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.

Soul-Inspired Songwriting

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I have come to find out that I have several styles of songwriting:

  1. Lyric/Scripture inspired
  2. Soul inspired
  3. Melody inspired

I tend to hover the most on 1 and 2 in my writing style. Every once in a while, I will find a sweet melody and put lyric to it. But most of all, I love when I am soul inspired. What I mean by that is that my soul is going through something so deep that it comes out in my writing. My personal journey is what inspires the song. These songs always tend to be the ones that minister to me the most. And not that the others don’t, but when I write from the soul it is birthed from deep within and then sticks deep within.

God has been working on me the past few months (as explained in my previous post) and it has been really hard… I mean really hard, to the point of breaking. I have come to realize that sometimes God needs to break you in order to rebuild you the way you are supposed to be. So as I was sitting at the piano the other night, a soul-inspired song was born. It came out of this really hard season of life and has proven to be my anthem for the past few days. I have come to realize that God inspires certain songs for the simple encouragement to my own soul. It is in those moments that I see how my songwriting and inspiration can in turn inspire me. I love that God does that.

So I share these lyrics, even though they might not be the final lyrics, praying that maybe the words will meet your soul where you are at today:

You are always with me, in the valley or the hills
With me in the highs and lows, my soul, all is well

All is well in the suffering
All is well in the blessing

All is well, All is well

You are always near Lord, in the darkness or the light
With me in the calm and storm, my soul, all is well

He loves me, yes, He loves me
I’ll never be afraid

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.

Valley Worship Blog

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For those of you who don’t know, I am a worship leader at Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, CA. To go more in depth, I am specifically a part of Valley Worship: the worship, creative, and performing arts ministry of Christ’s Church of the Valley. We serve the various technical, music, performing arts, and creative needs of CCV while implementing a vision, philosophy, and theology of worship all the way from the multi-generational services on the weekend, to youth, and children. In addition, we equip and empower others by developing and providing innovative and engaging resources and training that help to develop a deeper devotion of worship for individuals and churches nationwide.

Our Valley Worship website has just launched and I get the privilege of blogging for this site about every other week. I will still be blogging on this site, but I want to be able to share some (or all) of the blogs I write on the Valley Worship site as well. I will post links to the blogs when they are posted… just another way to hear what’s on my heart! 🙂 Enjoy…

Valley Worship Blog- OH TO BE LIKE AN OAK TREE

-Ashley

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

Songwriting Goodness

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Today I leave on a songwriting retreat with Valley Worship. For those of you that don’t know, Valley Worship is the songwriting community I am a part of at my home church, CCV. I am super excited about this retreat! We have these trips about twice a year. We go far away (well an hour away, if that counts) and escape the business of our everyday lives, so we can solely focus on writing and being inspired.

I love our team because everyone has such a genuine heart and a passion to write songs that will touch people in a really deep and meaningful way. We start our retreats off with a few things… the first being prayer. Prayer is essential to these retreats because it is God who inspires our writing and if we are in tune with His spirit, we will be able to hear where he is leading us. The second thing we do is discuss. We discuss the state of our church… the stories of our people… the messages of our pastor… the DNA of our staff… anything and everything that will inspire us to write “from the church, for the church”. Our goal is that every song that we write for our church would be extremely relatable to everyone in our congregation. And that they would know exactly why we wrote the song and even in what season this song came from. After much prayer and discussion, we split off into our own individual writing time. During that time, we hope and pray for inspiration to write a song. And even if the inspiration doesn’t come, we write anyways! This helps us develop the discipline of writing. To start, I like to choose a scripture or a story from our church or a message from my Pastor and develop a song from there.
Usually one of those topics will always get my creative thoughts running.

After we have all had a few hours to work on our own, we present the songs to one another. This is the most vulnerable place because you are taking the song from private to public. And you hear critique. Ugh. And again I say… Ugh. But this is where the song takes life. And that is why I love co-writing so much. Songs are better when they are worked on over and over and over again, and they are worked on by different points of view and frames of reference. Once we critique songs… we repeat the process. And when we feel like we have good material, we record record record!! It is so easy to forget all of the ideas you came up with, so this is a crucial part of the process.

Songwriting is challenging and fun and creative and personal and lovely. So I ask for your prayers over the next few days. Specifically that God would inspire us all and we would be keen to hear His voice. Thank you from the bottom of our Valley Worship hearts. 🙂 Talk to you soon!

-Ashley

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

Oceans

We are introducing a new song to our Sunday night services this week. All of you avid Hillsong United followers will know and love this song already. It is called Oceans (Where Feet May Fail). It is a beautiful and breath-taking song. Not only is the music a masterpiece, but the lyrics paint a vivid picture of the way Peter felt when he walked on water. Here is the story if you do not know it…

Matthew 14:25-33

25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”  28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

There are a couple things I get from this story. The first is that Peter had the faith and trust in God to walk out on the water… WOW. That is scary and intimidating and unknown. And of course he walked out into a storm. It was windy and the waves were coming from all directions, but he still decided to take a step of faith trusting that God was going to guide his steps. I felt like this last year when I was preparing to go on my missions trip to Africa. I felt like I was walking into something scary, intimidating, and unknown. So I had to trust God with all my heart and know that He was going to take care of me along the way. Are you taking a step of faith towards God’s will for your life? Are you trusting him as you walk on the uneven water?

The second thing I get from this story is that when Peter walked amongst the waves and the wind, for a split second, he lost sight of Jesus. He lost sight of the one who was keeping him above the waves, and that is the moment he started sinking. But as soon as Jesus came back into Peter’s vision, Peter was lifted to the place of calm and security again. Are you keeping your eyes on Jesus? Are you keeping your gaze above the waves? If this is true in your life, then your persective should be shifted. You are no longer focused on the scary-intimidating-unknown around you, but you are focused on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.

Put yourself in Peter’s situation… ask yourself some hard questions… and take a listen to this song…

OCEANS (WHERE FEET MAY FAIL)

 

“Alive” New Valley Worship Single

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Hey everyone!

The songwriting community that I am a part of at Christ’s Church of the Valley (Valley Worship) just released a new Easter single. We have been teaching this song in our weekend services and it is one of my favorite songs to sing right now! The lyrics are so powerful, especially in this Easter season, and the melody is interesting enough to keep you hooked, yet simple enough to sing along. The writers of this song are good friends of mine, Jeff Jansen and Joel Ceballos, and I am so impressed with their writing on this song. “Alive” is the next “Happy Day”! Seriously! If you don’t believe me, take a listen yourself… http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=g-high-u&v=QW_poTWPPIc

If you like the song, we would appreciate your support!! You can purchase the song through our publishing company, Risen Music. http://www.risenmusicpublishing.com/alive .
I hope this song and the message it displays helps you to enter into a state of celebration, because our Jesus is no longer dead… he is ALIVE! Here are the lyrics…

ALIVE

The earth it shakes, clouds give way, angels sing and celebrate
He is alive
Oceans roar, mountains bow, love laid down, joy poured out
He is alive

Alive Alive, He’s alive
Risen from the grave
Alive Alive, He’s alive
What a glorious day

Empty cross, ransom paid, curtain torn, an open grave
He is alive
Trumpets sound in victory, people stand in liberty
He is alive

He is the holy one, our God King of Glory
He is the risen one, our God

AshleyBeckfordMusic.com

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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