ALIVE IN YOU

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Wild Heart begins with a song called, Alive In You. It's rooted in the timeless passage written by the Apostle Paul nearly two thousand years ago, 

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
— Galatians 2:20

I wrote it with Kim Walker-Smith and her husband Skyler and to this day it's be one of the greatest joys of my life. What I didn't know is that nearly after a year since it's release date, the song has taken flight around the world. Below are some videos of "Alive In You" being sung in multiple languages all over the world. All to say, the Church is truly ALIVE! If you speak another language that's not represented, and want to post your own cover of Alive In You to YouTube, record it, send us the link and we'll be happy to include it below!

ENGLISH

PORTUGESE

RUSSIAN

SPANISH

AFTER THE FIREWORKS

We’re about a month into the new year, and I would say my conversations with most of my friends thus far pretty much fall into one of two categories: 1. Crushing it, or 2. Being crushed...

If you’re crushing it this year, I’m honestly really happy for you. We all are. You’ve officially taken 2017 by the proverbial bull horns and managed to reign it in, somehow. It’s awesome, it’s impressive, and by no means do I want to thwart your momentum towards greatness. But, to all my people out there who have already lost sight of their new year’s resolution, lost track, messed up, screwed up, and officially fallen flat on your face, this blog is for YOU.

Below are 3 things to keep in mind that have helped me along the way through thousands of failed attempts, unmet goals, and undesired results despite my best efforts.

1. IT'S WORSE THAN YOU THINK

Your sin is actually worse than you think it is. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s the truth, and the truth sometimes hurts. Jesus didn’t die on the cross because you didn’t uphold your own new years resolutions. He died for you because you are utterly helpless to accomplish anything of eternal significance in your own strength.  Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” In other words, your heart has a proclivity not only towards decline, but death itself. 1 John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer.” Jesus Himself says in Matthew 5:28 “Anyone who looks at another lustfully has already committed adultery with him/her in his/her heart.” So theologically you not only failed to eat healthier, be a better person, refrain from pornography, spend less money, and/or start that new project, but you managed to become a murderer, a liar, and a cheat. That's not to hit you while you're down, it's just to say your spiritual condition is actually so much worse than than your un-met home-improvements. The Bible says your heart isn't a merely house undergoing remodel, but a home completely wiped out by natural disaster, devastated and leveled to the ground. Your heart, despite your best self-help efforts, is desperately wicked, unimaginatively deceitful, and worse than you could know.

2. BUT, you’re a new creation

The Good News is that in and through Christ Jesus, your life is being made entirely brand new (2 Corinthians 5:17). You're a new creation! The old is gone, and the new has come. No matter what you’ve done or failed to do today or for decades to come - God has wiped your slate clean through Jesus’ own blood. You’re forgiven. You’re made right with God because of His once-and-for-all sacrifice, and unconditional love for you. Romans 8:1 reminds us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” In other words, even if you are crushing this year, living out the law beautifully, which is in and of itself is debatable and at the very least unlikely (see 1. above), it’s still only in Jesus do we have real victory stepping into 2017 anyways. Plus we know that nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:31) That's a resolution worth holding on to.

3. So keep going!

Don’t give up, don't look back, and don’t listen to that old voice of the enemy! Ever heard this familiar whisper in your head, “Oooh, you’ve screwed up so bad this time - I don’t think God can use you anymore..” or “Wow, amazing, you’re doing so well - you don't need any help anymore - you got this!”? Well, I have too, and I'm telling you, that voice only leads towards more self-destruction. The voice of Truth; the voice of God says, "Keep going! Keep running! When you fall, I'll pick you back up!" If by chance you’re still reading this than that means this next part is specifically for YOU for 2017: Hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to you through the real and raw confession of the Apostle Paul, Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

So if the fireworks have faded, and you feel like you’re already being crushed by 2017, just remember:

  1. It's worse than you think (Jer 17:9)
  2. But cheer up, you're a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)
  3. KEEP GOING! (Phil 3:12-14)

And listen to my friend, Ignacio

A CALL TO LOVE

In the chaos You see the glory
From the wreckage, light is shining through
So open up these weary eyes
All around me color's changing
Though I'm broken, hope is breaking through
As You open up these weary eyes

I wanna see what You see
Come and rearrange me
Let Your love be my kaleidoscope
Change me from the inside
Show me what it looks like
Let Your love be my kaleidoscope

You fill my world with childlike wonder
Every face, reflections of your heart
As You open these weary eyes
Weary eyes

Heaven's eyes, heaven's sight
Fill my heart, fill my life

- Kaleidoscope

Worship has never just been about singing, but rather living out a life filled with compassion, justice, and praise. It’s not enough to shout anthems of God's love, and as a worship leader, this is perhaps the most difficult thing for me to admit. There’s nothing I love more than music; making melody and singing to God. I’ve dedicated my entire life to providing a soundtrack for the next generation to spiritually connect with Him in the most authentic way I know how. However, the minute I lose sight of the people around me, I lose vision of Jesus himself, who says,

