Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The Day You Fold
Interestingly enough this was the last song we recorded for the album and will end up being the first and title track. I'm basically pretending to have a conversation with someone (no worries it's fake person). I come across many people everyday in life who are desperately trying to figure out their own hurt and pain. They are searching for resolve, for someone to tell them "everything is going to be ok."
I guess this song is really talking about the "figuring out" we do in life. Maybe you know someone who has really been experiencing a deep unexplainable sadness. They've tried their entire life to figure things out but they never seem satisified or happy. This way of life may leave them with depression, the feeling that nothing is good enough, hurt family members, and few friends. I love that God is so compassionate towards us when we hurt. His heart really goes out to us!
I don't think God is afraid of these kind of struggles, I think He is excited to watch how we respond to them. I can't imagine how God feels when after a season struggle we find ourselves reaching for Him. Like a baby reaching up to it's Father when it needs something.
It's like the story of the lost son in the Bible who rebels from his Father and lives a life of wild partying. The son finally comes to his senses and goes home. What is the Father's reaction? The Father doesn't scold Him for wasting money or sleeping around, He runs joyfully down the road before He even gets home! What was the son basically saying? I give up. What was the Father saying "I finally get to be close to my son again!"
I have a feeling the Father spent a lot of time on that road before the Son came home. Watching. Waiting. I bet He remembers the day on the road he followed His son on the way out, pleading with Him desperately to stay. That road meant heartache for the Father, but it would later become a place of joy! Why? Because the son learned through pain that he couldn't do it on his own.
Surrender is a churchy word. I used to think surrendering meant I had to forget about bad things that had happened to me. Just get those memories out of my mind! But I had trouble resolving those feelings and emotions because sometimes I would still be hurting so deeply. Did that mean I hadn't surrendered it to God?
Later I understood more of what this meant. Surrender means I give up on the way I've tried it and then say "Father, it's your way this time." What's cool about saying that is God doesn't then scold us for a while and make us feel horrible about it. He throws a party for us because a far off son is finally home. Finally close. In that lies the meaning to me of "The Day You Fold." Thanks for "figuring it out" along with me.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
If You Could
It's true, it's true, our time here is short. It's vapor, its dust! A few years and we're dead! This song talks about how short our lives really are. My pastor Ken Johnson always talks about eternity being a huge long line (like a rope stretched across a football field) and if we were to compare the rope of eternity to our meager 80 or so years here it would be like one little scratch on that line. It's crazy that everything rests on the scratch.
Musically I'm quite fond of this song. I like the guitar riff throughout the song (the dun da da, dun dun da - ha like you can hear it :) I'm also a big fan of the cello in general. Tim Smith from Portland laid down cello on both "If You could" and "Love of My Life." He did a tremendous job. He told me the cello is the instrument that most resembles the human voice. Yeah - the cello is super cool. If I could even play one great sounding note on a cello I would feel pretty impressive. For now I will stick to the KORG keyboard sound effects for all my artsy moments (or I'll call Tim).
The song "If you Could" talks about time you can't get back. It really is a song that looks forward at you looking back. ? Picture yourself when you are 70 years old sitting on a park bench before it's about to rain. If you could look back at your whole life from that vantage point, what would you do differently? I was thinking about what God was building at the time. God has an agenda on earth you know. I want to be a part of those things, building people, working out my salvation with fear and trembling, and building His church. What a great question it was for me to apply - if I looked back and photographed your life and how you used your time, would you have eternity in mind? I'll leave that one with you.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Love of My Life
I've known of God for many years. I knew he worked in people's lives, I knew he could work through me, I knew where to find certain books of the Bible, and I knew all the stories it told. There is a vast difference in knowing "about" someone and "knowing" them. I can know a lot about our president but it doesn't mean he's like "Hey Casey let's go out and get Chinese! (in actual China)." There is a vast difference between someone who observes the game and someone that gets in on the action.
When I went to college in 2000 I had a choice to make. Would faith for me just be something my parents exemplified and I adopted or would I find my own personal passionate faith in God? I had amazing Christian friends in college and they drug me out of bed on several Sunday mornings to go to church. After a few months this apathetic current running through my veins I finally came to a place where I was desperate to find God for myself. This would be the transition for me between knowing about God and knowing Him for real.
Since those raw and real moments in Idaho where I truly learned to hear His voice and understand His heart for the world I have had an amazing journey of discovering God. Love of my life, talks about the love of God that I have experienced in those moments with Him.
I like the line "a love that does not hold back" because it shows me how faithful God is. I was giving him nothing at points and He was giving me everything. He was pouring out love all over me, through great relationships, Christians friends, awesome teaching from my church, worship, you name it.
The song in it's simplest form is a response. It's a response to God for everything He has whispered in my ear, for every time I felt alone and he came to me, for every discouraging moment where He told me I could do it, or every time I failed. My response to Him in this song is "I love you too."
My prayer for you as you listen to this one is that you recognize how valued you are by Him. People say things that are painful, situations hurt, you can go weeks on end and experience and unexplainable suffering in your soul, but know this without a doubt, God is captivated by you. Psalm 139 says he thinks about you all the time (more than sand that stretches across a beach). His thoughts, his passion toward us, and His love are too great for words. He deserves my greatest and most heartfelt response.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I remember a series in our youth ministry that we went through that was all about worship. I had been thinking for a while about the beauty of creation and I was really just captivated in the vastness of it all. Living in Central Oregon every day we wake up and see these breathtaking mountains. The sun setting through the Cascades is quite a site. Sometimes I would just find a quite place and watch the sun go down. Those moments were very cool for me.
