Monday, 20 October 2014

The only Christian at the Jol

So there I was. standing at the sidewalk cafe in one of the busiest streets in one of the 'trendiest' suburbs in Joburg, sucking up my chocolate milkshake (I was driving). Surrounded by the most beautiful homosexual women and not-so-beautiful drunk men. I overheard stories of 'doing lines' in bathrooms and a warning that the young men who decided to befriend us, could possibly just want our belongings. Nice.

It's been a while since I was around people with these kinds of habits, let alone called them my very dear friends. A while ago I didn't have any non-Christian friends. No, I was comfortably cocooned in my quiet little righteous bubble.
Sometimes I would wonder how different my life is from other 'non-saved' people and if I'm really making a difference in anyone's world at all. Normally these thoughts would occur to me at about 10pm just before I turned off the light and fell asleep, only to be forgotten in the morning.
But when you spend most of your time watching bands and artists perform live at clubs, bars and festivals, people with these habits are just part of the deal. And when you hear people say stuff like 'i haven't gotten laid in 4 weeks' or 'I might still be drunk from last night' ... you realise your lifestyle is very, VERY different indeed.
It's not always fun being the only Christian girl at the jol, often the only sober person, and therefore (most of the time) the designated driver.

Which lead me to wonder... Are there really so few Christians around? Or are most of them doing what i so often do ... Wonder how we can change the world from the comfort of our homes? Hey, maybe we can do it online? That way we won't even need to get out of bed!!?
Another thing i started wondering about, was whether or not me being there was even worth it. 'Is it enough for me to just be hanging around? Should i maybe have something really profound to say? A word of wisdom that i can just throw out there to make everyone question the meaning of existence and the significance of life?'
But if we're called to be the 'salt of the earth' ... then we should at least be around, right? How will people know we are Christians 'by our love' if we're never there? After all, nothing is going to get salty if the salt is kept far away! But that's what we expect isn't it? We think if we chuck out one liners or inspirational verses on social media people will suddenly understand Christ. That's why God used salt as a description, I'm sure... i mean, he would have had coriander back then. He definitely knew about it! But He doesn't want us to be some sort of garnish, or addition... to be chucked on right at the end. Or chili that just smacks people in the face with it's flavour and then leaves them to burn. No... salt is something that gets right in there, gets cooked and stewed and grilled. It's exposed to the heat, slowly but surely working it's way through, and eventually, gently, there's evidence of it's saltiness on everything it touched.
I'm obviously not saying that these other things don't have any place in the world. All I'm saying is, the majority of people out there are living very dangerous lives. They use sex and drugs and alcohol for everything from entertainment to medicine, and it's all fun and games until it's not. And when they realise it's not, they'll need someone to show them that they are loved something FIERCE, and they'll believe it, because we've been an example of it. Without ulterior motives and without judgement. Not because we want them to 'see the light', but because we actually care about them.
I stood looking at all these people. Drunk people. High people. 'Cool' people. I listened to their conversations... and all i could think was. 'Jesus, these people need you, and some of them probably have NO idea.'
We need to get over ourselves. We need to stop staying away. We need to get exposed to some heat and get our hands dirty because we're called to stay pure, not clean. We need to stop getting offended over every little thing, and we DEFINITELY need to get out more.

It's like they say... No one ever changed the world by never leaving the house

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Providence: How Firm the Foundation

Artist: Providence Worship Band
Album/E.P: How Firm the Foundation
Label: Independent
Genre: Worship, Folk
Similar Artists: Page CXVI, Sufjan Stevens
Rating: 4/5

Providence is a gospel-centred church in Austin, Texas. Their aim is to understand the gospel in all its fullness and apply it to all of life.

Their E.P, which can be downloaded here, is a beautiful collection of hymns declaring what Jesus has done for his people. The title track, "How Firm the Foundation", starts the album on an upbeat note with its catchy beat and blend of acoustic and electric guitars. The male and female vocals compliment each other perfectly not just in the opening song, but throughout the entire album.

Providence have altered the hymns from their original composition to a more folky, upbeat form in such a way that the true meaning and message behind the hymns are not lost.

