In the video below, we share a couple of definitions to bring a little meaning to the lyrics of Come Thou Fount.
Check out this kind review of our newest single:
“The Piano overtones drew me in as soon as I hit play. The subtle yet powerful arrangement complements the vocal punch and harmonies Kert and Kerry are known for. I love When old hymns are given a fresh breath of life. While the arrangement is modern, the vintage feel was not lacking. I will listen to this arrangement for years to come.”
Our arrangement of the classic hymn “Come Thou Fount” is available on iTunes!
We can’t wait for you to hear it!
Please check out our new Christmas song on iTunes!
We hope it is a blessing to you this holiday season!
Also, check out the videos we made to go with it on our Facebook page! We hope you enjoy the story behind the song and some random Christmas memories of ours!
A poem called “Good.”
You are good.
You are really good.
Even when my heart breaks or when someone selfishly takes, You are good.
How can I say “You are good” when babies die and grown men cry?
How can I say “You are good” when sickness comes and destroys a home?
How can I say “You are good” when we all suffer and hurt, and we’ve felt alone and unheard?
I say “You are good” because Your goodness is my only hope.
I say “You are good” because only You can intervene and make a change.
I say “You are good” because there’s no one else to fully trust.
But is that it?
You are good.
You really are good.
By a word You created everything.
You made us and named us, the only creation that bears Your image.
You are good because it’s in Your nature.
You don’t lie.
You are the Truth.
You are just.
You are perfectly holy.
You know all things and see all things, and love me anyway.
You proved it.
You proved Your love by sacrificing Your Son for me, an amazing story of redemption.
You proved Your love for me by cleaning my heart.
Your Spirit was left with me, a gift proclaiming I am Yours.
You are good.
You see me when I cry.
You hear me when I pray.
You act on my behalf even when I don’t get my way.
You are good because You are God.
As you learned in Part 2 of the Preparing to Experience series, we are a normal family with normal drama. Our kids have had spit up all over their clothing right when we’re leaving the house; our kids sit down and cry because they don’t like their shoes; our kids are real kids. We don’t live in a perfect, conflict-free and chaos-free home.
Having a routine on Saturday night and then Sunday mornings has enabled us to minimize the conflict and chaos. As a result, we turn out to be pretty happy people showing up to church and ready to join our church family! And mostly on time!
We recognize that all families are different. With so many different personalities and family dynamics, we know that our “method” is not a fix-all for every family. It’s what works for us. Our hope is that as we share our thoughts, you can take what you like and see if it works to help you and/or your family be more prepared for the Big Day of your church gathering.
So, let’s get started.
The goal isn’t about showing up on time. The goal is a prepared heart. Although punctuality is a nice benefit, the goal is three-fold:
1. To show up to our church gathering with hearts that are ready to serve and/or encourage our church family,
2. to show up ready to hear from the Lord
3. to show up ready to respond to and worship the Lord.
As we have established our Saturday night and Sunday morning regimen, it has been helpful for me to understand my kids’ tendencies and to learn how to accommodate/work with those tendencies. It’s also helpful to know your own habits too! (Like misplacing car keys or Bibles or phones. :))
Let me introduce you to my kids once again and give you an idea of their tendencies:
<–This is Taylor.
She is an incredible helper. If there’s anything that I can delegate, she can usually handle it. She is also the one who never gets in a hurry and she tries to shove every marker, pencil, pen and notepad in her bag. This can sometimes slow down our progress. She is also known to try to change her mind about what she wants to wear on the morning of.
This is Rylee. –>
She can be pretty quick to take care of her business and usually thinks ahead to what needs to be done. She does tend to be the one who is missing a shoe or shows up to the church without shoes on. As you can imagine, not having shoes can sometimes add a little chaos to the morning.
<–This is Maddy.
Maddy is our princess that floats and twirls down the hallway. She recently learned to brush her own hair, and she does an amazing job at it! Unfortunately for Maddy, she is three, which means some days she is the emotional one and just needs time to sit, to be held and be heard. She also is the one who wants to take everything she owns in the car with her to church.
