Never Too Far Gone (Jordan Feliz)

This song has been planted on my mind for almost a week now, and I felt that, like some of the recent things God has been doing through song, it deserves a quick call out here.

Context

I probably first heard this song on 89.9 Light FM when it was released earlier this year (2016) as part of Jordan Feliz’s second album The River. The album was launched in April and oozes with songs that offer a new feel of freshness to contemporary Christian pop music and worship. Light FM has recently updated their advertising and jingles to incorporate the energetic and clear beginning of Never Too Far Gone because the whole song starts with a bang in the lyric “I have loved you from the start”.

This direct lyric right at the start of the song is a big hook for listeners. Light FM themselves acknowledge this in the promo where they testify that one listener was directly impacted by this very song and lyric, which spoke words of life into the troubled listener. Through this very song, the listener was able to find and connect with God, restoring and helping to heal their brokenness.

I was listening to the song myself and drew encouragement from reflecting on the lyrics because of their simple and straightforward message. Whilst I had an initial thought to play and use the song directly as part of life-group worship, the up-beat pop feel was not as thematic or consistent with the main worship song bracket (Heart of Worship – Matt Redman and Forever – Kari Jobe). Instead, as part of the final instrumental quiet time of reflection which we tend to incorporate into our style of life-group worship, I chose t o simply read the lyrics out and let God use the words themselves to speak into the lives of all present. Whilst the classification of this article includes the traditional “song lyric analysis” tag, technically this is not an analysis of the lyrics like the other songs previously reviewed.

Songwriter’s Story

Jordan Felix was interviewed by New Release Today where he provided a direct explanation to the history behind Never Too Far Gone which is a really special song for him. Jordan and his wife, whom he had met from high school days, had lost a baby before their daughter was born (by definition the daughter is a rainbow child). As a couple, they went through a period of being angry and irritated at God. After all, they felt like He had taken something from them. However, they truly found redemption and ran back into His arms, realising that He was their satisfaction and in time, would fill the hole that had resulted from the traumatic events.

When Jordan and his wife had their baby girl, the first thought he had, as he held her, was that he had never felt that much love in his life.

There is nothing that she could ever say or do that would ever make me not love her. I’m going to love her for the rest of my days.

At that moment, Jordan was overwhelmed in thinking about how that exact same feeling is how the Lord, the Creator of the universe, feels about each and every one of us. It truly doesn’t matter where you are going, where you have been, or what you have said, there is absolutely nothing that will separate you from the love of Jesus.

You can run as far as you can get from God, and literally He’s still right beside you. You will never be too far gone.

Never Too Far Gone really hits home in this expression and is such an anthem to Jordan in his life. You may feel this way, and need to hear this message clearly as well. In God giving Jordan this platform of song writing and singing, Jordan wants to tell and share with people about God’s love and that He loves them no matter where they’ve been. In talking about the idea for this song, Jordan was terrified about writing a song from the Lord’s perspective because it can get legalistic and controversial for some people listening to the lyrics. However, God’s love has no legalism. We are all loved by God. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind, from any denomination, of the love of God. He is our Father. Asking any father if he loved his baby, there is no way the father is not going to say he loves her. From the personal journey of Jordan with his wife, it was clear in their hearts that this message is undoubtedly how the Lord feels about us, not just from a biblical perspective, but also as a truism based on our own encounters.

There is always something special about telling somebody no matter what you’ve done, that God is right there. All you have to do is come, receive Him, ask for forgiveness, turn your life around and walk in a relationship with Him. Just as we have that opportunity every day, so too do you have the opportunity to invite Him into your life.

Lyrics

Verse 1
I have loved you from the start
I have seen your hurting heart (your hurting heart)
And you feel so lonely, but you keep on hiding
Cause you feel so guilty for what you’ve done, but

Pre-Chorus
There’s no distance too far, that I can’t reach you
There’s no place that’s so dark, that I can’t find you
Anywhere that you are, if you need proof
Take a look at these scars, and know I love you

Chorus
Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter what you’ve done
You are never, you are never, never too far gone
Oh ah-oh-oh, ah-oh-oh
Oh ah-oh-oh, ah-oh-oh

Verse 2
You have run down every road
And you’ve lost your way back home (your way back home)
And you feel so dirty, you know you’re unworthy
Feeling undeserving of any love, but

 

Bridge/Tag
You will never outrun my love, my love, my love
You will never outrun my love, my love, my love
You will never outrun my love, my love, my love
You will never outrun my love (you will never outrun my love)

Ending
Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter what you’ve done
You are never, you are never, never too far gone
Oh ah-oh-oh, ah-oh-oh
Never too far gone
Oh ah-oh-oh, ah-oh-oh
Never too far gone
Oh ah-oh-oh, ah-oh-oh
Oh ah-oh-oh, ah-oh-oh

Biblical References

The following bible verses were cited by Jordan as inspiration behind Never Too Far Gone:

  • John 7:38 (NKJV): “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
  • Zephaniah 3:17 (VOICE): “The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.”
  • Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV): “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV): “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

Song Arrangement

The arrangement of the song follows:

  1. Verse 1
  2. Pre-Chorus
  3. Chorus
  4. Verse 2
  5. Pre-Chorus
  6. Chorus
  7. Bridge/Tag
  8. Pre-Chorus
  9. Ending

Song Style & Worship Application

never-too-far-goneWhen you listen to the song, it has a very short musical introduction, and instead launches straight into the song and first verse. From this beginning the pace of the song is upbeat and the pace is maintained throughout by the beat of the bass drum. The opening the strumming by the guitar is joined by the electric guitar and the drum loops. To help me better understand the musical composition of Never Too Far Gone, I have also consulted the tracks available for mixing via Multitracks.com. The way that this mix is made available to us is that the drum sounds are effectively split across seven clap sounds and two drum beat loops (#10 and #11). Listening to each track in isolation helps me to appreciate that the important complementary effect of the two key parts along with the strings that combine to make up the main musical sound. The vocal tracks are split across three channels, two for the background echos and the third adds the “Oh ah-oh-oh, ah-oh-oh”.

Taking a worship driven approach, this song is more performance driven in style. In this way, the song is more conducive to personal worship and less so for use in a corporate worship setting. Indeed, it was based on this fact that I chose to incorporate it into corporate worship via a pure reading out of the lyrics only. Later on during the night, I played the song as background music but even playing that quietly was still slightly distracting to individuals who were finding it too appealing in musical feel. This is a good problem to have after all, but also a cautionary heads up for others. The song is upbeat and personally makes me want to get up and dance and move about; not necessarily things that may be appropriate depending on how a small group activities are being run. In the same way, these attributes and characteristics of the song do make it a great choice for personal worship, when individuals may want to just simply worship in complete unhindered freedom and spirit. For that reason, I would mix this with other Christian worship songs like God’s Great Dance Floor (Chris Tomlin/Martin Smith) and Greater (MercyMe).

In terms of genres, there is a subtle divide and difference in categorisation of songs like Never Too Far Gone in that, it clearly is part of the wider genre and grouping of music by Christian artists like MercyMe and Newsboys, where they write music and songs which are not church-based worship songs, but form part of the wider genre in Christian music one step removed from Christian worship music. Songs in this classification are invaluable because, through mediums like Light FM, and all the Christian radio stations around the world, Christians have appropriate modern music which probably sounds good to the unchurched, and yet can speak into their lives in a way that more traditional Christian worship songs cannot. As part of this distinction, I see the definition partly as being God-influenced but yet not explicit in the lyrics of the song whereas a Christian worship song directly acknowledges and makes direct reference to God as the audience.

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