Ivan Parker, Music and Lyrics From, "That Was Then, This Is Now"



The first time that I listened to Ivan Parker's latest Southern Gospel music release,"That Was Then...This Is Now", I immediately had to listen to it again, and then again and again. It is that good. Ivan Parker does not disappoint on this project. From the first single, "Hit The Ground Running" to the classic hymn, "It Is Well" to a live recording of "Midnight Cry" recorded live at at the NQC, there is something for everyone on this project.

A Conversation With Ivan

It's always a pleasure to talk with Ivan Parker. He has a certain sense of peace about him and is always willing to share what God Southern Gospel Music's favorite male soloist, Ivan Parker. His latest album That Was Then This Is Now is receiving critical acclaim. is doing in his life. Add to this his sense of humor and it makes for a fun time. I caught up with Ivan shortly after the release of "That Was Then, This Is Now" for an interview which I aired on The Morning Show With Tim on the He's Alive Radio Network. You can tune in online at http://www.hesalive.net

That Was Then, This Is Now

“I am so excited about this new CD, ‘That Was Then..This Is Now’”, Ivan Parker smiles. “It has been a blessing from the very beginning”. When asked how the title came about Ivan states,

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“What I had this brainstorm of doing was – for years I have been getting a lot of requests for songs I don’t sing. So I thought that that would be kind of neat to go in and record half the album with brand new songs that have never been recorded before and then go back in time a little for the other half of the CD and do things like “It Is Well With My Soul”.

“We went back and did the Ray Boltz song, ‘Thank You’. I remember last year Bill Gaither called me up and said, ‘Ivan I know your heart. I know why you do what you do. I know that you’ve heard that song a thousand times. I think that you need to record ‘Thank You’ – it’s time to do that.’”

Ivan Parker continued discussing the older songs on his latest CD “That Was Then This Is Now”. “I just think that there are just these type songs that a lot of people know. They love to hear things that they are familiar. This song – Thank You – was just such a big song in its day. People would come up and ask me if I could sing Thank You and I never could because I didn’t have the track for it, I had never recorded it. Now I can.”

Hit The Ground Running

Ivan Parker went on to talk about the first single form “That Was Then, This Is Now”. “I needed a song that – I guess you could say – told it like it was in two verses and a chorus, an up tempo song. I thought who can I get to write me a song that would just really fit that category? Sandy Knight who wrote a lot of hit songs for Gold City – when I was with Gold City – songs like “I Think I’ll Read It Again”, “John Saw”, and “Shoutin Ground” and songs like this. So I called her and she said I have a song I think that you should hear. So she sent the song “Hit The Ground Running” and it was… I couldn’t wait to get into the studio and record this song.”

Something New

One thing that I notice about Ivan Parker’s brand of Southern Gospel music is that it is continually changing. Each album has a different sound and feel to it. Indeed from song to song within the album there is always a variety of music. “I know it’s Site Build It!probably a difference of opinion to some critics out there”, Ivan explains, “but if I’m going to do ten songs on a CD I don’t want and two songs to sound the same. I want them to not only have a different message I want them to have a different approach. I want them to have a different sound.

“I never want them get into a stereotyped situation where every time you hear an Ivan Parker song you say ‘oh yeah, that sounds like the one I just heard’. I never want it to be that way and so with that in mind it just progresses. With every CD, I don’t know it seems like God continues to bless it.”

A Southern Gospel Music First

The news came earlier this year that Ivan Parker was going to make Southern Gospel history this September when he takes to the main stage at the National Quartet Convention. Ivan Parker will be the first soloist to perform on the main stage in the history of the convention.

How does a soloist get invited to the exclusive National Quartet Convention? “It’s not easy!” Ivan chuckles “It’s a miracle! I understand that it’s a quartet convention and that means trios, quartets, and family groups, that type of thing. Most of my friends through the years are in Southern Gospel music and I know most everybody there so I’ve always been faithful to try to go to convention at least one or two nights a week just to more or less say ‘Hi’. Of course that is where a lot of Southern Gospel fans congregate each September, that’s the gathering place, and I like to be a part of it.

“They called this year and said that they wanted to change up and do a few things differently. So actually this convention – this coming September – for the first time in 50 years of the National Quartet Convention, they’ve invited a soloist to be part of the program. So I’ll be there on the Friday night program.”

