Give it up…

GPS navigation solution running on a smartphon...

Image via Wikipedia

It seems to me that in our society we are so selfish.

Why?

Well look around you… people with habits that are harming people and the reason they’re not giving it up is because “It’s MY life…” . Everything from smoking, drinking, swearing… the list goes on.

And we wonder why life seems so much like we’re going through the motions.

But it seems to me that God has a GREATER plan for us than just “going through the motions”

In Psalm 139 it says that:

16. Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

The bad new is the road with the most to loose is the road where ‘in this world’ we seem to gain the most (money, things, luxuries etc…)

And the road where we gain the most we loose the most here… We give our lives to Christ.

OK so why would I go on the road to gain if I have to get uncomfortable? – the answer is because wouldn’t you want to be on a road that your creator planned for you… or would you prefer a road that you meander your way through without GPS not knowing what dangers lie ahead?

The great news is when you trust in God you give HIM the control… all you need to do is trust in him and be obedient

it’s not going to be easy…

there will be hard times…

But that’s how God seems to work… he blesses us in those times of trouble so when we’re out of the dark place we can look back from the new peak we’ve climbed and know that God was there the whole time.

“surely goodness and mercy will follow me ALL the days of my life”

It doesn’t make sense… but our God is a good God.

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Album Review: Dukes – ‘Still Life’

Dukes 'Still Life'

I love it when bands that work hard are rewarded. Dukes are one of those bands. Winners of the MTV’s Kick-start competition they have cut their teeth touring and done it in style; they’ve toured with the likes of INXS, Gomez as well as NZ acts such as Th’Dudes and most recently the acoustic tour with Dave Dobbyn… these guys have done their time… and NOW is their time to shine.

The core of the band are Christchurch brothers Matt & Jo Barus and like other NZ musical siblings (Tim & Neil Finn, Jools and Lynda Topp & Hume Brothers of Evermore) there is a real ‘togetherness’ a real fun aspect to the album, and this sort of feeling only comes from years of jammin’ with each other and I would expect the odd sibling rivalry – something that would push for better and better sounds.

And that brings us to ‘Still Life’ the second full length album from Dukes, and it comes just as the sun is out and the BBQ’s are starting to crank… this is the perfect Sunshine album with some already well known songs like ‘Self-control’ ‘Time is a Train’ and of course the top 10 single ‘Vampires’.

This album combines the best of good kiwi summer music… great melodies, catchy tunes and a good dose of FUN.

You would have to say that this is the album for all summer occasions… ‘Paper Heart’, and ‘Secrets’ are the perfect album for a sleepy summers evening with good friends most likely over a nice wine or beer, while the beach waits for hits like ‘Ooh Ooh’ and ‘If I have No Heart’ that come pre-smoked and tasty and have that fresh sound of a kiwi sun drenched summer.

This album can roll with the best of Kiwi music past and present.

Imagine an album with the best parts of Dave Dobbyn, Crowded House and the Black Seeds and you’ll be pretty close to this summer’s Kiwi Summer album.

Soak it in people… better still… take a picture!

Album: 8/10

Dukes LIVE: 10/10 (Go see these guys live… rock ‘n’ roll!)

Album review: Brooke Fraser ‘Flags’

Brooke Fraser 'Flags'

Brooke is an international songwriter there is no doubt about it with other acts already performing her songs and the ‘Do do do do do” of her latest single is prime runner for a pick up on American or UK radio presented like another Regina Spektor… this could be seen as a problem in a tall poppy cutting society such as New Zealand although her laid back style fits nicely along our other female kiwi songwriters like Bic Runga, Anika Moa and Emma Paki in layering our summer consciousness.

          ‘Flags’ is a slight change in direction for Brooke… her last two albums ‘What to do with Daylight’ (her introduction to the NZ music scene) and ‘Albertine’ (Brookes introduction to the world entering Billboards Top 200 at 99) were considered ‘safe’ being well produced and clean… while Flags has more of an Indie feel, it’s fun, it’s quirky and it seems to be more like the Brooke you would have seen in concert… the album certainly has a real ‘live’ feel to it, which really works as it counter balances the urge to over produce the album.

          This album shows what a big girl Brooke has become pulling out her best KT Tunsell (Something in the water) Alanis Morrisette (Betty) even getting lots of Canada references…        When I heard the track Jack Kerouac I instantly thought of Paul Simons Graceland album, full of rhythm and movement (although I did think it was funny that Brooke seems to run out of words and just repeats his name over and over – this is especially funny when you see that Jack was a literary genius (albeit for his ‘beat style’ of literature.) – I just think it was a bit cheesy.

          This album has more dark and lights than any of Brookes previous albums… but the comment has been made by more than one person that they thought the album was finished when it was really only a quiet moment on one of her tracks…. It is certainly more eclectic which lends to the more ‘independent’ feel of the album.  

