Category Archives: Video

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 39: Shawn Mendes

Have you ever listened to a song, an artist, maybe an entire discography, and have been totally amazed, flabbergasted, lost for words, full of pride and admiration, for the artist- even from the get-go? Have you ever listened to a song and been grateful that you are alive in this very moment while this particular artist is alive, to breathe the same air as them? On second thought…wow, that sounded creepy and hero-worship like, don’t you think? No, but seriously, have you heard a song by an artist, and have concluded from the outset that ‘this person gets it, he/she knows what the point of music is, and that that’s what music is all about!’? Have you ever heard a song and immediately concluded that this artist is ahead of their time and is bound to be an instant fan favourite and a future star? Perhaps it was an artist who was very young and they were writing music as accomplished and as resonating as veterans of 30 or 40 years. Or perhaps they were talked about as being a has-been, a fading star that has recently recaptured their spark and has also ‘made it’ with the younger crowd. Whatever the case, I am sure there has been one artist that has clicked with you, that has made you want to dive deeper into music as a whole and has challenged you with questions about life, love, death and everything else in between. For me there have been several- influential artists whom both Jon and I have written about, that have stood and are going to stand the test of time, and have indeed written about and sung about meaty issues and often taboo topics. Artists that have looked at a blank canvas and have declared “Yes, I will sing about this, this, and this, even if it doesn’t win me any awards”. Artists that have used a proverbial blank piece of paper and a proverbial paint brush and just painted for themselves, and not for others. Artists who aren’t afraid to shake the status quo, artists who in my mind are fearless. So for these artists, you can read about them in our blog series, and yes, I intend to briefly touch upon another artist right here and now- but let me first speak about the concept of walking fearlessly and what that mindset does for you.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 38: Chris Stapleton

Have you ever had a dream where you thought it was simply that? Just a fanciful dream? An idea, probably not fully formed, a lofty vision that you thought was so very far off in the distance, a target you could never reach… but would be nice to dwell upon said idea anyway, maybe just to pass the time? Have you ever had thoughts about the future, and immediately dismissed them, simply because they were too big, or too grandiose, or too complicated; and you were too ‘fill in the blank’? Too young, old, fat, thin, short, tall, arrogant, calculative, shy, reserved… whatever you want to place in there… have you ever had a dream ‘die’ even before it was birthed; simply because you never got passed the first hurdle of starting, and you listened to the lies of the devil? If the answer to all of those is ‘yes’, then boy do I have good news for you! And this news is that you aren’t too ‘____’ to achieve your dreams. Because if you were, then all of us are too _____ in any particular aspect of our character. Just as we can’t please everybody one hundred percent of the time (because we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that someone will be ticked off and unimpressed by… I don’t know, our eye colour or hair colour or some other feature!), let us remember that all we need to do is our best, and better our previous efforts. As long as we’re running in our own race, and we don’t look to the left or look to the right (and hence we’ll fall down because our eyes won’t be straight ahead!); then I reckon we’ll be ok in life. As long as we ask for help from family, friends and acquaintances, and don’t even attempt to try to struggle to do life on our own; then I think we’ll be alright. And as long as we give everything our best shot, and leave nothing left in reserve, then I reckon we’ll be alright. As long as we know that God has our life in the palm of His hands, and as long as we know of and believe His love and faithfulness, then I’d say we’ll be alright.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 76: JACKIE EVANCHO

