A tribute to all victims of the 9/11 incident and those affected:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
>> Kevin LeVar
A tribute to all victims of the 9/11 incident and those affected:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
>> Kevin LeVar
Are you one of the many who is caught up in the busy, hectic work-filled environment of daily life? Do you often find yourself silently screaming for a break? Do you find your quiet times with God decreasing? There probably are times when you yearn for that proximity with God you enjoyed earlier. These lines probably sum it all up:
“The TV is talking, the Telephone’s ringing,
The lights are all on and the Radio’s screaming!
A million distractions are stealing my heart from You…”
– Matthew West, “Stop the World”
Today, this is one of the most effective means used by Satan to pull believers far away from the Lord. This leaves a gaping void in the hearts of all believers as they long to get back to their First Love. Yet, time and again, they seem to fail, one way or other making them feel as though they have backslid or they have let God down.
Well, the most effective answer to ANY problem is just one simple word: ‘PRAY’. Now people often mistake prayer to be a traditional, stereotypical aspect of Religion, wherein one needs to enter a place of worship and follow certain set of words or rules. How ridiculous! Prayer is just an ordinary conversation that we have with the Lord. He longs to hear from us! The Lord is like a friend to us; He’s called us His friend! Our Lord is there for us all the time. He will never let us go, and is constantly watchful over us. We can talk to Him anytime, anywhere, and for anything. The best part is that the Lord already knows what we want to say even before we say it. That’s what the Bible says. He is omnipotent and omniscient, all-knowing. We do not have to fear Him, because He is like a friend to us. He eagerly waits for us to talk to Him.
So, no matter where you are, you just have to talk to Him. Even if you’re at work, just take a moment to shut your eyes and form a chain of thought and talk to God in your mind, or it just can be a whisper under your breath. Believe me, He is waiting to hear from you. In fact, you can have an all-day conversation with the Lord in your mind, no matter where you are.
However, it is equally important to have your quiet moments with the Lord in order to grow spiritually.
“Stop the World, I wanna get out,
I need an escape away from this crowd,
Just to hear you speak to me…”
– Matthew West, “Stop the World”
Organize your schedule so that you can spend time in prayer, intercession and meditation. It is imperative to prioritize one’s life in order to grow in the Lord. Give the Lord first place in your life and He will take care of everything else in your Life. He longs to help us, and bond with us and use us mightily. Nevertheless, He has given the choice of free-will and wants us to willingly prioritize Him first-place. We can overcome time constraints by sacrificing a little on other fields in Life; this way, we show that we really do love the Lord and want to put Him first in our lives.
“I failed to find the time, but You’ve been calling out;
I let the days go by, as if I could live without,
But it’s got to be here and now; I won’t be pulled away,
‘Cause it’s just You and I; So let the world around us fade…”
– Sanctus Real, “Pray”
That’s exactly what happens when we pray. We put the Lord foremost in our lives and fall in complete surrender upon Him. And then, nothing else seems to matter. It’s just God and our self. Everything else fades into absolute nothingness.
“I’m gonna fix my eyes on all that You are,
Till every Doubt I feel deep in my Heart grows Strangely Dim;
Let all my worries fade and fall to the ground;
I’m gonna seek Your face and not look around till the place I’m in,
Grows strangely dim…”
– Francesca Battistelli, “Strangely Dim”
That decision is all up to you. That’s what really matters. How would you prioritize your life? Who do you want to put first in your life?
However, you can be assured that putting God first in your life will ensure everything else falls into their places.
Hymns, practically are the roots from which our Contemporary Christian Music arose. It’s no wonder, therefore, that many of the contemporaries want to revisit our roots. Through the years, we have consecrated our originals – Fanny Crosby, Isaac Watts, Philip Paul Bliss, Charlotte Elliot, just to name a few – by singing their timeless hymns that have found a blissful place in all of our hearts.
The CCM industry in its part, as well, has cherished these hymns by recreating them in a contemporary way while staying true to the lyrics and the music. Here are a couple of songs that will make you cherish Hymns in all their glory, courtesy of Contemporary Christian Music.
Here’s a beautiful, rendering of ‘I Stand Amazed’ by Bart Millard of MercyMe.
Here’s Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman with a soulful portrayal of ‘The Wonderful Cross’ (Isaac Watts)
Here’s Aaron Shust performing ‘My Savior, My God’ on the Logan Show:
Here’s Tricia Brock of Superchick with ‘Jesus, I am Resting, Resting’. This rendering is totally mind-blowing.
Here’s the timeless ‘In Christ Alone’ performed by Phillips, Craig and Dean. This is considered to be one of the most amazing renditions of the song yet.
And the same song by Natalie Grant and The Booth Brothers:
If you have enjoyed the few samples above, you will want to check out the album: Jesus Firm Foundation: Hymns of Worship. This album brings together CCM’s most cherished artists (Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Casting Crowns, Brandon Heath, Matthew West, Newsboys, Nichole Nordeman, Kari Jobe, Mandisa, Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North, Matt Maher, Building 429, Andy Cherry and Hillsong) in bringing out timeless hymns with an original, innovative outlook. This record blends together the traditional, timeless element of hymns with a modern, fresh touch. This is a definite ‘must-have’ if you want to hear your Church Classics by your favorite artists!
