Remembering my friend Maurice Carter, a reflection of Jesus’s amazing love

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Today, I’m remembering my friend Maurice Carter who went to be with Jesus four years ago. He taught me so much about worship, kindness, hospitality, and Christ-like love. His funeral was a true glimpse of what Heaven will be like, as people from every corner of the globe, of all walks of life, gathered together and worshiped the Creator. I can’t wait to sing again with Maurice in Heaven some day.

This video was taken the week before he died, as he served on a missions trip with Christ Church Nashville in Japan. He had no way of knowing that he was about to meet Jesus in person.

Thank you, Jesus, for people like Maurice. They are true reflections of your love and grace.

Recreated Launches Today!

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Dear Friends,

After many months of incredibly hard work, I’m very excited to announce that my new album Recreated has finally launched and is available to purchase and stream in its entirety here on wespickering.com.

Please go give the album a listen and pick up a copy! We have some awesome bundles in the store that include CD copies, t-shirts, and even limited edition, hand-painted watercolor panels created by my wife and used in the album artwork.

We are new creatures!

Paul says in 2 Corinthians, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”  That is the theme of this album.  The same God who spoke the earth into existence in Genesis 1 breathes new life into us through Jesus Christ. It’s a message worth singing about and worth celebrating!

A little help from my friends…

As a full-time independent artist, my most valuable resource is you, the listener.  Unless others don’t spread the word, these songs won’t get heard.  Here are the three biggest things you can do to help out:

  1. Share a link to the album on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, or the social media platform of your choice.
  2. Post a review of the album on iTunes, Amazon music, or if you’re a writer, on your own website or blog.
  3. Introduce me to your church‘s pastor, music minister, or youth leader.  I would love the opportunity to come and share these songs in person at your church. If you are a pastor or church staff, please feel free to contact me!

Thank you so much for being a listener and supporter! I put my everything into this album, and I truly hope you enjoy it!

grace and peace,

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New Website + Recreated pre-order

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Welcome to the new and improved http://wespickering.com! I hope you’ll take a look around and explore the new site.  Keep checking back with us because we’re adding new content every day.

You can now pre-order your copy of Recreated in several formats and packages, including a very limited edition bundle with a hand-painted abstract panel that was used in the cover artwork for the album.  These abstract watercolors were beautifully painted by my lovely wife Hannah, whose artwork you will definitely want to check out.

Each pre-release order includes an immediate download of the songs “Recreated” and “Beautiful God.”

You can listen to these two songs now right here:

The full album will be available for download on May 26 and CDs, T-shirts, and all other bundle items will be shipped at that time.

RECREATED – New album coming 5.26.15

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I am very excited to announce that my new album Recreated will be available on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.  It has been a long road, and I have never worked harder on a creative project before, but it was well worth all the extra time and effort.

In the coming days, I’ll be sharing a lot more about this album, and the website will be getting a major facelift.  For now, please enjoy the very first single from the album, which is also the title track: “Recreated.”

Now that the songs are done and the record is off at the printers being pressed, it’s time to start playing concerts and leading these songs for audiences and congregations around the country.  I would absolutely love to come and share these songs with you and your church, event, or venue.  If you’re interested in booking me and hearing these songs in person, please contact me on the booking page.

“Over the Waters” // Ambient Instrumental Sketch

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Well, I’m finished tracking my new album, and this week I’m moving on to mixing and mastering.  This is the hardest I’ve ever worked to complete an album, and I’m really excited to share the new songs with you.

Part of any successful artistic endeavor is knowing how to edit and trim the fat.  “Over the Waters” is an ambient instrumental composition that was part of the recording sessions for the new record.  The piece itself got left on the cutting floor, but even though it didn’t end up on the album track list, I thought it was worth sharing.  Enjoy.

A new year, a new album on the way, and a prayer request.

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I have a confession to make.  I have been about 80% done recording my new album…for at least 4 months. I had intended to release a new set of songs in the early fall of last year, but it’s still sitting on my hard drive, most of the way completed.  The songs are pretty much all written.  Most of the instruments have already been recorded.  A couple of the songs even have vocals on them already, but they’re not finished yet.

