What I Learned from SCC

By

Last summer I was at my trusty Starbucks working on a Rabbit Room post when I got a phone call that changed the last five months of my life. It was my manager, Christie, asking if I’d be interested in going on tour with Steven Curtis Chapman. I remember pacing outside, processing the invitation. I knew I had to say yes, but I tried to play it cool and told her I had to think about it. In truth, I did have to think about it, but only because I was so excited; knee-jerk excitement can lead to bad decision making, and I wanted to be sure that it was the right thing for my family.

I came home for lunch and told Jamie about it, and her knee-jerk excitement affirmed my own. A day or two later I accepted the invitation and not long after that the Songs and Stories tour with Steven and Josh Wilson was confirmed. To make the deal even sweeter, Steven asked Ben Shive to be his piano player for the tour, which meant I would be on the road with one of my best friends. I spent the rest of the summer and fall swinging between disbelief and mounting excitement until the day I showed up for rehearsal. Contrary to my cynical expectation that the tour would somehow fall through, I was undeniably there, in the rehearsal studio with Steven and Josh and a world class band.

The Crew
Today I’m sitting in Starbucks again, this time in Lakeland, Florida, a day away from the end of the tour, trying to think of a way to sum up the last forty-five shows. It would be easy to write a full post about each of the 12 other guys on this tour: Tyler Cook, the guitar tech (and member of the band Neulore), who, when he’s not tuning one of the 5,000 guitars, is usually reading something by Dostoevsky; my friend Harold Reubens, who runs the front-of-house audio with astonishing skill and humility (as he does on the Behold the Lamb tour); Michael Pierce, one of the production crew, who’s as quick with his one liners as he is to serve; Jesse Blinn, Show Hope advocate and road manager, who never seems to run out of kindness or energy; Casey Webber, who has been my own road manager off an on for a few years, managed the ridiculous amount merchandise and joyfully coordinated all the Show Hope volunteers; Tony Fransen, the lighting designer and production manager, whose burst of laughter could be heard from almost anywhere in the building throughout the day.

The Band
Then there’s the band: bass player Brent Milligan, a crazy talented, artful producer and player, who encouraged me more than he knows; drummer Ken Lewis, who never missed a beat and never failed to crack me up, inspired me with his passion for the church and his family; and of course, there’s dear old Ben Shive whose friendship and camaraderie to me are impossible to overstate (as are his talents). Josh Wilson, he of the incredible beard and mad guitar skills, was delightful. He’s a fellow preacher’s kid, so I have a feeling he and I would have been friends in junior high, and would have probably gotten in a lot of trouble together. One of my favorite parts of the tour was the deep conversations we had about songwriting and community, about doubt, and faith, and gratitude.

The Point Man
The point man on the tour, though, was Steven. He’s the one carrying a 3 hour show, doing interviews every day, talking about Show Hope, meeting adopted families every night, recording, writing, and treating each of us kindly in spite of his crazy schedule. Quite a few people have asked me how on earth I ended up on this tour. If you read the first paragraph of this post, you have the short answer: I got a phone call. The longer, truer answer is that the Lord out of his great goodness, blessed me with the friendship of a good man. I’ve jokingly referred to this tour in interviews as my own personal “Steven Curtis Chapman Appreciation Tour”. I didn’t grow up paying much attention to Christian music, but it’s hard not to know who Steven is. At some point, most of us have heard his music, whether it was someone singing “I Will Be Here” at a wedding, or a duo covering “Listen to Our Hearts” at church, or cranking “The Great Adventure” when it came on the radio. He’s had more number one singles and more Dove Awards than any other Christian artist, which is truly remarkable, whatever you may think of those kinds of stats.

The Third Option
And yet, though everyone seems to know him, I’ve never heard a single negative story about the guy. I’ve been in Nashville for 15 years now, and, well, you tend to hear less-than-flattering stories about folks from time to time (I’m sure there are a few about me floating around out there), but I have yet to hear one of those about Steven. What that might lead a rascal like me to conclude is that either a) Steven is so squeaky-clean he must be hard to like or b) he’s a complete wreck and he’s hiding it. I didn’t realize until this tour was underway that there’s a third option. Here it is: Steven is a wreck, he’s not hiding it, and because of the mighty presence of Jesus in his life, grace abounds to those around him.

