Seasons

by Carolyn Hope

Every person experiences different seasons in life. Some are long, while some are short. Some are pleasant; others are not. Each season is unique.

There are many different types of seasons, and I’d like to bring some of those to you this week. These include seasons of stillness, of storms, and of strengthening. My hope is that through these brief overviews, you’ll be able to identify such seasons when they come into your life, and you’ll know how to aptly respond to them.

Even if none of these seasons currently apply to you, I want you to know that whatever season you are in is not an accident, nor is it without purpose. God will use even the darkest times to bring about good. He will not send evil into your life; however, He is a God of redemption, and He will turn everything for your good and for His glory. You may have no idea what’s going on, but He has a plan, and His plan is for you to prosper and have a hopeful future.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Audacious Confidence

by Carolyn Hope

Have you ever noticed a confident person? There’s just something about him that stands out. He walks differently, talks differently, smiles differently. Everything about him is at peace. He’s ready for whatever life throws at him.

There are lots of characters in the Bible who exhibited confidence in their lives, and there are many different types of confidence. I want to bring some of these examples to you this week. Each story is unique and has its own lesson for us, but there is one common denominator in all: the source of confidence. The Scriptures about confidence all have the Lord as the root and base. Confidence in man can only be temporary; confidence in God lasts forever. He is worth trusting and believing. You can be confident in your Jesus – He’ll always show up in a powerful way.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Good Shepherd (Psalm 23)

by Carolyn Hope

Psalm 23 is one of the most famous passages in Scripture. In just six short verses, David describes many powerful promises in beautiful imagery. This psalm is especially comforting in light of the words of Jesus in John 10, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep … I know my own sheep, and they know me …” (verses 11 and 14). We have a Shepherd who loves us and knows us.

There are many promises within this Scripture, but I’d like to bring five of them to you this week. These include provision, protection, and pursuit. As we go through this Psalm verse by verse, I hope you will be encouraged and will see your Shepherd in a new way.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Chosen Ones

by Carolyn Hope

God has a way of picking people that the world would never think to choose. The Bible is full of characters that we would deem less-than-desirable because of all their issues and imperfections. Yet, in His surprising, glorious way, God selects them for His work. He can and does use anyone to build His kingdom.

This week, I hope to encourage you with some examples of the unlikely people that God chose. Some were outcasts, the weak, and the impure. Through their stories, we can see how God’s choice is incredible, certain, and enough. You have been chosen to be a child of God, and you will do great things for Him. You can rest in God’s choice of you; His choice is always the best.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Faithful Father

by Carolyn Hope

One of the greatest ways God has shown Himself to me is through His faithfulness. He has never once failed or faltered in His steadfast love. To say that God is faithful means He keeps His word. You can depend on Him to come through for you.

There are many demonstrations of God’s faithful character. I’d like to share some of these with you this week. God is faithful to forgive, set free, and provide. He takes good care of His children, without exception.

Whatever you need right now, God is the answer. Let Him be the One that you seek. He will give you everything that you need. Trust in the Lord; He won’t fail you.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Pains We Face

by Carolyn Hope

This world is filled with pain. There are many kinds of pain: physical, emotional, and mental are some. Pain is hard to deal with, not only because it’s so unpleasant, but also because it can be challenging to explain. Sometimes, the deeper you dig into the pain you’re feeling, the more it hurts.

This week, I’d like to delve into some of the pains we face. There are much more than can be covered in a week, but we’ll look at emotional pains such as regret, failure, and disappointment. To every type of hurt, Jesus is the Healer. He offers hope when nothing else does.

If you’re experiencing something painful, I want you to know that I am sorry for what you’re going through. Don’t give up yet. You can make it through this. Jesus is with you, and He will make all wrong things right. Take courage today. You are a conqueror, and this too shall be overcome.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Loyal Living

by Carolyn Hope

“Loyalty.” There’s a certain ring to that word, isn’t there? But what does it look like? What does it mean to live in loyalty? What are its qualities?

This week, I’d like to consider some people in the Bible who were great depictions of loyalty; people such as David, Jonathan, and Ruth. There are powerful truths and important principles we can learn from their examples. Their stories and lives will tell us that loyalty is faithful. Loyalty is sacrificial, relentless, steadfast, and beyond all else, loyalty is rooted in love.

The quest for loyalty isn’t easy, but it’s worth seeking. It’s worth pursuing. If you’ll study this concept with me, I believe you’ll find that loyal living is challenging, yet attainable. Certainly, with Jesus in you, you can do whatever He calls you to do, and be whoever He’s made you to be. I invite you, I encourage you, to search for loyal characters in Scripture, and to learn from their lives.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Up Close with Chris McClarney

by Kelly Head

If you’re going through hard times, Chris McClarney might be just the music to put on “repeat” on your iPhone. He is a rising singer and songwriter who captures the heartfelt thoughts a typical believer might feel, and expresses them through soulful songs of hope. Chris penned the sincere worship song called “Your Love Never Fails.” This song is what first brought the spotlight onto Chris when the single caught the attention of the Bethel Church worship group in Redding, California, called Jesus Culture.

