New Album: Legacy
"If the purpose of your life is not wrapped up in God's purposes for the world, you will miss the reason you're alive."
-- Bill Drake

The Song: Stories

“…There’s a song that cannot be unsung…”  At the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing, that is one of my favorite lyrics, and it is found in the first song on this second-of-three compilation.  You see, I had been “writing” that particular song since 1975…

There’s a beautiful verse in the book of Job that gives us a hint of what happened during the Creation of the material Universe.  The Angels serenaded The Lord God as He spoke beauty into being.  And we don’t need to look much farther than the fact that the largest and arguably one of the most beautiful books in the Bible is a book of song lyrics.

I would submit that the first time really heard “the song”, was at my mother’s funeral, which took place at St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Barre, Vermont where we had lived for four years.  I had just turned 15 years old when my 43 year old mother stopped breathing in the hospital on June 4th, 1975; the day my childhood abruptly ended.  My older sister Lisa and I were not planning to go visit mom that day, but were encouraged to go by our Uncle Jim, who indicated that we would be picking up our Grandma at the airport on the way to the hospital.  Jim was a doctor, and knew what was coming, and in foresight that was either divinely inspired, or just inherent wisdom, insisted we go.

Mom was in a coma when we walked into the room.  You could see just a little of the whites of her eyes, which were rolled up into her head.  Roger, my stepfather was sitting hunched down in a corner just past her hospital bed, weeping quietly.  You could hear the monitors and machines that my mom was hooked up to clicking and beeping, as a doctor and then a few nurses spoke in hushed tones, “Your mother is dying.”  I wasn’t prepared.

But my grandmother, who had come as quickly as she could when alerted that this was the end, walked up to the bed, grabbed my mother’s swollen arm (twice it’s size, as the her lymph nodes had been removed), and began to stroke her, and softly call to her, “Phyllis, I’ve come to see you.”  To everyone’s surprise, the monitors began to show more activity than they had all day, her eyes came clear and focused on her mother who was lovingly calling out her name.  My mother took every last ounce of strength left in her cancer-ravaged body, I could see her try to form a word – “Mom” – as she had been waiting for this last moment.  And in that moment, she breathed her last.

Shocked, I walked out of the Hospital, walked out on God, and almost walked out on the rest of my life.  A few days later, standing near the altar, I assisted Father Dupree as he performed my mother’s funeral.  The place was packed – my mother had made a huge impact on that congregation, local women’s groups, and our neighborhood.  The organ was making noises that no musical instrument should ever be asked to make, and although I was dressed in pure white, my heart was black as night.  Imagine my shock, where half-way through the service, three acoustic guitar players approached and surrounded my mom’s casket, and began to sing “Alleluia” in three part harmony.  The deepest beauty of sound reverberated in the expanse, as God was being praised by a life given to Him in the depths of her pain and sorrow.  And for the first time in my life, I believe I heard “the song”.

I found out later that my mom had gotten permission to organize the second half of her funeral service, and she turned it into a time of praise and celebration of Jesus Christ, and the life that He gave to her.  I recognize now how meaningful and powerful that was, but at the time, filled with bitterness and fear, I cursed God.  How does a good God let mommies die, and leave her children with a child-abuser?  It’s the age-old blame shift that puts the burden on God for the decisions man makes and the consequences he then bears.

Years later, desperate and on my knees in my apartment in Moscow, Idaho, I surrendered to the author of “The Song”.  More on this later for Touched By Love, but I had been singing in bars and nightclubs with my friend Ross, a liquid singer with a nice touch on an acoustic guitar, and he introduced me to the music of Dan Fogelburg.  I remember the first time I heard Dan’s song There’s A Place In The World For A Gambler.  It blew me away completely, and I wept at how the melody, the lyrics, and the sheer beauty of this love song obliterated my heart.  Some songs, melodies, chord progressions, and arrangements seem to be crafted just for us, and this was one of those songs for me.  And you can see it’s fingerprints here on There’s a Place of Immeasurable Blessing:  in the title, in the 6/8 time signature, and in the gorgeous rolling piano that comes in during the second verse.  I sing this song in almost every one of my concerts now, dedicate it to my praying mother, who promised to lift me before Jesus everyday that she lived, and if it was theologically possible, would pray for me in the presence of God Himself once she got to heaven.  And if she can see me now, I hope that she is proud of me.  I hope she knows that her prayers have been answered, her son has come home, and we will be reunited one day in that ultimate place of immeasurable blessing…

  • There’s A Place of Immeasurable Blessing – 2011 (Broken & Complete)

    I believe this song was seeded in me in 1975, and it was finished in 2011 during my Masters Degree sojourn – I wanted to capture in simplicity, verses that speak biblical truth with a simple refrain that responds in worship to those truths.  But I also have always wanted to write something on guitar that reminded me of that moment in 1975 at my mother’s funeral – the first time I think I ever really “heard” worship.  One of the supreme joys of my life is that my daughters Shelby and Sharayah sung the backing vocals on this one.  I personally believe this is one of the greatest songs I have ever had the privilege to write.  Hallelujah.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards,
    Joe Ricciardi – Electric Guitars
    David Cooper – Acoustic Guitars 
    Tim Friesen – Bass, programming
    Josh Fisher – Drums
    Shelby & Sharayah – Backing Vocals

    There’s A Place of Immeasurable Blessing

    There’s a place of immeasurable blessing  (1 Peter 1:8)
    There’s a song that cannot be unsung  (Psalm 113:3)
    There is God who inhabits our praises and sings over us  (Ps. 22:3, Jer. 32:41, Isa. 62:5, Zeph. 3:17)

     There’s a whisper that speaks in the silence  (1 Kings 19:12)
    There’s a light that the darkness can’t dim  (John 1:5)
    There’s a way that we can be forgiven of all our sin  (1 John 1:9)

     Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Amen!  (Psalm 146:1-2)

    There is love in the heart of The Father  (Romans 5:8)
    There is life in the death of the Son  (Romans 5:10)
    There is power in the word of the Spirit – Three in One  (2 Cor. 13:14, Mat. 28:19)

     

    There’s a peace that’s beyond comprehension  (Philippians 4:7)
    There’s a Shepherd who calls us His friend  (John 15:15)
    There’s a hope in the life everlasting, world without end  (2 Peter 3:11-13, Rev. 21:1)

     Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Amen!

     And I raise up my voice and l lift up my hands  (Psalm 134:2, 1 Tim 2:8)    
    I lay down my life for Your greatest Commands  (Juke 9:23, Mat. 22:37-39)
    Let my offering be pleasing to You  (Ps. 19:14, 119:108, Heb. 13:15)
    As I worship in Spirit and Truth . . .   (John 4:24)

     Hallelujah Amen! (4x)

     Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Amen!

     There’s a place of immeasurable blessing
    There’s a song that cannot be unsung
    There is God who inhabits our praises and sings over us . . .

     

     

  • At Calvary – 1982 (You Are The One/Seasons & Souvenirs)

    It was January 4th, 1982 when Teri and I, married for only 6 months, set out for the infamous city of Los Alamos, New Mexico, from Boise, Idaho.  Los Alamos’ notoriety comes from the fact that this is where the first atom bomb was secretly made by Oppenheimer et al for the US Government in a program dubbed the Manhattan Project. Los Alamos is a beautiful little town that sits just above 7,000ft. in the Jemez Mountains, and we were going there to join my sister and her husband on a church plant.

    We left Idaho during a snow storm, against the strongly shared sentiments of Teri’s folks, who knew a bit more about winter roads that I did, even though I was raised in Vermont!  We made it as far as Evanston, Wyoming that day, and spent the night in a little hotel.  The next day, we woke up to clear skies, and virgin white snow – everywhere.  We got back in my blue short-bed 1979 Chevy Van, and took off again on well-plowed roads, pulling a little U-Haul trailer which contained just about everything we owned.  As we continued on, the sun began to clear the roads entirely, and we were soon on smooth black-top, and making good time, trying to get to Denver, Colorado by nightfall.

    Somewhere near Rock Springs, on I-80 there is a tunnel.  I had on my sunglasses, and not just because I wanted to look cool for my new bride!  The reflection of the sun off of the blanket of snow was just sheer blinding.  The last thing I remember as we entered the tunnel doing about 60 mph was an 18-wheeler not too far back that I had just passed. 

    We were well into the tunnel, when I heard a sound – the sound that a human being makes when they take in a very quick and stressed breath of air.  That sound came from Teri.  Not sure what the fuss was about, I strove to take off my sun-glasses, which admittedly had made things a bit dark for the moment.  But when I got them off, what I saw took my breath away as well:  the left-hand side wall of the tunnel, running now at about a 30 degree angle out the front window of the van.  My brain caught up to what my eyes were screaming at me:  we were gently and horrifically jack-knifing on black ice that had been lurking inside the tunnel, and the trailer was now pushing the van closer and closer to the wall as it tried to pass it in the fast lane – at 60 mph. 

    Out of the left side of my peripheral vision, I could sense the 18-wheeler now entering the tunnel, and knew that in just a few seconds, it too would hit the black ice – and by that time, we would be experiencing the unpleasantness of becoming “one” with the tunnel wall – and there would be no way for that truck to stop – no way.  We were dead…

    With no time to think or do anything else, a single word came out of my mouth.  I don’t think I can even take credit – it was the spirit in me – I cried out, “Jesus!”  In less time than it will take you to read these next words, we were out of the tunnel on the other side, safely in our lane, with the trainer rightly aligned behind the van again.  Teri and I sat in stunned silence for at least 5 minutes, afraid to talk, afraid to breathe, afraid to break the holy moment we were in, realizing that we had just experienced a miracle that had saved our lives…

    And such is the miracle of Calvary.  When Jesus said, “It is finished”, everything that He needed to accomplish for our Salvation was done in that moment – the price was paid, death was done.  The miracle that happened in an instant however was planned from eternity past – the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world was to be born into it and laid in a feeding trough.  The first Christmas must have been a very brutal experience for the Son of God – going from the ephermal fragrance of heaven, to the rank fragrance of animal dung.  But Calvary – going from conducting hands that created the Universe, to having hands pinned to rough wood by iron nails – from the company of the Heavenly Host, to the squalor of thieves, murderers and sinners…  I really can’t grasp it.

    And in His eternal eyes, I was there.  Just like Rembrandt, who paints himself into his depiction of the crucifixion, I too was there.  But what would I have been doing?  And somewhere between Rock Springs, Wyoming, and Los Alamos, New Mexico, the seeds for this song were born, as the reality set in that I have been saved, truly saved, eternally saved.  Saved by The Life from brutal death.  I don’t deserve it.  I didn’t do anything to help it happen.  I received it with humble gratitude, but even that portion of faith was granted by Him for me to employ (Rom. 12:3).

    I wrote At Calvary 2 weeks after God rescued us in the tunnel.  It is one of my oldest songs to date that I have ever recorded, and it is the oldest song of mine in this Anthology.  I decided to put on the Seasons and Souvenirs version which was rerecorded in 1996 because I love the string arrangement by John Campbell and the guitar solo by Bob Soma.  Like I’ll Obey, this song was a stalwart in all my concerts for many years, and I still never tire of it.  I am just profoundly grateful that I got to write it, and even more eternally grateful for the truth behind it.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano
    Tim Jaquette - Bass
    Bob Soma – Lead Electric Guitar
    Mark Levang - Keyboards
    Marcel Zimmer – Drums
    John Campbell – Orchestration

    At Calvary

    Where would I have been at Calvary?
    Watching as the Messiah died to win His people back
    Would’ve I stood to fight for godly truth?
    Or would’ve I turned my back?

     Of all earth’s battles young and old
    The fiercest one was raging for my soul

     And where would I have been on judgment day
    Standing on the left or on the right?
    And if the cross had never come to pass
    Death would’ve won my hope for eternal life

     And yes I know, I would’ve denied You
    Before the cock crowed again

     But I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy to stand in Your name
    For me, You died in shame

    Where would I have been at Calvary?
    Standing, mocking, laughing at Your precious name
    And you saw me there among the angry crowd
    Asking, “Father please forgive them!” as you called His name out loud

     And I’m not worthy, no, I’m not worthy to stand in Your name
    But You took the nails, the laughing taunts and wails
    And saved me by Your grace
    You pleaded for my case
    And I praise Your blessed name, Amen

  • You Are The One – 1983 (You Are The One)

    In the summer of 1983, while living in Los Alamos, New Mexico, I began to get strange pain in my stomach – much worse than nausea or acid indigestion.  I immediately went into denial, and fortunately (I thought), it would go away for a time.  It came back with a vengeance, and I was passing blood in the stool.  Not good.  More denial.

    Things reached a crisis however during Christmas Break after we had relocated to the Los Angeles area.  Teri and I were going back to Idaho, and we chose as our route to go through the San Francisco Bay area to visit my Dad and a childhood close friend, Matt.  (Dad had just been divorced by his second wife, who had been his mistress when he was married to my mom.)  We were headed over to Dad’s place one evening, when it felt like something “let go” inside me, and I had to use the toilet – and out came blood.  Lots of it.  Not good.  I called Teri in, and we both decided to go ahead on over to Dad’s place, because he had been a Doctor (who had now lost his license for practicing under the influence of alcohol), and we thought that maybe he would know what to do.

    Once at Dad’s place, I had to go again, and this time, even more blood came out.  I felt myself literally drifting away, and I opened up the door while still on the toilet, to try to catch Teri’s attention before I passed all the way out.  She says she saw the door open, my white-ashen face, and then my eyes rolled back in my head and I passed out against the bathroom door.

    The next thing I remember is my Dad’s voice, calling my name, and telling me to stand up because my full weight against the door was keeping them from getting in to me.  I said, “Sure, Dad…” stood up, pulled up my pants, they opened the door, and I fell out like a falling tree, passing out again on the floor.  Matt grabbed my outstretched hand, and began to seriously pray.  I kinda woke up, and remember how warm his hand was holding mine.  Teri then took over praying, while Matt literally grabbed my Dad, and made him to call the ambulance to take me to the Hospital. 

    The Paramedics were great, we even somehow got to joking (I found out later they were trying to keep my spirits up – I had lost an enormous amount of blood, I didn’t have a blood pressure, and supposedly my heart was looking for reasons to continue to beat…) – the ride to Marin General was FAST, and then it was into the Emergency Room, ALL formality went out the window.  They needed to find out the source of the bleeding.  Lets just say tubes went where tubes should not go.  I must have looked like a plastic octopus by the time they were done, but they still couldn’t find it, and they scheduled me for a Barium Radioactive test the next day as by this time, it was midnight.  One of the last times I saw my father alive is when he came into the room and told me he was leaving to go to Texas for Christmas to spend with his folks.  He had called in an incredible set of doctors to help me, and off he went.  This was more wounding – he abandoned me again… and reinforced a set of toxic, destructive thoughts and subsequent lies that would haunt me for 23 years until I finally found healing (see Psalm 91 below).

