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.
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.
(Here is a table of contents for every post in this series.)
- “Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
- “Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer“
- “Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me“
- “Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You“
- “Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever“
- “Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If“
- “Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful“
- “Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win“
- “Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance“
- “Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here“
- “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!
Dear reader, what is your all-time favorite MercyMe song and why?
If you enjoyed this post, then I believe you would 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, go here.
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Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070