It’s the great, confounding reversal of the Gospel of Jesus. If the word we preach is one of attainable perfection, of law, of justification by works, then when we fail, our testimony fails with it. But if we preach our deep brokenness and Christ’s deeper healing, if we preach our inability to take a single breath but for God’s grace, then our weakness exalts him and we’re functioning as we were meant to since the foundation of the world. Steven isn’t super-human. He’s just human. But what a glorious thing to be! An attempt on our part to be super-human will result only in our in-humanness–like a teacup trying to be a fork: useless. But if the teacup will just be a teacup, it will be filled. Humans were made (as was everything under the sun) for the glory of the Maker. Why should we try to be anything but fully human? Let God fill us up and pour us out; let him do what he will, let us be what we were meant to be. That gives us the freedom to sing about what’s really happening in our hearts without being afraid of sullying the good name of God. If our hearts are contending with the forces of darkness, clinging desperately to the hope of a Savior, then to sing boldly about the battle is no shame to us and all glory to our King.

The proof is in the pudding. Everyone I know in Nashville who knows Steven has said to me something like, “I love Steven. He’s a good man.” But from the first week of the tour I discovered that Steven isn’t a good man. He’s as sinful as the rest of us. He wears his weakness on his sleeve. He’s quick to share his pain and his struggle. That doesn’t make him mopey–he’s quick to share his joy, too. But what’s so wonderfully subversive about the Gospel is that our ability to honestly bear our grief and woundedness just makes room for God’s grace to cast light on all that shadow; it makes room for us to love each other. When we encounter that kind of grace we come away remembering not just the sin but, overwhelmingly, the goodness, and the grace, and we say, “I love that guy. He’s a good man.” What we’re really saying is, “I love that guy. God is so good.”

The Vav Principle
Most of us know about the accidental death of Steven and Mary Beth’s daughter, Maria. It’s a tragedy that didn’t just happen four years ago, but as anyone who’s dealt with grief will tell you, it’s a tragedy that’s happening now. Death has no place in this world, and it’s right for us to feel its wrongness. But every night for more than forty concerts I’ve stood in the wings and watched Steven sing (often through tears) about God’s trustworthiness. I’ve watched him tell thousands about his pain, heard him remind the audience of the promise of Heaven and the peace of Christ. He rewrote a verse for his song “Yours” after his daughter’s death:

I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I can barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I can bear
And I’ve questioned everything that I believed

But even here in this great darkness
There’s a comfort and a hope that’s breaking through
So I can say even in life or in death,
God, we belong to you

It’s hard to imagine more honest writing. But it isn’t just honest. It’s faithful. And that’s what’s inspired me that most. Father Thomas McKenzie said in his recent Rabbit Room Podcast that there’s a faithful kind of doubting and an unfaithful kind of doubting. The unfaithful kind sees doubt as evidence that Christianity is a farce and should be dismissed. The faithful kind of doubting costs us something. It harnesses the questions like a sail in the wind and drives us on rather than away. It reminds me of Chesterton’s quote:

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.

One of the beautiful paradoxes of Christianity is that it is at once incredibly simple and infinitely intricate. Faith bridges the chasm between our understanding and the truth we feel in our bones.

Michael Card’s book A Sacred Sorrow talks about the Hebrew word vav. It’s a word that means “and yet”, and is a crucial ingredient in almost every lament in scripture. Again and again, when you read the psalms, you hear the psalmist crying out against God, shaking his fist at the skies, demanding justice, wailing and abandoned, all but accusing God of being unworthy of our worship–basically, the psalmist is throwing a fit. Then, as if he’s exhausted himself, he says vav. “And yet, I will praise the Lord.” In spite of all evidence to the contrary, I believe in my bones that you are good. Your intentions for me are loving and kind. I believe in your presence though it feels like you have forsaken me. And yet. And yet. And yet. Those two desperate words may be the most faithful prayer we ever pray, and our most triumphant battle cry, though we whisper them through tears.

