Pastor of Worship and Senior Adults
First Baptist Church in Florence, MS
Give Me Faith
"For mysteries unknown; for my anxious soul; for when I question "why?;" for when my eyes are blind; for when I don't know where to go . . . Give me faith." Learning to let go of self and completely rely on God is one of the hardest aspects of following Christ. For some reason, we think that because we are uncertain, God must be uncertain, too. That's just not the case. The sooner we learn to walk by faith alone, the better off we will be.
A few months back, my church experienced the very untimely death of one of our members. He was a very wise and loving man. He was married to his wife only a few years and his children had young children of their own. This song serves to remind us that when we lose a brother or sister in Christ, God gains full fellowship with them in heaven. It's hard to let them go when all we have known is their presence. "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:8
Ready or Not
As the title suggests, Jesus will return whether we are ready or not. When will He come? No man knows the day or the hour. He will come as a thief in the night. It is our job to be prepared and lead others to Christ while there is still time.
A Life Needing Grace
During Vacation Bible School (2013), I thought to myself about all of the children that came through our church. Some of them came from loving families and good homes. Some of them may have never felt love from anywhere. God reminded me that we are to love others as He has loved us. "Is God's love not enough that we can give to everyone?"
Just a fun song. I found a forum created by songwriters online while searching for ideas for a new song. One individual shared that he had come up with the idea to mix going fishing with "The Great Commission" but said that he couldn't develop it past the idea. He wrote that the idea was fair game and I decided to go after it.
On a Tuesday in May (2012), my pastor gave me his sermon title and references so that I could plan the music service for the following Sunday. This sermon began a series of sermons about the things that Jesus claimed to be. Throughout the week, I prayed and considered what I would sing for a special music. Friday night, I was beginning to panic! That night, God, as if speaking audibly, gave me this song. I recorded a track to sing to and performed it for the first time that Sunday.
I Love You
This song is based on Luke 12:24, Psalm 46:1, and Jeremiah 33:3. No matter where we are in life, if we listen we can hear God reminding us that He loves us and wants to show us things that we could never see on our own. "Consider the ravens; they neither sow nor reap, they have neither barn nor storehouse, yet God feeds them; and how much more valuable are you than the birds?"
I Praise Your Name
It's a great thought to know that the Creator and Master of the universe knew my problems and the solutions to them before I was ever born. "Before this world ever came to be; before creation of the sky and sea; before the rain fell soft on this land, You thought of me."
This is the only Christmas song I've ever written. The focus of this song is to remind us of "the reason for the season." We begin shopping for Christmas weeks (or months) before that day. We go to concerts or musicals that celebrate Christmas throughout the entire month of December. We hustle and bustle and hustle again. It just doesn't seem like Jesus gets as much attention as all the other stuff. In reality, He deserves so much more from us. "What about the Baby?"
Ready to Fly
Calamity. Chaos. That's our world these days. Sin has taken it over, people are starving, wars begin every day, this list could go on. This song rejoices over the fate of the Christian. One day, Jesus Christ will call us home. On that day, we will fly to Him.
I wrote this song back in October (2013). I had been reviewing notes from class at Mississippi College (New Orleans Baptist Seminary extension). In class one particular day, we discussed the importance of praising God. It occurred to me that instead of praising God only on Sunday, our lives should reflect constant and unceasing praise.
This song was written to the Body of Christ, not to any particular "church." Christianity is being threatened every day. As society moves further away from God, it becomes more insistent that we do the same. We, as the Body of Christ, must stand up for what we believe in at all costs. We must share the love of Christ with others at all costs. When? The time is now - not later. "Hit the deck, we're under attack."
You Never Failed Me
After going through a series of storms, God gave me this song as a reminder that He would not fail me. At times, we may catch ourselves in a panic because we don't think God is working fast enough or doing what we think He should do. This song speaks to me in trying times, because I can reflect on the past and know that God has never failed me. He has seen me through in every circumstance.
My Jesus (Your Grace Has Saved Me)
Romans 8:39 tells us that nothing can separate us from God's love through Jesus. John 15:13 tells us that there is no greater love expression than to lay down a life for the life of a friend. This song gives thanks to God for the gift of salvation we have in Jesus Christ. His grace has saved us, His hands remade us and His love sustains us. What a story to sing: Never-changing, forever-faithful - My Jesus.
