Monday, October 19, 2009

Track 6- Justified

by Joshua Huff

Verse 1
To gain a people, a holy bride,
Christ was humbled and left His Father's side.
He lived and died to honor God alone
And now He sits beside Him at His throne.
From every nation, from every tongue,
Soon all before Him will bow down to the Son;
For He is King over earth and heav'n,
And to the Kingdom there will be no end.

The wrath of God is satisfied for us,
Christ's sacrifice has proven He is just.
The death He died has given us new life.
Christ paid the price, now we can be justified.

Verse 2:
Though we were fallen and dead in sin
He called a people that could not choose Him.
And if he calls, we cannot reject
For with His blood He saved our souls from death.
This gift of grace that paid the price for me
Has cleansed my heart and set me free.
In bondage I was chained a slave to sin,
But now my will is captive, owed to Him.

This song has gone through more changes than any other song I've written. I began working on it in 2003 while I was in college. As a part of the band that led chapel I was exposed to a wide variety of music, some good and some not so good. While our little group was picking music for the upcoming semester we talked in length about the song Above All and how it was a pretty good song, but could use a second verse. I took on the challenge and came up with a pretty in-your-face verse 2 that clearly outlined the 5 points of Calvinism, or the Doctrines of Grace (doctrines that aren't the most popular at my former college).

We did the song in chapel as a second verse to Above All and got some pretty negative responses, so it was shelved for a time. After I graduated from college, I began writing a bit more. In 2006 I was working on a song and came up with the chorus for what is now Justified. I added a modified version of the verse I wrote for Above All with a few more lines added in and Justified was born.

I have to say, this is one of my favorite songs. I think it clearly outlines the beauty of the Doctrines of Grace which are near and dear to my heart. I love singing about how lost I am without Christ and how much Christ has done to enable me to be a part of His family. The chorus says it all: "The wrath of God is satisfied for us..." This is the theme of one of the most important paragraphs in all of scripture, Romans 3:21-26. Because of Christ, God's demand for justice was satisfied and God also made his children right. In one fell swoop our sin was paid for and our relationship with God was healed. This truth should constantly bring joy to our hearts and make us want to exalt God for all He has done for us, an undeserving people.

The style of this song is very different from your typical worship song. I love the sound of major seven chords, so this song has a lot of them. They give the feeling of a comfortable tension in that they aren't your typical chord, yet they still sound complete and leave you wanting some more resolution. This is the same with the Doctrines of Grace. They satisfy us for now and we have to be content that there is a little tension mixed in there what we won't fully understand.

This is also the heaviest song on the album. If we can't use electric guitars and drums to praise God for His wrath being satisfied then we are in a sorry state. I praise God for the diversity of this band and how we can praise God for the whole range of emotions (affections) that are stirred because of the truths of the gospel.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Track 5- Do Your Will

"Do Your Will"
by Josh Huff (2005)

Verse 1:
As I walk along this path of life, I tend to lose my way.
I lack the strength to stay the course, to hear God and obey.
My prideful heart will drive me on, thinking it knows best,
But God has said He'll lead me through,
and in that my soul can rest.
O Lord, I need Your help today
Your Spirit needs to guide me as I pray
And though I don't know where to go
Your Word will light the way
O God, give me the strength to do Your will
Verse 2:
Though I don't know all the answers yet,
I serve the one who does;
He's guiding me through tests and trials,
and in Him I place my trust.
My sovereign God will faithfully
direct my willful plans,
Because He promised to complete the work
He fashioned with His hands.

This song was written during a very turbulent period in my life. Moriah and I had been serving at Community Baptist Church for about 4 months and were really feeling the pull to move into some other kind of ministry and perhaps even leave that church. We didn’t know what to do. There were pros and cons for staying and going. We had our own thoughts, but we really wanted to do what God wanted, not just what was comfortable or easy. In this midst of this several scriptures came to mind. One was Romans 8:26-28 which speaks of our weakness in prayer. “…we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us…” is what Paul writes in verse 26.

Several promises from God’s Word also came to mind. Philippians 1:6 says, “…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” There is also the promise from God’s Word that the Bible will be a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). God brought all of these ideas to mind as a comfort in the midst of this trial.

As I sought a way to pray to God and express what I was going through, I wandered over to the piano and began playing. The words just came out and this song began to take shape. A study through James and reading some of Augustine shaped parts of the song as well as I thought about future plans and how we don’t know what tomorrow may bring (James 4:13-15) and how the only place we can really find rest from worry is when we rest in Christ. That is how this song came into existence. You’ll see other ideas woven throughout the text, but those are the main thoughts I wanted to express.

The style is a bit reminiscent of Keith Green, one of my musical and spiritual models. I always appreciated his passion for God and the way He expressed theology with his music. As my family and I move into yet another season of testing and trial, the words of this song speak to me louder than ever. Our souls can only find rest when they rest in Christ. We are trusting that God’s Word will always light the way and that whatever God asks of us, He will enable us to do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Track 4- Taste and See

"Taste and See"
Verses adapted from Isaac Watts
Chorus and Music by Josh Huff

Verse 1
Lord, I will bless Thee all my days,
Thy praise is on my tongue;
My soul shall glory in Thy grace,
while saints rejoice to hear Your song.

Verse 2
Come, magnify the Lord with me,
come let us praise His name;
I sought the eternal God and He
has not exposed my hope to shame.

Verse 3
I told Him all my secret grief,
my groaning reaches His ears;
He gave my inward pains relief;
and calmed the tumult of my fears.

Verse 4
To Him the poor lift up their eyes,
their faces feel His grace;
A beam of mercy from the skies
fills them with light and joy-filled praise.

Verse 5
O sinners come and taste His love,
come learn His pleasant ways;
And let your own experience prove
the sweetness of His matchless grace.

O taste and see that the Lord is good;
blest is he who takes rest in Him.
Fear the Lord, seek Him for His grace;
be satisfied in all His ways.
This song was put together as the theme song for our Summer Camp from FVBC two years ago. The theme was Taste and See God's Goodness with the primary text coming from Psalm 34, the Psalm on which this song is based. As I was hunting around for lyrics, I came across a Metrical Psalter written by Isaac Watts. A Metrical Psalter is basically the Psalms rewritten in a poetic way so that they can be recited to a certain meter. They are also rewritten to rhyme. There are dozens of these psalters available, and perhaps even more than that. Isaac Watts has produced on of the more famous ones and you can see those online. I found his words to be particularly reflective of what the Psalmist had originally written. They also fit well into the melody that I had been crafting.
Verses 1-5 of the song are almost word for word Isaac Watts' rewrite of verses 1-5 of Psalm 34. The chorus was my attempt at a metrical Psalter from Psalm 34:8-9. I felt that these two verses really incapsulated the meaning of the Psalm and it was my hope to encourage others with these verses. It was a bit difficult to not plagiarize from other song versions of this Psalm. There is another version written by my friend Gabe Zepeda which has similar language in the chorus. But I think all of the versions represent well what the Psalmist was trying to say.
Of all the verses, I think verse 5 is my favorite. It has a note of Future Grace about it as we are called to find proof of God's grace through our own past experiences. I have certainly seen that in my own life as, time after time, I am forced to rely on God's grace and sovereignty. Time after time He has proven Himself good and faithful, laying a strong foundation for me to rest on during future trials. Truly His grace is sweet and matchless.