Writing Music with CAIN

Trio shares how God’s Word inspires creativity

We are all created in the image of God and given the ability to create. Whether it’s through music, art, writing or other forms of expression, we have the power to communicate and inspire others with our creative work.

CAIN, a contemporary Christian music group, recently discussed their songwriting process in an interview with Family Life Radio. They explained that their songs are initially created with the intention of being successful and catchy, but they also aim to make them encouraging ministry tools. CAIN notes their music becomes personal and ministers to themselves as they create it.

“He’s calling you to walk out of the dark.” Taylor said, referring to the lyrics of their song “Rise Up,” which encourages listeners to seek God’s help in difficult times. The trio believe God gives them ideas and bits of inspiration for their music, and they strive to ensure that their songs are scripturally founded and able to point to Scripture. “The crazy thing is God uses our own music because while “Rise Up” was happening, we were stuck at home. We couldn’t go anywhere. We couldn’t play this song for you. I just had to sit there and sing it. There were a lot of times when you don’t feel like you’re in a dark place when you write [the song] and then all of a sudden, you’re like, Man, I need  to minister to myself using the words that we came up with.

Madison agreed, “It’s extremely personal to you. God gives you bits, like ‘The Commission.’ That’s one of our songs. Taylor came in and was like, what about – Go tell the world about me. It just starts there, but how cool is it that as we were all in the synergy of us talking about the Great Commission. And the song has grown into something that we never intended to,” Madison interjected, highlighting how God can inspire and guide creative processes in unexpected ways.

CAIN

As Christians, we too have a responsibility to use our creative abilities to inspire and minister to others. The Bible tells us that we are called to use our gifts and talents to serve others and bring glory to God. In 1 Peter 4:10-11, it says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (NIV).

When we create with the intention of serving and ministering to others, we are using our gifts and talents to bring glory to God. It’s important to remember that our creative work is not just about us and our own success, but about how it can impact others and bring them closer to God.

“One pillar about us and the music we make is it has to be scripturally founded,” Logan shared. “You have to be able to point this to Scripture. And so I believe the Holy Spirit has people in mind who are thinking about suicide. The Holy Spirit knows, and so we are just trying to tether it to Scripture and allow scripture to do the work.”

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16 NIV). When we use Scripture in our creative work, we are allowing the message of Christ to dwell richly among us and inspire and minister to others.

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God’s Design of Motherhood

Ashley Daugherty

God wants to help you grieve and celebrate at the same time

We have a whole day to celebrate and recognize the powerful influence of mothers. I’m especially filled with joy that we can celebrate all of you who call yourselves “Mom.”

 

Happy Mother’s Day.

God’s design of motherhood is so worthy to be celebrated. Sometimes as moms it’s easy to push away the applause and the celebration because we can easily think of areas that we missed it, times when we could do better, where we could talk nicer to our kids and just get it right. But in the midst of all your highs and lows, your heavenly Father wants to celebrate you, as well as the influence and established role of His design of motherhood. It’s powerful.

My mom went on to be with Jesus November 1, 2021. And Mother’s Day weekend is one that I was not looking forward to because I knew what those waves of grief would carry to the shore.

On Mother’s Day 2021, my mother stood on the platform with me in celebration of Mother’s Day. I was pregnant with my fifth child, Gianna, and it was just four months before my mom unexpectedly went into the hospital. Little did we know then that it would be the last Mother’s Day with our mom here on earth. We can still celebrate and honor my mom, even as she’s in heaven. But those of you who have lost people, you know it’s definitely not the same.

Because of all the COVID restrictions while she was in the hospital, we weren’t able to visit her right away. Finally, when we were able to go in and see her, she immediately had to go on a ventilator, and she was unresponsive due to the paralytics. The longer she was nonresponsive in the hospital, the more days went by that I wasn’t able to experience her being fully alive and engaged in my life. Her absence made me realize more and more how powerful her daily presence truly was in my life and my kids’ lives.

One night after coming home from the hospital, I went upstairs to sit in my son’s room in his rocking chair. I started to cry, thinking about the reality of my life at that moment.

A Heavenly Influence on Earth
I sat there just thinking about the influence my mom had on me, how I missed her daily presence and the empty spaces that now existed. Instead of generalizing the empty space of what I was missing, I began to write down specific ways that my mom, Terri McAuliff filled up my life, naming the empty space that I was feeling.

I also was so overwhelmed, thinking about the powerful role of a mother and God’s desire for that role to be represented here on earth.

