Joshua Swanson: Welcome to The Walk, a devotionals podcast lead by Worship Leaders. In this episode, worship singer and songwriter, Anna Golden, tells the story of the “God thread” that has woven its way through her family history. Here we go.
Anna Golden: Hi guys. What’s up? It’s Anna Golden. I am so excited to be talking to you all today. I wanted to start by, um, sharing a story that has really framed the way that I lead worship and that I work in ministry and the way that I talk to people. Um, I wanted to start with this story about actually my mom.
I talk about this all the time. I call it the God thread in my life. If you, if you look back on your life and you see God’s fingerprints and you can start to like draw the lines together and see how he’s moving and he’s working, uh, mine begins with my mother. She was five years old when she first moved to Memphis, Tennessee and her father ended up passing away six weeks after they moved.
So now her mom has become a widow of five children. They weren’t religious at all. Actually never really went to church, not even on Easter, they just weren’t that family and the house that they happened to move into in Memphis, Tennessee was right across from a neighborhood church. And that church found out that their father had passed away and it was not even 48 hours when the pastor had come to their front door with food.
And said, hey, if there’s anything around the house that we can do for you, um, we’d love to do it. They immediately started mowing the lawn. They did all the housework. Um, just people from the church every day would come over and they never were like, hey, can we share about the Gospel with you? They just started being Jesus to them before they even asked them to come to church. They just started serving them.
And one day my grandma had to ask the pastor and was like, why are you doing all this? I wanna know more about what you guys talk about over at your church. And he sat with her every day before she even walked in the doors of their church and just read the Bible and talked about how good God was and the reason why they kept showing up to serve this widow and her five kids.
And I think that story means so much to me because I wouldn’t know Jesus, the way that I know Jesus if I didn’t have my mother’s faith. I think of that pastor and he had no idea the seeds he was sewing. I wouldn’t even be talking right now on this podcast and sharing this story and being able to share music.
Every time someone sends me a DM, anytime someone comes up to me after I’m able to minister, I think of that pastor. He has no idea just in way of a meal in way of mowing the lawn for a widow and her five kids, what the butterfly effect would be. Um, and I had recently released a song called take it to Jesus and basically the mandate on that song is taking other people to Jesus and what does that look like? And I think of that pastor and how he took care of my mom and her sisters and my grandmother. And the way that that’s just changed the trajectory of their entire lives and in my life. And, and I think of any life that I’m able to touch is just fruit of the seeds that he sewed forever ago.
And he would never know this and he didn’t do it for the harvest to look like masses of people. He didn’t look to the harvest bag. One day, one of you guys are gonna have a kid that’s gonna release albums, and then we’re gonna, we’re gonna lead worship in stadiums. That was never the goal. And it’s always to look for the one and how to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Joshua Swanson: Those of us at Worship Leader would like to give a shout out to all the faith heroes out there, like the pastor from that Memphis church that Anna talks about in her story. The word heroes I think is appropriate. When no one is looking and you are serving Jesus by helping a widow and her family, just know that God is watching. Well done to all the local church leaders who do God’s work daily.
I wanted to quickly thank Soldiers For Faith, who is the sponsor of this episode. It’s a very special ministry motivated by the words of Phillip, ‘COME AND SEE’ from John 1 when Jesus is calling his disciples. They provide methods to ‘COME AND SEE’ the Lord, from their Call-In Bible Studies, to their Special Needs ministry, and their At Home Concert Experience, everything they do is motivated by a call to bring people to ‘COME AND SEE’ the Lord. I would invite our listeners to join other believers seeking Biblical truths and guidance through the Holy Spirit by Checking out www.soldiersforfaith.com for more details. We’ll put the link in the show notes on WorshipLeader.com, so be sure to check it out.
In the second half of this episode, Anna challenges us to open our eyes and see God’s people that we might have otherwise overlooked.
Anna Golden: I’m reminded, um, in Matthew 25:35 it says for when you saw me hungry, you fed me. When you found me thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I had no place to stay, you invited me in. And when I was poorly clothed, you covered me. When I was sick, you tenderly cared for me. And when I was in prison, you came and you visited.
