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#1092 - "All Together" by Mike Donehey
Former Tenth Avenue North frontman shares the inspiration behind his catchy new song

Posted: October 19, 2021 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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By all accounts, contemporary hit makers Tenth Avenue North was a leader in terms of recognition in the music industry, but they were completely aware that that isn't God's definition of what it means to lead. 
For more than 10 years, the band dominated the charts, starting with the Dove Award winning "By Your Side" and "Love Is Here." The band chalked up a list of hits, including “I Have This Hope” and “Greater Than All My Regrets.” Hits that have touched many listeners at one point or another.
Many fans were disappointed when Tenth Avenue North called it quits in 2021. But, the band’s vocals live on through former lead singer Mike Donehey, who releases his first solo album, Flourish.
Each song on the collection is a confessional and authentic expression of faith. They’re poignant and powerful. The songs also showcase a more seasoned level of songwriting, intensity, and intentionality. I had the chance to speak with Mike about his catchy new song, “All Together.”

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
Apostle Paul says something very strange in 2 Corinthians 12: “I will boast therefore in my weaknesses.” That statement is very strange and very counterintuitive. We recently had the much-delayed Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. And if you noticed, each participant didn’t boast in weakness. They boasted in strength. The game organizers boasted in attendance. We, as artists, boast in number one hits. Paul says we boast in weakness. 
In 2 Corinthians 4, he says we have treasure in jars of clay. The reason we have treasure in a container that’s not impressive is not to show power in us, but from God. 
The irony is that we think we need to polish up our container and show off how awesome our container is. Paul says no, the container is broken on purpose so we can see what’s inside. I wrote this song with music producer Micah Kuiper.
There is something sacred that happens when addicts get together in a recovery circle. They know they will be met with 100 percent acceptance, and, thus, can be vulnerable. There’s a holy divine thing that happens in that moment, and my best friend, who is an addictions counselor, said he’s never experienced a greater sense of the presence of God than in those moments.

When writing this song with Micah, I realized we often celebrate people sharing their testimonies of past struggles, not current ones.
 We like to hear about God redeeming us from difficulties, but we don’t as much like hearing about God redeeming us through difficulties. If you do have a struggle, you need to go to a special group. 

We are so terrified about sharing our struggles, and yet Paul was so certain of the grace of God, he would boast in his weaknesses. “All Together” encourages people not only to take that first step towards vulnerability but also to take part in radical acceptance of those who do.
What Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Psalm 51:10-11 (NKJV): "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me."

Isaiah 29:13 (NIV): The Lord says: “These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
James 5:16 (NASB): “Therefore, confess your sings to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV): "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
Galatians 2:19 (MSG): “What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So, I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”
What is the takeaway message?

Many of us can’t imagine confession being a beautiful thing because when we’ve tried it, we’ve been met with shame or hatred. James 5:16 says: “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” 
1 John says that if we confess our sins to Him, He forgives us, but confess to each other to be healed. It’s taking the steps to be vulnerable yourself and confess so much that you move into pre-confession. If you get so comfortable confessing your faults, you start confessing your motives. Healing comes from confession.
What if we prepared ourselves so that when someone comes to us with a confession, we don’t interrogate them? What if instead we meet them with grace. To be a safe shelter. And, to set them—and ourselves—free as part of one another’s healing? If that’s you, pray that each of you are healed. Remember, healing comes from community. 
As you get comfortable being vulnerable, you become a safe place for another person. The message of the song starts with me, and it starts with you. It’s going to take ourselves to cultivate the kind of life we want to see each other live. Don’t drive people into secrecy. But help them come into the light. 
Sometimes, when people try confession, they’re met with judgment. So, find someone safe who won’t judge you. And when you find that grace, become a safe place for someone else.
No more playing Mr. Nice Guy
I’m done pretending
That I’m alright
I fake a laugh
Keep acting upper class
Like I’ve never had
A struggle in my whole life
Can I tell you
The state I’m in
Cracks are where
The light gets in
Maybe we don’t have to
Have it all together
What if grace made it safe
To tell you the truth
Maybe we can make
A shelter for each other
Turning lies into light
And we’ll make it through
All together, all together
Love keeps our
Broken pieces all together
I want a church that
Looks like twelve steps
Where all are
Honest and accepted
But it’s gonna take
Myself to cultivate
The kind of life that
Others haven’t seen yet
Do I dare tell you
The state I’m in
Cracks are where
The light gets in
Maybe we don’t have to
Have it all together
What if grace made it safe
To tell you the truth
Maybe we can make
A shelter for each other
Turning lies into light
And we’ll make it through
All together, all together
Love keeps our
Broken pieces all together
Am I the only one
Who struggles here and now
Am I the only one
Who wrestles with my doubt
And if I tell you all my secrets
Will you go running out
There’s only one way to find out
There’s only one way to find out

Maybe we don't have to
Have it all together

What if grace made it safe
To tell you the truth
Maybe we can make
A shelter for each other
Turning lies into light
And we’ll make it through
All together, all together
Love keeps our
Broken pieces all together
All together, all together
Love brings our
Broken pieces all together
Closing Thoughts
No matter your situation, Mike Donehey has music— “Hold My Heart,” “Worn,” “I Have This Hope,” and “All Together—that can bring healing.
He consistently makes musical reminders to help move you into humble submission to God. Music that pushes you to ask God to be real in your life. It would be powerful if you could start to show your witness to others not only in times of hardship, but also by leaning into Him and showing your joy celebrating Him.
This song, one of the best of the year, exemplifies the strong combination of catchy music, and moving lyrics and vocals. I can't get enough of the song’s biblical truth.
Know that being His is enough. God wants to fill you with His light and His mercy to make you new. The Lord's glory and His strength are found in your weakness. This song celebrates that truth.
I get swept up in the profession of "All Together," which reflects the cry of my heart. Even when we're saved, we beat ourselves up about failure. Unworthy of God's love. That's the point: we aren't worthy. We can't earn grace. It's a gift of unmerited favor from God to His children. 
Romans 5:8 tells us, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Despite our sins, God still thinks of us as His children: sons and daughters. That's if we've accepted Jesus as our substitute and Savior.
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: “Maybe we don’t have to have it all together/What if grace made it safe to tell you the truth/Maybe we can make a shelter for each other/Turning lies into light and we’ll make it through, All together.” Amen to that.

NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a long-time 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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