Worship and Believe
About the Guest
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Steven Curtis ChapmanSteven Curtis Chapman is an American Christian music singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, author, and social activist. After starting his career in the late 1980s as a singer-songwriter of contemporary Christian music, Chapman has since been recognized as one of the most prolific singers in the genre, releasing over 20 albums. Chapman has also won five Grammy awards and 58 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, more than any other artist in history. His seven "Artist of the Year" Dove Aw...more
One of the most gifted Christian musicians of this century, Steven Curtis Chapman, joins Dennis Rainey to talk about his latest CD, “Worship and Believe.”
Worship and Believe
Bob: Imagine getting ready to go on tour as a recording artist—about to walk on stage, in city after city, and encourage people to walk with God, all the while knowing that, in your own marriage / your own family, you’ve got struggles going on. That’s exactly what Steven Curtis Chapman faced, not long ago.
Steven: I literally called a counselor—a lady who’d kind of been walking with us and encouraging us—and I just said, “You know, it just seems like a really bad plan that God has to put us in front of people, night after night. We’re as broken as we’ve ever been.” And she said, “If you can walk out there together, can that be enough?” I get emotional thinking about it. [Emotion in voice] I finally had to come to a place to say, “Yes; that’s enough.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, October 28th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Steven Curtis Chapman helps us see what it’s like to be living in the real world today as he shares from his heart with us. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. We’ve got an old friend back in the studio with us today. I don’t know if you’ve ever told him where he fits on your list of, you know, top ten favorite Christian recording artists.
Dennis: I don’t know that I’ve ever told you. [Laughter]
Bob: Maybe we should just keep that between us then? [Laughter]
Dennis: I think maybe we should! [Laughter] But Steven Curtis Chapman does join us again here on the broadcast.
Steven—I want to talk about Steven and Mary Beth for a moment. She’s not here; so we can’t get the straight scoop since she’s not here. [Laughter]
Steven: Yes; right! [Laughter]
Dennis: But as I kind of look at your life, Steven—and I’ve only used this illustration with one other person—when I interviewed Pat Summerall, the great sportscaster for, I think, over 50 years. I compared his life to four quarters. Clearly, when we interviewed him, he was in the fourth quarter.
Dennis: So I look at your life—and I know you pretty well—so I’m thinking, “Yes; I can see, kind of, four quarters in Steven’s life too.” The first quarter was growing up and all the lessons that he had to learn in starting out a career—a lot of, probably, eating humble pie in the midst of that to be able to rise to stardom within the Christian community and become the leading all-time singer in terms of number of albums sold / number one singles hits.
It’s astounding—some of the things—five Grammies—all of those things.
Dennis: That’d be your second quarter—when you were on a roll. I kind of picture your third quarter, Steven, starting with the death of your daughter eight years ago.
Dennis: And I still think you’re in the third quarter. You’ve just released a new album about Worship and Believe. It comes out of kind of the beginning of the third quarter. What I want to ask you is: “How are you, as a man—because you’ve seen your career soar with tens of thousands of people showing up to your concerts and best-selling albums and singles; and now, because of digital, that is all turned upside down.
Steven: Oh, yes.
Dennis: You’re not in the fourth quarter yet; but I want to ask you: “How are you looking at the fourth quarter, as a man?”
Steven: Well, the word, “gratitude,” is the one that keeps coming back—to live with a heart that is grateful as you look at amazing opportunities that God has given you—
—but it’s not even about significance—you’ve had all of this success. You know—
Dennis: Right; right.
Steven: —something that a lot of men deal with that: “What does it mean to have that significance?” But I just think, for me, you know—more and more, living in a place of just being grateful for all that God has done, and yet all that He’s still doing, and recognizing that His economy is so very different than ours.
You know, we equate so much of what we do—especially guys, like us—that God has placed us in a ministry and in a place of significance with what we’ve said, or what we’ve written, or what we’ve sung—that kind of thing.
Just because those numbers—you know, there’s this automatic thing of: “Boy, God’s really blessing that ministry; because look how it has grown. Look how it’s blowing up. Look how many people are listening, or buying the records, or coming to the concerts,” or whatever. We know it—you know, we’ve said it to each other, even when we’re in those moments of the heights—you know, soaring into the heights—that: “Hey, God isn’t impressed with this. God works just as much through, you know, a missionary sitting somewhere in the middle of Africa with 12 people gathered around, sharing the gospel, as He is with 12,000 people in an arena somewhere.”