    The operation took place two days later, and they took out the section of small intestine where my umbilical chord connected.  It’s called Meckels Diverticulum, a congenital condition that would’ve killed me a generation earlier.  But now came the arduous process of having my body return to proper functioning – and it didn’t seem to want to.  I remember there was a pump on the wall next to my bed, pumping my stomach through the NG tube that was run into my nose.  I was also still hooked up to IV, and a catheter.  I guess they weren’t done with the plastic octopus… 

    Evening of the 23rd December, I realized that I was going to spend Christmas in the hospital.  I also was informed that my GI tract was not coming back like they had hoped, and they really needed that to happen (my intestines weren’t working).  I went into a fitful sleep that night, and had some bad dreams, one in which God abandoned me and I discovered my faith in Christ was a fraud.  I awakened from that horror, disoriented and upset, and managed to loosen some of the tubes that I was connected to, and I think one of them actually pulled out of me.  This set off a series of alarms out at the nurses station, and the next thing I knew, an army of nurses was on their way in to put “humpty dumpty” back together again.  One of them lingered.

    She had recognized in my tone and conversation with them that I was not a ‘happy camper’.  “You’re a Christian, right?” She asked?  “How do you know that?” I responded.  “Well, it’s on your chart” she said.  And then she hit me with it:  “You’re a bit of a hypocrite, aren’t you.”  I’m not sure what exactly I said next, but it was something like, “They must pay you a ton of money to make a brilliant diagnosis like that.”  I was non-plussed, that’s for sure.  She continued undeterred, “Well, I was wondering if it was real.  I mean, we see some pretty interesting things here in the hospital, but I’ve never seen anything quite like what happened in the recovery room after you came out of a long surgery.  We put enough pain-killer in you to drop a few elephants so you would lay nicely and quietly so as not to tear your sutures, but did you?  No – you attempted to sit up on your gurney, and proceeded to tell your life story to the staff of doctors and nurses on that ward that day, and how Jesus Christ saved your life.  You should not have been able to function, and yet here you were articulating your testimony!  As a result of what I viewed to be a bit of a miracle, I went away and really gave my life to Jesus.  And now you are saying that you are losing your faith because of a medial inconvenience.  I’m extremely disappointed.”  And she walked out.

    I was totally rebuked.  By a new convert who came to Christ because of my witness and a God intervention.  There was nothing left to do but repent, and in tears of sorrow and conviction I did so, right there in that moment.  Later when I saw her again, I apologized to the nurse, and assured her that although Christians most certainly fail and have moments of dire weakness, I had confessed, asked my heavenly Father to forgive me, and was pressing on.  That night God put a new song in my heart, and it’s called You Are The One.  The lyrics speak for themselves.

    Almost two years later, I was leading worship for the Student Body of Biola University in La Mirada, California.  I played a few Keith Green songs including one of my favorites, Rushing Wind, and then threw in one of my own.  Afterwards, the Director of Student Ministries, Gary Lindblad, approached me and he asked if we could meet for lunch.  At that meeting, he told me he wanted to invest in me, and offered me $400 to go and record a 10-song demo, if I had enough songs.  I told him I did, and You Are The One became the title song of my first ever album of original music.  The income from that album was used to record my second album, and so on and so forth.  That little seed of $400 plus a little more Gary gave me for my 3rd album has gone on to produce 13 albums of original music spanning 30 years.  Dr. Gary Lindblad is one of my closest friends today, and is the Dean of the Crowell Business School at Biola University.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano
    ??? – Backing Vocals

    You Are The One

    I walked alone and I knew loneliness
    And when I looked for the right road
    There was nowhere to go
    And nowhere to call home

    But You caught my eye
    When I looked away from the darkness of my life
    And saw you dying there upon the cross of sinners cursed for me
    And my blinded eyes could see

    That You are the One that will never ever leave me
    You are the One Who loved me to the end
    And there’s no greater love that a man could ever have
    Than to die for His friends

    Yes I know the road is long
    But I don't walk alone
    And if I turn around and see one set of footprints in the sand
    I’ll know I’m in Your hand

    You are the One, Oh Jesus
    You are the One, I love you Lord

  • Alleluia, The Lord Reigns – 1984 (Faith On Fire/God Is Awesome)

    All musicians remember when they got their first instrument.  Mine was a Takamine 12-String Guitar, which I purchased in Novato, California with one of my closest friends in High School, Dan Wilson. Dan was a drummer in the High School Jazz Band.  Dan discovered me playing piano in the back rooms of the music building of San Rafael High School, and invited me to try out for the Jazz Band by introducing me to the music teacher,  Charlene Lusk.  Charlene embraced me as a young undeveloped talent with potential, and promised to teach me how to read chord charts, if I would promise to work hard at it, and show up to every event.  The rest is history.

    Dan and I not only formed ½ of the High School Jazz band’s rhythm section, but with the rest of that rhythm section plus my cousin Steve, we formed our own rock band called Horizon.  We did a few High School gigs, the Ski Trip, and some local stuff.  It was during this time that my song writing really took off, and like high school teens, we had stars in our eyes!  Things were looking up!

    Dan went to a local Youth Group as well and tried to invite me, but I was still so bitter from my mother’s death, I wasn’t interested in allegiance to such a ‘cruel’ God.  Dan said he’d pray for me.  I’m sure he did.

    Well, as things worked out, I went off to the University of Idaho to become a Forest Ranger (!), and Dan stayed behind to learn how to be a Recording Studio Technician at San Francisco State.  We stayed in touch, and I sent him songs as I wrote them.  Two of them were called Sail Away, and Pieces of a Dream (Opus 101, and 103).  He liked them so much, he took them in to Atlantic Records to see if they might be interested.  They suggested that we make a demo, and come back to them when I got back from University if we were serious.

    Arriving back in San Francisco in May 1979, I entered into what would become one of the darkest periods of my life.  I had found out a bit earlier that my High School sweetheart had left me, and was in a physical relationship with another guy – all behind my back.  I had felt betrayed and humiliated.  I still had the music, but I clung to it in a way that was simply unhealthy.  I went into the Recording Studio with Dan and some of his new friends, and laid down Sail Away, and seeing how it turned out, and staked everything on taking it to the agents at Atlantic Records. 

    To celebrate our record (and a possible chance with a record company), we organized a rock climbing trip to Yosemite Valley; I would go with my Dad and my Uncle, and Dan would round up a few friends, we would meet at a campsite in Yosemite and have an awesome weekend together on the cliffs and in some of the most beautiful nature that God has served up on planet earth.  Then at the last second, it seemed that Dan and his friends couldn’t make it, so I went up with just my Dad and my Uncle.

    To say that some alcohol was consumed would be an understatement.  By this point in his life, my father was really starting to drink.  With my Uncle’s urging however, he was at least sober for the main climbing event:  The Royal Arches. Hanging off ropes on 2,000 ft. cliffs, climbing sheer faces, and scrambling up chimneys, this was a 7-pitch climb, and it was so much fun!  It was so incredibly awesome, it is forever indelibly engraved on my mind.  But I will also always remember the way down, because it was quite dangerous.  Once we attained the summit, the valley rim, we had to hike along the rim for quite some time before being able to make your way down, otherwise, we would hit cliffs that we would’ve had to repel from, and with evening coming on, tired from climbing all day, and in the dark – not a good plan.

    On the way out of Yosemite the next day, it was a total shock to run into Dan in the gas station as we filled up and got snacks for the road.  Dan and his friends had actually made it, however a little late for us!  But we told them all about the climb that we did, how awesome the views, etc. etc.  They got excited, and were totally up for it.  My Uncle explained to them that they needed to make sure they got an early start, because it would take them all day.  He also explained that they needed to bring some warm clothing, because it was still quite cold up on the rim.  He also told them to make sure they brought flashlights to better find the way down, and warned them about the cliffs.  They didn’t listen to him.

    Two days later back in San Rafael, I got a phone call mid-morning from a very good friend who had been helping us record my music.  He had some bad news.  Dan was dead.  Found at the bottom of a cliff, he had slipped on the way down from the climb we suggested having not traversed far enough, and having started down too soon.

    As news of the tragedy came in from our traumatized friends in the climbing party, the full story began to take shape.  They had not taken my Uncle’s advice – none of it.  They got a later start, they didn’t bring warm weather clothes, got up to the rim quite late, began to get very, very cold, but didn’t have a flashlight amongst them.  Not being able to see very well, they each tried to find a path down.  They were not roped up for safely in the precarious situation they were in, and Dan got on a stretch of rock that was steep and somehow slippery.  When the rescue team found him the next morning he was still breathing, severely in shock, dehydrated, barely alive.  They got him into a rescue chopper, but he passed away whilst being transported to a hospital.

    This really put me over the edge.  I had just lost one of my closest friends.  And with Dan gone, so went the opportunity with the record company.  I left San Rafael and went back to the University of Idaho a broken young man, and on the path toward killing myself.  I just couldn’t take any more pain.  And in the sovereignty of God, He had already put in place a plan and a person He would use to rescue me from the worst of myself.  (see Leave It Behind on Legacy – The Rock, and Touched By Love, below). 

    The truth of the rule and reign of God has become an unexpected and surprising comfort to me as I have grown older.  It is so true, that life is lived forward, and understood backward.  And for my dear friend Dan, I have question for him when I see him again:  did he know that his death would set in motion the steps that led to my salvation?  I do know however that God did, and He orchestrated things in my broken life from that point on that would lead me eventually into His arms.  Alleluia, the Lord Reigns.

    Alleluia, The Lord Reigns was written to be sung corporately, and was first recorded on my second album, Faith On Fire.  The version here is from the God Is Awesome CD, which I think is a better arrangement and recording.  Musically, I love a “drop-D” on acoustic guitar, and employed it here on both of my guitars!  This is one of the few songs I have ever recorded where I played both my Martin and my Takamine guitars.  In fact every time I pick up the Takamine, I think of Dan.  I miss my friend, co-founder of my first band, and look forward to playing with Him again for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, BGVs, strings, 6 & 12 String Acoustic Guitars
    Tim Jaquette – Bass, Percussion
    Drums – Dave Spur

    Alleluia, The Lord Reigns

    Clothed with Majesty, surrounded by His strength
    Called the Name Above All Names
    He is from everlasting – The End and The Beginning
    Almighty God, and Great Eternal King

    Alleluia, The Lord Reigns
    Alleluia, there is power in His name
    What a privilege to worship and obey
    And be a living sacrifice of praise

    Lifted up and Holy, with righteousness and glory
    The King of Kings and Lord of Lords
    The heavens sing your praises, the earth will speak your greatness
    As all creation lifts up its voice

  • Come To Me – 1986 (Faith On Fire/God Is Awesome)

    During the period from 1982 to 1988 there was an explosion in my song-writing.  Between starting in ministry in Los Alamos, and moving to Los Angeles and then studying at Biola, I underwent a massive spiritual growth-spurt.  I was exposed to the mission field in 1983 in Tijuana Mexico, and that produced Haunting Eyes (see Legacy – The Mission), and a host of other songs like Mount Moriah that set me up for that fateful meeting with George Verwer in 1987. 

    But in the midst of the excitement of new opportunities, projects, and possibilities, I was also just beginning another journey – one that has taken a bit longer to develop (see Breastplate of St. Patrick, below), of a deeper walk, and more profound understanding of Jesus, His relationship to The Father, and the vast depths of walking while resting in the encompassing Spirit – a journey I think we will be on forever, as we get to know Him better and better.

    And it starts with a simple invitation, found in Matthew 11:28-30: 

    “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Jesus Christ

    You know, Jesus continues to blow me away again and again the farther I walk, the longer I listen, the more I read.  What beautiful words.  Such healing balm to the human psyche.  Just take this scripture one word at a time, and meditate on each one – so well placed, so meticulously timed.  He knows us.  He knows our state.  He knows our heart.  He knows our mind.  He knows what we need.  He knows that it is Him.  So he lovingly, gently, kindly, and sincerely invites us right into the middle of the divinely unfathomable relationship that He has with His Father and the Holy Spirit.  We were made to be in that relationship.  No matter the circumstance, we are situated right in the middle of that relationship.  We were made to abide in it forever and ever.  And we should forever then respond from that place of love, work from that place of rest, where nothing can touch us or move us from the very heart of God.

    “Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to Jesus.  Get away with Him and you’ll recover your life.  He’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with Him and work with Him – watch how He does it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  He won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with Him and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Eugene H. Peterson, The Message

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards
    Tim Jaquette – Bass
    Drums – Dave Spur

    Come To Me

    Come to me, all who are weary
    Heavy-laden and I will give you rest (repeat)

    Learn from me and take my yoke upon you
    For I am meek and humble in heart
    You will find rest for your troubled souls
    For My yoke is easy, and light is the load

    Come to me, all who are weary
    Heavy-laden and I will give you rest

  • I Want To Behold You - 1986 (Faith On Fire)

    I went on my first mission trip in 1983 (see Haunting Eyes, Legacy – The Mission), and it irreparably changed me forever.  I am forever grateful to Bob Ahrens, then an Elder at E.V. Free Covina, for taking me with YUGO Ministries, an awesome organization that is responsible for countless Mexicans coming to Christ, and countless Americans and Canadians who have had their lives turned upside down and inside out as a result of going down to Mexico.  By the time I moved to England in 1991, I had been to Mexico way more than 20 times.

    During my time at Biola University, I had the most incredible academic advisor and mentor, Michael Anthony.  Michael came alongside of me and was one of the key vessels God used to shape my discipleship, and I owe this man so much, I can’t express it all here.  He saw in me a raw and undeveloped talent, and it is mostly because of his efforts that I won the President’s Award at Biola University (similar to valedictorian) in 1987. 

    Michael had a close friend (Carolyn Koons) who was also into Mission, in fact, she was one of the founders of YUGO Ministries, and was also a professor at Azusa Pacific University.  Michael introduced me to her, and organized for me to help lead the worship at the famed Azusa Pacific Mexicali Outreach over Easter Break in 1986.  Carolyn introduced me to Russ Cline, son of Ron Cline from HCJB who was the speaker at the event, and together, Russ and I led worship for around 2,500 High School Students for “Catch The Vision”, the name of the event that year.  It was awesome!

