How He Loves Us

It’s not my fault. The fact that I may possibly bring myself to severe hearing loss and vocal strain due to this song. It’s impossible to sing it soft. Although it’s possible to listen to it softly, it’s just pathetically WRONG to do so. This is one of those meant to be cranked … to the max.

I blame Ben (El Ben), Shannon, and Jay Sellers … they are the ones who exposed me to this incredibly anointed song from Jesus Culture, a ministry out of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. You can buy the album “We Cry Out” in Bethel’s store.

A few weeks ago I joined Saint Lewis to play aux. keys (ie. strings, B3, sound fx, etc) during a Night of Worship for Inside Out, the youth ministry of SSCC, and he did this song. It was the first time I’d ever heard it live. Truth is, Ben and Jay did their best to get me on this song … but the timing wasn’t right. Ben mentioned it in passing a couple of times. Jay actually played the YouTube video one night at our house, but I was not really focusing or listening (what’s new). But then Shannon pulls this song and I’m swept away on this “power chorus”, “He Loves us …. Oh, How He Loves us … “.

The arrangement is powerful. They actually sing the Chorus after the first verse, but as far as I’m concerned, the shift into overdrive happens around 3:10 in the song where Kim Walker takes it up an octave and belts this Chorus over and over. Oh my. Oh my. That’s all I can say.

A few days ago, I must’ve played this song 50 times … I was in my studio and just had it repeating over and over, lost in worship and praise.

Confession: I could totally do without the “sloppy wet kiss” line in the 2nd Verse. Although I can appreciate the creativity of the writer, the analogy doesn’t work for me. No, I’m not opposed to that kind of reference, or I’d surely tear “Song of Solomon” out of my Bible … but it just doesn’t work for me. I am eager to present this song to our congregation, but I know for certain that lyric will NOT fly. So, I’ll either ditch the 2nd Verse, or change the lyrics a bit .. I hate to ditch the verse because “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us ..” is an AMAZING lyric!

Enough of my review … I got the audio for you to stream below (the Kim Walker version, which in my opinion, is much more powerful than the John Mark McMillan version [no offense, john!]) and then at the bottom, I’ll embed the YouTube video. The audio on the YouTube cut is not very good at all, so you’ll do yourself a favor to come back here and stream this song over and over.

Worship this passionate, this demonstrative … it always raises discussion. So, let’s hear yours!





What do you think?

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Fred McKinnon is a Pianist/Composer from St. Simons Island, GA. Checkout the full BIO for more information and a complete bio. Worship Interludes Podcast - This podcast features instrumentals for prayer, meditation, soaking worship, relaxation, study music, and rest. Visit the Podcast page to listen or subscribe. Follow on Social MediaFacebookYouTubeInstagramTwitter

58 comments on “How He Loves Us

  1. O Fred…it’s not by Jesus Culture…they merely covered it – in fact, I don’t know if they have any ‘originals’…it’s written by our friend John Mark McMillan, who I’ve spoken to a few times about sometime playing a concert for our youth. His wife’s whole family is friends with the Tuckers. Anyway, John Mark wrote and recorded the original song…and he has many others that are equally good. He’s quite the songwriter! Glad you love the song, though, and thanks for the kudos!

  2. p.s. – Kelanie Gloeckler leads this one often at New Life Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, and their favorite line is – you guessed it – the ‘sloppy wet kiss’…
    I agree, our congregation would probably not take to it so well! 😉

  3. Fred says:

    by saying “by Jesus Culture”, I was simply referring to this particular cover/version/recording of the song .. I knew it was written by John Mark … I just happen to live this version “by Jesus Culture” better.

    I’d love to have John Mark sometime .. that would rock. He has great stuff.

    As for that line … David’s comment wednesday was “that’s over the top”. 🙂

  4. There’s something so powerful in those 6/8 songs – that continuously driving beat (like Dance With Me). This is a great song! Thanks for posting it!

    The lyrics are a great example of another product of Morning Start Ministries in Fort Mill. Leonard Jones won’t let his folks cover other songs, so they write, and write, and write. Some of the stuff seems crazy, but I love how genuine it is. It’s produced amazing songs and musicians like Leonard Jones, Suzy Wills, Don Potter (he was doing it long before Morning Star), Kelanie Gloeckler, John Mark and his sister, and I can’t wait to see what else will come. They post some of their music on their podcast.

    It’s a whole different set of worship leaders with a whole different mind set, but it pushes me in worship to abandonment of myself I’ve never experienced. If you ever get a chance to go to their Worship and Warfare conference – DO! It’s not for the faint of heart…


  5. Couldn’t agree with you more Fred. It is an amazing song – one of those that somehow “ushers you in” to the presence of God like a speed-pass at Disney Land.