Last, certainly not least is Lynon.–>
He is typically a happy, go-with-the-flow kind of dude. However, he is also the shoe-stealer, toy-stealer and overall, mess-maker of mainly himself (especially if he gets ahold of the markers).
Now that you know what kind of personalities we have to work with, here’s our strategy:
Everyone in the family takes baths or showers.
All outfits are picked out the night before, and I usually iron them if they desperately need it. Socks, shoes and any other necessary items are placed with the matching ensemble and placed out of our shoe-stealer’s reach.
We end the evening with the usual bedtime routine, our family devotional and then prayer.
We don’t stay up late on Saturday nights. If Kert and I want to go on a date or hang out with other people, we rarely do it on Saturday nights. We reserve late night events for Thursdays or Fridays. On Saturday, kids are in bed on time or early. Kert and I try to get in bed by 10:00, which is early for us. Then we take a few minutes to talk through the events of the next day. We also usually read over the sermon passage or song line-up right before turning out the lights.
We have discovered that crazy things happen on a Saturday night. Kids vomiting or having bad dreams is usually what wakes us from a deep sleep on Saturday nights. Getting to bed is clutch for us to be able to respond to those needs and still feel like we got enough rest.
I wake up two hours before I wake the kids up. I get myself totally ready. Totally ready. Because my hair was washed and dried the night before, it usually doesn’t take very long. I have the remainder of my time before the kids get up to look at the passage of Scripture that our teacher will be covering that day, to pray, to go over our song-set again, whatever. Just taking my time at whatever I need to do to prepare my heart.
I wake the kids up 45 minutes to an hour before leaving. I usually have some sort of praise and worship music playing in the background.
We eat breakfast. I recommend always feeding your kids before getting them dressed. 🙂 Something simple. We either do cereal or fruit and yogurt on Sundays. And it’s always something we know will promote successful, quick eating. Now they even expect it on Sundays.
On mornings that I’m leading worship, we take our food “to-go”. We eat dry cereal from ziplock bags. Granola bars are handy too.
After eating breakfast, everybody goes up to my room and the older three get fully dressed. I then begin to style everyone’s hair, which is usually basic. They brush their teeth, and then they get the items they would like to take to church with them. We limit the toys for Maddy to two buddies that can ride with her. She often has to be reminded of this, but it’s rarely a time-consuming issue. Taylor and Rylee usually work together to pack their note-taking/doodling supplies.
I save Lynon, our mess-maker for very last. Once he has a fresh diaper and is dressed and ready to go, we head out to the car to get loaded.
We have a 7 minute drive to our church. So, we start loading our car 15 to 20 minutes before we need to be there.
The goal isn’t about showing up on time. The goal is a prepared heart.
Because our goal is about the heart, we need plenty of unhurried time for getting in the car. We need time for making the predictable run back into the house for something, or needing to make a last minute diaper change, or needing to resolve some sort of discipline issue. My family does not respond well when we all feel rushed, I’m barking orders and we’re sprinting to the car and trying to get all those silly car seats buckled.
I am learning that successful Sunday morning experiences for our family begin with a relaxed, pleasant parent. In order to be that parent, I have to prepare in advance. Not just preparing my kids, but myself as well. Having a method to our madness has allowed us all to know what to expect, to minimize the chaos at home and to show up to church with hearts that are calm and ready to serve and hear from the Lord. Most of the time. 🙂
I hope this account is helpful to you! Please feel free to share any tips that have been helpful for you and your family!
UPDATE: Whether you have a big family, small family, no children or no spouse, please know that your preparation for your church’s corporate gathering is incredibly valuable to your experience with the Body and for the Body of Christ. Consider how you can intentionally prepare yourself for your big day of worshiping with the Church. It will definitely look different from our routine, but we hope you see the value in planning ahead and having purposeful times of readying your heart for corporate worship, regardless of your stage of life.
