Tag: History’s Anthem

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. 

Where Else Can I Go //
A Worship Devotional

It has stoked my heart to hear how our church has been blessed by the song Where Else Can I Go. I want to dive a little deeper into the Scriptural basis behind the song, and I hope you will go there with me. My desire is to help us draw nearer to Jesus as we look closer at the lyrics. We have many sources of inspiration in songwriting like experiencing nature, watching people, hearing powerful sermons and paying attention in our own relationships. Our greatest source of inspiration is the Bible. But more than a mere song factory, it is more fundamentally our basis for truth and life. God’s Word is both our litmus test and our sounding board, meaning our songs are often born from our experiences and desires, but we will only offer to the Body of Christ songs that reveal and reflect the heart and character of God as revealed in the Scriptures.

LET’S JUMP INTO WHERE ELSE CAN I GO TOGETHER:

VERSE – 

You’re the only One I truly need

The only One who calms my anxious soul

You’re the only One who brings me peace

Reassures me that I’m not alone

This song is rooted in John 6:68 where we find Peter’s reply to a life-altering question from Jesus. We’ll delve into that particular verse later, but it is clear from Peter’s response that Jesus is the answer to every longing of the human heart. While this is unquestionably true of all of God’s creation, I wrote this verse quite personally from longings that Jesus has met in my own life. We have all experienced anxiety, but if you have been through a long season feeling consistently unsettled, I encourage you to rest in these lyrics. They echo the truth found in God’s Word.

Reading Psalm 94:19 is like opening the diary written in the deepest place of my heart. The New King James Version says it well; “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” 

I can be so prone to worry. Not the nibble-your-fingernails kind of worry. It’s the more subtle kind that lies under the surface through the mundane moments of life. It can sway us from walking in the humble confidence afforded us by following Jesus’ Word and voice throughout our days and plunge us into a kind of paralysis in our decision-making, first frozen beneath a quiet, confusing fear and then swinging like a pendulum to comforting ourselves by indulging in fleshly pursuits. This is the problem with allowing anxiety to be our “roommate.”

BUT JESUS GIVES US ETERNAL COMFORT – REAL, UNADULTERATED COMFORT – THAT ALLOWS OUR SOULS TO SIGH WITH RELIEF.

Not because all trouble has been removed from existence but because He has touched our hearts’ deepest longing – we do not want to be alone. No one else’s attempts at bringing us peace will do the trick. So we sing this truth to remind our souls: You’re the only One.

PRE-CHORUS – 

My heart longs

For all You are

Peter could be brash. But he was real, and he wanted all of Jesus. Even as his part in Jesus’ betrayal was about to be revealed the night that Jesus offered to wash the disciples’ feet, Peter asked instead for his whole body to be washed. He was all in, and wanted as much of Jesus as he could get! If Jesus is all, then we want all of Him.

AND SINCE WE CANNOT CONTAIN ALL HE IS, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK FOR MORE REVELATION EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I love the way David puts it in Psalm 63, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (ESV)

CHORUS – 

Where else can I go what else can I do

But fall down to my knees and worship You

“So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-68 ESV)

The chorus of this song is its clarion call. It echoes Peter’s heart-rending question: where else can I go? This is the cry of the believer who says, “I have searched through this weary world to find true life and fulfillment, and I have come up utterly empty. I have found that Jesus is the only One who brings true life to my heart. So I will stop the fruitless search and give You what You want and what You deserve – my heart.”

CHORUS – 

You alone are God and evermore my heart is in Your hands

Jesus I’m Yours

I want you to take a moment here and own this truth:

GOD DECLARES THAT YOUR HEART IS PRECIOUS, AND NOT TO BE TREATED CARELESSLY.

Your heart is God’s treasured possession. It is a serious thing to entrust your heart to someone. There is no better person in whom to trust this treasure than in the strong, tender hands of Your Maker and Redeemer. I wrote this song with Thomas Wilson, and we labored for quite a while on getting these lines just right. But the phrase, “my heart is in Your hands” has been in the song since the first day of its conception. That part is sure: Jesus is the most trustworthy person in my life, and I choose to bow down my heart to Him in passionate worship and surrender.

