We often take a few weeks off in winter, mostly so that we don’t have to do our usual 5am Sunday morning starts in the ice cold! But this year we decided to fight through it, and I’m so glad we did. We’d have missed out on some memorable times if we’d slept instead.
June and July flew by, and we stopped off in Primrose, Kempton Park, Bryanston, Alberton and Heidelberg. We also started working on a new album, which is super exciting.
First: Primrose Methodist on 12 June. This was our first visit to this church – my only recollection of it was how they got into trouble for providing refuge for the persecuted during the xenophobic attacks a few years back. We were very excited to be sharing our songs, and so up we got with our gloves and scarves and beanies, and drove through.
Now, often when we are waiting for the early service to start, we notice that the congregation is a bit short on youth. And we always seem to be saying to each other “should we quieten the set down a bit? Take out some of the loud songs? Dial the distortion back a little?” And each time we come to the same conclusion: nope. We will be sensitive to the congregation of course, but we will play the songs as they were written, and trust God on the rest.
And it always works. It’s always the oldest person in the congregation who starts clapping along or pulling out the dance moves in praise as we rock n roll through “Rock of Ages“. At Primrose it was an old man, cane and all, who came up to us after with tears in his eyes saying how the music touched him. It’s moments like these that we do this for.
The “Never Again” talk was powerful as always, and we left in high spirits, just in awe of how God uses simple guys like the four of us.
July started slowly; I was on leave for a few days, and Shereen and I had a fantastic holiday at the Sycamore Tree Houses (highly recommended!).
Then we were back at my home church, Heidelberg Methodist. I lead worship here twice a month in the evenings, and it was great to have the whole band back to share some songs. We played the songs off our “A New Beginning” album – songs that we never really got to play much when Walking With the King and Rock of Ages took off. So it was really great to get to play these songs; deep songs, some of our most meaningful and intimate moments, as well as some of our hardest rocking moments.
The week after we were back at Alberton Methodist, where we’d never actually played in the church – only at the men’s breakfast and at Amcare events. So we were very excited to be sharing our songs with both morning congregations, and we made our way through our Walking With the King set, watching God work.
As always, Hammer No More knocked everyone flat. That song! We are so grateful to Doug Ray for writing it in the first place.
I had noticed an elderly lady walk in and sit in the front row just before the service began. Gosh I thought, I hope it’s not too loud for her. A little while later, during “Lord Above All“, I looked up and saw tears just streaming down her face. Afterwards she told us that her brother’s funeral had been the day before, and she had been feeling quite downcast. But the music just lifted her spirits so much! I realized why her tears had come at the moment we sang the words “death has no say, the grave is empty, Jesus the Saviour has won!”. Wow.
Once again – it’s moments like these that we live for. God just touching people as we sing simple songs about Him.
Emergency Service Chapaincy
We closed out the month with a fantastic day at Bryanston Methodist Church for the Emergency Services Chaplaincy of South Africa 20 year celebration. What an honour it was to lead these servants in worship. Now we usually play our own songs wherever we go – but this time we were there to lead worship, and so we did some Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman etc classic worship songs that the church knows so well. Powerful – such powerful stuff. The Spirit was so close, tangible even, after worship. God is so good, so real!
A big thanks to our friend Rodney Berry for thinking of us for this event – we’re excited to be part of more EMCSA events going forward.
Walking With the King is almost 2 years old, believe it or not. We released it in the second half of 2014. We did the Christmas album last year, but it feels like time to start on some new things!
And so we’ve started working on some new songs, original stuff Rich and I have written of course. And suddenly we have about 7 songs – and a theme is coming out, and a new album is being formed. Excitement!
We’re hoping to start recording later this year, and having the album out in 2017. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details!
A lot of you have been asking about our USA trip which was meant to happen now in September. Well things have changed a bit – turns out we’re now going in March/April 2017. We’ll have some more time to prepare and a few more events/churches to play at when we’re over there, so we don’t mind the delay. God’s timing, as you know, is always perfect.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement – be blessed and go live for Him today!