Multi-platinum gospel artist Marvin Sapp released his latest album Chosen Vessel this month, and is giving gratitude to God for using his music and ministry to advance the Kingdom despite the many transitions he's gone through in the past decade.
The 11-time Grammy nominee, who's best known for the platinum-selling hits “Never Would Have Made It" and “The Best in Me,” is also a bishop. Sapp built a ministry based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, called Lighthouse Full Life Center Church, where he remains a chairman of the board of directors. He recently made a big move to Fort Worth, Texas, where he took over as senior pastor of The Chosen Vessel Cathedral.
“You brought me down here knowing all of my flaws, knowing all of my issues, and you still said, 'This is where you're supposed to be,' and allowed it to blossom and allow that to flourish in spite of me," Sapp shared of a conversation he had with God.
His gratitude toward God’s grace is why he titled his 12th studio album Chosen Vessel. The album was recorded before the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdowns, but he now sees that the album was a prophetic sound meant to be released in this season of unrest.
Sapp became a widower in 2010 after his wife died from complications with colon cancer. His three children are now grown up so the move was a “fresh start” for him. The album was produced in this new season for the minister.
The following is an edited transcript and video of Sapp’s interview with The Christian Post where he explained in detail his recent transition and the inspiration and theme behind the album, Chosen Vessel.
CP: Can you speak to the importance of releasing a sound of praise in the atmosphere during one of the craziest times in recent history?
Sapp: I think now more than ever before, there is an absolute need for people to hear something that is going to be edifying, encouraging, and uplifting. After being in isolation and seclusion for the last almost seven months and having the enemy to play with our minds as it pertains to if and when, or possibly are going to catch something that could possibly disrupt and or destroy our lives totally, we needed some good news.
When I recorded this particular CD I actually recorded it live from my church. We did it 30 days before everything was shut down, we never even imagined that this COVID thing was going to even happen.
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Strangely enough, all of the lyrical content of this particular CD actually speaks to people being encouraged, people not fearing, and people being thankful for everything that has happened and has transpired. Because so many times when we find ourselves in difficult and challenging circumstances, we tend to focus on the problem rather than focus on the promise and promiser. Hopefully, prayerfully, the CD, Chosen Vessel, would be that which encourages, uplifts, strengthens, and most importantly, edifies everyone who hears it.
CP: Your first single, "I Thank You for it All" is a song we need on repeat this season.
Sapp: Honestly, what's strange is that when we decided to put that song out as the first single when I recorded it, I never thought about this season. We recorded the record and we left the recording, thinking, "OK, let's move on, let's go on with life." But now, since we've been in this season of COVID and looking at all of the disparities and things that are taking place in our nation, we ought to be thankful for everything — the good, the bad, the ugly, great and small, so it fits the season.
CP: When we see so much chaos and all these things going on in the world, how can people remain thankful?
Sapp: Two things I believe that we have to do. Number one, is we have to remain prayerful. Now, I know that sounds cliche, but the truth of the matter is that the Bible speaks clearly, and it declares that: "If His people which are called by His name, would humble themselves and pray, seek His face, turn from their wicked ways, then we will hear from heaven, He'll forgive our sins, heal our land."
If our land is going to be healed, it's going to take those of us who say the name of Christ, making sure that we are cemented in a posture of prayer and communication, with the God of our salvation because the matter is that prayer is a dying discipline. That's something that we absolutely have to remain focused on.
But number two, I've always said no matter if you're a Republican, if you're a Democrat, if you're Independent, make sure you vote this year. I'm a very strong believer that if we don't get the laws changed, we need to change the lawmakers. So my position for every individual is, make sure that you are registered to vote. Make sure that if your state has early voting, go take care of it. Because of COVID-19, I haven't been able to change over the stuff (voter registration) from Michigan.
So I actually bought an airplane ticket, I'm flying back home to make sure that I'm able to vote in this upcoming election, I'm voting early. So don't complain about it, remain prayerful, vote your conscience and make sure you vote because that's what's going to really make a difference.
CP: You've described the past 10 years as a great "transition." Will you share more about your decision to move from Michigan to Texas and how you've seen God work everything you've been through for good?
Sapp: I'm beginning to realize that my transition to Texas was to bring the church that I'm pastoring now into the 21st century. I pastor a 100-year-old church. When I got it, it was 99 years of age. Starting off, people thought I was moving to a megachurch. When I got here there was probably about 250 [people]. Within that six-month period, we were able to grow to about 1,300 active members. So I realized that a part of my assignment was to come here to help to resurrect this church.
In my departure, it was also to help to resurrect the church that [I use to] pastor. It was all a part of God's plan — me sacrificing and leaving where I was to come where I am. It was all about resurrection. Absolutely, it's working out for both ministries.
The church that I pastored, we have an absolutely gifted young man that we put in and he's done exceptionally well. I mean, even in this COVID case, the ministry has grown, it's amazing. I'll be going back home in a couple weeks just to look around and take care of business, because I still have a lot there as far as the real estate and things of that nature. So I got some business. But outside of that, this has been a blessing for everyone involved.
CP: What are some of the themes in the new album?
Sapp: This particular CD actually speaks to individuals as it pertains to being fearful. It's kind of a picture into the particular mindset I found myself in my transition. I'm telling people: don't be afraid. I'm telling people to be thankful for every situation. I'm telling them to make sure that you praise Him every day.
In "Psalms 23" it starts talking about, "Even though you're walking through the valley of the shadow of death, don't fear evil." The central theme of this particular record is: "Don't be fearful, because God is with you in whatever situation you're in. And the reason why He's with you, is because you've been chosen."
I think that's what people fail to realize. People fail to realize that just because you're flawed, it doesn't mean that you're not chosen. That's why I call it the record Chosen Vessel.
People think that I called it that because that's named my church, but that's not really why I named the record. Because I was like, "You know what God, you brought me down here knowing all of my flaws, knowing all of my issues, and you still said, 'This is where you're supposed to be,' and allowed it to blossom and allow that to flourish in spite of me."
That in itself speaks volumes to the kind of God that we serve. That God says, "Other people may be more qualified but you're children, and that's why I called it Chosen Vessel."
For more information visit Marvinsapp.com