It’s a calling for all of His daughters, whether it’s with our own children or spiritual children.

It’s His purpose for us to show up in our world and represent His character through His tenderness, His ability to provide a safe space for His nurturing Spirit, His attentiveness, His delight in the details, His spoken truth and love and His compassion and protectiveness. All these things show up when we say “Yes” to be a godly mother to those around us. It’s not limited to whether we have our own kids or not.

On previous Mother’s Day weekends, when my mom was here, and I had the opportunity to celebrate and encourage all the moms, I have been so sensitive, and at times, so overwhelmed with the pain and the grief that this day can bring for people. There’s nothing wrong with being sensitive to the emotions in the room, but not at the expense of downplaying the celebration and honor due (Romans 13:7). It’s more so just a posture of my heart of genuinely not wanting to stir up any more grief or pain this day may represent as I thought about people who:

  • Did not grow up with a mother.
  • Didn’t have a godly mother.
  • Long to be a mom of your own kids.
  • Have experienced a miscarriage, like I have.
  • Or carry the personal shame of where we’ve missed it as moms.

When grief and pain are present, it can make us want to hold back from celebrating what we have, because of what others don’t have or because of what we don’t have. When we hold back our celebration because of our pain and our grief, we also hold back honor when honor is due.

So, in the painful moment of thinking about the space that my mom occupied and her influence, I decided in that rocking chair while my mom was in the hospital, that no matter what happened to my mom, I would never allow grief to overshadow or downplay the celebration and honor of motherhood! Even though I miss my mom greatly, that doesn’t mean I need to tone down the celebration and the honor of being a mom to my own five kids.

You and I serve a big enough God that we can fully celebrate without diminishing or denying our pain or grief. God can help us do both! Just because this day reminds me and perhaps you too, loss, it doesn’t make it any less of a day to celebrate. I think it is a part of God’s process of making beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

My five kids (all under the age of 8 at the time of this story) are so funny. They make me laugh – when I’m not annoyed by what they’re doing. It’s hilarious. I was watching my 10-month-old, Gianna crack up at my four-year-old, Beniah. He came into the room with his boxing gloves. I guess he just came out of the shower because he was naked. And he was doing his thing with his little punching bag that he got for his birthday. Gianna was laughing – her little 10-month-old self thought it was so funny.

I have so many moments I miss sharing with my mom. One of the things I miss the most is the shared joy from the experiences with my kids. I have moments with my kids that I actually enjoy more knowing my mom would enjoy them as well. Of course, I can share these moments with my dad, my husband, Paul and my great friends and spiritual moms. But nothing compares to sharing it with your own mom. My mom would think it was so funny.

An Invitation from Heaven

I asked myself, What is the emotion I want to share with my mom right now? It’s not just the memory but the bond that connects you with people, just being able to share the exact same emotion at the same time. I realized that emotion was joy – I just would love to share this joy with my mom.

Then, I felt this invitation from heaven. God does not force His way in, but He absolutely is knocking at the door of our hearts. And I felt this impression from heaven that said, “Can I try?”

It wasn’t an audible voice. Jesus didn’t show up in the room, but it was like when I’m cooking in the kitchen and my kids want to be a part of it. And they say, “Can I try that too?”

That’s what the message from heaven felt like to me. Like, “Can I try the joy that you want to share with your mom in this moment? Can I try, as your heavenly Father?”

It means so much to me because it wasn’t abrupt. It wasn’t like He was saying “Shouldn’t I be enough?” No, it was a sweet invitation. When God comes into the emptiness of our hearts, He brings His full self in. He is so graceful, sweet and tender. When I bring my full self into a room, my passion can be misinterpreted as anger or frustration.

I began to say, “Yes, God, I want that. What would that look like?”

He is so capable of sharing that emotion with me. Why? Because He is joy; He created joy. Not only did He create joy, but He also created the very beings that I was enjoying. The reality is He was actually able to share the joy of the moment even more with me than my mom ever did or ever will.

Sharing Emotions with God

And God loves to share the other emotions that you would call negative with us too. How can we call an emotion negative when it was emotion that God created? Because He is just as much in sadness as He is joy. He is just as much in grief as He is in celebration. He is just as much in anger as He is gratitude. Why? Because He created our emotions. Sometimes we don’t know how to handle those negative emotions. So, we run away from them, or we deny them.

I serve a big enough God, who meets me in my emotion.

