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Divine Shelter Schools and John Waller!


Cross International has had the privilege of partnering with well-known Christian Recording Artist, John Waller (Fireproof Movie Soundtrack) to help raise support and awareness for the Divine Shelter Schools in Haiti. The schools provide educations and nutritious meals to devastatingly poor children. Check out some of the pictures from the trip! For more information on the Divine Shelter Schools, visit Cross International


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Hymn Throw-back


Its funny how every trend today seems to get recycled. The clothes our grandparents wore are once again popular, we’re using words like “rad”, and the church is returning to hymns. Now, if you attend a more traditional church, you may have never strayed from the hymnal, however for those of us attending more “contemporary” churches, we’re beginning to see that shift. Why is this? It’s like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” And while that may seem a little depressing, it serves as a good reminder that although we as humans go through cycles, God is constant. He never changes. He’ll never leave us or forsake us, no matter how all over the place we may be. It’s a comfort to know that in our frenzied state, he is there, has been there, and is always there. I love the reverence that old hymns have, a sort of awe of God that demands respect and praises and glorifies him. One of my favorites is “How Great Thou Art.” There’s something about belting out “Then sings my soul, my savoir God to thee, how great thou art, how great thou are!” that makes you truly believe that no matter how bad your earthly situation may get, you know God is in control; and it makes you truly praise him.


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Fresh Awakening


I’ve been entirely wrapped up in Jeremy Riddles Furious album lately. It’s such a raw, simple, and earnest cry of worship. His song “Fall Afresh” is a perfect example of what I see worship heading back to – a simple plea for more of God’s spirit. The chorus of this song says: “Spirit of the living God Come fall afresh on me Come wake me from my sleep Blow through the caverns Of my soul Blow in me to overflow To overflow” It’s so simple, so honest. And it’s a trend I see happening in our churches today. Large scale, complex worship has its place, but I can’t help but believe that this simple cry reaches God’s heart in a special way. Happy listening! So good.


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Congratulations to Fireflight!


Harmony of Hearts is proud to announce that Firelight is the winner of the 2012 Song of the Year award! Each year Cross International gives a special award to the writer or music artist who has best conveyed the mission of our ministry in a current song. Our goal is to inspire more Christian artists to share this vital Gospel message to their listeners worldwide. Previous winners have been “Follow You” by Leeland, “Keep Changing the World” by Mike’s Chair, and “I refuse” by Josh Wilson. This year, Fireflight’s song “Proof of our Love” demonstrated the heart for the poor that we look for in contestants, and when the voting was over, emerged a winner. The lyrics in this song resound strongly with Jesus’ call to get out into the world and help the poor. The verses and chorus go: “So far away from the lives we lead each day. Love as voices hunger, and there’s no shelter from danger. All this love we talk about, talking won’t put food into their mouths. Don’t look away, don’t look away Why don’t we do something? Why don’t we do something? (If we say that we love them?) Don’t turn away, don’t turn away Let’s open up our eyes, bring our faith to life. (This is proof of our love.) This is proof of our love. Harder to see than the problems we perceive. We’re sickness, fast on our apathy and there’s no way to the suffering. All this hope we talk about, wishing won’t help those who go without.” Congratulations to Fireflight!


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Vulnerability in Worship: Opening the Soul


The idea of vulnerability has been on my heart recently. It seems in our culture we can become so obsessed with our image that we sacrifice our sort of “realness.” This leads to a bunch of hiding, hurting people within the church who are rendered useless when it comes to carrying out God’s plans. I can’t help but wonder what the church would look like if we would stop trying to convince each other that we’re perfect, have perfect lives, relationships, jobs, etc. Because we all know life is messy and out of our control. So what would happen if we were able to drop these facades and forget about our inter-denominational differences, and just worship God and obey his commands? What if we were vulnerable to God and to each other? This song by Jeremy Riddle is so simple, yet so powerful. The chorus goes: Spirit of the living God Come fall afresh on me Come wake me from my sleep Blow through the caverns of my soul Pour in me to overflow I pray you are blessed by the earnest heart behind this song.  – Briana B.


