Recently it takes me around 40 minutes driving to and from work, so I’ve decided to dig up a bunch of old CDs I haven’t touched for a long time, just to make the ride less boring. Last night, I came upon Ray Boltz’s double-disc Moments For The Heart Volumes 1 & 2, a collection of some of his best tracks.
When someone mentions Ray Boltz, you most likely will remember his worship songs. There is a common joke, even among Christian, that Christian music sucks. Still, even if you didn’t like them as a kid, these pieces of music are memorable hooks that will stick in your brain and linger for many years after. Ray Boltz’s works are that kind. It is perfectly normal if you feel a sense of nostalgia whenever you catch his melodies: They can resonate memories from the late 90s and early 2000s that you dearly fondle.
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I call these “songs from the simpler days”. Among them, Ray Boltz ‘Thank You‘ is the most sentimental favorite. Listening to these words, especially on a rainy evening, still make me reminiscence about childhood moments I wish I could go back to:
“Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave”
About Ray Boltz And His Journey To Find Himself
If you are not familiar with Ray Boltz, he was well-known in the ’80s and ‘90s as a Contemporary Christian singer and songwriter. Embracing a commitment to Christian ministry at a young age, all of his religious experience surrounded a small country Methodist church in Muncie, Indiana. At the age of 19, Boltz was invited to Jacob’s Well, a Christian coffeehouse in the area. As he saw the gospel group The Fisherman performing there, Boltz was dedicated to using his musical talent to spread Christian messages to shut-ins, including prisoners, patients, and convalescent home residents.
Ray Boltz’s First Single ‘Watch The Lamb’ – Source: eLyrics
Later that year, an encounter with Carol Brammer at a Christian bookstore changed everything. Sharing the same faith in God, the two attended Bible studies together and quickly became close. Eventually, they got married in 1975.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing, Ray Boltz spent his next 5 years working at a manufacturing plant. He only played music at Sunday night services, youth meetings, and prisons. Still, Boltz desired to pursue his full-time career as a musician, so he quitted his job and released the first single, “Watch The Lamb”. Since then, Ray Boltz has sold over 4 million albums, achieved 12 No.1 Christian Radio songs, and won 3 Dove awards.
Boltz quietly retired from Christian music in 2004, following by his divorce in 2005. The end of Ray and Carol’s 33 years of marriage shocked fans, just like the case of the Beatles. The reason for this became obvious in September 2008, when Ray Boltz came out as a gay man through an article on Washington Blade. Precisely, he said:
“I’d denied it ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years, and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am.’”
As of now, Ray Boltz seems to be at peace with his identity and his faith. In an interview with The New York Times, he said that he didn’t think God would hate him for staying true to himself. According to Boltz, the new belief that God accepted him and recreated him was the actual peace, and for that reason, he was proud to be a gay Christian. Though having retired from the Christian music industry, he still releases his own pieces of music after coming out, most of them center around his new life.
Ray Boltz And His Partner – Source: IndyStar
Ray Boltz ‘Thank You’
As expected, though not directly criticizing him, most Christian media made it obvious that they did not support Ray Boltz’s decision to live as a homosexual. Many of his fans felt heartbroken and betrayed at his come out, thinking he didn’t pray hard enough to cure his homosexuality.
Still, we couldn’t wipe out every shred of value his music ever had in the world – that’s a thing pretty much everyone agreed on. His songs, especially Ray Boltz ‘Thank You’ (or Thank You For Giving To The Lord), have nurtured many generations’ faith and belief. It reminds us not to give up because we have to wait until we get to Heaven to see the fruits of our labor.
Thank You For Giving To The Lord Lyrics
As much as the song blessed us, Ray Boltz ‘Thank You’ served as a blessing for him as well: It was the song’s success that brought him to national attention.
The way this piece came to him was much like an epiphany. According to Boltz, it was when someone from the Church asked him to write a song for Pastor Appreciation Day.
“I said I would try, and thought I had plenty of time – eight weeks. Well, the time flew by and I was just not having any success”, he explained on CCM Magazine Presents, “finally the night before pastor Appreciation Day, I was sitting at my piano trying to write something. As I sat there, I began to think about the people who have had the greatest impact on my life and realized that none of them were famous. They were people like Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, neighbors, and in that list, I included my pastor, Eldon Morehouse. I decided to write a song that honored all of them, and I performed ‘Thank You’ the next morning in church.”
Initially, Boltz wrote the song for the Gaither Vocal Band. In the end, he had a change of mind and decided to record it himself. I’m sure he glad he did, because ‘Thank You’ won him the 1990 Song Of The Year title at the Gospel’s Music Association’s Dove Award. In 1997, it was performed at Mother Teresa’s funeral, proving that the song had become iconic in the Christian community.
Other Songs By Ray Boltz That Stand The Test Of Time
Aside from Ray Boltz ‘Thank You’, though, he still owns plenty of songs that many of us, Christian or non-Christian, have grown up with.
Watch The Lamb
This was the first single by Ray Boltz and was released in 1986. Written from the perspective of a man who carries Jesus’ cross, the song tells us that everyone can change for the better under the love of God.
Watch The Lamb – Ray Boltz
I Will Praise The Lord
The Bible teaches us that “at midnight Paul and Silas were playing and singing hymns to God” (verse 25 NKJV). Ray Boltz wrote ‘I Will Praise The Lord’ from Paul’s perspective where he told Silas that no matter what was waiting ahead of them, he would still keep his faith.
I Will Praise The Lord – Ray Boltz
Bough With Blood
Many people believe that the ultimate goal in life is to be he who dies with the most toys. This song tells us that we were bought with blood instead, and the treasures we will carry with us to Heaven cannot be bought at stores.
Bought With Blood – Ray Boltz
At The Foot Of The Cross
Because the crowd is hostile, sometimes it might cost us our souls to stay at the cross. At The Foot Of The Cross shall make you wonder if your faith is that strong and your love toward the Lord is that pure so you can follow him until the end, even though everyone is going against your beliefs.
At The Foot Of The Cross – Ray Boltz
Heaven Is Counting On You
All of us come to life with a mission. We are not supposed to receive Christ’s blessings and go on as nothing happens. Heaven trusts us, the children of Jesus, to be his hands and his feet.
Heaven Is Counting On You – Ray Boltz
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A Final Thought
Since his retirement from the Christian music industry, Ray Boltz still released several songs and albums about his new life as a homosexual Christian. This is indeed good news, especially for those who still support him regardless. However, it will be challenging for him to retrieve the success he got from his old-time worship music, such as Ray Boltz ‘Thank You’, ‘Watch The Lamb’, or ‘Heaven Is Counting On You’.
Still, Boltz is enjoying the peace of his soul and lives the normal life he once longed for, without having to hide his true self. We should respect his decision to go public so people shall see that everyone, regardless of their sexuality, can love and serve the Lord.
After all, each person will answer for his or her choices on Judgment Day.
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