Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Kari Jobe concert review

 The night was finally here. The much-talked-about Night of Worship with Kari Jobe. 

It was one of those nights that you will always remember, one of those nights that will leave a mark on your memory for many years to come. 

It was the first time I had gone to a concert/worship evening where the artist started the night with a Q&A! I know I had spent weeks thinking what I would ask her, and on the actually night all my ideas seemed to fly straight out of my head! Thankfully, I got some of my answers from the other brave souls who could string their thoughts into a sentence…

One of the things she said that really resonated with me was her response to the question of how does she keep her focus on the right thing. And this is what she said:

“Sometimes it’s difficult to have the courage to get up and lead people in worship because sometimes we feel weak but in those moments, when we are weak, He is strong…. And it’s easy when His presence comes.”

“It’s easy when His Presence comes…” Words fail with a statement like that. As a worship leader myself, I have lived this yet in the moments when things are hard, you forget. To know that someone like Kari Jobe also lives and breathes for the presence, and largely depends upon it, was so encouraging.

From the moment she set foot on that stage, you could see she was a passionate lover of Jesus and His presence. In all of her answers, and in all of the songs that she sang, her genuine love for Jesus shone brighter than the amazing lights that surrounded her (and the setup at New Life Church is impressive to say the least!)

We all sang along to old songs and new, from ‘Revelation Song’ and ‘You Are For Me’, to ‘I Am Not Alone’ and ‘Breath on Us’ from her Majestic Tour.

The presence of God was so tangible in that place and there is always something so beautiful about getting together corporately to really worship Jesus. 

When she sang ‘Oceans’ the moment was so sweet, and she followed it with another incredible song that was recently released by Bethel’s Amanda Cook, ‘You Make Me Brave’. The crowd sang in total abandon and then she took a moment to pray for anyone who was feeling anxious or fearful, and who wasn’t feeling ‘brave’. Something broke in the spirit last night and there was breakthrough all over the room – you could literally feel it!

As the night drew to a close, you could feel the anticipation for her closing song. It could be none other than ‘Forever’. Being someone who watched the You Tube video of this song countless times, it was, in a way, a dream come true to experience this live. 

I am walking away from this night with my heart so full, with a fresh love for Jesus. 

I will never forget my night worshiping with Kari Jobe and look forward to having her back in South Africa.

His in Service,

Some questions from the Q&A

Question: How do you keep your focus?

“Sometimes it’s difficult to have the courage to get up and lead people in worship because sometimes we feel weak but in those moments, when we are weak, He is strong…. And it’s easy when His presence comes.”

Question: How do you stay inspired?

“I spend time in the word and I have to always be grounded I need to always be reading stuff that encourages my spirit. It’s important to surround yourself with people who you do life with and who live Kingdom. I believe God equips us when He calls us. When I feel dry, I go deeper. I get more disciplined in my time and in reading the Word I go even deeper. I look for deeper material to really build me.”

“To get your worship team closer or deeper, it starts with prayer and fasting. You can’t lead people where you haven’t been. It has to happen first in the leadership and then it happens in the body"

Question: What is God doing in worship globally?

“The Spirit of God is the same yesterday, today and forever. And people are responding and people are coming to church hungry, more hungry than ever. People come wanting the Spirit to move. A shift has happened in the last year. Freedom to have the Spirit move has become what people want to see. That is what people are hungry for. We are seeing a modern day revival happening, and it’s not about a church or a bout a person. It’s about the body."

Question: What is the greatest thing God put in your heart this year?

“I have fallen in love. That will go public pretty soon. So, I am not single.”

Question: How do you breath and keep focused when you feel the presence?

“I don’t! In Port Elizabeth I cried all night. I love the presence of God so when I get overwhelmed, just like everyone else, I cry. I love to lead worship and it’s such a privilege for me.”


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Is it Toxic Charity?

