Tim Timmons’ life has always been one of adventure, but for the first time, the singer/songwriter feels awake enough to actually live it. After nearly two decades of ministry and a lifetime as a believer, Timmons is no stranger to the tenets of the Christian faith. Now he finds himself moving beyond believer to follower, awake and alive to the nearness of Jesus. His sophomore album, Awake Our Souls (Reunion Records), is a portrait of Timmons’ own awakening and an invitation for every listener to discover the abundant life beyond belief.
“We talk about all these things I’ve known about my whole life—like freedom in Jesus and overwhelming joy—but I’ve never known it until now, and it’s just this awakening in my soul,” the singer shares. “The goal of this record is to invite people into a new reality of the Kingdom of God that is around us all the time. Here are ten songs—ten prayers—that help me practically live in the availability and the truth of God’s Kingdom,” he says. “It’s a huge concept—the Kingdom of God... We have power, but who lives as though the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of us? Jesus is saying, ‘You can do anything I did.’”
This overarching concept of the Kingdom of God permeates not only Timmons’ music, but also his daily life—a unique viewpoint shaped by a cancer diagnosis he received 14 years ago when he was given five years to live.
“The gift of cancer is perspective,” Timmons offers, adding that his cancer remains incurable other than the healing hand of God. “It’s really the open door to speak into people’s stories.” His diagnosis may be the doorway for countless healthy, life-giving conversations, but Timmons has far more than a cancer diagnosis to talk about.
Since his 2013 debut, Cast My Cares, Timmons has been writing songs stemming from personal experience and sharing them with audiences on a national platform—after spending the previous 15 years leading worship in Orange County, California. Now, his music is colored by a newfound purpose of living each day to its fullest—all to the glory of God.
“I have so many stories after every show where people are just stuck in our religion, and they are so exhausted and joyless,” he notes. “When people bring me their stories, I want to have songs that actually help them through these stories.”
On Awake Our Souls, he delivers ten cuts recounting all that’s available to people as children of God to help them navigate their own narratives. The title track was actually the first song he wrote for the new project, following an appointment with his oncologist who made the comment: “Cancer is everyone’s worst nightmare and a lot of people pray—and they pray hard—but not too many surrender.”
This thought stuck with Timmons long after he left his doctor’s office. “Really, surrender is one of the keys of living in the Kingdom of God—surrendering my kingdom, surrendering my will,” he offers. “I’m literally praying, ‘Jesus, would You awake my soul to a new reality where You are the King in the Kingdom and I’m not?’”
Meanwhile, “Everywhere I Go” was inspired at home. The father of four was praying with one of his daughters at bedtime when she prayed for God to be with her. He remembered that the Bible says He will be
with us, always, and realized this should affect how we pray. “The old prayer is, ‘Would You be with me today?’ The new prayer is, ‘You’re already here. Help me see where You’re at work,’” he explains.
Timmons says “Finally Breathing,” a song he wrote with singer/songwriter Alli Rogers, contains some of his favorite lyrics of the record. “I’ve been tired as a Christian—working so hard to try to be a good religious guy doing the right things, and I’ve just been exhausted,” he admits. “All around the country I see Christians who are ‘soul tired.’ I think so many of us are just barely taking little breaths. In the Kingdom of God...you can actually take a full breath. There’s no more weight. You don’t have to carry anything anymore. You can breathe.”
On “Spring Up,” Timmons puts his own spin on the well-known children’s song, “I’ve Got a River of Life,” and asks questions of his listeners to spark thought and, hopefully, dialogue. “I like asking questions in my songs. It’s one of the things I love doing because Jesus was inductive,” he maintains. “Rarely did He tell people things. He asked them questions all the time then invited them into their own stories.”
Timmons says Jesus’ example is important and one he hopes to emulate. “Great teachers help people own their response to what they’re teaching. Great worship leaders help you own your response,” he contends. “As a worship leader that’s my whole goal. I’m not there to help people sing songs... My job is to help people own their response to Jesus.”
He’s doing this in more ways than simply through song. When Timmons is home, he, Hilary (his wife of 18 years), their four children, and friends gather for what he affectionately calls “Motel Church.” It’s an eclectic makeshift congregation made up of prostitutes, homeless people, low-income families, addicts and then “whoever else Jesus invites,” according to Timmons. “There’s a group of people there every Sunday morning at this motel who are all equally in need of Jesus, and it’s been extremely life-changing,” Timmons shares. “It really hit me that when Jesus talks about the Kingdom, the first thing He says is ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God.’ I’ve got some stuff to learn. So we’ve just been hanging out and it’s been the most powerful church experience being the Church.”
It’s a point Timmons hopes to drive home to fellow followers of Jesus. “The Church is not a place you can go to; it’s who you are,” he contends. “We spend 10,080 minutes in a week, and 80 of those are spent gathered in a room, which is awesome...but there are 10,000 other minutes in a week... The Church gets to be the Church all the time—just gathered, then scattered.”
In this next season, Timmons is partnering with K-LOVE TV for a new series called “Timmons Pantry Raid,” showcasing his other passion—cooking. Timmons will go into celebrity homes to make something out of the random ingredients found inside their pantries. “Cooking is one of my favorite things to do. If I wasn’t a musician, I’d probably be a chef. I just love it,” he says, adding, “Really, like everything in my life, food is just the vehicle for a good conversation.”
At the end of the day, that’s Timmons’ greatest desire—whether the catalyst is his cancer diagnosis, his theology, his culinary skills or his songs, he just wants to keep the conversation going so people can discover for themselves the real life found in Jesus.