BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#307 - "God's Not Dead" by Newsboys
NRT's Kevin Davis chats with Jeff Frankenstein about the unique Daniel Bashta-penned worship song.

By KevinDavis_NRT

BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #307 -
Jeff Frankenstein: “What’s most disheartening for me is that even in Christian music there are so many songs that don’t proclaim the Name of Jesus.”
God’s Not Dead by Newsboys showcases the best music yet from front man Michael Tait and bandmates Jeff Frankenstein (keys), Duncan Phillips (drums), and Jody Davis (guitars), as the project offers today’s most embraced modern worship anthems.

At the album’s core, the hit worship song “God’s Not Dead (Like A Lion)” sings of victory over a century’s worth of philosophers who thought otherwise. Friedrich Nietzsche once proclaimed, “God is dead.” But as Newsboys’ friend and pastor Rice Brooks likes to say, “A funny thing happened on the way to the funeral.” The belief that God is indeed alive is the truth Newsboys are amplifying. “God’s not dead, let’s worship Him,” says Michael Tait. “We serve a living God!” Tait’s outspoken message is carried by Newsboys’ signature sound that Frankenstein, Phillips, and Davis have shaped together for nearly two decades now.

“This new record has come together like no other Newsboys record in the past,” says Andrew Patton, General Manager of Inpop Records. “They chose outstanding songs that not only showcase the band in a familiar and fresh way, but also are simply core worship songs and messages that the worldwide church can embrace today. This album is the perfect extension of the growth experienced from Born Again.”

Their mission is surely accomplished on “God’s Not Dead (Like A Lion),” which reunites Tait with Kevin Max, both formerly part of the multi-platinum trio dc Talk. Written by Daniel Bashta, it sings: “Come shake the ground with the sounds of revival.” And hearing two friends sing together again after many years apart does bring an air of renewal. I had the great opportunity to interview Newsboys’ keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein about hit single “God’s Not Dead (Like A Lion).”

Please describe the story behind the band recording the song "God’s Not Dead."

I’m not sure officially how everyone in the band first heard the song, but last summer we were at a festival and our manager was talking about songs we could record for our upcoming worship album . He handed me an unlabeled CD which had sixteen songs on it. There were no song titles or artist names listed.

I spent the day listening through the album, and I had never heard Daniel Bashta’s song “Like A Lion” before. It stood out to me as fresh and unique and I loved his voice. I just loved the song. We all felt like we could record a cool version of the song by our band. It all started tying together the concept of what we wanted to say on this album. The campaign of what we wanted to bring out in the next season of the band was this bold statement in this day and age. I’ve come to find out that Daniel Bashta’s going to join us on the “God’s Not Dead” tour. The concept kept building from there. The song became the title track and lead single.

Which Bible verses connect with the message of the song?

Hosea 11:10:
“They will follow the LORD; He will roar like a lion. When He roars, His children will come trembling from the west.”

John 14:19: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”

...and Revelation 10:2-4: “He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.’”

How can listeners apply that message when they listen to the song?

It seems like culturally that atheism has become more and more prevalent. God is being taken out of so much of our culture and has been for years. People are just deceived. There’s a lack of Truth and in some Christian music circles and in Christians in general, there’s a lack of boldness. That’s what sticks out to me is the bold message of this song. What’s most disheartening for me is that even in Christian music there are so many songs that don’t proclaim the Name of Jesus. A lot of us say great things that may coincide with biblical principles and social justice, and I don’t know about you, but the boldness of this song is what attracts me. As artists we have an impact on people and culture. To me, that’s why this song is resonating with people. We can tell based on the reaction at our concerts to the song that people are embracing the message of the song and that it is saying what they feel. I know that every band has niches, for us, this is a Newsboys message. I’m preaching to myself when I say those words in this song.

The Gospel turns the world upside down. We need to live as Christians with God’s upside down expectations that defy the world’s expectations. The songs that we made as newsboys and dcTalk in the 1990s had bold Christian messages and we set out to make an album with songs that had those type of messages.

Lyrics:
Let love explode
And bring the dead to life
A love so bold
To see a revolution somehow

Let love explode
And bring the dead to life
A love so bold
To bring a revolution somehow

Now I'm lost in your freedom
And this world I'll overcome

My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

He's roaring
He's roaring
He's roaring like a lion

Let hope arise
And make the darkness hide
My faith is dead
I need a resurrection somehow

Now..
Now I'm lost in your freedom
Now..
And this world I'll overcome

My God's not dead

He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

He's roaring
He's roaring
He's roaring like a lion

He's roaring
He's roaring

Let Heaven roar
And fire fall
Come shake the ground
With the sound of revival

Let Heaven roar
And fire fall
Come shake the ground
With the sound of revival

My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

My God's not dead
He's surely alive
He's living on the inside
Roaring like a lion...

He's roaring
He's roaring
He's roaring like a lion

Roaring like a lion

Matthew Henry’s commentary: “He promises that they should continue their acquaintance with Him and interest in Him: Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more, that is, Now I am no more in the world. After His death, the world saw Him no more, for, though He rose to life, He never showed Himself to all the people, Acts 10:41. The malignant world thought they had seen enough of Him, and cried, Away with Him; crucify Him; and so shall their doom be; they shall see Him no more. Those only that see Christ with an eye of faith shall see Him for ever. The world sees Him no more till His second coming; but His disciples have communion with Him in His absence.” “He cried aloud, as when a lion roars, and his awful voice was echoed by seven thunders, seven solemn and terrible ways of discovering the mind of God. The prohibition given to the apostle, that he should not publish, but conceal what he had learned from the seven thunders. The apostle was for preserving and publishing every thing he saw and heard in these visions, but the time had not yet come. When this mystery of God is finished time itself shall be no more, as being the measure of things that are in a mutable changing state; but all things shall be at length for ever fixed, and so time itself swallowed up in eternity.”

People don’t want to deal with Jesus Christ. He requires people to admit they are sinners in need of a Savior. That’s proof that Jesus is real and He’s Alive! What’s so cool about “God’s Not Dead (Like A Lion)” is that I heard Daniel Bashta’s recording of the song at the same time as Newsboys at the Creation Northeast Festival last summer and the bold message of the song really struck me. The song has also been recorded by Passion Conference artists David Crowder*Band and Kristian Stanfill.

The version by the Newsboys has become a song for the Church with the bold Gospel message and the reuniting of former dcTalk members Michael Tait and Kevin Max has made the song even bigger. The song is an Easter-themed message, because as we celebrate Resurrection Day, we can all boldly proclaim that “He’s surely Alive, He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion!” Amen to that!

(You can listen to the song here.)
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Posted April 03, 2012 | NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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