Centerpiece: Songs of Gospel Community

by Stephen McNeill

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1.
“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)
2.
"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)
3.
03:51
“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)
4.
“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
5.
“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)
6.
“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)
7.
“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)
8.
“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)
9.
“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)
10.
“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)
11.
“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)
12.
"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)

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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