The thesis of amazing is really this: God in His spectacular creation chose to focus His attention on us through the life and sacrifice of Jesus. The second verse states "I've often wondered how the God who created all could come to this earth and die for something he made." It seems totally backwards. We should be the one's dying and instead God dies? What a trip.
That thought is why I continue to be amazed and in awe of God. I don't understand Him because His ways are so selfless. I suppose that is why He is the one who is worthy of my worship. Amazing is an anthem of praise to an awesome God. I hope it helps you worship like it has helped me.
Into The Deep
If I get to choose one, this is my favorite track of the project. One of the last to be written for it but one of the most important for me. It talks about refreshing. I was thinking about Psalm 23:2 "He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful steams." I guess you can say it's the song that resolves "Life at Sea" for me (scroll down to the song and you'll understand after what I mean). When my life is catastrophic, I can find rest in God.
It ends with a simple "the shallows aren't for me." If you think about a life following God as a swimming pool. There will be a period of time in God where splashing around in the shallow end of the pool is enough (keep reading). Some of me will be submerged and that will work for the time being. There will be a point, however, when the water covering me and the area I've explored there is not enough.
Into the Deep is a call for me to head into the deep things of God. For me, the deeper I go in God the more I find myself refreshed by who He is. Let me compare this to growing in reading my Bible.
When I was in high school I could barely stand to read 10 minutes of the bible. It was really difficult for me. I watched friends of mine go off for hours and spend it in devotional time with God. I kept thinking to myself "how do they do that? I would totally get bored after 5 minutes!" Today, the Bible to me is a different story. I get lost in the book. I can't stop reading it and it changes me everyday. I've gone to a different depth in my understanding of God. It's caused me to become someone who investigates God. There is always a deeper level of understanding and relationship that we can go to with God.
A lot of times the words discomfort or pain is involved. When things get a little uncomfortable many times God may be trying to get us to another level with Him. Like going into a freezing pool or a really hot spa, most people take a while to adjust in. The same goes for life in God, there will be discomforts that God allows to get us to the next place. What we'll actually find on the other side is a new dimension of God that we haven't see before.
It's a simple song, a simple beat, simple chords, and a simple message. I hope it encourages you to take another step into the depths of who He is.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I thought about changing the name of this song because I knew as soon as someone saw the title they would think. "Oh, no, I've been stuck on an island for months after a horrible plane crash and these crazy mysterious people are going to hall me off into the jungle!" This song has nothing to do with the show LOST - in fact I wrote it before I became hopelessly and completely addicted to the show. Stupid flash forwards by the way, they've sucked us in once again.
This song has everything to do with my constant struggle to love others. It talks about how God is so easy to love because ___________(you fill in the blank), but people have this extraordinary way of being mean, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, being needy, and in general being mean spirited.
Scripture is pretty clear, you can't say that you love God and then don't love your those around you. It doesn't work in Gods eyes. Your love for others is proof that you love him. The Others talks about those "hard to love" people. Everyone has them - if you feel like you don't have them...you might be one of them!
I thought about some of my most frustrating moments with people. Like driving for example. There are stupid people on the roads. I don't like the way they drive. I am a perfect driver (always appropriate speeds, never cutting anyone off, never distracted by my phone, my tunes, or opening mail while driving) - oh quiet, you've done it too. I wish everyone else could drive the way I do, but then again, maybe they do! So in the second verse of the song I talk about interacting with people, like cars in traffic. For some reason we're in a car so we feel like the car buffers the fact that those other people driving are humans that have families and celebrate Christmas have a grandma that makes them cookies. They are real people, but when they slowly driving in front of me when I'm late they all of sudden become something different.
OK - long example I know. I want more than anything to love people well. I've tried to adopt a life motto "when people leave my presence they will feel more loved that when they came." I don't always succeed at this but I am working on it. "The others" is simply Casey and the learning curve of loving others. It's me observing how God loves people and trying to do that. I realized in the process I'm so far from where I need to be. What's awesome about this realization is that I can now take steps to change. Hopefully that change will be more evident both in my relationships with others and on the road.
Glimpse is one of the first songs we recorded for the CD. I had been caught up with this idea that we will never be able to fully understand everything about God. Even in heaven, it's not like we'll enter through the gates and receive a "God" download. We'd probably explode!
Instead we'll be constantly learning more about who He is. He is and always will be like a diamond with many different angles and facets. He is a resource that will never run dry, he is a complicated mesmorizing person, he is amazing. I was praying this a lot "God turn to me another angle of who you are!" Glimpse is a song of awe and wonder.
Is also a song that asks for more. I will be the first to admit that I sometimes get bored of searching. Sometimes it feels like day in day out I'm doing the same things I always do in pursuit of God. This song is a quest. A search for more of God. It talks about some things I've caught onto already in faith and then it dives into the search "I've give anything just for one more glimpse of you."
The song was a little boring to me in it's original acoustic form. We had a moment in the studio (props to my good friend Katie Scott) where Lindsay was singing background vocals and someone was like "what if Lindsay sings this mysterious 'I'd give anything' behind the chorus!" To me that chorus and the addition of the bridge (which was actually written in the studio as well - a real God moment) made the song. Props to Tim Heil who produced it, I believe we got some great sounds and great memories to go with it.