Category Archives: God
As you would see through my blog, I like Music… however almost even more than that I like discovering music, new music music that’s often left undiscovered by the masses unless people who like to dig and discover new music dig them up from the underground/indie treasure chest that many labels have decided to use to pave their way.
Now one genre I like to soak in every now and then is hip-hop… But I have to be honest I haven’t listened to good hip-hop for a while… or at least not good NEW hip-hop. All the hip-hop that’s on the radio is just boring and predictable… all about bling and girls… or a guy in bling and surrounded by girls in bikinis saying how poor they are (forgetting the fact they have a major record label and are on tour with 4 other major hip-hop stars)… I just roll my eyes and think “Oh please”
Hip-hop used to be authentic
Hip-hop used to be clever
Hip-hop used to push boundaries
Hip-hop used to say something that people wanted to say but couldn’t in a 3 minute song
I grew up with groups like De La Soul, Jurassic 5, A Tribe called Quest, The Beastie Boys, Bone Thugs & Harmony and Run DMC, all groups that paved the way for other genres and hip-hop groups… and while not all of them had something wonderful to say all the time… they at least were pushing the boundaries to places that other groups had never thought about… and when they weren’t they were helping young minds to think about where they are at and what they are about. You can recgonise the root of where the music came from in some music today and a lot of the above names are the genesis point.
They were groups at made a name for themselves in the mainstream but kept their feet firm in the underground… where the people live and breathe.
However now these groups have for a large part gone to ground who is taking up the mantle?
Who is filling the void?
That’s why when I discovered the guys at Humble Beast. I was like “thank goodness… some good quality hip-hop that actually says something… but not only that… groups that push boundaries”
The guys are so passionate about hip-hop and what they have to say that they are giving their albums away…
And it’s good stuff… I mean REALLY good stuff!
Artists like ‘Propaganda’ who’s style sits somewhere between roots and beat poetry… it’s clever and it makes you think about the world you live…
Artist like ‘Beautiful Eulogy’s who’s new album ‘Satellite Kite’ is hip-hop that is rooted in the past while the lyrics and style are pushing future boundaries, and they’re already featuring in Red bull skate and surfing. No one else seems to be pushing the organic sound in hip-hop like these guys… While everyone else is on the beeps and buzz sound pushed forward by the likes of Will.I.Am and his Black eyed Peas buddies it’s great to hear new sounds again.
They say on their website:
“Humble Beast is a collective of artists, who make music & resources. With each production, Humble Beast aims to be compelling & authentic for our culture. We pour our lives into each of these resources & in turn we give them away for free”
It’s good stuff… and they certainly are living up to what they said above… you’re not getting any dregs here folks… this is the Cream you’re getting here!
For free downloads of ANY of the Humble Beast albums click HERE!
Why my friends frustrate me, annoy me and get under my skin … (or …how I’m growing thanks to my friends)
Isn’t it funny how you make friends?
There seems to be no real rhyme or reason to it.
Some are like you… some are not…
Some are for a short time in your life… some are for life.
There is no real scientific equation that can be proven that if you followed it would guarantee that you will have a true friend for life… sure there are always words and phrases that people use when they talk about friends… Loyal… trusting… support you… are there for you… have got your back… Are always there for you… etc.
And when I look at my closest friends a lot of these phrases are true, but there is something that surprised me as I looked closer at my friends… it was the things that I admired about my friends… it was the things that frustrated me about my friends… and the things that made me stronger because of them.
If I was to describe myself I would use phrases like:
- Big Picture
- Breaks rules
- Likes to play/have fun
- Takes risks
- Talks a lot
- Vision focused
It starts to paint a picture of someone who is creative and always on the go…
My brain is usually pretty full of new an creative ways to do things for people, express myself and communicate.
However it also paints a picture of someone who maybe isn’t as grounded all the time as I maybe can be.
So I sat down and looked at my closest friends… and it was actually amazing to see how the people I valued the most were people who were almost the exact opposite to me.
