DiM | “Great is Thy Faithfulness” by Jordan Smith

ApprovedThis post will serve as a bonus/appetizer to today’s DiM. I’ve already confessed here before that my wife and I enjoy watching The Voice on NBC. What happens on prime time television is rarely something worth discussing on this blog, but I would be remiss to not share Jordan Smith’s studio rendition of Selah’s version of Great is they faithfulness. It may be a bit shallow, but I love the fact that this was not accompanied by an organ.

Jordan Smith – Great Is Thy Faithfulness – Studio Version – The Voice 9


Shorter Version that was aired on NBC’s TheVoice Season 9


Great is Thy Faithfulness (Selah) Lyrics

Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

And All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

*Jordan’s changes are in italics


This is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God the Father for all He has provided for us… including forgiveness, peace, strength for today and hope for tomorrow. This is an excellent song that has endured for well over 100 years.

The song draws from Lamentations 3. You’ll see the refrain in verses 22-23, but to get the full picture, please read the whole chapter.

Lamentations 3 (ESV) | Great Is Your Faithfulness

I am the man who has seen affliction
    under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me
    into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand
    again and again the whole day long.

He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
    he has broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
    with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness
    like the dead of long ago.

He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
    he has made my chains heavy;
though I call and cry for help,
    he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones;
    he has made my paths crooked.

10 He is a bear lying in wait for me,
    a lion in hiding;
11 he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces;
    he has made me desolate;
12 he bent his bow and set me
    as a target for his arrow.

13 He drove into my kidneys
    the arrows of his quiver;
14 I have become the laughingstock of all peoples,
    the object of their taunts all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitterness;
    he has sated me with wormwood.

16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
    and made me cower in ashes;
17 my soul is bereft of peace;
    I have forgotten what happiness is;
18 so I say, “My endurance has perished;
    so has my hope from the Lord.”

19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man that he bear
    the yoke in his youth.

28 Let him sit alone in silence
    when it is laid on him;
29 let him put his mouth in the dust—
    there may yet be hope;
30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
    and let him be filled with insults.

31 For the Lord will not
    cast off forever,
32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33 for he does not afflict from his heart
    or grieve the children of men.

34 To crush underfoot
    all the prisoners of the earth,
35 to deny a man justice
    in the presence of the Most High,
36 to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
    the Lord does not approve.

37 Who has spoken and it came to pass,
    unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
    that good and bad come?
39 Why should a living man complain,
    a man, about the punishment of his sins?

40 Let us test and examine our ways,
    and return to the Lord!
41 Let us lift up our hearts and hands
    to God in heaven:
42 “We have transgressed and rebelled,
    and you have not forgiven.

43 “You have wrapped yourself with anger and pursued us,
    killing without pity;
44 you have wrapped yourself with a cloud
    so that no prayer can pass through.
45 You have made us scum and garbage
    among the peoples.

46 “All our enemies
    open their mouths against us;
47 panic and pitfall have come upon us,
    devastation and destruction;
48 my eyes flow with rivers of tears
    because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.

49 “My eyes will flow without ceasing,
    without respite,
50 until the Lord from heaven
    looks down and sees;
51 my eyes cause me grief
    at the fate of all the daughters of my city.

52 “I have been hunted like a bird
    by those who were my enemies without cause;
53 they flung me alive into the pit
    and cast stones on me;
54 water closed over my head;
    I said, ‘I am lost.’

55 “I called on your name, O Lord,
    from the depths of the pit;
56 you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
    your ear to my cry for help!’
57 You came near when I called on you;
    you said, ‘Do not fear!’

58 “You have taken up my cause, O Lord;
    you have redeemed my life.
59 You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord;
    judge my cause.
60 You have seen all their vengeance,
    all their plots against me.

61 “You have heard their taunts, O Lord,
    all their plots against me.
62 The lips and thoughts of my assailants
    are against me all the day long.
63 Behold their sitting and their rising;
    I am the object of their taunts.

64 “You will repay them, O Lord,
    according to the work of their hands.
65 You will give them dullness of heart;
    your curse will be on them.
66 You will pursue them in anger and destroy them
    from under your heavens, O Lord.”


