Christian Living


Christy Nockels

CBN.com - Christy Nockels has long had a huge appreciation for music and its role it plays in the kingdom of God. As a worship leader for many years, she has been an integral part of Passion Conferences from its inception in 1997. She's seen firsthand music sweep people into the presence of God in a powerful way. On her new sixstepsrecords release, Into the Glorious, Christy's prayer is to further explore biblical truths that elevate our worship and bind us in our hearts even closer to our creator.

"He really took me deeper during this writing and recording process, and I'm just so grateful how He does that," Christy says of God's faithfulness. "He doesn't leave us to our own devices. He loves us enough to take us deeper. I feel like that's what happened during this record and the end result is something more special to my heart than I can ever remember a record being to me."

That is saying a great deal considering the young vocalist's history in music. A pastor's kid, who was born in Fort Worth and raised near Lawton, Oklahoma, she grew up singing in church. She met her husband, Nathan, in 1993 at the Christian Artists Seminar in Estes Park, Co. They recorded an independent record with fellow worship leader Charlie Hall under the name Sons & Daughters that led to an invitation from Louie Giglio to participate in the first Passion conference in Austin.

Christy's voice gained a national platform when she and Nathan formed the duo Watermark, recording four acclaimed albums before that musical season ended, paving the way for Christy's solo career. In 2008, the couple moved to Atlanta to become part of Passion City Church where she serves on the worship team with sixstepsrecords label mates Chris Tomlin and Kristian Stanfill. The following year, Nockels released her acclaimed solo debut, Life Light Up and spent much of the next two years touring with Tomlin and Passion. The collection showcased Christy's warm, passionate voice and vulnerable, intuitive songwriting.

Those gifts continue to anchor Into the Glorious. Produced by husband, Nathan, the album's pristine, understated production places the focus on Christy's incredible voice at the focus. Well- respected in the industry as a "singer's singer," she has a gift for imbuing each lyric with an authenticity and emotional integrity that resonates with the listener. In fact, Nockels feels she's connected more profoundly to the songs on Into the Glorious.

As she wrote she bathed the songs in prayer, and found herself being touched in a unique way. "Hearing everything come to fruition it's been so powerful to me and I just keep praying," she says. "As soon as each song ends, I'd say, 'Jesus, please do this in people's hearts. Do this in people's lives. Continue to do that in my life.' These songs have continued to minister to my own life. It's truth that I want to keep believing myself. For artists, it's so easy for us to pray and sing it over other people, but I think it's huge when you stand on stage and you can say, 'I believe this for myself too.' That's really what happened for me and it's been really incredible. Not that I've not believed things that I've sung in the past, it's just that I'm all the more sensitive and that's all heightened in my heart, just believing it for myself, believing the truth for myself and then just believing that God is going to do these things in people's lives."
Into the Glorious includes such engaging anthems as "Ever Lifting," the album's lead single. "Nathan and I mostly wrote that one and then we took it to Chris Tomlin," she shares. "I wanted his input on it because he loves country music so much and we wanted it to have that kind of a feel. We brought in some incredible musicians from Nashville. It just came so natural for those guys the minute we started tracking and it turned into this special moment."

Another highlight on the record is Christy's cover of the Judd's classic "Love Can Build a Bridge," a suggestion from Tomlin. "One day I was at home and I got a phone call and it was Chris and his wife Lauren," Christy recalls. "They were taking a country drive and said, 'We're calling because we've been listening to the Judd's and we think you need to cut "Love Can Build A Bridge." I was like, 'Really???' Chris said, 'Definitely! If you don't, then I'm going to.'" The beautiful ballad about the power of love sounds vibrant and new when wrapped in Christy's capable vocal; then Nathan added a potent ensemble of background vocalists at the end and the soaring choir underscores the emotional punch in the lyric.

A few very special guests on "Sing Along" also join Christy. "Singing at the very end, are my two daughters and my three nieces," she says. "I thought it was especially appropriate for that song because the song is about wanting your children to be engaged with the challenges going on in the world and how we, as a family, can meet the needs of people."

Christy cites "For You Splendor" as the song on the record that's closest to her heart. "Those lyrics really capture so much of this writing process for me," says Christy. "I have always loved the analogy of the tree, and how it symbolizes our lives being rooted in who God is, but also the song touches on the pruning process. God really showed me some places in my life that I needed to surrender to him even deeper. One line says, 'Sometimes it's hard to grow when everybody is watching' and you're going through this pruning process. It's a very personal song for me."
"Wonderful" is a beautiful worship song that came to the busy mother of three one day while she was driving her mini-van. "There were chicken nuggets on the floor board and French fries smashed everywhere and kids were in the back arguing, but sometimes there can be a sanctuary where in the middle of the ordinary," she says with a gentle laugh. "I started humming the song 'Wonderful' and wrote that by myself, in my car."

Finding God in the midst of every moment in a central thread woven throughout Into the Glorious and best exemplified by the title track, which Christy penned with Nathan. "We were made for more than this world can offer us and our heart was made to hold mystery and our life to collide with majesty," she relates. "The second verse says, 'I was made for rest in a world that's striving.' A lot of this record represents working and living from that place of rest and not in a place of striving and I think that there's this calm that kind of sits over these songs mostly because of God bringing me into that place."

From her early days at the very first Passion conference to the most recent Passion event in January 2012, which drew 42,000 + people, Christy Nockels has used her gifts as a singer and songwriter to create music that connects believers with their loving Father. Whether she's opening on tour for Tomlin, leading worship at a women's conference, singing praises with her friends at Passion City Church or writing a new worship anthem in her mini-van with her children in the backseat, Christy serves God and leads people with a compelling voice and an open heart. As she dives Into the Glorious, she invites us along on the journey and we are richer for the experience.

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