Author: Caleb Seibert

History’s Anthem //
A Worship Devotional

It is always a surreal feeling when you hear about people encountering God through a song you helped create. It still blows me away. Somehow God, in His infinite wisdom, has wired us in such a way that even a simple melody can propel our hearts toward Him. Music moves us in a way that almost nothing else can.

But the song, History’s Anthem, is more than a melody –

IT’S A HEART CRY WE FIND THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE.

Let’s dive into the lyrics and explore what they say about our Father, His character and the praise process He invites us into on a daily basis.

There is an anthem, rising in our hearts

Born from our stories, Your presence through it all

A heart-cry of freedom, lifted up in praise

A song of redemption, in wonder of Your ways

We see the theme of this song right off the bat. It alludes to the natural, almost compulsive cry of thankfulness that rises up in the people of God when we pause and think about His faithfulness in our lives. We can’t help it. It’s our natural response. It’s what happens when we take time to remember.

Throughout the Old Testament, the people of God were instructed to pause and remember what God had done. Early on in the Bible we see Abraham and his descendants setting up memorial stones, or altars, as they traveled around the land of Canaan to help facilitate this process. These memorials served as physical reminders of powerful encounters the people had with God. When their descendants saw these stones, they remembered stories of God’s faithfulness (See Genesis 13, Genesis 28, Joshua 4 and Judges 6 for examples).

One of my favorite stories about a memorial stone is found in Joshua chapter 4. The Israelites had just crossed the Jordan river and stepped into the Promised Land. God had, for the second time, parted a large body of water so His people could walk into their inheritance on dry land. It was an absolute miracle! I’m sure the people were rushing forward into the Promised Land with some mixture of excitement and fear. Interestingly, Joshua immediately stops them, instructing a man from each of the twelve tribes to take a stone form the Jordan River and lay them together on the other side.

“When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you? Then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Joshua 4:6-7)

IT IS RIGHT TO PAUSE AND REMEMBER.

The people of Israel regularly made time to do just that, whether it was through setting up altars, reciting their history around a table, engaging in festivals or even eating yearly feasts. Why? Because it was impossible to look at their history and not run smack into the faithfulness of God.

And I suspect the same can be said for each of our lives.

You have been faithful

You are always good

Your ways are constant

Your promises are sure

Even in fire You have never left us

Steadfast forever, You will never fail

This chorus is a simple declaration, inviting us to speak out loud what the Lord has done for us. It reminds me of what David says in the first few verses of Psalm 33 –

“Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy. For the Word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:1-5

I love that this Psalm doesn’t allude to our feelings in any way. It simply says, “it is fitting for the upright to praise Him,” and to do so in an extravagant way. We can all choose to worship. I can say from personal experience; I don’t always feel like worshipping. But something funny happens once the declarations start rolling – it just gets easier and easier.

PRAISE BEGETS PRAISE. THANKFULNESS BEGETS THANKFULNESS.

It’s contagious. And it’s what our Father deserves.

I’ll follow You

With total abandon

I trust Your heart

You know where You’re leading

Your promise is the ground I will stand upon

To me, the bridge of this song culminates in the natural progression of the praise process. We spend the verse and chorus reminding ourselves of His faithfulness in our lives and choosing to declare His goodness out loud. We soon begin to realize, “Oh yeah! That’s right! He has been faithful to me. He has rescued me from the junk I couldn’t get out of. He has been extremely kind to me. He hasn’t failed me yet. Can you believe He has been this consistent?”

I CAN FEEL THE TRUTH SINKING IN AGAIN AS I WRITE THIS.

And our natural response to all of this thankfulness is to trust Him again. David says as much in Psalm 25:1-3 –

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for You shall ever be put to shame…”

David had been through some difficult stuff, but he chose to find and remember God’s faithfulness through it all. And this faithfulness compelled him to lift up his soul to God again, to find God as His source of trust.

Your faithfulness

Is History’s Anthem

Your constant love

The song of creation

Let Heaven shout

You will never fail

THE SAFEST PLACE WE CAN EVER BE IS FULLY SUBMITTED TO THE WILL OF GOD IN OUR LIVES.

