Interview: Third Day’s Mac Powell, Evangelist David Nasser

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.

When one of Christian music's most credentialed songwriters teams up with one of the nation's top evangelists, it's a fact that something special is bound to come from it.

Glory Revealed: The Word of God in Worship, a worshipful new album created by three-time Grammy lead singer of Third Day Mac Powell and Christian speaker David Nasser, is one of those unique projects that effectively blends scripture with praise. It is something that can bring people closer to the truth that comes from the Word of God.

The Christian Post was able to arrange an interview with these two visionaries, apart from their busy schedules. During the chat, the two producers spoke about their focus for the album, and how it can impact people's lives. It is a project that truly shows God's "glory revealed."

CP: So first off, I just want to congratulate Mac on another Grammy with Third Day this past February. You guys are really an amazing group.

Powell: Thank you. I really appreciate that.

CP: And now you have your newest creation, Glory Revealed, that you made with David in stores now. I read the synopsis of the CD, and you all have said that it is a project that is based off scripture. In your own words, what kind of impact would you like an album like this to have?

Powell: Well, I believe there are a few different impacts that the record will have in people's lives. First of all - not the most important, but first of all - we hope it's entertaining. We hope it's music that people enjoy listening to and are encouraged by.
Second of all, it's a great tool for people to …. Well, let me say this first: I think it's a great worship record. That's something a lot of people are looking for these days. It's different musically from what a lot of worship that people are listening to in that it's very acoustic, mellow, and organic. There's a lot of instrumentation that are not on modern worship songs like the banjo, fiddle, and mandolin.

It's unique in that the record is all scripture. All these songs contain scripture. I think David knows the exact number, but I think there's like 20-something.

Nasser: Almost 25.

Powell: There's almost 25 scriptures …. If you listen to this record a few times and you have all the lines memorized, you have 25 scriptures memorized. So I think there are a lot of things unique about the project.

Nasser: Also, just to add, I think Mac covered pretty much all the angles. One thing I would add is the collaboration of these artists is a unique one. Obviously, there's a lot of stuff out there from various artists joining forces, but usually you don't join forces on the same song. Bringing in Michael W. Smith, who's a staple to Christian contemporary music industry, together with Shane & Shane, who are really an undercurrent favorite in the college world, is a cool thing. It's a difficult thing bringing in the well known artists like Mac Powell together with an independent artist like Candi Pearson. You know, I think that is a beautiful thing, bringing Steven Curtis Chapman, Mark Hall from Casting Crowns, Brian Littrell from the Backstreet Boys, and Mac all together in one song. It's a very rare thing. I think the collaborations make this album unique as well.

CP: You said that you wanted to bring back this generation to the Word. That was something God put in your heart. Do you think that this generation has a weak grasp on scriptures, or is this an album that has always been needed and has always been prevalent?

Nasser: I believe that this generation has taken their faith into a very emotional place. I can't say that this wasn't in other generations, but I think it is more intensified now than maybe other generations.

This is nothing new. We have received scripture-driven worship or songs that have already existed that have God's Word in them. We didn't invent the wheel on this. We just wanted to come along and say to this generation: 'Okay, you really love worship music. Since you love that, instead of fighting against that, why don't we use worship music as a tool to allow people to learn God's Word?'

I was having lunch not to long ago with a worship pastor, and he was from a postmodern, 20-something church. What was really interesting is that in our lunch-time conversation he was dialoguing back and forth. Almost everything he had to say in this conversation was rooted out of Christian songs. It was almost comical. It was almost like, 'We are the body and we're living the great adventure. We should each one, reach one so people meet the Lord.' Everything was like it came from a Christian song. This man had a lot of songs in his heart, but where's the Word of God that comes out in regular conversation? Where's the launching pad which is God's Word. It's pretty alarming, for Mac and I both, that people are pulling out their theology out of songs instead of getting them out of sermon, instead of going to the Word, which is God's truth.

We wanted this album to be so surrounded by God's Word, so close to the nucleus, where songs should come out of, where ministry should come out of, that you can't help but get it all over you when you listen to it.

CP: Looking at all the different songs on the record, how did you select the scriptures that you chose, because there are verses from all over the Bible, from Psalms to even Zephaniah. Why these specific ones?

Powell: For the most part, it really came from David. David had a vision for this album from the very beginning, and he knew what he wanted was to be lyrically a majority from scripture. When we talked about doing the record, we had only about two weeks to work on it, so we knew we would be kind of rushed. You can do a record in two weeks if you have everything laid out in advance, but it's hard to do. You have to really look for your songs and prepare them.

About two weeks before we go into the studio, we only had two or three songs to choose from. I had told David that I didn't really have any time to write any of these songs, but now we kind of need to so give me some of your scriptures that you are working along in your book. Let me know some of your favorite scriptures you want to use, and I'll see if I can come up with anything. He sent me 10 or 12 scriptures in the matter of a few hours for songs, and it was just one of those things that just doesn't always happen. Of course, the lyrics were already there for the most part, so all I had to do was to put some melody and some rhythm with it. But that was for me a great experience, to be able to write like that. It's very different from how I normally write.

