Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Rush of Fools: Carry Us Now

Artist: Rush of Fools
Album: Carry us now
Record: Provident
Similar Artists: Remission Flow, Addison Road, Steven Curtis Chapman
Genre: Rock, Contemporary, Indie
Rating: 4/5

Rush of fools is a contemporary rock band from Alabama, in the US of A. They started out in 2005, releasing their first album in 2007. Since then have had many successful album releases. This new album is no different. Their sound is great and when you listen to this album you will know that this is a bunch of talented musicians. Each song has very deep lyrics and great instrumentals that follow.

This album is quite an adventure for any music fan.  The album starts off with “Take Me Over”, a great upbeat song to get listeners into the style of the band. As the album progresses we get some more great some, and really deep lyrics. The songs talk about how our “debt” is nailed to the cross, about power in the blood of Jesus. This is a great worship album. There is a very distinct and great sound coming from the band, and they add their own sound to some new worship songs. The underlying message of the whole album is that Jesus will carry us through our struggles, through our worries, and through any difficulties we may have.

It’s a great worship album. Any Christian music fan would surely enjoy having this album. The pacing is great, and each song is clearly very unique. It is an honest album, giving praise to God in everything. From the upbeat songs to the slower ones new and old fans will enjoy what this band has to offer. Their distinct and unique sound comes through in all their songs.

My personal favourite is “In All Things” which has some excellent lyrics that accompany some amazing sounds coming from the bands instruments. The song speaks about how God’s goodness in all situations and circumstances.

Stay Awesome,


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Focus on Jesus

This is a photo of my 13 year old dog, Roxy. Earlier this year she was diagnosed with cancer in her eye and we were told that she was too old to go through an operation, so we would have to put her to sleep... But we prayed for her and delayed taking her to the vet and BOOM! A month later she was 100% healed.
A few weeks ago, our miracle dog had a stroke and I am not too certain of all the veterinary terminology but basically the stroke has caused her vision on her left-side to be non-existent. She now walks with her head completely tilted to the left, to balance out her vision by making her eye the centre of her body. Shame... She bumps into things and falls over all the time and there isn't anything we can medically do for her.
Roxy is such an integral part of our family and we love her so much, so it is really awful to see her this way. We aren't sure how much time she has left before all the falling around causes her to really injure herself.
I know this is a long story to demonstrate the metaphor I'm going for but here we go: I want to consider the way we as followers of Jesus view the path we are walking and also the way in which God must view us sometimes.
When we place God at the centre of our lives, there is balance. It may not be an easy walk/run but He governs our vision and we are able to keep up with His plans for us. There's the occasional trip over a stone or long and hard mountain to climb but a lot of these things are merely obstacles to overcome, and because of Jesus' resurrection love, He gives us the power to overcome. Ah flip, too many metaphors! Apologies!
As soon as we let our eyes be distracted and our focus is shifted off of Jesus, it is a blindness in a way. As if we have forgotten about that resurrection love that allows us to balance. And this blindness, whether it is forgetting that God has won our battles, or if it is blindness to something that poisons our lives, causes us to twist our heads, trying to regain vision. We fumble and bump into walls and get knocked over by things that we would have been able to avoid with balanced vision.
I think that God sees us in our confused, clumsy and destructive states and He just wants to pick us up, hold us and heal our blindness so that we can stop hurting ourselves. I know that this is exactly what I want to do for Roxy, and I think God has a whole ocean's worth of more love for his children than the love I have for my dog.
So if you can sift through all my messy analogies, hopefully you will be able to see what I am seeing? Basically Jesus loves you, peeps! And He wants to take the reigns on your life - let Him. I don't think the madness of God's love ever gets old.
Love Sammy and Roxy

Friday, 23 May 2014

Song of the Week: 23 May 2014

Came across this beauty whilst looking through our archives....blast from the past with Pillar!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

NEEDTOBREATHE: Rivers in the Wasteland

Record: Atlantic
Rating: 4/5
Similar Artists: Mumford and Sons, Lumineers, The Avett Brothers
Genre: Country/Rock
Release date: 15 April 2014

"Yeah, isn't it amazing how a man can find himself alone
Call into the darkness for an answer that he's never known
Yeah, isn't it amazing how God can take a broken man"

For fans all over the world it has been a loooong wait since NEEDTOBREATHE's last album The Reckoning which was released back in 2011. It is easy to sense that Rivers in the Wasteland was created by a band in search of their roots - a band looking for a new start.

