By Rhonda Clark –
Kathi Macias is a woman of many talents and interests. She’s not only an award winning multi-published author, but she’s a popular speaker. April 5, 2010, the first two books in her new series, Extreme Devotion, will be released.
By Laura Greenwood
All of the members of Casting Crowns have backgrounds in student ministry. Lead singer, Mark Hall, states “Our songs have always come from our ministry in the church,” and their new album Until the Whole World Hears is no different. On the band’s Web site, Hall talks about how many of the songs came about and how we can see God in all of them.
By Laura Greenwood
Steven Curtis Chapman is no stranger to the Christian music industry. His career started over twenty years ago, and since then he has been given Grammies and GMAs. He has provided many inspirational and well-known songs such as, “Dive” and “Magnificent Obsession.” Chapman is also well known as a family man, with a lovely wife and many children. However, in May of 2008 Chapman’s world was rocked to its core. His youngest daughter, Maria, was killed in a tragic accident. At only five years old, Maria was laid to rest in a ceremony filled with love, hope, and inspiration.
Following her death, Chapman released “Beauty Will Rise,” in 2009. This album is filled with songs of hope, sorrow, and remembrance. He states in the liner notes that each songs on the album had a personal influence on him and his family during their grieving process. From the title track Chapman sings, “Out of these ashes, beauty will rise.” One receives such hope out of these lyrics. “Jesus Will Meet You There” is another track, which only furthers our hope that Jesus will be there in difficult times.
By Claire Walden
Numerous artists and hits have emerged out of England, including worship leader Tim Hughes. He is best known for his hit “Here I Am To Worship,” which is arguably one of the most popular, modern worship songs of our time. The hit resulted in two Dove awards, all before the age of 30.
His most recent album, “Holding Nothing Back” is comprised of timeless worship songs. One of the stand out tracks off the album is “God of Justice.” The lyrics outline a call to action; he sings that we must continue “stepping forward, keep us from just singing, move us into action, we must go.” The song continues to summarize what all justice entails, which is one of the major themes in the Bible. Hughes sings about God’s heart for the poor and broken and how it is up to the believers to go out and “live to feed the hungry, stand beside the broken.” Throughout the album, Hughes’ lyrics are inventive and not your average church songs.
By Claire Walden
We sing for many reasons, but most of the time it is because words alone don’t fully express our meaning behind them. Brandon Heath uses this outlet with his singer/songwriter style. His sophomore album, “What If We,” is filled with more original and inspirational worship songs. The decision to make the album title an open-ended question was purposeful in setting the tone for Heath’s thought-provoking lyrics. Breaking it apart, the collective pronoun “we” alludes to the importance of community that Heath promotes through his works. His use of the phrase “if we” means we are open to so many possibilities to make changes in this world together.
The first track on the album reinforces this theme with “Give Me Your Eyes.” The entire song is a prayer for God to break our heart for what breaks his. The lyrics go through various, unsettling moments in time that we might not always recognize without God’s help. However, Heath points out that being aware of the circumstances is not enough; we need to do something to make a change. “Wait and See” has another message of hope that God is continuously doing a work in us. He describes the uncertainty of life and the fears and doubt that we may have, but through it all God doesn’t forget about us and will use us for his bigger plan.