#229 - "Shake Heaven" by Montell Jordan
NRT's Kevin Davis talks with the acclaimed R&B star/producer about his turn to full-time ministry, which includes a worship album.

One of the nation’s fastest growing worship centers, Victory World Church is experiencing an incredible expansion, and is internationally active through missions, leadership training and pastoral mentorships.

Now Victory World Church will continue this outreach through the power of music with this mission being embraced through the launch of Victory World Music. Senior Pastors Dennis & Colleen Rouse announced today that the new music ministry’s debut project is Shake Heaven, which is spearheaded by R&B legend Montell Jordan, worship pastor at Victory World Church.

The project, due for an Aug. 23 release, will be the church’s first studio album with the entire worship team.

“Victory World Church is a place where worship is a lifestyle, therefore the music that comes from here is a reflection of the lives that people are living,” says Jordan. “My only objective at Victory and with this project is to create an atmosphere of worship where God truly inhabits the praises of His people.”

“Since the very beginning of our church, we’ve always felt that God would open doors of worship that would cross generational and cultural barriers,” says Dennis Rouse, Senior Pastor “and through Montell’s leadership, we’re seeing that happen with more than 105 nationalities coming together in a worship experience each weekend.”

Montell Jordan brings his 17 years of music business expertise to Shake Heaven, as Jordan was one of the leading R&B artists and producers from 1994 to 2010, when he left the industry to join Victory World Church’s worship ministry.

Jordan released seven albums between his two record labels, Def Soul and Koch Records, and his mega-hit, “This Is How We Do It,” garnered one Grammy nomination and two MTV award nominations. He produced such high-profile acts as Deborah Cox, Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight, Boyz II Men, Christina Milian, 98 Degrees, Sisqo’, Dru Hill, and appeared in such films as The Fighting Temptations, The Nutty Professor, and Standing In The Shadows Of Motown. He was born in Los Angeles and graduated from Pepperdine University.

I had the great opportunity to interview Montell Jordan about “Shake Heaven,” the title track that features a duet between Jordan and Dove-nominated recording artist Beckah Shae. Here are the answers to the questions I asked Montell.

Please tell me the background message behind the song “Shake Heaven.”

My wife is involved in a ministry in Tennessee called Recycled Women. For a Recycled Women event they connected with Beckah Shae and her husband, Jack, to minister to women who had been broken and were restored. At that event, my wife connected with Beckah. Beckah was making a more laid-back Christian version of Lauryn Hill-type of music. Then they released their album Life, which has more of a dance-feel. I was really impressed and felt that her music could really change the way people listen to Christian music. People like artists like Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas, but they aren’t making music with Christian messages like Beckah and Jack.

At that time, I wasn’t involved in ministry as I was still making mainstream R&B music. Then over a year later, in January 2010, the Lord revealed to my wife in a fast that I was going to retire from the music business. She of course was very smart to not share that vision with me. Then in July 2010, God revealed to me during a fast that I was going to retire from the mainstream R&B music business. At the time, we had no job prospects or any projects, but we knew we wanted to be involved in ministry. This is when I went and sat down with Beckah and Jack at a Starbucks and told them I was selling out for Jesus. I was submitting to God’s will and told them God’s going to get His way and get out of me whatever He wants to get out of me. Beckah spoke into my life and said, “This is an honor that God chose you for ministry.”

From that conversation, I went into ministry from a different mindset. I told Jack that what I did in music from a worldly perspective I wanted to do better and bigger for Christ. What I did in the world was make songs that made you want to party, want to dance and want to put your hands up. Now, I want to make that type of song for God’s glory. I mentioned that when you go to a stadium and they start playing those anthem dance songs that get the crowd excited, I want to make a song like that for the glory of Christ. That’s how we came up with this song, “Shake Heaven.” What’s funny is that the song includes the lyrics, “I’m gonna shake Heaven, this is how we do it.” I told Jack and Beckah that I didn’t want to include those words and they said, “You have to!” It just seemed to fit perfectly how God brought me out of the world and gave us a song that brings glory to Christ.

Did you base the song on any Bible verses? Any life verse?

Hebrews 12:25-27: See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven? At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

What's the take-away message for listeners?

Three weeks after I recorded the song, my pastor delivered a sermon based on that Hebrews passage. I didn’t even know that passage was in the Bible. I got goosebumps as I realized the truth of that passage in my own life. I was that rebellious guy who made music that didn’t show that I loved Jesus. My music reflected my rejection of Christ. The Bible tells us that there will come a time where God’s voice will not only shake the earth, but also shake the heavens. I love that I’m out of a place of disobedience and I’m now in a place of obedience.