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
— Matthew 25:40

Biblical Christian worship is less like opening up one of those singing holiday Hallmark-cards, and more like peering through a kaleidoscope. When you look through a kaleidoscope, everything changes. Colors and shapes rearrange. When we see the world through heaven's eyes, we can't help but show compassion for the world that God so loves. When we look at people through the lens of the cross, we can't help but lay down our own lives for the very people Jesus bled and died for. It’s not enough to just sing about HOW He loves. We were created to care, serve, and even sacrificially love WHO He loves.  Jesus paid too great a price for us on the cross for us to merely gloss over the oppressed, the marginalized, and the hurting. In fact, the prophet Amos declares that worship, when not accompanied with justice is just noise…

I hate, I despise your religious festivals;

your assemblies are a stench to me.

Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,

I will not accept them.

Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,

I will have no regard for them.

Away with the noise of your songs!

I will not listen to the music of your harps.

But let justice roll on like a river,

righteousness like a never-failing stream!
— Amos 5:21-24

I’m afraid we're living in a time when the Church is more worried about how we sound then who we serve. The early Church used to be a counter-cultural, non-violent, unified movement under the leadership of its radical leader, Jesus. I want to be a part of that Church. I want to join the early disciples who chose to love not only their neighbors, but even their enemies in the face of empire.

DEAR FRIENDS, LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER, FOR LOVE COMES FROM GOD. EVERYONE WHO LOVES HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD AND KNOWS GOD. WHOEVER DOES NOT LOVE DOES NOT KNOW GOD, BECAUSE GOD IS LOVE. THIS IS HOW GOD SHOWED HIS LOVE AMONG US: HE SENT HIS ONE AND ONLY SON INTO THE WORLD THAT WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM. THIS IS LOVE: NOT THAT WE LOVED GOD, BUT THAT HE LOVED US AND SENT HIS SON AS AN ATONING SACRIFICE FOR OUR SINS. DEAR FRIENDS, SINCE GOD SO LOVED US, WE ALSO OUGHT TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER. NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN GOD; BUT IF WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, GOD LIVES IN US AND HIS LOVE IS MADE COMPLETE IN US.
— 1 John 4:7-12 (NIV)

A CALL TO MOURN

To the broken one

To the pain untold

To the empty hand

To the thirsty soul

Where the tears run dry

And the joy is scarce

To the shattered heart

We will find You there

 - Wild Heart

This year has been absolutely amazing. We kicked things off in January opening for Hillsong United in Hawaii, toured the US and UK for several months with Rend Collective, our first label-released album, Wild Heart, reached #1 on the iTunes Christian charts in both the US and UK, we toured the US again this summer with Kari Jobe, Elevation Worship, and Hillsong Worship, joined with 10,000 people at the Honda Center in Southern California, made our first television appearance, and released two singles to radio. 

But in the face of so much joy, there’s a quiet pain that remains unspoken.

This has been a year of heartache for my family, my church, and millions of black lives around the world. I’ve felt a growing disparity between justice and praise - people who confess Jesus with their lips, but remain action-less. It’s becoming more difficult for me to hear the praise songs of God’s unconditional, unrelenting, unwavering love, when I continue to witness the lack of love within the local Church as we fail to respond to these horrendous events. I believe the first healthy step of action is to enter into a time of lament and mourning.

LOVE MUST BE SINCERE. HATE WHAT IS EVIL; CLING TO WHAT IS GOOD. BE DEVOTED TO ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE. HONOR ONE ANOTHER ABOVE YOURSELVES. NEVER BE LACKING IN ZEAL, BUT KEEP YOUR SPIRITUAL FERVOR, SERVING THE LORD. BE JOYFUL IN HOPE, PATIENT IN AFFLICTION, FAITHFUL IN PRAYER. SHARE WITH THE LORD’S PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED. PRACTICE HOSPITALITY. BLESS THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU; BLESS AND DO NOT CURSE. REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE; MOURN WITH THOSE WHO MOURN.
— ROMANS 12:10-14 (NIV)

Recently an unarmed black man was shot in cold blood by officers down the street from my house. Our church pastors rallied together outside his home to mourn and pray with the man’s wife and children. However instead of showing the family compassion, people walked by parading around like monkeys, mocking my pastor and the others gathered around those who were mourning. I’m tempted to keep my voice quiet and my personal convictions tamed, however as a follower of Jesus and leader in the Church, I can’t remain silent. 

