Author: Owen Wible

Song Story – Arms of My Father

I vividly remember the moment Thomas Wilson showed me a song he was writing titled, Arms of My Father. While he played it, I kept thinking how much it resonated with me. Unbeknownst to me, both he and James Mark were picturing me as the voice on the song. As the song-shaping process went on, I began to delve into the song lyrically. If I was going to record this song, I had to own it as if the lyrics were my own.

I have always struggled with perfectionism – holding myself to high standards, trying to prove my worth by my own righteousness, having all the right answers and never failing. As humans, however, failure is unavoidable. In those moments of weakness, I have the tendency to try to prove myself, jump into action and show I’m still deserving of love despite my shortcomings.

BUT THIS SONG SIMPLY STATES THE GOSPEL – THE BLOOD OF JESUS HAS COVERED EVERY SIN AND MADE A WAY FOR ME TO DRAW NEAR.

There’s nothing standing between me and the love of God. And it’s not just that I’m allowed back into the room where God is. But He invites me to come in close. To hear Him whisper, “Everything’s okay. I’m enough.”

As we were recording the song on a Sunday morning, I found this phrase coming forth, “I’m found in Your love. I’m safe and secure.” I believe that is the posture of this song –

DESPITE OUR FAILURES AND IMPERFECTIONS, WE CAN LOOK STRAIGHT INTO HIS EYES.

No guilt. No shame. Nothing coming between us because of His sacrifice. We don’t have to do anything but draw near to His prefect love.

My prayer is that this song reminds us of the power of the Gospel and invites us to worship Him up close.

Arms of My Father comes out Friday, December 1st. Check it out on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and anywhere else music is available.

By Owen Wible – Worship Pastor

Six Ways To Revive Your Worship Time

As a worship pastor, I am constantly asked for new worship music suggestions.  I get texts saying, “What are you listening to these days?” or “I need something new; I’ve worn out such-and-such album.” I’ve found that I rarely have new ideas for people. Most of what I’m listening to is the same thing everyone else is listening to.

But as I ask questions, I find that it’s not a new song people need as much as fresh vision for worshipping God.

It’s so easy to get on autopilot. The alarm goes off, I grab the coffee, go to my chair at the dining room table and start the playlist I made one time for Lifegroup or turn on the latest worship album (my most recent default being Champion by the Torwalts). But I want to give you some ideas of how you can freshen up worship in your time with God.

  • 1. Start with thanksgiving.

    Psalm 100:4 calls us to enter His gates with thanksgiving. When we are thankful, we remind ourselves of our testimony – how God has been faithful to us. Don’t just thank Him for general things. Thank Him for specific things. The ways you and only you have seen His faithfulness, mercy, kindness, etc. Be thankful for the big things and the small things.

  • 2. Start with songs that declare truth about who God is and what He’s done.

    Forever Reign by Hillsong is a great example of a song of declaration. The verses alone give us 12 different attributes of God. I may spend a good amount of time here depending on how sleepy or foggy my brain is. As we declare truth about who God is, our hearts and minds start to open to His goodness. Then our hearts are ready to sing songs of surrender and adoration to Him.

  • 3. Sing out loud.

    This may seem silly or unimportant, but there’s something about actually making an audible noise that forces our brains to engage with what’s coming out of our mouths. Singing along with the song also helps keep our minds from wandering. If you’re like me and don’t live alone, go on a walk outside. Or go in your closet. You don’t have to sing at the top of your lungs (though you’re welcome to), just sing aloud. Trust me; it helps.

  • 4. Don’t just sing what’s on the recording.

    Add your own lyrics. Make it personal. Rather than sitting through an instrumental part of a song or a repeat of a bridge, sing the song in your own words – allowing the song to turn from one someone else wrote to one that is your own.

  • 5. Have a place where you can write down the random things that come to mind.

    How many times have you been in your time with God only to realize two minutes later that you’re thinking about the meeting you have at work later that day or the person you forgot to text back? Sometimes these distractions are important and even God-inspired. Write them down so you can come back to it. But don’t stop and make your grocery list in that moment. Jot down a quick reminder and then get your thoughts fixed back on Jesus.

  • 6. Remember that worship does not necessarily equal music.

    Often I find that I’ve gotten to the end of a song and haven’t actually engaged my heart with what I’m singing. Try speaking and praying the lyrics to a song. Or write them down. Sometimes you don’t even realize what great truth you’re singing until you take time to pray the lyrics.

Ultimately, worship is a heart response to the goodness and faithfulness of God.

