First Morning In Heaven – 1979

This song was written by Chris Christian and was recorded by the Imperials, included on their Heed the Call album.

Chris Christian began his professional music career as a performer in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1974. Through the years, he has been a performer, songwriter, publishing company executive, recording engineer, record producer, record label executive, and, ultimately, the founder and chief executive officer of his own music production and publishing companies.

The Imperials are an American Christian music group that has been active for over 50 years. Originating as a southern gospel quartet, the innovative group would become pioneers of contemporary Christian music in the 1960s. There have been many changes for the band in membership and musical styles over the years. They would go on to win 4 Grammys, and be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
In Early 1976, the group (adding to Jim Murray and Armond Morales) hired baritone David Will, who would stay on for 23yrs with the group, and soulful belter Russ Taff as their new lead vocalist. The Taff-led outfit is heard on the albums Sail On, Imperials Live, Heed the Call, One More Song for You, Christmas With the Imperials, and Priority. It was during this era that the group found their biggest success, both with awards and on the charts.

I first heard the Imperials at Formosa Youth Camp as a teenager. Eddie Leslie would bring their music and would play it throughout the boys dorm.

This song speaks of Heaven… and one’s arrival there. Just think of it; that first morning of forever…
Bible Reference… John 14:2; Philippians 3:20,21; Revelation 22:1-5.

 

Play, my friend David, play upon your harp, and let your music fill the skies.
Join in their Jubil’, play upon your flute, and give those angels a reason to fly.
Sing with your spirits, hum with your hearts, and make that music in your soul;
Clap your hands, stomp your feet, and raise your hands,
Sing on out when the trumpet starts to blow!

CHORUS:
There’ll be a great jubilation… the longest celebration
that all of Heaven’s ever seen!
And I can’t wait ‘til that first mornin’ in Heaven;
over and over and over and over and over and over again!

Get all those hymnals turned and ready;
we’re gonna sing every song in that book!
We’re gonna sing so loud; we’re gonna sing so long;
all the angels will be singin’ along.
Open up those pearly gates; shine those golden streets;
we’re gonna be singin’ in your town.
Tune up all those instruments; it won’t be very long
before we’ll all be gatherin’ around. (CHORUS)

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Heed the Call – 1979

This song was written by Chris Christian and was recorded by the Imperials, included on their Heed the Call album.

Chris Christian (born February 7, 1955) is an American songwriter, record producer, and a record label executive. His songs have been recorded by the biggest names in pop and gospel music. He has been a major producer, as well.
As a member of the trio of Cotton, Lloyd & Christian (put together by Mike Curb) in the early 1970s, he enjoyed 2 hits on the Billboard adult contemporary chart on 20th Century Records. The group performed on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and
Midnight Special. As a solo artist he performed on The Merv Griffin Show, Solid Gold, and was a judge on Star Search. Christian also played guitar with Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, and the Wayne Newton band.
As a record producer, he is best known for starting Amy Grant’s music career by signing her at age 16 to his production company. Christian produced her first album and acted as executive producer for her second, handing over production duties to his college friend Brown Bannister. He owned her songs until 1997.
Christian has produced albums that have been nominated for 9 and won 4 Grammy Awards. He has also been nominated for 7 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards as an artist, songwriter, and producer, winning 5. He has also released 16 other albums as a solo artist.

The Imperials are an American Christian music group that has been active for over 50 years. Originating as a southern gospel quartet, the innovative group would become pioneers of contemporary Christian music in the 1960s. There have been many changes for the band in membership and musical styles over the years. They would go on to win 4 Grammys, and be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
In Early 1976, the group (adding to Jim Murray and Armond Morales) hired baritone David Will, who would stay on for 23yrs with the group, and soulful belter Russ Taff as their new lead vocalist. The Taff-led outfit is heard on the albums Sail On, Imperials Live, Heed the Call, One More Song for You, Christmas With the Imperials, and Priority. It was during this era that the group found their biggest success, both with awards and on the charts.

