Monday, September 16, 2013

A View from Perry Lahaie's Window - AHEAD

Perry LaHaie recently released his latest CD project Ahead, and I had the opportunity to talk with him about this project and discover his heart behind the messages of his songs.  Perry has a huge burden for the lost, and particularly for the people of the Muslim faith.  He wants to share the truth of Jesus’ redemption with everyone, and really wants to see the body of Christ serving others, reaching the lost and living lives that are free from the past and dedicated to serving Christ with everything within them. 

It was truly an inspiration and encouragement to meet and talk with Perry, and I hope you will spend some time getting to know him here, as we take a look at his life and his work on his latest project, Ahead.

Me: I want to quote a couple of lines from the song The End Will Come: “I will suffer, I will serve, I’ll die; give every breath of life away. I will go where no one’s seen the light; where no one’s there to show the way.  You said when we fill the earth with your word, when every nation has heard then the end will come.”
This is a bold statement that hearkens back to the passion of early church.  Why do you think Christians in churches today seem to want fruit without laboring in the fields?  Content to stay in a support role and not willing to suffer anything for Christ?

Perry:  The Evangelical Church today is influenced by American culture – caught up in the pursuit of celebrity, power, beauty – and we’ve absorbed that into our faith.  I think we are living the “American” version of faith.  We all wear blinders to some degree, and we become blind to just how much our culture has weakened our faith.

In our society success and popularity have become idols.  We must die to our own dreams and ask, “What is God’s dream for my life?”  We must take up our cross, and die to self.  In dying to self we find true freedom.

Me:  In your song, “Unqualified” you ask, “How could God use someone as broken as you?”  Why do Christians have such a hard time releasing past mistakes and accepting God’s forgiveness? Why do we use our past as an excuse NOT to move forward with God?

Perry: The Free gift of grace is something  we wrestle with.  Paul even addressed this in First Timothy when he said, “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  We don’t understand the gospel.  The gospel has somehow become just another way to please God.  We must return to the TRUE gospel and that is that Christ became sin for us, died in our place and rose from the dead.  It is a GIFT not a religion.

Every day we must return to the cross.  We are bankrupt without Christ.  We must allow Him to refill us daily. We must admit we are wretched sinners who are in desperate need of a Savior.  We hold on to past mistakes, because we are too proud to admit how desperately we need Christ.  We must know that He has made us alive!

Me:  Another area where Christians seem to struggle is accepting the freedom found in Christ’s forgiveness.  Another line from"Unqualified" says:  "There’s a freedom waiting; there’s a hand you can take; well rescue is here and it’s calling your name.”  Why are Christians afraid to walk in this freedom?

Perry: I think people are afraid of this freedom because we choose to believe the enemy when he tells us we are not worthy of the grace and freedom Christ offers us.  Satan is the accuser and he wants to keep us locked in the dungeon of our sin and shame, locked up in our fear and pride.  We must accept that our righteousness is nothing but filthy rags and accept the free gift of grace and forgiveness Christ offers. We must walk in the freedom of that gift of grace and stop listening to the lies of the enemy.
Me:  In another song, “American Dream,” you sing: “You promised me wealth; promised me power and beauty; but what I loved the most is you promised me glory and fame....Goodbye American Dream, I have loved you too long and it’s always been wrong. Now it’s finally time to break free.”  Why has the “American Dream” been so hurtful to the Christian community?  What dream should replace this in our lives?

Perry: The cross is where grace and mercy meet.  Christ became our substitute and took the wrath meant for us.  The cross is better by far than any empty promise offered by the American Dream.

Me: “Help Me Find My Way” is a song that reflects a deep loneliness in the hearts of people. Why, in a world so connected, do people feel so alone?

Perry: This song was written to reflect the perspective of a lost person.  It was written to remind Christians how alone and hungry people are to find their way back to God and His presence.  I want believers to understand how lost people feel without Christ.  I still remember when God touched me and healed my shame – how He found me at my worst and loved me.  I experienced the reality of that love in my own life and I want Christians to be burdened for the lost to experience this same love and forgiveness.

Me: One of my favorite songs on the CD is “Great Sinner, Great Savior.”  I want to quote from this song as well: “This is who I really am, an extravagant sinful man….I’m a great sinner, You’re a great Savior; I’ve only one rescue, only one refuge…”  Do you think Christians are reluctant to view themselves as an extravagantly sinful person? Is this a necessary point of recognition all must come to before they are able to recognize the greatness of God’s love and sacrifice?

Perry:  Sanctification is the process that includes recognizing more and more of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.  It’s a journey of faith and we are finding out continually who we are and who He is!  As extravagant as our sin is, Christ’s love is even more extravagant!   When I really want to grasp this truth, I envision myself standing before the cross with a spear in my hand.  I realize how perfect and sinless Christ is and how imperfect and sinful I am and I react to that reality by throwing that spear into His side.  When I do that, His blood flows over me and He comes down from the cross and tells me He loves me.  My life begins to be transformed by that love and forgiveness.

Back in 2010 I sat in a church service and listened as a pastor was preaching about Jacob wrestling with God.  Jacob’s name means deceiver and it wasn’t until he named himself before God that He was touched and transformed by God.  Jacob had to reach a totally broken place before God and say to God that if He didn’t bless him that he would die.  We have to be like Jacob.  I often pray, “Help me believe the gospel today and let go of my self-righteousness.”  It’s important that we realize that all of our self-justification efforts are vain and worthless.

Me: “So You’ve faithfully brought me this suffering; to show that it’s not about me; to show that unlimited power; comes to me when I am weak.  At the end of myself is the beginning of You.”  This is a quote from “Beginning of You.”  Where did Christians begin to equate hardship with God’s lack of love or blessing instead of recognizing at His loving grace that allows us to grow in grace and repentance?

Perry: A lot of Paul’s teaching shows up in my songs!  In 2 Corinthians 12:10 Paul says: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong.”   I think we have to have trials in our lives to learn the transforming lessons that Christ wants us to learn.  No one likes to suffer, but it is through suffering that we become more like Him.  And He even brings opportunities to minister to others out of our trials!

In my own life, I struggle with bouts of depression.  I would have never chosen that, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Suffering destroys self-righteousness and pride and it ultimately makes me a better reflection of Christ to others.  The Bible says we are to take up our cross daily and follow Christ.

Me: Are there any closing words of encouragement you’d like to share with listeners?

Perry: I work with a group called Frontiers, and it is all about bringing the love of God to the Muslim people.  His love is amazing and meant for the whole world.  Did you know that there are at least 3000 people groups that don’t have a single Christian among them?  I want to tell others how great His grace is and what a debtor I am to this grace! I want to share this with everyone so that others will know about what Christ has done for them.

Me: Please visit Perry's website to find out more about his ministry, his music and words of encouragement he shares with everyone!  Thanks, Perry, for blessing me with your testimony and your time!  

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