Ivanizing

One thing that Ivan Parker does, perhaps better than anyone, is to take a popular song from another genre of music and make it his own, a process that I call “Ivanizing”. A good example of Ivanizing was when Ivan took the MercyMe classic, “I Can Only Imagine” and rerecorded it Ivan Parker style.

“There are a lot of great songs throughout the entire Gospel music industry”, Ivan explains, “and there are a lot of these Gospel songs like “My Redeemer Lives” for example or “Thank You” that the Southern Gospel People have not been exposed to yet they are incredible songs.

“I think to a degree that recording these songs – it kind of bridges the gap just a little and allows everyone to see that Gospel music is just this great big family and we’re singing about the same Jesus.

I commented that when I read the list of song titles on the back of “That Was Then This Is Now” the song “Higher Ground” made me laugh. I thought “Oh my! Ivan’s recorded the Stevie Wonder classic!” Ivan just laughed. “I don’t want to take it out there to far where its something where our folks in Southern Gospel they don’t enjoy or appreciate. I want to keep it within a certain realm. I don’t want to take it out to far but yet there are these songs that need to be sang.”



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Higher Ground – Ivanized

The version of “Higher Ground” that is included at one of the twelve songs on “That Was Then, This Is Now” is not a remake of the Stevie Wonder song, although I think Ivan could pull that off if he wanted to. No, it is a modern version of the classic hymn. It is a “That Was Then Song”. “This is really a song that everyone and their brother has sung in church.” Ivan explains. “Pull out the red book and there it is. So I thought with a little bit of an up tempo touch, it being an old song, let’s put a little something different with it and see what happens. It turned out to be a most enjoyable song to perform as well as to have on a CD.”

Boundaries

Looking at the back cover of Ivan Parker’s “That Was Then This Is Now” album there is a picture of Ivan standing by a microphone. If you were to put a black mask on him he would look like Antonio Banderas as Zorro. I told Ivan this and we both laughed. “yeah, I can see it”, he chuckled. “Perhaps I should start signing everything with an ‘I P’.”

Then I asked Ivan a question that caused him to stop and reflect. It was a question that he said no one has ever asked him before. Ivan, not unlike myself, is a handsome man. He is on the road hundreds of days a year performing before adoring fans throughout the country. I asked Ivan how he honors his marriage, how he resists temptation on the road.

“I’ve never actually been asked that question but I will comment by saying this. First, I’m very much in love with my wife and we have a great marriage. The other side of the coin is me being out here is not about me. It’s honestly about God. It’s a ministry and it is my daily prayer that this ministry is effective and that it changes lives. That is the most important thing in my life. The other part of that is that I never put myself in compromising positions”.

I Choose

One of my favorite songs on Ivan Parker’s album “That Was Then, This Is Now” almost didn’t get recorded. It is entitled, “I Choose” and was written by acclaimed Southern Gospel songwriter Rodney Griffin. Ivan explained, “Rodney called me, it was actually the week I was going into the studio to start recording the new album. He said, ‘Ivan do you have time for one more song?’ and I said actually I don’t but go ahead and send it to me I want to hear it – Rodney is just such an incredible writer.

“So when Rodney sent me the song, he actually over nighted it, I listened to it and I just sat thee and I cried because the message in the song is something that we all identify with. Everyday that we wake up choose that day if we are going to trust God. Through the trials, through the living in the fast lane like a lot of us do, we have to really trust God. This song just really ministered to me.

“So I actually scratched a song just to be able to put this on because I just felt in my heart that there are some people out there that needed to hear this message.” Ivan went on to say that this song is very powerful when he sings it live. It is a great ministering song and lives are being touched.

