There’s a story behind every song…
Songs don’t just happen. They don’t just fall out of the sky with four chords, a melody and some lyrics. (not good ones anyway).
We never really set out to write and record an album. We set out to write songs that captured the sound of heaven. We wanted to armour our church with songs that would help them worship God, songs that echoed their prayers and their cries, songs that put to lyrics and music the sound of C3 Victory. Ultimately, we were desperate to write songs that would be an excellent offering to our awesome God. What resulted were songs that left us so humbled, speechless and teary at the grace and goodness of God.
There’s always a story behind each song and below is an attempt of the songwriters to share that journey with you.
‘In the River’
The team was sound checking for the second night of our annual youth camp, ‘New Dawn’, and we decided that we weren’t going to lock in any kind of song list. We felt that by doing this it would allow the Holy Spirit to have complete freedom to direct the worship during this particular night meeting. As the worship leader, it took everything within me to throw the rule book and song list out the window. We hit the final chord of the first song, and after that, we were in no man’s land, waiting for the Holy Spirit to move.
We started playing three chords thinking that we were going to pull out a golden oldie that our youth ministry loves, but as I stepped up to the microphone to sing, a melody came flowing out of my mouth that I’d never heard before, but that my spirit leapt at the sound of.
‘We’re coming in, we’re coming in to the river…’
After that, a new line followed:
‘We’re coming in, we’re coming in even deeper…’
Before I knew it and without having to tell them, the band jumped on board and were literally jumping in to a new river, writing spontaneously. We stayed on this chorus for quite a while before moving into other songs and finally getting to the preaching.
As I listened back over the camp session recording the following week, I heard this song again and felt like there was more to it. That afternoon during sound check for the night’s youth meeting, we added the bridge and brought the song to the youth ministry, who grabbed a hold and ran with it.
There’s something about being in the river. In the book of Daniel, it says there’s a river of fire flowing out of the Throne Room. It’s a powerful river – the river of God. There’s an invitation to get off the banks and jump into the river, to get lost in His presence. Sometimes in our worship we go to where we know it’s safe, but there comes a point when you make a choice to get in the river and go deeper.
It’s a point where you no longer exist, but it’s Christ in you. It’s the point where you drown in this river and your old life and what you live for is gone and your new life is found in Him.
This song was birthed in an atmosphere of faith and expectancy, and as a team we laid down our agenda. I can honestly say that before I opened my mouth I had never heard this melody or song before, but out of the overflow our spirits brought forth this anthem to go to the deeper places and we will never be the same because of it. We hope you are blessed by it.
‘Praise the Lord’ & ‘O Lord’
I love the story of how these two songs came to be. A small group from our team went away on a song writing weekend to seek God and write songs that would bless our church. We had received many prophecies in the 18 months leading up to the weekend about writing our own songs and finding our own sound. So out of a desire to write and a healthy fear not to ignore the prophetic words given, we set out to put pen to paper and melody to lyrics and write songs that we felt were in the new direction of worship at our church.
Praise the Lord and O Lord were written on the same afternoon in the space of an hour. We literally sat down after labouring all morning on a song that was okay, but we all felt was not hitting the mark yet. We opened the Bible to Psalm 103, and Praise the Lord just rolled off our tongues. Before we knew it, the song was finished. We found ourselves teary at the grace that had just been downloaded on us. It was like the song literally burst from our spirits straight onto the page.
O Lord has a similar story. We began searching the psalms and our attention kept being drawn to passages all about God’s holiness and the Throne Room. O Lord is taken right from Psalms and the book of Revelation, almost word for word pure scripture. We felt a reverence when writing this song and we were almost scared to utter the words:
‘To Him who sits upon the throne
be blessing, honour, glory, power
forever and ever amen…’
We knew less was more for this song as the power of the Word stands alone – it goes out and doesn’t return empty. All we had to do was clear away our thoughts and sing the truth. That afternoon of song writing was one we will never forget, where Holy Spirit graced us with a true and pure God-moment.
