FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Finding Life in the Cross

with Keith and Kristyn Getty | November 23, 2012
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Keith and Kristyn Getty talk about their music and the need to reflect Christ's work on the Cross in the hymns that they write.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Keith and Kristyn Getty talk about their music and the need to reflect Christ's work on the Cross in the hymns that they write.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Keith and Kristyn Getty talk about the need to reflect Christ’s work on the Cross in the hymns that they write.

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Finding Life in the Cross

With Keith and Kristyn Getty
November 23, 2012
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Bob:  Get what over? 

Dennis:  Ask me what question you want to ask me about hymns that are 10,000 years old, and you want me to sing the lyrics and tell you the origins .

Bob:  I'm not going to do that because I put you on the spot already this week; and I don't want to do that again, because you're my friend.  I'm just—

Dennis:  I really appreciate that, Bob.

Bob:  Here is where I'm going to—


Dennis:  But you know what?  You're the musically talented one between the two of us.  Go ahead and introduce our guests because that's where we're going with it.

Bob:  Well, we are going with that.  Keith and Kristyn Getty are joining us this week on FamilyLife Today.  Thank you, guys, for being back with us.

Keith:  Thank you both.

Kristyn:  Thank you.

Bob:  And for those who don't know Keith and Kristyn from Northern and Southern Belfast, right?

Kristyn:  Yes.

Bob:  Many of the songs that you've written—in fact, I can’t think of a song that I’ve heard you sing that doesn't make some reference to the Cross of Christ.  It seems like that theme shows up at least for a line in just about every song you write.  Why is that?

Keith:  Well, the Cross is the center of gravity of our whole faith.  It is the point around which everything else spins.  It is our understanding of the past, and it is our hope for the future.  So, to write songs that are centered on the great Gospel is, I think, the only way we can really rightly respond to Christ.

Dennis:  Is there a verse around the cross that you would consider would be your life verse?

Kristyn:  The verse that we most commonly use in the context of one of our songs and the power of the Cross would be from Isaiah 53: “Surely, He has borne our wounds, and He has taken our punishment upon Him.”  

We’ve used those verses an awful lot because they are a very graphic portrayal of the story that we then tell in the song—and do you understand what it means for Christ to bear the weight of our sin, not just in dying for us, but why did He have to die?  Then, the emphasis that He has borne our punishment—all of our weight, all of it completely.  We try to emphasize that in song; and I guess we use those verses to show the biblical context of that understanding.

Bob:  Yes, one of the songs for which you are best known is the song, “The Power of the Cross.”  On your new CD you start off with a song that is the other side of the cross; it’s the resurrection.  It’s a song called “Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed.”  “The Power of the Cross” starts off and builds.  This song, focused on the resurrection of Christ, starts with a brighter tempo. 

Kristyn:  Yes. 

Bob:  You can still hear the Irish influence in it.  I think our listeners are going to enjoy the new song, “Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed” from the CD, Hymns for the Christian Life, by Keith and Kristyn Getty.

[Kristyn sings “Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed”]

Bob:  Well, again, that’s brand new from Keith and Kristyn Getty off a CD called Hymns for the Christian Life, and it’s called “Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed”.  It’s good for the soul to sing what is true. 

Kristyn:  This is the truth—the thing that sets us free.  I think that in church when it is not sung, when it is not preached, when it's not celebrated, when it doesn't permeate every area of life, we do not live in the fullness that we are called to live in and knowing that. 

When it's not mentioned and made foundational, I think we lose our way.  We become self-focused; we don't have the relief that the Gospel is meant to bring to us—and the hope—and how it, then, compels us to live in light of it.  I think once—if we don't have that firm in our minds, then we walk with a limp.

Bob:  Every time I hear that song, I flash back to 2 Corinthians 5:21 which says, “For our sake, He made Him to be sin who knew no sin; that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  What a great truth. 

I don't know if, as you're writing songs like that, there is ever a central verse that is kind of the theme for a song that you build off of; but again, there's a lot of Scripture that floods into my mind as I hear these songs that remind me of the reality of what we’re singing.

Keith:  I think just picking up on what Dennis said earlier about songs and singing truth, a new generation of songs that really teach us the truth—do you understand the cross? 

Modern music often becomes a sentimental issue or an issue of a “best”, a “nondescript love”, or a “nondescript selfishness”.  Of course, the problem with that is that the people who you meet in the street or the people who you blog with or the people who you encounter or discuss things with—frankly, an act of love or even an act of unselfishness doesn't mean that much to them because people of every religion die for their religion.

So, what did Christ’s death actually mean?  Because if He died for sin, then, we've got a much more foundational question to ask our friends; and we've got a much bigger thing to live for every day.

Dennis:  Okay, what’s your favorite?  I asked a great songwriter the other day what his favorite was and had some fun with that—oh, don't shake your head at me.

Keith:  No, no, but I’m pathetic.  I’m pathetic.

Kristyn:  I was going to say, “I cannot be.”

Bob:  Something somebody else wrote, right? 

Kristyn:  Yes.

Keith:  Here we go—first of all, “Joy Unspeakable”—but if it has to be our own song, it’s called “Love of God”.

Kristyn:  Oh, yes.

Bob:  Yes?

Kristyn:  I really loved—that’s a great one.

Keith:  When we get finished, do you want to play it in just a second?

Kristyn:  Yes, we could do it.