That’s been the greatest gift of this tour to me: Steven’s example of faith and faithful doubting. He doesn’t just stand on the stage and talk about the death of his little girl and his family’s continuing pain–he follows it up with vav. Every night when Steven closes the show with “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord,” it’s like he’s bellowing “And yet!”, and he does it with authority, because we can all sense what it costs him to say it. “You give and take away! Blessed be the name of the Lord!” More than once I have thought, “This wouldn’t make sense if the Gospel weren’t true. But there it is.” I have felt more than once that we’re in a battle, and that Steven is the commander of our little unit, waving the flag of God’s goodness in the face of the darkness. And I have felt more than once that I would take a bullet for him.

I’m grateful beyond expression that Steven invited me on this tour. Let this meandering post be my thank you to him and to the band and crew that worked so hard and so well to make every concert happen, if only to make space for the “and yet” to be proclaimed every night. It was my honor to have worked with such good men to tell such a great story.

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


66 Comments

  1. Eddy Efaw

    “The faithful kind of doubting costs us something. It harnesses the questions like a sail in the wind and drives us on rather than away.” What a wonderful thought. Well said, so well said.

    Thanks for writing down your thoughts here. What a blessing they are. You have a way of taking all of us along with you on your journeys. Whether it be to Anniera or Iowa, Nashville or the Warren. You allow each of us who frequents the Rabbit Room a window into your world (which is a window into the heart of God). Thank you. May each of us be brave enough to open a window for those around us.

  2. Dieta

    AP-beautifully lived, felt, and expressed so the rest if us could see. Thank you, as always.

  3. Corinne Heiliger

    Wow. Amazing post. Thanks for sharing this testimony-it’s inspiring and challenging.

  4. Julie @ Wife, Mother, Gardener

    My hubby (JamesDWitmer) and I really enjoyed your show in Cleveland, OH – so worth the two hour drive! It was profound to see three men, each in a different part of life’s story, sharing what the Lord has given them.

    As a teenager and a new Christian, SCC was one of the first concerts that I attended. I was struck, now 20 years ago, by the honest rapport that he had with his audience… and I still remember with fondness listening as he described his kids and how he loved his wife. It made a real impression on me in a time when I did not have other Christian men in my life.

    And it was all the more powerful this time in seeing him sing out “Blessed be your Name”, the same song that I desperately clung to when we miscarried our first baby. God writes such hard stories, but they are also Good.

  5. Sarah Jones

    Hey Andrew –
    Thom and I were able to take our Daughter Abby to the Songs and Stories show in Springfield, MO last week. We were so looking forward to it and were not disappointed.

    I first heard your music when we met at Laity a few years ago with Andy and Jill. I haven’t stopped listening and am enjoying the new album. Your comments above ring true and Steven’s, yours and Josh’s hearts resonate with an overwhelming sense of God’s grace. What a great evening of sharing songs in the context of story – which is really what it is all about – That we are all part of an amazing story of God’s redemption.

    Curious to know if you are still doing house concerts. We had Andy and Jill out last fall, and would like to make it an annual tradition. There’s nothing better than a house full of friends and good music. Let us know if you’ll be in Southwest Missouri and have a free night.

  6. Jen

    Like Julie, Steven Curtis Chapman was one of the first concerts I ever saw… and in Ocala, FL! So excited to see him again tomorrow night. This post is a lovely tribute that only adds to the joy.

    I saw your tweet about tonight being the penULTIMATE show. Well. We’re gonna bring it tomorrow. Because Ocala rocks, right? Right. 🙂

  7. Becky from NE

    I went to the concert in Lincoln, NE. I really went to see you, Andrew, since there was to be no BTLoG close enough to get to. I confess that I have not been a huge SCC fan. But that concert was amazing. When you know the pain that Steven has faced–and still faces–the words of those songs have so much more impact. To be able to sing those words speaks volumes.

  8. Wendy

    After the Vancouver, WA show I told a friend sitting next to me that, having tried to emulate SCC since I was a little girl with my dads guitar and listening to his songs over and over, it was surprising I had never seen him in concert. But if I could only have that experience once, I was honored to get to experience “this” Steven CC–The one who has been through all that he has. The honest humanity and faith in the room as we all sang Blessed Be Your Name together was overwhelming.

  9. Jenn C

    Thanks for this inside view. I’m happy (and I admit relieved) to hear that SCC is just what he appears to be. My thanks to all of you for the time and energy you put into this tour.

