Tuesday, November 4, 2014

30 Days of Praise...or less...or something like that.

November 4- I went back to the song shuffle mode on my IPad again today and stopped at the first artist that I personally know and it landed on Bethany Barr Phillips.

She's on ITunes and has a website www.bethanybarrphillips.com.

Bethany has been one of my favorite worship leaders for a long time...in fact, I've loved worshiping under her leadership since she was in about the 9th grade! Seriously.

I don't remember exactly when I first met Bethany but I distinctly remember her singing for us in Blue School at Mississippi Super Summer back in the very late 90's.  I remember her singing the old song, "One Name Under Heaven" and rocking the hippie-ish "free, really free my friend"  and then "God is gonna move in this pla a a a a a ce".  I remember her as a student at Super Summer by day but taking the stage at night to sing back-up with the camp worship leader Dave Hunt.

She's come a LONG WAY!

Sometime in the early 2000's, Bethany was a college student and was leading worship for youth events.  I invited her to lead worship and be a girls small group leader at my DiscipleNow Weekend in Gulfport, MS. Of course she was phenomenal...but for more than just leading worship.  She empowered the girls in my youth group, especially a few budding musician/worship leaders.  Really, I credit Bethany with being such an incredible catalyst for some of the kids in my church and I look back on that time as the beginning of an exceptional youth worship band at our church.

Bethany went on to marry a Pro Baseball Player (who is a college coach now I think) and in recent years she's really started to take-off well beyond the confines of Youth Group DischipleNow Weekends! She's both headlining events and sharing the stage with lots of big names. But not just because of her great voice and talent or musical experience (having done this for quite a few years now!).

No...she's where she is because, as one of the testimonials on her website says, "she leads out of a place she lives...in the presence of God."  She's still a young one (always will be to me, I guess!) but she's faced cancer and losing a baby.  Her songwriting and music reflect those struggles but also the ever-present Jesus that  walked with her through those trials. Her album, "Roots Run Deep" addresses those trials,  with pain and honesty and with the hope we have in Christ.  I especially like the songs "Treasure", "Lamb of God" and "Mother's Arms".  The title track from her EP Show Love  was written in response to the call to be the hands and feet of God after the 2011 Tornado's near her home in Alabama.  I really like "Satisfied" on that album.

Thanks, Bethany, for making my music selection on my IPad better, but moreso for encouraging me with your life and music.

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