BRIDGE – 

The fires may burn but You are with me

The winds may blow but You make me strong

The seas may rage but You walk on water

Even in the silence You’re my song

This portion comes from an array of Scriptures that describe the troubles of life as natural disasters. When the fires of life burn hot, Jesus is with us like He was with the three Hebrew friends in the fiery furnace of Daniel 3. When the winds of worry blow, like a gardener to a tree, Jesus ensures we are rooted deeply in His love (Ephesians 3:17-19). He stands by our side and uses the resistance to strengthen us and grow us. When the seas of turmoil rage, we can remember that Jesus walks on water. He is able to silence the storm (Matthew 14). And when there are no words to say, the simple utterance of the name of Jesus will bring us the assurance and help we need.

“I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior and He will not fail me.” (Psalm 62:5 TPT)

That last line of Psalm 62:5 can be your humble, confident declaration when you have been redeemed and have found your fulfillment in Jesus:

HE WILL NOT FAIL ME. 

Everyone and everything else will fail us – it’s inevitable. But Jesus never leaves us empty or alone.

The bridge in modern worship songs is meant to build a truth like a tidal wave that crashes back into the chorus, the central theme. And so we find ourselves building on the truth that Jesus is perfectly righteous, supremely strong and unfailingly good. And He is present – He will never leave us alone. So, where else can we go to find what our hearts need? He alone has the words of eternal life.

IN RESPONSE:

Take a moment today to sing through the song Where Else Can I Go and declare these truths to God and to your own soul. Put aside other distractions and give Him your heart again today. Take a deep breath and allow Him to speak to you. Write down what you sense He is saying to you, no matter how simple or lengthy. Let those words guide you today. He alone has the words of eternal life.

By James Mark Gulley – Worship Pastor

Song Story –
Almighty One

I’ve thought about how to approach writing this song story quite a few times now. The struggle of how to approach this somehow seems like it might feel more noble if it were because I had something complicated I was trying to say very precisely or something uniquely profound that I just didn’t quite know how to communicate.

Now, far be it from me to insinuate that something out of the book of Revelation isn’t uniquely profound, but to be perfectly honest I struggled with this song story mostly because I didn’t really feel like the story of this song had much to say.

We’ll come back to that initial thought here in a bit, but for now let me just say that if you’ve ever heard the song Almighty One and read the book of Revelation then you already have a pretty good idea what this song is all about.

In chapter 4, a chapter titled The Throne of Heaven, John describes four creatures in the throne room of heaven who endlessly declare, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is, and is to come.” The scene is profound, startling, beautiful and an all-around fear of God kind of moment.

I remember when I first wrote the bridge of this song, it was a little different and a bit wordier back then. The cadence didn’t quite flow off the tongue quite as well as it does now, but the heart of it was the exact same.

I WANTED TO SING THE SONG OF HEAVEN.

I was enthralled by this idea of how the very throne room of heaven was and is worshiping God who appears like jasper and ruby, is encircled by a rainbow that shines like emerald, and is surrounded by flashes of lightening and rolls of thunder. I wanted our church to join in with the same words that are being said to God in the throne room of heaven. I wanted to join in with those same words.

As an artist, an artist who is a Christian and sometimes even a Christian artist, I hold to this belief that the art that I create has no reason to be anything other than excellent. Compromise is a something of a dirty word. If the art I create is inspired by and for the Creator of every last thing that is beautiful then how could I even begin to settle for anything less than impeccable? In a certain way of thinking using words that someone else wrote as the lyrics to a song seems like a bit of a shortcut, which you’d be able to argue toes a line very close to compromise.  I didn’t feel that way with this song though.

IF THOSE WORDS WERE GOOD ENOUGH TO BE SUNG IN THE THRONE ROOM, THEN SURELY THEY WERE GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME TO SING.

