Over the past few Flashback Fridays posts, I’ve noticed a pattern of late- not by choice though. Most of the topics I’ve explored are heavy topics. Topics that, when push come to shove, society probably doesn’t want to talk about, and would choose not to if given the chance. The albums I have tied the topics to, while in my opinion are inspiring and influential to my life, have somewhat been overall mellow, and though it has not been my intention, sometimes I wonder when it will be that I delve into a ‘fun, bubbly, cheerful album’, regardless of what is happening in my life at the present moment. That’s not to say these past 20-odd albums that I have dived deep into since Australia Day this year (of which you can see the list here!) aren’t inspiring or life-changing, because they are, as evidenced by the high detail and vulnerability in my previous Flashback Fridays posts; but to say that I’ve only been impacted by deep, meaningful, introspective albums, is way, way off the mark.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 20 (Various pop albums)- Why inspirational pop songs can change the world, and why we all need to hear them…now!
Have you seen the movie Sliding Doors? You know, the one starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah in the late 90’s? If you haven’t, let me give you guys a refresher (although you can always read the detailed plot on Wikpedia!). There’s a woman, and she makes a decision to board a train. After a few minutes of plot, the film ‘rewinds’ back to the point where she is about the board the train, and then she misses the train. The basic premise of the movie, is that we are shown two ‘lives’ of the woman, and we are glimpsed into how very different the outcome can be had different choices were made. Now while I won’t get into detail about nature v nurture, and whether the person you are right now is a product of your genes or your choices or your environment you live in or what you believe, or a combination of any one of what I mentioned; what I will say is this. While Sliding Doors does teach us, that yes certain choices have different ramifications; I believe that even if you make certain choices which are dumb, silly, stupid, or insane; you can still turn around and make better ones. There is a choice to change for the better. There are life changing choices and there are choices we make every day without even thinking (what to eat, what to say or not say in front of friends etc)- and one such choice was confronted to me last week, with its decision maybe having far reaching ramifications for the future.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 19 (All In by Matthew West, and King Of Fools by Delirious?)- Is it about time we go all in, and walk before the King of Fools? And are we really history makers?
I don’t know if it’s accurate, or if it’s just cause it’s very recent in my memory, but I think that the past two weeks have probably been the most challenging and eventful in my recent memory. Not that my life right now is horrible, no not by any means. It’s just that there have been some circumstances and ‘hardship’ if you could call it that, that have been perhaps somewhat overwhelming, that has made me challenge the concept of why there is suffering in this world, and why God ‘allows’ us to feel hurt and pain. This notion is much debated amongst believers and non-believers alike, and before I get to the crux of what I want to say, and tell you all about what I have learnt over the past few weeks about suffering (which is still ongoing, as this topic can never be fully grasped or grappled with, until we meet Jesus!), and also before I delve into great detail about what made the past two weeks ‘the hardest ever’; let me break down a bit to you about what I reckon society thinks about suffering (and this is just my opinion, you guys can disagree if you want to.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 18 (Beauty Will Rise, and The Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman)- Does beauty really rise from the ashes? And is every and any situation the beginning of the beginning of this glorious unfolding?
Over the past month, as I am interacting with several customers and people that I know through the café, over the period of Ramadan; I have noticed a few things. One- that people have different viewpoints of what the word ‘fasting’ actually means. And two, even if they do know and live it out for the duration of the time they’re ‘supposed to’ i.e. sunrise til sundown, afterwards, some people act like they aren’t changed. Like they’re still the same, like they haven’t even undergone this intense spiritual exercise and deep reflection, like it’s supposed to be. Tell me, why is that? Why do people think that they should act a certain way because it’s cool, or because it’s what they’ve been told, but in the end not knowing the implications and ramifications of what they are doing?
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 17 (Restart by Newsboys)- How to spot the fakers and how to know how to be real!
It’s coming to a point nowadays, since maybe the beginning of the year, that I can confidently say that every day I am perpetually tired (not that it’s a claim I am proud to say, but rather the opposite). Continually worn, continually spent, and feeling older in years than I am right now. Not that there is anything wrong with my job; not by a long shot- but it’s just that right now, circumstances beyond my control have prevented me from living a life that has a perfect work/life balance, and instead have thrusted me into a working environment where I am continually pushed each day, at times beyond my limits, by the workloads and the colourful types of people I meet at the café as well. I’m sure my brother Jon would testify to this sentiment of being constantly tired, as well.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 16b (The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North)-Why Jesus is the only remedy for our weariness, and how we need to slow down when we feel worn
So I’m back, everyone, after a week off, which was relaxing, rejuvenating and energising, if you wanted to know how the time spent away from Flashback Fridays was. What did I learn throughout the past two weeks, you ask? Well, to keep it brief (and let me tell you that this instalment is a short one, in contrast to the many ‘long-ish’ posts I’ve written prior to this one!), I will just say this- that I have learnt that no more than ever we need to learn to slow down. As a human race (and this is only from what I have observed in my life and the lives of others I come across, so correct me if I’m wrong!), I believe that we think that we will gain more out of our day if we’re spending a short time on one single activity, and we will enjoy our day more if we somehow, in some way, fit more activities in per day. We’re a human race that believes that ‘more is better’ and we believe that perhaps, just perhaps, sleep is overrated.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 16a (Casting Crowns by Casting Crowns)- Why reflection is needed in times of busyness!