    I’d also have to agree, though, about a couple of the overly poetic lyrics. I, too, can appreciate the creativity, but in a corporate setting, I’m afraid it might lose some people either b/c they don’t understand it, or because it just doesn’t connect.

    Great review. I’m also toying with the idea of presenting it to the church, but haven’t done so yet. I’ll be anxious to hear how it goes over if and when you do.

  6. Heather says:

    “AMAZING song! Love it…do hate to take out that line too though! That line about regrets is one of the most powerful ones to me!!”

  7. Fred says:

    matthew –
    I’m a big M’star fan. I went to my first WW conference in Jax years ago and probably received one of the most marked “impartations” in my entire life. In our wedding, of all songs, Joy came down the aisle to “Creator of the Universe”. I’ve not been plugged into them for a long time, and need to hookup again, maybe checkout that podcast you mention.

    Peter – glad you are on the song, too … “like a speedpass”, that’s hilarious!

    Heather – I’m with you … I’d rather modify the 2nd verse than ditch it because I LOVE that line!

    Keep it going ya’ll!

  8. That’s awesome, Fred! I’ve tried to post some of M’Star’s stuff on my blog here and there! Most of the time, those songs have fit for personal use more than corporate use, but I want to expose worship leaders to more than just the same Passion crowd. Tomlin, Hall, and the others are great, there’s just such a big world out there of good music! Thanks for posting this stuff!

  9. BobbyLepinay says:

    Hey Fred, we do the song at Harvest and folks love it. Will did it straight up the 1st time and some of our older folk got real upset with that one line, and I had to agree: It was a little too much, esp when you have seekers coming in. Get with Will on his redo. You seriously cant tell he changed the line, it is that seemless. Missed you at the retreat..!

  10. Fred says:

    Bobby –
    LOVE IT when you stop by and post … thanks. I will get with Will ASAP – if anyone can make it work, he’d be the guy.

    I totally missed ya’ll at the retreat, and don’t feel the same for missing it – it’s a vital part of my year, but I know it was right for me to be here, shoulder-to-shoulder w/ our staff during this move.

    This facility is CRAZY AWESOME – you gotta come check it out!


  11. Awesome tune, message and worship! I even like the sloppy wet kiss part – go figure. I’ve got to order this one next week.

  12. Chris Moncus says:

    Last week at InsideOut my youth techie still wasn’t convinced that 130db still wasn’t loud enough for this song. Who cares about hearing loss? This song is amazing. 🙂

  13. klampert says:

    I love this song…and i absolutely love kim walker

  14. Kevin Eades says:

    I have posted on it too! It is a amazing song and I love it! Shannon just imagine what would happen if we sang it at my church. haha!

  15. debby says:

    fred, our praise team has changed a lyric if we feel it won’t work for our congregation but i have always felt like we were cheating just little bit. we don’t record it or put it on a cd or anything it just stays in our worship service. am i being too sensitive?

  16. Hey Debby,
    I wouldn’t be too worried about that … adapting it to fit your congregation is fine, IMHO … especially if it’s just a line or two. If you were recording it or distributing it … that would be a different idea, I’d think, in regards to copyright laws, but otherwise – just go for it!

  17. debby says:

    thanks fred. since i don’t write music i wasn’t really sure if that would be considered out of line by the songwriter. we will cheerfully go forth and recreate just a bit if we need to!

  18. Hey Debby,
    Well, I’m not implying that the songwriter will “like it” … but especially in regard to worship music, I think most writers (myself included) would just be happy that the song is being used to bless others.


  19. debby says:

    i understand what you mean. we’re always cautious about the amount of rewriting we do and never share our revisions with anyone else either.

  20. Justin Davidson says:

    I have to admit I love this song and its a good thing I am not the worship leader. I love the sloppy wet kiss part. If only people could understand the amazing love there. Woo Woo.

  21. Fred says:

    Hey Justin,
    I knew you’d love that line, hahaha … I’m not opposed to the imagery at all … just think it only works in certain environments … for me, it was just hard to connect the imagery … heaven meeting earth like a sloppy wet kiss … hmmm, I wonder what that means? What’s sloppy about it? I suppose a sloppy wet kiss is likened to be a good thing, a passionate thing …so it could work! (Joy wipes mine off, haha!)

