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Eleven22 [The Reason]
Posted August 14, 2012
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer


The Reason by Eleven22 captures the essence of a cutting edge, no holds barred worship experience that has exploded into a movement known as Eleven22. Birthed by a mutual desire to reach the "unreachable," Eleven22, comprised of Ben Williams, Jonathan Berlin, Gretchen Martin and Maria Dunlap, originally formed as a worship team at Beach United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. Moving in the same spirit as Jesus Culture and Passion, the powerfully gifted group--while no stranger to success--was soon hearing the call to a new season of devotion. Eleven22 was searching for a way to express this in its new album when fifteen-year-old McKenzie Wilson appeared at a worship service one evening and not only gave her life to God, but led her parents to the Lord as well. Though McKenzie's untimely death only one month later would rock their entire community, it was discovering her life and the passion with which she lived it that inspired Eleven22 to write the songs that would become its new album, The Reason.

Try doing nothing else except meditate on the song "I Belong To You" and the powerful lyrics. I break down right when Ben gets to the stanza, "As Your mercy falls, covers all my shame / Bought with precious blood, here I am" and then rises to the chorus affirming that "I belong to You / I belong to You / All I have, everything I am, all for You." What an amazing prayer. For me, songs like "I Belong To You" provide opportunities for God to whisper to me my TRUE identity. Not found in what I do or don't do, but in who I am, and more importantly to Whom I belong. This song provides me comfort as I sing at the top of my lungs: "Here I stand, arms open wide, all for You." This song reminds all of us that the pain of this world is temporary, and to live for Heaven. It's okay to not be okay, and bring your thoughts to the Lord no matter what you are thinking. Just like you don't have to wash your hands before you take a shower, just get into a relationship with the Lord, and then profess that relationship to Him, "I Belong To You." Amen.

“There is something so pure about her writing,” Williams says, “it really affected me. I mean, I have been in church my whole life, but I found that it made me want to be a better pastor and worship leader, a better husband, a better father—to inspire others like she inspired me.” Written by Williams and Berlin, the song takes us on a journey of confessing who we truly belong to, discovering that our purpose is meant to be shared with the world: I belong to You, I belong to You. All I have, everything I am. All for You.’ “I remember someone telling us that McKenzie asked everyone attending her birthday party to bring money instead of gifts—then she turned around and donated all of the money to an orphanage,” Williams adds. “Her reason for being here was to be a voice for those who have no voice, and that’s our reason too.” Eleven22 will be donating the proceeds from its new album to The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation, established by McKenzie’s parents to honor her dream of building orphanages around the world. The first orphanage, “Amaka ga McKenzie” in Uganda, Africa, was built in 2011 thanks to the fundraising efforts of local teens inspired by McKenzie’s passion to “think globally” and includes a girls home, a boys home, and a home for abandoned babies. For more information about the McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation, please visit: www.caregivegrow.org. For more information on Eleven22, visit www.eleven22worship.com.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The Reason is one of my top inspirational worship albums of this past year. This is also one of the most moving albums I've heard this year, and I can't get enough of the standout worshipful songs "I Found A Love", "My Heart Is Yours", "Burning Hearts", "Love Like Fire", "The Reason", and the powerful song "I Belong To You." After listening to this album, you'll be refreshed, nourished, encouraged, and turn to God for your strength.

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