You know how a few Flashback Friday blogs ago, I mentioned that ‘…Recently I’ve been feeling tired of late. Physically exhausted, and tired in the sense that at the end of every day, one of the only things I want to do when I arrive home is to go to sleep…’, and you know how I attributed some of that tiredness to busyness in terms of our store gaining more customers due to another café in the centre shutting down for ‘renovations’? Well, let me echo that sentiment once again, because right now is when I reckon I need to share this, because we all are feeling tired and stressed (and we probably won’t feel much better even if we have Swisse!). Right now, I am weary. Right now, I am worn. Right now, I’m feeling like my legs are going to fall off any minute, and right now, I feel as if everything I do apart from the store (inclusive of reviewing and watching TV) is a chore and a burden (not all the time, but some of the time). Where did that feeling stem from though? Let me take you back, back, and back, to a time where we are madly reviewing, madly watching shows, and madly cramming 48 hours’ worth of activity into 24 hours.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 16 (Casting Crowns by Casting Crowns; and The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North)-When saying ‘yes’ all the time isn’t the American Dream, or any dream for that matter; and how to know when we’re physically and spiritually worn!
Now that we’ve spent the past three blogs (week 12- Hawk Nelson’s Diamonds, week 13- Phil Wickham’s Response and Newsboys’ Born Again, and week 14- Tenth Avenue North’s The Light Meets The Dark) exploring the notion of God’s unconditional love, the fact that to be a Christian all we need to do is believe into the cross and His resurrection, and the concept of most fear originating from a lie that the devil has spoken over us; let me take this ‘mini-series of sorts’ one step further and give you a stark and telling reminder. That the Christian life is not easy. It’s not all flowers, rainbows, candy canes, fairy floss and sunshine! No way, not by a long shot. It’s not like you accept Jesus, and then suddenly life is easier, you have a million friends, and everything works out the way it wants to. It’s more like the opposite. It’s more like- you now follow Jesus, and the devil, using the tools of maybe your deepest material desires, will place a target on your back, that will always be there until the day you die. So, at first glance, yep the Christian life is perhaps morbid, yep it’s way hard, yep it’s challenging, yep sometimes you wonder why you believe in the first place after so many things that you think go wrong actually do; but deep inside all of the seemingly overt discrimination by others that comes with being a firm believer for Christ, is a peace. An eternal peace that surpasses all understanding, and a sense of God’s love over us that cannot be compared to any other earthly thing.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 15 (Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets)- The Wide Road or the Narrow Road: which is more satisfying?
How many times have we felt out of sorts, felt overwhelmed, or felt like something wasn’t quite right? How many times in our lives have we lost sleep, and woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, worrying about the various upcoming events in our lives, in the near or far future, and then analysing every little detail of what could possibly go wrong? How many times have we felt that inexplicable and seemingly inescapable feeling of dread, anxiety, apprehension and sense of uncertainty, sure that nothing on earth can shake our concerns, and sure that we will take our thoughts and feelings to our grave? How many times have we believed things to be true, when we know in our hearts that they aren’t? Is the answer more than 10? More than 100?
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 14 (The Light Meets The Dark by Tenth Avenue North)- Is Fear really ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’? Is Fear really just a lie?
Last time on Flashback Fridays, I delved into what I reckon is one of today’s most thought about ‘questions’ (it may not even be a question if it is something we’re all not voicing aloud!) of- am I loved, and am I accepted despite everything I have and haven’t done. Linking that back to the unconditional love that Jesus has for us, as evidenced by everything Jesus has done for us, heard in many songs in Diamonds from Hawk Nelson; I reckon that it’s time that this week I expand upon what I believe to be one topic that still needs to be explored more and more.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 13 (Response by Phil Wickham; and Born Again by Newsboys)- So…now that we know that we are unconditionally loved, what is our response? What does it mean to be ‘born again’?