So much has happened over these first two months of my residency, I don't even know where to start! I've been able to be a part of some incredible ministry events as well as learn so much about myself as a person, father, husband and leader in the process. When Jessica and I set our sights on the residency back in May (read our story here), we had no idea the Lord would teach us so much and bring about so much change in our hearts for the better. The biggest and most positive thing for us in Austin has been having solid biblical community here. It's helped us grow so much as believers while building solid friendships. It's not easy moving to a new place, but the Lord has blessed us with amazing friends and an incredible church to serve at. His faithfulness has been truly evident these past few months. Keep reading below to find out more about what the Lord is doing through my residency and in the life of my family!
What the Lord is Teaching Me
Part of this blog will be sharing what the Lord has been teaching me over the past month as well as specific things I've been doing. Here are ways the Lord has shaped me:
- Iron sharpens iron. As I shared in my last blog post, the Lord is continually refining in me the fact that I need people and a team in order to grow into the likeness of Christ. In my opinion, the most destructive thing to a worship leader, and really Christians in general, is isolation. God has created us from the very beginning for relationships and none are more important in the life of the believer than the church. Being surrounded by people on a daily basis who challenge me, call me out on things as well as encourage me in the faith have been so invaluable. My personality is prone to isolation. For me, going to a coffee shop, putting on some headphones to listen to music and transporting to my own little world while reading or writing is energizing for me. On the flip side, being in a big group of people or having long conversations has often been something I didn't seek out on my own. But the Lord has taught me that those conversations are so vital, because it's within those conversations that the deepest parts of our hearts are exposed and the Lord is able to refine us through the encouraging and pointed words of others. I've come to enjoy surrounding myself with others, especially on my team, because I know "iron sharpens iron" and in the process I am growing more into the likeness of Christ. "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." - Proverbs 27:17
- Sit at His feet. One of the biggest things the Lord has taught me this past month is that despite the work load, or the things I'm "doing" in ministry the absolute most important thing every single day is to rely on Him. Unfortunately, this has been a hard lesson for me to learn over the past 8 years of ministry. If I'm being completely honest, I take much more of a Martha approach versus Mary when it comes to my job on staff (Luke 10:38-42). I tend to want to work hard to the point that it distracts me from actually spending time with God, in His Word and in prayer. I heard our lead pastor Matt Carter say one time at a conference that "your work for Jesus should always be an outflow of your love for Jesus." No matter what I do, what task I'm given, what congregation I lead I want to be the person who wakes up every day feeling the weight that Jesus has rescued me from my sin. And in that the greatest gift I can do for my soul is to sit at His feet in worship rather than try to focus my attention on just working hard to please Him.
What I'm Doing
Here are the things I'm been able to do and be a part of this past month:
- Album Release Party. One of my biggest and most exciting jobs from this past month was coordinating all the details for the Austin Stone Worship album release at the Alamo Drafthouse. If you're not sure what the Alamo Drafthouse is, it's similar to a movie tavern where they show movies, and waiters serve food to you while you watch. Our Story Team at the Austin Stone put together music videos from the live recording night on May 8th to show during the Album release at Alamo, as well as stories behind the songs. We had 4 showings and it was a great way to help our church see the vision and stories behind each of the songs on the album. Check out this video on the making of the new album:
- This Glorious Grace. On October 16th the new Austin Stone Worship Album "This Glorious Grace" was released! I know I sound biased but it's seriously one of the best worship records I've heard in a long time. So proud to be a part of a team who is so passionate about equipping the church with songs rich in theology, content and expression.
- Resident Retreat. All of the Worship and Production Residents went on a songwriting retreat October 19-21 to a house in southwest Austin, near Dripping Springs. These were some of the sweetest and most challenging times I've experienced in my residency as I was able to get to know the other residents on a deeper level and write songs together. It was also a great time of rest for me amidst a busy Fall schedule.
- Worship Conference. Lastly I was put in charge of volunteer recruiting and coordination for our upcoming Austin Stone Worship Conference. I'm so excited about this conference because I know how much worship leaders, like myself, have benefitted from these conferences! This conference is extremely powerful in the lives of worship leaders and musicians that God is using all over the U.S. and beyond. The majority of these men and women who come are in need of refreshment and encouragement in their lives and ministries. What an honor it is for us to serve them during these few days of the conference as well as see firsthand the Lord working in their lives!
Here are a few pics from this past month:
On October 22 I turned 32... starting to feel old over here! My wife surprised me by having people from our Austin Stone Worship family show up at our favorite restaurant Contigo. You should've seen the look on my face, it was an incredible way to celebrate my birthday!
Last weekend my brother Bryan and his wife Shanna had their first baby, Ethan Rhea Foreman. Jess and I and the kids went up to visit them in Lewisville and had such a great time holding and getting to know the little guy. Liv and Landry are so excited to have a baby cousin and Jess and I couldn't be more happy to be an aunt and uncle!
- We've had numerous doctor visits over the past month, mainly with Landry. Poor guy has had ear infections, sinus stuff, high fever, rashes, you name it! Pray for health for his little body as well as wisdom for us.
- Continue to pray for this residency season for us. While the Austin Stone is one of the most amazing churches I've ever been a part of, the biggest reason I'm here is to grow as a leader, pastor, father and husband. Pray that my heart would be open to whatever the Lord wills and that ultimately His glory would be displayed through our testimony of His love and faithfulness in Austin!
We love you guys!
We would be honored and blessed to have you not only pray for us, but consider partnering with us in our ministry at the Austin Stone. For more information about my residency and ways you can support us please check out this video we put together as well as our Partner Page!