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Newsboys Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Newsboys lyrics)
It's obvious after only a few minutes with newsboys frontman and songwriter Peter Furler that the man is defined by his relationships and a profound commitment to those relationships that include his band mates, longtime associates, brothers and mentors in Christ, his wife and God. A significant theme in this core of associations has been Peter's recommitment and ardent loyalty to the latter two, prompting a restored spirit evident in the band's newest record, devotion.
Peter describes the aptly titled, 13th national release devotion as a natural step or progression from newsboys previous blockbuster Adoration: The Worship Album-which was a phenomenal success reaching certified Gold status (the band's fifth) and culminating in a spring tour that sold out 29 of 34 markets in early 2004.
"It's the next step, isn't it? You adore something, and then the next step is that you can become devoted to it. Adoration ... isn't quite enough, and I think devotion is moving one step further. It's a process."
In the calculated industry of record making and producing, a machine where consistency is nurtured, and risk is discouraged-one can draw the simple comparison that the very reason for the band's world-renowned success has been Peter's ability to exact change. He produced newsboys' newest release, devotion, an album that exemplifies the band's renewed spiritual dedication. This commitment has helped forge a stronger ministry for its audience, including a Bible literacy program and an intense concentration now on the anointing of the fan base during a concert. Less flash, more content.
devotion is a thought provoking combination of new worship songs that transport the listener into a stirring spiritual experience indicative of the profundity of God's love. Songs like the hit single, "presence," as well as "devotion," "strong tower," "i love Your ways" and the rest combined reveal a more vulnerable newsboys focused on having its listeners encounter new joy, losing themselves in Christ and experiencing a renewed faith.
To complete the parcel, Peter enlisted the songwriting talents of industry legend Steve Taylor and acclaimed newcomer Tim Hughes, in addition to vocals from Rebecca St. James and guitars from Delirious?' Stu G.
"There has been an explosion of creativity in worship music and this was demonstrated in my experience with Peter on devotion," says Tim Hughes who co-wrote the lead single, "presence," with Peter. "Worship is our highest calling and songs that paint a big picture of who God is, songs that tell of the wonders of God, can only come out of a life of devotion. I've always enjoyed newsboys' sound and it was exciting to explore the new songs and offer some ideas. devotion captures a sense of authentic worship with great songs that reveal something fresh on the character of God."
Peter is both self-effacing and pensive when asked about the changes in his personal life over the last couple of years that served as an impetus for devotion. newsboys has collectively experienced a gradual success that has resulted in classic 'rock-star' recognition and fervor. And though success thrived, other challenges seemed to flourish.
"I do believe that there is a sanctification process that we go through in life," explains Peter. "We work out our salvation with fear and trembling, it's ours, it's a gift given to us, and then one day we'll be glorified ... and so there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ, but there are consequences sometimes for our actions."
The "process" for Peter became one of realization and honesty. Within that context, he sought direction for a deeper understanding of the relationships he held most sacred, but were in a state of flux-particularly with his Savior and wife. Simply put his marriage was showing signs of stress.
"We have no authority to be on stage if our family life is in a mess. We won't really have anything to say. I mean, I've never met anyone that was glad their marriage didn't work out. It's just not the plan that God has. I figured out the right reason to love one another is out of respect and reverence for Christ and what He has done, and you do these things as unto the Lord, for Him. You separate yourself in a Holy way. So I had to find that, and until that time, it became a bit of a mess."
Always introspective, Peter realized the need for things to change-and set about to make those changes by drawing closer to the Lord in his daily life through becoming involved in his local church and a bible study, which proved to be a God-send. The edification became an illuminating period that lead to a greater sense of purpose and maturation within his marriage, and ultimately his faith.
"It's not something you learn at 35 years old, or you learn it age 60; it's a spiritual principle. It depends on your spiritual maturity. I know 60-year old men that have not found this principle yet ... it's got nothing to do with time. If it were a matter of just time then marriages wouldn't fall apart after 30 years. It's something that until you have it in your life, your marriage is at risk. And so realizing that, we've actually cut back a lot of the shows so we're not usually away from home more than four or five days now. So it's a big change."
Peter is typically seen around town with one of his closest friends and his pastor, Rice Broocks, cruising the local Sonic's in the preacher's car. The two men share a bond much like that of old school buddies, not minister and disciple.
"Peter is the kind of guy that is so sincere. He's just not making music and living another life. Out of that deep sincerity the enemy can use a lot of subtlety to say, 'Well, you missed it there and there, and your attitude was wrong', when none of us are obviously perfect or in a place of sanctification where we don't need help."
In describing the rare opportunity he's had to get to know Peter on a personal level, far from the celebrity light, Rice adds, "I'll paraphrase ... Proverbs says a word goes into a wise person so easily, but the fool you have to hit a hundred times in the head, and I think that people like Peter are people of wisdom. You can say something that's fairly subtle ... oblique ... and he gets it. He is someone who really wants to follow God more faithfully, and in his desperate desire to be faithful to God, to be what he sings about and to be what his fans believe him to be-that is his pursuit. He's pedaling as fast as he can."