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Jars of Clay Turns 10

By Tim Branson
The 700 Club "We want to talk about heart issues and the difficult things we all struggle with day in and day out that a lot of people don't really want to talk about," says Charlie Lowell, the band's keyboardist. "So I guess we feel like part of what Jars of Clay is about is to not be afraid to go there and wrestle with those things."

Obviously, it's been working. With 16 No. 1 hits, the band has won multiple Dove and Grammy awards. Their music can be heard in movies and on television. But to them, it's not about the recognition, but rather it's about reaching people.

Lead vocalist Dan Haseltine explains, "It's showing us that we are making some in-roads, we are building relationships with people outside of just the Christian community. That's exciting, and that's something we really love being able to do."

They've had their rough times as well. Recording schedules, demands of the road, and time from family takes its toll. That's when they leaned on the very Scripture that gave them their name, Jars of Clay: "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7).

The rest of that passage talks being pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned. It seems that passage of Scripture has been a metaphor for the band as they've gone through these past 10 years.

Laughing in agreement, guitarist Stephen Mason says, "We were just joking not two days ago that we thought maybe it would have been easier the first 10 years if we would have named ourselves the-four-guys-who-didn't-get-into-much-trouble-and-have-a-pretty-good-time-in-life-and-don't-encounter-much-and-things-are-pretty-much-OK band. But, as in all things with God, in light of every aspect of who He is and even regards to all the hard hitting that came along with being a part of this band, God has been faithful to remain with us."

Jars of Clay turned 10 this year. They've been touring for their new release, Who We Are Instead.

"We say we believe the gospel to be a specific thing or believe the gospel provokes us to specific acts, yet we don't really live as if we believe it to be true," states Hazeltine.

How does Jars of Clay live out what they believe? Through an organization they founded called Blood: Water Mission. Its purpose is to move people, especially those in the church, to get involved in the HIV/AIDS crisis in third-world countries.

"Let's move out and see the evangelical community get behind something that can actually save lives," says Hazeltine with conviction. :"I look at that with great hope because when the evangelical community gets behind something, things change."

And it's no different for those in the spotlight.

When asked what he thought God required of him, guitarist Matt Odmark replied, "I would probably do best to lean on the Scripture that God requires that we act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with Him."

After 10 years, Jars of Clay has had its share of triumphs and trials. And maybe they'll be around another 10 years, reaching out to the lost and hurting.

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