In Christ Jesus,


DiM | Keeping It In Context

Today is Thursday, August 13, 2015.  A couple of days ago, it seems the world was introduced to our Discernment in Music (DiM) blogs all at once. It has brought a lot of questions, comments, encouragement, and concern across various social media outlets. I praise God for the opportunity to have this conversation with the Church, to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus to consider the theological merit of the music we listen to on a daily basis.

I noticed a couple of recurring concerns reflected in various comments in social media that I think are valid and warrant addressing.

The Context of the Listener

Perhaps the most common concern is one of whether or not I have the right to declare what can and cannot be used in Corporate Worship within a Church Service. This question is understandable given the 2 reviews (“Oceans” and “Holy Spirit“) that represent cross-over songs which dominate airplay and are pushed as songs for corporate worship. The primary target audience for these DiM posts is actually not Worship Pastors, though I do hope they are blessed by this work. The primary target audience is the professing Christian listening to Christian Radio, whether in their car, shopping in a Christian Bookstore, or in their home. Places where the music is generally background noise, continuously streaming what is generally assumed to be God-honoring, Gospel driven, Christian Music. That is the context of the listener which serves as the framework for this exercise in biblical discernment. That some of these songs are being imported into churches for corporate worship introduces several variables, but more importantly it now involves Elders and Overseers as Stewards of Christ’s Church.

The Approval/Disapproval Rating is not the Goal

For several months I refused to provide a list of overall approval/Disapproval ratings, because I knew that in doing so I would invariably distract from the goal of the work, which is to go through the motions listening to the song performed in its entirety, walking through the lyrics of the song, and comparing what the message of the song says to what the Word of God says. Once the list of reviewed songs got long enough to where I had to use my own search engine to check on a review, I realized I needed to provide an archive for those visiting the site for the first time. The standard is God’s Word, on that we cannot waver; however, I fully expect to have strongly held, differing opinions regarding the overall “approval” or “disapproval” of any given song played on the air.

Music Pope? No.

Okay, that comment made me chuckle when I saw it on Twitter. Brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, I have no authority over what is played on the airwaves, in your church, or in your home. I do not decide what you can listen to without sinning, or even accuse you of sinning for liking a song, secular or otherwise. The DiM list is only an archive of the discernment work done until now. These songs are being played on the airwaves whether or not anyone is doing any discernment work. I’m not pushing to have your favorite songs banned from the radio. I’m grateful for Christian Radio and wholeheartedly pray that it continues, and improves. That being said, there is a lot of bad theology being pumped into the airwaves under a “Christian” banner that is dangerous to unsuspecting hearts and minds. Much like your local Christian bookstore, there is some good, some not-so-good, and some I can’t believe that is even on the shelf! A Christian who is mature in the faith once-delivered to the saints, rooted and grounded in solid theology, is better equipped to “spit out the bones and swallow the meat” so to speak. My authority is limited. At best, should I deem a Christian song worthy of “Disapproval”, what I’m saying to the Church is that I cannot, in good conscience, recommend or approve of listening to the song in isolation. Unless you live under my roof, are a passenger in my car, or become my student in some capacity, all I can hope for is that you will at least practice discernment for yourself or seek guidance from one of your elders or pastors. The Law defines sin, condemns it to death, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only remedy.

We Are Not Judging Your Church

In the days of Hymnity, Elders of the Church carefully examined the songs to approve of their use in corporate worship. The laity could rest assured (for the most part) that the hymns found in their Church’s Hymnal were reviewed, prayed over, and approved by the elders. These days, the visible church has mostly abandoned the Hymnals, and much of what is played in Churches comes from popular bands in mega churches. It is rare to find a Worship Leader who scrutinizes the doctrine of the songs being sung, and even more rare is finding a church member who gives the theology and doctrine of the songs they sing a second thought.  And this is within the visible Church. If these DiM posts motivate a Worship Pastor to exercise discernment, Praise the Lord! If a member of the church chooses to exercise discernment regarding a song that was included in a worship service, that is wonderful… if that is you, please go to your Worship Pastor and ask for an explanation of the theology of the song and its purpose in corporate worship. Your pastors / elders are responsible for your growth and will be held accountable to God. Keeping in mind what we pointed out regarding the context of our listener, our DiM posts are not serving as judgments against your church for having played or playing one of these songs. That is not our intent. In fact, the church setting can be a place where the vagueness of most of these songs is clarified. There are hymns that don’t fully articulate the Gospel and are not well suited for evangelical broadcast because they were expressly written for penitent believers in Jesus Christ within the context of corporate worship. Corporate worship isn’t limited to a single song in isolation (which is how we do our reviews); therefore, our “disapproval” is in no way a single-point rebuke of your church or worship leader. It is our sincere hope, that given what we discuss in light of Scripture, that these DiM posts would serve as an impetus for seeking guidance with your Worship Pastor, Pastor, or Elders regarding the theology of the songs being sung.

