By Payton Clark, Social Media Editor (Courtesy photo/The Bison)
After a month of anticipation, Passion has released another live album from their sold-out student conference. In what may seem like very troubled times for our world, this album’s message provides some hope and advice for Christians.
“Whole Heart” was released digitally on Feb. 23, and will be released physically on Mar. 23. Recorded live in January at the 2018 Passion conference, in three arenas in Atlanta and Washington D.C., “Whole Heart” features the voices of 32,000 students from colleges and countries across the globe. It includes hits from the Passion band with artists including Kristian Stanfi ll, Melodie Malone and Brett Yonker, as well as Crowder, Matt Redman, Jimi Kravity, KB, Brooke Ligertwood, Andy Mineo and Tedashii.
Beginning with the title song, “Whole Heart,” Passion creates a heartbeat that flows throughout the entire album. Not only is this heart-beat literal, through the constant pounding drumbeat, but figurative as lead singer Kristian Stanfi ll declares, “You gave us your whole heart, my hope is in the blood of Jesus, I know who I am because of who you are.” Praising God’s love for us is the first declaration of this album, and the main focus as thousands of students sing along together.
Songs like “Almighty God” and “God, You’re So Good” share the characteristics of God such as His power and goodness, but time and time again the album reveals His love, reminding listeners of its importance.
“Reckless Love,” a cover of Cory Asbury’s original song, shares the story of God’s unending and inconsequential love. While some may debate the use of the term “reckless” to describe God, here it means that God loves us without caring what will happen, something that we could all do well to imitate in our own lives.
As part of the chorus states, “I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, you give yourself away.” It is our duty as Christians to love others no matter the consequences. No matter the person or the circumstance, God’s love knows no bounds, so why should ours?
Another standout song, “More Like Jesus,” asks just that – to make us more like Jesus. With this of course comes God’s love and seeing others as he does, but having a desire to be more like Jesus is all we really need. Like the lyrics state, “Change me like only you can, here with my heart in your hands, Father I pray make me more like Jesus.” Surrender to God’s plan and a longing to look like Jesus is what we need, and this will allow us to serve others in love for God’s glory.
While most of the songs provide continuity in the tone and theme of “Whole Heart,” Matt Redman’s “Great Are You Lord” seems out of place. Although it in itself is a great song, its release in 2013 makes the song seem like more of a throwback than a piece of the narrative in “Whole Heart.” If the cover had been revamped with a newer and different sound than the original, it would have fit with the rest of the album, but this version was just a little out of place.
The version of “All My Hope Is In Jesus” with the Passion band, Crowder and Tauren Wells, jazzes up the sound of the album, although it too seems off from the tone of the Passion led songs. However, these covers show how diverse and inclusive the Passion Conference is with the artists and speakers brought to lead the students.
Because this album is live rather than a studio album, its purpose is more to share the Passion experience, and moreover the experience of praising God with thousands of others, rather than highlighting the talent of the band. But, Stanfi ll, Malone and Yonker, and the rest of the Passion band totally rock this album. “Hallelujah, Our God Reigns” does just that, declaring “All that has breath come praise the Lord.”
At the heart of this album is a desire to praise God for His love he gives to us, and for all that he is. “Whole Heart” not only remembers the unity of the 32,000 Passion Conference attendees but it unifies those who listen and sing these songs.
More than anything, this album is meant to praise and worship God, and these songs serve as an anthem for young Christians that are passionate about the Lord and living for His kingdom.
The Passion 2018 conference strove to glorify God by shining a light on His love, and “Whole Heart” encourages students to love others boldly, fully and passionately like Him.