It has been so encouraging to hear the feedback from folks concerning the “Stand Firm” album we released on Sunday. We actually sold out of the first batch, that was a shocker! No worries, we do have some additional copies available now and you can also get your copy on iTunes.
The first song on the project is called “Living Hope” and comes from 1 Peter 1:3-12.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
This passage focuses on the salvation found in Jesus Christ. It speaks of the big picture. Yes, life is hard now, but Jesus’ mercy towards us should keep us standing firm. No matter what, we will stand firm.
It speaks of hope, mercy, resurrection, inheritance, and so many wonderful promises found in the person and work of Jesus Christ!
The melody of the song came from a chord progression I was messing around with one day. It has some unique timing and chord changes, that if done correctly, it doesn’t seem complex. We took verse 3 to serve as the chorus of the song. The next three sections each served as a unit for verse 1, verse 2, and the bridge.
The whole project was meant to utilize more organic instruments, so we wanted the first track to really show where the rest of the songs were heading. That is why we used the hammered dulcimer to take the lead at first. Throughout the song, different instruments and voices weave in and out (guitars, bells, trumpets, vocal color lines, etc.).
When I am asked what my favorite song is from the project, I think I have to say this one due to the simple complexity of it. It is complex but it doesn’t sound that way.
If you really diagram what the band and vocalists are doing throughout, it is a very systematic approach of passing the baton off to one another. I sing the majority of the song, but Angela McCall adds a verse and some great ad-libs. Peggy McHugh is adding some oohs and aahs through it that you might not even notice but adds such depth to the parts.
The song reaches this level of intensity for me at the bridge where the dulcimer begins this driving line. I have a hard time playing it and singing it sitting down. The music builds with the Scripture so, I feel like I am coming out of my chair. How can you not get excited about the resurrection of Jesus and the inheritance coming to Christians?!
In the second half of the bridge, listen for how different musicians and singers start attacking it from every angle. I love it – gets me so fired up!
There is something great to be able to sing the truths of God’s Word through music. What an honor.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.