“Sing to the Lord, bless His name, proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.” – Psalm 96:2 This verse is the motivation behind the all female quartet, the McClellan Singing Sisters and their current project, Dream. Based out of Adams, Nebraska, these four sisters: Tiffany, (20) Kimberly, (16) Jewel (14) and TaMera, (10) sing the Gospel to see souls come to know Jesus Christ. One of the first things that I noticed about this Cd, was when I pulled out the cover insert…every song title had a Bible verse that correlated with the lyrics. That says a lot about a ministry! Their new recording, Dream, carries a steady sound both in the music and lyrics. Musically, this project is very up-beat. Seven out of the ten songs are medium to fast ~ we all know it’s hard to find a fast song with a good message! But they did it, and as you will see below, there are no “filler” songs on this Cd, every single word contributes to the overlying theme of the project. Which leads us to the lyrics…how do I summarize ten uplifting songs in a few lines? Well, let’s begin with the theme. After listening to these songs over and over again for this review, it occurred to me that the lyrics speak to us about what our Savior’s dreams are for His children. So, like I’ve done in other reviews, I’m going to add a line called “His Dream” that will point out how we can see the Lord’s dreams for us in each song, and connect the theme throughout the whole project. These songs are just so practical for our everyday lives! They truly speak to us about life and how our lives are transformed by God’s grace. I know that if you were to hear these songs, you’d agree! Be sure to check out Dream on either, iTunes or their artist website, www.mccsingingsisters.com!
1. All The Ways We Praise
Feature: All four parts
Message: This song is about praising the Lord in a variety of ways and being accepted in His sight as genuine worship. Beginning with the chorus, the lyrics speak out the theme with these words, “You love all the ways…we give You praise…as we lay our hearts before You…You love how we adore you.” The refrain continues to say that every offering a child of God brings to Him is precious in His sight… “Lord, You love all the ways, we praise.” The verses give example of the different ways Believers praise the Lord. In the first verse, we see song in the morning, a hymn in the night – some kneel down with folded hands…other raise up their hands to the heavens. And though the methods are different, the Father see’s it as the same because it’s worship. After repeating the chorus, we move into the second verse with more ways to praise our God: through dancing, playing instruments, shouting to the sky, or even if you don’t know where to start.
His Dream: … for us is to praise Him
Other Comments: I love recordings that begin on an up-beat note, and this one draws you in from the very start! With a Praise and Worship feel, the four sisters sing the choruses together, and each one is featured on different parts of the verses.
2. Walk Away Free
Feature: Kimberly and Tiffany
Message: “Here’s the altar, there’s the door – now you’re faced with the choice once more…” These are the thought provoking words that open this song. You can imagine the scene, can’t you? In church, in your pew, faced with the choice to stay and received Christ, or walk away from Him. Though the first verse explains that nothing will keep you from leaving, the chorus says that you can “walk away free.” You can walk away forgiven, in love with your new life and no longer held captive by bonds but welcomed by arms of grace. All this is wrapped up in your choice to leave Christ, or leave your past with Him. The second verse lays out all the details, you can walk away the same way you came in or be changed in a few moments. You can try to run, but my prayer will always be that you walk away unshackled…like a bird no longer in a cage or a prisoner released from his prison. “You are free to walk away…or you can walk away free.”
His Dream: … for you to come to Him
Other Comments: This would make a great invitation song! On the other hand, salvation isn’t the only thing that we can take to the altar. There are many other issues and problems surrounding our lives that we can either give to the Lord or keep every time we walk out of church. Kimberly is featured on the first verse, and then Tiffany on the second stanza.
3. Can’t Dream Big Enough
Feature: Tiffany and Kimberly
Message: This number explores the thoughts we experience from day to day, while anticipating the future. The first verse brings us to that point in our day when we just shut our eyes and let our mind wander to where ever we would rather be in that moment. Maybe we try to predict the joys of the day to come and let our creative mind run to its wildest dreams…yet, we haven’t seemed to learn by now, that with God, as the chorus says, “we can’t dream big enough.” The plan that the Lord has for each and every one of us is more than we can imagine! Beyond anything we can fathom or label “possible.” With everything we’ve seen Him do, and everything that we know about Him, we come to understand that His plans are so much better than ours and though we can “dream – we can’t dream big enough.” The second verse simply says that even if we had the ability to create a world that we think would be perfect for ourselves, it would fall short of the Lord’s plan for us, because He provides more and more everyday.
