|Review: Experience one of the most powerful and prophetic worship albums of the decade|
|Written by Larry Sparks|
|Friday, 25 April 2014 11:10 AM EDT|
I am convinced that Bethel Music’s You Make Me Brave is a landmark worship album. The songs powerfully and prophetically speak of the season that God is ushering the church into. He is stripping off timidity. Impossibility is quickly becoming an abnormality to followers of Jesus Christ. Since the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of you and me, we have every reason to agree with these lyrics and live like they are really true.
In short, God is bringing our Christian experience into agreement with the realities we are singing about. The songs emerging in this season are inviting worshippers across the Earth into a whole new way of living.
The title track, “You Make Me Brave,” written by Amanda Cook, is simply stunning (watch the YouTube here). It is both a timely and timeless anthem for a community of believers rising up to fulfill divine destiny, walk upon the waters of impossibility and scale the mountains of life. Cook delivers several other standout tracks on the album, including the beautiful and intimate, “Shepherd.” Surely, mountain-moving faith will be ignited in worshippers as they declare the beautiful bridge: How I love You, how I love You… You have not forsaken me!
The album’s second track, “It Is Well,” was written by Jesus Culture artist and Bethel worship leader, Kristene DiMarco. The song maintains a delicate tone throughout—that is, until the sweeping conclusion where she incorporates the timeless hymn into her brilliantly-written confession of stability in Christ. The waves and wind still know His Name.
“We Dance” is absolutely worth noting. It is subtle, intimate and lyrically impressive. Songwriter and worship leader, Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger, invites us into a snapshot of her relationship with Jesus, while giving worshippers a wonderful expression of romance to the Lover of their souls. The picture she paints of a divine “dance” works very effectively. I will lock eyes with the One Who ransomed me, the One Who gave me joy for mourning. Truly, this is a song to both play and quietly ponder. It is cuts like “We Dance” that stir up great excitement for Gretzinger’s upcoming solo album.
Jenn Johnson’s “Come To Me” (originally from Bethel’s Loft Sessions) is undeniably a highlight—although, I would contend that every single song on the recording is a highlight in its own unique way. This live version has some strong prophetic/spontaneous moments that will escort you into deep moments of intimacy with a good and faithful God. It was also a delight to hear Jenn deliver a fresh rendition of an older classic, “A Little Longer” (which was originally featured on Bethel Music’s second album, We Believe).
One thing that Bethel Music does not do is simply recycle old songs. They may occasionally repeat the same songs on different albums, but I guarantee you, the different versions of the songs will always be fresh. In fact, I have had the privilege of attending multiple services at Bethel Church and although the basic song order/structure remains the same from one service to the next, how the songs are delivered constantly changes based on the prophetic direction of the Holy Spirit. This same flow transfers to Bethel’s worship recordings.
I have no doubt that the masses are going to fully unwrap the treasure that is Bethel Music through the dynamic cut, “Forever.” Even though songs like Kari Jobe’s cover of “Love Came Down” and Passion’s rendition of “One Thing Remains” have progressively been pushing Bethel Music into more of a mainstream worship spotlight, “Forever” is nothing short of epic. Lyrically, it is one of the most refreshing “popular” praise and worship songs circulating in church today.
Like “Victor’s Crown,” (Darlene Zschech’s contemporary classic) “Forever” is a song that actually releases a breakthrough anointing into the atmosphere as worshippers offer up unified declarations of victory based on the finished work of Calvary. The verses and chorus are well-written and absolutely gripping, but there is something utterly profound about a group of believers joining together and singing the incredible bridge: "We sing Hallelujah/ We sing Hallelujah/ We sing Hallelujah/ The Lamb has overcome!"
Raw moments like this start to bring worshippers as close to the sound of Heaven as possible, this side of eternity. The strength of this song should come as no surprise, since the lyrics simply reflect the eternal Song of the Lamb that is being heralded throughout the ages.
Every track on You Make Me Brave is truly exceptional. Nothing feels arbitrary or randomly placed on the recording “just to take up space.” In addition, the album captures some dynamic moments of spontaneous, prophetic worship. They do not come off as forced or contrived. The strong presence of the Holy Spirit that was clearly moving during the actual recording can be experienced by listening to this album. As a result, there is such a beautiful authenticity that flows from the explosive introductory anthem, “You Make Me Brave,” to the quieter moments of Jenn Johnson’s spontaneous prayer/song, “We Step Into Freedom” that concludes the album.