Tim Timmons spoke to us earlier today about his most recent album, 'Cast My Cares,' and his struggles with cancer. More importantly, he discussed the new perspective that he has been blessed with as a result of the stuggles that he has faced.
1) The dominant theme of your new album seems to be revolution and revival in Christ. Can you talk a little bit about that?
"I have spent most of my life as a varsity American Christian. I'm pretty great at it. I know how to do the right things, say the right things and look the right way, act like a good Christian and all of those things, I know how to do that, but in this past season I feel more like Paul when Paul talks about being the Hebrew of Hebrews, you know, he was such a great jew but yet next to knowing Jesus that all amounted to a pile of, I forget the word in the Bible, dung. I honestly feel like a pre-schooler as a follower of Jesus in my season. I'm a varsity American Christian, I know how to do the religious part, I'm just kind of learning how to follow Jesus and be about his agenda, not my agenda. I've spent my whole life just saying, 'Hey Jesus, let's do this and let's do that,' it's almost like inviting Jesus into my life and asking him into my agenda, even if it was well-intentioned. I have to say, 'Jesus, what do you want for me today and what's your agenda for my day today?' And I'm finding that it's way moor fun just to follow Jesus and not try to be the right thing. I've been doing everything for him, I just haven't been doing things with him. So, that's the revival in me and there's a man named Os Guiness, a great theologian, that, I spent some time with him and he talked about, he and his buddies, a bunch of really great Christian men and theologians and ministry people, every year they'd get together and they'd ask each other the same question, 'Is the revolution still on?' they'd say. In the midst of us doing good Christian work and doing everything for God, is His revolution on or is our institutional church revolution on? Is our religion winning or is Jesus bigger than our religion? Even three years ago I gave up on music and my music career and everything because, in a sense, Jesus asked me to give up on my kingdom three years ago. The last song on my record is 'Only One Standing' and it's the prayer that I've prayed for three years straight now, every day. 'I tried to do all of these things on my own without your power, build my confidence apart from you, now the walls are shaking, so now I surrender all to let me kingdom fall so yours along will be the only one standing.' That's been my prayer for three years and it's been so beautiful watching Him break down my kingdom and then lift up His kingdom and just show me the awareness of his kingdom in my life. So that's been really fun."
2) Is there one song on the album that sticks out as your personal favorite?
"Oh, gosh. I think 'Let's Be Beautiful,' because my point in this whole season, Jesus has asked me to influence the church from being believers about Jesus to become followers of Jesus through my story. And the idea of 'Let's Be Beautiful,' it's the image of the bride walking down the isle, and we, in the church, are actually called the bride, but it's the image of this bride walking down the isle. Is she looking at the one she loves? Is she focused on him? Then everybody's watching, what are we all about. When we open up the doors, is religion all that walks out? 'Are we lovely, are we shining, are we looking at the one we love?' It's that concept. So, if we look like Jesus, 'let's be beautiful, with love so powerful, full of compassion, oh, what would happen if we were powerful with grace that overflows, love into action, oh, what would happen if we were beautiful.' I think it really kind of encompasses the whole record really, it's inviting the church to be beautiful. And I think to be beautiful we need to know Jesus and then we need to actually represent Jesus not represent American religion."
3) Is there a story behind one of your songs that you would like to share with us?
"My single called, 'Starts With Me,' when Jesus kind of apprehended my heart about three years ago or four years ago, I started saying, 'Okay Jesus, how do we start a revival?' And, at that point, literally the next morning after I started praying that, I read this little journal entry of this young preacher that ran into this old pastor and said, 'How do I start a revival in my town?' And I was like, 'Well this is going to be good.' And the old man took a piece of chalk, got down on his hands and knees on the hard wood floor, drew a circle about 3 feet by 3 feet, and said 'Revival is not supposed to start in your town, revival starts with you on your knees in that place.' It was just that reminder of, what if it's not about your agenda. What if God is bigger than whatever I could do for Him. I love that story as I lead people into that song 'Starts With Me' because it's the difference between doing stuff for Him and doing stuff with Him. In my life, that has been such a game-changer because I no longer try to make things happen. I'm done trying to make things happen and make people think that I'm awesome, because I'm not that awesome."
"12 years ago I found out that I have incurable cancer and I still walk with it today. And, we can all agree that cancer is stupid, but the learning is, what if God is still at work in and through my cancer? What if he's still God and I'm not. So, the idea of casting my cares on a God that's bigger than I am has just been the overarching theme in my life since the whole journey with cancer. It's just saying, 'Okay, either you're God or you're not, either your good or you're not, you know when I'm struggling, and then, what's my response to you.' So, that kind of leads into the song 'Cast My Cares.' Another thing with the cancer, you know people want to make cancer my story and, what I'm learning is, cancer is not my story. The perspective through cancer is my story. That's kind of the difference. Like anybody's life, you know, the things that you've gone through in your life does not identify you, that is not your story. But it is the perspective through those things that's your story. So, I wrote a blog about 'the gift of cancer,' and the gift of cancer is perspective. The gift of any kind of struggle and pain is perspective."
5) What form of cancer were you diagnosed with?
"We just haven't told the kind, it gets confusing. It's a real rare, slow-burning cancer that's always waring out my heart. We just found three new tumors."
6) In what other ways has your cancer diagnoses really changed your life?
"It's been a game-changer in that, I think stupid things, I say stupid things, I look at stupid things, but at some point every day I'm reminded of why I'm on this planet. the gift of perspective is the awareness of this moment. I want to be in the presence of God. This gift is saying, 'Okay, you've got today, this is what you've got, so are you going to try to follow Jesus today or are you just going to try and do your own thing today.' It's kind of weird, the gift."
"I told my wife a couple years ago, I said, 'Honey, if you don't want to have kids because of my stuff, because they gave me five years to live, at the beginning, 12 years ago. So I said, if you don't want to have kids I get it, I totally get it. And she said, 'Tim, we're going to live as though you're going to be healed.' So, that's how we live, we live as though Jesus is going to heal me. And if He doesn't, He's still God and He's still good. I've got nothing, I walk with Jesus and he's got stuff for me to do every day whether it's playing for the thousands of people or talking to a neighbor or just love a neighbor that he is leading me to, that's the perspective."
7) Would you care to share a testimony of how you originally came to Christ?
"I was a Pastor's kid, grew up in the church, but like anything, I think original stories are great, but I don't think original stories matter, and you can put that in there i you need. I think it's more of a matter of, the one time doesn't mean as much, it's more about am I following Jesus this week? Am I following Jesus today? I think that's actually pretty important. We tend to have stories and we tend to tell out stories that were 20 years ago when the presence of God is not 20 years ago. The presence of God isn't even ten minutes from now. The presence of God is right here in this moment as we're on this interview, you know? I think that's more the question, am I following Jesus today? And the answer is yes."
8) Do you have a favorite Bible verse that you would like to share?
"My life verse is, 'For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.' Right before I found out I had cancer, I read that verse over and over and there were studies and I'd be teaching on something and there was that famous scripture, 'For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.'"
Thank you so much for speaking with my today Tim! I admire your faith and strenght even in the face of difficult circumstances. Your fans and those close to you have a lot to learn from your insight and I am blessed to have been able to speak with you today!