Liverpool-based worship leader IAN YATES talks us through the songs on his latest album
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I've had some friends and family go through some pretty crazy stuff over the last couple of years. I really believe God has used what I've been through in my life to help others. Kate (my wife) and I have seen a lot of brokenness and have been pretty broken over the last two years. Personally, I've been really affected over situations I've seen - a child being sold for the price of a cup of coffee, a guy picking up human excrement in India, friends getting divorced, people being abused. This song came out of brokenness and was written specifically for two family members and one of my best friends. It's a lament but with hope. A lot of what was going on brought me back to when I was going through some difficult things six years ago and I ended up writing this song from that place and knowing how God has brought me through. It's a song of desperation yet a song of hope. That no matter what comes our way the Lord will carry us. Originally the song was just verse one, chorus and bridge. Adrian at Survivor said it needed a second verse. So I spent quite a bit of time coming up with ideas with no joy. I knew what I wanted to say but it just wasn't working. I then met with my good friend Chris Sayburn (a worship leader/songwriter from Leeds) and within two minutes he added a couple of words and the second verse was finished. This was also a great song to record. The arrangement took us awhile, but I think it was worth it. This is one of my favourites. Trevor Michael also came up with some great guitar ideas.
"We Are Righteous"
I wrote this song in Australia in January 2009 and we tweaked one line while recording the vocals. I was reading a book called Destined To Reign by Joseph Prince. The book just blew my mind! To read that we are the righteousness of God in Christ is an amazing thing, which I don't think had ever sunk in! Sometimes we try so hard to do all the right things and then we mess up and we plead with God, or sometimes we just feel we're not good enough. But we are! We are good enough because of Jesus, It's not about what I do or not do, it's all about what Jesus accomplished on the cross. The verse and chorus of the song are a declaration of who we are in Christ. Then the bridge lifts the song up a notch. For me the woah's at the end are a powerful shout that all the rubbish and all the nonsense that we believed about ourselves is coming off! We are righteous because of what Jesus accomplished upon the cross! It's truly amazing. Many of us need to know the awesome truth that we are righteous, that we are forgiven! We are completely loved and adored! My hope with this song is that it sets people free from the rubbish they have believed about themselves and helps them realise who they actually are.
In 2008 we had some amazing meetings over the summer at church where people's lives where transformed. People where healed, lives where restored. We saw God move in awesome ways. But I know there is more. This song is a cry, a longing to see God move. I believe when the glory of God falls we can see amazing and awesome things. With this song I tried to convey the cry of my heart and the passion to see revival. The cry for God's glory, his fire, his tangible manifest presence that changes the atmosphere, where demons have to flee, when addicts are completely delivered, when blind eyes are opened and when lives are redeemed.
"You Are Faithful"
This song is for a lot of people involved in my life. It was the only song not finished before we started recording the album. I had a chorus idea and a verse melody. Trevor Michael said let's do it, so we did and this is how it's turned out. The initial beginning of the song was about two weeks before I was due to go to Eastbourne to start recording. One Saturday I went down to church to work on some of the tracks and record some vocals for the demos, and I felt so rubbish, I don't know why, I just felt so unworthy. It was really doing me in for about three days. I got up on the Tuesday and asked God, "What is going on?" I had a good old moan and then I felt God say, "I am faithful, I am steadfast, I am able, I am with you, I am for you." I then started singing and declaring "You are faithful, You are steadfast, You are able, You are with me." I then picked up my guitar and the chords came straight away. While declaring these truths the whole weight lifted off me. The verse ideas then came later while we were recording.
I wanted to get across that no matter what we go through, God is faithful. I think this has also been a song in my heart for a long time, looking back over what I've gone through in life, what I'm going through and what friends and family are going through. We can trust in God, we can rest in him, because he is completely faithful! A lot of the time we can sing phrases like "I trust in you" but just sing them. But I think when we go through the trials and storms of life we really find out what it's like to trust in God. Simply because there is nothing else we can do! I really feel there is power in verse two: "When no answers come, when we're hanging on to the healing we have claimed, we can rest in you." This is one of those things a lot of people if not all of us can relate to, when no answers come to our questions.
I suffer with IBS and it affects me a lot. I know God can heal me, I've claimed it, believed it, declared it, I say I am healed. But at this moment in time I'm not completely healed. But I know I can rest in the fact that by his stripes I am healed. I know people with cancer who are hanging in there, believing God for the healing. We can be in that place where we just rest in him, trust in him, trust in his word. No matter what we may be going through he is in control, his ways are higher.
"Here Is Love"
I love this hymn which was written in the 19th century by Robert Lowry. The words are amazing! I came across the third verse and for me it took the hymn to another level. When looking at the songs for the album I had a passion to add this song. It was one of the main songs from the Welsh revival and the melody was written by William Rees (1802-1883) who was actually a pastor in Liverpool for 30 years. I think the album shows that a huge cry of my heart is to see this nation come back to God.We originally recorded this song live, with just me with guitar and vocals and then Tim Cooke on drums. We added the rest later. The mid section was quite spontaneous.
I then went away and worked on an idea for the mid section. The mid section melody just came so I put a guitar part down and then went round to see my mate Ste Winslow who is amazing on keys and he added some keyboards and strings to the mid section. For us it was a really powerful moment, I think we both had tears in our eyes. After that initial idea I set to work on a lyrical idea. I wanted to convey why love came and who love came for! I wanted to look at themes that we didn't usually sing about. I had the idea that this should be the last song on the album and I wanted it to sum everything up in this section. I was working on it, pondering, asking God what was on his heart, and this came out. It pretty much came out straight away with a few tweaks here and there. We can all see that the world is a mess. It's full of abused, betrayed, weak, broken people who need a Saviour, who need love, who need hope. The Church has the answer. The Gospel, in its simplest form, is that God sent his Son, because he loves us! As Trev and I finished off recording this song we both had tears in our eyes. It was a really powerful moment.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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