Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Track 3- Psalm 23

"Psalm 23"
by Josh Huff

Verse 1
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He makes me lie down in green fields of warmth,
He guideth my soul for His honor.
And though I walk though the valley, the shadow of death,
I fear no evil for You guide me with Your rod and staff.
You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy
All of my life will follow me.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord,
And I will dwell in the house of my Lord, forever.
Verse 2
Christ is the Shepherd, He tends my soul.
His righteousness is my armor.
He leads me through trials with gentle love.
He'll satisfy for His honor.
Because You walked through the valley, the shadow of death,
I fear no evil for You saved me from the Father's wrath.
You pour out Your grace upon me,
Even though I was Your enemy.
You've blessed my life with joy.
My heart overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy
All of my life will follow me.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord,
And I will dwell in the house of my Lord, forever.

This song is based on one of my favorite Psalms. As with many of my songs, this one began with the music. I was playing around with some major 7 chords, and I started to play the melody that would become the melody of the beginning and end of each verse. Once the melody came into play, I began thumbing through the Psalms to find one that fit the mood of the music and that also could be adapted to be sung in an instructive way. Soon, "Psalm 23" was born.

Almost a year after I wrote the first verse, Sovereign Grace Music came out with their Psalms CD, including a song based on Psalm 23. As I listened, I saw so much of the Christ focus in their songs. While I enjoyed my version of Psalm 23, I noticed that it lacked a pointer to the fulfillment of this Psalm. So, under conviction to be more Christocentric in my writing, I penned the second verse, trying to tie in the themes of the gospel with this Psalm. I was pleased with how it turned out.

Too often we stop with just a few Biblical ideas tied together without bringing in the truths of the gospel. Without the gospel, songs are just moral and we might as well be singing secular music. We can't have true morality without the Spirit, and we can't have the Spirit without the gospel, and we can't have the gospel without Christ. It is truly all about Him, our great Shepherd of the sheep.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Track 2- Mystery of Mercy

"Mystery of Mercy"
by Josh Huff (March 23, 2005)
Verse 1
In eternity past, before time was made
You started a plan to bring glory to Your Name.
You would create a world, both captive and free
Where creation would declare Your holy majesty.
Then sin entered in, enslaving mankind,
Making men blind to You, loving the night.
But You promised grace and mercy would come,
even though we, Your enemies, deserved none.
The mystery of mercy; it is Your sovereign plan.
The mystery of grace; we will never understand
How You could send Your own Son to die
For depraved enemies of Your name, such as I,
To adopt us as children of life, Oh myster of mercy...
Mystery of mercy.
Verse 2
As time wandered on Your plan was revealed
You would send us a Savior who's wounded hands would heal
He would live in our world, as a babe enter in.
The man fully God who would free us from sin.
But He was despised, rejected by men.
He suffered Your wrath as the payment for sin.
As a dead lamb He lay 'til the third morning came
When He conquered death as He rose from the grave.
So now that I know that I will never know
Why Your Son would die just to save my dead soul
I'll give You my life and all that I have
And praise You for giving us Christ!

This is one of the first songs I ever wrote. I came about just before Easter in 2005 when I was on staff at Community Baptist Church in Elgin, IL. I was planning the Easter service and was thinking about a few different ideas for a song when Mystery of Mercy started to form. I worked on it for a few hours, then a few hours more, and soon this song came together. I'm sure you'll recognize the Easter theme at the end of the second verse with our conquering Lamb rising from the dead.

As I thought through the mystery of God's mercy, I really wanted to tell the whole story of our salvation. It is truly a mystery why such a great and powerful God would choose to save his creatures that had openly rebelled against Him. I often wonder about my own life as I continue to struggle with sin why God continues to love and care for me. But that is the definition of grace: getting something we don't deserve. We have received so much from God; adoption into His family, eternal life, not to mention the mercy of God to keep us from suffering His wrath for all eternity.

I hope this song is a great reminder of how much God has done for a people that didn't even want the blessings God offered.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Track 1- "Jesus, Lover of My Soul"

Jesus, Lover of My Soul-
Verses 1-3 by Charles Wesley / Verse 4 and music by Josh Huff

Verse 1:
Jesus, Lover of My Soul, let me to Your bosom fly.
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high;
Hide me, O my Savior hide, 'till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last
Verse 2:
You, O Christ, are all I want; more than all in You I find;
Raise the fallen, chear the faint, heal the sick and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am, Thou are full of truth and grace.
Verse 3:
Endless grace with You is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within:
You, the fount of life do flow, freely let me drink of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart, rise to all eternity.
Verse 4:
Heav'nward I life up my eyes, Christ is on the mercy seat;
There I may receive the prize for He intercedes for me.
Sin's dark curse of death has died; Christ the Lamb is all I see;
Joys eternal from my soul; satisfied at last in Thee.

This song is a hymn most of you can find in your hymnal. It was put to a melody that I didn't think quite fit the text. The original tune sounded a bit like the tune for "O, the Deep Deep Love of Jesus"; very minor and sad sounding. I wanted to write something a bit more upbeat and in a major key. Also, I was hoping to make it a bit more accesible by having a bit more repetition in the melody line. So, after noodling around with the melody, I came up with what you will hear on the album. It's a bit of a folk sound, reminiscient of Indellible Grace.

When I finished writing the music for this, I couldn't help but think that the song felt incomplete, and that's not just because I thought it should have 4 verses. The text covered a ton of Biblical topics, including sin, depravity, justification, adoption, protection, and a great focus on what Christ accomplished and still does in the life of the believer. But I wanted some focus on the finish line, on the final prize of actually being with Christ in heaven. That is where the last verse came from.

I actually wrote it right before a Sunday evening service as my dad and I were discussing this very issue. I had some time before the service, so I thought about what we had talked about and God was gracious enough to help me get it together in just a few minutes. Before the service I showed it to my dad (our Pastor of Worship), and he said we should sing it, and that's how verse 4 came to be.

I especially like the imagery of that last line, because that is really what I am looking forward to. We do get a taste of heaven now by enjoying the joys of pleasing God and worshipping God in this life. You could even say that those joys are eternal joys because they spring from what will be an eternal relationship with God. But those joys won't be realized until heaven. In heaven is where those joys will find their satisfaction, their rest, in their creator, Jesus Christ. That will be an incredible day, when we no longer see pain, destruction, or sin, but see Christ and find satisfaction for all our joys.