Husband-and-wife duo Out of the Dust, comprised of Chris and Stephanie Teague, recently released their sophomore album, Now More Than Ever. The new project spans multiple genres and features guest appearances by Dove Award-winning artist Plumb and Christian Hip-Hop favorite, Tony Tillman. The album's sweeping orchestral arrangements sit side-by-side with imaginative pop production and showcase Chris and Stephanie's most personal and important work yet.
Chris and Stephanie Teague took some time to answer a few questions about the songs on the album.
'I Come Alive"
Imagine hearing this pitch for a campaign someone is recruiting you for: "Hey! Do you want to be a part of this movement? Great! Well, all you have to do is die!" Um... yeah. No thanks. But we hear Jesus saying something similar, "You want to be in my Kingdom and find the best life you could ever have? Ok well, it requires that you DIE to yourself."
Ultimately, that's why it's probably harder for those of us in a prosperous nation to accept Jesus' call to die... put simply, we have a lot to lose. This song helps us remember where we were before we said yes to the forgiveness of God for our sins. It also helps us remember that the call to follow Jesus demands all of our "yes's." Not just for the absolution of our sins, but also for the abdication of our lives.
Some people might question all of their life decisions when they're on the road with their kids or family... but it's what we feel called to AND it's how we make it in this world! We've traveled all over the country and we're having the time of our lives. We've slept on sofas and sometimes stayed in world-class B&B's overlooking the mountains or oceans.
This song is a joyful, windows-down celebration born out of years of travel, touring, and our story of divorce, radical redemption, and re-marriage (to each other!). It's an honest but optimistic look into 2 best friends and their kids living life surrendered to Jesus with open hands and hearts. It's hard, but it's worth it.
"Now More Than Ever"
The inspiration for this song was some friends of ours who had "now more than ever" inscribed on the inside of their wedding rings. What seemed so profound was that the "now" wasn't just for when they first put them on... it was for every single moment, good or bad. The "now" would last forever.
The second verse has been one of our favorite verses we've ever written. "Our love is prophecy" can be a bit of a head-scratcher at first, but it's so true of God's heart for our love with fellow believers and within our marriages. God SPEAKS His love to the world and SHOWS what His love is like through the way that we self-sacrifice, forgive, and love one another. That's prophetic. God conveying a message to the world through marriage!
"I Will Go"
Jesus doesn't call us to comfort. We are all missionaries and He calls us to radical living whether we are a CEO or a drive-thru cashier. Time and time again, we have been terrified of taking the steps that God is calling us to take... I don't think we're alone. We're not the only ones that feel scared of saying yes, but we're also not left alone because we have the Spirit of God living within us to give us power. Someone told us that if we are going to truly follow Jesus, then our "yes" should be on the table before we even ask what He wants us to do. Otherwise, why do we even ask?
Don't feel bad if you've said this, but the phrase "speak my truth" has gained some popularity. I think we know what people mean when they say this. I think they're really just saying, "let me be honest" or "here's my opinion." The only problem with the phrase "my truth" is that the subtle lie can creep in that each person can literally experience a different reality than everyone else. Unfortunately, this is the state of our culture. Sadly, it's just one among many other attacks on truth, but believers hold the answer. Either Christianity is true or it isn't... and if it is, then there are some striking truths that many of us are missing. This song and Tony Tillman's rap help us explore the lies we all believe and the truth found in Jesus.
"Love Your Enemies"
We tried really hard to push our boundaries creatively with this upbeat tune. It's gotten one of the biggest responses as we've played it out at live shows.
We wrote it as we've thought about and tried to apply Jesus's rule of love to our lives. Even if a person thinks, looks, or was raised differently, Jesus says, "Love them. Do good to them." We've seen society and culture shift drastically just in our lifetime. It's easier than ever to broadcast your opinion to everyone. Political parties are heavily divided, racial tensions are heated and social issues are in our faces constantly... and everyone's arguing about it. The call to love takes creativity these days. We can't sacrifice the truth for the sake of peace, but we can't ignore Jesus's words to love others radically either.
It almost felt wrong to write the line "So where's this peace you promised?" even though the Psalms are full of questions from David reminding God that he made promises he hadn't kept yet. Yet, scripture models this kind of relationship with God. So, we believe wholeheartedly that God can handle our messy hearts and hard questions when things don't go like we thought they would. This song explores the questions and desperation that came after Chris left our marriage. Plumb's similar marriage redemption story makes her vocals all the more powerful. We pray this song will give voice to the hurting and hope in the healing that can come when we let go.
"I Still Believe In You"
If "Take This" is the most personal song Stephanie has ever sung, then this one is Chris's. It's impossible to go on a journey from belief to atheism and back again without having a radical shift in what "faith" means and how it relates to doubt and hard questions. God's mysteries can challenge us. Doubts can even be a good thing. But as we take steps toward Him and walk through life holding our faith with an open heart, God pursues, keeps promises and "proves" Himself to us. As that relationship is built, it becomes our anchor. So when the questions come and the doubts creep in, we can look to the story He's written with us and trust Him. Because faith is not about the amount of certainty we have... it's about our commitment to trust.
This song is all about our 2 kids and was one of the hardest to write by far. Our kids are young and we wanted this song to live with them and grow with them, not just be a cute lullaby. Something finally clicked when we realized the anchor of the song would be that their lives, their stories, are forever shaped by their prologue... the story of mom and dad. They almost weren't here!
The first verse is for our oldest Asher, whose name means "blessed." The second is for Norah, which means "shining light." We wanted to declare and remind them of who they are, why they are here and also share the deepest truth we learned about life. That suffering is not a barrier between us and God, it's a bridge. Oh yeah... and that we love them so much we could just die.
"Great is Thy Faithfulness"
We definitely went out on a limb with this one. The song is already jazz/classical influenced, but why not just do what we want and lean hard into it? The song has been done 1,000 times... let's just do something different! It features Chris's first electric guitar recording and his first recorded solo. Coupled with a jazz arrangement and Steph's brother lending backup vocals, we really reached on our tippy toes to pull off something simple, but interesting and colorful.
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