Jonas Park is a well-known and much beloved worship leader and songwriter at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. His song “I Am Yours,” which is featured on the most recent Onething Live album, Sing Your Praises, has become a worship anthem in our prayer room over the past several years. Another of his songs, “Coming Home,” was recorded in 2011 for Forerunner Music’s Hold On compilation, an album accompanying and inspired by the award-winning documentary, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.
Now, Forerunner Music is excited to present Forward, Park‘s debut EP release, recorded alongside long-time songwriting collaborator and friend, David Bollmann. You may know David as the keyboardist from the Virginia Beach band, Rekapse (also represented by its guitarist, and Bollmann’s brother, Kelly, as well as its bassist and drummer).
The album title, inspired by Philippians 3:14, came about when, as explained by Park, “we were in the early stages of planning the album, both walking through some difficult times, and I remember the Lord saying to me, ‘Jonas, if you are moving forward in God as your central focus, you are moving forward in life,’ and that phrase really complements the verse for me: to keep Christ as the prize, to forget what lies behind, and to reach forward to the upward call of Christ Jesus.”
Forward sets the tone for its creative strain of worship with “I Remember,” as Park, joined by fiancée Laura Hackett, declares, “I remember the faithfulness of Your touch and how You’d lift me up // Because You always delight in showing mercy” to a backdrop of driving piano riffs played by Park and frantic beats.
The next track, “Lifter of My Head,” is a hope-filled anthem by Bollmann—reminiscent of the Davidic psalms—which pleasantly layers pensive bells and programming with an intriguing guitar line that immediately captures the listener’s attention. The song rises to its symphonious crescendo as Bollmann sings, “I can see You, You’re arising, lifter of my head, lifter of my head!”
“Nearness” is a moving expression of Park’s yearning for the return of Jesus, in which he reflects on the intimacy of Eden and anticipates the time when we will walk together with Jesus in perfect nearness. This beautiful composition grips the heart with its chorus as Park sings of his longing: “To know Your nearness as in the garden, to walk with You, Lord, hand in hand,” and the compelling declaration that “this will be our song until You come home, that nothing else will do, we must have You.”
Bollmann moves the album effortlessly from the aggressive instrumentation and catchy choruses of its first half to the far mellower expression of creativity that characterizes its second half. “O Jesus,” a simple song of adoration laced with atmospheric textures and airy melodies, precedes the shuffling “All My Hope,” which lays its foundation with organs and chiming guitars before kicking the intensity back up for its soaring bridge as Bollmann sings, “You rose again for me // You’re coming back for me!”
“There’s Only One Worthy” is the perfect curtain-closer for the album, an acoustic, guitar-driven song by Park, incorporating majestic string arrangements as it describes how Jesus came as a man and “took our place on death row to show us the Father and give us a home.” This song lends itself perfectly to a Sunday morning church setting, its simple worshipful chorus declaring, “There’s only One worthy // Jesus, You’re worthy.”
- I Remember
- Lifter of My Head
- O Jesus
- All My Hope
- There’s Only One Worthy