Some of you who follow me on Instagram know that at the end of the summer I completed a little home project in my basement. I took a room that was a glorified storage closet and turned it into a much needed haven for myself. A place where dirty clothes and dishes are not in my line of sight, a fortress free from distractions. The only problem was, some major distractions followed me into my fortress. Here I had made this sanctuary but carried into it many things that were literally clouding my head and my ability to see clearly. This is a season of writing for me, both songs and a book...which has been like climbing Mt. St. Helens to finish. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get breakthrough...
6 weeks ago, I finally decided to have a good talk with Jesus about it. I asked him point blank, “what things are clouding my view and keeping me from knowing You more?” Immediately, I journaled 4 things. The top of the list? Social Media. After arguing with Him about it for a little while, I knew what He was asking me to do. To take a break from social media. I didn’t close my accounts, I just haven’t been active on them. He didn’t give me any specific instructions. If He had, I think I totally would have missed the point. He simply answered my question.
So before I continue, you can calm down. I am not here to bash social media or to persuade you to do as I have done. I think social media can be a good thing and that God most certainly can use it in many ways to spread good news all over the world. It is a great way to stay connected to friends and to people in other states and on other continents. It’s funny though, the one time I did interrupt my self-induced social media break to tweet some information, I scrolled through a few tweets and read things like, “I’ve missed your tweets, hope everything is ok, praying for you!” Well, I’m pausing for a moment to say “yes, I’m okay”. Not only am I okay, I am more than okay. Thankfully, my social media “klout” is not in any way reflective of the state of my heart or my relationship with Jesus today. :)
My last Instagram post before my “break” was intentional. I crafted it, feeling like I was getting in a little boat with one foot still on the shore. With one good push I’d be on my way, destination unknown, but I would be found faithful doing what He asked me to do. The Instagram was a picture of our oldest daughter on the shore in St. Augustine last Spring Break. It was dusk and she was dancing around with her feet in the shallow water, having just seen a few dolphins who dropped in to say “good evening”. That was where I wanted to go, to a place where I am just His daughter, feet in the water, dancing...just because. I think I said something like “take me to the secret place”. I have been around long enough to know what it is like to exist without social media, even without a cell phone and a laptop for that matter! I had just forgotten. I had forgotten what it was like to just exist without needing to tell the world about my every move. To actually experience something that was just for sharing with people who I could actually invite into my home. To just enjoy friends, period. To read something inspiring, period. To be in reality. I have found myself picking up the phone several times to have an actual conversation with someone. I have sat face to face with people that I love. I find myself texting my friends more, reaching out and asking how they are doing...imagine that! It’s more than okay, it’s beautiful. The most beautiful part is that because God didn’t give me any specifics about my “break” I haven’t set an end goal. I have thought maybe until the end of the year, after Christmas sometime, we’ll see...I might get back on next week, I don’t know. The point is that I do feel free to get back on any time I want, the problem is, I just haven’t wanted to! Hmmmm.
Has everything been smooth sailing? No. I have faced some of the stormiest days of my life these past 6 weeks. The difference is that I see Jesus much quicker than I did before, He is right. here. with. me... The songs and the book are flowing as fast as my fingers can type. I have grown closer to Jesus, to my family, to my friends in this time of hiding. Again, “okay” does not mean the absence of thunder, lightning, giant waves, and storms all around my little boat. It doesn’t mean that I am not full of weakness. It means that my weaknesses and the storms have driven me to the hiding place that I have in Jesus. He is teaching me and showing me that I need to be deliberate about hiding in the secret place. The secret place is where He does His finest work in us.
A group of worship leader women from our church, that I have the honor of walking alongside, were all at my house the other night. One of the women talked about a message that impacted her greatly that she heard Christine Caine share recently -- and I hope I get this right, Chris -- how our generation is an “instant” generation. We want instant development and “pay off” in our lives. However, the process that Jesus really wants to take spiritual leaders through is not like “Instagram” at all but like the old school way that film is developed. You take lots and lots of pictures, then you have to take them into the dark room and let them develop. It’s important that you do not open the door before the film is fully developed, so that the work isn’t ruined. Isn’t that beautiful? I was sitting there listening to the young worship leader share this and nodding my head with a big “YES!” We can’t be afraid of the dark room, it is where God does some of His most intricate work in our lives. The more intricate the work, the more hidden we must become.