  10. Laura

    I read this post before seeing you in Lakeland Saturday night and now have read it again. It is beautifully written and is expressed so gorgeously that I had to print it out to keep it.

    Truthfully my husband and I went to see you specifically but came away with a huge appreciation and respect for all who played — I cried through much of what SCC had to say and sing about. His music now has so much depth and meaning than what I remembered from years ago — and what a wonderfully long and satisfying show it was. What great talent God has given to each one.

    Thank you so much for all.

  11. Rick Lee James

    Andrew,
    That was such an amazing way to say thank you to a person we all admire. I appreciate the humble prolific way that you minister with words. Thank you again for coming on my Podcast this week and sharing more about what God is doing in your life and in the lives of those around. May God bless you in all your endeavors.

    Namaste,
    Rick Lee James

  12. Theresa

    So encouraged by your music and your writing. Thank you for sharing yourself with others in the amazing way you do.

  13. Vicky

    Thank you! I saw and experienced the same “vav” principle from my father after my brother died at age 20. He directed “The Messiah” each CHRISTmas with tears streaming down his face. No way could anyone hold back from singing their best. God is faithful!

  14. Canaan Bound

    “And yet. Those two desperate words may be the most faithful prayer we ever pray, and our most triumphant battle cry, though we whisper them through tears.”

    “But if we preach our deep brokenness and Christ’s deeper healing, if we preach our inability to take a single breath but for God’s grace, then our weakness exalts Him and we’re functioning as we were meant to since the foundation of the world.”

    Beautiful and true. Thanks.

  15. Aly

    Wonderful post. I got to see you in California in San Bernardino, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been a big fan of SCC for years, but had never heard of you (sorry, lol) – totally fell in love with your music that night. Nice to “meet” you, I’m glad you said yes when you got the call!

  16. Sarah Hubbell

    Wow, thank you for this. There is something undeniably attractive and wonderful about grace lived out and on display like that. Thank you for reminding me that it requires being vulnerable and honest to truly display God’s grace.

  17. Samjoy

    Andrew, I know this was written for SCC, but I am so grateful you shared it with all of us. Years ago I was in awe of how your music helped me to grieve the loss of my own child. It was as if God worked directly through you, and I believe he did. Here again you have put into words what I have not been able to; “and yet.” I have had people say to me they wouldn’t be able to go through that kind of thing without questioning and doubting God. I have tried to explain to them that it would be okay if they did because our God is big enough to handle it. “And yet” through the psalmists is beautiful and I will steal this, giving you credit, of course. It is not as if I haven’t used many of your words in my teachings all ready.

  18. Joshua Jensen

    AP, all I can do is echo most of the comments here and say that you’ve inspired me, challenged me, and encouraged me this morning. You honor SCC and that’s good, but you’ve honored Christ more and that’s a great thing.

  19. Frederick Repollo

    This is a profound piece of writing. I have to read this all over again and again to appreciate more. Thank you Steven. Thank you Andrew.

  20. Mr Under Pants

    A nice compliment to Steven. I was never a big fan of SCC until I heard “Beauty Will Rise”. It was one of the more honest CD’s, and quickly became one of my favorites.

    Saw you guys in Pewaukee WI and enjoyed the show.

  21. Annoymous

    It drives me crazy when pepole think that God took away Maria from Steven Curtis Chapman and his family. I’ve heard this lie before. That is a lie. He did not take her away. It was an accident plain and simple. Did God know it was going to happen? Yes but he did not take her away from them. Just like God did not take my mom away when she abandoned me at the age of ten. She made the decision due to circumstance. I really dislike that “Christian” songs. I will never believe that God takes things away from us on purpose.. It’s completely against the God I know in the Bible the God of grace and love. He allows everything to happen. It reminds me of when people say “I know there is a reason I have cancer.” Like God has given someone cancer on purpose. I don’t belive that either. For some reason people get cancer it’s not because God draws a name out of a hat and decides this person is going to have cancer. That he will take away there health. Life cirucmstances happen. Right now my son is playing with his gerbil if he drops the gerbil on accident and the gerbil dies it’s not because God choose to take it away from him it would be an accident. God is so full of kindness and love.

