5 Signs the Christian Song You’re Listening to Is Polluted

If you subscribe to my blog and/or have been following my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, then you probably already know that I’m a devoted fan of the Christian band MercyMe.

They have recently made headline news due to the fact that the movie based on the story behind their smash hit single, “I Can Only Imagine,” premiered last month and has done very well at the box office.

 

I’ve enjoyed their music since the early 2000s, but it wasn’t until April 2014 when they released their album Welcome to the New that my enjoyment was elevated to an entirely new level.

And just when I thought their music couldn’t get any better, it did!

In March 2017 they released their album Liferwhich has just been nominated by the 2018 Billboard Music Awards for Top Christian Album.

The album’s debut single, “Even If,” has been nominated for Top Christian Song, and the band has been nominated for Top Christian Artist!

Those nominations alone should be enough to spur you into grabbing your own copy.

I remember the first time I listened to Lifer.

I was walking around my neighborhood, earbuds in, and feeling like I’d died and gone to Heaven!

I wanted to dance, jump up and down, and shout for joy over the pure (no legal additives) gospel truth I was hearing!

This grace-saturated album impressed me so much that I did an eleven-week series of posts, reviewing the message in each track:

    1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
    2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
    3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
    4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
    5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
    6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
    7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
    8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
    9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
    10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
    11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

Devoting eleven posts to the messages in Lifer should give you a pretty good idea how important this album is to me.

You may be wondering, What’s so amazing about Lifer? 

After all, there are a lot of hit Christian albums out there.

I’ll tell you what makes Lifer so amazing: Every one of its songs communicates the unadulterated gospel of grace in Christ Jesus!

Words that mean the same as unadulterated are: “clean, pure, unmixed, spotless, unblemished, uncontaminated, undiluted, and unpolluted.”

The apostle Paul was so passionate about communicating the uncontaminated gospel, he was livid when he found out that some of the Galatian believers were trading in this spotless gospel for a polluted one by trying to add works of the Law as a requirement for their salvation:

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ,  for a different  gospel;  which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-7 NASB).

Notice that he says this so-called “gospel” that some were spouting was really no gospel at all!

You can almost see the tears in his eyes and feel the lump in his throat as he writes:

I am not one of those who treats Christ’s death as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping Jewish laws, then there was no need for Christ to die (Gal. 2:21 TLB).

Paul had been so radically transformed by this wonderful, Jesus-plus-nothing gospel of grace, he had zero tolerance for those who were trying to pollute it with works.

The only equation that works is: Jesus + Nothing = Gospel 

Andrew Farley’s best-selling book The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church is an excellent treatise on the gospel of grace in Christ Jesus.

It resounds with the truth that the believer’s only part in their salvation is their belief that Christ did everything necessary to make them right with God and their acceptance of this gift—no good works added.

And guess what?

It wasn’t until after Bart Millard, the lead singer of MercyMe, got hold of a copy of The Naked Gospel, that he began writing song lyrics that reflected his enjoyment of God’s wonderful gift of grace in Christ Jesus!

(While MercyMe’s pre-Naked Gospel song lyrics reflect grace for the most part, Bart would be the first to tell you that he wasn’t living it.)

Now, you might be wondering, How can I know if the Christian song I’m listening to is expressing a polluted gospel?

Use the following checklist as a litmus test:

If this song suggests that I am not already and forever …

  1. a brand-new, pure, righteous, and holy creation in Christ,
  2. flawlessly fused to Christ,
  3. completely forgiven through the blood of Christ,
  4. lavishly loved and accepted in Christ, and
  5. destined to rule and reign with Christ,

then it is polluted.

People who are trained to spot counterfeit money aren’t trained by studying counterfeits; they are trained but by examining the real thing.

In the same way, if you want to become gospel-exuding song-savvy, meditate on Paul’s epistles.

You can also listen to the MercyMe albums Lifer and Welcome to the New again and again.

And, if you want to enrich your listening to Lifer, click here to read all of my MercyMe’s Lifer Messages and start scrolling.

Or you can just return to this post and click on the eleven links listed above.

And just so you know, my intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Solomon, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, is also saturated with the unadulterated gospel of grace in Christ Jesus.

If you love to read about the Divine Romance between Christ and His bride, then you don’t want to miss savoring His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

And right now, it’s the lowest price it’s ever been on Amazon!

I hope you’ll get a copy and let me know what you think.

Until next time,
Live Christ, Live Happy!

P.S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

Why Many Christians Aren’t Enjoying Intimacy with Christ

Over the last fifteen years, I’ve enjoyed leading several Bible studies focused on how to enjoy greater intimacy with Christ. At the beginning of the opening session, I ask the participants complete a questionnaire so that I can find out what they hope to gain from the study.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The last question is: “In your life, what do you believe is the greatest obstacle to enjoying intimacy with Christ?”

While most of their answers have to do with busyness, tiredness, and just not taking the time, every once in a while someone will answer that they are the greatest obstacle to enjoying intimacy with Christ.

Sadly, they see themselves as the major hindrance.

I remember when a wrong view of myself kept me from enjoying intimacy with Christ.

Oh, I spent focused time with Him, reading His Word, journaling, and talking to Him.

But almost always, my conversations with Jesus revolved around my shortcomings—my sins, failures, and mistakes—and asking Him to forgive me and help me do better in my walk with Him.

There was no fixing my eyes on Jesus, setting my mind on things above, or dwelling on eternal spiritual truth (Heb. 12:2, Col. 3:2, Phil. 4:8).

Until one day.

That incredible, liberating, marvelous day when I finally realized that His finished work on the cross had already wiped out my sin debt in full and made me a brand new person altogether!

In many of my posts, I share about the believer’s identity in Christ and our new life in Him.

But I don’t believe I have fully expressed what it means that Christians are already completely forgiven—forever.