    Based on the success of our ministry together, Russ suggested that I record an album of original material written for the next year’s outreach, which was to be called “Faith On Fire”.  So I proceeded to take the rest of 1986 to write new material; songs that could easily be sung by young people that carried a solid message of commitment.  The previous two songs were also on that album as well.  That album became my second album, called Faith on Fire.

    I Want To Behold You was written as a simple prayer of humility, availability, and surrender, with an ultimate desire to be like Jesus: willing to see what He sees, and then willing to act like He acted.  Musically, I was trying to capture the haunting sound of the late Eric Woolfson’s voice on Time by The Alan Parsons Project.  I used both my guitars on this song as well.  I put the original version of I Want To Behold You on here so you could hear a bit of what I was sounding like in the mid-80s!

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Keyboards, 6 & 12 String Acoustic Guitars 

    I Want To Behold You

    I see things so darkly
    My sin has blinded me to the light of your truth
    But You, see through infinity
    Yet You take note of me with an everlasting love

    And I want to behold You
    And know you better than I do
    And I want to be like You
    Giving my life to You
    Is all that I can do

    I waste so much time on me
    And not for eternity, turning my back on what I need
    But You, laid down Your life for me
    Endured Calvary, and reached out to take me in

  • No Condemnation – 1987 (Living in the DMZ)

    Lifted from Romans 8, No Condemnation was my first “Power Ballad”, a genre of music that I totally fell in love with in the ‘80s, and was exemplified by bands like REO Speedwagon and Journey.   This song has the musical distinction as well, as carrying the highest note I have ever hit on an album – an “A”, which took like 10 takes to get!  Tom Cox, who engineered and recorded this song in his house, was so patient!

    I own Tom a real debt, for he really helped me by recording Faith On Fire and Living in the DMZ for next to nothing, seriously helped my music ministry to take off.  So many good memories recording those two albums - I remember my brother Joe just leaving me wrecked as he wrote the guitar solo.  Then Teri stepped up and came up with that beautiful bell part in the outro!  In fact, she would play it live on the “key-tar”!!! 

    My Christian Music Career had really exploded after the first 2 albums, being exposed to hundreds of youth groups at Biola, YUGO and Mexicali.  By 1988, we were touring all over the West Coast and Colorado in huge churches, Christian Camps, Schools, and other big events, and I had been writing all kinds of music.  It came time to record some of it, and Living in the DMZ was made.  Gary Lindblad at Biola helped out again, and many of these songs became the mainstay of my concerts up until I left for England in 1991.  6 out of 10 are represented in this Anthology.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Drum Programing
    Joe Schmeeckle – Rhythm and Lead Electric Guitars
    Tim Jaquette – Bass
    Debbie McKay – BGVs
    Teri Drake – Bells

    No Condemnation

    Time, only for a moment it burns like a candle in the wind
    A reflection in a mirror of what might have been
    And all the pain of battles lost, the payment and the cost
    Of facing the truth that I am powerless to win

    Life, only through a lifetime of tears and memoires will find
    The disappointment and fear that I’m going to die
    And all the hopes of seasons past, the dreams that didn’t last
    Remind me that only You can love an empty life

    And there’s no condemnation in the name of God’s only Son
    For the gates are thrown open, death is broken
    By the power of Jesus’ love

    And now, I turn and face the night
    The tragedies and strife
    I sense Your mighty hand
    And as I stand my strength returns again!

  • Finish What You’ve Begun - 1987 (Living in the DMZ)

    There is an amazing and beautiful promise in Philippians chapter 1 verse 6:  “And I am sure of this, that He Who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  I have just lived long enough to actually be able to look back and notice – a little bit – and there is no hint in my tone here that I think that I have “arrived”!  When it comes for things to work on for God, my life is a target-rich environment!

    There’s another verse (Phil. 2:12) that says that we need to “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  I used to erroneously allow that verse to allow me to question my own salvation in Christ, and that was a mistake.  Salvation is at least a three-part transaction:  Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification.  The last one is what’s gonna happen to us, and the first is what DID happen when we surrendered to follow Jesus.  It's the middle bit that’s the problem!  The biggest understatement of all time is that little dash between the dates on a tombstone!

    I cannot tell you how much I love the instrumental and vocal bridge to this song that comes at 2:48, just after the second chorus.  It sonically leads to Joe’s guitar solo that just so captures the sheer agony of being a sinner who so wants to be holy.  In fact, Joe’s guitar work on this song might be the best he did while recording with me.  The pain he is able to convey through his instrument literally leaves me ‘teared up’ and gasping…

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Drum Programing
    Joe Schmeeckle – Rhythm and Lead Electric Guitars
    Tim Jaquette – Bass
    Debbie McKay – BGVs

    Finish What You’ve Begun

    The peace of God escapes the searching of my soul
    A restless evil tries to come and take control
    My pride of life has tried to take what it can’t own
    By I am conquered as I stand before Your throne

    Take me, break me, make me like your Son
    I’m open, and broken – finish what You’ve begun

    The battle’s lost before I ever take a stand
    Crying to You but reaching out with guilty hands
    Without Your love it is impossible for man
    But by Your holy power I boldly come and ask

    Take me, break me, make me like your Son
    I’m open, and broken – finish what You’ve begun

    Father!  Help me!  Live the way and truth!
    I’m trying, striving, to deny myself and follow You!

  • Spirit Is Willing – 1983 (Living in the DMZ)

    Every once in a while, I go back to my roots and write something like this that is so in my wheelhouse, it’s like breathing air.  Send Me is like that, and so are Open My Heart, Sins of Omission, and Out of the Darkness.  What they all have in common is that they are written in the same classical-contemporary style as Keith Green’s Rushing Wind, one of my favorite songs of all time.  When I heard Keith playing it live, I memorized it on the spot, and went home and played it.  I led off my concerts with Rushing Wind for years, alternating with Surrender when it was just me on a piano.

    The subject matter is related to the heart idolatry I had gotten myself back into with music ministry after a little bit of success in the mid-80s with concerts, air-play, and album sales.  And yet I would still hear the Holy Spirit in my head reminding me of George Verwer’s words, saying, “How dare you sing songs like that, if you’re not prepared to back it up with your lifestyle.”  Repentance would bring me back to the heart of it all again and again until Teri and moved to England and joined Operation Mobilization. 

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano

    The Spirit is Willing

    Where’s the tear-stained heart that once used to flow
    The fear and the trembling that my soul used to know
    My desire has faded through the sun and the rain
    My knees just don’t bow anymore to Your Holy name

    So please purge me with hyssop and cleanse me with blood
    I’m so tired of straying, homesick for Your love
    My heart is so heavy yet I’m sifted like wheat
    Please break through my chains Lord, and set my soul free

    The fire that once burned is now smothered and old
    My embers now glow with ashes and smoke
    I can’t hold to the bargain that I’d promised I’d keep
    Oh the Spirit is so willing, but my flesh is so weak

    I’m not watching or waiting I’ve fallen asleep
    Oh the Spirit is so willing, but my flesh is so weak

  • Hope Has Begun – 1987 (There’s An Answer)

    A few years ago I was cleaning out some drawers, and came across an old wallet.  I opened it up on perchance there were a few dollars in it (!), but instead was surprised to find a note that I had written to myself as a lonely 16-year old at Christmas the year after my mother had died.  It said this:  “12:42am, Christmas Morning 1976.  Surely there is no better time to love as Christmas.  But surely there is nothing so hard, as spending a moment of love, without loved ones to share it with.”

    I reminded me of one of the darkness moments in my life when I lost hope.  Sitting on the sofa in the den of my Father’s house in San Rafael, California, just days after we had buried our mother in Barre, Vermont, my sister Lisa and I were further traumatized to hear our Step-mother say to us, “I know that you two are looking for a mother figure in your life, and I am here to tell you that it’s not going to be me.  Lisa, in one years time when you turn 18, you will be moving out of here.  And Bill, you will be here for 3 years, but you need to make sure that you don’t cause any trouble, or we’ll be looking for another place for you to live as well.”  And she was a trained Psychologist…

    Right after I became a follower of Christ, I was introduced by Teri and other friends into the world of Christian music.  2nd Chapter of Acts, Keith Green, Randy Stonehill, and Chuck Gerrard were all on my analog ‘playlist’!  One of the artists was David Meece, and I especially appreciated his music given his classical piano background.  I’ll never forget the first time I heard We Are The Reason – it blew me away, and I knew that one day I would write something like that, including the Christmas theme that is embedded in the lyrics.  Hope Has Begun is that song.

    Looking back now, it’s obvious to me that so many of my ballads are facets of my testimony worked out through the different angles one can approach the biblical theology of Salvation.  You Are The One takes it from the standpoint of being lost, alone, and then found.  No Condemnation takes it from the standpoint of no longer having to rehearse in our head and heart the false narrative of self-condemnation – there’s a better way to deal with our failures.  Without You takes it from the standpoint of being spiritually basterdized, and then adopted.  We haven’t gotten to Touched By Love yet, but wait for it! 

    Hope Has Begun takes it from the facet of Christian Hope, something that my life was fairly devoid of from the age of 15 to 19.  The Christian Hope is not some wishful thinking that things will get better, but an actual confidence rooted in truth that enables us to persevere.  And for one who was a suicidal teenager, this is all important – we need a reason to get up in the morning and face a fallen world where mommies die, step-fathers are abusive, daddies drink themselves to death, and brothers get HIV+.  After all, we can’t just offer hollow platitudes to lonely 16 year olds who have just had their lives ripped away and their hearts torn out.  We are commanded by God’s Word to be able to give good reasons for the hope that we have within us, against the destructive lies spewed by a hopeless, desperate, cynical world that lives ‘for the moment because tomorrow we die’.

    Two of the most theologically accurate bumper stickers I have ever seen say, “[email protected]# happens”, and “life sucks”.  The first one is truth in a fallen world ruled for a season by the Prince of Darkness.  The second one however comes down to a matter of perspective, and I for one have decided not to have that one.  That perspective comes from the false self, and breeds a toxic self-destruction that kills; it almost killed me. 

    Confronted by the reality of Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection, by His grace I was able to see that He too understood pain, rejection, loss, and betrayal, and yet it didn’t deter Him from pressing into His calling – to die for all mankind, crush the fear and power of death, and rise above all of it with the power to live.  This Hope does not disappoint – it is the anchor for my soul.  Now Hope has begun…

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Strings
    Joe Schmeeckle – Rhythm and Lead Electric Guitars
    Tim Jaquette - Bass
    John Waller – Drums

    Hope Has Begun

    So lonely, silently, waiting for the end
    And tired of playing all those games
    It’s amazing how much pain we choose to bear
    Before breaking

    If only, someone could reach in your empty room
    If only, the wind would blow your way
    But into the darkness of this lost and desperate world\
    Comes a message

    Now Hope has begun, He’s God’s only Son
    Who opens His arms, and asks you to come
    He the reason to live, He heals and forgives
    He’s the champion of the hurting, and the conqueror of fear… for you

    Left wanting, lifetimes slip into a distant past
    With your memories drowning in the rain
    But still through the ages to the door of empty hearts
    Comes a knocking

    And for a world that despised Him, for those who’ve denied Him
    He hung there and offered His love
    Now Hope has begun

  • Without You - 1990 (There’s An Answer)

    I consider Without You to be one of the more interesting and powerful ballads I’ve ever had the privilege to write.  Musically, it contains a chord I have never used in any other song I have written:  an Fm(maj7)/C  (play an F G# C E with the right hand over a C octave bass).  It also never comes back to a lyrical verse after the 1st chorus, although there is a beautiful saxophone solo over the verse chord progression there before going into the pre-chorus again.

    I had the music for Without You for a number of months, but I knew that I was going to have to write the lyrics as it became time to finally record the vocals.  As we got into January 1990, Teri was closer and closer to her due date for our first child, and even though I was hard at work on the new album that would become There’s An Answer, I was 100% ready to stop everything and rush Teri to the hospital!  However, there was this little matter of a Christian winter camp that I still had on the calendar for the first weekend of February…

    Pine Summit Christian Camp was 2.5 hours away at Big Bear Lake, California, and I don’t know what I was thinking as I headed up there to lead worship for the camp.  My sister Lisa was there with Teri, and as we managed an apartment building, we had many friends there as well that could’ve looked after her – but I am her husband.  To this day I think I could have been more thoughtful of her, especially expecting our first child!

    Right after I left, Teri started having false contractions.  The camp ended on a Sunday morning, but as it had been snowing all weekend, I had to put on chains to get down the mountain roads with our mini-SUV and trailer.  I finally got home at midnight, and snuggled in next to Teri – only to be woken up by Teri shaking me and telling me that her ‘water had broke’.  We got ourselves together, gathered the overnight bag Teri had prepared, and stumbled out to the vehicle, only for me to notice some shreds of steel belting sticking out from the side of the tires!!!   I had to go wake my sister Lisa up to take us to the hospital, as I was sure we wouldn’t make it there without a blow-out! 

    Little Shelby was born 18 hours later after a long and protracted labor due to her arm being wrapped around her head, as well as coming out face down!  The image of four Kaiser nurses locking arms and pressing down hard on Teri’s belly will be something that will never leave my mind!  Fortunately Shelby wasn’t too traumatized!

    I wrote the words to Without You the next day – they just flowed so easily, given that we had just had our first child.  The words here are really my testimony in a song.  The bridge in my opinion, although simple, contains one of the most powerful autobiographical statements that I have ever had the privilege to write – sonship and adoption for me have always been real issues considering how I was treated by my father and step-father.  For someone who doesn’t have a good relationship with a father, or as in my case was rejected and disinherited by their father and beaten by their Step-Father, the truth that comes from this passage couldn’t be more pertinent, and comforting:

    I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.  Gal. 4:1-7

    Since then, the teaching of the ‘Father Heart of God’ has become more and more precious and powerful to me as my life has progressed.  Years later God brought me back to this truth again in a serious way with my daughter Shelby, but you’ll need to see the story behind Father You Are below, for that one!

