- Here And Now (Intro)
- Here and Now
- Almighty God
- When the Waters Rise
- Our First Love
- One Thing Remains
- Sacred Invitation
- Glory to the King
- Speak To Me
- Revelation Song
- Beautiful Things
- Only You
- Our Great God
- You Alone
North Point Ministries, led by pastor Andy Stanley, is one of the many ministries aimed at bringing young people into God’s presence and together with its music arm, North Point Ministries, have been influencing the youth and young people with their annual conferences in Atlanta, Georgia. With the music reminding me of anthems similar to those from the Passion movement as well as Jesus Culture; Eddie Kirkland, Todd Fields, Casey Darnell and Seth Condrey have been able to lead worshippers around the globe in extravagant worship, with their latest album North Point: Here and Now no different to their previous recordings, offering the same worshipful sound, featuring covers like ‘Revelation Song’, ‘One Thing Remains’ and ‘Beautiful Things’, as well as Eddie Kirkland’s hit ‘Here and Now’ and Casey Darnell’s radio single ‘When the Waters Rise’. With a heart for student ministry and a hope for young people to bask in the presence of God and realise His unending love, that ‘…when the waters rise around me I am safe, in the valley Lord, You are near always…’ (‘When the Waters Rise’); North Point Music have delivered 14 songs of intense passion and dynamic lyrical richness, creating an album that is certainly one of my favourite live worship albums of 2012!
‘Here and Now’ is one of Eddie Kirkland’s recent hit songs from his latest studio album Kings and Queens and is one of the highlights again on this live album as it was on Eddie’s studio record. Starting off with Eddie screaming out ‘…let Your mercy rise, let Your hope resound, let it come in the here and now…’, we are led into one of the most poignant and hard-hitting anthems on the album, full of drum kicks, electronic looping and keyboarding that propels this track to be a great starter as listeners are drawn into this encouraging melody. With the crowd participation a maximum (the hand claps from the live crowd becoming a nice addition to the track), Eddie leaps into longings and hopes, when he declares that ‘…we want to be a church where freedom reigns, we want to be a people full of grace, we want to be a shelter where the broken find their place…’ The bridge of asking God to ‘…let justice roll like a river wild, let mercy grow like a burning fire…’ with the accompaniment of acoustics and hand claps creates an urgent intensity as Eddie reminds us of how pressing the issue of sharing Christ’s love really is. Segueing into new track ‘Almighty God’, Todd Fields focuses everything on God as He gladly reminds us of how ‘…Your voice can make the darkness turn to light…’, thereby leading us to proclaim that ‘…the author of the oceans gave me grace, my soul…will ever sing Your praise…’ Todd’s duet with fellow worship leader Candi Pearson Shelton (who sang ‘Sing to the King’ on Passion: Sacred Revolution- yet Christy Nockels receives all the praise and credit!) is a great one, with Candi’s strong vocals and passion able to translate into hopeful words and honest worship moments, as together we declare that ‘…Your touch can set the weary captive free, Your love has changed the course of history…’ Candi also lends her voice to well-known worship anthem ‘Revelation Song’ (popularised by artists like Phillips, Craig and Dean, Kari Jobe and the Newsboys). Starting off with just the piano, we are met with the familiar lyric of ‘…worthy is the lamb who was slain, Holy, Holy is He…’ Though we may have heard this song almost a thousand times during our many times being influenced by this 21st century classic, this version is just as poignant and majestic as we are met with a mesmerising piano riff that lays nicely underneath the guitars and powerful declaration of Candi- at times reminding me of the same enthusiasm as worship leader Kari Jobe. You can never hear this song enough, and Candi does it justice with a sublime rendition of one of my favourite worship songs ever.
