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Guest Post

Behind The Song | Ben Cantelon's "Hosanna"

The Hebrew meaning for word Hosanna is to ‘save or rescue.’ It also can mean ‘savior.’ I think sometimes we can think of the word Hosanna as a ‘triumphant’ word or expression but in most instances it is a cry for help. I find it fascinating that the Israelites used the word ‘Hosanna’. Little did they know that it would become not only a cry of help for those who were there in that moment, but it would become a prophetic statement for all of humanity. The Israelites did not know that Jesus was about to die for the sins of the world so that we could have eternal life. They were calling out to a Savior to save them.

For me personally, I love that this song has so much tension in it. Especially in the chorus and bridge. I feel like in that moment when Jesus was being ushered down the streets of Jerusalem, there would have been tension. A sense of praise, wonder and adoration – but equally at the same time there would have be sadness, sorrow and desperation.

Hosanna, Hosanna
In the Highest forever
Hosanna, Hosanna
Hallelujah forever

The chorus is so simple yet it conveys that tension. We are declaring when we sing Hosanna ‘Lord save us, rescue us’. Then we balance it out with praise with the lines ‘In the highest forever’ and ‘Hallelujah, forever’.

This is such a great way and powerful way to approach our relationship with Jesus. We need to present to Him what we need saving from or rescuing from in our lives. But when we do, we must not forget the importance of bringing our praise and adoration to Him even in our darkest moment of need. The tension is where the Lord is. He hears our cries and he deserves our praise.

- Ben Cantelon on Hosanna 

Influence Music | Glory, Honor, Power

Writing songs is usually a laborious process for me that is filled with revisions and second guessing. Glory, Honor, Power was the exception to this rule. I woke up in the morning with a chorus in my head that was incredibly loud and clear. It sounded so familiar that I kept singing it to multiple people over the next few days trying to figure out what song it was. Finally, I ended up in a room with Tiffany Hudson and Jeff Pardo who confirmed that this tune didn’t exist yet and that we should give it a go!

As we dug into the lyrics of the chorus, we found ourselves revisiting Revelation 4.   This chapter paints a beautiful and detailed picture of exactly what is being said in Heaven at this very moment. The extravagant scene describes heavenly creatures pouring their thanks and adoration upon the Lord. In response, 24 elders lay their crowns at his feet and ascribe to him all Glory, Honor and Power. They can’t stop worshipping.

In the presence of God, our response becomes the same as theirs. I believe the Lord gave us this real-time insight into heaven so that we would know how to engage in throne-room worship, here and now. What better way is there to bring heaven to earth, then to actually sing the words being said in Heaven?

Our prayer it that this song would be a fast pass into his presence. He promises that he would inhabit the praises of his people. As we get into that pure and vertical place of worship, where we focus all our attention on admiring him – a beautiful exchange occurs. His thoughts for our thoughts. His life for ours. 

- Melody Noel  | Director of Influence Music

Behind The Song | Charity Gayle's “Thank You Jesus For The Blood”

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus. -- There is power, power wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.—There, to my heart was the blood applied Glory to His Name.  When I was a young girl, I sang these words at the top of my lungs at my church. My Gammy played the B3, and my Dad would sing- My Mom and I sat on the very front row and I was taught from birth that worshiping God was a good thing. So I did, and I loved it. I loved God with my whole heart even at four years old, and though I didn’t fully comprehend the weight of the words I was singing, I believe the Lord delighted in it. It’s songs like those about the Blood that shaped who I am and my relationship with the Lord today. Songs full of truth and scripture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The more life I live, the more I’m thankful for that precious blood of the Lamb. I’ve messed up and made plenty of mistakes but I am so thankful and grateful that Jesus bled, died, and rose again so that we may have eternal life with HIM, the Holy God, righteous and blameless even though we aren’t perfect. Being in relationship with God is such a precious gift.

So when we sat down and wrote Thank You Jesus for the Blood, we started by sharing what God has done for us and could truly say we were all lost but now we’re found and we just HAVE to thank Him for it. Our friend Steven began to play the keys and that reminiscent sound of the songs I sang as a child began to take shape in the song.