The album has been produced really well and there is a real mixed bag of good tunes… however I wonder at times if the album is trying to be too much for too many people…

          Finally – my greatest bug bare… Brooke what’s with the lisp? Take out the tongue stud so that you can speak properly… it’s distracting listening to a great songwriter ruining their songs so subtly. Or should I sthay stho sthubtly

You can’t handle the truth…

Truth

Image by TW Collins via Flickr

Sometimes don’t you just want to say to people “I told you so?”….

Sometimes don’t you just want to shake people and say “what on earth are you thinking? “

Sometimes don’t you just want to….

The list really could go on couldn’t it, people do dumb stuff… people do foolish stuff… people are unwise… and people are just plain reckless.

So how can we actually tell people?

How do we actually DEAL with it?

In first John 1:14 it says that Christ came with “Truth and Grace”… so what does that mean and how does that help us?

Well let me put it like this:

TRUTH + NO GRACE : If tell someone the truth but you don’t do it with grace it’s like hitting them over the head with a bat saying “do you get the truth?” – all it does for the poor ‘victim’ is hurt… and they probably won’t think about it too much more… and you’re left picking up the pieces of a ‘once was’ friendship…

NO TRUTH + GRACE If all you give is Grace but don’t tell them the truth then it’s like giving them a big hug while you keep all the frustration to yourself. This is not good for you because you’re keeping the frustrations of things that someone else did in your own heart, and the only one loosing sleep over it is you. It’s not good for the other person either because they don’t know where you stand on an issue, and therefore don’t learn from the situation at all.

TRUTH & GRACE: This is the hardest isn’t it… getting the balance right. Christ was able to be hard but he also had grace. Imagine if you were about to abuse someone for doing something wrong… and Christ came into that situation and said “if you’re blameless… then go ahead”… wow… could you follow through after that?

Jesus was a bit different in the sense that he knew more than everyone else (after all he was the son of God) but it makes me wonder if on the really important issues we really need to take a measured approach… we can be as ‘hard’ as we need to – because if you don’t have the truth and go in ‘gung-ho’ you could end up blowing up something good, so why don’t you take time to dig a little deeper. On the other hand however… you could be talking round in circles if all you give is grace so why don’t you try and push a little harder, and get to the truth of the matter.

The answer TRUTH and GRACE… everything else will fall into place from there.

There will always be things we can’t control and we may have to let those things go… but what we can control his making sure we handle the tough situations with TRUTH and GRACE.

“Hey Everyone…”

suessian megaphone

Did you know it’s free to call God?

You would think that intergalactic prices would have risen by now… but they haven’t.

In The Bible it says this:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” – Romans 10:13

Notice how it doesn’t say “only the good” or ‘only those that work really hard”… but it says EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

“But Goose I’m not good enough… I’ve done some really bad stuff”… yes that’s right, you’re not good enough to be saved by yourself… none of us are, but it’s by God’s Grace that we can ALL be saved when we call on the name of The Lord and turn from our old life.

If you don’t know God… you can.

If you used to be close… you can be close again.

It’s not about rules but relationship… God wants to be close to you. Yes he wants you to be obedient, but he wants your heart EVEN MORE….

But how… how do I find God, where is he?

It says in The Bible over and over that if you seek him (I mean earnestly search for him” you will find him.

”But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.” – Deut. 4:29

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” – Matt. 7:7

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.” – Acts 17:27

You can find him by reading your Bible; he’s waiting for YOU...

When you start to know him more… you’ll start to notice yourself changing …

And when you get to know him really well… others will see the change in you also.

 

 

 

 

Christian Atheism…

Cover of "The Christian Atheist: Believin...

Cover via Amazon

Craig Groeschel asks a great question “Are you a Christian Atheist?”

Christian Atheist you say? What on Earth is that?

Well someone who says they believe in God but live like he doesn’t exist… now before you say “well that’s not me” could say yes to any of the following?

  • When you believe in God but don’t really know him

  • When you believe in God but are ashamed of your past

  • When you believe in God but aren’t sure he loves you

  • When you believe in God but not in prayer

  • When you believe in God but don’t think he’s fair

  • When you believe in god but won’t forgive

  • When you believe in God but don’t think you can change.

  • When you believe in God but worry all the time

  • When you believe in God but pursue happiness at any cost

  • When you believe in God but trust more in money

  • When you believe in God but don’t share your faith

  • When you believe in God but not his church

If any of these strike a chord with you? If so you could be a Christian atheist… or at least may have Christian Atheist tendencies and habits.

Look… this is not a plug for Craig Groeschel’s book called “Christian Atheist” but it was a good read… if anything about the list above is a reminder… how  easy it can be to slip into a Christian Atheist mindset…

Look at the list again and really ask yourself… am I a Christian Atheist