THERE IS JOY IN THE LORD-THE WORSHIP SONGS OF CHERI KEAGGY (1999, Sparrow) was her fourth album. Cheri wrote all twelve songs. On the back of the CD package Cheri writes: “You hold in your hands a collection of contemporary praise and worship music. Many of these songs were my very first expressions of love to the Lord. What a privilege it is to re-record them here with a band in a worship team style as originally intended”. This album was produced by Bill Batstone, Tommy Coomes, and Eddie Keaggy. Grant Cunningham served as executive producer.
First up is ‘We Have Come to Worship Him’, one of three tracks from 1994’s CHILD OF THE FATHER. It is a cheerful pop song of spiritual intent and declaration: “We have come to worship Him, to lift His Name on high/He is worthy of our praise, so let us lift Him to the sky.../He is my Father/He is the Prince of Peace/He is the Risen Lord/And of His awesome deeds we sing/And our highest praise to Him we bring”. ‘Reign on Me’ is one of three new songs from 1999. It converses with Christ: “When my heart is empty You will fill my cup/When I’m feelin’ weary You will lift me up/In my time of weakness You will be my strength/Touch me with Your power/Lord, I welcome You to reign”.
The title track ‘There is Joy in the Lord’ is next. It’s an upbeat encouraging song all around: “There is joy in the Lord/There is love in His Spirit/There is hope in the knowledge of Him/There’s a fountain that flows/Like a river from heaven/Abounding in love to my soul”. ‘Glory Be’ is one of 2 songs from 1997’s WHAT MATTERS MOST. It offers these words of praise: “Sweet Lamb of God/O Holy God/A brilliant light surrounds You/For without blame/Our Jesus came/And we are changed forever/Gory be, glory be/Glory be Your own/Oh, glory be, glory be/Glory be to the Throne.../No other Name will I proclaim/Your Kingdom reigns forevermore”.
‘You, Oh Lord, Are My Refuge’ is the only song over five minutes. It is a calming ballad: “You, oh Lord, are my refuge/It is You I will trust/You’re my light in the darkness/You, oh Lord, are my refuge/By Your mercy, You cover me/Under the shadow of Your wings/Lord, in Your presence, I will remain/You are forevermore the same/You are my refuge, my only refuge”. ‘Humble Me’ is a quiet prayer: “Humble me/Help me be in a right place with You/Where I look in Your face/And I’m touched by Your grace/And I see You for who You are/Humble me, help me be in a right place with You/Where my heart can rejoice/At the sound of Your voice/And I know You for who You are”.
‘We All Need Jesus’ is one of three songs from Cheri’s 1996 album MY FAITH WILL STAY. It is a good song for Sunday mornings: “We come to this place of worship/We come with a heart of praise/We know that the Lord is with us/We’ve come to hear what He might say/He’s calling us, can’t you hear it?/The angels rejoice above/He’s sending His Holy Spirit/And opening His arms of love/He’s opening His arms of love”. ‘His Banner Over Me’ is a happy, celebratory pop song: “His banner over me is love (2X)/And He takes me to His table of love/And He takes me to His banqueting table of love/Surely His goodness and mercy shall follow me/All of my life I will dwell in the house of the Lord, of the Lord”.
‘Heavenly Father’ is a ballad of spiritual admission: “I love You/I need You/I know I would be lost without Your love/Father, You are my God/You are my God/Heavenly Father, be God again today”. ‘Pour out Your Love’ offers these words of prayer: “Pour out Your love to me/Let it fill my heart to the deepest part/Pour out Your love so that You might see/A reflection of Yourself in me”.
Tom Howard arranges The Nashville String Machine on ‘In Remembrance of Me’ which includes these lines of gratitude to Jesus: “I will remember the cross that You bore for me/I will remember the crown that You wore for me/I will remember the reason You suffered and died”. ‘I Want to Follow You’ is, again, a prayer: “Lord, I want to follow and serve You alone/Lord, help me to live right and bring glory to Your Throne/Lord, I am willing to be Your servant, faithfully/Oh Lord, I want to follow You”.
Musicians used on THERE IS JOY IN THE LORD-THE WORSHIP SONGS OF CHERI KEAGGY include: Blair Masters (keyboards), Tom Hemby (electric and acoustic guitars), Brent Milligan (bass), Steve Brewster (drums), and Eric Darken (percussion). Vocalists used include: Lenny LeBlanc, Michael O’Brien, Gary Sadler, Lisa Bevill, and Nicol Smith. This album comes across beautifully as intimate journal entries Cheri has written to her Father God. These are songs from the heart, soul, and spirit. The overarching theme is one of willing and complete surrender to Jesus Christ. Another theme is that of joyful praise and worship unto the Lord. Fans of the early works of Amy Grant and Sandi Patty should buy this retro project. I’m rating it a perfect 100%. For more info visit: www.cherikeaggy.com.