At first glance, if all you knew about Hillsong was from listening to their recordings or attending a concert, you might think that Hillsong is just a successful record label and publisher. It’s true they are hugely successful, launching worldwide church anthems such as Mighty To Save, Salvation Is Here and Forever Reign.

But at the heart, Hillsong is a local church and all their creative endeavors are a product of the ministry that happens at their home in Sydney, Australia. After spending the week “down under” with Hillsong, it’s obvious that everything they do flows out of the ministry. Every conversation about songs leads back to an experience or a particular ministry need at the church. All the worship leaders and musicians are serving weekly in various ways throughout the church.

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This has been an unforgettable few days in Australia. I guess along with the rest of our nation, my family on holidays, watched horrified at the flood scenes on our TV screens, never imagining we would see this kind of devastation in our own country.

It was an amazing thing to see that our own feelings of wanting to do something, anything to help, were echoed in our church and then right across Australia. Everyone is doing what they can.

As we gathered together as a church last Sunday morning, we began to sing a version of the old hymn “It is Well with My Soul”. This song was originally written by a man after his own family had died in a shipwreck. It’s a song that says – “I will trust in God who is greater than any trial or circumstance…

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Breaking Through

Audrey Assad —  September 28, 2010

I’ve read of Beethoven that, when his hearing was lost, he sawed the legs off his piano and laid its body down on the floor; then, with his head pressed against the floorboards, he pounded on the keys in an effort to hear the notes. He continued to write his symphonies even when one of his greatest tools—his hearing—was taken from him. Passion and perseverance are an explosive combination.

I should pray with that kind of unquenchable desire, especially when it sounds like God is silent. Like Beethoven, I ought to press my ear to the floor; I ought to search for the sound of His footfalls. I am “…a deaf man with my ear to the ground, listening for what You say…

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This is a new favorite of ours and should be for any songwriter, musician, podcaster or videographer. Right out of the box we were very impressed with the construction and stand for the Yeti. It is extremely solid and looks amazing. There are more tools on the Yeti than are on Blue’s well loved USB Snowball. It boasts new functions and sound capabilities.

To start the Yeti is a multi-pattern USB microphone. It combines 3 capsules and four switchable pattern settings which make it useful for recording in stereo, recording a single vocal or instrument or capturing an entire room of sound. There is a built-in headphone amplifier which provides zero-latency monitoring and volume control for monitoring purposes. There is also an instant mute which is useful during playback or if you are using monitors other than headphones. Another new feature is the microphone gain located on the back of Yeti. This gives the Yeti a flexible gain structure. It works like a microphone preamp rather than forcing you to adjust it with software. Having headphone controls and mic gain controls make the Yeti operate like an audio interface for your computer…

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Known

David Gutekunst —  September 21, 2010

One of the strange things about God’s watchfulness is that, unlike any human vision, His is not only rich in foresight (knowing each thought before it is in your mind, every word before it is on your tongue) and full to the brim with the knowledge of each past event in every human life lived on this planet, but also incisive in its searching–He is witnessing *you* — not just your actions or the things you do.

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Restlessness

Audrey Assad —  September 15, 2010

It seems there is a primordial belief in every human heart that this life is not the pinnacle of existence. All religious walks reflect this instinct in some fashion, I think; the teaching of afterlife is not exclusive to Christianity. Man generally believes in some form of the Beyond, however he may choose to describe it, or whatever his theology may be. I’ve long believed this to be one of the things the writer of Ecclesiastes meant when he wrote that “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end”. (Ecclesiastes 3:9) . Eternity has been woven into the fabric of our being.

C.S. Lewis insightfully describes this instinct. From his book, Mere Christianity; “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” And St. Augustine of Hippo, hundreds of years before Lewis ever put pen to paper, encapsulated this very thought a little more simply in the quote from which the song Restless takes its inspiration; “You have made us for Yourself, oh God; and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” – St. Augustine, the Confessions of St. Augustine, book 1…

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I had a conversation after our service at church last Sunday about picking worship songs. It was a good talk and it made me think a bit about how we as worship leaders choose songs to sing.

I came up with the following 4 things that I think will help:

1. Lyrics must be Scripturally accurate.We can’t assume that just because we trust the writer or the publisher that the song is true. We are all prone to error or miscommunication. Also, words sometimes mean different things to different people. You as the worship leader must make sure that what you are asking your church to sing is clear and in-line with the Gospel.

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Any Electric guitar player will tell you that you can only squeeze the best possible tone out of your amp when the volume is cranked. You’ll end up with a much punchier and more responsive sound when you do. Sadly this isn’t always viable option for everyone.

As guitar players, I think we’re all aware of the age-old battle of stage volume vs. sound guy. This is especially true at churches. The average church-goer is simply not used to the amount of rock a cranked AC30 brings. Think of the blue haired lady in the front row of your 8:00 AM service. She won’t take kindly to getting blasted in the face with a shredding guitar solo, even if you do sound just like The Edge…

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Displacement

Jimi Williams —  June 29, 2010

Displacement is one of those scientific principles we learned in high school. It’s the reason your full bath overflows when you get in it. Or the reason a ship will float. But this week I learned another application for this principle that really impacted me.

The example used was a glass of clear clean water. The speaker took the glass of water and began to pour various things into it like mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, etc. Each item represented a sin that we could fall into: anger, envy, lust, greed, etc. And as he poured each item into the glass, it forced a little more of the clean water out until eventually all that was left was a nasty cocktail full of all these “sins”.

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As worship leaders, we often ask the question “How do we measure success?”. This question is more easily answered by a retail store or a mechanic than by a ministry leader. It can be hard to get your arms around the metrics that should be used to measure success. Is it how many people show up on Sunday morning? Is it how many people have their arms raised in worship or say “good job” when you are done?

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