Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Journey.....The Vision.....The Dream

We are more than just songwriters and musicians, our hearts have been consumed with a dream to see a generation get wrecked by the Love of God.  For the last twelve years we have been co-leading a ministry called "A Place for the Heart" with Ken and Linda Helser (Jonathan's Mom and Dad).

"A Place for the Heart" is a multi generational ministry located in Sophia, NC on 52 acres of land where we host schools and internships centered on creativity, discipleship, and worship.  It is also home to a thriving community who are giving their lives to see a generation liberated by the love go God.  Five years ago we launched a creative worship school called the "18 Inch Journey".  It is an incredible 60 day school where college age kids take the journey from their heads to their hearts and discover who they are by discovering the one who loves them.  We also host year-round internships for students to live in community with us and dive even deeper in the the heart of God.

Everything we have been able to do has come through the incredible provision of God and the support of those who have partnered with us.  Every album we have sold and every gift that has been given has sown into this place where God's heart is colliding with a generation.  We are thankful of where we have been, but we hear the whisper that there is more.  Once I heard the Lord say to me,

"If your dream is not bigger than you, then it is not from me.  What I have called you to do is impossible on your own."

We are looking for those who would like to partner with us to see these dreams become reality.  This spring we are launching a building project to expand our kitchen, dining room, and worship space for the "18 Inch Journey".  Our goal is to raise $140,000.  Thank you for your support of what the Lord is doing here at A Place for the Heart.

For more info or to donate online click here

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Article from the Go Traid

"This Article was taken from the "Go Traid"
 written by Rebecca Warren

This is a story of love and faith, of seasons of sorrow and rejoicing.

It’s the story of Triad couple Jonathan and Melissa Helser’s passionate pursuit of a life lived fully from the heart and the songs that have been born along the way. 
And, mostly, it’s an invitation to join them on the journey.

Seasons of change

“The wealth and value of our life could be easily measured not in what we produce but in the relationships we have built.”

Those are the words penned by Jonathan, 33, and Melissa, 32, that are featured inside the CD jacket of their new album, “On the Shores.”

This is the couple’s first collaborative project, with Melissa writing four of the songs, sharing lead vocals and playing acoustic guitar.

“I really believe her songs are some of the best on the album,” Jonathan said, “and I’m so honored to share this with her.

They spent the past year writing and recording the album, capturing the rhythms and changing seasons of their life. The songs are what have risen from the ashes of tested faith and their trust in God, “giving honor to the desert seasons” though which Melissa said they have walked.
More than a song

Jonathan met Melissa at ministry school in Charlotte in 1998. They married in the spring of 2000. She was 20, and he was 21.

“We met and fell in love really fast,” Jonathan said. “When we met, if you would have told me we would record an album together, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Jonathan picked up a guitar and started writing songs in his late teens. Melissa also played guitar and sang a little, but a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis at the age of 17 made playing the guitar difficult, if not impossible.

“When I was diagnosed, the doctor said I would never play the guitar,” she said. “Fast-forwarding to now, it’s a miracle I even play and write music and that I can even hold the strings down.”

In 2008, nearly a year after starting on a breakthrough medication that Melissa said has transformed her life, she began gradually to regain strength in her hands. To mark the occasion, Jonathan bought her a 1979 Guild guitar as a gift for their ninth wedding anniversary in 2009.

The first night that she had the guitar, Melissa wrote “Explode My Soul,” one of the songs featured on “On the Shores.”

“It would be hard to separate our journey with my sickness,” she said. “It’s been the most beautiful and most terrible part. A lot of my songs have been written as I’ve walked out of a desert.

“I wrote them to be able to process seven years of a lot of intensity and really wrote these songs to say to the Lord what maybe I couldn’t say and to communicate something that maybe I couldn’t just talk about. Those songs have been my anthem — they’ve become part of me waking up.”

Jonathan said that through those difficult seasons, he and Melissa were often singing themselves into believing.

