Song Story and Tribute to My Father-in-Law, Elwood Johnson
In this article, I want to talk about three things. First the inspiration behind a song I just wrote called ”The Measure of a Man”. Second, the legacy of my wonderful father-in-law Elwood Johnson. And third, what is “the measure of a man”? What does it truly mean to live a legacy worth leaving?
Ecclesiastes is a fantastic passage of scripture to read at this time of year. As the seasons change and we approach the final quarter of the year, it is a good exercise to reflect on life’s journey so far.
I wrote the song “Say Goodbye to Yesterday” very much with the philosophical themes of Ecclesiastes in mind. However, unlike the book’s author Solomon whose revelation was “everything is meaningless”, my conclusions are brighter, and more confident of God’s redemptive heart and ultimate power.
The primary idea of the chorus is to resolve our failures as a means of God’s grace, not to be defined by them. Neither are we to be haunted or stunted by our feelings of shame, but to let our mistakes and regrets go, and move on in the grace of God’s love.
Once upon a time, wrestling with God about the pain and confusion going on in my world and those around me, I wrote this song called “No Easy Answers”. Recently there’s been a renewed interest in the song and I’ve been in a lot conversations with folks about these thoughts. I’d like to share some reflections.
When God makes no sense.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for believers in God, followers of Jesus and lovers of His ways, is – how do we honestly reconcile the painful realities of life that lead so easily to disappointment, distance and even anger towards God?
Sometimes there’s a silver lining and a redemptive purpose in suffering, like the story of Joseph. “What was meant for evil, God used for good.” (Genesis 50:20)
Sometimes self sacrifice results in a greater good, like those who serve in the military or first responders.
Sometimes people just do evil wicked acts that steal, kill and destroy – like serial killers and terrorists.
It was totally, prophetically, inspiringly awesome. If you can attend live, do it. If not, watch the video series here.
I’ve known Ray for a long time, his teachings have profoundly influenced my understanding of worship.
Here’s one takeaway from the night I was there. Regarding Martin Luther and the lives of the psalmists and hymn writers…
You know revolutionaries, and those who carry awakenings, typically walk through seasons of controversy and conflict, until conviction and conversion comes. But until that comes, your life ends up being redefined on many levels.
They were pioneering and birthing something in the spirit realm that was hanging on the balance of how they stood with integrity and character.
The power of the might of the Lord, the One who touched them, and the One they had their encounter with, would hold them up until their conflict and controversy would become songs. And then it would begin to carry a life of it’s own from generation to generation.
When you become a songwriter you are creating something that holds a promise for a future generation.
Ray Hughes, Journey of Worship, Session 7 February 22, 2017
Many of the great hymns of history, written by “revolutionaries who carry awakenings” were birthed through seasons of controversy and conflict. This was the legacy of pioneers like Martin Luther and Isaac Watts. They paid a heavy price. Today their message still inspires and carries the purposes of God through song.
Can you relate to this? I know I can. Don’t give up singing your new song. God is on the move. Let faith rise up.
“It’s time for a generation to begin to fully trust Him with the sound that they have been given. You see, faith and trust is part of this thing called worship. Faith is the ability to respond to God’s definition of your future.” – Ray Hughes, Journey of Worship, Session 1
Faith is the ability to respond to God’s definition of your future!
Note: I’m delighted to be a guest contributor to the WorshipTeamTraining.com website. This article contains my recent guest post “Draw Me Nearer” along with bonus links to the recording of my song and lyrics.
Guest Post http://www.worshipteamtraining.com/draw-me-nearer/
In this article I want to talk about two things. First, some biblical principles for developing greater intimacy with God. Second, how the fruit of our intimacy with God can result in many good things, in this instance writing new songs.
Designed For Intimacy
We are designed for intimacy. First with God, then with others. The gospel promises that we can connect with God at the deepest, most authentic part of our souls.