Pastor Jeremy Harkins and Pastor Josh Von Holt from Ebenezer Bible Fellowship Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania have recently written songs to encourage and build up the body of Christ. They have performed and recorded them with a few of the Ebenezer Bible Fellowship Church worship team members and are calling the collaboration EB and Flow.
I recently had a chance to ask Pastor Jeremy and Pastor Josh about their song writing process. Here is what they shared:
Rachel Schmoyer: How long have you been writing music?
Jeremy Harkins: Josh has been writing for about 5 years. I have been writing for about 15 years. Collectively we have been collaborating for about a year now. I wrote “Be Lifted High” and “Wholly Yours” and bounced them off of Josh to get his perspective. I did make some changes to the words based on Josh’s recommendations. Josh wrote “Such A Mystery” and we talked about some changes and he made those adjustments.
RS: What is the song writing process like for you?
Jeremy Harkins: I think Josh and I can both say that it is an outlet of therapy to reflect on the character of our covenant-keeping God. Our desire is to share these forms of expression for the edification and building up of the church, but also as seeds for the gospel. Josh and I have written together and separately all with the intent to bring the living Word to expression in song.
RS: Was there anything in particular that inspired you to write these songs?
Josh Von Holt: I was inspired to write “Such a Mystery” when I was out on a walk back in November of 2021. I was meditating on Exodus 34:6-7, which says “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Apart from the cross of Jesus Christ there is no place where the holiness, justice, and wrath of God meet the mercy and grace of God. This is at the heart of the gospel itself! The cross of Jesus Christ is the reason God can be as Romans 3:26 says, “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
I will never cease to be in awe of this glorious truth, though at times I am forgetful of such grace. So, as I was on my walk and thinking about this reality, I desired to write something that would communicate how God can be just and merciful in forgiving sinners. Even though God has graciously opened my eyes to see this glorious reality, it still is a wondrous mystery.
Jeremy Harkins: That reminds me of the scriptural themes of the songs I have written. First, let me say that Christian music should point us to the deep truths and promises of God’s word and not general ideas and vague thoughts. Josh and I feel strongly about sharing music that points to these deep truths and promises in the midst of many mixed messages both in the world and in Christian music in general. “Be Lifted High” was written as a simple anthem of adoration that declares God’s glory as we learn to trust Him. God is our creator, and sustainer, Christ came to us in the humblest of ways to be lifted to the highest place!
I reference Psalm 34:8,10 in the bridge: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! We lack nothing in His presence.”
“Wholly Yours” was written with 2 Timothy 2:21 in mind: “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
I wanted to write a song on the beauty of God’s transforming work in the life of a believer and what it means to be set apart for God’s purpose. Many, many times I am overwhelmed by the reality that God’s forgiveness cleanses us from all our sins. Our battle against the flesh and the evil one start with our hearts in order to cleanse ourselves and rely upon the power of Christ within us to change us by God’s grace, as we continue to “put to death” (Col. 3:16) our sin. As this battle continues daily, we are to be holy because He is holy and to live our lives devoted to heart growth. God changes us from the inside out!
RS: Will you be using these songs in corporate worship at Ebenezer BFC?
Jeremy Harkins: Eventually we would like to use “Be Lifted High” as a corporate worship song. “Wholly Yours” has been used as an offertory song and “Such a Mystery” and “Wholly Yours” were performed at our Coffeehouse Saturday evening event this past September and under our tent for Community Weekend.
RS: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Jeremy Harkins and Josh Von Holt: Our church is in the process of finding a new senior pastor and God is refining the remaining three of us pastors through the challenges we face in the waiting and growing process. Writing has been an outlet of healing and expression for both of us. Writing music has the power to revive our souls and remind us of the truths and promises of God’s living word.