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Strings
    Joe Schmeeckle – Rhythm and Lead Electric Guitars
    Tim Jaquette - Bass
    John Waller – Drums
    Debbie McKay – BGVs

    Without You

    Here I am, like a little child
    With outstretched hands, wanting to catch Your caring eyes
    For You took me, though rejected and alone
    And You’ve loved me as if I were your very own

    When I need You, You are there before I call
    When I’m defeated, You are beside me when I fall

    In my life, through the tragedy and pain
    Though I tasted bitter death, You taught me how to live again
    For You’ve touché m with Your never ending grace
    And You've held me in an infinite embrace

    When I’m outcast it is in You that I belong
    In my weakness, it is in You that I am strong

    If I lived a thousand lifetimes, if I drew my final breath
    My life would be a forfeit if I wasted every moment without You
    If I had the world’s possessions, I would trade them all away
    To know my life was offered, ‘cause it never would’ve mattered… Without You

    In my weakness, it is in you that I am strong
    When I’m defeated, I know that You have won it all

    And it’s all I wanna seek, and it’s all I wanna do
    Just to spend my whole live in pursuit of the truth
    I believe in what You say, and I trust in what You’ve done
    For You’ve taken this orphan, and made me Your so

  • You Are My Hope And My Strength – 1991 (God Is Awesome)

    Sometimes a song’s meaning is even better explained by a person who has been deeply touched by it.  Recently, I received an email from a man I don’t even know.  I’ll let him speak for himself…

    Hello, my name is Mattias and I live in Sweden. I just wanted to say thank you for giving me the inspiration to sing and create my own version of your song that is called "You are my hope and my strength".
    I have gone through some very bad times in my life, both personally, relation-wise and with two parents that died from that horrible cancer disease, both with 1 year apart 2014 and 2015.
    My dad died 2 weeks before my first child was born and the funeral was 2 day after the birth, so I left the hospital to go to his funeral. From the highest joy to the deepest sadness.
    I have experienced God´s presence in my journey and I had the chance to record this song a few years back. God is surely a hope and strength in life, and I have left the worst behind me now, and looking forward,
    with new inspiration and self-knowledge and with a great humility for my life, relationship, to be a father that I've longed for. A gift that God gave me when I thought all was lost and too late.
    Then I learned that your wife also had cancer, I hope she is still well and that God is close to you both.
    Now when I look back at this song, it means even more, because of the hardship I walked through.
    And I wanted to share with you this song if you have the time. As a thank you for making this song and that I found it, and what it came to mean to me.
    God bless, Mattias
    Thanks again Bill.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion
    Tim Jaquette – Bass

    You Are My Hope And My Strength

    You are my hope and my strength
    I lay down my life at Your feet
    You’re strong even though I am weak
    You grace is sufficient for me

    You are the Lord of my life
    The fountain of all I desire
    Descend on the heart of this child
    And fill me with power from on high

    Spirit of Truth, won’t You draw me to You
    Won’t You please come and bring Holy Fire
    For You are my hope and my strength
    You are my hope and my strength
    And the Lord of my life

  • Romans 12:1&2 – 1991 (God is Awesome)

    Being raised as a Catholic, I was exposed to a variety of styles of music, and Gregorian Chant was one of them.  There is just something very cool about devoted voices resonating in large, echoing spaces, and the natural reverb that engenders.

    And such was the inspiration for this song, with some help from the beautiful songs and voice of John Michael Talbot, who I was introduced to in the late 1970s.  Romans 12:1&2 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture, and it was a real joy to write this.  Being transformed by the renewing of your mind is the inheritance of the follower of Christ – not a brainwashing as Hollywood or other cynics might say, but rather, a paradigm shift – a perspective that is at once chosen and then catalyzed by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. 

    Jesus Christ actually started His public ministry with these words:  “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”.  That word “repent” in the original Greek meant that you needed to change your way of thinking about reality, right down to your purpose and reason for living.  Conformity is external behavior modified by outside pressure.  Transformation is an internal transaction (In this case initiated by God) that causes a shift in thinking that results in a change of behavior.  Bring it on, Lord!

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Keyboards, 6 & 12 String Acoustic Guitars

    Romans 12:1&2

    I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God
    That you present, present your bodies a living sacrifice
    Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed
    By the renewing of your mind
    That you may prove the will of God in your life 

  • As I Come Into Your Presence – 1991 (Seasons & Souvenirs/Crimson Thread of Grace/Every Nation)

    It was well past midnight in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, August 11th, and I couldn’t sleep.  And like I did many times during a night in the 1990s, I got out of bed and went to my Yamaha KX-88 keyboard and began to quietly play and worship.  I pulled up a simple piano & string patch, hit on a simple chord progression and melody, and found myself writing a song.  However, as the second verse began to lyrically take shape, I realized that I was writing a song about going to heaven, and I began to get a sense that I had touched something very holy.  Suddenly overcome by emotion, I got down on my knees, started to tear up, and asked the Lord, “What is going on here?”  He didn’t answer me directly, but I felt a prodding to continue to write the song.

    Monday morning, I went in to the offices of Operation Mobilization there in Forest Hill, London.  Viv Thomas, Associate Team Leader met us at the door, and asked us if we had heard the news – two of our fellow missionaries were killed in Zamboanga, Philippines in a hand-grenade attack on one of our meetings the night before.  Slowly the full picture began to emerge…

    The ship M.V. Doulos had sailed into the Philippines at the invitation of the local Phillipino Christians, and they had been looking forward to this visit for many months.  As the Ship visited the different islands, at ach venue there was a strong sense of the Lord's hand.  Back in the early 1990s, “International Night” was the pinnacle event of a Ship's visit - a festival of color and culture, a dazzling spectacle to the multifaceted wonder of the Kingdom of God.  But no one present that night would have ever imagined that figures with malevolent intentions lurking in the shadows were themselves eagerly waiting for the appropriate time to strike.

    Saturday August 10th, International Night was held in a building on the quayside, just a few hundred meters from where the ship was berthed.  The locals had repurposed a ferry transit shed for the event, as the rain had diverted the open air event planned for the city centre. The Captain and his officers were at the front of the audience, all starched up in their "dress whites", looking sharp and debonair. The evening was getting underway, and the many different performers in the program were awaiting their opportunity to come out and do a cultural dance or other presentation from their country.  Chako Thomas, an evangelist from India was at the microphone, sharing with the people and exhorting and encouraging them to follow the Lord Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Backstage, there was a group of young people from the ship, dressed up in their native costumes getting ready to come out and do a cultural dance which was the next item in the program that evening.

    Suddenly, there was panicked commotion.  Two grenades had been thrown into the building through an open area in the backstage, and the terrorists sped away on motorcycles. One of the grenades was tossed over by the Captain and his officers.  It landed, skidding on the floor, sliding under the staging, and by the grace of God, did not detonate.  The other grenade was lobbed backstage.

    The group backstage was praying.  The evening had been going well, and now, with the evangelist leading people into the Kingdom, they bowed their heads in deference to the Lord of the Harvest, asking Him to touch hearts, draw them, and embrace them in His arms.  Then, the commotion.  What was that noise out in the hall?  The stifled screams, the running feet, the tense shouts, the cry of warning - and then, a metallic object rolled into their little area behind the curtain.  A deafening explosion.  A brief moment of pain.  And suddenly, two beautiful young women were now doing the worship dance of their lifetime before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, front and center in the throne-room of heaven, dressed in a spotless garment of righteousness, with the martyrs' crown of life on their heads.

    Sofia was from Sweden.  Some in the Swedish press got hold of this story, and immediately began to criticize the Ship and its crew with the usual pluralistic, politically correct diatribe – who were these religious fanatics, and weren't they simply getting what they deserved, trying to shove their religion down the throats of other cultures?

    But the news didn't only get to the press.  It also went through the Swedish church like lightning.  News of a Swedish martyr was so rare, and the story of one so young, with so much potential being cut down in the prime of her youth, hit hearts with the force of a sludge hammer.  Many Christian youth, struck by the sacrifice, and not wanting the liberal press to represent them, decided to make a much different statement.  The day after the press statements, they were found standing in the rain outside the Operation Mobilization offices, some hoping to be first in line to replace their fallen sister in the Lord on the ministry ship.

    Karen was from New Zealand, and again, the news hit hard, especially with Karen's parents and family.  Karen's older sister had actually been not walking closely with the Lord.  But with the advent of this news, she withdrew for a time of prayer and fasting, rededicating herself to the Lord.  And coming back to her grief stricken parents, she met them with this request:  "I know that you have just lost a precious daughter to martyrdom.  But I believe the Lord would be honored if you would be willing to send me back in Karen's place, to finish her commitment to the ministry there on the M.V. Doulos.  Will you send me with your blessing?"  And the parents, faithful to the Lord's will regardless of the pain of such loss, sent their remaining daughter back to the Ship with their full blessing.

    What kind of people would line up in the rain to replace a fallen saint?  What sort of parent would send their remaining daughter back into possible harm's way?  What could possibly possess someone to give up a good portion of the best years of their lives, to sail around on an old ship, bringing the gospel to the nations?  The kind of people who would say without hesitation, "I am crucified in Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God Who loved me, and gave himself for me."  For those who have counted the cost to find eternal life in Jesus, no price is too high, no cost too great, to make sure others can hear the same message of love, grace, and forgiveness that transformed them.  And for such people, such sacrifices are gladly given until the day they can see Him face to face.

    And in the meantime, a young, struggling, American musicianary in London, England was writing a song about entering the presence of God, just as the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf was putting in motion one of it’s first deadly attacks against the children of the Most High God.

    Click here to watch the music video

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Keyboards
    Tim Jaquette – Bass, Programming

    As I Come Into Your Presence

    As I come into Your presence, and am moved with humble reverence
    I’m enamored by the beauty of the One Who died to save me
    I’ve been bought with blood as ransom, to be a child of Your Kingdom
    I’m a debtor to the Gospel, but an heir of every promise

    I will worship You
    Give my life to You
    I bow down to You
    Fall before Your throne  (repeat)

    When I come into Your presence, You will make my life a fragrance
    I will see the One Who’s worthy, now displayed in awesome glory
    I will hear the angels singing, see the nations humbly kneeling
    Clouds of witnesses surrounding, bring a symphony of praise

  • Touched By Love – 1993 (Against The Night)

    Walking home to my little apartment in Moscow, Idaho February 2nd, 1980, I trudged heavily through the crunchy ice and scattered clumps of snow that littered the sidewalk.  I felt like I had a gun in one hand, and a Bible in the other, and when I got home, someone was going to die.

    Teri and her friends, who had been doing “bar and nightclub evangelism”, found me and my band playing rock and roll in such places, living a pointless and hopeless existence.  My mother was dead.  My Father had rejected me.  My Step-Father had abused me for 11 years.  My best friend Dan was dead.  I had caught my high-school sweet heart in a physical relationship with another guy.  I had flunked out of the University of Idaho given that I was just too dysfunctional at the time, and couldn’t maintain the discipline or the grades.  I had given up on relationships, having been “burned” once too many times, and I was beginning to believe that I was unlovable. 

    You know, a person can only take so much rejection, before they start to believe that maybe it would be better if they hadn’t been born.  I had an extremely foul mouth, was unshaved and unbathed, and actually quite proud of it.  I was one of those walking fungus experiments that thought he was real cool, but actually just smelled really bad.  But truthfully?  I honestly couldn’t think of very many reasons to go on living. 

    During one of our many provocative exchanges about life, metaphysics, eternity, and Christianity, Teri and her friends had challenged me to a debate with their Pastor (Doug Wilson, of Collision fame…!), and I, in my arrogant silliness had accepted.  Well, I came at Doug with my little California half-baked religion.  He graciously asked, “How’s that been working out for you?”  And then he gently came at me with 2,000 years of Christian History, the Word and Love of God, the Holy Spirit, and basically, in WWF terms, threw me on the ground, stomped on me, and then mopped me up with the rest of his argument.  I didn’t stand a chance – and Doug graciously could see that the only help for all my baggage, hurt, victimization, and self-pity, was to be “crucified with Christ” (see Galatians 2:20).

    Upon discovering that I was suicidal, Teri and her friends had exhorted me not to kill myself, but rather, to die to myself, and allow Christ to live in me.  Doug had not only agreed, but he went further, basically saying that he wasn’t going to pray with me to receive Christ, but would send me home to consider it, and then either make the decision (in the long run) to embrace the lie and kill myself, or face the truth, die to myself and surrender to Christ.

    I remember kneeling down on the side of my bed, head in hands, wrapped in the throws of the eternal struggle of like and death.  I didn’t want to go into an unknown eternity, but I so hated the trappings and dogma of religion.  It was only by the loving grace of God that I was able to internally set my focus on Jesus, Who He was, the love that He offered, and I found myself uttering two simple words to Him in the most honest prayer I could:  “I surrender”.  And in that moment, I gave my broken, wretched life to Jesus Christ.  And He embraced me. 

    There were no lightning bolts, or ‘angels appearing at the bed-posts’, but what I do remember is that for the first time in my life, I was able to breathe a full breath of air.  My sin and angst had been so crushing me down, and now, I suddenly was able to breathe.  Suddenly, everything changed.  And I’ll never forget it. 

    I found out later that Teri and her friends had been really praying for me.  So had my sister Lisa, now at a church down in Austin, Tx., and she even had many in the congregation lifting my messed up life to God in prayer.  I knew my mother had promised to pray for me in the presence of God if it were theologically possible.  And I knew that I was different – from the inside out.  I had been touched by Love.

    Touched By Love is an interesting song for me, because part of the chorus was written before I was even a Christian, back in 1979 (“I’ve been waiting here so long, I’ve been dying way too long…”), and part of it was written in 1993.  Touched By Love could’ve gone on my There’s An Answer CD, but it wasn’t completely finished – and the lyrics didn’t completely come together until after I started sharing my testimony extensively all over the world after moving to England to join Operation Mobilization.  I finished it for the Against the Night tour, which we ended up taking to four continents, and sang for tens of thousands of people.  It captures my testimony in a haunting way like no other song I have written – just listen to the piccolo in the second verse.  And it is still one of my favorites…

    Bill Drake – Vocals, BGVs, Keyboards
    Smitty Price – Piano, Strings
    Tim Jaquette – Bass, BGVs
    Bob Soma – Rhythm Guitar
    Joe Schmeeckle – Lead Guitar
    Dave Spur – Drums, Percussion
    Debbie McKay - BGVs

    Touched By Love

    Lost and always longing, for affection’s embrace in my life
    I’d pay any price…
    But sorrow serenaded, as I danced with rejection again
    And pain was my friend…

    Time is cruel to wandering fools
    As Darkness waits to incarcerate the soul

    Turn on the light – the blind can see
    I’ve been waiting here so long (I’ve been dying way too long)
    You are the Light that shines on me
    And I don’t every have to be afraid for I,
    I’ve been touched by love (I’ve been touched by love)

    I searched for fonder memories as seasons watched the years pass me by
    And I learned not to cry…

    But Compassion hears our silent tears
    And Forgiveness seeks to wipe everyone dry

    Turn on the light – the blind can see
    I’ve been waiting here so long (I’ve been dying way too long)
    You are the Light that set me free
    And I don’t every have to be afraid for I,
    I’ve been touched by love (I’ve been touched by love)

    Turn on the light – the blind can see
    I’ve been waiting here so long (I’ve been dying way too long)
    You are the Christ, Who died for me
    And I don’t every have to be afraid for I,
    I’ve been touched by love (I’ve been touched by love)

  • Tell Me Why – 1993 (Against The Night)

    Sharayah was born on April 14th, 1992, in Farnborough, Kent, England, and she was the first of our family to become a British Citizen.  Sharayah’s name came from an Amy Grant song that I had fallen in love with in the 1980s, off her Unguarded album.  The song, Sharayah, was written by Chris Eaton, a British songwriter who also wrote songs for the famous British singer, Cliff Richards.  As a family we had the blessing to meet Chris at a Methodist camp in Blackpool, England, where both he and Bill were ministering, and he was so blessed to meet someone who had been named after one of his songs! 