To watch the official Lyric videos of all the songs in ‘Jesus Firm Foundation: Hymns of Worship‘, Visit the following YouTube Page:
Good news, all Britt Nicole fans!
Britt Nicole tweeted that she and her husband Josh Crosby welcomed a baby girl on July 24th, 2013.
@itsbrittnicole My Husband and I are so happy to share with you that our baby girl was born yesterday July 24.
There is a lot of albums that have been released recently in CCM city. Here’s one that released on July 23, 2013:
Dreamers >> Shine Bright Baby
Just like ‘Citizens’ who have just recently gone mainstream, ‘Shine Bright Baby’ joins the family of BEC Recordings after being Independent for a long time. Their songs like ‘Lumineux’ and ‘Made to Glow’ clearly reflect this aim. Dreamers is their first album as a signed band and contains Pop elements. As an independent band, They created music with pop and punk elements. However, their newest album doesn’t strictly stick to this genre but wanders between rock and pop elements. It is a wonderful piece of work but slightly unorganized as they still try to establish what category they come under.
As the name of the band suggests, the band wants to encourage listeners to ‘Shine Brighter’ in Jesus. Speaking on the Band name, Band member, Josh Fink, says “We got our name from Philippians 2, which talks about shining brightly for the Lord, but we wanted to take what that verse said and apply it to the band’s mission and what we stood for. Emily wanted it to be more fun and playful, so she tacked ‘Baby’ on the end and it just stuck.”*
To know more about the band, visit their official website: http://www.shinebrightbaby.com
My Rating: 4/5
* – Taken from an interview with BEC Recordings
Here are some of the other albums that have recently been recently released in CCM, that you must check out:
^ Collapsible Lung >> Relient K
^ Rise >> Skillet
^ Morning Rises >> Aaron Shust
^ Still Standing >> Keisha Cory
^ We Won’t Be Shaken >> Building 429
^ These Hearts >> Yours to Take
^ Hours >> Falling Up
^ Everfound >> Everfound
^ The Last Word is Yours to Speak >> Phinehas
^ Old Soul >> Wayne Haun
^ Trin-I-Tee 5:7 Hits >> Trin-I-Tee 5:7
Happy Listening and have a great week!
In 17th century Britain, a band of poets called the ‘Metaphysical Poets’ arose, who used a figure of speech called the ‘Metaphysical Conceit’. The metaphysical conceit is a very intellectual device. It is an extended metaphor by comparing two ideas that are unrelated, in a very startling, unexpected way. It involves connecting two images that you would never expect to relate together. Andrew Marvell, John Donne, George Herbert and Richard Crashaw are a few of many such metaphysical poets. An example of metaphysical conceit can be seen in George Herbert’s ‘Praise (III),’ where the generosity of God is compared to a bottle, which will take in an infinite amount of the speaker’s tears. This bottle is also compared to ‘boxes for the poor’. In short, Metaphysical conceit is an extended metaphor where comparison is taken to the next level – a glorified, exaggerated level.
Today, we can find a lot of creative uses of the ‘metaphysical conceit’. Specific to our very own CCM Industry, we see Josh Wilson who tries to fit the entirety of God within a three-minute song! Naturally, he realizes the futility of such an attempt. In his own words, he compares this effort to ‘trying to fit the ocean in a cup.’ Wow! This phrase goes on to become the title of his album. Josh Wilson says that it’s easy to have a million metaphors, however, it would still be impossible to sum up and define the fullness of God. This is an extremely creative use of the metaphysical conceit today. ‘3 Minute Song’ is an amazing portrayal of the vastness and fullness of a wonderful, great God. The song is complex in its simplicity and speaks tons through a small three-minute song. Wilson’s subtle sense of humor is clearly visible and is effortlessly seamed through the entire song. The brevity, music, beats and of course, the incredible vocals, engage the attention of the listener, encouraging anyone to listen to the song more than twice. The concept brought in is unique and one-of-a-kind, so are the chords and musical level of the song.
The Afters, in their song ‘The Way You Are’ brings in a whole lot of radical comparisons. It talks about the Salvation experience, when Christ steps into the life of a new believer. The song tries to portray the wildness in imagery of a great, mighty God entering the soul of a new believer. What an incredible picture! This experience is likened to the sun being swallowed by the Earth; or a mushroom cloud left behind by atomic bombs – ‘it’s like atomic bombs in reverse’; or a glass that can contain the entire Sea! Try imagining that… That’s the way God is, in each one of us. The song depicts the hopelessness of our lives before Christ comes to live within us. We are unworthy of such grandeur but Christ showed compassion on us and redeemed us once again into the flock of God. The song is unique in its message and keeps up with the catchy beats of The Afters. Although the song goes a couple of years back, the relevance of the song can still be found today, in terms of its message and its musical influence.