The last two years of me blogging about different artists have been some of the most enriching in my own life, in a musical sense. I’ve explored music that I would otherwise not have ventured in; and have found myself enjoying music that I would otherwise have thought was ‘worldly’, to put it in a blunt way. Because to be frank, prior to 2019 (whence in started my blog series), I was primarily listening to CCM- which isn’t a bad thing at all. I was enjoying the music I was listening to, and appreciating artists like Chris Tomlin, Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsboys, Francesca Battistelli, Natalie Grant, Third Day, for KING AND COUNTRY, Michael W. Smith, Tenth Avenue North, Carman, Rebecca St. James, and Casting Crowns, to name a few of many CCM artists I was listening to, prior to 2019. And yet, looking back on it now, CCM is just once slice of this pie called music, and while there are a few genres that I wouldn’t intentionally seek out and listen to- hard rock, screamo, and rap would be the genres I wouldn’t prefer to  hear, if I did have a preference; I have to understand this very fact that I have learnt these last couple of years or so- that God can use whatever music He chooses for us to gain a better understanding about ourselves, God and everything else in between. And if that is through CCM, then great. If it’s through pop, country, music from musicals, rock, if it’s from the ‘mainstream’ circle that can seem to be ‘off-limits’ to a lot of young people ‘raised’ within the Christian faith…then great, too! I mean it. If God can speak through Balaam’s donkey in the Bible, then speaking through country music, or though pop music of today, isn’t out of the realms of possibility for God to undertake. And with that frame of mind, I was able to enjoy a lot of music within the last 2 years that I would never, in a million years, have listened to, had it not been for this ‘musical experiment’. Artists like Josh Groban, Train, Ronan Keating, Martina McBride, The Corrs, Bryan Adams, Rascal Flatts, Backstreet Boys, Pentatonix, Keith Urban, Hanson, Colbie Caillat, Goo Goo Dolls, Little Big Town, Missy Higgins, Sugarland, SEAL, Coldplay and John Farnham, are all fast becoming some of the standout artists I’ve encountered over the last couple of years, and once again, I’m amazed about how impactful a lot of the music I’ve heard this last few years, and how God has used a lot of ‘mainstream’ music to shatter my own expectations of what ‘mainstream’ music should sound like and be, and how God can even use the unlikeliest of sources (a mainstream song) to convey His love for His creation. Music is a gift, and God uses music full-stop, for our good and His glory. And so, after 75 blog posts about a myriad of music artists that I’ve firmly believed have made a tremendous mark on music history, and have impacted people around the world over time, I’ve decided to take a leap into a musical genre unknown for the most part. Opera/music from musicals, wasn’t necessarily my go-to music initially, but ever since loving The Greatest Showman and enjoying thoroughly the soundtrack of it, I saw musicals and opera in a new way, that I was to broaden my own horizons about how music should be and how I was prejudiced against opera, for what reason, I don’t know. I did tackle opera a little, and songs from musicals in the discussion of artist Josh Groban, in a blog I undertook way back a couple of years ago, writing it in March 2019. And here I am in March 2021, and what better way to basically celebrate my very own anniversary of venturing-out ‘musically’, than to delve into yet another vocally powerful artist who has shattered people’s expectations over the last 10 years. Being one of the world’s most impactful within the operatic pop/musical category for the better part of the 2010s decade, I’ve taken it one step further than Josh Groban, and have tackled an artist that even I didn’t think I was going to delve into- Jackie Evancho, child singer and all-round impactful artist, who has, in my opinion, revolutionised opera, pop and people’s appreciation of musicals, since her ascension to fame in 2011 when Jackie came second in the 2010 season of America’s Got Talent.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 75: COLDPLAY

