Have you ever wondered what you would have said to Jesus if you were the rich young ruler mentioned in Matthew 19?
If you remember, he asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life. Jesus gave him a laundry list of commandments to keep. The young man replied, “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” (verse 16) And Jesus said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Verse 21) The next verse reveals it all: But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (verse 22)
Jeremy Camp may not be as wealthy as that young ruler, but he certainly has been given the gift of music.
Not long ago, Camp felt like God had asked him a similar question, “Are you willing to surrender everything?” For him, that meant his music.
“Not that it wouldn’t be a challenge,” says Camp in an interview reported on NewReleaseTuesday.com, “but I wouldn’t be devastated because this is not my life. Christ is my life.” This was the basis for Reckless, Camp’s seventh recorded studio album released last February. Just read these challenging lyrics:
Every time I try to play it safe, Holding back just a little part of me
I find myself forgetting what, I say that I believe
The promise of Your Word, Is all I need
I’ll lay my life down, And give it up
I’ll give it up
I wanna be reckless, Cause You are endless
I wanna be shameless, And shout Your greatness
I will not be afraid, To surrender my way
And follow who You are, I wanna be reckless, reckless
It’s one of those mythical scenarios in that, God probably won’t ever ask Camp to stop singing, but it’s a challenge to know which was more important to him: God or the music God gave him. “When you feel God calling you to do something, you have to be obedient,” says Camp. Sometimes obedience can look reckless to more conservative brethren.
The “Reckless” video is more fun to listen to than to watch. While clever in design, the video bounces back and forth with flashing color squares causing a strobe-like affect. It’s cool at first, but gets old quickly. Still, one can’t deny the power of the song.
As for the rest of the album, Camp says, “Musically and vocally, it’s more raw, but in a good way.” For instance, where Camp might rely on heavy guitars for a chorus, he may have focused more on the piano giving the music a different sound. Still, Reckless has the distinct rock / ballad-feel that fans appreciate.
Camp isn’t afraid to speak his mind and doesn’t water down his lyrics for the sake of better audience appreciation. His songs are more worship-focused than traditional contemporary Christian music.
In one song, the drum-heavy “Shine,” Camp repeatedly tells God of His greatness and how he wants Him to shine down upon Camp so that he can do the Lord’s will. It’s a catchy tune that will stick in your head.
In “Come Alive,” Camp sings about how he sees people in his everyday life pursue passions and dreams that will never be realized in this life and how pointless it all seems. His frustration leads him to sing out about how great God is until the world “comes alive.” Camp’s obsession with getting the “Good News” out to the masses is evident; something other artists should take note of.
“New Release Tuesday” shares a great story behind “The Way You Love Me,” the second radio release from the album. Following in her daddy’s big-thinking footsteps, one of Camp’s daughters asked him, “Is there anything that I can do for you that I’ve never done before that will make you happy?” Camp looked at her and said, “You don’t have to do anything to make me happy. You make me happy.” Let that be a lesson to all of us that our Heavenly Father loves us no matter what. In return, we honor Him out of a desire to please Him, not out of obligation.
In addition to the album, Camp has also penned the book, I Still Believe, by Tyndale. In it, he strips away any façade left to show the reader the real him. He shares about what life was like living as a preachers kid, his rebellious teen years, his “aha” moment in college, his love and loss of this first wife to cancer and how God provided him with another wife, Adrienne, years later with children too.
This 35-year-old has seen and been through a lot, and it appears he has plenty more to share — God doesn’t appear to be through with him yet.