Oh, how I pray that God will give you eyes to see that the sins of your lifetime are gone and you no longer have to fixate on them!

Instead, you can focus on the Wonderful Christ and His finished work on your behalf.

This way, you won’t waste one more minute missing out on the wondrous delight He longs for you to experience in intimacy with Him!

Right here. Right now.

Beloved, I don’t expect you to take my word for it when I tell you that you are already completely forgiven for the sins of your lifetime.

The following list of Scriptures provides more than enough evidence:

If you are thinking, This sounds too good to be true, I encourage you to look up and write out the above Scriptures for yourself, meditate on them, and trust Christ’s indwelling Spirit to confirm the truth of your complete forgiveness in Him.

My favorite passage concerning our complete forgiveness is Colossians 2:13–14:

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Some interpret this passage as “He forgave all of my sins up until the moment I got saved, but then after that, I have to make sure I ask forgiveness for every sin I commit.”

If that is true, then let me ask you an important question: What happens if you forget one?

Imagine that my wealthy earthly husband never wants me to do without anything I need or want, so he deposits a massive sum of money into a savings account to cover every debt I will incur throughout my lifetime.

But there’s a catch. My checking account has a zero balance.

Every time I write a check, I have to tell him what I bought and how much it cost. Then I have to ask him to transfer the exact amount from the savings account to cover my transaction so that I won’t overdraw my checking account.

While I am extremely thankful my generous husband will always agree to pay each debt, the consequences (overdraft fees, embarrassment) will be costly if I forget even one.

This may sound like a silly example to you, but I lived in fear for years over the possibility that some of my sins would go unforgiven because I couldn’t remember them all.

You can imagine how thankful I was when I found out my heavenly Husband deposited His unlimited riches into my checking account instead!

Now I never have to worry about incurring hefty insufficient funds fees for unconfessed debts.

Does this make me any less appreciative for His overwhelming generosity? Of course not!

It makes me even more thankful that I can lay my head on my pillow every night and sleep in sweet peace, knowing that I will never have to work to pay off my own sin debt.

My heavenly Husband paid it all with the first and only forgiveness deposit the very moment we were joined in sacred union.

To make my ongoing forgiveness contingent on my memory and my asking for it shifts my focus away from what Jesus has already accomplished on to what I must do to remain in “good standing” with Him.

His shed blood and my belief in Him were all that was necessary for me to enjoy my complete once-for-all forgiveness (Heb. 9:22).

Beloved, if you believe that all of your sins—up until the moment you receive salvation—are forgiven, but the ones you have committed since then aren’t forgiven until you confess them, you will not be able to enjoy the assurance and peace Christ died to give to you (Rom. 5:1; 1 John 5:13).

This is hardly the kind of life the royal bride of Christ should be living!

It may help you to understand your complete forgiveness by considering the answer to the following questions:

  1. How many of your sins did Jesus shed His blood for?
  2. How many of them were in the future when He died for them?

All of them!

We appropriated His complete forgiveness for the sins of our lifetime—past, present, and future—the very yoctosecond (smaller than a nanosecond) we believed in Him.

Opponents of the complete forgiveness doctrine often cite 1 John 1:9 as evidence that we have to keep asking God to forgive our sins to remain cleansed: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This verse has been referred to as the Christians’ “bar of soap.” Thirteen verses later, however, the apostle John writes, “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake” (1 John 2:12 NASB).

At first glance, this appears to present a conundrum. The two verses cannot both be true at the same time—unless they are addressed to two different audiences.

In the first chapter, John was appealing to the Gnostics (those who had infiltrated the early church and believed that they had no sin) to be saved.

In contrast, 2:12 is unmistakably addressing believers—little children whose sins have been forgiven them.

People who teach that believers have been forgiven for the sins of their lifetime often get accused of giving people a green light to sin. I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall ever needing anyone to give me a green light!

I did a pretty good job of sinning without one. But now that I understand what I’ve been given through Christ’s finished work on the cross, I realize that I really don’t want to sin.

My heart’s desire is to express the cherishing love and exuberant life of Christ (Heb. 10:16).

Before I conclude this post on our once-for-all forgiveness, I would like to clarify a couple of things.

First of all, I believe that confession (agreeing with God that we are sinning) and repentance (changing our minds and turning from sin) are healthy and beneficial habits in the life of every believer.

When we realize we are sinning, it is important to tell our Beloved we are sorry for not living in complete dependence on Him and to thank Him for the forgiveness that is already ours in Him.

Nevertheless, our confession and repentance are not a means of obtaining more forgiveness.

Our initial acceptance of His forgiveness through His shed blood at salvation secured a clean slate for us forever.

Christ wants us to believe it and live like we believe it!

Second, our complete forgiveness before God does not shield us from the earthly consequences of our sin and doesn’t mean that we don’t need to ask for forgiveness from other people when we sin against them.

In order to maintain healthy relationships, we must be willing to admit our wrongdoing and seek forgiveness from the person we have injured.

We also need to be quick to forgive others when they sin against us. (That’s a topic for another post … or book … or series.)

Jesus wants us to wake up every morning, believing that we stand completely forgiven in Him.

This may not be something we fully understand with our minds or feel with our emotions, but we can choose with to believe it, regardless of opposing thoughts or feelings.

It is much easier to believe our way into a new way of feeling than to try to feel our way into a new way of believing.

After all, don’t we possess the very faith of Christ (Gal. 2:20)?

Believing that we are completely forgiven for the sins of our lifetime will enable us to receive and enjoy His lavishing affection.

That’s where the cycle of authentic love in our life begins—by letting Him love us unconditionally.

Dearly Beloved, do you believe that the sins of your entire lifetime—past, present, and future—were forgiven through Jesus’ shed blood the moment you believed in Him?

If your answer is yes, what difference has it made (or will it make) in your life?

If your answer is no or not sure, what is hindering you from believing it?