My closest friends were:
- Reduces risks
- Goals and objective focused
And I wondered why I kept getting frustrated by them on one hand… and drawn closer to them with the other.
And when you look at the two lists it doesn’t take much to notice it’s because we go about the same tasks in a totally different way...
We look at things differently…
We fulfill different parts of the same vision or job.
Where I would be used to come up with an idea… I’m not the best person to follow through with the idea, that’s where people like my friends excel…
While I think about things in big picture form… my friends are all about the detail.
While I am being emotional about the people… my friends are looking at the facts
It’s frustrating sometimes because they will sometimes tell me something and I’ll be like “Darn they’re right… AGAIN”
But there is this real sense of Iron sharpening iron… my closest friends have free reign (within reason) to tell me the true as they see it… they can pull me up on things that they think I may be lacking or neglecting… they can be truthful even when they know it may be something I may not want to hear.
But here is the thing… I trust them so much that they have permission to talk into my life… and as a result I have learnt so much from the closest of my friends
I said to one friend not that long ago how much I admired them and the things that they have shown me… but I was surprised when they said to me how they had learnt from me the art of “looking to the left and the right when moving forward…” and it made me think… “Yes this is what about true friendship is about”
There is a verse in the Bible that is often used at weddings:
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New Living Translation)
You see it seems to me that we are to join with other to help minimise our weaknesses… and maximise our strengths.
If I was with someone who was to much the same as me… I wouldn’t grown anywhere near as much and I certainly wouldn’t have someone with me who helps me where I am weak.
Or to use the famous quote from Jerry Maguire “You complete me”
Because if you look at my two lists above… my closest friends literally complete me!
We’re two sides of the same coin.
It’s been starting to frustrate me how people talk about faith as something that ‘just happens’ but the more I read the Bible the more I discover that God often requires us to step out first… and at THAT point God comes and takes over.
Faith is a VERB… a DOING word.
I’ve heard it said “If God wants it to happen it will” and while that is true, it seems that we still have to do something to prepare.
It seems to me that God has placed dreams in our hearts for a reason… and it may be days, weeks, months, years before we see the fruit of that dream… but it must be in our heart for a reason.
So what are you doing to prepare?
I read through the Bible and I see miracle after miracle where the person had to ‘step out’ first before the miracle happen…
A few examples are:
- The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land and God commanded the priest to step into the river (Joshua 3:8) – it wasn’t until they had stepped into the river did the river part.
- Jesus asked the staff to fill the jugs with water and take them to the head manager of the house before the water turned into wine… not only did the staff know they were taking water to the head of the house but they knew it was from the place where the people got water used to clean their feet.
- Mark 16:20 says people went forth and preached everywhere… with signs following
- God told Joshua that he had given the City of Jericho to Joshua… however they still had to walk around the walls 7 times in faith before they saw the miracle happen.
It seems that the Bible is FULL of stories where God asks us to step out in faith first, and then the miracles happen.
We shouldn’t just pray about our dreams… we should act on it.
Act as if God is going to deliver on his promise.
Now let me give FULL disclosure!
- We don’t want to put God in a box and say “This is the only way that God works miracles” because our God is certainly bigger than anything we could ever believe or imagine.
- This is NOT some “name it and claim it” scheme. You see it HAS to be in the will of God.
- It’s not about getting God to give us what WE want.
- It’s not about working hard to prove anything to God, in exchange for a miracle
So don’t just pray… because if our prayer isn’t accompanied by acting then there is a good chance we won’t go anywhere. It’s about putting feet to our faith or put another way:
“After kneeling down, we need to stand up and step out in faith” – Mark Batterson
I like that…
I once heard Pastor Francis Chan use the analogy of cleaning your room. He says:
“When my daughter comes to me and I say to her “Go clean your room” she knows better than to come back and say
“Hey Dad I went away and memorized everything you said… you said to me ‘Go clean your room’ ” …
She’s also not going to come back and say “I remembered what you said and I can tell you now that I can say ‘Go clean your room… in GREEK’
Or “We’re going to get our friends together every week and we’re going to study what it might look like if I was to clean my room.”
