So, you might be asking, what inspired the songs on Living By The Stream’s album? Below is a short story about each of the pieces on the CD. Please, take a moment and read about the history behind the works found on the album!
The Stories Behind the Songs
Let us introduce a scene to you full of the beauty and serenity of God’s handiwork. Needing a break from the day’s hectic activity, you take a walk near the riverbank. It is a fine Spring day and you feel the fresh, active wind whisper past your ears. Along the edge of stream you are met by row upon row of strong, vigorous trees. Their roots form a tangled net twisting across the bank. Doused in a film of green and braided deep into the water, they take hold of the river floor with a viselike grip.
In the same way, we as believers are to remain anchored to Jesus Christ with such a grasp. According to the Bible, there are deep and magnificent blessings in living by the stream. It brings life and prosperity to those who delight in God’s law. Both the name of this piece and the title of the band were taken from Psalm 1 in hopes of revealing through music this awe-inspiring connection between Christians and the Creator.
There are times when it is difficult to see the purpose God has for our lives. Yet, Christ has called each of us to find those unique ambitions and goals that He has placed specifically within each human heart. Every life has an impact that reverberates throughout eternity, and because of this, it is extremely important to find our purpose before time passes us by. In this song, it is our goal to depict Who inspires, illuminates, and strengthens each human life. It calls on God to seal His children’s devotion, as roots clad in iron.
Living the life that Christ has called us to pursue can be a challenge, especially when surrounded by individuals of different persuasions, beliefs, and ideologies. Yet Jesus has called us to walk out our lives in service to Him, thus revealing to all the truth of our allegiance and identity. To walk the talk is to live with the reality of our Christian faith firmly apparent – to clearly, confidently, and boldly live the righteous life Christ calls His believers to in the Bible. This piece is an instrumental cry not only to speak about Christ, but to actively live as a true believer.
Chased, followed, pursued, hunted, tracked, trailed, followed, shadowed – these are all words that express God’s unceasing action to seek us out and envelope us in His love.
Those who do not know Jesus are on a wild but steady chase. Christ, who is the “Hound of All Heaven,” hunts them down. He wants all to know the beauty and saving power of His deep love, and so He pursues until the one being chased can run no more.
Then the actual meaning of grace settles into the heart of the hunted, and he or she can resonate with the words of Francis Thompson’s marvelous poem “The Hound of Heaven.” This piece is an attempt to musically portray the chase between the God of the universe and the beings He has made.
A myriad of different rock types describe the relationship between God and His children. Jesus is called the “Cornerstone” and the “Stone of Zion.” Believers are called to be “living stones.” The Bible also refers to “wood and stone” as objects used to express sin in the tangible form of man-made idols. In this song, we intend to reveal the precious quality of our “Living Stone,” Jesus Christ. He is the Rock on which our hope is built. He has forgiven us for the idol worship that we used to be enslaved to and has made us into a Holy Nation, God’s own possession (1 Peter 2:9).
According to Acts 2, the Holy Spirit is “like the blowing of a violent wind.” It can rush upon the children of God in a way that is comparable to the violent quality of a great and piercing wind. This is a beautiful word picture, revealing an often forgotten characteristic of the Holy Spirit. The violin weaves in an out of this instrumental piece, attempting to signify the mighty, unfathomable power and wisdom of God through the Holy Spirit.
A young friend of ours once led a devotion in which he spoke with deep, heartfelt honesty about humanity’s need for the saving grace of Jesus Christ. This individual seemed to be crying out for the listeners to receive salvation and become witnesses of Christ’s great sacrifice on the cross. After listening to this passionate plea, God gifted us with the melodies of this piece. This instrumental work is meant to represent the resounding “cry for salvation” that God has planted in His children and intended to reach every human heart.
We are never guaranteed the length of our lives. Many die before the time seems fitting. Sometimes the heavenward call comes when all the vibrancy of life – its excitement, anticipation, ambition, and energy – is at its fullest. This piece speaks to the fact that life does not end with death. Rather, life is an eternal adventure.
If we have accepted the grace of Jesus Christ, we are called heavenward, not to lose our ambitions, but to fulfill them to their greatest capacity. We are to pursue and complete the ambitions God has planted in our hearts, just as we were led to do in our earthly lives. But in heaven, we will have the beautiful reward of being able to give those noble ambitions entirely to Jesus.
When attempting to share our passion for Christ, we are sometimes met with blank stares or awkward opposition, making the absence of real communication unmistakably clear. Mathew 10:14 reveals some insight as to how Christ viewed such moments. We are told to shake the dust off our feet and move on, considering the encounter but also looking forward to the next opportunity to share just the same. In this piece, we try to capture the mixed set of feelings that often come with shaking the dust off.
There is a beautiful drive through the Rocky Mountains called Bear Tooth Pass. Never having seen mountains of such magnitude, Sarah was caught in an unshakable state of wonder as she drove through the pass with a music ensemble in the summer of 2016. The biting cold, spirited wind, the shifting shadows of clouds, and the majesty of these snow-capped, raw mountains made her feel the amazing might of God’s handiwork. The experience moved her deeply, resulting in the lyrics of this song.
In the piece, she seeks to express the illumination she received from the God of the Rockies (i.e. the God of the Bible) and to portray the relationship between the mountains and their Creator. The violin carries a resounding backdrop to the piece, inferring a panoramic view of this majestic mountain range, while the guitar drives home a symbolic picture of God’s thumb molding and carving out the Rockies at the creation of the world.
Memories invade our hearts when we consider the history of this piece. The crux of the tune was formed before Living By The Stream was a figment in our imagination. It began as just a fun melody to throw around at home, during church gatherings in the park, or at a little downtown cafe. When deciding to record the piece, we realized that there were some vital parts needed. It was then that the piece truly began to find a deeper place in our hearts and take on the form you can now listen to on the album.
The opening is contemplative, if not somewhat pensive, revealing a deep heart cry to be known, comforted, and loved. It is perhaps lonely and searching. Out of this reverie, however, joy seems to suddenly burst forth, representative of what Christ does when we decide to trust Him in the midst of our hurt. He takes on our loneliness, worry, shame, wickedness, and regret, crying out for all the world to hear, “Let me bear that for you, as your friend, brother, father, and Lord!”
It is in this way that God takes all of our entire life and being in hand. No matter what the fear, the danger, and hopelessness, He tells us not to worry about the coming days, but to plant and anchor our trust in Him, gazing at life in the light of eternity.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?