On the whole, the sound of How Firm the Foundation is soft, gentle and melodious - progressing from an upbeat nature to one of worship (the album ends off with "Amazing Grace").

Personally, this has recently been my go-to album during quiet times and when I just feel like worshipping. If, like me, you enjoy folk, worship and old hymns, I really recommend downloading it!!

Peace and Love

Monday, 13 October 2014

J & A's playlist: October

Here is this months Playlist.

A's playlist:

The Brilliance: The Sun Will Rise

Ike Ndolo: Riverside

Page CXVI: Peace like a river

Amazing Grace

J's Playlist

Paper Route: Dance on our graves

Reliant K: Lost Boy

Sanctus Real: Lead Me

Skillet: One day is too late

Let us know what you think of this playlist...

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Disciple: Attack

Artist: Disciple
Album: Attack
Genre: Rock, hard rock
Release date: 23 September 2014
Rating; 5/5

It has been a long time since I have given an album 5 stars. I do not think that there has been a rock album released for a while now that can rival this one. Not even previous achievements from Disciple are as good as this. So spoiler alert, this album is good. In fact, I am going to state here that I believe this album is the best rock/hard rock album of the year. Here's why...

I am not going to say here that the reason for this album's success is the independent nature of it, and I mean that literally because Disciple developed this title independent of a label. So no, I do not think that it is because of the label. I am going to say here that I am proud of Kevin and the guys for standing strong in their beliefs and never wavering no matter what the obstacle.

The success of this album for me is the unashamedly invigorating way in which the band is able to morph their incredible musical talent with lyrics that are not "cheesy" or "over-used". Instead, each song tells a story, and each story sends a message, and each message can have a positive effect on someone.

Titled 'Attack', you can expect just that, an album that attacks your senses in every way possible, but just as you think it is getting too much, a ballad arrives to save the day. The flow of the album shows experience and grace from the band members. Praise is not only due to the band, but also to Travis Wyrick who managed to produce a quality product.

This album combines old school Disciple rock riffs with new school Disciple indie vibes. The blend creates a new sound for the band, and results in an album that you can listen to again and again. For me, one of the elements of this album that solidifies the 5 star rating is the fact that I believe whether you are a fan of rock or not, you will enjoy this album. I know that rock is not everyone's cup of tea, but what I do know is that this album has it all: fantastic riffs; awesome (as always) vocals; a message in the music; and most importantly, a diversity that does not detract from the album.

So there it is, in my opinion the best album of the year, the only problem is that it hasn't landed in South Africa yet, but don't worry too much, we are working on that.

So do yourself a favour, click here to buy the album.

Have a rocking week.

Monday, 6 October 2014

You Are Not Invisible

Often life tends to throw us something we didn’t expect. They say when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade, but what happens when life gives you an avocado, or a banana, or even, dear I say it, raisins (I despise raisins). What do we do when things are out of our control, when things just don’t seem to be going our way? Most of us turn to friends or family who have gone through similar experiences. However, what we should do is turn to God.

Often we forget that God is there in both the big and small moments of our lives. From the job interview that goes badly, to the marriage that lasts a lifetime. God doesn't just work in mind blowing miracles like parting an ocean, sometimes He chooses to act through the people in our lives.

This is how God shows His love for us. Even when we feel distant from Him, He reaches out and protects us. He turns our lemons into lemonade, and raisins into chocolate chips. Our problems are never so big that we can't come to God with them. We aren't invisible to God, He'll always have our best interests at heart.

I think the important thing to remember is that we can never be so far away from God that He won't help us. Jesus' shoulder is there to cry on when you have no one else. His spirit comforts us when we can't find peace anywhere else. There's an amazing truth that Jesus sees us for more than what we are - people with a bunch of lemons. Jesus sees us as being worthy of love, worthy of lemonade.

You may wish to be someone stronger, more accomplished, or more involved. I can tell you know God loves you regardless, and He wants what is best for you. All you have to do is trust Him, and listen in the quiet moments.

Stay awesome,