Reviewed by Matthew Cordle
"My Utmost For His Highest", the devotional compiled from notes of the Scottish preacher Oswald Chambers by his wife, has been in print since 1935 and continues to impact millions of Christians to this day. Following in the footsteps of several "My Utmost For His Highest" musical projects over the years, including a Bryan Duncan album and a previous Word various artist album back in 1995, Word Entertainment has now compiled this new collection featuring 21 artists and 13 new recordings focusing on a few specific themes from the devotional. For King & Country kick off the CD with a moody acapella intro to their rousing rendition of "Amazing Grace", with their sister, Rebecca St. James, joining them for "When we've been there 10,000 years". There are many soul-stirring moments of both reflection and celebration in this collection. "Lavish" unites Big Daddy Weave and Francesca Battistelli in a spirit-lifting celebration of the lavishness of God's goodness and love as shown in David's words from Psalm 23 and in the reality of Jesus' presence with us; "You pour out your spirit until I overflow with peace in the midst of my trouble.You lavish your love on me". Meredith Andrews' "Needing You Now" is the real gem for me, focusing on praising through hard times, recognising that we each have a choice in how we respond to difficulty. Meredith emotively reflects the solemn reflection on pain, singing "Disappointment stole my song, but I choose to sing again", then soars in celebratory worship, declaring "You are my hope/You are my future/If I can have you, nothing but you, I have it all." Brilliant! Production quality throughout is excellent, and Word have done a great job at making it all hang together sonically rather than being a bunch of songs produced by different artists. With only a couple of 'take it or leave it' tracks and much more of Oswald Chambers' book to go, perhaps there'd be mileage in uniting other disparate singers and bands in exploring the depths of his writings further.
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