Q&A with Cody Carnes

"Take refuge in God, take him your questions. He answers. He delivers. He's good."
Cody Carnes

Cody Carnes is a worship leader and Christian artist who is passionate about creating spaces, where innovative artistry and authentic worship can collide. In late 2022, he released his latest album, “God is Good.”

PEER: How did you come to know Jesus? Did you always grow up in the church?

CODY CARNES: I grew up and started going to church as a young kid, yes. My parents were both believers and grew up in a musical family. So, it was very much like spending time as a 3-year-old in my mom’s choir practice, and started playing music in church when I was seven or eight. And then I started leading worship when I was 13 or 14 in my youth group. I just really found a lot of joy in the friendship, in just the community at church and that was my friend group growing up. I just really loved being at church and I love the community of it. I got saved when I was eight and that was just at a meeting at my church there. And I got saved in the community of the people that I knew and that I was with all the time which was really sweet. So yeah, I’ve been loving Jesus for a long time.

P: Nice. So, who are your musical influences and who or what inspired you to get into music?

CC: Well, my dad, first of all, he was a professional musician for 25 years before I was born. And so, I grew up and he set me down on a drum kit at age two. I just fell in love with music from since before I can remember. I’ve been really in love with it. I grew up on country music in Texas. So, that was my first kind of introduction to music was all the 90s country. All the good stuff, Alan Jackson and George Strait. All that and then I started listening to all kinds of music as I got older. I started playing in bands with friends and playing pop rock music. I kind of got into a lot of different things.

I studied jazz in high school. So, I got introduced to a lot of different styles of music. Then at church, the first songs I was leading were Tomlin and Crowder songs. That’s how I started leading worship. A lot of those early songs—Hillsong UNITED and Delirious? And all the legendary bands that have paved the way for worship music. But I love all types of music. Maxx is one of my favorite band but they’re not a band anymore, sadly. I love Coldplay. I love Bon Iver. I love anything that’s just really creative and captivating. My wife and I just saw Chris Stapleton the other night here in Nashville, which was incredible. I just love music. I love anybody doing well and kind of doing their own thing. Creating their own thing is really inspiring.

Cody Carnes

P: Awesome. How do you stay true to God and your relationship with Him while balancing a career in the music industry?

CC: Yeah. Well, that’s just being in love of Jesus and wanting to be His friend. And to maintain a friendship, you have to maintain a relationship with conversation. That’s with any friend. So, I think it’s the discipline of making sure that my life doesn’t get too busy where I’m not able to spend time in the Word and connect with God and pray. That has to come first. It’s amazing how your life changes when you prioritize those things first. How much more peaceful everything else is. There are definitely times in my life where I’ve gotten those out of hand and I thought I had to give all my time to work for something else. Then I look back and I realize, why am I so stressed out all the time? Why am I so worried about all these things like I haven’t been. I got my priorities out of line.

So, I think it’s recognizing that it’s extremely valuable to prioritize that time with the Lord. Then the community of church, being connected to a local community. A local body of people is so important. It’s so healthy to have friends that also love Jesus that are also pursuing Him, that are also wanting to become more like Him; that just sharpens you. It keeps you on track. So, I think being connected in those two ways is really helpful.

It’s just time management. It’s control of what I am going to prioritize in my life. You get the opportunity to make those decisions which is awesome. You can make the decision to prioritize Jesus and his word and people around. Then, everything else falls into place at that point.

P: So, before we talk about your new album, why is it important to worship?

CC: Well, it’s a big question. Thank you for giving me all the easy questions today. I think it’s important. One, it’s biblical. It’s what we were created to do. The Scripture is all throughout. It shows us that we were created to live in community with God from the very beginning. Worship is so much more than singing songs. That is part of it. It’s a big part of it. It is a lifestyle of obedience to God. It’s a lifestyle of being like Jesus. That applies to every area of your life. I think it’s important that when we worship, we’re connecting with the very thing we were created to do. What we were created to be which is connecting to God in such a deep way.

So, first of all, it’s biblical obedience at that point and it’s super healthy. I think when you worship God, you remember that life’s not all about you. It doesn’t revolve around you. That ultimately, you were created for a bigger purpose than yourself that goes beyond what your life is about. And it’s healthy to be connected to something bigger than yourself. So, be connected and live for the kingdom of God. Live for other people to know Jesus. And live to see the world become like the kingdom of God. All the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. If that was the world we lived, that would be a beautiful place to live.

I think wanting your life to reflect that and help make that difference and change is super powerful. It’s just good to worship God. Worshipping God in the community of people you’re declaring and singing songs. You’re declaring the faithfulness of God. You’re declaring the truths of God in Scripture through music and doing that with people to your right and left is good and healthy. First of all, God deserves it. He’s worthy of it. It He will always be worthy of it. But second of all, it’s really healthy to do that. It reminds you every time that God is in control. He’s above it all. It reminds you that his promises are for you.