    We asked him what the word meant, and why he named the song as he did.  He admitted that it didn’t have quite the spiritual origin that you might expect, given that Sharayah was a Hebrew name.  Chris actually wrote the song while watching a horse race, and the winner of one of the races he watched was a horse named ‘Sharayah’!

    Over the years I have heard a number of definitions of what the word ‘Sharayah’ meant, and I remember asking one of our Israeli friends who spoke fluent Hebrew.  He said it meant, “Tuna Fish” – and then admitted he was teasing!  Good, cause I didn’t want our daughter to be named after that!  Then he said, “Well, the Hebrew word ‘Shara’ means “She Sings”, and “Sharayah” can mean “She sings for God”, or, “Song of God”.  WOW!  That was awesome!  Only God would know that we would name our daughter something that 100% aligns with what God had created me to do:  sing and write songs for Him.  It was definitely not a coincidence – our daughter and her beautiful name is a total God thing.  He knew this little story would work out the way it did before she was ever born.  And if you know Sharayah, you will know that she is 100% aligned with her name!  She is an amazingly gifted and multi-talented daughter of the King, whose life is a melody of Yahweh.

    The Scriptures tell us that God formed us, and intimately knows us before we are born.  Psalm 139:13-16 says this:

    13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

    And Jeremiah 1:4-5 says this:

    4 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

    I don’t think God sees our current Western dichotomous thinking as “prolife, or prochoice” – I think He sees some who nurture and protect life and others who ignorantly or arrogantly promote murder.  And who are we to say that only Barbarians sacrifice their children to idols?  We do too – the nefarious practice of ‘partial birth abortion’ is never medically necessary, and yet those who are devoted to death insist upon its availability to the mother who wishes to exterminate her own child seconds before it has a chance to take its first breath.  Lord have mercy!  Really, because if He ever chooses to judge us as a nation for the genocide we have perpetrated on our unborn, it is going to get a bit uncomfortable around here…

    Tell Me Why was written partially in response to the scourge of abortion, in the face of that fact that I had just had a second child, and have been given two precious children who have forever changed my life.  In fact, for me, abortion is such madness, it doesn’t make sense – especially in a Country that has a Constitution that guarantees that we have all been endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights – and the first one listed there is “Life”.  To deprive a baby of life is nothing short of evil, and we have yet to reap the consequences…

    Bill Drake – Vocals, BGVs, Keyboards
    Smitty Price – Piano, Strings
    Tim Jaquette – Bass
    Bob Soma – Rhythm Guitar
    Doug Norwine – Soprano Sax
    Dave Spur – Drums, Percussion
    Children’s Choir – Cathline Chapman and Kids

    Tell Me Why

    Deep inside a mother’s womb, a miracle is born
    As a baby human being is artistically formed
    Though Its tiny hands and feet can’t wait to go outside and play
    If the child is inconvenient, we’ll just make it go away…

    Tell me why do the little babies cry -
    Could it be ‘cause they fear for their lives?
    Tell my how can the little children play -
    When all hope for their lives is torn away?
    Tell me why

    Though the problem seems disposable, the evil still persists
    When the rights we claim to choose limit their freedom to exist
    Politicians and the lobbyists try to philosophize
    But somehow the words ring hollow, as another child dies…

    Where have all the children gone, where is our innocence?
    O we sacrificed it long again for the rights to selfishness
    But our conscience and our pride will pay regrets ultimate price
    When we answer to our children for the crime of genocide…

  • As We Begin – 1985 (Seasons & Souvenirs, 1996)

    As you probably have noticed, the years 1975 through 1984 were extremely tumultuous for me.  The list of traumas I endured during this season of life were extensive:  I watched my mother die, I was rejected by my father, I caught my High School Sweetheart in an affair, one of my dearest friends died in a rock-climbing accident, I was suicidal, I almost bled to death, and my father drank himself into the grave.  But thank God in the midst of all that darkness were two extremely bright points of light, one Divine that saved my soul, and one human that has formed, guided and shaped my life like no other:  Teresa Lynn Drake.

    Teri and I first met in Freshman English – that college class that every 1st year student in College has to take as a prerequisite for other upper-classmen classes.  We had both tested out of what was called “Bonehead” English, and were really in an Advanced Placement English.  I remember well the very first day of class.  I sat up by the teacher in my stained green down jacket, with my long curly hair, and bad California attitude, looking like a hippie, and smelling like a dumpster.  Teri on the other hand entered the classroom with two other friends, in navy-blue sweaters with Greek letters on the front, indicating that they were part of a Sorority House on Campus – “ice princesses” as I liked to call them.  Truth is, Teri and I never said a single word to each other all semester – but we knew we hated each other.  Each of us stood for what the other completely despised, and you couldn’t have missed it.  The tension between me and her friends was palpable.

    It was during that first semester at University of Idaho that I met Ross, and we began to play music in bars and clubs.  Mid-next semester, while standing in the food-court line at our dormitory, Ross and I saw a couple of the young women we had been flirting with in one of the bars that previous weekend, and one of them winked at me.  This was a month and a half after I had caught my High School sweetheart in another relationship.  Ross dared me to go up to her, introduce myself, and ask her out!  Bold.  But I did it!  Her name was Sonja, and she was extremely complimentary concerning my music and my voice.  I asked her if she’d like to go out, and while she didn’t rush into it, she said yes!  The next thing I know, I’m in a relationship – moving slowly, but definitely a relationship.

    A few weeks later, strolling down the hall in a different wing of the massive dorm complex I lived in there in Moscow, Idaho, I located Sonja’s name on a door, and knocked.  I was going to take her out again, and stopped by to make final arrangements.  To my shock and horror, that ice-princess from English class opened the door, took one disdainful look at me, asked what I wanted, and when I said “Sonja”, she said, “Sorry, she’s not here – leave a message on the notice board on our door” and proceeded to slam the door in my face!

    Next thing I know after a few dates, is that Sonja, Teri and Sonja’s older sister are witnessing to me about Jesus Christ, and Sonja broke up with me because I wasn’t a Christian at Teri’s urging.  This became part of the toxic cocktail of events that actually brought me to becoming suicidal between June 1979, and February 1980. 

    What I didn’t know is what was going on in Teri’s heart.  The Lord kinda worked her over a bit after that, saying, “It’s great that you are concerned about Sonja’s holiness, but what about Bill’s soul?”  This lead to the afore-mentioned 8 months of interactions, bar and nightclub evangelism, and my eventual salvation (See Leave It Behind, Legacy – The Rock, and Touched By Love, Legacy – The Song).  After my friend Dan died, Teri sincerely befriended me, and we began a platonic relationship.  She would sneak me food out of her Sorority house, because I was basically existing on a peanut butter and orange juice diet.  We would walk outside together when it was snowing, bring an umbrella, and end up at TJ’s Pantry where one could get the biggest, gooiest, and awesomest cinnamon roll ever created.  We sincerely enjoyed each other’s company.  Teri was the first person I contacted the night I became a follower of Christ.  She wept.  We hugged, and I knew this woman loved me.

    But it also began to be apparent that I needed a brand new life.  Teri and I had started legitimately dating after I became a Christian, but something didn’t feel right.  I had continued to play in bars and clubs in Idaho, Washington, and Montana through the summer of 1980, but it was so hollow, so pointless, and eventually, after one of the other members of our band backstabbed Ross, Ross quit the band he founded, so did I, and that was it.  I was jobless and homeless, and felt it was time for something drastic.  So I moved to Texas.

    My older sister, Lisa, had been taken in by my father’s father after being kicked out of my father’s house by he and his mistress.  She went through an extremely dark period, called up our grandparents in Austin, and they took her in.  She had been invited to a church by a security guard at the mall where she worked, and through their ministry, she had come to Christ, had been completely transformed, and got her entire church to pray for me!

    I phoned up my grandparents, and they lovingly took me in as well.  The day I moved to Texas, Sonja and Teri took me to the Greyhound Bus Station in Moscow, and Teri was so distraught, she couldn’t get out of the car to say goodbye.  I rode the bus to Austin, Texas, moved in with my Grandparents, got a job as a teller at First Texas Savings and Loan, and life began to take a different turn.  I got totally involved in the church – their little Bible Institute, youth group, leading worship; every time that church was open, I was there.  Some of the Pastors tried to set me up with a few of the young ladies there, but I was having none of it.  I was in a season of exponential growth in the Lord, and given my past tragic relationships, didn’t want anything to sabotage my relationship with Jesus.

    Teri would send me little notes from time to time, but I never answered them.  She was a fond memory of a season in my past – a past I wanted to leave in the past.

    My custom during this season at my Grandparents in Texas, was to listen to my Tascam tape deck at night as I went to bed, with my newly favorite Christian artists filling my headphones.  The little VU meters would serve as nightlights, and the music would pour into my soul with melodies and goodness about the new life I had in Christ.  To this day I can get emotional thinking about it – my relationship with The Lord was so intimate, immediate, and near.  It's like I would converse with Him, ask questions, and He would answer.

    Then one November day, in the mail came a cassette tape – it was from Teri, who had decided to record her letter instead of writing one.  And this particular night, instead of Keith Green music in my headphones as I got into bed, it was Teri’s gentle voice, telling me about how things were going for her in her life in Moscow.  And it began to get to me… so much so, that after a few minutes of hearing her, I began to tear up.  The tears soon turned to weeping, and before I knew it, I was out of the bed, on my knees, asking Jesus what was going on?  Why was I crying?  Why was I so upset listening to her voice?  And He hit me with it directly… “Why are you pushing away the person I want you to spend the rest of your life with, Bill?”

    I was literally running for the phone.  I called up Teri’s apartment, and the roommate who answered it had to wake Teri up to take my call.  But when her beautiful bleary-sounding voice came on the line, I couldn’t help it.  I blurted out straight-away – “Teri, will you marry me?”  She didn’t hesitate.  She simply said, “Yes – I’ve been waiting for your call.”  She moved to Austin on Christmas Day, 1980, and we were married 6 months later. 

    Teresa is the love of my life, the human reason I am alive, having been empowered by the Divine One, and I owe her a debt I will never repay, but will die trying.  She has followed me to the ends of the earth, put me through University, and is the gracious mother of my two precious daughters.  We have been through life-threatening illnesses together, severe financial hardship, and I know her to still be the embodiment of the patience and long-suffering of Christ.  Without her I probably would’ve killed myself, and certainly wouldn’t be the man I am today.  Teresa has been the anchor of our family and is the best human thing that has happened to my life.  I will be thanking the Lord for her for the rest of Eternity.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano
    Mark Levang – Keyboards
    Tim Jaquette – Bass
    Bob Soma – Rhythm & Lead Guitars
    Marcel Zimmer – Drums
    Teresa Drake – BGVs

    As We Begin

    God has chosen our love to bring glory to His name
    As He binds our lives together, and makes them one in the same
    He has called us to be servants, to meet each other’s needs
    As His instruments of kindness through this life He has us lead

    And the lives that we live will find their meaning in Him
    And the dreams that we share will find fulfillment in Him
    Living together, forever, as we begin

    Here on earth we are His children, we are called by His name
    And in heaven we shall be like Him when He beckons us to come
    For this marriage is a gift from God to share a precious glimpse
    Of the love that will surround us when we finally see Him

    And the lives that we live will be an expression of Him
    And the drams that we share will find His purpose within
    Living together, forever, as we begin

  • Show Us Your Face – 1995 (Crimson Thread of Grace)

    It had been a dreary autumn day in England, overcast, damp, with the days getting shorter and shorter as we moved towards the winter solstice.  I was tucking the girls into bed, and while I was kissing Shelby goodnight just after saying her prayers, she looked at me with her gorgeous brown eyes, and in her perfect little south-London accent said, “Daddy, I want to see Jesus.”

    You know, it was just one of those moments where I was sure I was going to somehow manage to wreck this precious child’s faith!  What was I to say?  “Well sweetheart, God is invisible, so yeah, we don’t get to see Him until we die…”  Not good.  Fortunately there is The Holy Spirit.  And I heard Him clearly speak to me through the fog of my dilemma:  “Take her outside”.

    Imagine Teri’s shock as I come down the stairs with little Shelby in my arms, wrapped in her ‘blankie’… “And just where are you two going?!” as I open up the back door and take her out into the garden – where it is dark, damp, and windy!

    As I held Shelby, she had her little arms around my neck, and she was holding me close – yeah, it was cold!  And then I asked her, “Shelby, can you see the wind?”  She immediately looked up, and keeping one arm around me, her little hand began to point to the leaves rustling in the trees that were gently dancing on the shifting breeze.  Her face was upturned, and her eyes gleamed as a new thought dawned upon her mind… “Oh!  I can’t see Jesus Daddy, but I can see the things that He does!”

    I’m not sure how long it took for me to stop crying.  Shelby’s faith has been rock solid ever since she gave her life to Christ at 5 years old, but that night cemented it forever.  In one sentence, Shelby summed up the truth about faith.  It is as Hebrews 11 says, the assurance of things hoped for based on the evidence of things not seen.  We send tons of metal hurling through the air at supersonic speed, buoyed by the physical properties of that which is invisible, yet it still holds us up while accomplishing other such wonderful things as weather, dew, and work – all at the same time.

