If you had to sum up this project with only one word, it would be this ~ refreshing. Once again, Mark Bishop has taken simple Bible stories that we’ve heard a million times and given them a fresh, new outlook. What I love most about Mark’s writing, is that he comes up with concepts that we don’t even think about! Songs like Job’s Wife and It’s My Turn are perfect examples of this. There are also multiple references to Easter Sunday on this project. My Name Is Jesus, Your Easter Sunday Is On It’s Way, That’s The Sound Of A House Being Built On Love, and One Drop Of Blood Became A River are the four that come to mind right away. So, if you need a Cd for Easter next year, this is the one for you! And if you’re not, but looking for a project with great new songs that will capture your heart, you should purchase this one!
1. I’m Listening For The Call
Message: The first verse recalls what it was like to hear about the last days as a child. As the lyric progresses, the character becomes an adult who allows what he heard in church to fade as a memory, only to come to the realization that those very prophecies are coming true! The first part of the chorus simply describes Christ’s second coming and the end of sin, but the hook line is the best – “I can see by the Word that the day is drawing nearer, I’m not looking for the signs anymore…I’m listening for the call.” (That’s how close it is!) Verse two takes us back to the Bible, where God painted a picture of what the last days will look like, how coincidental that the description matches today!
Other Comments: The track intro to this song is really unique! The main instrument that you are so used to hearing is replaced by Mark whistling the lead line, with a mandolin and guitar as accompaniment. It gives a strong Country sound to the music and it’s rather enjoyable! Also, just one more thought about the message, I love how the emphasis of the words are focused around how close the coming of Christ is!
2. God Builds Churches With Broken People
Message: The setting of this song in the verses place you on a journey – going down a path to see His face. As you’re on this journey, broken by the events of life and void of your own strength, you begin to see that those around you are hurting too. In a way, everyone is going through the same thing. The refrain contains an unusual idea, and that is, that God takes things that are broken and He builds something with them. In the context of this song, the Father is taking broken people and building a church. Yet, the thought is still rare nonetheless! After all, in our very limited human minds, you can’t use something broken to create anything of value, right? But through God’s grace, not only is this possible, but the broken can “become brand new!”
3. Job’s Wife
Message: This song is about a Bible character we may not consider too often – Job’s wife. Even though the book of Job consists of 1,044 verses, not much is said of Job‘s wife; after chapter one, she seems to disappear off the pages of the Holy Writ. What we remember this woman by is her remark to her suffering husband, “curse God and die!” As you can imagine, and as you’ve most likely heard in church, she receives a lot of criticism for this. Nevertheless, I can’t help but like the angle Mark takes on this story. The verses of this song describe a woman who has everything that matters. Her husband was a respected man in the community, loved his family and most of all he loved God. Into this perfect world came unimaginable loss. Not only did they loose their material possessions, but they lost their children and now Job’s wife watched her husband suffer physically. Utterly broken from despair, she cries out a few words that become what she is known for, “curse God and die.” The chorus calls us to do something for this poor woman…say a prayer for her. The lyrics remind us that it is only by the grace of God that something similar doesn’t happen to us. So don’t judge her too severely, unless you know what it’s like to be in her shoes. “Just say a prayer, thank God you’re not there with the care of Job’s wife.”
Other Comments: The four verses of this song are sung back to back and the chorus is repeated twice at the end.
4. My Name Is Jesus
Tempo: Slow Ballad
Message: In the four verses of this song, four Bible characters speak for themselves about what their experiences were like during the death and resurrection of Christ. These four people are Matthew, Mary, Peter and the Roman Centurion. Matthew’s verses focus on the loss while Mary’s are centered on the grief. Peter centers his story on his regret and the Roman centurion simply speaks of the events that occurred that first Easter Sunday. The chorus, written from Jesus’ point of view, begins with the victorious statement “My name is Jesus!” In the midst of all their sorrow, He comes and declares Who He is…The Redeemer, The Great Shepherd, and The Lamb.
Other Comments: If you are familiar with and enjoyed Mark’s project Fields of Love, you will love what he did with this song! Each verse is sung by another popular soloist you are bound to recognize. Of course, the first verse is sung by Mark “playing” as Matthew, Lauren Talley “plays” Mary Magdalene in verse two, Peter’s part is sung by Ivan Parker in verse three and the fourth and final verse is about the Roman centurion and sung by Mitchel Jon.
5. Are You Going Where I’m Going?
Message: The theme of this song is centered around the New Jerusalem. The stanza’s speak of the vision John received of this wondrous place, I like the line that says “his mind could hardly take it in, his eyes could hardly see it all.” The second verse talks about seeing God’s throne, the tree of life, and receiving a robe and crown. There are two choruses, the first one says that, if you’re going where I’m going …we’ll be in this exact place. There will be streets of gold, a river of life and angels singing praises to God. Then on the second chorus, the question is asked, “Are you going where I’m going?” If so, you will be there too. The message of this song is rather simple, but don’t get that confused with being boring, for it’s quite enjoyable!
Other Comments: Musically, this song veers away from the standard Country sound we are use to hearing from Mark and goes a little more modern. Personally, I think it was pure genius! This is the only song on this project with a different musical style, and setting it right in the middle of the Cd was a perfect fit for it, it doesn’t get lost there, but rather, adds flavor to the recording.