His Dream: … is to give our dreams to Him
Other Comments: This one is quickly becoming my favorite from this Cd! Not only is it the title song for the recording, it reminds us that God is so much bigger than anything we can do on our own. Tiffany sings the first verse, Jewel takes the lead on the chorus and the second verse is sung by Kimberly.
4. Do You Ever Feel Like Flyin’?
Feature: All four parts/Tiffany
Message: Within these lyrics, a story is found, and one that I’m sure we can all relate to! Verse one takes us to a line at the grocery store where we are introduced to the main character of the song – and with two upset children and a persistent cell phone, she has her hands full! To us, this is what she says in the chorus, “Do you ever feel like flyin’ Leaving it all behind?” To get out of this world and not worry about what needs done, to escape this world that’s always in a hurry and just sail through the air…ah, “sometimes I feel like flying!” The second verse contemplates what our character said, and the truth of it is evident. Who doesn’t need a little break in the day to let our minds wander off to that heavenly city where we’ll spend eternity? The bridge muses on this further and calls it the “place I was meant to be” and “where Jesus waits for me.”
His Dream: … for us to long to be with Him
Other Comments: The sisters all sing the first verse together, while the chorus and the second verse features Tiffany.
5. Everything Is Starting To Change
Feature: Kimberly and Tiffany
Message: This number is about something we all need to put in practice more often – looking for what the Lord is doing each day. If you ever watched the morning news and said, “Sure looks like trouble is here to stay,” – you’ve experienced the opening lines of this verse. We’d be better off to do what the last two lines say, “But Father when I choose to start my day with You – I see my world in a different way.” The chorus looks at the positive side of life: watching for a clear sky, listening for a reoccurring song, and keeping an eye out for the Lord’s next move. With Him, nothing is going to stay the way it is – it’s going to change. The second verse tells us that when we have Christ in the forefront of our day, even the most mundane things can be seen differently. Thanks to grace, it’s all possible. The bridge reminds us that even in the midst of the storms that are bound to come our way, we can be assured that blessings will soon follow!
His Dream: … for us to begin every day with Him
Other Comments: What a great song! May we be more faithful to begin our days with our Savior.
Feature: All four parts
Message: The word “millionaire” implies one that has as compared to those who lack, but this song takes a creative twist and talks more about being content with the Lord and His mission to be the “light of the world.” Notice how this plays out in the verse, in the first, it talks about achieving a measure of success in the world that we may never reach, but it also speaks of pressing forward into the unknown and being satisfied with where the Lord leads. With that in mind, the chorus triumphantly proclaims that though “I may never be a millionaire…funny, I don’t think I care.” If we don’t see the incredible view from the summit, maybe we don’t need to? A fancy car or stardom may not be what’s up ahead, but as Christians we have something greater, we’ll be, “the light of the world.” The second verse says that though we may not have the answers to the questions the greatest philosophers in the world may ask, and though we may not be able to cure the world of it’s fast life, well, that’s okay, we can join for the fight! As a bridge, the girls each take a line and speak these words: “I may never be a hero, or set my feet on Wall Street, or give the evening news…but I believe in what God want’s me to be.”
His Dream: … for us to believe in His plan for our lives
Other Comments: Beginning with some banjo, we get a little hint of Bluegrass in the intro (which is perfect for this song and complements the style). Personally, I like how each sister gets a on the verses between the two sets of verses. Tamara is the first vocalist you’ll hear and shares the first verse with her older sister Jewel. Kimberly begins the second verse and Tiffany closes.
