BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#165 - "Lift Up Your Face" by Third Day
Third Day's bassist, Tai Anderson, speaks with NRT contributor Kevin Davis about the single "Lift Up Your Face" from their latest album, Move.
 


Georgia rock band Third Day delivers its soul-stirring, 11th studio album, MOVE, showcasing members Mac Powell, Mark Lee, Tai Anderson and David Carr at their melodic and lyrical best -- peering insightfully at life within the church as well as pointedly seeking to understand the needs and questions of those without faith.

It's an often difficult balance to achieve, but Third Day succeeds in speaking candidly and hopefully to listeners of every stripe, challenging each not just to a place of faith, but a place of faith in action.

Third Day released its self-titled, debut album back in 1995. Since that release they have become one of the biggest names in Christian music. Fans flocked to their 1999 release Time and the 2000 worship release, Offerings. Third Day's last album Revelation was recently certified Gold and is a stellar album with hit songs "Call My Name", "Revelation" and "Born Again."

The project leads with the first single "Lift Up Your Face," which features The Blind Boys of Alabama. Mac Powell, the band's charismatic lead vocalist, explains, "The country is going through hard times, and there are doubts and insecurity. The message of 'Lift Up Your Face' is our message of encouragement – not just to listeners though—to us as well. It's a message we all need to hear and I think that really sums up a lot of what we were going for with this record."

I got the great opportunity to interview Tai Anderson about the song "Lift Up Your Face." Here are the answers to the questions I asked Tai. You can listen to our entire conversation here.

In the album's first single, "Lift Up Your Face," do you have any personal application regarding your walk as a Christian in the song? Please describe the message behind the song.

We were out on the Winter Jam tour last year, and basically we had the idea [that] how to serve our families while on tour was to use the time on the road to look for a place to write songs and record demos for the new album. What started the process of writing this song, which we co-wrote with Bo and Bear Rinehart of Needtobreathe, started by getting together with the guys for a barbecue. We got together in their home studio and had a jam session that went with Mac's idea of a song based on the idea of "lift up your head" from the Psalms. We have been really inspired by Needtobreathe's abandon musically and this song ended up really setting the tone for the record. By working with another "southern" rock band from South Carolina, we got to show our Georgia roots musically with a "gospel" sound. We wanted this album to have a southern accent musically.

The way I've identified with the song is that I was involved in writing the script for the music video. So I picture someone towards the end of their life looking back on their life and the Holy Spirit encouraging them to "lift up your face" because "salvation is calling." It's been really cool in concert how the audience sings "lift up your face" and we echo back "salvation is calling." A song like this is fun to revisit a few years later and see what kind of reaction we get from our fans. That happened with our song "Consuming Fire" which we wrote as a rock song and it became a worship song. When people ask me if our songs are a worship song or a rock song, I say "yes." I think songs can be both rock and worship.

Which Bible verses go with the song?

Psalm 24:7-10: Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. 

Luke 21:27-28: Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.

How can listeners apply that message in their walks as Christians when they listen to the song?

If a song is calling out to someone and meeting people where they are, that's our hope. We've decided as a band to try to write the best songs that we can. We don't want to take away any experiences that people have had with our music. Fans are telling us that they are connecting to these songs. Like you said at the start of our interview, this album is connecting with you and that means more to us than Third Day telling everyone this is our best album. We grab on to the messages of our songs more than anything else. We approach our shows based on performing songs that connect with our fans. We write on big themes. The big message of the song is "salvation is calling." There is power for everyone. Whether you've put all of your trust in Jesus or not, salvation is a theme on the whole album. All that really matters is where we stand with Christ. At the end of our lives, all of our album sales and awards will mean nothing. All that really matters is where we stand with Jesus. When I'm asked when I got saved, I answer 8:30 this morning. I think it's important to make that commitment daily and remember that I'm a sinner and I need to lift up my face to God, repent and choose Him as my Savior.

Here are the lyrics:

Lift up your face, lift up your face
Salvation is calling, salvation is calling

You have fallen so far now
You don't even know how, you are going to survive
(But) Just above the horizon
A new light is shining, breaking through the darkest night
Love is coming and it's calling out your name

Lift up your face, lift up your face
Salvation is calling, salvation is calling

Lift up your face, lift up your face
Salvation is calling, salvation is calling your name

You feel like your life is fading
You're tired of waiting, for your moment to arrive
But tomorrow will bring a song that you can sing
And your hope is gonna rise
Love is coming and it's calling out your name

Lift up your face, lift up your face
salvation is calling, salvation is calling

Lift up your face, lift up your face
Salvation is calling, salvation is calling your name

Oh yeah…
Do you hear Him calling?
Can you hear Him calling?
He's calling out your name
He's calling out your name

Lift up your face, lift up your face
Salvation is calling, salvation is calling

Lift up your face, lift up your face
Salvation is calling, salvation is calling your name

Can you hear Him calling?
Can you hear Him calling now?
Oh, can you hear Him calling you
He is calling you now
He is calling out your name

Just above the horizon
A new light is shining
Salvation's on its way


Here's Matthew Henry's commentary about Luke 21:27-28, Jesus Christ's Prophecy: "Christ tells them what hard things they should suffer for His Name's sake, and encourages them to bear up under their trials, and to go on in their work, notwithstanding the opposition they would meet with. God will stand by you, and own you, and assist you. This was remarkably fulfilled after the pouring out of the Spirit, by whom Christ gave His disciples wisdom and utterance. Though we may be losers for Christ, we shall not, we cannot be losers by Him, in the end. It is our duty and interest at all times, especially in perilous, trying times, to secure the safety of our own souls."

The picture of coming persecutions and disasters at the end times sounds gloomy, but ultimately as followers of Jesus, it is cause for great joy. As Jesus says in Luke 21:27, "lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

I truly believe we are living in the End Times, and this song really connects with me as I sincerely pray, "salvation's on its way." When believers see the events described by Jesus happening, we know that the return of Jesus is near. We can look forward to His reign of justice and peace. Rather than being terrified by what is happening in our world, we should confidently await Christ's return to bring justice and restoration to his people. "Lift up your face, salvation is calling your name."

Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. Kevin also writes reviews for ChristianMusicReview.org. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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