3 Rules of Biblical Discernment: Context, Context, Context

I learned this discernment secret from Chris Rosebrough’s Fighting for the Faith. This is vitally important when handling scripture, and it is also important for how we treat the source material or the song lyrics. I haven’t mastered it. Just yesterday I had to revise a DiM post I had messed up because I eisegeted amillenialism into Jovan Mackenzy’s song… and he isn’t an amillenialist. I do my best to treat each song fairly, but given how they are played on the airways, that means we have to limit ourselves to what is found in the lyrics in most cases. In most cases, I try my best to give a song its best construction (Soul on Fire) or infuse a bible study into the listener to focus a vague song lyric (Cast My Cares). I have to try to infuse meaning into the songs in these cases… that is eisegesis of a man-made song. My goal is not to “justify” the song via proof-text. Proof-texting is bad… it is manipulation of the Scriptures to justify a man-made idea/concept/message. Many attempts I’ve seen to justify a song I’ve reviewed negatively have involved the breaking down of the song into several disparate nuggets, and then proof-texting verses in the Bible that correlate in some way. Sometimes that is simply how our minds have coped with a vague song or rationalized really liking a song, but that is not Biblical Discernment. Where we can, we seek to examine what Scripture teaches in-context and see where the song lines up. If the song falls short, we defer to the Scripture and encourage the listener to remember what the Scripture really teaches every time they hear the song played on the radio.

What’s wrong with just liking a clean song that’s silly?

Nothing. This isn’t about what songs you should like or dislike. As long as a song doesn’t cause you to sin, or a brother or sister to stumble, I see no problem with liking a silly song. Pastor Alistair Begg often quotes lines from secular songs in his sermons… for a distinct and clearly articulated illustrative purpose. No, this isn’t about whether or not its okay to like a silly song from Family Force 5. This is about whether or not the song lyrics present a Christian Gospel Message: Sin and Grace, Law and Gospel, Repentance and the forgiveness of sin. Short of this, it isn’t a Christian song… just an arguably good song, or outright silly/harmless one. Even some of the songs I’ve disapproved are so powerfully sung I can’t help but sing along on a few lines while driving in my car. It’s true. But I know that the theology is unclear and sometimes even aberrant, so I do not meditate on those songs.

The airwaves are so full of secular music… there is no advantage to pushing a form of secular music that is supposedly “Christian”… it’s still secular music. The slide in the music industry is always to the world. Endorsing a “Christian” version of secular music is at best unhelpful, and at worst loving to our children and to the artists we propel into stardom. My heart breaks to learn of another Christian artist who has abandoned the faith. How many more will we allow to shipwreck their faith for the sake of entertainment?


I love music and I long for the day when every song on the Top 20 Christian Songs chart is so rich in the Gospel that there would no longer be a need for this blog to have a DiM segment. I’d also find it deeply encouraging to see others exercising biblical discernment. I invite musicians, radio DJs, and worship leaders to point out errors I’ve made and provide insight into the songs they’ve written. To the fathers out there, I hope you’ll find encouragement to engage in this material as it pertains to your children and your homes. Forgive me if I allow snark, or frustration, to overshadow the love that drives this work. I am but a humble servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, without an office in the church. I am a father to my children, husband to my wife, and brother to the body of Christ. This is not my vocation, but an extension of my personal Bible study. I pray you grant me Grace and Forgiveness, as I endeavor to humbly, lovingly, and faithfully exercise biblical discernment.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ,

DiM | “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know”

trebleclefMy children love music. They love to have mommy and daddy sing for them at bedtime. One of their favorite songs, is “Jesus Loves Me”. I thought we’d spend some time today looking at the song’s origins and exercising some Biblical Discernment.