Mourning is the lost art of worship. We love to party. We love to celebrate. We're constantly attracted towards big, bright, sparkly worship. And that’s a good thing! The Psalms are filled with anthems of bright colorful celebrations and praises. In fact, of the 150 Psalms, over 60% are about praise and celebration, rejoicing for all the incredible things God has done. Still, 40% of the Psalms are about lament or mourning. In our worshipping, preaching, singing, teaching, talking, community-living as Christians we tend to ignore or just utterly cut-out one of the most significant disciplines of worship found in the Bible, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

Earlier this year our Church in Los Angeles got together for night of lament. We turned down the voices of Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and listened to the voices of the slain - the husbands, the wives, the daughters, the sons, the sisters, and the brothers of the lives whose breath was snatched far too early this year. We wept. We prayed. We spoke their names out-loud. We repented. We mourned. It was uncomfortable. It was costly. It was counter-cultural. It was exactly how sacrificial, biblically-informed worship should feel.

 

The danger of living under the popular platitude of “All Lives Matter” is that it doesn’t require anything of us; doesn’t require action, or really any ounce of compassion at all. It allows us to continue to go on about our lives while ignoring the specific names, families, and faces of those lives who are suffering. But like a surgeon, I believe the Holy Spirit wants do repair on the heart of His Church. If our hearts don’t break with Black Lives, we’ve missed it. If our hearts don’t break with Blue Lives, we’ve missed it. If our hearts don't break with Latino Lives, we've missed it. If our hearts don’t break with LGBTQ Lives, we’ve missed it. The list goes on and on. However, I suppose the point is that if our heart, as the Church, breaks for one people group more than another, we've still missed it. If we as the Church do not rise up and take an active unified stand against the systematic means of oppression around us, we will cease to be the original Church Jesus’ formed. But let it begin with compassion. Let it begin with mourning. 

THIS IS HOW WE KNOW WHAT LOVE IS: JESUS CHRIST LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US. AND WE OUGHT TO LAY DOWN OUR LIVES FOR OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. . . DEAR CHILDREN, LET US NOT LOVE WITH WORDS OR SPEECH BUT WITH ACTIONS AND IN TRUTH.
— 1 JOHN 3:16-18 (NIV)

JUSTICE & PRAISE // Join us

This December we are exploring one idea on all of our social platforms - JUSTICE & PRAISE - How can we live out of a Christ-centered life while equally seeking justice and offering praise? What part does Jesus tell us to play? How does the Local Church get involved?

Will you join us in sharing the ways that God is moving in your life of worship publicly online? If something I’ve said, or something from Scripture has resonated, please SHARE IT with your friends and community. I’m asking the Holy Spirit for fresh wind and fresh fire to captivate, resonate, liberate, and recreate us. This December I want to invite YOU into what we’re calling Justice and Praise - an exploration of what I believe Jesus refers to in

John Chapter 4:32-24 (NIV)

“YET A TIME IS COMING AND HAS NOW COME WHEN THE TRUE WORSHIPERS WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER IN THE SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH, FOR THEY ARE THE KIND OF WORSHIPERS THE FATHER SEEKS. GOD IS SPIRIT, AND HIS WORSHIPERS MUST WORSHIP IN THE SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.”

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FINDING FREEDOM

“Blessed are the people who know how to praise you. They walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They find joy in your name all day long. They are joyful in your righteousness because you are the glory of their strength.” Psalms 89:15-17

 

I’ve always wondered if there was a “right” way to worship God. So many times I’ve entered into church services or worship nights’ wide-eyed, looking around for affirmation from others that I am doing it right – that my response to God’s presence is good enough or appropriate. It’s like when you were a kid learning to play baseball for the first time. You know you have to hit the ball, but what is your batting stance suppose to look like? When you walk up to the plate, you immediately look to your coach and teammates for direction. You ask yourself, “am I bending my knees enough? Is the bat high enough? Are my shoulders down? Am I looking the right way? Do I know where I want to hit the ball? And when that ball finally heads towards me at full speed, am I actually going to connect with it or will it fly right past me?” Sometimes, this is how I feel when I enter into worship.

It’s easy for me to get caught up in all the moving pieces and find myself asking God, “Am I doing it right? Am I connecting with you? Did I hit the mark?” Psalms 89 says, “Blessed are the people who know how to praise you.” So, how do I know? How do we know when we enter into worship that we are praising God and doing it well? Over the past few months, I’ve found myself wrestling with these questions and what I’ve realized is my definition of worship was totally warped! I held worship at a distance. It was something I stepped in and out of when I entered and left church. But that is NOT worship! Worship is an everyday, all the time practice.

Romans 12:1 says this: “Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to- work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” 

What if we lived our everyday lives EXPECTING the glory of God to dwell in us? 
What would it look like to be so AWARE of God’s presence in conversations, in the grocery store, or on our way to work? 