  22. I think what’s ‘sloppy’ about it is the Jesus lived a ‘real’ life here – which many seem to forget, which is the very reason I’m so drawn to that line. Jesus spit up and went #2 as a baby, got dirty plenty for sure as a young boy, scratched his knee, maybe even bloodied his nose – his feet got dirty and probably smelled. His life was raw and real, even into his ministry, which was far from clean and tidy – whore’s pouring burial spices out on you and wiping it off with their hair, which – who knew where that had been?! What God did in and through Jesus was – at least from an earthly perspective – sloppy, messy, and just not the way even most Jews and Romans of his day thought God should have done things: they wanted a mighty King to march in and show his might, or an untainted philosopher to give all the answers. Instead, a small-town carpenters, with a following of political revolutionaries, ex-whores, fisherman, and government-hired thieves, comes to town preaching a gospel that only makes sense to the rejects. “Sloppy” is a good word, I think. 😉

  23. Fred says:

    That’s just downright eloquent. Amen. Hooray. It’s one of those things, like the Mandisa song we were discussing, where I’d want an opportunity to say just what you said before singing the song … at least, in our main auditorium .. you know the diversity that’s there!

  24. friend says:

    John Mark McMillan is an amazing artist and person…..wait till you guys here his new music… is incredible!!! God is bringing a new sound to earth from Heaven!!!

  25. Clint says:

    Wanted to comment on a review I read concerning Kim Walker covering the song “How He loves me”.
    My brother stated:
    Confession: I could totally do without the “sloppy wet kiss” line in the 2nd Verse. Although I can appreciate the creativity of the writer, the analogy doesn’t work for me.
    Hear is a verse that came to me when I heard the “lyric”.
    SOL 4:11
    Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
    This “Kiss of God” is the SPIRIT OF HIS MOUTH.
    The “nourishment” of “milk and honey” is under the tongue.
    The language of the Spirit will from time to time make us blush but lets not try to put a lid on it.
    “Let us go on to perfection”
    “Let us go on to ….” INTIMACY.
    “And this we will do if God permits”.
    LUKE 21:15
    for I will give you A MOUTH and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.
    Could this “mouth” be the “The Kiss of Worship”?

  26. Clint says:

    “The Kiss of Worship” sets the captive free.

  27. Fred says:

    Clint … like I said, I’m not opposed to the analogy in SOS at all … it’s beautiful … we did the song yesterday and changed the lyric to “heaven meets earth where no words can express” … it definitely wasn’t as cool!


  28. jimmy says:

    When I introduced this song to my church I was hesitant about the “sloppy wet kiss” in the lyric. But I explained to them that one of the Greek words that we get the word worship from is transliterated “to kiss towards” as if our worship is like blowing a kiss towards God. Then I showed them a picture of my four year old son with food and dirt all over his face and told the congregation that I would take a “sloppy wet kiss” any time, no matter how dirty my son is. That, to me shows the Father heart of God, and His willingness to take us as we are. This song has been a MAJOR home run in our church. People respond to it amazingly well.

    grace and peace, jimmy

  29. dave duncan says:

    the fullness of his passion was sloppy under the whip while he bore our stripes, wet with blood and water like the drenched ground under his cross…..Earthy, raw and naked, he held nothing back, even his modesty. No witholden dignity or respectfullness…. the ULTIMATE intimacy….HIS SLOPPY WET KISS

  30. Donna Walrath says:

    We are planning on practicing this song this week on our worship team. I had a dream once that God kissed me and I recall feeling badly that I had not brushed my teeth. Hmmm kind of reminds me of how we can feel in God’s Presence when he gets that close…”unclean”. God knows we are unclean and yet He will kiss us in Worship and in our intimate times with Him. I love the verse…it is how “He” sees us…holy and clean. It is us who are uncomfortable with the intimacy. We will arive. Awesome song!

  31. Hurley McGahan says:

    I absolutely love this song…do you know what key she is singing it in? I keep trying to figure it out!!

  32. Mark Thomas says:

    Changing the lyric is somewhat of a slap in the face to the writer in my opinion. As a writer, one tends to feel that the idea, thought or message the song portrays is complete when the song is sung in its entirety. A song such as this was written out of much emotion and circumstance. The congregation gets cheated out of the full message and picture that the song creates. The writer gets cheated out of the joy of his songs being accepted and reaching people the way it was fully meant to.

    It is imperative to get out of your comfort zone sometimes and worship God in a different way than you’re used to. It’s how God stretches us and makes room in us for more of Him.

  33. Dwayne says:

    Our church replaced “sloppy wet kiss” with “passionate kiss”. I didn’t even realize that it was changed until I heard the original song. I have to say that I prefer the way we sing in church, but it is a great song either way.