Due to the cold fronts that have hit Johannesburg recently, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about people on the side of the road; “hawkers”... “beggars” etc. The socioeconomic inequality of South Africa is still a major problem. The solution must be out there, somewhere, and I am confident we will reach it as a nation eventually, but we have not discovered it yet. As such, this is an extremely difficult topic to discuss, and I certainly have no definitive answers… so I would just like to put some questions out there, and hopefully it can raise some thinking and discussion.

The first consideration: Is it even our responsibility to give money to these men and women? This is obviously the most important question, and if the answer was to be a resounding “no”, there would be no need to write or read any more on the issue.

Assuming a lack of financial education, is giving them money truly helping? If we give them money, how much money will actually make a difference? There is a concept of “toxic charity” (with a book of the same name that I have yet to read) that states there is a type of giving that can do more harm than good to the recipient. Over the last couple years, I have begun to think that giving food and having a short conversation with the person is better, because we all need food as physical fuel, and human interaction with some encouragement is a necessary emotional fuel. But is that enough? Another consideration is, if we give money to people from “the goodness of our heart”, does it not matter how it is used?  If we believe the money could be used for alcohol or any other intoxicant, is it better not to give at all?

As I write this, I realize that I should do some further reading into research that’s been done on this topic. Everyone has different opinions, and many have become desensitized to “the man on the street” to the point where we indulge in our lunch within our warm car, while shaking our head as if to tell them we have nothing we can give them, as they stand there hungry and shivering. I am guilty of this all too often myself.

As Christians, we want to help people. But what is the best way to help? What is the best way to make a difference?

I encourage you to pray about it and discuss it with your friends. As South Africans, these are conversations we need to be having. If we can unify in finding the right way to help those in need we see everyday, we can start forming solutions to the poverty of this country.

Peace amigos!


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Ian Yates: DNA

Artist: Ian Yates
Album/EP: DNA
Release: 21 July 2014
Genre: Alternative/Indie/Electro Rock
Rating: 4.5

DNA.  I love that this album's name is DNA.  It speaks of Jesus being within us, engraved on our hearts and the daily process of realigning oneself with Him.  All the songs speak of the outrageous Love and Grace of God and how we are born of our Father's image.  What a moving and encouraging album!

Firstly, thank you Ian Yates for pursuing the amazing talents God has given you, using them to glorify Him and for blessing all those who hear your music!  Secondly, thank you 7Core Music for investing in Ian Yates - he is truly a great and innovative worship leader.

Ian Yates and his wife, Kate, stay in Liverpool (which already makes them fantastic!) and Ian leads various events and churches in musical worship all over the UK.  You can download his new album on iTunes from his website:

So, the album: I found  myself jamming to almost all of the tunes while listening to it on repeat last night! Definitely jam-worthy worship here.  The album displays truly innovative indie-alternative-electro-rocky worship, with a very full sound and unusual mixture of chord progressions.  The electro elements and underlying bass are fresh!  Each song also has the sincerest words and appropriate, contemplative open spaces at the perfect times.

Track 4, Innocent is where the vibe is at! Such an infectious rhythm with frequent gaps of stillness that let us really digest the positive and inspiring words.  And if you're like me, a sucker for the more mellow worshipping songs, experience Track 6, God I Need You.  Honest and heart-rending.  Track 10, We Enjoy You really brings something new to the 'conventional' lyrics we might be used to in worshipping songs.  So refreshing.

One thing that us as the writers at Rocking it Christian Style look for is fresh and innovative Christian and worshipping music.  This is it.

Big love,

Sunday, 20 July 2014

God is good, ALL the time

Hi friends,

I was thinking about what I was going to write about this week, and although there are plenty of relevant topics to choose from, I really felt that a feel-good, encouraging post may be in order.

This has been a rather challenging year for me in terms of my studies; Masters has led me into many a discouraging and frustrating situation. This week in particular, it just felt like nothing was going smoothly. However, amidst all my frustration and pondering over “how could I have misheard God so much”, I just felt the need to trust Him and have faith. So I did. I took the steps I could to rectify the situation, I prayed, and I waited. And God came through.