7. Love of God
Message: “The love of God will never lead you, where the grace of God can’t keep you…” With those words we are introduced to this ballad that speaks of the faithfulness of God. The first verse, recalls the time when you committed your life to Christ. The road hasn’t been smooth and though the Christian life requires effort, you’re promised that He isn’t going to take you someplace where He can’t keep you safe during your “stay.” As the chorus says, the mountains and valley’s are yours – with His mighty hand as a guide and Himself as a constant companion. You can count on Him to be there every step of the way. The second verse speaks of the journey itself – the places Christ may ask you to go and the things He may have you to do. But these are not things to be anxious over, just have faith and trust Him, He’ll take care of you.
His Dream: … for us to trust Him with every step of the future
Other Comments: What a beautiful song!…and something all of us should be reminded of every now and then. This is really the first “slow” song we encounter on Dream, and I love how it mimics life in a way – when our fast pace lives need to slow down a bit, we usually need to be reminded of what this song talks about.
8. What If Your Best
Feature: Jewel and Kimberly
Message: Written in first person, this song is a narration of what the clay must think while on the potter’s wheel…or in this case, on our Potter’s wheel. In the first verse we hear the clay’s desire to adhere to the Potter’s wish and be still as it’s being molded into something new. But as the clay thinks of all the things that could bring glory to God’s name, you can almost hear it’s lack of confidence when it says, “But I am only clay.” The chorus reaches the heart of the matter and longs for what the Potter knows as best, but struggles with the thought that maybe His plan isn’t what the clay is hoping for. Maybe the Potter’s best isn’t in the finished product, maybe it’s in the process – what the clay learns while it’s on the wheel in the Potters hands. The clay goes on in the second verse to tell of the inward battle it has, trying not give the Potter advise on how to do His job. I like the line that says it‘s, “Like teaching Shakespeare how to write…or Monet the way to paint.” (It’s kind of hard to give God advice, right? It’s also hard to keep our opinions to ourselves too!) The message resolves the struggle of the clay in the bridge and uses the old hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be,” as it’s final plea.
His Dream: … for us to give Him our best
Other Comments: I like the unique viewpoint this song takes on the subject. SGM needs more songs like this – ones that can take something we’ve heard a million times and make it something new and exciting!
9. All You Need Is A Need
Feature: TaMera and Jewel
Message: Have you ever met someone who said their life was perfect? Well, in the first verse of this song that’s who we’ve caught up with, and he thought he was okay because he didn’t have any needs. Unfortunately, a cold heart and dry soul gave him away – he was lying to himself and too proud to acknowledge it. In the chorus he walks away and we hear the heart crying out, “All you need is a need!” Or a burden, you just need something! God specializes in hurting, weary, and weak lives. He’s always available to run to you in your need, but when that happens, it is entirely up to you. “Ask and you’ll receive, all you need is a need.” Verse two has such great lines I can’t help but quote them, “We all have things we keep inside, we know God knows but still we hide from the only One who has the power to solve them.” If we’d only cry out to Him, He’d come with abundant grace…but alas, He’s waiting on us.
His Dream: … for us to give Him our needs…
Other Comments: How true this is! Everyone has needs that God can, and will meet, if only we’d humble ourselves and ask for His help. It’s so priceless to hear a 10 year old sing these lyrics!
10. It Took A Living Savior
Feature: Kimberly and Tiffany
Message: Our theme in this song, is the ultimate need of mankind ~ a Savior. In the first verse God is looking down from heaven on this dying world – full of hate and anger. No longer the beauty of Eden, but an un-reparable wound covered the earth. When it looked like the world was hopeless, the Father sent His Son to die on a cross…because it “took a living Savior, to save a dying world.” The chorus tells us that in order to reach the Father it took a risen ransom, no other would do, only one who was worthy could redeem us. Now, we look at the same world – dying and turning away from the answer to their problems. The one who gives life, the one who conquered death, hell, and the grave. After another two choruses, Kimberly quotes Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrated His own love, towards us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
His Dream: … for us to know Him as Savior.
Other Comments: What a beautiful ballad! It sounds like angels are singing! But my favorite part has to be the very end, where MSS officially close the track with Scripture. Not many groups quote verses in their songs on their recordings. Some may do it in concert, but on the Cd is different. Honestly, I can only think of one other group who’s done this and I think it’s something other artists would do well to pick up on. Isaiah says that God’s Word does not come back void!!! 🙂