A story of love, of life, of the loss of his homeland New Zealand and his friends in other far-flung countries.

A singer/songwriter who began life as the child of military parents and had lived in three countries by the age of nine has continued his international wandering as a singer and teacher on worship.

David Lyle Morris released this his 12th album in 2010. Morris called his latest album Lifestory, because the songs recorded on it chart the journey of his life over the last 22 years, “through grief and to a new birth”. Tracks on the album were recorded with different backing bands and in different countries, so a range of musical styles is heard on the album.

Life Story was produced with the help of Integrity Music in Singapore and, says the artist, “looks back at my life, ministry and my journey of discovery in music and worship”.

So what makes Morris tick? Well for one thing, he has a desire to see people have a more child-like faith. “In the West we can lose this; we have to worship with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. I plead with Western cultures, that people need a childlike abandonment, and a total trust of God as a loving father who doesn’t need to be continually questioned. Sometimes we over-analyse. ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so’ — if we really know this as adults, especially in Western culture, we would have a lot less stress and be a lot more liberated,” says Morris.

“I find music a great language for undoing people, giving sheer exuberance and the trust that you see in children. So I pray that God will keep me young in spirit. We need to allow God to soften hearts, to not be cynical. We need to be like the kids whom Jesus took onto his lap. God wants us to allow him to hold us and carry us”.

Being part of renowned UK contemporary Christian worship leader/composer Graham Kendrick’s band and ministry for 13 years has a lot to say about Morris’s love of touring and leading worship. “Kendrick taught us theology and music on the road. We went to Nigeria, Russia, France, Czech Republic and many other countries. The band had people of different nationalities.”

The artist recently returned from releasing his album at the most significant Lutheran Church in Finland’s capital of Helsinki, The White Cathedral. This month he spent a week checking out Willow Creek Church in the United States.

Morris frequently travels to Finland, Ireland and Fiji. “I have ministered several times in Singapore, Hong Kong and the US. Certain countries hold a special place in my heart as it is a thing God does. God put Finland on my heart. I first went there in 1993; something happened…I had a good connection with the main Church in Finland, the Lutheran Church.” Morris says he goes there to, “Encourage new life in the more traditional churches; it is good having tradition and the more modern going hand-in-hand. It is great using ancient tunes, but having new lyrics and a modernised tune”.

Some of his songs have even been translated into Finnish and French, and are in the process of being translated into Chinese languages.

Morris loves teaching others in seminars about worship. “Worship is such a key in God’s Kingdom. I teach about worship and the importance of having passion in worship. We need to release passion in our worship, especially in our Western culture. We can be so inhibited. We need to be open and open to surprises, and to expressing emotion in worship — including pain, grief, suffering as well as victory and praise. I write in this area. My album Trust, released in 2007, is built around the theme of suffering and finding rest in God in our trials and battles. It is okay to express our pain in worship. God will lift our heads so we find his joy”.

Morris has another concern. “I have a plea to the older generation: to pray for, support and mentor the younger generation. I am saying this over and over again. We mustn’t disconnect with young people because we can’t understand their language or things in their world. Increasingly people need fathering and mentoring, in an increasingly fractured society.”

This busy musician certainly has no plans to slow down and has already started work on his next album, to be called Devotion.

He also hopes to add new countries such as South Korea to his well-worn itinerary and will be visiting a few Korean churches around Auckland this year.


Challenge Weekly NZ

The people who walk in darkness


Written very much with Finland in mind. Co-writer Jussi is a Lutheran youth worker in the 15th year of ministry. The concept that Jesus light comes into the darkness of their environment as prophesied by Isaiah so long ago.

David Lyle Morris and Jussi Miettinen
© 2000 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN23 6NW, UK

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light
For those who live in the land of the shadow of deathThe light will shineYou will enlarge the nation and increase their joySo they delight in your presence, as they will rejoice
At harvest time

For to us a child is born
To us a Son is given
And the government will be upon his shoulders
Of His government and peace
There will always be increase
There is no end to His kingdom

He will be called Wonderful
Counsellor, Mighty God
Everlasting Father, Prince of peace
The Prince of peace

For to us a child is born
And the government will be upon your shoulders
Come to break our yoke of grief
The bar across our shoulders
Lord, smash the rod of our oppressor

You will be called Wonderful
Counsellor, Mighty God
Everlasting Father, Prince of peace
The Prince of peace

Jesus King of the Ages


Written for the Millenium where there was so much fear particularly in Finland of?nuclear?meltdown in Russia, sense of God being in control of time.