We know all those things in our head, but really believing it and getting to a place of saying: “God, I want to be faithful in whatever season that is / in whatever quarter I’m in. I want to keep believing what’s most true about what You say about me,” because it is hard not to equate our significance / our worth with, you know:
“How well…” or “How many records are we selling?” “How many concert tickets are people buying to come hear what I have to say?” Does it still matter as much, you know, now that I’m saying it, you know, 25 years/30 years later?
The truth is, you know—and I tell this to Mary Beth sometimes—you know: “Sweetheart, I believe the fact that we can stand here together on stage or—you know, on a stage figuratively, whether or not we’re literally on a stage / but just with our lives being sort of on the stage—that communicates something, now at 31 years of marriage, having walked through what we have. Being in this quarter that we’re in / if it’s third quarter, and still showing up—there’s something just about the fact that we’re standing there together that communicates something.”
Dennis: That’s how we greeted one another just a few minutes ago—
Dennis: —when we said, “Hi,” back in my office before we came in the studio. You just came in and said, “You’re still here!”
Steven: Yes. [Laughter]
Dennis: “You’re still standing!”
Steven: That’s right.
Dennis: “So am I! Let’s embrace!”
Steven: Yes; that’s good! Yes.
Dennis: You know: “We haven’t quit.”
Dennis: And really, there is no retirement. The whole concept of retirement came from withdrawal, for a brief period of time, from the front lines of battle—
Dennis: —to “retire” was to regain your perspective, and freshen your soul, and get some physical rest to go back into battle!
Steven: Right; right.
Dennis: And I love the quote by Winston Churchill—he said, “On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of those who sat down to rest and, while resting, died.”
Dennis: I love that because God made us for battle.
Dennis: As you look—and we don’t know how long we have—you may have six quarters yet, Steven. [Laughter] You’re like the Energizer® bunny!
But as you look at the fourth quarter in your life, how do you envision yourself being used by God if He gives you the grace and the health to be able to do it? I hear you describing a bit of a statesman for Jesus Christ—just use the influence you’ve been given, as an artist / as someone who has been through some tough times—
Dennis: —to just continue to represent Christ. You’re not withdrawing, I know, because we tried to get you here a few months ago back for our 40th anniversary celebration; and you were too busy. [Laughter]
Steven: I know; I know.
Dennis: Of course, we called too late too! [Laughter]
Steven: Well, it is still a busy season in that, but it is—you know, you’re absolutely right. It’s recognizing, I think, at every season, there’s something so significant about that season—about what you can communicate / what you can share. I mean, there’s an authority—and, at this point, I’ve had some brothers around me that encourage me in that—
—they say, “You know, there are things that you can only say now, at this point in your life, having walked through what you’ve walked through.”
Mary Beth and I are talking about a season of, you know, more ministry together. Maybe we do—you know, we would love to get to do things with you guys—and just talk about our 31 years of marriage and encouraging other couples.
Dennis: And you didn’t quit!
Steven: We didn’t—yes; we didn’t quit.
Dennis: I mean, there were dark, dark days.
Steven: Yes; sir.
Dennis: You and I flew back on a plane together, and I was looking in your eyes after the loss of your daughter. I saw a deeply wounded man attempting to love a deeply wounded wife.
Steven: Yes; yes.
Dennis: I mean—those were tough days.
Steven: Yes; sir.
Dennis: You know—you came through it. There will be other tough days in the future.
Steven: Yes; right. It ain’t all over, and it’s not all behind us. And yet, we are—I mean, I called one of our counselors in some of those darkest days.
We were getting ready to go stand on stage together—Mary Beth and I—and do a tour together. My boys were playing in my band; and Mary Beth had written her book, Choosing to See. This was as dark of a place—and I was pretty convinced that we were going to get out in front of the world on this tour and, at a point of just highest, you know, kind of: “All eyes looking at the Chapman family,”—that’s when it was just going to all blow up, right in front of the world.
I finally / I, literally, called a counselor—a lady who’d kind of been walking with us and encouraging us. I just said: “You know, I don’t know. This is probably the biggest mistake we’ve ever made; because we’re going to get in front of everybody, because it just feels so—right now, we’re on such a fine sheet of ice underneath us. It’s going to break through at any moment. If I’m just saying what I feel right now, it’s probably going to happen. It just seems like a really bad plan that God has to put us in front of everybody for this thing to all blow up in front of the whole world watching.”
I said: “But I don’t know what to do. We’re set on this course; and you know, do I pull the plug on all of this? What do we do? Are we complete frauds to stand up in front of people, night after night? We’re as broken as we’ve ever been.”
And she said: “But you’re together. If you can walk out there together, can that be enough?” [Emotion in voice] You know, I get emotional thinking about it; because she said: “Can that be enough? You’re together.” I think that I finally had to come to a place to say: “Yes; that’s enough. If God’s held us to this point, together, and we’re standing there together—as broken, as confused, and as much pain and baggage, and all the tractor trailer full of mess we’re dragging along behind us—and we still are—but, by the grace of God, we’re together.”
