sustaining the passion
Practical resources to empower you and your journey with God.
In this episode, Cageless Birds Art Director, Justina Stevens, sits down with Jonathan and Melissa Helser to talk about the history and heart behind their school, the 18 Inch Journey.
Beautiful Surrender, 2016
Worship leaders and songwriters Jonathan & Melissa Helser present their eighth album: Beautiful Surrender. This album marks their first studio release with Bethel Music, and the project’s overarching message is a vibrant response to their last album, On The Shores (2012).
Jonathan and Melissa both contributed heavily to the writing of the album and the authenticity of their connection permeates each song. Lead vocals alternate across different tracks and careful harmonies decorate each arrangement. The Helser’s tracked the record in Nashville, Tennessee with award-winning producer, Ed Cash, who also co-wrote on several songs.
Accompanying the Helser’s with crafted instrumentation are members of their band, The Cageless Birds.
These original songs weave an intentional tapestry of the core message behind the project: that the further we walk with Jesus, ‘surrender’ becomes a willful response rather than a heavy task. Just as Jesus lived on the earth with no resistance toward God the Father, these tracks personify surrender with a confident energy; demonstrating that it is not burdensome, but a joyful choice motivated by love. Beautiful Surrender invites worshippers to explore the reality of God’s goodness and respond with fresh passion.
on the shores
on the shores, 2010
To record the music of your life is in itself a gift, but to do it with your best friend and the love of your life is a gift beyond explanation. In the 11th year of our marriage, we decided to take the beautiful journey of recording an album together. In the years past, we have soared to the highest heights and traveled to deepest depths and in the end have collected these melodies that are some of the greatest treasures we possess. As songwriters, we write to express the language of our seasons to God and to man. We gladly give these songs to you-the listener, the worshipper-to pour your own heart over....May you find Him as consistently good as we have.
In the autumn of 2010 we moved the furniture out of our house and filled our home with instruments. We invited some incredible musicians, who also happen to be our dearest friends, to spend a week arranging, creating and dreaming into the new songs we had written. The following week, we took these songs into a studio called “Threshing Floor.” The music that we captured in those days is the sound of a family diving deep into the heart of love. At the helm of this grand adventure stood our fearless friend and producer who gave the next year of his life to carefully weave together the songs on this album. There is nothing like being surrounded by a group of friends who fight for your dreams. To have among those friends musicians, artists, and a producer, who all helped bring our hearts and songs alive, is an honor beyond words.
Our favorite part of writing music is how a song can become like a diving board taking you to the deep places. This album is really like being on the shores of what happened that week in the studio. If you want to dive deeper, look for Endless Ocean, Bottomless Sea a double disc collection of the extended versions and experiences of these songs.
live at home
live at home, 2012
“Live at Home” is the first creative adventure of our collective Cageless Birds. The idea for this album was born one day when we were dreaming out loud together. We fell into one of those moments where beautiful “what if” statements started cascading upon one another.
Our conversation sounded something like this...
“What if we recorded an album in our house? What if invite everyone in our band to record one of their songs for the album? What if we recorded the whole album in one week? What if we film each song, so that everyone could see what’s happening in this community? What if we made this project a true story and didn’t overdub or gloss over the mistakes? What if we let it be a real live album...”
One of us said ‘this is crazy’ and both of us said ‘let’s do it.’ And so we did. We are very excited to share with you this project that came from our community stepping out on the water.
It is a series of books that call to rhythms of devotion, creativity and transformation. These books prompt you to initiate personal time with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit so that you can live an empowered and sustainable life connected to your heart. We encourage you to slow down and savor each part of the journey.
Rest is a weapon
"Rest is a weapon." This is something we say over and over during the 18 Inch Journey. Learning how to rest well is a huge part of our school. In the midst of a full schedule, we teach our students the value of slowing down and starting each week from a posture of rest. One way we walk this out is by setting aside every Sunday for Sabbath: to rest and delight in the Lord. We do this because we believe that rest is an essential component to living a whole life and is what God modeled for us from the beginning.
This week, we wanted to share our value for rest with you, just like we do for our students. "Rest" is a piece written by Jonathan Helser for Cultivate Volume Four. In this piece, Jonathan explores why rest is a Kingdom principle and shares from his own journey of learning to slow down and make space for the Father. As you read it, may you be inspired to open up a conversation with the Father about His heart for your rest.