What's our staff worshiping to?

Since JR talked about the spiritual discipline of worship this Sunday (listen online here if you missed it), we wanted to give you a list of some of our favorites! In no particular order, here are some worship songs submitted by our staff as "their favorites to worship to during their time with God in the mornings." There are links to listen to them beneath each song. We pray they help you connect with Jesus in your time with him this week! Here as in Heaven - Elevation Worship iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

No Longer Slaves - Bethel Music iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

We Dance - Bethel Music iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

Yahweh - Elevation Worship iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

Shine on Us - Bethel Music iTunes | YouTube

King of My Heart - Bethel Music YouTube

Resurrecting - Elevation Worship iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

When the Fight Calls - Hillsong Young & Free iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

Mercy - Bethel Music iTunes | YouTube

Oh My Soul -  Antioch College Worship iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

Spirit Move - Bethel Music iTunes | YouTube

Faithful Till The End - Bethel Music iTunesYouTube

Open Heaven/River Wild - Hillsong iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

Thank You - Bethel Music iTunes | YouTube

Call Upon The Lord - Elevation Worship iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

Be Enthroned - Bethel Music iTunes | YouTube

Conversations with God: the why & how behind prayer.

Post written by Brittany Baker

On Sunday, JR talked about forgiveness from God and how failure to know how much we are forgiven impedes on how deeply we connect with God in prayer. He gave great practicals and handrails as to why we pray, how we pray and what we should do when we experience disappointment through prayer.  Because JR did such an incredible job of talking about prayer, today I want to touch on my personal journey with prayer and a few things I’ve learned.

The root of any spiritual discipline is relationship. God doesn’t need your religious behavior. He desires your heart. Prayer is no different. It is a very mysterious thing, but a very powerful thing! Philippians 4:6 says “Do not worry, but pray about everything.” Learning to have this kind of dialogue and intimacy with Jesus is learned over a lifetime. No one has “praying about everything down”, we are all learning, but it just shows you how vital prayer is.

Prayer is literally one of my favorite things, because if we need it for everything, it is available to everyone. You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon (as JR would say. ☺) I’m not a natural at school, so this is good news for me. I’m street smarts, ya know?

Anyways, I digress. At its basic level, prayer is a conversation with God. We all know that in any healthy relationship communication is important. And there is good news: it’s a conversation with the least offended person on the planet! You don’t have to filter or tailor your prayers so that God will understand you. God doesn’t need to be pastored. Isn’t that amazing?!!

I was in my time with God asking Him for some impossible things, and I started self-editing. He clearly said, “I don’t need pastoring.” Another reason to pray you guys, God has a sense of humor and He will download things into your heart because you showed up!  He is the one that examines your heart, meaning He understands and gets you.

So why do we pray? Because God desires to speak to you and He wants our hearts. He wants open communication and connection. At the core of everything God does is his heart to “take you back to the garden.”

Prayer is powerful! When we were in the discipleship school at Antioch, a man named Kevin Johnson was teaching and he said, “history belongs to the intercessor.” That floored me. I remember reading stories in the Bible where God listened to people’s pleas and changed his mind. Say what? God…changed his mind! I don’t have enough space to go into the depths of all that entails, but it’s worth pointing out. We can affect history, sign me up!

So, one aspect of prayer is a conversation with God and another part of prayer is the ability to affect history across the earth. Prayer is POWERFUL; it should be our first response. Did you know that the church is God’s plan A to change the world? And I believe prayer is the most powerful tool we have.  It gets glossed over, maybe because prayer takes stillness, or maybe it just seems “too easy,” or maybe you have never been real with God and you are scared.

Here is your chance to bail you guys, because it’s about to get real. JR and I have had a three-year journey trying to have a family and we have lost two pregnancies in the midst of it. Our first loss happened October 4th, 2014, and I was so broken and had zero clue how to handle this grief with God. So I started “fake it until you make it praying”, and I was absolutely gutted.

Because I wasn’t honest in my prayers, I started to withdraw from God and things were fractured between us. Then I remember one day, He said, “You can be mad at me, but just be mad WITH me.” That changed my life. I started to learn that God wasn’t scared of my grief, my undoneness, or my rage and for about 9 months my prayers sounded more like a fight than anything else.

