Centerpiece: Songs of Gospel Community

by Stephen McNeill

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about

So, my dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus. He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do. -Hebrews 3:1 (MSG)

Centerpiece: Songs of Gospel Community is a slow labor of love that I began recording in 2013. It is the result of becoming deeply involved in the life of my local church community. Together, we have wrestled with the truths of Scripture, walked through pain and struggle, and sought to believe and apply the Gospel in every area of our lives. Along the path of this messy and beautiful journey, these 12 songs came along, and we began to sing them together as a church. They are songs of challenge, joy, hope, and comfort. They are songs to remind our forgetful hearts of the freedom Christ purchased for us, songs to lead us back from our wanderings, declarations to strengthen us in the face of trials and temptation.

credits

released December 26, 2017

Recorded at The Traveling Salesman, Ardent Studios, and Crossroads Studio between 2013-2017

Produced by Stephen McNeill
Except “A Lamp to Light the Way” - Produced by Chris Wallace and Stephen McNeill

Executive Producers: Vintage Church and Doug McNeill

Mixed by Calvin Lauber at Young Avenue Sound

Mastered by Kevin Nix at LNix Mastering

Engineered by Stephen McNeill at The Traveling Salesman in Olive Branch, MS
Additional engineering by Mike Wilson and Calvin Lauber at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN, Chris Wallace at The Traveling Salesman, and Al Funderburk at Crossroads Studio in Southaven, MS.

All instruments played by Stephen McNeill except where noted.

Art and design by Brannon McAllister

© 2017 Stephen McNeill. All rights reserved.


This album is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Sharon Ann McNeill.

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Track Name: To Him That Chose Us First (featuring Melanie Hardage)
“To Him That Chose Us First”
Words by Issac Watts, alt. by Stephen McNeill
Music by Stephen McNeill

To Him that chose us first
Before the world began;
To Him that bore the curse
To save rebellious man;
To Him that form’d our hearts anew
Is endless praise and glory due.

The Father’s love shall run
Through our immortal songs;
We bring to God the Son
Hosannas on our tongues;
Our lips address the Spirit’s name
With equal praise, and zeal the same.

Let every saint above,
And angel round the throne,
Forever bless and love
The sacred Three in One:
Thus heaven shall raise His honours high
When earth and time grow old and die

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: My Only Hope (featuring Taylor Clayton)
"My Only Hope"
Words and music by Stephen McNeill

I found myself a desperate man
My sin, as black as death
Separated from the God
Who gives me every breath

My righteousness, a bloody mess,
The best that I could bring
My only hope was Jesus' blood
A substitute for me

Jesus is my only hope
My only strength and song
His sovereign grace and perfect love
Are all I stand upon

He laid aside His glory and
His holy throne above
He took on flesh in humbleness
To show the Father's love

He lived the life I could not live
A spotless sacrifice
He died the death that I deserved
And rose again to life

CHORUS

The Father's wrath was satisfied
The veil was torn in two
God and man, now reconciled
The promise proven true

He called me to deny myself
And follow after Him
In faith, I walk by grace alone
Until I meet my end

CHORUS

His righteousness, I now possess
Through no work of my own
His Spirit is my comforter
And heaven is my home

He came to give abundant life
That life I now do live
To live is Christ, to die is gain
And either is to live

CHORUS

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: My Treasure
“My Treasure”
Words and music by Stephen McNeill

Relentless Pursuer of prodigal man,
Redeemer of your enemies,
Why should the King take our place on the cross
To bear all our torment and grief?

Love overwhelming
And grace beyond measure
Jesus, You are my treasure
Holy and worthy
Of praises forever
Jesus, You are my treasure

Almighty Maker of heaven and earth
Whose life-giving breath fills our lungs
How great is the love you have lavished on us
That you call us daughters and sons

Chorus 2
Love overwhelming
And grace beyond measure
Father, You are my treasure
Holy and worthy
Of praises forever
Father, You are my treasure


Presence indwelling, the Promise of God,
Pledge of the glory to come
No man can choose you except that you draw,
Man's will by grace overcome

Love overwhelming
And grace beyond measure
Spirit, You are my treasure
Holy and worthy
Of praises forever
Spirit, you are my treasure

Love overwhelming
And grace beyond measure
O God, You are my treasure
My Refuge and Fortress
Whose tie none can sever
O God, You are my treasure