At the end of 2013, the release of their behind-the-scenes documentary Prove the Poets Wrong brought to light the troubles the band were having...they were falling apart from the inside and something had to change. The documentary brought with it the announcement of a new album, Rivers in the Wasteland.

From the outset, Rivers is a complete transition from what we have come to know. Instead of a powerful, rocky opener, the listeners are met with "Wasteland", a slow ballad declaring the amazing truth that if God is for us, then who can be against us!?!? The listeners are given an intimate insight into the struggles the band has faced. It is an incredible to see how the band makes itself vulnerable and uses its testament as inspiration for the new album and, in so doing, brings glory to God!

NEEDTOBREATHE bring their musical traditions from the Deep South to life in every song. There is a strong country feel to the album, with the band returning to their roots of slow anthemic rock. The whole album is drawn from the journey that God has led the band through. The lyrics proclaim incredible truths like that no matter where you find yourself, God is with you and has the power to bring you out of any trials and tribulations...all you have to do is trust in Him.

It is a lot slower than previous albums and so, some will probably not like Rivers in the Wasteland as much as their previous work. Despite this I believe it is a solid album from start to finish. One cannot help but appreciate their vulnerability and willingness to be open, but more importantly the fact that they are giving all glory to God!

Song of the album goes to: Wasteland

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Mighty Things

Today I'd like to share with you a passage that has really spoken to me recently. As I approach the home stretch of my studies the question "What next?" has started to creep into my mind. If, like me, you want nothing more than to live out God's will for your life and desire to perform mighty feats for Him, then I'm sure this passage from Angus Buchan's book "The Bible in 366 Days: For Men" will speak to you.

"If we put our trust in God, He will give us VICTORY. 
If we are in Christ, we are TRIUMPHANT; 
therefore, we must go out and proclaim His GREATNESS. 
God will help us do mighty things in His name, if we only BELIEVE."

My heart is confident in you, O God;
no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!
Wake up, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.
I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
I will sing your praises among the nations.
For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth.
Now rescues your beloved people.
Answer and save us by your power.
With God's help we will do mighty things,
for he will trample down our foes. 
Psalm 108: 1-6, 13

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

MercyMe: Welcome to the new

Band: MercyMe
Record: Welcome to the new
Rating: 4/5
Similar Artists: Jeremy Camp; Newsboys; Anthem Lights
Genre: Pop Rock, Christian Rock
Release date: 8 April 2014

Welcome to the eighth studio album by arguably one of the most successful Christian bands of all time. These guys have been making music and glorifying God for 10 years. Their new album entitles "welcome to the new"sheds light on something new from the band. I have listened to the band for many years and even now I say that this new album of theirs has something fresh.

I was discussing the album with one of our other writers and we both agreed that a couple of the songs on the track namely Greater, felt as though they belonged on the stage being sung by a cast of a musical. I liked this vibe I must be honest.

The album's most successfully song is Shake while it shakes you into movement when you hear it. I thoroughly enjoy it, but it is by no means the only great song on the album. I feel that the rip-roaring bridges on this album is what makes it stand out as something fresh and new for the band. They have created a solid experience.

I have spoken to one or too people that feel that the album is too close to bubble-gum pop for their liking and that the album is too loud at times. Contradicting ideas if you ask me. I feel that this album epitomises the saying "If it is too loud, you are too old". I kept wanting to turn the music louder, and then louder again. 

I have very few critiques for this album. I think that MercyMe has produced a top quality piece of Kingdom growing music with "Welcome to the New",  and if you ask me, the 'new' is the more rocky feel to the album.

Nevertheless, this album is great and you should listen to it. and then buy it, and then listen to it again, only super loud.

Song of the week this week goes to New lease on life

Have a rocking week

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Make your mark

20 years of democracy. What an achievement. To think that 21 years ago the vast majority of this country were denied this right is astounding. And look how far we've come and how much has changed since then. I may not remember the Apartheid days but I certainly can appreciate how much has changed and what each voting day that comes around means to the population of this beautiful country. But boy have I been disappointed in the days following Election Day.

