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Shane and Shane on Breaking Free

Shane Barnard shares about music, modern-day miracles, and the Gospel's power to set us free from shame and insecurity

Shane Everett and Shane Barnard are passionate about spreading the Gospel through their music. "When you only have a handful of minutes and words to offer someone, it becomes pretty urgent to say what impacts people the most," Barnard says. "The gospel is really all we have to say."

Over the past 15 years, the duo has influenced believers all over the globe with lyrics and music based in the Scriptures. Though they've produced over 10 albums that have sold more than 500,000 units and won three Dove awards, humility is of the utmost importance to these two guitarists—they'll be the first to say their faith is far from perfect.

"I would love to say that I'm the most spiritually disciplined person in the world, but I'm not," Barnard says. "I have a huge goal in my life to be in the Lord's presence daily, for multiple hours, hiding his word in my heart so I won't sin against him. Those days haven't really happened yet."

When they aren't traveling or spending time with their families, the duo can be found leading weekly worship and teaching songwriting classes at The Porch, a community gathering out of Watermark Community Church in their hometown of Dallas, Texas, or studying the Scriptures with their small group. Here's what Barnard had to say about the inspiration behind the duo's new album, Bring Your Nothing, and the power of music and prayer in setting us free from works-merited faith and insecurity.

What has God put on your heart to share on your latest album?

The concept of Bring Your Nothing actually came from Isaiah 55: "Come those of you who are thirsty, those of you who don't have any money, and buy wine and milk without cost. Come, those of you who don't have anything, and get everything it return." It goes on to say, "Why do you spend your money on what doesn't satisfy? Why do you spend your labor on what doesn't satisfy? Delight yourself in what does."

A lot of us grew up thinking the very opposite of the gospel, that we climb a ladder and try to do good stuff to get God to like us, and the concept of grace completely shatters that. It's exactly opposite. It's in your worst moment—not in your best moment—but in your very worst moment, that Christ died for you, loved you, and gave himself for you.

So these songs come out of your personal faith experience.

Yeah, there are tons of personal experiences in these songs. One of the songs, "Though You Slay Me," happened just recently. A great friend of mine from our small group had a staph infection that doctors no longer had a cure for. There were no antibiotics left; he had tried them all. Since the abscess was in his upper thigh, the last resort was to cut the lower half of his body off. So, we had an emergency prayer meeting. We just spent some time with him and prayed that Scripture, that God would somehow meet us in despair and cover us with a garment of praise.

God had already slayed this family in multiple different ways, so we were just asking God to give this family a heart of praise and hope. We prayed that truth: "Though you slay me, yet I will put my hope in you," with faith that he would give them hope and praise and peace and joy. And he did. He gave them peace. My friend survived through the weekend, and on Monday morning the abscess was gone. It's a crazy, crazy miracle story. But really, at the bottom of our hearts, the greater miracle that weekend was the peace. And to this day, that family will say if he had to go through with the amputation, that's just what had to happen. But the miracle of the story is that they slept well the two nights before.

You explain this album as a "coming back to the gospel." What does that mean to you?

The gospel is such a mystery. It's foolishness to the world. I can't do anything to earn God's love. God will never love me more than he loves me right now, and there's not a day, not a future version of Shane, that he loves more. Even while I was an enemy of him, he loved me. The reality of the gospel is crucial to a believer.

That's one of the reasons we like to put so much of it in our music. As American believers, we don't read the Bible as much as we should, and without reading and knowing his Word, we're just walking on air. We want to put that in music so that when people are driving down the road, they're getting the Word of God that cuts and pierces and frees you from yourself.

I think God has set us on a path to consistently preach the gospel to the saved. And even when you preach the gospel to the saved, it still sets people free from a whole slew of things that they're in bondage to. I hope we'll be involved in doing that and in helping the American church get a hold of what they're called to and the joy of what it is they're called to: loving God and being loved by God.

What do you think holds people back from worshipping authentically?

Honestly, it's the lack of a relationship the other six and a half days of the week with the Son of God. It requires some authenticity to come before the Lord and really look at who you are, because down deep, we're just a wreck. We're constantly in need of his grace and his mercy, and we need a daily reminder: "I can't fix myself; God, you need to fix me. I can't make myself right with you; you made me right with you." Hour by hour, I'm preaching to myself because I have such a tendency to believe I'm saved by what I do or don't do.

Authentic worship isn't something magical. It's helpful to ask the opposite of that question, too. What's wrong with all the people that seem so genuinely authentic in worship on Sunday and then lead lives that shout, "Crucify him"?

We're dealing with sheep when it comes to the American church, and a lot of those sheep in the church are lost. You have this one group of people that loves the feeling of corporate worship and saying "authentic" things to God, but when the feeling goes away, they don't really love him. They don't really have a relationship with God.. Then you have the other group that are maybe being more honest than anybody else, because they admit they don't worship authentically, ever. But how are we expecting them to worship authentically on Sunday morning when they have no idea how to talk to God on Monday morning, or Tuesday morning, or Wednesday?

Over and over in the Bible, God says, "Feed my sheep," and I think it's super important to understand if your calling is a worship pastor, to start feeding God's sheep. The ground is ready! If you have a congregation that doesn't respond, you have an incredible mission field to begin discipling God's people.

With all of the traveling that you do, how do you personally stay rooted in the Word?

It is so massively important, but I'm no good at it. I can flop around for weeks before God crushes me enough to spend time in his presence and in his Word. My wife and I have found that if we don't plan it like having lunch with the President—or whatever is the most important thing you can think of—then it just won't ever happen. We just have crazy busy lives, and it's so easy to fill that time slot with something else, so I would totally encourage people to do what we try to do. Sit down maybe once a week, on Monday morning, talk through your schedules, and plan it. Chalk it in. An hour here, an hour there, 30 minutes there, 3 hours there—and just see what happens over the course of time as you spend time with him and his word. God has a way with you when you spend time with him.

Shane and Shane will be on tour throughout the U. S. this year, as well as hosting the Linger Conference in February 2014, another Isaiah 55-inspired time of coming to the Lord 's Table and remembering to "dine" with him.

Subscribe to TCW's free email newsletter at this link and you'll be entered into a drawing this week to win Shane and Shane's new CD, Bring Your Nothing.

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July 2013

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