2014 was both a rewarding and a challenging year.  My wife and I have settled into our new house in south Nashville.  It’s small, about 1,000 square feet, but with the help of friends to remodel and Hannah’s eye for decorating, we love calling it home.  God has given us a space to call our own, to create, to show others hospitality, to escape.  Our house has been a refuge in a year full of big transition, traveling, and intense creative work.

I got sick during the summer last year.  It started out as allergies that turned into some sort of sinus infection that turned into some sort of bronchitis.  The bronchitis wrecked my voice, and I was actually afraid to sing for fear of doing permanent damage to my voice.  I put finishing the new album on hold while I gave my voice a rest.

As my voice started to recover, other projects started filling up my desk.  My friends are some of the most talented people I know, and I spent the latter part of the year producing and mixing several albums for other people.  It’s been a nice break from the pressure of working on my own stuff.  I love taking other people’s songs and finding a way to bring out the best in them.

Most of that work is done now, and I’m just about ready finish that last 20% of recording.  My voice is a little rusty.  There’s still some extra tension in my vocal cords that makes me nervous to sing, but I’m doing my best to exercise it a little each day.  For the most part, it feels better and stronger each week.

Beyond that, I have to confess that I’m just a little bit nervous about this album.  I love the songs.  I love the production.  I’m pretty sure my voice is going to be just fine, and all the vocals will sound good on the final mix.  But I’m still nervous.

Every time I set out to record a new record, I want to improve on the last one.  With blank pages in front of me, I always wonder how I’m going to write 10 or so new songs as good as the last 10 or so.  The Way You Love and before that Hope are two of my proudest creative moments.  Those two albums turned out better than I could have ever hoped for.  Every new record feels a bit like starting over from scratch– no guarantees but endless possibility.

So much of being a professional artist, of any kind, is constantly putting yourself out there for evaluation.  It’s hard not to feel the pressure of whether or not people will like what you do.  Beyond that, I’m turning 30 in a few weeks, and I’m finding myself hyper-aware of which goals I’ve already accomplished and which ones seem as far away as ever.  As I begin putting the finishing touches on this new album, my emotions continually swing from excitement to jittery nervousness.

At the end of the day, I know that God has given me a new set of songs that I feel are important.  I’m doing my best to surrender the outcome to Him.  He is the one who sets our paths, and I must do my best to follow in it.  Frankly, I have no idea where God’s path is leading.  So far, He hasn’t disappointed. God’s plans always turn out better than my own.

So, with all of that said, I’d like to ask you to be in prayer for me over the next couple of months.  Pray for my voice to be strong.  Pray for my mind to be clear and creative.  Pray for doors to open so that I can share these songs with others.  But most of all, pray for me to grow in my faith.  I want to be surrendered to what God has assigned to me, whatever that may look like.

grace and peace,

Wes

Jesus sets the captive free! Kidnapper releases 10-year-old boy who sang worship song for 3 hours.

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I can barely contain my tears as I type…this story is so incredible, I had to share!  A 10-year-old boy named Willie Myrick from Atlanta was lured by an offer of cash from a kidnapper.  When the boy got close enough to the car, the abductor snatched him and threw him into the car.  As the man drove for three hours, Willie did something incredible: he worshiped.  He sang Hezekiah Walkers song “Every Praise” over and over and over again. Finally, the kidnapper could stand no more, pulled over, and threw Willie out of his car.

Here’s video of the news report from NBC 11 in Atlanta:

Willie’s story is now being told all over the world, everywhere from CNN to the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom.

Friends, there is tremendous power in worship!  Like Paul and Silas in the book of Acts, Willie worshiped and praised God until God delivered him from his captor.  God is powerful and good in the midst of every circumstance, and he hears the cries of his children when we call out.

Whatever your circumstance today, worship God because He deserves it!