This is a permission slip from your heavenly Father that says, “I am big enough so that whatever emotions come with your daily life, let me meet you in all of it because I can! I can in the aftermath of grief and disappointment and loss and betrayal and rejection.”
It can feel like a crater that’s so deep you can’t even see the bottom. If you open the door to the knocking of your heart from your heavenly Father, He will absolutely fill the gaps and overflow your cups.

It doesn’t make me miss my mom any less. It doesn’t make me more glad that she’s in heaven. I would love for her to be here right now. But God proves to me – over and over again – that until heaven, we do not have to keep living with empty glasses. The Holy Spirit is on this earth to bring comfort, to bring joy, to bring peace, to bring life and to help you move from anger to joy. There’s a part of celebration that really does bring beauty from ashes.

 

Ashley DaughertyAshley Daugherty

As a dynamic speaker, Ashley Daugherty has a passion for people to know Jesus and have a life-changing encounter with Him. Ashley and her husband, Paul, lead a thriving community of believers at Victory Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a mission to connect people to God and each other, equip them to fulfill their God-given purpose, and empower the church to reach out locally and globally with God’s love. In addition to her ministry work, Ashley is a devoted wife and mother of five. victory.com

A Must Read for all Dads!

Pastor Zane Anderson Pastor Zane Anderson

5 Characteristics for Effective Fathering

Perspective! It’s the ability to see things for what they really are, to discern or distinguish clearly, to grasp or to understand what is truly important or significant!

Over the years I’ve come to discover perspective is pivotal in every area of life. Life is full of crossroads, those various intersections where a particular choice needs to be made and having the right perspective can make all the difference in making the correct decision or taking the right road.

Yet, it’s so easy to lose our perspectives, get sidetracked and miss out on what is truly important because we lose sight of what is essential. In this blog, let’s look at perspective and specifically how it relates to some very significant people – fathers.

We’re approaching that wonderful day in which we pause to “honor” our fathers! And it’s so right that we do that to express our love, our appreciation and our gratitude for the role they have had in our lives.

Over the years, I have met a number of fathers who would feel they didn’t have a good father. In fact, I am one of them. I have wrestled with the question – “How could I honor my father with all the pain and hurt he caused in our lives.

I feel the answer I received from the Lord was, I don’t honor him in relationship to what he did or what he didn’t do for our family, but I could honor that he was the one the Lord used to bring me into this world. It’s almost like I honor the position of fathering without having to say my father was a good father.

Being a father today is no easy assignment! Fathers face unprecedented challenges and extreme pressures through the various ages and stages fatherhood requires us to navigate. It’s a never-ending battle against a godless culture that seeks to shape us as fathers.

Add to all that, the reality of the enemy, Satan targets fathers because he knows the power we wield to impact and influence our children.

All through God’s Word we’re told the family is the cornerstone of God’s divine order and purpose. The father’s place, his role in the home, is so significant and so very pivotal!

My prayer is that we might gain a fresh perspective as it bears on our roles as fathers, and grandfathers (including me).

Grandfathers, what an incredible opportunity we have to impact our grandchildren. You don’t want to miss it.

Grandchildren need –
Your stories.
Your attention.
And your love.

No matter what they call you – Papa (that’s me), Pops, Grandpa, Grandad or another endearing name – you have something significant to impart into their lives!

Grandfathers, you’re not done!

I found myself recently reading from a small New Testament Epistle titled I Thessalonians. It’s the Apostle Paul’s first letter addressed to a church he pioneered or fathered. It’s a letter rich with feeling and emotion. Dripping from the pen of the apostle is the heart of a father.

Even though it’s written to a church, it contains some powerful principles that can apply to fathers.

Woven into the fabric of 1 Thessalonians 2 you’ll find five characteristics which cause us as fathers to be effective in our role, our God given assignment.

“So that you might walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own Kingdom” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-9 NASB1995).”

5 Characteristics for Effective Fathering

Follow me as we make our way through these powerful passages and allow the Lord to give you some fresh perspective on your role, your calling as a father!

  1. Fond Affection

“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.
“Having thus a fond affection for you, we were pleased to impart to you not only the gospel but our own lives, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 NASB1995).

Paul could have used half of a dozen words to describe his feelings in verse 8, but he chose a word used nowhere else in the New Testament to express his fond affection – agape/philo. A term of endearment, it speaks of a warm attachment for the expression of emotions. It’s a word for touching or holding.”

I remember our first child; he was just a newborn when my wife Jan handed him to me. He was so tiny. I thought I was going to break him. She said, “Just hold him close!” That’s fond affection!

