Casting Crowns

Releasing January 28th, Casting Crowns’ 7th studio album Thrive explores the balance between Truth, Love, Faith, and Works and is packed with signature Casting Crowns songs about real life that redefine our identity in Christ. In the words of Mark Hall, ‘we were not made to survive, we were made to thrive’. Like a tree planted by the water, we should be digging into God’s word to know Him and know who He has made us to be. We should be reaching out to the world and showing others who He is through our lives and our stories – knowing Him and making Him known.

Thrive- Song by Song

All You’ve Ever Wanted
“It’s about combating that logic we have in us that says when we fail, we need to make it right. We think we need to make things right with God. We think we’ve got to make Him proud again. We think we’ve got to give back to God. Not only does it NOT work, it’s not needed. We’re fighting a battle that’s already won and that’s what this song is about.”

Broken Together
“Marriage is tough. We bring a lot of fairytales to the picture when it comes to marriage. We bring them to the altar with us [thinking]: ‘This is going to be perfect. We don’t have to be apart. We can just wake up together every morning and no one is going to have morning breath. We’re not going to have any problems.’ And then the problems hit and you don’t know where to file those into your picture. . . The idea I’m trying to say is: ‘Can you lay down who you thought I was and love the ‘me’ that is? Can we take this from where we are now and realize that I can’t be that person?’ Only God is going to be able to make this work and broken people can be broken together. To me, it’s probably the most important song on the record.”

Dream for You
“The kids in our youth group sang back-up vocals on this song. I wanted a bunch of high schoolers to come in and sing this song to give life to the truth, that before you plan your future, you should make sure you’re not following your dream instead of God’s dream. God’s dream is a lot bigger than yours, and God doesn’t need you to pull off His dream for you. He can do it if you’ll just follow Him. I’ve had that conversation so many times with so many seniors sitting in my office. Just let God be creative and let Him do what He’s doing. If your goal is to really follow God, He’s not going to steer you off the cliff.”

Follow Me
“I think some of the most confusing times for me, as a believer, have been trying to understand God just from what I know already or what I’ve heard… instead of getting into His word for myself. When you try to understand God’s forgiveness without getting into God’s word, all you’ve got is a reference. The forgiveness around you won’t add up. If you are trying to understand God’s love, how much He’s going to stay with you, and His patience with you, but you’re not in the word…all you’ve got to go on is what you are seeing around you. So when I get into His word, I see a God who loves me not because I’m doing “good.” I see a God who loved me before I even knew what “good” was. I see a God who is pursuing me, who is sustaining me and who will finish me. He says in Matthew 5 and 6 that He is coming after our heart, not just so we would do better or become better versions of ourselves. He is going to recreate us, turn us into the ‘us’ that we were supposed to be from the start. All He wants is for us to know Him and to make Him known. He will produce the fruit! You can’t hang fruit on your life. Fruit comes within and fruit comes from Jesus.”

“We all want to be a hero. If you are a guy, you lay in the bed at night and you dream your hero sequences. You are going to swoop in and save the damsel in distress. You are going to save the children from the bus. You go to movies that say over and over and over, ‘Look at all these ordinary people everywhere, they need a hero.’ So we come to God saying, ‘I want to be this hero for you.’ We look at the word and say, ‘I want to be David for you. I want to be Nehemiah for you. I want to be Moses for you (who gets out there and does the awesome stuff).’ But the problem is, not one of those people in the Bible ever said that. No one, who has ever done big things for God, has ever said, ‘Hey, I want to go do big things for God.’ People who love God and want to walk close with Him (when they finish talking to God), they look at the world and their hearts are broken. They know something has to be done. David never set out to be a giant slayer. David was following God and a giant got in his way. Peter never planned on walking on water. That’s just where Jesus was. Nehemiah didn’t want to build some giant wall. He just loved God and his heart was broken for his city. If we love God so much, we do anything He says no matter how crazy it sounds. You will find yourself in a position to be a hero.
This song is about actual people in my church right now. The first verse about the single mother is a lady named Robin Lamp, who is raising two girls by herself and running the divorce care ministry for our students. She struggles to make ends meet; however, she loves those girls enough to bring them up to walk with Jesus. Jake and Jessie are the seniors in the hallway walking through their school and decided that popularity wasn’t what they were going to go for. They’ve seen dozens and dozens of these middle school guys and young high schoolers come to know Jesus because of what they do. Even in the outro of this song you will see a boardroom with a Bible, that’s Chris Bledsoe, a businessman who decided to go build a business with Jesus in the front of it. In the classroom praying for revival, that’s Lynn Hudgens, a lady who prays for her class every year before they come that they’d see Jesus…even though she can’t outwardly share Him in the classroom. Being a hero is blooming where you are planted and loving the people you are with.”

