Life is full of ups and downs. It’s often easy to praise God during the high points of life, but we often wonder where God is during our journeys through the valleys. Sometimes, however, we fail to recognize the low points of life are often the result of our sin — our rebellion — against a good, perfect and holy Father. The good news is “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
We are in open rebellion against God, and still, He loved us enough to send His only Son, Jesus – the God-man — to pay a penalty we deserved to give us a reward we did not deserve.
This, the gospel, is the theme of the new album of all-original material from Christian Church of Jasper band Narrow Path. CCJ is a 1,000-plus-person church in rural Jasper, Ind. (approximately 80 miles west of Louisville, Ky.). The band’s album, “And Still” is a collection of 10 songs that are filled with hope, inspiration and anticipation based on the hope that only God, through Jesus, can provide to the world. The album is a follow-up to the band’s early recording efforts, “Far As The Curse Is Found,” a 2008 Christmas album; and the band’s two 2011 digital-only releases, the three-original song EP “NP EP” and three-song digital offering “Live On Good Friday.”
“And Still” was recorded and produced by the band in the church’s studio space nicknamed Moth & Rust Studio. The band hired Asterisk Sound in Waco, Texas, to mix and master the album. Asterisk is comprised of the members of The Digital Age, a band that originally formed the core of the Dove Award-winning and Grammy-nominated group David Crowder*Band.
Starting with the album’s driving opener, “Only Hope,” the band sets the foundation on which the rest of the album is based. We are sinners and only Jesus can save us. This theme continues on “The Last And The Least,” a rocker with a soaring chorus. “A Way Out Of No Way,” a wall of sound and power punctuated by a sing-along chorus and refrain (aided by several dozen CCJ members), confidently asserts the power of God throughout. The punchy rock song “Endure” reveals the qualities of God and our response to those qualities. The influence of Johnny Cash is fairly obvious on “Broken Things,” a song that leans toward the heavier end of the rockabilly genre, features a guest verse and backing vocals from French Lick, Ind., country singer Kirby Stailey and revels in the knowledge that God uses the messed-up and broken of the world to do His work. The term ‘epic’ most accurately describes the album’s centerpiece, and title track, “And Still.” Taking a cue from Psalm 22, this most ambitious track sums of the theme of the album — despite who we are as sinners, God’s love is stronger. “Keep Me (Psalm 35)” and “Restore” are both prayers of a broken spirit, knowing only God can hold us up and alone has the power to save us. “Freedom Is Found” presses the accelerator toward the finish of the album with a driving message from Romans 8, proclaiming that true freedom is only found in Jesus. The album’s closer is “The Day Will Come.” Inspired by Revelation 21, it is a hope that God will one day make all things new and bring about a new heaven and a new earth. Its soaring choruses and intense coda make for a perfect closing song.