Jeremy Camp’s seventh recorded studio
album Reckless needs a warning sign: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. For
come February 12, when the album releases from BEC Recordings, it just might
inspire listeners to surrender everything, even what they never thought they
could give up.
This happened to Camp about a year ago
when he felt God ask him, “Are you willing to surrender everything?” For
him, “everything” was music. Something he has been quite successful at for
the past decade, with 32 No. 1 radio hits, a Grammy nomination and five Dove
Awards. Even with this success, Camp says God brought him to a place where
he could, if the day ever came, surrender music. “Not that it wouldn’t be a
challenge,” says Camp, “but I wouldn’t be devastated because this is not my
life. Christ is my life.”
Jeremy Camp Talks About "Reckless"
It was with this mindset that Camp wrote
“Reckless,” the first single on the album. “Reckless” tugs at the
listener with its call-to-action lyrics: I’ll lay my life down and give it
up / I’ll give it up … I will not be afraid to surrender my way to follow
who you are / I want to be reckless.
Camp explains the concept of recklessness through the life of Paul. In
Acts 14, Paul returns to Lystra to share the gospel—a city where he had been
stoned and left for dead just days before. Sounds crazy that he would return
to a place like that. But as Camp explains, it’s more reckless than crazy,
and there’s a difference. “[Paul] wasn’t being crazy for crazy’s sake,
saying ‘I don’t care what’s going to happen. I just want to go.’ No, when
you feel God calling you to do something, you have to be obedient. And
that’s the difference. Paul was just obedient. That’s what reckless is.”
Camp co-wrote “Reckless,” along with
several other songs on the album, with producer and longtime friend, Andy
Dodd. Dodd produced several of Camp’s earlier albums including Stay
and I Still Believe. With Dodd back on as producer, Camp says he
feels like he is getting back to his roots yet creating a new sound.
“Musically and vocally, it’s more raw,” says Camp, “but in a good
way.” Like with “Reckless,” rather than bringing in heavy guitar for
the chorus, they cranked up the keys and let the piano do that rock part,
something Camp has never done before. And rather than overthinking it
musically and trying to “over-perfect” the production, Camp and Dodd focused
on the lyrics. “We were over-thinking it in a good way,” says Camp, “going
back and forth with each other always asking, ‘What impacts most?’”
“The Way You Love Me,” the second radio
release from the album, impacts listeners with its reminder of God’s love
and what our reaction should be because of it. One of Camp’s daughters
demonstrated this reaction when she asked her father one day, out of the
blue, “Is there anything that I can do for you that I’ve never done before
that will make you happy?” Camp looked at her and said, “You don’t have to
do anything to make me happy. You make me happy.” Camp heard the lesson God
was teaching him through that moment. Just like his daughter knew he loved
her, so do we know God loves us and that’s why we desire to please him, out
of love and not obligation.
“The Way You Love Me” is a declaration of
that love for him, as the worshipful and punchy chorus says So I will lift
the broken words / Show the world how you love me / How you love me. Camp
sites the prophet Jeremiah as the heart behind this song, a prophet who
could not hold in his love for the Lord: “If I say, ‘I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning
fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot”
Camp provides an example of the tangible way
we show God’s love through the song “We Need.” This upbeat anthem
encourages acts of social justice, which is something Camp and his family
are very familiar with. They support Compassion International and travel to
places like Josiah’s House, a home for boys in the Dominican Republic, and
New Hope Haiti Mission, a children’s home in Haiti.
But Jeremy is quick to explain, “There are a lot of people doing
social justice things, which is great. But we can’t just say, ‘Here’s some
food. Here’s some stuff.’ We have to be able to give the gospel, share the
hope and have a real heart for that.” As “We Need” says, Into the lives of
forgotten children / Showing the love they were never given.
Jeremy believes balance is crucial in the
realm of social justice and following God’s call. “We need to be reckless,”
says Camp, “but let’s spend time with Him so we know where to go.” That’s
what the final song on the album, “Without You,” is all about. With a softer
yet strong melody, this song, strategically placed last, gives a final
instruction to listeners on how to surrender our lives to Christ: I won’t
make a move without you right by my side / I will wait for you to lead me to
any place where you lead.
The chorus reflects Jeremy’s main goal for this album. “My heart’s desire
is that people will listen to the Lord and his leading,” he says, “and
really dive into the fullness of what He’s called them to do, whatever that
“Come Alive” also expresses this desire for listeners to
experience fullness. Struck by the solemn scene of a New York City street,
Camp says, “It was like looking at the living dead… all they’re doing is
living for their own desires. I want this world to come alive, to see that
yes, you’re dead in your trespasses, but you have been made alive in
With powerful strings as a backdrop, the chorus of “Come Alive”
builds, dramatically proclaiming You have restored us / You have redeemed us
/ We have been given new life / You are alive.
Jeremy will share this message of hope with
large crowds as he tours this year. This CCM success would rather play for a
crowd of 100 than 50,000 if that would increase the ripple effect. “If I
play for 100 people and those 100 people are impacted radically,” says Camp,
“that’s so much greater than doing something massive with no impact…. I’m at
a place where I’ve just let this go. I put my whole heart, blood, sweat and
tears into this and, God, it’s yours.”