If you have trouble allowing yourself to enjoy His unconditional love without thinking you’ve earned it, ask Him to give you revelation about your total forgiveness.

Remember, just because you might have heard (and believed) throughout your life that you have to continually ask God to forgive each and every sin, it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Simply put, repetitive exposure to a false concept does not make it any truer.

Instead, why don’t you see what happens when you begin to thank Him for what you already have and see yourself as a completely forgiven, brand-new person altogether!

What you focus on will be expressed through your life.

If you enjoyed this post, then I believe you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him.

If you want to learn more, check out my book page.

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

Groundhog Day & Grace

Happy Groundhog Day! I’m not sure which will be more on the minds of most Americans today: the hilarious 1993 movie starring Bill Murray or whether or not Punxsutawney Phil, that famous 132-year-old furry forecaster, saw his shadow this morning.

Just in case you don’t know, Groundhog Day is not a national holiday. It became an official observance in 1887 at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

According to tradition, if Phil sees his shadow after he emerges from his underground home, it will scare him and he will retreat back into his burrow to hibernate through six more weeks of winter.

But if he doesn’t see his shadow, then we can expect an early spring.

Frankly, this has never made sense to me. If February 2 is a sunshiny day in Gobbler’s Knob, then it is bad news for people who don’t like wintry weather.

And if it is a cloudy day, then it’s good news. Weird.

You might be surprised to learn (as I was) about the origins of Groundhog Day:

Groundhog Day can be traced to early Christians in Europe and the custom of Candlemas Day, which marked the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

On Candlemas Day, the belief was that clear and sunny conditions signified a long, harsh winter and that cloudy conditions indicated that warm weather was approaching.

The Germans eventually adopted this custom, incorporating a hedgehog and the belief that if the animal cast a shadow during sunny skies on Candlemas Day, it indicated six more weeks of bitter cold.

When German settlers arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1700s, they brought the tradition with them. However, because hedgehogs were scarce in the region, they were replaced with the more abundant groundhog, which was also considered sacred among the local Native Americans.*

Now, for those of you who have not yet heard the news today (February 2, 2018) and would like to rely on this renowned rodent’s revelation, then … drumroll please … Brace yourself for six more weeks of winter!

This, of course, means that Phil saw his shadow this morning at Gobbler’s Knob.

So, how much stock should we actually put into Phil’s weather-forecasting prowess?

To date, Phil has made 132 predictions—a long winter 104 times and an early spring 18 times. There is nothing recorded on 10 occasions.

And guess what? He’s only been right about 40 percent of the time.

There seems to be an awful lot of hoopla surrounding this tradition that doesn’t have that great of a track record.

That’s my opinion. For what it’s worth.

All this talk about predicting the weather reminds me of something incredible that Christ speaks to His bride, the church (those who have believed into Him), in the Song of Songs:

“For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone” (2:11).

This verse has nothing to do with natural seasons and everything to do with the eternal spiritual realm believers in Christ now live in under the new covenant of grace.

I wrote about it in my recently published debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love:

In Song 2:8, the maiden’s Beloved revealed Himself to her in a new light—as a resurrected, conquering King in all His glory. Then she exclaims:

“Listen! My Beloved! Behold, He is coming, climbing on the mountains, leaping on the hills.”

Immediately after that, He invited her to join Him in expressing His love and life to the world, saying,

“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along” (Song 2:10).

Then He gave her the reason that the time was now to join Him:

“For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone” (2:11).

The Beloved Shepherd is stating the reason that it is now time for the maiden to join Him—the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. He is saying that the winter rains of the law—the system of works-based righteousness—is over.

Now that the maiden has begun to experience the glorious freedom of the new covenant of grace, He wants her to join Him in sharing with others how they can experience the same freedom.

The good news of the gospel of grace is that no one has to earn the righteousness that God freely gives. Jesus paid it all. All they have to do is believe into Him (John 3:16; 19:30; 1 Cor. 6:17; 2 Cor. 5:21).

You may be wondering if I’m suggesting here that everyone go door to door with evangelistic tracts.

No. But I’m not discouraging it either. Those who have the gift of evangelism may do this and do this well (Eph. 4:11).

What I am suggesting is that every Christian’s life can be a witness of the new covenant of grace to others.

When our lives are an expression of our Beloved’s cherishing love and exuberant life, people will be knocking on our doors, asking where they can get some of what we’ve got.

And we will be able to tell them that what we’ve got is the resurrection life of Christ—also theirs for the receiving.

Dear reader, Jesus really did pay it all. All it costs us is our belief in and acceptance of His life as a free gift.

If you are a believer in Christ, then He has already made you the righteousness of God in His Son (2 Cor. 5:21).

Spiritually speaking, this means you are already living in the eternal spring season where new life abounds under the new covenant of grace!

Christian, if you are still living as if you are under the harsh winter rains of the law, then decide today that you are going to stop it!

Stop living as if Jesus’ work on the cross was unfinished (John 19:30).

And start living in the righteousness, peace, and joy He died to give you (Rom. 14:17).

Hey, you might even want to take a Sharpie and write “GRACE DAY” underneath “GROUNDHOG DAY” on your calendar to commemorate this decision you’ve made to live in the perpetual spring of grace.

No more winters for you in Christ!

If you liked today’s post, I believe you might enjoy my debut devotional study (released September 2017), His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

I wrote this book to help Christians enjoy greater intimacy with Christ through understanding their flawless identity in Him revealed through the first two chapters of the Song of Songs.

I invite you to check out its reviews on Amazon and consider getting a copy for yourself.

If you would rather order one directly from me, please email me.

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

*Spencer Kent, “Groundhog Day 2018: Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow? What does the result mean?”, last modified February 2, 2018, NJ.com, accessed February 2, 2018, http://bit.ly/2FBRaSs.