Why? Because His track record is flawless. He has never failed in all of history. He is too good. His way is perfect. His plans are flawless. His faithfulness is sure.

All of creation testifies to this. Our own stories reflect it. And one day, we will join with all of heaven as we declare that truth together.

IN RESPONSE:

Take a moment to worship through History’s Anthem. As you do, try to follow this simple, four-step, praise process –

  1. Start by pausing and remembering. Remind yourself of His faithfulness. Bring it to mind.
  2. Begin to thank Him out loud for whatever you thought of. Even if you don’t feel like it or it doesn’t seem overly profound, begin to declare His goodness in whatever way you can.
  3. Now, from that place of gratitude, take a moment to surrender your life – even today and its complexities – to Him again.
  4. End by thanking Him for always being more than enough.

By Caleb Seibert – AntiochLIVE

Caleb is one of the song writers on AntiochLIVE’s new album, History’s Anthem. Originally from Waco, he is now attending school in Austin, and is a part of Antioch Austin. 

Song Story – History’s Anthem


I spent the past year with an incredible team working among Syrian refugees in Greece. Every day was fraught with uncertainty. The refugees didn’t know how long they would be stuck in makeshift camps with no way home and little hope for the future. The NGO workers didn’t know if they were making a difference in the lives of the people they came to serve. The camp directors didn’t know if another riot would break out on their watch. The Greek government didn’t know where they were going to get the resources to help these people. The list goes on.

In the midst of the chaos stood our little team. We would get together almost every day to worship, pray and then head out into the war zone known as the Syrian Refugee Crisis. We brought some skills to the table but quickly realized that no amount of training or professionalism could solve the overwhelming complexity of the problem before us. We knew we and the people we served had only one hope in the midst of the turmoil.

His name was Jesus.

One day we decided to take a team retreat after four – five months of serving in these camps. We were exhausted and all facing the reality that, sooner than we thought, we would have to emerge from the wreckage of the crisis with some form of direction for our lives. We didn’t know how we could move on with normal life after this experience. The pressure of the needs before us and the inevitable decisions down the road loomed large.

We convened in a small hotel room up in the mountains near the Albanian border. I remember beginning to strum a guitar as we cried out to God for clarity in the midst of the confusion. We needed Him. Desperately. At one point during worship a simple chorus came to my mind and I began to sing it out as a declaration:

You have been faithful

You have been good

Your ways are constant

Your promises sure

 

I’ll follow You with total abandon

I trust Your heart

You know where You’re leading

The presence of God filled the room. We must have sung those lines for an hour straight as we met with Jesus in that place. We came back to this simple melody many times throughout the year.

It served as a constant reminder that our God stands tall and immovable in the midst of chaos.

Our uncertainty doesn’t scare Him because He is never uncertain. He always goes before us, making a way in the midst of fear and pain. He knows where He’s leading. He’s been doing it for all of time, so He is pretty good at it.

If the past could speak, I’m convinced it would tell of a resounding theme – the faithfulness of God in the midst of human weakness. It’s who He is.

His faithfulness is History’s Anthem.

By Caleb Seibert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out History’s Anthem, available tomorrow on iTunes, Spotify and anywhere else music is available. 

When You Call

One of my favorite things about the Fall of 2015 was the organic worship nights that sprung up all around our college ministry. We had just released First Love, Antioch College Worship’s debut album, and were excited to see where this fresh expression of worship would take us. Our hope in releasing the album was that it would call college students in our movement and beyond away from an infatuation with flashing lights and big stages and back to a place of simple adoration of Jesus.

We wanted to fall in love with Him again.

Like many things in life, we found that this was easier said than done. Many of my closest friends were involved in writing and producing the songs for First Love, and we couldn’t help but feel that we had just scratched the surface. We were convinced there were deeper places of intimacy with God available to us that we hadn’t encountered yet.  We didn’t want the movement toward simple desperation for Jesus to stop with one album or collection of songs; we wanted it to be a springboard to a new normal of finding our deepest needs met in the presence of God.

We had to do something to respond, so my friends and I started opening up our house every Thursday night for extended times of worship and intercession. I can honestly say that these nights were some of the sweetest memories of my four years of college. We would pull out a keyboard and a couple of guitars and begin to call out to God, asking for His presence to come and touch us in a powerful way – and He did!

