Recorded live with her team at Hope Unlimited Church on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia, the album is Zschech's first project following a life changing cancer diagnosis in 2014 and features 11 new songs penned by her along with guest writers like Martin Smith, Paul Baloche, Jenn Johnson and Leeland Mooring.
Here I Am Send Me is also Zschech's first new album since 2013's critically acclaimed Revealing Jesus. Produced by Andy Macken, the new recording opens with a full-on declaration of the greatness of God in the song "You Are Great" written with Martin Smith (Delirious?) in response to the most challenging season of her life.
"When I was at my sickest, Martin flew over from England to sit with us, sing songs over our church, and walk and talk with me and my husband, all the while speaking courage into us," Zschech says, her voice full of emotion recalling the dark days after her diagnosis of breast cancer that is now in remission. "It's week one of treatment and you feel like you're going to die, and Martin said, 'Darls, I know you're going to want to write songs about this season. What do you want to say?' And I said, 'I want to say 'HE IS GREAT!' And so we wrote this song together and have been singing it in our church. That's where it started... In the midst of the fire, it doesn't change who our God is."
"Cancer is a dreadful thing," continues Zschech. "The medical world doesn't like to use the word 'healed.' They like to say the word 'remission'... but I'm believing God's report over my life. I speak Psalm 91 over myself every day, I take my medicine and I take the word of God and I do my best with what I can do in the natural and trust God with those things over which I have no power."
Following this opening track, the album proceeds to take listeners through a journey declaring God's greatness, love and call, and gives worshippers a voice of response, as in the song, "You Will Be Praised." Written with Baloche and Johnson upon Zschech's first return to America after cancer treatment, the song unabashedly declares the power of the Holy Spirit living among us that makes fearlessness possible in every season and circumstance of life. It is, in many ways, her testimony.
The album also features "Beloved," a modern hymn of surrender co-written by Zschech with Mooring and Casey Moore. Other standouts include "Love and Wonder," written by the Zschech's teen daughter, Zoe,and Bonnie Gray from Hope UC, "Kingdom Come," co-written with Thomas Macken and reflecting a year-long teaching theme at the church and "Go," written with Andy Macken, that closes the album.
This closing song of commissioning is a message that will be sensed throughout the project by listeners, including in the song from which the title track was gleaned.
"'Here I Am Send Me' was written following the revelation I received from Genesis 22, which is when Abraham responds to God in worship by saying 'Hineni,' meaning, 'here I am Lord, whatever you ask, before you ask, my answer is yes'," says Zschech.
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Singing Promises Through Pain| Posted March 01, 2017
There are few Christian music fans who aren't familiar with Darlene Zschech's music and longtime ministry. First as part of Hillsong and now with her solo work, the renowned worship leader has been making music for the church for over two decades. Most known for her hit chorus "Shout To The Lord," Darlene has undeniably had a successful career so far, but she isn't showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.
When Darlene was handed a shocking breast cancer diagnosis in 2014, her life was changed but her belief in God stayed steady. Recorded live with her team at Hope Unlimited Church in Australia, Here I Am Send Me is the first new album since that diagnosis, chronicling her journey with cancer (which is now in remission). Many of the songs were written during the most challenging season of her life. Darlene recalls that when she was at her sickest, Martin Smith (of Delirious?) flew over to visit and encourage her and her husband. When he asked what she wanted to say while writing songs about this season, her answer was simple and quick: she only wanted to say "He is great." Through pain and disease and some of the hardest days of her life, this album took shape as Darlene set out to tell the world of that unchanging greatness.
Serving as the powerful declaration of that message, the album opens with "You Are Great" (co-written with Smith), a moment where you can hear the emotion in Darlene's voice as she sings about His unfailing goodness even through her suffering. Worship-focused track "You Will Be Praised" continues the theme of singing His promises into the darkness: "Though I walk through darkest valleys, there's no fear for You are with me."
Darlene's elegant vocals shine on standout track "Daylight," much like on "Kingdom Come," a spin-off of a vital line in The Lord's Prayer. Fans of music from the likes of Hillsong Young & Free will appreciate "First Love," a lively time of praise that is sure to have you up and dancing along.
Co-written by Darlene's teenage daughter, acoustic "Love And Wonder" is a short track (clocking in at only 1:33), but nonetheless is a powerful moment with its beautiful harmony and lyrical praise. Singing more proclamation of who He is, "Emmanuel" worships Christ for His faithful companionship: "There's no one like Jesus / meets me in my sadness, walks with me through fire / there's no one like Jesus, calming every storm." Modern hymn "Beloved (When I Survey)" plays off the classic hymn as members of Darlene's church join her in leading the song. Pushing the message of the Great Commission with songs of surrender, the title track "Here I Am" and upbeat "Go" close out the album.
The Bottom Line: This may be Darlene's first album since 2013, but the quality of music is better than ever. From the first track to the last, Here I Am Send Me is overflowing with passionate songs of praise, singing His promises through her own pain, all carried by the soft yet bold voice that has led millions into the presence of God. Intimate moments of worship meet with energetic declarations of His glory and greatness on this album, more than accomplishing the mission Darlene set for this project in the beginning: to tell the world that He is great.
Song To Download Now:
"Here I Am" (Get it on iTunes here.)