JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 13, 2003 – In messages spoken, sung and lived, recording artist Bebo Norman is encouraging believers to focus on the person of Jesus.
Norman led worship and performed a coffee house concert on the campus of Union University Wednesday, Feb. 12 as part of this year’s Homecoming festivities. The event, sponsored by the Student Activities Council and Union’s National Alumni Association, brought more than 600 university students, staff and alumni to the Coburn dining room.
Norman opened the show with “The Hammer Holds,” a plaintive ode to the suffering and the joy of a life shaped by the will of God. The song ends with the encouraging words, “This task before me may seem unclear, but it my Maker holds.”
Gabe Scott, arguably the most talented and versatile instrumentalist in Christian music, accompanied Norman throughout the show, playing at least six different instruments.
The eleven song set included tracks from each of Norman’s studio releases, including the Dove award nominated “Myself When I Am Real.”
The album’s title is indicative of the struggle Norman now faces. “I feel like my whole life is built around explaining myself,” he said. “The work of the Kingdom is really about the invisible,” Norman said, referring to the movement of the Holy Spirit in believers’ lives and service.
A music career, however, is largely about being visible. CD’s, videos and concerts often cause focus to be on the artist rather than Christ. “In my heart, I don’t know how to reconcile those things,” said Norman.
At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, close Christian friends challenged Norman to act on this concern. During his current tour, he is trying to meet that challenge by changing the way he relates to his audience.
“Rather than waiting 45 minutes [after the show] to spend five seconds saying hello to a stranger,” Norman told the crowd, “invest that time in people you love. I’ll do the same.” He did not greet fans or sign autographs.
Union students respected the humility of Norman’s decision. “It shows that he isn’t superficial or in this for the praise he would receive,” said junior Nichole Crandell.
Freshman Jason Nolen agreed. “He’s trying to put the focus on God and the message instead of himself,” he said.