I wrote a song on the Glorious Unfolding album a couple of years ago called Together: [Steven quotes the words of the song.]
Dennis: It’s a promise—marriage begins with a promise, it’s maintained by a promise, and you run the race all the way to the finish line with that promise.
Dennis: You guys haven’t quit, and I admire you—I really do—for just shouldering it together.
It’s been awhile since I’ve asked you this question—and, honestly, a lot of water under the bridge—so I feel like asking it again. It’s one of my favorite questions to ask men: “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done in all your life?” Courage is doing your duty in the face of fear. It’s not necessarily on a smoke-filled battlefield in a foreign country, although it can be that.
Dennis: But it’s when you faced your duty—in the midst of nobody else understanding what was taking place in your soul, you did your duty. Do you know the answer?
Steven: Well, I mean, the answer that comes to mind—maybe a lot because of what we’re talking about right now—but it is—I’d say it is loving my wife and leading my family.
That’s really taken the most courage and the most trust in God’s promises—to not leave or forsake me / for His strength to be perfect in my weakness—to hear Him say, “Fear not.” That one commandment that’s—what is it?—it’s by far the greatest commandment in terms of the number of times it appears in Scripture—it isn’t: “Get it together, son!”—you know?—it isn’t: “Do it right / do it well,”—it’s: “Don’t be afraid.”
Bob: Yes; and I think that’s interesting—because I think people who come and see you in concert—you’re pretty transparent / you’re pretty vulnerable with what you share—pretty candid about the real life you live—and yet, we see you up on stage with the guitar, and you’re having fun. You look fearless. But I’m guessing that, if we saw you at home, as a husband / as a dad, you’ve got the same fears that all of us have to wrestle with.
What are some of the things you find yourself fearing, as a parent or as a husband?
Steven: Well, I mean, I’m in the process right now of writing my story about my life. I’ll come back and talk to you, Lord willing, in a year from now or a few months from now when I get it finished—if it ever gets finished. But I’m kind of writing my memoirs / my story. I’m talking a lot about those fears and those voices.
I think a lot of people will be surprised to find out, you know, all of those insecurities. You know, it’s in all of us / it’s in all of us artists. You know, you hear it if you listen to any—even in the mainstream world, you see all these great quotes of, you know, different artists that have wrestled with insecurity. You go: “Them?!—that person?!”
Dennis: Yes. I saw an interview on 60 Minutes.
Bubba Watson—the guy who won the Masters twice—said: “I deal with fear all of the time—
Steven: Yes; yes.
Dennis: —“afraid of people. I’m afraid of crowds.” He’s playing golf! [Laughter] He’s performing his profession in front of the very people he’s afraid of.
Steven: Yes; yes—absolutely.
So, I mean, there’s a whole long list of those things. But I think, for me, the thing that I’m realizing—the reason I mention the book is—what’s coming to the surface so much as I’m telling my story and really just kind of going back and kind of reliving it a bit—is just this incredible fear of disappointing people. The biggest person in my life—obviously, there’s God at the very top—I don’t want to disappoint God / the reality of the times and the ways that I do.
Dennis: Right; right.
Steven: And then, there’s my wife/my bride—the one of whom I’ve said: “I want to care for you. I want to love you well,”—
—and know the times that I’ve disappointed her / the ways that she, you know, will be disappointed with some things that I have no control over—that I can’t control—because she’s on her own journey of learning to trust God and not me. You know—
Steven: —we all, you know—there’s a real challenge with that; because, you know, I’m the one that she’s going to come to with all of the frustration and the disappointment when she’s really mad and disappointed with God and the way He’s doing or sovereignly allowing things to happen in her life. You know, I’m the place she’s going to bring all of that.
Dennis: This morning, Barbara and I, as we were talking before I came to work, we were talking about that very thing. One of the things we have to do, as followers of Christ, is assume responsibility for that which is ours and not assume responsibility for that which isn’t.
Dennis: Let God be God in your spouse’s life.
Dennis: You can’t control it. You’ll go mad if you try to control it—
Dennis: —or assume responsibility—that: “You know what? She’s got to deal with her stuff. I’ve got to deal with my stuff.”
Steven: Yes; yes. There’s just a lot. At one point, I wanted to call this book I’m working on, Unfixable, because that’s the thing I’m most afraid of—the unfixable things in my life—because I’m a fixer. [Laughter]
Dennis: I’m sorry I laughed. I’m not laughing at your book, but isn’t that true of all of us?
Steven: Yes; absolutely.
