Back in January of 1997, I met Sherry Jones at a Christian Booksellers Association convention in Nashville. She was in the process of publishing a book of her poetry, and she shared a few of her poems with me which I later put to music. One was called "Pink or Blue?" It began with a pregnant teenager talking to the unborn child inside her, asking, "My child, tell me are you real? Child tell me what to do." The girl's family has told her an abortion is the only sensible solution to her unplanned pregnancy. The poem climaxes with the unborn child answering her mother's questions.
Mom, I'm not in your place/ I can't tell you what to do/ But you've asked me some questions/ So I will answer you/ Yes, Mom, I'm really real/ Though I did not ask to be/ Now it seems the question is/ What will you do with me?
I pray I'll get to know you/ And you'll hold me in your arms/ You'll tuck me into bed at night/ And protect me from harm/ We'll play Ring Around the Roses/ And Hide and Seek, too/ Mom, don't you understand?/ I'm just as real as you
I'm all soft and cuddly/ And I have rosy cheeks/ But I can't tell you what to do/ It's God's wisdom you must seek/ You see, Mom, I'm not a mass/ No matter what they think/ And just in case you're wonderin'/ I'd be wearin' pink
As a song, I thought "Pink or Blue?" was incredibly powerful, but after I had shared it a few times, I became discouraged. The song was consigned to a growing collection of songs that I had written but no longer played. I had written a few other songs earlier to protest the killing of the unborn, but felt more and more that this was a hopeless cause. It seemed to be an unpopular issue--- one the local churches did not want to take on.
On Saturday, September 8, 2001, I was driving home to Pittsburgh from Toronto with three other men who were all asleep. I had begun planning to record a third CD a couple months earlier, and I thought I knew which songs to record. I was thinking about this as I was driving late at night, when the Spirit of God came into the car, giving me a very powerful sense that He wanted me to record "Pink or Blue?" It had been so long since I had played that song, I could not even remember the first line.
I woke up the morning of September 11 with a song lyric on my mind, "I could cry for several hours/ When I think of all this pain/ Things sure are different/ But God is still the same." I thought about all the unborn life being destroyed daily in abortion clinics all over America. Only two hours later my wife, Jo, called me at work to tell me about the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. I came home, and we watched the news coverage. When the newscasters speculated on the death toll, I told Jo it would closely resemble the number of lives destroyed by abortion daily. When associates of mine would discuss the proper response to these attacks, I would tell them we needed to declare a moratorium on abortion for sixty days and then have a national referendum, a vote to decide whether to re-instate legalized abortion. Not many took me seriously. The local churches would not go on record as saying 9-11 might be a judgment from God on a sinful nation.
[The killing in our own borders has continued, at a rate of over 4000 lives destroyed daily since the Twin Towers came down. There have been over 40,000,000 legal abortions since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.]
I had not spoken with Sherry Jones for over four years, but I had a friend who had been in contact with her, so I got her phone number and called her. Sherry was amazed, as I told her how the LORD had spoken to me, and encouraged me to obey. She e-mailed the poem to me.
It seemed there were forces working against us determined to kill this project before it even begun. The recording studio where we initially planned to record the music went out of business. The singers and musicians we originally selected to play with us ran into personal obstacles and withdrew one after another. After spinning our wheels for over seven months, we decided to call a local studio that recorded only God-honoring music and set up a recording session. Our first session was exactly nine months after 9-11, and in the next six weeks, God brought us all the singers and musicians. He gave us clear direction on which songs to record, in what order, and how to do them.
GOOD CHOICES. BAD CHOICES
Good choices, bad choices/ God just keeps on loving you/ Good choices, bad choices/ God just keeps on loving you/ No use living a life of regret/ When God just keeps on loving you/ No matter what you do/ He keeps on loving you/ Good choices, bad choices/ God just keeps on loving you/ God just keeps on loving you
The "Friends of Messiah" lineup consisted entirely of new players. None had ever recorded or performed with me before. Anne Pelchar and Brooke Pinney are young women we had met at one of the local churches, and Pamela Hartman is a friend who told us she wanted to sing on this recording just two days before our first session. Our regular violinist was injured shortly before the first session and could not play. An emergency e-mail request elicited a recommendation for Earl Johns, who came to our house two days before the first session and learned all the songs. Michael Yuricha, our engineer, played bass and keyboards on several tunes and found us a conga drummer, Chuck Konkus, who added rhythm tracks on four songs.
My wife and I are convinced that these are the musicians God chose from the beginning. We were absolutely thrilled by the sounds. The entire recording only took around sixteen hours, less than a third of the time spent on our first two CDs.