ChrisMcClarney

They recorded it on their 2008 “Your Love Never Fails (Live)” album. The rest is history, as the song has now become the theme song of sorts for the current youth worship movement. The Newsboys later recorded the song, and it again topped the charts earlier this year. Chris also recorded the song on his album “Defender,” which is filled with soulful and message-driven songs. Chris was quite seasoned even before his “fame” hit, having already been a worship leader for 15 years. Today, he leads worship at churches, youth events and conferences across the country and globally. Recently, Chris led worship at Youth For The Nations, a large teen summer camp/conference, in Dallas, TX where The Voice caught up with the down-to-earth, humble musician. He shared how he got his start, his first encounters with charismatic Christianity and his message to those with a God-dream in their hearts. This soulful musician was born in Nashville to youth pastor parents. While Chris is now a unique and rising voice, he got his start almost by accident. “I was about 13 years old, and we were doing a little church home group at the time. They asked if anybody knew how to lead worship. I did not know how to lead worship,” he laughs, “but I said to myself, ‘How hard can it be? I like to sing, I play piano and I just bought a guitar.’ So I was like ‘Yeah, I can lead worship.’ I guess it went all right because they kept asking me to lead.” The home group turned into a youth group that quickly grew to more than 400 members. It was there that Chris had the room to hone his abilities. Then five years later, a life-changing event ultimately changed the course of his ministry. A buddy of Chris’s, who was a youth leader at the church, died in his sleep, devastating the entire youth group. “I remember thinking, ‘Why didn’t we pray for him?’ Because, I guess I just never heard the sermon that said we weren’t supposed to pray for sick people and expect them to get better,” he said. “It’s funny growing up in a conservative church. If someone’s grandma were sick, we would always pray for the grandma, but I’m not sure where the line was (in expectation).” Although he had taken prayer requests like this, Chris had no personal experience with sickness, death or healing. His only frame of reference for such miracles was what he had seen from television evangelists. “But after [the death of my friend], I got really interested in the Holy Spirit and was searching for answers. “I asked a friend if he knew anybody that spoke in tongues and where people fell over when they prayed. He said, ‘Man, you need to meet my brother, he is totally one of those crazy guys.’”

So, Chris went to church with the brother. “I wanted the Holy Spirit so badly,” he said. “So I prayed what they prayed about the Holy Spirit coming and filling us with power and authority. Others were speaking in tongues and falling over, but I just didn’t feel anything. I didn’t think, ‘Oh that’s all not real.’ I just thought,‘I guess that’s just not for me.’”

So Chris went back to leading at his conservative youth group. But about six months later, “weird stuff” kept happening. “It’s stuff that wouldn’t be weird now, but it was really weird to me then. Songs were going on longer than they used to, and people would cry during worship. Once, people started repenting of their sins during worship. These things probably should [have been] a normal part of our church life, but was a new experience to me then.”

Chris started seeking answers. “So I asked my friend, ‘Hey, do you think that your prayer worked? Did the Holy Spirit actually fill me up, even though 
I didn’t fall over, and now He’s moving in power and the things that I feel?” The friend affirmed, “That is totally real.”
Chris was so excited and amazed by his new experience with the Holy Spirit, that he couldn’t wait to share it with other members of his youth group. So he invited a group of his friends from church to a Saturday evening charismatic church service. They all started speaking in tongues, shaking and getting filled with the Holy Spirit. “From that, a ‘thing’ started in our church, and it began to make the leadership really uncomfortable.” Eventually, Chris was asked to change his ways or leave the conservative church.

From there, Chris began to “church hop,” until he realized he needed to commit to a fellowship of like-minded believers. He promised himself that he would stay at the next church until the Lord told him to move on. That next move turned out to be to an intercity ministry he found by a providential invitation from Jeff Deyo from the group Sonic Flood. The invitation came right at a time when Chris was questioning a recording deal that he ultimately decided against. The night of worship actually led to Chris ministering there over the next three years. That time in his life really solidified a deep heart desire to help with mercy ministries (those helping the needs of people physically), which is something that deeply defines the heart of Chris as a worship leader.

MCLARNEY_YFN

“I thought, this is kingdom stuff, actually giving people clothes and loving on children that don’t have dads, helping orphans and widows. This is what I want to do. So I sold everything I owned (which was basically nothing) and moved down there.” It was during his years in the Nashville innercity ministry that he met his wife Jasmine with whom he now has three children. After the intercity ministry, Chris ended up becoming the worship leader at Jasmine’s home church, Grace Center, in Nashville, Tennessee. He and Jasmine ministered there for the next 10 years. It was at Grace that he became connected with the ministry of Bill Johnson, and Bill’s son Brian. It was through this relationship that Jesus Culture heard “Your Love Never Fails” and decided to put it on their album. The rest, as they say, is history. Despite the recognition, Chris still sees himself as primarily a worshipper. “If you want me to come do a ‘show,’ it’s not going to be very good. I’m more about what we can do together as a group, us and the people that come to worship together. 
I think it’s really beautiful and much better than whatever we can do on our own.”

It’s been a long journey, but Chris is very happy with where he is now. “I sometimes sit back and think, ‘Wow, my job is to help people connect to God.’ As a worship leader, I think that’s helping remove the boundaries that separate people from the Lord. Music is a great way to do that. 
It kind of cuts through the junk of the week and the pressures that are weighing on all of us,” he said.

On reaching your dreams, Chris says, “Follow the Lord and if He’s made a promise to you, or if there is a calling on your life, or even if it’s something you want to do, I think the Lord is into what we want to do. Do it, follow your dreams and be awesome! Take risks and then 
at the same time, find people that can speak wisdom into your life and kind of temper that. Find the balance; take it slow when you need to. But also keep going after it; don’t worry about your age 
or anything like that. There are so many stories that don’t fit the mold. Just keep trusting God!”

Chris McClarney ministered at Youth for the Nations last year, a conference for youth and youth leaders held on the Christ For The Nations campus. To find out more about YFN, visit their website by clicking here.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.