As you celebrate love this February, we hope you won’t overlook the ultimate source of love — the love of Jesus. God’s love far surpasses even the greatest earthly love we will ever experience. It was His unmatched sacrifice on the cross that set the bar for the way we’re taught to love one another. Romans 5:8 reminds us, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” If that’s not amazing love, I don’t know what is! Even after the fall, God pledged His unconditional love to us, promising to never leave nor forsake us. There are countless songs that help us understand His vast affection for us and His unbreakable commitment to us more clearly. Thanks to recent singles from your favorite Air1 artists, we know that Jesus vows to be our shelter, our refuge and our help in times of trouble. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are seven songs that echo God’s covenant.
“Abandoned” - Benjamin William Hastings (feat. Brandon Lake)
“Abandoned,” the new single from Benjamin William Hastings , isn’t what it seems on the surface. While the revered lyricist could have easily crafted a song about the nature of God and how He will never abandon His children, longtime fans of the Irish singer know his words always plumb the depths of a much deeper well. Reunited with “Gratitude” co-writer and former tourmate Brandon Lake, Hastings’ latest offering speaks of the incomprehensible act of Jesus’ death on the cross — the kind of extravagant sacrifice that makes absolutely no sense, yet beckons us to abandon our very lives to Him at all costs. Making its radio debut exclusively on Air1, “Abandoned” was written by Hastings, Lake, Cody Carnes and Chris Davenport and recorded while Hastings and Lake were on tour together last year. While a studio version is also available, it’s the live recording with Lake that really captures the depth and beauty conveyed throughout the building ballad, which calls for a bold, liberating movement of surrender.
“YET” - Maverick City Music (feat. Ashley Hess & the King will come)
“His love’s an ocean where your shame is drowned.” That’s what Maverick City Music proclaims on their powerful single, “YET.” The crescendoing ballad features “American Idol” alum Ashley Hess and her band, the King will come, singing alongside Maverick City’s Chandler Moore. Hess wrote the bones of the song after falling to her knees and crying out to God in the midst of one of the most painful seasons of her life. The poignant, prayerful selection reminds listeners God will never give up on us. “‘YET’ is a song I never thought I’d release because it felt too personal and raw. I was so afraid for people to have a front row seat to my wrestle with the Lord, but so much healing has come from sharing my story,” Hess reflects, adding, “The deepest insecurity in your life often reveals something about the assignment and purpose God has given you.”
“Fall On Me” - NEEDTOBREATHE (feat. Maverick City Music)
NEEDTOBREATHE and Maverick City Music offer a safe place to land on “Fall On Me.” The rock quintet originally captured the song for their 9th studio collection, “CAVES,” with additional vocal help from country music sensation Carly Pearce. However, they recently tapped Maverick City Music for an all-new recording of the single. With vocal assists from Maverick City Music’s Chandler Moore and Naomi Raine, the tender “Fall On Me” morphs into the choir-elevated track NEEDTOBREATHE initially dreamed up when they first crafted the emotional standout. Penned by NEEDTOBREATHE frontman Bear Rinehart, Steven Furtick (Elevation Worship) and Jason Ingram (Lauren Daigle), “Fall On Me” was originally written as a vulnerable snapshot of dialogue between a parent and a child through the lens of a father’s unconditional love. The fresh iteration with Maverick City Music paints the personal message of the song in an entirely new light, allowing our Heavenly Father to speak the same words over us: “I ain’t ever gonna leave you / So don’t keep another secret / No, your tears aren’t a weakness / You can fall, you can fall on Me.”
“Shelter” - Pat Barrett
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Pat Barrett discovers a safe haven in the arms of his Savior on his latest single, “Shelter.” The title-cut of his new 12-song project is injected with a gentle country flavor that subtly creeped into Barrett’s creative process as he tracked these new songs live at a historic Nashville recording studio. The choir-assisted selection speaks of our desperate, consistent need for Jesus and the rest we find in the shelter of His strong arms. “The more life you live, the more hurt that stacks up and the more things don’t go your way. You have to put all of that somewhere, and I want God to be the One I turn to. In all of that, He becomes a shelter,” Barrett shares of the sentiment behind the song. “What else could possibly hold the complexity and the intensity and the joy and the suffering? What other place can handle all that?” Co-penned with Cody Carnes, “Shelter” was inspired by Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
“Crowns Down” - Gateway Worship (feat. Josh Baldwin)
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Singer, songwriter and worship leader Josh Baldwin helms Gateway Worship’s regal new ballad, “Crowns Down.” As well as serving as the featured artist on the track, Baldwin is a co-writer on the song alongside Christine D’Clario, Mark Harris and Zac Rowe. “It’s our prayer that this song will be a reminder to surrender everything before Jesus,” Gateway Worship offers of the message behind the moving selection. “He is the only One worthy of all praise, honor and glory!” Gateway’s intimate single gives listeners a taste of heaven with its vivid descriptions of Christ’s majesty and affirms for fellow believers how, even on our best day, our greatest accomplishments are but a trophy at His feet. A snapshot of humbleness, “Crowns Down” extols God’s awe-inspiring splendor and our natural response to His grandeur and authority: total, genuine submission. The bridge echoes the everlasting song filling eternity found in Revelation 4:8: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty — the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
“Thank You Jesus for the Blood” - Charity Gayle
Songwriter and worship leader Charity Gayle has stumbled upon something of a modern hymn with “Thank You Jesus for the Blood.” The Dove Award winner’s original single is a pure exultation of appreciation for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The “I Speak Jesus” singer penned the powerful, emotive ballad during a songwriting retreat with friends Steven Musso, David Gentiles, Bryan McCleery and her husband, Ryan Kennedy. They started the session simply by expressing their individual gratitude for the transformation the Lord has brought about in each of their lives. As the melody began to take shape, Gayle says she was transported back to the old church she grew up attending in Buffalo, New York, where she vividly remembers sitting on the front pew beside her mother as her dad sang and her grandmother played the organ. An unabashed portrait of the Gospel message, “Thank You Jesus for the Blood” leans on Ephesians 2:13, which proclaims of all believers, “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.”
“Seen” - Tauren Wells & Katie Torwalt
You are seen, known and loved by the God of the universe. That’s the message Tauren Wells and Katie Torwalt hope gets imprinted on your heart as you listen to their new song, “Seen.” Together, the duo attests that you don’t have anything to prove because you’re already perfectly loved. The fresh R&B collaboration is found on Wells’ four-song EP, “Take It All Back,” as well as the 19-track expanded edition of his latest LP, “Joy in the Morning.” “When nobody does, You care. I am a treasure You keep,” Wells and Torwalt proclaim, their voices seamlessly harmonizing. “When I think I’m alone, You’re there. You see, You see.” Our Heavenly Father’s pure pride and admiration for His children is a recurring theme that shows up often in the “Known” singer’s music. This time around, he penned the intimate pop single with fellow Christian artist Riley Clemmons and respected songwriters Chuck Butler and Emily Weisband.