I NEED A REVELATION
Sometimes my soul is troubled/ Sometimes I feel afraid/ Sometimes my heart grows weary/ And my hope begins to fade
CHORUS--I need a revelation/ Of Your glory in this hour/ I need to see and touch Your face/ To hear and taste You now/ I need a revelation/ Of Who my Father is/ I need to know beyond all doubt/ That I am wholly His
I know what it means to be bound/ And I know what it means to be free/ I need my Savior around/ To walk in victory (repeat chorus)
I've asked Pamela Hartman who sings lead on "Can You Hear My Heart?" and harmonizes on several other songs to share her story. You'll see why she wanted to be a part of this outreach. Here is her testimony:
It has been a blessing to be part of this CD, "Pink or Blue?" It also has been healing for me. I had scars that needed healing for twenty-five years, and carried shame that I tucked away deep into my subconscious as I tried to hide from a memory that now burns in my heart.
At age 24 I was a single mom with a four year old son. I missed two periods and was afraid of being pregnant. All my friends said I should go see Planned Parenthood and they would help me. I didn't know who they were but the name sounded sweet--Plan your parenthood. I thought they would help me plan the birth of my second child, but they had a "plan" I had not considered, abortion.
"Its okay," they assured me, "your baby isn't really a baby yet, so it would be wise for you to consider whether having a baby is best for you. Can you really afford it? Can you handle the responsibility? Is it fair to the child you already have?" I started thinking... well, it's going to be hard to raise two, and I'm single. They had convinced me it wasn't wrong to have an abortion because it wasn't really a baby yet.
The very next day, I'm off to the hospital. I'm scared, but the doctor consoled me and said it was okay. They gave me a shot to calm me down and I slept through the whole thing. Suddenly I'm awake as the door to my room abruptly opens and slams shut. I'm groggy from the medicine and having a hard time opening my eyes. The doctor who had been so sweet and consoling was pacing the room, angry and upset. He told me I was further along than his tests showed.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he asked, visibly shaken.
"I did," I said. "I missed two periods.."
"Well," he interrupted, "you had a three and a half month old boy! And once I began it was too late to stop, so I had to tear his arms and legs off to get him out. How could you do this to me?" he cried.
I was in shock and alone as he walked out, and I had carried the pain and guilt with me for twenty-five years. Until we did this CD.
I'm praying God will heal others who have been through what I have. I'm praying for young women to be spared from making the same mistake I did.
CAN YOU HEAR MY HEART?
O LORD/ Can You hear my heart?/ O LORD/ Can You hear it crying out?/ O my LORD/ O my LORD/ Can You hear my heart?
My heart is crying out/ To be where You are/ For I am nothing without You/ My heart is crying out/ To be with You alone/ For only You can satisfy me/ O my LORD/ O my LORD/ Can You hear my heart?
"For You formed my inward parts. You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they were all written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:13-16)
God creates each life with a divine purpose. Each life without exception is precious to Him. An abortion is the thwarting of God's divine purpose. Every single life that is destroyed by abortion was created by God for a reason and is of infinite value to Him. God's people have been silent far too long. The cost of our silence is 40 million human lives and growing. It is time to take a stand. Will you stand with us? It's time to speak out against the killing of innocent life. Abortion has brought a curse on this nation. How can we ask God to bless us when we are destroying life that is precious to Him? If someone killed our children, we would want to see them punished, wouldn't we?
BE MERCIFUL UNTO ME O GOD
Be merciful unto me O God/ Be merciful for my soul trusts in You/ I will cry unto God Most High/ I will find my shelter/ In the shadow of Your wings
Deliver me from my enemies/ Defend me from those who rise up against me/ Protect me from the evil one/ Like a Father Who loves His son
We want to put this music into the hands of every pregnant woman who is considering an abortion. These CDs will be given away at crisis pregnancy centers all over America. It is through the contributions of concerned believers who see God's hand in this project that we are able to raise the funds to distribute thousands of copies of "Pink or Blue?" Please give generously and help us make a difference, so that more and more who have been marked by the evil one for annihilation may instead experience the gift of life and change this world.
