This group of songs originally grew out of some very fruitful conversations with a pastor friend in Southern Michigan. Those conversations centered on the Messianic Psalms, particularly as regarding the Priesthood of Christ, and though I had already written a few songs based on a couple of the Messianic Psalms, many of these songs have grown directly from those conversations.
Once the passage has been chosen for a song, the Hebrew text is translated and interpreted so as to understand the mind and heart of God through it, seeking to understand the overall emotional tone and trajectory of the passage, writing lyrics that expose the meaning and basic structure of the passage, and then writing the music.
The whole development of these songs starts as a conversation with God and His Word. That gives rise to a musical expression that communicates, such as I am able, what He has taught me. Though most of these songs have followed this general trajectory and the mechanics described, they are not simply the result of a process or methodology. There is a deep sense of conversation, relationship, and worship that is intertwined with the whole process. Writing these songs is a very much a part of my own personal growth in knowing and understanding God.
Translating from the original languages often illuminates certain properties of the passage in a way that is particularly helpful for building a song, though sometimes this is a considerable challenge (as with the Psalms). However, it isn't enough to just extract data from the text. Next we want to try and understand the emotional tone of the passage, either the emotion with which it is to be understood or the emotion that a right understanding should evoke.
To do this, the overal emotional tone is sought - for example: is it joyous, contemplative, agressive, or sorrowful. That will form an emotional core for the song's music. Then the emotional trajectory of the song is considered, which will usually follow the trajectory of the content. Does the passage begin in doubt, working forward to confidence (like Psalm 77)? Or maybe the passage expresses a subtext of external turmoil, while communicating the heart of one who trusts God (as in Psalm 16). Music is uniquely suited to communicate these interpretive nuances, particularly with the Psalms, which were (of course) originally communicated with music.
The words begin as a set of expressions that are essential to the passage, and then lyrics are finished with the goal of communicating the content of the passage in a way the exposes the meaning and tone of the passage in word, but that is only half of the song. By the time the lyrics are being solidified, the emotional tone becomes more important. Bringing it all together requires weeks and sometimes months of prayer and study, with guitar close at hand, working to find words that best express the meaning of the passage.
Each song is the product of seeking to understand the mind of God in His Word, meditating on these things, and then seeking to respond in a way that is appropriate. It is my prayer that these songs will open up and explain God's Word to the hearer, and that each will, by the understanding of God's Word, grow in their understanding of God, as He has revealed Himself. It is our prayer that the wonder of His grace, through the gospel of Jesus Christ, would be proclaimed through this music.