This song began as a song written for a child, so it is fitting that we consider it a children’s hymn to this day. The content of this song, however, is well worth heading as adults. It seems so much easier to proclaim the love of Jesus to the world than it is to accept it for myself. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Luke 18:15-17 (ESV) | Let the Children Come to Me

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Performed by Johnny Cash

[youtube https://youtu.be/6JxCgo6iPrg]

Written by Anna Bartlett Warner (1860)

For a little background on her, let’s look to the quick bio found in CyberHymnal.com:

Anna’s father was Henry Warner, a wealthy New York City lawyer. When he lost most of his fortune in the 1837 depression, the family was forced to move to their summer home (Good Craig) on Con­sti­tu­tion Island in the Hudson Riv­er. It was then that Anna and her sis­ter Su­san be­gan writ­ing to earn mon­ey. They al­so con­duct­ed Bi­ble class­es for ca­dets at the near­by Mil­i­tary Acad­e­my at West Point. In mem­o­ry of her, the Acad­e­my’s Con­sti­tu­tion Is­land Asso­ci­a­tion man­ag­es the War­ner’s is­land prop­er­ty as an his­tor­ic site.

When Susan was writing a novel, Say and Seal, she asked her sister, Anna, to write a song that the doctor could sing to a sick boy. The following appeared in that novel on pages 115-116.

Jesus loves me—this I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to him belong,—
They are weak, but he is strong.

Jesus loves me—He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me—loves me still,
Though I’m very weak and ill;
From his shining throne on high,
Comes to watch me where I lie.

Jesus loves me—he will stay,
Close beside me all the way.
Then his little child will take,
Up to heaven for his dear sake.

The Refrain added by William Bradbury (1862)

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.


This wonderful song conveys to children a high view of the Bible and of the Love of Jesus. That He died so that we might enter Heaven, our sing having been washed away. He loves us in our weakness, and is with us to comfort us, and to take us home for His sake. The song isn’t promising “sunshine and lollipops” here on earth. It was, after all, written as a song of comfort to a dying boy in a novel. The folks at HymnTime.com record the following testimony of the song:

The Rev. Dr. Jacob Chamberlain, who for many years has been working among the Hindus, writes as follows regarding this hymn, long one of the most popular children’s songs in the world: “Many years ago I translated into Telegu the children’s hymn, ‘Jesus loves me’ and taught it to the children of our day-school. Scarcely a week later, as I was going through the narrow streets of the native town on horseback, I heard singing that sounded natural, down a side street. I stopped to listen, cautiously drawing up to the corner, where unobserved I could look down the street and see and hear. And there was a little heathen boy, with heathen men and women standing around him, singing away at the top of his voice: ‘Jesus loves me this I know…’

As he completed the verse some one asked the question: ‘Sonny, where did you learn that song?’ ‘Over at the Missionary School,’ was the answer. ‘Who is that Jesus, and what is the Bible?’ ‘Oh! the Bible is the book from God, they say, to teach us how to get to heaven, and Jesus is the name of the divine Redeemer that came into the world to save us from our sins; that is what the missionaries say.’ ‘Well, the song is a nice one. Come, sing us some more.’ And so the little boy went on—a heathen himself, and singing to the heathen—about Jesus and his love. ‘That is preaching the Gospel by proxy,’ I said to myself, as I turned my pony and rode away, well satisfied to leave my little proxy to tell his interested audience all he himself knew, and sing to them over and over that sweet song of salvation.”

Sankey, pp. 179-80

Such a great story of the impact a children’s hymn can have in sharing the Gospel.

John 3:16-21 (ESV) For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

John 14:27-29 (ESV)

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.

Amen. When our children are young, the first lesson they need to know down deep inside is that they are loved. They will process what it means to be loved by Jesus by first considering what it means to be loved my Mom and Dad. I am such a poor example of Christ’s love for my dear sweet children, but I will preach, teach, and sing of His love for them until the Day of His return. And I really need to get better about singing the rest of the verses.