I first heard the Imperials at Formosa Youth Camp as a teenager. Eddie Leslie would bring their music and would play it throughout the boys dorm.

This song speaks to one’s call to salvation… and then to ministry beyond.
Bible Reference… Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30; 1Corinthians 1:26; 1Timothy 6:12; 2Tim.pthy1:9; 1Peter 1:15; 2Peter 1:10.

When the Spirit tries to move you, heed the call.
And when the devil tries to confuse ya, you gotta build a holy wall.
And the good Lord is watching to see if we are listening to His Word,
and there is no one more disappointed if we act like we haven’t heard.

CHORUS:
We gotta heed the call, brother! We gotta heed the call, sister!
Everybody, one and all, heed the call!

And if faith is the only reason to heed the call,
we must follow right down to the letter, ’cause we need no other reason at all.
For there is Someone watching over every move we make,
and there is Someone watching closely to make good every chance we take.
(CHORUS)
CODA:
And if He asks you to sell your riches
and give away all your wealth,
I can promise you He’s got something greater
than you or I know ourselves (CHORUS)

Father’s Eyes – 1979

This song was written and first recorded by Gary Chapman… but was made most popular by his then-wife, Amy Grant; it was the title song of her second album. You’d find Amy Grant’s version in my iPod.
Born in Waurika, OK, Gary Chapman (born August 19, 1957) is the son of an Assemblies of God pastor who ministered for 56yrs before his death in 2009. He grew up in De Leon, Texas.
Chapman performed in bands throughout high school and college. After going to Bible college at what is now Southwestern Assemblies of God University in
Waxahachie, TX, he moved to Nashville, TN, and was hired as guitar player for The Rambos. In 1979, his song “Father’s Eyes” was recorded as the title track to Amy Grant’s Grammy-nominated second album My Father’s Eyes.
In 1982, his song “Finally” recorded by T.G. Sheppard reached #1 on the country music charts. He also received a Dove Award as Songwriter of the Year from the Gospel Music Association in 1981.

Amy Lee Grant (born November 25, 1960) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, author and media personality. She is known for performing contemporary Christian music (CCM) and for a successful crossover to pop music in the 1980s and 1990s. She has been referred to as “The Queen of Christian Pop”.

I heard this song for the first time when a cousin, Mark Sutterfield, played it on his car’s cassette player.

This song speaks to one’s testimony and witness.
Bible Reference… Psalm 71:15,16; Ephesians 3:20,21; Philippians 1:27.

I may not be every mother’s dream for her little girl.
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world.
But, that’s all right as long as I can have one wish I pray;
when people look inside my life, I want to hear them say:

CHORUS:
“She’s got her Father’s eyes… her Father’s eyes;
eyes that find the good in things when good is not around…
eyes that find the source of help when help just can’t be found…
eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain,
knowin’ what you’re going through, and feeling it the same.”
Just like my Father’s eyes… my Father’s eyes… my Father’s eyes…
just like my Father’s eyes.

And on that day when we will pay for all the deeds we have done;
good and bad they’ll all be had to see by everyone.
And when you’re called to stand and tell just what you saw in me,
more than anything I know, I want your words to be: (CHORUS)

Baptism of Jesse Taylor – 1978

If you were to listen to my iPod, you’d hear this song sung by 2 or 3 artists, but the first time I heard it sung was by the Oak Ridge Boys.

Sanger D. “Whitey” Shafer (born October 24, 1934) wrote this song; he is an American country songwriter and musician. He wrote numerous hits for stars such as George Jones, Lefty Frizzell, and George Strait.
Shafer’s musical career began in his hometown of Whitney, TX, where he played in a school band. In the following years, he toured the U.S., performing with, among others, the then-unknown Willie Nelson. In 1967, Shafer moved to Nashville, TN, where he signed with the Blue Crest Music Publishing Company. There he wrote 2 songs for George Jones, along with many other tunes for lesser-known acts. Shafer signed contracts as a singer, but he was never as successful as he was as a songwriter.
In the early 1970s, Shafer signed an exclusive contract with Acuff-Rose Music. In the following years, he wrote many songs which went on to become successful on the U.S. country charts, including several No. 1’s. He wrote “Baptism of Jess Taylor” for Johnny Russell.
In 1989, Shafer was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

This song celebrates the dramatic change that occurred in a man’s life when he finally surrendered to Jesus.
Bible Reference… Matthew 28:19,20; 2Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 2:12.

