Elissa Leander Tipps and Becca Leander Nicholson--the British-American sister duo of the band The Sonflowerz
--blessed about 200 members of my church, Calvary Chapel of Quakertown, Penn. with an acoustic night of worship on Sunday, March 25, 2012.
The Sonflowerz are from Colorado Springs. They began their musical collaboration in church 14 years ago. The duo has released five albums, including their latest new full length album By Faith
, on Sept. 13, 2011. 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." In 2007, The Sonflowerz garnered praise for their "GMA Vocal Duo of the Year" award at the GMA in the Rockies Competition and their subsequent hit songs have established them as one of Christian music's top female bands.
The Sonflowerz were looking for an opportunity to reach listeners with their music, message and ministry by providing a night of worship. This night was created with the band's fans in mind, providing an intimate night of worship and fellowship. They also led worship at both of our morning church services, blessing us with the beautiful and reverent leading of worship staples, "Your Grace Is Enough", "Our God", "Mighty To Save", "O Lord You're Beautiful", "The Wonderful Cross", "Unchanging" and their original song, "My Adoration."
Hearing my wife and daughters singing "My Adoration" really touched my heart. Elissa and Becca returned that evening to join our church for our fellowship dinner and then conducted a concert that included celebrating The Lord's Supper. It was an incredible night. I had the great opportunity to interview Elissa and Becca from The Sonflowerz about "How Great You Are."
Please share the background story behind "How Great You Are."
Elissa: I started writing this song quite a few years ago. Some of my favorite worship songs I've written have come from my private worship time where I'm just playing my guitar and singing to the Lord. This is one of those songs. It was one of those songs that I was excited about when the Lord first gave it to me but I could never finish it. I would play it in worship and I led some small group worship with the song and we enjoyed it. When we started recording for the album, I got together with Jared Anderson and played him this song. Sometimes songs just need another person's perspective to help finish the song. I was blessed to have Jared involved in finishing this song. He's been a friend of the family and fellow worship leader at our church in Colorado Springs. My husband Chad tours with him as well.
Which Bible verses best connect to the message of the song?
1 Thessalonians 5:18:
"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
… and Romans 12:1:
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."
What's the takeaway message for listeners?
Elissa: The line in the chorus, "You make me glad, You make me dance, You make me raise my hands to thank You," really stands out to me. There's a lot I could say about this song, but the whole idea of thankfulness is what leads me to worship. I feel like a lot of times as believers when we first come to know the Lord, there's a lot of amazement and wonder in our prayer and worship. After awhile, we sometimes stop being amazed on a daily basis about the wonder and joy of what God has done for us--not only in saving us but every day with how the Lord shows us His love in small ways and great ways. There's an element to worship where we need to come with thankful and grateful hearts. In my life, I've been learning how gratefulness is hard to come by.
Becca: We are excited to share this song with radio and look forward to hearing how the message is touching lives around the world. Worship is most sincere and most true when we are living for God every day. Our true act of worship is to live our lives as a sacrifice to the Lord.
How can we pray for you personally in light of the forest fires in your hometown of Colorado Springs?
Becca: It's hard to put into words what these last few days have been like. I never thought I would ever be called an evacuee, right here in my hometown. Wonderful friends greeted us with hugs as we arrived at their home outside of town weary, starved, and full of questions. Once our neighborhood came under mandatory evacuation, we did not have much time. We packed what we could, left most of our instruments and equipment, and dinner on the stove. It's been a quiet, peaceful time out east here where our friends have horses and land. I'm breathing fresh air, which is a huge difference from the thick campfire-like smoke we inhaled Tuesday.
We plan each day around the scheduled press conferences, and I'm constantly updating Twitter to see what our local news station says. Every time I read comments from friends on Facebook and Twitter, I'm so encouraged that you're thinking of us. Thank you for taking time to do that! I've been hearing of people praying for our city, and I'm so grateful. Prayers carry us through, and remind us that we are in need to God's grace when tragedies like this hit home. Not far from us are neighborhoods where homes have been destroyed. One of my favorite places to go, Flying W. Ranch, is no more. Yesterday the fire did not get closer to our homes, thankfully. We aren't sure when we will be allowed back to our neighborhood, so for now I'm breathing as much fresh air as I can and visiting the horse barn often.
Matchless King, You have shown me love
And this changes everything
All my shame, all my hopelessness
Now can be washed away, now can be washed away
You make me glad, You make me dance
You make me raise my hands to thank You
Wonderful things You've done for me
Lord, I will lift my voice to sing how great You are
How great You are
Living God, Holy is Your name
Nations will bow in awe
At your feet Kings will cast their crowns
Cause Yours is the victory
Let my whole life be to you a sacrifice
Let my whole life be to you a sacrifice
Let my whole life be to you a sacrifice
Matthew Henry's commentary: "In every thing give thanks, If we pray without ceasing, we shall not want matter for thanksgiving in every thing. As we must in every thing make our requests known to God by supplications, so we must not omit thanksgiving, Phil. 4:6. We should be thankful in every condition, even in adversity as well as prosperity. It is never so bad with us but it might be worse. If we have ever so much occasion to make our humble complaints to God, we never can have any reason to complain of God, and have always much reason to praise and give thanks: the apostle says, This is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us, that we give thanks, seeing God is reconciled to us in Christ Jesus; in Him, through Him, and for His sake, He allows us to rejoice evermore, and appoints us in every thing to give thanks. It is pleasing to God."
Elissa and Becca are truly anointed singer-songwriters and I love singing this song along with these talented sisters at the top of my lungs. If you like songs that are filled with biblical Truth and enjoy bands like Point of Grace and BarlowGirl with female harmonies, then look no further than The Sonflowerz. Their newest album By Faith is filled with great harmonies, vertical worship lyrics and every song is an offering of praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus. Don't hesitate to bring them to your church or event. You'll be greatly blessed by their radiance and worshipful and uplifting songs.
For the concert, my five-year-old daughter Bethany personally requested "How Great You Are" and "Legacy." My daughter recently memorized the bridge of the song and has many nights gone to bed singing the bridge, "let my whole life be to You a sacrifice," which has completely moved me. As a father of three young girls, I need to point my girls to their Heavenly Father. There's a lot more we can accomplish together by leaning into God as opposed to trying to solve life's challenges on our own.
Life is messy and "How Great You Are" is a great song celebrating the joy of God's Creation.
(You can watch the sisters talk about the song here