Disclosure of Material Connection: One or more of the links in post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

How to Master the Art of Enjoying Jesus

With head bowed and eyes closed, the prayer group member’s heart sank as they listened to their leader communicate the idea that “experiencing Jesus” and “enjoyment” are two mutually exclusive events.

They thought, Ugh! It’s prayers like these that take the wind out of the sails of believers who are passionate about their relationship with Christ.

Believers who just might find something more enjoyable to do on a Friday night. (Did someone say Netflix?)

Believers who might never experience a taste of the ultimate enjoyment that is already theirs for the receiving in Christ.

Even though the prayer group leader was sincere and well-meaning, it did not change the fact that they were sincerely wrong.

Sadly, their entire prayer reeked of legalism.

The epidemic of legalism among Christians has been spreading like wildfire throughout the ages.

Living in this world, it’s so easy to make our relationship with Christ about what we are doing for Him, rather than enjoying what He has already done for us and in us through the cross and resurrection.

I know. I was a card-carrying legalist for years.

Then I began to understand the incredible riches of His grace. The gift of His Holy Spirit eternally fused with my new spirit (Ezek. 36:26; 1 Cor. 3:17; 6:17).

The gift I’m sure I will continue to unwrap in awe and wonder until the moment I see Him face to face. (Tears.)

One of the reasons I wrote my debut devotional study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, is to help combat the lie that if you become a Christian, it’s the end of all earthly pleasure as you know it.

In a sense, it’s true. Because there is nothing on earth that compares with the joy a believer in Christ can experience in Him: “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 NASB).

Joy is an automatic result for the Christian who realizes that—through faith in Christ alone—they are the righteousness of God in Him and have peace with Father God (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:1).

If a Christian understands that Christ already

  • wiped out their lifetime sin debt forever,
  • killed off their old, sin-filled self,
  • gave them a brand-spankin’-new, flawless identity in Him, and
  • joined His life with theirs,

then life on planet earth in union with His Spirit couldn’t be more enjoyable.

I wrote about mastering the art of enjoying Jesus in His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love:

Jesus wants us to enjoy life. His Word tells us that He “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17 NASB).

What’s more, He wants us to realize that He is our life and the source of our greatest enjoyment.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that man’s chief purpose in life is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”*

We enjoy and glorify our Beloved when we experience and express His cherishing love and exuberant life.

As the bride of Christ, we need to learn how to master the art of taking great delight in Him.

Just as Julia Child mastered the art of French cooking, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could master the art of enjoying Jesus?

I want to experience and enjoy Him as much as possible this side of eternity. I want joy to be the marrow that courses through my veins.

I want to come to the end of my life on this earth (if Jesus tarries) and be able to say that I truly lived—because I intimately knew life Himself.

I want my first gaze into my Beloved’s eyes to be familiar, not foreign.

In my attempt to communicate to the bride of Christ how knowing her identity will enable her to experience and express His cherishing love and exuberant life, I’m reminded of a quote by theologian Dr. Howard Hendricks: “A mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pews.**

If we don’t understand and practice what we preach, how can we effectively teach others? No one wants to read a book on how to bake the perfect cherry pie unless we know the author makes delicious cherry pies!

Likewise, no one wants to read a book or listen to a message about how to enjoy Jesus unless the author or speaker consistently shows forth the fruit of delighting in Him.

For over ten years now, I have been on a journey of learning to rest in the shade of my Beloved’s grace and delighting in Him as I allow myself to experience His unconditional love.

While I cannot claim that I have mastered the art of enjoying Him, I will say that I am in hot pursuit.

The most important thing I’ve learned is something I’ve said before (in different ways) and will keep saying: the key to delighting in Jesus is to personally experience His delight in you.

He delights in and celebrates you at all times—simply because you are His.

Our Beloved is a Master at separating our who from our do. He is filled with compassion for us in our struggles. He’s not holding a hammer, ready to nail us if we don’t get our act together.

We can rest entirely in Him—in His love, power, goodness, and wisdom.

*“The Westminster Shorter Catechism,” The Westminster Presbyterian, accessed April 7, 2017, http://www.westminsterconfession.org/confessional-standards/the-westminster-shorter-catechism.php.

**Chris Adsit, “The Measure of a Ministry,” posted January 1, 2011, Discipleship Revolution, January–February 2011 issue, Mission Frontiers, accessed April 7, 2017, http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/the-measure-of-a-ministry.

I hope you enjoyed my excerpt. Even as I write this post, I sense Him reminding me once again that He adored me before I ever did one thing for Him and continually rejoices over me with singing, dancing, and shouts of joy (1 John 4:19; Zeph. 3:17).

And when I see (in my mind’s eye) Him doing this, I can’t help but enjoy Him!

Dear reader, do you believe that your Beloved wants you to enjoy your life in Him to the fullest? If you aren’t currently experiencing enjoyment in your relationship with Him, what do you think is hindering you?

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

Disclosure of Material Connection: One or more of the links in post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

Why Lifer Is MercyMe’s Best Album Ever

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the messages in MercyMe's album Lifer

I am over-the-top excited about this post series on the messages in every song on MercyMe’s Lifer album!

You might be wondering why I would devote an entire series to this album.

After all, there are many popular ones out there.

I’ll tell you why.

It’s because MercyMe’s grace-saturated hearts are spilling over into their lyrics like no other Christian music artist I know of.

Let me explain.

Contemporary Christian music has been my music genre of choice since the fall of 1997.

That’s when personal loss drove me to seek God like never before.

I locked in my non-digital, garage-sale radio to a Christian station and ripped the knob off of it.

Well, it actually accidentally broke off!

No problem. I wasn’t planning on changing the station.

I’ve been listening to contemporary Christian music (almost exclusively) for over twenty years now.

And I will let you in on a secret: just because a song is produced “in Jesus’ name,” that doesn’t mean it fully conveys the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ.

Christian song lyrics are only as good and accurate as the theology of those who write them.

