Portals to Heaven from August 6-10, 2018: A Special Interview with CCM Singer-Songwriter Matt Maher
"The Heartbeat Behind Everything I Do"
LACOSTA: When Michael Card and John Michael Talbot toured together, it was this huge fusion between the Catholics and Evangelicals. You're a unifier without even trying.
MAHER: In 2005, I saw an arena full of college students that were mostly non-Catholic Christians from other denominations at a conference in Nashville singing a song that I wrote. That was the spark that caused the chain reaction that led me down a path that culminated three months later doing a bible study with our college group on John 17. That’s Jesus’ prayer for unity.
Ever since, that’s been the heartbeat behind everything I’ve tried to do in the sense that John 17 is one of the most important prayers. Jesus kept going away to pray, but we have no idea what he prayed. He’d heal people and he’d stand on a boat and preach and then went away [to pray]. But for some reason we have this little window [in John 17] into his personal prayer life with his father and He prayed that we would be one. I would have to think that that’s the most important thing in the life of a Christian.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: Christ's oneness with His Father was His most important thing. Is that truly the "one thing" in your life and how might it drive you, even inadvertently, to a surprising ministry or platform?
Why Suffering? You Trying to Lose Listeners?
Talking with Matt Maher, I asked him about the universal themes that pop up in his pop... LACOSTA: In terms of the messages in your songs, they are absolutely universal - particularly this last project on suffering and in the song, "And All The People Said Amen" which includes the line that stands out, "YOU ARE NOT ALONE," you’ve been gifted with the ability to connect with people’s hearts, to let them know that God is close and that God is real. It's similar to John 17 and to message of being together with the Father. You're connecting with hearts. MAHER: I think I’m trying to connect with people more than denominations and philosophies and doctrine. I think that the chief role of the church is to help bring about the reconciliation of all things in the world which ultimately is only culminated and fulfilled in belief in Jesus.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: In what ways can you allow The Holy Spirit to connect you with others in your sphere of influence by keeping the main thing the main thing and eliminating concepts that are not easily understood or distract from connecting?
Overachievers Always Go To Two Churches
Privileged to speak with contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Matt Maher and hear his thoughts on bridge-building...
LACOSTA: You have an unintentional bridge-building relationship with your audience and bridge building relationship with artists as widely known as Chris Tomlin and it seems as smooth as ice.
MAHER: My wife is not Catholic and we live in Nashville. We got married in a Catholic Church, but we go to two communities so we are part of non-denominational church called Church of the City and then we are part of our parish called St. Joseph’s. I say we’re 'overachievers' because we go to two churches (laughs). We are trying to live it out. It’s not for everybody. I think it is the Holy Spirit’s job to bring about conversion in the heart of every believer regardless of your affiliation and if that’s true then I don’t need to worry about it.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: Some things are better left to the Holy Spirit than our inner-judger.
Interviewing singer-songwriter Matt Maher reinforces where Christian unity must spring up from: the local church. If our church is exclusive in any way because we think we have the “secret sauce,” we will not produce a Matt Maher.
LACOSTA: Catholics and evangelicals and many denominations have so much in common. How did you become a unifier who seemingly doesn’t have to try that hard at doing that?
MAHER: I was very fortunate that I was part of Catholic community that encouraged me to use my gifts, to help people live out their Christian faith within the context of the sacramental life of the church but doing it in a way that helps people understand that there’s primal relationship with you and God. But God is three people so your personal relationship with God is a personal relationship with a family with a God who is three persons but one.
Every Christian is called to be in a committed relationship with other Christians in the form of local churches so I was fortunate to be in a church that was encouraging that.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: Have you ever nixed the idea that we are called to be committed to other believers who do not attend our church?
When You're Singing With Someone, You Can't Also Be Yelling at Them...
LACOSTA: When I interviewed Matt Maher, I asked him about his unique platform as a Catholic who is probably heard and seen by more evangelicals and other denominations than Catholics.
MAHER: Augustine said, “Singing is like praying twice.” It’s a simple form of prayer that everyone can do regardless of your attention span or spiritual depth or your denomination. Even if you are of the Church of Christ where they don’t use instruments, you can sing. The human voice is the original instrument. The bottom line is when you’re singing with someone, you can’t yell at them.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: “Who am I yelling at when I should be worshipping with them?”
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