This song was included on the first CD I ever bought; a split-CD with the Statler Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys. That was the first time I heard Jesse Taylor’s story…

Among the local taverns there’ll be a slack in business,
’cause Jesse’s drinkin’ came before the groceries and the rent.
Among the local women, there’ll be a slack in cheatin’,
‘cause Jesse won’t be steppin’ out again.

          CHORUS
          They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday;
          Jesus gained a soul and Satan lost a good right arm.
          They all cried, “Hallelujah” when Jesse’s head went under
          ’cause this time he went under for the Lord.

The scars on Jesse’s knuckles were more than just respected;
the county courthouse records tell all there is to tell.
The pockets of the gamblers will soon miss Jesse’s money,
and the black eye of the law will soon be well. (CHORUS)

From now on, Nancy Taylor can proudly speak to neighbors…
tell them how much Jesse took up with little Jim.
Now, Jimmy’s got a daddy and Jesse’s got a family,
and Franklin County’s got a lot more man. (CHORUS)

To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice – 1978

This song was written and recorded first by Keith Green, and was included on his album, No Compromise.

Keith Gordon Green (October 21, 1953 – July 28, 1982) was an American Contemporary Christian music pianist, singer and songwriter. Beyond his music, Green is best known for his strong devotion to Christian evangelism and challenging others to the same.

I was first introduced to Keith Green through a college roommate, Mike Rhodes. Mike loved Keith Green, and played his music constantly… and shared Jesus constantly!

This song is written from Christ’s perspective, from the context of 1Samuel 15:22, as Samuel challenged Kings Saul’s half-hearted commitment to God.
Bible Reference… 1Samuel 15:22; Micah 6:8.

To obey is better than sacrifice;
I don’t need your money… I want your life.
And I hear you say that I’m coming back soon,
but you act like I’ll never return.

Well, you speak of grace and My love so sweet;
how you thrive on milk, but reject My meat.
And I can’t help weeping of how it will be
if you keep on ignoring My words.

REFRAIN:
Well, you pray to prosper and succeed,
but your flesh is something I just can’t feed.

To obey is better than sacrifice;
I want more than Sunday and Wednesday nights.
‘Cause if you can’t come to Me every day,
then don’t bother coming at all.
La, la, la

To obey is better than sacrifice;
I want hearts of fire, not your prayers of ice.
And I’m coming quickly to give back to you
according to what you have done.
According to what you have done.
According to what you have done.

Make My Life A Prayer – 1978

If your life was a prayer, what kind of prayer would it be?

This song was written by Melody Green, and was recorded by Keith Green. It was included on his second album, No Compromise… the title of which comes from this song.
Keith Gordon Green (October 21, 1953 – July 28, 1982) was an American
Contemporary Christian music pianist, singer and songwriter. Beyond his music, Green is best known for his strong devotion to Christian evangelism and challenging others to the same.
He wrote most of his songs alone, but also wrote many with his wife, Melody Green. She also wrote several songs alone… including this song.

I was first introduced to Keith Green through a college roommate, Mike Rhodes. Mike loved Keith Green, and played his music constantly… and shared Jesus constantly!

This song is a devotional song… a prayer, asking for one’s life to become a living prayer.
Bible Reference… 2Cor. 5:17; Rom. 12:1,2; Eph. 4:1-6; 1John 2:15-17.

Make my life a prayer to You; I wanna do what You want me to.
No empty words and no white lies… no token prayers… no compromise.
I wanna shine the light You gave. Through Your Son,
You sent to save us… from ourselves and our despair;
it comforts me to know You’re really there.