You know exactly what I mean if you’ve ever listened to a Christian song that left you feeling like the gospel (the best news ever) got worse the moment you got saved.

Lyrics that transmit messages like, “Christian, you have a wicked heart.”

“Christian, you need to read your Bible more, pray more, witness more, and give more to get and stay right with God.”

“You need to empty yourself of you (does God really want you to get rid of the new-and-only-you in His Son?) in order to be filled with God.”

Sadly, the list goes on and on.

In a September 2013 interview with ReligionNews.com, MercyMe’s lead vocalist, Bart Millard, was asked about his new-found passion for God’s grace that was being reflected in the lyrics of the songs in MercyMe’s newest album at the time, The Hurt and the Healer.

The following is his transparent response:

I preached for years that you can’t earn God’s favor. But for whatever reason, it was all so robotic for me, and all I was really trying to do was earn it. I was doing everything that religion told me to do. I was trying to get a high score. But no matter how many records were sold or people were impacted, I didn’t seem to feel like I was inching closer to God. And, meanwhile, my family life was hanging by a thread. Sure, I would have told you that I was trusting Jesus for salvation and heaven, but the reality was that I was still working overtime to gain God’s approval on a daily basis! Essentially, my identity was completely MercyMe. Then, I began to realize that the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me.

Millard’s realization that “the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me,” came through reading The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church, a book by best-selling author and Lubbock, Texas pastor, Andrew Farley.

The two connected through Twitter and ended up writing a grace-filled book together by the same name as the album–The Hurt and the Healer.

Since the 2012 release of their album, The Hurt and The Healer, MercyMe has produced two more grace-exuding albums: Welcome to the New in 2014 and Lifer in 2017.

And all I can say is, “Their albums just keep getting better and better!”

Don’t get me wrong.

I fell in love with MercyMe’s music the first time I heard “I Can Only Imagine,” the most played Christian radio single in history.

(Check out the I Can Only Imagine Movie that tells the story behind the song!)

But the songs written and recorded since Millard’s grace epiphany, in my opinion, shine a brighter light on the pure gospel than the ones before.

And I think Bart might tell you the same thing.

In my next post in this series of messages in Lifer‘s songs, I review the album’s title track, “Lifer,” which also happens to be its first.

(Here is a table of contents for every post in this series.)

  1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
  2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
  3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
  4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
  5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
  6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
  7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
  8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
  9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
  10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
  11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

In every post, I include links where you can listen to the spotlighted song and the heart behind it.

I also elaborate on the message in each song by telling you how the song speaks to me and its New Covenant foundation.

I hope you glean much grace from the album and this series.

If you do, you just might end up doing the Happy Dance with me!

Dearly beloved, I’m wondering,

What is your all-time favorite MercyMe song and why?

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you love the pure gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their one-and-only, flawless identity in Him.

Learn more by checking out my book page.

P.S. S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

Christian, Which Spiritual Season Are You In?

His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love - Excerpt 17

I am so grateful to live in a part of the world that experiences the four distinct seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Autumn is my favorite because of the cooler temperatures and the gorgeous foliage.

Just as we experience the changing natural seasons, we are also subject to changing experiential seasons in our life with Christ.

It makes perfect sense to talk about the different seasons in a believer’s life because, throughout Scripture, God’s people are metaphorically described as His garden (Song 4:12, 15, 16; 5:1; 6:2; Isa. 58:11; Jer. 31:12), vineyard (Song 1:6; 8:11–12; Isa. 5:1–10; Matt. 20:1–8; 21:28–41)), or field (1 Cor. 3:6–9).

We can find great encouragement in identifying which season we are currently experiencing. There is just something about knowing that we are not the only ones who are going (or have gone) through especially difficult times.

We also experience seasons of great joy and celebration. One thing we can know for sure—no matter which season we are in, it will change. Life is not static.

Whether we are struggling through a cold and lifeless winter season or a hot and hectic summer season, we can find great hope in knowing that a warm, flourishing spring or a cool, abundant autumn harvest is just around the corner.

The changing seasons of our lives are not haphazard but ordained by our Beloved to accomplish His purposes in our lives: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:10 NKJV).

Regardless of what season we are in, our Beloved wants us to embrace Him, trusting that He will manifest the greatest possible harvest of His fruit in our lives in His perfect timing.

Before we look at the identifying characteristics of each season, I believe it is important to clarify what I mean by “growth.” Growth is not a change in our spiritual state. Our new heart is our new spirit united with Christ’s Spirit and is complete and unchangeable (Col. 2:10).

True growth in believers is measured by the degree to which their minds are renewed with what is already true of their new hearts and then manifested through their outward lives (Rom. 12:2). The apostle Peter exhorts believers to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).

Knowing which season we are in will not only encourage us to persevere through the difficulties of winter and summer but will enable us to not take for granted the joys of spring and fall.

Although we generally prefer one season to another, there are pros and cons within each that bring a nice overall balance to our lives:

  • Winter: The winter season is cold, has fewer daylight hours, and is a time when many plants and trees are dormant. Although they may appear lifeless, their dormancy is actually a part of their growth cycle. On the downside, the experiential season of winter is characterized by very little sense of our Beloved’s love, presence, and activity in our lives (His left hand). Sometimes during this season, it seems as if He has taken a permanent vacation. The upside to this bleak and barren season is that it creates a hunger to experience our Beloved’s presence and will cause us to seek Him to meet our needs.

  • Spring: The spring season is warmer, has more daylight hours, and is the time for planting new seeds because the ground temperature gets warm enough for germination. Everywhere we turn, we see the emergence of new life in the blooming flowers and the different shades of green in the tree branches, growing grass, leaves, and bushes. The experiential season of spring is characterized by a greater sense of our Beloved’s activity in our lives (His right hand). New seeds of truth are planted in our minds and watered and cultivated through intimacy with Him. This season holds within it great hope—hope that the planted seeds will eventually manifest an abundant harvest.