I’m particularly moved by the thought of singing along with heaven, worshiping an immeasurably powerful, unspeakably worthy God who deemed those words acceptable to be sung around his throne. For me it was enough to borrow from John and feel pretty fine about it.

So that’s how the song started, and I’d love to say that a few hours later it was finished. But nothing could be further from the truth. There were many moments during the writing of this song that I thought it wouldn’t actually ever get completed, that it would forever live as this little tune I’d written late one night in my living room. Truthfully, that would have been fine. There are lots of full songs, choruses, bridges, verses, etc. that will only ever live as melodies I sing by myself, alone, forget about and find months later in the voice memos app on my phone.

BUT I BELIEVE GOD HAD A BIGGER PLAN FOR THIS SONG.

Even though it took about a dozen or more writing sessions, four different verses, three different choruses and two versions of the bridge, all in various combinations, the song did eventually get finished.

Over the course of those writing sessions I remember saying over and over again things like, “I feel like this song is all about the bridge, if we can make the bridge work then we’ll have the song.”

I’m so thankful to have written this song with James Mark Gulley and Thomas Wilson, and I’m equally thankful that they share my incessant feelings about compromise. Multiple times throughout the creation of this song I thought we had something that we could put the “finished” stamp on. Then we’d rehearse it or play it in a service and one of them would come back to me and say something like, “I don’t know something just doesn’t feel right. I think we need to rework that.”

This song was a very long process. At one point or another, we each questioned whether or not the song would get finished.  But here we are today, the song finally has the “finished” stamp and I am truly proud of the effort that went into it so our church could join in with the song of heaven.

Now we’re back to where we started at the beginning of this post. A few days ago, I believed the story of this song was so simple it didn’t really seem worth telling. I wrote a version of this song at my house about worshiping like heaven. It was just OK. We wrote and wrote and wrote and finally here we are.

I’ve read a decent amount of song stories, particularly song stories for worship songs and sometimes it feels like these things have to self-contain a devotional worthy of your morning quiet time while trying to explain how the song came about. I was daunted by writing this because I didn’t feel like I had that.

Just like Almighty One though, sometimes it takes writing, and writing, and examining, and reworking to really mine out the heart of something.

SOMETIMES YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE MINING FOR AND SOMETIMES YOU FIND IT ONCE YOU GET THERE.

Writing songs for the church is an interesting thing. There’s a pressure to be profound, to write songs out of life-changing moments and the truth, at least for me, is simply that sometimes that’s just not the case. The original seed of a song that would eventually become Almighty One was very much a product of the mundane. Sometimes I sit with a guitar and try to put melody and words to the things I feel like the Lord puts on my heart. More than a year later, after much effort, the help of a dedicated community and choosing to believe that this thing the Lord had spoken was actually something valuable, what began as a product of the mundane the Lord turned into something beautiful.

In that way the story of this song comes into focus, and I can’t help but be reminded of Luke 16:10 –

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…

Sometimes when I look back I’m able to see things that happened in my life with fresh perspective. Dots that previously seemed unrelated all of a sudden become connected in a way that declare the faithfulness of God that seems impossible to have missed.

Almighty One is a song  we fought for. There were times it seemed like it wouldn’t happen, but we pressed on. Just like He promised, the Lord was faithful in return. Thank You God for a promise of much when we’re faithful in the little. Thank You that You were faithful, You are faithful and You will be faithful.

Listen to Almighty One on AntiochLIVE’s new album, History’s Anthem

By Brooks Whitehurst – AntiochLIVE

God of the Breakthrough – A Worship Devotional

“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” Psalm 40: 1-5

We can all relate to the image of being trapped in a pit, helpless and hopeless. Life is full of difficult circumstances that are out of our hands.

THANKFULLY IT’S THERE, IN THE UNCONTROLLABLE CHAOS, THAT WE MEET THE GOD OF THE BREAKTHROUGH.

