Gungor in Concert

This evening we drove out to Lenexa with some friends to see Gungor in concert.

I’m generally not a big fan of concerts – they tend to be an overwhelming mix of big crowds, head-throbbing noise levels, and flashing lights. This one was so good, though (flashing lights and all). Song after song I found myself catching my breath, at the edge of my seat, as they skillfully wove together sweet harmonies and poetic lyrics. They alternated between energetic beats and soft melodies, mixing the light notes of a xylophone with heavy drumbeats, amazing guitar picking with smooth cello, soft piano with resonating voices.

Each of their songs rang with the deep beauty of the gospel. I remember first hearing of Gungor when we sang their song, “Beautiful Things,” at the Boiler Room but only recently began listening to a bit more of their music. Their songs speak eloquently of the God who brings life out of death and beauty out of brokenness, who longs to see His beautiful bride, the Church, become who she was created to be. As I am learning to walk with the Lord through the places of my own pain and loss, these songs touch on the beauty of that process. They acknowledge the pain, even the disillusionment, but remind me that the story does not end there, that at the cross Love has already won.

“Dry Bones”
by Gungor

my soul cries out
my soul cries out for you

these bones cry out
these dry bones cry for you
to live and move
only You
can raise the dead
lift my head up

Jesus, You’re the one who saves us
Constantly creates us into something new
Jesus You’re the one who finds us
Surely our Messiah will make all things new

(From their album, Beautiful Things)

Chords of Worship

My husband wrote this blog yesterday and I wanted to share it. He gives a pretty profound definition of worship, that speaks a lot to some things I’ve been pondering and wrestling with over the past several weeks (specifically how to live out of the presence of God rather than just a string of doing good things).

 

I Have Such a Short Memory, So You Keep Reminding Me

I turned on Pandora this morning as I was doing dishes and this was the first song that came on. It caught my attention with the first line about “chill and cold and flakes of snow” (for obvious reasons), but as I listened, the rest of the lyrics struck me, too. I really do have such a short memory it seems when it comes to remembering the ways God encounters me every day. One minute He’ll reveal Himself and the next minute I’m distracted by the world again. So He keeps revealing Himself, keeps reminding me.

“Scenes” – Charlie Hall

Chill and cold and flakes of snow
Ice and sleet, and frost and cold
Each storm cloud and thunderbolt
Lifts my mind to You

Every work and every power
Every second of every hour
Fall of dew in sweet rain showers
Lifts my mind to You

The summer wind, fire and heat
Autumn leaves and blooms of spring
Ocean waves and mountain streams
Lifts my mind to you

I see you in every scene
I bet you are thinking about me
I have such a short memory
So you keep reminding me of you
I see you in every scene
I bet you are thinking about me
I have such a short memory
So you keep reminding me of you

As I lay me down to sleep
As I walk on city streets
As I laugh with friends and feast
It lifts my mind to you

As my children play and run
In the news with wars and guns
In the church where songs are sung
It lifts my mind to you

Deep inside the beggar’s eyes
As for sweet love I fight
On the radio at night
It lifts my mind to you

I see you in every scene
I bet you are thinking about me
I have such a short memory
So you keep reminding me of you

I see you in every scene
I bet you are thinking about me
I have such a short memory
So you keep reminding me of you

Painting pictures of your love
You lift my mind up
Reminding me of you
My heart comes alive

Painting pictures of your love
You lift my mind up
Reminding me of you
My heart comes alive

I see you in every scene
I bet you are thinking about me
I have such a short memory
So you keep reminding me of you

I see you in every scene
I bet you are thinking about me
I have such a short memory
So you keep reminding me of you

Beautiful Things Out of the Dust

“Beautiful Things” – Gungor

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way?
I wonder if my life could really change at all?
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come up from this ground at all?

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Oh, you make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new
Making me new

You make beautiful things
(You make me new)
You make beautiful things out of the dust
(You are making me new, making me new)

You make beautiful things
(You make me new)
You make beautiful things out of us
(You are making me new, making me new)

Oh, you make beautiful things
(You make me new)
You make beautiful things out of the dust
(You are making me new, making me new)

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

(Listen to the song here)

This has become one of my favorite songs since we first sang it in the Boiler Room a few months ago. It’s a declaration of hope. And it’s so true. God does make beautiful things out of the dust. He is making beautiful things out of us. I see this over and over, particularly in my own heart lately.

These past four years or so I’ve cycled through so many seasons in my life, both exhilaratingly profound and heart-wrenchingly painful (sometimes both at the same time). I’ve watched things fall aside and fall apart in my life. Communities that surge together in joyful anticipation of God’s work among us, only to scatter. Young believers rejoiced over and drawn into life, who have slipped back into old lifestyles again. Friendships gone awry or simply faded away. Each and every time I wrestle with the disintegrating of relationships I valued so much and spent so much time cultivating.

And yet, I’m discovering that these experiences have become like compost for my soul, the bits of experiences disintegrating over time (and yes, sometimes stinking in the process) until they settle into a layer of good soil in my life that wasn’t there before. Though sometimes it feels like chaos, a scramble to make sense of the transitions and situations, and often it feels fruitless, I’m beginning to see new life springing forth, fresh shoots of green pushing their way through the jumble of experiences and losses that somehow became that good soil. Good, rich soil can begin to bear fruit.

In particular I’m finding faith springing up all over my life in a measure that was never there before. Faith that I am loved, that I am provided for, that I am called, that I am able (or rather, that He is able), that His redemption is a reality we can experience, that His plans are beyond what I ever hoped or imagined, that His promises are sure.

Thank You, Abba, that you do make beautiful things out of the dust, that in Your faithfulness and love, nothing is wasted and You use all these things to create good soil for us to grow more fruitful in You.