Since Kerry is on the home front on Sunday mornings and getting our four kids ready alone on Sunday mornings, she will be sharing Part two of our Preparing to Experience Corporate Worship, which has a little “Sunday Drama.” If you missed Part One, please check it out too!
Preparing the family for corporate worship is a big deal. Sometimes it feels like all of Satan’s comrades are joining together to prevent your family from showing up to church with smiles on your faces–or even with your sanity.
Since I have the privilege of leading worship several Sundays a month, we typically have a very specific routine that helps us get to church around 7:30 on Sunday mornings. One Sunday I was “off” from leading and I decided to intentionally experiment with what it might look like for the typical family on a Sunday morning who needs to get to church around 9:30.
Let me first introduce you to our children:
We have a 7 year old, 5 year old, 3 year old and an 18 month old. It should be pretty quick and easy to get everyone ready for church, right? After all, we had two extra hours in our morning before church.
Here’s how that unusual Sunday morning went for us:
I woke up.
Then I went to wake up the kids.
I discovered a little boy whose diaper leaked at some point in the early morning hours and then I found another child that had pee in her bed. So, two kids needed baths. If the rare occasion of a wet bed is going to occur, you can almost bet it will happen on a Sunday morning!
It was a chilly morning so I had to dry their hair. And then style everyone’s hair. At the age of my kids, it’s seldom a pleasant experience. I have a 5 year old that is incredibly tender-headed and an almost 4-year-old who consistently hates everything about the way I try to fix her hair. Nonetheless, hair gets done and we proceed to pick out clothes. Two of the four outfits need to be ironed. As I finish ironing and I’m calling the kids to come to my room to grab their outfits, one of the kids injures herself on the untimely appearance of a protruding doorknob. She cries for three minutes straight.
On this particular Sunday, the kids picked outfits that would look cute with boots. So they needed socks. Now, I will never understand what happens to socks in our house. Socks and hair clips–they seem to magically disappear. Do we even own socks at this point? I begin to wonder because my children can’t seem to find any.
After they settle on wearing mismatched socks (don’t judge me ;)), a passionate debate commences about the necessity of leggings/tights. As a result one kid is pondering the idea of picking a completely different outfit. No way. Sorry.
Finally, everyone is almost fully dressed. Whew. All we have left to do is get shoes on. Where are they? We have cubbies in a particular closet that we call the “shoe closet.” Surely, their shoes are in the shoe closet where they should be. Nope. A search for shoes begins.
Doing this for four precious humans takes a large amount of time. And then add the moderate amount of time it took me to find an outfit, apply makeup and style my own hair.
Anyway, we have a few more minutes before we need to leave and then I remember our dog. We are fairly new dog owners, and I often forget to account for the amount of time it takes to love on her and take care of her in our schedule. She’s gotta go outside to handle her business and then come eat and also get some affection.
As I’m getting her back into her comfy dog crate, one of the kids asks, “Mom, what’s for breakfast?”
BREAKFAST! I forgot about breakfast! Imagine all four children standing side by side and gazing up at me with their big brown and blue eyes longing for their morning meal as they hold their hungry bellies. Okay, so they didn’t exactly do that, but that’s how I felt! I encourage our oldest to fill sandwich bags of cereal that we will eat on the way.
I grab some diapers to shove in my purse and round up the kiddos to load them in the car.
We’re going to be late. Before pulling out of the driveway, I text their dad to let him know we are running a little (er, a lot) behind schedule. All kids are in their seats, seatbelts on and we are finally on our way.
Approximately three minutes into the drive, one kid says, “Momma, we didn’t brush our teeth.” Of course.
As we pull into the church parking lot, another kid says, “Momma, I forgot my shoes.” What? How does that….I’m not even going to ask.
Thankfully, we had a random pair of flip-flops on the floor board of the car and we all get out, try to do the whole “run but look like we are walking” thing and enter the church 20 minutes late with cheerio-scented morning breath and sticky fingers.
