A strange thing happened over this past year. Well not really strange, but something that hasn’t occurred for a very long time. A Christian artist topped the mainstream charts, in terms of album, and song, for a sustained period of time. Not that those events haven’t occurred before, but I reckon the only person that has had an impact on the charts of this magnitude would be Amy Grant way back in the 80’s and 90’s, and specifically for her song “Baby Baby” and her album Heart In Motion in 1991 (which ended that year at number 15 in the Billboard 200 charts, and at 24 in 1992). Sure there have been other artists and songs that have crossed over (dc Talk for “Jesus Freak”, Jars Of Clay for “Flood”, MercyMe for “I Can Only Imagine” and various others), not to mention Christian artists who have specifically entered into the mainstream industry to be an influence in that market (think of Skillet, Switchfoot, Needtobreathe, Relient K, and more recently Tori Kelly and for KING & COUNTRY)… yet this time around, a Christian artist has not really cared about the market, and has just written an album and a song from their own heart. The song and the album has blown up around the world, and surprisingly on mainstream- so much so that the track is present on the annual Now That’s What I Call Music (the mainstream version of WOW Hits), and that’s well deserving. By now you probably know what the song is, and the artist…but if you still are unaware, let me tell you all. It’s Lauren Daigle, and the song is called “You Say”, from her latest album Look Up Child.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 32 (How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle)- When Christian artists crossover, what should our response be?
What do you reckon is the most commercialised holiday? The most unnecessary holiday? The most necessary holiday? The holiday that probably can make all of us open our eyes the most and take a good hard look within, as we analyse and self reflect, wondering if we can become better people than we previously were? What if I were to tell you that I think and I believe that the answer to all those aforementioned questions was the same holiday- Thanksgiving? What would you say to that? Are you as confused as I was at the beginning of the day?
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 31 (Worshipful albums)- Do we really need to be thankful for one day of the year, or should we have an attitude of gratitude all the time?
If you ever stop and wondered about, and then proceeded to analyse the composition of the music that you listen to (in terms of genres, artists etc), would what you find be consistent with the types of music that are your absolute favourite? Would what you find be consistent with who you are as a person and the topics you are passionate about? Would some songs found on your Spotify or iTunes playlist shock you or come out of left field, as you come to realise that certain songs are powerful even if the artist isn’t what you would call a role model? Or is what you listen to predictable- like what you see is what you get- and there is no deviation from your preferred music, as you stay in your bubble and only listen to pop, or country, or rap, or metal, or whatever gets you up and going at the start of the day?
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 30 (‘Different’ albums)- God Can And Does Use Absolutely Anything To Draw Us Closer To Him; That’s a Fact, and You Better Believe It!
Right now as I am sitting down writing this blog, it’s a Wednesday morning on my day off, and it’s the 31st October 2018. Tonight, as is the case every year around this time, children will come knocking at the door of my house (well, not really my house, but my family’s house, but anyway…) asking for lollies and chocolates. Kids as young as 5 and as old as 18. Around the hours of 5:30pm til about 10pm. Yep, that early, and yep, that late. Asking for sweets, while all of them belting out ‘trick or treat’ when we come to the door. Every year Mum, Dad and Jon try to be out on Halloween (mostly eating out for dinner!)- and maybe it’s because this is the holiday that gets to me the most. Because that phrase of ‘trick or treat’ has sometimes puzzled me, but I reckon now is the right time for me to dive deep into this concept of Halloween, and why people do celebrate such a holiday.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 29 (Chain Breaker by Zach Williams, and The Things We’ve Been Afraid To Say by Tenth Avenue North)- What Halloween shows us about fear, and how we can overcome being fearful!
Have you ever groaned when you hear Christmas music being played at shopping centres around September or October time every year? Yeah, I groan sometimes too. Have you wished that we celebrated Christmas around December time and not wished our year away? Yeah I wish that too. But, such is the world that we live in, that Christmas, and in fact any public holiday for that matter, is commercialised and turned into a shopping fest as its centrepiece instead of the birth of Jesus (or the death and resurrection of Jesus for Easter, or any other meaningful message) as it should be. There’s probably nothing that we can do to change it, but there is something that we can do to respond to it.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 28 (The Spirit Of Christmas by Michael W. Smith, and Christmas Stories: Repeat The Sounding Joy by Jason Gray)- Why Celebrating Christmas early is a good thing!
