Thursday, October 10, 2013

Matthew West - A True Story Kind of Guy

ONE OF MY FAVORITE PHRASES in the English language is "based on a true story." I love movies and books that are based on actual events. When I know a story really happened and the events really did take place, it has so much more meaning to me and causes me to think about it so much more than something that is just made up. I think Christian recording artist, Matthew West must feel the same way because a lot of his songs are based on true stories.

I recently got the privilege of seeing  Matthew West live in concert when he brought his Into the Light tour to Bismarck, North Dakota. He along with Jason Castro and Sidewalk Prophets put on a great show - the gymnasium as Shiloh Christian school was completely packed! While the whole concert was fantastic, the most memorable parts to me were Matthew West reading true life stories and singing songs that he wrote based on actual events.

Matthew West's daughters, wife and mom join him on stage in Bismarck.
He said he has read over 25,000 stories sent to him from ordinary people all over the world and some of these stories he made into songs. I think it is amazing that he takes the time to read these stories that people send to him but even more amazing are the messages that come out of such stories. These messages about unchangeable love, forgiveness and God's amazing grace change lives

Unbeknownst to us in the audience, Matthew West had a surprise guest who came along with him to Bismarck. That surprise was the lady whose story inspired him to write the song, Forgiveness. Her name is Renee and her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. She not only forgave him for doing so, she and her family member's asked the judge to cut his jail sentence in half so that he could have a second chance at life. It is truly an amazing story and you can see the video of the story below.

Besides Forgiveness, Matthew West sang "Hello, My Name Is" a song that is based on the true story of a college athlete who became addicted to prescription drugs. The young man went through a year-long faith-based treatment program called Teen Challenge. He not only turned his life around but he went back to the same college he got kicked out of and received his Master's degree.

He also sang "Unchangeable" about a young woman who was given up for adoption. She had wondered about her birth parents her whole life and after turning 18, she finally found her father. He agreed to meet her only to tell tell her that she had been a mistake.

All of these true stories are also testimonies to what God has done in each of their lives. When God's redemption shines through, a true story can be life-changing to those who hear it. For this reason, I applaud Matthew West for bringing these stories to life through his music - what an incredible gift God has given him. It was obvious many people in the audience were moved by his music and his message and some even made the decision to follow Christ! 

He ended the concert with one of my favorite songs of all time - Strong Enough. I feel as though these lyrics could be the soundtrack for my life and to me, it was the perfect ending for a fantastic show!

Lyrics to Strong Enough: 

You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through

Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not stong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

Well, maybe
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up

Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not stong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough

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