Some may call Jeremy Camp crazy for not caring more about the
success of his career, but others know, he’s not crazy; he’s reckless.
To get "Reckless", Click Here
Jeremy Camp's Journey to Reckless Faith
"I Still Believe: A Memoir"
As a part of giving everything
to God, Camp has also penned his story in the upcoming book I Still Believe
(Tyndale). In I Still Believe, he shares, with unflinching candor and
emotion, the extraordinary story behind his award-winning lyrics–from his
impoverished childhood, rebellious teenage years, and spiritual awakening at
Bible College, to the tragic loss of his first wife, Melissa, to cancer and
the heart-wrenching spiritual journey that followed–a journey that reignited
his faith, inspired some of his most beloved songs, and paved the way for a
second chance at love with his second wife, Adrienne.
By W. R. Smith
Imagine losing one's wife shortly after marrying her. Hopes and
dreams and love forever after are all dashed on the rocks of cold reality.
There were plenty of reasons to celebrate now there is plenty of reason to
You are a musician, your wife died and therefore you cannot sing or
play your guitar. A major reason for singing, rejoicing and even living has
been swept away from you with little notice. However, the voice of God is
unmistakable. And thus was born, "I Still Believe."
Rewinding to Jeremy's childhood, his mom and dad had a rough
start as parents. As a result of a pregnancy, they lived together. Partying
became a major part of their lives and Jeremy's dad descended into alcohol
Though the journey was one of the twists and turns, both of his
parents received Christ and married afterwards. A marvelous transformation
took place in their lives and they became very serious Christians. This
foundation was critical for Jeremy as he experienced his darkest hour.
The Camp family was poor. Though they didn't have much, they thanked God
for what they had rather than what they lacked. I Still Believe
recounts the story of Jeremy's mom and dad as they became spiritual examples
Despite his parent's faith, in his youth, Jeremy struggled with trying to
be cool. Though not a rebel, he dabbled in things that could have led to
destruction. In the midst of that, God used a church youth camp to convince
Jeremy that his lukewarm attitude and actions had to go.
Read how Jeremy met Melissa and how she touched his heart. They almost
didn't happen and then God opened that door. After their wedding, God
quickly, mysteriously, took her to be home with Him.
Jeremy was devastated. He was a young widower with a crisis of faith of
mammoth proportions. God was supposed to heal her, wasn't He?
I Still Believe chronicles that journey of love to profound
sadness and anger to faith that couldn't be shattered by cancer or anything
else that enters our world. In its pages you will travel with Jeremy Camp
from stunned musical silence to the gift of new music and a compelling story
that obeys the Scripture to comfort those who need comfort with the comfort
you have received from God. Discover how God allowed him to love again and
to receive the gifts of an amazing wife and children.
I nearly finished this book in one day. If I wanted to, I could have
completed the last 25 pages but decided that I wanted to get more out of the
reading than just bragging rights. Since I don't believe I have ever done
that and the pages represent the usual book length, I think that gives a lot
of credit to the incredible story that God wrote into Jeremy's life and to
the way it was expressed on the printed page.
Ironically, I haven't been a fan of Jeremy Camp's music. I have heard his
work and I thought it was good music with equally good content but nothing
really got a hold of me to turn me into a fan. However, I did hear the basic
headline that he lost his wife early on in their marriage. That struck me
and stayed with me so that when I saw the opportunity to read this book and
write this review, I jumped on it without a second thought. It helps that my
college-age daughter is a fan and that I get to do this with her in mind. I
eagerly awaited the book's arrival and jumped right into reading it and, for
the most part, didn't stop.
The unsung hero of this story is Adie Camp. I am absolutely amazed
by this woman who was willing to take a back seat so that God can be
glorified through the story of Jeremy and Melissa.
Adie was lead singer of the Christian group, The
Benjamin Gate, before the
group disbanded in 2003. She briefly contributed to other artist's albums,
namely her duet with rapper
featured on his album Professional Rapper and her background
vocals on husband
Live Unplugged, after The Benjamin Gate disbanded.
She now works under the name "Adie" and released
her debut solo album Don't Wait on 26 September 2006. The album was
co-produced by husband
song "Your Way" climbed into the Top 15 on R&R Magazine's Christian
chart in May 2007.
Her sophomore release, titled "Just You and Me", was
released in March 2010.
Jeremy Camp loves to minister to hurting people out of the well of
his own pain that has been filtered through God's amazing love and comfort.
As his friend stated at Melissa's funeral, "Let's hasten the day!" The Bible
challenges us all to give out the good news of Jesus that will lead to
Christ's return. Our obedience will hasten that day when we see our dear
departed in Christ again and just as Jeremy Camp sang, there will be "no
more tears, no more pain and no more fears. There will be a day when the
burdens of this place will be no more. We'll see Jesus face to face (from
Jeremy Camp's There Will Be A Day)."
To get "I Still Believe, A Memoir",
See our other Jeremy Camp feature page about his best selling CD,
"I Will Follow"
jeremy camp restless