The story behind the song “All Things New” is very different from many songs that I write. In one way, this song idea has been developing for a long time, but in other ways, this song took a short time to actually finish.
When I had a weeklong class up at Southern Seminary back in January 08, I took my acoustic guitar and my M-Audio Axiom 25 keyboard with me to the hotel room I stayed in for the week. I decided I was going to make myself do some writing. The keyboard is a great tool. It doesn’t need any power cable, it hooks into my MacBook laptop through a USB cable and the computer powers it on. I opened up the program Reason which creates drum loops, synth sounds, and basically any noise you can imagine.
I was in a writer’s block one snowy night up at Southern (doesn’t that sound so poetic?). So I just started making this loop of drums, strings, synths, and piano riffs. It was nothing complex – very simple actually. But I let that play, I got out my guitar and Bible and just started singing Scripture along with this loop.
I didn’t write any words down. I mainly sang different names for God and different phrases to describe Him. I actually just let that loop play for a long time that night and played different chords to it and sang different lines to it. I just had a worship service there.
After seminary, I didn’t think of that song again until we made the decision to record the CD in May 08. As I started sifting through all the different song ideas I had floating around, I came back to that loop. I started playing it, and when the strings would swell, I heard this rising melody. The line would later become, “Hallelujah, You make all things new.” But before I got to that line, I had about every other possible line. I knew I wanted “hallelujah” there, but I tried to insert the following: “You do all things well…no one’s like our God…Jesus Christ still reigns…You still amaze me God…” I never could land on something.
So I finally did the smart thing: I reopened God’s Word. I eventually landed in Revelation 21 on these words:
3And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,
4and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new ” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
6Then He said to me, “It is done I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
7“He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.
I was sure that I had landed onto the essence of this song. Jesus Christ is the only one that can make all things new. As I thought about our congregation and all that individually and corporately we were enduring, one promise gave me hope – Jesus makes all things new. There is no marriage He can’t repair, no sins He can’t forgive, no life He can’t restore – He makes all things new.
That afternoon, Cory, Jamie, and myself went into the auditorium to tweak some sound issues and I started playing that song on my bass and told them to jump in there and improv. I just started listing different things I was thankful for Christ changing in my life (took my sins away, removed my guilt and shame, wiped every tear away, death has lost its final say), and the only logical result is: Hallelujah, You make all things new.
Honestly, I was just trying the song out, and Cory stopped and said, “Please tell me you wrote that song.”
“Because if it is, that’s the best one you have ever written.”
Gee thanks, Cory. Cory and I have been writing songs together since we were in junior high. Note to self: Cory thinks songs on the spot are way better than songs that I deliberate on for a long time.
So I went back to my office, and I put these words down on paper.
I then went into Anthony’s studio, recorded this demo of the song (me on vocals and acoustic, Anthony on the keyboard playing some drums), let the band hear it, and our band recorded the song without ever playing it together. We each just did our own part. You can listen to the demo here, but to hear the real version, you will need to pick up a copy (they will be here on Sunday).
Praise Jesus, because no matter what the situation is, He still is in the business of making all things new.
All Things New:
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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