David Lyle Morris and Faith Forster
© 2000 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN23 6NW, UK

Jesus, King of the ages
Pleading our cause before
The throne of God
Jesus, the living Word of God
Our prophet, priest and King
Our prophet, priest and King

From the start, you were there Word of God
Ancient promises you came to fulfil
You came revealing the Father’s heart
His favour, his purpose, his will
Sharing His good news with the poor
Declaring God’s kingdom is here

At the cross, you poured out costly blood
Perfect sacrifice, atoning for sin
So we may enter the holy place
To meet you our faithful High Priest
As we come to the mercy seat
We find grace in our time of need

Jesus shall reign at the Father’s hand
Till all of his enemies cease
Hell and destruction, disease and death
Are under his glorious feet

We will reign with Christ
We will reign with Christ
We will reign with Christ

Hosanna, God’s children sing

Psalms 8:1-2 & 139:13-16

Written out of our love for kids, Africa and all indigenous worship expressions. The power of praise from young ones and the sense that the father is in control of our lives and destiny.

David Lyle Morris
© 1996 Tevita Music
PO Box 99655, Newmarket, Auckland, NZ 1149

Hosanna, God’s children sing
Lord Jesus, our friend and King
Hosanna, we love your name
Lord Jesus, save us we pray

O Lord our Lord how majestic
Is your name, in all the earth
From the lips of babes you have ordained praise
To silence the foe and avenger

You created my inmost being
Knit together in my mother’s womb
All my days were planned and written in your book
Before one of them came into being

Surely our God (Revealer of mysteries)

Daniel 2:21-22,47, Matthew 11:25 & Colossians 2:2-3

This is our theme song as a family. Liz and I wrote it at a time she was preaching on this message. The amazing name of God ‘revealer of mysteries’. The concept that we are humble as Christians and do not have all the answers to people’s searching, but we can point them towards Jesus who has all the answers to their longings. Written in Celtic style which is both our roots especially Liz being Scots.

David Lyle and Liz Morris
© 2000 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN23 6NW, UK

Surely our God is the God of gods,
And the Lord of kings
The Revealer of mysteries

He changes the times and the seasons
He gives rhythm to the tides
He knows what is hidden
In the darkest of places
Brings the shadows in to his light

I’ll praise you always my Father
You are Lord of heaven and earth
You hide your secrets
From the ‘wise’ and the learned
And reveal them to this your child

Thank you for sending your only Son
We may know the mystery of God
He opens the treasures
Of wisdom and knowledge
To the humble, not to the proud

Love, joy, peace (The fruit of the Spirit)

Galatians 5:22-23

A song to help us memorise the fruit of the Spirit, to balance the emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit in many churches, without the character to sustain it. I went for a Pacific island feel to bring out the joy!

David Lyle Morris
© 2000 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN23 6NW, UK

Love, joy, peace and patience
Kindness, goodness, faithfulness
Gentleness and self-control
This is the fruit of the Spirit
We want the fruit of the Spirit

Love, joy, peace and patience
Kindness, goodness, faithfulness
Gentleness and self-control
We will reap what we sow
We will reap what we sow

We want joy in the Spirit
We will rejoice in the Spirit of God
There is peace in the Spirit
We want to rest in the Spirit of God

We want life in the Spirit
We want to live by the Spirit of God
Keep in step with the Spirit
We will be lead by the Spirit of God

Walking with the Spirit of Jesus
Living by the Spirit of Jesus
Rejoicing in the Spirit of Jesus
Resting in the Spirit of Jesus

Guide me (hymn)

Psalm 8:1-2 & 139:13,16

I am Welsh on my Morris side, so the revival there and the music are in my blood. Loved the 4th verse we found for the hymn, that is not often used, talking about the promise of heaven. Recorded with the Celtic drone to freshen the usual hymn arrangement.

Words: W. Williams (1717-91)
Music: Cywm Rhondda | © J. Hughes (1873-1932)

Guide me O Thou great Jehovah
Pilgrim through this barren land
I am weak, but Thou art mighty
Hold me with Thy powerful hand
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me now and evermore

Open thou the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow
Let the fiery, cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer
Be Thou still my strength and shield

When I tread the verge of Jordan
Bid my anxious fears subside
Death of death, and hell’s destruction
Land me safe on Canaan’s side
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to Thee

Saviour come, we long to see Thee
Long to dwell with Thee above
And to know in full communion
All the sweetness of Thy love
Come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus
Take thy waiting people home

Let us run with perseverance

Hebrews 12:1-3, John 1:1-3 & Philippians 1:6

A rock hymn to encourage us to persist in our faith and witness. This song was picked up for a kids album in the UK and received a lot of use there and at Spring Harvest. A number of our songs were commissioned effectively by the given theme and scriptures of the Spring Harvest event year by year.