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: The Lord Has Done Great Things For Us (featuring David Fields)
“The Lord Has Done Great Things For Us”
Words and music by Stephen McNeill and Blake Bostick

The Word came down
And dwelt as flesh
Glory clothed with grace
Now we see
The Father’s love
And of his goodness taste

The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad

In him was life
That drowned the dark
Life and light to men
Though we were dead,
Christ our life
Raised us up with him

Chorus

With laughter and with joy
With wonder and with praise
My soul, it magnifies the Lord
All things were made by you
And you're making all things new
My soul, it magnifies the Lord

Chorus

The Lord has done great things for us
The Lord has done great things for us
The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad
Track Name: A Lamp to Light The Way (featuring Chris Wallace)
“A Lamp to Light The Way”
Words by Stephen McNeill
Music by Stephen McNeill and Chris Wallace

Before the lofty mountains stretched
To kiss the open skies
Before the beaches welcomed in
The mighty ocean’s tides
The voice of God said, “Let there be,”
And darkness fled away
The everlasting word of God,
A lamp to light the way

The Word of God, He took on flesh
To carry out His plan
The Maker of all things had come
To make them new again
His glory shown for us to see
So full of truth and grace
In Him was life, the light of men,
A lamp to light the way

When Jesus faced the tempter in
The lonely wilderness,
When hypocrites and liars questioned
All that he professed,
And when He faced His hour of death
Before the price was paid,
He turned to words long written down,
A lamp to light the way

The cross became the anthem of
God’s holiness and grace
The song that brings the dead to life
Through His great gift of faith
And now we bear His sacred light
To shine from day to day
A city set upon a hill,
A lamp to light the way

So, onward, let us ever press
To make the prize our own
Because the Lord has made us His,
We seek to make Him known
Though clouds of doubt and fear may cast
Their shadows cold and grey
His Spirit ever dwells in us,
A lamp to light the way

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Draw Near (featuring Josh Kubler and Austin Black)
“Draw Near”
Words and music by Stephen McNeill

A war rages desperately within my bones
Between powers deeply entrenched:
My truest desire for Jesus alone
And thirst for sin that won’t be quenched

Where can I take refuge, how can I be free
From this body of death and sin?
How can I resist a foe I cannot see
And fight a war I cannot win?

Draw near to the merciful Father of grace
Oh, humble yourself at his hand!
He offers his holy, forgiving embrace
In faith and repentance to stand

His mercies are new at the dawn of each day
When temptations whisper my name
The enemy’s pow’r over my soul gave way
When Christ bore my guilt and my shame

So when I confess, his grace will intervene
That I may turn from sin’s allure
My God will forgive, he will wash my hands clean,
And make my heart perfectly pure

Chorus

Oh God, may I know you in truth and in pow’r
To see you as holy and just
Oh God, give me strength to abandon my sin
And daily give Jesus my trust

Chorus

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Be Not Far From Me
“Be Not Far From Me”
Words and music by Stephen McNeill


Oh Lord, in the morning you hear my voice, oh
Give ear to my grief and my groaning here, oh
Your abundant and steadfast love
Welcomes my soul to bow down
In the day of my troubles, grace abounds


Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
Because of my enemies
Make the crooked road before me straight
Be not far from me, oh my God
Be not silent to my complaint

I travel a wild and weary land, oh
Accusers and liars, they lie in wait for me
Why do wicked and hateful men
Prosper and rule over me?
How long will my oppressors boast and feast?

Chorus

Let all who take refuge in you rejoice
Let your people forever sing for joy
Cover us with your favor, Lord
Like a strong and shining shield

Oh Lord, in the morning you hear my voice, oh
Your Spirit preserves me though terror looms, oh
Your abundant and steadfast love
Keeps me when chaos surrounds
In the day of my trouble, grace abounds

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Bread of the World
“Bread of the World”
Words by Reginald Heber (verse 1) and Stephen McNeill (verses 2 and 3)
Music by Stephen McNeill

Bread of the world in mercy broken,
Wine of the soul in mercy shed,
by whom the words of life were spoken,
and in whose death our sins are dead:
look on the hearts by sorrow broken;
look on the tears by sinners shed;
So may your feast become the token
that by your grace our souls are fed.

Fullness of God in flesh descended,
Hope of the world, Emmanuel,
who, as a man, was tried and tempted,
who knows our every weakness well:
look on the souls by grief afflicted;
look on those trusting sin's dark spell;
In you may our escape be granted
to quench our thirst at mercy's well.