Moving over to one of the more recent depictions, we have NewSong with their song ‘Swallow the Ocean’. As the title of the song itself proclaims, when God breaks open the Heavens, it’s almost uncontainable – like trying to swallow the ocean. The song once again focuses on the grandeur and greatness of the Lord. It also portrays the Salvation experience when we come alive and undone with God. Additionally, it portrays the weakness and innocence of human beings and our complete reliance on the Lord. The song has found its place on the Top 10 list as well as the charts. The song is fresh and original in its kind – rather, the simplicity in its melody and the inclusion of a higher, more complex level of harmony, revisits some of the earlier flairs of worship music. By bringing in musical elements from the recent past (with respect to worship music), it creates a sense of nostalgia in the minds of listeners. At the same time, there is an original freshness that lies unique to the song which carries its listeners to a peak of culmination and then lets go, sending thrilling vibes through the listener. The song is beautiful, both in message and in its musical precision.
The world premiere of Jonathan Thulin’s masterpiece: a short film/long-form music video for “Dead Come to Life” has released and it is an amazing must-watch. It’s extremely powerful and in the form of a symbolic story. Just a couple of posts ago, we talked about Jonathan Thulin’s ‘Bombs Away’, featuring Rachael Lampa.
Click here to read up on ‘Bombs Away’ and view the Music Video:
‘Dead Come to Life’ is yet another powerful music video by Jonathan Thulin featuring Charmaine, and Thulin’s talent in adding that dash of variety and creativity into Christian Music pops up again. This is a wonderful story symbolic of our King of Love who bridged the gap between mankind and Earth by sending His most prized possession to His people. The story compares the two attitudes of a widow who humbly receives this wonderful gift from the King and a rich man who scoffs at the King and walks away. The rich man was arrogant and full of greed and sought only to fulfill his own desires. The King had made a wonderful promise to everyone regardless of their social status or anything. It was a free gift to everyone who accepted it, and it promised Eternal Life.
On entering the King’s garden, they are given instructions not to wander far and to be at the gates before Sunset, or they would be locked in Eternal darkness. The widow humbly obeyed the King but the heart of the rich man was bitter and he began to wander through the garden, paying no heed to the King’s warning. He soon reaches the end of the garden and realizes that what the King said was true and the Sun was setting soon. He turns around rushing to find the gate, but it is too late…
The woman walks out of the garden, having gained the King’s inheritance and eternal life. The rich man tried his best to find the gate but it was too late and the gate had shut before his eyes. There was nothing the King could do to undo the choice the man had made. In the darkness, the rich man searched for the gate relentlessly, wondering how different things could have been, if only he had listened.
The short film is a beautiful portrayal of the God’s free, loving gift of Salvation and the ignorance of man. Truly, this video comes as a great eye-opener, to our calling. It talks about the eternal consequences that ensue our choice of following Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful depiction of God’s Grace and Redemption despite the pride of man’s heart.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? – Matthew 16:26
‘Dead come to Life’ is off Thulin’s latest album The White Room as is ‘Bombs Away’ and is highly recommended. The Swedish-American talent of Jonathan Thulin that blends variety and creativity into Christian music makes his album stand out from the rest.
Javen’s ‘I’m Alright’ is a beautiful, true portrayal of our lives as believers in Christ. In college, there are many atheists who constantly confront me, and they strive so hard to deny the existence of God. They constantly hold on to theories and they have set their heart hard against any sort of acceptance of the truth behind the real Lord.
I constantly fail to understand why they would complicate the entire idea and take up the burden of the world onto their shoulders when Jesus simply says to lay your entire burden down on Him and just accept Him as your Lord. The Lord just wants to walk with us all the way and help us out of all our troubles so that we may grow stronger in Him. Jesus gives a simpler, logical way out and yet some of us choose rather to question and doubt and take up the weight of the world on our shoulders.
From what I’ve observed, such people who are really smart and capable, lose their peace of mind due to all the questioning and doubting. Due to their constant denial of the existence of God, they strive to find the reason for their existence and constantly lose hope. They try to come up with some rational explanation for everything and strongly deny the supernatural. This also constantly leaves them in a state of depression and hopelessness especially when they think that there is no one who will support them or help them in their times of trouble. They may face a sense of isolation and desertion. Also, their future may appear uncertain to them. They move along with a sense of uncertainty, with no guarantee for their future.
Jesus calls us to become as children, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven. We simply need to accept His wonderful gift of Salvation, live in Him and let Him work in us. If we live without questioning and accept His perfect Will, He has only the best in store for us and everything will become clear to us one day.
Indeed, everyone has a right to difference in opinion. However, it is much simpler to gain acceptance and live simply with no fears or uncertainty. We will always have the Lord to be on our side to guide us in every way and we have a sense of guarantee in Him for He has the best in store for us.
Our walk with Christ is not going to be an easy one, indeed. But when we are in Christ, we have the promise that He will be with us always, no matter what may come our way, we are promised that we will never be alone. When things get too tough and we fall apart, Jesus promises to carry us through. We can always trust in Him to be alright.
This is the promise that we can have in Christ:
“I sought the Lord,
and He heard my cry;
And pitied every, every groan.
