Friday, August 26, 2011

ACU Welcome Week Candlelight Devo

Tuesday night I went to the annual ACU Welcome Week candlelight devo in the ACU amphitheater. It was always. It had been almost 20 years since I had been to it. I loved hearing the more than 1000 voices sing with passion to the Father. Many of the songs were ZOE songs/arrangements. It was surreal in a way. I thought of my friends who had written some of those songs...probably having no clue the life it would have within my particular tribe, and wished for them.

My buddy Chris Davis who wrote "Here In This Place" probably never imagined how his song would be tied in a very emotional way to the beginning of all these students' college experiences. Chris is a good friend and a good man.

I'm wondering if my friend Eric Wyse ever imagined the picture above when he wrote "Light the Fire"? Eric and I produced several kids records together for Parable Bookstores and we've done multiple projects together including the Hymns project for Family Christian Bookstores. I love and miss you, Eric! Please come see us.

I'm wondering if my friend from Belmont Church, Rob Still, could have ever imagined how "A New Anointing" would take on a life of its own? Rob has often told me how ZOE brought that song to life. Worship Leader Magazine had used our recording to introduce that song in their Song Discovery program. I wished for him as I heard these kids belting it out. A season for a NEW anointing! Powerful words for these kids in this time in their lives.

And every time we sing Shout Hallelujah, I think about the night in the studio when Randy Gill introduced us to that song. It's one of my favorites! I love how Randy has helped shape the worship vocabulary within our tribe and beyond.

One of the MOST bizarre things is how songs take on a life of their own. I stood there as the students sang these songs and listened as the girls all sang the adlib parts by that my wife Sheryl, Jason McArthur, Zach Wilson and others made up while we were in the studio. I listened as the tenors soared on parts in "Salvation Belongs to Our God" and "Worthy is the Lamb" and remembered how the tenors and altos haggled (a serious ZOE tradition) in the studio over who would sing which part. The tenors always want to sing the alto parts. HA! And those students were just belting it out. There were no lyrics...they just all knew them by heart. It was so incredibly moving. I just cannot express how full my heart was that night.

I doubt most of these kids knew any of the background or history of these songs. I did some quick math in my head that night and realized that they were all 3 and 4 years old when the first ZOE CD came out. Talk about a fossilizing moment!! What they WERE thinking about was worship. They seemed to be transported right into the throne room of God. And, after all, THAT is what it's about.

I walked away that night thinking about my ZOE family...all the experiences, the journey, the laughter and tears, the prayers....and I thanked God. It's in times like that when words completely fail you. But I know that in ways I cannot know, the Spirit was able to help me as I prayed. As we have said from the beginning in ZOE...there is only ONE audience and it's our Father. He is the Almighty, Abba, Alpha and Omega, King of kings and Lord of lords. His glory is above the heavens. What I saw Tuesday night was that His fame and glory were being celebrated in powerful ways. Hallelujah! May this generation take that to even higher heights! I want to be a part of THAT! We serve a mighty God! I stand in the shadow of the cross and feel so thankful that I have a hope in Him. Without Him, I am nothing. He gives Life. He takes my meager offering and makes it into something I could never imagine. He takes my brokenness and makes beauty from ashes. He loves beyond my wildest imagination. I want MORE of God and LESS of me! Praise God for his unfailing love!


Anonymous said...

Brandon, the gift of music that the Lord has blessed us with through Zoe is so far-reaching. So many songs well up such sweet memories for me - of the Spirit breathing truth into my life over the years through Zoe voices. During some joyous times - during some of the most painful times of my life. What a gift - thank you for being faithful to use that gift to bless all of us - and generations to come!

Anonymous said...

So many of the thoughts you expressed in this post are thoughts I have had of you and Sheryl and the rest of Zoe through the years as I have experienced worship in the deep and meaningful ways my heart had always longed for so many times with Zoe or singing Zoe songs...He has taken your offerings and used them in such huge ways in so many lives...and i for one cannot possibly thank you or Sheryl or any of Zoe enough!

Warren Baldwin said...

Wish I had been there!

Will be at ACU in Jan for a class, but won't have this experience. Neat comments about the songs, too.