Song of the Week - From the Inside Out - Hillsong United

One of my favorite songs on the upcoming Gospel Light Worship album Prepare is Joel Houston's "From the Inside Out." I love listening to this song, I love playing this song; I even love singing it (as long as no one can hear me!)

To me, this song has always been about my own imperfections, and how God's grace covers them anyway. At the end of the day, all we really have to fall back on is God's everlasting love, His grace and mercy are all that will be left.

A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace.

When we strip away everything else - all the noise, the confusion of the world, our own shortcomings, fears and worries - when we get down to the heart of things, all that is really there consistantly is the light of God. I am reminded sometimes of C.S. Lewis' book The Magician's Nephew, when Aslan sings Narnia into existance, beginning with the light. Of course, I'm also reminded of Genesis 1 "And God said "Let there be light..."

My favorite part of the song is the pre-chorus, because it's done differently depending on where in the song it is:

In my heart and my soul, I give you control
Consume me from the inside out, Lord...
Let justice and praise, become my embrace
To love you from the inside out

The lyric that really resonates with me is in the second chorus:

...and the cry of my heart is to bring you praise
From the inside out, Lord, my soul cries out!

When I play this song as the only guitar player, I typically choose to play acoustic. We do the song in C, so I just strum the opening chords: F - C - G instead of playing the little apreggio at the beginning. On the record, I got to overdub electric over the acoustic, which was a lot of fun, because I could play the whole thing. Our arrangement is a little shorter than the Hillsong live version. The song first appeared on Hillsong United's 2006 live album United We Stand, but I prefer the version on The I Heart Revolution: With Hearts as One.

Next week, we will look at the final song off the record, a song which is kind of the lynchpin for the entire project. In the mean time, enjoy a little Hillsong goodness...


  1. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about Hillsongs music that's making me increasingly uncomfy. I don't know if it's partly the 'me' focus, partly issues with Brian Houston (need to follow that up) and the ethics of that organisation or it could even be the insipid arrangements so cleverly crafted yet with something missing. I know they've had huge commercial success, but I just don't feel happy about it - it's all too big, too showy, too clever.

    Hillsongs are a really big thing in our new church, and this is one of the songs we sing. Last night we had a bunch of me songs with a single song actually about God (even 'when the music fades' is about me more than God, really, even though God is the eventual target). For that one song it was like the Holy Spirit opened a tap and I was able to leap into the stream. Then it was back to milk from solid food.

    I'm really having to think and rethink my theology of worship. To try to understand what works, for who and for why and how we can equip people to be mature, able to worship in Spirit and in truth instead of continuously referencing the who world from their own viewpoint.

  2. Toni, I get you.

    I've been involved in a lot of discussion lately regarding this very topic - the "theology" of worship. I've come to a couple of personal conclusions. Firstly, I look less for "good" theology than I do for "not-bad" theology. I don't want something clearly contradictory to my faith, but I don't look to worship songs to teach theology as much as I want them to resonate with the heart. Many of Hillsong United's tunes may be milk and not meat - but the audience at a typical HU concert is ripe for that kind of feast.

    I also know that many "listeners" are not hearing a song the same way I do as a musician. And, to be honest, the simpler and more bare-bones (lyrically) the song is, the more I've found folks willing and able to release to a moment of worship.

    This album is about 1) songs that are popular with our congregation and 2) songs that are approachable for a non-churched listener. Could we do things that make you have to think more? Sure... but that's not what this project is about.

    Thanks for your read and your comments, Toni.

  3. ok. this may shock you....but i love this song! it is one of my faves. and although i agree with toni, in general, it is of my opinion (of course this is subjective) that "from the inside out" teeters between being a praise song as well as a "worship" song...meaning, i find myself in moments of this song just praising Him from a "look what You do, but dont have to do, for me" to a "wow - You are so beyond comprehension!".

    toni - i have the same issues as you do with milky songs. ive been writing about it all week at my place. so i get where youre coming from totally. i think it is vital, within a "worship set" to have complete God focused lyrics. and not the typical "ive heard it a million times before" lyrics...a NEW song.

    yah...mike, you know i could go on forever ;)

    btw - we're singing this song this weekend :)

  4. "i think it is vital, within a "worship set" to have complete God focused lyrics."

    what i meant, and probably should have been clearer on, was...that within the songs need to be one, two or more of these type of focus songs.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts