Recognized from the band Watermark and from the annual Passion Student Conferences held each year in Atlanta; Christy Nockels has released several chart topping songs throughout her career with Passion and Watermark; such as ‘Gloria’, ‘Glory of Your Name’ and ‘Knees to the Earth’. With acclaim for her first solo album in 2009, Life Light Up, her eagerly anticipated second solo album, ‘Into the Glorious’ released in early April. The result of the last three years were songs of heartfelt worship and praise, covering a diverse musical range from ballads and anthems to pop rock radio singles and country melodies. All throughout these 12 songs was the theme of coming before the Lord and worshipping with the knowledge of who He is and who we are in comparison to Him.
The first single of the album, ‘Ever Lifting’, starts off with a country impression, the banjo present in a song that could also be arranged in a country music playlist. The most upbeat of the album, ‘Ever Lifting’ makes me smile as I listen to the lyrics over the banjo and acoustic guitar melodies. As Christy sings ‘…You fill my heart to know the length of Your great love. And where You go, I’ll go; You set my heart above…’ I am reminded that God’s love is endless, no matter how far we turn; we are never far from His love. A different genre from Christy’s pop worship vein, the song is still worshipful, and the acoustic guitar, banjo and bass, together with Christy singing ‘…I’m lifting my voice just to sing a new song. I’m lifting my hands just to show You I know where I belong…’ makes the song even more special, knowing that it is in our Father’s arms that we find our belonging.
As Christy sings through the rest of the album with her soft but equally powerful vocals; we are brought through a journey of honest worship and praise as together we bow before and exalt the King of Kings. ‘Already all I Need’ speaks about how Christ is everything that we need in this life, we don’t have to ask the Lord for reassurances and promises because He has already promised us that He will never leave us. As Christy explains, ‘…So many times we come to Jesus in worship and ask Him for things that He already IS and has already done…’ With just the piano and violin to accentuate the lyrical content of the song; this is one of the album highlights. ‘Be Loved’ is another piano driven song about letting ourselves be loved by the God who loves us. God loves us, and we just need to let go of any fears and issues about performance and allow ourselves to be loved by God. With the piano again taking the foreground of instruments, ‘Wonderful’ is a powerful anthemic song that shows us how wonderful God is, and in light of everything He has done, all we can do is proclaim that ‘…my life will burn for You. ‘Cause Your light shined in the darkness. I was hopeless and You lifted up my head…’
‘Your Love is Moving’ is another song with just the piano, violin and percussion. This simple melody speaks the powerful truth to listeners that God is alive and living within us, stirring and moving in His people, raising up a generation longing for more of His presence in their lives. As Christy powerfully proclaims the lyrics ‘…we reach our hands to You. Our God, You are here and Your mercies are new…’ I can see myself singing along, lifting my hands to the God who loves to lavish me with the love that I don’t deserve, but I receive it anyway because of who I am in Christ. ‘Into the Glorious’ is a song that sounds most like the ‘radio friendly’ single, with the musical technique of using keys in the verses and powerful guitars and drums building in the choruses and bridge. But its message is anything but; and as I ponder on the lyrics ‘…out from the ordinary into the extraordinary…’ I can be sure that God made each one of us with unique talents and gifts, and as we use them, not for our own selfish gain; but to honour the One who holds the universe together; He will bring us up from the ordinary mundane 9-5 and give us satisfaction, fulfilment and hope as we experience the joy of not living for ourselves, but to help others.
With the theme of worship on Christy’s mind when she created the record, it is to be expected that some of her songs that are included are ones that she sung from the Passion Conferences held over the years in early January. Both acoustic versions of their live counterparts, ‘Healing in Your Hands’ speaks about how God is never far from us, that ‘…No mountain. No valley. No gain or loss we know. Could keep us from Your love…’ and ‘How I Love You’ is a simple song about loving Jesus, not out of duty or obligation, but because of understands the lengths that God went for His creation to be reconciled unto Himself. There is also a studio rendition of ‘Waiting Here For You’ previously on Passion: Here For You, and the same live atmosphere, enthusiasm and raw passion is transferred well into this 5 minute track. With a soft piano intro drawing the listener in as Christy sings ‘…if faith can move a mountain; let the mountains move. We come with expectation, waiting here for You…’; the song builds up with anticipation. As the instruments soar into electric guitars, strings and drums, I am amazed about how this song captures the heart of Christy and her longing to wait for Jesus, to feel His presence, and to dwell in Him with adoration and praise.
‘Sing Along’, originally from Passion: White Flag; has become one of my favourites from Christy Nockels ever. From first listen, this is a worship song to God, proclaiming to Him that He is great, that when He hears our worshipful cries around the world, He can smile and allow us to ‘…join in your song and sing along…’ Little did I know that this song was much more than a worship song; and as I understood the background of it from her blog that she wrote on her website, I was able to appreciate the song’s beauty, honesty and passion, and have grown to love the song more. As Christy explains it, ‘…This song started out like a lullaby that I would sing at night as I laid my head down on my pillow, keenly aware of the heartache in the world… an enormity beyond belief…’ This song is a worship song, but it’s also a cry to God when we see the injustice in this world. It is an anthem, sung from us to God, as a way of offering up our lives to help those around us who need it. As we sing this anthem, let us not forget those around the world who need the help that only God can give.
Overall: Christy Nockels has created a stellar album full of ballads and upbeat tempo songs full of worship, praise, reflection and honesty. This album has become one of my favourite for this year so far, and is recommended to those who would want to simply let their guards down before the Lord and worship in abandonment. This is a great collection of 12 heartfelt stories and as Christy continues to amaze me with her songwriting, creating moments in songs full of awe and wonder, I cannot wait to hear her third album.