“Without tension, there is no music,” he said. “Without guitar strings having tension, they can’t sing. There’s tension in circumstances. But in it, he (God) is good, and he will be better than we can imagine.”

Full of rich layers, including piano, hammer dulcimer and multipart vocal harmonies, the songs of “On the Shores” often stray from predictable chord progressions, taking on melodies and moment that feel like an anthem and a prayer.

“I love the artistic side of writing and crafting a song,” Jonathan said, “but I also love the experiential side of stepping into a moment and experiencing the moment in the music.”

Their band, which Jonathan said is not just a band but some of their “best friends in the world,” includes musicians who are living life with the Helsers in Sophia and on the road.
The result is an album that carries the sound of what Jonathan and Melissa call “a family traveling and living together.”
Living from the heart

The threads of family and friends are woven throughout the Helsers’ story, creating a tapestry that reflects years invested in strengthening existing relationships and forming new ones.

Some of those relationships come through traveling around the world to lead worship at camps, church events and ministry schools, but most of them have been built here in the Triad.

On 52 acres set among rolling hills and farmland in Sophia, is A Place for the Heart. Property that was once woods is now dotted with 10 buildings, including a darkroom and art studio. It has been called a farm, a retreat center and a school. But to the Helser family and a handful of full-time staff and interns, it’s home.

It’s where Jonathan grew up, where he and Melissa were married 12 years ago and where they’re raising their 9-year old son, Cadence, and 6-year-old daughter, Haven. Oak from the property is incorporated throughout the house they built five years ago next to Jonathan’s parents’ house.

Each summer, it’s where 24 college students from around the world come to participate in the 18 Inch Journey, a creative worship school founded and led by Jonathan and Melissa. Named for the 18-inch span between the head and the heart, the school is a place where the difference of a life lived from the heart rather than the head is experienced rather than taught and where the difference between knowing facts about God and truly knowing him is explored.

Melissa said that many people ask what exactly it is — if it’s an art or music school. Although it offers classes in music, art and photography, the school is described by Melissa as “a school of the heart.” Classes taught by the Helsers and guest lecturers provide students with opportunities to learn more about who they are and, in the process, awaken their creativity.

“More than anything, we invite them into community” she said. “We really want them to have a heart transformation. We’re inviting them into a safe place to let all the walls of insecurity come down so they can discover who they are without the craziness and chaos.
“Our dream is that a generation will find out who they are.”
Where creativity and hearts intersect

In the course of living life at A Place for the Heart, creativity and hearts often intersect. It’s in those moments, Jonathan said, that the greatest works have been created by poets and artists — creating things beyond what they could ever imagine.

Sharing those moments with students and staff is a gift that the Helsers don’t take for granted. Jonathan describes it as the roots of what they do, with their music being the branches.

“I don’t think we could do what we do in music if we weren’t pouring into the students who come here,” Melissa said.

All of the proceeds from their music go to A Place for the Heart, and they hope eventually to build some new spaces while continuing to use every existing space to the fullest.
In the midst of the ministry and music, family is always first for the Helsers, who are living and loving without reservation.

“Our kids have been a significant part of everything we’ve done,” Melissa said. “Our children are the center of our world. I want my kids to live an extraordinary life. If I can teach them to love people, we’ve done it all.

“It wouldn’t be enough to just stand on a stage. We’re sustained in community and in our family rhythms. To be able to be married and raise kids in the middle of it is awesome. To travel with our kids and for them be able to take part in changing lives is a beautiful gift from the Lord.”

Written by Rebecca Warren at

Monday, February 20, 2012

I didn't know God could be so good

At the beginning of this year, the Lord spoke to my heart and said "This will be a year where you find yourself constantly saying,  I didn't know God could be this good."