As I said earlier, that is a very unusual experience for our family. But can you relate? Do your Sunday mornings feel chaotic? Do you feel like raising your hands to the sky and dramatically saying, “There’s gotta be a better way!”?
On the next post, I will share what our typical routine is. Every family is different but maybe our routine can help you brainstorm your own.
The hope is that you will be intentional about creating an organized routine of preparing for corporate worship. It’s a lot less stressful when we have a plan for Sunday mornings. In fact, we would say that a plan for Sunday mornings is a necessity–not for simply showing up on time, but in order to have your heart ready for worshiping with your Church Family.
Athletes never show up to a competition without making preparations. They have usually “watched film,” strategized about the game plan and practiced hard. Then game day approaches. Most athletes have pre-game routines. They could have a certain meal that they eat before a game like Wade Bogg’s chicken dinners. Maybe it’s a certain activity like Calvin Johnson’s yoga routine before game time. Or listening to certain music and envisioning on-the-field success. It’s all in an attempt to prepare their minds and bodies for their big day.
Maybe you’ve never ventured into a corporate worship gathering with the mentality of a prepared athlete. We’re hoping to improve your approach and help you be SHARP the next time you step into a corporate gathering, whether that’s Saturday, Sunday or whenever your local church family meets together.
A few years ago, Kerry and I developed a simple acrostic for our worship team:
Our goal was to encourage our worship teamers with the fact that so much more should go into preparing our hearts and minds for a corporate worship service. This doesn’t just affect people who volunteer on Sundays. We believe it pertains to really anyone who follows Jesus.
Kerry and I believe most people who come to church truly want to experience God’s beautiful design for our corporate gatherings. However, the day before our times of worship with the Body, we all typically sleep, respond to issues at work, handle screaming kids, participate in extracurricular activities, and attend anything from funerals to welcoming babies into the world. Oh goodness! And then here comes Sunday morning — often full of surprises. After we’ve stayed up late the night before, shoved breakfast at our kids and given our spouse “the look” because we’re probably running late, do we really mean the lyric “To You our hearts are open, nothing here is hidden” at 8:30 a.m.? Have we even caught our breath from sprinting through the doors?
In order to have a meaningful and truthful time of worship from the very first element of the service to the last, preparations must be made.
So what can we do? How can we prepare for Sunday?
Beginning the day before your corporate gathering (or honestly, making it a way of life), here’s how you can be S.H.A.R.P. for your church gathering:
We have been leading worship in song for the last 16 years. There is a noticeable difference from the times we’ve made preparations for the corporate worship gathering and times when we haven’t. We don’t like encountering the latter.
So here’s our challenge to you: what if we all show up having made preparations and come expecting to hear from the Lord? What would we experience from Him?
A series called “Preparing to Experience” is on its way. In the coming weeks, we will be focusing on preparing ourselves for corporate times of worship. We will have tips, funny stories, encouragement, etc. to help us all experience the Lord and His Body in a meaningful way. We don’t want you to miss it!
You can subscribe to our blog to have this series sent straight to your inbox. Just fill in your email address at the top right of this page!
We look forward to sharing what the Lord has shown us about this topic!
We are passionate about seeing the Church, Christ’s Body of believers, join together to worship Him. Our hearts long to see people connect with their Father and their Savior in a personal and meaningful way. We desire to see people surrender to follow and trust God no matter what. We are passionate about seeing people respond with thankfulness for Christ’s gift of forgiveness, redemption and salvation.
This is who we are. This is what drives us. This is what moves us.
Awhile back we led worship through song for a conference. While singing Kari Jobe’s song “Forever,” I, Kerry, was overwhelmed by the Lord. I couldn’t keep it together. Tears began falling, my voice could no longer sing and weeping took place. Right there, in the middle of the stage, lights beaming down on me, the band still playing, background vocalists picked up the lead as I allowed the Spirit to speak to my heart. I’m listening. What Lord? Why now?
I was asked later by a curious participant what that was about. What did I experience?
While that experience isn’t a regular occurrence, it also isn’t completely foreign to us. Kert and I are both known to begin tearing up and sometimes weeping during times of leading. What is that about?
