As a follow-up to his award-winning song, “Reckless Love,” contemporary artist Cory Asbury has returned with his new album To Love a Fool, which features “Sparrows” and “The Father’s House.” Listen to his new album. You'll love it. For me, I hang onto every single word; the stirring vocals, prayerful lyrics and musical arrangements are breathtaking. Each song has poignant and worshipful messages. Cory is part of Bethel Church's popular worship band, Bethel Music.
Bethel Music has introduced and developed several amazing worship leaders, including Brian and Jenn Johnson (“Have it All”), Kalley Heiligenthal (“Ever Be”), Kristene DiMarco (“It is Well”), Paul and Hannah McClure (“Jesus We Love You”), Josh Baldwin (“Stand In Your Love”), Melissa and Jonathan David Helser, and, of course, Cory Asbury (“Reckless Love”). They have introduced churches to songs such as “One Thing Remains,” “Forever,” “This Is Amazing Grace,” and “No Longer Slaves." I had the chance to speak with Cory about his latest hit, “The Father’s House.”
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
“The Father’s House” was born about two to three years ago before it was entirely written. I was in the middle of a Bethel Music tour. I was tired so I took a few days off. I felt weary, broken, weak, and messed up--all things we can feel as humans. For me, music is therapy. It’s a time where I pour out my heart before the Lord.
I was at a house in Redding, California. And, when I sat down at this beautiful piano, this one phrase came out: “You never wanted perfect." I was trying to process everything in my heart when a light went off in my heart. I realized at that moment it wasn’t about me having it all together.
Even in my weakness and brokenness, it was just about offering my heart in that space. I sang the phrase and I started weeping. The Holy Spirit just filled the room. I was crying and saying that phrase over and over. I recorded it as a voice memo on my phone. It was therapy for my soul. And, oddly enough, the phrase became the second line in the second verse. That’s where this song was birthed.
Out of this place of realization that Father God didn’t want me never to mess up again. He just wanted me to run to Him when I did. That’s it. That’s all He wanted. A couple of years later, I started writing the verses and chorus. I joined up with Hillsong's Ben Hastings as well as songwriter Ethan Hulse and we finished writing the song together.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV): “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
1 Samuel 16:7(NIV): "But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
John 15:4-5(VOICE): "Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing."
Philippians 4:6-7(NIV): “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 12:2(VOICE): "Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete."
1 John 4:18-19(NKJV): "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us."
What is the takeaway message?
When you mess up, don’t hide and sin. Don’t hide in shame. Run to God and give Him back your heart. There are a couple of studies that I’ve read where the strongest heartbeat in the room will cause the other heartbeats to conform to theirs. Whether it’s the speed, calmness, or craziness, the idea is that the strongest heartbeat in the room will regulate the others.
When you walk into the Father’s house, the peace and steadiness of who He is will completely change what you might be feeling at that moment. It regulates all the junk you’re experiencing. When you come into the Father’s house, everything you’re going through--anxiety, fear, and shame--must stop at the door because you come into peace.
In one moment, all your baggage can go and the peace that has been in His heart since eternity can transform you forever. I’ve always felt pressure to produce and show what I’m going through to feel validated. That’s a false idea.
In a time of rest, where this song was born, I was wrestling with the pressure to produce. But, God wanted me to rest. God wants us to come into His presence and be with Him. During this coronavirus pandemic, where we're forced to do nothing rather than find fulfillment in what we do, find rest in God. Embrace Him and turn your house into His house.
Sometimes on this journey I get lost in my mistakes What looks to me like weakness Is a canvas for Your strength And my story isn’t over My story’s just begun And failure won’t define me ‘Cause that’s what my Father does Yeah, failure won’t define me ‘Cause that’s what my Father does
Ooh, lay your burdens down Ooh, here in the Father’s house Check your shame at the door ‘Cause it ain’t welcome anymore Ooh, you’re in the Father’s house
Arrival’s not the end game The journey’s where You are You never wanted perfect
You just wanted my heart And the story isn’t over If the story isn’t good Failure’s never final When the Father’s in the room Failure’s never final When the Father’s in the room
Prodigals come home The helpless find hope Love is on the move When the Father’s in the room Prison doors fling wide The dead come to life Love is on the move When the Father’s in the room Miracles take place The cynical find faith Love is breaking through When the Father’s in the room
The Jericho walls are quaking Strongholds now are shaking Love is breaking through When the Father’s in the room
Love is breaking through When the Father’s in the room
Bethel Music’s ministry has been marked by bringing people into an encounter with God's love through worship and discipleship. Their albums capture the heart of people who are passionate about God and seeking an encounter with His presence. Cory’s albums are also filled with overwhelming biblical truth.
After repeated listens, the songs get deeper with comforting messages of the Bible that God is love, and we love because He first loved us. You can have joy and worship loudly about the love of God in your life. When you’ve encountered the love of God, you won’t be the same.
“The Father’s House” compels me to worship Jesus and profess my own appreciation for His pure love. The song is a gorgeous profession of Cory’s sincere desire to serve Jesus. I get completely overwhelmed by the song's emotion and message, “You never wanted perfect/You just wanted my heart.”
This song celebrates the freedom we are promised in God's Holy Word. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "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. God wants us to believe in the freedom that we have in the cross of Jesus. We're free from our fears, addictions, insecurities, and perfectionism. Jesus came to die for us so that we can truly live in Him.
Cory's song is ultimately about being made in God's image. It does a wonderful job challenging the world's definition of satisfaction and acknowledging spiritual warfare while knowing that Jesus is the answer to all that we want and need. We're all in need of God to fix our beautiful messes in some way. The beauty of grace is that it's freely given, not something we deserve or earn.
The Holy Spirit gives us a new life. We don't have to live anymore with guilt, fears, or worries. We're born again. Our old life is dead. Believing the words of this song is a great way to work on the disciplines of self-examination and prayer.
It takes a while to get quiet in our culture. Unplug, and go deeper with Jesus. I'm completely convicted by the lyrics and find immense comfort in this song. Commit your heart to Jesus as your first love. Sing along loudly, “Love is breaking through/When the Father’s in the room.” Amen to that.
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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