This is a guest post from a blogger and friend, she has requested to stay anonomous, but if you are interested you can read more of her writing on her blog, Stars in Clay Jars, follow her on twitter @starsincjars, or facebook @starsinclayjars.
So, the thing about clay jars…
When I was 15, I developed an eating disorder. Not the glamorous skinny one; the unglamorous, bingey, vomiting one. And at first, I’ll be honest; I was pretty impressed with myself. One of the older, cooler girls at Drama club had shown me how to do it (so thoughtful!) and so off we would sneak, every Saturday in McDonalds, to have a private little puking party. Oh yes, we were awesome.
Today Adam is sharing his favourite worship song and how it has impacted his faith. I am excited to share this post, as although I’ve not known Adam long, it’s obvious just how much he loves Jesus, and wants to share His message of freedom. And he’s actually sharing a song that I had never even heard before!
Hi Adam, what is your favourite worship song and why?
My favourite worship song is No Longer Slaves by Bethel. It’s such a powerful song, and so meaningful to me, as when I first heard it I was going through a really hard time.
Why was that?
When I first heard this song I was so broken; full of fear, which lead to prison sentences and drug and alcohol abuse and suffering from bad paranoia. I walked in that church that day absolutely broken, tears streaming my face, as I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God was played from the worship team. God really touched my heart that Sunday morning. He told me directly that I was no longer a slave to fear. I was his child. It’s a moment I’ll remember for a lifetime.
Is there a particular line that spoke to you?
Yes, the line is
you split the sea so I could walk straight through, my fears are drowned in perfect love.
There was a time where I couldn’t see a way a through anything. This just reminds us how God makes a way, even when we see no way.
In Adam’s own words: I’m from Worksop and am an ex-drug-addict who’s been saved by God’s grace. I’m now in a bible school, learning about the bible in the mornings, and going out on outreach in the afternoons 2 days a week, helping those still trapped in addiction. I love Jesus and I love people! Amen!
I am looking for more people to join in with this series, if you are interested please get in contact!
This week my good friend Helen is sharing about her favourite worship song, and how it helped her through a hard time, which a lot of us will be able to relate to. Helen’s one of those friends that you know, whenever you see her, you will laugh a lot, and leave feeling loads happier. I’m excited to share her thoughts today.
This week’s Sounds of Freedom comes from Lydia. She opens up her heart to share her feelings on worship music today.
Confession: I love worshipping. I don’t always love worship music.
After much discussion and debate with friends, worship leaders and pastors, I’ve concluded that I am not a lone wolf and that, in fact, there is a chronic affliction amongst this pack of the musically-minded in our inability to connect in worship.
Having grown up in a Vineyard church in the midlands, the core Vineyard value of worship and the emphasis on creativity within our movement runs through my veins. I’ve been blessed over many years with wonderful worship leaders, worshipful friends and different expressions and experiences of worship wherever I have visited or lived. I’m a passionate pursuer of Jesus and a bit of a music fiend, so I find it extremely irritating when I arrive at church to worship and find myself unable to concentrate, distracted not only by the thoughts of the week but by the musicality of it all: by bands lacking direction from their leaders, by arrangements that don’t quite work and by my frustration with myself for not seizing the opportunity to worship.
I often listen to secular music and find many of the lyrics and melodies easy to worship God with, so why is it that I sometimes find it easier to worship God in a basement full of sweaty twenty-somethings who are there to worship the band? I believe it is because God has made me for worship. If He has inspired creativity in me then no wonder I am drawn to places where heaven-given melodies flow and lyrics written by troubled souls unknowingly sing of His goodness. Of course I was also made for corporate worship, to come together with the body of Christ but I must remember I was made for worship in the everyday and not feel guilty for my current struggle to connect during a church service.
Through live albums, where the passion for Jesus is contagious, I am re-learning to worship without distraction.
When asked for secular album recommendations, it can take me days to consider a piece that has had an impact on my life and that might be appropriate for that particular friend at that particular moment in life. I do not want to give glib advice when my passion for music is so key to how I live! When I apply my rule of thumb to recommending Christian music, I struggle. I draw a blank because if I couldn’t recommend a piece of Christian music to my non-Christian friends then I often wouldn’t listen to it myself. Cheesy, poorly-produced, repetitive and boring are words that typically come to mind when thinking about such albums. There are, of course, many exceptions to my general dislike of Christian music that would make my friends cringe, and these have been reshaping my understanding of the sound of Christianity!
