Yesterday I reviewed Paul Baloche’s new album, Glorious. I emailed Paul a few questions which he was kind enough to answer. As long as I’ve known Paul he has always been gracious and humble. His songs are sung across the world, yet he consistently encourages those around him, laughs at himself, and directs people’s hearts to the glory of Jesus Christ. He’s also been serving in his local church for the past 20 years. So grateful for his example of humility. Here’s the interview:
1. How do you hope people who listen to this album will be affected?
I hope that they will be inspired to wonder- to inquire- to lean in to the glory and mystery of The Savior. Discover and realize His love for them and ponder the great truths of God found in His Word. Believing and experiencing the promise in James…”draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
2. You’re co-writing a lot now. What’s the process like?
The process is essentially saving up as many “inspired bits” that come from personal and corporate worship times, prayers, or scripture. I’ll try “playing with” or “worshiping with” those ideas until they start to take shape and resonate an authentic feeling or concept worthy of singing about.
Then I’ll bring those inspired bits to a friend in the hopes that as we share ideas back and forth, we’ll finish or at least progress, on a song that will help others worship. Sometimes we’ll get a strong start and follow up with innumerable emails back and forth until we agree on the form, lyrics, arrangement, and so on. Sometimes nothing happens. Either way, it’s always time well spent because we get to hang out and pray, sing, worship, drink coffee, laugh, and try our best to create something that will bless The Lord and edify His church.
3. Is there any song on the album with a unique story behind it?
Not so much unique but significant to me. The song Glorious started as an idea from 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, where Paul says “we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery…which none of the princes of this world had known…or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.”
I was struck by the fact that the Apostle Paul never met the earthly Jesus. He prided himself in being a zealous Hebrew Pharisee, on his way to persecute more Christians, when confronted and radically transformed by a revelation of Jesus Christ. He only knew the Risen Savior, the Resurrected Christ. Paul’s primary ministry was to “make all men SEE” what he saw. In Ephesians 3:9 he defines his mission, “… to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ”. In Ephesians 1:18 Paul pleads “I pray that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened…”
The song Glorious is an invitation to look and “see the Risen Savior, victorious and strong” and respond with awe, “Lord you are glorious”.
4. You included a song by your wife, Rita, from Heb. 12 about the Lord’s discipline. Why do you think it’s important for Christians to sing about that topic?
Because we rarely sing about it and because it is so close to home. We have seen so many people in our fellowship go through extremely difficult things this past year. We all look for meaning and hope in our sufferings. Hebrews 12 talks a great deal about the chastening of The Lord and how His purposes are accomplished often through the trials we walk through. The chapter on chastening leads to the act of worship by concluding “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Both Rita and I wrote a song from these passages and when we played each other our “versions” it was pretty obvious that her approach was stronger in every way.
5. How does this album reflect how you’ve tried to grow as a songwriter?
Hmmm, good question. Most of the songs are intentionally derived from the New Testament. I have been trying to work in more scripture and ideas from the letters of Paul especially. Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Hebrews, and Revelation were the primary sources of content for lyrics. The challenge is taking important ideas and scripture found in these books and try singing them in a vertical, prayerful way that will help others worship while forming a biblical view of who God is.
6. It may be my imagination, but you seem to refer to Jesus as the “Savior” quite a bit on this album. Is that my imagination, or is that intentional?
I appreciate that Paul is seeking to shape our view of God by mining Scripture for truths that point us to the Savior, encouraging us to respond in joy, gratefulness, and awe. Sounds like Colossians 3:16 to me: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
You can check out the album for yourself at Amazon or iTunes.
Thank you so much for your helpful reviews and ministry. There are just way too many good songs to choose from in leading worship these days. From what I have heard on Paul’s newest CD, I would love to use many of these songs. If only we were able to introduce new songs more often as worship pastors! :)
Thanks Bob and Paul. Very helpful mini-interview. Would be nice if you could expand it!
Musically, I really dig the big choral “Oh” set to the motif being played on the guitar at the end of Glorious. Our congregation would never sing it (kind of like yesterday’s comments re: “Yeah”), but I wonder if it could be taught to the choir… Glorious’ intro also has an early U2 sound that is really evocative. Today Is the Day sounds like Paul summoned The Edge back from the mid-80s.
Finally got a chance to listen to the album. I don’t know if the recording in the Zune Marketplace is off or not, but there were some odd key change/slides in To the Cross. I enjoyed listening to the album though and need to give it more of a listen when I can concentrate more on the music/lyrics. I kind of liked hearing “Today is the Day” more like it might work in a more typical worship/music service. :)
Thank you, Bob, for using your God-given platform among the mainstream artists to always encourage them to raise the bar. You do it in a humble, building-up kind of way that is so refreshing. I appreciate that you walk that tightrope of truth and love. All of that is evident in this interview.
I like this from response #5:
“Most of the songs are intentionally derived from the New Testament. I have been trying to work in more scripture and ideas from the letters of Paul especially. Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Hebrews, and Revelation were the primary sources of content for lyrics.”
That’s a great challenge for all of us worship leaders/song writers. I know in my life I’ve tried to consciously focus more on Scripture because – didn’t you know? – it’s God’s Word. I often take that for granted.
I’m thankful to see song writers incorporating more and more Scripture into their songs, while at the same time remaining fresh and inspiring. Thank you.
-Marshall Jones Jr.
Thanks again Bob for the opportunity to share some thoughts
on your blog regarding the new CD. I continue to be enriched by the content and heart behind Worship Matters. Thank you for your faithful service to The Lord and His Church.
Thanks for commenting! In the midst of all you’re doing, I’m amazed you have time to stop by my blog. Grateful to God for your as well. We serve an amazing Savior, worthy of all our songs, our time, and our love.
Music is one of the most significant mediums through which to convince the sinful world about the saving grace through Jesus Christ. I am delighted to be able to testify that He saved my soul in 1984 through that very old song: Precious Lord Take My Hand. Keep up the good work for the Lord Bob!
Thank you Bob and Paul.
My family and I moved to TN in 2006, We moved here and knew no one. We faced many challenges, uncertainties, and heartache. But every morning my heart’s greatest cry was, “Now show me Your glory,” Ex. 33:18. It was the most desperate cry of my being – to SEE Him – His glory – day in and day out.
While I was strolling through a Goodwill store, that was where God introduced me to His servant and worshipper, Paul Baloche. I found a CD that seemed to jump off the shelf to me and it was one of his older CDs – “God of Wonders.”
When I bought the CD, I popped it into my car, and the FIRST song had lyrics that I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The first words of Paul’s first song were, “We will see the glory of the Lord. We will see the glory of the Lord.” As I listened in worship, I wept in gratitude of His promises to me and my family in answering that one prayer.
I don’t know if Paul did this intentionally or not, but the FIRST song on his Glorious CD also has lyrics (now 4 years later) about the glory of the Lord. “My eyes HAVE seen the glory of the Lord.”
In 2006, I began praying daily that my family and I – “We will see the glory of the Lord,” and now as I popped in his new Glorioius CD in my car only an hour ago and heard, “My eyes HAVE seen the glory of the Lord”, again … I wept in worship!
Thank you Paul.