Most every spiritual experience is ours for the sharing. It breaks us, shapes us, raises us and causes us to develop and produces something NEW and beautiful in us. Praise Jesus! I pray wherever you are today that you are allowing “Christ to be formed in you.” (Galatians 4:19) Whatever that looks like. For me, it was a social media break but really it was just obedience to Jesus in order to see Him clearer and know Him better. I’m sending this to a friend to post it for me. I think I might want to stay in the “dark room” a little while longer. I don’t want to open the door before it’s time. This won’t be a one time thing, either. Just like Jesus, he often got in a boat with his disciples (his closest friends) and he paddled away from the crowds. He knew all about the secret place. He is the secret place. Happy sailing.
p.s. I do need to take this opportunity to use social media for what it IS good for. If you are reading this and are in the Memphis area, or have friends and family in that area, please help me promote a night of worship that I’ll be leading there next Monday, November 4th, at Kirby Woods Baptist Church. I’ll be sharing some of my story and leading songs from my record “Into The Glorious” as well as Passion. All info is here.
Posted October 10, 2013
"In the very midst of the myriad of created wonders all around us, we have almost unknowingly lost the capacity to wonder. If the Holy Spirit should come again upon us as in earlier times, visiting church congregations with the sweet but fiery breath of Pentecost, we would be greater Christians and holier souls. Beyond that, we would also be greater poets and greater artists and greater lovers of God and of His universe." A.W. Tozer -----Some glorious for your mundane today... Some heavenly perspective mixed with some random earthly mementos (brought to you by the letter N, a few sacred hearts and the tiny, clay elephant that Annie Rose made last year) in hopes to inspire you today that there's more...more than these moments we create. There are actual glorious and deeply meaningful moments happening in the holiest places of Heaven. Right now. That's the mystery isn't it? That is the goal. To pray that the things of Heaven would touch Earth now, today... To touch our lives, our mothering, our songs, our poetry, our photography, our cupcake making or home decorating or whatever it is you do. That the beauty we create today would be touched and filled with the presence of a Holy God and people would connect the little dots of our lives and our art to Jesus. It's how a table top full of what one might see as junk reminds me that He invited me into something greater when He called me by name. That I'm royal priesthood yet still like clay in His hands... That He put in me the need to collect ideas and create something out of them all so He might get inside of it and make it glorious and make Himself shine. Holy Spirit of God move on us to make us great at what we do but most of all make us lovers of YOU Jesus.
Posted August 08, 2013
What is the biggest challenge of being a recording artist/worship leader? What is the biggest blessing?
How do you overcome criticism, both outward (intended or not) & inward (inner voice replaying outward voices)?
What would be one thing you would tell your teenage self?
These question flow well out of the last one.. The biggest challenge and the biggest blessing is learning how to trust God with the people and with yourself. It’s a process of “putting things where they belong”. Our pastor Louie has said before, “lead FROM a place of love and acceptance not FOR love and acceptance.” We can’t seek to get our needs met through leading people in worship or people patting us on the back for our songs. It’s easy to get caught up in this as an artist, songwriter or worship leader. We lead from WHO who are, as loved sons and daughters of God, and trust God with the rest. We can’t judge the people’s response on “how we did” if we are truly leading from “who we are”. Who we are in Christ is unchanging…it’s set in stone and it’s unmovable. The blessing is when you start to see that you are a vessel, hidden in Christ, with works created in advance for you to do. (Eph 2:10) If it’s “created in advance” how freeing is it to know that you didn’t come up with it? : ) You can’t boast in something you didn’t come up with… We have to put the voices where they belong, in the perfect hiding place…Jesus. We are hidden in Christ. (Col. 3:3) Often after I know full-well that God moved powerfully through me, I like to go lay in my bed, either at the hotel or my home, and put the covers all the way over my head. This is symbolic to me that I’m hidden in Jesus. That what He just did through me was prepared in advance for me. Anything He might have done through me for His glory is HIS and I release it. Often if I didn’t think it was good enough or I receive criticism…I do the same thing. Take it to the hiding place already carved out for me and by obedient faith, release it to Him. We have to do this with our praise and our criticism. They both have the same hiding place. Jesus. The One we were created BY and FOR and whom we can do all things FROM.
