Posts Tagged ‘casting crowns’

Every once in a while I feel like I am struggling for significance. Like there is so much more I could be doing. I didn’t say it was right. I didn’t say it made sense. It’s just one of those things that pops into my head that sometimes frankly I need to deal with. Then I heard this song, and it really hit me hard. This is the ultimate legacy.

I posted my top ten albums on Facebook and my wife challenged me that I posted no Christian albums. Well she wasn’t following close enough because I did in fact post two of the ten, to be truthful there were many others I could have listed but those two were my absolute favorites. I am posting my ten favorites here, along with a video from each. Again it’s really hard to do this, but this is an overview of some of my favorites.
1. DC Talk-Jesus Freak

2. Newsboys-Take Me to Your Leader

So many great songs on this one so I went with the title track.
3. Chris Tomlin-How Great Is Our God

Chris Tomlin is one of the great songwriters of the church. but in this case he outdid himself. He was commissioned to reimagine Amazing Grace. It might already be the greatest song of all time. Chris made it better.
4. Audio Adrenaline-Underdog

5. Skillet-Awake

6. Third Day-Offerings A Worship Album

7. David Crowder Band-Church Music

I love Crowder. As it was with Chris Tomlin, there are so many great songs to choose from. I ended up going with this one because it has one of the coolest videos ever made.
8. Stryper-To Hell With the Devil

9. Mercy Me-I Can Only Imagine

One of the best songs of all time, period.
10. Casting Crowns-Casting Crowns

When I first heard this song, I actually wept, a lot. This song is prophetic and a wake up call to the entire body of Christ.

Okay I know I said ten but there is one more I need to add (okay there’s a lot to add but I need to get other things done. Mark Schultz is among the best musical storytellers of our time. See if you don’t agree.
11. Mark Schultz-Mark Schultz

The other day I heard this wonderful song from Casting Crowns and thought I have to share this. The song is not new to me, it just had been out of sight, out of mind for a while. To me this song represents where I find myself a lot of the time and I’m guessing you probably do too. We’re better than we were, but nowhere near where we want to be.

The most telling line in the whole song is a line that asks God a painfully poignant question. Just how close can I get Lord, to my surrender, without losing all control. Isn’t that really where we’re at? We want to surrender all, we really do, but we fear what will happen if we give Him control. The truth is control for us is an illusion. Surrendering all to God is the wisest thing we can do, and we know it. but for some reason it’s really hard to do it. There are things we want to control.

I remember a time in my life when I had a life threatening illness. In the midst of that, my heart and mind were drawn to my youngest son, ten years old at the time. My oldest was a grown man by this point. He’d be okay, but my youngest, he was still a little boy. “If I die, what will happen to him?” “Who will raise him?” Everything I thought I controlled was in question. I felt God in my Spirit reminded me that He loves my son more than I do. I wanted so bad to control that outcome, but I couldn’t. I needed to trust him and everyone else I love to the One who loves them more and I still do. How close can I get? As long as I am holding onto control I am not fully surrendered and fully surrendered is where I need to be.

Until I get there, I’ll be caught in the middle. This song will challenge you. Listen to it and ask God to show you the areas you’re still trying to control.

The other morning I was on my way to work when this song came on the radio. Now you know I love when people tell a great story and this is a great one. It deals with where a lot of us find ourselves as believers. We know we are set free in Christ. We know He has paid the price once and for all and yet within us all is a war, between the new creation and the old one. Worse yet, there are days where it sure feels like the old nature is winning. Temptation is called temptation because it’s tempting.

Now before you begin to wonder, no I’m not headed for a moral failure, or anything like that, by the grace of God, but that’s not the only way the old nature bubbles to the surface. Some days, it’s more about not being able to wait on God to resolve a situation and wanting to take matters into your own hands. Some days it’s about grace and forgiveness being hard to find and harder to give. Some days it’s just knowing that what you think is not lining up with what you know to be God’s heart. Some days you just want to smack somebody. That’s where I’m at and I hate it. It’s at times like these that a song goes beyond music to being a supernatural gift.

I know You’ve washed me white
Turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through
To get me through this night

I can’t live by what I feel
But by the truth Your word reveals
And I’m not holding onto You
But You’re holding onto me, You’re holding onto me

It’s good to know, isn’t it. In those moments where we feel weak that He holds onto us-sometimes even holds us back. In those moments of deep hurt where none of the solutions are pleasing to God but you can’t wrap your head around grace, God wraps his arms around you. To act on the thoughts would be sin, even the thoughts are sin and you know you shouldn’t go there but it’s hard not to.

