Jon was honored at the 2012 BMI Music Awards for his part in co-writing the song “My Help Comes From The Lord.” The Museum (BEC Records) released the song on their debut album Let Love Win and it was among the most performed songs on Christian radio in 2011.
Some of you will remember me releasing this song as a Christmas gift a couple Decembers ago. We had such a great response, it wasn’t a tough decision to record a fresh version and put it on the new EP. Unlike the other songs on Rescue, this tune took many months to write. The melody came easy, but Doug McKelvey and I went back and forth wrestling with the lyrics in our attempt to accurately describe the incarnation in a fresh way. With songwriting, I sometimes struggle with the feeling (and often the reality) that I’m writing the same song over and over, using an overused vocabulary while not offering much content that will make listeners truly think and genuinely respond in some way. So I pray….and though there are days that get the best of me, this struggle challenges me to keep pushing onward in writing songs that make a difference.
The story behind “How Far You Came To Save” is really the story in the song. The powerful and mysterious story of the Gospel. You’ll see what I mean when you read Romans 5:6-10.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Humanity separated from God, terminally diseased by our own sin, a perfect & holy Creator, His Savior-Son becoming human to endure the wrath we deserve on the cross, and the amazing resurrection reconciling us to God, crushing death, and forever giving hope and salvation to all who put their faith in Him.
Our goal was to not only describe this(in two verses, a chorus and a bridge:), but also offer words of response to God to thank Him and worship Him. So we behold his glory, in the wonders of His grace, and our souls will forever sing of the spiritual and physical “distance” He endured to save us. In our estimation, this truly is the greatest mystery.
The day Robbie Seay and I sat down at his church(Ecclesia) in Houston to write this song, he was dealing with a situation which involved some friends of his, an orphan from Haiti, the press, and a Congressman’s private plane. (much more important than our song) In short, a family from Ecclesia adopted a boy named Ronel from Haiti and was trying to get him home. Ronel and his new father, who traveled to Port Au Prince to pick him up, were held back because of “red tape” on the U.S. side. If I remember correctly, they had to sleep on the floor of Haiti’s U.S. Embassy for over a week. So as we were writing this song, Robbie had to take many calls and answer numerous texts in his effort to do everything he could to help get these guys back to Houston, which included attempts to charter private planes to go pick them up.
In retrospect, it’s amazing to me that any cohesive lyrics, much less a whole song was written that day. As we were wrapping it up, Robbie received one more call letting him know that Ronel and his dad had been given the green light and were finally on their way to Houston International. We jumped in the car and met a couple hundred people from Ecclesia and members of the press at the airport. When the H-town/Haitian duo came into view, the crowd began to cheer and celebrate as Ronel was united with the rest of his new family. The picture below doesn’t do it justice, but I’ll never forget the look on Ronel’s face. The words that come to mind are relief, safe, rescue, secure, and loved.
As I watched all this unfold, I was struck by all the similarities of God’s story of rescue for us. “Father God” is a song written to be sung by the Church(the adopted) in response to our Father’s great love. (Phil.2 and Eph.2)
If you’re interested in learning how to play “Father God,” the chord chart can be found by clicking on the “Chord Charts/Videos” link on the menu above.
Jon’s new Rescue EP was released to iTunes, AmazonMP3, and many other digital retailers this month. The CD is also now available in the online store. Please help us spread the news!
Please click on a song below to download the chord chart for free. All we ask in return is that you report your public usage to CCLI via appropriate licenses. Also available below are a few song teaching videos.
MORE THAN THIS
More Than This
AND THEN SOME
Singer/songwriter/producer, Andy Osenga, and I wrote this together at his studio in Nashville. It’s one of those songs that when we were in the middle of writing it, we got a “this is going to be a cool tune” kind of vibe in the air. I remember liking it right away because it was refreshing to write something that was different from a lot of songs I write.(melodically and lyrically) Songs have a way coming to life in the writing process so we just tried to get out of the way and let it breathe.
If you read my last post, I mentioned that 2 Samuel 22 was a chapter in Scripture that spoke deeply to me over the past couple years throughout my recovery and healing. This chapter in 2 Samuel is a song that David sang about a traumatic experience in his life so reading it was kind of like an old friend counseling, leading, reminding, and walking with me through mine. Needless to say, this chapter highly influenced the song as it gave us a blueprint for the lyrical structure and story. Here’s the progression as we saw it:
1. The day of disaster (vs. 5-6)
2. David cries out to God (vs. 7)
3. God’s epic reaction which reveals His heart for us in times of trial and disaster (vs. 8-16)
4. God’s rescue (vs. 17-19)
5. David’s restoration (vs. 18-20)
6. Declaration of God’s faithfulness (vs. 29-51)
There are songs that you write just to write a song and then there are songs that come from the soul. This one is of the later. Tell us what you think. Leave a comment. Feel free to share your story of rescue. Share it with a friend. Be reminded of God’s faithfulness and encouraged that He is still and will always be mighty to rescue and save.
If you’re interested in learning how to play “You Rescued Me,” the chord chart can be found by clicking on the “Chord Charts/Videos” link on the menu above.
Learn how to play “Awesome is the Lord Most High” from Jon’s Back To You album.
By Jon Abel, Cary Pierce, Chris Tomlin, and Jesse Reeves
Learn how to play “God is Moving.”
Written by Jon Abel, Chad Cates and Lee Black.