Sunday, 31 August 2014

Forgiving Your Enemies

The topics of discussion at our men's group this week were "Turning the other cheek", "Forgiveness" and how, as Christians, both should be  vital aspects of our lives.

Luke 6:27-36:
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. 

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

This isn't going to be a long-winded blog post. I just want to urge you to meditate on the above scripture, and I pray that it serves as a reminder that, as Christians, we are called to be Holy, separate from this world. 
I know from experience how difficult loving someone who has hurt you can be. It almost feels against our nature to forgive in many instances, but we must lay down our pride, submit our problems to Jesus and do something that often feels impossible to our enemies....and I mean truly LOVE.

This coming week I am challenging myself  to be more compassionate than I have been before...and, if this post has touched on a nerve in anyway, I pray that you will not forget this scripture and that God will work in you and give you strength/wisdom to be the compassionate being you are called to be.

Peace and Love

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Thousand Foot Krutch: Oxygen:Inhale

Artist: Thousand Foot Krutch
Album/EP: Oxygen:Inhale
Release: 19 August 2014
Genre: Rock
Rating: 4

The name of this album gives you an idea of what you are in for. TFK have been around for a long time, they have produced a lot of good music in their time and there is now a certain amount of weight placed on the shoulders of the band with each new album.

The band goes for a breath of fresh air with this album. Breathing a new sound into the scene they belong too. One of the things that has always impressed me about TFK is the fact that they are so good at letting the world know about their faith through some of the best melodies in the business.

As always, there is a lot of faith put in the ability of the band's front man Trevor McNevan to pull off a variety of genres within one album. Songs start off in melodious rock, then lead into a rap chorus followed by a combination of rocky vocals mixed with harmonizing with instruments. This task is something he takes in his stride and has a virtually flawless execution rate. There are a couple moments during the album where I personally feel that they could have been a little more consistent within the songs, but then the next chorus starts and you soon forget about that.

If you follow TFK you will know that there is a definite characteristic that all TFK songs have, and that is 'Rawkous' beats. Each and every song (even the ballads) have drum lines that will have you trying to keep up with Steve Augustine on drums. Then there will be moments when you will be air guitaring, not even caring who is watching.

Overall this album is a good product. TFK have managed to yet again produce a high quality rock sound. For me the only thing keeping this album away from a 5 out of 5 is the diversity within the album. Nevertheless, this album will be on repeat in my car for many weeks to come.

So throw up your Rawk Fist and party along to this new album.

Song of the week goes to "I see red"

Have a rocking week,

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Hearts on Fire

They said to each other, "Didn't our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?" Luke 24:32

Wow...what a crazy month it's been. I'm sure you've had a time like this...when it feels like your schedule is packed all day, ever day! I've barely had any time to just sit and be!? Waking up this morning I realised how much of an impact this busy-ness has had on my relationship with our God.

On my way home today I heard Passenger's song Heart's on Fire. Now although this song is about a man singing to his "darling"...the chorus really resonated with me and my relationship with God at the moment. Is my heart on fire like I know it has been before? Why not? My, how blinded we can get with the things of this world! We place such great importance on things that have no eternal value that we're willing to sacrifice the things that do!?

We, as sinners, are not consistent beings and fighting the good fight is a constant battle against the enemy. It is for this reason that I want to remind you of the importance of taking time out to spend time with Him and in His word. If, like me, you are feeling tired, anxious and feel as though you're lacking that fire and passion you once had, you really need to spend some intimate time with Him in prayer.

I read Ephesians 6:10-18 this morning:

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

After reading this I felt somewhat shocked, as I have been so caught up in "my own life" that I have side-lined my relationship with Jesus. Two passages of scripture that jumped out at me were, ..."stand firm against all strategies of the devil" and "Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for ALL believers everywhere." 

It is so easy to get caught up in everything but God....the devil is lurking, ready to put out that fire in your heart....put on all of God's armour and STAY ALERT!

It is my prayer for you and me that we will be strong in the Lord, that He will re-ignite (keep aflame) a burning heart within us, and that we will not lose sight of what is truly important in life.

Peace and Love


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Jordan Ruiz: The Mountain

Artist: Jordan Ruiz
Album/EP: The Mountain
Release: 28 June 2014
Genre: Folk/Indie
Rating: 4.5

So I downloaded this album a few weeks ago, coincidentally, as I sometimes do when I get my weekly new release emails from Noisetrade...  What a happy coincidence!  Ben Howard, Jon Foreman, Bon Iver, John Meyer or James Vincent McMorrow  fans - this is for you!

