It's obvious after only a few minutes with Newsboys frontman and songwriter
Peter Furler that the man is defined by his relationships and a profound
commitment to those relationships that include his band mates, longtime
associates, brothers and mentors in Christ, his wife and God. A significant
theme in this core of associations has been Peter's recommitment and
ardent loyalty to the latter two, prompting a restored spirit evident
in the band's newest record, Devotion.
Peter describes the aptly titled, 13th national release Devotion
as a natural step or progression from Newsboys previous blockbuster
Adoration: The Worship Album-which was a phenomenal success reaching
certified Gold status (the band's fifth) and culminating in a spring
tour that sold out 29 of 34 markets in early 2004.
"It's the next step, isn't it? You adore
something, and then the next step is that you can become devoted to
isn't quite enough, and I think devotion is moving
one step further. It's a process."
In the calculated industry of record making and producing, a machine
where consistency is nurtured, and risk is discouraged-one can draw
the simple comparison that the very reason for the band's world-renowned
success has been Peter's ability to exact change. He produced Newsboys'
newest release, Devotion, an album that exemplifies the band's
renewed spiritual dedication. This commitment has helped forge a stronger
ministry for its audience, including a Bible literacy program and an
intense concentration now on the anointing of the fan base during a
concert. Less flash, more content.
Devotion is a thought provoking combination of new worship songs
that transport the listener into a stirring spiritual experience indicative
of the profundity of God's love. Songs like the hit single, "presence,"
as well as "devotion," "strong tower," "I love
Your ways" and the rest combined reveal a more vulnerable Newsboys
focused on having its listeners encounter new joy, losing themselves
in Christ and experiencing a renewed faith.
To complete the parcel, Peter enlisted the songwriting talents of industry
legend Steve Taylor and acclaimed newcomer Tim Hughes, in addition to
vocals from Rebecca St. James and guitars from Delirious?' Stu G.
"There has been an explosion of creativity
in worship music and this was demonstrated in my experience with Peter
on Devotion," says Tim Hughes who co-wrote the lead
single, "presence," with Peter. "Worship
is our highest calling and songs that paint a big picture of who God
is, songs that tell of the wonders of God, can only come out of a life
of devotion. I've always enjoyed Newsboys' sound and it was exciting
to explore the new songs and offer some ideas. Devotion captures
a sense of authentic worship with great songs that reveal something
fresh on the character of God."
Peter is both self-effacing and pensive when asked about the changes
in his personal life over the last couple of years that served as an
impetus for Devotion. Newsboys has collectively experienced a
gradual success that has resulted in classic 'rock-star' recognition
and fervor. And though success thrived, other challenges seemed to flourish.
"I do believe that there is a sanctification
process that we go through in life," explains Peter. "We
work out our salvation with fear and trembling, it's ours, it's a gift
given to us, and then one day we'll be glorified
and so there's
no condemnation for those who are in Christ, but there are consequences
sometimes for our actions."
The "process" for Peter became one of realization and honesty.
Within that context, he sought direction for a deeper understanding
of the relationships he held most sacred, but were in a state of flux-particularly
with his Savior and wife. Simply put his marriage was showing signs
"We have no authority to be on stage if
our family life is in a mess. We won't really have anything to say.
I mean, I've never met anyone that was glad their marriage didn't work
out. It's just not the plan that God has. I figured out the right reason
to love one another is out of respect and reverence for Christ and what
He has done, and you do these things as unto the Lord, for Him. You
separate yourself in a Holy way. So I had to find that, and until that
time, it became a bit of a mess."
Always introspective, Peter realized the need for things to change-and
set about to make those changes by drawing closer to the Lord in his
daily life through becoming involved in his local church and a bible
study, which proved to be a God-send. The edification became an illuminating
period that lead to a greater sense of purpose and maturation within
his marriage, and ultimately his faith.
"It's not something you learn at 35 years
old, or you learn it age 60; it's a spiritual principle. It depends
on your spiritual maturity. I know 60-year old men that have not found
this principle yet
it's got nothing to do with time. If it were
a matter of just time then marriages wouldn't fall apart after 30 years.
It's something that until you have it in your life, your marriage is
at risk. And so realizing that, we've actually cut back a lot of the
shows so we're not usually away from home more than four or five days
now. So it's a big change."
Peter is typically seen around town with one of his closest friends
and his pastor, Rice Broocks, cruising the local Sonic's in the preacher's
car. The two men share a bond much like that of old school buddies,
not minister and disciple.
"Peter is the kind of guy that is so sincere.
He's just not making music and living another life. Out of that deep
sincerity the enemy can use a lot of subtlety to say, 'Well, you missed
it there and there, and your attitude was wrong', when none of us are
obviously perfect or in a place of sanctification where we don't need
In describing the rare opportunity he's had to get to know Peter on
a personal level, far from the celebrity light, Rice adds, "I'll
Proverbs says a word goes into a wise person
so easily, but the fool you have to hit a hundred times in the head,
and I think that people like Peter are people of wisdom. You can say
something that's fairly subtle
and he gets it.
He is someone who really wants to follow God more faithfully, and in
his desperate desire to be faithful to God, to be what he sings about
and to be what his fans believe him to be-that is his pursuit. He's
pedaling as fast as he can."
» Read more: Q&A
with Peter Furler on the topic of devotion...