Now this might seem like an obvious outcome – of course God came through. But sometimes it’s hard to believe things are happening for a reason. Sometimes we feel like we must have misread the signs, or think we didn’t pray hard enough, or that we’re on our own path and God’s going to leave us until we find the right path again. But that’s not what Romans tells us:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” Romans 8:28.

Trust me when I say this: God will not leave you. He is working in ways that we can’t always see but He sees the bigger picture. There is nothing we can do, no place where we can go, where He cannot use us and work it out for our good. I’m a firm believer in lessons and even when the situation works out in a way which seems like a failure, there is something to be learned from it. We need to live confidently in the freedom that God gives us, trusting that He will guide us when we seek Him but that even when we get it wrong, He’s still got us. How glorious the realisation that we can make mistakes, we can veer a little to the left and still His plans will be made known.

If you love Jesus and are open to his leading, things will work out. My Pastor said one of the most helpful things in a sermon a few months ago that I’ll share with you now: when asked by his son about how you hear God’s voice, he explained that often it’s when you look back that all the little lights line up and you find that God’s been leading you the whole time, you just didn’t know it. How true!!! How often I’ve looked back and been amazed at how God’s been working the whole time, all for my good. God is good, ALL of the time. He will use whatever you’re going through right now to bring you out the other side, better and more equipped to build on His Kingdom.

So have faith. Have patience. Trust that no matter how YOU feel, God is working and when you come out the other side, which you will, you’ll look back and smile at the wonder that God’s hand in your life is.

Until next time…Let go and let God.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Judah & the Lion: Sweet Tennessee

Artist: Judah & the Lion
Album/EP: Sweet Tennessee
Release: April 2013
Genre: Folk, Country
Rating: 4.5

I'll never forget the first moment I heard the alluring voice of Judah Akers, the lead singer of the three-piece folk band, Judah & the Lion. From that first line of "Fill This House" I was hooked...."Holy Spirit come and fill this house up. Let your love fall like a fire. Consume us, Lord." This is what I was looking for. A folky band with a heart for Jesus.

You can just imagine the excitement felt when I found their latest EP Sweet Tennessee on Noisetrade! With their first release, First Fruits, being a worship EP, the band decided to create an EP that connected with a wider audience. Although the Christian connotations are not as obvious in Sweet Tennessee, they are definitely present. The lyrics are centred around Tennessee and the band's love for their country roots.

For me, this is one of the best EP's I've listened to all year! The beauty contained in this album is indescribable. I can honestly say that Judah and the band are able to paint pictures with their music....despite the fact that I've never visited Tennessee, I feel as though I know it intimately.

Although the country/folk instruments tie the sounds of each song together, the EP presents the listener with a diverse range of sound. Whether it be a slow, enchanting song like "Sweet Tennessee", or a foot-stomping, singing out loud song like "Southern Ground" it's got it all!

I pray that Judah & the Lion will continue to grow from strength to strength and that, in Jesus' name, they will continue to grow the Kingdom. I can't wait to hear their upcoming album "Kids These Days", coming later this year!

Peace and Love


Sunday, 13 July 2014

J & A's Playlist: July 2014

J's Playlist

Demon Hunter: Dead Flowers

Capital Kings: You'll Never Be Alone

Thousand Foot Krutch: The End is Where We Begin

Skillet: Monster

A's Playlist

Ike Ndolo: Crooked Soul

All Sons and Daughters: Christ Be All Around

Judah and the Lion: Our Love


Friday, 11 July 2014

Song of the Week: 11 July 2014

A good friend of mine sent this to me with the caption "Adding this to my James 1:2-3 survival kit!" This scripture says "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow."

Brothers and sisters, take heart from this song and its message. Remember that any pain or suffering you have, are and ultimately will go through is not in vain, and that our all-knowing, all-powerful Lord is watching over us!


