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Paul Baloche: A Songwriter's Worship

CBN.com Paul Baloche… a Glorious Journey

Every believer has signposts for the journey of faith - - the day we encounter our Savior, the challenges that uncover our deep need for Him, the moments we experience God’s faithfulness.

For Paul Baloche, this spiritual journey is marked by songs, music that has moved from personal touchstones to collective signposts for millions of believers. Intimate prayers that have become global anthems.

“Songwriting is a big part of my spiritual life,” Paul shares. “It helps me go deeper with God. It helps me fix my mind on Jesus, to set my mind on things above. It keeps my own heart fresh and alive, for myself, my family, and the Church.”

“When I’m writing songs,” Paul says, “I think, ‘Will this help the Church worship God? Will this help people connect with Him?’ I want to make music that they can believe in.”

And the Church has responded. Paul is one of the most acclaimed worship artists and songwriters of our time. Winner of two Dove Awards, he has penned radio hits such as “Because of Your Love,” “Hosanna (Praise Is Rising),” “All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises,” and “Our God Saves,” and written top-ranking CCLI songs and modern-day classics including “Above All,” “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” “Offering” and “Your Name.” In short, Paul writes songs that the Church sings worldwide with translations of his songs in Spanish, Korean, French, Portuguese and more. It’s a calling he doesn’t take lightly.

“When I’m writing worship songs,” Paul notes, “I realize that I’m putting words into the mouths of God’s people. I’m giving them a vocabulary to sing back to God. And when they sing those words, hopefully it will act as a catalyst in their hearts, so something will happen in them. Because when we sing something, it goes down deep into our soul.”

Nowhere is Paul’s love for the Church more apparent than his own local congregation where he celebrates 20 years as worship pastor of Community Fellowship in Lindale, Texas. It is a testament to his faithfulness and commitment to community – local and global.

In celebration of Paul’s landmark journey in music and ministry, Integrity Music is honored to present Glorious, an all-new collection of songs that reflect his heart, and his passion for the Church. As with all of his recordings, Glorious encouraged Paul to examine the road so far.

“It’s an excuse and a reason to force my heart to go deeper, to reach down and say, ‘What do I believe now? What’s going on in my heart for real?’ I don’t want to just say words and phrases. So when I sing it, I believe it.”

The result is Paul’s trademark blend of music, ministry, and message, all interwoven with a unifying passion to draw people closer to the Savior.

Glorious is about the adventure of being led by a living, active God,” Paul says. “It’s about looking beyond the cross, to look behind the mystery, to see the risen Savior. For us to live in the new covenant idea that Jesus Christ is alive in us. Instead of only looking back 2,000 years, we see the risen Christ now. Learning to be led by His Spirit, guided by His Spirit, and to discern the language of His Spirit.”

The songs highlight Paul’s ability to transform personal revelations into universal truths that resonate with every believer. The record’s title track suggests another anthem for the church, a song that looks back to one of Paul’s most memorable musical signposts, “Open the Eyes of My Heart.”

Paul recalls, “My pastor told me that ‘Glorious’ feels like an answer to ‘Open the Eyes of My Heart.’ That original cry of my own heart. ‘Glorious’ paints a picture of seeing Jesus for who He is, as the risen Christ and the living God.”

The album’s first single, “Just To Be With You,” offers a different, though no less profound, view of our God and our reliance on Him.

“’Just To Be With You’ is simply about intimacy with God,” Paul says. “With all of the stuff in this world that overwhelms us, no matter what happens, ‘all I want is to be with You’ as I’m walking through this life.”

“Shaken,” a powerful track written by Paul’s wife, Rita, acknowledges the uncertain times we live in while sharing the solace found by resting in God no matter what life brings our way.

“Life is going to shake us,” Paul says. “Storms are going to come. The only thing that’s going to remain is what we’ve invested in God… sinking our roots down deep into God’s Spirit.”

Filled with songs of hope, praise, and adoration, Glorious affirms Paul’s legacy as one of today’s premiere worship artists and songwriters. But he desires to give more than music to the church. Through Leadworship.com and a variety of resource materials that he developed, Paul is committed to encouraging and equipping the next generation of worship leaders.