It’s really good to consistently do that in your life so that we don’t go crazy. A lot of people are going crazy right now and it’s because they’re not centering their life on the truth and the word of God. And when you do everything, everything goes well.

P: Yeah, awesome. So, shifting into your album. What inspired your newest album, “God is Good”? What inspired you to write and release it?

CC: Yeah. I’ve been writing songs for this album the last 18 months. It wasn’t really writing for an album. I was just getting together with my friends, having fun chasing the glory of God and writing songs for the church. So, I wrote a bunch of songs and had no idea what it would end up being. I looked back at all the songs I had written, and I realized that I had a lot that were about the goodness of God. A lot of songs even the titles have “good” in them. I believe, one of the song called, “Good To Be Loved.” I look back at the songs and realized there’s a theme here that’s been naturally coming out of my heart in this season. It’s been a season of intense fear and anxiety with the pandemic and all the things. So, I thought it was interesting that I was writing about the goodness of God in a season that was really hard.

I just thought, there’s something in that to make a statement. As an artist, I wanted to make a statement that I believe that God is good. I believe that He is who He says he is. I don’t question the goodness of God. I don’t question what His Word says. I just take him at His Word. I think that naturally evolved into. I thought of the statement that we’ve say a lot, God is good. And as soon as I thought of it, I saw this billboard. I want this album and these songs in a massive billboards size declaration of the goodness of God. That’s how we got to the album cover. If you see the album cover, it is a billboard that says God is good. And that’s what I pray that these songs are.

I pray that they reveal the goodness of God. I pray that people experience it when they listen. I know that we experienced it on the night we recorded these songs. I believe that what’s recorded in those live nights is not just the audio, the songs and the melodies but the encounters that people have with Jesus. That, what we have with Jesus are captured in the songs and each time the song is played, people are invited into a similar encounter with Jesus. So, I know that we experienced such a tangible sense of the glory of God on the night that we recorded. I’m really excited for people to experience that. I pray it cuts through the noise. I pray it calms anxieties and fears. I pray reminds people of that of the goodness of God. That He never changes. And then we can anchor our lives with that, and it will never change. That’s what I’ve experienced in this season and where the songs have come out of.

P: One of your single, “Ain’t Nobody” focused on celebrating the love of Jesus. Why is it important that this younger generation, Gen Z, remember the joy found in Jesus especially during these times?

CC: Yeah. Well, I think the joy found in Jesus is about all we got. I think that’s one of the most revealing things of this season. That, anything that we have anchored our lives in that is not Jesus has crumbled in some way or another. It has shown that it cannot be trusted. It is shown that it cannot be built on. One of the first songs that I wrote in the pandemic was a song called, “Firm Foundation.” It’s all about that. It was this revelation of man that I cannot build my life and find my security, hope and joy in anything but Jesus. Because Jesus is the only thing that’s not being shaken up right now in this season. You cannot put your faith in politics. It will cut you and let you down. You cannot put your faith in money. You never know. One, it’s evil. You never know what’s going to happen with it. It’s so fickle. It’s up and down. You cannot put your faith in anything else. You cannot put your faith in anything but Jesus.

Security really comes from Him when you have a lot. And when you have nothing, Jesus is there. He carries you through. We’ve seen that. There’s a season where we just work, and we didn’t have a lot. We didn’t have a lot to cling to. We were isolated. Even when you’re isolated, alone, and you have nobody else, you have Jesus. I think for me it magnified some areas of my life that I had to pick up where I was putting my trust in and put it back in Jesus. It’s revealing. I mean, that’s my experience. The great thing about Jesus is that He welcomes everybody. He welcomes everybody in open arms. You were created by Him. He loves you. I would tell you, if you have experienced Jesus before, just cry out and talk to Him.

God is close and near even when we’re running far from Him, we can’t outrun His love. We can’t outrun His goodness. All it takes is just turning around and He’s there. Once you invite Him in and once your heart is open and you experienced His goodness, it’s easy to say I’ve never experienced anything like this. There is something that feels so true to who we are as people. When you experience the goodness of God, it’s like you’ve filled this void in your heart that’s cannot be satisfied by anything else. Just open up your heart to Him, invite Him in and let Him show you how good He is.

P: Yeah, it’s a good song. What hope do you have for listeners to take away from your new album?

CC: Oh, I’ve already said that but I want them to experience the goodness of God.

I thought of this analogy last week. I was praying for the album because it’s about to release. I’m praying that it’s going out into the world. I got this picture of in my life when I’m having a hard time with something, or I’m stressed out and afraid of something and I’m processing it. It’s good to call a good friend that you trust. Go to coffee with a friend that you trust and somebody that has wisdom. In my life when I’ve done that, I’m full of anxiety. I could be really worried about something, and my head could be spinning. I call that friend and they calmly speak some truth into my life. They remind me of the truth of who God is and who I am. They helped me give a different perspective of the situation. After I get off the phone with him, I just feel so much better. I feel like I have clarity. I have peace and I’m remembering the truth.