As Christ followers, we have the opportunity to worship God in every moment of our days because He has made His dwelling place in us! God puts His Spirit in us and where His Spirit is there is freedom - freedom to dance, sing, shout, kneel, cry, and praise Him all day long (2 Cor 3:17)! The great thing about this way of worshipping is that there is no right or wrong way of doing it. The pressure is off because God’s Spirit is freedom. We are free to be our broken and human selves - to not sit wide-eyed looking around for approval or affirmation. Our everyday, ordinary lives placed before God is enough.

 

MEGAN SISK // SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR 


MEGAN SISK IS A GRADUATE STUDENT AT FULLER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR FOR URBAN RESCUE AND WIFE TO NOLAN SISK (ELECTRIC GUITARIST). HER PASSION IS TO SEE PEOPLE INVEST IN INTENTIONAL COMMUNITIES AND EXPERIENCE THE LOVE OF JESUS THROUGH DISCIPLESHIP AND WORSHIP.

KEEP LEADING

I always wanted to lead worship. I never really wanted to be a guitar player.
Growing up, I was a worship leader in my youth group. Multiple times a week I would lead services for my peers from my acoustic guitar and try my best to sing so that people could recognize the song (a real challenge for a pubescent boy with no vocal training).

So I decided to get the formal training to go with my new found passion. But a couple years into my music degree I found myself getting discouraged. I found myself doing something besides what I defined as “worship leading”. I thought I was there to run the show, pick the songs, and sing the music. Instead, I constantly found myself in a supporting role. I tried for years to pridefully, and unsuccessfully, make myself into the “worship leader” that I thought I was suppose to be.

I failed to recognize that the job of leading worship was not limited to the 30 minute music set on stage or to even one person. I had to let my narrow definition of what it means to lead worship go and try to find where God wanted to use me.

I think it’s an easy mistake to make. In churches everywhere we have designated the title of worship leader to those who lead worship during a scheduled window of time every Sunday morning. It’s convenient for us to pack “worship” away into a drawer and pull it out once a week, as our Sunday's best.

As precious as those times of corporate worship can be, worship should never be limited to music that we may or may not “be into to” on that one particular Sunday morning. It’s a lifestyle that takes whatever we have and wherever we’re at and lets us extravagantly serve Jesus.

For me, it's playing electric guitar.

Worship leading doesn't have to be limited to the chosen “worship leader” because by learning to love Jesus, as best we can, we set the stage for others to do the same...we are all leaders. It was in this moment of clarity that I realized Jesus was with me the whole time, loving selfish me, as I strove to accomplish a personal goal that almost kept me from seeing where he already using me. I was free to stop trying to be something I wasn’t and instead rejoice in who I really am.

So, whatever it is that you do. Whether that’s music, art, sports, or academics. You can lead people into worship. Jesus never called us to worship with an acoustic guitar, a synth pad, and a chorus after the bridge. He called us to worship him with our lives.

Nolan Sisk // Lead Guitar

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1 (MSG)

KEEP DREAMING

I have only had one dream since I was a kid. I wanted to travel the world playing drums. I didn’t care about getting paid, being noticed, making it to the top, or even being good at it. I just wanted to make my dream possible. For the last five years I am privileged to say I have been in fact traveling the world playing drums! This simple fact is how I have come to know God is real in my life. 

This past week I got the opportunity to teach students at Camp Electric in Nashville, TN. I focused a lot on CONFIDENCE and EGO, the two things that have shaped me as a person and also as a follower of Christ. I have put so much time and sacrifice to get where I am with music so it was encouraging to meet the next generation of musicians. Hundreds of students who took a week from their summer break to get better at their craft. 

Teaching music holds a very serious place in my heart because I like sharing how I got where I am today. I don’t teach based on what’s right or wrong but how to keep a straight path to where you want to be. It has taken me years to find my own place as a drummer and a person and I hope I can encourage others to stay determined and persistent in God’s plan for their life.

NOW that I’m living out my childhood dream the hardest part is keeping my head in the right place.

I struggle with tendencies of addiction on a daily basis but I put my job first and ultimately my faith. We are our own worst critics and I am extremely hard on myself but now I have seen what God can do. I am confident that God will see to my success because he has a great story to tell through me.

The only thing that steadies my brain is music and that's why I do what I do. God gave me the ability to work as a drummer. And I hope to reflect His grace and creativity everyday I work. 

My goal is for anyone and everyone who experiences or listens to our music to be set free. This means more to me than anything in the world and that’s why God put me where I am today. We are ready for what lies ahead. Our love and passion for what we do keeps us energized through the long days but more importantly YOU...our friends, family and fans always inspire US to keep dreaming!

-Brett "RAGE" Rocha // Drummer

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” Phil 1:6 (MSG)