Moody Radio Grand Rapids host releases latest Christian music single—revealing an encounter with Jesus that changed his life
by Nancy Huffine / May 11, 2023
Perry LaHaie's new Christian music single “Crashed into Grace” debuted this spring. Photo courtesy of Perry LaHaie
Crashed into grace, the most beautiful face
Crashed into grace, You bore the filth of my shame
A spear in Your side, Your life for mine
Then You trampled the grave . . .
(from the song “Crashed into Grace” by Perry LaHaie)
It’s not unusual to hear believers describe a “grace awakening” moment in their lives or say that they came to see grace in a new light or understand grace in a new way. It is a bit unusual to hear someone say, “I crashed into grace.”
Perry LaHaie doesn’t mind being unusual at all. He freely admits, “It's definitely a different kind of an image, isn't it?”
‘I was falling so far short’
Half of the Moody Radio Grand Rapids duo that hosts the weekday program Perry and Shawna Mornings, Perry developed a love for two things very early in life: the guitar and basketball. Surprisingly, it was basketball that opened the door for the grace of God to work in a way he never expected.
Perry started playing the guitar when he was 8 years old, but as he moved into his teen years, basketball became the new center of his universe. “Music was secondary,” he says. Perry’s teen years also brought challenges and experiences that shook the faith he had professed as a child.
“I started following Jesus when I was 10, but my teenager years . . . I just struggled so much,” Perry recalls. “I never saw a temptation that I didn't fall into. That’s the way I look at it.”
His personal struggles left Perry feeling guilty and confused.
“I was falling so far short of the way I saw other Christians live,” Perry says. “I thought that being a Christian meant just really not having any struggles and overcoming all the time, and that was the polar opposite of my life. I had a lot of shame in my heart because of my failures and sins.”
'He took time to heal me’
Perry and Shawna Mornings has run on Moody Radio Grand Rapids since 2018.
On an April evening in 1979, a simple pick-up game put Perry’s life on a new course. “I was playing basketball with some guys, and I went up for a rebound, came down, and just destroyed my ankle. I was in such pain,” Perry continues, “and my friends had to carry me home and lay me on the couch. I asked my mom to pray for me because I was in such pain, and I was desperate for some kind of relief.”
His mother prayed, and then Perry says something miraculous happened. “I felt the pain come out of my ankle instantly. It was still sprained, but the pain was gone. I was rocked back. I knew that Jesus knew everything about me, every dark secret of my life, and yet he took time to heal me.
“It was an experience of the gospel,” he says. “You know, while we were at our worst, Christ died for us. That just shifted my heart and helped me understand grace. It wasn't about living up to a certain standard. It was being compelled by a serious love.”
Radio, marriage, and music
Perry majored in Communications at Olivet College in Michigan, where he also landed his first radio job—a DJ shift at the school’s 10-watt campus station. “I got started there and then from the age of 20 through the rest of my life there were maybe only three years when I didn’t work in radio,” he says.
He met and married his wife, Theresa, not long after graduating from Olivet, and the couple later welcomed two children. In 1988, Perry received his Master of Missiology degree and recorded his first album of original songs that same year. He went on to record seven more albums between 1992 and 2020. “Since 2020,” Perry adds, “I've been putting out singles, which will probably become an EP” (a collection of songs that is shorter than a traditional album).
Perry’s latest single, “Crashed Into Grace,” was written and sung by Perry, produced in Nashville, Tennessee, and released March 24 by Frontiers USA, an international ministry Perry is involved in that invites Muslims into a relationship with Christ. The acoustic rock contemporary Christian song reaches back to that experience on the basketball court, and it builds the case for one of his favorite topics—the grace of God. He explains, “It does go back to that April evening in 1979. The image is that I'm running hard, going my own way. And it's like me saying, ‘God, You're not the boss of me!’
“Then Jesus is saying, ‘All right, I hear you, but I love you so much. I'm going to run straight at you so I won’t miss you. And by the time I get close enough to crash into you . . . that's when your life will change.’”
‘Keeping it real’ at Moody Radio
Perry’s love of music and his experience in communications led him to Moody Radio in 2010. In 2018 a new morning show format was developed—Perry and Shawna Mornings—which included co-host Shawna Beyer. The on-air team enjoys connecting with their listeners, and they’re both sold on the concept of “keeping it real.”
“We're just putting it out there,” Perry says, “the good, the bad, the ugly . . . just trying to be real Jesus followers on the journey with our listeners. I always love to say, ‘Hey, we're helping you take the next step in your walk with Jesus as we take that step with you!’ We're not religious experts. We're right there with our listeners, journeying with them.”
Shawna Beyer, Perry’s co-host, loves working with him and doesn’t hesitate to say, “The best thing about working with Perry is his deep love relationship with God. He’s a deep well. AND all the Scripture he’s memorized! I can reference a verse in the Bible while we’re doing the morning show, and Perry can recite it and tell where it’s found because he’s committed so much Scripture to memory.”
Perry seeks to help listeners see the threads of grace that are woven everywhere into the lives of believers. He often says, “I’m all in with Jesus, but not all put together,” and he wants people to know, as he puts it, “about the amazingness of God's grace and God's heartbeat of love for the world.”
Endless Fields” was one of the first albums produced by Perry LaHaie back in 2008.
Shawna agrees. “Every morning we want to remind our listeners that they are loved by God more than they can imagine,” she says, “so that they enter each day with that truth front and center in their minds. (We remind them) that God has a good plan for their lives—a plan to partner with them in bringing the good news about Jesus to the world. Perry reminds them that God’s grace is not just for the sinner who turns to Jesus for the first time but for all of us who love Him and fall short of His glory.”
The case for grace
Grace isn’t merely the subject of Perry’s latest song. It’s the focal point of his life.
“I think that what I need today more than ever and what our listeners need today more than ever is just to be captivated by the wonder of amazing grace,” Perry adds. “Whenever amazing grace isn’t ‘amazing,’ we need to experience it all over again and just stand there with our jaws dropping at how amazing it is and how it changes us.”