‘King of Kings’
King of Kings was written as a collaboration with six of our team members on our song writing weekend. Together we sought God about what he was saying to us and we found ourselves camped out in Revelation 19, the incubator for this song.
We laboured on the chorus and bridge for some time, aware that we didn’t want to complicate the song with too many lyrics. The beauty of the Scriptures is that they are simply the truth; we didn’t want to taint the song with us.
For the bridge, we wanted a hook that would become a prophetic statement that our church could declare.
‘The heavens are open
Your glory overwhelms
In Your glory, in Your glory…’
The open heaven speaks of our declaration of what God has already done. We’re not asking Him to open the heavens and twisting His arm to come, but we had a revelation that the heavens are already open for us to be able to access it. His glory is all around, overwhelming us – there was nothing left to say.
Once the song was written, the collaboration partnership continued into the arrangement stage. We laboured for a long time over the melody, over the phrasing, the timing and each instrument’s parts. This song had to kick us in the teeth with revelation, it had to hook our spirits into the truth of the song and the declaration we knew it had the potential of making. So back and forth it went between us, with opinions and discussions from the bands’ perspective, the singers’ perspective and the songwriters’ perspective.
During these labour-intensive stages it can be easy to lose sight of the original intention of the song and the adventure of capturing the sound of heaven falls back to second place behind making sure the self is satisfied. But we knew this song had the potential to be a powerful song with real prophetic guts, which is probably why it had the longest germination period and the most difficult arrangement. In the end, we couldn’t ignore that this song carried the sound of our church.
Eventually, King of Kings came together to be the prophetic and powerful song that you’ll hear on the recording.
‘He Shall Reign’
The story of this song is one that still makes me shake my head in bemused disbelief. Four of us sat down one night to write some songs and we never would have been able to orchestrate the beauty and simplicity of this song if we’d tried.
We had devoted a lot of time to another song that just wasn’t working. We had tried different chords, lyrics, melody, but in the end we just could not make it work. So we changed tactics and started working on a new song from scratch. After ten minutes we had the complete song.
The simplicity of this song really echoes the purity of God’s sovereignty. There was no need to bog down the song with verses and verses of our theology and ideas, but rather, four lines speak of the simplicity and power of who God is:
‘You are holy
You are worthy
Glorious Your name Lord
We worship You alone…’
We knew that the chorus had the power to break something open with celebratory praise:
‘He shall reign in glory and power
His lover never fails
He shall reign forever and ever
Our God we give You praise…’
As the songwriters and also the worship team, we love worshipping to this song, but we also loved watching how our church grabbed a hold of this with two hands and ran with it. To think that this came from only ten minutes! There is a real expectancy and electricity from the very outset of this song that makes playing and singing it really exciting and joyful. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
‘Will Be Done’
This punchy youth praise song was written back in 2008 in the lead up to a local youth conference. The inspiration came from some verses that carried a similar theme: Romans 12:2 – living set apart and focusing on Jesus, James 4:8 – God isn’t distant but always close, and Psalm 16:8 – God is our hope.
This song captures the zeal of living a life intentionally for Jesus, running away from the desires of the world. So many young people are looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places, like loaded guns with no target. All they’re searching for is love and direction.
Because I saw how young people were wandering aimlessly on their plight, the pre-chorus naturally came first:
‘This generation needs your love to fill their senses,
This generation needs you light to show them the way…’
And the chorus came immediately after it:
‘You’re closer than the air I breathe
You’ll never let go of me
I live to see Your will be done
Let Your will be done…’
The truth is that God is closer than the very breath you just took. When you realise that, you can’t help but get excited. God wants generations of people young and old to know that He is alive and the He is the very thing the world needs. When we place our hope in the living Christ and allow His will to be done over ours, everything within us comes alive.
This song is a song of declaring our choice to run after God with everything, casting our burdens aside and openly surrendering to the promise of His presence. I dare you to listen to this song and try and stop yourself from dancing!