Music for a ‘Jesus’ Millennium
By Various artists, EMI Gospel.
Drawing from the rich production and songwriting talents of former
Commissioned member Montrel Darrett, EMI Gospel offers an encouraging word for a “prophetic millennium,” featuring some of the best in contemporary gospel music. J2K (Jesus 2000) is a unique collection of original songs by artists such as Kim Burrell, Anointed, Dawkins and Dawkins and Men of Standard.
The album’s soul-stirring tracks focus primarily on the theme of love. “Brother’s Love” is a moving ballad that ministers a message of unity and fellowship. It features the amazing vocals of M.I.L.C., comprised of Darrett, Men of Standard members Isaac Caree and Lowell Pye, and Chris Simpson.
J2K also shines on its mid-tempo gems such as the R&B-flavored groove “Praise Awaits,” featuring the smooth vocals of Nancey Jackson, and Commissioned’s “Before It All Falls Down.”
J2K is one of three gospel compilation projects released this year, though it is the only one featuring all original songs. In February, WoW Gospel 2000 debuted at the top of Billboard’s gospel chart and was certified gold (selling more than 500,000 units) only five weeks after its release–a first in gospel music.
Some of the genre’s top-selling artists such as Kirk Franklin and Trin-i-tee 5:7 were noticeably absent from the WoW compilation, likely because their labels, GospoCentric and B-Rite Music, released a compilation CD of their own, M2K, in January. M2K features Franklin’s hits “Revolution” and “Stomp,” as well as cuts from Walter Hawkins, the McClurkin Project and Gospel Gangstaz.
Insiders believe the successive releases of J2K, M2K and WoW Gospel 2000 could signal an emerging trend in the gospel recording industry.
Praise in Full Flood
By Sonic Flood, Gotee Records.
Sonic Flood’s self-titled CD offers contemporary listeners everything they could want in a worship album, including great lyrics and a smooth rock beat. This Nashville, Tenn.-based worship band has one passion: to lead young people into God’s presence. They have a unique sound, but they may remind some listeners of the British worship band Delirious.
Sonic Flood includes several original worship tunes, but it also features some classics that are popular today among youth groups–especially “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman and “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” by Martin Smith, lead singer of Delirious. “My Refuge” and “I Need You” are also standout cuts.
Sonic Flood is gaining in popularity as they lead worship at major youth events, including this summer’s huge youth conference at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Fla. Their sound is fresh, their message is passionate, and their motivation is not just to sell hit records. You can tell these guys love Jesus. –Georgia Meredith
Praise on Purpose
Purpose by Design
Fred Hammond and Radical for Christ, Verity.
Fred Hammond’s trend-setting sound has set a precedent in contemporary
praise and worship in the last decade. With his acclaimed vocal ensemble, Radical for Christ (RFC), Hammond continues to set new musical standards with his latest release, Purpose by Design.
Purpose by Design shares some similarities with its predecessor, the platinum-selling smash Pages of Life, yet it has a uniqueness of its own.
The album kicks off with an explosive start on “I Want My Destiny,” featuring smooth vocals
over an infectious acoustic guitar groove. Hammond also puts his special touch on such classics as “Jesus Be a Fence Around Me” and “I Know It Was the Blood.”
Purpose by Design also features Hammond’s trademark ability to produce soulful, reverent worship songs. Live tracks such as “When You Praise” and “You Are the Living Word” are destined to become popular selections in churches’ praise and worship services.
As one the most anticipated musical offerings of the new millennium, Fred Hammond and RFC have done it again with Purpose by Design.
It’s All About Jesus
By Vineyard Music Group.
Vineyard Music, a trusted stalwart of the praise and worship sector, has released another project for the Touching the Father’s Heart series. It’s All About Jesus is a live recording that features sets from praise and worship veterans Scott Underwood and Danny Daniels.
Underwood and Daniels both show a sensitivity to wait for God’s presence rather than rushing through worship offerings. As a result, the pace is lively, yet comfortable. More refreshing aspects are the lack of synthesizers and overproduction, as well as limited background vocals. Though the occasional sound of a Hammond B-3 is present, the music is predominantly guitar-driven.