Dennis: It is one long process of facing issues in our lives, realizing, “I’m broken.”
Dennis: I think it’s what God’s up to, Steven—I think He’s got one long process, called a lifetime, where He is weaning us from the world, and our love for the world, and preparing us for eternity. I can tell you—as I get closer to eternity, I’m looking forward to seeing Him, face to face, and to what He has for us increasingly; because the world doesn’t have it.
Steven: Amen! Isn’t that the truth? Yes; sir.
Bob: Yes; we’ve been trying to point our listeners in that direction over the last couple of weeks—talking about how God is our stability in whatever season we find ourself in, whether it’s a season of personal turmoil or national turmoil. We have to know where our comfort and our refuge is—and it’s in Him.
We’ve created a series of family devotions that a lot of families are using. They’re available on your smartphone in the FamilyLife app. If you don’t have the app, you can download it from your app store—the devotions are available there. Or you can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and download a PDF of these devotions. They’re just good, short reminders for your family. Use these at the dinner table, the breakfast table, wherever you have a few minutes together as a family. Again, download the devotionals from our website at FamilyLifeToday.com; or pull them up on the FamilyLife app.
Again, if you don’t have the app, go to your app store and download it. It’s free, and it gives you access to this program each day. Many of our past programs are available through the app—just a lot of content that is available when you download the FamilyLife mobile app.
When you visit our website, get a copy of Steven Curtis Chapman’s new CD, which is called Worship and Believe—it’s 15 songs / great songs of worship and faith. You can order the CD from us online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or order when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Now, we’ve got some friends we want to say, “Happy anniversary!” to today. They’ve been married for 11 years—Philip and Kathy Salamone live in Rochester, New York. “Congratulations!” to the Salamones on their 11th anniversary.
We’re all about anniversaries. This is our 40th anniversary year, as a ministry. We’ve been celebrating by reflecting on the number of couples whose legacies have been altered because of how God has used the ministry of FamilyLife in their lives over the last four decades.
Really, those of you who partner with us as financial supporters of this ministry, you are a huge part of all the ministry that has taken place. It’s because of your support that these marriages are together and that families are thriving today. Thanks for joining with us, here at FamilyLife.
If you can help with a donation today, we’d love to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a banner that Barbara Rainey has created that declares that your home is an embassy of the kingdom of heaven. You can request that when you donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate. You can also mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.
We’ve been talking today to Steven Curtis Chapman. Dennis—
Dennis: Well, as we reflect on our lives, Steven, it’s good to not be running the race alone. One of the things you’ve mentioned repeatedly here, as we’ve talked this week, is you’ve got people in your life that speak into your life that you are transparent with.
I just want to turn to a listener and say: “If you’re alone, you’ve got to get involved in a local church. You have to find some other unfixable people / some other messy grace people and connect—and get real and get honest—because I think one of the classic deceptions of our enemy / the devil of hell—and he does exist—is he tries to get us isolated. In isolation, you can be convinced of anything.
Steven: Absolutely; you are right. The thing I would encourage on that is—just to remember that the church is whenever two or more are gathered together.
Dennis: It’s people.
Steven: It’s people.
Dennis: It’s not a facility.
Steven: Yes. It’s getting with friends and with people that you can just be honest with / you can be accountable to on a regular basis. You know, I wrestle with that; because I’m on the road / on tour. My church / my brothers, with swords drawn on either side of me, saying, “You’re not fighting this battle alone!”
Steven: A lot of times, it’s—you know, a couple of guys—and we have church in the back of the tour bus, you know, on an airplane—me and a brother just wrestling together with: “Man, this is hard! But here’s what’s most true. I need to encourage you in that.”
Steven: We’ve got to have that. You’re right. If we get isolated—and that is the greatest tool / the greatest weapon the enemy uses against us is to get us isolated, and get us away, and start whispering all these lies: “God’s not good. He’s not with you. You’re all on your own.” The tendency is to run even further into that—so you’re absolutely right.
We’ve got to keep ourselves surrounded with people, with whom we can just be honest with, and we can just be, you know, with all of our stuff that’s going on—and yet somebody, who will say: “Man, I hear you! I’m not shaming you. I’m not sticking a Bible Band-Aid® on your pain—
Steven: —“but let me just listen and let me remind you of what’s most true.”
Dennis: Well, thanks for your honesty here—being authentic, and exhorting, and imploring, and lifting up some who have maybe fallen here. Anyway, I appreciate you / love you. Thanks for your friendship. My daughter is waiting outside. She wants to take a picture of us.
Steven: Alright! Well, let’s do it.
Dennis: Let’s do it!
Steven: I love you, brother.
Dennis: Love you too.
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