  22. Chuck

    Annonymous…

    My hope is that in the midst of the losses that you have experienced personally, or the ones that you have witnessed around you, you would be able to see more fully the sovereignty of God.

  23. yankeegospelgirl

    Why couldn’t it be the other way around: You discovered that he IS “squeaky clean” (read: wholesome, upright, godly, without skeletons in his closet) and he IS fun to hang out with?

    Just a thought. 😉

  24. David

    It is often difficult to see what God does and make sense of it. When God allows things to happen, is it not the same as Him taking or doing? Did God take Joseph or did his brothers sell him to slavers? God does indeed use circumstances in our lives for His ultimate good (ROMANS 8:28). I thank Andrew and Steven from the bottom of my heart for this post. God bless you both for your ongoing ministries.

  25. Loren Warnemuende

    I kept hitting parts of this post thinking, “Oh! I need to remember that.” So much truth. I think I’d better just print out the whole thing. Thank you, AP.

    I love how SCC has stood faithful through the tests of time. I’ve not been a huge fan of his music overall, but I’ve always respected him, even moreso in the years since the loss of his daughter. When I saw you were going to be on tour with him it seemed like the perfect mesh of men living deeply godly lives in full transparency. I wish my husband and I had tried to get to your Cleveland concert – the closest one to us and still three hours away. Sigh. Southeast Michigan is a musical dead zone…at least for the artists I learn from!

  26. April Pickle

    Well and beautifully said (of course!). Speaking of Michael Card and the “and yet,” someone has posted a series of youtube videos in which he is talking about this very thing. It’s under “Lamenting is Worship.”When I first heard SCC’s Beauty Will Rise album, I found it so deep and heavy that it was difficult for me to listen to it more than a couple of times. I have experienced God’s mercy and grace in the thick darkness for sure, but it is not a place that I naturally want to return to. Just wondering what that was like for you, Andrew, to be exposed to that Job-like story over and over again on the tour. Don’t like to think about what it is like for SCC and his family to be face-to-face with it daily. Jason Gray’s “Without Running Away” also comes to mind here. Grateful, so grateful, for that “Hand in the shadows” that gives us the grace to “run the risk of fearlessly loving without running away.” And blessed beyond measure to be in the Fellowship of the faithful kind of doubters.

  27. Annoymous

    Chuck…

    I do see the sovergnity of God. If we choose to believe he takes things away from us that would mean he is a murder and steals. Two of the commandments God tells us to follow. I don’t believe God is either of those things. Could it be that God allows us to make decisions and those decisions have consequences? That we are responsible for our decisons and live with the effects of ours others decisions. Instead of blaming God, being at peace with God, or praising God depending on the situation. I’ve made some huge mistakes in my life and things have been taken away from me not because “God took them away.” But because of my life choices.

    I’m not trying to argue with you I just see it differently.

  28. Aaron Smith

    Andrew–thanks for sharing this. I made it to the Springfield, Missouri show and was really blessed to see y’all. (I drove up from Arkansas.)

    It was a wonderful evening, and I’m so glad I got to see you and Ben and I probably wouldn’t have come out to see Steven, but I’m so glad I did. What you said about the ending segment of the show was really true to how I experienced it. When Stephen played “Yours” it helped make some connections for me viscerally that I’d been struggling to make in my mind right before the show (reading _The_Bondage_of_the_Will by Luther and also earlier, Job in addition to struggling with my own story.) When we all sang “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord” together, I found myself worshipping God for the very thing I’d been struggling to trust him with. Looking back the whole thing seems orchestrated by a sovereign, caring God. Imagine that. 🙂

  29. yankeegospelgirl

    Anon, I think you may have a misconception of what it means for God to “take away.” The Bible shows us many times where God causes people, even innocent people, to die. Now I will fully grant you that there is something problematic about stories where God seems to be commanding PEOPLE to shed innocent blood (see Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, etc.) But I don’t see an issue with God himself taking life. He is the giver of life. When He chose to take the firstborn of Egypt to Himself, that wasn’t murder. However, it is different for one human to kill another, because we don’t give life in the first place.