CHORUS:
Well, I wanna thank You now for being patient with me;
Oh, it’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me.
I guess I’ll have to trust and just believe what You say…
Oh, You’re coming again… coming to take me away.

I wanna die, and let you give Your life to me, so I might live,
and share the hope You gave to me… I wanna share the love that’s set me free.
I wanna tell the world out there You’re not some fable or fairy tale
that I’ve made up inside my head;
You’re God, the Son… You’ve risen from the dead. (CHORUS; 2nd verse repeated)

Old Man’s Rubble – 1977

This song was originally recorded by Amy Grant, and was included on her debut album entitled Amy Grant. If you were to listen to this song on my iPod, you’d hear the Imperials version. That’s who I first heard sing it.

This song was written by Brown Bannister. Elliott Brown Bannister III (born August 15, 1951) is a contemporary Christian music (CCM) producer and songwriter. Bannister released one album of his own, Talk to One Another, in 1981. Bannister is best known for his work in the audio engineering, recording, and production industry. He has won 25 Dove Awards and 14 Grammy awards. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He has written many songs for Amy Grant; he taught her in his Sunday School class at Belmont Church of Christ.

The Imperials are an American Christian music group that has been active for over 50 years. Originating as a southern gospel quartet, the innovative group would become pioneers of contemporary Christian music in the 1960s. There have been many changes for the band in membership and musical styles over the years. They would go on to win four Grammys, and be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

I first heard the Imperials at Formosa Youth Camp as a teenager. Eddie Leslie would bring their music and would play it throughout the boys dorm.

This song speaks to the struggle all believers have… between their old nature and their new, between their flesh and their spirit. This song says it rightly: “the voice you hear (listen to) is going to win the fight.”
Bible Reference… John 8:44; Romans 7:15-20; 2Corinthians 5:17-21; Hebrews 2:14; 1Peter 5:8,9

 

Are you living in an old man’s rubble; are you listenin’ to the father of lies?
Are you walkin’ with unnecessary burdens?
Are you trying to take them upon yourself?
If you are then you’re living in bondage,
and you know that’s bad for your spiritual health
Are you trying to live by your emotions?
Are you puttin’ your faith in what you feel and see?
Then you’re living just to satisfy your passions,
and you better be careful, ’cause you’re being deceived.

CHORUS:
Are you living in an old man’s rubble; are you listenin’ to the father of lies?
If you are then you’re headed for trouble.
If you listen too long, you’ll eventually die.

Are you puzzled by the way that you’re behavin’;
do you wonder why you do the things you do?
Are you troubled by your lack of resistance;
do you feel that something’s got a hold on you?
Well, deep within’ you there’s a spiritual battle;
there’s a voice of the darkness and a voice of the light.
And just by listening you’ve made a decision,
’cause the voice you hear is gonna’ win the fight. (CHORUS)

But, if you’re living as a new creation; if you’re listening to the Father of light,
then you’re living in a mighty fortress
and you’re gonna’ be clothed in power and might. (CHORUS)

