Surrender, Celebration Collide in this Worship Experience
Posted February 12, 2012
By SarahFine_NRT, Staff Reviewer
When husband/wife team Brian and Bobbie Houston opened the doors of Hills Church in Australia back in 1983, they had no clue how wide their ministry was going to stretch. From humble beginnings in Sydney, the church today--now known as Hillsong--holds a 20,000-member congregation each weekend. And beyond that, their reach extends to nearly 20 extension campuses all across the globe, as well as a weekly television broadcast.
While these are just some of the hefty accomplishments the church has made in the almost 30 years since it began, it’s safe to say that the heftiest is found in what has become one of the biggest worship ministries ever with Hillsong Music. Ranging from adults all the way to kids, it seems like almost everything the Hillsong worship team lays their hands to turns to gold… literally. (Every album they’ve released has been certified Gold in Australia.)
The various Hillsong worship ministries mean a lot to me. Hillsong Live’s God He Reigns was the first praise and worship album I ever owned, and it saw me through many struggles and victories in my early walk with God. Still, being a teen and new in my faith, I wrestled with wanting worship music to “sound cool” while still providing me an outlet to praise God. So as you can imagine, I was happy to learn that Hillsong had a youth worship band called Hillsong United--a band that worshipped with fresh and relevant music.
Hillsong United has gone through some major changes these past several years, fast becoming one of the premiere worship bands of the 21st Century. Having released a multitude of live worship records as well as their most recent studio project, Aftermath, their passionate praise-filled lyrics and crunchy guitar-driven melodies have captured the heart of worshipers nationally and brought countless sold-out arenas with thousands of people on their knees, in awe of God.
It’s this same continual Spirit-filled move of God the team encountered while on tour last Summer that they wanted to capture for the world to remember. Taking material from the aforementioned Aftermath, as well as a few Hillsong Live mainstays, Live In Miami is a two disc, three-hour experience meant to enrapture the body of Christ and lead them into a place of total abandon before the Creator.
United worship leader Joel Houston fronts a majority of the songs on this project, including the drum laced “You”, instant classic “Mighty To Save”, “The Stand”, “From The Inside Out” and the title track, “Aftermath.” Fellow United leaders Jad Giles and Jonathon Douglass take over on other tracks like, “Search My Heart”, “Freedom Is Here”, “Break Free” and “Take It All.”
Each disc features its own special moments. A few in particular are “Nova,” lead by Matt Crocker, ushering in a fun and 80s-like techno-infused moment of upbeat praise that never loses its focus. Another memorable track is “Hosanna,” written by Hillsong worship leader Brooke Frasier-Ligertwood and sung on this album by Jill McCloghry--whose passionate vocals bring this song and album to a whole new level of spiritual depth.
Other songs on the live project include “Go”, “A Song To Sing” and “Oh You Bring.” The powerfully captivating “With Everything” is my favorite song on the entire project with its poignant and incredible lyrics: “So let hope rise and darkness tremble in Your holy light, that every eye will see Jesus our God, great and mighty to be praised.”
I’ve loved seeing how the worship music genre has thrived these last several years, reaching outside the doors of the church and meeting people all over the world, seeing lives forever changed by the power of God. We have bands like Hillsong United to thank for this. Live In Miami is a perfect illustration of this group’s musical evolution. As whimsical and fun as ever, none of the bells and whistles ever drowns out the true meaning of the moment, and when the album does take a turn for mellow, it doesn’t loose your interest, but rather, builds into a climactic moment of surrender.
The songs on this project do run long. Only one clocks at under three minutes and the longest checks in at well over 10, so there is a good chance you won’t be listening to this album all at once. Regardless, you’ll soon forget the length of the songs when you dive in deep and begin to experience a true encounter with God as you worship Him with the wonderful lyrics found on this album. You almost feel like you’re in the room with the thousands of others as they freely praise. This is a well-executed worship project and one fans will be listening to for many years to come. I look forward to what the future holds for this stellar group of young musicians--it will be nothing short of extraordinary.
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