  30. Bill Martin

    As far as I’m concerned, this combo was a “Dream Team.” You, SCC and the thoughtful and artful Josh Wilson were FANTASTIC together. And wow! Ben, Brent and Ken were the perfect setting for the songs, each of which stood out like another facet of a diamond. One of the best tours of the year, and one of those experiences that will be long remembered.

    I so long for our industry to support “thoughtful and artful” artists and songs and allow artists’ talents to fully flourish in venues that will support and promote a thick, rich, gospel-driven art. “Songs and Stories” was an affirmation of that hope. Steven has been and is a vanguard example of thoughtful, honest, well-crafted songs–the overflow of a thoughtful, honest, well-crafted life. Josh is moving along the same track and you, Andrew, transported the audience into a place where they were counting stars.

    And as you so eloquently said, the gospel circumscribes all of it and all our life and pain and wraps our ugliness in the greater grotesqueness of the cross in order to bring beauty from ashes. More than anything at S&S, that truth brightly shone.

  31. Lydia

    Wow, I sure hope you three go out and do another tour together. The way you worded this it sounds like there is no hope for you to do another one. The first and ONLY concert I have ever been to was in Pewaukee, WI last Oct. It was a Songs and Stories concert, until then I only listened to SCC thanks to that concert AP is my second favorite and Josh Wilson is another favorite of mine. I hope to make it to Lifest this year and camp out at the meet and greet tent in order to MEET SCC!!

  32. Jess

    Annonymous: I think you have a good point. I am curious to see what you think of Job 1:21, which specifically says, “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (which is obviously the basis for the song “Blessed be the Name”). 🙂

  33. Donna

    Enjoyed the vancouver, WA concert very much! I had heard you on CD, but seeing you in person was incredible!! Steven was always my favorite christian artist. I have seen him 4 or 5 times now and I am always blessed and encouraged each time! Thankyou for sharing your gift of glorifying God through music and for your testimony!

  34. Annoymous

    Your right it’s in the BIble it’s right there in black and white – ‘the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away’.” Let me put it to you this way. If you want the very best insight into God’s character, are you better off looking at:

    (a) Jesus, who said “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9), or
    (b) Job, who had only heard of God but did not actually know him (see Job 42:5)?

    “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Joh 10:10)

    If you think that God gives and takes away, then you’ve missed the point of Jesus. Jesus came to reveal a generous Father and to destroy the work of the Thief (1 Jn 3:8). Jesus came that we might have life to the full, not to the half.

    The world works according to the principle of give and take, but God just gives. The only thing he’ll take off you – if you let him – is your sin, your shame, your sickness, your worries and your fears. He takes away those things that harm us and only gives us good things that bless us.

    The church will never see victory if we think God is behind our suffering. If we think God is robbing us we won’t even resist. We’ll let the devil waltz in and plunder our families all the while singing “He gives and takes away.” Funny, but I can’t imagine Jesus doing that.

  35. Rick

    Andrew,

    A beautiful expression of what I sensed when I attended the concert in Naperville, IL a few weeks ago. Thank you.

  36. Annoymous

    Just one more thing and I’m done talking about this subject. I don’t begin to think I understand it all. This is where I’m at in my journey with the Lord. I’ve listend to Steven Curtis Chapman music since I was a teenager. Now I’m a mom and wife. I did not mean to offend anyone espcially the Chapman family. I just don’t understand trusting in a God that would intentionally hurt me. I’ve been hurt enough by my own father. I go to God because I can trust Him to love and care for me. Yes my son might die today but it would be because of circumstances and Satan. Not because God choose to take him away.

    I’m not closed minded I’m willing to learn the truth if I’m wrong.

  37. L ydia

    Anonymous,
    I think that God allows Satan to take peoples lives as a test to our faith in him. Heaven is such a better place than earth and there will be no more tears shed. There is no pain in Heaven.
    I think a good example of what I said in the first sentence is the story of Job. God allowed Satan to take everything Job had, including ALL of his children’s lives. Hope you can understand it better, but God knows when he wants us to leave this world and he will not let Satan get rid of us until that time.

