BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#155 - "Out Of My Hands" by Jars Of Clay
Jars of Clay's lead singer Dan Haseltine speaks with NRT contributor Kevin Davis about the first single off their latest album, The Shelter.

By KevinDavis_NRT

BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #155 -
Dan Haseltine: "Being part of a family and having a loving Father is the truth of our existence as believers. This song is all about that idea."
Acclaimed for its music and leadership as humanitarians, Jars of Clay geared up for the October 5th release of its community-inspired project, Jars of Clay Presents The Shelter. The four men at the heart of the project--Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Matt Odmark and Stephen Mason--find their calendars filling up with appearances designed to shed light on the new project, inspired from an old Irish proverb, “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” I am a long-time fan of Jars of Clay and credit the Gospel messages from their landmark debut album for leading me to my salvation, for which I’m eternally grateful. I was amazed that as I was still savoring The Long Fall Back To Earth and trying to guess which single would be next from that incredible album, I heard about The Shelter.

At first, I couldn’t imagine how they would follow-up what I considered their all-time best album, and yet again they continue to surprise and amaze me with their song-writing, music, lyrical messages and, in this case, their collaborations. For anyone who has always wanted to hear Jars of Clay sing with a “who’s who list” in Christian music, here’s your chance. Mac Powell, Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, David Crowder, Audrey Assad, tobyMac, Mike Donehey (of Tenth Avenue North), Sara Groves, Derek Webb and Leigh Nash all appear on this album, among others.

For me, there are several 5 star songs that give glimpses of the excellence of this 5 star album. All of these songs now rank in my all-time favorite songs by Jars of Clay. “Out Of My Hands” features Mike Donehey and Leigh Nash, another amazing vocal combination. The lyrics are totally compelling. I got the great opportunity to interview lead singer Dan Haseltine about “Out Of My Hands” which is the current single. This song is so convicting for me which is typical for Jars of Clay. This is what he shared with me.

Please tell me about the background message behind the song "Out Of My Hands."

The only thing we can do in response to what God has done for us, is to give our hearts away and love unconditionally, as a response to how we have first been loved. We cannot save our own lives, nor can we change our own ways. God has given us to each other, failures and successes combined. It's humbling to know in our lowest moments that God's purposes are made complete in and through our weakness not our strength. Never has there been a more suffocating delusion to live under than the one that says our lives are ours to control.

Do you have Bible verses you used in writing the song?

Isaiah 1:13-18 (The Message): Quit your worship charades. I can't stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—meetings, meetings, meetings—I can't stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You've worn me out! I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I'll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I'll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you've been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don't have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless. Come. Sit down. Let's argue this out. This is God's Message: "If your sins are blood-red, they'll be snow-white. If they're red like crimson, they'll be like wool. If you'll willingly obey, you'll feast like kings. But if you're willful and stubborn, you'll die like dogs." That's right. God says so.

What's the take-away message for listeners regarding the song?

I am part of a community of guys who get together and discuss our failures with each other. We all take comfort in the fact that we are part of the bigger story of God’s family. We are learning how to be in community with each other. We are finding ways to live despite our failures. We need to reconcile that our failures are not all our own. Left to our own devices we’re prone to believe the worst things about ourselves. We become desperate to find significance and know that we are deeply loved and cherished. Being part of a family and having a loving Father is the truth of our existence as believers. This song is all about that idea. The church can become hesitant to reach out to others in need. We are “set apart” which means we are holy as God is Holy. Our salvation is secure in Christ, so we need to love people well and confidently walk into unsafe places. Going to Africa and taking care of the poor is based on trying to be part of God’s story. That’s why we started blood:water mission.

Here are the lyrics:

I wasted the rescue
Abandoned the mission
I failed by my own hand
And watched it all go wrong
You said You could save me
That I couldn't save myself
You said that You loved me
No matter what I've done

When the light is gone
And life is just a dare we take
Still the fight goes on
To give my heart away

And it's out of my hands
It was from the start
In light of what You've done for me
In light of what You've done for me
You lifted my head
Set me apart
In light of what You've done for me
This is what You've done for me
It's out of my hands

You grow where the light is
Like trees in the highlands
We're bent by our own plans
To keep us in the dark
And I act like an orphan
Forget that You found me
But You came like a whisper
And saved me with a spark

When the light is gone
And life is just a dare we take
Still the fight goes on and on
To give my heart away

And it's out of my hands
It was from the start
In light of what You've done for me
In light of what You've done for me
You lifted my head
Set me apart
In light of what You've done for me
This is what You've done for me
It's out of my hands
It's out of my hands

There's nothing in the world that I can offer
Nothing in the world that I can stand apart
Apart from You, apart from You
There's nothing in my life,
Nothing in my life that You haven't given to me

It's out of my hands
It was from the start
In light of what You've done
In light of what You've done
You lifted my head
You set me apart
In light of what You've done
In light of what You've done for me

Oh, it's out of my hand
It's out of my hands
In light of what You've done for me
In light of what You've done for me
You lifted my head,
Set me apart
In light of what You've done for me
This is what You've done for me

It's out of my hands
It's out of my hands
Everything I have, Lord
Everything I gave
It's out of my hands
It's out of my hands
Oh, it's out of my hands


I absolutely love this song. Like all of my favorite songs by Jars of Clay, I connect to this song emotionally. We are set apart and holy as God is Holy when we accept Jesus as our Savior. I read every translation of Isaiah Chapter 1 and the message of this song and the album The Shelter can really be found in The Message translation of Isaiah 1:17: “Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.” Sanctification and holiness comes from trying to live out the messages of the Bible. “It’s out of my hands, it was from the start, in light of what You’ve done for me You lifted my head, You set me apart, in light of what You've done.” What an amazing truth!
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Posted October 11, 2010 | Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. Kevin also writes reviews for ChristianMusicReview.org. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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