Upon hearing The Mountain for the first time, I found each song a continuation of the last, a journey of sorts.  At first I didn't realise that Jordan Ruiz was singing about God, but after hearing Enough, Enough, it became clear that the lyrics of this album are not merely an expression of human emotions or experiences, but are heartfelt and honest poetry, testament to God's love.  The journey begins...

Lyrics to Enough, Enough:

Lord of all light
I'm coming home, coming home
You will not deny
A broken heart, a broken soul
Reunion is my cry
Servanthood my goal
But you run to me and
Kiss my head, give me clothes 

Jordan describes the songs of this album as ones that "metaphorically document the change in seasons of life... a more intimate companion for those who know those changes well".  The album appeals to a variety of triumphant, subdued and restful tones and stylistic choices.  Uplifting, contemplative, wonderful lyrics accompanying soft and soulful vocals - so pleasing to the ears!

The title of the album is wonderfully appropriate. Speaking of, not only God's glorious creation but a mountain, a large steep hill. It's life, right? Obstacles, plights that we try get past, overcome. This album tells a story of overcoming - Jesus' overcoming and our reunion with Him.  One of my favourite songs from the album is A Darker Colour, give it a listen when you download the album here:
It is a song of hope amidst darkness - and we all need these words in our lives:

O my soul
Why are you downcast?
Praise the Lord
And find rest

In the first
In the only
Through the worst
Through the only 

Jordan also has a blog which is worth checking out:

Big love,

Monday, 18 August 2014

J & A's Playlist: August 2014

J's Playlist

Relient K:That's my Jam
Vintage Kings: One Life

An Epic No Less: One Word

Capital Kings: You'll Never Be Alone


A's Playlist

The Civil Wars: Dust to Dust
The Ember Days: Awake
Bellarive: Lazarus
Echosmith: Come Together

Sunday, 10 August 2014


Authentic /ɔːˈθɛntɪk/ adjective: of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.

A couple of weeks ago, Alex and I had a conversation with friends of ours about what we think 'good' worship is.  A key word that came up in this conversation was authentic.  We all came to an understanding that good worship is all about ones heart towards God in that moment of worship, as well as in our daily living worship - what are your motives for singing praise or for doing anything else at all really?

At a worship team meeting earlier this week, the notion of authentic worship was echoed by many of us there.  After a discussion about authenticity in the act of worship, we looked at what the root of all of this is, what spurs on genuine worship or genuine love for God and people?  There are many things that were said, but what stood out for me was the ability to surrender your thoughts, your body, to sacrifice and put aside your worries and the stuff in your life and focus on the Lord of lords, giving everything you are to Him.  And this comes from an intimate relationship with Jesus - spending time with Him, listening to Him, discipline in drawing closer to Him... 

After contemplating the two previous Sunday posts by Jordan and Alex, I felt it fitting to continue the golden thread of reaching out to our immediate communities... Now Alex and Jordan both touched on what role the church plays in helping the poor and I would like to touch on something a little different:

What are we individually, genuinely doing to reach out to neighbours?

What are we doing to help the poor in spirit, the emotionally broken, those in need of a friend? I'll be honest - Most of the time, I am so tied up with trying to sort out my own relationship with Jesus, that I trick myself into thinking that I don't have time to spend praying for those around me, or take out time to listen to someone and get to know someone new, even my actual neighbour.

But how do you see the work of God in your life if you are not sharing your joy and your journey with others?  Yes, we have our close friends, our life groups, and we should treasure those precious friendships.  But what about acquaintances, neighbours, or even close friends who are going through tough times, or who need a hand, a prayer or some time to offload? How seriously do we take this commandment from Jesus? - Mark 12:31 "The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Wow... Loving another person in the same way, with the same amount of care you invest in yourself. Boom!  

Do humans even have the capacity to love with that intensity?  Nope.  But with God, with prayer, it is so very possible! The strength in which to do this is only found in Jesus, and the reason can only be Jesus.  If there is another reason, a reason of questionable origin, for reaching out to someone, be it pride, self-righteousness, whatever, our strength fades.  It doesn't work and we end up hurting those we're trying to 'help' and we hurt ourselves too.  This reason for reaching out needs to be 'of undisputed origin'.  God has shown me that this is a destructive way to go about loving your neighbour... And that the only motive for loving our neighbours can be the Love of Jesus Christ, for His Kingdom.

I want to challenge everyone who reads this, as I have been challenged by my God to grow and broaden my shoulders, to stretch my faith and do more for God's Kingdom: I would be willing to bet that we all know someone or know of someone who needs a friend, someone to show them the love of God, someone to laugh with them. Be that someone to them, even if in the smallest way.