And he, he goes on to say what you’ve done to the least of these you’ve done unto me. And I think when we approach ministry and we’re, we’re in. So, and I think there’s so much purity in it too, when we’re just, we wanna honor God, we wanna do what we know he’s called us to do that. Sometimes we can overlook people.
And I’m just convicted of the idea that being a worship leader, being someone who loves Jesus, being someone who leads in ministry is so much less to do with what we sing. And when we’re on the stage than how we just treat the people around us in our neighborhood. Like Lord convict me of the times I’ve seen through people and not locked eyes with the congregation, that when I, when I get off stage and there’s someone who maybe is so kind enough to bring me water, or they’re wanting to take my mic from here, replace the batteries.
When have I not looked them in the eyes and known their name and known their story, like where do we get the audacity that this isn’t just about loving people in every aspect of what we do. That’s that’s where the peace comes into taking people to what can I do today that can bring someone closer to Jesus?
How can I bring Jesus to them? And I mean, we’re the first encounter that anyone will have? I think a meeting, an unbeliever that might never walk through the doors of church that might never turn on Christian radio. We’re the example. What are we doing? How are we impacting other people and not for the sake of, of what we think we’re doing or calling another person in.
But I care so much about you that I want you to know, hope I care so much about you, that I want you to know peace and love and kindness and I wanna know your story. I wanna break into your life. So my encouragement, my encouragement, my challenge would be every single person you come in contact with today that you see, you see them for who they are and that we would not have this gap anymore between worship leader and congregation. That the stage is just eliminated. That we’re just all humans who are trying to love people better. Um, and growing in that. So my challenge would be maybe there’s a text that you need to send someone today and tell them that you’re thinking about them. Maybe there’s a meal that you need to take to someone’s front door without any other motive of just, I wanna love you today. How can I love you better? Maybe that’s talking to your spouse or your family being like, Hey, how can I love you better today? What can I do to show you how much I care about you?
And then in turn, we have no idea the seeds planted and other people and the harvest that comes from that. Um, and that’s just explosive because people who are loved well, love others well, and it’s just this chain reaction that will just never stop. So I’m so thankful for a pastor that took my mother to Jesus, and now I get the opportunity to take other people to Jesus.
So let’s pray, Father, God, we just wanna start by saying we’re so sorry. We are so sorry for every single person that we may have overlooked that we may have stepped over that maybe we’ve looked past thinking that we were fulfilling a mandate that you had given us. Lord God, bring them to mind. Lord. I pray if there’s any reconciliation that needs to happen, that you would bring those people to our hearts, that we can reach out, that we can call that we can have conversation. And Lord Jesus, I wanna pray for every person who’s listening to this who has felt like they were that person that was misused or overlooked or stepped over for the sake of a service for the sake of a record for the sake of a song to be ministered in a certain way. Lord Jesus, that you. Rectify that in them as well, God, that you would call us higher, show us how to be better, Lord Jesus, that we can really be mirrors of who you are.
Lord God, give us your personality, give us your character and how we communicate with people. We thank you for who you are. We thank you for what you’re doing. We thank you that every single person that is listening to this is called and is chosen for such a time as this and God just keep equipping us and coaching us. Thank you that you are so gracious. Thank you that you forgive us. Every time we come and repent and we turn around, Lord God, we love you. We’re so grateful. Thank you for every single person that is listening to this right now, would you give them grace, for even those convictions that maybe have been brought up throughout this podcast, that there is grace even still there is grace after this, there is nothing that can disqualify you from the call of God on your life. There is grace and there’s grace to move forward and repentance, and that we can be better and do better, and in Your name, we pray. Amen.
Joshua Swanson: Thank you, Anna, for that incredible story, the powerful challenge, and the inspired prayer. The prayer of repentance should be a constant in our faith walk. Anna has a new song out called Take It To Jesus that she sings with Kari Jobe and honestly, I’m not ashamed to say it, it had me on my knees worshiping the other night and that’s no exaggeration.
We’ll play out the show with that song, but first special, thanks as always to Matt McCarty for producing and editing today’s episode, Jacob Fairclough produced our theme song. The Walk is brought to you by Worship Leader Magazine, which is an Authentic Media brand. I’m Joshua Swanson. Here’s Take It To Jesus.