“Future Marches In” is the anthem of freedom UNITED has written to empower listeners. It reminds us that the battle has already been won, God has defeated darkness and we are free from it all. Free from the enemy, free from impossible situations, and free from guilt and shame.

 “Look back no further than the
Savior’s cross Look to the future like the grave is lost
There’s a promise returning all the stolen years
There’s nothing left to fear
Now the King is here
So lift your voice and sing”

 There’s a promise returning all the stolen years”, this is such a powerful statement. God saves us from sin and the lives we used to live without the influence of Christ yet, the enemy can keep us tied to our past by wrapping us in bondages of guilt. Every one of us is at a different place in our journeys, some of us have been rescued from some hard situations and strongholds in our lives that we still struggle with. Sometimes we still hold on to guilt. We feel guilt for allowing ourselves to be overcome with temptations or selfish ambitions. Even after God has delivered us from those things, we can still hold on to shame.

Guilt is our way of trying to pay for what we did wrong but, if Jesus has removed and paid for our transgressions, how can we remain guilty? The Bible does say we need to grieve our sins, but then we give it over to God so we can move on to the joy of the Lord! Press towards growth! We are set free in Jesus’ name from our past!

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9

 This is the idea that UNITED celebrates in this new song.

“We’ve been redeemed
We’ve been set free
The time has come
The fight is won
The future marches in and calls us free”

God has declared us free. God has declared us brand new. We have the victory over our strongholds because the power of Christ lives within us.

Check out the New Song Cafe below to get a behind the scenes perspective of the writing process and the power behind the lyrics. 

Blog written by Taylor Brady, Worship Together Intern

“ I think in many ways the church has lost what it means to party, to really go for it, to have fun, and to dance. “ – Tim Hughes

Lately, this is a thought that has been heard repeatedly within the church. The idea that modern worship is lacking an element of celebration. We seem to be missing out on the release of joy in celebrating God whenever we let go and feel the need to dance. Worship is a powerful expression of how we revere and admire God and all of His different attributes. Sometimes worship needs to be serious. We need to feel the heaviness of God’s spirit and surrender under the weight of his tangible presence. Those serious elements of worship are of no less value but, how often are we dancing and celebrating during service in church?

"I'm alive in the

Love that You give me

Free to dance once again

You will lead me from

glory to glory

Jesus, You made a way”

Worship is an expression; it is a physical act of laying your spirit and flesh at the throne of God. God is our only true source of joy and celebration, He is the reason we come alive in worship. All of heaven celebrates Him with dancing and loud music, perhaps we should be doing that as well. He deserves all of the praise we can give.

“Praise God in his sanctuary; praise Him in His might heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with timbrel and dancing, praise Him with strings and pipe, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals.“ Psalm 150:1-6

This need for exciting worship is what inspired Worship Central’ s Tim Hughes, Nick Herbert, and Ben Cantelon to write “The Way”. Hughes has the desire to encourage the church to have fun in worship just like they would anywhere else.

“We tried to capture in the production [of this song] just the joy and hopefully the release of [the fact that] we’ve got a great God that we’re going to serve and we’re going to enjoy and we’re going to dance and celebrate”

“The Way” is meant to encourage and excite the church to praise God for how good He is to us. It is being used to draw out the overflowing joy of the Lord in our hearts.

Watch the New Song Café with Tim Hughes and Ben Cantelon below:

"The Way" -Worship Central 

 Get song resources here: http://www.worshiptogether.com/songs/the-way-worship-central

 

Shame is much easier to wear than grace. Shame is what we know. We’re accustomed to its fit, its feel. We never seem to be enough. We are always falling short. And so we move through life weighed down by an unnecessary burden. 

 

On the hill of Calvary

The light of all the world

With the world on his shoulders

The weight of all our shame

 

Shame takes over whenever we lose sight of the cross. Without the cross, our sin defines us. No matter how long you’ve been a believer in Jesus Christ, the temptation to go back to our old way remains, the way of the law.

