Over the last month I have been laboring though a biography on the great englishman, John Newton, by Jonathan Aitken. Newton, a renowned pastor, abolitionist, and hymn writer, made a lasting impact on the Christian faith. He is mostly known for being the writer of what could be the most recorded song in history, “Amazing Grace”. Prior to Newton receiving the gift of faith and dedicating his life to ministry, he was the captain of a slave-ship. His spiritual journey of God’s grace, granting forgiveness to a wretched sinner, echo’s in his hymns. Newton’s care for his local church in Olney and the development of “Amazing Grace” reminded me of another musician, Sho Baraka.
“One other personal dimension may have played its part in the composition of ‘Amazing Grace’. John Newton always wrote his hymns with the needs of his congregation in mind.” John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace (Jonathan Aitken)
Aitken proposes that John Newton’s love for his congregation informed his writing of this song. He carried the burdens of his church on himself. He always kept in mind the needs of individuals in his congregation as he prepared sermons or wrote songs. Here is where Sho Baraka comes in. Sho loves God’s church. Sho loves his church. As I spent about four months living with him and the rest of Reach Record’s artists on a tour bus this past year, I met a person who carried in him Blueprint Church. Not the idea or concept of Blueprint Church, but the individuals that make up this community of believers. His life impressed me greatly and over time, I gained a big brother. Sho is a character and it may take time to get used to his honesty and sarcasm (as it did for me), but his love for people and passion for God cause you to love his heart. He is constantly looking to be the voice of the unheard, remain connected to the drifters, spend time talking to the uncool, looks to invest in other’s lives and put them in positions to evolve and grow. All throughout his new album, “Lions and Liars”, you will hear this love for people that I speak about. You will come in contact with a plethora of individual stories, ranging from doubt in the midst of pain to extraordinary feats of faith. I am certain that as he wrote these songs, faces of people that surround him passed through his mind. I would encourage you to go out and get Sho’s new album “Lions and Liars” and come in contact to God’s amazing grace.
You can pre-order the album here: http://www.merchline.com/reach
or pick it up at your local Wal-Mart or iTunes on March 30th
Check out Music Video for his single “We Can Be More”