It doesn’t work does it?We have to at some point we have to step out…
Do you believe that God has planted that dream in your heart… do you know in your knower, that this dream is from God?
Then after you pray… Stand up… and step out in faith.
So I’ve been thinking about how do I show, my friends, my family my loved ones I love them…
And also how do the people I love show how they love me?
I posted the question on Facebook and got a few different kinds of answer from Gifts to kisses, from doing things for me to neck rubs, spending time together and even telling me “I love you”…
There are even websites dedicated to it… one of my favourites is http://www.5lovelanguages.com a great way to find out what way you like to be shown love (there’s a simple 3 minute test that is really handy to have done).
For the record they way I like to be shown I’m loved is in this order:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
In fact it’s often a combination of the top three for me that really get me going.
I like to be told I’m doing well, that I’m loved, that I’m appreciated… communication is BIG for me.
However I also love being able just to ‘hang’ with my loved ones, just to talk… just to be there with them just laughing goofing around, we can even sit in silence and I would be happy with that, in the knowledge that my friend is spending their quality time with me.
And finally I love people giving me stuff but here’s the thing… it could be a piece of string or a pebble or a leaf… it really could be anything as long as someone has put the time into thinking why they have given me this gift.
And so from the above list I would usually show I love people in the same way… the way that I love to be loved.
That can be hard because, well we’re simply not the same… we’re different. The way YOU show you love someone isn’t the same way that I show I love someone.
It’s handy knowing what someones ‘love language’ is, and when you know what spins their wheels it makes things a lot easier… If I like to be told “I appreciate you …” but my loved ones like me to give the hugs, then it’s really easy for me to say to them… “I tell you I appreciate you all the time”
To which they reply… “yes but you never SHOW me you love me!!!”
So if you don’t know what someones love language is where do you start?
The answer is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Now you see this verse a lot in weddings… but it’s actually a really good view on relationships in general.
Love is patient… it means there’s no hurry “One Day …” I’ll wait for you…
Love is Kind… why be mean or nasty or talk behind backs, what does that achieve?
Love is not jealous… I’m going to support them in the time they spend with other people
Love NEVER gives up… it’s seems so easy just to throw in the towel sometimes, however sometimes we just need to work through things.
Love never loses faith…
Is always hopeful… even when things look far from it
You see it’s not just about marriage… or just about our friends… it’s about relationship.
In fact Jesus made it even MORE clearer than that.
He said this:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35
So I guess at the end of the day our job is to LOVE one another…
The Bible even says “Love your enemies”
One Day …
Two simple words but they seem to be so packed with meaning.
You may have heard them used in every day conversation:
Used to describe a sense of laziness “I’ll get round to it one day…” or “He’ll get round to it one day!”
Used to describe excitement for the future “One day we’ll be married…” or “One day we’ll have kids of our own”
Or of hope “One day I’ll get to Paris”
You see they’re just two words, but they’re packed full of so much meaning.
However when you say something like “One Day …” to a Christian and it seems to change EVERYTHING for them.
I posted a picture I made simply saying “One Day …” on it and posted it to my Facebook page.
Almost immediately someone replied underneath it “We will all be in heaven, praise The Lord!”
You see it seems to me it’s more than just a pipe dream “Oh well, one day…” it’s knowing that what God has placed on your heart he has placed it there for a reason. We need to hold on to those dreams that God has placed on our hearts… and pray over them… keep them in our thoughts… why?
Because by doing that it keeps us on our knees… it keeps us depending on God… because we know that without God we can’t make them happen.
Remember Joseph? You know the guy with the coat of many colours?
God gave him dreams that seems far fetched… dreams of his brothers bowing down in reverence to him.
I understand why his brothers were a bit jealous of him (especially as his father Jacob already made it clear that he was the favourite!)
