A 'Deeper' Time Of Worship
Deeper: The Definitive Worship Experience
By Delirious, Sparrow Records.
If you've somehow managed to escape having a Delirious album in your collection, now is the time to go Deeper. The British band's latest is a 25-song, double-disc collection slightly reminiscent of the band's first U.S. album, Cutting Edge. The new release is an assortment of Delirious' most popular modern worship songs, with their passionate, if not almost prophetic, lyrics.
With more than a million album sales under their belt and a following on both sides of the Atlantic, Delirious continues to push the edge of pop-rockin' worship. This self-produced collection contains new versions of six famed songs, including "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble," "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" and "The Happy Song." Fans will recognize cuts from earlier Delirious recordings, including Glo. In addition, the recording features a new song, "Not Forgotten," written by the band's leader Martin Smith. Don't miss out on this great worship album.
Giving God Her All
By Helen Baylor, Diadem Records.
If you haven't heard of Helen Baylor, now is the time to pick up her new disc, My Everything. She creates a vocal tour de force, especially on "Lord, You're Holy."
Weaving between elegant supper club music and all-out rock 'n' roll, "Lord, You're Holy" is a triumphant ode to God that sweeps listeners up into an intensifying beat with ecstatic proclamations about His holy name. Words such as "wonderful," "glorious," "victorious" and "mighty" follow one after the other in a torrent of praise. It's been five years since Baylor's last studio release, and she re-emerges with a bang. Imagine Gladys Knight, dance diva Martha Wash, Babbie Mason and CeCe Winans combined into one vocalist. In addition to her duet with Marvin Winans, Baylor sings with label-mate Bob Carlisle on the danceable "Harambee." Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the two singers, as they emote similar-sounding, soulful vocals on this upbeat R&B track co-written by David Mullen.
The classic James Taylor hit "How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You)" gets dusted off and given new meaning. Baylor sings from the heart about how sweet it is to be loved by Jesus. "Outside These Walls" is a rallying cry to churchgoers. The ballad challenges listeners not to forget those who are lonely, searching or hurting outside the church walls.
Helen Baylor is the type of artist worthy of promotion. Good songs, lyrically and musically, mixed with her rich, consistently heartfelt vocals make My Everything a standout release. If you like contemporary gospel, this disc is a must-have.
Praising God With A Dance
Say the Name
By Martha Munizzi, Martha Munizzi Music.
Laden with a big church, choir-backed sound, Martha Munizzi records 10 worshipful songs on her debut album, recorded live at FaithWorld in Orlando, Fla., where she once served as worship leader. Say the Name begins with a number of upbeat, joyous cuts including "Rejoice," "Shout" and "It's Time to Dance" that make listeners want to get up and move to the beat.
The slower, more intimate songs including "Because of Who You Are" and "Holy Spirit Fill This Room" are found toward the end of the recording. Tucked in the middle of the song list, "Blessed Be the Lord" is performed partly in Spanish and takes on a Latino flavor in the sound and beat.
Munizzi has a strong, reflective voice that carries the songs well. The background choir adds depth to the musical performance. This independent album may be a little hard to find, but if you're a fan of church-supported recordings, this is worth giving a listen.
By Parachute Band, Worship Extreme.
Landing stateside once again, the Parachute Band is back with another great release. Favorites in their home country of New Zealand, the group has garnered a number of hits with their two previous albums Love and Adore.
The songs on their latest release are both fresh and passionate. Much of the album was either written or co-written by band members Wayne and Libby Huirua and Chris de Jong. In addition, popular songs were collected from churches all over the kiwi isle. From the fun pop-rock title cut to the groove-funk "Sovereign," this band can't be pigeonholed into a particular genre or style.
The album has something for everyone. Standouts include the soft and tender "Complete," which is likely to earn radio airplay, and the delicate "You're My Lord." There are two things that hold this release together: the fact that it's all worship and that it's all really good. And that makes it worth buying.
Roadmaps on the Journey of Faith
Called to Radical Devotion By David Morris, Charisma House,
211 pages, paperback, $16.99.
Drawing Closer to God's Heart
By Eddie and Alice Smith, Charisma House,
206 pages, paperback, $16.99.
Those looking for an upbeat devotional for personal or group study may find an answer in the latest two books in Charisma House's Journey of Faith series. In Called to Radical Devotion, world-renowned worship leader David Morris sheds fresh light on worship. He says it's not just an external act or a conscience-cleansing. It's a lifestyle that "calms the heart, heals the soul and reconnects you to the Creator."
Morris also explains Scripture's deeper requirements for taking communion and gives his insight on what part music needs to play for God-pleasing worship. Sprinkled with anecdotes, worship songs and illuminated Scripture, this devotional guide is a quick, enjoyable read that will inspire believers to seek God in worship.
Prayer is likewise explained in a practical, friendly way in Eddie and Alice Smith's Drawing Closer to God's Heart. Heads of the U.S. Prayer Center, the Smiths explore different ways to pray God's will and what kinds of prayer God answers.
The stories of prayer warriors from the past, as well as their personal quests, are fortifying. They contend that prayer is essential: "Like the astronaut's tether as he space-walks outside the space capsule, prayer is our tether as we earth-walk outside our true home in heaven. It is as critical to our existence as breathing."
