"FIRE & LIGHT" SONG COMMENTARY
SET THE TRUMPET TO YOUR MOUTH
This song was written to be a bridge between the two albums. Although not a direct prophecy, like the songs on "name", I considered this to be a kind of prophetic statement in the spirit of "name above all names", but leading into the more praise and worship aspect of "Fire& Light".
I already had the line "there's a crack in the back of the black. "The rest was built off this rather obscure line. Musically I was looking at kind of a Beatlesque feel..
WALLS OF PRAISE
This started in my mind as a kind of an Israeli acoustic guitar tambourine kind of thing. The subject is spiritual warfare, and it came time to record we thought it might be more aggressive to do it like a rock 'n roll song. In retrospect, I wish we had done it more along the folk song model. In some ways, I always feel like this was sort of a "one that got away" kind of song. Maybe one day I’ll re-record it.
FOLLOW THE LIGHT
I had written a song called “Here Comes The Night” during a time when I was into a less victorious season in my Christian life. This song was more of an Eros type love song and didn’t have a Christian message. It wasn’t anti-Christian, but it wasn’t a ministry oriented song. I liked the music, so I adapted it to a Christian theme.
When I came to write the song, my bible was open to John 1. I basically just paraphrased the 1st chapter of the book of John as the lyric. It is a very strong song to do when I’m on the streets, as it is the gospel message in a song.
BLESSED IN THE CITY
This is another scripture paraphrase. It is from Deuteronomy 28, where the Lord gives conditions for blessing to Israel, then lists the attendant promises. The bridge (“Devil never know just where you’re going”) was inspired by some Neil Young song that I heard where he did that kind of rapid-fire lyric thing. Can’t remember the song, though.
I like this lyric because of the victorious sentiment that we don’t have to always be the tail, but things can come up heads in out lives.
This is a very powerful section of scripture, which emphasizes the necessity for our obedience to obtain the blessing. Keep reading, and it also outlines the curses which will befall disobedience.
Written in South Africa while ministering at a YWAM base outside of Jo’burg, as the cool ones call it. Unbeknownst to me, the guest speaker that night was David Reese-Thomas, then pastor of Calvary Community Church in Kona, Hawaii. He spoke on receiving fresh manna each day, fresh bread and cool water. It was a simple but powerful message. I took some notes, went back to my room, and wrote this song on guitar.
FILL MY CUP
I was ministering somewhere in the Northeastern US. The guy who was driving me around suggested that I consider writing a song about God filling our cups. I didn’t think much about it until a few years later when I was playing around with the chords to this song, written on piano. I remem
bered his suggestion, and hence came the lyrics. This became quite well known in Malaysia of all places. I did it one year at a big worship seminar, and when I came back the next year, they began to answer me when I sang the “fill my cup” part. Kind of cool to hear 4000 people answering you when you sing a lyric, especially with no coaching.
LIFT MY HANDS
Lyric and feel based on a Tom Petty song, again, can’t remember which one. I got the tempo too slow on this one.
I don’t remember much about writing this, other than I wanted to write a praise song about lifted hands. I sometimes introduce it as “a hit in Baptist churches everywhere”.
OH HOLY NIGHT
One of my favorite images in the Bible is that of the shepherds who are visited by the angel when Jesus is born. I get goosebumps right now as I think about it. After the announcement of Jesus’ birth, a company of angels appear singing praises to God. Wow!
I wanted the song to have somewhat the same impact the appearance of the angels may have had on the shepherds, so I did the whole first verse and the pre-chorus with just the piano, then brought in the second verse with full production without even a drum fill. I would probably rethink the production values a bit if I did the song again, but that was my intent.
Here’s the whole story from the Bible:
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.'
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'
BE ENTHRONED, OH GOD
My friend Wendell Burton brought the first two verses to this song to me, asking for help in completing the song. I was very excited, as I loved the verses he had written, and felt a strong anointing on the words. We co-labored on the final words, verses, and chorus. I thought it had a shot at becoming a worldwide chorus, but alas, it never did. I never felt the arrangement was quite right.
TALK TO ME
This was a very personal song to me. This was written during a time of worship as God beckoned me to just sit and talk. It is unique to me how He affirms that He “loves to hear our praises”, etc…. So personal and intimate.
HEARTS OF FIRE
This title and some lyrics were sent to me by a lady who wanted to have me co-write the song with her. I am open to this kind of collaboration, and have done this a time or two over the years. However, after I played around with it for a while, it turned out to be completely different from what she sent me, except for the title. I was actually in a very good place spiritually when I wrote this. However, I had been in the place the song is about many times before in my walk. Because the song reflects a dry place we sometimes find ourselves in, I wanted to position the song right in the middle of more victorious songs, as a reminder that we need to always examine our hearts in worship and keep it real, that life isn’t always as victorious as we can feel it is when we worship. I believe that worship can almost become an emotional narcotic, wooing us into a place of apathetic well-being sometimes. Really, it can soothe us emotionally and soul-wise, while numbing us to spiritual and natural reality.
JESUS IS STANDING HERE
Not too much to say about this. I didn’t have a vision or a visitation, I just felt the presence of Jesus as I began to write the song. The long, drawn out instrumental was recorded faithfully to what I received when I wrote the song.
This was another intimate moment I experienced when receiving this song. So much about the lyric is unlike what I would write in the natural. Some of the concepts are so unusual that I myself was surprised as I wrote the lyric. For example, the line “How I long for you, as you long for Me”. I had never thought about God longing for the fellowship of His children. We usually only think about longing for Him. Then I thought about how He has to wait for us to take the time to meditate and establish communion with Him, be it through prayer or worship. But we have access to Him any time we want, as He is always available. This is one of my favorite worship songs which I have written, and one which really pulls me into the place of intimacy. This song also appears on the live album, “Voice Of The Wind”. I prefer that version to this one.
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY
This is another song received in private worship. Not much to say, except, I really like the production and arrangement on this version.