“I wanted to create a site where people could get ideas and resources, to address the need to create community and journey in churches. Instead of making Sunday morning worship a concert, I’m interested in making Sunday morning the un-concert. Through music, we want to help people connect with God and make an environment where it’s easier to do that.”

Twenty years of music ministry. Twenty-three years of marriage (and three children). Eleven worship recordings including Glorious, a new French language CD and an album recorded in South Korea. Countless beloved songs. All are remarkable signposts on a remarkable journey.

As Paul reflects on the road so far, he remains committed as ever to what matters most.

“I’m just trying to press into God, to keep my own heart right, and to encourage and help the Church worship.”

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Transcript

GLORIOUS Paul Baloche is one of today’s most influential worship leaders and songwriters. Glorious is his eighth collection of worship songs. For this album, Paul said he didn’t want to “rely on clichés or crank out Christian jingles.” He wanted to go deeper in God and have words and music that would help congregations connect with God to strengthen their relationships, families, and communities. He wants every song on this new album “to matter, be biblical, have relevance and to carry spiritual weight.” This is the cry of Paul’s heart. He says Glorious is “about the adventure of being led by a living, active God, looking beyond the cross, to look behind the mystery, to see the risen Savior. For us to live in the new covenant idea, that Jesus Christ is alive in us. Instead of only looking back 2,000 years, we see the risen Christ now. Learning to be led by His Spirit, guided by His Spirit, and to discern the language of His Spirit.” The song “Just to Be With You” offers a different view of God and our reliance on Him. It is about intimacy with God. Paul says, “With all of the stuff in this world that overwhelms us, no matter what happens, all I want is to be with You as I’m walking through this life.” MORE THAN WORDS Having served as the Worship Pastor at Community Christian Fellowship in Lindale, TX, for 20 years, Paul is regarded as one of the preeminent worship writers of the contemporary Church. He has written some of this generation’s most compelling worship songs, including “Open The Eyes of My Heart,” “Hosanna,” “Your Name,” “Above All,” “Offering,” “All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises,” “Our God Saves” and “Because of Your Love.” Songwriting is a big part of Paul’s spiritual life, which he doesn’t take lightly. It has helped him go deeper with God and fix his mind on Jesus and things above. Paul has said it keeps his heart fresh and alive. When he’s writing songs, he asks himself, “Will this help the church worship God? Will this help people connect with him?” Paul wants to make music people can connect with and believe in. He takes his responsibility as a songwriter seriously. He realizes that he is putting words into the mouths of God’s people and these are words that they are singing back to God. These words go deep into our souls and something can happen in us through these words. He just doesn’t want to have any random words or phrases; he has to believe the words he is singing as well. LOVE FOR MUSIC Paul grew up in Camden, New Jersey, in a strong Catholic family. Paul has clear memories of his mother praying every morning and that priests were regular visitors to the house. Paul became an altar boy and considered becoming a priest. Paul says it provided him a foundation for a reverence for God and knowledge of Jesus. He had an early fascination for the guitar. So desperate to play the instrument at the age of six, Paul and his friends tied tennis rackets round their necks with shoestring, pretending to play Beatles songs. He used to sit in dark, crowded basements watching local bands practice, carefully observing the right and left hand fingerings. He would rush home and furiously put into practice what he had just learned, spending hours trying to copy the styles of local guitar heroes. In 1980, Paul was offered a chance to play lead guitar in an Atlantic City band. Soon the excitement of playing professionally lost its luster and the nightclub scene left him empty. At one point, Paul sat in the pew of a Church with a hangover, crying out to God. PURSUING GOD Through business relationships, Paul was invited to a Sunday morning service. He heard different testimonies and when the salvation message was delivered in December 1980, Paul gave his heart to the Lord. Though his experience with the business team was short lived, the relationships led him to seek out a church where he could nurture his newfound faith. Soon Paul joined an Assembly of God church where he was first exposed to charismatic worship. As a worship leader, Paul’s approachable style has encouraged many to draw near to God in worship. “I want my music, and more importantly, my life to inspire people to pursue a sincere, authentic relationship with Christ,” says Paul. He has traveled the world teaching and leading others in worship. He has performed in South Africa, Europe, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand where many of his songs have become favorite choruses sung by people of all denominations.

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