Fresh songs began to emerge as we worshipped with abandon before the Father.

It was often messy and unorganized. We invited anyone and everyone – from the random freshman at Baylor to the seasoned churchgoer – but Jesus met us there, and we began to be transformed in His presence.

As the semester went on, I began to see a theme emerging not only on these nights, but in our college ministry as a whole. It seemed like every week our college service ended with a call to radical surrender.

We were being challenged to give everything to Jesus with no reservations, and to replace our own agendas with a desperation to do His will.

This was further emphasized by a movement our church took part in called ENGAGE THE CRISIS. In the late fall, we began to hear news of the terrible things happening in Europe as thousands of Middle-Eastern refugees fled their war-torn countries and poured into the EU. Our church has always seen disasters like this as an opportunity to respond with the love of Jesus, so Maddie Phenix, our associate college pastor, left Waco with a couple of close friends to examine the situation and find out if there was a way we could respond as a college ministry. She came back from Europe with story after story of indescribable pain and suffering colliding with an even greater hope. Jesus was encountering these refugees along the way! We began to be consumed with a passion to be a part of what God was doing, and it seemed like everywhere we went people were talking about how we could be a part of responding to this crisis.

This desire soon bled over into our own worship times. Week after week we would be worshipping and quickly gravitate toward choruses centered on radical surrender. I remember one specific week very well.  We were singing a song when I suddenly became overwhelmed with the power of a simple “yes” to Jesus. I didn’t know how else to say it, so I started simply singing, “I say yes, Lord; I say yes, Lord; I say yes my life is Yours.”

Something shifted in that moment, and God began to stamp an unconditional “yes” in our hearts. We would come back to that chorus on a regular basis.

The spring of 2016 rolled around and we found ourselves with several new songs that had emerged from these worship nights and our own personal times with God. It seemed that God was initiating with us to capture these songs in another album, which was honestly pretty daunting!  As I was praying about the vision behind this new record, I felt like God drew me again to Philippians 3, which was the centerpiece behind Antioch College Worship’s first album.

Philippians 3:8 says, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ…”

I love this Scripture because I think it captures the true heart of abandoned worship. First Love was about returning to the joy of knowing Jesus and becoming enamored with who He is. We experienced a measure of that, but I believe the Father has more for us. That’s what this new record is about. It’s about the power of “considering everything a loss” compared to the Ultimate Treasure – Jesus himself.

Because this truth remains: we can’t truly see Him for who He is until we consider the other things a total loss.

If we miss absolute surrender than all we ever see is a tainted version of who He is. We find ourselves looking at Him through a foggy glass, sullied and dimmed by the other treasures we have put before Him and confused because He doesn’t seem to be as good as we have heard. Doesn’t that sound like such a waste? The very thing we were made for stands available to us, but we let the cares of this world and its deceitfulness act as a barrier between us and the answer to every one of our heart’s desires. Surrender is never easy; it always costs us something. But there is a clear promise for us: the beauty and life that we find in Him will make us all but forget the petty things we left behind.

He is the Treasure we were made to find, and He doesn’t disappoint.

There is a place in Greece that paints a picture of the pain of our world as well as the bright hope Jesus brings into that brokenness. It’s a place called the “lifejacket graveyard,” a stretch of dirt on the island of Lesvos where hundreds of thousands of refugees dropped their lifejackets after landing ashore searching for a new life for their families and themselves. There is perhaps no greater image for this album than the massive reminder of the lifejacket graveyard: we are all broken, but Jesus is the Healer and He calls us to go with Him as He heals this world’s brokenness.

Our surrender is our worship.

Our prayer is that in these songs you will hear an invitation from the Father to surrender everything again and join Him on the adventure of a lifetime – be it on your college campus, at the workplace or in the nations of the earth. The call to total surrender always remains available to any who will accept it.

Father, may You always find a resounding “Yes!” in our hearts.

When You Call is available for pre-order on iTunes and will officially release on September 30th. 10 percent of all proceeds from the album will go toward ENGAGE THE CRISIS. Can’t wait for the album? We can’t either, so we already released two music videos. Check them out:

By Caleb Seibert