Every Little Thing

When Hillsong Young & Free started making music in Sydney back in 2012, Melodie Wagner had no idea their music would take them all over the world. She’s been with the group since the start, and the last six years have flown by for her.

‘The beginning stages were so raw and fun,’ she told Alex, ‘and I love what I get to do. It’s such an incredible honour to lead people in worship, and give a source of encouragement.’

‘By the grace of God, we’ve got an incredible reach, and I never thought personally that I would be a part of bringing our sound, this Young & Free sound, to the world.’

Their new album is called III, and its songs tell the third chapter of the band’s story, with some of their most personal lyrics to date. ‘We could have gone for something really deep and profound,’ Melodie said, ‘but I guess we wanted to remain honest, and let this album be a marker for us on the journey.’

‘We’ve been doing this for I think about six years, but there’s a lot of life that can be lived in six years, and our hope is that people would find the honesty, that they would hear the honesty, and enjoy the album.’

Their journey has taken them places they could never have dreamed of, including the world’s most famous music awards, the Grammys, where they were nominated for best Christian pop album in 2016. When Melodie called Alex from the US, they were practising their Spanish for a tour of South America.

They’d also just appeared on the Today Show, one of the highest rated morning programmes in the country. It shows that Christian music is more accepted in the mainstream over there. ‘People want hopeful music,’ Melodie said. ‘They want a positive, encouraging sound to listen to. So that was a really cool opportunity.’

surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up, and friends who are going to tell you what you need to hear, and not necessarily what you want to hear

For Melodie, the excitement of seeing God move people through her music hasn’t worn off. ‘It’s crazy. Just to see people respond to this message and this song, it just shows what God’s doing across the Earth. And people are hungry to worship, and people are hungry for truth. I have to pinch myself sometimes. It’s pretty cool, what we get to be a part of.’

With 17 tracks to choose from, Melodie found it hard to pick a favourite off the new album, though she’s really enjoying singing the latest single Let Go. She also mentioned Every Little Thing, for its uplifting chorus, which promises that ‘every little thing is gonna be all right.’

‘To sing that, no matter what season you’re in, is pretty powerful. And know that God is in control, and that He has your life in His hand.’

That certainty is part of the answer to a question a listener had for Melodie. Amos, one of our Vision180 listeners, asked her, ‘How do you deal with temptation?’

‘I feel like as Christians, there’s so much temptation that we face on a daily basis. And I guess, me personally, there’s temptation all around. There’s temptation to lie, there’s temptation to get angry, there’s temptation to be insecure.’

She has always been a worshipper, and whenever she faces tough situations, she knows that everything she needs is in Jesus. She encourages us not to lose that focus, and to Word of God be who you are. ‘Let it encourage you, and in those moments where it is tough, because life is tough, it’s not always easy, to actually draw strength from who God is.’

‘What I’d also say is just surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up, and friends who are going to tell you what you need to hear, and not necessarily what you want to hear. I feel like that’s key—to do life with people who are even further along in the journey of life than you. I feel like that can really spur you on.’

‘I thank God for people who’ve stuck by me, and who continue to encourage me, and even challenge me at times.’

Melodie says the band have no plans of slowing down, and they’re enjoying taking the songs out on the road. ‘I think we would be crazy not to pursue what God has put in our lives and in our hearts, which is to reach people, young and old, with this message, that freedom is from Jesus, and that we are called to be young and youthful in spirit.’

‘So definitely more to come from us, and in the meantime, we hope that this album would encourage people, whatever season they’re in.’

Listen to the new album below.

Dying To Self

‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’ Luke 9:23 NIV

Sometimes we get to thinking: ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ or ‘I’ve been through enough, why me?’ But we’re not promised an easy life. Jesus never said, ‘Follow Me and it will be a sweet, easy life.’ He actually said: ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.’ (Luke 9:23–24 NIV)

Following Jesus requires sacrifice. The Bible tells us that God’s grace ‘teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.’ (Titus 2:12 NIV)

Following Jesus also requires us to endure the difficulties and the persecution we may face. Living Jesus’ way means living counter-culturally, doing a 180 on the world’s expectations of us: not speaking, acting or thinking like others. Instead aiming to speak, act and think like Christ. That makes us stand out and may cause us to face hard times.

Paul faced a huge amount of persecution when he followed Jesus. He was beaten, stoned, imprisoned and shipwrecked. But he rejoiced in his sufferings. And he knew that it would all be worth it. He said: ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.’ (Philippians 1:21 NIV)

Following Jesus is always worth it. His way of life is better than any other way. He offers us life to the full (check out John 10:10) and He promises to be with us, strengthening us through all the trials and temptations that we’ll face.

SoulFood: Gen 7–9, Luke 7:36–50, Ps 111, Pro 3:29–30

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Genesis 7–9 ()

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7:1 Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him.

Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, 14 they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. 15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.

17 The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23 He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.

8:1 But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.

At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. 10 He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11 And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12 Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.

13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him. 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

  “Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
  for God made man in his own image.

And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.

20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,

  “Cursed be Canaan;
    a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”

26 He also said,

  “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem;
    and let Canaan be his servant.
27   May God enlarge Japheth,
    and let him dwell in the tents of Shem,
    and let Canaan be his servant.”

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.

Luke 7:36–50 ()

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36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Psalm 111 ()

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111:1    Praise the LORD!
  I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
    in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
  Great are the works of the LORD,
    studied by all who delight in them.
  Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
  He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
    the LORD is gracious and merciful.
  He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever.
  He has shown his people the power of his works,
    in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
  The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    all his precepts are trustworthy;
  they are established forever and ever,
    to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
  He sent redemption to his people;
    he has commanded his covenant forever.
    Holy and awesome is his name!
10   The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
    all those who practice it have a good understanding.
    His praise endures forever!

Proverbs 3:29–30 ()

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29   Do not plan evil against your neighbor,
    who dwells trustingly beside you.
30   Do not contend with a man for no reason,
    when he has done you no harm.

Sat 02 February, 2019


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