Seth Condrey: Keeps on Changing
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North Point worship leader Seth Condrey grew up in a church-going family. Problem was many of the churches they attended were legalistic, places where, Seth says, “fear and guilt were motivators”. So like many college freshman, Seth pushed away from the Church and God.
Recently, CBNmusic.com interviewed this up-and-coming worship artist about his return to Christ and his new solo album, Keeps on Changing. Here are excerpts from the interview:
You"re the son of a preacher man. What happened?
Seth Condrey: In college, I ran into a situation where I was head to head with legalism without a deep understanding and relationship with Christ. This one particular situation pushed me over the edge. I had only viewed God through the lens of the churches I grew up in; and that lens had gotten so blurry I wasn't sure if God even existed.
How bad did life get?
Condrey: Anytime someone chooses to walk away from the goodness of God and even the fact that He exists in our lives, whether the external circumstances are bad, the heart is jeopardized greatly. I fell into some pretty heavy addiction. But worst of all, my heart became hardened and cold toward people, especially Christian people. I am naturally a people person, and I found myself constantly defensive and angry at the people that loved me most and should've been closest to. Looking back, it was definitely hell on earth. Isolation and separation, the opposite of what God does in and through our lives when we surrender to Him.
What led you back to God?
Condrey: God definitely used the opportunity to lead worship to lead me back to himself. There was a guy named Neil Perry who had known me since I was a kid. He called simply to invite me to be a part of the camp and probably wasn't expecting a pretty harsh "no" and confession for the reasons why. Surprisingly he was persistent, and in the middle of our conversation he paused and said, "Seth, you are a worship leader." At the time, it just made me uncomfortable. But now I realize God was using Neil to show me one of the reasons I was born. It was a reluctant 'yes,' and I was determined NOT to have an emotional camp experience. But, I encountered the love of Jesus in a real way that drastically changed my life.
Did you audibly hear God"s voice?
Condrey: It was just me and the ocean and the stars. And I guess you could say I was trying to pray again. It was the first time in a while that I had shouted anything into the sky, but I was frustrated and realized that the life that I had been living was anything but good. Guilt and fear had held me at a distance, but in the middle of my 'ranting' I heard God's voice louder than any other voice in the universe at the moment say to me, "You're my child, and I love you." Some of the most powerful words that my heart had ever received. This seems to be the message of the Gospel that continues to be heard in the heart of everyone who receives it. Just as I feel toward my children now, I realize that there's nothing that we've done, or can do, to make our Heavenly Father stop loving us.
How has your faith become "ever-changing", in a good way?
Condrey: The other night I was washing the dishes and started to think about things that were causing me to doubt, even feeling fear about the future of my kids, or whether so and so is mad at me. In the middle of that, I began to remember and almost hear God's voice again just telling me "Hey, I'm with you...just seek me first and seek my kingdom first." I feel like God is growing my faith by reminding me that all we do for His kingdom, whether at home or work, is not in vain. Although I have a long way to go, I really feel that as I focus more on what Jesus has promised and trust Him completely, my faith increases.
What inspired the album"s first single, “Speechless”?
Condrey: This is a song that says so much with so few words. The song was really inspired by a desire to gather people around an amazing Creator and Savior. With this song, I wanted people to remember, not just the lyrics and melody, but the amazing things God has done and be able to respond together in one voice. I was glad that we were able to accomplish that and felt like it was a great first song for people to hear and worship to.
“You Love My Soul” seems like it may have come during your rededication to faith. What"s the story behind that one?
Condrey: The chorus of this song was written a while before the rest of it. It definitely did reflect the message of God's love and the reality of it in my life since I dedicated my life to Him. The rest of the song developed after my mother-in-law passed away. Through grieving her death, I really pondered a lot concerning our souls and bodies and salvation. Also during this time, I read a C.S. Lewis quote that said we're not bodies that have a soul, but rather souls that have a body. I learned a lot as I wrote this song about the depths of God's love for us.
“Love Like Fire” features a voice many Christian music fans will recognize. How was Tenth Avenue North"s Mike Donehey the right fit to add to your album?
Condrey: Mike and I have been friends since I was in high school. He's been a great friend ever since and a huge influence on me. When we started writing for this record, Mike's name was at the top of the list of people I wanted to connect with. "Love Like Fire" was the song that came out of one of our writing sessions. Mike is the real deal. He's a man that truly desires to life out the Gospel and let Jesus shine in his life. For both of us, "Love Like Fire", was an anthem we wanted to sing. Both of our hearts were connected as we were writing and recording it. It was a meaningful experience. Hanging with Mike is always a blast!
“Help Me” speaks to how we are hopeless without God. How in tune are these lyrics with what you have personally felt and experienced?
Condrey: This song actually started as a prayer. It was one of those mornings when the kids were going crazy, my wife was sick, and Murphy's Law had completely taken over. I felt like the storms were rolling in strong, and my heart was just crushed by all the stresses and pressures of life. So literally I just started singing this chorus out while I was taking care of the kids. As I was singing it, my heart was finding relief. I knew God was answering this prayer. I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to write a song that I would need to sing every day. It's still true.
Do you have another favorite song on Keeps on Changing that speaks to you?
Condrey: Right now, I've been really leaning into the song "God of the Impossible." When we started writing this song, I had recently heard a message on the church and the way that God has been faithful to the church. When I say church, I mean His people - the gathering of believers, not just the institutions or the buildings. Sometimes it seems like entire cultures are abandoning God and what He has placed in our hearts. We can get lost in the despair and even discouraged and forget what God is doing. This song is a reminder of just that. His church will prevail! His spirit is alive and well and He has and will continue to do what seem to be impossible things, in and through His church.
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