As long as I live, and troubles rise,
I’m willing to trust Him,
So I’ll be Alright.”
There will be times when our faith will be shaken to the core, the world may come down on us, and we may feel like there is no way out of our situation. Yet, in these times, the Lord asks us to hold on firmly to Him, because He promises that He will never let us go – no matter how strong things may fall down on us.
I strongly encourage you to listen to Manafest’s ‘Never Let You Go’. This powerful song will give you great comfort and encouragement to hold onto the Lord, no matter what may come your way. If you need the assurance that you will not be left alone, no matter where you are, God promises that He will never let you go. This is a song that will stir your very core.
When you look all around you, it’s really impossible to deny the existence of God. It’s far too obvious. Anyone who denies the existence of a wonderful, loving God is denying a happy life with no uncertainty, doubt or worry. That indeed is a pitiful existence.
’33 Miles’ says it right: “There is a God; This is the proof: That all around the evidence is speaking the truth…”
“Believe it or not, There IS a God.”
The artist Austin Bridge, with his amazing voice, also echoes the same message. There is a God, how much proof do you need??
“Try and put your arms around a hundred year old tree,
Or climb up on a horse, and let it run full speed,
Or take a look down at the world from thirty thousand feet on your next flight.
Go watch a flock of birds, against the morning sun, Close your eyes and listen to the river run,
Or catch a firefly in your hand or a raindrop on your tongue, That’s right:
>> There is a God, how much proof do you need?
Plant a seed and see what comes out of the ground, Or find the heartbeat on your baby’s ultrasound;
Put a few years here, and don’t it sound like a song?
And stop and think about what you don’t understand:
Things like life and love, and how the world began.
And the doctors say they can’t explain this, but the cancer’s gone.
>> There is a God, how much proof do you need?
Science says it’s only circumstance, Like this whole world’s just an accident,
But if you want to shoot that theory down, then look around, just look around…
>> There is a God, how much proof do you need?”
I’ve recently been through a trying situation that has nearly forced me to give up – A situation where I could trust no one and everyone I did had let me down. The problems that streamed in from every side were more than I could handle. However, that’s when God reminded me that He was still in control.
Even in the depths of despair, when you feel like nothing is going to be the same and there’s no way out of your problems, I would encourage you to keep holding on to the Lord who always makes a way – even when there seems to be no way. God is mighty and all-powerful. He is capable of doing everything – even the impossible. There’s nothing that is impossible for the Lord.
And the greatest thing is that He is always there for us. He promised never to leave us, that He would be with us, even till the end of the world. (Matthew 28: 20) So, no matter where we are, in highs or lows, in the peaks of Joy or in the depths of despair, God is an amazing friend. He’ll never let go of us. He loves us and He cares for us and He only has the best stored up for us.
When I thought that my situation couldn’t get any worse, God showed up and reminded me that He was still able, and no matter how strong the forces of darkness may get, my God is always stronger. We need to be constantly reminded that our God is ultimate. There is nothing above or beyond Him. He stands alone as God – so powerful – the creator of the entire Universe. I can assure you, when such a great God is on your side, fighting for you, you have absolutely no need to fear, whatsoever.
This was a song that came into my mind constantly providing me with great peace and comfort. And I wish to share it with anyone who may be going through a similar situation or if you are in need of the assurance that God is still in control of things – that even if He holds the weight of the world in His hands, yet He never lets us slip through. We can always be secure and assured in His comforting Hands that He only has the best in store for us. Whatever we may go through is temporary, but our assurance in our Lord is eternal.
Be cheerful in the spirit of our Lord. His assurance is everlasting.
“There was a faint white light emanating from a tall pole in the distance, yet it was all blurry… I rubbed my eyes and looked again, it seemed so far away, but there was no doubt about it. That was the only source of light in the whole area, you couldn’t miss it. I wondered if there would be anyone over there. I was all alone and scared, and that heavy load on my back felt as though it were getting heavier with every step. I tried to take it off my shoulders but my hands just were NOT able to reach it, however hard I tried. It seemed like an impossible task. I took another step forward and realized I had stooped so low that my face was very close to the ground. I looked at that faint light again, trying to wipe the sweat from my eyes. I was tired and weary and so I figured, “That light is my only chance now. I have to get to it no matter what. It’s my only hope.” Saying thus, I tried to hasten toward the light as much as I could. However, the next step I took, sent me stumbling to the ground, where I broke my fall with my hands. I had tripped over something but I couldn’t see what it was in the dark. I continued on my way tripping and stumbling and falling down, but I always got up again, with a lot of effort. Then, I started noticing that the more I began to head forward, the lighter the load began to feel. Soon, I was able to pick up my speed and make my way to the light, I tried to look behind and noticed that my load wasn’t getting any lighter but I was getting stronger. The light loomed nearer and nearer. “Just a couple more steps,” I told myself, and kept trudging forward. I kept praying there would be someone there who could help me.