House of Their Dreams
“All of Crown’s songs come out of our ministry in the church. These are things that God is bringing us through. These are things that we’re seeing God do in other people. There are challenges inside the church that we want to see God do more in, but it’s real life stuff. I can tell you where those families are now, where those people are now, what their choices were and how their choices affected them… and this song is a lot like that. This song is about a family that the enemy attacked. He attacked them from four directions. He did what he does with all of us. He wants to divide us. He wants to get us all alone thinking that we’re the only one with a problem and there’s no way out and once he’s isolated us, we can’t draw from each other as well and families go down. This is a story of a family that desperately needs Jesus, and a family that I feel God is going to do a miracle in. They are on their way, but we are still praying for them.”

Just Be Held
“I was out with my students surfing in Florida once and we were just learning how to get up and how to do this thing. I never mastered it, but when I got the closest to getting on the board a wave hit me and I went rolling. I rolled so many times that I realized I didn’t know where up was. I couldn’t figure out where the air was. The light was going everywhere and that was a terrifying feeling of no control (absolutely no control). I think when life’s storm hits us, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for something we can grab onto and steady ourselves…we may even look at our faith that way. I need to grab onto God and steady myself, but what I’m finding even in our recent storm of life with our little girl Hope, and all the things that she’s been through medically, is that I just can’t grab a hold of something. What I’ve got to understand is that God is taking a hold of me. Instead of being the ‘fixer Daddy’ that grabs a hold of whatever I can and makes this work, I’ve got to understand that I’m already in His hands. I’m already being held and I’m already in His control and in His protection, even in the chaos. This song, to me, reminds me that I am being held by Him. As crazy as it is when I look around me, I’ve got to rest in that truth.”

Love You With the Truth
“This song is about a person realizing that they’ve been a really cruddy friend because they haven’t shared the truth with the person closest to them. A lot of people will say, ‘I want to share the gospel with my friend, but I don’t want to ruin my friendship.’ What you are really saying is ‘I love my friendship more than I love my friend and I don’t want to lose them by giving them this to save them.’ That’s what this song says. It’s tough, but it’s truth.”

This is Now
“This is the first song I wrote for the record and it’s really important to me. It’s to help people understand what God’s forgiveness looks like. I was in the office with a girl named Stephanie, who was about to go to college. She was scared to death that she didn’t belong to God because she couldn’t figure it out when it officially happened and she was questioning her salvation. We were walking through it and I kept asking her questions until she started sharing, ‘I just fail too much and I don’t see how God can stay with somebody who messes up like I do.’ Your logic will tell you that you’re on strike two, but you’re not. You’re His and if you belong to God, you are always His.”

“We’ve kind of had this Celtic feel with a couple of songs in the past like ‘Praise You with the Dance’ and ‘Spirit Wind’ so it’s always been a little part of us and we just thought with this big, fun worship song, that we’d just make it a big camp song. It’s kind of natural, but the idea of ‘Thrive’ came out of our student ministry. For years I’ve been using the idea of Psalm One in showing them what a believer looks like… If you’re not getting into the word for God to define Himself to you, you will define God with what makes sense to you and what makes sense to us is, ‘I better do good or I’m in big trouble’ and ‘He’s going to stick with me for so long, but I’m going to blow it.’ That’s not the picture that the Bible has. God didn’t put you here just so you could survive through hard times. He put you here to thrive, to dig in and to reach out and this record is an effort to draw a picture of what a believer, a follower of Jesus, would look like if they dug into their roots and understood God and themselves more.”

Waiting on the Night to Fall
“This is a song about addiction, about someone that’s trapped by something they are hooked on. Addiction is like an old man who has got us in some way. Addiction is patient and [says], ‘If you want to be excited about Jesus this week, you go right ahead. I’ll just be right here. Run and sing your songs and do your thing and I’ll be here waiting.’ It seems like that with every record there is a warning song.”

You Are the Only One
“This is the first time I’ve written with Matt Maher. I felt like I knew him because we sing all his songs in church. I’ve always been a big fan of Matt since ‘Your Grace Is Enough’, but we’ve never had a chance to write together. He sent me an email a while back and said, ‘I’m working on this song right now and you just keep popping in my head every time I keep thinking about it. It’s called ‘You Are The Only One.'” I took the verses and I began laying out these verses that show this is where the world is, they are real live people who love life and love their family and want to be happy. They are just destroying themselves because there is no compass. This is where the world lives and love is great, but love isn’t going to save them. This song reminds us that at the end of all of our good deeds and thoughts, Jesus is the only one that’s going to save and rescue us. The second verse draws a picture of what happens when somebody gets saved: One more skeptic to believe, one more prisoner has been set free, one more longs to be your hands and feet, one more stands for the least of these.”

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