Michael W. Smith
- Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Through life's inevitable changes, we live with a dizzying mix of belief and unbelief. As with the man in the Gospel of Mark, we cry, "Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief." Jesus intercedes. Apathy put down, we are emboldened to stand for hope and love.
That's the declarative message behind Stand, Michael W. Smith's 19th studio album for Reunion Records.
"Stand is a call to stand up for what you believe in," says the award-winning singer/songwriter. "It's a call to stand in awe of the One who gave all and to stand outside of the walls of the church rubbing shoulders with the lost. Together, we stand as followers of Jesus sharing a powerful opportunity: To live as a child of God.
"We must live as though we believe we are loved," he says.
Smith releases Stand inspired by experiences culled during extensive international touring last year, as well as lessons at home, including his work as co-pastor of New River Fellowship, a Nashville-area church he helped establish.
"Scripture tells us that as children of God we inherit great things—love, hope, peace—all by God's grace. Long ago people would have said we get to eat at the King's table all the days of our lives. Today, we'd say we are given the power to live with abundant hope.
"But the problem I've seen," Smith continues, "is that the biggest enemy we have as followers of God is that we just don't believe who we are. And I've been right there, too."
"So I'm taking a stand—and I hope others will—to really live what I believe and embrace who I am in Jesus Christ. And then I believe we are called to just get with it. We are called to share our joy by serving the lost. The poor. The sick. The brokenhearted. The least of these. In Christ, we are given the courage and strength to change the world."
Produced by Matt Bronleewe, Stand rallies believers to their feet through ardent songs of mission and of worship.
"I heard someone say we need to think about what happens on Sundays as only 10 percent of what it means to be the church. The rest of the week should be 90 percent of what it means to be the church, the real body of Christ. That idea challenged me. Worship is great and necessary, but what are we doing the rest of the week?" Smith asks. "In Silence" calls the church to quick action:
"Sometimes we're loudest when the doors are shut and no one can see our face/ But it seems we're quiet when some one needs a touch of heaven's grace/ I'm not gonna sit and stay in silence/I'm not gonna walk away in silence…"
Service in this spirit can only be fueled by the kind of love that knows no boundaries, exemplified primarily in Jesus. "'Open Arms' is about showing people the cross," Michael says of the theme. "Again, it's a call to stand up and be the church we're supposed to be." "Come to the Cross" extends that idea, representing Christ's open invitation to discover freedom and the opportunity to become what God intends for each of us to be.
"It's freeing to someone who's been through hell and back when you tell them there's room at the cross for them. That it doesn't matter what they've done or where they've been. Their hearts turn, and they say, 'That's for me,'" Smith observes.
While Stand inspires listeners toward a love-centered purpose, the record crescendos by hitting a worshipful attitude along side its central message. The move stands for Smith's belief that in worship believers gain strength for accomplishing God's work, as exemplified in "Be Lifted High" and "Oh Lord You're Beautiful," made popular by the late singer/songwriter Keith Green. In kind, the ballad "Grace" is psalm-like in tone and uplifting in spirit. Written by Martin Smith (Delirious), the song returns thanks to God for blessing us with his empowering spirit in spite of our foolish and fickle ways.
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content