I KNOW HIS LOVE
CHORUS--I don't know all the answers/ But I know someone who does/ You see I know Jesus/ And I know His love
His love is there every moment/ His eyes are always on me/ I am His beloved/ I know I always will be (repeat chorus)
He is coming to take me/ To my home in the sky/ To dance in His presence/ For the rest of my life (repeat chorus)
We have recorded this CD with great pain and great joy. We believe that though we are small, we can make a difference. Your encouragement, prayers and financial support help us to make a difference. Do you want to make a difference, too? Do you want the power of God that is in you to change the world? You can be a high-impact soldier in God's army. First, we are asking you to pray for a spiritual awakening in our land. Prayer changes things. The acceptance of abortion as a legitimate option and the church's silence show that there is a tremendous darkness in our land. Jesus is the Light and each one of us must embrace Him more fully if we are to have any impact on this darkness. Talk to Him and listen for His voice.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
CHORUS--Getting to know You/ Is better than riches/ Getting to know You is sweeter than wine/ Getting to know You/ Is better than anything else
Oh-------Oh/ How my heart longs for You/ Oh--------Oh/ How my soul thirsts for You (repeat chorus)
Oh-------Oh/ How I'm longing to be with You/ Oh--------Oh/ How I want You here with me (repeat chorus)
Oh-------Oh/ How Your love satisfies me/ Oh--------Oh/ How You reach so deep inside me (repeat chorus)
Some of us who are sports fans probably have noticed winning athletes giving testimony when interviewed: "First of all, I'd like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me the strength..." Usually the interviewer ignores the statement and asks a question about the critical point of the game. We believers get a little excited and that's the end of it. This has been going on for almost ten years. Two and a half years ago I prayed for God to raise up people in sports and the arts who would take a bold step and say, "I would like to dedicate this win to the over four thousand lives that were destroyed today in abortion clinics around America." A statement like that could have tremendous impact. We know who Martin Luther King is and who Rosa Parks is because they were bold in confronting injustice. How can we remain silent? Pray that God will raise up people with influence who will make a statement. Pray for songs, books, movies, sculpture, and all the arts, that God would open the eyes of America through musicians, actors, artists, athletes, writers, and whoever will seek to make a difference. Pray that the church would repent of her shameful apathy about this ongoing holocaust. Sadly, only 57% of voters who call themselves born-again Christians voted for the "pro-life" candidate in the last presidential election, while the rest considered the right to life to be of less importance than the economy, education, and national defense. Pray for wisdom, protection, and a powerful anointing for people who are confronting the issue of the right to be born.
Anne Pelchar is 21 years old. She portrays a pregnant teenager on the title song of this CD. Anne believes we can and must make a difference. She relates:
There is a spiritual battle going on for the lives of unborn children. Participating in the production of this CD, I became increasingly aware of this fight. We must not give up trying to help these children that cannot defend themselves. God has given me such a burden for children, especially babies. I was completely overwhelmed with love and compassion for unborn children while in the recording studio. If this CD helps just one pregnant woman considering an abortion make the choice for life, then this project and all the hard work, prayers, and tears that many people have put into it have been well worth it.
We must continue to tell pregnant women considering their options that each unborn child is a tiny life that God has ordained and planned, and that He will always provide for that child and that mother. We must tell them: TRUST HIM. Call on Him. He won't turn you away.
YOU REACHED OUT YOUR HAND
The first time that I saw You/ I truly was amazed/ You reached out Your hand/ And I beheld Your face/ And ever since that day/ I knew You were my friend/ I knew I had to be with You/ When You reached out Your hand
Draw me into Your presence Lord/ Draw me Lord to Your throne/ Draw me into Your holiness/ To worship You alone
I will be with You forever/ Throughout all eternity/ My love for You will never end/ And neither will Your love for me
Another way you can make a difference is to speak out. Let people know that God can't bless America as long as we continue to slaughter innocent life. Urge your church to support pro-life organizations financially. Many churches do, but some have not even considered it. Find out what your church is doing. If they do not generously support pro-life organizations, urge them to do so, and do it yourself. Write a letter to your local newspaper and encourage others to do the same. Tell the public why you think America is experiencing so many attacks to our society, freedom, and economy. Pray as you write and get others to pray with you. Your letter could influence many people.
Encourage and support people and organizations that are confronting this evil. Millions of Americans are convinced that having an abortion is a constitutional right. It may be a "right" but it is still wrong. Legalized abortion is a governmentally protected enemy stronghold that has brought wanton destruction on our society. Over 40 million lives have been legally terminated. Don't shrug your shoulders and say there's nothing you or I can do about it. Ask God what He wants you to do, and be willing to do it no matter what the cost is. Lately I am reminded of the second verse of an old hymn we've all sung: "Though none go with me/ Still I will follow/ Though none go with me/ Still I will follow/ Though none go with me/ Still I will follow/ No turning back/ No turning back."
Will you follow, too?
One of our friends has been actively fighting nearly thirty years for the right of the unborn to live. Her name is Valencia Yajko, and she is helping us to distribute this music to many crisis pregnancy centers. I've asked her to share from her heart.
I have been blessed to counsel with hundreds of moms and dads facing an unplanned pregnancy. The lie that the fetus is not a child has resulted in millions of infant lives being taken for money and other selfish reasons. No woman wants her baby's life to end. Each child is a miracle, a gift from our Almighty, loving Father, created in His special image and likeness. Through His gift, God heals and brings joy. No one is alone. There is help. God gave His Son, Jesus, to free us from sin and despair. He is an awesome God.
Today, men and women are being challenged to respect life. Be courageous, and be obedient to Almighty God. Love and be loved. He longs to bless you with peace and happiness.
May this music touch your heart and inspire you to share the truth about life. Jesus will never leave you. Call on Him. He will answer.
All life is precious.
I WILL BE THERE FOR YOU
I will be there for you/ When you need a hand to hold on to/ When you need a place where you can cry/ You can always come to Me/ You are My heart's delight/ You are precious in My sight/ And I want to give to you/ All the love your heart can hold