David Lyle Morris
© 2000 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN23 6NW, UK

Let us run with perseverance
The race set out before us
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus
The author and perfecter
Of our faith

In the beginning
The Word was with God
Through him all of us were made
He began a work in us
A good work to perfect
Until he returns again

Since we are surrounded
By heaven’s cheering crowd
Let us throw off every chain
For all that opposes us
Look to Jesus who endured
So we’ll not lose heart again

For the joy before him
He suffered the cross
He defeated death and shame
Now he reigns in glory
At the right hand of God
He is calling us by name

All the way my Savior leads me

This old hymn lyric from Fanny Crosby was set to a new tune by Rich Mullins. Steve Doherty A and R at Kingsway thought it would be perfect for me. Bill Hybels at Willow Creek has played our version of the hymn at his events, and many people have emailed saying they have used the song at funerals. The leading of God (especially for Fanny being blind!) is precious here, and the sense that we have an eternal destiny in Christ brings much comfort. Renewed hymns are a big part of what we use in our ministry. Keeping the sense of our inheritance in faith alongside the newness of what God is doing among us.

Words: Fanny Crosby, Public Domain
Music: Rich Mullins

All the way, my saviour leads me
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt his tender mercy
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort
Here by faith in him to dwell
For I know whate’er befall me
Jesus doeth all things well

All the way, my saviour leads me
Cheers each winding path I tread
Gives me grace for every trial
Feeds me with the Living Bread
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be
Gushing from a Rock before me
Lo! A spring of joy I see

All the way, my saviour leads me
Oh the fullness of his love
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above
When my spirit clothed immortal
Wings it’s flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way

His name, his name (Finlandia)

Isaiah 9

I realized when in Finland they are so moved by their very own Sibelius Finlandia tune. Found this simple lyric from Isaiah 9 which so wonderfully speaks into the need for fatherhood in a nation crippled by family break down, depression and alcohol etc. Again a great example of a simple and beautiful renewed hymn that works with all ages.

Words based on Isaiah 9:6-7
Music: Finlandia – Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

His name, His name
Shall be called Wonderful
His name, His name
Shall be called Counsellor

The Mighty God
The Everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace
Through all eternity

Jesus all for Jesus

By Robin Mark

Northern Ireland along with Finland has been a major mission focus for the last 15 years. This Robin Mark song has also become a theme song for us. The concept of the white flag surrender has special significance in a community where there has been so much violence in the name of religion.

Jennifer Atkinson and Robin Mark
© 1991 Word’s Spirit of Praise Music/Copycare
PO Box 77, Hailsham, BN27 3EF

Jesus, all for Jesus
All I am and have
And ever hope to be

All of my ambitions
hopes and plans
I surrender these
Into your hands

For it’s only in
Your will that I am free

Sing praises to our God

Psalms  47

A joyful biblical song to encourage conservative Christians that God has commanded us ‘clap your hands all you nations’! To get excited about God. We came up with a bright brass arrangement for the Irish live recording.

David Lyle Morris
© 2001 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN23 6NW, UK

Sing praises to our God
Sing praises
Sing praises to the King
Sing praises

For God is King of all the earth
Sing to Him a psalm of praise
God reigns over the nations
All our worship we will raise
He’s King of all the earth
Bring to Him a joyful song
He’s Lord of all creation
Seated on His Holy throne

Clap your hands all you nations
Shout to God with cries of joy
How awesome is the Lord most high
Clap your hands all creation
Cry to God who made us all
The great King over all the world

Blessed are the poor in spirit (The Beatitudes)

Matthew 5:3 – 12

Spring Harvest commissioned the song,  a hymn to help us remember the Beatitudes. The Celtic feel was appreciated particularly in Ireland where we recorded it on the live CD.

David Lyle Morris
© 2000 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN23 6NW, UK

Blessed are the poor in spirit
For theirs is the kingdom of heav’n
Blessed are the mourning hearts
Comfort to them will be giv’n
Blessed are the humble and meek
They will inherit the earth
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
For righteousness
For they will be filled

Rejoice and be glad
For great your reward in heaven

Blessed are the merciful
For mercy to them will be shown
Blessed are the pure in heart
For they will see their God
Blessed are the makers of peace
They will be called ‘child of God’
Blessed are those who suffer for Christ
And righteousness
theirs the kingdom of heav’n

Give glory to God
For He’s our reward in heaven

Alleluia, alleluia, Jesus is the Lord

John 14:6

This song from Emmaus out of Dublin has become a theme song for us where ever we travel. The simple truth of Jesus in a haunting Celtic melody speaks to every culture and generation. Emmaus ministered the song in the North of Ireland as Catholics and Protestants standing together in unity and God commanded a blessing!