Your Love Broke Through – 1977

Keith Green is often credited for the writing of this song, but he turned to two other early Contemporary Christian Music pioneers, Randy Stonehill and Todd Fishkind, to collaborate.
Stonehill tells the story behind this song: “Keith called me up in the middle of a busy afternoon in 1976. He said, ‘Randy, Todd Fishkind came over to do some co-writing, and he played me the most beautiful chorus melody I think I have ever heard.’…And Keith said, ‘Randy, you’ve got to come over right now, because I’m working on the verse melody, but God told me’ – I started laughing to myself, it’s like how are you going to argue with that? – ‘God told me you’re the guy that’s going to write the lyrics. He’s going to do mighty things with it. It’s going to go all around the world.’ And now he’s shouting on the phone, I’m holding the phone back and reaching for my aspirin. Oh my gosh, this guy is like a force of nature.”
Stonehill continued: “So I got in the car, I drove to the house, and as I pulled up into the driveway you could hear the music wafting out onto the front lawn. Which is interesting, because his music room is all the way at the back of the house. But he was wailing and flailing, and it was so intense that you could hear the music even if you were standing on the front lawn. So I walked up to the porch, and Melody [Green] opened the screen door, and she had this kind of sweet, bemused look on her face. She hugged me hello and she pointed down the hall, and she said, ‘He’s waaaiiittting.’ We loved him, but he was so unique and he could be like a bull in a china shop. He was like a hurricane you almost had to brace yourself for.” Having heard Green play the melody, Stonehill came up with the lyrics to the song: “I said, ‘All right, what about this? (singing) ‘Like a foolish dreamer trying to build a highway to the sky,” his arms shot up in the air and he went, ‘Yeeess! Praise God! See? I knew you were the guy!’…I ended up writing most of the lyrics to that song that afternoon; he just trapped me in the music room for about three hours, I couldn’t even go to the bathroom. He’d just go, ‘No, no, no, come on, you’re on it, you’re on it. How’s the second verse go?’ And he’s throwing a line or two from time to time, but basically he was just staring at me with a yellow legal pad and a pen, and a big smile on his face.”
This song made a lasting impression on the Christian music scene and Stonehill believes Green spoke prophetically when he anticipated it’s success: “Because he told me on the phone before I ever started working on the song, he said, ‘Randy, God is going to do mighty things with this song, and it’s going to go all around the world.’ And after we wrote it and then he did the first recording of it, we watched in delight and in amazement as God did take it all around the world. It became a Top Ten hit in Australia, it opened ministry doors for me all the way down to the bottom of the world. It was recorded again and again down through the years over and over by various artists and it’s still being re-recorded to this day. I’m convinced that was not because Keith and I were so talented or cool, but I really do believe that God in his largesse allowed two young Christians to frame in music that pivotal moment in a person’s journey when the wind of the spirit comes blowing in and God’s love breaks through.”

This song was featured on Keith Green’s debut album, For Him Who Has Ears to Hear, which was released in 1977. That album ranks at #5 on CCM Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.

This song is about finding a sense of meaning through God… at that moment of salvation.
Bible Reference… Acts 9:1-18; 2Cor. 12:9; Eph. 1:7; 2:8; Titus 2:11-14.

Like a foolish dreamer trying to build a highway to the sky,
all my hopes would come tumbling down…
and I never knew just why.
Until today, when You pulled away the clouds
that hung like curtains on my eyes.
Well, I’ve been blind all these wasted years…
and I thought I was so wise.
But, then, You took me by surprise!

CHORUS:
Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
until Your love broke through.
I’d been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
until your love broke through.

All my life I’ve been searching for that crazy missing part,
and, with one touch, You just rolled away
the stone that held my heart.
And, now I see that the answer was as easy
as just asking You in.
And I am so sure I could never doubt
Your gentle touch again.
It’s like the power of the wind! (CHORUS)

When I Hear the Praises Start – 1977

This song was written and recorded by Keith Green, and was included on the album, For Him Who Has Ears To Hear.