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Spiritual Worship


“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Rom. 12:1 Chances are as Christians, we’ve come across this verse at one time or another. And for me, being a musician and worship leader, it can be easy to see the word “worship” and automatically think music. I mean, in church “worship” time is the first 20 minutes when the band is on stage playing, and ends right along with the last chorus of Mighty to Save. But Romans 12:1 doesn’t have anything to do with music; it has everything to do with service. It speaks to offering our bodies to God, so he can accomplish his will through us. Having this kingdom mindset where you know your body is not your own; that is the worship this verse is speaking to. And that’s all well and good, but how can we keep that in our minds constantly? Because for me, I forget things very quickly. It’s like that moment in your car when you’re singing sweetly along to your favorite worship song, and someone cuts you off. It sounds something like “Light of the world, you came down into – jerk! Learns to drive! – open my eyes let me…wait.” Its moments like that that can show so clearly what’s really in our hearts. The point is, this idea of spiritual worship is something we need to keep in mind on a daily basis. As we begin to strengthen our relationship and connection with God, we will be able to see this worship played out daily in our lives. This song is pretty old school, but singing it last Sunday at church reminded me how true the words are. Enjoy. – Briana B.


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Josh Wilson receives his award – post 1 of 2


On Friday of last week, one of our Cross International staffers flew up to Clearwater Florida to present Josh Wilson with the Harmony of Hearts award he won during our song competition. We want to give another shout out to Josh for writing a song that so clearly reflects Jesus heart for the hurting and the poor! Stay tuned for next week’s post where we will dig into our interview with Josh and talk about what inspired him to write such a powerful song. Congratulations Josh!


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Love is…


With Valentine’s Day practically upon us, we see red hearts and cupid angels everywhere. I’m talking down grocery store aisles, on building windows, decorations on people’s houses, on twitter and facebook; pretty much everywhere. In today’s society it seems love seems to revolve around feelings. People fall in and out of love as quickly as the season change, touting ideas like “follow your heart” or “I just didn’t feel in love anymore.” And sure, when you feel passionately in love with someone it’s fantastic. The butterflies, the smiles, the happiness. But is that something you can sustain forever? And when things get hard, how will you respond? This fleeing feeling of love is not what the bible talks about when it talks about real love. I know we all recite this verse at weddings, but look at it again: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8b. If THIS was the kind of love that people had for one another, would divorce rates be so high? Would we have widows and single moms struggling for day-to-day survival? Would orphans be starving to death simply because they can’t find food? No. No, because this kind of love is selfless. It sacrifices. It cares.  – Briana B.


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Gaining Glory by Giving Praise


“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day-by-day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians  4:16-17 This verse always strikes me when I read it, mostly because of the words “light” and “momentary”. How many people do you know would classify trials as being light or momentary? I know for me, if I call a hard time “light”, or if something is “momentarily” wrong, I don’t even really think of it as a trial, more just a bad afternoon. But it doesn’t seem like Paul is talking about having a bad day. This is a man who endured shipwrecks, prison time, beatings and persecution, yet still had the faith and perseverance to call his trials “light” and “momentary” when comparing then with the eternal glory that is coming. Then question this raised for me was, how can I have this perspective? And the more I pray about it and really spend time asking God, the more he reveals one answer. Praise him. When trials come, praise him. When we endure pain, praise him. When we can’t imagine even making it through an hour, let alone a day, praise him. Two verses I keep coming back to are 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” and the second half of Psalm 30:5 which says “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” So the song I’d like to share with you this week is “Your Great Name” by Natalie Grant. This song is literally all about praising God for who he is and giving glory to his name. I love the entire song, but my absolute favorite part is the end of verse one into the chorus which goes: Every fear, has no place At the sound of your great name The enemy, he has to leave At the sound of your great name   Jesus, worthy is the lamb That was slain for us Son of God and man You are high and lifted up And all the world will praise Your great name. So whether this finds you at a time when everything is going well, or right in the middle of a trial, take heart.  And praise him. – Briana B


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New Year, New Goals, New Focus


The start of a new year is always exciting because it brings with it a fresh, clean feeling. Like whatever happened last year is suddenly far away, and you have a fresh slate to work with. Many of us set resolutions or goals that we intend to stick with all year. And no matter how good or bad our follow through may be, it still feels good to set those goals. As we set those goals and prepare to really dig into the New Year, let’s keep in mind what we can do for our brothers and sisters struggling overseas. Maybe we can set a resolution to pray for them once a week or even once a day. Maybe there’s a onetime financial gift we can give, or if you’ve been blessed financially, maybe a monthly gift. I thought it only fitting to end this post with the song “New Year” by Charlie Hall. This may not be a new song, but the message rings true. My favorite part is the chorus which goes: This is a new year This is a new day to rise, shine Lift up your eyes This is a new year This is a new day to rise, shine And point the way to God’s great life.   Happy New Year!  – Briana B


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