Our God is a miracle worker and a rescuer by nature. I wrote about this in the God of the Breakthrough song story, but here are just a few quick examples: He created everything from nothing (Genesis 1), delivered His people out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12), empowered David to defeat Goliath (1 Samuel 17), healed the sick (Matthew 8), calmed storms (Matthew 8) and raised Jesus from the dead (Matthew 28). He has always been a supernatural God who breaks through human impossibilities, and it’s still who He is today.

When we sing God of the Breakthrough we make a bold declaration about our need for a supernatural God. It’s not a song for the prideful, but for the humble—those who know their need.

HUMANS ARE FASCINATED BY MIRACLES, BUT WE DON’T WANT TO NEED A MIRACLE.

In fact, more times than not, I think we’d prefer to not need God at all. Needing God means trusting in someone else rather than ourselves. It means we aren’t in control. But as long as we live in this sin-tainted world, let’s face it—we’re going to find ourselves in circumstances that are totally out of our hands. And it’s in those moments where God breaks through and His glory shines brightest.

WHEN WE GIVE UP CONTROL, WE ALLOW GOD TO BE GOD.

Surrender is the most freeing place to be, because in surrender the world rests in God’s hands—not yours. Surrender brings peace, joy and life. Rather than obsessing over what could go wrong (which is what being a slave to fear looks like), you’re free to enjoy each day as it comes, leaving the ultimate outcome to God. This is what Jesus addressed in His sermon on the mount:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  (Matthew 6:25-27)

Of course, unless we’re convinced of God’s goodness, we can’t fully surrender control to Him. But on the cross, God proved His character to us once and for all. It’s there that we see God’s ultimate breakthrough. It’s there that we learn how outrageously good God is.

“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)

IN RESPONSE:

  • If it’s true that nothing is impossible for God, that He’s extravagantly good and that He’s on our side, why not give Him control? What if instead of dreading the challenges of life, we viewed each one as an invitation to behold God’s miracle-working power from a front row seat? What if we saw each mountain as a breakthrough waiting to happen?
  • It can be difficult to have this outlook on a life you can’t control. But perspective is based on what you meditate on; and ironically, that’s the one thing you actually can control. What is your thought life like? Are you mostly dwelling on the mountains of life? Or are you feeding your soul on God’s character?
  • Testimonies of what God has done are so incredibly important in the fight to maintain right perspective. I’ve begun a discipline of writing mine down, and I’d encourage you to do the same. Dwelling on God’s faithfulness in the past gives us hope for the future, and it shatters the discouragement that can so easily creep into our lives day by day.
  • So what area of life do you or someone you know need a breakthrough in? Put your trust in Him, as Psalm 40 says. Wait for His deliverance. Is there anything you’re holding onto for safety? Let it go. True safety is resting in God’s hands.
  • And in the waiting, let’s take time to meditate on the ways God has been faithful—not all the ways things could go wrong. We’ll probably find ourselves with a lot more peace and faith the next time a mountain appears.

By Thomas Wilson – Associate Worship Pastor

History’s Anthem
Release Night

On Friday we came together to celebrate the release of AntiochLIVE’s new album, History’s Anthem, and it was the best kind of family night! Our band led us in worship as we declared and celebrated the faithfulness of God.

History’s Anthem is a collection of the anthems of our church, and it is available on all digital outlets. Get your copy today!

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NIGHT:

A special thanks to Corey O’Connell for helping us capture the night!

History’s Anthem –
An Interview with
the AntiochLIVE Team

AntiochLIVE’s new album, History’s Anthem, releases tomorrow, and we can’t wait! This album is a collection of songs recorded at church on Sunday morning and at World Mandate. Many of our worship leaders were a part of making this album, but we specifically wanted to sit down with the AntiochLIVE leadership team to hear a little more about the heart behind the album.

