Hearing Casting Crowns front man Mark Hall singing those words in the title track of the band¹s new album Thrive, it's hard not to feel peace wash over your soul. Life can be so challenging and it¹s easy to become overwhelmed. What a gift to be reminded we were made to thrive!
The idea of Thrive came out of our student ministry. I've been a youth pastor for almost 22 years and it¹s still what I want to be when I grow up," Hall says with a grin. "The songs always really start out with what we¹re teaching, and for years I¹ve been using Psalm 1 in showing them what a believer looks like. It says: Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season."
Casting Crowns has consistently delivered songs that spur listeners to evaluate their relationship with God and with each other. "The basic idea is let God define himself through you and if you¹ll do that, you're going to thrive," says Hall. "The first six songs on the record are all about learning who God is and who you are. The second six songs are about how that works out. How are you going to get out there and let him live his life through you?"
The album's lead single All You've Ever Wanted has a potent message. "It's combating that logic that we have in us that says when we fail, we need to make it right," Hall says. "We think we need to make things right with God. We think we've got to make him proud again. Not only does it not work, it's not needed. We're fighting a battle that¹s already won and that¹s what this song is about."
Working again with producer Mark Miller, who signed the band to his label more than a decade ago, Casting Crowns has crafted another collection of songs that are entertaining and innovative, yet lyrically substantive. Thrive is a rich aural feast that leaves everyone with plenty of food for thought. In writing songs for Thrive, Hall enlisted some of his favorite collaborators, among them Matthew West, Matt Maher and Bernie Herms.
It's been more than 10 years since the members of Casting Crowns heard their first single on the radio in July 2003, the same day Hall and his wife Melanie welcomed their daughter Zoe. Since then so much has happened in the lives of each member and along the way God has taught them so much. "He's opened our eyes to our suspicion that He was way bigger than we thought He was," Hall says with a smile. "He didn't need Casting Crowns to come along to help His word get out. God is winning. He's changing the world. It may look at times like things are getting darker and darker, but they are not. Everywhere you go, you can see light and light wins. It always wins.