Release Date: February 2nd 2018
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Here I Am
Lincoln Brewster is one of my favourite worship leaders, and worship artists. Maybe within the top 5 ever. There. Period. Maybe up with others like Paul Baloche, Tim Hughes, Meredith Andrews and Phil Wickham to round out the top 5 favourite worship artists of all time (solo artists that is, with worship bands Delirious? would have to be No. 1 ever!)… so sorry Chris Tomlin, Lincoln just nudges you out… no seriously, Lincoln’s worship is certainly underrated. Possibly one of the most energetic and enthusiastic guitarist around ever (I can only think of Stu G., guitarist of Delirious?, that is by far my favourite guitarist ever), Lincoln’s passion for worship is shown in any album he records, and this new recording ‘Here I Am’, off the heels of a successful 2017 chart-topping radio single ‘No One Like Our God’, is no different! With both ‘Here I Am’ and ‘No One Like Our God’ coming from Lincoln’s forthcoming new Integrity Music album God of the Impossible tentatively dropping April 2018 (as shown on the JFH Releases page), this new song ‘Here I Am’, alongside ‘No One Like Our God’ that released last year, are great and worthy indications of what Lincoln’s new album will bring in a few months. Though the song title may be simple, the song is far from it, as this melody from Lincoln fast becomes one of my favourite worship songs to hear in all of 2018 thus far!
The song is a simple one at its core. To be titled ‘Here I Am’ can seem a little lazy on face value if you were to think of a title of a song, especially when there’s a famous song by Tim Hughes called ‘Here I Am to Worship’, as well as Michael W. Smith’s lesser known yet still famous track ‘Here I Am’ way back on his 2004 album Healing Rain. So for Lincoln’s new song to be titled ‘Here I Am’ can be forgiven to be initially thought of as a track that is seemingly written on a whim, and the title of it given as a second thought. Yet in reality, ‘Here I Am’ is anything but an afterthought. The song itself is seen as one of surrender, not because we are weak, but rather, because we are so desperately in need of Jesus to come take control over our lives, over the parts where we can’t fix because either it’s too ugly, or too tiresome to change. The song, through Lincoln delivering the heartfelt and emotive first verse, that ‘…You’re not asking for perfection, You’re not after flawless prayers, all You’ve wanted from the start, the surrender of my heart…’, is a reminder that as we come to God, we can just be as we are, to take down our facades and masks and unveil our real selves without judgement or condemnation. The statement ‘here I am’ in any case is to show our selves and not be looked down upon in the process. The song from Lincoln is reminding us that God’s love bypasses all of our own judgements and preconceptions; and gives us grace to declare to the Lord ‘here I am’, with all our baggage and things we don’t necessarily want our family or even God to see!
Known for his church and radio favourites, from ‘Today is the Day’, ‘There is Power’ and ‘God You Reign’, to ‘Let the Praises Ring’, ‘Sinking Ships’, ‘Oxygen’, ‘Made New’ and ‘Majestic’; ‘Here I Am’, as with ‘No One Like Our God’ preceding it, joins the ranks of songs that are catchy and heartfelt, alongside it being grounded in biblical scripture and the Word of God. And while I reckon that is what all music for the church should be, grounded in the Word, sometimes we get some songs that are just a little bit more theologically firm than others. Not to have an attack on worship music in general, it’s just that Lincoln and his music has always been special for myself and my own spiritual growth. ‘Here I Am’ is no different. Though simplistic in lyric (there is a lot of repetition in the chorus), the message is nevertheless heartfelt and still speaks volumes to myself and whomever else hears it! Since walking away from a mainstream music career when he was young in his twenties, Lincoln has since proven to be a reliable worship artist, as we see this new song from Lincoln for what it is- a song of surrender, of unveiling our true selves knowing full well that the Lord our God won’t judge us, but will in fact use what we call weaknesses to remind us that even the broken can be impacted and changed by the Father, as much as those who seemingly have it all together. In fact it will be the broken that will impact the world further for the kingdom of God in the upcoming months and years ahead!
If I have discussed this fact in a roundabout way but never hit the hammer on the head, let me do so now- Lincoln Brewster is a fantastic worship leader with an immense and prolific electric guitar skill that makes his ability to transform worship songs akin to how Stu G. enhances every Delirious? and One Sonic Society track he is on. Giving us equal amounts of enthusiasm, emotion, heart, passion, poignancy and worshipfulness within this track (this time ‘Here I Am’ has a guitar solo whereas ‘No One Like Our God’ didn’t), ‘Here I Am’ is a blessing. Well worth the wait for 3 years, this new song is a great follow-up to ‘No One Like Our God’. Can’t wait to the full length album coming in April! Here’s hoping there’s more songs that are as poignant and encouraging as both ‘Here I Am’ and ‘No One Like Our God’!
RIYL: Chris Tomlin, Phil Wickham, Tim Hughes, Kristian Stanfill