Tired of it all.

I know you feel like quitting, or maybe even just easing off the gas a bit more. We all reach a place where we ask ourselves, “is it all worth it?” Don’t give up.  Don’t quit.  Don’t stop being a light in the dark places…  You may be the only light someone has.
Some of you know that my wife Hannah and I, earlier this year, started leading a young adult ministry called NEXT.  I also am the worship pastor of a church in Elkmont called Friendship North, and Hannah is the children’s director there.  She is also the Assistant Director of the Friendship Learning Center, currently also in school working on her Associates in Early Childhood Development.
Her and I both have been so blessed by the people we have met since we have been back these last couple years.  We’ve had people give us words of encouragment that you know God was the center of. He had a plan all along for us.
Just think, if we had of given up during our years in the Carolinas on doing good, and planting seeds, then we more than likely would have never said yes to coming back to Alabama and being surrounded by this harvest of goodness the Lord has set before us. We always knew there was more but never really knew what it was… When you least expect it, God throws a desire into your heart and if you trust Him, HE will start putting the pieces together for you.
So, please don’t quit loving, serving, inspiring, and motivating…
You’ll see your harvest.
Just don’t quit.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. [Galatians 6:9]

Hey y’all!!!
Remember!!!
I just wanted to encourage y’all today!
PSALM 37:4 says, and I’m sure you’ve heard it before!
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”
And THE MESSAGE Version of the Bible says that same verse like this, “Keep company with God, and get in on the best!”
The word DELIGHT here means to ‘take great pleasure in’! How amazing is that!?
If you take GREAT PLEASURE in God and keep HIS company, He will give you your heart’s desires!
But what happens when we take great pleasure in God? HIS DESIRES BECOME OURS!!!
We start yearning for the things that HE WANTS FOR US!
So as you go about your day… KEEP GOD’S COMPANY!! That means, INVITE HIM ALONG SIDE YOU AND GET TO KNOW HIM. Develop your relationship with Him. He will start revealing the things that HE LONGS FOR and YOUR HEART WILL START TAKING ON A NEW “WANT” FOR THOSE THINGS!!
We are praying that today you will lean into God and take GREAT PLEASURE IN HIM!!!

Love yall!
Erik

APRIL 21, 2017 – For the first time, the “SWEETER EP” will be available for purchase pretty much anywhere via the world wide web! This EP is full of the most requested songs by Smallwood fans in the last decade of touring the southeast!

What’s your hold up?

stayclose_togodHEBREWS 10:19-25
     So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.
     So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

I’ve been in church, just about, all my life.  My pops was a deacon in the church for years, using his trade and craft as the church “handyman”.  Later on, he stepped up into a role as an elder to help the church with less physical repair and more spiritual maintenance;  But he’s always had the servant’s heart that a deacon should possess.  My mom is a Jesus freak!  She has always encouraged me in the ways of God.  My older sissy, Michelle, and I have nicknamed my mom “Our holy spirit”.  We laugh and still joke to this day about it.  My mom would sit with me almost every night and teach me how to pray — “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name…”  All she has ever wanted is just to be used by God, to bless others.  Anything from teaching children in Sunday school, to feeding the less fortunate by running our church’s food bank.  My amazing parents raised me the best they knew how, and they made sure that the church was a big part of our lives.  They made sure church was a part of our HOME.

As I grew older, I learned to love the church and people of God.  I always had the calling of God on my life to be a worship leader.  As some of you know, the stage is like a second home to me.  I love performing, playing music, singing, and even more, I love watching the people smile, dance, and sing along.  I started leading worship when I was 14 or 15 years old for youth groups, special events, and then started filling in for our Worship Leader when she couldn’t make it.  I’ve been on staff at several churches from my late teen years into my mid 20’s in worship leading roles.  (SIDE NOTE:  I met my wife in one of those churches in 2009 when I was 25)

I will take y’all back to 2011 to my last worship leading position.  I loved what I was doing, but honestly, I had lost my passion for the church and leading.  The last 4 churches I was at didn’t treat me too well.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are no good guys or bad guys in this story.  There was just a lot of expectations on my part and theirs that weren’t met.  I wasn’t perfect by any means.  I made a lot of mistakes; I make a lot of mistakes.  It just seemed like every position I was in, I kept seeing all the behind the scenes junk and it kept dimming my faith in the people of God.  So, I found myself after my last position, telling my wife, who was just my girlfriend at the time, that I think I’m ready to move on from the church.  I’m tired of everything I’m seeing and then getting no grace or forgiveness for my “bad judgement calls”.  So January of 2011, I just walked away from the church.  I didn’t walk away from my faith, or so I thought I didn’t.  I didn’t turn my back on God, or did I, and not realize it?  I remember telling Hannah, “I won’t go back to church or pursue another church position until God puts it in front of me.  I will not search anymore!”