The point is… God placed the dream in Josephs heart, there wasn’t anything that Joseph could do about it but have faith that God has given him that dream for that reason.
What you have to remember also is it wasn’t easy for Joseph… he was sold by his own brothers, he was made a slave, he was thrown in prison and waiting to die, before God started to unravel his plans. In the story of Joseph it talks about him having God’s favor upon him it’s even retold in Acts 7.
It sometimes seems that we’re going through a whole lot of pain and anguish for nothing… but Gods favor is upon us when he has placed a dream in our hearts that only he can fulfill.
That brings us back to “One Day …” it brings us back to having faith in God who has a plan far greater and grander than we could ever think of, and because of that it means that we have to stay humble and focused on God because we can’t do anything to make it come to pass apart from being obedient to him (the Author of Life).
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see – Hebrews 11:1
One Day …
One Day …
One Day …
And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. – 1 Corinthians 15:17
Paul is quite right… If Jesus had not been raised to life, then our faith is useless… or to put it another way:
If Jesus is dead then Christianity is dead.
It’s pointless… worthless…
You see without the Resurrection of Christ, there is no saviour or salvation, no forgiveness and no Resurrection hope for a life in eternity.
You see the resurrection of Christ is one of the foundations that Christianity stands on. Without this Christians are just fools who are putting their trust in a dead man.
Now some people might think… that explains Christians PERFECTLY, fools worshiping a legend or folk hero however there are a few things that set Jesus apart.
One of the keys proofs for me of the authenticity of it (if you want to put it that way) is the reaction of the disciples.
You see after his death the disciples ran away, they hid… they fled and that makes sense, if they could kill Jesus what would it mean for the rest of them?
However that all changed after the resurrection… after the resurrection they were bold… they died for their faith.
What would it take for a group of scared and frightened men and woman to make a complete turn around and be willing for them to die for something?
They certainly wouldn’t be willing to die for something that they knew was a lie… and all but one of the disciples died for their faith in a resurrected Christ. If it was a lie (and they knew it was a lie) then it wouldn’t make sense for them ALL to be willing to go through some of the pain that the apostles did.
Mark died in Alexandria, Egypt, dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.
John was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he miraculously survived. The Apostle John put into prison was later freed and returned to serve as a bishop in modern Turkey. He died an old man, the only Apostle to die peacefully.
Peter, was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross, according to Church tradition, because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
You see there was a cost.
For me the biggest thing to convince me was the transformation of Jesus’ brother James… he went from someone who was so totally skeptical of Jesus, but after the resurrection become a firm believer.
This is astounding for a number of reasons.
- What would it take to convince you that your brother was the son of God?
- Would the turn around be worth dying for (James was thrown of the highest point of a temple and then was also beaten to death when it was shown that he survived the fall)
It seems to me that the resurrection did something to the early believers… it seemed to transform them… change them.
And the great news is that the same resurrecting power does the same change in us.
Just like a caterpillar thinks it’s the end of the world… it then is transformed into something new… something different… a new creation.
The old life is gone… the skin is just a shell… a new life has been born again… and we see the beauty in the butterfly.
That’s why I love it when I see a butterfly… it reminds me that there is more to come… it reminds me to have faith in what I can’t see or know or understand fully… because this is just one chapter.
Death isn’t the end… it’s not the ultimate enemy… death to your old life for Christians is just the beginning of new life.
A new chapter has begun… and it ends with eternity.
I love Easter… and I love social media. However this Easter has been the first time I have been disappointed in what I saw Christians doing to both Easter and the use of social media!
This Easter was the first time I saw link after link filled with soft ‘Easter’ related pictures and sayings with phrases saying things similar to “Like if you are saved” or “Write I love Jesus in the comments” … and while this is all good stuff it seems to me that Christians are starting to get lazy in the way we are approaching Easter.
Are we starting to get to the point that we think “Hmmmm it’s Easter, I better say something” and then proceed to find a Easter picture or nice scripture to post and then sit smugly thinking “Well that’s done for another year”?