The leadership team consists of James Mark Gulley, Owen Wible, Thomas Wilson and Brandon Seibert. James Mark leads the team and oversees each of our songwriters. Owen serves the team as the project manager and keeps things moving logistically. He has also contributed with songwriting. Thomas leads out on the songwriting side of things. He looks at each of the song ideas and chooses the ones that we feel have a message that our church and Movement need. Brandon* serves as the producer, audio engineer and mixer. He has also contributed as a songwriter.

Take a look at what James Mark, Owen and Thomas had to say about History’s Anthem:

First off, tell us a little about the vision behind the album:

  • James Mark: The vision behind the album of History’s Anthem for me is first and foremost we feel like God has called us to be worshippers who minister to His heart and lead people to encounter God through worship, and any way we can do that is our privilege.
  • Thomas: As we talked about where we were headed, we agreed on how important it was for our songs to really reflect the life of our church. In the past we’ve written songs specifically for albums. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, sometimes we ended up with these songs that we literally only played one time at church. We didn’t want to do that again. So, we decided to just take it one song at a time, one month at a time, and focus on writing songs for the people of our church.
  • Owen: I love that this album is recorded at church. It’s our volunteer team leading with our church body worshipping together. These aren’t just songs to fill an album. They’re the anthems from our church over the past year and a half.
  • Thomas: It was so cool because we’d introduce each new song during a Sunday service, and watch how people responded. If a song went well, we’d record it, but if something didn’t seem to connect with people, we’d take the time to make the song better. Eventually when we felt like people were really resonating with a song, we’d pick a Sunday and just record it at church. And we wouldn’t even tell our church we were recording. To me it felt more genuine that way. It was like we were actually capturing the sound of our church, like our focus was on the people encountering God, not recording cool songs for a project.
  • James Mark: As we began to put together songs for this season a couple different themes began to stick out. The first is that the simple name of Jesus has so much power. Just the power in the name of Jesus and the person of Jesus is unlike anything else in the world, and so we wrote songs that have so much to do with calling on His name. All in All just sings the name of Jesus over and over again. Your Name is just really a declaration of the power in Jesus’ name.
  • Owen: The theme of God’s faithfulness also kept coming up over and over. My hope is that people are reminded of His unchanging nature and it propels them to worship Jesus.
  • James Mark: We as a generation want to pay attention and be aware of the faithfulness of God. That is what compels us to worship Him, and worshipping Him is what He’s worthy of. That’s really the message behind History’s Anthem, that the anthem of history is God’s faithfulness, that God has been faithful to us when we have been faithless as a people in this world. Just like the song says, “Let heaven shout You will never fail.”

How did you decide on the album title?

  • Thomas: One of my favorite parts about this last year was seeing a common theme develop throughout the writing process. We talked about a few different ideas for the title, but ultimately, it felt right to use a song title for the album title. The lyrics of History’s Anthem completely sum up the heart of the album. In the chorus alone, it’s almost like each phrase references a different song on the album. And then you come to the bridge and it’s almost like it’s saying, “In light of everything we’ve just said through each song on this album, we will ‘follow you with total abandon.’” It’s cool that it’s the last song on the album because to me it really ties it all together.
  • James Mark: History’s anthem and the faithfulness of God became a theme that stuck out in a big way. Also, I think it was really cool that so many of these songs began in other nations. Specifically, History’s Anthem began in Greece with Caleb Seibert and his team there. God is faithful everywhere, all places to all people, and so History’s Anthem seemed to be a great title.
  • Owen: The title is indicative of how all of history has seen God to be faithful. This album is our moment to join the anthem of the saints of old declaring that His promises are still true today and to tell future generations that He will continue to be faithful. It’s our testimony in music form.

How does the artwork tie in to the overall album?