  38. Rachelle Sperling

    I love how you explained vav. Just the other day I told someone that “and yet” has been an intricate part of almost every sentence I use these days as I walk through my own life’s challenges. No matter my emotions, my struggles, my questions…I can’t seem to ever end my sentence without “and yet” for I know and deeply believe in the goodness of God even when I can not clearly see the way ahead. Thanks for sharing… I also especially like this quote. Yes, let’s let God fill us up and pour us out!

    “Humans were made (as was everything under the sun) for the glory of the Maker. Why should we try to be anything but fully human? Let God fill us up and pour us out; let him do what he will, let us be what we were meant to be. That gives us the freedom to sing about what’s really happening in our hearts without being afraid of sullying the good name of God. If our hearts are contending with the forces of darkness, clinging desperately to the hope of a Savior, then to sing boldly about the battle is no shame to us and all glory to our King.”

  39. Joel Cotten

    “And yet” is such a beautiful concept. It reminds me of the simple phrase, “but God”. As in “But God who is rich in mercy”, those words and phrases take concepts like the recognition of our worthlessness and sinfulness that would bring despair, and infuse them with hope! If we can just remember that and function in that grace, then we can move down the path of life toward holiness in our walk with Christ as free people! Free to serve Jesus Christ unencumbered by the chains of slavery to ourselves.

    And thanks for the reminder that there really are no “squeaky clean” Christians. We all struggle, we just need to be open and honest about it with ourselves and with God, so we can move on and share the witness of how God can give victory.

  40. Jen Shirley

    Thank you do much for sharing the stories that to with your music. That gives them a mean

  41. Jen Shirley

    Sorry! The iPhone cut me off! As I was saying… Your stories give the songs more meaning and feeling. It feels good to know outstounding Christians are human like the rest of us! Thanks for all you do and I am glad I was introduced to your music and writing on this concert!

  42. Amy Hall

    Here’s what I think of every time I think of Steven Curtis Chapman: I’ve been to a few SCC concerts over the years, and the biggest reason why I’ve loved them is that I always leave thinking mainly about God, not SCC. The kind of people who unselfconsciously point to God away from themselves–and actually succeed in directing our attention to Him (even while performing!) are the ones I most love and admire. I pray all the time that I would be like SCC in this.

    Thanks for your post.

  43. Jade Payne

    Amy hall! You took the words straight from my heart! When you leave an “event” with Heaven on your heart and God penetrating your very you, then I call that success. Drawing us toward Jesus is what it’s about.

    It is my desire to be like that as well. Never me, Lord, Always you!

    Thanks for that 🙂

  44. Eleora

    Dear Annoymous,
    Something to think about… 1 Thessalonians 5:2. Our God speaks of Himself as a thief who can come at any hour upon the just and the unjust.
    1 Samuel 15:17-19; 2 Samuel 1:13-14. Here God makes a rather harsh command for Saul to destroy an entire tribe. Saul thought that it was too harsh and didn’t completely wipe them out. He was severely punished for this and in the end he was killed by one that should have been dead long ago.
    John 3:16. If God gave His only Son to die, what makes you think that the same Lord won’t send you to death?
    John 14:9. This verse doesn’t exactly mean what you think. If you look at it in context you realize that Jesus was replying to Phillip who was just asking to be shown the Father. Jesus here is explaining the Trinity, how there is the Father in Heaven, the Son who died, and the Helper that remains with us until Jesus returns.
    John 1:14. This is more of the verse you were looking for. We saw His glory, full of grace and truth. That is how Job knew who God was, because of the grace and truth that he heard.
    Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…” I know who my Master is, yet I have not seen Him with these eyes of flesh. I pray these eyes of flesh will never see Him, but I can bypass my over thinking and except God for who He is. “A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.”(Nahum 1:2) He is jealous for my soul and loves me so much that He would go to such great lengths as to send His only Son to die so that I might accept Him as my King and Father. We do know that He causes all things to work for the good of those who love Him(Romans 8:28), but the goodness of those blessings can be mixed with sorrow; just as we grieve the loss of Maria, but rejoice in her being with her beloved Savior.