Prior May 7, Facebook was a flood with “make your mark”, “anything is possible” and “we are one” sentiments. Post May 7 all I see is negativity. And I get it. I understand that ballot papers were lost, that things went wrong and that maybe some of you feel your voices weren't heard fairly. Elections are difficult. We know that the ANC has many problems it needs to face and Zuma is far from the perfect example of a President. Sure we have a long way to go in achieving all that needs doing to better the lives of South Africans. We are faced with crime, corruption, under-handedness and lack of accountability in government. But I feel strongly that our response should not be one of anger and hate. We should not point fingers at the “stupid” (and I've heard them referred to as much worse on social media) voters keeping the ANC in power. We do not understand what these people have been through; we have not given our LIVES for the right to vote. We did not grow up fearing our future and being ‘saved’ by this government. We cannot begin to judge others on their reasons for voting.

As Christians in particular, we should be the voices of hope. We should look at ways to get involved in our wards or platforms where change can be encouraged. We should stand behind our leaders not because we admire them or even agree with them but because God is SOVEREIGN. Over EVERYTHING. Which includes our situation in this country. We do not need to stand by and accept mediocre rule but we should not be joining in on the mudslinging either. We are called to spread hope, peace and love. We need to commit this country, its people and its leaders into the hands of our Lord who is so much bigger than all of this. Read this piece from Titus 3:1-1:

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarrelling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

We are the future of this country. Instead of getting caught up in the negativity of it all, we should stand firm for what we believe and acknowledge that we are no better than anyone else, especially with regards to where we placed that little ‘X’.

Maybe this country needs a change of government. Maybe it needs its current government to change it up and lead for the people. But that is not for us alone to decide. We made our mark, now it’s time to follow that up by supporting change where we can and focusing on moving forward rather than let ourselves be dragged down. I’ll leave you with the words of Gareth Cliff because if HE is making sense on this, we certainly should be too…
“Congratulations to the ANC for their victory and to all the opposition parties for their gains. Let us find a way to make things work for the next five years - to collectively support the positive, constructive role we all have to play in making peoples' lives better, growing the economy, being nicer to each other and halting the greed and corruption that ail us”.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Song of the Week: 9 May 2014

Definitely one of my favourite bands of all time!!! The Civil Wars' From this Valley is this week's "Song of the Week"!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

In Concert: Jake Hamilton

I had the privilege of attending the Pretoria Jake Hamilton concert in his We Will Fly tour on 28 April… and what a performance it was. Pretoria’s very own Sons of Life opened and performed with Jake. They are a young band with a fresh sound, and a very bright future in the industry; I even thought they were a formal part of Jake Hamilton’s band – such was their seamless blending with the brilliant American musician.

It was a true honour to see Jake Hamilton, the rocking worshipper formerly of Jesus Culture, perform live. I have spent many mornings driving to varsity with speakers blaring while singing at the top of my lungs to The Anthem. I can honestly say that hearing that song performed live with the terrific atmosphere was the high point of the evening, and will be a high point of my year. The inspirational lyrics of “I am royalty, I have destiny, I have been set free, I'm gonna shake history, I'm gonna change the world” truly resonated with the hearts of countless young people in attendance- The atmosphere was remarkable, truly filled with the presence of God.

To add to the soul-stirring worship, there was a theme that transcended the evening; a theme of God’s love and grace. Jake paused midway through to talk about the parable of the prodigal son.  He mentioned that this parable could be more aptly renamed to “parable of the amazing father”, because that is truly what we learn from this powerful story. It’s not about us… It’s not about what we’ve done wrong, or how lost we are in our lives… It’s about how great our Father is… It’s about how much he loves us – with no strings attached. In essence, it’s about Jesus dying on the cross for our salvation. It was such a powerful discussion to put an exclamation point on a great evening.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and went back home to Joburg with a reignited fire to glorify God, and with my face rocked directly off my head! I highly recommend Jake Hamilton to anyone and everyone who enjoys a slightly heavier-than-usual style of worship – Give it a listen; you won’t regret it!


Sunday, 4 May 2014

J & A's Playlist: May 2014

J's Playlist

Shaun Jacobs: End of the Road

Capital Kings: I Feel so Alive

We as Human: Bring to Life

Vintage Kings: Look Me in the Eye

I am Empire: Blackout

A's Playlist

Rend Collective Experiment: Joy

The Remission Flow: It is Well

Echosmith: Cool Kids

Jared & the Mill: Breathe Me In

Kye Kye: Hiding Place

Friday, 2 May 2014

Song of the week 2 May

A great rock song to get you going this weekend. Join We As Human as they rock out