  • James Mark: When we started thinking through how we wanted to communicate about this album, the idea that came was to use actual artwork instead of just creating something on a computer. The artwork was put together by Tyler Guinn from Antioch Austin. He spent time praying and thinking about what he wanted it to look like, and we didn’t even really know what it would look like until we turned on the video camera and started filming him in his process. What came out was so colorful and beautiful and really kind of messy and unpredictable. That’s a lot like life and the journey that God has all of mankind on. But threaded throughout all of that is the fact that God is always faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us, and He’ll never deny His own name, so to me that is what the artwork means to the album.
  • Thomas: It’s funny because when we had Tyler create the painting, half the songs hadn’t been written yet. So, in a lot of ways, Tyler’s painting was like a prophetic statement. All of the different colors and textures blended together to communicate one cohesive message, before we even knew what that message would end up saying. When we decided on the album title History’s Anthem we realized that this artwork really was like a visual representation of that theme. To me, the artwork symbolizes an invitation for you to sit in that empty chair and just gaze at God’s faithfulness in all its varied colors and forms.
  • Owen: An art gallery is a window into what was happening at different times in history. It helps a single moment endure. In the same way, we want this album to testify to future generations that we have seen Him to be faithful in our day. The painting hung in a gallery is representative of what we’ve written on this album. The empty chair is your invitation to come and ponder what’s being said. And ultimately to add to the anthem of history the He’s been good to you.

Is there a particular song you are most excited for people to hear?

  • Thomas: Ironically, because of the way we recorded these songs, none of them will be new to our church. So, I can’t say I’m excited for people to hear any of these songs for the first time – they already know them by heart! I do love the acoustic versions of God of the Breakthrough and Where Else Can I Go – I feel like they express the message of each of those songs in a really cool and different way.
  • Owen: I’m also really happy with how the acoustic version of God of the Breakthrough came out. It has a different feel from the way we play it live. This arrangement is actually a lot closer to the way the song was originally written, and I think this version will help the lyrics sink in a little deeper.
  • James Mark: Gosh, I can’t say there’s one that I am most excited about for people to hear. Asking me to pick a favorite song is kind of like asking me to pick my favorite child. I feel like I’m kind of a dad to all of these songwriters and all of these songs, but I would say the last song that got finished, Where Else Can I Go, is a really special one to me. I wrote about it on the blog if you want to read more about it. It was really meaningful when I felt God was telling me that He wanted me to lead it for our church so others would be able to sing it as well.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

  • James Mark: I am just so proud of all the people who contributed to this record! This album is really a reflection of the culture of people that we have here at Antioch Waco and also in Antioch globally. I am someone who has been able to come alongside and kind of take the torch and keep going, but I love that all of us are just carrying that torch. We get to carry the anthems for this point of history. And hopefully our due desire is that we would sing the anthem with our lives so passionately and so powerfully that generations to come will be able to hear and say, “I experienced the faithfulness of God through the revelation that this church, this movement and these people were proclaiming and that gave me a confidence to walk in so that I can sing my own song, take up my part in the anthem of history that God is faithful, He is real, He is good and He is here with us right now.” That what I want people to get out of the album, and really out of all the albums we make.

History’s Anthem is available now! Check it out on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and all other music streaming platforms. To celebrate the release of the album, we will be having a worship night at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium. We hope to see you there!

*Brandon is a part of ENGAGE THE ISLANDS this summer, so we were not able to connect with him.

Song Story –
Where Else Can I Go

One day I sat down at the piano and started to play a couple of simple chords. I was hurting. I was frustrated – no, I was ticked. I’d had enough of some people. I felt very much like everyone else’s life around me – no matter their struggle – was easier than mine. Happier than mine. And I needed something to stir me from my tendency to emotionally wallow in the mud of my own dejection. Deep down I wanted to be close to Jesus, to press into His Spirit’s presence. I just needed a spark. I don’t know what you do when you get to this place, but when I remember who I truly am, I play music. And I hope to express something honest to God. The first words I sing or speak are usually not very poetic. Frankly, they’re usually not very nice either. But they are real. And these words came out that day:

            Where else can I go

            What else can I do

            But fall down to my knees

            And worship You

Fast forward a bit in time.