Fast-forward to late 2015… God started doing something within me.  I actually was getting scared, because since I left the church in 2011, I just kind of put the God stuff a little lower on my priority list.  (Hannah and I always encouraged each other in the Lord, and would have “Jesus talks” but my spirit never seemed right.)  I found myself thinking a lot about how my life was when I was in church and surrounded by the things of God more.  I started missing that life.  I felt myself drifting from God, and then found myself playing music in the bars, BUT God used me a lot in those situations (Rom 8:28) regardless of whether I was clean or not.  Even in my own selfish desires and wants, God still loved me, and used my life to bring Himself glory.  I held onto that and carried it with me.  I really started searching my own heart, and Hannah was praying for the same things.  “We want your will to be done in our lives, God.  We want to draw close to you, God.”  We prayed time and time again for Him to rescue us… We just knew that there was an urgency inside that wouldn’t let up.  That was the Holy Spirit telling me, “Ok, Erik, time to come home and lead your family with integrity”  We just didn’t know how it would happen.  We kept praying and praying, and Alabama kept coming up in conversations with friends and family.  I did miss home and I missed seeing my family a lot.  But we knew Alabama would never be in the question unless God provided a way to get back there.  So, the praying and the trusting continued.  We just told each other, let’s keep doing what we are doing until something happens.  Something happened… God opened a door here at Friendship in Athens, AL.  I don’t know why one night I felt the need to update my resume’ except, now, I feel like it was the perfect timing of God.   Cling to Him… HE will rescue you.  He’s got you.

After 5 years of being out of the church, I have found my passion again for God, His people, His ways, and the lost, and it continues to deepen everyday.  The passage I opened this blog with talks about “spurring” each other on to worship, and not “avoiding it like some do”….  We need to encourage each other on a daily basis to worship together and not avoid it…  Join a church… and don’t just sit there.  GET INVOLVED.  Become a part of your community and ask God to show you how you can be a blessing to Him and to others.  I don’t think in my past life that I left God, I just feel like I let so much other stuff in that I lost my flavor.  Staying connected and being active in your church family isn’t necessary to get into Heaven… But take it from my experience… Surrounding yourself with Godly people can reap the fruit in your life to be more effective for the Kingdom!
Stay close to God by staying close to His people.
They will fail you.
They will disappoint you.
We don’t worship and serve for their sake —But because God, alone, is worthy.

 

Erik Smallwood
www.eriksmallwood.com

friendship

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It’s been 5 months since I’ve posted, so I thought I would let ya in on what’s been going on so far in our short time we’ve been here in Alabama. For those of you that don’t know, back in May, my wife and I moved to Alabama. I had been gigging the last 10 years, and she’d been doing hair the last 5 years. We were getting burnt out on continuously living to work, passing each other and saying “Hey” somewhere in between. We did have some off-days where we got to spend time together, and evenings, but it just felt like it wasn’t enough. We felt like we were missing something, so we prayed, God answered, and led us to Friendship Church here in Athens, AL through one of my long-time friends, Mr. John David Crowe.

Fast forward just a little bit over 5 months down the road to where we are now. I’ve been leading at Friendship North in Elkmont on Sundays, and John David, being my boss, and our Creative Arts Pastor, He schedules me to lead our 2 contemporary services for our Main Campus (or Lucas Ferry Campus as we call it) occasionally. I also will fill in at Celebrate Recovery on occasion for their Friday Night services at our North Campus. We just started a new mid-week service called MidPoint on Wednesday nights. It has been a blessing to watch how many of our members from both campuses as well as first time guests have shown up for this special service. (Also, this is great opportunity for all of our service industry folks, as well as folks who just can’t make a weekend service) MidPoint is super casual, and laid back, but also a great time to get re-energized and pumped to serve an ALMIGHTY GOD!

Hannah has just been so busy here, but guess what? She’s not working at a salon, but she’s doing hair. She’s not working at a gym, but she is helping folks get healthy and inspiring them to eat healthier and make changes! A couple weeks in, and Hannah applied and now works at the Friendship Learning Center as the Learning Center Director’s Assistant! She is a beast! She does it all folks! Then out of nowhere, our amazing Executive Pastor, and the Pastor that we work directly under, Steve Dorning asked Hannah to be our North Campuses “Friendship North Children’s Director”!! WHAT?!? GOD IS GOOD! He is good regardless, but sometimes, when He sends blessings that you didn’t even know you wanted or needed, You have to SHOUT just a little louder, that HE is INDEED GOOD!

Just a little update!! Feel free to ask questions, or leave comments!! Maybe you want to read about a certain topic! Leave me ideas! I’m not very good about blogging on the reg. but I want to be better!
Our goal is to help you and inspire you to live a better life as the BEST YOU!

God Bless.
Erik

Sunday was a bittersweet day.
We want to say thank you to everyone of you who have been praying for us and for the Will of God in our lives.
We have made so many friends here in Fayetteville and built our careers here. We love everyone we have become close with and friends with. We have been praying for a few months now that if it is meant for us to be back in Alabama that He would open a door.
We are ready for a new chapter and have been longing to be closer to family. Every time we have visited Bama, we just leave with a longing to be back here.
We both grew up in church and grew up in the ministry and now we feel like God is calling us back to that. We can’t deny how this has all transpired and it is without a doubt, GOD. So with all this being said, I have accepted a position as Worship Leader with Friendship North in Elkmont, AL. (An hour from my parents and hometown) And Hannah and I will be moving on the 13th of this month.
We will miss you all dearly and we wish the goodness of life on all of you. We have just under two weeks left in North Carolina so we want to see as many of you as we can and hug your necks. Love you all!!! -the Smallwoods.

Thank you!!

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WE had an amazing time at The Lincoln Theatre!

Thanks to everyone who showed up!! Yall never stop and for that we are grateful!

 

Erik

NEW SHOW UPDATE!

FEBRUARY 27th
The Lincoln Theatre
Raleigh, NC
Opening for Jonathan Parker Band
and
DAVID ALLAN COE!

Tickets are going fast so go to http://lincolntheatre.com/events/ and purchase yours now!!!