He put my sins as far as the east is from the west. It’s literally impossible and that’s the point. We cannot go two directions at once without ripping ourselves in half. So how far are they apart? Infinitely, but I like Mark Hall’s description better, “from one scarred hand to the other.” Jesus came to set us free and in temptation the answer is always the same. You don’t fight it, because you’ll lose. Instead you run away from it and into the nail pierced arms of mercy, of Jesus. That’s where we find rest.

How far? East and West, infinitely, but Jesus is close. Run to him.

There’s this song called Thrive. It’s sort of like Casting Crowns channeling Mumford and Sons and I love it. It speaks to a syndrom so many creatives, including me, fall into. We seem to have this idea that we aren’t worth very much. We buy into the starving artist lie and act as though this gift God gave us is somehow inferior. It’s not hard to find yourself in this place, with most of our lives have been spent being poked and prodded into having a back up plan. Well here’s the thing… God gifts us to live the lives He intended for us to live. He equips us to do things that are important, not in the world’s scheme of things but in His eternal one. We need to strip off this inferiority complex that covers God’s glory like a bowl in our lives and we need to climb up on a stand and shine. I believe we were created to be extraordinary.

“Just to know you and to make you known,
We lift your name on high.
Shine like the sun,
make darkness run and hide.
We know we were made for so much more,
than ordinary lives.
It’s time for us to more than just survive.
We mere made to thrive.”

Listen to this song for your inspiration today. Then go and thrive!

Joy Unspeakable,
Faith Unsinkable,
Love Unstoppable
(Matthew 19:26)

I got the inspiration for this video some time ago when reading the book of Ezekiel and the vision was rekindled by the song Spirit Wind by Casting Crowns. In Ezekiel 37, God commands Ezekiel to prophesy to a valley full of dry bones and when he does, God breathes life into them. It’s the same way for the Church today. There are days where we forget who we are, We walk around this world dry and dead and in desperate need of God to breathe life into us again. This video is a reminder that God wants to do just that for us.

Here is the video set to the music that helped to inspired it, Casting Crowns’ song Spirit Wind from their Album, Come to the Well.

Casting Crowns has come out with yet another masterpiece in their song City on the Hill. Check it out here and pay particular attention to the lyrics.

This is one of the big passions God has laid on my heart. We are all gifted by God to do something and that is awesome. Think about it, the God of the universe created you on purpose, for a purpose, too be part of His plan for the universe. What could be better than knowing that and living it out?

But there are two problems with this. The first comes in comparison. I don’t want to spend a lot of time here, except to say that when we compare our gifts to others, we usually end up either in pride or feeling defeated and neither of those is what God intended.

The second problem is when we over or under appreciate the importance of our gifts. I might look at what I do and say it’s much more important than what you do or I could go in pretty much the opposite direction and again neither of those are appropriate.

The lyrics of the song show the problem this way:
“You see, the poets thought the dancer were shallow
And the soldiers thought the poets were weak
And the elders saw the young ones as foolish
And the rich man never heard the poor man speak”

What happens because of this?
And one by one, they ran away
With their made up minds, to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill

You see God didn’t gift us to divide us. He didn’t give me my gifts so I could outshine you, or vice versa. What God intended for our gifts is that they be used together in community. I do what I do and you do what you do and the sum total of our efforts is greater than either of us could do on our own. When we shine together we shine brighter than we do on our own.

The lyrics say it this way:
“Each one thought that they knew better
but they were different by design…”

This is what the Bible means when it talks about the church being the Body of Christ. All the parts are important. You might think your hand is more important than your elbow but good luck getting your hand where it needs to be without your elbow. We are all needed, every last one of us and every last one of us needs to be functioning in our own gift and together with others if we want to be the shining city on the hill Jesus told us we were.

“And it was the rhythm of the dancers, that gave the poets life
It was the spirit of the poets, that gave the soldiers strength to fight
It was the fire of the young ones, it was the wisdom of the old
It was the story of the poor man that needed to be told…”

The point we need each other so let’s shine together.

Here’s what Mark Hall has to say about his song.

I’ve long said that Mark Hall of Casting Crowns is a prophet. Maybe not in the seeing the future sense, but in the Isaiah, Jeremiah calling God’s people to clean up their act sense. Well last night, my wife and I bought the new Casting Crowns CD and when I heard this song the tears came. This song is for real and a song every church and every Christian needs to hear and take to heart. There is no official video yet, but thanks to YouTube there are other options. Check out the song and then watch the quick video after, where Mark Hall gives us the story behind the song.

Tet another example of telling a better story.
How will you tell the story?