It’s hard not to love “My Soul Finds Rest,” which is reminiscent of an old hymn. Another interesting
element of this project is the slight Southwestern influence, which adds a distinct flavor to the overall package.
It’s All About Jesus embodies a fresher and freer format that is in step with the way praise and worship selections seem to be heading. Well-produced and well-executed, this disc is worthy of a listen. –Doug Joseph
Exercising Authority Over Demons
How to Cast Out Demons:
A Guide to the Basics
By Doris Wagner, Renew, 224 pages, $11.99, paperback.
Despite Jesus’ command to His disciples to heal the sick, cast out demons and preach the gospel–and the disciples’ subsequent success–many believers today feel ill-equipped to exorcise demons. To counter this, author Doris Wagner has written a primer to help believers walk confidently in this area of ministry.
She begins by illustrating the need. On one hand our disadvantaged society is drawing further and further away from biblical standards of righteousness and drawing deeper and deeper into immorality and occultism. On the other hand the disadvantaged church by and large is acting as if the biblical reports concerning demons were myths.
How to Cast Out Demons will act as a helpful introduction to those unfamiliar with this ministry, but it will probably offer added wisdom to those already involved in deliverance. This book is especially for pastors, lay leaders and intercessors because they are most likely to confront demonic spirits.
Wagner outlines common demonic entry points, how to recognize these spirits, how to address them and, of course, how to cast them out. She also emphasizes the importance of prayer for inner healing after the deliverance has occurred.
Wagner also recommends several resources, including books and questionnaires, and she even addresses legal questions. Included in the instruction are encouraging testimonies of those who have been
delivered. All of them help illustrate the lesson Jesus’ first disciples learned–that believers do, in fact, have power over the enemy.
–Deborah L. Delk
Insights on Heaven
What the Bible Reveals About Heaven
By Daniel A. Brown, Regal Books,
204 pages, $9.99, paperback.
What the Bible Reveals About Heaven by Daniel A. Brown answers commonly asked questions about heaven. Brown, founding pastor of The Coastlands in Aptos, Calif., systematically yet simply discusses the biblical truths about heaven.
This book is replete with Scripture, pinpointing specific references to the promise of eternal life with our
heavenly Father. Some of the questions that are discussed and clearly answered are: Will I still be me after death? Will I have a body? and Will I recognize my loved ones?
Brown leads the reader one step at a time, purposely not jumping ahead in order to build a biblical foundation for his answers. He starts with the creation of the world and walks fluidly through Scripture to the book of Revelation.
The author says to think of this book as a primer on heaven. He answers both the simple and complex questions about God, life after death, heaven and hell. He says, “Heaven is our hoped-for reward–the place of great peace and promise, where death and pain no longer have any dominion.” –Kevin Sullivan
Praying God’s Will
By Barbara Wentroble, Renew, 181 pages, $9.99, paperback.
Prophetic Intercession by Barbara Wentroble serves as both an introduction
for those new to intercession and an encouragement to those already immersed in it. Acknowledging the fact that believers have been praying effective prayers for thousands of years, Wentroble explains the need for the kind of pointed prayers that break through Satan’s barriers to accomplish their objective.
To have that kind of prayer intercessors must be sensitive to God’s timing in bringing things to pass. Wentroble says praying the right prayer for the right moment means understanding God’s kairos time. Like a strategic military attack, prophetic intercession must be carried out in God’s specific timing to accomplish the desired goal.
Wentroble presents several principles to help the intercessor stay “spiritually in tune.” She also discusses several types of prophetic actions connected to intercession–shouting, dancing, making proclamations–and their spiritual power.
One of the delightful aspects of this book is that it is full of personal anecdotes, which readers will be able to relate to their own pursuit of God. Notable prayer leaders such as Dick Eastman, Cindy Jacobs, Jane Hansen and C. Peter Wagner have endorsed the book. This author knows her subject matter, and her book is destined to become a handbook for God’s army of intercessors.
–Deborah L. Delk