisper the right story that catches us at the right moment. Sometimes it’s a piece of sermon or song, or psalm that seems to speak directly to us.

It’s possible that the moment that turns you towards the light ends up being more abstract. 
A detail in a painting.  
A stanza in a piece of poetry or fiction.  
A moment of unspeakable natural beauty and silence 
where the Voice is undeniable in its approach to your heart.  

And in an instant we are offered that deep breath of perfect knowing.  

I’m closing my eyes and taking a deep breath right now in a cafĂ© in Lunenburg, NS. In the last month both Allison and I have experienced the Voice, in all of those things and other incredible gifts. The privilege of hearing others talk about the remarkable moments that brought them to a deeper trajectory with our Lord. Shimmering sunlit waters that echoed with the sounds of fall approaching. A 250 year old house of God that was destroyed and then resurrected by the love of a congregation and the outreach of many hearts and people coast to coast. We were fortunate enough to receive a call to help with this ten years ago. We were given the honour of sharing a stage with John Allan Cameron at a fundraiser for St. John’s Lunenburg. It would take a willful arrogance not to feel God’s hand on our return here.

For us, the privilege of finally doing a concert here, in this ‘House Where Prophets Speak’, is just another glorious encouragement. It’s another whisper from the Voice, that we are on the path that was waiting for us. 

And that we can completely and totally trust this undeniable pull towards the light.  

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