This is an awesome song by Leeland that ties in with this post. What Dayton mooring says before the band starts playing is so wonderful. Do it!

So much of love,

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Waken: Endless Light EP

Artist: Waken
Album/EP: Endless Light
Release: 7 June 2014
Genre: Indie/Electro Worship
Rating: 4/5

Waken is a new up and coming indie worship band out of FT Lauderdale, Florida. This, their first EP, has proven to be a great start to the bands journey.

The EP consists of four tasty songs that give you a sneak peak into the vibe and heart of this band. When the band chatted to another media agent they stated that their goal is to develop a new form of corporate worship. When I hear the term corporate worship I get excited. The world is changing and the way that people worship is changing, so then why should worship not change along with it? What Waken are proposing is new worship music with an even newer sound. 

So far so good. The first tracks kicks off the EP, and the career of this band with immense hope and positive drive. "We will run" lets you peak into what this band can do instrumentally, creating a vibe through their music while remaining true to their dream of developing new worship songs.

For me the excitement builds with tracks 3 and 4 when we hear Abbey and Rachel (the two female vocalists). Now I won't know for certain who is who until we chat to them, but both these ladies have voices that work spectacularly with the vibe Waken is trying to create.

The point of this EP is to give you a hint as to what the band can produce. Thus I am leaving my rating as a 4, because I believe that Waken are able to produce a full length album that shakes the worship world. Because of that expectation, I am waiting in great anticipation; and you should be too.

To listen to their EP click here.

Song of the week goes to "We will run"

Have a rocking week

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Everyone Can Give Charity....

"Everyone can give charity, but Jesus gives us so much more - He gives us community.... Family in Christ's love" - Jaco Strydom.

Jordan's post got me thinking about how I could REALLY make a difference in this world. What can I do to have a positive impact on the lives of the homeless, the broken and those suffering. His post came on the eve of my favourite week of the year....TuksMissions Week!

Every year the TuksMissions society organises a week of fellowship, worship and learning....all in the light of Missions. This year's speaker, Jaco Strydom, gave an incredible series of talks. Jaco runs a nonprofit organisation called ECHO Youth Development in Pretoria, South Africa. Between 2002 and 2013 ECHO established numerous houses, or intentional communities, for people in need. ECHO is made up of High School Youth and Young Adults from different cultures living together in 8 houses, called Echo Communities.

ECHO Youth Development hosts weekly youth programs. The community gather every week for communal meals with an open invitation to outsiders. Hundreds of teenagers from needy backgrounds attend Church multicultural services on Sundays. They provide counseling and social services and weekly programs at 9 schools.

Now I'm not meaning for this to be an ECHO advert. I just truly believe in what they are doing as a community of Christians.

The one talk that really stood out to me this week was his take on charity. Jaco has written maaaaany articles on missional-community and strongly believes that anyone can do charity....

"There is a difference between charity and community - and in this context I mean the typical feel good hand-out type of charity verses compassionate caring community with those in need.

The homeless, the lonely, the poor and the suffering need more than our charity, they need our presence.  They need God's people to connect and to at least try to understand. Caring community has a way of making people feel human again, giving them back their dignity."

Now, I am currently working on my thesis which is based in an informal settlement. I have come into contact with many people who are broken, lost and lonely. I remember when I first set foot in Mamelodi East...I was full of energy and optimism...I was ready to change the world! After walking through the streets for only minute I soon realised that the problem was a lot bigger than I had ever imagined....and there was NO ways that I was going to be able to help everyone!!!:/

God then placed someone in my life who would soon become a very dear friend to me...his name is Alpheus. Alpheus lives in, what he calls, "a tiny shack" ...he is 19 years old, finished his Matric, but, like so many South Africans, unable to find a job.

We met when I ran a photography workshop for my masters research.  Alpheus excelled in the competition that followed and, as a result, won a camera. His passion for the art was incredible and we soon began photography walks together. The friendship that blossomed from this has been amazing for both parties. I have learnt so much from him and he has confessed that the whole experience has given him a renewed hope in life.

Having this first-hand experience, as well as listening to Jaco speak about the importance of community, has made me realise that the only way to truly help others is by loving them. And I mean REALLY love them. Nothing compares to giving up your time and pouring out your love onto others.

" While charity might have its place in society, we as followers of Christ are called to journey deeper. We are called as his body to carry His presence in the lonely spaces of human suffering. Not only to give hand-outs, but to connect. Not only to send a light, but to be the light. Not only to share hope, but to be hope." -Jaco Strydom

Peace and love