Keith:  This is a song we wrote—we started off thinking about a hymn about the prodigal son because so many people come back to the Lord through the singing of hymns.  They sing the story of redemption again, and the emotional combination; but also the way the words can cut, actually brings people back to a conviction. 

Then, we decided to widen it a little bit and say, “What is the love of God?”  So, at that point, we’d been looking at the evidences of God being seen in creation, being seen in Christ, and being seen in the individual’s life.  So, we did a verse switch.  It was also—it works lovely for an orchestra because creation is the arts; Christ is the center part of our lives; and then, Christ working through our lives.  We thought it would be a lovely way to write a hymn for their 30th anniversary.  So, we just—

Bob:  So, this is not recorded yet?

Kristyn:  This is not recorded.

Keith:  Not recorded yet.  In fact, it's never actually—a part—

Kristyn:  There's a live recording done in the Albert Hall for that event. 

Bob:  Okay. 

Kristyn:  Stuart was singing it. 

Keith:  We’ve never recorded it.

Bob:  Here we go.  We’re ready for “The Love of God”.

[Keith and Kristyn perform “The Love of God”]

Bob:  Do you find yourself, when you're writing a song like that—I mean, I’m thinking of “Amazing love, how can it be” or “The love of God is greater far”—I mean, there have been hymns written about the love of God.  Do you find yourself thinking, “I’ve got to say something new or different or fresh,” or do those songs inform your songwriting?  How does all of that—

Keith:  Well, all of us are—I mean, first of all, there is no new idea under the sun.

Bob:  Right.

Keith:  Secondly, we stand on high shoulders; so, I would never, ever, begin for a minute to act like this is some great new idea. 

But I think with that song we wanted to look—we wanted to take a slightly more theological approach without losing the passion.  We wanted to look at the idea of God’s love, unfailing love, from heaven that sought me out and called me home, and this idea of God—this calling of God—because it’s—we didn’t really see it anywhere in the modern songs.  We thought it would be a really useful song for church services as well.

Dennis:  I really found it interesting, Keith, when you mentioned that many prodigals have come home through listening to song—

Keith:  Yes.

Dennis:  —because your chorus really is the story of my own prodigal experience as a young man coming spiritually back to Christ; and I want to read that chorus again.

“Unfailing love from heaven’s throne, that sought me”—and I might add, chased me down—“and brought me home.  My song of praise shall ever be, the Father's love for me."

I was reflecting back to 1968 and to a little musty basement office of a pastor who taught me the Book of Romans.  That was when God began to chase me down and bring me home. 

And that concluding statement, “My song of praise shall ever be, my Father’s love for me,” I haven't done that perfectly—I know you all haven’t, either—but I sure do appreciate your gift of music and writing and do pray that God will grant favor on you that you will fill this generation and succeeding generations with songs of praise that will point the heart toward the King of kings and Lord of lords, who will not disappoint.

Bob:  Yes, and I have to say that has happened for me over and over again as I’ve been in church and been with others and we have sung your songs.  I’m grateful that the melodies are easy to catch onto, and yet they are rich melodies.  The lyrics are deep and profound—speak to both the head and to the heart. 

I want to encourage our listeners -- we’ve got copies of Keith and Kristyn’s brand new CD called Hymns for the Christian Life in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.  We have their Christmas album called Joy: An Irish Christmas, as well.  So, if you’d like some brand new Christmas this year, go to  You can order one or both of the CDs from us. is our website, and there is information there about both of these CDs from Keith and Kristyn Getty. 

Let me also say thank you in advance to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.  I know many of our listeners will from time to time, for whatever reason—God uses the program to speak to them or to encourage them, or God uses the ministry of FamilyLife Today some way in their lives—and they get in touch with us and say, “We want to support what you guys are doing.”

We appreciate your partnership with us here at FamilyLife Today.  If you are able to make a donation this week, we’d like to say thank you by sending you a couple of CDs where we have a conversation with Nancy Leigh DeMoss on the subject of gratitude.  Those CDs are our thank you gift to you when you support FamilyLife Today

Go online at and click the button that says, “I CARE,” to make an online donation.  Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY, and you can make a donation over the phone.  Ask for the CDs on gratitude when you get in touch with us.  Again, we appreciate your partnership with us here at the ministry of FamilyLife Today

With that, we’ve got to wrap things up for this week.  Hope you have a great weekend.  Hope you can join us back on Monday when Barbara Rainey is going to be in the studio, and we’re going to talk about getting your house ready for the holidays in a way that keeps Jesus at the center of the season.  We’ll talk about that on Monday.  I hope you can be here for that. 

As we wrap things up here today, another song from Keith and Kristyn Getty’s new CD called Hymns for the Christian Life.  This is a great new hymn called “The Perfect Wisdom of Our God”. 

[Keith and Kristyn perform "The Perfect Wisdom of Our God"]

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Help for today.  Hope for tomorrow.

Song:  The Power of the Cross

Artist:  Keith and Kristyn Getty

Album:  In Christ Alone (p) Getty Music 2007

Song:  Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed

Artist:  Keith and Kristyn Getty

Album:  Hymns for the Christian Life (p) Getty Music 2012

Song:  The Perfect Wisdom of our God

Artist:  Keith and Kristyn Getty

Album:  Hymns for the Christian Life (p)  Getty Music 2012

Song:  The Love of God

Artist:  Keith and Kristyn Getty

(This version was sung in our studio for the original 2007 airing of this program)

Words and Music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

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