I invited my mother and two Italian aunties to help at this particular writer’s retreat, and as they were in the kitchen preparing an amazing meal for us, the music swept in and compelled them to join us in the room we were writing in. Tears ran down their faces as they heard ‘Thank You Jesus for the Blood’ come to life because they too were thankful for the blood that washed their sins away.

Just like the songs that have lived and continued to capture the hearts of multiple generations, our heartbeat as song writers is to pen lyric and melody that does the same.  I love how this song brought us all together in worship and thanksgiving. Unity in worship is the most beautiful thing and we can all relate to being sinners saved by grace.

- Charity Gayle

Behind The Song | Passion's “You Are The Lord”

“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…” Exodus 34:6

It’s been said that worship starts with a revelation. God reveals who He is to us and we respond in worship. The Scripture is the definitive source to understanding who God is and what He is like. It’s when we have a clear vision, we can navigate the uncertainties of life.

Even early on in the story when God’s people were at a crossroads, God revealed Himself to Moses on the mountain top. In Exodus 34, God says that He is the Lord. He alone is God. There is no one like Him. There is nothing that rivals Him. He alone is the Lord, and in His greatness, He is also a good God. He goes on to tell Moses that He is gracious, kind and compassionate. He is patient and forgiving and out of His goodness He will bring about justice in the world. God was going to take care of Moses and His people.

In my own journey over the last year, there have been setbacks and disappointments. The world feels very uncertain and I found in my worship that I was hungry for a song that was not centered on me and my problems. It almost felt counterintuitive. I know God cares about me and my problems, and I don’t want to minimize and not deal with them, but I feel like I tapped into a greater power by saying to God, “In the midst of it all, You are the Lord. The disappointment or hurt is not the Lord. The unknown is not the Lord. Jesus, You are the Lord.”

I have actually found that when I look up and set my heart and my mind on God, I am transformed into His image. As I behold Him, I become like Him! He is not only changing me, He is also changing my perspective and giving me a renewed sense of hope.

The ultimate act of His power and goodness is revealed to us through the cross and the resurrection. Because Jesus alone has brought us from death to life, He alone is worthy of all our worship in every season. As Jesus followers, I pray our lives in the good and hard times would reflect the greatness of His glory and the goodness of His redemption to the culture around us. I hope we can be strong and shine bright.

- Brett Younker (Passion)

Behind The Song | Passion's “Breakthrough Miracle Power”

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1b-3

2020 put a different kind of pressure on me as a songwriter. As a creative person and especially as someone who wants to help give other people truth to sing to God, I felt a responsibility to show up more than ever and write songs that could help us all make sense of what was happening. Some of what I felt was good and inspired me to be more vigilant and aware, but some of it was toxic and translated to a lot of striving and overthinking.

At one point early on in our quarantine, I remember sitting on the floor in my closet (which is not an inspiring space) with my guitar, our 4 kids raging just outside our bedroom door, Kerri and I about to lose our minds, and there I was feeling all the pressure to come through with “THE” song that would heal the world.

I don’t have to tell you that nothing good came from my closet sessions. I had too much of myself and my ego wrapped up in that moment to do anything good for anyone else. It took some time but eventually I put my phone down, stopped watching what everyone else was doing, and decided to just embrace the slow down.

I started going for walks with my kids and sitting on our front porch with my wife. I started reading way more. I turned 37 and celebrated with friends as they drove by our house to wish me a happy birthday at a distance. Most importantly I took Jesus up on His invitation to come and just be with Him.

As my calendar slowly cleared, so did my headspace.

“Breakthrough Miracle Power” came to me through my friend Jon around this time. Patrick Mayberry and Bede Benjamin-Korporaal had written a good bit of the song already and it just about knocked me over the first time I heard it. In a season of uncertainty, these lyrics were calling us back to something solid.

