Only a Shadow
captures Misty Edwards
and team in a raw, fervently energetic, live prophetic worship concert. Recorded with Onething Conference goers, the album features primarily new songs with a handful of familiar tracks from Misty's past decade of worship releases.
Misty is an active leader at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Mo., a ministry launched by Pastor Mike Bickle. Misty's musical work stands alone as excellent worship music in and of itself, but much can be gleaned from understanding the dynamics of the context in which the songs are formed: 24/7 prayer, worship, and fasting.
IHOP-KC has held live worship non-stop--without closing the doors--since September 19, 1999. Much of Misty's music springs spontaneously from two-hour prayer and worship sessions called Worship with the Word or Intercession sets. I had the great opportunity to interview Misty about her compelling worship song "Shine like the Stars."
Please tell me about the personal message behind the song "Shine like the Stars."
This song was written a little differently than how I've written most of my songs, which typically come out as a chorus from the prayer room. For this song we wrote the music first, and the lyrics later. As we were developing the music for this song, there was a hopeful feel, and a forward-thinking intensity to the song. My mind instantly went into the hope of our calling in Christ.
It's only a shadow; one of my main messages is that life is short. At the end of that sentence is the truth as believers that we're never going to die. We're going to live forever. I was pulling from the different Scriptures that there was enmity between God and man, and we were hopeless. We were condemned. Through Christ, as we know, those of us who believe in Him as our Savior, we have life eternal. We've grown accustomed to this type of language and "Christianese" and maybe we haven't applied our minds to think that all the way through. What does that mean? If it is true that we have life eternal, we're going to rise from the dead in the same way that He is risen. The fact that we too are going to rise is hard to fathom. That is such a mind-boggling concept that I tried to put to music so we can have the conversation about the Resurrection.
Is there a connection to your ministry in the message of that song?
As a worship leader, I really want to get out of the way and draw people to God. Not just the ethereal stand at a distance and shout from a distance "You're beautiful" or "You're worthy" but take your heart and connect your heart in a way that leads you to a life of abandonment. If people don't leave a worship service making life decisions that are different, then it could still be a good worship service, but mostly just music. I want it to be much more than just music. The real measure of a ministry is the fruit of the Sermon on the Mount, and the fruit of righteousness. That's how God's going to measure my ministry. Not how many stadiums where I led worship, singing big songs. Not how many people jumped around. Not how great and tight my band was. None of that is how God measures ministry. When I stand before Him, did the people who heard my music, read my book, whatever your ministry might be, did they walk out and make decisions to love God with all their heart, their mind, their soul, and their strength.
If I can somehow through my music and lyrics make people think about life decisions, then I've done my duty, so to speak.
Which Bible verses connect to the message the song?
"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His."
"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus."
"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."
...and Philippians 2:14-16:
"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."
What's the takeaway message for listeners regarding the song?
The phrase "shine like the stars" comes from the Philippians 2 passage, and also in Daniel 12:3. In that Daniel passage, he ties the shining to the wisdom that comes from above, and to turning other people to righteousness. Contrast that with "stardom" in our culture, which involves turning people to ourselves. We exalt men, and that's what we call a star. God's definition is very different. God wants us to call people to righteousness, as seen in the Sermon on the Mount.
Sometimes in Christendom, we've reduced knowing Jesus to saying the Sinner's Prayer, and that's the end of the story. That's good; I'm never going to underestimate people making that decision or a salvation experience. To know Him is far more involved than a prayer. It's an intimate knowing and a perpetual unfolding. It's a continual discovery. It says in the Gospel of John that eternal life is to know Him. That's one of my life verses.
Eternity is not just in the future as we know. Eternity is anything that remains forever. Because I'm so aware of the fragility of life and the speed that life is moving, I'm so aware that there's a day where I'm going to stand in front of Jesus for Him to evaluate my life; only what He says matters. He's the Creator; only He can say you did the right thing.
I want to give Him what He's looking for. He says to know Him is to give Him glory. It says in Jeremiah, "don't glory in riches, don't glory in wisdom, don't glory in might, if you're going to glory, glory that you know Me." I've made it my life's calling to know Him through the Scripture. I hope that people who hear this song will go on a search themselves for what it really means to know God, to know Jesus, and to experience Him.
Once condemned to fear of death,
We were bound by life's short breadth.
With enmity between God and man,
Hopelessly we were condemned.
But, Jesus, You're the Firstborn from the dead.
You're the Life and the Resurrection.
You made a way for all men who die to rise again.
Knowing You is life eternal,
Both now and forever!
We will shine like the stars.
We will live after we die.
For when You appear, then we will appear.
As You live, we will live – forever one!
You're the First among many in the Kingdom of Love!
The album is framed between themes of the love of God and the resulting pledges of unwavering devotion fueled by this love, sustaining endurance and imparting vision for eternity amidst earthly trials. As is typical of Misty Edwards' signature style, both soaring and subdued vocals bear the same provoking, soul-stirring potency. Her penchant for cutting through embellishment to reveal the heart of a matter shines through in each track, resonating beautifully in this vast atmosphere of worship.
Only a Shadow invites the listener to encounter the eternal Source of light. The ethereal musical style and Misty's powerful and gorgeous vocals keep me hanging on every word she sings and speaks. All fourteen songs completely focus me as a listener on joining her in praise, worship and adoration of our King, Jesus. Don't miss the stand-out songs, "Baptize My Heart," "Only a Shadow," "Shine like the Stars," "When You Think of Me," "I Will Waste My Life" and "I Give It All." Get ready to experience and encounter the eternal Love of Jesus in these captivating songs.
"Shine like the Stars" is a beautiful prophetic song, with Misty proclaiming "Once condemned to fear of death, We were bound by life's short breadth. With enmity between God and man, Hopelessly we were condemned." Misty clearly loves our Lord and Savior Jesus with all of her heart. Misty passionately professes "Knowing You is eternal, both now and forever…we will shine like the stars." The song has a very catchy and worshipful electronic dance-pop musical style. The song is an amazing reminder of how we are called to be a light for Jesus, everyday, "without complaining or arguing." Amen.
(You can listen to the song here