The year is galloping to a close, and it’s sure been an interesting one for CrossRoad. We’ve spent most of the year recording and mixing our new album, which is due to be released in January 2018. And in between we’ve been out and about sharing our old music, and having a great time doing it.
November began with a weekend in the Vaal Triangle. We took a lazy drive out to Meyerton on the Saturday afternoon, to play some songs at our good friend Jeff Van Der Spuy’s farewell dinner, as he prepared to move to Alberton Methodist now in December after 11 years at Meyerton Methodist. We met Jeff a few years back when we first came to his church to share our music, and have always looked forward to going back. Thankfully, he is moving even closer to us now, and I know we’ll still be seeing him in Alberton in the years to come.
We slept over in Meyerton, and then early the next morning we got up to drive to Three Rivers Methodist. This was our first visit, although I’d heard of the church, because when we were still the worship team at Trinity Sunward, our new minister Stephen Barry was coming from Three Rivers. Can you believe it is almost 8 years since Stephen came to Trinity, and we started travelling from one congregation to the next!
We arrived at the crack of dawn and set up our gear, and then enjoyed a wonderful breakfast before the first service. What a treat!
We led both morning services with our usual set of rocked up hymns and our own songs from Rock of Ages revisited. I’ve done the Never Again talk about a zillion times, and yet on this morning I remember it coming out a little differently. It always amazes me how this happens, and how the words that come out always seem to come out for a reason.
The comments from the congregation afterwards encouraged us greatly. One in particular stuck with me, as a lady came to us and could only say that the service “changed her life”. How, and why, she didn’t say, and we’ll never know how God used the music to make that change. All we know is that it was He who did it, not us!
We’re all set to go back for another weekend in Three Rivers in May next year, and we’ll lead a workshop for the worship team too. Thank You Lord, for these opportunities to share the gifts you give us. We are blessed, and You are great!
Emseni is almost a second home to us. We started our ministry under Derek back at Trinity, and we’ve spend many services at Emseni too. So we were excited to go back and play our “forgotten album” A New Beginning on 12 November. These are songs we rarely get to play because we are so busy with our Rock of Ages and Walking With the King albums. And so we were very glad to pull the songs out and dust them off – even if we were a bit rusty on some of the chord changes!
It’s an interesting set of songs – from the upbeat “Start the New Day” and “Your Love Lifts me High” (which we got very wrong on the day!) to the low key “King of the Ocean” and “Picking Up the Pieces”. I spoke on the song “Love of Jesus”, which was inspired by Philip Yancey’s book “What’s So Amazing About Grace?”. It’s a hard-hitting message that usually shakes me a bit as I preach it! My own words have been haunting me ever since: “when last did you go out of your way to serve someone? When last did you go out of your way to love someone?”
We ended with an upbeat version of “A New Commandment” and left with a real sense that without love, we are nothing.
I’m going to be at Emseni quite a bit more regularly next year. In fact, I will be joining the staff in January, and starting an evening service. Fear not, CrossRoad will still be going strong on Sunday mornings! But I’ll be furthering my theological studies, preaching and leading worship on Sunday nights, and seeing what God does. I’ve always known that this was a path I wanted to take, and I’m excited to start this new journey at Emseni.
St Peter’s by the Lake
We ended our month by visiting St Peter’s Lutheran Church for the first time. In fact, it was our first time at a Lutheran church ever. Now, you probably know that 2017 has been called Reformation 500 – the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the local church in Wittenburg. I follow a lot of reformed groups on social media, and I had in fact been receiving emails from www.desiringgod.org on 30 key figures in the Reformation. So to walk into a Lutheran church at this particular point in the year was just brilliant.
St Peter’s is a stunning church. The building was handbuilt some years ago, we were told, and what an impressive fact that is. And the view, looking out onto Zoo Lake from the grounds of the church, is stunning!
We were excited to meet some new friends, and we played both morning services, where I shared the good ol’ Never Again talk (again!). The early service was the more traditional service, and the second service was mostly youth, and so even though we did the exact same set of songs and the same talk, the two services were completely different. But in each, the congregations sang along happily and worshipped deeply.
In the early service, I had another moment where a single line in a song I’ve sung hundreds of times just bowled me over. This time it was a line in Rich’s “A Picture of Your Love”. We were singing our way through the song, and as I sang “there’s no music beautiful enough to paint a picture of Your love at all”, it seemed to make more sense than ever before in that moment. Again I remembered that everything we do as a band falls so short of God’s glory. Even our best moments are so small and insignificant compared to the greatness and the depth of His love.
But He uses us anyway! What a great privilege it is to sing the songs we do. Our prayer, as always, is that these songs are more than just songs, but that they truly bring you the listeners closer to God in some way.
We’re hoping to be back at St Peter’s with the new album in the new year. Thanks to everyone involved in organising this first visit!
And so our Christmas carols season starts! We aren’t doing our usual home carols this year, but we are playing at these churches:
Sun 3 Dec:
Elsburg Methodist 09:30
Trinity United Norkem Park 18:00
Sun 10 Dec:
Foresttown Methodist 09:00
Trinity Presbyterian Church, Edenvale 18:00
Sat 16 Dec:
Heidelberg Methodist 18:00
Sun 17 Dec:
St Andrew’s Presbyterian Germiston 09:00
Selcourt Methodist Church 18:00
Sun 24 Dec:
Emseni Methodist Church 09:00
Really hope to see you at one of these. And remember, you can throw out your old Boney M cd and listen to our Born in Bethlehem album this Christmas! Buy the cd at one of our gigs, or download the songs here:
Thanks for all your love and support. God bless and keep worshiping!