We like the law because it gives us a sense that we’re earning our keep. Follow these rules, and you’re safe. Break them, and you’ve failed. But the gospel flips this legalistic thinking upside-down. “Therefore,” writes Paul in Romans, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son” (Rom. 8:1-3).

When Jesus died on the cross on Calvary, he set us free from sin and shame. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

 

By his wounds I am set free

By his blood I’ve been redeemed

The great divide he crossed for me

Oh, praise the God of Calvary

 

By his wounds we were healed, and we are now a new creation, children of a God who bridged the divide between us with his son Jesus. Let’s exchange our clothes of shame and be clothed in grace instead. Walking and living in this gift given to us by the God of Calvary.

 

"God Of Calvary" by Chris Tomlin

- Devotional by Andrea Lucado

We feel the brokenness of this world every day, don’t we? Maybe you feel it in your relationships, in a struggle you’re facing or even in your own body. Something is off here. We don’t quite feel at home. We are always yearning for something more because we were made for something more. “For this world is not our permanent home,” Hebrews says, “we are looking forward to a home yet to come” (Heb. 13:14).

This world is not what it was meant to be

All this pain, all this suffering

There’s a better place waiting for me

In heaven

Our real home has not yet come, but we are given a taste in scripture of what it will be like: “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4).

In heaven, every chain is broken, every fear is gone. The things of this world that enslave us today—our sin, our circumstance, our mortality—will have no hold over us in eternity. Whatever feels broken here, will be made whole in our eternal home.

In the daily grind, it’s hard to remember this isn’t all there is. We get lost in the shuffle and in the mess of it all. This is why we have to intentionally stop and remind ourselves of the hope we have in Jesus, the freedom that is to come and the home that we were made for. Knowing this, we can boldly sing:

 Hallelujah, hallelujah

I am goin’

I’m goin’ home

"Home" by Chris Tomlin

Devotional by Andrea Lucado

 “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1, NIV)

 Funny thing about the Bible… When you start reading it, you slowly begin to recognize yourself in the characters of the story. With prayer and conviction, we often swallow the lump in our throat as it dawns on us: We are Adam and Eve, trying to cover our shame. We are Peter, denying Christ when the gospel becomes counter-cultural. At our worst, we are the same ones who nailed Him to the cross. Our sin held Him there.

 "I’m the one who held the nail / It was cold between my fingertips / I’ve hidden in the garden / I’ve denied You with my very lips"

 It’s humbling, isn’t it? The gap between our depravity and His holiness is infinite. Our sins are oftentimes more than we can bear and greater than we can count. The canyon between who we are and who we were created to be gets wider by the day, it seems. Yet, God promises that the outstretched arms of His Son are more than enough to bridge that great divide.

 The Bible plainly confirms this truth: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

 Forgiveness rushes in like a balm to our souls, allowing us to bask in the liberty a relationship with Christ provides. Forgiveness is such an extravagant gift. However, it comes with great responsibility. If we seek the Father’s forgiveness, He always promises to forgive His children, but He also expects us to be just as quick to forgive.

 There’s the rub. We desperately want to be shown grace, but when it comes to extending that same grace to others, we’re quick to dole out judgement instead of the mercy Jesus desires us to reciprocate. With so many viewpoints at war in today’s society, it’s easy to focus on the things that divide us. It’s easy to point fingers and hurl insults. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that differing opinions equal differing sides of the equation. It’s easy to desire revenge and far more difficult to turn the other cheek.

 Christ never said forgiveness would be easy. If anything, it’s perhaps one of the hardest things we’ll ever do this side of eternity. Yet, He asks us to never forget the sacrifice He made that covers all sins.

 “Be kind and compassionate to one another,” He commands, “forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

 He extends forgiveness so that we’ll give it away to others. And it’s in that exchange where we find true freedom. Just like anything else He bestows upon His children, forgiveness is a lavish gift we don't deserve. Yet, the Giver gives it away freely and often. And He invites us to do the same.

 "You look at me, arms open / Forgiven, Forgiven / Child, there is freedom / From all of it / Say goodbye to every sin / You are forgiven"

 

Forgiven,” by Crowder

devotional by Lindsay Williams

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