My point isn’t if we should do this stuff because sometimes there is a time and a place for it… I just wonder if it actually engages people to the true understand and meaning of what Easter actually means.
Are we missing the opportunity to tell people why Easter is so important in every aspect of our lives as Christians?
Revelation 12:11 says “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.”
It seems to me that our testimonies are one of the most important part of our faith… so why are we reducing it to half thought through status updates and cute pictures?
A great example of a testimony working in a powerful way is when the Pharisees were trying to find stuff to put on Jesus so that they could capture him, they asked someone who Jesus had healed.
The Pharisees said to the man “God isn’t getting the Glory for the healing did on you because we know that Jesus is a sinner”
But here is what the man said in reply
“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” – John 9:25
You see they could try and trap the man with words and loopholes… but they couldn’t trap him with what he had experienced.
His testimony was a powerful statement of the power, grace and majesty of Jesus… NO ONE could take that away from him… it was his… his story to tell… his proof.
So lets stop hiding from our faith… because it’s our faith that will prove to the ones we love that Jesus is actually real in our lives.
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” – John 5:24
The thing I love about Easter is that it’s ingrained in history… it’s not just some story that we pass on.
The pain of the crucifixion was real too.
Crucifixion was used as early as 330-ish BC and used by Alexander the Great to help spread rumours of fear and dread throughout the ancient lands. Often the stories played more on the minds of his enemies than the armies he commanded.
When the Romans starting using it they decided it was time to perfect the tool. Roman soldiers was known to try and out-do each other and experimented with techniques to try and prolong the agony and intensify the pain. The pain was so great that words like “excruciating” were used to explain it… for the record excruciating derives from the phrase “From the cross”.
The pain of the nails were only part of the agony… the pain of the crucifixion was mainly due to the fact that it was just another way to prolong death by asphyxiation, as the person struggled to breath while laboring under the weight of their own body.
Ancient historians like Josephus called it “the most wretched of deaths”… as the pain and agony of it was then added to the mockery and torment that went with it. Often people would be crucified at eye level so that people could mock and spit and cuss at the people hanging on the cross.
We often see pictures of a clean Jesus hanging on the cross and we think “wow that must have hurt” however that doesn’t even come close to describing what happened… skin was hanging of his body with the beating (as well as 30 lashes) that he had earlier that day… and even that doesn’t come close to describing the weight of all our sin on him… not just what we had done… but what we were still going to do.
That weight is something that makes the cross pale in comparison.
You see we can’t remove our own sin… there is nothing that we can do that even gets us close to wiping the slate clean… there is nothing we can do.
Paul says this :I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. - 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
You see it was FOR our sins… for the benefit of our sins… because of our sins.
OUR sins… HIS death… that’s why it’s good news.
Scripture says over and over again that Jesus dies for our sins…
In research done by the Barna group in the USA showed that only 27% of church going school kids had some sort of prayer or devotion at home… this number is REALLY low.
However what’s the most alarming is that if you take out grace at dinner time… the number drops to between 10-12%
So that means that almost 90% of church going school kids never get any kind of devotion…
Now parents in Christian homes tell me that they want their kids to discover a relationship in Christ… so the question has to be asked…
How are they expecting that to happen osmosis?
John Piper writes: “If there is one memory that our children should have of our families and of our church it is this; they should remember God. god was first. God was central”
The Bible tells us to get the Bible message inside our children…
Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
Kids need and long to hear from us…
Our Testimonies… Our Experiences… Our personal encounters with God.
You see they want to know that what you believe isn’t just real but life changing.
Here’s the thing if parents don’t start to impress these on our children… you can bet that the enemy of souls will… in a subtle… but very real way.
Our kids are FAR TO VALUABLE to just to hand over to the enemy without a fight!
If you have children under the age of 12… and really would like resources for the home to help give your children EVERY opportunity to discover the amazing adventure God has in store for them. I would recommend Faith box.
For more information click on the link here!
and even better… I would strongly recommend you purchase it!