As a youth pastor, I’m all for contemporary worship music from western countries. But every once in a while, you chance upon a powerful song written from the sincere depths of one’s heart; and when you unearth a local gem like this, you know it’ll be a timeless song that you and I will sing for generations to come.
My exhortation to all worship leaders – keep close to God and write songs of breakthrough for your generation.
Make A Certain Breakthrough
By Ps Ann Chan & Ruth Ling
In my life of searching
For the plain and simple way
Many paths were so winding
The roads were never straight
Then the Spirit of God broke through
And healed my broken wings
And showed me the way into His heart
And I know that God is leading
In a clear and certain way
My one life for your purpose, Jesus
I offer up this day
To follow you completely
To do all that you say
Cleanse my life, fill me up
And use me this day
Make a certain breakthrough
Make it today
In these days of danger
Lord, we rest upon Your grace
With Your tender and skillful hands
You shape this stubborn clay
Yes, You calm my inmost being
Giving courage to hope again
And to build this one life
In power and faith
It’s been a pretty long Saturday and it’s gonna be an even longer Sunday so I shall keep it simple tonight. I became thankful for the journey I’ve taken as a song-writer when I found handwritten lyrics to Roller Coaster in one of my notebooks. This song-writing event took place at a FhLY jam session in L3 Hall. When RL first played the signature electric guitar introduction, I asked him what image came to his mind. He said, “Like I’m taking a roller coaster”. That was it – and after countless revisions, here’s the version that we recorded for the No One Else album. I’m pretty proud of this track! (Too bad I can’t upload the MP3 unless I purchase a Space Upgrade…)
I soar up and slide back down
Life is like the weather, never really in my control
Time is like an earthquake, happening without warning
This is a crazy roller coaster ride
I feel great; nothing can stand in my way
The world’s at my feet, it’s like I’m delirious on God
Invincible, I’ll try the impossible
Spinning round and round, falling up and down
So watch me, I’ll rise again
Walk with me through barren lands
Now and then I feel dry, wishing You would rain down again
Am I an act of real pretence?
Thriving on the high, I just broke down from my breakthrough
Words: Joey Asher
Music: Joey Asher & Ricky Liang
Written on: 26th January 2003
Revised on: 4th October 2008
My first-ever self-composed song is called “Neighbour” and I wrote it when I was 18, when I barely knew how to play the guitar and with the only four chords that my fingers could press – G, C, D, Em. This simple song was about the Good Samaritan. A couple of years later, I formed a band with present it to my band, and performed it soon after.
I’m not a prolific or an accomplished song writer like DH or SL but I’ve written a number of songs along the way. I’m a lot better with writing words than music and so I always pay greater attention to the lyrics than the melody. In my journey as composer, I’ve written songs themed on falling in and out of love, worship, about my history, current affairs, popular topics and of course, those inspired by scriptures. Over a decade, I realised that songs based on scripture always stand the test of time; these songs are timeless because they’re based on the everlasting Word of God! Hence, I’m inclined to write more spiritual and scriptural songs these days simply because I want my songs to last.
One of my personal favourite scriptural song is “Tears in a Bottle”, which is inspired by Psalm 56. I remember writing it at my place together with RL and we completed it in about an hour. Upon finalisation, we just knew this would be a good song. He was confident of the melody and I, of the lyrics; I had a listen to one of our live recordings recently and it’s strange to say this, but my own song inspired me to draw closer to God! I’d like to attribute it to the combination of these two components – its lyrics speak to your spirit and its melody speaks to your soul. Simply put, it’s a song that ministers!
There are many ways to write a song but in my humble opinion, there’s nothing better than to write a song based on scripture. If the Word of God has lasted all the ages and still continues to speak to people, then I’m confident that a song based on the Word will last for a long time and continue to speak to people after a long time!
TEARS IN A BOTTLE
V1: Your love is a shelter over my head / In times of fear / The world can destroy my faith today / But I’m not afraid / Many tear me down to see me hurt / They stab me from the back / The ones who wage war against my soul / Oh Lord, please take them away from me
PC1: In Your love, a voice sheds light on me / In Your hope, I hang my portraits of faith on the walls of / My shattered hopes and broken dreams
C: I look at the stars, I gaze at the moon / And marvel at the wonderful You / When I am afraid, I won’t hide my head / I know it’s because You’ve carried me through / Sometimes I’m attacked, sometimes I get scared / But what can mere men do to me? / You watch my footsteps, You carve me a way / Tears in a bottle, You’ll save it for me
V2: My Lord has rescued me from death / When He died on that cross / My shame He bore so willingly / And now I am cured / Countless things I’ve done, I’ve hurt the One / Who sacrificed His Son / And now I realise, I recognise / What a true Friend He really is
PC2: In His love, I’m washed as white as snow / In His hope, I fight the fear of the endless battles / That fiercely rage within my soul
Guitar Solo / Repeat Chorus / Fin.
Words: Joey / Music: Ricky & Joey / 1st Feb 02 / © 2002 FhLY