Jesus does sell (a revised reprise)

A month ago I wrote a blog saying that the name of Jesus does not sell very well in Christian music. It’s often hard to find Christ in contemporary “Christian” songs I hear on the radio.
After reading my post, a good friend told me a wonderful story about how one of the songs I profiled meant a lot to her. Her impression of that particular song is very different from mine. I thanked her for her honesty, and we shared a quick hug.
I never want these posts to be the last word. Let’s start a discussion. Feel free to disagree with me. Please.
In that vein, I will disagree with myself. There actually are quite a few Christ-centered songs on the radio these days. If we listen for them.
I tuned in to a different Christian radio station than I did for last month’s blog. Among the songs I heard on the playlist were these:

Jeremy Camp – Overcome

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8AB0vUU038

Seated above
Enthroned in the Father’s love
Destined to die
Poured out for all mankind
God’s only Son
Perfect and spotless One
He never sinned
But suffered as if He did

All authority, every victory is Yours
All authority, every victory is Yours

(chorus)
Savior, worthy of honor and glory
Worthy of all our praise
You overcame
Jesus awesome in power forever
Awesome and great is Your name
You overcame

Power in hand
Speaking the Father’s plan
You’re sending us out
Light in this broken land

We will overcome
By the blood of the Lamb
And the word of our testimony
Everyone overcome

Camp’s first wife died of cancer when he was 23 and she was 21. He understands God’s love from a deeper perspective than many of us do. I enjoy his music a lot.

Here’s a song that offers a solution for us:

Hawk Nelson – Drops In The Ocean

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZH13wFGffg

I want you as you are, not as you ought to be
Won’t you lay down your guard and come to me
The shame that grips you now is crippling
It breaks my heart to see you suffering

Cause I am for you
I’m not against you

If you want to know
How far my love can go
Just how deep, just how wide
If you want to see
How much you mean to me
Look at my hands, look at my side
If you could count the times I say you are forgiven
It’s more than the drops in the ocean

Don’t think you need to settle for a substitute
When I’m the only love that changes you

Open your heart
It’s time that we start again

This song does not mention Jesus by name, but it’s obvious that Jesus is who the song is about. The same is true of this one:

Anthem Lights – Outta My Mind

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSvNidujTdI

Feelin’ like I got a front row seat
To watch everybody be happy
Can’t even paint a smile on my face
It’s so hard to not complain
Gotta try not to say
O God, what about me
‘Cause I know that’s not the way
That I’m supposed to be

(Chorus)
Get me outta my mind and into Your heart
It’s not about me, it’s not about me
So I’m gonna start
Playin’ my part in Your design
Now is the time
Get me outta my mind
Outta my mind

There’s a bigger picture on display
And it’s starting to come in focus
Causing me to see to see the ones in need outside my little world
Gotta try, just to say
O God, what can I do
Doesn’t matter what it takes
I wanna lead them all to You

If anybody asks me what have I been up to
This is what I’m gonna say
I’ve been spending my time, outta my mind
And I’m really lovin’ livin’ this way

I heard several songs with this theme: Life is not about me. Anthem Lights does not specify what this life is about, though. This next one does, probably because Jeremy Camp wrote it:

Jeremy Camp – Christ In Me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgGP3g1rjA8

In this obsession with
The things this world says make us happy
Can’t see the slaves we are
In all the searching, all the grasping
Like we deserve much more
Than all these blessings we’re holding
So now I’m running free
Into an ocean of mercy, unending

So come and empty me
So that it’s You I breathe
I want my life to be
Only Christ in me
So I will fix my eyes
‘Cause You’re my source of life
I need the world to see
That it’s Christ in me, yeah
That it’s Christ in me, yeah

Done with what holds me down
The things I once was chasing after
Throw off these heavy chains
That I have let become my master
So now I’m running free
Into an ocean of mercy, unending

Or this one, about my shortcomings and God’s mercy:

