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'Casting Crowns'

By Belinda S. Ayers

CBN.comHave you ever bought a CD for one song? Here is the scenario. You hear the song over and over on a Christian radio station and soon you are on a mission: "I have to get that song!" This happens to me more than I would like to admit, which explains why CDs currently cover every available surface of my bedroom, the floorboard of my car and my desk at work. But it is rare that I buy a CD for "that one song" and find that I enjoy all the other songs on the album as well.

The self-titled national debut album from Casting Crowns is one of those rare exceptions.

The Atlanta-based band has been topping the Christian music charts in recent weeks with their powerful song "If We Are the Body," a catchy tune encouraging believers to be Christ's hands and feet by extending a warm welcome to those outside the church walls. My first impulse after hearing that song several times was to immediately purchase the album, but before I had the opportunity I was given the CD as a gift.

Casting Crowns CD coverI soon discovered that "If We Are the Body" is only the beginning of the rich treasures found on this CD. Produced by Stephen Curtis Chapman and Mark A. Miller (lead singer of the country band Sawyer Brown), the album opens with a hard-hitting charge to the church written by Mark Hall, the band's lead singer. "What If His People Prayed" is not only musically intense, its powerful lyrics challenge the listener: "What if the church, for heaven's sake/Finally stepped up to the plate/Took a stand upon God's promise/And stormed hell's rusty gates?"

Passionate lyrics are one of the album's greatest features. Most of the songs were written by Hall, a youth minister who never dreamed he would be traveling around the country with a band. During his 12 years in youth ministry Hall had always incorporated music into his ministry. His bold lyrics that were first written for his students cut straight to the heart of issues that challenge both seasoned and new Christians today.

"Who Am I" reminds believers that they are nothing apart from Christ. "American Dream," one of the album's most energetic songs, exhorts listeners not to neglect their families in pursuit of wealth and careers. "Here I Go Again" encourages believers to overcome their fear of sharing the gospel: " 'Cause here I go again/ Talkin' 'bout the rain/And mulling over things that won't live past today/And as I dance around the truth/Time is not his friend/This might be my last chance to tell him that You love him."

The inspiring ballad "Voice of Truth," co-written by Hall and Chapman, encourages Christians to trust Jesus' voice when He calls them out of their comfort zones, and to replace their fear with faith as they face the giants in their lives.

The seven-member band returns to their roots of praise and worship with the last four tracks on the album. Although not as intense musically, these four songs maintain the album's spiritual momentum by offering upbeat praises to the Father.

With their combination of no-nonsense lyrics and energetic pop music Casting Crowns reaches across generational lines challenging believers to live out their faith at a deeper level. This is a band to watch as God continues to use them in the years ahead.

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