NEW SONG – Make Your Home Inside My Heart

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Sarah Brusco has an amazing story. A complication in dealing with an ovarian tumor resulted in the hardening of her vocal chords. She was told that she would never sing again. Sarah’s journey recently culminated in the release of her latest project “The Woven Whisper”.

I am honored to be a part of Sarah’s project with the inclusion of a song I co-wrote with Sarah’s husband, Eben. Sarah’s version is delicate and heartfelt and includes the beautifully haunting cello work of Sharon Gerber (Imogen Heap).

 

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The backstory

In the fall of last year we were going through a series entitled “God In Us” at Vineyard Anaheim. The idea of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can sometimes be under-emphasized perspective in certain corners of the church. A regular prayer of ours is “Come, Holy Spirit”. We talk quite a bit about the Kingdom coming “on earth as it is in heaven”. This idea is also very common in the language of many popular modern worship songs. I’m on board with this popular concept of the work and activity of the Holy Spirit. However, on the topic of “God in us” I just couldn’t find enough material.

I’ve learned that when I am struggling to find the right song to serve my current need, I’ve found a great opportunity to write a song. 

The initial spark

During a mid-week rehearsal, as we were working through the Bryan and Katie Torwalt song, “Holy Spirit” a melodic motif started to take shape. The original lyrics were “Hallelujah, oh my Lord”. For me, there is an x-factor that takes an idea from just “messing around” to being a potential song or “song seed”. I like to think of it as “the kiss of God”, that something special attached to a lyric, melody, and/or chord progression. This “Hallelujah, oh my Lord” idea had that “kiss of God” on it. Then the work began. 

Putting this melodic idea through the lens of “God is us” a new phrase came leaping to life – “make Your home inside my heart”. More forward motion. Here’s an iPhone demo of this initial idea in process from October of 2013:

 

 

More progress

A about a week later I had a Skype co-writing session with Eben where I played him this initial idea. Things were starting to take shape. Eben and I bounced ideas back and forth over the next few weeks. Then one Sunday night at Vineyard Anaheim I was free singing over an extended ministry time when a new melodic phrase emerged inspired by Psalm 139 – “search me, know me, make Your home within me”.  This eventually became the bridge and the capstone to the finished song. 

Here’s another iPhone demo with the raw bridge idea:

 

 

Some melodic tweaking to the bridge and lyrical work to fill out the verses and we were there. 

The finished song

I love what Sarah and Eben have done with the song.

Here’s a lyric video Eben put together recently:

 

 Sarah’s project is now available on iTunes by clicking here:

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Sunday morning at 7 World Trade Center

In light of the anniversary of 9/11 I am reposting this blog from 2012. Since the writing of this blog the River has relocated to a high school in lower Manhattan. “From the sky to the streets” is how they’ve described the move. Same mission, different vantage point. 

 

 

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of leading worship at a church called the River that meets in lower Manhattan. I’ve known the leadership of this church for a number of years but I’ve never been to their Sunday gatherings.

They currently meet on the 40th floor of the newly rebuilt 7 World Trade Center in the main auditorium for the New York Academy of Sciences.

The River is a doing a wonderful work among the people of Manhattan and is thriving in a culture that is perhaps one of the most secular in the US.

Here’s their mission statement:

Planted in the heart of Manhattan, the River is a diverse church that welcomes New Yorkers of all backgrounds. Our goal is to create a warm & inviting space where we can connect to God and each other to pursue life in all its fullness.

Good stuff.

The views from their main auditorium are unbelievable. Out the window to the left looking from the stage you look uptown into the heart of Manhattan with the Empire State Building in center frame. Out of the window to the right you get the East River, Brooklyn Bridge, and on the horizon the blue rim of the Atlantic Ocean.

The views are breathtaking for sure but I was moved at a much deeper level. As we poured out our hearts to God I was struck by the power of what we were doing. We were literally inviting the Kingdom of God into the heart of New York City and asking for His Kingdom breakthrough over the city – literally while we overlook much of Manhattan.

Going a little deeper, the original 7 World Trade Center was destroyed in the events of 9/11 and when the new 7 World Trade Center was completed in 2006 it was the first tower rebuilt at Ground Zero after the attacks. On this site of incredible devastation, on what maybe the deepest wound in American spirit there is a community of faith that meets every week asking for the Kingdom of God to come and bring healing and mercy and make things right.

 

As I stood on the stage looking uptown at the Empire State building I was deeply moved by this reality. On this day of remembrance I remember my time on the 40th floor of 7 World Trade Center. I remember that “Mercy triumphs over Judgement” and I say a prayer of thanks for The River church as they weekly minister God’s healing power on the site of such tragedy. God bless their work!!