I’ve always loved the Albums that Passion releases from their conferences. I love them because I know that it’s about far more than just music. As their website states: Passion exists to glorify God, uniting students in worship in prayer for spiritual awakening in this generation.
I loved Passion even more when I was fortunate enough to attend the ’07 conference in Atlanta. Everything about the conference was pushing us all to Jesus. There were big name speakers, award winning musicians… but Christ and his purpose for the world remained front and center.
Out of each of these conferences, Passion releases a live worship album. The most recent release, Awakening, was recorded at Passion 2010 in Atlanta, GA. The album consists of 12 songs that encourage this generation to wake up and realize the greatness of God in his Son Jesus and to declare that greatness to the world.
The most clear biblical reference on the album is Charlie Hall’s King of Heaven (Isaiah 61). Isaiah 61 focuses on bringing the good news to the poor. Healing in Your Hands by Kristy Nockles draws from the end of Romans 8 where Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Chosen Generation by Chris Tomlin has an obvious allusion to 1 Peter 2.
Lyrically, my favorite song on the album is You Alone Can Rescue by Matt Redman. Upon hearing it I immediately added it to our list of songs at NewBranch. It reads like a Hymn and is a celebration of the grace of God in Christ poured out upon wicked sinners. Many worship songs today tell us that God is gracious but they don’t tell us why we need that grace. Redman contrasts our shame with Christ’s grace in a way that echoes Ephesians 2:1-10:
Who O Lord could save themselves?
Their own soul could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still
You O Lord have made a way
The great divide you healed
For when our hearts were far away
Your love went further still
This album is full of talent: Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels, Charlie Hall, Kristian Stanfill, Steve Fee, David Crowder, and Hillsong United. Having such a wide variety of song writers makes for a diverse sound from song to song. There is a strong balance between up-tempo tracks like Say, Say by Kristian Stanfill and more mellow songs like How He Loves Us by David Crowder Band.
Musically, my favorite song on the album is With Everything by Hillsong United. The song is one big rhythmic crescendo. It begins soft and ends with an all-out declaration of God’s glory (Listen to the song HERE).
My only critique comes from personal preference. Stylistically, a couple of tracks are too poppy for my taste (Say Say and Rise and Sing). That’s just me.
This has always been a strong point of Passion albums. The songs on Awakening are very easy to incorporate in congregational singing. We have already incorporated 2 of the songs into our Sunday morning services at NewBranch (You Alone Can Rescue and How He Loves Us). I can easily see us singing others like Our God and With Everything.