April 21st, 2011 by David Harwood

[Link to Song]

Matthew 11:19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

Verse 1

A friend is hard to come by,

Proverbs 20:6 Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?

2 Timothy 4:10a for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica

who shares desire,

Luke 15:6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

2 Samuel 23:15-17 David had a craving and said, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!”  16 So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD;  17 and he said, “Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;  2 and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.

knows the heart

Deuteronomy 13:6b … your friend who is as your own soul …

1 Samuel 18:1 Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.

Who wants his friend to triumph

1 Chronicles 12:18 Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was the chief of the thirty, and he said, “We are yours, O David, And with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, And peace to him who helps you; Indeed, your God helps you!” Then David received them and made them captains of the band.

Psalm 122:8 For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, “May peace be within you.”

Luke 12:4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.

John 3:29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.

Luke 14:10b ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you.

A friend who stands beside you,

Psalm 55:13 But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend;

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

who understands, will empathize and comfort in the sorrow –

Job 19:21“Pity me, pity me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has struck me.

John 11:33-35 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled,  34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”  35 Jesus wept.

and Lord, You are…

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus [the Messiah] is the same yesterday and today and forever.


You are a Friend of Sinners,

Matthew 9:10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.

Revelation 3:20 ’Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

You are a friend to me

1 Samuel 20:17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.

You are the Friend of Sinners,

Luke 15:2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

John 3:17-18 ”For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

You are my Friend

Matthew 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, [the Messiah] died for us.

Bridge 1

I guess I’ll always qualify as long as I’m alive

1 Timothy 1:15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that [the Messiah] Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by [the Messiah] Jesus.  13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in [the Messiah] Jesus.

As long as I am in this life I’ll know, I’ll know that You are….

Romans 8:31-32 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Verse 2

A friend dares to be honest.

Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

He tells the truth despite the pain

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Zechariah 13:6 And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’

John 8:40 ”But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.

He presses through rejection

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Isaiah 53:3-4 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

Acts 9:4c ”Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

A friend loves to be open, reveals his heart, explains his mind

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.

Exodus 33:11 Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

John 15:15 “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

He’s there when help is needed –

John 11:11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.”

1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 John 3:17-18 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

James 2:15-16 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,  16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

and Lord, You are…

Chorus … Bridge 2…

How much more, since I’m justified will You still be my Friend?

Romans 5:9-10 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

John 16:27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.

And though I know I let You down I’ll still, rely, for You are…

Luke 18:13 ”But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in [the Messiah] Jesus.

Verse 3

Alive and blazing glory

Revelation 1:14-16 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.  15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.  16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

Acts 9:3-5,17 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;  4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, …So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

who can express Your holiness?

Isaiah 6:5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

It beggars all description

2 Corinthians 12:3-4 And I know how such a man– whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows–  4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

And when I fall before You,

Revelation 1:17a When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.

“Get up”, You say, “don’t be afraid,

Revelation 1:17b-18 17b … And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,  18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

“Remember what I am. Oh yes, I am”

Galatians 2:20c…the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Chorus 2

I am the Friend of sinners, I’ll always be your Friend

Matthew 28:19-20 ”Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Hebrews 13:5b-6 for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”  6 so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

I am the Friend of sinners, I’m still Your friend

3 John 1:15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.

Bridge 3

How much more, since You’re glorified will You still be my Friend?

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

And though my motives I decry

Matthew 6:24 ”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

James 3:14-16 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.  15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.  16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

Philippians 1:15-17 Some, to be sure, are preaching [the Messiah] even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;  16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;  17 the former proclaim [the Messiah] out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

I still rely, for You are

John 6:67-69 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”  68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.  69 “We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus [the Messiah] is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Romans 4:5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,


You are the King of Glory

Psalm 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in!  8 Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.  9 Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in!  10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.

Transcendent and almighty

Psalm 99:1-3 The LORD reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!  2 The LORD is great in Zion, And He is exalted above all the peoples.  3 Let them praise Your great and awesome name; Holy is He.

Enthroned above the angels

Isaiah 37:16 ”O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

Revelation 4:4-8 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.  5 Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;  6 and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.  7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.  8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”

They trembling bow before You

Job 26:11 ”The pillars of heaven tremble And are amazed at His rebuke.

