Perhaps it was a well-lit birthday cake that pushed Mark Harris, one-fourth of...
Perhaps it was a well-lit birthday cake that pushed Mark Harris, one-fourth of the bestselling, Dove Award-winning group 4Him, to consider that tiny speck-of-a-line. After all, anyone with decent vision over the age of 30 knows how fast the decades fly. So when you’re staring at that cake, your face all a-glow, it’s only logical to survey the part that has been ‘lived’ so far and think about the road ahead. Right?
Exactly. But for Mark—a happily married husband and father of two great kids who loves nothing so much as being at home—the release of his first solo album, The Line Between the Two, is more than an exercise in logic. After more than 15 years of music ministry, this project is one of the ways God has been daring him to re-think his life, his music and the purpose for both.
“About five years ago, I actually thought, ‘Gee it would be nice to do a solo project, but I dismissed the idea because in 4Him, we’re always touring,” Mark says. “But over time, God has been teaching me to define what is important in my life. The window of time to do things in life is so brief. You look at a tombstone and there are dates but the line between the two is the life lived. And that’s really the story. The story isn’t the beginning and end of your life but the story is what you did on that line, living in that line. I want to make my time count…. This was an opportunity, not to walk away from 4Him, but to do something new and fresh.”
Produced by Pete Kipley (MercyMe, Rebecca St. James) for INO Records, The Line Between the Two not only reveals Mark’s personal journey of self-discovery, but also invites complacent or hesitant Christians to chart a daring new course to a brave new world.
“I’m ready to live, ready to breathe, ready to take in everything
Ready to love, ready to shine, ready to live this life of mine
Ready to jump, ready to fly, for the first time”
From the title track to “Ordinary Life” to the driving pop rhythm of “For the First Time” the project echoes the necessity of breaking out of the daily routine, seeing life with new eyes and packing purpose into every moment. Progressive, yet worshipful ballads like “Until,” “Speak to Me” and “Find Myself in You” underscore what it means to trust and wait on God and to find Him faithful. And Mark’s impassioned tenor voice never had a more tailor-made setting. Other powerful songs like “Find Your Wings,” a ‘Daddy’ song Mark wrote for his children, and the heavenly-minded “Wish You Were Here” (by Kipley and Dan Muckala) round out a project that is as personal and transparent as it is artistically compelling.
Mark didn’t intend to write around a theme, but as often happens with songwriters, once he put his shovel in the ground, what came up was what came up. “There’s a lot about life here,” he says, “about walking away from things that don’t need to be a part of our lives and enjoying all that God has for us—the depth, the beauty…. There’s nothing wrong with the water we’ve been drinking, but it’s good every now and then to dig a new well and try a different kind of water. And for me, the music and lyrics started heading in that direction, probably because that was what the song in me was wanting to say.”
More than a year in the making, The Line Between the Two speaks volumes about Mark’s passions and priorities, stretching and challenging him in ways he hadn’t imagined. “It’s a different animal mostly because these songs are more personal, and it’s more work cutting all the vocals on your own, You would think by now I would have learned all I need to know, but the truth is I’ve learned to just be patient and trust God and not to give up until they’re everything they need to be.”
Ultimately, though, the songs speak even louder about the man behind the music. When asked what he learned about himself during the recording process, Mark didn’t even think twice: “That I love home,” he says. “I love my wife and my kids and I want to be home.”
“It’s clear,” he continues, “that in this process and in life, God is teaching me to be moldable,” Mark says. “Not to stay where I’m at when, professionally speaking, there’s so much more in store. It’s like God’s pushing me out of the boat into the water.” The boat may be more comfortable, he says, but the risk has its own rewards.
The first single is scheduled to splash in May of 2005, and it will undoubtedly surprise Christian music lovers who may not be aware of Mark Harris’ uniquely individual gifts. But he’s simply excited to share more of his heart, believing these songs will connect with listeners in a new way. And inspire them to rethink their own lives, to begin pursuing their God-given dreams.
Because, after all, that little line between the two is ultimately what you and God make it.