A few days later I was on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, lost in a moment of worship, with an incredible community called "Fire and Fragrance."   I love those moments in worship, when you transcend into that secret place of His heart.  The place where you are no longer singing, but the Father is singing over you.  Here are the lyrics I heard Him singing over my heart and the heart of a generation.

Look at the nations
I'm gonna do something
Great in your days
You wouldn't believe it
Even if I told you
Watch and be amazed

I want these dreams, Even more than you
Faith is when, you believe that I do

In these days, you will say, I didn't know God could be so good

Go ahead and try Me
You can ask
For anything you want
But I promise
That I am gonna
Give you more than you ever thought

In these days, you will say, I didn't know God could be so good

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Earth Like Heaven- Song Story

In the Autumn of 2010 I was sitting at table in Dublin, Ireland, with some great fathers of the faith.  All these men could talk about was the kingdom of heaven coming to earth.  I felt like one of the hobbits in the presence of Gandalf and Aragorn.  A phrase kept swirling around the table that "We were created to bring the fruitfulness of the garden into the barrenness of the earth."  When we left the table a whisper of more was pulling on my heart and the hope of the age to come was calling me.  Later that evening we gathered with 300 fiery eyed missionaries, the same size as Gideon's army.  We wasted the entire evening worshiping God.  During the night we kept singing this spontaneous song over and over, "We won't be satisfied, till the earth looks just like heaven." I was ruined by that night of worship in Dublin and haven't been the same since.

A few months later we were sitting around my kitchen table telling our friend Elijah some of these stories from Dublin.  As Melissa was sharing a story, the spontaneous song from Dublin began to fill my heart again.  I immediately got up from the table and grabbed my guitar.  I suddenly found myself in one of those incredible moments as a song writer, when you transition beyond just writing a song and shift into receiving a song.  Within a few minutes this song effortlessly came and weeks later we recorded this song titled "Earth like Heaven."

Right now you can preview this song at or you can pre order our new album "On the Shores" with "Earth Like Heaven." 

Here are the lyrics

Earth Like Heaven

The dust that we were made of, is calling us to free them
The earth that we were pulled from, its crying liberate us

We won’t be satisfied till the earth looks just like heaven

Like water cover the sea,
let the earth be filled with your glory
Till the prayers your prayed become reality
and the earth looks just like heaven

Wake up, Sons and Daughters,
we were made for so much more
Wake up, Sons and Daughters,
start singing creations waiting

Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
till the earth looks just like heaven

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wreckingball- Song Story

I love how kids are not very good at being religious.  A while ago my son Cadence and I were playing in the yard.  Completely out of the blue he says, "Dad, you need to write some new songs, because you other ones are getting old." After my ego got over the shock of being punched in the guts, I laughed and replied, "Well, why don't you ask God to give me some new songs." Without hesitation, Cadence says out loud, "God give daddy some new songs, he really needs some new ones." I really love the confidence that my son has that nothing is impossible.

Later that day, Cadence and I were hanging out in the house, he was playing with his new legos and I was playing with my toy; A Jerry Jones baritone electric guitar.  All of a sudden I felt the Lord say to me, "What does it look in the eyes of your Son for heaven to invade earth."  I love when God speaks one thought and suddenly a whole train of thoughts flash into your mind.  I first thought about the way my son, like most boys, loves explosions.  Then I thought about the time when Jesus said the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.  Then I started strumming a few chords on the guitar and this phrase just slipped out of my mouth, "Let heaven fall like a wrecking ball and crush every plan of enemy."  As I begin to sing those words, a melody begin to form and suddenly Cadence laid down his legos and we were singing the new song he had just asked God for.

"Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand, To execute vengeance....." Psalm 149:6-7

Right now you can preview the track of "Wreckingball" at or you can pre order our new album "On the Shores" with the track "WreckingBall" on it at

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Songs

Over the next few weeks as we lead up to the release of "On the Shores" we will be putting two new songs at a time on our website music player.  This week you can check out "Wrecking Ball" and "Explode My Soul".  Enjoy!