Archives For Review

 

elevation

So I just want to start off with a confession. I have not been a huge fan of any of the albums that have come out of Elevation. Part of that is because I am in a different place in my own journey in worship. I have done the “huge band” and “is this a coldplay concert” thing before and after a while for me personally it gets old. I have read all of Pastor Furtick’s books. Years ago I had conversations with worship pastor Wade Joye and Prayed fervently for his children while in the hospital. Over the years I have been so excited to see God move in this church and the people in it. GOD grew this church to close to 12,000 people in 7 years and He is daily doing an amazing work through them.

With all of that said I just could not get into the albums. A friend of mine asked me if I would review this new “nothing is wasted” double disk and I accepted. Why not… Lets see how this goes.

I turned it on and not only was I pleasantly surprised but I feel like THIS is the album that I was waiting for. My guess is based on content and lyrics that as God spoke to pastor Furtick on “Greater”. That God is greater that this vision seeped into the hearts of the worship and mantra of the church and that is very evident in the lyrics.

I am a sucker for the Live disk because I feel like it is more RAW. The studio version just feels a little too buttoned up for me and “over-polished”. I don’t know what it is, but it always feels like the heart and passion behind the song is intact in a LIVE recording and sucked out in a studio track.

I have been through this CD 3-4 times since getting a pre-release a few weeks ago. The only track I am not a huge fan of is “Let Go”. Stylistically that song just doesn’t want to resonate with me. I am letting the rest of the album ruminate in my spirit. The Lyrics are filled with truth declaring the Character of God. I was the guy who did not like the song “give me faith”. I know feel free to send me hate mail. I don’t exactly know what the difference is here, but something about this “new” declaration from elevation rings out for me. I believe there is power in the word and our declaring of the GREATNESS of God and this album is chock full of that.

“Lay down my rights.
Lay down my life
I will abandon All of my pride
Focus my eyes Away from myself
You become greater I become less”

There is a “space” on the live album. It is something I will be teaching in a class im doing actually. It is the idea of waiting on the Lord. Not the kind of waiting where we wait for an answer, but instead of waiting where we rest in the presence of the King and let Him renew our strength. This “space” is here. There is an expression of victory here that has been born out of experience and encounter with Christ.

This is the first Elevation Album that has made it to my “must listen to” rotation on my iphone and I think you need to buy it as well!

“You have overcome the world
Took the keys from death and hell
Joining heaven we declare
You’re greater, greater”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this album free from Elevation Worship to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 

invisible

“I dont want just another touch. I’m just looking for the real Jesus and only You will do….
It’s all just meaningless and empty songs at best unless You respond”

I have been holding out on this review for a long time now. I think I have had this album for 3 months now, but I just kept looking for the right words to describe this…art.

Lets start with the production: It is produced by Jonny Macintosh and J.T. Daly (Paper Route). So basically for all those playing at home it means that it is impeccable.

“[The Invisible] is a deep record for me,” Daniel says. “I’ve been moved from this John the Baptist cry, from waking hearts of this generation to an unknown place. When I became a dad, God poured out this brand new anointing over my life, gave me this father’s heart, and for me that’s massive, epic…. The church needs more fathers, more pastors… There’s so much hurt happening all around us and not enough nurturing fathers among us to reach out.”

With each new song that emerged, he says, “I was completely wrecked with this idea that it’s not enough to wake dead people up. We’re here to help steer their lives, to show them the real Jesus, to represent the journey we’re all on. Our personal worship should come out of that.”

I know some people who LOVED his last CD and others who didn’t care for it at all. If you have been paying attention to me on social media you should be aware by now that I Love what Bashta is doing. The passion that oozed out of his first album amazed me and I walked away after my first listen thinking:
“wow…this guy actually believes what he is singing.”

I have listened to this new album over and over and I now consider this almost a double disc set. It seems to me that this album is the side B of “The Sounds of Daniel Bashta”.  I love that I can listen to each and hear the journey God is taking him and his family.

I hear a prophetic move of God and not a selfish attempt at a radio single.

Bashta went from calling down the fire of heaven to unleash miracles, signs and wonders to an album that just calls on the miracle of Christ that we already have. There is a sense of longing coupled with a feeling of contentment that He has found the REAL thing.

“I speak to barrenness, I command life within, open up your walls, hope conquers all, let hope in.” – from “Let Hope In”

I am in awe of His lyrical and spiritual journey. I am challenged and encouraged by his prophetic invocation. I am glad to be able to have in my ears, heart and mouth a song of praise written by Bashta that God is using even in my own worship leading to set the captives free.

GO BUY THIS ALBUM… and if you don’t have his first I suggest you listen to them in order.
You can’t watch “return of the jedi” without first watching “empire strikes back”.

Sidenote because it needs to be said: dear newsboys… roaring lions that have power over death do NOT whisper!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this album free from Integrity Records to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 

worth_it_allThe Year was 2009. I was at a conference in Nashville called Re:create. One of the nights we were going to a Night of song and story and Meredith was one of the artists that was being featured. It was that night that I was introduced to small petite woman with a huge voice. I was blown away by her writing and the nuance in her voice.

I was really excited when Word Records asked me to give my “opinion” on her new CD because this would be Meredith’s first full worship album.