How have you encouraged your children to express themselves in worship?
This is such a great question… I’m often so grateful for how I was raised. It wasn’t perfect by any means and my parents made mistakes like the rest of humanity but somehow I was able to understand worship at a very young age. What’s interesting is that I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church where there was very little outward expression of worship. However, much emphasis was placed on the heart and letting that be the place where worship begins. Because I grew up to be very free in my outward expression, I can know as a parent that my children outwardly expressing their worship cannot be and shouldn’t be the starting point. Shepherding their hearts is the starting point…the rest will follow. (Proverbs 4:23) I think it’s important, as parents, to talk about the exchange that worship is. Worship is posturing our hearts towards God to glorify Him in all we say and do. Being a “worshiper” is what we were created to BE. When we are what we were created to BE there’s a fulfillment there that’s indescribable...
My husband Nathan often uses the analogy with our children of “keeping the light flipped on in our hearts”. That is an expression of worship in and of itself. Often to do this we must see our sin for what it is, confess our sin to God and that “flips the light on” in our hearts. When our children are battling with sin, we often ask them, “do you want to start over?” The answer is always a resounding “YES!” Coming clean is always a relief and a release! The more and more they understand what Jesus has ALREADY done for them, the more they will begin to stand in awe of who He is and sing like never before… If there’s anything I’ve learned as a worship leader, it is dangerous to try to judge the room by the outward expression of the people. Only God sees the heart. (Mat. 15:8-9) Often the times I’ve looked around and thought “these people aren’t getting it” will be the the time that God reveals to me that actually the exact opposite was true. All in all, worship is about coming and believing in faith that God is who He says He is and our response to that requires our lives. (Hebrews 11:6) I pray that by faith my children will rise up and bless the Lord with all that is within them, whatever that might look like!
Really miss Watermark... never really heard a good explanation of the breakup...
No matter how many times you explain something, the end of a season in your life is sometimes just hard to articulate! Thank you for asking… We always smile at this question because there was never a “breakup”. Quite the opposite, thankfully. My husband Nathan and I were “Watermark”, just the two of us. We did several records with a record label called “Rocketown Records” started by Michael W. Smith. We made 5 records as Watermark and then our recording contract was up for renewal. Instead of renewing our record deal for 5 more records, or whatever that would entail, we felt strongly that the Lord was calling us to a new season of life. I wanted to come off the road for awhile and be at home with our small children. Nathan wanted to produce records more. So we did just that…obeying what we felt like God was asking us to do and trusting Him with the results of our obedience. Looking back on that time, it was probably some of the most shaping years of my life. During that time I learned to be “present” in the moment… I learned to cook the food that was in our refrigerator and clean my house. I learned to love and discipline my children and that I wanted to have another baby, which we did during that time as well. We continued to lead for Passion Conferences during those years and in 2008 we got the opportunity as a family to move to Atlanta, GA and help be a part of the planting of Passion City Church. As a songwriter and worship leader, I still had a longing in my heart for God to use me and continued to trust Him that He would make that a reality again if that’s what He wanted for me. Eventually, He opened the door. It was a natural fit for me to sign with sixstepsrecords since it is the record label started by Passion Conferences. At that point it was fitting for me to also just use my name since I also speak now and mainly sing and lead for women’s ministries and conferences. Also, as I have grown as a worship leader, it has continued to have an impact on me as songwriter. I’m down the middle on loving the “singer/songwriter” moments and loving “corporate worship” moments. I feel like my records are a mixture of the two. I don’t write my songs with the masses in mind. I write with the faces of young women and men all around me, at church, in my neighborhood, in my children’s school… I glean from their stories, their struggles and of course, my own. It’s a new season, but we laugh all the time that all the elements of “Watermark” are still very much together and alive, it’s still Nathan and I writing, producing and carrying these songs together, we just call it “Christy Nockels” now… : )
What is your favorite Bible verse?
