The Newsboys man PHIL JOEL offers a song-by-song run down of his 'the deliberatePeople' album
The New Zealand born bass player with the Newsboys, Phil Joel has recorded the occasional solo album. But his latest, 'the deliberatePeople. album', is his most important ever. As he said, "I wrote and recorded this CD in my garage behind my house. I wanted to lock Nashville out and open the doors wide to family and friends but most importantly to God. And this was the result." Phil runs through each track on the album, distributed in the UK through ICC.
This song is a testimony of what the Lord has been doing in my life over the past five years. It feels like no stone has been left unturned. These changes came from a fresh desire to get to know God on his terms and not mine. And so the journey continues.
Time alone.with the Lord. A renewed commitment to rising early and meeting with the Lord in the stillness of the morning has saved my life. It's nothing new. It's accepting and acting upon a simple invitation. It's about deliberating in the presence of God, where he whispers to us the secrets of his heart.
This song still makes me teary-eyed because it was written and recorded during a time when I was hurting. The Lord wanted to give Heather and I a deeper understanding of the cross. Christ's example of forgiveness is huge, messy and doesn't make sense when measured by my own standard of justice. God's way of forgiveness means humility, self-sacrifice, laying down my own rights and being silent when all I want to do is yell at the top of my lungs how I've been wronged. To absorb the pain and guilt of someone else's wrong is tough, but it's right. This is how Christ has dealt with all the ways I have wronged him and this is how I must respond to those who wrong me. It's the only way to freedom. I also wanted the feel of this song to be one of victory but still maintain a sense of heartache and cost.
I don't want to sound like a cry baby, but last year was tough. There were so many challenges. Some of it was the Lord's hand refining, and some of it was blatant opposition. Either way, it pushed me to a place of desperation and dependence on God. And that's where I want to stay.
A few years back, I had my hearing tested. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that after many years of loud stages and amplifiers my hearing was still 100 per cent. As a parting gift, and maybe a sly precautionary gesture, the doctor gave me some earplugs. I started to use them at different times throughout the day. It wasn't until I began to seek out stillness and quiet that I realised how noisy and full of distractions my life had become. Listening (to the Lord) is a whole lot easier when the noise is drowned.
I can't help but keep coming back to the whole quiet-time thing. There are mornings when my body doesn't want me to seek God and spend that special time with him. But I know myself, and I think I'm getting better at knowing what I need and what I don't need. Immersing myself in God's love and yielding to him is one thing I most definitely need. When I go to God for love and acceptance then I don't find myself filling the day trying to get those things from other places. Make sense?
Heather and I wrote this song a long time ago, but it never got finished. It's a simple song with a message that can be as simple or as complicated as you want. The song asks the question, "Where do you go when you go prodigal?" I think it's an important thing to ask ourselves.
Worship and being in God's presence is so much more than a Sunday experience. I have a special place where I go to worship, to sing, to speak out loud and to listen to the Lord. This song was found in that place.
The song was originally on my last CD, 'Bring It On'. I never felt that it quite captured the simplicity and intimacy I was trying to communicate. I feel like we got it right this time, and we found its home.
Hmmm, where do I start? This was the first song we began recording but the last to be finished. It took a long time because I wasn't sure how to get it out and recorded the right way. I wanted it to feel like an epic with a sense of journey but not in an orchestral perfectly mapped out way. It needed to be broken, and a bit messy, but with beauty and simplicity. It's my story and hopefully it's yours too. It's the tale of the prodigal song retold through our own lives. It's the story of a Father wanting his kids back. It's a story with an innocent beginning where tragedy breaks in and destroys the scene. It's how the Father went to great lengths to see his family reunited and back in communion. If there's one song I want people to here, it's this one.