  • Summer: The temperatures of summer can range from very warm to unbearably hot. Much attention is given to the growing plants through watering, pulling weeds, and keeping bugs and animals from destroying them. On the upside, the experiential season of summer symbolizes rapid growth, where we are so energized by what our Beloved has planted in our hearts and minds that we want to share it with everyone. On the downside, we can become overzealous and get too many irons in the fire. It is important to realize that just because we see a need, that doesn’t mean our Beloved is calling us to meet it. Awareness does not necessarily constitute action on our part. Take time to seek Him. He is an expert at weeding out unnecessary distractions that might keep us from expressing the fullness of His fruit in our lives.

  • Autumn: In the part of the world where I live, the cooler temperatures of autumn bring refreshing relief from the dog days of summer. Up until the sixteenth century, harvest was the term used to refer to this season. Now, it is commonly referred to as fall because of the falling leaves of the deciduous trees. (I find it fascinating that their gorgeous hues signify their maturity.) The experiential season of autumn represents the abundant manifestation of the fruit of our Beloved’s Spirit being expressed through our lives. This is a joyous season because this fruit is not the result of our works—our trying hard to be more loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. It is the delectable, authentic fruit of shared intimacy with our Beloved.

I hope you enjoyed today’s excerpt from my soon-to-be-released debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, about the four different spiritual seasons a believer in Christ will likely experience throughout his or her life.

Now, dear reader, I’m wondering,

Which experiential season are you in right now?
What do you believe your Beloved is doing in your life through this strategic season?

If you prefer to interact with me through email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

 Until next time,

 

 

 

 

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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Are You a Lifer in Christ?

MercyMe Lifer Message - Track 1 - "Lifer"

I love wholesome Christian music that you can’t help but marry.

Music you can dance to, walk to, work out to, clean house to, listen with your kids, grandkids, and friends to, worship God to, cry to, sing for joy to, and experience new covenant truth through.

That’s why I decided to do a post series on MercyMe’s 2017 album, Lifer.

I would have never chosen to devote eleven blog posts to share the message in every song on this album unless I was passionate about what this twenty-four-year-old Christian band is belting out.

It started with The Hurt and the Healer (2012), progressed to Welcome to the New (2014), and now, ladies and gentlemen, Lifer.

Their albums just keep getting gracier and gracier.

Yeah, I made that adjective up.

But I think it fits.

In my premiere post for this series, I shared the backstory of MercyMe’s transition into writing and performing songs that exemplify the grace message.

The finished-work-of-Christ message.

The believer’s brand-new-flawless-righteous-and-holy-identity-in-Christ message.

The message that changed my life over ten years ago.

It was just what the Great Physician ordered for this performance-based-acceptance junkie.

And my life has never been the same.

This Jesus + Nothing = Everything message is the eternal lifeblood that courses through my veins.

I am a lifer in Christ.

The title track, “Lifer,” is the first song on this album.

Let’s listen to the short and sweet story behind the song:

Did you catch what Bart Millard, the band’s leader, said?

Christ consumes our heart and shows up in our music.

I love that!

When Christ overwhelms our hearts with His love, grace, mercy, and truth, it spills over into everything we do.

Now let’s enjoy the entire song.

Aside from the fact that this song makes you want to put on your boogie shoes, forget your worries, and just plain have fun, the message surging through its lyrics is, “No matter what happens to me in this life—whether good or bad—we’re lifers in this together, God.”

The first time I heard the word lifer, it was in bleak reference to someone who was serving a life sentence in prison.

The song’s actual meaning is at the opposite end of the spectrum.

It is filled with freedom, hope, joy, and the anticipation of life eternal which, by the way, has already started (see Track 9) for those of us who are in Christ Jesus.

To sum up what Millard said in the Story Behind the Song:

No matter how hard we try, we can’t mess this thing (our walk with Christ) up. Because He’s in it for life, so are we—even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

You might ask, “How can he make such an incredible claim?”

I think Millard would be the first to tell you that MercyMe is merely one of many messengers sharing this good news of the gospel of grace.

Our eternal security in Christ is based in our eternal spiritual union with the One who, Himself, is called “eternal life”:

We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20).

The following Scriptures are a few of my favorites which speak of our fail-proof salvation:

I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand (John 10:28).

I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you (Heb. 13:5).

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself (2 Tim. 2:13 NIV).

These aren’t promises that are going to happen some day in the distant future.

They are true right now—because of our eternal spiritual union with Christ’s Spirit.

I believe that one of Christ’s greatest longings is for every believer in Him to realize that he or she is eternally and flawlessly united with His Spirit the moment he or she believes in (literally into) Him.

Signed (Rev. 22:4). Sealed (Eph. 1:13). Delivered (Col. 1:13). We’re His (Song 6:3). Forever and ever (Rev. 22:5).

MercyMe’s Lifer album is filled with life-giving, grace-based lyrics.

And this hit band intends to keep sharing what they consider to be the best news ever (see Track 4) as long as they have breath.

Not only are they lifers in Christ, but they are twenty-plus years and counting in the Christian music business.

Kudos to MercyMe for sharing the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ through their music!

I hope you enjoyed the second post in this series.

(Here is a table of contents for every post in this series.)

  1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
  2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
  3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
  4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
  5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
  6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
  7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
  8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
  9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
  10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
  11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

Dearly beloved,

What do you think about the song, “Lifer,” and how does it speak to you?

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you love the pure gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their one-and-only, flawless identity in Him.

Learn more by checking out my book page.

P.S.S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!

MercyMe Lifer Message - Track 2 - "You Found Me"

If you’ve been following my post series on MercyMe’s 2017 album, Lifer, then you already know its backstory and the message in the song, “Lifer,” which is the first track on the album.

In today’s post, I will be sharing the exhilarating message in track 2, “You Found Me,” and how it speaks to me.

