Years ago began my obsession with what some would consider antiquated and out-dated material. Everyone wants to push the envelope, do something new, and be fresh. I am sort of an odd anomaly, I guess! I am drawn to that which is tried, true, and authentically steadfast and sturdy. As I began perusing the yellowed pages of old hymnals, I began to realize that this modern generation was missing something in the seeming never ending flood of so called “praise and worship” music. That something was majesty and richness. We had a lot of cute and clever phrases. But we missed things like:
Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus
I’ve lost sight of all beside.
So enchained my spirit’s vision
looking at the crucified
That’s the sort of thing I want to sing about, proclaim and exult in. Thus, I began taking these sort of phrases, from long forgotten hymn texts, and inserting new melodies, rhythms, choruses, additional lyrics and verses, and overall renovating these old hymns. I think they’ll feel very at home in the 21st century, but without compromising the rich majesty of the God we are singing about and to!
The intent of this album is to be a progression of songs that enunciate a Christian’s life and attitude. The opening track, Walk His Ways, immediately grips the listener with it’s unique cadence, and feels like a song that ought to be sung during this earthly sojourn to our heavenly country. My folksy roots become readily apparent as the “foam guitar” plunks away in the adaptation of an Isaac Watts hymn which I’ve retitled “The Cheerful Hymn.” The next track is dedicated to Oswald Chambers, because this was one of his favorite hymns. It is a convicting confession of surrender entitled “Must Jesus Bear.” “Faith I Know” explodes into an anthemic and joyful song of declaration of our confidence in Christ, and crying out: “O for grace to trust Him more!”
The most personal track on the EP is “The Martyr’s Hymn.” I long to spend my body and blood for Jesus, and if that means I must die a martyr’s death, that is alright by me. I wrote this song to simply enunciate what I would endeavor to declare if my life were demanded of me for the sake of the gospel. As I always say,”The road to martyrdom is paved with a thousand daily deaths.” Iâ€™d like to dedicate it to a dear friend of mine: Nick Thompson. He lives a martyrâ€™s life so that he may be counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus and have the honor of a martyrâ€™s death. Finally, the ambient tones of “Dwell with Me” concludes the EP with a very prayerful and reverent atmosphere. The final two minutes of the album are simply instrumental. A sweet moment to simply meditate and digest everything that was just declared and proclaimed.
As you listen, my desire is that these songs simply amplify and give voice to your affection for Jesus. All I long for is for these songs to stir a passion in souls for the Lord Jesus. I’ll leave you with a precious hymn text that perfectly articulates my desire for the “Hymns EP:”
All for Jesus, all for Jesus!
All my beingâ€™s ransomed powers:
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours.
Let my hands perform His bidding,
Let my feet run in His ways;
Let my eyes see Jesus only,
Let my lips speak forth His praise.
Worldlings prize their gems of beauty,
Cling to gilded toys of dust,
Boast of wealth and fame and pleasure;
Only Jesus will I trust.