The simplicity of the song is that whether you are a Christian or not, you’ll love the song and not know until three minutes into the song that I’m singing to Jesus. I would love for people to praise Jesus. One of the things about coming out of the secular music world into Christian music is to proclaim that God’s glory is proclaimed for God’s victory by our ministry, Victory World Church.

Here are the lyrics:

What's it gonna look like, what’s it gonna be like
What's it gonna sound like, I wanna know
We’re on a mission to get God's attention,
Heaven is a listenin', so here we go

The angels all around are crying holy, holy, holy
Praise Him with a sound that gives him glory, glory, glory
Are you ready now, get ready now I’m ready 
Let’s all shout it out, start shouting now!

Gonna shake heaven, gonna shake heaven
Join in together, join in together
This is how we do it; this is how we do it
We’re taking back the music, taking back the music

And all the angels say
Oooh oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, hey, hey, hey
Oooh oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, hey, hey, hey

Everybody stand up, go on put your hands up
Recognize the God of Power and Might
His love's so amazing, He loves me like crazy
And now I’m walking in His marvelous life

The angels all around, are crying holy, holy, holy
Praise Him with a sound that gives Him glory, glory, glory
Are you ready now, get ready now I’m ready (4x)
Let’s go shout it out, start shouting out

Gonna shake heaven, gonna shake heaven
Joining together, joining together
This is how we do it; this is how we do it
We’re taking back the music, taking back the music

I’m gonna shake heaven, gonna shake heaven
Join in together, join in together
This is how we do it; this is how we do it
We’re taking back the music

And all the angels say
Oooh oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, hey, hey, hey (C’mon now)
Oooh oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, hey, hey, hey

Lift high the Name above all Names, Jesus
We can live today because His grace freed us
(Glory, honor and power forever and forever Lord)

Gonna shake heaven, gonna shake heaven
Join in together, join in together
This is how we do it; this is how we do it
We’re taking back the music, taking back the music

And all the angels say
Oooh oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, hey, hey, hey
Oooh oh, oh, oh, oh, hey, hey, hey, hey

Here’s Asbury’s Bible commentary on Hebrews 12:25-27: “Dare we disregard the Spirit's voice, which now speaks so insistently and so plainly? Dare we turn away from Christ merely because allegiance to Him might cost us dearly? Is not His blood more dear than life itself? Is not eternal standing before God more desirous than temporary avoidance of the persecutor's fire? Disregard of the Law brought unavoidable judgment upon the Israelites in their wilderness sojourn. What more severe judgment, then, will disregard of the Gospel bring to those who have the benefit of the Spirit's inward counsel? The voice that imparted the Law shook all the earth, but the voice that imparts grace and mercy now will soon shake both heaven and earth like a sieve. The entire universe will shudder at the call to judgment on that final day. Only by heeding the voice of Him now speaking can we stand the sifting judgment of God that will remove the entire created order. In its place, we are being given an eternal and therefore unshakable kingdom in which to abide in His presence forever. To receive it, we dare not disregard Christ.”

I wasn’t saved when Montell released “This Is How We Do It” in 1994. I was a secular disc jockey and used to play his song and celebrate the party anthem from a worldly perspective. Then in 1995, Jars of Clay released “Flood,” and I started seeking Jesus for the first time based on the biblical messages behind the songs on that fantastic debut album. A few years later, I was saved and I credit the biblical messages of Christian music for my salvation, for which I’m eternally grateful.

This new Montell song, “Shake Heaven” is one of the best Christian-themed dance songs I’ve ever heard and it truly is a praise and worship anthem dedicated to God and for His glory. I would love to hear some professional athletes who know Christ play the song in stadiums after they perform for His glory. One day in Heaven as His chosen people we’ll all be singing “holy holy holy,” and we’ll “Praise Him with a sound that gives Him glory, glory, glory.”

This song is a great way to prepare your hearts for eternity, knowing that God inhabits the praises of His people. As the song asks, “Are you ready now, get ready now, I’m ready… Let’s go shout it out, start shouting now!”

My favorite part of this amazing song is the bridge where Montell declares “Lift high the Name above all Names, Jesus, We can live today because His grace freed us.” What a comfort and Truth for His followers. If you don’t know Jesus, let the message of this great song lead to you to Him. As Jesus tells us in John 14:6: “I AM the way, the Truth and the Life, No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Amen.

Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and, as this devotional stated, credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ.

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