Throughout the rest of the album, songs are given to the listeners that are able to strike to the heart of worship with a varying of musical genres, from rising guitar songs to reflective ballads. Casey Darnell offers up both ‘Our Great God’ and ‘When the Waters Rise’, both radio singles from his previous studio albums. Never straying far from the originals for both, the live versions of these songs are able to capture something that studio tracks cannot- the crowd and their response to the songs, and how a simple lyric line like ‘…when the waters rise around me I am safe…’ (‘When the Waters Rise’) can create such a roar that is able to let listeners know of the God that we serve and His capabilities as He intercedes for us in our lives. ‘Our Great God’ starts off with a rousing bridge as Casey declares our hope in Christ, as he sets on a musical journey of declaration upon declaration as we see how ‘…through it all, Your love never changes, through it all there is nothing to fear…’ As I listen to the whole congregation lifting up the name of God, I am amazed at how just one name can evoke such passion, hope and proclamation from all members of the congregation. Bethel favourite ‘One Thing Remains’ is also on this album as we are met with a powerful anthem sung by worship leader Ryan Stuart. With such intense passion, placing this version along with Kristian Stanfill’s on White Flag as my favourite versions of the song, we are encouraged that God’s love never fails us, and that even when everything else has fallen, He remains the constant in our ever-changing lives.
Gungor’s ‘Beautiful Things’ is also given the duet treatment with Eddie Kirkland and fellow worship leader Lizi Bailey replicating the harmonies created in the original version. With a stronger drum beat and a rousing electronic keyboard as the song leaps into an anthemic instrumental bridge, I am able to be captivated at the beauty of the song. As I am given a great impression of the song (perhaps I’ll have to listen to Gungor more), this flawless interpretation of this popular track is a reminder of how Christ makes beautiful things out of things that are dirty, ugly and stained. Eddie then gives us a riveting melody ‘Glory to the King’, a song of exaltation and how we can ‘…hear the song of freedom rising from hearts redeemed, let the church cry holy, come now and let us sing ‘glory to the King’…’; and Lizi meets us with a heartfelt prayer of longing, wanting God to be our first and last love in ‘Our First Love’. The kick drums and rhyming stanzas create an anthem-type feel with a melody along the lines of Tim Hughes’ ‘God is Coming’, as we cry out to God and how ‘…we will stand and rejoice in our first love…’ Well done Eddie and Lizi for such a compelling duet, as well as well sung individual anthems of praise and adoration!
‘Sacred Invitation’, ‘You Alone’ and ‘Only You’ are all sung by worship leader Seth Condrey and are all given a great treatment as we are reminded of how Christ is the only remedy for our needs, and how ‘…only You can make me whole again…’ (‘Only You’). With a prominent synth influence in ‘Only You’ compared to more guitar driven sounds in ‘Sacred Invitation’ and a piano-infused musical leaning in ‘You Alone’; Seth is able to remind listeners of the same message in all three tracks- that Christ is with us always and that because of His sacrifice, we can declare ‘…hosanna in the highest, for our God has come to save us…’ (‘Sacred Invitation’). With such a passion that places Seth as my favourite North Point Music worship leader, these three songs are destined to become classics by this worship movement. At times reminding me of David Leonard from All Sons and Daughters, Seth strips everything away in the last song on the album ‘You Alone’, giving us a vulnerability between us and God, and how ‘…I will not fear, God You are with me…I will trust in You alone…’ With such poignant and heartfelt lyrics from these three tracks; Seth has done a great job in performing these inspirational songs of hope and restoration.
Overall: North Point Music and their powerful anthems are certainly here to stay for years to come, with many songs like ‘Here and Now’, ‘Glory to the King’, ‘When the Waters Rise’ and ‘Our First Love’ climbing the list of my favourite worship songs of the year. Also featuring some great cover melodies that will bring in listeners who may not have heard of the band or movement before, their focus on university students (like Passion) gives them a great platform to invest in the younger generations of leaders and kingdom influencers. With such powerful ballads and hope-filled anthem risers from Seth, Eddie, Lizi, Candi and Casey; this is a must purchase for anyone who loves honest, raw, enthusiastic and intense worship music. Well done North Point for such these amazing worshipful moments.
RIYL: Passion, Jesus Culture, Bethel Music, HillsongNorth Point - Here + Now,