A Little Bit About Me

Recently, a friend asked me a few questions. So, I thought I would share my answers with you…

1. Tell me about yourself: 
I am a worship pastor at my home church, CCV. Beyond that, I am the first full-time female worship pastor that my church has encountered. This has shaped my journey in a very meaningful way and I wouldn’t have it any different. My journey as a believer has always been about stretching myself through uncomfortable moments. God calls me out of my comfort to do His work, and it is in those moments that I grow the most. My goal as an artist/songwriter/worship-leader is to point people to God and his Word through passionate and refreshing music.

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2.  What brings you inspiration when writing songs?
Inspiration is found all around and can vary from song to song, but for the most part I feel that I am inspired by SCRIPTURE and STORY. Through scripture, I am able to take the actual word of God and put it into song. This is my favorite way to write! I love the beauty of God’s word. It is refreshing and deep and full of wisdom. It makes my job that much easier because God is already so creative. Story is another inspiration; this could be my own story and how God is teaching me and shaping my own life, or it could be the stories of others and the amazing testimony that God has given them. I also love writing from the perspective of my church’s story. This could come from the pastor’s messages or the overall joy/struggle of the church at the time. There is so much to a story and I love capturing that in a song.

3.  Why did you dive into songwriting?  What pushed you past leading worship into creating songs for people to worship to?
Well, I first started writing in high-school when I was sad about a break-up or so in love that I couldn’t stand it. My writing revolved around my emotions. I used it as a journal of sorts and it helped heal my own heart. When I started leading worship in church, I realized that I could use that same energy to write for God. So I began writing worship songs. They were not very good at first, and it took me a while to understand the difference between writing for a secular venue and writing for the church. I will always be growing in that area! But the first time I sang one of my original worship songs for a service, the feeling was indescribable. Seeing people take the lyrics that I wrote in my quiet room and use them as a prayer to God was amazing. It is because of those moments and experiences that I continue to write congregational worship music.

4.  Can you remember a song that sparked a love for worship within you?  What was it about the lyrics or song that moved you?
When I first started leading worship, Hillsong was the powerhouse of all worship music. We played so many of their songs every week! I remember getting to lead out on Brooke Fraser’s songs, “Hosanna” and “Lead Me To The Cross”. Those two songs were instrumental in my development as a worship leader, especially being a female worship leader. I loved (still love!) Brooke Fraser and wanted to be just like her when I grew up! Her melodies were beautiful and her lyrics were powerful. My favorite part of “Hosanna” that I still sing today is the bridge: “Heal my heart and make it clean, Open up my eyes to the things unseen, Show me how to love like You have loved me, Break my heart for what breaks Yours, Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause, As I walk from earth into eternity.” Those lyrics still inspire me today, and point me into a deeper relationship with God.

5.  Out of the songs you have written, which one reflects your heart for God right now?
Out of the songs I have written, I would say that my song “Heart After You” reflects my heart the best. The lyrics of the chorus say: “Create in my a heart that’s clean, A heart that’s after You”. This song is based off of Psalm 51:10 and has been my prayer for a very long time. Whatever I do in my life or wherever I am, I want it to be because God has taken me there. I want my desires to be His desires. This is hard to do unless you have a heart after God’s own heart. So I choose to give him all of me, every part.

Kids Singing My Songs? I Never Imagined.

Last week I was invited to come visit the kids choir at CCV (my home church). Rebekah Neilson, our kids worship leader, said that they had a surprise for me. Oooo… I love surprises! So this past Tuesday, after I led worship for the women’s bible study group, I went to pay them a visit. As I walked down the hall to Room 201, I heard the voices of many little worship leaders in the making. They were being led to sing vocal warms ups. As I walked into the door, I saw a few of them turn their heads to look at me. They smiled in anticipation.

I wondered what the surprise was going to be. I had an inkling to what in might be… Rebekah had introduced my song, “Heart After You” a few months back for the weekend kids services, and they have been singing it in rotation ever since. I had seen little snippets of video here and there of the kids singing out the lyrics with their sweet hand motions, but had never seen it in person. Shortly after I arrived at their rehearsal, Rebekah had them turn around towards me (all of their cute little faces) and wave hi to Mrs. Ashley. They cued the music and sure enough it was the intro to my song. They all faced Rebekah as she led them in singing the song, hand motions and all. I pulled my phone out to capture the moment and tears started to well up in my eyes.

