The refining fires New Life Church in Colorado Springs has passed through in the past several years are all too well known. They’ve come through spiritual attack in a widely publicized scandal as well as violent, physical attack in the form of a shooting that claimed the lives of two members. Following directly on the heels of that shooting they came together as a body to record a live offering of worship to the Lord – Counting on God. Their resolve to stand on God’s promises, embrace total dependence on Him while praising His holy name forms a blazing beacon piercing the darkness that threatened to envelop their family of worshipers.
Counting on God is nothing less than a full-blown, live worship experience. Filled with the spirit of God and his peoples ecstatic praises, listeners are irresistibly drawn into communion with their creator through repeating choruses, lyrics and melodies that are simple to learn yet deeply moving. Followers of Jesus world-wide will be lifted by song after song that focuses eyes upon the character of God, His utter dependability, His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, and His is goodness.
Opening with the contagious, energetic anthem “Counting on God”, the cat-calls, whistles, and worship pastor Ross Parsley’s calls to the crowd combined with solid electric guitar and rhythm give the impression of a live rock concert. It soon becomes evident that this is so much more. Followed by “Solid Rock”, a frenetic tune that’s enough to send my children up the wall with intense scrambling activity; we need to skip this one at home. Wrapping up the initial trio of energy-raising tunes is “Mighty King of Love”, set apart from The Desperation Band’s normative sound by a distinctive R&B, rock fusion.
Following the power trio, the focus shifts to beautifully contemplative, upward seeking songs as the band opens with as they settle into worship. “Glorified” marks this transition with a soaring chorus declaring, “I’ve come to worship, I’ve come to lift up Your name.” The last half of the album, starting with the tear-inducing and comparatively light instrumental accompaniment “Unfailing God” begins to blend together in an otherworldly communion with God. The songs begin to blend together in a never-ending heart-cry of adoration.
The Dallas and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras provide complementary string backup on “Worthy”. I’ll admit it, the addition of strings an otherwise plugged-in tune is enough to catapult it to winner status in my books more often than not. No live album is complete without passing off sections of song for the audience – in this case the congregation – to sing. Most notably “I Will Stand” and “This is My Story” incorporate full hand offs, though the participation of fellow worshipers is apparent on “Overcome”, “Saviour” and among others.
The majority of the discs tracks are freshly written, often spontaneously composed songs of praise to the Lord. Several will be familiar to followers of New Life Worship – “Counting on God” and “Overcome” were previously recorded on Everyone Overcome. Given the intervening trials between recordings, the depth and meaning carried in these songs of reliance and God-given strength have only been amplified for the congregation, worship team, and for all who listen to this new recording.
New Life’s sizable choir and the huge congregation itself provide back-up vocals. With 12,000 members, thousands of worshipers contribute their voices providing a rich, spirit-filled sound. Ross Parsley, Jared Anderson, Jon Egan, and Glenn Packiam trade of as they lead worship and are also the writers of the vast majority of the included songs.
Upon first listen I heard a glossy, big sound production paired with lyrics glorifying God. Living with the album over the past few months has deepened my appreciation, leading me to recognize the living heart of worship to be found at its core. As I lift my own voice reaches toward heaven along with the CD, I’m brought into His presence and reminded of who I am in Him. Jesus you are “worthy worthy is the lamb for sinners slain, worthy worthy I will lift my voice again”.