Dads, why do we stop doing that? Where does it say our children outgrow the need for fond affection?

There is something powerfully bonding about our touch. Yet we often become distant dads. Like two ships quietly passing in the night, we’ve bought into the lie that men don’t show emotion. Yes, we have emotions but so often hide them.

Your family, specifically your children, long for fond affection from you.

2. Impartation

Let’s look back to the Scripture. Paul said, “… we were pleased to impart to you not only the gospel but our own lives, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8 NASB1995).

Our children hear our words, but they are impacted by our lives. So often today, we substitute things for relationships. Your children long for your time and attention.

They are watching! Your children are watching a lot of things, but especially how you handle life – how you face challenges and navigate those crossroads you encounter!

I have a penetrating question: What are you imparting?

You’re imparting something. Hopefully they are the right things, like the ability to make decisions and stick with them or to establish clear and consistent boundaries for life.

A legacy isn’t something you leave when you die, but what you impart to others while you are alive, good or bad!

I’ve been a pastor for a whole lot of years. I discovered I didn’t really impact my children from the pulpit. Away from the pulpit, during the everyday course of life I impacted them the greatest!

Paul told his spiritual children, “… you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8 NASB1995).
He is letting them know they were valued; they’re significant to him.

Dads, how we need to let our children know their significance, their worth. Don’t assume they know it. It’s our job to build a healthy self-esteem into them. It’s so needed today! There is so much “out there” that is seeking to confuse and destroy their sense of value and worth. Speak it; show it; write it!!

3. Hard work

“For you recall our labor and hardship, how working night and day as so as not to become a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel” (1 Thessalonians 2:9 NASB1995).

Paul is an apostle, but he didn’t use his position to excuse himself from his responsibilities. Rather, he modeled the importance of work.

Your children will form their attitudes about work from you!

4. Spiritual Leadership

“You are witnesses and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you.” (1 Thessalonians 2:10 NASB1995).

In the home, so often this is left up to the mom. Yet the Bible is clear about our responsibility to ‘take the lead’ spiritually. We are to create the spiritual atmosphere and appetite in the home, setting the spiritual pace of the family. Our children, indeed, our wives need to see us worship, hear us pray, listen as we read his Word! The incredible impact it will have!

5. Your Words

“Just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each of you as a father would his own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB1995).

The words you say are so powerful. In Dan Benson’s book, The Total Man, one section asks, “Is dad really needed?” and he shared a survey with shocking results: for every one positive comment, ten negative comments accompanied it.

As fathers, we can camp on one or two irritating things about our child and never point out the positives. It’s so easy to tear them down rather than build them up!

“Life and death are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21 ESV).

Dads, let’s speak life!

Here are three ways you can speak life into the hearts of your children and grandchildren:

  • Exhort them.

When you exhort someone, you stretch the potential, you call that potential out of them and challenge them to come up higher.

  • Encourage them.

When you encourage someone, you lift their spirit; you motivate, inspire and applaud them in such a way that you cause them to believe in themselves.

  • Implore them.

As you implore another person, you help them to stay at something, inspiring them not to quit but to keep going and discover who they are.

I want to say it again: it’s no easy assignment being a father today. There are forces at work relentlessly against us. In so many ways we are subtly being seduced away from family priorities.

And dads, childhood goes by so quickly. Before you know it, they are off to college, getting married and we’ve missed the opportunities to truly impact their lives!

Big returns never happen in the future without sizeable investments now, so make the deposits.

To all the dads reading this, I’m one of you! I’ve wrestled with those feelings of inadequacy. I have had to cope with the baggage of my past. I’m acquainted with those fears that often haunt us, as fathers … the guilt of mistakes I’ve made and the things I wish I could do over.

But I’m so grateful we have a great High Priest, who understands our weaknesses and invites us to His Throne of grace to receive His mercy and help us in this incredible role of being a father!

I want to exhort you – Don’t quit; don’t give up! Keep fighting those forces that are relentlessly coming against you! With the help of the Holy Spirit, you can break those cycles of your past and be the kind of father you are destined to be!

Your family needs you.
The church needs you.
Indeed, our nation so desperately needs you!

 

Pastor Zane AndersonZane Anderson served as a senior pastor for over 40 years, and currently leads as an Apostolic Overseer for several churches across the nation. He travels internationally to minister and is a sought after speaker at local churches, Bible colleges and conferences around the world. He has zeal for the local church body and desires to train and develop strong leaders. His gifting as a prophetic voice has helped people around the world move into the ministry that the Lord has purposed for them.