In closing, I thought I might share a fun little acoustic Blues version performed by Jeremy Camp at a private concert. A Christian Radio station held a local contest of some sort and the prize was spending time with Jeremy Camp. I hope you enjoy it.

Jeremy Camp does a Blues Version

[youtube https://youtu.be/dpO8rY4VmeM]

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “Messengers” Wins Grammy for Best CCM

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

February 10, 2015. So last night as I was driving home I heard the DJ of a local Christian radio station congratulate Lecrae and For King and Country for their Grammy. I thought, “oh yeah… we should probably take a look at what was honored at the Grammy’s for DiM Tuesday.”

So today we are going to take a look at the winners of the “Gospel” category of the Grammy’s. The winner for BEST CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC PERFORMANCE/SONG was indeed “Messengers” by Lecrae Featuring For King & Country. We’ll look at this song today, but before we do let’s look at the other nominees:

Now, one thing I couldn’t help but notice is that though we’ve been trying to review the top 20 Christian songs over the past year, we’ve only managed to cover 1 of the 5 nominated songs. Should I be using a different list? Should we try to add a DiM day in our week? I don’t know. Your feedback on this question would be most appreciated.

Okay, so let’s take a look at the song “Messengers”. First, I want to try to clarify that rap, like poetry, rarely makes clear objective statements. It is a genre that tries to poetically allude to societal themes or trends. Rap music is a part of a very dynamic rap culture that is intentionally kept in a state of flux. The vast majority of secular rap is filled with fad references and short-lived colloquialisms connected to even shorter-lived trends in clothing, entertainment, and civil unrest/outrage. A big part of secular rap culture is demonstrating how “fresh” you keep your language, tastes, and style. In fact, my use of “fresh” in that sense clearly signifies that I am not on the cutting edge of rap culture… and I’m okay with that. “Christian” rap is equally poetic and it needs to speak to a culture whose language changes faster than the headlines at CNN about a timeless, unchanging Truth of God’s Word. Rap is a genre of poetry, and poetry isn’t the best way to convey the clear message of the Gospel. God indeed breathed out the Psalms, but the Apostles didn’t write poetry in the New Testament, they wrote clearly and concisely as the Holy Spirit led them.

Music Videos

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Messengers by Lecrae (feat. For King & Country)

Calling all the messengers
Calling all the messengers
Calling all the messengers

We’ve been given a call
Been forgiven, risen
We livin’ to give him our all
Rise up from your past
That’s holding you down
This moment is all that matters
The future is now
How will the people know if we don’t tell ’em?
If we fail ’em
They’re stumbling in the dark
But the lighters that we carryin’
Don’t have to wonder your purpose
Or what you’re here for
Reflect his image
And show the world what he cares for

And I know it’s all right
And you know it’s your life
And we know that time’s running out
Can’t wait around cause

Calling all the messengers
Calling all the messengers
Calling all the messengers

I’ve been a lot of places where the scene ain’t pretty
I’ve seen plenty of hate, death and destruction
Where ignorance kills many
The blind leading the blind
We turnin’ a blind eye
That alone is a crime
We’ve got the power to life
I know that we make mistakes
Don’t let ’em keep you away
Mercy, love, and His grace
The reason we movin’ here
Speak out
Though we’ve never been qualified to do it
I ain’t earned it
I was loved into it
I’m brand new

Calling all the messengers
Calling all the messengers
Calling all the messengers

Publishing: Fellowship of the Unashamed Music (BMI), WB Music Corp./Method To The Madness/Shankel Songs (ASCAP) (Admin. by WB Music Corp.), Warner Tamerlane/Kilns Music/Shankel Songs (BMI) (Adm. by Warner Tamerlane), Ally Plane Music (BMI), Evident Music (ASCAP), Before I Die Publishing (BMI), Joseph Prielozny Music (ASCAP)/Unashamed Music (ASCAP) and Track or Die Music LLC (BMI)
Writer(s): Lecrae Moore, Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone, Ricky Jackson, Ran Jackson, Kenneth Chris Mackey, Joseph Prielozny and Torrance Esmond

Positive Elements

I believe the title and the choral refrain points to the Christian’s call to Evangelism. We can pluck a few lines out to support this assertion. One thing I’d like to point out is that the value of a messenger is in the Message being proclaimed and from Whom the Message originates. We are called to take the Message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Let’s look at how Paul writes of this in Romans 10.