Isaiah 13:13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, And the earth will be shaken from its place At the fury of the LORD of hosts In the day of His burning anger.

Joel 3:16 The LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.

Philippians 2:9-11 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,  10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus [the Messiah] is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(You’re holy, holy, holy)

Revelation 4:8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”

Isaiah 6:1b-4 … I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.  2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”  4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.

Matthew 11:19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”


David Harwood is a prophetic teacher and worship leader, and author of the book God’s True Love.

Posted in Featured Articles, The Kingdom of God Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

April 4th, 2011 by David Harwood


David Harwood 2008


Here’s a bouncy, happy song about some aspects of God’s holy love. Shira Harwood, Marian Iovino, Joshua Pearson and I recorded this in our basement. It’s been primarily written for children, but it’s been enjoyed by a quite a few adults. Listen, I’m sure you’ll be edified. We’ve included Scriptures to help your meditation.


David Harwood


[Link to Song] 

With all Your heart, with all Your might

Jeremiah 32:40-41 40 “I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.  41 “I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.

Ephesians 2:4-7 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with [the Messiah] (by grace you have been saved),  6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in [the Messiah] Jesus,  7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in [the Messiah] Jesus.

Gave us Your Son

Romans 5:8 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, [the Messiah] died for us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Give us Your Spirit

Luke 24:49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Galatians 4:6 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

With all Your heart, with all Your might – It’s holy love

Isaiah 6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Holy love longs and Holy love calls and

Isaiah 44:22 22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”

Jeremiah 24:7 7 ‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

Malachi 3:7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’

Holy love sent His Son to find

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Luke 19:10 10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Your love searches and Your love reaches

Ezekiel 34:11-12 11 For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.  12 “As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.

It’s holy love

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.


Holy love seeks and Holy love finds and

Luke 15:4-7 4 “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  5 “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  6 “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’  7 “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Holy love never lets us go

Your love’s strong and Your love holds on

John 10:27-30 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  30 “I and the Father are one.”

Deuteronomy 3:24 24 ‘O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Yours?

It’s holy love

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

I’m being kept for You …

Exodus 19:4-6 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.  5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;  6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

Malachi 3:17 17 “They will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

1 Peter 2:9-10 9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

I’m being kept by You

Psalm 17:7-8 Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.  8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,

By You, for You

1 Peter 1:3-5 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus [the Messiah], who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus [the Messiah] from the dead,  4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.


A good, good father is just like You

Psalm 103:13-14 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.  14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

Matthew 7:11 11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Just like You, just like You are

Matthew 6:7-8 7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.  8 “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.


You are… our provider

Genesis 22:14 14 Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”

1 Timothy 6:17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

You are… our strong tower

Proverbs 18:10 10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.

Psalm 50:15 15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”

2 Timothy 4:18 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.


Holy, faithful, genuine, mighty love

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Romans 12:9a Let love be genuine…

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never ends.


David Harwood is a prophetic teacher and worship leader, and author of the book God’s True Love.

Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

April 11th, 2010 by M. French

Songwriter Ryan Scott Bomberger described the song below, entitled Meant to Be, in the following way: “My biological mother was raped, yet despite her unspeakable pain, chose Life. This song simply says thank you for giving me a chance to love and be loved.”

[Link to Video]

Even in response to the evil of rape, because of one loving mother, a voice is going forth on behalf of the many others that are “meant to be” but are facing extinction (Ryan is behind the “Black Children are an Endangered Species” initiative). Amen, Ryan! Run your race in the Lord! You were indeed “meant to be” for such a time as this.

Posted in News, Revolution & Justice Tagged with: , , , , ,

February 1st, 2010 by M. French

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

October 10th, 2009 by M. French

It’s John Lennon’s birthday today, and as often happens with figures like Lennon, discussion on the meaning of his life and legacy is coming forth. Who was he? A pop artist? A product of marketing geniuses? A lost soul in need of boundaries and structure? Perhaps he was many of these things, but I think a keen insight into who he really was came in an interview in which he was asked whether his songs “Give Peace a Chance” and “Power to the People” were propaganda songs. His reply was, “Sure. So was ‘All You Need Is Love’. I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.”

