Contemporary Christian artist, Phil Wickham got his start when his youth pastor asked him to play a Saturday night youth group service. However, Wickham was hesitant at first being the shy new kid at school. At the time, Wickham only knew 10 worship songs and played with the youth pastor. But his love for worship grew as he enjoyed being a part of something where he saw people respond to God. Wickham went on to release nine CDs and is currently on tour for his latest work “Children of God,” with stars Go Dim and Micah Tyler. We talked with Wickham four years ago about his song writing process and what he feels like the modern day church is lacking.
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.” Psalm 36:5-6
“It’s hard to choose a favorite song of mine because I feel like so many of my songs are almost like journal entries and I remember why I wrote them. They bring a whole season of life to mind. There are some that stand out though and I’m stoked to play them every night. It almost doesn’t become my song anymore. ‘Beautiful’ is one of those. It came a little bit differently than most of my songs. I usually have a title before I have anything else. I’ll know exactly what idea I want it to be about and it will take me weeks or a couple of months to really flesh out that idea. I won’t push myself to go any faster than it needs to go. But, ‘Beautiful’ came about when I was playing worship at a youth camp. The speaker was talking about creation and went to the verse about how his love reaches beyond the heavens. He tied God’s love with astronomical measures and I was moved by that. We played the same four chords as the students left and returned to their cabins and the song just came to me. I sang it straight through and went back to my cabin and finished the song that night. It was finished in like an hour.”
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Matthew 5:9-11
Wickham reflected on what he believes what the modern day church is lacking.
“I get to go to so many churches in my job and sometimes I go and think, ‘ I want this church in my town because what’s happening here is amazing!’ And sometimes I’ll go and not really click, but I feel like the people are doing what [they think] they’re supposed to be doing. I don’t feel like it’s the modern church’s fault. Real persecution is not really happening in the Christian church in America and I think that’s such a blessing. I think those who are challenged to stand up for their faith become stronger and more passionate in their faith. I think for the most part it’s easy to be a Christian in America. When people were being killed for their faith, those were the moments where the church exploded and grew. It’s a bit easy to sit I a pew on Sunday mornings. It’s a lot stranger to say, ‘I’m a Christian,’ Europe than it is here [United States]. There is a desperate need for fellowship there and it’s such a different social temperature. It creates a real passion and sincerity because there is a real hard line between saying I’m a Christian or I’m not.”
Slow down and worship. Whether it is going to a worship night at church or just listening to music in the peace of your car or home, take time this week to set aside time and worship God. Consider switching out the music you listen to in the car for praise and worship. You might even want to gather your friends or small group and head out to a scenic spot for a worship session under the stars. If your church doesn’t have worship nights, pray about leading one with some friends. Remember you don’t have to sing or play perfectly, God loves us simply worshiping Him.
Pray for the persecuted. If you are not being persecuted, thank God that you live in a place where there is religious freedom. Take time this week to daily pray for believers who are being hurt or killed for their faith. Ask the Holy Spirit to give them physical, mental and spiritual strength and to speak His truth to them. There are many organizations that share updates and ways to support these believers. Find one that resonates with you and commit to praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ in that country.
Pray for revival. It does not matter if you are experiencing persecution or have religious freedom, every country needs a spiritual revival. Ask the Holy Spirit to move in a radical way for leaders to submit their lives to Him, for believers to take stands of faith, and for the body of Christ to be unified. Revival starts on a personal level with individuals submitting their lives to Christ. Be willing to turn from sin and attitudes that the Holy Spirit convicts you of this week. Share with a friend or small group ways that they can hold you accountable.
To read our entire interview with Phil Wickham click here.