#298 - "He Said" by Group 1 Crew
What did He say? Blanca and Manwell talk to NRT's Kevin Davis about God's promises.

Group 1 Crew re-launched Outta Space Love: Bigger Love Edition on Jan. 24 which includes the original 12 tracks of Outta Space Love plus 8 additional tracks with remixes of the hit singles “Walking On The Stars” and “Live It Up,” as well as four brand new songs. The album includes brand new track “He Said,” which features multi-award winning artist, Chris August.

I had the great opportunity to interview Manwell Reyes and Blanca Callahan about “He Said” during their stop in Reading, Penn. while on the WinterJam tour

Manwell and Blanca, please share the personal message behind the song “He Said,” and how Chris August got involved.

Blanca: For me, this song definitely strikes a chord in my life and where I am in this season. As you may or may not know, I recently lost my father last November. We were on the Rock & Worship Roadshow at the time, and he passed unexpectedly due to cancer. When I listen to the song, although it came before losing my father, it’s so true in the lyrics that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle like you said. Sometimes when things aren’t going great, people will quote Scripture that God will never leave us or forsake us. It’s in these trying moments when you’re facing things that you feel are going to break you that you need to remember what He’s promised you and what He’s said. That’s what this song is all about. You may feel like it’s the end, but God will never let you break. You might bend, and it might be uncomfortable, but He’ll get you through and those are His promises that He’s made, so let’s not forget them.

Manwell: Chris August is my homey, we were thinking about how we could involve another singer since we also had TobyMac appear on a song. We wanted to record more of an adult contemporary style song, so we thought about who we could ask. Since Chris is a label mate, and we enjoy his voice, it was an easy pick. His voice fit the song perfectly.

Please tell me about the Bible verses you used in writing the song. Any life verse?

James 1:2-4:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

What's the take-away message for listeners?

That’s the thing about the Word of God: it’s not always specific to a person, but to our circumstances, and it’s always going to apply differently to people based on their experiences. Like Blanca said earlier, you can read the same Scriptures over and over and one day it will hit you that when your circumstances change, you understand God’s promises to you in His Word. The application is to allow God to speak to you.

Any updates on the band?

We’re good, man. We’re two strong instead of three and we haven’t missed a step. There hasn’t been a slowdown process at all and it’s been a seamless transition business-wise, songwriting-wise... Personally, we miss Pablo, but we’re doing okay. There’s excitement and if there’s any time for us to take that next step as a band, it’s now. We feel really in tune and focused on being transparent before God.

We’re not worried about anything. It was difficult, and Paul talks about the power of a clear conscience in the Bible, and he talks about getting to the point where he was there and there’s nothing more powerful than a believer who knows right where he needs to be with God. That allows us to function freely as believers. We struggle with wondering if we deserve grace, or deserve to be called Christians, because of our sinful natures. If you struggle with what you do in the dark, there’s no way you can walk in the light with God.

When a believer is free from sin and has singular purpose and focused on God, they can feel worthy. That’s powerful. We should feel deserving, but we don’t because of our fallibility and that truth about ourselves that we are fallen and we’re sinners. Every moment where a Christian feels worthy, God wants us to feel His power and know that we’ve inherited His gift. We feel like that’s where we are as Group 1 Crew.

Blanca: It’s cool because of this transition that we’ve gone through, it allows opportunities like “He Said” to form. On our next album, we have songs where there’s straight hip-hop which is up Manwell’s alley and there’s some songs that are more vocally driven, which are my heart. It gives us opportunities unexpectedly through this transition to show our strengths in a more open way and a different way than before. It’s exciting to try new things, get in the studio and be creative. It’s been a growing process and we feel our listeners will really enjoy our next album in September.

So your life feels like it don't make sense
And you think to yourself, 'I'm a good person'
So why do these things keep happening?
Why you gotta deal with them?

You may be knocked down now
but don't forget what He said, He said

I won't give you more, more than you can take
and I might let you bend, but I won't let you break
and No-o-o-o-o, I'll never ever let you go-o-o-o-o
Don't you forget what He said

Who you are ain't what your going through
So don't let it get the best of you
Cause God knows everything you need,
so you ain't gotta worry

You may be knocked down now
but just believe what He said, He said

I won't give you more, more than you can take
and I might let you bend, but I won't let you break
and No-o-o-o-o, I'll never ever let you go-o-o-o-o
Don't you forget what He said

Don't fear when you go through the fire
Hang on when it's down to the wire
Stand tall and remember what He said

I won't give you more, more then you can take
and I might let you bend, but I won't let you break...

I won't give you more, more than you can take
and I might let you bend, but I won't let you break
and No-o-o-o-o, I'll never ever let you go-o-o-o-o
Don't you forget what He said

Asbury's Bible commentary on James 2-4: "The stark realities of opposition, discrimination, and resentment, however, become the rule rather than the exception. James charges the reader to turn these difficult, trying experiences into spiritual profit. When he commands them to consider it pure joy, he challenges them to take a definite positive stance in the midst of trials. “Take charge!” he shouts, “Welcome the challenge!” This testing of their faith will begin to generate endurance, which serves as a basic ingredient in the development of Christian character. James challenges the readers to be open to the ultimate effect of endurance—a mature and complete Christian life. The word perfect, a favorite of James, describes “a fullblown character of stable righteousness.” It comes by making trials work to the advantage of the believer. It sounds great, but it is not easy to do. Each situation requires perception, evaluation, and an informed response. Who has that kind of resourcefulness? It is within reach through prayer."

Complete confidence in and reliance upon the grace of God is the theme of this great new song. God has called Christians to become mature and complete, as first fruits of all He created. This is so high a calling and so valuable an attainment that we may consider even trials along the way pure joy!

What’s especially cool about “He Said” is how by featuring Chris August in the song, this truly is a departure from the hip-hop style of the band and will remind you of some of August’s hit contemporary songs like “Battle” and “Starry Night” while still featuring Manwell’s and Blanca’s signature harmonies and bold Gospel message, like in their hit song “Keys To The Kingdom.”

The three singers blend perfectly and bring home the biblical truth of the song--that God will never leave or forsake us. This song really has an uplifting message and challenges listeners to think about whether they are trusting God in times of trouble. Are we understanding that God won’t give us more than we can handle and know that sometimes trials are meant to refine us and draw us closer to God? Like in the hymn “Refiner’s Fire”—we are meant to be refined to be more like Jesus and as the song reminds us, “Don't you forget what He said!” Amen!

Don't hesitate to buy Group 1 Crew’s Bigger Love Edition of Outta Space Love, which includes “He Said.” Also make sure to catch their set on WinterJam 2012. (You can read my full review of WinterJam here.)

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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