True, the change he was seeking was at best insufficient, and at worst destructive, but one can’t help but respect that he saw himself, in the end, as a “revolutionary artist.” This brings up the question though, if John Lennon was attempting to change the world through art with his human-inspired message, where are the revolutionary artists in the Kingdom of God who will change the world with their God-inspired message? Who is going beyond simply writing nice worship songs, and creating music that will change and inspire an entire generation to unashamedly follow the Messiah and love God with all their being?

With this question in mind, here are are a list of my top 3 Jesus propaganda songs. These are songs that have gone beyond being “nice” Christian songs, and have attempted to do something more. One strips, one convicts, and the other ignites. May they inspire the budding revolutionary artists in our midst to affect change through their chosen mediums:

3. How He Loves – John Mark McMillan

Something of a departure from the other songs on this list, while still being propaganda in a similar vein to John Lennon’s “All You Need is Love,” “How He Loves” has become more anthem than song, and is some of the rawest music you’ll ever hear. Written the day after John Mark McMillan’s best friend died in a car-wreck, it provides verses that strip you of all your defenses, and resolves in a chorus that lifts you into a place that would seem too good to be true, if not for the deep abiding knowledge that it is perhaps the truest statement you’ve ever heard (the chorus stands alone as one of only two or three I never tire of singing). “How he loves us, oh, how he loves us.”

And for everyone that has issues with the lyric “heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss” (David Crowder changed this lyric on his cover of the song), don’t worry, this lyric is not about tongue-kissing God, it’s about the realm of heaven meeting the realm of earth, with the result being something that is both beautiful and messy (and what’s messier than a sloppy wet kiss?). John Mark discusses this lyric and how people reacted to David Crowder changing it on his blog:

Some folks are genuinely sad because a song so personal to them seems to have been messed with, and others seem to be glad that you can now sing this song in church with your grandparents. I understand both of those sentiments, and don’t have an issue with either. Still many of the people, on both ends, who seem to be making a big deal out of it, have both seemed to misunderstand the lyric. It seems that people either hate it or love it because they think I’m some how talking about kissing God. Please folks, I never ever, ever, ever, thought of this line as though it was talking about kissing God. Please read the words.

“HEAVEN meets EARTH like a sloppy wet kiss”

The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy. Think about the birth of a child, or even the death of Jesus himself. These miracles are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly sloppy (“gory” may be more realistic, but “Heaven meets earth like a gory mess” didn’t seem to have the same ring). Why does the church have such a problem with things being sloppy? Do we really think we’re fooling anyone on Sunday morning, especially God? Are we going to offend him? I mean, he’s seen us naked in the shower all week and knows our worst thoughts, and still thinks we’re awesome. What if we took all the energy we spent faking and used that energy to enjoy the Lord instead? That could be revolutionary!

Revolutionary indeed. The video below is from The Call: Nashville, and begins with John Mark talking about what inspired the song.

[Link to Video]

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.

Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.

Yeah, He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves.

So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
And I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

That he loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

2. Send the Fire – William Booth

Will­iam Booth published this hymn in the Sal­va­tion Ar­my’s War Cry hymnal in 1894. This song delivers a cry for God to send the fire of the Holy Spirit into our lives that we might wreck the world for the glory of the Messiah. When the fire comes, the lyrics declare, “every trace of sin” will be burned up, we will “live a dying world to save,” and the revolution will “now begin.” Lord, send the fire! The video below is a rendition of the song performed by Lindell Cooley at The Call: Nashville.

[Link to Video]

Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For power to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
O see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the offering now we pray,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

1. Asleep in the Light – Keith Green

Where to begin with this song? I remember first reading some of the lyrics of this song and wondering with amazement that such a song had ever existed. Where did it come from? All I had heard up to that point in my life as a believer were songs that, while true as far as things went, never seemed to really inspire or convict me. “All this and heaven, too?” seemed to be as deep as most of the songs I played as a worship leader or listened to on Christian radio would go. But this… this was a song that pierced my heart and shook me up. “The world is sleeping in the dark, That the church can’t fight, cause it’s asleep in the light.” Yes, this song was right! Yet I’d never heard anyone in the church say it, let alone a musician. “God’s calling and you’re the one, but like Jonah you run, He’s told you to speak, but you keep holding it in.” This is what I did. This is what my friends did. Yes, yes, yes! This is me!

