The year was 1988. It was the year that the Iran-Iraq war ended after 8 years of fighting and 1.5 million casualties. It was the year that an earthquake in Armenia killed 60,000 people. It was known to be the year that crack, a derivative of the drug cocaine, exploded into the streets of the inner cities of the United States. That drug has addicted, incarcerated, and killed countless millions of people in the U.S. and abroad. That year was also the year that although the Soviet Red Army withdrew from Afghanistan, tensions remained high between the USSR and the United States in the ideological “Cold War.”

It was a also a year of great achievement when the first transatlantic fibre optic cable was laid, the first laser eye surgery was completed, and Carl Lewis won a Gold Medal for the U.S. in the Summer Olympics. 1988 marked an end of an era with Ronald Reagan completing his 8th year as president of the United States, and his successor George H.W. Bush being elected as the 41st President of the United States.

It was almost the end of the decade I was born and grew up in. 1988 was also a great year in music, with the Billboard top 100 filled with hits from major recording artists such as Michael Jackson, Elton John, George Michael, Whitney Houston and Steve Winwood among others. Within the music scene, Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) as a genre continued to grow in mainstream success. Artists such as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and Newsong continued to make strides at topping the charts, while remaining true to their Christian faith.

It is my opinion, that one of the most defining artists and songs of not only Contemporary Christian Music, but music in general is the worldwide classic song entitled “Awesome God” by recording artist Rich Mullins. “Awesome God” was recorded on his 1988 album, Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth. As this was the first single on the album, it rose to number one on Christian radio and has since become a worldwide reproduced classic in different genres. Just a few artists that have remade the classic song include but are not limited to:

  • Michael W. Smith- Multi-platinum Contemporary Christian artist
  • Hillsong United- Multi-platinum worship band for Hillsong Church, Sydney Aus.
  • Kirk Franklin- Grammy award winning Gospel singer, choir director, and author.
  • Todd Agnew- Dove award finalist and CCM singer and songwriter.
  • R. Swift- Christian Rapper and part of the historic “Cross Movement Records”

One little known fact I think is very interesting about the song “Awesome God” is that Rich Mullins himself did not seem to really like the song! According to an interview with The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine in 1996, years after the song’s mainstream success, Mullins admitted: “You know, the thing I like about Awesome God is that it’s one of the worst-written songs that I ever wrote. It’s just poorly crafted. But the thing is that sometimes, I think, that when you become too conscientious about being a songwriter, the message becomes a vehicle for the medium. This is a temptation that I think all songwriters have. I think a great songwriter is someone who is able to take a very meaningful piece of wisdom – or of folly or whatever – and say it in a way that is most likely to make people respond. But, what you want them to respond to is not how cleverly you did that; what you want them to respond to is your message.”

Wise advice by Rich, because that message has been responded to over and over again. Although Mullins life was cut tragically short by a car accident in 1997, his legacy lives on not only through song, but by his amazing ministry work and travel throughout the world. The song has become a significant worship song in church congregations around the world. It can be sung as a full length song, or a hymn chorus repeated in worship.

I’ll have to write about Mullins life in a future article as it was a very interesting one. Rich Mullins was truly a rebel for Christ in his day. There are several quotes and articles I have researched that have truly given me an even greater respect for Rich Mullins legacy. His zeal for truth, his love for people, and his deep poetic nature as a person set him apart from many other artists in his day and our day. But for now, just kick back, relax, listen and sing along to this classic song while thinking about just how awesome God is.

V.R.

Awesome God lyrics, by Rich Mullins

When He rolls up His sleeves, He ain’t just putting on the ritz
(Our God is an awesome God)
There’s thunder in His footsteps, And lightning in His fists
(Our God is an awesome God)
And the Lord wasn’t joking when He kicked ’em out of Eden
It wasn’t for no reason, That He shed His blood
His return is very close and so you better be believing that
(Our God is an awesome God)

(2x) Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God

And when the sky was starless in the void of the night
(Our God is an awesome God)
He spoke into the darkness and created the light
(Our God is an awesome God)
Judgment and wrath He poured out on the Sodom, Mercy and grace He gave us at the cross
I hope that you have not Too quickly forgotten that
(Our God is an awesome God)

(4x) Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God

Our God is an awesome God (Our God is an awesome God)
He reigns from heaven above (He reigns from heaven above)
With wisdom, power, and love (With wisdom, power, and love)
Our God is an awesome God
Our God is an awesome God
Our God is an awesome God

Songwriters: Rich Mullins and Vernard Johnson

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s