Romans 10:11-17 (ESV)

11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

There is a line in the first verse of the song that seems to come from this passage, “How will the people know if we don’t tell ’em?” I wish the emphasis of this song was on the preaching of the Gospel, the sharing of the Message of repentance and the forgiveness of sin found only at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. That was Paul’s emphasis. That was Jesus’s emphasis. This is the emphasis of the Great Commission.


If the lyric of the song is aimed at calling Christians to Evangelism… why then do we see this song pop up seemingly out of nowhere at the Grammy’s? Why has this song not been on our radar here? I believe that this song resonates more with a secularist activism crowd of artists and producers because it doesn’t emphasize preaching of Law (repentance) and Gospel (forgiveness)… rather the song seems to emphasize works. The world is eager to judge Christianity (and Christians) for their lack of works. This song offers up a few lines that seem to echo that sentiment.

This moment is all that matters The future is nowHow will the people know if we don’t tell ’em? If we fail ’em, They’re stumbling in the dark But the lighters that we carryin’ Don’t have to wonder your purpose Or what you’re here for Reflect his image And show the world what he cares for

What does “the future is now” and “this moment is all that matters” mean in a Christian context? Are these statements even remotely supported by Scripture? This is the kind of stuff you hear from a sales pitch or a motivational hype-man. Do something now! is what is conveyed. Reminds me of the song we reviewed “Do Something” by Matthew West. One of the positive lines we highlighted earlier is in bold. We connected that line to Romans 10. But when we look at this line and how it falls in the context of the song, we see the next line “If we fail ’em”… and it leads to the reflect his image and show the world what he cares for. It seems to fall in the “deeds not creeds” (which is a creed) category, or one of those “earn the right to preach the Gospel” philosophies. I’m not saying I think that is Lecrae’s intention, just pointing out that this seems to be the overall tenor of this song when we look at the lyrics apart from the music video.

The second verse has a line that I think secular activists key in on to further push the “deeds not creeds” mindset. There is an allegation by Lecrae that “We turnin’ a blind eye That alone is a crime”. This also changes the over-arching theme of “calling all the messengers”. There is now an implied rebuke to Christians for turning a blind eye to the state of… well, those places where the scene ain’t pretty that Lecrae has seen. He’s vague and generic, but the implication is much the same as Matthew West’s accusation that “we’re never going to change the world by standing still”. Lecrea’s song isn’t nearly as blatant, but the problem of a works-focused “social gospel” is still evident. Lecrae is “calling all the messengers” to pay attention and reflect Christ by showing what He loves and do something about the hate, death, destruction, and ignorance in the world.

The biggest concern with which I take issue is the avoidance of topics of Sin and Repentance. In the first verse, we are called, forgiven, and risen… but we still need to “rise up from a past that holds us down”. huh? God forgave you (when you got saved) and he raised you (from the death of your sins and trespasses) but its up to YOU to rise up from your past because it’s still holding you down? Law-Gospel-Law. There was a chance to clarify this concept in the second verse… and it was missed entirely. “We’ve got the power to life I know that we make mistakes Don’t let ’em keep you away Mercy, love, and His grace The reason we movin’ here Speak out Though we’ve never been qualified to do it I ain’t earned it I was loved into it I’m brand new“. So, we make “mistakes” that we “can’t let them keep us away”? How about, we Sin and are in continual need to repent and be forgiven, and that is the message we should be preaching to the Lost as well? Mercy, Love, and Grace are popular themes for the world to hear, but still no confession and repentance. Incidentally, the way to “not letting them keep us away” is to confess our sins one to another, forgive each other, and repent at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ.


The world is all for praising social activism that down-plays sin and repentance. This song won a Grammy, but I haven’t seen it on a Christian music top 20 chart. The world picked this song and championed it as what they want to see coming out of Gospel music. A world that tells Christians, don’t talk about sins, just demonstrate love. Don’t ask me to repent, go work to end world hunger, slavery, and climate change like all of us who reject your God do. You see, social activism can be overtly engaged by anyone, even those who’ve rejected the One True Living God. This song will likely see a lot more Christian radio airplay as the CCM industry gushes over it’s Grammy. The song is a poetic, generic rebuke that Christians aren’t “doing enough” because evil exists.

