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Review: For The Sake Of The World

This album draws me into worship in a matter of moments. It’s 13 songs that are so genuine and so passionate, you can’t help but engage.

I have to say, I wasn’t really into The Loft Sessions project that this team released in January. I appreciate what they were doing with art and community, but I think their music really shines in it’s original setting – full instrumentation, big volume, etc. Be Lifted High was a powerful album, and For The Sake Of The World, recorded live at Bethel Church in California, definitely brings that experience back.

The style is a little looser than Be Lifted High, and it’s interesting to watch the team go from a very structured sound on Be Lifted High, through the intimate atmosphere of The Loft Sessions, and come out with this beautiful, original composition. These songs have all the structure and production of excellent music well produced, but there are also a couple spots on the album that break off into spontaneous, free-form worship. Through all of it, though, the same Spirit and passion preside.

If you’re a believer who likes to have good worship music at home, check this out. If you’re a worship leader who is always looking for great music for your congregation, check this out.

The album releases tomorrow, and it’s more than just 13 songs. From the press release:

For the first time, Bethel Music also releases an iTunes LP. The For The Sake Of The World LP features all 13 audio and video tracks on the CD and DVD, all five behind-the-scenes videos, plus 11 song charts, a Photo Gallery, Album Credits, social media links for Bethel artists and the Worship U Video feature information on the Online Bethel School of Worship.

That’s quite a package.

You can also check out the website for video, audio, pics, chord charts and download links.

Review: The Longing

All Sons & Daughters released their third EP, The Longing, a few days ago. I got mine a couple weeks ago, and it’s been the almost constant soundtrack to my life for as long.

If you like All Sons & Daughters, you’ll like this EP. It’s very true to their style – simple arrangements, occasionally eclectic instrumentation, gorgeous vocals, thoughtful lyrics, and infectious melodies. I couldn’t put it better than the press release:

When life is hard and heartache and confusion inevitably reign, what do we do with those moments, and how do we actually worship god in the midst of them? This uncomfortable tension is precisely what fuels the music of All Sons & Daughters, whose songs give listeners permission to not only ask questions, but to express their pain in the midst of it.

The first few tracks are a little more upbeat than some of their previous stuff, but they do it really well. It’s uplifting and encouraging and still completely beautiful.

You can get more at their website: There are videos of some of the stories behind the songs, and you can listen to the entire EP as well. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Song details and some sample lyrics after the break.  Continue Reading…

Book Review: Grant

Have a blog? Like free books? Check this out.

I really like this series that Thomas Nelson is publishing on The Generals, and author Mitchell Yockelson’s contribution on General Grant is one more reason why.

Grant was born to an abolitionist tanner, and wanted nothing to do with the military when he was young. He graduated from West Point because his father enrolled him when he expressed total disinterest in the tanning business. He did his time, disliked it, and left to try his hand at marriage and civilian life.

He failed at civilian life, however (though not at marriage). When South Carolina ceded from the union, he responded with what he believed was his patriotic duty, and joined the U.S. Army again.

Grant was a modest man, which greatly endeared his troops to him.

He often wore a dirty private’s uniform, and so down-played his dress that it was hard to recognize who was in charge at times. He lived in the same tents and cabins as his troops throughout the war.

Yockelson’s biography clears up a few misconceptions about General Grant, and explains what the public at the time didn’t know.

It is generally understood that Grant had a drinking problem, for example, a rumor that plagued his military career, and which is simply untrue.

He also got the nickname, “the Butcher” during the Civil War because of the seemingly high number of casualties among his armies. The north, however, didn’t get casualty reports from the south, and so didn’t realize the scope of the battles. Americans eventually became weary of the war, and that attitude combined with Grant’s offensive combat strategy to tarnish his reputation – perhaps unfairly.

Grant was not a flawless leader, and he recognized that.

One of the things I really like about this series is that it’s authors do not romanticize our American Generals, or gloss over their failures. Yockelson outlines exactly how Grant’s failures hindered the Union’s war efforts more than once. Later, when he left the Oval Office after two terms, he actually apologized in his farewell address for his mistakes and ineptitudes in the Office.

Thomas Nelson finds the pros to write these biographies. Yockelson is an Investigative Archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration, and a history instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy and Norwhich University.

If you’re interested in history and biography, and/or leadership, check out this series. I reviewed Sherman here, and Pershing (my fave so far) here.

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