I love to write songs about stories or word pictures in the Bible. And more than this, I really love intwining the story with a personal testament of my own spiritual journey. I suppose this makes me more transparent than I might desire on most days, but I really want to relate personally with people. After all, there is never a struggle, never a joy, never a painful experience, never a circumstance that has not been shared by at least one. God has not called me to live separately from the ministry He has given me. I find that writing music actually keeps me in constant check, spiritually, and seems to really help me put life in perspective, and to see the steps of growth as they come. That is pretty exciting.
Recently, one of my greatest friends and spiritual mentors said to me, "The experiences of this spiritual life, are the art that makes a song worth savoring." These words of wisdom are quite profound, and, honestly, they scare me half to death. Life as a Christian songwriter/singer is what I am designed to do. I have a burning passion to make music and to share that with people. Now, more than ever, the Holy Spirit leads me to trudge into the paths of writing deep songs of meaning that the listening heart simply cannot resist. It is a message in song that brings life to God's Word. It would be most convenient if my mind could simply see His words as I read and immediately be inspired with some beautiful symmetry of rhyme. Yes, His Word certainly has that kind of impact, but I know that He wants me to write in response to and through my every experience, every step, every joy, every pain. So many times, that is more than demanding, and more than I think my soul can stand.
One particular song that my focus is on these days is called "Center of my Heart." I venture to say this will become my "testimony" song in ministry. Here at this workstation I begin to write as my mind races through a valley, and over some truly agonizing, yet amazing times. I find myself rumbling words around trying to capture, for the listener, a picture of my heart being a sanctuary. Many of the hours I spend become a self-inflicted struggle where I don't really feel very saved. How can my heart truly be a sanctuary where God's Holy Spirit lives when in the same place there is so much evil? I was saved early in life, at age seven, son of a pastor, and godly mother. I suppose when you're around Christianity all your life, it can make for plenty of time to do too much thinking! The truth is that Jesus came to dwell inside of me, making me His temple, His sanctuary. Quite an awesome awakening unfolds as I sit and truly contemplate the reality of that. God's Holy Spirit really, genuinely, no-strings-attached, forever lives inside me giving life as it was meant to be, whether I feel saved or not. Wow! Suddenly, my spiritual journey is in real perspective. It is an impression in my memory that, after twenty-five years, brings a focus to my walk. Everything that I am facing in order to share a message with people, is working for my good because my Jesus loves me so much and wouldn't have it any other way. There it is! A chorus of words now begins to unveil in an overwhelming motion:
"This blood in my veins, each breath of my soul,
Flows from Your hand ever making me whole.
What is my life if lived apart
From this source of strength in the center of my heart?"
I cannot imagine my life without Jesus. I can actually come through a circumstance and write with humor and joy. He just always seems to make the words come together in perfect rhyme and in perfect peace. I know my journey is so far from complete. I will certainly never be able to retire! The most amazing thing of all this is that I am excited for the next step, and the next, and the next. I want people to see that it is most natural to fear the unknown; but at that point faith can come alive if we are willing. That is what it's all about. Once we experience the joy of God walking with and bringing us through the journey, just in one step, we are compelled by love to go another, and another....This is my ministry, though complicated and daring. I want to see Christians awakened to hope, renewal, and all that God has for us if we just try. I anticipate with eagerness, looking back on the songs as my journey continues. I am convinced that I will look back in awe of this source of strength in the center of my heart. I will have no questions and no regrets.
- "Oh Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among the peoples."
* Words and music for "Center of my Heart" written by Wesley Ray Burrell.
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