This song was written in November of 2013. The setting is the night that Jesus was born. It was written from the perspective of the Israelites during that time. They had waited many years for the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah to be fulfilled. They had gone back and forth on their end of the covenants established by God. They had prayed for the arrival of a Savior. And on this night, the Light has come. "The world has been saved by the gift of this Child."
In Genesis 22, Abraham was face to face with a difficult task - a task that was commanded by the Almighty God that he served and put first in every way. Abraham was commanded to sacrifice the son for which he prayed and waited for many years. He trusted God completely and followed through with the command until the last moment when God provided a ram to be sacrificed instead. He named this particular place Jehovah Jireh, which means "The LORD will provide." In every thing we do, in every hardship we endure, in every seemingly lost battle, The LORD will provide. "Through every storm and way of harm, God, You provide. Jehovah Jireh."
How Great You Are
This is a re-write of one of my absolute favorite hymns. It uses a contemporary and slightly modified version of the lyrics penned by Stuart Hine in the 1950's for his hymn, "How Great Thou Art." "My soul sings to You; My soul cries out to You, how great You are!"
Draw Me Close
When we are nearer to God, the troubles of this place seem so much smaller. However, the fact is that our sinful natures cause us to run from God at times. This song is a prayer that God will draw us close to Him in spite of our own selfish nature. "I want to be close enough to feel Your power and see Your hand in my darkest hour; close enough to fall down at Your feet."
Just Like Them
At some point, every one of us has looked back at Jesus' crucifixion and thought that "those people that crucified Him" were the filthiest human beings to ever live. How could they do such things to Him? The fact is that we are just as guilty and unworthy as they were. Jesus' death and resurrection paid the price for everyone equally. It doesn't matter which sin we commit or what role we play, we are equally guilty and equally loved.
This song was written back in April of 2012. I had been serving as a part-time or interim worship leader for nearly 10 years and thought that this service was good enough for God. God began to deal with me and I began to struggle with my will versus God's will. It was to the point that I could not focus on anything but trying to figure out what God wanted from me. This song was my prayer - that if God would help me to lose myself, I would be more able and motivated to find Him and His will for my life. This song preceded my answer to the calling of a full-time ministry in music at Woodlawn Baptist Church.
Sweet Hour of Prayer
This song was written in the early 1800's by William Walford (words) and William Bradbury (music). It encourages the Christian to be constantly engaged in prayer because of what it can do and what the Bible instructs. "In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief and oft escaped the tempter's snare by Thy return, sweet hour of prayer.
Song of Job
One of the Bible's most inspiring characters, Job was truly a man of constant sorrows. He lost his property, sons and daughters, and his health at the hand of Satan. His friends tried to convince him to abandon his faith in God. Even his wife told him to curse God and die! Through it all, he kept his faith in God and remembered that God was not to be blamed. God has the right and authority to "give and take away." Who are we to judge His will or curse His name? Job remembered in everything to say, "Blessed be the Name of the Lord."
Every Christian, at some point in life, has realized (or will realize) that some
things about our nature or character MUST be turned over to God. We are
weak on our own. Our very best attempts to overcome sin and temptation
often prove to be no good at all. Philippians 4:13 tells us that through Christ's
strength in us, however, we can do all things. It is a desirable trait that we might want to perfect ourselves. The problem is that we cannot. Only God can transform us, through Christ, into perfect righteousness.
I had fun with this one! God gave me this idea when I was brainstorming for an article idea to go in Woodlawn's newsletter. While it may just be a personal epiphany, I realized that everyone is a rebel. Everyone was born a rebel and will die a rebel. Even Christ, Himself, was a rebel. The question is - What kind of rebel are we talking about? We are born into this world as rebels against our Creator because of our sinful nature. When we place our faith in Christ, we become renegades. We rebel against "our former manner of life," "put on the new self," and pursue the cause of Christ. What kind of rebel am I? "I'm gonna chase the Day and rebel against the night."
Shut Me Up
While the specific inspiration came from Psalm 141, there are many Scriptures
that show us how to conduct our speech. We are not to be proud, boastful,
envious, deceitful, or prone to gossip (just to name a few). All Scripture
seems to point to a general rule - speak as Jesus spoke. Sometimes, it can
be difficult to let another person's mean comment slide. Sometimes, it can
be difficult not to point out someone else's flaws. Sometimes, it's just tough
to keep our mouths shut. Verse 3 of Psalm 141 says, "Set a guard over my
mouth, LORD, keep watch over the door of my lips." As with anything else
that is difficult for us, we have to just give it to God. "If I can't speak hope, joy, peace, and love, or everything that You speak of, then shut me up."
