Free Man's Song | Stephen Gates

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Our Take

We believe that this CD is exemplary of the kind of music we would like to see promoted in every generation of Christians: truth-shaped lyrics, biblical themes, Christ-centered devotion, experiential honesty, and singable tunes. This album by Stephen is very refreshing and original. We trust you will enjoy some of the new spin put on older songs.


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  1. Not Myself
  2. Take Me
  3. He Brought Me Out
  4. Bring Life
  5. Words of Life
  6. Count it Loss
  7. Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord
  8. Turn
  9. Give Thanks (unavailable for digital download due to license restrictions)
  10. Saviour

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Song Stories

1) Not Myself - I don't remember exactly what inspired this song. I was new in the Lord, and I guess I was just expressing some of the random new joys of being in a right relationship with God :) 
2) Take Me - This was the second song that I wrote sometime during, or soon after, my conversion. It is a very simple song that came from the desperate sense of need I was feeling for God. It's a song about coming to the end of myself and turning to God. I was looking to Him to be gracious to me. This was a very difficult time of heartbreak . Verses like the following were very special to me at the time: "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
3) He Brought Me Out - We sang this song, written by Henry Zelley and Henry Gilmour, a lot in my church growing up. After coming to the Lord I enjoyed singing this song, so I decided to work out a little jazzier arrangement and record it.
4) Bring Life - I remember clearly that, soon before writing this song, I had been to a prayer meeting. While at the prayer meeting, I was very annoyed at some of the prayers being prayed and felt very disconnected from the friends I was praying with. I don't even know if there was anything specific that bothered me, but I felt uncomfortable throughout the whole time. I don't know what caused this and I have experienced things like this on multiple occasions since then. All I knew at the time was that my attitudes were not God-honoring, and I needed the Lord to revive me with spiritual life and the joy of my salvation and the fellowship of the saints (even those who got on my nerves). I wrote this song as a prayer to the Lord: “Bring life back to me.”
5) Words of Life - In John 6, after Jesus says some difficult things, many of His followers decide they don't want to follow anymore and leave Him. At this point, Jesus turns to His chosen twelve disciples and asks if they want to leave too. In verse 68, Peter replies with, "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." This statement has encouraged me and many others. Sometimes what God says or calls us to do is hard and unpleasant and seems undesirable. Sometimes the world starts looking good again. Sometimes we are tempted to give up. Remember this verse when the lies start to cloud your mind. Who has the words of eternal life? Who has the keys to ultimate blessedness, love, joy, LIFE? Only Jesus. These thoughts inspired "Words of Life."
6) Count it Loss - One time I was just toying around on my guitar, and the main riff for this song came to me. As I began to play with it, the first verse started to come, "Fame and fortune...I count it loss." I had begun to see that all these glittering objects of the world were nothing compared to knowing God and having Christ as my Saviour. I wasn't really trying to write this song; it just kind of came out. As you look for motivation to follow the Lord at any cost, always think of what He's done for you. "What better argument, than pleading what was spent on your behalf and mine? At such a cost, all else I'll count as loss." John says, "We love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
7) Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord - My friend and fellow musician Melissa Yakes and I were asked to sing this hymn (written by Horatius Bonar) at a couple dear friends' wedding. I had never heard this song, but that was good because the couple didn't like the old tune anyway and wanted us to write a new tune. So Melissa and I set out to put this wonderful hymn to our own tune. This song is a beautiful expression of dependence on and surrender to the Lord and His path for us.
8) Turn - This song was inspired by some of the reasonings of the Lord with His people found in scripture. Ezekiel has several passages where the Lord pleads and reasons with the people to turn from their wicked ways back to Himself that He might be gracious to them. What a thing to consider. The reasons why all people everywhere should repent from the evil that will destroy them and their souls for eternity, that they might receive of the abundance of the grace of God for eternity, seem so obvious when reading scriptures like these. "Why will you die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 18:31). Why not take of the free gift of eternal life and salvation found in Christ?     
9) Give Thanks – This is another song we sang often at my church growing up. We cannot give thanks enough. I added some extra tidbits at the end, mostly taken from Psalm 107.
10) Saviour - One day I heard from a friend about another friend, whom I had once known very well, who was despairing of life and felt no reason to live. The individual had turned to drugs, alcohol, relationships, and other things to find some relief from the emptiness but had found none. My heart ached when I heard these things. I wrote this song as a plea to people like this person, who are beginning to see through the passing pleasures of sin to discover the emptiness and lifelessness these pleasures leave in their victims. "So you say, everything has let you down, there's no where left for you to turn, all is lost that's of this earth. Well it's true. But have you been to my Saviour?!" Jesus said, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28.