Finally, I reached the light. At least, I thought it was a light source. It was a large, glowing white flag – so bright, that it looked like a source of light. My eyes took a little time to get used to the brightness emanating from the white flag, but then, I saw Him. I wasn’t able to look at His face as the load on my back caused me to stoop low. He approached me, reached out and took the load off my shoulder and with a firm grasp.
I was free, at last! I looked up at His face and noticed the kindness and compassion in His eyes. It felt so good to hand over all my burdens onto Him. I just fell down on my face and thanked Him. I was filled with a peace that passed all understanding and I was calm. I felt like I was not alone anymore. I had someone here to help me out.”
Have you surrendered your life and your burdens to Christ yet? He is the only One who can help you out of anything you go through. Our Savior is strong and mighty and can carry all our loads and lift our burdens. If we surrender our everything – our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our decisions – to Him, He promises to be with us and help us and carry all our burdens for us. He is tender and compassionate and cares deeply for each one of our needs.
Although the Life we live is hard with trials and tests, yet God has asked us to humble ourselves and surrender everything into His hands. He tells us to lean on Him and promises comfort and hope in every area of our lives. However, if we surrender ourselves to Him, we need to do so wholeheartedly and not just surrender a part of our selves and stay in control of the other. We need to surrender to Him wholly, knowing that He has only the best stored up for us. We are sure to ruin things if we take control of parts of our lives, thinking that we know best.
Chris Tomlin’s ‘White Flag’ shows the power of surrendering to God and letting the King of Love bring Peace in the midst of strife and war. Here’s a clip that shows the power that descends when some pretty amazing worship leaders get together. We’re talking about some amazing worship leaders like Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, David Crowder and so many more coming together for some real worship (Passion 2012).
Click the link below to watch this amazing, powerful video:
Here is a very powerful song about surrendering. Flame and V-Rose come together to create some great music about the wonderful concept of surrendering to Christ. “Jesus, here’s my White Flag, I surrender right now.”
Here’s a beautiful portrayal of how man’s decisions often fail but we always have a backup plan in Christ who never lets us down.
‘This Beautiful Republic’ comes up with this wonderful portrayal of the power of Surrendering. Yes, indeed, Surrender can save your life.
And finally, the amazing voice of Tony LeBron who won the Gospel Dream Awards 2009. This song is wonderful, soulful, inspiring and amazing in every way. Tony LeBron is a man of great talent as he combines his voice with this beautiful message to give you a mind-blowing performance that will stir your very core. Here is an artist that I promise you will love:
Surrender yourselves to Christ and don’t hold back. Let Him work His miracle in you. Have a great day 🙂
Have you ever taken matters into your own hands, making decisions based on what you thought was best; and later realized that everything appears to be falling apart? You realize suddenly that you made a very wrong decision and you don’t know how to undo things that have already happened. If you have been in this situation before, you’re not alone. Everyone makes wrong decisions every now and then, but that is mainly because we do not seek God to help us choose the right decision.
People are impatient these days. We don’t seem to find the time to do any ‘waiting’ whatsoever. We want everything right here, right now. The idea of taking a decision to the Lord in prayer and then waiting patiently for an answer seems too time-consuming for our busy schedules. Yet, waiting rooms can turn out to be great classrooms. Remember, God knows what’s best for us because He created us and He cares for us. If He does not give an immediate reply, there must be a reason which we may not know immediately, but in the future, we may realize that the wait was for a reason.
Some other times, God gives us an answer, but it’s an answer we don’t like nor understand. We may try to argue or reason with God, but we forget that we are just looking at a small fraction of a bigger picture. The Lord who created the Heavens and the earth, knows our pasts, present and our futures. He sees the bigger picture and He knows what He’s doing. We just have to let go and take a leap of Faith, knowing that God is in control of everything and that whatever decision He makes is always the wisest.
Jonny Diaz’s song ‘Waiting Room’ clarifies this notion. Whether the Lord’s answer is a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’, we need to praise Him. The Lord who holds the whole world in His hands is too great to stumble or make mistakes. Trust Him – He knows what He’s doing.
Here in this waiting room yearning for You to say go
And though I’m convinced that a ‘Yes’ would be best,
This time You’re telling me ‘No’.
It’s not that I don’t have an answer
It’s just not the one that I like
But through this time, Lord, I must keep in mind
That You’re always wiser than I…
>> Because You have a much better purpose
And You have a far greater plan
And You have a bigger perspective
‘Cause You hold this world in your hands
The things that I seek are from You
Like the strong healing touch of your hand
But when You say ‘No’, help me trust even though,
There’s a reason I can’t understand
When that miracle comes ’cause Your answer is ‘Yes’,
I will praise you for all of my days
But when Your wisdom declares that a ‘No’ is what’s best
I will praise You just the same…
[This Youtube video has been uploaded by ‘Montage03’]
Once you’ve taken your decisions to the Lord in prayer, you need to still your heart and just wait for an answer. Be prepared wholeheartedly for any response. Take a leap of Faith, and watch God work a miracle through you. Remember, God says “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength – they shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 40:31) and be still, let the Lord fight your battles for you.(Exodus 14:14).
Yes folks, it’s true. After nearly twenty years of an amazing music ministry, Bebo Norman has announced that at the end of 2013, he plans to end his extremely inspiring, successful musical career. Although disappointing to us fans, this appears to be God’s will as he has prayed a lot over this decision.
As a lot of us know, Norman has often called himself an ‘accidental’ artist because he deserted his plans in medical school and immersed himself into music. Norman is said to be touring this summer and fall with fellow musicians, Andrew Peterson and Sara Groves.
Bebo Norman’s music has been an inspiration to many around the world and his ministry has reached out to many. He has left his mark in the Christian Music Industry and will be remembered as a legend and great minister. He will definitely be missed once he leaves the Christian music scene. Do keep Norman in your prayers and we definitely wish him the best in all his future endeavors.
Here’s one of his latest songs: ‘Sing of your Glory’ off his most recent album “Lights of Distant Cities” – definitely amazing!
Remember L.A. Symphony? That amazing hip-hop group from LA, with Pigeon John and Flynn Adam, UNO Mas, Cookbook, Joey the Jerk and bTwice. The band formed in 1997 and released many albums till 2009 when the band took a break, going solo. Also, 2005 proved to be a year of great trials for the band with UNO Mas contracting Guillain-Barre syndrome, Joey’s grandfather passing away and Cookbook’s dad affected by a stroke.
Post Hiatus: In 2012, the band got together to participate in the ‘Paid Dues Festival’, L.A.
After going solo, the members of the band have come up with some pretty cool stuff. Check it out.
Flynn and Pigeon John had earlier formed a side project – Rootbeer, releasing tracks such as ‘So Good’, ‘Pink Limousine’ and ‘Under Control’.
As a part of Gotee Records, Flynn Adam released his video ‘Such a Time’ that became a smashing success. Check it out:
UNO Mas And Cookbook
In their song, ‘When You Rock and Roll’, CookBook, Uno Mas and Evidence talk about life as an artist and temptations and futility brought about by money. Here is some honest rapping, people. Check this out:
Flynn Adam and Joey ‘the Jerk’ have come together this year to create an album called ‘Totally Totally’ that dropped on January. Check it out:
This is some real good L.A. talent! You may want to go and get your hands on their CD.
Have a great day!
Not many people have heard of Him, but Chris McClarney’s been around for a while now ministering to believers around the globe with his worship songs that are soulful and inspired, bringing listeners into the heart of worship with words that are truly inspired from the Heavens.
Talking about his start in this ministry, Chris says that he had been asking God to help him share the songs of Heaven. He desperately wanted to be a vessel in transmitting that sound directly from the Heavens. He felt God’s presence fill the room and he felt God tell him that in the songs of Heaven, what He really wanted to hear were the songs of Chris. And that did come as quite a surprise leading him to write the amazing song, “Your Love never fails”.
And that makes sense. God delights in our praise and worship and He comes down to dwell among His children when they worship Him. Most times, when we feel like we want to say things to God that He’ll want to hear, He’s actually telling us to tell Him what’s in our hearts. He wants us to show Him how we feel from our hearts truly – Just let the words, the music, the worship flow…
Check it out:
In the last post, we saw the sacred bond between father and daughter. It definitely is a beautiful relationship that every daddy and daughter should cherish. However, there are times when this bond just does not happen. The loss of a father is one of the saddest moments that a daughter could face. However, there are times when dads get too caught up with their work and making a living, that they leave no time for family.
Casting Crowns’ “Just another Birthday” portrays a daughter yearning for love and care from her father who is constantly away at work and is usually never present for his daughter’s birthdays, even the major turning-points of her life. She grows up to get used to this, telling herself that she’ll be fine. She goes through many things very early, without the love and advice from her father, but realizes that it was never going to come. At this point, she calls onto Jesus, who is the father to the fatherless. He remains the only one who can put the pieces back together in her life and heal her brokenness. To anyone who has never felt the love and compassion from a father, Jesus is a father to the fatherless, and provides great comfort, taking them into His loving arms, where one can find great peace and joy and Healing. His kind of love is unconditional and unmatched; His kind of peace is a peace that passes all understanding. Even when earthly people let you down time and again, He never lets you down. He is a strong tower and a refuge you can run to at any time. He remains a steadfast hope to everyone who believes in Him and a Father to all of His children. Like SonicFlood’s Lead Vocalist, Rick Heil says, “Psalms 103 says, ‘Praise the Lord, I tell myself. Never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death, surrounds me with love and tender mercy and He fills my life with good things.’ I want people to know that He’s a good Father.” *
* – Taken from an Interview with cbnmusic.com
Watching one’s children grow from babies and infants to teenagers and mature young men and women, is a very emotional thing. Your mind gets flooded with nostalgia as you remember that day at the hospital when you heard you baby’s first cry. You clearly remember the day your son took his first few steps, or that evening your daughter spoke her first words; and all those nights you kissed your baby goodnight.
And then she grew. It was time for her first day of school, and you remember taking her up to her room and she was terrified, yet you consoled her and told her you’d be back in a little time and she’d love school. And you remember that day your little boy asked for that ‘really shiny’ bike for his birthday, and his wide-eyed wonder when he finally got it. You remember him running into your arms and gleefully yelling “You’re the best!!”