  45. Jennifer

    What a blessing to read these words of truth. God does indeed receive glory in our brokenness. ~My mother and my little boy (caringbridge.org/visit/willpatton) were diagnosed with cancer just months after cancer forced my dad from his “earthly shell” (to borrow the term from the Chapman’s book). My mom and my then four-year old survived by God’s mercy…and so did I…because of the “deep knowing” about which you write. Years ago, a dear friend’s toddler was hit by their car, and left his earthly shell behind; in turn, leaving behind also a similar grief as the Chapman’s. Amidst the pain, my friend wrote a book (God Enough by Kasey Ewing) and her husband (Brad Ewing) wrote songs to communicate to others that God is good, and repairs our broken hearts…again and again. We’ve all gleaned greatly from the translucency of Steven Curtis Chapman, and yes, have said, “I love that guy. God is so good!”

  46. Caleb Morris

    Just wanted to chime in and also say thanks for this post, Andrew. I sensed so much life in what you wrote about your experience here. As as a guy who has always had a “regular” job but also enjoys playing music, I cannot even relate to such an opportunity.

    We’re exactly the same age and I didn’t grow up with Christian music either. Over the years I’ve had a strange relationship with it, and cannot imagine how Christian artists must tire of all the “Christian vs. Secular” debates that have raged through the decades. All the while SCC has always struck me as the real deal.

    I was in a Tom Thumb grocery store the other day and noticed a book written by SCC’s wife. I thumbed through and read a bit before leaving the store, and made a mental note on my list of what I might read someday. In my experience it seems like everyone’s a critic when it comes to Christian music and Christian “celebrity” culture (I know I’ve played that part many times). It’s important to remember that there are real people with real stuff going on at the other end of all those (often) thoughtless discussions. I was reminded of that as I thumbed through her book.

    God bless the Rabbit Room.

    -Caleb

  47. Jennifer

    That’s so lovely. The “vav principle” how beautiful and reassuring to know that we can say “and yet” because we have a mighty God who loves us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts from this tour with us.

  48. D

    I still recall a comment SCC made years ago in a interview he gave before a concert in Portland Or. My Paraphrase……Jesus isn’t just the main thing I am about…it is all I am about.
    This comment is one that comes back often as I seek to be Christlike. Not just a strong comment, but an ultimate one.

  49. Julie

    Just responding to the comments made by “Annonymous”, and others who also were a part of the dialogue.

    From my limited understanding of the Bible and based on my relationship with Jesus, it seems like God’s sovereignty and His will are two different things. In the instance of Job, satan asks God if he can make Job suffer extremely, and God allows it but limits him to sparing Job’s life. This displays God’s sovereignty, I believe. It is important to note, however, that the suffering was not God’s idea, it was satan’s.

    In the new testament, when Jesus was with his disciples and teaching the multitudes, he taught them how to pray. Part of His teaching was, …”Father, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” Based on this, our Father God’s will can only be good–there is no suffering in heaven, or sin. That would be impossible. Jesus is saying that we need to pray for God’s will to be done–not satan’s. There is a spiritual battle going on that we can’t see. Does that mean that if we just pray for God’s will to be done that our lives will be perfect and without pain and trouble? Absolutely not. We can see how the disciples were persecuted and tortured for their faith in Jesus, and obviously Jesus Himself, suffered. Jesus also said that we would have trouble in this world, but that our hope is in that He has overcome the world!

    The best I can figure is that the world is tainted by sin, and therefore, we will struggle and there will be pain. But if Jesus didn’t come to rescue us, we would have no hope from it all. Until God binds satan for good, or until we are face to face with Him in Heaven, the kingdom of God is “here and not yet”. As we pray for His will to be done on earth, He answers and His will is done. Satan’s will is also done, however, by others. God gave us free will.

    Job said, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” If you want to look at the hard stuff of life the way Job did, there’s nothing wrong with that. In a way, because of God’s sovereignty, He did take away from Job. I would think that God would also accept this prayer, “Daddy, I’m devastated and distrought and angry and sad–I don’t understand why this happened. But I’m clinging to my faith in Your Word that You are good and that You love me. I still choose to follow You and love You with my life.”

  50. Ron

    Thanks! I needed that!!

    My spiritual life has been a bit cold lately. When I read this post, something melted in me and tears came to my eyes.

    The third option, a wreck who hides nothing but wears his weakness on his sleeve.
    But at the same time, the mighty presence of Jesus shines so brightly in him that we see only God’s goodness.

    Wow! Thank you Jesus!

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