A Song of Hope Inspired by Ecclesiastes & John Maxwell’s “Failing Forward”

Song Video: Say Goodbye To Yesterday

As I write this it’s Labor Day Weekend, and on the Daily Audio Bible podcast, we started the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes is a fantastic passage of scripture to read at this time of year. As the seasons change and we approach the final quarter of the year, it is a good exercise to reflect on life’s journey so far.

I wrote the song “Say Goodbye to Yesterday” very much with the philosophical themes of Ecclesiastes in mind. However, unlike the book’s author Solomon whose revelation was “everything is meaningless”, my conclusions are brighter, and more confident of God’s redemptive heart and ultimate power.

The primary idea of the chorus is to resolve our failures as a means of God’s grace, not to be defined by them. Neither are we to be haunted or stunted by our feelings of shame, but to let our mistakes and regrets go, and move on in the grace of God’s love.

As I wrote in a previous blog post, the idea of “Saying goodbye to yesterday” was from the book “Failing Forward” by John Maxwell [“Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success” ]

The book outlines 15 steps to overcome setbacks. Number seven is to “say goodbye to yesterday.”

We will never make a difference if we allow the past to hold the future hostage.

“To move forward you must learn to say good-bye to yesterday’s hurts, tragedies and baggage. You can’t build a monument to past problems and fail forward.” John Maxwell, Failing Forward

If we can embrace the long term perspective of heaven, we will fulfill the purpose and destiny that God so deeply desires for each of us to obtain.

Life done God’s way truly is meaningful. 

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When God Makes No Sense

Reflections from "No Easy Answers"

Once upon a time, wrestling with God about the pain and confusion going on in my world and those around me, I wrote this song called  “No Easy Answers”. Recently there’s been a renewed interest in the song and I’ve been in a lot conversations with folks about these thoughts. I’d like to share some reflections.

When God makes no sense.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for believers in God, followers of Jesus and lovers of His ways, is  – how do we honestly reconcile the painful realities of life that lead so easily to disappointment, distance and even anger towards God?

Sometimes there’s a silver lining and a redemptive purpose in suffering, like the story of Joseph. “What was meant for evil, God used for good.” (Genesis 50:20)

Sometimes self sacrifice results in a greater good, like those who serve in the military or first responders.

Sometimes people just do evil wicked acts that steal, kill and destroy – like serial killers and terrorists.

But …

How can you explain the unexplainable?

How can you make sense of the senseless?

There Are No Easy Answers

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The Hymns Birthed from Seasons of Controversy and Conflict

Ray Hughes Teaching "The Journey of Worship"

So as I write this, Ray Hughes is teaching a series called “Journey of Worship” at Grace Center in Franklin, TN. I happened to catch session #7 (there will be 12 total).

It was totally, prophetically, inspiringly awesome. If you can attend live, do it. If not, watch the video series here.

I’ve known Ray for a long time, his teachings have profoundly influenced my understanding of worship.

Here’s one takeaway from the night I was there. Regarding Martin Luther and the lives of the psalmists and hymn writers…

You know revolutionaries, and those who carry awakenings, typically walk through seasons of controversy and conflict, until conviction and conversion comes. But until that comes, your life ends up being redefined on many levels.

They were pioneering and birthing something in the spirit realm that was hanging on the balance of how they stood with integrity and character.

The power of the might of the Lord, the One who touched them, and the One they had their encounter with, would hold them up until their conflict and controversy would become songs. And then it would begin to carry a life of it’s own from generation to generation.

When you become a songwriter you are creating something that holds a promise for a future generation.

Ray Hughes, Journey of Worship, Session 7 February 22, 2017

Many of the great hymns of history, written by “revolutionaries who carry awakenings”  were birthed through seasons of controversy and conflict. This was the legacy of pioneers like Martin Luther and Isaac Watts. They paid a heavy price. Today their message still inspires and carries the purposes of God through song.

Can you relate to this? I know I can. Don’t give up singing your new song. God is on the move. Let faith rise up.

“It’s time for a generation to begin to fully trust Him with the sound that they have been given. You see, faith and trust is part of this thing called worship. Faith is the ability to respond to God’s definition of your future.” – Ray Hughes, Journey of Worship, Session 1

Faith is the ability to respond to God’s definition of your future!  

Here’s a link to the video. 

Draw Me Nearer: Songwriting As An Overflow of Intimacy

My Guest Post for WorshipTeamTraining.com

Note: I’m delighted to be a guest contributor to the WorshipTeamTraining.com website. This article contains my recent guest post “Draw Me Nearer” along with bonus links to the recording of my song and lyrics. 


Guest Post http://www.worshipteamtraining.com/draw-me-nearer/

In this article I want to talk about two things. First, some biblical principles for developing greater intimacy with God. Second, how the fruit of our intimacy with God can result in many good things, in this instance writing new songs.

Designed For Intimacy

We are designed for intimacy. First with God, then with others. The gospel promises that we can connect with God at the deepest, most authentic part of our souls.

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Available Now! “A New Joyful Sound For Christmas”

Well it’s finally finished and available everywhere, the full length 11 song version of my new album “JOYFUL! Christmas Praise and Worship”. Complete Digital Downloads* of the whole project are available on iTunes, CDBaby, and Bandcamp. There’s also a limited 5 song “sampler” version on NoiseTrade.

BANDCAMP, includes Songbook excerpt

https://robstill.bandcamp.com/album/joyful-christmas-praise-worship

The feedback from listeners has been great!

  • I am SOOO enjoying your new Christmas CD. I knew it would be good but WOW! The music was beautiful and unique!!  I can hardly listen to the radio during this time of year, but your CD has played continually since I got it. Thank you for bringing a new joyful sound to Christmas this year. ~ Karen L.
  • I love your new Christmas CD! Of course I really like the background singers. ~ Gaylora W.
  • I normally hate Christmas music but really digging this worship album by Nashville artist Rob Still. Also, if you’re a worship leader and need last-minute arrangements (trust me, I’ve been there) just uh, “cheat” using this project.  ~ Mike Kim
  • I like the arrangement – thanks for sharing! – Janet D.
  • Ooo! I love this song. ~ Christina B.
  • Whether or not you are religious, you should listen to this. Rob Still is the former worship pastor from my old Nashville church and is the primary reason I know how to improvise on the viola and play anything else because classical music (especially “commercial” percussion).  We worked on his Christmas album this summer. This song [As With Gladness Men of Old] I think is one of the best things we have done together; he is playing guitar and singing, and I am playing both of my violas and percussion (Finger cymbals, triangle, trine, singing bowl, chinese cymbal, nut rattle, 2 different djembes, frame drum, floor tom, surdo, udu, cajon-bongos, ghungroo bells, tambourine, toy cymbals, etc.). Enjoy! ~ Christopher Lowry, Principal Violist, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory of Music, Orchestral Assistant at Louisiana State University, Principle Violist Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra

Available at these fine outlets. You can listen and check it out right here.

iTUNES

Listen to short samples and download the album in iTunes.


NOISETRADE – 5 SONG SAMPLER, includes Songbook excerpt


  CDBABY


 

* Note: If you want a physical CD before Christmas, send me an e-mail [rob at rob still dot com]