And then they became teenagers and High school awaited them. You remember giving them all the advice they ever needed to know and the dos and don’ts of life as a teenager. You remember being the over-protective father or the overly cautious mother at that time, and now it just makes you smile…
Before you knew it, they were already in Senior High and you helped pick her dress for Prom night and told her how pretty she looked in it; or adjusted the bow tie on his tuxedo. The thought that they were soon going to leave you arose and yet you suppressed it reminding yourself of the couple of months still left to go.
And now when you think of it, it doesn’t seem so long ago. It feels just like yesterday, and yet they’ve grown – those little kids have grown and are ready to head out of the house for a life of their own. You find it really hard to let go of them, you’ve loved them all your life and protected them, and now they were going to face the world on their own. You always thought it was something hard to accept, and unfair. But that’s life and you’ve come to terms with it.
Well, the other day, she may have come home bursting to tell you about her engagement and all their plans. Or you probably encouraged him to work up the courage to pop the question. They’re on their own now…
Well, you are not alone… It’s a part of life, and it is something almost every parent faces. In the Christian music industry, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman and Shane & Shane are people you can relate to.
In his song ‘How to say Goodbye’, Michael W. Smith talks about how time had slipped away so soon and how hard it is to let go of a daughter. The song is a very emotional and moving portrayal of a father coming to terms with having to say goodbye to his beloved daughter, and the video speaks well for itself. Any further explanation would ruin the depth and affection the video describes.
The song ‘Cinderella’ took on a whole new meaning for Steven Curtis Chapman and his family when he lost his adopted daughter, Mariah Sue, to an accident on the driveway of their home. Chapman had always been closely affectionate to his daughters and wanted to spend more time with them instead of rushing things up in order to focus on his work. After the accidental death of his daughter, Steven swore he would never sing the song again, but God spoke to Him through his songs and confronted him and he felt that he needed to spread hope to others through the song.
The song goes through the various stages of a daughter’s life and her attachment with her father. It is a touching portrayal of this sacred bond between father and daughter – ‘something the prince never knew…’
The song was released in 2007, but if you are watching this for the first time, this will definitely bring tears to your eyes…
And finally, an amazing song by Shane & Shane: ‘The One You Need’. The song talks about a father who knows that his daughter looks up to him and wishes he could be everything to his daughter. He tells her that there may be times when he may let her down or fail, but more than him, Jesus is the one she needs. The video is the emotive, moving portrayal of that bond between father and daughter.
Adopted children are in no way lesser than one’s own natural born children. The Lord, our Father Himself has adopted all of us to be His children, in the spiritual sense. And He’s given us the privilege and benefits that make us no lesser than His own son, Jesus Christ. He has loved us with His unconditional Love that overlooks our sins and misdeeds and loves us for who we are, flaws and all. Adoption is a beautiful picture of God’s love and redemption toward mankind.
By adopting children, we’re taking them away from orphanages and placing them in an environment where they are loved and belong. Adopted children have brought smiles to the faces of many couples all around the world and continue to do so.
Third Day’s ‘Children of God’ paints this beautiful picture of God who has delivered us from judgment and redeemed us. So, now we can say, “We are the children, We’ve been redeemed, we’ve been forgiven, We are the sons and the daughters of our God”. God has paid our ransom and adopted us, freeing us from judgment. The video speaks for itself:
Mark Schultz, the CCM artist, with the voice of an angel, is a beautiful example of Adoption. He tells the story a different way. As an adopted child, Schultz believes that giving to orphans in need, is part of his life’s purpose. Mark is constantly involved in adoption services and helping out orphans. He has been part of communities such as the Remember Me mission, Food For The Hungry, Bethany Christian Services, World Vision, Compassion and a lot other services.
Mark Schultz’s portrayal of Adoption is beautiful. People often put up their children for adoption because they love their child so much and want them to be brought up in a loving and comfortable environment that they themselves can probably not afford to provide. For such parents who cannot afford to provide such an environment, Mark says that Adoption is the best choice that they ever made.
“When you gave me up, you gave everything to me…” – Mark Schultz
Adoption is usually a very emotional event, and giving up a child you love is never easy. It takes a lot of strength and courage to follow up such a decision. And it is a blessing to many other couples who are unable to produce children of their own.
If we thought slavery was abolished a long time ago with all our famous freedom-fighters, and it doesn’t exist anymore, we couldn’t be more wrong. Modern day slavery takes a different form and every year, thousands of people – men, women and children – all fall into the ugly act of human-trafficking AKA modern-day slavery. Human trafficking is the world’s second largest criminal industry and the fastest growing. Not a fact to be proud of… Across the world, 27 million people are hired as modern day slaves1, over 80% of who are women and girls2. And 70% of these women are engaged in the commercial sex industry3.
Yet all of them are human beings – just like you and me, no different. These are our brothers and sisters, forced against their will, abused and deprived of their dignity. These are people who have as much potential as the rest of us and need hope. They need our support and our prayers.