  34. dan says:

    I’m sort of mixed on the song. In a way I like it, the melody, and some of the wording is nice. But, I have a strong concern these days where it seems coolness or “being in the groove” or “getting it” is lord and Jesus sort of comes along sneaking in the side door. Also, the twisting of love or the meaning of love from a self-sacrificing, giving, serving, commitment from the heart to something substantially weak, such as a selfish, infantile, empty sentimentality or lust for personal gratification that is all too often something someone uses as an excuse to glorfy himself or herself as a “loving” person.

    I know that’s hard, but I often feel this is a message that we all need to hear today. There is more to love than a sloppy wet kiss, and there is more to faith than merely getting lost in a swoon of blind emotion. The love of Christ took Him to the cross to pay for the sins of those who were unfaithful to Him and even abandoned and betrayed Him to His face as He died expressing his unreturned love. The pain Jesus suffered is perhaps His greatest expression of love. Yet when we get hurt, when our spouse runs off and plays the harlot on our marriages, when we’re stuck with cancer dying in pain, we have an opportunity to touch only a little on the pain Jesus willingly went through for us, and yet so often we turn to God in anger and blame Him for causing it or failing to protect us from that pain. Yet that pain could bring a blessing that could not otherwise exist, not to mention giving us a deeper heart of understanding the love of Christ plus a fellowship of greater love and understanding for others who are also suffering.

    Getting out of our comfort zone is not about getting into sin in an attempt to get “real”. It is not about getting tattooed or pierced or cursing and swearing or pretending to be humble by tearing down the greatness of God’s creation in us.

    It is about abandoning and dethroning every other god in favor of Jesus Christ, and in Christ is where we find real love!

  35. Jan Owen says:

    fred, do you happen to have a chart for this song? I love the sloppy wet kiss part! It’s not a chaste kiss, it’s an all over you, exuberant kiss from God. yes! can you email me if you have it?……just need it quick and am covered up so thought i’d see if i could borrow!

  36. John Tinker says:

    Editing lyrics is no new thing. Hymns written centuries ago have odd lyrics for various scriptural & theological interpretations. Even pop songs with great musical structure and melody have been adapted then and now-i.e. A Mighty Fortress and Every Breath You Take. Every congregation has the privilege and responsibility to be as effective with their worship as possible. Let’s not split hairs and throw out the baby with the bathwater. If the lyric works, fine. If it doesn’t be discerning to select the most accurate sub. I think John MM would be OK either way. The other 250 so words he wrote have been used to bless. I as a musician and writer appreciate any appreciation of my song writing and arranging. Thanks for a wonderful song, JMM, and thanks for a wonderful passion for the song, Kim Walker. My congregation may need editing as well, but our youth are already singing it as written. Me, the 55 year old rockin’ grandpa, can be happy either way.
    As for Morningstar doing original music only– more churches need to challenge their musicians and lyricists to have their own expression. I encourage those who are reading this to begin expressing this more in your congregations. Don Potter and Leonard Jones have done the Body of Christ a good deed by this example.
    Blessings to all

  37. Emily Walton says:

    Hey Fred! So I went to a conference last weekend in McDonough. Steve Fee did worship and he sung that song! It is such an amazing song, and so full much emotion! It’s like I didn’t know whether to jump up and down, or get on knees and weep! In response to the sloppy wet kiss.. I love that part! I think it shows God’s amazing affection for us! It provides a passionate analogy that portrays a mere fraction of the love He has for us! And the thought of it causes “my heart to turn violently inside of my chest!” This is just my opinion though, and I could understand how some people may not like that part. So if I were to change the song, I would just change that part, instead of the whole song.. cuz the other lines in that verse are so amazing! “We are His portion and He is our prize, Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes, if grace is an ocean we’re all sinking…” Wow! Those words are so full of emotion and meaning! Well I hope this helps!

  38. Chris Lane says:

    my church uses “beautiful kiss” instead of “sloppy wet kiss” if that helps

    1. Miles O'Neal says:

      I generally agree, except that the “sloppy wet kiss” is the part that first got my attention. That may be because I want a seriously passionate relationship with Jesus, and will take that on whatever terms He offers. But f you watch John’s 9 minute version on youtube with the song’s back story, I think it hits home even more. And I love Shannon’s take on this!

  39. Hey guys,

    This is my first time here, love the conversation. First of all, I absolutely love the chorus to this song, and the lyric about not being able to maintain these regrets just stokes me!