Radiant Lamb who reigns victorious,
Marvelous King enthroned in light,
who conquered sin and death and darkness,
whose humbleness displayed his might:
look on the fields now white for harvest;
look on your long expectant bride;
Oh, may your kingdom come among us
And bring us rest on every side.


© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Walk in the Light (featuring Lana Chenault)
“Walk in the Light”
Words by Bernard Barton
Music by Stephen McNeill and Blake Bostick

Walk in the light: so shalt thou know
That fellowship of love
His Spirit only can bestow,
Who reigns in light above.
Walk in the light: and sin abhorred
Shall ne'er defile again;
The blood of Jesus Christ thy Lord
Shall cleanse from every stain.

Walk in the light: and thou shalt find
Thy heart made truly His
Who dwells in cloudless light enshrined,
In whom no darkness is.
Walk in the light: and thou shalt own
Thy darkness passed away,
Because that light hath on thee shone
In which is perfect day.

Walk in the light: and e'en the tomb
No fearful shade shall wear;
Glory shall chase away its gloom
For Christ hath conquered there.
Walk in the light: and thine shall be
A path, though thorny, bright;
For God, by grace, shall dwell in thee,
And God Himself is Light.

For God, by grace, shall dwell in thee,
And God Himself is Light.

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: The Banner of Jehovah
“The Banner of Jehovah”
Words and music by Stephen McNeill

I am anxious, I am troubled
And my heart is full of fear
You give solace like a mountain
And bid the weary come near

I am bent beneath my burdens
And the failures of my past
You make silent my accusers
And bid your servant stand fast

Hide yourself beneath the banner of Jehovah
He is jealous for his children
He will not be moved
Hide yourself within the fortress of the Father
Where no enemy can reach you
Where your soul finds rest

In my poverty, I prosper
You bring joy amidst my grief,
And with every painful longing,
The Balm of my relief

Giver of all gifts eternal
To Your promises I cling
Christ in me, the hope of glory
Never lacking anything

Chorus

Oh, unchanging Ancient of Days
My soul rejoices with this song:
Your grace is sufficient for me
Though I am weak, you are strong

CHORUS AGAIN

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music
(ASCAP)
Track Name: Thy Blood Alone (featuring Blake Bostick)
“Thy Blood Alone”
Words by Isaac Watts, alt. Stephen McNeill
Music by Stephen McNeill, Blake Bostick, and Summer Holbrook

Lord, I am vile, conceived in sin,
And born unholy and unclean;
Sprung from the man whose guilty fall
Corrupts the race and taints us all.

Soon as we draw our Infant breath,
The seeds of sin grow up for death:
Thy law demands a perfect heart,
But we're defiled in every part

Jesus, my God, Thy blood alone
Hath pow'r sufficient to atone;
Thy blood can make me white as snow,
No sacrifice could cleanse me so

Behold I fall before Thy face;
My only refuge is Thy grace:
No outward forms can make me clean,
The leprosy lies deep within.

No bleeding bird, nor bleeding beast,
Nor hyssop-branch, nor sprinkling priest,
Nor running brook, nor flood, nor sea,
Can wash the dismal stain away.

Chorus

While guilt disturbs and breaks my peace,
Nor flesh nor soul hath rest nor ease,
Lord, let me hear Thy pard'ning voice,
And make my broken bones rejoice.

Chorus

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: The Broken Heart
"The Broken Heart"
Words and music by Stephen McNeill

I have walked under midnight shadows,
My face numb from the wind
Straining under the weight of sorrow
With dark clouds rolling in

You are a faithful and true companion
You are a close and constant friend
When I am grieving alone, abandoned
The broken heart, you mend
The broken heart, you mend

I am free, I'm a new creation
A dead man made alive
But in the midst of a strong temptation,
I still believe the lie

You are a faithful and true companion
You are a close and constant friend
When I am guilty and empty-handed
The broken heart, you mend

Sorrow may last for the night,
But oh, the morning!
When darkness gives way to the light,
When dancing replaces mourning!

In the hearts of your sons and daughters
Abides a bounty unseen
An endless river of living water,
An ever-swelling stream

You are a faithful and true companion
You are a close and constant friend
When I am ruined, I find compassion
The broken heart, you mend

© 2017 The Traveling Salesman Music (ASCAP)

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