The Christian music industry has also voiced out our concerns for the growing human-trafficking market. For instance, Twenty seven million is an awareness song by English artists Matt Redman and LZ7. This song was released in February 2012 and is in support of the A21 campaign against modern day slavery. In an interview with Premier Radio, Redman said, “It’s a huge issue in our world that’s rising to the surface. Governments, police and the media are all talking about it, and the church is doing a lot of stuff – this is a song to recognize that and hopefully drive some more awareness. Let’s propel this somewhere good together, make some noise about this issue that is on the heart of God and the heart of the Church.”
Another example is The Washington Projects with their recent video ‘Justus’. The Washington Projects joined with the International Justice Mission (IJM) and have come up with an amazing video with spectacular graphics and deals with awareness of the human-trafficking epidemic.
The Washington Projects have been known for their stand against modern-day slavery through their voices, talents and messages. Speaking to Rapzilla, Jekob Washington of the Washington Projects, says, “The majority of people are unaware that these problems still exist today in the capacity that they do. Most that are aware of it, have no clue of how to go about becoming an effective part of the solution.”
The video helps the audience to view life through the eyes of the 27 million modern-day slaves. It encourages to take up the cause for these brothers and sisters and fight to eradicate this terrible disease that continues to plague the world.
Christ gave His life for us on the Cross and set us free from the bondage of sin. Yet there are 27 million people around the world, still in need of freedom. Christ gave us freedom, we need to pass it on. These artists have taken up the cause to spread awareness through their voice and videos, and lend you the opportunity to stand up for this cause too. Will you take it?
1 – According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report
2 – U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007
3 – U.S. Department of Justice, Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: 2004.
Wondering what’s the talk of the town in CCM city? Well, there’s a lot going on in CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) City! And it’s all happening so fast, there’s hardly any time to breathe! What with the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular that’s still blowing minds away, and new artists stealing the show, and new albums being released, and amazing artists on tour throughout the country, and unexpectedly awesome performances stunning audiences… there’s definitely a lot going on!
A lot of great talent is being talked about – like Capital Kings, and Britt Nicole’s Gold and the ‘Citizens’ who have gone mainstream, and Hawk Nelson’s first new album released after lead vocalist Jason Dunn left the band, and Tenth Avenue North’s new music Video ‘Worn’. There’s a lot more that’s gaining a lot of popularity. This is just scratching the surface.
But here’s someone else who’s also being talked about – Jeremy Camp. Jeremy released his new Album ‘Reckless’ on the 12th of February, 2013. It was No.31 most sold album on the Billboard 200 chart during the first week of March.
This album has focused on encouraging believers to step into the fullness of what God has called them into. In Camp’s own words:
“My hope is that this album encourages people to step into the fullness of what God has called them to do, and take action. The album is meant to encourage all of us to go out, not just me. If we can all work together and be in the same place spiritually, that body of Christ working together can fuel a passion that is truly great. There is power in numbers!”
This is an excerpt from an interview by Worship Leader magazine, on the 13th of February.
The title track of the album ‘Reckless’ talks about being reckless for Jesus. Camp says, “You are saying, ‘I am recklessly surrendering myself. Whatever you have, Lord, whatever the circumstances or consequences may be, I’m going to serve you,” in an interview with watchgmctv.com. The inspiration for the song comes partly from the Apostle Paul. “Here’s a guy who was kind of crazy, kind of reckless,” Camp points out. “He got shipwrecked He was in prison. He was beaten. He was stoned and left for dead, but then what happened? He got right back up and went to Lystra again. That’s crazy! How could he do that? How could a guy that just went through that not care and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to go anyway.’ It’s because he was being obedient.”
To say that Jeremy Camp is merely a great inspiration would be an understatement. Camp has constantly been devoted, humble servant of God who has touched the lives of many believers for years. He is passionate in his music and devoted to his ministry for God. And, God has definitely honored him. Camp continues to be an inspiration and a mentor to many believers, especially youth, and his music contains great inspiration and messages of encouragement and spirit-filled purpose. Through the years, and through his albums, Camp has been active and encouraged believers to stand up and spread the news. Through songs like ‘Speaking Louder than Before’ Jeremy Camp persuades believers to step up, stop being passive and stand up for our faith. His albums have definitely brought a revival among believers.
Jeremy Camp is also an extremely humble minister of God. His heart is fixed on the Lord and his love for the Lord is very clear. His passion is seen in all his songs and he longs to serve the Lord with everything he has. He sets a great model to all believers as he continues to follow God even in the toughest of times.
So, cheers to an amazing minister of God, and here’s hoping that there will be more to come. Do support Jeremy Camp through your prayers and make sure to check out his new book ‘I Still Believe’ as well, in which he talks about his extraordinary life story from his impoverished childhood, to his spiritual growth at Bible College, the loss of his first wife, Melissa, and his grief and the following journey that God led him in. In the book, you’ll learn some of the amazing stories behind his lyrics and there’s so much raw emotion that will inspire you and any believer, wherever you are. Check it out! 🙂