With the exception of Lifer‘s two ballads—its debut, smash hit single, “Even If,” (track 5) and “Ghost” (track 10)—the remaining eight songs are invigorating, up-tempo songs that make you want to get up out of your chair and celebrate the finished work of Christ.

Rejuvenating songs that make you want to fully embrace your brand-new identity in Him.

Songs that you can’t help but move to.

There’s no way you’re sitting still if you’re within earshot of “You Found Me,” “Grace Got You,” “Best News Ever,” “Hello Beautiful,” “We Win,” “Happy Dance,” or “Heaven’s Here.”

Just try it.

I dare you.

I double-dog dare you.

In my last post, “Are You a Lifer in Christ?” I shared the short story behind the song, “Lifer,” and then the entire song.

So, I will follow suit with track 2, “You Found Me”:

This song is about the day that He found me, the day that everything changed, the band’s lead singer, Bart Millard, said with a bright smile.

Now, let’s enjoy the full track:

Both the fun beat and the lyrics are sure to get your heart rate up.

The message in this song is something to get excited about!

The song’s title is reminiscent of the the prodigal son account in Luke 15:11-32, in particular, verses 24 and 32, where the father of the prodigal son is speaking.

This son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found (verse 24).

This brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found (verse 32).

At first listen, one might think “You Found Me” is about the believer in Christ’s initial salvation experience when he or she first believed in (literally into) Jesus.

But I don’t think that is the central message in this song.

I think it is about Father God’s intense longing for every believer to understand the fullness of the gospel of grace in His Son, Jesus Christ.

About His unyielding desire to see those who belong to Him live the life of freedom Christ died for them to enjoy.

The opening line of the song comes from the apostle Paul’s first letter to the immature church in Corinth:

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things (1 Cor. 13:11).

In this verse, Paul is speaking of how our incomplete understanding of spiritual truth this side of heaven sometimes motivates us act in childish ways that are inconsistent with who we really and eternally are (Rom. 12:1-21 Cor. 13:9-10).

The lyrics in “You Found Me” use the imagery of the childhood game hide-and-seek to illustrate what believers typically do when they sin—they go into hiding because of shame.

But our loving and relentlessly pursuing God (who has been called the Hound of Heaven) will have none of that childishness.

He goes to great lengths to remind us that we have been freed indeed (John 8:36; Rom. 6:18, 22; 8:2).

We are pure, holy, and righteous in His Son (Song 6:9; 1 Cor. 3:17; 2 Cor. 5:21).

We are completely forgiven for the sins of our lifetime (Eph. 1:7; 4:32; Col. 1:13–14; 2:13–14; Heb. 10:18).

And His 24/7/365 indwelling Spirit will never ever leave us or forsake us (John 10:28; Heb. 13:5).

In a sense, He finds us—gets our attention and reminds us—of the good news of the gospel of grace in His Son.

And then He sings a love song to us (my favorite part of this song), reminding us that He is ours and we are His (Song 2:16; 6:3; 7:10).

MercyMe’s song, “You Found Me,” is certain to be a crowd pleaser.

It is the one song on the album Millard said (in the story behind the song) he was most looking forward to playing in front of a live audience.

While I really enjoy this inspiring and upbeat track, I must admit that my favorite upbeat song on the album is “Grace Got You,” the song I review in my next post in this series.

(Here is a table of contents for every post in this series.)

  1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
  2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
  3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
  4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
  5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
  6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
  7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
  8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
  9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
  10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
  11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

Dearly beloved,

Do you like the song, “You Found Me”? How does it speak to you?

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you love the pure gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their one-and-only, flawless identity in Him.

Learn more by checking out my book page.

P.S.S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

Has Grace Got You?

MercyMe Lifer Message - Track 3 - "Grace Got You"

If grace is a party, there’s no doubt in my mind that MercyMe’s 2017 album, Lifer, will be chosen as the official background music for it.

It’s not at all hard for me to imagine Jesus, the saints who have gone before me, and a heavenly choir of angels celebrating up a storm to this album’s fun and funky tempo in eight of its grace-oozing songs.

And my favorite of the eight is the third track titled “Grace Got You,” the subject of this post.

In my premiere post of this series, I shared the backstory of how the band’s lead singer, Bart Millard, experienced a revelation of the good news (the best news ever) of the gospel of grace—after almost two decades of being in the Christian music business.

Even though he was singing about God’s grace, he wasn’t embracing and savoring it in his own life.

He was—like so many Christians—stuck in a miserable, legalistic mindset, trying to pay for what he had already been given as a free gift (Eph. 2:8-9).

Put simply, Millard just didn’t “get” grace.

He was like an impoverished, mouth-watering child, peering through the window of a candy store (the Werther’s commercial comes to mind), longing to unwrap and enjoy the delectable wonders lining the shelves and counter tops inside.

Until 2012.

That’s when something astounding happened while he was reading a book called The Naked Gospel by best-selling author and Lubbock, Texas pastor, Andrew Farley.

That’s when Millard saw his heavenly Dad appear behind the counter and motion him to come inside the candy store and enjoy the entire smorgasbord of sweets that he was already the rightful heir of!

Now, let’s listen to Millard tell the short and “sweet” story behind the song:

It’s the song that makes you smile, the song that makes you want to be silly, says Millard.

It certainly made me smile—and want to be silly, not really caring who saw or heard me.

The first time I listened to it, I was walking around our neighborhood with earbuds.

I couldn’t help but smile. And sing. And dance.

And, as you might imagine, I was “moved” to post my first impression (April 2017) on Facebook:

Let’s enjoy this fabulous song together.

I don’t think “Grace Got You” will ever get old to me.

And I love the rap portion by John Reuben.

Kudos to MercyMe for including it!

“Grace Got You” embodies the change Millard experienced the second he realized that God’s love and acceptance of him have absolutely nothing to do with how well or how poorly he behaves.

