On July 31, 2015 Influence Music released SOAR: SPIRIT-EMPOWERED WORSHIP. It is a collection of eleven songs from ten different churches in the United States including Red Rocks Church (Colorado), South Eastern University (Florida), Emmanuel Christian Center (Minnesota), and The Oaks Fellowship (Texas). A press release says SOAR is “organic modern worship from innovative church ministries” and that it “captures the intimacy, excitement and transformational nature of worship”. Produced by John Hartley, the project’s theme verses are 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 which speak of us being the fragrance of Christ.
‘Fill This Place’ was written by Jake Espy and Jerrica Matrone. It is a rousing modern worship number that makes use of sleigh bells. It has a highly optimistic message: “There is a light that burns in the darkness/There is a hope that washes the fear away/There is a peace that settles around us/It is Your love that sets our hearts ablaze/Father we’re on our knees/With every heartbeat we bring you this offering”. ‘Love From the Start’ testifies to Christ’s goodness: “The Son of Man He comes to seek and save the lost/The greatest love I know laid out upon a cross/All for love He bled and died to set us free/And in that moment Lord, I heard You thought of me/When my world falls You will stand/In the strongest storm/You walk upon the waves I’m sinking in/You the true treasure of my heart/Your love has sought me from the start”. ‘There is a King’ is a great modern worship ballad featuring Zach Loomis. It reflects on the atonement: “I see a King/A love that I can’t comprehend/Nails through His feet and in His hands/On Calvary crucified/Then on that day/He conquered hell/Defeated the grave/You’re the Name above every name/Forever You’re glorified/He called my name, wiped away my shame/In You my debt is paid/Now I’m alive in You”.
Next up is ‘Revive’ from author and pastor Mark Batterson’s National Community Church in Washington, D.C. This song is one of spiritual submission and features skillful piano playing: “We are Your people called by Your Name/Humbly bowing here at Your throne/In Your presence we find freedom/Consecrate us to You alone/Revive us Holy Spirit, revive us once again.../We repent of our selfish ways/Turn our pride into praise/All we are will bow at the name of Jesus”. ‘Be Exalted’ was written by and features Vinne Zarletti. It is a song of adoration: “Be exalted above the heavens/Be exalted O God above the heavens/Let Your glory be over all the earth/Save us and help us to do Your work.../I will praise You Lord among the nations/I will sing of You to the generations/For great is Your love, it’s higher than the skies/Your faithfulness reaches by and by”.
‘I Still Believe’ is a pop/rock tune that boldly declares who God is: “We believe You are the Son of God/We believe You are the One/You’re the hope that rescued me/You’re the love that carries me/Oh, I believe/You fill the heavens with Your voice/And I have made my choice/I still believe in You/Jesus, Savior, my Redeemer/The center of all life/You are real, oh You are here”. ‘Always More’ is a ballad that includes a chorus that directly addresses God: “I will gaze and behold Your beauty/I will dwell in Your house oh God/I won’t leave till You meet here with me/You’re the One worth waiting for/You are the reason for my being/You are the cup that overflows/You are the river never-ending/With You Lord there’s always more/You are always more”.
‘This is Revival (Open our Eyes)’ expresses a genuine desire to be used by God: “Send revival, send revival/Spirit fall on us now/We stand with our arms extended/Our hearts they belong to you/Release in us Your mission/Our lives will declare Your truth”. Bradley Robert Bichsel, Joshua David Silverberg, and Thomas Kip Williams wrote ‘When We Gather’. It features Brad and Rebekah and is a soothing, divine love song: “We lift our voice, we lift our hearts as one/We are Yours, Your will be done/The promise in Your Word/We pray reveal Your presence here with us/When we gather in Your presence there is power/When we worship You together/You are here/When we gather”.
The last two songs on the album are two of my favorites. ‘Faithful God’ features a great female lead vocal by Jerah Lynne Divine. It offers these heartfelt words of testimony: “My Anchor through the age/Foundation for all times/My shelter, my defense/You’re my song in the night/Though storms may rise/I lift my eyes/Let hope arise/I lift my eyes/To a faithful God, to a faithful God/We sing ‘Hallelujah!’/We sing ‘Hallelujah!’” ‘Holy Fire’ was written by and features Clayton Brooks. It is a quiet song of longing for spiritual intimacy: “O God come, Your consuming fire come (2X)/And burn away impurity, burn away anxiety/Holy fire, holy fire/Purify us Lord/Make us righteous/Living water flow/Make our hearts Your home”.
SOAR is a dynamic modern worship album that runs almost an hour in length. Fans of Bethel Music, Hillsong, and Passion will appreciate it. It will minister to youth and young adults and draw them closer to their Creator. The songs and messages here are presented with zeal and humility. This album has a fresh, contemporary sound and the packaging is simple, yet lovely. I’m rating SOAR 90%. For more info visit: www.influencemusic.com.