‘Jesus At The Centre Of It All’ – An Interview With Israel Houghton

Jesus At The Centre Of It All An Interview With Israel Houghton

Israel Houghton has been writing songs and leading worship for over 20 years. This year saw Israel Houghton and his team of worshipers, New Breed release their first live album in 5 years; ‘Jesus At The Centre’.

As Christian’s, the saying “keep God first” freely flows from our lips like the usual Christian jargon so if we want God to be first/number 1, what is ‘Jesus At The Center’ all about?

“It’s a very simple but profound concept,” says Houghton, “and that is that Jesus is not just first in our lives but He’s the centre of our lives. It’s not a list of Jesus and then everything else… It’s Jesus in everything we do,” Houghton continues to explain.

“For me it was really just a simple return to everything being all about Him. I think sometimes we can focus on the benefits of who Jesus is and almost forget about the benefactor; the one who really is responsible for what we’ve experienced.”

As we go through life sometimes as Christian’s we can reach a place where we’re going through the motions of Christianity. Did ‘Jesus At The Center’ come about because somewhere along the line Houghton lost his focus or was it the result of a revelation from God and natural progression in his relationship with God?

“Every record we’ve done has had different themes connected to them. This one was about taking out the metaphors and making it clear where we stand and what and who it’s all about,” says Houghton.

“I think in anybody’s walk it’s possible to get distracted and sidetracked by everything associated with Church and this Christian life and to just really re-connect and refocus.”

“It’s not necessarily an indicator that something is wrong but it’s probably more of a sensitized awareness to the presence of God.”

Having met Israel Houghton a few times over a number of years, one thing that has always stood out about him is his humility and accessibility. With all of the GRAMMY, Stellar and Dove Awards, tours around the world and number 1 albums it wouldn’t almost be OK for him to have a little bit of an ego… However Houghton’s take on his success and people’s response to his humility is quite remarkable.

“I think perception and perspective is everything” exclaims Houghton. “For me the perspective I have is that, this is something I get to do and something I’ve been trusted to carry and that takes the pressure off me and reminds me that it’s not about me.”

Houghton continues “What I’ve experienced in my ministry are things I could never have made happen on my own, this was obviously God at work. The fact that there are so many great talents and people with something to say makes me continuing to be used this way mind-blowing for me. To still have an influence and platform within this industry and within the church worldwide is a big honour for me. Remaining approachable, humble and fixed on what I’m supposed to be doing is one of those things that if you have the right perspective can come very easily. It’s always something you have to work on because of the noise, traffic, chaos and distractions of life can take you off course so it’s all about having the right perspective.

It is so refreshing to gain an understanding and insight into what keeps a man who graces the biggest stages so grounded.

Israel Houghton has done a lot of things, live albums, studio albums, solo albums, producing and writing for other people’s albums and more. However with ‘Jesus At The Centre’ being the first live album from Israel Houghton & New Breed in such a long, the big question is what is next? Hopefully not another 5 years without a live album with New Breed

“We’re always working on something significant. The next live record will encompass several cities from around the world and will be recorded in 18 cities.”

Houghton was also excited to share that he is embarking on a totally new area within music and media and that 2013 will show another of his many talents…

“I’m delving a lot into film production and doing music for film,” Houghton eagerly shares. “My production company has merged with a film production company and our first feature film will be released in March 2013. It’s called ‘I’m In Love With A Church Girl’ and is based on a true story, which is well done and well put together so I can’t wait for people to see it.

Do not worry or be afraid. Although there was a sense of excitement and great expectancy in Houghton’s voice as he spoke about his new endeavours he was very quick to point out that his main music ministry will not suffer as a result of it and that it will, “never be at the expense of what God has allowed us to build with New Breed. We’ll continue to lead worship at my local church and travel around the world ministering.”

A few years Israel Houghton & New Breed came to Birmingham (UK). The concert (which turned out to be a time of pure un adulterated worship) was like nothing I had ever experienced before. During the concert the presence of God came in, in a powerful way. The band and singers stopped playing and singing and the crowd erupted in free worship for what lasted approximately 90 minutes. That level of anointing and sensitivity to God must come at a price.

“I actually remember that night very, very well and it’s still at the top of the list of shows we remember,” Houghton reminisces. “I think it’s being able to be sensitive to the moment. I think that night is a great example of us wanting to do things in an excellent manner and wanting to execute the songs but still having an ear to hear and being able to back away from our instruments and our agenda in that moment and allow God to move. I remember so specifically how intense it got in there when we gave way to the presence of God. We try to do that every setting and whenever we come together that’s something we try to do.”

Israel Houghton has experienced a lot of things in his life and has achieved great things but it’s clear that what is important to him is his relationship with God, the heart of a servant and an attitude of gratitude. As Christian’s we should follow suit, being humble, willing to serve and using our gifts to build God’s Kingdom. Having Jesus at the centre is more than just a cool thing to say, it’s a lifestyle and one involves Jesus in everything.

‘Jesus At The Centre’ is out now and be on the lookout for the film ‘I’m In Love With A Church Girl’ in the first quarter of 2013.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | iTunes

Leave a Reply