 

I never thought in a million years that the songs I wrote for my album would reach kids. But after seeing them sing one of my songs the other night, I have never felt so much joy! I have seen youth and adults of all ages sing this song in particular, but the kids were the ones that melted my heart.

My writing inspiration for my album was to put scripture to song, and my goal was that the songs would be catchy enough to stick in the hearts of its listeners. The night of my album release, I showed a video that expanded on this idea. I mentioned the songs that I used to sing in Sunday School as a kid. These songs put scripture into my heart even at a young age. And they were catchy enough to stick with me even until now! That is amazing! And that is why the moment I saw the kids singing “Heart After You”, it became more special to me than anything I have ever experienced.

Psalm 51:10 (“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”) is the scripture inspiration for “Heart After You”. The lyrics to the song read, “Create in me a heart that’s clean, A heart that’s after You.” My prayer is that as these kids continue to sing out these lyrics, the Word of God would become a part of their vocabulary… their being… their life. And in years to come, they would never forget.

To God be the glory.

Meaning Behind: Lord Of All

Age to age You stand tall
Nations rise, Kingdoms fall
Oceans rest at Your call
You alone, Lord of all

Have you ever thought about how sovereign our Lord is? Sovereign is defined by having supreme rank, power, or authority. Our God is above all, over all, and in all. Age to age and year to year, He stands tall. He has witnessed and orchestrated the rising and falling of nations and kingdoms. He has commanded the oceans and calmed the storm. He is the God who was, and is, and is to come.

I don’t know about you, but my mind cannot even comprehend that! How is God here, there, and everywhere all while holding supreme power over it all? How does He control the mighty ocean and calm the winds? How does He know exactly what I need, yet knows the same about everyone on this planet? I don’t think my mind will ever fully understand the complexity of His being, but that is why God is God and I am not. I choose to trust Him and all His ways, despite being in the dark at times. He is sovereign and I will follow Him.

Blessed are You, Your name is good, Blessed are You forever

Because He is mighty and unchanging and good, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. No matter what may be going on in the world or in my own life, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. Even though I may not understand completely, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. When nations rise and kingdoms fall, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. As oceans obey the call of God, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. I challenge you to do the same. Let us bless the name of the Sovereign Lord of All.

800828343620.MAINPsalm 113:2-6 “Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and  forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?”     

To purchase the song, Lord Of All, click HERE.

Heart After God

Do you ever feel unworthy of entering into God’s presence? Do you ever come to church on Sunday morning and find yourself hiding in the back corner? Do you ever avoid people because you don’t want them to find out what is really happening in your life?

Well I have news for you… God’s grace is bigger than our sins. God’s mercy is wider than our outcomes. And God’s love is stronger than our downfalls. No matter what you are dealing with in this very moment, don’t ever be afraid of coming into God’s presence. He knows everything about you, yet He is not backing down from you. In fact, He is pursuing you every moment of every day. In the same breath, we need to be a people of grace. This is why I love our church. We are a crazy bunch of imperfect people and we are all on a journey of becoming more like Christ. It is a hard journey, but a fulfilling journey. And it is much more effective if we do it together. In the words and song of high school musical… “We’re all in this together!!” 🙂

This week at CCV’s San Dimas Campus, we are introducing a new song “Heart After You”, written by myself, Jeff Jansen, and Lance Beckford. This song is based off of Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Hopefully we are all striving to have a heart after God… a heart that is pure and holy and righteous. And for those times that that we mess up (and we will mess up), God’s grace covers our sins like rain clouds cover the land. He washes all of our stains until they are clean again. How refreshing.

