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Offerings II: All I Have to Give

  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Mar
Offerings II: All I Have to Give
Sounds like … more worship music from Third Day and their signature southern-fried roots rock sound, mixing studio tracks with their potent concert experienceAt a Glance … split between a half dozen brand new tracks and six more culled from the Come Together tour, Third Day follows up their first Offerings album with additional inspiration and excitement

While Third Day could easily have taken a break after their Time recording and subsequent tour, the fans' demand for new music and continual concert appearances was so overwhelming that it wouldn't have been the wisest move. The idea of recording a worship album was on the band's mind, but their demanding schedule could never warrant enough studio time for a full-length release. Instead, Third Day reached a compromise by releasing Offerings: A Worship Experience in 2000, which features both newly recorded praise material and worshipful selections taken from their previous tour. The rest, as they say, is history, with the album reaching gold-selling status.

Naturally, a sequel beckoned, as it did for Michael W. Smith, who followed up his best-selling Worship recording with Worship Again to additional attention and acclaim. Is there any doubt that Third Day will be greeted by similar success with the release of Offerings II: All I Have to Give?

Starting with the studio tracks found on the album, all are steeped in Third Day's ability to write a catchy pop/rock song, along with their anointing to truly invoke a worshipful response in listeners. The Brad Avery-penned "Anything" and Mac Powell's "May Your Wonders Never Cease" are the project's primarily rock and rollers, recalling the era of '70s southern rock that birthed the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet meshed with contemporary, alternative undertones. Thematically, the songs respectively speak of believers' complete dependence on the Lord and the fact that despite our sinfulness, he still chose to give his life away.

Cuts such as "Offering" and "The Everlasting" can easily be added to the category of signature Third Day songs, as both resound with unhindered spiritual dynamics and chilling instrumentation. Backed by the band's mid-tempoed rock beat and the glow of the electric organ on "Offering," Powell lifts up: "Magnificent Holy Father, I stand in awe of all I see / Of all the things you have created, but you still choose to think of me / Who am I that you should suffer, your very life to set me free / The only thing that I can give You is the life You gave to me." The comforting acoustics and melodic contributions by fellow band members on "The Everlasting" further support Powell as he offers: "Through the raging of the seas, the hills proclaim your majesty / All these things created for the glorifying of the Lord / We praise Your name forevermore."

There is also plenty of room for celebration amidst such introspection, such as the acoustic jingle "Sing a Song" and the retro electric guitar/organ-based "You Are So Good to Me." The pair is congregational in nature, as they both lead listeners to raise their hands and lift their voices with glorious thanksgiving. Waterdeep fans in particular will appreciate Third Day's vintage preservation of the latter cut, continuing the song's legacy after its appearance on both their worship album of the same name and the Enter the Worship Circle project.

Moving on to more familiar fare, tracks from the Come Together tour are sure to conjure up memories of those who caught it live, while making those who didn't wish they had. Either way, listeners are destined to be drawn into the engaging experience, clutching the favorites close to their hearts. Among the more familiar tracks on the record is the City on a Hill standard, "God of Wonders," the classic duet between the lead vocalists of Third Day and Caedmon's Call. Stepping in on guest vocals is Michael Tait (Tait, dc Talk), and though his soulful touch doesn't really gel with Powell's grit as well as Cliff Young's organic tone did, their overall rendition is lively and energetic. The Come Together ballads "Show Me Your Glory" and "Nothing Compares" also sound re-energized in a live setting thanks to the enthusiasm of the audience.

As an added bonus, Third Day turns in a rousing rendition of the Rich Mullins's beloved "Creed," spicing up the original arrangement with an extended electric guitar romp and a supercharged backbeat. There's also the epic medley of "Give / Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus / With of Without You / Your Love, Oh Lord," which will also hold listeners' attention, once again turning their thoughts away from the temporary and toward the eternal. The band admits there's no specific theme running through such selections, but the medley is meant to "have a congruency to it that leads people to a place of worship." As much as I questioned why another Christian band needed to cover a U2 song (in this case "With or Without You"), I was pleasantly surprised that Third Day only incorporated the song's triumphant line "And you give yourself away" to follow the plea of "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" with transitional ease.

After an hour's worth of material, culminating in the aforementioned medley and the humbling "Take My Life," there's nothing more you could possibly ask for in Third Day's latest "offering." Like Michael W. Smith's own Worship Again, it's another instance in which a sequel matches, if not surpasses, the quality of the first effort. If there's a quintessential worship recording for 2003 so far (or perhaps even in the modern era of praise music), Offerings II: All I Have to Give wins hands down. Hopefully, that doesn't put too much pressure on Third Day when they map out their next project, though based on their track record, there's little doubt they'll handily produce another winner.