Psalm 37: 4-6 - “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice (or vindication) of your cause like the noonday sun.”
We had these little wall plaques in our house when I was growing up with our names on them, the meaning of our names and then a scripture along with it. Mine said “Christy, Follower of Christ, and then a paraphrased version of these verses. As a child, I learned to handwrite the scripture and wrote it over and over, apparently it meant allot to me that there was a meaning and a scripture that went along with being called “Christy”. One time, just sitting in church with my mom, I wrote these scriptures out for her to see (again) and she had the wisdom to turn over the paper and write me back saying…”yes, if Christy gives her heart to Jesus, He will show her the way to go”. That was all it took. The Holy Spirit gripped my heart in that moment and I suddenly not only knew my need for a Savior but I didn’t want to wait another minute without turning my heart towards Him… In some of the most trying seasons of my life the Lord has so kindly brought me back to these passages. I remember reading it once years ago and the word “give” in verse 4 jumped off the page at me. I had read that in my younger years to basically mean, “if I do this for God, He will do this for me”. But in that moment, the Holy Spirit showed me that by GIVE He means “instill” or “show” as much as He means “reward”. He instills our desires…shows us what they are in every season…and in every season they might look different! And He fulfills them as we give Him our whole hearts…often the fulfillment looks totally different than anything we imagined but the joy is unexplainable. It goes on to say in verse 5 - “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, and the justice (or vindication) of your cause like the noonday sun.” I think about this verse almost everyday as I seek to have balance in my life. Only the Lord can lift up our “cause”. We look to so many other things in this life to lift us up…our career, our position, our spouse, our children, our gifts and even our very own “cause”… but only He can lift it up. We can exhaust ourselves honestly trying to vindicate ourselves and elevate what He’s put in us. If He put it in us, then it’s His to promote and lift up. It’s that simple. It doesn’t mean we sit around and just wait for Him to make things happen for us. We work with diligence.
As a young mom of 3 (almost...one on the way), and serving in full time missions on an Indian Reservation. How do you find balance in your life with ministry, a strong relationship with your husband, and raising your children, homeschooling, etc.? In what ways do you include your kids in your ministry?
what are some things you do daily or weekly to create balance?
What are your tips for being a great mother and wife? What are your biggest day to day challenges?
My Dad told me once…”living a balanced life is actually the hardest thing to do”. It’s much easier to live in extremes…extremely scheduled, busy and task oriented or completely laid back to the point of “anything goes” and getting nothing done. Somewhere in between is where we need to be, but it takes both discipline AND releasing control somehow. God gives us the grace we need each day to live in that balance. Often though we unintentionally step outside of His grace by trying to do it ALL. Years ago, the Lord showed me this beautiful picture of surrender. Let’s say that each day our lives look like a target sign. The grace He’s given us for today, our portion, is the “bullseye”. (Psalm 16:5) Inside that “bullseye” is Jesus and your circle of influence. Through Jesus, you love your husband, your children and run your home…all within the grace He’s given you to do it in. Everything outside of that is His territory…the “outer rings” of the target are His glory, His ways and how He makes the influence of our smaller circle have an impact on the world at large. Many times we want to do it all and even control how God is getting things done in our lives. Sometimes we even wake up in the “outer rings” of the target and start our day there. We are exhausting ourselves outside of the “portion” He has given us for today. The beautiful thing is that we can stop striving to “do it all”. You’ll find that when you focus on the “bullseye”, He will do God-size things in the “outer rings” that you never imagined He could do through you. He will make your smaller circle of influence make a greater impact than you ever imagined. He will make your righteousness shine. He will lift up your “cause”. (Psalm 37:6) I think the enemy loves to lie to women and moms that our influence inside the walls of our homes is small, meaningless, and chaotic. Sometimes he will even busy us doing more and more until we spread ourselves entirely too thin and our influence is diminished everywhere. What a lie… God’s Word is true and His promises stand…His process and ways always work. Ask the Holy Spirit every day (or several times a day like me!) to help you live in the “bullseye” and literally tell Him out loud that you will trust Him with the rest. I promise you that you will see Him lift you up when you are intentional to glorify Him with your “portion”.