No matter how long a person has walked with the Lord, both devotionals offer fresh insights that can help believers deepen their walks with God.
A God-Blessed Life
The Life God Blesses
By Jim Cymbala, Zondervan,
154 pages, hardcover, $9.99.
He's Been Faithful
By Carol Cymbala, Zondervan,
192 pages, hardcover, $19.99.
After writing several best-selling books, Jim Cymbala, pastor of the 6,000-member Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City, is back with a trendy, small hardback title that explores the types of people God blesses.
The 154-page book is packed with an amazing amount of depth and insight as Cymbala challenges readers to develop faith, live holy lives, pray and seek God. The book doesn't offer any easy answers or quick, three-step programs to becoming a person whom God blesses. Rather, it challenges believers to become all they can be as faithful followers of Christ.
Jim's wife, Carol, has also penned a new title, He's Been Faithful. Carol doesn't read music, yet directs the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. She serves an inner-city church with a congregation filled with people of color, yet she is white. And she describes herself as shy. You might say the book is her side of the Brooklyn Tabernacle story, and she tells it with humility and hope.
If you enjoyed Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, then you'll love He's Been Faithful. Both Cymbalas share candidly the insights they've learned in their years of ministry.
By S.J. Hill with Margaret Feinberg,
Relevant Books, 147 pages, paperback, $12.95.
S.J. Hill's own intimacy with the Father infuses every page of this moving little book as he ignites readers with a contagious love for God. Reading the book is like having a cup of hot cocoa on a snowy day. You feel the warmth relax your whole body.
Readers are reminded that God doesn't base His love on performance. Throughout time, Hill writes, God's love for humanity has come from His own pure passion. He desires, more than anything else, that we also desire Him.
Hill, who is on staff at Mike Bickle's Forerunner School of Prayer, points to the Song of Solomon as a picture of the divine romance between God and His people. God has revealed to believers that He is the "Divine Romancer." In the love relationship, the desire to be with the lover is the most important consideration of all.
Hill also points to Saul's conversion story as a picture of how our intimacy with God must take precedence over our work for God. Saul asks, "Who are you, Lord?" before asking, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Because Saul disappeared for 14 years into Arabia shortly after his conversion, Hill suggests that he was "deepening his relationship with God" during that time.
The lack of performance guidelines may frustrate some. But in remaining consistent with the book's theme, Hill offers no program for attaining intimacy with God. He recommends prayer and Bible study, but he doesn't insist on his or anyone else's plan. Instead, he encourages Christians simply to feel God's love and return it to Him.
Hill would advise readers to "let go, and let God." That's sure to beat the chill this winter.
Clint Brown is all about simplicity. Songwriter of popular worship songs such as "Zion Is Calling Me" and "I Wanna Be More Like You," Brown creates jazzy, energetic melodies with past experience in mind. Former music minister at World Harvest Church, pastored by Rod Parsley, Brown found much of the music available to worship leaders to be complicated and wordy. "I wanted to keep it simple so any church member can learn it. After one or two passes, they can enter in." Today Brown's raspy, compelling tenor is heard each Sunday at his church, FaithWorld, a 5,000-member, multiethnic church he planted in Orlando, Fla., in 1993. Inspired by Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers and the black gospel sound of Walter Hawkins and Andraé Crouch, Brown has written more than 300 songs. "Music is universal," he says. "I can sing at a football game or with a youth group, and music relates to people on every level." Since the terrorist attacks, music has served as a healing balm for many. Brown hopes his songs also will comfort the fearful and grieving. On his latest album, It's Time to Dance, Brown records "Say the Name," a song he co-wrote with former FaithWorld worship leader Martha Munizzi that encourages listeners to call on Jesus when words fail them. "There are questions we can't answer; there are things that we don't know. But we know this: that the name of the Lord is a strong tower. And when...you don't know what to pray, what to say or where to turn, all you do is just say the name."
Clint Brown is all about simplicity. Songwriter of popular worship songs such as "Zion Is Calling Me" and "I Wanna Be More Like You," Brown creates jazzy, energetic melodies with past experience in mind. Former music minister at World Harvest Church, pastored by Rod Parsley, Brown found much of the music available to worship leaders to be complicated and wordy.
"I wanted to keep it simple so any church member can learn it. After one or two passes, they can enter in."
Today Brown's raspy, compelling tenor is heard each Sunday at his church, FaithWorld, a 5,000-member, multiethnic church he planted in Orlando, Fla., in 1993. Inspired by Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers and the black gospel sound of Walter Hawkins and Andraé Crouch, Brown has written more than 300 songs.
"Music is universal," he says. "I can sing at a football game or with a youth group, and music relates to people on every level."
Since the terrorist attacks, music has served as a healing balm for many. Brown hopes his songs also will comfort the fearful and grieving. On his latest album, It's Time to Dance, Brown records "Say the Name," a song he co-wrote with former FaithWorld worship leader Martha Munizzi that encourages listeners to call on Jesus when words fail them.
"There are questions we can't answer; there are things that we don't know. But we know this: that the name of the Lord is a strong tower. And when...you don't know what to pray, what to say or where to turn, all you do is just say the name."
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