Delirious Lets Their Light Shine
By Delirious, Furious Records.
Delirious is getting a reputation as one of the hardest working bands in the industry. Enter Glo, the latest offering from this potent British band, following closely on the coattails of last years' Mezzamorphis. Patterned more in the roots of Delirious' Cutting Edge days, Glo has its foundation in the band's style of praise and worship rather than the adult-contemporary-pop focus of their previous release.
Much more in keeping with Delirious' first well-known U.S. disc, King of Fools, Glo goes back to the driving rock grooves that put them on the map originally. The urban elements that crept into Mezzamorphis have taken a back seat to lyrics that get to the point.
Glo propels its listeners into the modern praise and worship world that has been so appealing on their earlier efforts. Songs such as "My Glorious" and "Hang On to You," are certain winners, but there are several first-rate tracks.
One of the questions that still remains is if there is another "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" on Glo. Though only time will tell, there are a few potential candidates, such as "God You Are My God," and "Awaken the Dawn."
All in all, Glo is yet another excellent disc from Delirious, one that will undoubtedly garner more accolades for this already tremendous five-piece band. Combining great lyrics wrapped in a well-designed theme, excellent production, and a familiar and proven format, Glo is a compelling and provocative disc.
A Holy Nation
Kirk Franklin Presents 1NC
By Kirk Franklin, B-Rite Music.
In the last decade, Grammy Award-winner Kirk Franklin has been a trendsetter in contemporary gospel music. With his latest release, Franklin continues to offer something fresh with his One Nation Crew (1NC).
In 1998, Franklin formed 1NC by handpicking 10 young and talented people of African American, Caucasian and Latin American descent. Together, they blend their individual styles and sounds to create a strong unified voice.
The music is reflective of the group's diversity, ranging from edgy urban rhythms to the melodic sounds of the Spanish guitar. Each song is embraced beautifully by 1NC's tight harmonies and Franklin's trademark grooves. The hard-hitting track "Nobody" includes a unique mix of hip-hop, flamenco guitar and spoken-Spanish that can be pleasing to the listening ear. Spanish flavor continues on such tracks as "Unconditional" and "When You Fall."
Franklin and 1NC also return to gospel's musical roots on such tracks as the spirited "Be Like Him" that incorporates the South African folk song "Kwaze Kwabonankala" and vocally produced percussion. Between tracks, 1NC addresses real-world issues such as teen pregnancy, school prayer and racism.
Kirk Franklin and 1NC have shown through their music that it's possible to embrace diversity and unite as one nation under God. --Twanna Powell
Rise Up Mighty Warrior
By Jonathan Maracle, Broken Walls.
Listening to Rise Up Mighty Warrior makes one instantly aware that Jonathan Maracle is no canned songsmith fresh off the Christian music assembly line. A Native American who grew up on the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, Maracle offers an earthy, spiritual, almost mystical mix of traditional North American Indian sounds and song structures mixed with contemporary worship sounds, choruses and styles. His latest CD is a reminder of the fact that few such cultural projects exist in today's Christian music world.
"Ah Ni:io" is an anthem to the name of God (El Shaddai) and resembles the late Rich Mullins' "Awesome God" in its inspirational, worshipful chorus. "River of Life" captures the rhythmic signature of North American Indian music and is written in the traditional style of a Mohawk men's dance song.
Maracle dedicates the title cut to his late father, who charged him to fulfill his call in Christ despite those who'd oppose his heritage. "Khenoronhkhwa" is a captivating heartcry to experience Jesus.
Next year, Native American music is to be added as a category of the Grammy Awards, a sign of the genre's increasing recognition in the music field at large. Maracle's music is important for two reasons: It uses traditional Native American music styles to glorify God and thus distinguishes itself as a rare effort within both Christian music and the Indian music genre. --Jimmy Stewart
Exposing the Devil's Strategy
Life Without Fear
By Mike Fehlauer, Creation House, 209 pages, $12.99, paperback.
The truth will set you free, and author Mike Fehlauer presents truth with fresh insights into the Scriptures. His book, Life Without Fear, is not just about overcoming fear. Fehlauer offers keys to understanding how human beings were designed to operate to their fullest, how sin sabotaged this design and how we can return to God's original plan.
Fehlauer exposes the devil's age-old strategy of tempting us by igniting discontent. Satan fans the flames of discontent until it gives birth to lust, which drives us to sin. One of the first things we are tempted to do is doubt God's goodness, an action that produces fear.
When a man or woman is born again, the spirit within, which perceives God's true nature, is awakened, Fehlauer contends. But while the spirit of man does not fear, his or her soul (the mind, will and emotions) needs time to be restored and to learn to trust. Our souls were designed to be submitted to God through our spirits, he writes.