Moriah Peters – You Carry Me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2H-zQjgurQ

Feels like it’s been miles and miles
Feels like it’s an uphill climb
Sometimes I get weary on the way
But when I look back at where I’ve been
When I look back, I’m sure of it
I was right there in Your arms and I can say

Every moment of my life
God, You never left my side
Every valley, every storm
You were there, You were there
I don’t need to know what’s next
You’ll be with me every step
Through it all, through it all
I can see You carry me

There are days I wonder if
You can fix the mess I’m in
Times when nothing seems
To go the way it should
But then I look back on every season
I can find there’s ten thousand reasons
To trust that You can work all things for good

Through the wind and waves
Through my worst mistakes
Through the times I thought I walked alone
You were holding me
You were whispering
I will never leave you on your own

Have you ever asked, “Why me, God?” Here’s an answer:

Manafest – Every time You Run

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yJseemI5P4

Last night got a little crazy
I don’t remember, woke up spun with the pasties
My friends say I was tweaked out,
Passed out on a dirty couch, still in the house
It kind a scares me, I don’t know
Am I out of control?
Always waking up still in my clothes
I wrote a note that said goodbye to pain, goodbye to shame
But couldn’t find a way, I just cry for days
I’m so depressed, soaking wet, I can’t rest
These thoughts just beat me to death I’m unkempt
I thought of a song my mom used to sing in church
But it’s been so long I can’t remember the words

(Chorus)
Every time you run, every time you hide
Every time it hurts, every time you cry
Every time you run away, every time you hide your face
And it feels so far away, I’m right here, with you
(Every time you run)

I keep sleeping in don’t want to wake up
I keep hearing from the landlord pay up
Hide my face in my pillow ’til the sun sets
Hung over and I haven’t seen a pay check
I took a job downtown at the factory
I was hired and fired with no salary
I keep running from responsibility
It seems impossible, the pressure is hitting me
I know I need to man up, or sit down
Stand up and get out of this crowd
I thought of a song my mom used to sing in church
But it’s been so long I can’t remember the words

Well I know I’m not ready to die, But I’ve
Sure thought about the meaning of life
‘Cause I can’t seem to find a purpose for me
It’s just the choices and I fail to proceed
I got a get up, get up, get up, get up
I hear voices in my mind, one’s a devil, one’s Jesus
I can feel it can you help me find the pieces
Like an angel on my shoulder, you hold the
Joy of the Lord raising up a soldier
You gave me the song my mom used to sing in church
I promised not to quit and I remembered the words
I promised not to quit and I remembered the words

Just a couple more. Here’s a wonderful worship song I heard on the radio. We sing this one at our church every so often:

Chris Tomlin – Our God

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJpt1hSYf2o

Water You turned into wine
Open the eyes of the blind
There’s no one like You
None like You
Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You
None like You

(Chorus)
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

Into the darkness you shine
Out of the ashes we Rise
There’s no One like You
None like You.

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?
What could stand against?

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God …
Here’s one of the most powerful songs on the radio these days. Because it’s real:

Francesca Battistelli – If We’re Honest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDcTvtuuVU8

Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide

I’m a mess and so are you
We’ve built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do

(Chorus)
Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
If we’re honest

Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay our secrets down at the cross, at the cross

It would change our lives
It would set us free
It’s what we need to be

Have you ever pretended to be something that you’re not? I do it all the time. As Battistelli sings, I’m not being honest – with myself or with God.
And yet, God knows all. I can’t hide from Him. I can hide from you, but not from Him.
So, Jesus does sell. Singers can mention Jesus Christ without shame.
I wish they’d do it more often.
More likely, though, it’s my fault. Perhaps I could hear Jesus clearly, if only I was listening for Him – instead of listening with a critical ear.
How we approach God makes all the difference. Are we willing to listen and learn, or are we seeking to justify our own views of who we think God is?
If we’re honest …

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