As Dave mentioned in a previous post, Elevation Worship have been turning out some beautiful things, Bethel and the new Hillsong albums have been inspiring in my worship times at home – usually in the shower where I can get away with singing as loudly as I like! Special mention should go to Dave Miller at Trent Vineyard for his role in the amazing live album ‘Rooftops’ from the national Vineyard youth conference ‘Dreaming The Impossible’ and to the Hillsong We Are Young & Free album from 2013, which reimagined and inspired youth worship in many churches across the globe.
If one thing pulls me out of this struggle to connect, it is the reminder of my God-given purpose. I was put here to bring Him glory and I will therefore continue to learn to engage in worship. The power of God’s presence as we worship together and in the quiet of our hearts will never cease to amaze me.
Through the trials of life I’m sometimes asked why I worship and in my response I am reminded of a quote I once heard: ‘Sometimes you worship because you believe it and sometimes you worship until you do.’ In my journey to reconnecting with worship music, I will continue pressing into God’s love, hungry for more of His presence, worshipping in spite of and also because of this life.
I will worship because God is ALWAYS good and that is reason enough to teach my broken human heart to worship Him.
Lydia Johnston is 22 years old and studying Biomedical Science at York Uni. Her favourite worship song is Do it Again by Elevation Worship
This week Margaret shares her favourite worship song, and how it has encouraged her through hard times.
It wasn’t hard for her to decide. When I asked if she wanted to share, she responded within seconds.
My Favourite worship song is In Christ Alone. For me it says everything about what God means to me: he is my rock and my comforter in times of trouble. That sums him up for me.
He is my strong anchor when things are going rough, I can depend on him to protect me, he will keep me strong in times of trouble ….I stand complete in him!
What a powerful answer! I followed up by asking if there was a time when this song was especially important to her. I guess you would think that someone with such an obviously strong faith might have had an easy life.
We have been through years of illness with my husband Peter, looking back I can see a pattern of God’s grace to us, supplying our needs in all sorts of ways. When I sing this song it has great meaning, only through him can I be strong, his love has always been there for us. And it always will be.
Isn’t that a fabulous reminder that even in the toughest of times, we can put our trust in God and that through him we can be strong.
Margaret was born and bred in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, and is fond of this little place. She is part of the Worksop Gospel Community Choir and loves music with a passion. She also enjoys worshipping at her local church, St Johns in Worksop.
This week I am sharing some of my testimony as part of the Sounds of Freedom series.If you would like to be involved in sharing some of how one of your favourite worship songs has impacted your faith then please get in touch.
Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat remembering some stupid thing I said, about five years ago, to someone I don’t even know anymore,
It’s like I’m right there again, and the guilt washes over me anew.
I’ve got regrets of friendships I didn’t put more effort into and exams I didn’t try hard enough at.
I’ve got some bigger regrets as well. Like, when I was a teenager I was determined to work as a missionary in New York. I thought about applying to work with a ministry over and over, but in the end Idid’t because I was just too scared.
It’s easy for me to think that if I had tried harder, if I had been braver, then my life would be in completely different. Sometimes I feel like I have missed my chance. Because I didn’t listen to God’s voice that one time, he won’t ever want to use me again.
That’s not true.
God’s grace is so much bigger than that. It’s bigger than our circumstances, bigger than our past mistakes. His Grace is huge, and it covers everything.
Matthew West’s song sums it up perfectly: “Grace wins every time.”
The mistakes we made in our past may impact our future, but they don’t define them. Jonah was swallowed by a whale, not devoured by one. And God still wants to use us. No matter how much we messed up in the past.
He wants to use you if you’ve made the biggest mistakes imaginable . He wants to use you if everyone thinks you’re the perfect little Christian girl, but deep down you know that you’re not. God’s grace covers it all.
Throughout the bible we see God use imperfect, messed up people, time and time again. Moses was a murderer and yet God used him to lead his people out of the promised land. David was an adulterer,and still he was called a man after God’s own heart.
God’s grace covered their sins and it can cover yours as well.
This weeks Sounds of Freedom was written by Alice, she loves works as a teaching assistant and love Christ, chocolate and crochet.