    Moses wanted to see God.  He’d already seen a bush that didn’t burn, a sea split in two, and a rock that bled water.  But He wanted more – in intimate devotion – to see the Almightly face to face.  God gently informed him that that would not be possible if Moses wanted to live through the encounter without being turned into a burnt offering – but – God would provide an alternative for Moses’ great faith and desire – he would get to see God’s back.  And after being hid in the cleft of the rock, and after seeing God’s back as He passed by, Moses was so affected that the children of Israel couldn’t even look upon him as his own face had been so lit up…  You know, I am so inspired by Shelby’s and Moses’ faith, and I hope people can see that I too have been indelibly altered by the invisible One…

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano
    Andy Harsant – Keyboards, BGVs
    Dan Boreham – Rhythm and Lead Electric Guitars
    Mark Prentice – Bass
    Marcel Zimmer – Drums & Percussion
    Aaron David Frith & Esther Alexander – BGVs

    Show Us Your Face

    You called to us, Almighty Flame of pure righteousness
    We drew to You, and You desire our obedience
    Lord at Your feet we bow, where we are standing is Holy Ground

    Show us Your face Oh Lord
    Shower us with mercy, consume us with grace
    Show us Your face Oh Lord
    Fill us with fire – Your Holy desire – to serve you as Savior and Lord

    We stand in awe, struck by the truth of Your grace and love
    Here angels fall, moved by the force of Your Holy power
    Hide us inside Your arms, let us be safe in the cleft of the rock

  • Father You Are – 1997 (Crimson Thread of Grace)

    Father You Are was written in Rondebosch, Cape Town, in the home of dear friends, Dr. Ernst and Frieda van der Walt.  My manager in South Africa, Helena, had booked another incredible tour, and the tour was having a brief break at her parent’s home to recharge a bit before heading back out.  I found myself playing softly on an old upright piano that sat in a passageway between larger rooms, hit on a taste of the melancholy, and boom, another song was born.  The lyric began to take shape as I meditated on how far I had travelled, and yet God was still just as close, just as intimate, and blessed to name me, know me, and embrace me.

    Years later I was staying in the home of fellow missionaries who had tragically lost a daughter to cancer.  One of their younger daughters had kinda melted down after that, and would “give herself away” at truck stops…  I remember asking my host, “That had to be completely devastating.  How did you handle it?”  He asked me, “Have you ever read the book by Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming?  When I said no, he said he would send me one. 

    When the book arrived, I read it in one sitting – I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.  I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but part of the problem was that I had been struggling in relationship with one of my daughters and some less dangerous decisions that she was making, and in a moment of extreme immaturity, had threatened to possibly “cut her off” if she didn’t change a few things I wanted her to change.

    The book hit me so hard, I had to go for walks for days after just to process what I had just read.  You see, so much of my Christian walk I had rightly been exhorted to “be like Christ” in all my ways.  Of course!  That is exactly right!  And of course, I identified with the Prodigal Son, for I too had gone out and totally trashed my life.  And as I read further through the book, I found myself even relating to the self-righteous older son, who judged the younger without quarter when even he himself was found to have an ungrateful heart.  But what I was totally unprepared for, was the third section, where Nouwen laid a truth on me that I had never thought of before – yes, we identify with the Prodigal, and yes, we can be so self-righteous once “we” aren’t like “them” any more – but embrace this truth my friends: the lesson in this beautiful parable more than anything is this:  “Be the Father”. 

    “Be the Father”.  What is it to be Father-like?  And this is what my missionary friend wanted me to understand – that he had arrived at a place with his Prodigal daughter where he continued to embrace her from afar off, until he could do so face to face.  It broke me and the intransigent approach I had taken toward my daughter - and as that rolled over me, another thought dawned on my heart:  to “Be the Father” meant that I wanted to have relationship more than I needed to be ‘right’.    To “Be the Father” meant to love like The Father – to engage a selfless motivation to actively meet the restorative need of another person regardless of the cost to myself, and it this case, my needy daughter.

    This ended up with me washing my daughter’s feet, retracting the horrible-ness that I had spoken to her, and promising to never, ever, speak like that again.  I told her, “Child, I am for you, I am with you, I am so proud of you, and I support you and will always bless you, not because of how you might or might not behave, but because you are mine, and always will be.” 

    I have to say, I have never been the same since.  This truth has owned me, and has carried into so many areas of my ministry – I LOVE to encourage people, to validate them, come alongside them, and do everything in my power to help them achieve their God-given potential.  Father’s are to “believe” in us – to call out of us not only the best we have, but to reach for greater than we could ever imagine, because the possibilities of what we can truly accomplish and grow into are only limited by the power we afford the ignorance of others, and the fears we are not willing to lay aside.

    Bill Drake – Vocals
    Andy Harsant – Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards
    Mark Prentice – Bass
    Marcel Zimmer – Drums & Percussion
    Esther Alexander – BGVs

    Father You Are

    Oh loving Father we long for your touch
    Mercifully broken we owe you so much
    You left the many for one helpless lamb
    Nothing can snatch us from Your mighty hand

    And I run like a child into Your loving arms
    And I rest in the strength of Your love
    Out of all Your creation, You still know my name
    I am longer for, adopted, and loved, by The Father You Are

    Sold on the market for sin’s ugly price
    Bought by a Shepherd Who paid with His life
    So great a salvation we could not escape
    Now in Your presence but then face to face

  • Family of God – 1999 (Every Nation Tribe & Tongue)

    As we moved toward the end of the Century, I was also aware that we were moving toward the end of an era in our ministry as well – The Lord had called us as a family back to the USA.  My British manager at the time, Dave Price, had successfully navigated us into a number of strategic ministry events in the UK, including Christian Television, Spring Harvest, Easter People, and a host of other wonderful opportunities that allowed us to bring our unique music ministry of worship, and prophetic challenge to churches all over the UK, and Europe.  And now, we wanted to do something special that would kind of put a bookend on the entire season, as we began to slowly prepare for the new chapters awaiting us in the United States.

    Dave suggested that we do a “Live” album, using some of the songs on previous albums that had worked well in a “live” context, as well as some new ones that seemed to have significant promise (see the 3 songs off of ENTT on Legacy – The Mission).  One of these songs was a simple three stanza song I had written called Family of God, that explores theologically the beautiful truths surrounding our collective identity as children of God. 

    Knowing ‘who you are’ is directly related to ‘whose you are’, and this is of critical importance because you will always serve that which owns you; be it the ‘world’, the ‘flesh’, the ‘devil’, or Christ.  The first three are a toxic hot mess that will leave you potentially addicted, enslaved, insecure, and destroyed.  We were created for better than that – worshipping the person and hosting the beauty and the presence of the Most High God.

    Musically, Family of God is different from most of the songs I write.  Firstly, it has no verse, refrain, or bridge – it is written in that 1970s ‘worship chorus’ style, like I Love You Lord, or Give Ear To My Words O Lord.  This song also has the distinction of changing key 4 times, each time it repeats its progression.  And finally, it has one of the most incredible guitar solos that I have had the privilege of having laid down on one of my albums, and it happened in one take – Live!  Elisha Krijgsman is not only a incredible musician, but he has such a beautiful heart, and through his instrument is able to capture the passion and heart of a song and then somehow amplify and inspire that sentiment through his guitar strings.  His solo in this song is not only technically amazing, but it is truly beautiful as well.

    Bill Drake – Piano, Vocals
    Elisha Krijgsman – Rhythm and Lead Electric Guitars
    Marcel Zimmer – Drums
    Mark Dekkers  – Bass
    Lydia Zimmer & Reni Krijgsman – BGVs

    Family of God

    We are the family of God, we are the family of God
    And we honor You in our bond of love
    We are the family of God, we are the family of God

    We are the household of faith, we are the household of faith
    And we prepare for You a dwelling place
    We are the household of faith, we are the household of faith

    We are the Body of Christ, We are the Body of Christ
    And we give our lives as a sacrifice
    We are the Body of Christ, we are the Body of Christ
    We are the Body of Christ

  • Stand – 1997-2004 (Aroma)

    The Every Nation, Tribe, and Tongue CD came out in the Autumn of the year 2000, and we moved as a family back to the USA in July 2001.  Many of the songs on Aroma came together over the period 2001 – 2006, and Stand was one of them.  During that time, I had began to tour around the USA with the ENTT songs, but an event happened in November 2002 that would impact my music ministry for the next ten years:  the martyrdom of Bonnie Witherall (see Legacy – the Mission:  Wear The Crown).  It would then not be until 2006 that my next album would be recorded:  Aroma – The Fragrance of costly worship

    I actually started writing Stand in the 1980s, and even had the first 2 lines of the chorus way back then.  But it wasn’t until we returned from the UK in 2001 and discovered how much the USA had changed during the Clinton presidency that the rest of this fell together.  It felt like the American Church was existing in a kind of fear, perpetrated by political correctness and the ‘Johnson Amendment’ – that hideous legislation that silenced leaders of faith from speaking out against things that had been claimed to be “political”, when actually they were moral and biblical.  Abortion for example, is not at its basic level a political issue.  It is a Metaphysical one:  When does a human life begin, and Who decides that question?  Same for issues of race, sex, and religion.  Is a human Supreme Court over the Law, or is there another Law that is over the Supreme Court?  It is an onslaught of institutionalized evil that seeks to silence those who have been called by God to speak truth to power when it comes to the morality of a nation.  Seemed to Teri and I that while we were gone, there had been an extreme seismic shift towards Humanistic Existentialism that had taken place in the world-view of so many in the USA, and many of these were actually people of faith!

    “It is an onslaught of institutionalized evil that seeks to silence those who have been called by God to speak truth to power when it comes to the morality of a nation.”

    How to capture that in a lyric?!  You can see my attempt in the two verses of this song.  But capture it I felt I should – these issues are so huge, they bring down nations and civilizations (see Legacy – The Rock Against The Night).  I know that I am not alone in these sentiments at all, but I still see the battle raging within me, to get me to compromise, to water me down, to quench the fire, and drown me out.  Stand, especially in the chorus, is a pledge of faith, a statement of resolve, which somehow between lyric and music captures exactly how I feel.

    Have I told you already how much I love power ballads?!  Stand is one of my favorites!  It is patterned after one of my favorite all time power ballads, Dare You To Move by Switchfoot.  I ALWAYS look forward to that first massive guitar crunch going into the first chorus – not only is it an awesome sound (!), but it also symbolizes something – there is a foundation upon which we have been built, that cannot be shaken.  There is a bedrock upon which we stand that will not crack, dissolve, or melt away.  And Stand we must, not because of governments, economies, or religiousness, but because He is the Rock upon which we place all of our trust.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, BGVs, Keyboards
    Joe Ricciardi – Rhythm and Lead Electric Guitars
    Jon Simpson – Bass, BGVs
    Josh Fisher – Drums, programming
    Jill McAfee – BGVs

    Stand

    Stumbling through the minefield, temptations for the weak and the naive
    Groping through the ranks of willful ignorance and those who are deceived
    Time, and time after time, I've lived a lie and bought the world's own agenda
    But You, You bled and died and gave the life that holds me forever . . .

    So here I am, against the wind
    Storms may blow, the lights grow dim,
    Though all seems lost, and men may fall,
    The truth remains;  By your grace, I will stand

    Struggling through the wasteland, the morass of values void of absolutes
    Desperate for discernment through a lie that's masquerading as the truth
    Me, myself and I , Decide what's "right", truth is on trial, and license is rife
    But You are The Christ, raining down grace from heaven to save us . . .


    Alternate Lyrics that I didn’t use:

    Trapped by the silence, in a void that's dominated by the fear
    That to voice a resistance, political correctness perseveres

     The sun is slowly setting on a world that keeps forgetting that it owes
    Frightened by the lies that steal the meaning from the message we all know

  • Delicate Dancer – 1990 (Aroma)

    Delicate Dancer is one of those songs that was written long before it was ever recorded.  I started writing this beautiful song for my daughter Shelby, inspired by her dancing.  Later, even as she barely learned to stand, Sharayah would join Shelby in the dance.  Teri and I would just put on any kind of music, and they would start to twirl – round and round and round, and not even get the slightest bit dizzy!  They would extend their little arms, and the look of worship on their faces was so precious.  It would move me again and again to tears, and birthed in me an appreciation for ‘the dance’ that would bear incredible fruit later on in my ministry (see Legacy – The Song Sacred Surrender). 

    I started writing it in Holland in the mid-1990s at the childhood home of Marcel Zimmer, my dear friend and drummer from Holland.  His mom Dini was playing the piano, and we were there in her home over new years, and Shelby was dancing as usual.  Later that day I kinda started playing around with that opening progression, and at Marcel’s encouragement, built it out into a song – not just about childhood, but a metaphor for our lives: a worship dance that encompasses a lifetime, played out on the stage of life for the Lord of the Dance…

    And woven into the music is a nod toward one of the brighter moments of my own childhood – learning to play the Cello.  I started to learn this beautiful instrument when I was 10, and played it until my mother died when I was 15.  My older sister Lisa and I would play in different orchestras in Barre, Vermont, and I cherish the memory of it.  As Delicate Dancer was coming together to be recorded, it seemed perfect to have a Cello solo in the middle of this ballad, and wow did it turn out well!  Every time I hear this song it reminds me of my daughters and the precious way that they would worship the Lord in their own innocent child-like way.  May He continue to elicit from us an unadulterated worship emanating from a childlike heart, with a dancer’s beauty, strength and grace.

    Bill Drake – vocals, piano, orchestration, cello
    Josh Fisher – percussion

    Delicate Dancer

    Delicate dancer, you spin on the wind
    Strokes on the canvass in the image of Him
    Melodies play from the light in your eyes
    Poetry flows from your little girl life

    Sunbeams attempting to light up your hair
    Hands are extending, embracing the air
    Tender emotions expressed in your face
    Reflections of innocence, brushstrokes of grace

    God only knows what the future will bring as you
    Blossom and grow, and become what He meant for you
    More precious than gold, is your life as you dance for the King

    Set on this stage you now dance out your life
    You try out your wings and they take you to flight
    Potential unveiled as the years are unfurled
    A godly young woman from this little girl

    I want to know, if the love that I feel for you
    Could ever come close, to the Father's own heart as you
    Blossom and grow, full of life as you dance for the King

  • Sacred Surrender – 2005 (Aroma)

    “Don't be afraid of failure; be afraid of being successful at things that don’t matter.”  - Seen in a ‘New Tribes Mission’ newsletter

    Sacred Surrender is one of two of my songs inspired by Mary of Bethany’s audacious act of extravagant worship at the feet of Jesus.  Here’s the story behind the song, as written by myself, and Jennie Pollock:

    It starts with a simple meal.  Jesus has traveled to Bethany and is sitting down to eat with his good friend Lazarus.  The room is crowded with the great and the good from the town, all come to rub shoulders with the Lord; honored to be spending a few hours in the presence of this great teacher; anxious to hear first-hand what He had to say.

    The women are buzzing around serving at the table, as usual; careful to stay in the background, piecing together what snatches of conversation they can catch as they duck in and out with dishes of food and pitchers of wine.  And among them is Mary.  I can see her hovering by the door, getting in everyone’s way, frustrating Martha as usual.  She is desperate to be in that room.  The Son of the Most High God is in there and it is just torturing her that she has to stay hidden. How her heart burns with love for Him.  How she longs to sit at His feet, soaking up all He has to say.  But this is a strictly ‘men-only’ occasion.  No women allowed, except those who are serving.