 

Praying for Phil Wickham: a worshiper on vocal rest

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Tonight, I’m joining believers all over the world in lifting up Phil Wickham to heaven.  I don’t know Phil personally, but I know his voice well and have sung his songs many times in worship services around the country.  Right now, Phil has the #1 song on Christian radio, “This is Amazing Grace.” He was supposed to lead worship at Catalyst West tonight, one of the largest gatherings of worship leaders in the world, but he had to cancel because he’s been put on vocal rest from his doctor.

Here’s Phil in his own words:

While leading worship last weekend on a tour through New England, my vocal cords hit a wall. I felt a drastic change in my voice, and I knew something wasn’t right. It was like a guitar with broken strings. I knew where the notes should be, but they just weren’t there. We cancelled the following shows, and I had to wait several days until I could see a doctor and get some answers.

In the unknown of what was to come my reaction was one I wouldn’t have expected. I would have guessed fear, or frustration. Maybe even desperation. But it wasn’t those things. I felt lost.

I realized right then how closely I tied my own worth with my voice. My worth as a provider. My worth as a leader. My worth as a person. Though now it sounds a bit melodramatic, I sat silent alone in my hotel room that night wondering, “What am I worth without a voice?” “Who am I without it?”

After seeing a specialist this morning we found out there is an irregularity on my left vocal cord that was most likely caused from overuse. Thankfully, they believe we caught this early on enough that it can most likely be reversed without surgery. The only way to reverse it is total silence. No singing. No talking. The silence could be two weeks, two months, or longer.

So I’ve been quiet now since Saturday, and you can imagine how the last 5 days have pretty much been just a wild series of nods, shakes, and gestures. It’s amazing how difficult it is to get the salt passed in your direction when you can’t talk.

It’s also been a lot of listening. I’m starting to feel like I haven’t been listening enough because I feel like I’m hearing a lot more lately. The Lord has been speaking to me profoundly. I feel so at peace. So loved. Moments of fear are quenched with a thought of the cross. Moments of anxiety vanish in the whispers of His grace. And I am thankful for it.

In light of the theme of this conference it seems a strange coincidence that I would lose the very thing I wrap my identity around. And since I don’t really believe in coincidence then maybe there’s something more here to be said. I think I’m learning something about identity, which weaves into calling which then becomes our legacy.

I wonder if I have been finding my identity too much in the means and not enough in the end. I am learning that our biggest and brightest identity is one that we can’t ever lose. Voices, platforms, people, buildings, beauty, skills, relationships, Life… they can come and go. But our identity as a forgiven child of God, our identity as part of the redeemed bride of Christ. This our my capitol “I” Identity. This is the one that we will always have. This is the One that will define us forever. May we not define our worth by the praises of men, or the breadth of our influence. God defines our worth by running to us as he did the prodigal son, and wrapping us in His arms. And in this worth, in this identity we find our calling: to love Him who first loved us in such a way that it spills out of our hearts, lips, hands, and feet. In living out this calling, we have certainty that our legacy will be a joyous and eternal one. Amen!

I am now literally excited, like I’m on the edge of my seat to see what God is doing and watch what HE is going to do through this time. I humbly ask for your prayers. Prayers for healing. Prayers of wisdom for the doctors. Prayers for my wife, Mallory, who has been a champion among champions in this whole situation, and for my two baby girls to help them understand why daddy can’t read them any books right now.

I love you all and pray from the bottom of my heart that God fans a flame in your soul to step into your identity, chase after your calling, and leave an eternal legacy for Him. May his Spirit fall fresh and powerful upon you all. Bringing light to dark places, and water to the dry places of your souls. Grace and peace! Amen!

Here’s the deal:  I believe God is our healer.  I take the Bible at its word when it says that Christ paid the price for our sicknesses with stripes on his own back.  I believe that prayer works. And I believe that the devil is a liar.  God is more powerful than any “vocal cord irregularity.”  What satan intends for distraction and harm, God can turn into an even more powerful voice, with more integrity and an even bigger testimony.

Tonight I stand on God’s word and petition Christ to heal Phil Wickham’s vocal cords.  Let it be a miraculous and fast healing.  Let the doctors be amazed.  Let Phil sing praises to Heaven for God’s goodness.