Send Me (to the Ends of the Earth)
One of the major strengths of my church, Woodlawn B.C., is missions. Every
year, we send a group of willing folks to Honduras through BMDMI to witness to un-churched peoples and provide free medical and dental services. This year, upon returning, the group leaders asked me to write a song for BMDMI's promotional video. I started reading and what I found was a simple concept,
yet one we often ignore: willingness to do God's will. Every one of the Bible's
heroes would not have been heroic at all if they had not totally surrendered
to God's will. That's the premise of this song. If God's will is that the Gospel
be spread to the ends of the earth, we should be willing and ready to be sent.
You're Holding Me
Throughout history, God has made covenants with man. He didn't do this because of His need, but for ours. It's amazing that our God loves us so much that He made one final covenant with us in which He did ALL the work and we receive His mercy because of it. Even the best of our efforts can never come close to measuring up to the sacrifice He made for us on Calvary. "When I can't reach You, You're holding me." Praise God.
You Give Me Rest
This song came to me as I was reading Isaiah 40. I often lean on the words of
encouragement found in the last five verses. However, it's the beginning of
the chapter that makes the end so inspiring. Who can fully know God? Who can
measure Him? Who can He be compared to? This mighty and magnificent God
cares enough about me, a "grasshopper," to renew my strength when I am weary. We may not be able to fully know God, but we can certainly see His
love and compassion for His children.
The lyrics of this song were originally written by the same person who wrote
"All the Way My Savior Leads me," "Tell Me the Story," " Praise Him! Praise Him!," "To God Be the Glory," and many others (to the tune of 8,000 hymns). Born blind, she was incredibly gifted and, most of all, had a passionate love for Christ. Her name was Fanny Crosby. She was born in 1820 and died in 1915. I could not find the date that this song was written, but it predates 1915 and is considered Public Domain. Originally, the song was entitled, "Cleanse Thou Me." I spent a little time with the lyrics and edited them to speak to our generation. I also re-wrote the melody and chord structure. Even though I changed it so much, I can't take credit for the meaningfulness of these lyrics. Thanks Fanny!
We sometimes forget that this world we live in is not our home. It's a temporary dwelling place. More than our world, life as we know it is a temporary thing as well. The ultimate goal in the heart of every believer is to arrive at the final destination - the presence of Jesus. "I'll stand in Your presence, I'll lift up Your praises. I'll bow at Your feet and my grateful song will never cease."
Oftentimes we go through the "verbal" motions, saying things like "only Jesus can fix this," or "I just have to totally trust Him." But do we? This song is a declaration that peace, rest, and endless mercy can only be found when we humble ourselves at the feet of Jesus. "I'll throw myself down at Your feet; only You can grant relief. Nothing else I hold on to can save me."
Shine Your Light on Me
This song spoke to me in the early stages, before rhyme or melody development started. It was as if God was speaking to me, verbally and loudly, telling me that my insufficiency still existed and that I'm still always in need of a greater strength than my own. After we come to faith in Christ, sometimes we lose sight of the need for God to shine His Light into our lives. Only His Light can dispel the shadows and darkness of our lives and lead us and others closer to Him. "You make the darkness hide, the shadows disappear inside, and I'm free when You shine Your Light on me."
E'rbody Ain't Got a Mantle
In early December of 2013, my wife and her sisters were discussing decorating
ideas for the upcoming holiday. Anna made known the way she would decorate her mantle. Not to be outdone, Emily explained the way she would decorate hers. Then, it turned into an all-out, mantle-themed discussion. My wife, Desi, was not able to join the discussion because she does not have a mantle. Irritated, she shouted "Hey! Everybody ain't got a mantle!" Everyone laughed and it turned into a catch phrase. I thought it would make a good laugh to take it a step further and write a song based on the concept. Proverbs 17:22 tells us that a joyful heart is good medicine. One way to a joyful heart is a good, hard, loud, belly laugh!
WARNING: This IS a rap song.
In November of 2014, a good friend of mine (Eddie Smith) suggested that I get back to the pad and paper and come up with another funny song for the holidays. Nothing came to mind for Christmas so I decided to brainstorm over Thanksgiving. One of the running jokes at my church is how much I love banana pudding. This song features that love! The 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes tells us there's a time for everything - even laughter. When you click the link for this song, I hope you will make it your time to laugh.
WARNING: This IS a rap song.