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#863 - "Broken Things" by Matthew West
Matthew West shares the paradigm shift that fueled his latest single.

Posted: October 05, 2017 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Matthew West's trilogy of albums before All In were inspired by digging deeper into more than 40,000 stories shared with him from people all over the world. Seven years and three albums later, these stories have had a profound ripple effect, beginning with 2010's The Story of Your Life, Into the Light in 2012 and continuing through 2015's Live Forever. From West's trilogy of story-inspired albums, I've previously spoken with Matthew about "My Own Little World," "Strong Enough," "Forgiveness," "Do Something," "Day One" and "Grace Wins" for behind the song devotionals.

"God has spoken to me in a powerful way as I've spent time in the cabin, my place of solitude, to work on this new album," shares West about his new project and single. "I had a hard time getting through the writing and recording process on this song without choking up--it brings me to tears and into a place of worship. The fact that God still uses me blows me away. There are a lot of times that I feel broken and unqualified for God to use me, but day after day He invites me into the gates and says 'I'm going to use you in a powerful way' because our God is in the business of using broken people and broken things." I had the chance to speak with Matthew about "Broken Things."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

I started 2017 at a cabin for a writing retreat for about six weeks starting back in January. Originally the cabin was built by Alan Jackson for his songwriting, but he sold the property and his friends said I could use the cabin for my songwriting. "Broken Things" was one of the early songs that I had written. I had an idea for the song a while back while I was working on the last album with the idea of "use the broken." The whole concept I was living with was that I tend to choose for God which parts of my life I want to be highlighted, like I was living my life as a Facebook profile. We pick our highlights, and we choose the best of us that we want the world to see. I have felt overwhelmingly time and time again, and seen it in other people's lives as well as my own, that God wants us to give Him the rest of ourselves as well. 

This song came from a very personal place, and this writing retreat came right after I finished writing a book. With the book, I was telling a lot of my story and it began to unlock things as I started to write songs for this album. With this song, it is a personal expression of my journey of faith. If I had to sum it up, I've never quite felt like I belong or that I'm good enough, but God is in the business of daily reminding us of what we see as worthless and turning it into something incredible that can change the world. In many ways, I'm the broken thing that I'm singing about in this song.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 30:11-12 (The Voice): "You did it: You turned my deepest pains into joyful dancing; You stripped off my dark clothing and covered me with joyful light. You have restored my honor. My heart is ready to explode, erupt in new songs! It's impossible to keep quiet! Eternal One, my God, my Life-Giver, I will thank You forever."

Isaiah 6:8 (The Voice): "Then I heard the Lord's voice. Eternal One: Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us? Isaiah: Here I am! Send me."

Hebrews 13:8 (NIV): "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

1 John 3:1 (NLT): "See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don't recognize that we are God's children because they don't know Him."

What is the takeaway message?

I think Scripture is trying to tell us something if you open it up and read it. The Bible is a character by character reminder that like the song says, it's never the perfect, but it's always the ones with the scars that God picks. That's one of the real powerful thoughts that gets me inspired to get up and go to work every day. God's not looking for perfection in us. He's looking for willingness. 

Specifically one of my favorite vivid images in Scripture is Peter. He was a guy who wanted to go all in for God and was fierce in his determination that he would never deny Jesus. He wanted to be Jesus's right hand man so badly, and when push came to shove, he denied Jesus. You would have thought that Jesus would give up on him, and Peter gave up on himself. After Jesus was crucified, Peter went back to being a fisherman. I love the scene where Jesus is standing at the shore and calls out and invites Peter to have breakfast. I love that. Jesus calls Peter the rock that His church is going to be built on. The guy who once crumbled under the pressure is now the rock of Jesus's church. 

I think that's one of the big inspirations for me in this song, in my own life, and in the message I am supposed to deliver to people through my music. When I get on stage, I imagine that there are people who are discouraged just like me in wondering how God could possibly use them. Oftentimes, that's a thought that keeps us from going all in. It's not because you don't want to. Peter wanted to go all in, but he messed up and the devil made him feel he was disqualified. That's what happens in our lives. In many ways this is an entire album telling people that if you are listening to this, it's not too late to go all in. Mistakes don't disqualify you. God still has great plans for you.

If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don't deserve to pass through after all the mistakes that I've made

Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, "Child, don't you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown"

Now I'm just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it's true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I'm all Yours

The pages of history they tell me it's true
That it's never the perfect; it's always the ones with the scars that You use

It's the rebels and the prodigals; it's the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there's hope for sinners like me

Now I'm just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it's true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I'm all Yours

Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There's a seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside

My behind the song ministry started in 2008. I featured Matthew's song "The Motions" as song #41 in the series, which perfectly aligns with Matthew's music ministry these past 10 years. This is our 8th song discussion and 863rd song in my series. We are both telling the stories and Scripture connected to these songs of faith. Right from the opening notes you'll be captivated by "All In." The strong message "that it's never the perfect; it's always the ones with the scars that You use" celebrates that "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever" and that God takes broken things and makes them beautiful.

I get swept up in the profession of "Broken Things," which reflects the cry of my heart with lyrics that connect to my life verse Isaiah 6:8: "Here I am, send me," which Matthew rephrases "Here I am Lord, I'm all Yours." This song is truly a sing-along chorus that we can all adopt as believers. I think the key for me is how that Isaiah 6 passage comes alive for me in this song. That Bible verse stirs me to answer my calling as a Christian to do God's will. I'm consistently praying that I have the courage to say, "Here I am, send me" when God calls me. This song is a great prayer and answer to that call.

This song and album celebrates the freedom we are promised in God's Holy Word (2 Corinthians 5:17): "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Christians are new creations on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives us new life, and we don't have to live anymore with our guilt, fears or worries. We are born again, and we need to live as children of God. What I love about this song is that it includes a testimony of submission to the Lord that we can all pray about our personal struggles. Our weaknesses are nothing to hide. In fact, because of our weaknesses God's grace and strength are perfectly revealed. Join in and sing loudly: "But if it's true You use broken things, then here I am Lord, I'm all Yours." Amen to that!

Watch the music video below.


NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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