Keith Gordon Green (October 21, 1953 – July 28, 1982) was an American Contemporary Christian music pianist, singer and songwriter originally from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York.
Green had a Jewish heritage and was raised in Christian Science. He grew up reading the New Testament, and called the mixture of being Jewish and learning about Jesus “an odd combination” that left him open-minded, but deeply unsatisfied. He began doing drugs and became interested in eastern mysticism and “free love.” After experiencing what Green described as a “bad trip,” he abandoned drug use and became interested in philosophy and theology. When Green was 19, he met a fellow seeker/musician named Melody. They were inseparable, and got married a year later – now he had a partner as his spiritual and musical quest continued. Green later stated, though, that in the midst of his skepticism, he had, “been lost in a fantasy, till [God’s] love broke through.” He renounced Christian Science and became a Jewish believer in Jesus the Messiah. A week later, Green’s wife, Melody, whom he had married in 1973 and was also Jewish, became a Jewish believer in Jesus.
Beyond his music, Green is best known for his strong devotion to Christian evangelism and challenging others to the same. He wrote many songs alone, and with his wife, Melody Green, that spoke deep thoughts and conviction to our life with Christ… and our responsibility to share Christ with others.
Along with 11 others, Green died on July 28, 1982, when the Cessna 414 leased by Last Days Ministries (Green’s ministry) crashed after takeoff from the private airstrip located on the LDM property. The small two-engine plane was carrying 11 passengers and the pilot, Don Burmeister, for an aerial tour of the LDM property and the surrounding area. Green and 2 of his children, 3yr-old Josiah and 2yr-old Bethany, were on board the plane, along with visiting church planters, John and Dede Smalley and their six children. Green’s wife Melody was at home with 1yr-old Rebekah and 6wks pregnant with their 4th child, Rachel, born in March 1983.

I was first introduced to Keith Green through a college roommate, Mike Rhodes. Mike loved Keith Green, and played his music constantly… and shared Jesus constantly!

This song speaks from the perspective of Jesus to a believer…and to the Church.
Bible Reference… Ex. 15:2; Deut. 10:21; 1Ki. 8:56; 1Chron. 16:28; Ps. 75:1; Is. 63:7; Dan. 2:20; Eph. 1:5; 1Pet. 4:11.

My son, My son, why are you striving?
You can’t add one thing to what’s been done for you.
I did it all while I was dying;
rest in your faith, My peace will come to you.

CHORUS:
For when I hear the praises start, I want to rain upon you
blessings that will fill your heart; I see no stain upon you.
Because you are My child, and you know Me;
to Me you’re only holy.
Nothing that you’ve done remains, only what you do for Me (in Me).

My child, My child, why are you weeping?
You will not have to wait forever.
That Day and that hour is in My keeping;
the Day I’ll bring you into Heaven. (CHORUS)

My precious Bride, the day is nearing
when I’ll take you in My arms and hold you.
I know there are so many things that you’ve been hearing,
but you just hold on to what I have told you. (CHORUS)

Bread Upon The Water – 1977

This song was first recorded by the Imperials, and was included on the Sail On album.

The Imperials are a Christian music group that has been active for over 50 years. Originating as a southern gospel quartet, the innovative group would become pioneers of Contemporary Christian music in the 1960s. There have been many changes for the band in membership and musical styles over the years. They would go on to win 4 Grammys, and be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
This song was written by Billy & Janny Grein; Janny was an early singer in the Jesus Movement and her husband, Bill, was a photographer who helped her write songs.

This song refers to Ecclesiastes 11:1. The most popular explanation of this verse is that the metaphor is taken from the casting of seed on irrigated lands, as, for instance, in Egypt before the waters of the Nile have subsided; and that the duty of giving and generosity is here implied. We are to sow what God has blessed us with… broadcasting it generally, and can then be assured we will have a harvest of reward.
Bible Reference… Ecclesiastes 11:1.

I was first introduced to the Imperials by Eddie Leslie at Formosa Youth Camp as a teenager in 1977. He was a huge Imperials fan… and I’d never heard music like theirs before.

Oh, there are people who think they’re not receiving… anything from God at all;
they are shaken from their believing.
When they don’t see results they quickly fall.
But, don’t you waver; keep on living… in the way God wants you to
Don’t get discouraged; keep on giving. Soon it will come back to you.

CHORUS:
Keep on casting… your bread upon the water;
soon it’s gonna come back home on every wave.
Keep on casting… your bread upon the water;
soon it’s gonna come back home on every wave.

CODA:
Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over;
soon it’s gonna come back home on every wave.

Oh, keep on working, seeking the Kingdom… instead of working for your needs.
Just keep on sharing the love of Jesus…
you know, growing comes from planting seeds. (CHORUS; CODA: CHORUS)