It’s been quite a journey, this blog series. Since starting this venture in February 2019, I decided to embark one what someone from the outside (who doesn’t know me at all) would consider to be a fruitless task of folly- to delve into and discover 100 artists (and then a further 50 iconic ones) that have shaped music as it is today, and to discuss various songs and how they’ve shaped my own life as well…well, that’s an exuberant feat in and of itself, right? Surely, it can’t be done, right? Well, 2 years later and onto blog #75, it’s been quite an experience, and to be honest, I even thought that I wouldn’t even last as much as I did. I set out to try to attain something that even I may have initially thought at the time, was too lofty, and yet, decided to embark anyway. What has resulted from the years of 2019, 2020 and now 2021, has been one of the most enriching experiences when it comes to music, as I’m reminded that God can and does use the music that is the most unexpected, for Him to reveal things about ourselves and Himself along the way. Since starting to widen my own appreciation for music that isn’t explicitly ‘Christian’ from 2019 onward, I’ve discovered a world that is very much expanse, unique, and in some ways, still within the scope of being God-inspired, as a lot of the artists I’ve unearthed over the last 2 years, have been challenging us all, myself included, of what it means to have good music, to have inspirational music, to have God Himself move through music that isn’t necessarily read in a certain way…and then everything else in between. Artists like Switchfoot, Skillet, Train, Sara Bareilles, Delta Goodrem, Lifehouse, Hanson, John Mayer, Lecrae, Lady A, Rascal Flatts, Daughtry, Jason Mraz, Seal, Alanis Morrisette, the Goo Goo Dolls, John Farnham, Delirious?, Chris Tomlin, Phil Collins and Shania Twain are just some of the many, many artists I allowed myself to be acquainted with over the last couple of years, and during that time, my love for music, both CCM and mainstream and everything else, began to expand and grow. Some people may think that I may be a heretic for listening to mainstream music, if I am a Bible-believing Christian, but herein lies the point, that I’ve stressed all throughout my 2 years of musical exploration. That God can and does speak through the unexpected, the things in your life that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought. And that includes mainstream music. And without further ado, now off to blog #75, to dive deep into the discography of one of Britain’s most accomplished, well-known, and hard-hitting bands, that I’ve come across ever since U2…Coldplay.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 37: Lewis Capaldi

2020 and 2021 so far… has been a bit of a downer. COVID-19, the bushfires, the floods, the storming of Capitol Hill, Louie Giglio’s ‘white blessing’ gaffe, the accusations of rape by Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins… there’s plenty of things ‘wrong’ that this past year has been and will be remembered for. Yet for all of its shortcomings, this past period has nonetheless graced us with many opportunities. The opportunity to be still, to step back, to slow down, to dwell upon the past and our future, and to reconnect on a soul level with family, friends, acquaintances. The opportunity to reassess our priorities in life and the opportunity to immerse ourselves in media (movies, music, TV shows) that we would never have even considered prior to 2020, that God can and does speak through even if He may not on the surface. Throughout 2020 and into 2021, I myself have been blessed and inspired by music and movies that I would not have even considered watching or listening to even a couple of years ago- and I’m sure many of you all feel the same way as well. That’s not to negate the severity of everything that has occurred on a national and a global scale throughout this time, but as we all can attest and agree upon; God does indeed use a bad situation and turn around the effects and result for His glory and our good.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 74: JON FOREMAN + SWITCHFOOT PT 2

It’s been about a couple of years since blog #2 in this Top 100 Influential Artists blog series that I embarked upon. Why I signify blog #2 is of a fair amount of importance, let me remind you. It was the blog about Switchfoot, and was in fact, a blog where I highlighted many songs by this San Diego quintet that have shaped music history and the lives of people over the years- songs like ‘Meant to Live’, ‘Dare You To Move’, ‘Stars’, ‘Oh Gravity’, ‘Mess of Me’, ‘Love Alone is Worth the Fight’ and ‘Restless’ are just many, many songs by a band that have had an influence in both the Christian music industry, and the mainstream as well. It was the first blog post after the first, which was Michael W. Smith, an artist that will always be sentimental to me, because it was the artist that in fact started off this whole journey of thinking about music and the impact, influence and power of artists, songs, and their discography on not only people’s lives, but throughout history as well. And here I am 2 years later or so, ready to commence on blog #74. And what better way to speak and discuss about something and someone totally from left field, that it is, to introduce the topic of discussion in this post…Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot (see blog post #2).

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 36: Dua Lipa

Steve Jobs. Oprah Winfrey. Chris Gardner. Matthew West. Saroo Brierley. Michael Edwards. Michelle Payne. Mark Hall. Bill Gates. Steven Spielberg. Walt Disney. What do all of these people have in common? On the surface, you’d say nothing much. But then if you look a bit deeper, you’d find a common thread that binds these people together for all time. Can you figure out what it is?