6. I Still Need Him
Message: The opening line draws a picture of a Fall breeze whispering the humblest of words “I still need Him.” That voice, the verse goes on to say, is one that reminds my heart everyday that I too, still need Him. Whether I’m on the mountain top celebrating the victory or trying to cover up inner pain by a smile…I still need Him. The chorus is a simple prayer that thanks the Lord for dying on the cross and saving me. This line brings tears to my eyes – “In agony with every breath, yet even on the verge of death, I needed Jesus more than He needed me.” The second stanza goes on to say that, in good days and bad days, in the valley or on the mountain, whatever waits for us down the road, I still need Him.
Other Comments: If there is a message that Believers need to hear today, it’s this ~ I still need Him! It’s probably the most simple song you will ever hear, but the profound thoughts behind it will be the most effective on your spiritual life.
7. It’s My Turn
Message: Verse one sets up the story, we see in our mind servants rushing in to the father of the Prodigal Son, and exclaiming that they have seen the son walking down the road. They ask the father what they should do, but the only response they hear while the father dashes from the room, was the words to the chorus. “No, it’s my turn to stand at the gate, see the look on his face, at last hold him close. It’s my turn to wrap him in love, hand him new garments, it’s my turn, to welcome him home.” The interesting thought line is brought out in the second verse. Who died first? – The Prodigal Son or his father? The Bible doesn’t give us any clues, but wouldn’t it be curious if the son passed on first? Then one day, he would be able to do for his father, the same thing his father did for him…welcome him home! The bridge brings the lyrics around so it can be applied for everyone, it says that “some day I’ll open my eyes in Heaven,” and someone will be able to say that it’s there turn to welcome a loved one home.
8. Your Easter Sunday Is On It’s Way
Message: When we face trials in life, we all wonder “where is God?” Well, the first stanza of this song gives a perfect assessment of where He is ~ He’s talking to you! And that’s what the first verse portrays, the Lord speaking to one of His children in a time of need. I love how personable these lyrics are, they’re not fluffy, but you can imagine the Lord really speaking them. Phrases like “I’ve been right where you are…I listen when you pray…My heart is touched by every word you say…the years have not diminished the promise that I made,” will be an encouragement to many. The parallels in the refrain are brilliant! On Friday, hope can seem impossible (just how the disciples felt when Jesus died). Saturday is paralleled with darkness and trials, and Easter Sunday is associated with renewed blessings and hope (just like when the disciples regained hope when they found that Jesus was risen!). The second verse talks about those low valley’s in life and encourages us that when it seems like we have nothing, we always have God’s love, and soon, that burden will roll away just like the stone did at Jesus’ empty tomb!
Other Comments: Though this song can easily be classified as an Easter song, it doesn’t have to be Easter to recognize the value of it’s encouraging message, these lyrics are applicable for all year round. I love the imagery Mark uses to describe the days in this holiday weekend – Friday, Saturday, Sunday…they all represent a different time in life, despair, trials, blessing.
9. That’s The Sound Of A House Being Built On Love
Message: Once again, we find ourselves celebrating Easter with our two main characters in a small church out in the country! The first verse talks about a little boy who sees a play about Jesus on Easter, as he hears the hammer drive the nails in Christ’s hands and feet, he starts weeping. Moved by the scene, our second character, the preacher, pulls the little boy aside and explains in the most unique of ways, what was happening. This is where we move to the chorus, it’s opening line also the title of the song, tells us what the preacher told the boy – when you hear the hammer hit the nail, it’s the sound of building a house on love and grace built the roof and set up the walls. The second verse takes us back to the church play, where we find the “deacons dressed as soldiers with their plastic spears.” As the congregation watches the play unfold before them, they listen to the greatest sound of all…the sound of a house being built on love.
Other Comments: This is one of the most unique ways a song has told the story of Calvary! This song is quickly becoming my favorite number from this project!
10. One Drop Of Blood Became A River
Tempo: Slow Ballad
Message: This song focuses on a miracle that happened at Calvary that is so well known, we don’t even notice it anymore…the Blood. In the verses we see the cross being drug to Calvary, tears in the Savior’s eyes, and the nails being driven into His hands and feet. Yet, the greatest miracle of Calvary was silent when it fell to the ground. The chorus talks about how just one drop of blood became the river that our sins are washed away in. This was the greatest miracle of all ~ and He gave that miracle to us! “The greatest gift to all of mankind”…that’s what His Blood was!
Other Comments: Though the theme of this ballad is centered on the Blood of Christ, it’s hard to ignore the detailed description used in the verses. For example, when speaking of the cross, words like “heavy timbers” and “two rough hewn beams” form a picture like no song ever has. This is another piece where two verses are sung back to back and the chorus repeats itself twice.
There’s a whisper in the autumn breeze
And I can hear it say,
I still need Him, I still need Him.
It’s a voice that lives inside my heart
Reminds me everyday
I still need Him, I still need Him.
There are good days and there are bad days
Oh but everyday I find
I still need Him, I still need Him.
I may not be like the lame man
May not be like the blind
But I still need Him, I still need Him.