Written by: Laura Chambers (9/8/2016)
If you ranked Biblical verses by how often they were spoken by Christians novel characters or graced inspirational plaques and T-shirts, Jeremiah 29:11 would probably be near the top of the list, if not in the number one spot. “’For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV) It’s a promise which has both comforted those who cling to it like a lifeline in their day of trouble and raised the hackles of theologians who insist context is key; that we cannot cherry pick this choice phrase as though it applied to everyone.
For the record, I don’t disagree with this statement; unless we know what the Bible is actually talking about, we can make it say anything we want. Yet there is something irresistible about these words, in a world where nothing about the road ahead seems certain or optimistic. In their new album Future + Hope, New Hope Oahu brings us their vision of God’s infinite mercy; truths we can build a battlefield strategy on.
“I Want You” expresses an overwhelming desire for Jesus, as He perfectly completes us in a way nothing or no one else can. We can find a firm foundation to stand on when we cast aside everything we brought to the game and take His cross. It’s a great way to begin in life and music. “Future + Hope”, the title track, declares the reassurance we have in God, who has given us both of these in Him. Fear and this world may evaporate but He will always be there for us. He keeps his promises to us faithfully. It’s the kind of song that rouses the weary to their feet, knowing that Jesus fights their battles. “Overwhelmed”, though a common sentiment shared by those who have spent time in the presence of God, loses none of its poignancy. The difference between where we were and now are would be enough to cause a sensory overload; to know and be loved by the God who accomplished it only maximizes the experience. “You Alone” shows Christ as the powerful Healer and Savior, who alone is able to fulfill these roles. It is for that reason that we cannot worship, trust, or rely on anyone else. Despite the fact that its title isn’t the most original, the message of this song truly bears repeating.
“Call on The Name” picks up the tempo a bit, tying together the story of our salvation with one common thread. Everyone who calls upon God’s name will find refuge; because of His death, we now have life in Him. You can’t buy the kind of joy that comes with the love and redemption Christ died to give us. The song is punctuated with peppy percussion, which makes it a natural for singing along. “Written” takes us back into the slow lane again, but not in an unwelcome way. The truths present in God’s word are meditated on, noting that His Spirit moves us to understand scripture. Looking to God, we ask His Spirit to descend and illuminate the Word to thereby transform us. Songs (and subject matter) like this make it hard to review and simply enjoy them at the same time! “Amen” pictures all of creation waiting on the edge of our seats for Christ to save us and complete the story of redemption. What else can we do but praise Him? “Hold On to You” shows us that our lack and blessings can move us to seek God. We can release our troubles into His arms as we reach for Him, because He is reaching out for us. Jesus’ wounds pay for our sins; His grace gives us the opportunity to have a new start.
“As I Am” whirls into dance celebration mode again, rejoicing that God is on our side and won’t abandon us. He can work in our lives, no matter what they look like when we surrender to Him. “Savior’s Name” remakes the hymn “Oh, How I Love Jesus” with a new chorus, extolling the virtues that Jesus’ name, when heard or spoken, brings to mind. After the prior track, it’s a moment of praise and refreshing that reminds us why we can come to Him. “’Uhane Hemolele” (Hawaiian for “Holy Ghost”) is a different arrangement of “Written”, albeit with a more tropical flavor. It‘s a little unusual to have this a) not be the last track and b) not be a bonus track. The only Hawaiian words I know are lei, hula, aloha and the like, but it’s hard not to like this song. “Mesmerized” ends off the album with a plea for God to remind and refresh us in the midst of doubt and forgetfulness. In His presence, it’s difficult to turn our focus to anything else. We cannot be touched by His love and remain as we once were.
When darkness overshadows our lives, we may be inclined to withdraw from God. We must defy our inclinations and run towards Him instead, declaring His praises. All the times we have experienced His goodness will surely fill our hearts again. Future + Hope promises that our lives will only become richer and fuller the deeper and closer we become to God, that moments spent with Him are never wasted.
Released: September 9, 2016
Label: Dream Records
- I Want You (Feat. Christina Brown) (3:47)
- Future + Hope (Feat. Jana Anguay Alcain) (5:26)
- Overwhelmed (Feat. Jana Anguay Alcain) (4:50)
- You Alone (Feat. Christopher Thomas) (5:29)
- Call on the Name (Feat. None Slade) (3:22)
- Written (Feat. Feat. Jana Anguay Alcain) (6:22)
- Amen (Feat. Jewl Anguay Carney) (3:59)
- Hold On To You (Feat. Christopher Thomas) (4:31)
- As I Am (Feat. Melodie Zepeda) (3:37)
- Savior’s Name (Feat. Christopher Kiriakos) (3:49)
- ‘Uhane Hemolele (Feat. Jana Anguay Alcain and Kale Chung) (6:02)
- Mesmerized (Feat. Christina Brown and Christopher Kiriakos) (4:54)
12 Tracks, 55:19
Buy on iTunes
More from New Hope Oahu:
- Steadfast Love(2011)
- Hope Is Alive (2013)
- Victorious (2014)
- Greater Together (2015)
- Future + Hope (2016)
- Live At The Blaisdell Arena (2017)
Links for New Hope Oahu: