We had a wonderful time this week celebrating the Christmas season with our friends and supporters at LIFE’s annual Christmas banquet. Without them, as well as those across the country and around the world, we could not have had the huge impact that we continue to have through television ministry and mission outreaches.
We were privileged to enjoy the music ministry of a band called Big Daddy Weave. You may not recognize their name, but if you sing contemporary songs at church or listen to Christian radio, you have probably heard their numerous hit songs, such as “Let It Rise,” “Every Time I Breathe,” “What Life Would Be Like,” “Fields of Grace,” and “You Found Me.”
I was blessed to hear Mike Weaver, the lead singer and songwriter, tell how he and his brother Jay (who plays bass) grew up listening to sermons from our Bible conferences in the 1980’s. Their parents were so moved by those meetings that they brought audio cassettes back home and played the messages on a boombox placed in the hallway outside their bedrooms as the family went to sleep.
As Betty and I approach 50 years of ministry, it’s a wonderful blessing to hear these types of stories and know that God has allowed us to have some small part in advancing His kingdom. Listening to Mike, Jay, and all of the band members worship and testify to the grace and power of Jesus Christ really made the evening special. I know our friends at the banquet were blessed and encouraged, especially when Mike told the story behind the band’s current #1 single “Redeemed.”
“Big Daddy” refers to Mike’s size, but not his height. Mike has battled his weight all of his life, but that struggle is an external symptom of the internal struggle with failure, self-worth, and self-love. Despite loving parents, a strong Christian upbringing, and his own beautiful walk with Jesus, the enemy keeps whispering lies that he has to fight every day. I can relate, because this has been my experience ever since I gave my life to Christ as a teenager. I think it’s true for all of us. The more we seek to live for God and share His love with others, the more the enemy focuses on us with crafty lies to knock us off course.
But, as Mike discovered again, our gracious savior is faithful. He never fails us. And in a dark time in Mike’s life, Christ showed up with words of life that inspired “Redeemed.”
Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering, “How long is this gonna last?”
The enemy loves to accuse us, especially with the truth of our failures. That’s why Jesus said He came to “set the captives free.” We were slaves to sin…until Christ overcame.
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me
“Son stop fighting a fight that’s already been won!”
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
Wipe away every stain
Now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed
What an amazing realization! Yes, it’s true that we fail. But the greater truth is that our sin is covered by the blood of Christ, enabling us to no longer be held captive by sin’s power. This is what Christmas is really about. Still, the enemy continues to lie to us. But we must listen to the voice of Truth and choose to believe what God says about us.
All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head.”
I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet
I am redeemed
We are a work in progress. Even after all these years, God still works on me every day! Paul wrote, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). As long as we’re alive, that final day has not come, so as long as we will allow Him, God will continue to shape our character into His. The process may be painful at times, but the joyous outcome is worth it.
I don’t have to be
The old man inside of me
Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I’ve got a new name
A new life, I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home
I am redeemed
What a blessing! Thank you, Lord, for your redemptive power. Thank you for the reminder of Christmas and the hope of salvation through your Son.
Songwriters Benji Coward and Michael Weaver. ©2012 Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. Hear Mike’s story and watch the video of “Redeemed” on YouTube.