Tim Timmons: "Following Jesus versus being a believer in Him is revolutionary."
Jesus assures us in Matthew 6:33-34 to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." As new artist Tim Timmons shares in his new song, "Starts With Me," the Christian life is about making a decision to live for Christ and not for myself. I want to run the race for Christ and not live for the world. Do you have something you are seeking that is of this world?
This song, from Timmons' debut, Cast My Cares, challenges us to think about whether we really believe that Jesus will (as the song says) "meet me here, when I'm on my knees." Once Jesus meets you on your knees, have the King of the Kingdom lead your day. This is an amazing song and really reflects the joy we receive when we don't rely on our own understanding, but instead fully submit ourselves to faithfulness and trust in the ability of Jesus to lift us up no matter our circumstances.
Tim is based out of The Following Church in Laguna Hills, California, where he lives with his wife Hilary, and their four children-Malia, Noah, and twins Aaron and Anna. After being diagnosed with incurable cancer over a decade ago, Tim's life took a dramatic turn, which inspires much of his mission and his songwriting. I had the great chance to interview Tim about his catchy and inspiring song, "Starts With Me."
Please tell me your personal story that led to writing "Starts With Me."
I've been a Christian my whole life. I prayed the prayer when I was 5 years old. I grew up as a pastor's kid, which was for the most part a really great experience. I worked at Saddleback a couple of years, and Mariner's Church for 15 years and it was great. I loved all of my experiences.
Three years ago, I was journaling and I sensed this phrase that "you're in the preface of the second book of the trilogy of your life." I'm like, this is so stupid. I've said this kind of thing before, and I love Lord of the Rings, so I must be making this up. I told my wife about it, and it was weird. Then in the next few weeks I started getting letters from people saying, "Tim, you don't know me, but God told me to tell you that you're starting a new season, follow Jesus, and He will walk with you." It was so bizarre, thinking someone was reading my journal. It was a wake up call for me. Everything that we were holding onto as security and what we thought our lives were about started getting messed with. Literally everything around us became unstable, all of a sudden. Jesus was moving us. I was like okay, Jesus you've impressed on my heart my life verse, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
That was a few weeks before I found out that I had incurable cancer. Jesus kept putting that Scripture on my heart, over and over. I don't love these life verse things, but I'll go with it. Then once I learned I had cancer, it all made sense to me. I knew I had a new season, and that I was supposed to follow Jesus and walk with Him. I wrote the last song on the album, "Only One Standing." It's literally been my prayer for the past 3 years, "would You let my kingdom fall so that Yours alone would be the only one standing." Wow, God was breaking down my kingdom. This has also been my favorite 3 years of my life.
In that same time period, I started saying to Jesus, let's start a revival. How? The answer I got was from this devotional I read, that had a story of a young preacher who went to an old pastor and said, ‘Hey how do I start a revival in my town?' The old pastor took a piece of chalk and wrote a circle on the ground and he said, ‘A revival doesn't start in your town, it starts with you, on your knees walking with Jesus. I've just found myself in my life saying Jesus, come partner with me in what I'm doing.' And I think Jesus is saying, ‘Hey guys, let Me lead. Just follow Me, and I will do great things. It was such a perfect answer to my prayer. My whole life had been Jesus, here's my agenda for Your Kingdom, would you bless this? It's a noble prayer, it just isn't biblical. Following Jesus versus being a believer in Him is revolutionary. I actually believe it will revolutionize the power of the Kingdom. What if the people who fill our weekend church services actually saw themselves as the church in the name, the power and the authority of Jesus as we walked out of that building? I get really excited just thinking about it.
Please tell me about the Bible verses you used in writing the song.
...Philippians 3:8-11: "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."
...and Matthew 6:33-34: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
How can listeners apply that message when they listen to the song?
We pray, "God will You be here?" Well, that doesn't make sense. He tells us in His Word that He's inside of us. Dying to my kingdom has been really hard. Everyday I'm reminded, it's not about my kingdom. My kingdom is worthless compared to the great Kingdom of God. I don't care about being the next Christian rock star, but I do care about influencing Christians to lean into Jesus—that's the revolution—and it's the only reason why I'm doing this. I think I've been commissioned to be a missionary to Christians.
We do American Christianity so well, as we do church week after week. I'm pretty great at being a Christian. My best friends would call me a Varsity Christian. I know how to do it, but I don't know if I knew Jesus. But do we know how to be the Church, and enact the principles of Jesus daily? All I have to do is follow Him. I'm a Varsity Christian but I'm a preschool student as a follower of Jesus.
This song is an invitation to follow Jesus. Every day, I ask Jesus what He wants me to do today for His Kingdom's sake. I just want to be with Jesus, and wherever He is, He will do amazing things. I want to know Jesus, and then represent Him, and not American Christianity. Nobody needs that. It's not beautiful. It's not the whole picture. People need Jesus like crazy. I need Jesus like crazy. Knowing Jesus bears fruit. He's making fruit out of me. We need to know Jesus personally, not just know about Him. We tend to do more stuff for Jesus instead of with Him. He's telling us to follow Him. Wherever He says, that's where I go. What if the church didn't try to do things for Him, but be with Him? Not religious people, because we enter the Pharisee zone.
This song is an invitation to the Church to know Jesus, and represent Him. Nobody's saved in the name of Christ. The name of Jesus causes demons to tremble. We need to ask Jesus what He wants of us. I've spent my life thinking Church was the 80 minutes we gather each week. We invite people to a church building, and we do those 80 minutes great. Jesus has made clear to me that there are 10,000 other minutes during the week. Are we following Him the rest of the week? Is that same Spirit of Jesus inside of me evident every day? Think of the revolution we can start spending every day representing Jesus.
What could I do to leave a legacy?
How can I speak with authority
When I can't see You, I can't see You
How can I know the dreams You have for me?
How can I believe beyond what I have seen?
When I can't hear You, I can't feel You now
No, no, no
You're my revival song, You start where I belong
On my knees, on my knees
When I am weak or strong You meet me here
When I'm on my knees, on my knees
Oh, it starts with me
Why do I try to work outside of You?
Knocking down doors I should be going through
But I'm so tired, I'm so tired
You take my burdens off of my shoulders
You break the lies that hold me back
I'm not sure enough
I really wanna change the world
I really wanna sing Your song
But I know revival's got to start with me
I really wanna change the world
I really wanna sing Your song
But I know revival's got to start with me
God tells us in the Bible that we are all sinners and we've all fallen short. We need to serve God because of who He is, not what He does for us. God doesn't promise to spare us from pain, but we need to trust Him. You have to trust Him and wait on Him and wait for Him to orchestrate the plans for your life.
Just like the hit song "Manifesto" by The City Harmonic, "Starts With Me" by Tim Timmons is the type of song I wish I was singing at my church right now. This worship anthem is just the type of infusion that the church needs with its honesty and bold lyrics. I think Tim Timmons has a great opportunity to reach the lost for the Kingdom of God with his transparent lyrics and incredible musical talent. This album is loaded with songs you can proudly share with your friends and family. The themes of this album are trust God, love Him and love others as He loved us.
All of the songs are catchy, exciting and worshipful. After listening to the album, I am stirred with compassion to love people as Jesus loves us. That's the heart behind this album. Thank you, Tim, for blessing us with your music and for singing the Truth of the Gospel for the Kingdom of God. I get totally swept up by the challenge in the bridge: "I really wanna change the world, I really wanna sing Your song, But I know revival's got to start with me!" Amen.
Posted June 04, 2013 | 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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