#254 - "By Faith" by The Sonflowerz
The Leander sisters tell NRT's Kevin Davis about the story of faith God is writing in each of us.

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

In his commentary, Matthew Henry wrote: “It is the substance of things hoped for. Faith and hope go together; and the same things that are the object of our hope are the object of our faith... It is the evidence of things not seen. Faith demonstrates to the eye of the mind the reality of those things that cannot be discerned by the eye of the body. Faith is the firm assent of the soul to the divine revelation and every part of it, and sets to its seal that God is true.”

Faith is the substance of the latest album by British-American duo The Sonflowerz. Their latest album, By Faith, is the latest chapter in the duo’s history, which ostensibly began in 2007 with their “Vocal Duo of the Year” award at the GMA in the Rockies Competition.

With the release of their album, All Over The World in 2008, they received outstanding response from their singles "My Adoration", “Legacy”, “Edge of My Seat” and “More Than I Think I Am.”

The Sonflowerz are made up of sisters Elissa Leander Tipps and Becca Leander Nicholson, who both got married in a double wedding ceremony the same day last year. I had the great opportunity to interview Elissa and Becca from The Sonflowerz about the title track, “By Faith.”

Elissa and Becca, please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.

Elissa: When we formed as a band in junior high school, as 15- and 13-year-old girls, we both were very shy, but we were encouraged by our dad to have faith and confidence as musicians. I found myself feeling fine playing my guitar in my bedroom and just singing to God. I felt God prodding me to share them with other people to encourage them. I remember being very afraid to step out in faith and performing my songs for other people. I was very self-conscious and knew I had to say yes to God in spite of my fears. That was the beginning of The Sonflowerz.

Here we are 12 years later, and God put it on our hearts to record a new album this year. Becca and I both got married to our husbands in a double wedding last year, and a few months later we started writing some new songs, and we got so excited. Everything was going smoothly but in January I started praying to God about what He wanted me to write about. His answer to me was faith. As a newlywed preparing for this new adventure in life, writing about faith fits where I am personally--relying on God and where He takes me. We don’t usually see the steps in front of us on our journey. We need to rely on God to guide our steps like in Proverbs 3:5-6: “in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will guide your path.”

Becca: This song really completed the album. Elissa’s the main songwriter and I help here and there. This song, “By Faith” was the last song written and we were putting the songs together and we felt like something was missing. Elissa brought this song and we felt like this really tied all of the other songs together. We knew this message was what we really wanted to say as it fit where we were in our walks and it really is the story of all believers in Christ.

Please tell me about any Bible verses that you used to write the song.

Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

What do you consider to be the takeaway message for listeners?

As I read Hebrews 11, I see a list of patriarchs of the “Bible days” and all of the accomplishments they have made by faith. It’s too easy to close the book and imagine that those people are special, more gifted, or more deserving of mention than maybe my story will be. But this is not the case. Each one of us has a place in God’s history book, and we are important to the work He is doing today. What do I have to offer? They had something special. God stops me there and reminds me to stop and trust in Him completely. My wedding ring has my Grandma Dorreice’s diamond in it. She passed away when I was 11, but we spent a lot of time with her. A lot of times I’ll look down at it and think about her faith walk and how much she trusted God. It gives me strength and encourages me to trust in God. God is recording all of our “by faith” stories in God’s history book. I married a guitar player and my husband travels with us, and the choice to say yes to whatever God says is always in front of us.

As newlyweds, it is really a sacrifice, and we have to step out in faith to make a new album and we have decisions to make and we feel shaky sometimes, but we know that God never moves. I have to remind myself that God is unmovable. Our mission in going to Joplin, Missouri, was to offer what we could; music that would bring hope in a dark hour and to help the town recover from the devastating tornado that hit on May 22. Joplin will carry on, by faith. It’s in times like these that our faith can grow stronger, when we can’t see the healing, but we believe for the healing. My story is unfolding and I can only walk it out by faith. All of us have a “by faith” story.

Before all time began
and throughout all the ages
My God has always been faithful

Nothing can hinder Him
all things are possible
My heart takes courage in His love
His strength is enough for me
His grace is all I’ll ever need

By faith I will fly to the glorious heights
By faith I will soar where I’ve never been before
And by faith I will go where You’re leading me,
You are my God, You’re the anchor of my soul
In You I put my hope

You see this narrow path
the journey here before me
You know the end from the beginning

I lay down every fear
the anxious heart within me
to run the race with Your endurance

Your strength is enough for me
Your grace is all I’ll ever need
By faith I will fly to the glorious heights
By faith I will soar where I’ve never been before
And by faith I will go where You’re leading me,
You are my God, You’re the anchor of my soul
In You I put my hope

Though my eyes cannot see,
I know You are with me, You are with me

All worldviews are based on faith. Being a Christian means that we walk by faith, not by sight.

My oldest daughter, Natalie, is studying worldviews--including the debate between Creationists and the secular belief of spontaneous generation. This past week in the newspaper there was an article in the health and science section where a Christian wrote to the newspaper reporter to point out that whichever viewpoint you subscribe to, it is based on faith. The reporter went on to blast the Christian worldview without ever truly responding to that point, as though spontaneous generation is something that reporter had personally seen happen to create the origin of human life.

Since I am a Christian and a Creationist, I’ll defend the point that both worldviews require people to rely on faith in the unseen. We all walk by faith every day. The key as a follower of Jesus is to walk by faith and to be guided in your daily walk by prayer and God’s infallible Word, the Bible.

This new album by The Sonflowerz is filled with great harmonies and vertical worship lyrics. Every song is an offering of praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus. No song better captures the essence of this great album than the title track, “By Faith,” which is one of my favorite songs of the year. Elissa and Becca are truly anointed singer-songwriters and I love singing the bridge along with these talented sisters at the top of my lungs: “Though my eyes cannot see, I know You are with me, You are with me” which flows back into the gorgeous and catchy chorus, ending with: “In You I put my hope.” Amen to that!

Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ.

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