The goal of worship in our time with God is to get our mind fixated on His greatness and to allow everything else in our lives to come into perspective behind Him. Matthew 6:33 says it best: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

By Owen Wible, Associate Worship Pastor

owen wible

Living In Peace

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right?! Carols, apple cider, lights, trees, parties! I mean, does it really get any better? Then why do the weeks leading up to Christmas lead to so many insecurities and fears?

Isaiah 9:6 is a familiar verse read around Christmastime:

“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”

It’s easy to check out by the end of this verse. But God highlighted the last phrase to me the other day: Prince of Peace. I began to think about what this phrase means.

Let’s change the name to something a bit more concrete to help wrap our minds around it. Say there’s a man called the Prince of Persia. That title means he rules a kingdom called Persia and everyone who lives in his kingdom is Persian. Whether the citizens of Persia wake up feeling Persian or not, they are Persian because they live in his kingdom.

In the same manner, we as believers live in God’s Kingdom. Here He calls Himself the Prince of Peace. So since I am part of His Kingdom, I get to live in peace!

What does this really mean for our lives? Does this mean my financial insecurity or social pressures will just melt away? Not necessarily. Jesus explicitly says, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV). Another translation says, “Be of good cheer, take courage, be confident, certain and undaunted!” (AMP).

Jesus isn’t promising to end challenging circumstances or even an ability to understand those circumstances. Rather, He’s calling us to be of good cheer in the midst of those circumstances. Peace is not an escape from hardship, but rather a resolve in the midst of chaos to align ourselves with His goodness and sovereignty. As ones who live in His Kingdom, it’s our job to daily get our hearts and minds to a place of solidity in the truth of God.

IN RESPONSE

Take time today to notice where your circumstances are directing your life. When you see yourself functioning outside of peace, take a quick moment to thank God for being the Prince of Peace. Allow thankfulness to turn your attention back onto His goodness.

My prayer for us this Christmas season is that we don’t allow circumstances to dictate our lives, but we allow the Prince of Peace to govern our lives. May the government rest on His shoulders this Christmas.

By Owen Wible, Associate Worship Pastor

Your Part

Since being back from iCON, multiple people have asked me, “How would you describe iCON?” I have found myself replying, “It’s like the biggest family reunion you’ve ever been to.” Old college roommates are reuniting. You’re hugging friends you did the discipleship school with. And this year especially, there are people you’ve never seen in your life. (Did you know the Antioch Movement has 28 churches in the U.S. as well as 59 teams in 34 different nations?) U.S. churches planted through Antioch Waco are now sending out their own  U.S. churches and international workers – people who have never set foot in Waco. As I met missionaries from around the world, it felt like I was meeting extended family members for the first time. Though we have never lived in the same city or been at the same church on a Sunday morning, we shared the same history, values and dreams. It was amazing to hear stories of what God is doing in our nation and around the world. “Daily testimonies were shared of healings, salvations and discipleship movements happening in our nation and all over the world.

It’s an exciting time to be part of Antioch. God is on the move in a powerful way!

As our movement has gotten larger, I have at times asked myself the question, “Do I have a part to play in what God is doing through the Antioch Movement?” But I was struck again and again as people shared at iCON that these missionaries are just simple people living lives of a simple yes to God. Some of them are engineers, businessmen or medical professionals. But they have chosen to give God everything – not just their Sunday mornings. I expected to come away from iCON feeling guilty for not living in Africa. But instead I came away feeling compelled to live a fully devoted life for God.

That’s what makes me part of this movement: living fully surrendered to Jesus.

For me right now, that means living in Waco being the best worship pastor, husband and friend I can be, loving those in front of me and bringing the Kingdom of God with me wherever I go.

IN RESPONSE

As we go about our daily lives, let’s join with our friends all over the world believing that God will move mightily in the nations. And let’s live lives that bring the Kingdom of God with us wherever we go. We all have a part to play in the Antioch Movement and in advancing His Kingdom.

By Owen Wible, Associate Worship Pastor

Leading Worship in Lifegroup

As worship leaders, we’re called to do more than just strum a guitar, sing some songs or make a good iPod playlist. We are called to lead people into the presence of God. The goal of a corporate worship time – whether on a Sunday or house to house – is participation. Our aim as worship leaders then is to create a space in the least distracting way possible to lead people to collectively encounter God and surrender their hearts to Him. Here are a few things to think through as you’re planning your worship time.

First, remember that though you’ve been thinking about worship, most people coming in to your Lifegroup are thinking about work, family issues or really anything other than worshipping God. Our temptation is to jump straight in to an intimate song, but the people in your Lifegroup need you to lead them in to that intimate time. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” In starting a corporate worship time, I generally default to leading people to thankfulness. If I can get people to remember Who God is and what He’s done, then I get them to open their hearts up to Him in surrender. As we begin worship, people need to be reminded why we worship. When building your set list for Lifegroup, start with songs that declare and celebrate Who God is and what He’s done. It’s only after the declaration that people are ready to move into the songs of response and surrender.