“I never felt like I could write corporate worship songs, but that‟s what I always wanted to do because I am a worship leader,” Andrews states. “So I just started asking the Lord for songs and I was like, „God I don‟t just want songs to fill a record. I want to hear from heaven. I want to write your heart‟ and I was just overwhelmed with the way the Lord answered and the songs that are on this record. This album, I feel, is the most authentic to who I am. I can‟t believe the songs that we have and the way that God met us at every turn and the moments that we captured on this record.”

Honestly that quote says it all. There is nothing better than a selection of songs born out of worship and not out of an agenda of making a great hit.

It opens with the fist pumping song “Open the Heavens”. It is a great song that I will most likely trying to introduce in my own Worship Leading.

I am not personally nor historically a fan of doing song by song reviews because I know nobody reads them. So because of this let me lay it on the line for anybody that trusts my opinion… and you should.

This CD is heartfelt, inspired and holy spirit driven. It has many great songs on it and I am pretty sure many churches will be using them on Sunday mornings soon. The Production is top notch and not over-produced.

My favorite track after 4 listens is “Burn Away”. It is a great song about asking God to burn away the things that separate us from Him.

So if you haven’t figured it out yet I think this CD is a must listen if you like modern worship with a pop twist to it. I also have a test with every worship CD I listen to which is “Can these songs be done if the power goes out”. What I mean by that is can a worship leader grab the charts and just lead with a guitar or a piano and not have all the additional additives. In short I believe this album has many songs on it that would translate very well to a stripped down or small worship team.

If you have heard of meredith you will love it. If you haven’t then take a chance on it because I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this album free from Word Records to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 

I remember it like yesterday. It actually wasn’t yesterday, but about a year ago when the IPAD 2 came out and I brought it home. One of the main reasons I bought it, besides being an extension to my design business, is that I had found the app ONSONG. If you have been living under the “worship leader rock” let me break it down for you in simple terms. For years worship leaders have had many 3″ binders filled to the brim with loads of sheet music. On top of that we have been killing trees to print copies of charts transposed in 35 keys and variations for our vocalists, musicians, and techs. I am not a tree hugger but lets be honest, it has been a huge waste of money and time.

When I found ONSONG everything changed. I was now able to have hundreds of transposable songs in my ipad and access to sites where I can download new stuff. These sites include CCLI, Rockin with the cross, misc internet sites, and then the best part is it connects to dropbox. I sing with a few other people who also have ipads and the features that ONSONG provides allow people to be able to link to other users is amazing.

One amazing thing that I found after finding onsong and being a self-proclaimed fanatic of the product is I have literally convinced 4 people so far to buy an ipad just for this amazing app.

I lead worship at a multichurch, flow by the spirit prayer meeting. The addition of ONSONG into that mix has given me the ability to have hundreds of songs in any key on want at the tap of a finger. Gone are the days of my 700lb. binder and expensive plastic page protectors. I now show up to lead worship with an ipad and, as of last week, a new bluetooth pedal called Pageflip Cicada.

I have wanted a foot pedal to use with ONSONG so I could turn pages without using my finger. The are a few options out there and most are really pricey, but the Cicada is only $79.99. I lead worship most of the time as the only musician so it is very difficult to turn pages at same time as trying to keep the music flowing. After winning the Cicada on my buddy Chris Burke’s site my feet do all the work for me. I had my first test last week with the pedal and give it a 9.8/10 rating. The only reason it is not a perfect 10 is because it is so light weight and noiseless that I can’t even tell if I am pushing it. There is no resistance and it is flat so it is hard to tell it is even there. In the end though this pedal is AMAZING! It is a must have and is now being added to my pedal board set up.

Let me sum up here with a few points for worship leaders:

  1. You need an ipad (cus I said so)
  2. You MUST download the onsong app (it’s only $4.99)
  3. You don’t “need” a pageflip Cicada, but I think you should get it
  4. Combination of ipad, cicada, and onsong is like the trinity of AWESOMENESS! I am convinced all three are “God inspired”

ONSONG APP
Pageflip Cicada
ipad 

Got any questions? ASK ME!!

 

I am a huge fan of Pete Wilson as a pastor, blogger, parent and aquiantence. Pretty much anything he says I want to hear. I read his first book “plan B” three times and am currently discussing it in my churches small group. Because of this when I received an advance copy of “empty promises” I was very excited. Sadly it took me a little longer to get to than I’d hoped. This morning as I fed my kids breakfast I cracked it open and in about an hour I had digested the whole thing. (I am a fast reader)

This book was fantastic. I have been in ministry for a long time now and feel the mid-ministry crisis coming on strong recently. Frustration, creative longing, and a feeling of plowing through cement.  Pete’s first book really gave me clarity into my multiple plan b’s and c’s, but this one gave me new insight into fears and failures. It covered idols and worship of something other than God. I find myself needing to do a self analysis after reading this because I realized I was dealing with many of the issues in the first 3 chapters.

I love the title of the book but for my sake I think I will change it to: “the contentment pill”. In the peaks and valleys of a life filled with broken dreams and empty promises the real issue comes down to ; will you find your contentment in Christ. There is no pill you can take, no idol you can replace Him with, no that or relationship that will give you that.

We are all so good a preaching what is written in this book, but we all need to daily trust God and be still and “know” that He alone is all we need.

Go buy this book and if you haven’t read plan b buy it too!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”