On a practical note, I have lots of help! I have a few beautiful girls from our church that help me homeschool and nanny our children. They consider it their ministry to love on our children and I consider it a privilege for my children to have other Godly women in their lives. In fact, some of my dearest friends to this day are girls who used to nanny for us who have gone on to get married and have children of their own. It’s a beautiful way to let younger girls come into your home and see how it all works! To include my children in ministry, I just talk to them about it all the time. I explain why I do what I do…the power of communication and conversation goes such a long way. I tell them to pray for me and to help me around the house when I have a deadline for songs so that they feel a part of me getting things done. Our words as parents are powerful. I know it sounds strange by I tell my children all the time that I am willing to not travel if they are in need of me to be home. The sweet thing is, it is always a resounding “no Mommy, don’t ever quit doing what you do”. Somehow they know the order is right in the heart of it all (I haven’t always been there) and they bless it. They are the best gage of something being out of order! : )
What is your favorite song to sing live?
A song called “Wonderful” from my record “Into The Glorious”. I wrote it in the car on the way to the grocery store. It will forever be a reminder to me that I am invited “into the glorious” at all times, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. That week was a particularly heavy week as I was preparing to leave for a tour and my youngest daughter was sick…all in all…I felt hopeless, tired and drained. I was thinking, “what on earth do I possibly have to offer anyone?” At that moment I chose to make my trip to the grocery store my “sanctuary” and the answer was suddenly clear again…Jesus. I began to just worship Him in my car and praise Him for how wonderful, beautiful and magnificent He is. Suddenly, the silence was broken and a song of praise emerged from me that changed everything. Every time I sing it it reminds me how so often the “enemy of our souls” is out to steal our “song”. All it takes is breaking that silence with faith and singing out over the chaos and suddenly we are in His very presence.
Posted April 04, 2013
What is the funniest thing one of your children has said regarding your songs/cd's?
Definitely when our youngest daughter, when she was about 4, was standing in line for her snack at church and she sang out, “waiting here for foooooood”, to the tune of “Waiting Here For You”. She’s a total crack up! Another funny one that our son said when he was in preschool.. he announced to his teachers that his mommy and daddy were “Watermarkin’ down at the Batman building”. The explanation of this is that Nathan and I used to be called “Watermark” and we were leading worship in downtown Nashville that day near the Bellsouth building…which the top of the building really does look like Batman’s “ears” and it’s affectionally known as “The Batman Building”.
Who's your favorite cartoon character?
It’s a CLOSE call between “Rhino” the Hamster in the movie Bolt and “Maximus” the horse in Tangled. Both of these characters completely MADE the movies they are in...
What books would you recommend to a female worship leader?
There is one by my friend Lex Buckley called “Rise Up & Sing” that I contributed a little bit too, along with Beth Redman and Kathryn Scott. It is full of very practical advice for women worship leaders and Lex’s heart for women leaders is so inspiring and encouraging. There’s also a study I’m doing right now called “Waking Up Grey” by Jennie Schut. It is all about awakening creativity in our lives and letting God heal places in us that might have been wounded in our creative process. So much amazing truth.
When did you know there was a call on your life to sing...and did it come loudly or a whisper?
I know this sounds weird but I always knew. I knew probably when I was 5 years old. My parents were SO influential in this. They literally trained me up in music. My mom would sit with me for hours and play the piano while I sang through songbook after songbook. Usually Sandi Patty or Amy Grant songbooks. : ) I had no idea until my adult years how this trained me in the way I would go and that I would never depart from it. I also remember my dad saying to me, “when you open your mouth to sing, sing to Jesus”. I just stuck with me. So, I guess it was a quiet whisper my whole life but I also recognize the influence that my parents had in training me in the call that they too saw on my life. They surrounded me with worship, music, other amazing people of God and just let me be made in the secret place. They never tried to exploit me…they just let the Lord call it forth in me to the fullest. They trained but somehow knew how to release me and let the Lord write my story…
what is your absolute favorite worship song, and why?