We are often asked how we get people to raise their hands, clap, sing spontaneously, etc. The answer is simple: tell them to. Simply saying, “let’s all raise our hands,” calls people to step out of their comfort zone and to praise God. The only way that we teach people to be expressive in worship is by calling them to do it and demonstrating it ourselves.

A few practicals:

  • Tune your guitar BEFORE Lifegroup. Don’t make people sit through your tune up. Arrive a few minutes early to Lifegroup and tune in a back room.
  • Practice new songs before Lifegroup. Don’t think that just because you’ve heard a song multiple times that you know the song. There’s a big difference in listening to it (or singing it in church) and actually leading it.
  • Pick songs in the same key or in relative keys. There’s nothing more distracting between songs than that awkward silence of changing your capo. Remember, our goal is to eliminate as many distractions as possible so it’s easier for people to engage.
  • Lower songs from their recorded key. Most songs are recorded to be at the top of a male vocal range. However in a small setting without a full band, it’s more important to make the song attainable for everyone to sing.
  • Sing loudly. No one wants to be the loudest person in the room. By you singing out, it gives other people permission to sing and not feel self-conscious about being heard.
  • Sing known songs. Sing songs sung at our church or in the Church at large. Now is not the time to bring out the obscure song that has been ministering to you in your personal time with God. The goal is participation!
  • Print song sheets. This isn’t mandatory, but it helps the new person to your Lifegroup feel like they can participate (and even those who have been coming for years, but don’t have a knack for lyric memorization). Even if a new person doesn’t know all of the songs, they can at least read along and jump in once they get the hang of the chorus.

For those of you who are less musically inclined and are rocking the iPod during Lifegroup Worship, here are a few tips:

  • Intro worship. Even though you are not playing an instrument, it’s still your job to call people into worship.
  • Get loud speakers. When everyone out-sings your laptop speakers, people lose the music and guests don’t feel comfortable singing out.
  • Put your iPod/phone in airplane mode. It’s always awkward when the music stops for a second or two when you get a text or email.
  • Pick songs without talking in the recording. People don’t know what to do when someone on the recording starts preaching or someone else is praying. Also try not to pick the songs that have extended spontaneous parts or versions people aren’t familiar with. Familiarity helps people engage.
  • Avoid songs that end abruptly. Sometimes you can’t help it, but try to get recordings that end with applause or fade out. Be ready as the worship leader to step into awkward silence between songs. You might need to pray between songs or help people reengage. Be ready to pray at the end and help the transition from worship into whatever is next in Lifegroup.

Finally, the only way we get better is to get feedback.

Don’t be afraid to ask your Lifegroup leaders for feedback about how worship went. Remember – the goal is to increase participation and eliminate distractions. Often we need an outside perspective on how we can help people engage more!

My prayer is that we have powerful, dynamic worship times in our Lifegroups each week as we continue to grow in our worship leadership together.

Owen Wible, Associate Worship Pastor

What is Peace?

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

This summer I was on vacation in Oregon. As I was reading on the deck of a coffee shop overlooking the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, a thought crossed my mind: This is the life! It’s so peaceful here. For some reason it got me thinking about the concept of peace. What is peace? Is it an emotion? A feeling that comes once a year while on vacation?

People often say they want world peace in reference to the end of wars. But would resolving all the world conflicts actually bring peace to the nagging thoughts of insecurity, comparison and fear? The battle for peace is not one for relationships or circumstances, but for the mind and spirit. Peace is an internal stability – an inner confidence in the goodness and sovereignty of God. As believers, it is our job to daily get our hearts and minds to a place of solidity in the truth of God.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

Here Jesus introduces us to a new kind of peace; not like the world, but one of our hearts. He challenges our hearts, not our circumstances. Two chapters later, Jesus explicitly says, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV, emphasis added). Another translation says, “Be of good cheer, take courage, be confident, certain and undaunted! “ (AMP).

Jesus is not calling us to end challenging circumstances or even to understand those challenging circumstances. Rather, he’s calling us to be of good cheer in the midst of those circumstances! Peace is not an escape from crisis, but rather a resolve in the midst of chaos. The hymn writer said it best when he wrote, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.”

May we be ones who rely on the word of God over the actions of man.

May we be ones who don’t look to change our circumstances, but our hearts.

May we be ones who find peace solely in Jesus today.

By Owen Wible, Associate Worship Pastor