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Lyrics to Ivan Parker's "That Was Then, This Is Now" Album


That Was Then, This Is Now

Written by Jimmy Dooley/ Copyright Ashville Music Pub/Chris White Music/Centergy Music (BMI)
Performed by Ivan Parker on That Was Then, This Is Now

I was hopeless, rejected
Imprisoned by my sin
“Good for Nothing’ was the title
It seemed I wore back then
Shackled by a burden
Condemned by my past
My soul was headed straight for hell
And it was headed fast
Old Satan thought he had me defeated
To this world it looked like I was down
But that was then, this is now

Chorus 1
That was then and this is now
God’s mighty hand has a way
Of turning things around
Defeat turned into victory
My blinded eyes were made to see
Sin no longer has a hold on me
It looked like it was over
Chains of darkness had me down
But that was then and this is now

They took Jesus from the cross
And laid him in the grave
The devil was rejoicing
‘Cause He’d been there three days
But on resurrection morning
Jesus rose again
He looked the devil in the eye
And said these words to him
“I bet you thought you had me defeated
To this world it looked like I was down
But that was then and this is now”

Chorus 2
Yeah, that was then and this is now
God’s mighty hand has a way
Of turning things around
The grave has lost it’s victory
I’ve conquered hell and took the keys
Death no longer has a hold on me
Well it looked like it was over
Chains of darkness had me bound
But that was then and this is now

Chorus 3
That was then and this is now
God’s mighty hand has a way
Of turning things around
Death turned into victory
My blinded eyes were made to see
Sin no longer has a hold on me
It looked like it was over
Chains of darkness has me bound

It looked like it was over
But Satan couldn’t keep me down
Oh, but that was then and this is now

I CHOOSE

Written by Rodney Griffin/ Copyright Songs of Greater Vision (BMI)
Performed by Ivan Parker on "That Was Then...This Is Now"

Master, may I be so honest
Could I admit the way I feel?
I’m hurting, it seems that you’ve forsaken
I wonder, is Your love for me still real?
Though my friends think that I am happy
Unaffected by this trail
They can’t see the pain I’m hiding
Just under my smile
Master, I can’t live this way anymore
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So today I make my choice

Chorus
I choose to believe that You are faithful
And my heart is in Your hands
And this mystery that I face today
Is part of a greater plan
I choose not to be discouraged
When the sun will not break through
I have the choice of trusting you
So Lord this is what I choose

I know this road will not be easy
I know I’ll have my weaker days
And Satan will tell me I don’t mean it
When I say, “I’ll trust God all the way”
But that doesn’t really matter
I refuse to hear him out
With my faith I’ll find the power
That will overcome all doubt
Lord, I’ve never felt so strong
As when I’m resting in your arms

Chorus
I choose to believe
That this mystery that I face today
Is part of a greater plan
I choose not to be discouraged
When the sun will not break through
I have the choice of trusting you
So, Lord this is what I choose

This is what I choose
Gonna trust you, Lord
I choose

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OH I WANT TO SEE HIM

Written by R. H. Cornelius/ Public Domain Performed by Ivan Parker on "That Was Then, This Is Now"

As I journey thru’ this land
Singing as I go
Pointing to souls Calvary
To the crimson flow

Many arrows pierce my soul
From without within
But my Lord leads me on
Thro’ Him I must win

Chorus
Oh, I want to see Him
Look upn His face
There to sing forever
Of His saving grace
On the streets of glory
Let me lift my voise
Cares all past
Home at last
Ever to rejoice

When in service for my Lord
Dark may be the light
But I’ll cling more close to Him
He will give me light
Satan’s snares may vex my soul
Turn my tho’ts aside
But my Lord goes ahead
Leads whate’er betide

Chorus
When before me billows rise
From the mighty deep
When the Lord directs my bark
He doth safely keep
And He leads me gently on
Thro’ this world below
He’s a real riend to me
Oh’ I love Him so

Cares all past
We’re gonna be home at last
Ever to rejoice
Chorus
Tag

THANK YOU

Written by Ray Boltz/ Copyright Gaither Music (BMI) Performed by Ivan parker, From "That Was Then, This Is Now"

I dreamed I went to heaven
You were there with me
We walked upon the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea
We heard the angels singing
Then someone called your name
You turned and saw this young man
He was smiling as he came

And he said, “Friend you may not know me now”
Then he said, “But wait
You used to teach my Sunday school
When I was only eight
And every week you would say a prayer
Before the class would start
And one day when you said that prayer
I asked Jesus into my heart”

Chorus
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave

Then another man stood before you
He said, “Remember the time
A missionary came to your church
His pictures made you cry
You didn’t have much money
But you gave it anyway
Jesus took the gift you gave
That’s why I’m here today