    The one lyric that actually keeps me from being able to fully release myself into this song is one that hasn’t been mentioned yet, surprisingly, and it’s this one:

    “We are His portion and He is our prize.”

    I do not feel comfortable singing this line, because I do not believe it’s accurate that we are God’s portion. He is His portion, and we are beneficiaries! He does not need us, like we need Him. I feel it would be more accurate to sing, “He is our portion and we are his prize,” that we are His prized children that he has bought from the grave with His blood that He loves with an extravagance beyond our comprehension.

    Anyway, I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts on this.

    1. Hey,
      I agree – I have changed that line to say “He is our portion and we are His prize”. I do this only because I see those in Scripture referring to God as “our portion”, and not the other way around. And I feel confident that He considers us as His prized possessions … His Bride, the Church.

    2. Chan says:

      Actually, this line is quite scriptural. Deuteronomy 32:9 reads “For the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance”

      1. Chan,
        I stand corrected! Great Scripture reference, and great point! Thanks so much!

        1. I agree, what a verse! That’s huge- definitely changes how I sing that line, and gives me a lot of confidence in using the song. Also, what great encouragement for us in the truth of how He loves us!

  40. Jon McKanna says:

    great post for me…i just had this discussion with a staff member at church yesterday…i LOVE this song, but those three words are going to cause strife if i use them in our services…by the end of our discussion the consensus was to change some lyrics…

    my second thought was to tie it in with “how marvelous”…just using the chorus? we’ll see…

    the chorus for “how He loves us” is definitely the hook here…i even have my little two year old singing that!!!

  41. Technically, changing lyrics or even the song arrangement is a copyright violation and must have the songwriter’s explicit written approval.

    Performance rights are protected for churches under American law, but copyright law is still totally applicable, so I’m pretty sure that churches don’t have an exemption on this.

    A song is supposed to be performed as written.

    Yep, I violate it a lot, too, but that is the way the law is written, as best I understand it.

    If we sing John Mark’s song, we are technically supposed to use his lyrics, otherwise we’re creating a derivative work without his permission, which is technically just as illegal as running off 100 copies of it without licensing.

    Just contributing, not being a stickler 🙂

    Love the song. Don’t like the lyric, either, not because I’m a prude but because it makes the song less useful.

  42. Just a note, Fred, the video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Jesus Culture Conferences. That’s odd, in a way, as it has been on youTube for literally a couple of years, but… If you still see it, it must be cached, or something.

    1. Claude says:

      What a shame that that original video by the author of the song no less is pulled. I saw it and was moved and tried to point others to it only to be unable to find it anymore. It was John Mark’s own testimony about the song for pity’s sake. Sometimes “Christian” is a label to easily applied to groups and ministries…

  43. lori says:

    Just wanted to pop in and say that we do this in our worship. As is. We have a very diverse congregation, albeit small as compared to some, but the song, as is, is received very well.

    I do love the analogy of sloppy wet kiss. Personally, I think it really works, and for me, the song would loose something without that line! I can’t speak for anyone else in our congregation but we’ve done it many many times and I have never heard one negative word about it…lyric and all!

    Anyway…just my thoughts…

  44. Spence says:

    Maybe the lyrics to the song don’t fit every congregation, but then again, if John Mark was playing the song at your church he definitely wouldn’t change his lyrics to prevent the possibility of offending someone. So the point maybe for all you worshipers and musicians to write original stuff that comes out of your personal relationship with God and meets your own church where its at right now. Don’t be content waiting for someone else to express your heart for you. disclaimer: writing a good song is really, really hard to do, so I understand why we have to resort to other people’s stuff! But we can still try…

  45. Alan says:

    David Crowder Band uses “unforseen kiss” in their version, so if your a copyright guru, use their version!

  46. Theresa Jones says:

    The best version I’ve heard is from Youth Camp this summer at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters. Jenny (Little) Holloway sings. The 2nd verse you talked about she found a solution to:

    “Heaven met earth when He offered His best.”

  47. amie says:

    the line isn’t “sloppy wet kiss”, it is “unforseen kiss”

    1. Hey Amie,
      You’ve clearly heard the newer, David Crowder version, where that lyric was changed (with the author’s permission) … this entire discussion was based on the original lyric, and several recordings thereof, where it is “sloppy wet kiss”.

  48. Russ Hutto says:

    I’m about to go give my wife a sloppy wet kiss.

    And that’s just fine. 🙂

  49. Laxinblondie says:

    These comments were years ago, but it doesn’t seem that anyone pointed out that “sloppy wet kiss” was already an edit from “unforeseen kiss.”  Couldn’t you just go back to the original?

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