Today's Praise: Steven Curtis Chapman finds joy in here and now
October 28, 2007
Singer Steven Curtis Chapman has a heart for people in far-flung lands — from Chinese orphans and impoverished Ugandans to Americans serving overseas.
Chapman’s latest album — “This Moment” — touches on the first two groups, but those eager to hear about his concern for U.S. troops and their families will have to wait a little longer. “What I’m Fighting For,” which was written from the perspective of a deployed soldier, will be available in the spring on a deluxe edition of the CD.
Chapman based the song on discussions with and letters from servicemembers and their families. In recent years, his concern for troops has led to Christmastime visits to wounded at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, an album-release concert at Fort Campbell in Kentucky and visits to several bases in South Korea.
“At the end of the day, I hear the men and women saying, we’re going our job … for our families and our country,” Chapman said.
The song flows from his gratitude for the sacrifices they make for the freedoms enjoyed by Americans, he said.
“When I want to give someone a gift to say thank you … songs and music is what comes to mind,” he said.
That gratitude is heightened by Chapman’s recent travels in other countries.
“The big exclamation point for me was going to Korea last year,” he said.
While at the Demilitarized Zone, Chapman prayed for North Korea and began to consider all the trouble in the world and man’s inability to quell conflict.
“I really found in my heart, God saying, ‘I’m God over everything.’ … I have come to a place of greater confidence that God is in control and the whole story has not been told,” Chapman said.
The results of the trip to Korea and other lands influenced Chapman’s new album.
For example, the stirring praise song “Yours” ranges from streets of London to the dirt roads of Uganda when explaining how God is the “maker and keeper, father and ruler of everything” — and sees hope for the world’s problems in him. And the ebullient “Something Crazy” points to those who have taken steps of faith to help others.
“The more I travel and the place I go in the world, I realize that God is at work everywhere,” Chapman said.
He hopes “This Moment” will encourage people to join that work.
“I have the platform and maybe what I can do is remind people that there is a world outside our little world in America, and there’s a lot of need,” he said.
Although this focus on global issues is important, Chapman also sees relationships with God and family as vital. Both receive excellent treatment in the new project — the 16th studio album in a career that has earned Chapman five Grammys and 51 Dove awards.
The ballad “My Surrender” explores giving everything over to God. The rocker “You Are Being Loved” explains how God’s love isn’t just for those who are “good enough.” And the rock anthem “With One Voice” — a rare venture into worship music for Chapman — envisions a time when “we will bring heaven’s beautiful melody down to this earth.”
The song was inspired by a concert in Hong Kong, where 60,000 joined in song — even though they didn’t speak the same language.
“We sang together and, for me, it was a little glimpse of heaven,” he said.
Perhaps the most touching songs on the album focus on family. The ballad “Cinderella” expresses the joy of watching a daughter grow from a child into an adult. “One Heartbeat at a Time” expresses appreciation for the work and struggles of a wife and mother.
Each of the songs on “This Moment” takes joy in the here and now.
“I believe that God has been saying to me: ‘Find me here — right here. Experience me wherever you are,’ ” Chapman said.
On the Web: www.stevencurtischapman.com
Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.