Diverse Group Comes Together on 3:16 Songs of Hope

Artist(s):  Various
Title:  3:16 Songs of Hope
Label:  Indelible Creative Group

Max Lucado’s latest book, 3:16 The Numbers of Hope, was released with these two companion products on 9/11 in an effort to take back the date, “the numbers of terror,” and replace them with “3:16 – the numbers of hope.”

You have to commend him for the thought; I’ve been waiting for just such an effort.  The 3:16 Songs of Hope CD features a widely diverse group of artists singing gospel-related songs from their respective albums, with the exception of Jaci Velasquez, the only artist with two songs, one of which is a brand new release. That upbeat pop track, “Loved by You,” is the album’s first single, marking Velasquez’ return to the music scene following a three-year break. Actually, her other contribution, the gentle opener “God So Loved,” is said to be Lucado’s inspiration for the new book.

As you might expect of an author of Lucado’s stature, the project drew upon numerous popular, award-winning artists, all of them singing of various elements of the gospel and the message of John 3:16, that single most well-known Scripture. Many genres are represented on the project, from Alison Krauss’ hushed a capella rendition of “Down to the River to Pray,” to the closing gospel track, standout “Change” from Heather Hadley, serving up a big power finish for the album.  And you’ve pretty much got everything in between. Big vocals on Sandi Patty’s string-heavy “Born Again,” a dramatic take on Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, and more dramatics from Travis Cottrell’s nuanced “2000 years.” Chris Tomlin and Jeff Deyo contribute fervent worship on “How Great Is Our God” and “Glory,” respectively, and Michael W. Smith’s “Come to the Foot of the Cross” is a quietly pulsating invitation to the cross.

But the moments I enjoyed most came from rockers Third Day ( the rootsy “Love Song”) and Jars of Clay (that edgy, effervescent “Dead Man” always gets to me). The accompanying DVD contains Lucado’s original short film, “Wherever You Are,” plus 12 video features of the author’s thoughts on the life-changing Scripture. Each segment corresponds with a chapter in 3:16 The Numbers of Hope, sure to be another big hit with the many, many Lucado-lovers.

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