    Mary’s feet are twitching.  She can’t stand this a moment longer.  She runs up to her room, pulls a stool over to the shelf and reaches up.  Tucked in the corner, far from prying eyes, safe from accidental knocks, her fingers find what they are seeking.  Concealing it in the folds of her dress, she hurries back downstairs.

    The meal is ending.  The women have withdrawn and Jesus is about to speak to the assembled group.  It is now or never…

    Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; – Jn. 12:3a (NIV)

    ‘Faux pas’ number one:  Mary walked into the room without food.   I can see the critical scowl and furrowed brow of the assembled men.  ‘What is she doing?’ they say to themselves, ‘Who does she think she is?  Doesn’t this woman know her place?’  You see, in the Middle East at that time, only two types of woman would enter a room full of men eating dinner: those serving the meal, and those offering something quite different.  By walking boldly into that setting with food to serve, Mary began to trash her reputation.

    She just threw into serious jeopardy her chances of ever making a good marriage, and from then on would have been held in suspicion by most everyone in town when she went to market, or to the well for water.  But you know what; Mary didn’t care.  She was so devoted to Jesus, she just didn’t have the time or the inclination to worry about what others might be thinking.

    … she poured it on Jesus' feet...  – Jn. 12:3b (NIV)

    ‘Faux pas’ number two:  Mary proceeds to pour her life-savings on Jesus’ feet.  Mary had a bottle of perfume (pure nard) with which she anointed Jesus.  Obviously she hadn’t been to that seminar on good stewardship down at the local synagogue, because this perfume was incredibly expensive, and most likely represented her dowry.  It was the equivalent of more than a year’s wages, and all intelligent counsel would have advised her to save it for a rainy day – if not a rainy life!

    But boom!  Not only was her reputation in ruins, now her life savings was running onto the floor, soaking into the dirt.  There was now no human chance at all of her being able to find a husband.  She would remain single forever, dependent on the mercy of her family for support and a home.

    And not only that, but she poured the oil on Jesus’ feet.  In the Middle Eastern culture, the most honored part of the body is the head.  That is where you anoint someone; pour the oil on the head and let it run down over the beard.  The feet are regarded as the most disgusting part of the body.  If you really want to offend someone in that culture, even today, just show them the soles of your feet.  (In our culture we hold up certain fingers to communicate the same sentiments!)

    Yes, Mary knew perfectly well what she was doing.  She was proclaiming through this vivid cultural drama that her financial security was worth nothing to her.  I think she had realized that if Jesus was the Creator-God of the universe, then all the gold, jewels, fine fabrics and expensive perfumes were, as the old hymn says, ‘an offering far too small.’   Of all the honored guests and wise teachers in that room, Mary was the only one who realized that all the things of this world were already under Jesus’ feet, and she took a position of abject humility before Him, to turn her back forever on trusting in the things of this world.

    … and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. –  Jn. 12:3c (NIV)

    ‘Faux pas’ number three:  Mary removed her head-covering.  And remember, The Bible calls the hair the glory of a woman. (1 Cor. 11:15)

    OK, that was it.  Mary’s fate was sealed; no-one would ever want anything to do with her now.  How can I give you a cultural equivalent of this?  To create a similar impact today in our culture, Mary would have to remove the clothing from her upper body.  That is the cultural equivalent of what she did.  She revealed to the Lord and all those men something that was reserved for only the husband to see.

    Mary just trashed her glory before God and everyone, as she went back to Jesus’ feet to mop up the perfume n the floor with her glory.  Remember, the feet are the most dishonorable part of the human body.  And the hair is the most honorable part.  Again, she was demonstrating by every action that her glory was worth nothing to her, compared with the joy and honor of worshiping Jesus.

    Now Jesus’ closest disciples were in the room, too.  So how did they react?  ‘Wow, Mary, what a great expression of truly sacrificial worship!’  Hmm... not so much.  In fact, completely the opposite: “But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, ‘Why this waste?’” (Mat. 26:8 NASB)  The Gospel of John narrows that down a little bit for us…

    But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected…  -  Jn. 12:4 (NIV)

    My friends, if you start living a life of sacrificial worship, believe me, you will hear criticism.   And do you notice who was the first to criticize Mary?  Judas.  The man who was taking from the money purse.  The loudest, harshest critics are very often those who are stealing from Jesus.  Is that you?  Are you holding back a part of what He has entrusted to you?  Are you criticizing others for their extravagant worship?  Or are you afraid of the criticism you will receive if you start worshiping extravagantly? 

    But then, into the midst of the huge cultural drama playing out in front of all the men of the village, and into the withering criticism Mary was taking, Jesus spoke.  And I am absolutely certain that the very sound of His voice was enough to restore her confidence:

    “Leave her alone.”-  Jn 12:7 (NIV)

    My friends, if you get criticism for doing the will of God, Jesus will stand up for you. What an honor to hear those words!  When Matthew and Mark related the incident, they go farther and record Jesus saying that ‘wherever the Gospel is preached, this story will be told.’  He never said that about anything else anyone did for Him in the whole of His ministry.  It is obvious that Jesus wants followers who will surrender their own reputations, finances and glory, and live only for His.  Never let the words of men hold you back from doing what you know to be the will of God.

    Friends, this incredible story begs a few all-important questions, that I personally had to be willing to answer:

    1. Are we held back from free, unconstrained, all-out worship of God because of fear of what others might think? Are we willing to put your reputation at risk for boldly demonstrating your devotion to Him?
    2. Are we held back from free, unconstrained, all-out worship of God because of fear that He will not be able to take care of your financial needs?
    3. Are we held back from free, unconstrained, all-out worship of God because we are trying to retain our own glory and dignity
    4. And when it comes to the way we are living the whole of our lives, are we stealing from Jesus?

    Bill Drake – Vocals, BGVs, Keyboards
    Joe Ricciardi – Rhythm and Lead Electric Guitars
    Jon Simpson – Acoustic Guitar, Bass, BGVs
    Josh Fisher – Drums, programming
    Jill McAfee – BGVs

    Sacred Surrender

    I need your love, like a child needs a father
    Held in Your arms; an embrace like no other
    You are the life, that conquers my dying
    Faith, hope, and love, that fulfills every longing

    Broken and poured out for You; a fragrance of pure gratitude
    A worship in spirit and truth; Sacred Surrender

    Do anything, that you have to do to me
    So You can do anything, that you want to do through me
    Break anything, that you have to break in me
    Then release anything, that you want to flow through me 

    And I run to You
    Into Your Father arms I fall
    My God

  • Psalm 91 – 2010 & 2011 (Broken & Complete)

    I had this lyric for a number of years, and I didn’t really know what to do with it.  Linda Wells, a beautiful dancer who founded Dancelink and travelled all over the world doing dance to many of my songs and tours, heard me messing around with it during a sound check, and really exhorted me that this was “anointed” and that I needed to pursue writing it all the way out:

    Pour into my deepest places, fill me with the Highest Praises

    Draw me to your heart and hold me close, Forever I am yours

    But I couldn’t seem to carry it even further.  And then my daughter Sharayah went through a spiritual crisis while away at University.  Due do some unfortunate circumstances involving a number of factors outside of her control, her world began to deteriorate, including health, grades, and relationships.  Teri and I were praying HARD.  We were certain this was a spiritual attack, and approached it with the authority that Christ has given us as ‘kings and priests” in His Kingdom.  I’ll let Sharayah tell you what happened next in her own words…

    “One very difficult night during my freshman year of college, God visited me in a unique and overwhelming way. I had been struggling immensely and felt that God was distant from me, that he didn’t really care what I was going through.

    On this particular night I had the dorm room to myself and I was laying on my bed just crying out to God to show up in my life. The more I cried, the more angry I became towards Him. Where was He now? What was He doing, and why wasn’t he making it all better? Did He even see me? Did he really care? Any doubts of God’s concern for me, or attention to the details of my life would soon be washed away after what happened next.

    In the midst of my anger, my struggles and my doubts, God came near… to me. He came to me and He held my heart in His hands. I immediately stopped being angry and I felt convicted about my disrespect towards my Papa God. The tears continued to come as the internal struggle within me only got heavier. I was trying to remember the words of God and his promises for me, but it was hard to do because I was still holding onto my burdens, struggling with letting them go.

    Then the weirdest thing happened. I could hear multiple voices whispering in my ear all the same time. I was straining to hear them but I heard one male voice clearly say “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding".  I'm not sure what the other voices were saying but either they were saying the same thing or speaking other promises of God over me.

    The battle continued, but it wasn’t just in my heart, it was in the room: Angels against demons, fighting for my attention and my heart. But then the Angel of the Lord hovered over me, and I could feel a pulse, like a wind. I felt like I could feel the wind of his wings on me. They must have been huge because the wind and rush of the wings felt like a pressure on my body. Not a crushing pressure, but an embracing pressure. As He flapped his wings toward me, love and peace swept over me. And as He moved his wings back with power and strength, the pressure of the wind made the demons fall back.

    I was amazed and humbled at God's mercy. In the midst of my anger and my doubt towards Him, He came nearer than ever before. Even though I was yelling at him, he responded to me by holding my heart, allowing me to hear the promises of God through a chorus of angels, and then feel the swishing pressure of the Angel of the Lord’s wings. He was protecting me from the demons that were trying to attack me while God was holding my heart so that He could minister to me in my darkest hour.

    In Psalm 34:7 it says “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” I believe that God allowed me to experience a manifestation of this verse, I will forever be changed and humbled that God allowed me to have a glimpse into the spiritual realm, and how great His love is for me. I will never comprehend it all, but I believe that God truly is an ever present help in time of need. Ever present.”

    When Sharayah shared that story with me, it blew me up.  And in that, I was able to finish writing the song – with ease.  And to this day, it has influenced Teri’s and my prayer life.  I would strongly encourage you to pray Psalm 91 over those you love, putting their names into the Psalm, and entreating God to apply it to their lives.  The promises here are at once beautiful, but also extremely powerful, and they are readily available to us as His children.

    Psalm 91 was originally written on piano.  But when Tim Friesen and I were doing the pre-production for this song, my dear friend and partner in ministry Jon Simpson was with us, and he had an idea:  slow the song way down, and do it on guitar, and use the key of E with a drone approach, that kept the song big and open.  Well, the rest is history. 

    The female harmony you hear on this song is Sharayah, who arranged and sang the backing vocals.  I love this song on many, many levels, but Sharayah’s story, coupled with the eternal truths of Psalm 34 & 91 – well, not much else to say except to make sure my friends that you too are wrapped in the salvation of His wings…

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards,
    Joe Ricciardi – Electric Guitars
    Brett King – Acoustic Guitar 
    Jon Simpson – Bass
    Tim Friesen – Programming
    Josh Fisher – Drums
    Sharayah Drake Fonyad – BGVs

    Psalm 91

    Dwelling in the secret place
    I’m wrapped in the salvation of Your wings
    Almighty, Holy One

    My Lord, My God, my habitation
    Your truth is my deliverance and my shield
    In You I put my trust

    Breath in me your words of grace and hold me in divine embraces
    Shelter me in Your unfailing love . . . Forever I am yours

    Abiding in Your heart of refuge
    Hidden in Your fortress I am safe
    From evil’s fear and terror

    You have set Your love upon me
    You have known and You have called my name
    You take me as your own

    Breathe in me your words of grace and hold me in divine embraces
    Shelter me in Your unfailing love, forever, Father
    Pour into my deepest places, fill me with the Highest Praises
    Draw me to your heart and hold me close, Forever I am yours

    You are everything I want, and everything I need
    You hold me in your hand, You crush the enemy
    You are everything I want, and everything I need
    You hold my heart’s desire, in the shadow of Your wings

  • Totally Abandoned – 2013 (Broken & Complete)

    The Pain came on slowly, but once it got rolling, it was incessant.  Bent over, and in total agony, I got Teri to take me to the Emergency Room.  My long and varied experience of the Emergency Room is similar to what some say about the doctrine of Purgatory: postmortem suffering short of everlasting damnation.  Actually, I have never died, but oh my have I been in utter, consuming, mind-numbing pain.  I couldn’t sit, couldn’t stand, and just curled up on the floor in a corner, shaking and moaning.

    They tell me that trying to pass a Kidney Stone is like trying to force a sea urchin through a small plastic fuel line.  Yeah.  And praise God for the human invention called Percocet.  I laid in bed for 5 days, praying, hoping, crying out to God to deliver me from the spiny boulder that was not moving down my ureter. 

    During one of the more calm Percocet interludes, (that heavenly moment when the full weight of the painkiller would kick in, and I would be relieved of the otherwise incessant torment), I actually picked up my guitar and started to write a song, which became Totally Abandoned.

    Aside from the overall experience, there are two moments of this ordeal that I remember the most.  One, was when trying to get to the bathroom from the bed, I collapsed on the floor, and just lay there, not wanting to move.  Teri had a friend coming over who happened to be a non-practicing nurse, and she came in at our invitation, and proceeded to lay down on the floor next to me. 

    Ann prayed quietly for me, and then spoke to me, saying that for this particular occasion, God wanted me to embrace the pain, and stop fighting it.  She graciously told me that this kind of pain was the closest a man would ever get to feeling like a woman does when giving child-birth, and in that, a woman needs to find ways to cope through the pain, as opposed to wasting energy fighting it.  I remember thinking that was a brilliant parallel to what James says in his Epistle: 

    Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  – Jas. 1:2-4 (The Message)

    My prayers changed dramatically as a result – from “Take this pain away NOW God!”, to “Lord, what do you want to teach me and do through this?”  And this is mild, compared to Job, who in a much more extreme and extrapolated way takes the same approach when he says, in the midst of unimaginable pain and suffering, “Though He slay me, I will praise Him.” 

    But the supernatural intervention happened a few days later.  I had been checked on and informed by medical staff that if I did not pass the Kidney Stone naturally, in two days they would take more drastic measures, some of which would involve putting a tube up a place where catheters usually go, and deliver a chemical and ultrasound punch that would break up the stone and allow me to pass it.  Naturally, I was not excited about this.  Not at all.

    Enter Diane Hartman.  Diane is a dear friend of Teri’s and mine, who has been involved in praying for my and our ministry since 2001.  God has used her numerous times to deliver spot-on prophetic messages, warnings, exhortations, and blessings, and to date she has never been wrong.  Teri had asked Diane to come over and pray for me, and Diane had intentionally waited.  Until now. 

    With three hours to go before I had to go in for the drastic unpleasantness, the doorbell rang.  In came Diane, telling us that she had now been released by the Lord to come and pray for my healing.  She had me sit up on the edge of the bed, anointed me with oil, and began to go for it, in ways I cannot describe.  She stood in her authority in Christ, stormed heaven, took no prisoners, and then proceeded to “break” something in the spiritual realm that she felt needed to come down, and when she was finished, Teri knew it was finished.  She exclaimed to me, “You need to go pass that Kidney Stone!”  And I did.  And there was NO WAY anything that large should ever have been able to come out of where it came out from!

    The journey of recording Totally Abandoned was also quite interesting.  In the prepro process, Tim and I were looking for an approach.  And then he said, “Bill, have you heard the song ‘Hurt’ by Johnny Cash?  This is actually a very important Johnny Cash song”.  I had heard the song, but not as of yet seen the video.  Upon seeing it, I was left breathless, and highly recommend it as a piece of provocative art (see:  http://jenniferfulwiler.com/2012/08/johnny-cashs-empire-of-dirt-and-the-truths-that-make-us-human/).  And then we set about trying to create a soundscape for the intro, first verse and chorus, that could potentially evoke the same melancholy as “Hurt” does.  As Johnny Cash said himself, sitting in his closed, dilapidated museum, "It's all fleeting… as fame is fleeting, so are all the trappings of fame fleeting. The money, the clothes, the furniture."

    So you have a skipping LP sound, a low-level wind sound, a heart-beat rhythm on the kick-drum, and a lonely guitar enters… “…help me die to my ambitions and my self erected pride, help me live out on this altar ‘till in You I’m crucified”.  We asked John Waller if he would contribute some haunting backing vocals, added Joe Ricciardi’s crying slide guitar solo at the end, put down the quarter note high octaves on the piano to sound like pounding nails, and you have one of the most powerful recordings I have ever made.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards,
    Joe Ricciardi – Rhythm & Lead Electric Guitars
    David Cooper – Acoustic Guitars 
    Tim Friesen – Bass, programming
    Josh Fisher – Drums
    John Waller – Backing Vocals

    Totally Abandoned

    All that I’ve lived for
    Poured out in defeat, at Your precious feet
    All that I’ve longed for
    Totally undone, by Your Savior love

    You are my Resurrection, You are my life
    Jesus, Here is my sacrifice . . .

    I am totally abandoned
    Wrecked at Your feet
    I am smitten by forgiveness
    Broken and complete
    Help me die to my ambitions
    And my self erected pride
    Help me live out on this altar
    'till in You I'm crucified

    All that I’ve strived for,
    Counted up as loss, nailed to the cross
    All that I’d die for
    Is found alive in You, the way and the truth

    You are my Resurrection, You are my life
    Jesus, Here is my sacrifice . . . 

    Nothing compares to being close to Your heart
    Jesus, I want to be where You are . . . (repeat)

  • The Breastplate of St. Patrick (Broken & Complete)

    Have you read the book, “How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe”?  It’s a fantastic read, and exquisitely highlights the role of the Body of Christ as a preserving force in a world that wants to eradicate the truth and true knowledge.

    One of the main actors in that divine slice of history was a man named Patrick, and he is credited with the writing of a timeless and magnificent prayer called The Lorica, or The Breastplate.  The song I have written here is based upon the famous penultimate stanza, calling on Christ to be all and in all.  Patrick obviously got ahold of the everlasting truths elucidated by David and Paul in Psalm 139 and Ephesians 6 respectively, and turned them into a magnificent prayer that has endured for over 1,400 years. 

    The Breastplate of St. Patrick was originally on a compilation that I was putting together to be my next album after Crimson Thread of Grace.  The new album was going to be called Rainfalls, but instead, as earlier explained, we recorded the live worship album in Holland that became Every Nation Tribe and Tongue.  Four of the songs from Rainfalls ended up on Every Nation Tribe and Tongue, and four of them ended up on Aroma!  Two of them have yet to be recorded properly (Wait On You, and On The Breath Of Your Wings), and one of them  (The Breastplate of St. Patrick) ended up on Broken & Complete.

    For the Rainfalls compilation, The Breastplate of St. Patrick had a much more Celtic-style feel.  And this gave Tim Friesen and I fits!  It’s not that we were in an argument at all – it’s just that we both couldn’t find a way to make it sound that way, and still have it ‘work’.  One day after working on some of the other Broken & Complete tunes, I went home.  Tim stayed.  And when I came in the next day, he had pretty much done what you hear when you listen to it now.  What tipped him over the edge, was when he picked up the electric guitar, and laid down the cry you hear in the intro.  And that did it – the rest of it (according to him) kinda produced itself.

    Then he stuck me in the vocal booth.  I started to sing it like I did for the Rainfalls compilation.  Tim stopped me.  And then he said, “I want you to sing this like you are desperate.  Desperate for the presence of God in your life.  Desperate for the breath of God in your life.  Desperate period.”  Well, you can decide if I “got there” or not…

    Bill Drake – Vocals
    David Cooper – Acoustic Guitars 
    Tim Friesen – Electric Guitar, Bass, Programming

    Lyrics by St. Patrick, adapted by Bill Drake
    Music by Bill Drake
    © 2012 Old Dirt Road Music

    The Breastplate of St. Patrick

    Christ with me, Christ before me
    Christ behind me; Christ within me
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me
    Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me
    In lying, in sitting, Christ in my rising
    Christ in the heart of all who think of me
    Christ on the tongue of all who speak to me
    Christ in the eye of all who see me
    Christ in the ear of all who hear me

    Christ, my all in all . . .
    Christ, my all in all . . .

  • All Things – 2015 (Previously Unrecorded)

    Cancer.  That’s a death word, a word that starts to take life as soon as it touches the ears.  It used to be a pronouncement of certain demise – today not as much, but this nefarious pathology we call Cancer is still seriously lethal, and to be told you have it growing inside you is the kind of news you never want to hear in your lifetime.

    Nor do you want to hear that it is growing in your beloved wife.  Especially after your mother died of it…

    This difficult journey started in June 2014 when Teri’s doctor found something on the mammogram, and it got a bit more intense in August when after a biopsy it was discovered to be breast cancer.  The journey brought us through radiation therapy, chemotherapy, septicemia, and finally, eradication.  It was a year of hell, a year of miracles, and a year of getting to know the Lord better than we ever thought we might.

    I remember the day we found out after the operation that the cancer had not spread.  I took Teri out to lunch to celebrate the good news, and looking at me with those arresting brown eyes, her voice cracked with an emotion she had not expressed throughout any of this ordeal so far, and she said, "I had prayed to God that you would never have had to go through this again…"  I'm not sure that 1,000 pages could contain the immense range of feelings, memories, and responses that filled my heart and mind in that moment - in fact I'm sure they couldn't now… what kind of person is a person who is more worried about what another is experiencing or feeling, when they are personally facing what used to be a death sentence (or at least a pronouncement of myriads of processes and procedures that would all bring untold pain and suffering)?  I believe it is a person who is "full" of another person, a person who said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" whilst hanging on a Roman cross.  

    Talking about this later with Teri, she reiterated that she had entreated God at the beginning of our marriage 33 years ago, that He please not allow her to die like that, and to inflict pain on me like what I experienced as a 14 year old boy watching my mother slowly and agonizingly pass away.  I never knew she had prayed that... 

    There were three experiences that I had during this ordeal that would qualify for the "I never, ever want to do that again", although really, I would do it in a second for the woman I love so much.  One of these would be shaving off half of her decimated hair, after half of it had already fallen out.  The second would be seeing the Infectious Disease Doctor scoot up very close to Teri, put her hand on her shoulder, and gently but firmly said, "You have Septicemia, and I am admitting you to the hospital immediately."  The third would be hooking Teri up to I.V. bags of antibiotic for six weeks, strictly every eight hours, while she would lay there peacefully, looking at me with those beautiful pools of amber which were whispering “I love you” as more chemicals would course through her body which no longer had an immune system.

    I honestly asked myself one day - is God still good?  Of course I believed it. But was I abiding in it?  Was I walking in it?  I also reminded myself, would I think that God was still good if I was being marched down a lonely Libyan beach by "Jihad John" - who would then behead me in front of cameras that would show my bleeding disembodied corpse on the global stage?  Of course I am convinced that my faith needs to be large enough for tragedy and horror, not just medical inconveniences.  But what this also means is that my attitude must never be tethered to my circumstances, and I don't know about you, but I find that to be very hard.  But it is also necessary.

    Navigating suffering comes down to this truth laced throughout the Old and New Testament:  two things are many times true at the same time:  We are eternal beings, but our flesh is wasting away.  We are Justified at once "in Christ", but we are still being Sanctified over time.  We are feasting on the goodness of God and his provision, and yet we are surrounded by enemies.  Peace can get "hostile" in Philippians 4:6&7 when it stands ready to take down anything that comes to attack your heart and your mind.  And we can fight, and abide at the same time.

    "To be accepting of God's will and leading, but then not accepting of what the enemy has in store for us once we are there, is a skill in timing and discernment that all who would be abiders and fighters must learn to navigate very well."

    We found that as we journey through this life and encounter others who are dying or in pain, (even the persecuted church that faces far greater dangers than Teresa and I have been facing), those who do not give up in despair are those who have recognized that by abiding in Jesus' words of truth and the Holy Spirit's indwelling presence of power have gained a higher perspective, an elevated level of living, that does not succumb to the decay of this world and the victimizing shackles of self-pity.  Rather, they are able to project the fragrance of Christ, the economy of heaven, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  They are people who have counted all things as loss, for the sake of getting to know Christ better, and for the sake of getting to become more like Christ.

    “There is a special place in this world, a place of no fear, a place of perfect peace, a place full of joy, a place that is forged with an eternal weight of glory in the face of light momentary afflictions, a holy place that is reserved for those who would fully "Abide in Christ".  To Abide is to Fight”.

    One of the greatest lessons I will take from this season of life and the front row seat I had in watching a godly woman of God wade through it, is that if one is abiding in Christ, where their identity, their self-esteem, their life, and their very future is hidden in Him, they are safe from the ‘tyranny of the possible’ and they are protected by a shield of faith and a helmet of salvation.  One who is abiding in Christ is much better positioned to take every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ while the temptation to fall into the fear of dying a horrible death due to a degenerative disease stalks their every waking thought.  One who is abiding in Christ sees themselves as already seated with Him in the heavenlies, and therefore understands their very life, and the value of their life, is measured by nothing else except the perfect will of the God.  A God Who is free to spend them as He will.  They understand that nothing will befall them except that which is allowed within His will, and nothing will happen to them except whatever He has already sovereignly decided will give Him the greater glory.  

    I have had the invaluable privilege of being married to a woman who walked through the valley of the shadow whilst abiding in Christ, and my walk with Him, even as a missionary, a musician, and a preacher of the gospel, will never be the same, but will forever be impacted by the force of a peace that went beyond all understanding and has further inscribed our lives with the autograph of Jesus.

    Bill Drake – piano, vocals
    Tim Friesen – bass, programming

    All Things

    (Philippians 3:7-14)

    I want to know you more than anything, You bring life from death
    I want to trust You, in obedience, in Your righteousness

    I count all things, all things, I count all things as loss
    I bring all things, all things, I bring all things to the cross

    I want to seek You and put no confidence in my earthly flesh
    I want to know You in Your sufferings, and put my pride to death 

    I want to know You, I want to serve you with everything
    I lay my life down, You always lift Your children from the grave
    You always lift Your children from the grave…

    Because You let your body bleed
    You saved me from the prince of darkness
    For every sickness and disease
    You laid it down to rise above it
    For every child in desperation
    For all the crushed and broken-hearted
    For every weapon formed against me
    There is a remedy incarnate

    I count all things, all things, I count all things as loss
    Forgetting what’s behind, I press on toward the prize
    For the high calling in Christ

  • The Dawn – 1985 (You Are the One)

    This song was written over 30 years ago, and it still gives me goose bumps… It just seemed appropriate to finish this second collection of Legacy songs with a song about enduring Hope.  The Dawn was the closing song on my first album, and I still remember the exhilarating feeling of expectancy that I had after listening all the way through that album for the first time.

    There are also times that I just get sick and tired of sin – in the world, in government, in the Church, and of course, in myself.  It seems to invade and pervade everything, and the result is corruption in all it kisses.  Everything from self-condemnation to the virulent hatred perpetrated towards Christians around the world continues to demonstrate to me that we were never meant to exist long in this toxic environment saturated with death.

    Disappointment and Despair are horrific enemies – they suck away life, quench the fire of meaning, and they leave you bereft of hope.  The only way to combat these mortal enemies is a firm grasp of assurance on the Truth, an unshakable death-grip on that which cannot be shaken, a confident expectation that gives you the motivation and energy to persevere.  God has not only woven this into the cycle of seasons, the death and rebirth that moves us from winter to spring, but He has given us The Dawn – that moment of victory, when night gives way, when light conquers darkness again, and the Sun re-appears. 

    You can stake your eternal soul on God’s divine promise.  For the sake of “the song”, four spring to mind right away.  Philippians 1:6 says that ‘He Who began a good work in you will complete that work until the day of Christ Jesus’.  Hebrews 13:5 says that ‘He will never leave us or forsake us’.  Romans 5:5 tells us that ‘this hope does not disappoint, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’.  And Hebrews 6:19-20a tells us that ‘we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf’, into the very presence of God. 

    What this tells me is that there is a purpose, a meaning, and an intentional progression to life.  And on that journey, we will never be alone, but rather will be surrounded by grace, showered by mercy, and embraced by love.  This process will not leave us disappointed, but rather, satisfied at the deepest level of our being, because it will most assuredly culminate with us beholding the One True and Living God face to face; being known, being loved, and being transformed into Life forever.

    Bill Drake – Vocals, Piano

    The Dawn

    Another day, trying to live for Jesus, spending time skillfully veering from the mark
    A losers game – I just can’t ignore the pain frustration brings; trying to break my hardened heart

     For so long, in quiet desperation I have forged all the shackles of my life
    I’m a prisoner of sinning, in a cell of my own making, yet I’m free to go and sacrifice my life

     And though the darkness surrounds me
    And my enemies be strong
    Death is conquered and life has begun
    Night must give way to the Dawn

     Another night – answer hide from question in my mind: what does it take to follow Christ?
    Why do I live?  Am I a good steward with my time, that’s so easily spent on lies?

     For so long, the clichés of Christianity have served as foundations for my life
    I guess my lifestyle needs adjusting, my house of sand is crumbling, and the holy light of God is breaking in

Concert Photos
Many incredible memories with our friends at each concert. Where did you see Bill Drake.