Over the years, Kevin Davis has interviewed Leslie Jordan and David Leonard 10 times for his Behind the Song devotional series. So as All Sons & Daughters releases their collection, we'll share a collection of our own of some of our favorite quotes from these 10 interviews.
David: "The thought of surrender to God, "not our will but Yours be done, Lord" is based on how completely healing comes from God. Whatever has happened in the past, whatever we are going through now or in the future, we need to lay it at the feet of Jesus and we can only stand in His power. That absolute surrender to God has transformed us from a place of lament to a place where we are finding freedom to worship like we've never seen before and it is truly beautiful."
David: "If we're honest, it's a lot easier to talk about and fully embrace the seasons when God's goodness feels so real, those proverbial spiritual mountaintops where faith is effortless and life's little circumstances are easily explained. But when life is hard and heartache and confusion inevitably reign, what do we do with those moments, and how do we actually worship God in the midst of them? I think that's one of the biggest problems in the modern church right now. We don't always give people permission to feel these things. When things are going wrong, we tell them 'It's okay, God's taking care of it.' But if you read the Psalms, David is never afraid to express exactly what he's feeling, so that gave us the freedom to be honest and transparent."
David: "We can't be swayed by feelings, like a camp experience. Not that those are wrong, but we need to take those experiences and ground them in Truth and in who God is. Then we can sustain those moments. Being swayed by our emotions won't last long, because there will be things in our lives that will cause us to come off those high moments. God calls us to and designed us to have those moments and those feelings. At the same time, we have to stay grounded and rooted in what we know is true--God and His Word."
Leslie: "I think a lot about friends I haven't seen for five years; when we reconnect, we talk about the same things we talked about five years ago. You missed all of this time and each other's lives. Your relationship with God is the same. You can't miss spending time with Him or you'll miss out. If you like listening to music, then songs are one way to connect with Him and it is one way to center yourself and keep your connection with the Lord each day. It is a working relationship. Our pastor spoke about the banquet story in the Bible. God has no problem passing over those that are invited to the banquet and don't show up. If we remain uninterested in our relationship with God, we miss the beauty of what He has for us. I think it is all about your desire to know Jesus deeper on a daily basis."
Leslie: "We were just talking about ... the irony that God pours out His breath to us and then receives that same breath back from us in worship. I think that's essentially the truth and goodness that He gives to us, and in turn, He receives it as an offering of worship and a submission from His children. That's really powerful, and it is such a symbol of the humility of God that He would not only pour out but receive back something as simple as our breath and our praise."
Leslie: "Anytime we get together with other writers, we spend a lot of time getting to know each other. We talked a lot about the Church, and Leeland shared this chorus with us that he had for "Christ be all around me." He was sitting in McCreary's in Franklin, Tennessee, and the prayer of Saint Patrick is written all around the top of the walls of the restaurant: "Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me... Leeland thought that would make an awesome song. So he wrote 'Above and below me, before and behind me, in every eye that sees me, Christ be all around me.' He started singing it, and we started going nuts."
David: This song came from looking at the old hymn "I Surrender All," and when we thought about Francis' life, it was a perfect match up. Francis had money and everything that he could desire, but God began to shift his heart and his spirit towards rebuilding the church. The thought of dying to ourselves and dying to our own desires and thinking about the hymn meshed up so beautifully.
Leslie: We took a trip to Europe together last summer as a group to study these poets and saints. It began in community. We had 13 people together on a bus, and we studied the lives of these people and made a small group curriculum along with the songs. This song started in one place, and we ended up bringing Saint Patrick into the story of the song. Looking at his story and the parallels of this song, the whole bridge comes out of his profession. It's an adaptation of his journal entry.
Leslie: "I love the picture that Psalm 73 paints that in the middle of my heart and my flesh failing, God is my strength and my portion forever, which we reference in the song. We wanted this song to be a connection to William's suffering and sorrow. We spent time in the Olney Hymns and his personal writings and found this one stanza: 'the path of sorrow, and that path alone, leads to the land where sorrow is unknown. No traveler ever reach that blessed abode thorns and briars in his road.' Those thoughts bookend the song. It starts with the path of sorrow and ends with the thorns and briars. We started with that and connected it with Scripture."
Leslie: "Even singing the phrase 'this my inheritance,' which is old language, is to look at the truth behind the words. There is even more depth to Scripture than we realize. When we read that our inheritance will never spoil or fade, what did Peter mean by that? Because it is from the Bible, and we have the ability to dive in. For me that has become imperative to me, to dig deeper into God's Word. We can study the reason for those words and think about how they apply to us. We get excited when we sing 'I'll see my Savior's face,' because we can experience the goodness of God together now."
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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