God is just as madly in love with him on his worst day as He is on his best.

All because of the finished work of Christ on the cross.

In an April 2014 radio interview, you can hear more of Millard’s passion concerning the grace party he and his band are now attending, celebrating, and inviting others to.

As I mentioned in a previous post in this series, I was a performance-based acceptance junkie until I too “got” grace.

That’s when I realized that Jesus—Mr. Grace, Himself—“had” me from hello.

I will never forget that initial honeymoon season in my life when the wonders of His amazing grace overwhelmed me.

I felt like Dorothy being swept away from the dull, black-and-white landscape of Kansas to the bright, panoramic spectrum of Oz.

And I’m still in Oz over a decade later.

Oh, it’s not a dream, and I don’t need ruby red slippers.

Because I’m never going back to Kansas.

I’m staying right here in this wonder-filled land called grace!

I invite you to listen to “Grace Got You” (and the entire album) again and again!

(Here is a table of contents for every post in this series.)

  1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
  2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
  3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
  4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
  5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
  6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
  7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
  8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
  9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
  10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
  11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

Let this grace-infused album become a part of your joy-filled journey in Christ.

And remember, if you are a believer in Christ, then grace has “got” you for good!

Dearly beloved, why don’t you decide today that you are going to spend the rest of your time on planet earth celebrating the incredible Gift of Grace, Himself, who lives in you 24/7/365 and promises never to leave you?

Do you like the song, “Grace Got You”?

If so, how does it speak to you?

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you love the pure gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their one-and-only, flawless identity in Him.

Learn more by checking out my book page.

P.S. S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

Have You Heard the Best News Ever?

If you are one of many redeemed saints who can thankfully and enthusiastically shout to Jesus, “You Found Me!” then “Grace Got You,” and you are now a “Lifer” in Him.

And if that’s the case, it all started when you heard and responded to the “Best News Ever“—the gospel of grace in Christ Jesus.

Yes, the BEST NEWS EVER is hands down the gospel of grace in Christ Jesus!

Today’s post, “Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” is the fifth in my series of posts on the messages in MercyMe’s 2017 album, Lifer.

The title of this post is a double entendre—a statement that has a two meanings.

For the second meaning of the title, I’m asking you, “Have you heard the MercyMe song, “Best News Ever“?

If you haven’t, to say you’re missing out would be a gross understatement.

Let’s watch as Bart Millard, the band’s lead singer, tells the short-and-sweet story behind “Best News Ever,” Lifer’s fourth track.

Millard believes this song—message wise—is the flagship (the most important) on the record:

I will honestly say it’s one of my favorite messages on the record, because it’s the way I grew up. It was, ‘Be all you can be and, you know, you get what you deserve. And work harder and try harder.’ And it’s like, well wait a minute, what if somebody (which somebody did), what if they came and told me, ‘Hey, the work’s already been done; the fight’s already been won. You don’t have to try so hard.’ That’s what makes the gospel not just the good news, but the best news ever.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Millard’s statement.

The work’s already been done; the fight’s already been won … That’s what makes the gospel not just the good news, but the best news ever!

Listening to the story behind the song reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend (who is at least thirty years my senior) at a local grocery store several years ago.

A sad conversation.

She was one of the first people to invite me and Steven to the church we have attended since we moved to Perryton almost twenty years ago.

Every time we see each other, we always end up talking about the Lord.

But that day in the pasta aisle, I was completely unprepared for what she was going to say to me.

I said something about looking forward to spending eternity in Heaven with Jesus, and she responded to me with worried eyes, “I sure hope I make it.”

I couldn’t believe my ears!

This precious friend loved Jesus with all her heart, yet she did not have assurance that she would spend forever with Him when she passed from this earth.

How heartbreaking that she had spent her entire Christian life not clearly understanding the gospel of grace in Christ Jesus—the best news ever!

I think I said something like, “Sure you’re gonna make it! You’re one of the most Jesus-loving women I know.”

She smiled when I said that, but I knew she still wasn’t convinced that her final destination included eternal bliss with Jesus.

And then we went in opposite directions to finish our grocery shopping.

How I wish I would’ve said to her what I so clearly understand now:

Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. (Eph. 2:8-9 MSG).

And now I’m wondering if she’s still wondering …

The apostle John tells us in his first epistle that we can know for sure that we have eternal life:

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).”

What things did he write prior to this verse so that those of us who believe in the name of the Son of God can know we will spend forever with Jesus?

Let’s look at First John 5:10-12 to find the answer:

10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.

11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

He who has the Son has the life (because Jesus is eternal life).

He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life (because Jesus is eternal life).

It really is that simple!

Me + Jesus = Eternal Spiritual Life
Me – Jesus = Eternal Spiritual Death

And let’s not forget that John 3:16—the most famous verse in the Bible—also came from the inspired pen of the apostle John:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

I wrote a post on John 3:16 titled “The Most Important Verse in the Bible.”

In it, I share how the word in actually means “into.”

So, when we believe in the name of the Son of God, we believe ourselves right into His Spirit.

In other words, when we believe, Father God takes us out of Adam and places us into Christ (Col. 1:13).

Our new spirit is immersed (baptized) into His eternal Spirit.

Forever.

Never again to be separated.

And there is nothing we can do (or not do) to mess this up.

The gospel of grace in Christ Jesus really is the best news ever!

Now, won’t you join me in celebrating the best news ever by listening to MercyMe’s song “Best News Ever” with me?

Dearly beloved,

So far, which song on the album do you like best and why?

I’m looking forward to your response!

Until next time,

Live Christ—Live Happy!

Check out the following table of contents to read every post in this series:

  1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
  2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
  3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
  4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
  5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
  6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
  7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
  8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
  9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
  10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
  11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

If you love the pure gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their one-and-only, flawless identity in Him.

Learn more by checking out my book page.

If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis