United We Stand – Hillsong United
God’s call on me to lead worship was driven by a burning passion for Jesus and his glory. Alongside this, gifted and passionate worship leaders like Tim Hughes, Matt Redman, and Ben Cantelon encouraged and challenged me to grow in my walk with Christ and the calling to lead others in worship. Among the group of those who have so influenced my life stands Hillsong United.
I first heard Hillsong United, following the release of their album More than life, at the Soul Survivor conference when I was 12 years old. They really caught my attention with their high energy, passionate God-centred music style. I can safely say that Hillsong United have continued to produce high octane, Jesus-focussed worship ever since.
Fast-forward to 2006, there I was, a 15 year old adolescent trying to navigate the call to lead others (which invariably involves a platform) while trying to keep the spotlight firmly on Jesus. Hillsong United (among others) helped me to understand what this balance should look like. The album, ‘United We Stand’, was formative in helping me to understand how to lead worship without pushing myself centre stage robbing Jesus of the glory which is rightfully his.
United We Stand is a live recording of a worship set from the 2006 Hillsong Conference. The album kicks off with a soaring instrumental which then leads into the first song ‘The Time Has Come’. I love this song. The encouragement here is for Christians to take a stand for Jesus and to back up our love for him with holy and steadfast living. This is a timely encouragement in our days of compromise.
The driving rhythm and provocative lyrics, “Today, today its all or nothing” sum up the Gospel call of Christ and challenge us to live deeply, ‘If any one would be my disciple he must deny himself, take up His cross and follow me’ (Matthew 16:24).
It is rare to find an album (much less a worship album) this consistently excellent. There is much here to satisfy the ears and the soul. ‘From the inside out’ speaks tenderly of God’s mercy and grace towards his people even though all seems to be fading, ‘Your light will shine when all else fades.’ The reminder here is that God works in our lives to bring change at the deepest level and the evidence of this is then seen on the outside in transformed lives. Personally speaking, this is a significant song which God has used to challenge and provoke me. It is most certainly up there in my top-ten.
United We Stand contains the similarly excellent, ‘Fire fall down’, ‘From God above’, ‘Revolution’ and the stripped down, ‘None but Jesus’, ‘Came to my rescue’ and ‘Sovereign Hands.’
There is variety here also with both male and female lead vocals and, throughout, the music is both intricate and yet immense, veering from the delicately intimate to the thumping drive of abandoned celebration. United We Stand captures the heart of Hillsong United: passionate Jesus-centred, Christ-exalting worship.
The album ends with, “The Stand”, and I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to finish than with a song which calls us to surrender completely and utterly to our God and King. The line, “All I am is yours,” echoing the key theme across this album, here takes on a new and startling significance.
United We Stand is available on both CD and DVD. On DVD, in particular, communicates something of the thrill of thousands of people gathered to praise the Living God. This is a brief glimpse of all that awaits those who love him and who will spend eternity gathered around the throne of God singing praise and worship songs to him and Him alone for all of eternity.
Andy regularly plays with the band and leads worship at Firwood Church.
Click here to purchase United We Stand.