After sitting with it for a bit, this little refrain came out while I was sitting at the piano one day…

As long as you’re in it
The story’s not finished
I know you’ve overcome
So I know I’ll overcome

Wrapped up in this simple bridge was a truth I had re-learned after a complicated few months: Jesus is the author of the story, and He’s a really good writer. Our prayer for you is that through the truth in this song, you will remember who you’re singing to and what He’s capable of. He is the Overcomer, and we are beneficiaries of His victory.

So… “let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”

- Kristian Stanfill (Passion)

Behind The Song | Evan Craft's “Desesperado”

“The Psalmist says ‘As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God’ (Psalm 42:1). We are constantly reminded throughout the Bible of our desperate need for the Lord. As much as we may try to rescue ourselves, fill ourselves, the truth is, we need God. Our souls are desperate for His living water to revive us, to renew us. 

The title track of my album, “Desesperado” is a fun, latin, pop song centered around a journey of understanding my personal need for the Lord. I tend to go in a cycle of calling out for the Lord to save me/ help me, feeling safe or successful, and falling back on my face. I always regret the moments when I feel self-sufficient. My desire is to humbly acknowledge my need for God 24/7. 

“Desesperado” and the rest of the album are a collection of songs that reminded me throughout 2020, during the recording process, that God is in control, He is sovereign, and He is mighty to save. I say that confidently now, but in the midst of the trials it is very difficult to recognize the truth that God will lead me to the other side of each challenge. It’s a step of faith and maturity to say, “I can’t do this on my own,” not a sign of weakness. Desperation is not a bad thing, it isn’t a reflection on my character, but on the power and sovereignty of God. 

What are some areas of your life where you can recognize your desperate need for the Lord? Sometimes we are banging our heads against a wall, trying to break through with our own strength, and we need a mighty hand to move. Are you desperate for finances, applause, or recognition? We all thirst for something to satiate our souls, but there is only one fount with living water. Make sure you are desperately seeking Him. - Evan Craft

Behind the Song | Sean Curran's "Ways"

Home, as far as I can tell, is too powerful a thing to fit inside a feeling, and too large a thing to fit inside a location. Home is a presence. A unique and most Holy presence that holds together every moment, every breath, and every thing. This presence of God is what we are made for, and it’s what we are made from. Or, as stated by the poets of old:

“In him we live and move and have our being.” Acts17:28

We all know the old proverb that goes something like this… “ we become what we behold.” Although it rolls off the tongue, applying this to our lives is a bit like a punch in the gut. It forces us to ask ourselves the often hard and embarrassing questions like, “How do I spend most of my time?” and “What do I give most of my attention to?” If the answers to those questions are in fact directly related to the person I am becoming, then I for one have a lot of work to do. (insert sweating face emoji). 

The song “Ways” is an attempt to behold the right thing. The one thing; the only thing. It is a pursuit of the presence. It’s a declaration and prayer sung from the deep place. The soul place. The thing about the soul is that it can’t be tricked or lured into the fleeting and counterfeit things our flesh can. The soul drinks from the living water. My prayer is that this song would help us all sing from the soul. When we do, we find what the psalmist speaks of…

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of Joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

- Sean Curran

Download Original Master MultiTracks for "Ways" here. Enjoy 20% off “Ways” and “Catch Me Singing” with promo code CURRAN20 through Wednesday, February 10th!

Peter James | Philosophy of Worship

Without a doubt one of my favorite scriptures, especially in more recent years, has been Hebrews 11:16. More often than not it’s the verse I think about before spending time with God and before worship in a congregational setting. Whenever I feel like maybe what I’m doing is a waste of time or that I can’t connect with God I remember this verse:

 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” - Hebrews? ?11:6? ?NIV??

At first glance the first part of this scripture can easily be taken the wrong way and misinterpreted.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God”

It might leave one with thoughts like “Well I don’t have much faith, so I guess I can’t really please God”. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! The writer of Hebrews gives the solution to the problem directly afterwards.

“...anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

The faith that we need to please God is simple. Believe that he exists. (That’s pretty easy) and he rewards ALL those that earnestly seek him. That’s it!

Our goal as worship leaders above all else should be to encourage people to seek God. Because we know that he rewards all those who earnestly seek him!

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