Everyday (or every week) just before I write my new Flashback Fridays’ blog for the week, I usually have a scaffold, or a detailed summary, or- if neither of those things- an inkling, of what to write down, of what has been brewing in my life that I can impart to you guys and give you all advice/wisdom. This week though… I had nothing. No topic, no album to talk about, not a single thing. Well that’s not entirely true- this morning I had nothing. But you know how God turned to water into wine more than 2000 years ago? Well He’s done the same here- and the fact that I thought I had nothing, was actually something, was actually the basis for this upcoming blog. Which is weird but fitting, in a strange way.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 27 (The Story Of Your Life by Matthew West)- Why Your Story (And Your Story as part of His Story!) is the most important thing in the whole world!
What do you reckon is probably the worst thing in the world to hear, either from a stranger or from friends, family and loved ones? You know how last week I explored the theme of having our happiness rooted in something more real than our material possessions? Well let me use everything I wrote in that blog (and use that as the first of a mini-series of sorts!) and expand on some themes for a bit- let’s just say that in a hypothetical scenario, we’ve found Jesus and we’re full of joy and we’re happy. Because we’re living this life on this planet called Earth surrounded by believers and non-believers alike; this world sometimes can trip us up and we need all the resolve we can muster to survive and so that our eternal happiness is maintained. But let me tell you, there is a four-letter word that can turn our happiness upside down and can flip our world view from point A to point Z. it’s a word that can make or break our relationships, beliefs and inner strength, and it’s a word that though on the surface is bad, is actually good, in my opinion. What happens when our happiness comes crashing down when we’re told (by anyone or even ourselves) to wait (for anything), for whatever reason?
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 26 (Life Is Beautiful by The Afters)- Why Waiting is the best thing even when it seems like the worst thing!
What do you all reckon is the one thing that we as humans strive for? The one thing that we long for, the one thing that we wish for at night, or thank God (or whatever deity we believe in) at night; the one thing that we believe is of highest importance in this world? Is it a roof over our heads, food on the table, a steady relationship, regular meal times, a bed to sleep in, friends who challenge us, friends who stick up for us no matter what, recognition, adoration, accolades, approval from any and everyone? Is it all of these things, some or one of these, or none of these?
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 25 (The Cutting Edge 1&2, 3&4 by Delirious?)- The Pursuit of Worldly Happiness is futile, but the Pursuit of Eternal Joy is not!
The past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with a very complex issue, one that I’d like to share a bit with you now, and hopefully create some healthy discussion. I’ve been wondering lately, and this issue has been more out in the open since the news of Burt Reynolds’ passing; why do some celebrated, popular and well-respected celebrities die young/before their time/not naturally? And by some extension (which could have the same answer/s), why do celebrity couples split up, when they obviously made vows that they meant at the time for ‘til death do us part’? in fact, maybe I’d go so far to ask the question about everyone, not just celebrities. Why do people die young, before their time, and not naturally; and why do seemingly happy couples split up after a long while? Confused as to why I’ve been wrestling with this? Let me explain a bit.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 24 (What If We Were Real by Mandisa)- How would the world look like if we were more real, honest and vulnerable with each other?
And all who thirst will thirst no more
And all who search will find what their souls long for
The world will try, but it can never fill
So leave it all behind, and come to the well
Casting Crowns- The Well from Come To The Well (2011)
Over the past few years of me working in a café, I have picked up a few things that I have noticed from various customers. Sometimes I see parents looking at their phones while their kids run amok, while at other times I am witness to some of the most personal and awkward conversations ever as potential customers argue at the counter before ordering. But another aspect of life within the shopping centre that we are covertly ministering to, that I’d like to touch upon just for a brief while; is that no matter who the person is, no matter what is going on in their day, no matter how the person is feeling; one thing is for certain- and that is that everyone at one point or another buys a bottle of water. This notion has always stayed true for the past few years, but I have been made more aware of the fact over the past week, particularly when, as I was writing up a drinks order list, I realised that every week we buy more water than each of the other drinks that we sell.
Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 23 (Come to the Well by Casting Crowns)- What satisfies us more- water or Jesus?