For years I have loved the song “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman. If I had to narrow it to one favorite, it would have to be this one. Part of the chorus says, “I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You”. I often need to make that present tense when I sing it… “I’m sorry Lord for the thing I MAKE it, when it’s all about you”. What I look for in a worship song is honesty plus reverence. Those two postures go hand in hand… We come as we are, He comes as He is. We draw near with humility and stand in awe…He comes near in all of His holiness and meets with us. It’s such a beautiful exchange. Jesus is the center of this exchange. His finished work on the cross and defeating the grave makes it possible for us today to approach a Holy God and humbly bring our all. Jesus makes our worship not only acceptable today, but pleasing like an offering…a gift. The bridge says, “I’ll bring you more than a song” … that sums up our worship…we bring our everything. Our response today to who He is and all He has done is that we come humbly, offering our lives.
Hello Christy! I just wondered how a Christian song-writer gets their start? I am clueless! I write a lot of worship music and would love to share it with others!
Hi Christy, I'm a young artist serving in our local church and leading worship at women's retreats, youth retreats and other events ... Can you tell me a little bit about your journey and how you connected with leaders, record labels and opportunities to earn a living with your gifting?
What advice would you give to young girls who aspire to be worship leaders?
I think these three kind of go together or at least I have the same answer for all three! : ) That is… bloom right where you are planted. There is no greater cause than to serve the local Body of Christ. There’s no better “stage” to serve on…I mean that. I know it’s easy for me to say because I have been doing this along time and have gotten to travel around the world to lead worship but that’s probably why I have come to such a conclusion… Yes, it is amazing to get to lead worldwide but there’s no greater joy to know that you are getting to pour into the people in your own community, that you walk life with. So, make a stir where you are…Volunteer to lead in your hometown…at your church, at local bible studies, wherever there is a need. Commit your heart fully to the Lord and aspire for Him to refine you and raise you up as He sees fit. It proves to be exhausting to try to “lift up your own cause”… be faithful and let Jesus lift you. After all, He took on the form of a servant first and foremost. He is our ultimate example for leadership. What I tell the girls here that I’m leading…”Jesus is worthy of complete Lordship of your life regardless if He ever allows you to be elevated by men”. The amazing thing is though…His word is true, He will lift you up! Often it’s different than you thought it would look like but better than you ever asked Him for. He will give you your voice and influence if you commit your life to Him. On a practical level…I started out very small and just asked God for the grace to be faithful in the small things. Little by little, He opened more and more doors and my songs and recordings have grown as the years went by. It has been a slow and steady build with small steps of faithfulness, by His grace. I will never recommend “knocking on doors” and trying to sell yourself to get the doors to open for you. The doors will open as you are faithful to let the songs that are coming out of you touch the people right around you. It will grow from there… I also really rely on the Lord to help me know the things I need to say “yes” to and the things I need to turn down. More isn’t always better. Sometimes more brings complete burnout in your life. I have learned to be thankful for what God has and hasn’t given me and that includes my career. I never want Him to take me wider than I can go deep… He knows my threshold and He IS my portion. Knowing that brings tons of rest to my heart because I believe that He will put me anywhere on the planet that He wants me!
How are you able to make "worship" worship when you have to sing the same songs over and over?
When leading/singing/worshipping do you ever get nervous or anxious? How do you put those thoughts and feelings at bay and truly facilitate worship without "thinking" about the actual notes, service/song order, etc? Hope that makes sense. Sometimes I feel that in thinking of what is coming next or my notes I am distracting myself from true worship? Thanks!