Ultimately, Fehlauer's work is a wonderful depiction of choosing life in the Spirit over a soulish attempt to obey the law. This book would make an excellent study guide for those wanting to enter into deeper Christian discipleship either in a one-on-one situation or group study.
--Deborah L. Delk
The African American Jubilee Edition Bible
Edited by Virgil Wood, American Bible Society, 1,756 pages, $29.99, hardcover and paperback.
Using rich supplemental information from a variety of theologians, The African American Jubilee Edition Bible helps African Americans more fully understand their heritage and the role of Africans in the Bible. African Americans will see that God has always been working on their behalf, despite the African dispersion, slavery and injustice.
The 283 pages of supplementary material resound with the concept of Jubilee introduced in Leviticus 25. The Bible touts biblical Jubilee as a universal mandate for a good society. Moreover, the Jubilee edition also seeks to correct some long-held misconceptions about blacks, including the belief that they are cursed because they are descendants of Noah's son, Ham.
Though the Jubilee edition is offered only in the King James and Contemporary English versions, the supplementary material is strongly recommended for all African Americans and those seeking to understand the role of blacks in biblical history. --Frank King
A Balm in Gilead
Where Is God When Bad Things Happen?
By Luis Palau, Doubleday, 222 pages, $10.95, paperback.
If you have ever felt the bitter sting of pouring astringent on a wound, then you know the pain that comes from unexplainable, sorrowful events in our lives and in the world. Author Luis Palau seeks to give hope to many of those dealing with hard life issues in Where Is God When Bad Things Happen?
This book deals with such heart-wrenching topics as coping with miscarriages, teen violence and life's disappointments. Palau uses examples from his own life--his dad's death when Palau was 10 years old, his wife's battle with breast cancer, and his 25-year-old nephew's death from AIDS.
His aim is to answer tough questions from people struggling with these issues rather than hypothetical and theoretical situations. The book is set up in a simple, easy-to-read format, with short anecdotes and bulleted points dealing with each topic. Through the book's tender treatment of disappointments, Palau offers readers a gentle healing balm. --Tracee N. Mason
Story of Joseph Comes to Life
Joseph: King of Dreams
By DreamWorks SKG; 74 minutes; VHS and DVD; Hi-Fi Stereo and Dolby Surround, $24.99 to $26.99.
Has The Prince of Egypt become a King of Dreams? You may think so at first if you saw The Prince of Egypt, DreamWorks' 1998 Oscar-winning animated film about Moses. Joseph: King of Dreams bears plenty of the same excellent creative qualities of its predecessor, while remaining a quality film in its own right.
Joseph, a nontheatrical, straight-to-video release, reunites several key players from The Prince of Egypt, including executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and musical consultant Stephen Schwartz, who adds seven new original songs. The cast includes Ben Affleck (Joseph), Mark Hamill (Judah), Richard Herd (Jacob) and Maureen McGovern (Rachel).
DreamWorks admittedly took artistic license with the plot to benefit the dramatization of the script, but it would be hard to understand why anyone would find the adaptations of biblical text offensive. With a running time of less than 80 minutes, the film is forced to abbreviate the epic scope of Joseph's life. To compensate, the writers made good use of the key points in Joseph's saga, such as his sale into slavery, his dark hours in prison and his moving reunion with his family decades after they had given him up for dead.
Fans of The Prince of Egypt will enjoy Joseph. Beautiful visuals and a script that tells the story with old-fashioned Hollywood pizazz make it a family entertainment winner.
Worship: Plain and SimpleRita Springer is anything but a newcomer to worship. She has released two albums--Love Covers and To the Moon--on her independent label Kindred Joy.
She led worship at Vineyard's Winds of Worship, Why We Worship and Women in Worship conferences. Her song "You Are Still Holy" was recorded on Kim Hill's Arms of Mercy album and was a No. 1 radio hit in 1999.
This fall, she released two albums, Created to Worship and All I Have, on Tim Taber's new Floodgate Records. Springer said that some listeners may misinterpret the title of her latest song.
"'All I Have'" is not about being 33 and single," she says, "which a lot of people would think. It's that He is everything that I have. I can't get His presence anywhere else.
"No one has His depth. My cry may be deeper because I'm single, but it's basically that His presence is all that there is. I think that's the theme of the album."
While Springer's worship songs can be recorded, her heart after worship is much harder to capture. "Seek ye first the kingdom to me means to seek His face, find Him out and let Him be your music, your song, your dance, your everything," she says.
"Through the music I want to evoke intimacy first between He and I and then model it for others. That's all. It's pretty simple. But then again, so is He."