One day I sat and talked with a friend, and somehow the topic of new songs came up. I had a couple that came to mind, so I pulled out the guitar and began to play one. The working title was, Where Else Can I Go, which was also the first line of the chorus. About halfway through the song I looked up from my fingers on the fretboard for the first time and saw my friend. Shocked, I almost skipped a beat. Tears were flowing down their face. Freely streaming, eyes shut, mouthing the words along with me. They were silent, but the message was loud and clear. I became emotional as I sang the rest of the song. When I finished singing, my friend couldn’t speak for a moment. When they finally regained their voice, they spoke through the tears flowing across their lips.

“Thank you. We need that. We need those words so much.”

Because this is a close friend of mine, I know what they are going through in life. And it’s extremely difficult. Much more difficult than what has been weighing me down. Don’t get me wrong here: I don’t mean to diminish my pain by comparing it to someone else’s. That isn’t healthy and more pragmatically, it doesn’t work.

NO ONE GETS TO A PLACE OF HEALING OR RESOLVE THROUGH COMPARISON.

This is what I mean: sometimes God allows us to view the pain of someone else’s heart as a way of opening our perspective. Pain has a way of gradually narrowing, limiting and squeezing our perspective until all we can see is what we do not have. We need someone who is truly good and strong to lift our chin so we can see above our own inability to change things. And God will sometimes lift our chin by letting us see someone in a desperate place who is still expressing gratitude. My friend has been through the valley of the shadow of death, and those tears were not cheap.

THEY WERE THE EXPRESSIONS OF A TENDERNESS FOR JESUS THAT WAS WROUGHT IN THE PLACES OF PAIN.

In that moment, I said to Jesus again, “Yes, Lord. You are enough. I don’t need everything to change to my liking. I need You.” I was convinced that day that this was a song our church needed to sing.

In this life Jesus promises we will have trouble, but He will never leave us. Neither of these things are considered a “maybe.” It’s not a matter of if we will go through something that really shakes our world – it is when. And it’s not a matter of if Jesus will be with us – He always will. At the end of the day, we have to decide whether we’re going to live like Jesus is enough and say, “my heart is in Your hands” and trust that He is good no matter what.

IT’S NOT WRONG TO GO THROUGH A HARD TIME. IT’S WRONG TO GO THROUGH IT ALONE.

Peter was the first to speak up when Jesus asked His disciples whether they were going to leave when the going got tough. His iconic reply has been passed down from generation to generation, and they still ring with desire, loss and ruthless devotion. “Lord, where else can we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.”

Jesus is the rock, the foundation, the cornerstone and He is immovable. But He is not merely a grand cosmic entity; He is my Father. So what does it look like to galvanize our commitment to stay His through the storm? We have to go beyond mere thoughts and turn this into a conversation with Jesus. Our thoughts are incomplete if not given voice. This is truly vulnerable because it is intensely human, weak from the start. And that’s what He is after. To our perfect, loving Father these offerings from our heart are intrinsically valuable. He wants to convince us deep down that He truly prefers to be near us.

He is with us in the fires of life, just as He was for the three Hebrew friends in the book of Daniel. The winds blow hard, but He uses it to strengthen our roots like trees. When I am afraid and weary as I go through the storms of my life, I can choose to see that He has always been a miracle-worker, peacefully walking on the waves as the seas rage around Him. And when I have no words to sing, there is always His name… the most powerful name ever uttered on earth and in heaven. Of course I want my problems to go away, but there is a deeper longing within me: I do not want to be alone. And the greatest news is that I don’t have to be. I would rather go through the valley of the shadow of death with Him than stand on the mountaintop by myself clinging desperately to my own fragile expectations.

If you’re going through a stormy season, I pray Where Else Can I Go is a song that will help you lift your chin and start a conversation with Jesus.

AntiochLIVE is releasing a full-length album titled, History’s Anthem, on June 8th. These tracks are a declaration of God’s faithfulness and goodness throughout history. The album is now available for pre-order, and you immediately get two songs, including “Where Else Can I Go”,  off the album when you pre-order. Check it out here

By James Mark Gulley – Worship Pastor