It is four years since Tim Hughes last released a solo album, so his new release ‘Pocketful of Faith’ was eagerly awaited in our house. It’s not that he has been idle in the intervening years, for apart from his work as worship leader at HTB Church in London, he has headed up ‘Worship Central‘, a movement aimed at equipping and resourcing worship leaders throughout the world and completed a theology degree, a volume of work that certainly would have defeated me! Recently, he has left the security of the church where he has worked for the past ten years to lead a church plant in Birmingham, and the album reflects this exciting but terrifying journey of faith.
To outsiders, such ventures seem exciting and even logical, but for those involved, every time God calls us to new adventures, there will be questions and fear mixed in with our faith. Following God is never boring, never predictable! The title track on the album reflects how we often feel as we step out into unknown territory, how ‘a pocketful of faith’ is all we have to bring, mixed in with the nervousness and anticipation of the unknown, but how God can do so much with our mustard seeds of faith.
‘Plans’ is a vibrant song based on Jeremiah 29:11, reminding us that even in our uncertainties, God is working for our good:
‘You’ve got plans to give us a future and a hope,
We are not forgotten, we are not alone.’ (‘Plans’, Tim Hughes)
‘Here With Me‘ is a prayer that as we step out in faith, we go nowhere unless God is with us, echoing Moses’s prayer in Exodus 33. ‘Only The Brave’ reminds us that we have to take those risky steps of faith if we are to follow God whole-heartedly, but bravery is not an absence of fear, rather a pressing on in God even when we fear. As Ps 56:3 reminds us, ‘when I am afraid, I put my trust in You.’ ‘Hope and Glory’ is a powerful anthem, painting a picture of the security we have in Christ and His power alone to change our world. ‘Sky High’ reminds us of the endless scope of God’s love; ‘Arms’ reminds us that ‘Your arms are big enough for me.’
I’m always interested in the story behind the song, in the people who bring us new expressions of worship, for worship is an overflow of the heart and the songs we connect with are those which reflect our understanding and experience of God. These songs talk of our uncertainties, but are deeply rooted in the character of God, a God whose heart is relentlessly for us, and whose salvation is freely available to all. May we all step out in faith, even if it’s also in fear and trembling, and lean on the strength and power of God, to take us deeper and farther than we’ve ever been before.