May we all strive to have a heart after God. And may the lyrics of this song be your prayer today and every day. In fact, wherever you are right now, read the lyrics of this song out loud as a prayer to God…

HEART AFTER YOU

This is my prayer, God be my cure, This dirty heart make it pure

Clouds of Your grace pouring like rain, Washing away all my stains

Here are my hands and my feet, Take all of me

Create in me a heart that’s clean, A heart that’s after You

 Spirit dwell in my soul, Let Your truth overflow

 

( Listen to the song HERE  or purchase the song HERE )

 

-Ashley

AshleyBeckfordMusic.com

Website Photo

Hey everyone… my new website just launched! Woo! I am so excited about it! It is found at www.AshleyBeckfordMusic.com. This site is not only being used to show people what I am up to, but also equip and empower worship leaders and musicians. I hope and pray that this site can be a great tool for you. Here is a rundown of what it includes:

Home Page/Connect Tab: This is a page where people can connect through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iTunes, Sound Cloud, and YouTube. Whether you want to see my latest status update or check out my music/videos, this is the place to go! HOME PAGE

About Page: This is a page where you can get to know a bit more of my story. My bio shares about my journey of becoming a worship leader and my influences along the way. So if you are interested in my life story, this is the place to go! ABOUT PAGE

Blog Page: This page takes you directly to my blog. And if you are reading this, you probably are already following my blog. This is just another way to get to it!

Music Page: This page gives a description of each project/album I have worked on as well as links to iTunes where you can get the music if you don’t already have it. MUSIC PAGE

Chords Page: This is one of my favorite pages because I have such a heart for equipping and empowering worship leaders and musicians. On this page, you can find a free downloadable song book from my most recent album, “Heart After You”. It comes with the lead sheets and the chord charts to the songs. You can download it as a PDF document or add it to you iBooks shelf. I hope the songs bless you and the people around you! CHORDS PAGE

Contact Page: If you have any questions or are interested in booking, this is the page to go to. Feel free to send me any thoughts at all! CONTACT PAGE

Hope this website is of great help to you! Enjoy!

-Ashley

 

Meaning Behind: Jesus Lives

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Jesus lives is the first song on my album “Heart After You”. I would like to call it one of the singles on the record because of its feel-good sound and strong message. But I’ll let you decide that!

This song is based off of 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As we approach Easter in a few weeks, I am reminded of the victory that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ. He chose to follow the will of God, and give his own life on the cross. And because of that, we have been set free! We are no longer under the power of sin, but we are under the power of Christ. Thank you Jesus! It makes me want to shout out at the top of my lungs that Jesus lives! (If you could hear me through my writing… that is what I am doing! 🙂 ). Let’s get exited about our victory through Christ this Easter season.

Listen to Jesus Lives: https://soundcloud.com/ashleybeckford/jesus-lives-mp3
Free Chord Chart/Lead Sheet: http://ashleybeckfordmusic.com/chords.html

JESUS LIVES

Verse 1
Jesus came, humbly gave his life his pride his all
Set us free through victory, o death where is your sting
Our God reigns!

Chorus
Shout it out, Shout, Jesus lives, Jesus lives
Lift your voice loud, all our days Jesus saves
Crucified to set us free
In Christ alone the victory
Shout it out, Shout, Jesus lives, Jesus lives

Verse 2
Hope is found, hear the sound of peace rest and joy
We will sing, for Christ our King has conquered sin through love
Our God reigns!

Bridge
One God, One hope
Now with one voice we sing

Love Week

LoveLOVE fills the air this week. It’s Valentine’s week… a time to share your heart with the ones you love. It could be romantic… it could be brotherly or sisterly… it could even be with your pet. Love is everywhere.

I am grateful because I have many people around me who love me and I love them. My husband is such a blessing from God. He is kind, humble, hilarious, and my best friend. My family is so supportive in everything I do. My dog greets me with so much love when I come home, and cuddles with me on the couch. My church family gives me strength when I need it and points me in the right direction always. I could go on. I am so blessed and feel so LOVED on this Valentine’s week.

But more than the love of my husband, family, friends, and dog… I am so blessed to serve a God who loves me despite all of my failures and downfalls. He loves me so much that He sent his only son to die on the cross for my sins. That was the greatest display of LOVE in all of history. And I am so blessed to serve a God who accepts and forgives and loves unconditionally.

Happy LOVE week everyone. May love fill your minds and your hearts, as we reflect on the love of others and the immense love of our God.

-Ashley