Well, it’s the result of several things. Most of it is a matter of our perspective.
There are several difficulties to fulfilling this calling of pastoral ministry, but there are so many rewards and gifts in being in full-time ministry. This is one of them — having a front row seat in watching God do His thing.
To give you a glimpse of what we experience, here’s a little of what took place on that particular conference day. And please be kind. I hope you know that what I’m sharing is a place of vulnerability and the hope is that you will have understanding as to what we experience when we lead worship and the hope that you will be encouraged in your own worship of the Lord. Also, know that I’m trying to use words to describe a moment that is difficult to describe.
So here’s what happened that particular day:
I pray during the introductory instrumental, “Lord, please give me strength to sing this. Please use these words to speak to our hearts about who You are. May we hear You.”
I open my eyes to sing the first words of the song:
“The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Savior of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon him”
As I sing these words, I imagine the weight that Jesus took on. I feel heaviness and tension in my heart.
“One final breath He gave
As Heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken”
I am thinking about the battle and the victory that Christ won. The power of hell broken. BROKEN! Forever! As I’m singing those words, I’m looking across the congregation. I see a variety of activities taking place. I see a person yawn. I see a person staring blankly. I see a young woman whose face is contorting in a grimace of pain and pleading to the Lord–but at the same time there’s a beauty in it like a surrender is taking place. I see a tall man standing with both arms raised to the sky and palms facing outward. He’s adorning the Lord with praise. I see another person sitting, one arm folded with her hand across her stomach and the other hand on her face and she is sobbing.
And I know their stories. I know the young mom has recently added another child to her family, and they have medical difficulties in their family. They are struggling to find strength through the exhaustion of having a new baby; they are struggling to find help and provision as they endure the constant faith-testing of finding enough medical coverage to help their family. I know that this mom is fighting for joy and she is honoring the Lord in the midst of their trial.
I know that tall man’s story too. We’ve seen him grow from a man of uncertainty and passiveness to a man passionate about leading his family and community to Jesus, and he’s a man certain of God’s call on his life to lead out in a specific ministry that the Lord is overflowing with blessing.
I know the weeping woman’s story. Just a week prior to the conference, she and her family had an unexpected and tragic death take place.
And I know my story. Dealing with emotions concerning our own lost loved one, struggling through stress of mounting responsibilities and then having sick kids, etc. I’m sure you can relate!
And then I sing:
“The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated”
And then I fall apart while the other vocalists pick up the slack and sing,
“Forever, He is glorified
Forever, He is lifted high
Forever, He is risen
He is alive
He is alive”
The Lord says to my heart, “I will be glorified. Forever.”
And I look at these dear people in front of me and I think, “Of course! Of course you will! You will be glorified no matter what!” In difficult events of our lives, God has shown up and He has proven Himself to be faithful. He has shown up at the right time to give comfort, wisdom, provision, strength and peace. It was a moment of the Lord saying, “This is who I am for you. Trust me. I have overcome and you can trust that I’m gonna bring Myself glory.”
We’re so thankful for your encouragement concerning our newest song “December”!
Here are the lyrics to the song:
Splashes of color of red and green
Decorations with lights and trees
The gray skies, the cold pushing us inside
to warm by the fire
The snow is falling gently outside
Casting a blanket of powdery white
We throw on the scarf, the boots, the coat
to stamp an angel in the snow
These scenes are a taste of the season’s joy
Oh – Oh
Or is there something more?
The family’s piling in the car
They’re willing to travel both near and far
To celebrate, to play, and make
memories that last for a lifetime
Gifts are flooding below the tree
We are waiting impatiently
and hoping what is hidden inside these gifts
will quench our hearts’ desires
These scenes are a taste of the season’s joy
Oh – Oh
Or is there something more?
A baby in a manger lay
When angels sang and shepherds came
“Glory to God in the highest
the Savior has been born this day!”
This scene is the reason for Christmas joy
Oh – Oh
And there’s so much more