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Steve Camp - Consider the Cost (1991)


by Jeff Miller

 It was a time when such artists were taken for granted. We expected bold, honest Christian artists who challenged the believer to live a life more dedicated to the Lord every day. We needed that push–sometimes that shove–and Steve Camp was one of those few artists that truly did so.

His lyrics were not only challenging, but brutally honest. And this 1991 release, possibly the best of his career, is no exception.

Consider the Cost starts with the rocking, “The Cross is a Radical Thing,” highlighting how meeting Jesus at the cross is a commitment to leave the past behind, and start anew in a challenging life of radical obedience.

This lyrically segues into the next song about how hard it is to live that new life in Christ with, “For Every Time,” which tells us that no matter how much we may stumble and fall on our walk with the Lord, to remember the finished work of that radical cross.

For every time we’ve broken His heart
For every time we’ve fallen
Every time we thought we’d gone beyond His grace
Once for all He stood in our place
He died for every time
Every time”

From there, we get another lyrical segue into, “Carry Me,” a desperate plea to remember that we can rely on Christ and that cross to help us through this challenging world and, again, for every time we stumble and fall:

“Carry me through this world
Lift me up when I fall
I am weak and You are strong
And I’ll be standing on my knees
For only You can carry me”

From here we get somewhat of a break from the somber, melancholy music with a more uplifting beat; though Steve still gives us another dose of personal hunger with his cry to be a faithful father.

Ah, the first time you called me daddy
My heart leaped through the sky
Then I was struck by the reality
Of what lay before my eyes
Oh, Lord, I cried, I wanna be…

Shade for the children
A shelter from the storm
To be a place where they can grow
In the ways of the Lord
To train up my child
To live a pure and godly life
Through the struggles and fears
Dreams and tears of every day
To be shade for the children

By this point, we can certainly see why Steve titled the album, Consider the Cost, since this one song seems to dig into the cental principles of the album so well with this one main point.

“Many will say “Lord, Lord” on that day
Look what we’ve done in Your name
“Oh, we’ve prophesied and performed many miracles
And Lord, even the demons obeyed”
Then He will will declare unto them
The most terrifying words of truth
He’ll say “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity
For I have never known you!”

Consider the cost of building a tower
It’s a narrow way that you must come
For to do the will of the Father
Is to follow the Son
We love Him more than father or mother
We love Him more than even your own flesh
To give all that you are, for all that He is
This is the gospel according to Jesus

Side 2 begins with a rockin’ reprieve from what has been a somewhat somber musical style, overall. But these lyrics still challenge the believer to devote themselves to a serious commitment to Christ by–like the rockin’ style–giving us that kick-in-the-pants we needed, as mentioned above.

To love Him means His commandments we’ll keep
This is what Jesus meant when He said follow me
He wants all of our heart, soul, mind and strength
This is what Jesus meant when He said follow me
So come out from this world and live separately
This is what Jesus meant when He said follow me
Oh, don’t you know the gift of His grace is costly not cheap
This is what Jesus meant when He said follow me

Steve slows the pace down with another examination of his own personal struggles in, “Could I be Called a Christian.” What makes this song so poignant is that it is not just a confessional for Steve, but it forces us all to stop and examine ourselves as fallen human beings.

How to find your life you lose it
To live you first must die
Let every man examine his own life
“Could I be called a Christian?”

This is followed again by another nice transition into a similar topic, warning the Christian to not only examine oneself of what may lie in our hearts and minds, but to also not be deceived with the play-on-words (for those of us who remember Saturday afternoon sports), “The Agony of Deceit,” a song more relevant now that when it was penned more than 30 years ago.

They are wolves in sheep’s clothing
They will try to seduce your soul
Teaching doctrines of demons
For lies are all they know
They are prophets of destruction
These are New Age heretics
Saying they’ll show the way to salvation
But their cross is a bloodless stick”

Steve once again gives us a bit of a musical uplift with reiterating Paul’s words to Timothy in, “Guard the Trust,” a call not just for Timothy, but for the church today. The album could have nicely concluded with this, but Steve adds one more song which acts as an altar call of-sorts for the saints.

All that I need is all that You are
Help me to see that it’s true
All that I need is all that You are
Help me to trust in You

Like many albums of this era, Consider the Cost is a timeless classic. In fact, listening to it again and seeing just how nicely each song’s lyrics apply to the next, it could have easily been a soundtrack to a devotional or even a sermon series.

While we are often distracted by the goings-on of our daily lives, and try to not be triggered by the crazy news of the world, this album acts as a call to slow down and take a moment to enter our dusty prayer closet and recalibrate our relationship with Him.

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