#950 - "Emmanuel (Hope of Heaven)" by North Point InsideOut
The band gets festive with a new holiday anthem.

Posted: December 06, 2018 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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North Point InsideOut is a worship band formed out of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. In 2017, the band dropped Nothing Ordinary for Centricity Music. It features worship songs written and performed by North Point InsideOut worship leaders, musicians and songwriters. The EP features the hit "Death Was Arrested," covered by Aaron Shust and Laura Story. 

Now, NorthPoint InsideOut is back with some Christmas music. The Christmas EP Ring the Bells features four original Christmas songs, including "Emmanuel (Hope of Heaven)." I had the chance to speak with Seth Condrey about the band's festive new song.

Please tell me the personal story behind the song.

When we (the band) got together to write this song, I was in a season of studying what it means for God to be with us in our day-to-day lives. I was reading a book, "The With-God Life," and came across a phrase by one of the authors, Dallas Willard. It's about really living in the presence of God all the time. We were in our writing room and suddenly I got the idea of turning the phrase into a song, highlighted by the name given to Jesus—"Emmanuel," which means "God with Us." It's an incredible thing we often hear, but we blow right past it. I wanted a song that I could worship to. And, something that would captivate people's hearts. Something familiar, but fresh, and powerful. This is how "Emmanuel (Hope of Heaven)" came about. It was a great experience writing this song.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Luke 2:13-14 (VOICE): "At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers—a vast heavenly choir. They praised God. To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God. And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!"
Isaiah 7:14-15 (NKJV): "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good."

Matthew 1:23 (VOICE): "A virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and His name will be Immanuel which is a Hebrew name that means "God with us."

Matthew 4:16 (NKJV): "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned."
John 8:12 (NKJV): "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'"

Acts 1:8 (NIV): "But, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

What is the takeaway message?

Those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord and savior know that He has taught us everything we need to do. Do what He does, from loving our neighbors to not worrying about tomorrow. We can do these things with Him, but not without Him.

At Christmas, we celebrate Jesus coming to earth. But, the miraculous example that we have in Jesus showing us and holding our hands is how He guides us daily to live like He would have us to live. That's what a disciple or apprentice does—learn from the master. I want people, when they hear this song, to remember the Great Commission and to go and make disciples. The last thing Jesus ends His ministry saying is "surely I am with you always." Jesus is with us through His Holy Spirit. That's where our confidence comes from and our ability to love comes from—the presence of God in our lives.

Death and darkness run and hide
At a baby's cry, at a baby's cry
And songs of angels fill the sky
Break the silent night, break the silent night, oh

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Jesus hope of Heaven, here to dwell
Oh sing my soul for it is well
Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

A thrill of hope for every heart
God is here with us, God is here with us
Great redeemer, great relief
Born to set us free, He has set us free, oh-ohh

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Jesus hope of Heaven, here to dwell
Oh sing my soul for it is well
Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Jesus hope of Heaven, here to dwell
Oh sing my soul for it is well
Rejoice, rejoice
Our God is with us
Our God is with us
Our God is with us

Closing Thoughts

My youngest of three daughters is twelve years old. She has that childlike faith that God challenges us to have. As a father of three young girls, I need to point them to their Heavenly Father. There's a lot more we can accomplish together by leaning into God as opposed to trying to solve life's challenges on our own. 

Life is messy. And, North Point InsideOut's song celebrates the joy of Jesus coming and living amongst us as Emmanuel: God with Us. The lyric "A thrill of hope for every heart/God is here with us, God is here with us/Great redeemer, great relief/Born to set us free" is something all believers can sing to God. That's one of those beautiful truths that we can all cling to and get through anything we might be dealing with on this side of eternity, knowing that we have a blessed hope waiting for us in Heaven. 
I love the reflective and reverent feel of this song. Every year, my family anticipates Christmas by reading Scripture daily to prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus. God's prophesy in Isaiah 7:14 is where God tells us exactly what is going to happen 700 years before the birth of His Son. 

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." This song captures that emotional, anticipatory feel of being expectant with reverent waiting for this holy day. You can sing this song in preparation this Christmas season, in remembrance of Jesus and God's promise. Biblically, we're commanded to spread the Good News of the Gospel in the Great Commission. In Mark 16:15, Jesus commands: "Preach the Gospel to every creature." There are no conditions or exceptions in that command. It's more of a lifestyle that Jesus calls us to live as Christians.
What's most amazing about our Savior Jesus is that of all the ways He could have chosen to save us, He chose to come down and be the least among us and a suffering servant. The main message of the song is to hold on to Christ, as something better is coming. We need to sing "O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord" and celebrate the birth of our King and Savior. "Emmanuel (Hope of Heaven)" expresses the blessed hope of Jesus: "Emmanuel, Emmanuel/Jesus hope of Heaven, here to dwell/Oh sing my soul for it is well/ Rejoice, rejoice/Emmanuel, Emmanuel." Ask the Lord Jesus to look into your heart and allow you to receive Him with a childlike wonder. That's what Christmas is all about. Amen to that.

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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