Archive for the ‘News’ Category

“We Are” – Grammy Nominated Project

Kari Jobe’s “Where I Find You,” including her hit recording of the song “We Are” has been nominated for a Grammy. Having the first single from a grammy nominated project is exciting. The song has also been included on the WOW 2013 compilation CD. “Where I Find You” released with chart topping street week numbers at No. 1 and No. 10 on Billboard’s National Christian and Top 200 Charts.

Read my story behind the song and watch for the release of my own version of the song coming in by February 2013.

“We Are” by Kari Jobe

Sparrow Records artist Kari Jobe just released “We Are,” the first single off of her new record due out in January 2012. I woke up this morning to find it #1 on iTunes Christian songs chart. You can find it here: I co-wrote the song with Chuck Butler and Hillary McBride a while back and it’s the first time I’ve ever been directly asked to write a specific song by someone other than the artist.

I was sitting in a Sunday morning worship gathering listening to my good friend Scott Hill preach a sermon about our missional DNA as a faith family. Scott referenced Jesus’ words in the sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5:13-16. “We are the light of the world.” It’s our identity, our calling, the truest thing about those who follow Jesus. Sometimes we pretend to be children of the dark but that’s not our identity. We are the Light of the World. We talked about Philippians 2:14-16 and Paul’s encouragement that we “shine like stars in the Universe.”

Finally he turned to me and said, “James, there should be more songs that let us declare this when we get together, to remind ourselves of our true identity. We need to declare to each other, We Are the Light of the World!”

That Monday morning, I was scheduled to write with Chuck and Hillary. By the time I woke up, my wife had already left for work and I lay in bed thinking about the day. I start most mornings reading scripture on my phone and praying a bit before my feet hit the floor and in those moments of reflection I took up Scott’s challenge and began singing the chorus to “We Are.” I was reaching for a declaration with the same…authority…as classic stadium rockers like “We Will Rock You.” It felt playful but powerful, anthemic but still accessible for an artist.

It was the first idea we chased and Hillary connected with it immediately and sounded great singing it. Chuck started building a killer track and together we filled out the verses in a way that balanced our identity as children of light with our calling as those who follow Jesus. The song sat waiting for the right voice to carry it for almost a year and finally when my publisher heard Kari was looking for another song he sent it over. Kari and producer Ed Cash have turned into something really special.

If you’re a follower of Jesus I WANT you to sing along with this one. It’s your identity, a part of your spiritual DNA. Every secret, every shame, every fear, every pain, live inside the dark but that’s not who we are. We are children of the day. So wake up sleeper, lift your head. We were meant for more than this. Fight the shadows, conquer death, make the most of the time we have left. We are the light of the world. We are the city on a hill. We are the light of the world. We gotta let the light shine.

Open Hands

papakingdomcomeMany of you have asked about the song “Open Hands” we’ve been using at camp the last few weeks. It’s the first single from the new Matt Papa CD and has just been released to radio. Matt and I wrote the song as an expression of surrender. Surrender is the ultimate posture of our worship. It is a surrendering of control, a surrendering of our will to the glory and purposes of the One Most High God. If the song has helped you worship, call your local Christian radio station and let them know. Matt’s CD is rock solid and releases in August.

Help Me With the New Record

We are almost finished with the new record. I am in the studio this afternoon singing some more and then we’re off to mixing, mastering, and manufacturing. In the meantime we need to decide what to call the record and I want your help. Below is a form for you to pick your favorite title. I know it’s tricky to do this without having heard the record so I’ll explain each title a bit.

The Hardest Step to Land – is a lyric taken from the song “Yesterday’s Rain.” The full line is “sometimes the right first step is the hardest step to land.” With any dream, any vision that is born in the human heart there is a hesitance in us to move into action. It seems in my life the biggest barrier to chasing after the dream is knowing what the right first step should be. In my life I have wasted years deliberating that right first step. The vision for what’s next has come but in fear I wait, deliberate, marinate.

Known – is the title of one of the new songs on the record. The lyric is “You don’t need to hide. Step into the light and let yourself be known.” The song is a call to move from fear and pretending into authentic living. “Be as you are” sang James Taylor back in the day. No more fakeness, pretending to be something you’re not. Bring your real self, the doubt, the fear, the courage, the pride, bring it all into the light and let yourself be known. I suppose any record like this is a bit of that journey as well. It’s me putting myself out there; the parts I’m proud of and the embarassing parts as well.

Sometimes Sun, Sometimes Rain – is a lyric from the bridge of a new song called Glorified. The song lyric is built around these two balanced parts. In tragedy and difficulty, somehow God is able to bring glory to himself. In triumph and beauty God is also able to bring glory to himself. The song is a call to give God the worship God deserves in a way that is bigger than our circumstances. “Sometimes sun, sometimes rain, the tragic and beautiful side by side. Sometimes joy, sometimes pain but come what may, God will be glorified.”

So add your vote and help me pick the right title for the new record. Thanx in advance for the help!

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Live The Mission with Me in Greece

iwcromaThis summer I’m joining a group of students in Thessaloniki, Greece for a week of work among the Roma people and I want you to join us. The project is a component of the partnership between M-Fuge International and International World Changers.

The project is designed for individual high school and college students as well as youth groups so talk to your parents or the student ministers at your church about joining me in this life-changing work.

Last summer I spent some time in Skopje, Macedonia (just north of Greece) working on a similar project and I’m excited to get back among the Roma people with some of you. They are a passionate and warm people and are among the most oppressed peoples in the world.

This comprehensive missions adventure is July 4th-12th and costs $750 plus airfare from your nearest airport. You can find all of the specifics HERE as well as details about how to register to join us. Registration has just begun so start talking to your friends and come join me! Let’s live the mission together in Greece this summer.