In closing, I’d like to remind all of the messengers, what Jesus warned.

John 15:18-25 (ESV) | The Hatred of the World

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.

To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “Because He Lives (Amen)” by Matt Maher

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

February 3, 2015. Today, we will be taking a look at song #13 on the Top 20 Songs at 20theCountdownMagazine website, “Because He Lives (Amen)” by Matt Maher. The song has an anthemic vibe (typical of Matt Maher and Chris Tomlin), a catchy tune, and Matt’s vocals are strong. It is cleverly written to get those who know the Hymn to fill in the gaps in the message automatically. Sadly, for those who don’t know what was conveyed in the hymn, the song doesn’t stand on its own. The hymn didn’t tell the full story (no repentance and a little bit self-focused), but it did a much better job than this song does.

Music Videos

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Because He Lives (Amen) by Matt MaherI BELIEVE IN THE SON






Publishing: © 2014 Hanna Street Music (BMI) (Adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/ Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / I Am A Pilgrim Songs (BMI) / Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Alletrop Music (BMI) (admin. by Music Services) / worshiptogether.com songs / sixsteps music (ASCAP) (Adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Worship Together Music / sixsteps songs / SDG Publishing (BMI) (Adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)
Writer(s): Bill & Gloria Gaither, Matt Maher, Jason Ingram, Ed Cash, Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin

Positive Elements

There is an allusion to the Hymn “Because He Lives“, which is a good song. The best thing about this song by Matt Maher is that it reminds older Christians of that hymn. Unfortunately, if you’ve grown up in contemporary worship… you probably have never heard of that song. I’m thinking this is why Bill & Gloria Gaither are included in the list of writers.


Had I seen the list of 7 writers before seeing the lyrics of the song, I would have been greatly disappointed by the vagueness and brevity of the message of the songs. Such a vague song. Never identifying who the Son is, or the Father. No mention of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. This song simply can’t wait to jump to “me”.

The second verse is very odd to me. While we are born dead in sins and transgressions, we aren’t yet in the grave. Before we are regenerated by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we walked in our sin, transgressions, and death. The line “He rolled the stone away” is odd, too, at least in this verse if we are to connect it to our sinful state… are we placing ourselves in the resurrection of Jesus? In the Baptism, we do join (by faith) in His death and resurrection… but is that being properly conveyed here? I don’t think so. I don’t mean to impune the intent the song’s writers, but the brevity of the song and this verse makes clarity tough to achieve. If you cannot be clear with the analogy, either write more verse(s) or dump the analogy and declare the Gospel outright.

I also struggle with the use of the word “Mercy” calling our name. Grace and Mercy are not interchangeable terms in the New Testament. Since this verse is alluding to Ephesians 2, let’s look at the passage.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

So why use “Mercy call my name”? The song doesn’t preach Law or repentance. When we preach Grace, we include the need for the atonement. Society sees “grace” and they think of a temporary reprieve, but the payment is still due. That is fitting; however, in the case of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the payment has already been made. We still need only confess our sinful state and repent from our sins and receive the Grace of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and this we do on a daily basis for as long as we continue living in these sinful bodies. Mercy comes after the judgment, it doesn’t skip it. While I may be splitting hairs a bit, I feel like keeping the terms and concepts of Grace and Mercy in their proper places in Scripture.


The world is eating up the lawless version of God’s love and mercy, and churches are crumbling under the pressure of “church growth” and “seeker sensitivity”. With the recent news of another megachurch declaring unrepentant sexual immorality to be an acceptable lifestyle for Christians, I think of this song being played on the radio or even in the worship service at such a church. Let’s sing about the self-esteem building side of the Gospel without mentioning the Law which identifies sin in our lives. Ultimately, the song is too vague to be given a pass. It’s a somewhat random collection of ideas that point to the Gospel, but they are not articulated well… and I’m comparing it to a short hymn. Did this song really take 7 writers?

Jude 1:20-25 (ESV) 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,