I was so caught up in the lies and the distractions of the situation. I really pray that this album is like that, a good friend. In the season that we’re still in, we’re physically back to “normal.” Whatever you want to say. But mentally and emotionally, we’re still dealing with so many repercussions of this season. I pray that this album is like the cut through the noise, the calm. Because it’s full of the truth of God. It’s full of that. It’s full of Scripture. It’s full of people encountering Jesus on these nights. I pray that those encounters would be the Holy Spirit sitting down at coffee or on the phone, or in your room, or in your car or in your church. Just calming all these things and speaking the truth in that. You remember that you can still have joy and hope in Jesus. There’s so much joy on this album. We were laughing and crying together all throughout recording this. There is a lot of joy and hope on this album. I pray that it’s contagious and people listen to it.

P: Yeah, I hope the same for listeners. Wrapping up, what advice do you have for any young Christians who may be struggling with their faith? Or any doubts that they may be having especially during these times?

CC: Yeah. Well, God can handle any question you throw at Him. He’s not offended. When you’re mad, He’s not offended. When you’re frustrated, He’s not offended. When you have questions, it’s beautiful to bring them to God. So, I would just encourage you to take those questions to Him. Don’t run and take your questions to anybody else. Because, God has all of the wisdom, and He really cares. He made us as humans with His very limited knowledge. He made us where we have to exercise faith, experience Him and believe in Him. He obviously knows that we’re not going to have everything figured out and we’re not going to have everything so sure about.

Our faith takes exercising when it doesn’t make sense. When it doesn’t look like it should, that is faith. So, take those questions to God and let Him answer them. Let Him process them with you and take Him to His Word and to Scripture. Just ingest Scripture and take it in. Even, when you don’t remember what you read, It’s okay. It’s our job to put Scriptures in. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to remind us. The Scripture tells us that. The Holy Spirit brings to remembrance the Scriptures. It’s your job to put them in. It’s my job to put them in. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job. So, just ingest it. I don’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I know it nourished me. The Scripture also do that. It nourishes you.

So, those questions and those things that you’re fighting and struggling with, I’d ask you how much Scripture are you ingesting? Just pour it in and let it change you. Let it reveal who God is. Let it reveal who you are. It’s like a mirror. When we look into it, it shows us who we are. It shows us where God wants to take us and who He wants us to be and how He wants to transform us. Just let it do that.

Cody Carnes

P: What are three ways that you do to combat anxious or worry feelings?

CC: Read Scripture. Call a good friend and worship. All the things we talked about today, that’s it.

P: What are you currently listening to?

CC: I listen to all kinds of things. On the worship side, I really love Brooke Ligertwood’s latest album, it’s very good. It’s called “seven.” It’s a live worship album as well. It’s awesome. We have UpperRoom in our house a lot, a church in Dallas. They have a ton of music out there. The YouTube videos are what we love because it’s just them worshipping at their church. “Jesus Image” is another one of those, same thing, just worshipping at their church. There’s a lot of Glory of God and those moments. That’s, what’s at the top of the list right now for us.

P: What’s a Bible verse that’s been on your heart recently?

CC: Oh, really. This album, a lot of it came from Psalm 34. There’s part of that in there that says taste and see that the Lord is good. But it also talks about worship. It talks about singing a song at all times which can be hard to do in the times you don’t feel like worshipping God. It’s interesting that we have an opportunity on this side of Heaven to give God a sacrifice of worship. It’s something that we will not get the opportunity to give him in heaven, because at that point, there will be no turmoil. There will be knows heartache. There will be no tears. There will be no fear. There will be no disappointments. It’s all faith at that point.

Right now, we have the opportunity to give God worship, even in the midst of something extremely difficult. The angels don’t even get that opportunity. It says, “I will praise the Lord at all times. His praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord. Let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me. Let us exalt his name together.” That’s really what the heart of this record is. It’s praising God in the good, in the bad and in chaos. It’s still choosing to have joy and hope and seeing it in Jesus. It really is a prayer.

Glorify the Lord with me and let us lift his name together. There’s such power in that. Goes on to say, I sought the Lord, and he answered me. That’s again, seek God, taking your questions. He answers. He delivered me from all my fears. Thank you, Jesus. Those who look to him are radiant. Their faces are never covered with shame. The poor man called, and the Lord heard him, he saved him out of his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. And then, in verse 8, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. So, that’s the hope. Take refuge in God, take him your questions. He answers. He delivers. He’s good.

To stay up to date on Cody Carnes and any new music, follow @codycarnes on Instagram and stream his latest album, “God is Good” on all streaming platforms.

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