Nasser: It's amazing to me the revelation that God gave Mac - the rhythm, actually, is the better word to use that God gave to match these scriptures. When Mac called and said, 'Hey, I've written five songs in a few hours.' I was like, 'Do you do that a lot?' 'No bro, the songs kind of come and go for me, but I've never written five like this.'
Mac's been gracious and humble when he says, 'The lyrics were already there.' I think it's actually harder, because it's like me giving someone a paragraph out of a newspaper and saying, 'Hey, write a song to this.' There are challenges like how to honor the scriptures and at the same time write the lyrics for rhythm and finding the right chords. Then I thought, "Great, five in a few hours." But then I came around and heard them. It was obvious that this was just one of those extraordinary things. I don't know where Mac went, if it was to a mountain or to his basement, but he made some really amazing songs.

Out of all the songs we looked at, it was just obvious that the five or six songs by Mac that God gave him were just beautiful. They were all so beautiful that we didn't want the style of the music to over frame the art, which was the scriptures. I think Mac did a great job of saying, 'Hey, I'm going to keep these scriptures in these songs.'

Going back to your first question - what we'd like to see happen with this record: we want to see people high from God's Word in their heart. We want to see people not just to hear God's Word but to also live it out. We want it to open up in people's lives. We saw that even before the record was released. There was just a hush among us during these. We saw it in the lives of our children, too. Mac, will you tell the story about your girl?

Powell: I was doing a recording of one of the songs. It was the Zephaniah 3:17 song; a good friend of mine, Trevor Morgan, sings on it. And I took it out to the car to listen to it. I like to listen to recordings in a lot of different places, because sometimes it can sound really, really great in the studio, and you take it somewhere else and you can hear all the problems. I like to listen in the car. I think most people listen to their music there.

So I took it to the car and I was just thinking and I loved the CD and this song. Then I left this and a few songs in the car. Later, when I got in the car, I was going to lunch with my family, and they turned on the CD. I was like, "Oh, you guys have the CD. I didn't know you guys were listening to it." And the song came on and Scout, who's my 7-year-old girl, she started singing me the verse. "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, and he will rejoice over you with singing." Here's my little girl with this scripture in her head and in her heart, and I just started crying. I felt the very reason that we started making this album was to have a tool for people to learn the scripture. It already affected the life of my wife and my children.

Nasser: You know what? That's going to be around in that child's life much longer than Mac's. We all hope that she will outlive her daddy. What will always continue to remain in her is that truth that God rejoices over you.

You see so many young ladies today trying to find direction in all the wrong things, demanding attention by acting a certain way. But God is pleased with them. God rejoices over them. He quiets that storm.

The ministry that happens is not just one song from scripture. It's also paying off in the life of my own family as well.

CP: I see that the both of you will be heading out on the Glory Revealed Tour starting Apr. 9. How are you going to run it? Will it be just straight music, or do you plan on preaching a little during the event?

Nasser: (playfully) It's not going to be preaching. There are two solid doors that we come out from each side of the stage. There's going to be a Western theme, and we have holsters and guns. On certain nights, Mac's going to win the night's gun slinger. Then one person in the audience gets shot every night.

(Everyone laughs.)

Powell: No, no, no, no.

Nasser: It's going to be a very appropriately named night. I think we just want God's glory to be revealed. We want to have a night of worship, a night where we have a deep feeling of God to let people know that God reveals Himself. Through different songs and different artists, I will be speaking also throughout the night, but really, what's going to make this night unique is that the first half of the night is going to feel like a holy room. People are going to come in and hear these artists have conversation with one another and they talk about the impact of God's Word in their lives and about their songwriting. You'll hear Third Day songs, you'll hear Brian Littrell songs, you'll hear Shane & Shane songs, you'll hear Glory Revealed songs.
Then in the second half, there will be an intense worship service where we'll really put Jesus before our heart. Each song in that second half will be directly about Jesus. So the first half is the glory of God revealed through the written Word, the Bible. The second half will be about the glory of God being revealed through the Word and Jesus - the Word become flesh.

CP: I'll close with one final question then. This is kind of a hard question, but I hope you guys can answer. If you two could choose any three words to describe Glory Revealed, what would you say?

Powell: Man, three words?

 CP: Yeah, three words.

Powell: Oh wow. Thanks.

Nasser: For sale now!

(Everyone laughs.)

Powell: Scripture is good.

Nasser: I think, 'God's not hiding.' He is quite amazing and astonishing. He wants us to see Him and wants to reveal Himself to us. That's the scripture. That's His Word.

Powell: I think the three words I would use are definitely "scripture, music, relationship," because that's what it's about. It's about the work of God, the music, and the relationship. All on the record, all the friends that have helped make this record - it's a labor of love, not just for Dave and I, but for all of our friends. It's ultimately about our relationship with the loving God.