Israel Houghton Gets Back To Basics

Posted by Israel Houghton on 2 November 2015

I looked back over the music we had made over the past ten years and realised something. I saw that many of the songs that connected with people were about us - the church - but there were not necessarily many songs that were just about Him. There’s a place for these songs which are very declarative, but we have to get back to what God has started in us in the first place.

What was that? Most of us signed up for God’s rescue, not God’s benefits. Of course there are ancillary benefits and we should not forget them, but when we look at His hand rather than His face then something is wrong.

That’s why a while back we did an album called Jesus At The Center. It felt like the right time and the right statement to make; the simplicity of being all about Jesus, going back to a place where it’s not about us, where we’re decreasing because Jesus is increasing and drawing all men to Him. I wanted to take out all the metaphors and prominently place Jesus at the center.

Sometimes we can be so ‘churched’ that we can lose sight of the ‘who, what, why’ of worship. And Jesus should be at the center of all worship music. Likewise, the purpose of a worship leader is being looked through, not looked at. This requires finding the balance between being a worship leader and being an artist.

So it’s good to keep things in perspective and remember that this industry is a small one. I heard a stat that said together, Whitney Houston and Maria Carey have outsold the entire Christian and Gospel music industry since Mahalia Jackson started. We can’t be putting ourselves at the center - we’ve got to serve each other and keep Jesus at the center.

At the end of it all is the simple question; can God trust us? Do we give away the things that He gives us or do we hold on to them? Do we care only about the things that concern us or are we looking wider, ready to serve? And is Jesus at the center in all areas of our life, not just the songs we write or the way we lead from the platform, but the way we are as a parent, worker, spouse and friend?

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