After searching for this mysterious musician online, I was saddened to learn that the musician I’d been waiting for since I’d been saved had been dead for 20 years! Oh, how deflating that was. Still, his music speaks even from his grave. Lovely sweet positive music this is not. It’s real and devastating, yet hopeful in the midst of its honesty, and by the end of the song you’re not singing about how much more committed and devoted you will be to God, you are singing about “coming away” with Jesus. Honestly coming before the Master and exposing to him your compromise, fear, and selfishness, and embracing his power and passion to live an internally consistent, Jesus-exalting existence. This is the answer to the dilemma posed by the song. “Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, My love.”

[Link to Video]

Do you see, do you see, all the people sinking down,
Don’t you care, don’t you care, are you gonna let them drown,
How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done.

Oh Bless me Lord, bless me Lord, you know it’s all I ever hear,
No one aches, no one hurts, no one even sheds one tear,
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, and He cares for your needs,
And you just lay back and keep soaking it in, oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?
Cause He brings people to your door,
And you turn them away, as you smile and say,

God bless you, be at peace, and all Heaven just weeps,
Cause Jesus came to your door, you’ve left Him out on the streets.

Open up, open up, and give yourself away,
You’ve seen the need, you hear the cry, so how can you delay,
God’s calling and you’re the one, but like Jonah you run,
He’s told you to speak, but you keep holding it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?

The world is sleeping in the dark,
That the church can’t fight, cause it’s asleep in the light,
How can you be so dead, when you’ve been so well fed,
Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can’t even get out of bed,
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead, come on, get out of your bed.

How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done,
Don’t close your eyes, don’t pretend the job’s done.
Come away, come away, come away with Me, My love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, My love.

Posted in News, Revolution & Justice Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

August 21st, 2009 by M. French

A remarkable event happened earlier this year in Italy… a pop singer bucked the cultural norms that say that gay and lesbian individuals cannot change their sexual orientation, and made a public statement in support of ex-gay individuals, all on national television.

Roberto Marchesini shares this intriguing story here, and it is well worth a look.  The song, entitled “Luca Era Gay,” caused quite a backlash from the gay community in Italy as singer Giuseppe Povia was preparing to sing it at “Festival di San Remo,” a key Italian music festival.  According to Marchesini:

Gay activists threatened to block the festival, and Europarlimentary member Vittorio Agnoletto asked for a European resolution to stop Povia from peforming the song. Povia, himself, received death threats. The gay association “Everyone” denounced Povia to the Procura of the Republic for alleged “homophobia.” These efforts failing, gay activists then asked the Festival organizers to “counterbalance” Povia with a song by a gay singer, about “the perfection of homosexual love.” That effort too, failed.

Marchesini continues:

Before Povia’s song was aired, the Italian comedian Roberto Benigni presented a twenty-minute show in which he condemned Povia, saying that homosexuality isn’t a sin and that gays have been persecuted historically “because they love someone.” He then read an excerpt from Oscar Wilde’s “De Profundis.”

After Povia’s song, contrary to all custom, the conductor gave the microphone to Franco Grillini, former parliamentary member and former president of ARCIgay, the foremost gay association in Italy. Grillini said he had received a cellphone message from a friend (although all celphones were supposed to be turned off during the festival…), who had cried when he had just heard Benigni reading “De Profundis,” because it brought to mind his partner who had died of AIDS. Grillini concluded by saying that Povia must learn what gay love is.

Then, the unforseeable happened: people in the theater started to hiss at Grillini (in Italy, hissing is like booing)! The crowd’s sympathy was with Povia, not with the gay activist.

The video of the performance is below.  When was the last time you witnessed a significant statement being made like this by way of song?  (The sign he holds up at the end is quite bold in its content as well.)

[Link to Video]

Posted in Culture, News Tagged with: , , , , , , ,