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Casting Crowns Live: Johannesburg

Some concerts are destined to be great, even before they’ve begun. This is what Casting Crowns was like for me. I was fortunate enough to get to meet the band just before the concert started. The room was electric as we all waited to meet the band members. As they walked out I could hardly believe my eyes. I just kept thinking to myself “don’t say anything stupid, just act natural”. Each member was really friendly and excited to meet us. One of the highlights for me personally was when a few of the band members told me that my Assassin’s Creed hoodie was “awesome”, which lead to a short discussion about the game. Afterwards, all I could think about was “I have something in common with Casting Crowns, yay me!”

This was just the beginning of a great evening for us. An amazing night of worship followed, and we were all amazed at the talent that we got to see. I haven’t listened to the latest Casting Crowns album, but they had a great mix of new and old songs to keep everyone happy. The songs I knew I sang as loud as I could, and the songs I didn’t know I sang just as loud (they had the lyrics up on a projector for us). Hearing classic songs like “East to West” and “Lifesong” made my heart happy, yet this concert was more than just a time of worship. The lead singer, Mark, would often take a break from singing to give us a message which would relate to the next couple of songs.

Casting Crowns have an amazing charisma; every moment of the concert was enjoyable. One of my favourite moments was when they did a song I had never heard up until that evening. “Dream for you” is an amazing song about what God wants for our lives. It’s got a really great tune, full of energy and great lyrics, and the song broke me. This concert was awesome because there was something special for anyone who went. If you ever get the chance, definitely make an effort to see these guys live.

Stay awesome

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Jesus: The Author of Salvation

It's that time of the year again!:p Special guest-writer, Jeremy, shares his opinion on salvation.

Hi guys,

So this is a topic that sometimes bothers me. It’s also a topic I’m by no means sure about. In fact, please don’t take this as the truth or anything like that. Rather take it as my opinion (this is a blog post after all).

Who exactly doesn't get into heaven? Fundamentalists believe only those who have actively accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour receive eternal life. In fact Jesus tells us He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that no one goes to the Father except through Him. And I believe this is the truth: Jesus is the author of salvation!

But I also believe that us going to the Father through Jesus may not have to be a conscious decision on our part. Jesus came to save all human kind, not just those fortunate enough to hear about Him. What about babies who pass away? What about people who have never heard of Him? What about people who have heard of Him but have been grievously hurt by the church, and thus associate their pain with Jesus?

I for one would not blame if they stayed as far away from church as they could. But what happens if they die before they realise the truth of Jesus’ love for them?

(Disclaimer: I’m in no way saying it’s ok to ignore the Gopel for convenience’s sake. We still have to tell everyone about what Jesus did for us on the cross, it’s our mandate. Also, if you’ve heard of Jesus but you’re too afraid of putting aside worldly things to accept Him, that’s also not ok).

My pastor puts it nicely: he feels we will be judged on our understanding of God. If I, or any other person who has accepted Christ or gained an intimate knowledge of Him, were to reject Him now, we would have far more to answer for than someone who passed away deep in the Amazon jungle 100 years ago, never having heard of Jesus.

Also, some people say that if you’ve lived a nice life but never heard of Jesus then God will be understanding (which is a lie. We can’t earn our salvation, and that rule doesn’t change for people who are unreached by the Gospel). But I think God is far more understanding than that. What if all you’ve ever known is violence and killing, and you go on to kill yourself? Would God condemn you for that?

My answer is: I don’t know! And neither does any other human being. But one thing I know for sure: whatever happens on Judgement Day will be just and right. We will stand before God in our multitudes and say to each other: “Wow, God is Holy”.

And so brothers and sisters, I would like to leave you with this: we as humans cannot condemn anyone, and whatever happens on Judgement Day we will know it was the right and fair thing.

Have a blessed week :) and peace be with you,