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 73: SEAL

Sometimes I wonder about all the detrimental and harmful effects that social media, the internet, youtube, smartphones, iPhones, Androids, PlayStations, Nintendo, even the home theatre system and streaming juggernauts like Disney +, Netflix, Hulu, Stan, Foxtel and Amazon Prime; have all had on the society of today. Or better still, how much we rely on all of these aforementioned technological advances, to better our lives, when in fact, its actually making us rely much more on the technical and less reliable and less connected in an overall sense, when trying to connect face to face. There I said it. Controversial thought and opinion. Yes, the advent of advancements like Youtube, streaming services, smartphones, google, Facebook, Twitter and yes, even Disney +, have all changed the landscape of society now, but with all of it, has made us realise this very one thing- that behind all of the façade of trying to enjoy what is on offer to us, we are just people trying to not admit to ourselves, that we are suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out), and even realising that what we consume on a daily basis, be it youtube, Disney +, iPhones and the like, are just masking what we feel deep down inside of our very souls, that we are lonely, and want human connection more so than anything else!

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 72: JASON MRAZ

It’s always been a fear of mine that whatever I write about will never be good enough. Maybe that’s just a fear that was unfounded, or based in things of the past, maybe I was trying to get good at being good at writing when all throughout high school, I wasn’t. But whatever the case, I’ve found that at numerous points throughout my blog post series, I’d get this idea, or this thought in my head, that what I’m writing doesn’t make sense, or it is just mere folly, for what I’m discussing about and who I’m delving into and trying to analyse for that given week within the series. So lemme back track a little bit. I’ve always loved writing. I think when I was younger (a teenager), my brother and I started writing a ‘book’ if you will, a series of passages and pages about our lives. I think I have that file on my computer somewhere, but from where it stands, I think it’s about a couple of hundred pages long. I still haven’t revisited that in a long time, but herein lies the point. I’ve found that every time I’ve written something that is substantial in length, it’s not necessarily because I have a lot to say about whatever I’m writing about. You can probably check through all my blog posts up until now, and you can probably realise that the Switchfoot post that I wrote about in week #2, and the post about Sugarland that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago…my writing style hasn’t really changed between the two, even though they were two years apart. What has changed was the length of these posts, and maybe sometimes, unfortunately so, because re-reading some of my later posts, I realised that I was writing more than what was needed. I would write and write and write, not necessarily because I have a ton to say, but because I’d write, to prove to…my parents, myself, to my brother, to people on the internet, to my old teachers at school, I guess to prove to people that I could write long, that I could write good, that I was good enough to be writing. Because I reckon it all went back to when I was in Year 7 in high school. I was in English, and I can remember that we’d all have to do a creative writing piece, 1 per term (there were four terms in 1 year back then). When it was time to submit this, my teacher would more often than not, read out a person’s work, and this work that we’d all hear, would either be really good, mediocre, or even terrible. There was one term where my creative writing piece was read out. I don’t know what I wrote about, nor can I even remember if people even knew that it was my piece of work that was being read out. But suffice to say, the English teacher read my stuff, and then they stopped in the middle, put the paper down, and said to the class in no uncertain terms, ‘now this is an example of how not to write’. I felt small from that moment on, and after that point in Year 7 onwards…I was never good at English. I loved it, don’t get me wrong. But maybe at a subconscious level, if the teacher said that I wasn’t good, in Year 7… then maybe I wasn’t good? Looking back on it now, I know now that reading aloud was not the way to go if the teacher wanted to correct someone. But analysing my writing skills now, and delving into the question of ‘why I write longer and longer blog posts as each week progresses’….I think it’s unfortunately because of this moment where I was basically told ‘I wasn’t good enough’, that with every passing blog post, I felt the need to write more and more, to prove to myself, and maybe to prove to my family, that I was capable, and that I still had these skills in me. that I was good.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 35: Julia Michaels

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.  He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

Exodus 4: 10-17

Now when the Lord spoke to Moses in Egypt, He said to him, “I am the Lord. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.”

But Moses said to the Lord, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”

Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Exodus 6:28 – 7:7

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate [a robe] for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”

His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.

Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Genesis 37: 3-11

Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.

A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old. Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.

For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.

Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.

“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.

Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

1 Samuel 17: 1-16, 38-50

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

2 Kings 22: 1-2

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