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#342 - "Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave
The "Daddy" himself, Mike Weaver, sits down with Kevin Davis to chat about their latest song's meaning.

Truly compelling music makes the personal universal. Few artists have done that more consistently or more movingly than Big Daddy Weave. Through more than a decade of hits like "In Christ", "Audience of One", "You're Worthy Of My Praise", "Every Time I Breathe", "What Life Would Be Like" and "You Found Me," they have shared the journey in a way that has won the ongoing respect of fans, press and industry alike. 
Love Come To Life is their first studio album in more than three years, released April 17. Their last album What Life Would Be Like was one of my top ten albums of 2008, featuring the hit title track and "You Found Me." I've been anxiously awaiting the follow-up which features the number one hit title track and current hit single "Redeemed."
"We've faced a lot of personal challenges and adversity during the past couple of years," says Mike. "Coming to the other side of that leaves us with fresh things to share, and in a place where we can share even more deeply than ever before." 
Those challenges--from the fatigue faced at times by musicians who spend much of their time on the road, to a devastating fire that swept through guitarist/producer Jeremy Redmon's house and studio, and health issues faced by some band members--produced a record that reflects two sides of the Christian life. That meeting of life and music has been part and parcel of Big Daddy Weave's appeal since their early days. Formed at the University of Mobile, the quintet--Mike, his brother Jay (who plays bass), Jeremy, Jeff, and keyboardist/saxophonist Joe Shirk--released an independent album in 2001 and then landed a deal with Fervent Records, their label home ever since. 
I had the great opportunity to interview lead singer Mike Weaver in-person about "Redeemed."
Please tell me about the personal story behind the song "Redeemed."
Over the last few years, God has been beginning a new thing in all of us, even over just the past year and a half. The long way of getting to the story of this song is that we love doing what we do, and we've been a band for the past thirteen and a half years. At first we were all a bunch of single guys doing this. Then we signed a record deal and people were playing our songs on the radio and then every one of us in Big Daddy Weave married way out of our leagues. I mean, that's a miracle. In the order of miracles, Jesus turned water into wine, and all of His miracles in the New Testament, and He gave me Kandice Weaver. For me, that was a miracle. It made it more difficult to leave home. Then we started having these little ones come along and that's another life changer. 
I've been a fat guy my whole life and that's part of the story of Big Daddy Wave. That self-deprecating humor is mostly a defense mechanism. When you have kids you start thinking of life in a different way. My wife and I also watch the TV show "The Biggest Loser." In 2009, we came up with the idea for me to lose 90 pounds in 2009. I was out sweating every day and losing weight. Halfway through the year, I lost 50 pounds. Then into the Fall, I lost 70 pounds. At the beginning of December, I had lost 80 pounds. The last day of December I got on the scale and I lost 84 pounds for the year. That doesn't sound bad, it was like losing a middle school kid off of your body. Truly, there has been this thing in my life, that even missing my goal by just 6 pounds resonated with me that I am a failure. That's a ridiculous thing, even as I hear it come out of my mouth, I feel like I failed. The worst days in my life are the photo shoots for new albums. The night before the photo shoot, I stood in front of the mirror hating what I saw, and I was harsh towards myself. The Holy Spirit told me, "You are mine." That led to writing this song.
Please tell me about the Bible verses you used in writing the song. 

Isaiah 43:1: "But now, this is what the Lord says—He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine."
... and Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
How can listeners apply that message when they listen to the song?

I don't doubt that God loves me, my parents showed that to me and I've never doubted how God feels about me. There's this problem of never letting that translate to how I feel about myself. I walked around carrying this self-deprecating, self-hating feeling. I sank into a depressed state. I remember being in my garage, my man-cave. One day after a workout, I was hating myself. I prayed "God I know You love me completely, but why can't I love me?" I felt the Holy Spirit invade that space in my garage and He began to deal with my heart. God began to fill my heart and my mind with the stuff that He likes about me. It's unbelievable that the King of the Universe cares about me. He does that because of the blood of Jesus. He made me. He knows me more than anyone else. He told me He loves my smile and my heart for people. He put that inside of me. He broke down that self-hating feeling. I've been sharing my story for the past year and it has brought people out of the woodwork, and it dawned on me one night that I don't feel like I hate myself anymore. That healing is available to all of us. We just need to make ourselves vulnerable before the Lord.
Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed
Asbury's Bible commentary: "In a word, the pursuit of love succinctly describes the Christian way of life." We are commanded to love others by Jesus. This song challenges me to think about how well I am showing love to others. 1 John 4:19 says "We love because He first loved us." That's what hit title track "Love Come To Life" is all about. 
This band had me at "Audience of One" from their major label debut One & Only more than a decade ago. Just like the debut album by Kutless, Big Daddy Weave's sincere gospel messages and contemporary sound really hooked me as I had previously collected only secular music. After I was saved in 1999, I was excited to find great musical alternatives to the popular mainstream grunge and alternative rock bands from that time. I played saxophone all through grade school and college, so this band's Southern rock sound including a rocking saxophone part is something I've always enjoyed and reminds me of the bands I grew up with--Foreigner and Dave Matthews Band and current modern rock act O.A.R. If you like Southern rock like Third Day and NEEDTOBREATHE, you'll enjoy this band. They mingle excellent musicianship and vocals with incredible lyrics that are biblical and challenging. 
If you like the song "Love Come To Life," get this new album immediately as the album has a cohesive theme based on the lyrics of that super-catchy song: "Bring Your love to life inside of me, a generation that you're calling out, living everything that we sing about." Amen!
This new album demonstrates once again the passion and energy that have made Big Daddy Weave one of Christian music's most compelling acts for nearly a dozen years. This band can really write a hooky and Truth-filled chorus as evidenced by every song they performed at the Festival. After repeated listens, the sincere and poignant lyrics, musical excellence and Mike Weaver's compelling vocals makes Love Come To Life my new top album by this great band surpassing all of their previous excellent albums. 
"Redeemed" is a personal testimony to the power of redemption. The song has quickly become one of my daily devotional prayers of thankfulness to God for showing me grace and forgiveness in spite of my failures. We serve a loving and merciful God who accepts us as we are, not who we pretend to be.
(You can watch the powerful music video here.)

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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