Chorus

One by one they came
Far as the eye could see
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity
Little things that you had done
Sacrifices made
Unnoticed on the earth
In Heaven now proclaimed

I know up in Heaven
You’re nor supposed to cry
But I’m not sure
There were tears in your eyes
As Jesus took your hand
You stood before the Lord
He said, “My child look around you
For great is your reward

Chorus Twice

I’m so glad you gave


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HIT THE GROUND RUNNING

Written by Sandy Knight/
Copyright Ashville Music Pub. (BMI)
Performed by Ivan parker on "That Was Then, This Is Now"

It’s not like me to drag my feet
I’m gonna step high to the other side
When I enter that city, oh my, what a heavenly sight
Gonna lift my hands in the promised land
Jump for joy when I see the Lord
You’re gonna hear a great shout
When I hit the ground
On the other side

Chorus
I’m gonna hit the ground running
Gonna sweep through the gate
Gonna make it in a hurry
I don’t wanna be late
I’ve got a lot of livin’ to do when I go through
Gotta make it without delay
Gonna hit the ground running
Racin’ through the pearly gates

Gonna take a walk, gonna have a talk
Gonna wear a smile, gonna laugh for a while
Gonna be happy forever my Lord and I
I know its gonna be just an everyday thing
Gathering around God’s throne to sing
Lord, I’m in a rush, Lord, I wanna touch
Those golden streets

Chorus Twice

Got a lot of livin’ to do when I go through
Gotta make it without delay
Gonna hit the ground runnin’
Racin through the pearly gates

RISE AND BE HEALED

Written by Milton Bourgeois/
Copyright New Spring Pub (ASACAP)
Performed by Ivan Parker on "That Was Then, This is Now"

Has fear and doubt come against your mind?
Has your faith been sorely tried?
Lift up your eyes, here cometh your help
It is Jesus and for you He has died

Chorus
Rise and be healed
In the name of the Lord
Let faith arise in your soul
Rise and be healed
In the name of Jesus
He will cleanse and make you whole

If by faith you reach out to Him
He will meet your ev’ry need
Oh, He will respond to the cry of your heart
He will touch you and set you free

Chorus Twice

He will cleanse and make you whole
Rise and be healed

Retire To Something

IN THE MIDDLE OF MY EVERYDAY LIFE

Written by Sandy Knight/
Copyright Ashville Music Pub. (BMI)
Performed by Ivan Parker on "That Was Then, This Is Now"

It might be a mundane Monday
When the Father says to His Son
It’s time to take the journey
Work on earth is done
It may be on a wearisome Wednesday
Or a Friday workweek’s end
Or it might just be this moment
When the Lord shall come again

Chorus
One day in the middle of my everyday life
The Lord is gonna part the starry sky
With a sound so loud the dead will shout
In the middle of my everyday life
Well then saints left living will join that number
Lord hasten the day
When you call an end to war and strife
In the middle of my everyday life

Maybe on a Tuesday morning
Or late one Saturday night
We’ll trade our cross for treasures
In a heavenly paradise
Maybe from a Sunday shoutin’ good time
The saints will take their flight
That leads from here to glory
From the middle of my everyday life

Chorus
Don’t be surprised when Christ arrives
In the middle of your everyday life

IT IS WELL

Written by Horatio G. Spafford & Phillip P Bliss/
Public Domain
Performed by Ivan Parker on "That Was Then, This Is Now"

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrow like sea billows roll
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It is well, it is well with my soul

Chorus
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious tho’t
My sin not in part but in whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul

And Lord hast the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend Even so it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

HIGHER GROUND

Written by C.H. Gabriel & Oatman Johnson Jr.
Public Domain
Performed by Ivan Parker on "That Was Then, This IS Now"

I’m pressing on the upward way
New heights I’m gaining everyday
Still praying as I’m onward bound
Lord plant my feet on higher ground

Chorus
Lord lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven’s tableland
A higher plain than I have found
Lord plant my feet on higher ground

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay
Though some may dwell where these abound
My prayer, my aim is higher ground

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright
But still I’ll pray ‘til heaven I’ve found
Lord lead me on to higher ground

Chorus Twice
Lord plant my feet on higher ground
Lord plant my feet on higher ground
Yeah, on higher ground




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