Open Heaven has recently released their new album, Lion of Judah which now available everywhere. With progressive and ambient pop sounds mixed with the power of live worship, Open Heaven brings a refreshing and exciting experience in their new album! The new album includes 12 original songs, written by members of the group and available on iTunes and all online music portals, as well as through their website www.OpenHeavenBand.com.
Hallels: Thank you so much for your time. Congratulations on the release of your new album, let's start with yourselves. Why do you call yourselves Open Heaven?
During the entire year I was praying about doing our first worship recording, back in 2014, God spoke that phrase to me through every single guest minister who came through our church. They would say to me, "When you guys worship, it's like I see an open heaven over you!" Well, that caught my attention! I started doing some study on what that means in the Bible, and I found many references. We know that when Jesus died on Golgotha's hill, the whole earth shook, and the temple curtain that separated people from the Holy of Holies was literally torn in two! It was no longer needed. God had opened heaven to humanity once again. This music is meant to bring a prophetic voice to churches, inspiring us all to cry out, 'Open up, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together' as it says in Isaiah 45:8. We believe that God has already given us an open heaven, and we are simply saying yes to what God wants to pour out.
Hallels: Your church Faith Life is celebrating 21 years this year, tell us a little about your church.
Faith Life Church, in Columbus, OH, started as a bible study in a friend's basement, founded by Pastors Gary and Drenda Keesee. It grew quickly from there! It was was then and it is now all about helping people experience "the good life," which is a life of faith revived, families restored, and destinies found. With several thousand people now calling Faith Life Church their home, the ministry has grown to also include several international media outreaches, two daily television programs (Fixing the Money Thing and Drenda), a missions organization, and several safe houses for young girls and families. It's truly an honor to be a part of this gathering of believers every week.
Hallels: Who are the members of Open Heaven? Are all of you volunteers or paid staff of the church?
Open Heaven is part of our main worship team and is comprised of both staff and unpaid team members who love worship and serving in their local church. Our songwriters and worship leaders are led by myself, and comprised of my Music Leader Matt Wooten, Associate Pastor Tim Keesee, Assistant Worship Leader Anna Marie Kamppi, and Creative Leader Tom Keesee. Our band and background singers are all volunteers. On this year's album we also featured two new worship leaders from our young adults team: Alexis Healy and Daniel Patton. I am truly so proud of every single member of this team and all they do every weekend to build God's house!
Hallels: In your press release, you describe your worship songs as "prophetic." What do you mean by prophetic?
Most of the worship music you will hear on "Lion of Judah" was created or conceived during prayer weeks at our church, when our congregation comes together to seek God's face for direction. Songs such as "Heaven Pouring Out" and "Lion of Judah" were actually specific words from God that we received and then put to music. Whether this was done during our personal worship and prayer times, or in a corporate, spontaneous moment, many of these songs have a timeliness upon them. When we write an album, our number one question is, "Holy Spirit, what do you want to say to your people right now? And what do you want their response to be back to you?" We want our music to be inspired by the Holy Spirit for a specific purpose to be brought about in the earth, for such a time as this. Our rally cry has always been for awakening and revival. When I started leading worship twelve years ago, my calling was birthed out of a youth revival that broke out in our church. I guess I just don't know how to lead worship any other way if not to create an atmosphere for the miraculous to happen.
Hallels: "Lion of Judah," I believe, is your second album with DREAM Worship. Did you approach this album any differently from your previous one?
When my writing team and I came together in January of this year, I asked them, "What is God saying to you?" We started comparing notes, and we found a clear message: God is calling a courageous church to be boldly surrendered, fully committed, full of faith, and unashamed of His call in these last days. When we sat down and just started worshipping together, singing songs we had brought from our weeks of prayer and corporate worship times, we found ourselves being touched by the power of God as we wrote! We were more confident in the process and in the Holy Spirit's ability in us. The first time was so scary! This time was no less hard, but felt more peaceful and spirit-led.
We all felt that this album would have more flow to it, more "Selah" moments for people to just soak in His presence. We knew that it would have a more serious tone to it than the first album, maybe because of the times in which we are living. Some of the songs you'll hear were spontaneous songs that happened by the Holy Spirit during church services. Others were crafted to enable worshippers to speak scriptures as declarations of faith and consecration.
Hallels: What are you most excited about this record?
I am most excited about several of the prophetic songs on this album, but particularly the title track. When I heard the verse and chorus of "Lion of Judah," written by Anna Marie Kamppi, I was blown away. If you knew Anna Marie, you would know she is a sweet, gentle, Texas girl-but here she was singing these lyrics that were an audacious challenge to do battle, to roar and to lift up a mighty battle cry! She, Matt and I quickly wrote a bridge based on some lyrics the Holy Spirit had been speaking to us about revival. When we heard it all come together, we knew it was bigger than us. We knew this was an anthem for our generation and our time. We believe Jesus is coming so soon-the signs are everywhere. And this song is a charge to believers everywhere to stand up and be bold, because Jesus, the Lion of Judah, is fighting for us!
Hallels: For the worship leaders reading this interview and who would like to sing some of your songs in church, where can they find the resources (such as instrumental tracks or sheet music) to help them?
They can find our first album "Live from Faith Life Church" on CCLI, multitracks.com and many other resource sites. Our new album "Lion of Judah" is still in process of getting out to all those sites, but free chord charts are available as downloads on our website www.OpenHeavenBand.com.
Thanks so much, it was great to talk to you! If anyone wants to take a listen to the new project, just text LION to 51555!