It wasn’t pretty; I offered God snot, tears and ashes for two years.  In return, He has brought deeper truth of His character as the Author of Life, helped me battle insecurity, comparison, jealousy and beyond.  Jesus has shown me what it means to be thankful again, and has shown me that He really is ENOUGH. That would have never happened on my own accord. I can guarantee you that. But because God gave me permission, I felt safe to have honest conversations. And HE changed me, because I showed up. I was a willing vessel, but Jesus was the one that was ABLE!

There is also an aspect of perseverance in prayer because God’s timing is not always our timing. And in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, it reminds us that there is a “season for everything” — pits will come and parades will come. This side of heaven that is a part of every person’s life, whether you believe in Jesus or not. You have to stick around; you have to be honest. And for the love, be BOLD; be willing to ask God for the impossible.

Matthew 19:26 says, “with God all things are possible.” Ask Jesus to restore years of damage in your marriage, ask Him to breathe hope in the Refugee Crisis, ask Him for the $400 you need to pay the bills, ask Him for babies, and you guys, ask Him to breathe revival in your heart and in Salt Lake City!  The time is now; God wants to do big things in and through each of you. But He wants a partnership, not a puppet. He desires that deep relationship, that closeness with you.

I’ve attached a simple chart to use in your time with God or if you just need specific handrails, partly because I have no idea how to make a pretty chart on the computer. The fact that I’m typing this blog post is a straight up miracle. So, feel free to make it cooler or whatever you tech kids do these days!

JR and I love you. Our heart is so for you! We are so fortunate to pastor the best people in the best city!

Prayer Chart
Prayer Chart

Prayer Chart: 

It Is Written: The why & how behind memorizing scripture

Post written by Sara Gilmore

When I was in college, I had a dear friend and mentor challenge me to memorize scripture with her. As I was walking through a hard season of my life, she and I began to memorize and pray God’s word together. I remember her quoting Isaiah 55, telling me that the word of God never returns void. These were not just words we were memorizing and praying together. They were promises.

That season of scripture memory changed my life and my walk with Jesus forever — so much so that eight years later, I’m still doing it. This practice of writing scripture on my heart wasn’t just good advice from a trusted friend; it’s a biblical command.

Hebrews 4:12 says the word of God is alive and active, sharper than a double edged sword. Ephesians 6:17 calls the word of God “the sword of the Spirit” — our weapon against the schemes of the enemy!

I’ve never carried an actual weapon before, but if I did, I would want to know how to use it before I just started walking around with a holster on my belt. You get where I’m going with this?

Our Bibles are not just an accessory to carry on Sundays. The word of God is a powerful weapon, and He has equipped us with everything we need to use it effectively.

My favorite Biblical example of the power of God’s word is when Jesus is tempted by the devil in the wilderness in Matthew 4. Over and over, Satan tries to twist the word of God to tempt Jesus, and every time, Jesus’s response begins with three words: it is written.

He looks the enemy in the face and he says, “It is written, [insert Biblical truth]” and do you know what the end result is? It says in Matthew 4:11 that the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

So the progression went like this: Satan tries to deceive Jesus. Jesus fights back with the word of God. Satan leaves. Angels replace him.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be attended to by angels instead of deceived by the darkness of our world!

So what does this look like practically? Here’s what I usually do:

-  Identify the lies I’ve been believing or the places in my thought life that need to be “rid of the devil and replaced by angels.”

-  Identify truth in scripture that directly combats that lie! Example: I’ve recently struggled with a lot of fear and anxiety. So I’ve been memorizing Psalm 91, a passage of scripture about God being our refuge and our fortress; our shield and defender.

-  Do whatever it takes to write this truth on your heart and in your mind! >> Keep a small spiral of note cards in your purse, your car, your desk at work, etc. with scriptures you’re memorizing written in it. >> Write it on your bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker. >> Pray it out loud during your time with God in the mornings. >> Write it down daily until you can write it from memory.

-  Start with a little. Don’t try to memorize a whole passage at once. Pick one verse that you want to be written on your heart, and when you have that down, go for more.

I remember being amazed when I first started memorizing God’s word at how easily it all of a sudden started rolling right off my tongue in prayer. My prayer life changed because I was speaking forth the promises of God instead of the pleas of man!

Friends, if Jesus needed the word of God written on his heart in order to resist the devil, how much more do we need it? I have found more freedom from sin and darkness in memorizing scripture than anything else in my walk with God.

You’re armed with everything you need! Open up that double-edged sword of yours and let’s start waging some war on the darkness. No weapon formed against us shall prosper. That’s a promise (Isaiah 54:17).