Song Explanation: Redirection

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
– 2 Corinthians 5:17

2012 was a watershed year for Flight Metaphor, and it started with Redirection. I recorded an acoustic demo of the song in December of the previous year, but it wasn’t until we started working on it as a band that things really came together. The result is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written, and I think it’s the best representation that exists of Flight Metaphor 2.0 (Me, Bill, Cody, and Brad). Bill’s drumming plays off of Brad’s bass line, and they carry the song as Cody’s lead guitar dances on top of everything. What I’m playing on rhythm guitar takes a backseat to what the band is doing, which really isn’t something I could say about our earlier work.

We started playing the song at shows the following spring, and it was incredibly well-received – more so than any new song we’ve ever introduced. We had just started planning for a full-length album, but when people started asking us how they could get ahold of Redirection, we knew it couldn’t wait. We changed our plans and recorded the Redirection EP right away.

Lyrically, Redirection is a snapshot of who I was five years ago. I look back on those days and see a lonely, clingy mess; someone who was unwilling to accept change, someone who kept coming back to the same wells long after they’d run dry. By the grace of God I can sing this song in hindsight, but I think one of the reasons I still enjoy it is because throughout my life I’ve found myself asking God for mini resurrections. The joy of knowing Christ isn’t that I was “saved” only when I first asked Jesus into my heart – his salvation is as real and as necessary for me today as it was over 20 years ago. His Holy Spirit continually works in and on me, redirecting and sanctifying me all the days of my life. I may mess up from time to time, but my hope is in Jesus’ resurrection. The old has gone; the new is here!

BONUS: Listen to and download the original demo of Redirection below.

Where did I go wrong?
I’m off the beaten path once again
I need a redirection
A tiny resurrection in my soul
‘Cause I get so distracted
I find myself attracted to what I
know will never pay off
But still, I always come back to it

Redirect my heart
Resurrect my soul

Give me better vision
Help me see what matters in this life
‘Cause there is no division
Between the so-called sacred and profane
I need to learn to let go
But man, I’m used to holding on so tight
When everything is changing
But you have never left me to myself

And I know that every empty feeling passes
In time you’ll do your healing
And I’ve put my hope in who I know is steadfast

You can stream and purchase Flight Metaphor via Bandcamp, iTunes, and Spotify.

Song Explanation: Echoes

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
– Isaiah 59:1

Echoes is a simple song of devotion that I wrote in one sitting on January 18th, 2013 (I only remember the date because I originally posted the demo to soundcloud with the title “New Song 20130118” 🙂 ). I had observed that whenever I sit down to write a song, I’m generally drawn to more melancholy themes and lyrics – I blame all the emo and indie music I listened to in high school! This time though, I intentionally chose to write something a little more hopeful.

Sometimes life can feel like a steady progression of disillusionment, but I like to believe that innocence and youthful optimism are still locked away in our souls somewhere – and they’re actually accessible. Echoes is a song about reclaiming that innocence. There are plenty of reasons to be cynical or jaded towards the world, but all of it is conquered by the blood of Jesus. In this world we will have trouble, but take heart, for Jesus has overcome the world! Where, o death, is your sting? With these themes in mind, Echoes acknowledges the pain and struggles of life, but like any good Psalm it ends by proclaiming hope and confidence in what God has promised.

Recording the song was a dream come true. Charlie Lowell of Jars of Clay lent his talents by contributing a subtly tasteful Wurlitzer piano to the piece. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been a hardcore Jars fan for nearly 20 years, so I’ll openly admit that I had tears in my eyes the first time I heard the keyboard track – before it was even added to the mix!

By the way, Charlie has a new project of musical collaborations called Hollow // Hum. If you like the work he did on Echoes, you’ll love what he’s doing now. Click here to check it out.

Somewhere in the corners of my wildest dreams
I hear your whispers and their lingerings
The echoes of your voice still calling me
Return to my first love
Remember what it was

Hope, she calls,
cutting through the noise
of every lie I once believed
Promising a reason
and a purpose for my days
And so I sing

There’s such a loneliness that sticks around
So many things that could have brought me down
But I’m not giving up, I’m not far from
Your saving arm’s reach
This broken heart still beats

(I still hear you; I still hear you, Lord)

You can stream and purchase Flight Metaphor via Bandcamp, iTunes, and Spotify.

Song Explanation: Every Hidden Thing

Every Hidden Thing
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
– 1 John 1:6

Back in 2013, I originally imagined the new record as a concept album called Light Songs for Heavy Souls, and I wanted each song to take the listener on a journey from darkness to light. Every Hidden Thing would have been a pivotal song where the subject matter of doubt, sin, and shame effectively got “burned away” by a conversion experience.

I’m not quire sure how it happened, but the spaciest, most dynamic song on Flight Metaphor also ended up being the most biblically-inspired. Throughout the entire song, I’m playing around with the biblical metaphors of fire, light, and blood as agents of purification. Two passages of scripture in particular, 1 John 1:5-9 and Zechariah 13 had the most influence on my choice of imagery:

“I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.”
– Zechariah 13:9 (Click here for the full chapter)

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
– 1 John 1:5-9

Musically, I wrote Every Hidden Thing as a love letter to Thrice’s 2009 album, Beggars. I know I’ve mentioned their influence on my songwriting many times before, but if you haven’t listened to this album yet, do it now.

Stuck in between material things
and the unseen
We play in the dark with complete disregard
for the sunrise

Burn it all away
Every hidden thing is set on fire
Step into the light
Expose the underside
And come out clean

Blood washes clean
Flame purifies every misdeed
Walk in the light
As he is in the light

You can stream and purchase Flight Metaphor via Bandcamp, iTunes, and Spotify.

Summer Sermons

I recently had the privilege of filling the pulpit at Community Covenant Church for four weeks. Rather than creating a series of topical messages, I preached from the Revised Common Lectionary. You can listen to each message below or subscribe to CCC’s sermon audio podcast.

May 22nd, 2016: Suffering and Hope Primary Text: Romans … [Continue reading]

Song Explanation: Draw Your Lines

Draw Your Lines “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” Isaiah 19:25

The words for Draw Your Lines were written on the heels of one of the most wonderful and nerve-wracking experiences of my life. Draw Your Lines is one of the last songs I wrote for … [Continue reading]