I have to be very intentional. Mostly, this happens through prayer. I very much believe in “intercessory worship”. This is anything from praying TO Him while I’m leading or asking Him to release things over the people that I’m leading…it’s being led by His Spirit while I lead and honestly “praying without ceasing” in my leadership. As soon as I catch my mind wondering or having anxious thoughts, I immediately begin to pray, asking God to help me worship in “Spirit and in Truth”. Sometimes you might even need to pause and have the people pause to just “breathe” in His presence and be still for a moment when you feel frantic. The people will respond if you take time to remember what you’re even doing! Deuteronomy 10:8 says, “At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in His name, as they still do today”. I remember this verse and take it with me in my heart when I lead. It helps me understand my place and my calling in leading. When I’ve sung the songs 100 times over, or I’m caught up in the order things should go, I remember that it’s about more than just delivering the songs. The Levites were the lead worshipers. It was their responsibility and calling to carry the ark of the covenant, which is God’s very presence, to stand before Him and minister - to Him and the people - and to pronounce blessings in His name. So more than anything, we should be about “being carriers of His presence” every day. When we lead, we lead to bless God and to pronounce blessings in His name. Honestly, we’re going to mess up at times and things aren’t going to go perfect, but what is it that we want to get right? The songs or carrying His very presence? We join in the song that is already being sung around the throne of God, day and night, “Holy is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come”. So release yourself of the pressure to get it all right. You’re just getting to join in on something that’s already happening. Lead the people to the throne of grace then release them to God in the same breath because ultimately He is the only One who can do a lasting work in their lives during worship.
more questions and answers coming soon!
Posted April 04, 2013
It’s important who you surround yourself with, who you lock arms with and ultimately who you end up with… I remember right where I was standing and exactly what I was wearing the day I saw Nathan Nockels in Estes Park, Colorado. I was standing in line for a concert and there he was just ahead of me standing next to Charlie Hall. At the time they were two unlikely heroes, but they were two boys that would change my world forever. I say “boys” because they were, we were all literally just kids, but I had never met or been around boys who were worshipers of Jesus before. I was ruined for lack of a better word and completely smitten by one of them. I fell in love with Nathan. I had no idea then all that God was bringing together. I see now that God had saved a special anointing for my life to happen when I joined my life with Nathan’s and that God intersected our lives at a crucial time. There was a growing passion in our hearts, along with Charlie, to somehow fan the flame of a movement of worship we were seeing for the first time in those days.
Today marks the day of the new Passion 2013 live record release, “Let the Future Begin”. I’m standing in all that God is doing in the present with great thankfulness today by remembering His faithfulness from the beginning… I’m going back to the start. The start was like God opening some sort of floodgate and there’s still water pouring from it to this day…
The early days of leading worship, even before Passion, were messy…again we were just kids. I smile now to think of Charlie passionately leading worship, so heart-strong and fired up about Jesus and then there’s Nathan walking up behind him during the worship set to tune his guitar… literally as Charlie was playing. While Charlie was leading bible studies and discipling people, Nathan could be found with the musicians, teaching them how to actually play their instruments and discussing the proper and improper use of drum fills. : ) Nathan eventually learned to completely tune Charlie’s guitar before we started the worship set as to avoid correcting him during worship…you know, the things you just learn as you go! Pretty sure Charlie learned to tune his own guitar… eventually.
Though rough around the edges, those early days of songwriting and leading as “Sons & Daughters” (the group the three of us eventually formed) were “dreams and visions” kind of days…things that had never happened to this little Baptist girl. Literally God poured out something on us in those times that is hard to articulate, something that marked us forever and that we will never forget. I remember writing a song called “Holy Roar” in our little apartment in Oklahoma City. Nathan was playing the piano, I was sitting on the couch and next thing I knew something he was playing along with what I was singing sent me to the floor… face down… sobbing. Nothing like that had ever happened to me. It sounds crazy now, but you have to understand that what I was seeing in my mind’s eye and in my heart on the floor that day, we had never seen before at that time. I saw thousands upon thousands of young people in a stadium, worshipping at such a great volume that it was a roar… a holy roar. It was more than just sounds though, it was like God was letting me see these young people’s hearts, full of passion, ready to give their lives away. Of course I know now that the vision was Passion and that God would soon connect us with the Passion family, like only He could. He connected us literally through the songs we were writing… Turns out, the prayers they were praying were the songs we were singing and vice versa. That was over 15 years ago…
This is a picture I took with my iPhone straight out of my scrapbook today. Charlie is the one making the funny face and wearing the “Calvin and Hobbes” shirt, Nathan is on the left. I think we all three had the same amount of hair back then.