Tony Ryce-Kelly & Ronan Johnston
© 1999 Emmausongs/Daybreak Music Ltd
P.O. Box 2848, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN20 7AP, UK

Alleluia, alleluia
Jesus is the Lord
He’s the Lord of all my heart

He’s the way, He’s the truth, and the life

Alleluia, alleluia
Jesus you’re the Lord
You’re the Lord of all my heart

You’re the way, you’re the truth, and the life

God is our Father (The kingdom of heaven our goal)

Matthew 6:25-34

Anglican vicar Nick heard the John Denver song ‘Earth is our mother’ and wanted to write a poem to contrast that ‘God is our father’ and that we can trust him to provide for all our needs. I set a Celtic tune to the poem and it was recorded with Stuart and Simon on our acoustic CD ‘When the music fades’. Again the content fitted a Spring Harvest theme that year.

David Lyle Morris
© 2001 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN23 6NW, UK

God is our Father in heaven above
And He cares for His children with infinite love
Our worries are needless, look up in the sky
Where carefree and singing the birds freely fly

The Creator who made them provides all their food
How much more is our Father concerned for our good

For our Father in heaven knows all of our needs
He will care for us always, we surrender our all
And make the kingdom of heaven our goal

Look at the lilies and see how they grow
They are clothed by God’s goodness in beautiful show
Our Father in heaven who cares for each flower
Provides for us always so great is His power

The kingdom of heaven and His righteousness
We will seek with a passion, so all may be blessed

Holy Spirit of God

I wanted a gentle prayer song to help us to open up to the Holy Spirit and to find the fruit and gifts of the Spirit in balance. Has always worked very well in Finland, and was recorded on our second album by the band that was touring there with me from the UK at the time.

David Lyle Morris
© 1995 Tevita Music
PO Box 99655, Newmarket, Auckland, NZ 1149

Holy Spirit of God, fall upon us
Precious Spirit of God, move among us
Holy Spirit of God, breathe into us
Precious Spirit of God, come inspire us

Touch my heart Lord
Fill my mind
Drench my spirit
Comfort divine
Holy Spirit , Holy Spirit

Bring your peace of mind
Banish all fear
Bearing your fruit
Sharing your gifts
Holy Spirit , Holy Spirit

Be strong in the Lord

Ephesians 6:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 & James 1: 2?4

This is a ministry song we still use regularly 14 years on and has a powerful effect on those who are struggling to do things in their own strength and can lean on God more.

David Lyle Morris
© 1996 Tevita Music
PO Box 99655, Newmarket, Auckland, NZ 1149

Be strong in the Lord
In the power of his might
His power, his power’s perfected in weakness

In the weakness you feel
Out of serving your God
You’ll rejoice in persecution
Because he’s with you
Through all insult, in hardship
In all difficulty
For when you’re weak, then you’re strong

Consider it joy when you face
Trials of many kinds
Because the testing of your faith builds perseverance
Persevere, so that you’ll be mature and complete
Not lacking anything

Lord draw me closer

John 5:19-20 &  Matthew 6:10

A prayer for intimacy with God.

David Lyle Morris
© 1994 Tevita Music
PO Box 99655, Newmarket, Auckland, NZ 1149

Lord draw me closer to you
Deeper into your tender heart
Lord take me near the fire
That I might feel your touch
So I can hear your voice
And I may know you more

Now that I’ve tasted your love
My soul is crying out for more
Give me your heart of passion
Reaching out to this broken world
Help me to keep on giving
Spur me to keep on going
Stir me to be more loving
Keep me fighting right to the end

Teach me to see Lord Jesus
Just what our Father’s doing
Come Spirit make me willing
Open only to follow you
I want to see your will done
I want to see your kingdom come
And in your loving family
Humble lives are shaped by your hand

Songs in the night

Job 35:10

The idea from Job that God can give us songs in the night or even our darkest moments has been a hope for me in these 18 years since I wrote this early song.

David Lyle Morris
© 1992 Tevita Music
PO Box 99655, Newmarket, Auckland, NZ 1149

My God, and my maker
Giver of Life
I can trust your unfailing love
And sing songs in the night

Though I may walk in darkness
You’ve filled my eyes with fire
Nothing can stand in the way
Of this heavenly desire

It’s a song from the heart
Not dependant on my feelings
A hope welling in the depths of me
Given by your Spirit

Just say the word

Matthew 5-13

A prayer for intimacy with God.

David Lyle Morris
© 1992 Tevita Music
PO Box 99655, Newmarket, Auckland, NZ 1149

I’m knocking again on your door, will you reply?
Don’t need any proof, or to see with my eye
You don’t have to come with me
What you say has authority
To a child in your presence, touched by your heart

Just say the word, and it will be done
There is no doubt, you’re the healing one
You just keep on pouring out your love
There is no end

Believe what you say, love the things you do
I understand why people come running to you
Though I’m not worthy, trust you hear what I ask?
This a child in your presence, touched by your heart

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