For the last few days my heart has been so focused around the idea that God uses very ordinary people to do His work…to even deliver His people from bondage. Most of the time it seems like it’s literally the most unassuming band of people he can find. I love that about God. We didn’t have it together, that’s for sure. I mean, look at us… Charlie was a complete wild child. He was probably at the time the craziest person I had ever met but clearly a budding prophet. I was a preacher’s kid from Oklahoma, the youngest of 3 and the only girl in the family. I have developed my quieter spirit over the years, because in the beginning I fought Nathan Nockels for the better part of the first 7 years of marriage. I fought his gentleness like it was a weakness and was continually annoyed over his attention to detail. Like when he couldn’t just be spiritual and “enter in” in worship when the worship band was, let’s say…lacking. : ) I couldn’t see then what I see now… the call on his life for excellence, the intricate wiring for detail, the great strength in his quietness and the special place that he truly has in the Body of Christ. He is what his name means, “gift from God.” It’s crazy, but what I spent so much time fighting in those early years, now are the things I’m most grateful for about his life. To describe Nathan in the words of our 10 year old daughter, who is much like her Daddy…“I don’t say things if there’s nothing to say.” When Nathan does have something to say, be careful to lean in because you just might miss it. If he says something funny, those closest to him are sad if they miss it because they know it was a gem and chances are…he won’t repeat it for them. Nathan reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12 - “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you might not be dependent on anybody.” Such a great reminder to let your life be winsome to others by how you carry on with the work in front of you.
And that’s what it was allot of the time…hard work in front of us, but a deep calling to carry it out. Honestly we took it so seriously it kind of makes me laugh now, but in a good way. We had fun but we weren’t playing around... The story unfolds that “Sons & Daughters” was for a short season in all of our lives but what connected us in those early years of ministry will never, ever be forgotten…and of course it connected us to Passion, a story that keeps unfolding in leaps and bounds. There was a sense of urgency upon us to ask God for more even then, in spite of our youth, to blaze a trail together. Even though we each had enormous places we needed to grow in, we somehow knew the future was upon us…that it was nigh and we needed to seize it with every bit of passion we had. There was no social media in those days… I often say we were “made in the secret”. There was no one to tweet when our little “Sons and Daughters” CD release happened, but the right people showed up somehow. There was no one to alert when we jumped in the truck for the 18th time to go sing at some church in Abilene, TX. We were just rollin’ in the dark, having no idea what we were doing really, but knowing somehow we were doing the right thing….
When I started this blog, I thought about the picture above and I knew right where to go to find it. It sits in a scrapbook I made for Nathan just after our engagement. It’s one of the first pictures in that book. As I was trying to snap a picture of it without getting a glare (too lazy to figure out my scanner at the moment) I took a step back and just took in the whole page. See, this was back in my college days when I made scrapbooks and collages out of magazine clippings… So, let me give you the “pan out” version now of the same photo above but with my magazine clippings from the 90’s glued on top of that picture…
The Future is Now. Kinda took my breath away...
It’s so true all you #LTFB fans…it’s nigh, it’s upon you. Seize it. Dance in it. Blaze a new trail…get in a truck and start driving towards what you know God is asking you to do. You won’t regret it. It will connect you to the right people…after all, it matters who you end up with. Your songs will be their prayers and their prayers will be your songs and water will flow from the floodgates long after your big future is just a memory. Jesus is enough for you. He’ll never stop loving you and He’ll never give up on you. Your perfect start is now, so let it begin…
Posted March 03, 2013
The new Passion album, Let The Future Begin, is here!
So excited to finally share each of these songs from Passion 2013 in the Dome! Such special days in Atlanta captured and brought to life on this album. Can't wait for you to hear and continue singing along to these songs!
Posted March 03, 2013
So excited to finally share each of these songs from Passion 2013 in the Dome! Deluxe Edition includes a great glimpse of the gathering with song videos, a talk from Louie Glgio and bonus songs.
Hear a quick snapshot of the album here.
Posted March 03, 2013
Posted February 02, 2013
Posted February 02, 2013