Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Best List! [2012]: Music [Singles]

Were there songs that just couldn't stop listening to at some point during this year? I had a couple of those. Below is a list of my best hit singles of the year in no particular order.

Ho Hey by The Lumineers
The Lumineers are not an ‘out there’ Christian band. I’m not even sure if they are Christians but I came across this song via the RELEVANT podcast and I must say it’s worth the 4MB space on any iPod.

Music by Beckah Shae
This is a really good song. Never heard anything like it before.

Fearless by Group 1 Crew
“As I stand in the eye of the storm, it’s your love that keeps guiding me on. I’m fearless. I’m fearless” :) 

Your Song by Poema
Your song by Poema is that song you come across on an album you weren’t big on at a time. This was my best drive song this year. 
Another One by Chris Cobbins
Great song. Very catchy too. Get the album it’s on for free here.

Caught Up in Love by J Moss
Something funny happened with this song. I had the album didn’t like the song. Then a friend told me about it. Went back to it and then liked it. I meant loved it.

Hello Feat. Suzy Rock by KB
I love this song.

Crave by For King and Country
This is the non-worship song I found myself lifting my hands to at every point during this year. My year Anthem. Lol.

Sparrow by Audrey Assad
Audrey Assad’s Sparrow couldn’t have missed this list. You need to blow up your apartment with this song over your very good speakers to know what I mean. Apologize to your neighbors latter (if you have one).

1961 by The Fray
I’m surprised this song made my list. I will have been surprised also if it didn’t.

Lame by Rachel Chan
What wouldn’t you love about Rachel Chan’s Lame? Epic.

*Below are also some great song that weren’t produced this year but should have made my list

Gbogbo Titi - Frank Edwards 

Beautiful things by Gungor

Beautiful Exchange by David’s Plea

You are on Our Side by Elevation Worship

Your Favor by Elevation Worship

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Best List! [2012]: Music [Albums]

From Veterans like Hillsong, Jaci Velasquez, Sandi Patti and Mark Schultz to newcomers like Nicole Croteau, Rachel Chan, Travis Ryan and Joshua Rogers, this year sure witnessed the release of some groundbreaking records. So I have come up with a list of the few I couldn't stop playing from top to bottom. I hope you find this helpful. Enjoy! 
Musical Revival by Forever Jones
This album was way diverse and more professional than their first Grammy nominated ‘Get Ready’ album. And creative too. 

Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by The Welcome Wagon
Okay, this gets my overall outstanding album of the year. Produced by the veteran Sufjan Stevens and if you love books by dead guys (like me), you would quickly recognize the title was gotten from a book of the same name by Thomas Brooks written in 1652. I think what I love about this album is how genuine and creative it is in all its aspect, how a theme like story flows through it and how it’s so scripture focused unlike most creative albums. This I would say gets  my reflective/writing album for the year.

Anchors & Silhouettes by Nicole Croteau
I love this lady’s music. All I would say is, we need more artist and music like this. And just to let you know, She’s a member of the dream center band Press Play, Though you would never know with her style unless you were told. Oh, I just did. Lol!

Transformed by Cheneta Jones
Cheneta is an indie gospel artist I came across sometimes in the middle of the year. The intro of this album is worth the price of the whole album. So good.

Excellent by Propaganda
I’m surprised this album made my list. For one, I came across it later this year and two I’m not a BIG fan of rap music. But what I love about Propaganda’s Excellent is the length at which he goes artistically with the details on it. And guess what, you can get it for free here!

Stronger by Jor’Dan Armstrong
This is really an outstanding album. Never heard anything like it in a while. Really good stuff for you if you like the sounds of Sean Kingston, Neyo, Chris Brown and Jason Derulo.

The Loft Sessions by Bethel Live
Spooky worship! I love Bethel. This is one Worship album that is radically different. Listened to it a lot this year. Loved every bit of it.

Jesus at the center by Israel Houghton
Don’t hate if you learn this about me: I am not a fan of Israel’s music. Yes I said that but he got me with this one. So good. So so good!

Royalty by The Royal Royal
Royal Royal equals epicness. Unconventional music that would focus your attention on God. Their sound would bring to mind the classic sound of the ‘The Beatles’.

Destiny by Beckah Shae
You should sue me if anything Beckah Shae didn’t make this list. She’s da bomb!

*Please note. The albums mentioned were produced in the year 2012. I discovered some other great albums this year but didn’t make the cut because they weren’t produced this year. Each of the albums mentioned I also found to be press play albums (That is I didn’t have to skip any song while listening)

If you were to rewrite this list, what album(s) would you toss, what would you add to the list? I would love to hear from you :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Best List! [2012]: Books

So I decided to share the my top 10 best things of the year 2012. And the first best list comprises of the best 10 books I read this year. I hope this is indeed helpful. In no particular order, below are the titles and authors plus a quote from the books. Enjoy!

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
I first thought it dumb reading the memoir of a thirty year old lady. 'What has she been through?' I thought 'In thirty years?' But a few pages into this book, I wanted to place it into the hands of every twenty something I had as a friend. It was a beautiful read. 

“Celebration when your plan is working? Anyone can do that. But when you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that's when you start to learn what celebration is. When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that's celebration.”

Tribes by Seth Godin
Please if you haven’t read Tribes, walk up to a book store, neglect the fact that such a small book could have a big price and buy Tribes. It’s one of the best materials I have come across on leadership.

"Some tribes are stuck. They embrace the status quo and drown out any tribe member who dares to question authority and the accepted order"

Now What Do I do? by Dr. John Townsend
This is a good book. Very practical and helpful stuff. I highly recommend it if you are feeling stuck or if you are twenty something.

"We sometimes create a problem where none exists. So make sure you have an actual problem"

Love Does by Bob Goff
 Reading this was a roller coaster ride for me  and I got the chance to speak with the author on phone after I closed the last page. What more can I ask?

" I used to think God guided us by opening and closing doors, but now I know sometimes God wants us to kick some doors down"

Change Agents by Steve Chalke
Great small book on leadership. Had to give a copy away on my blog after I finished. So good.

"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret"

Empty Promises by Pete Wilson
Please read Pete Wilson’s book Empty Promises: The Truth about You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing. I read this at the first quarter of the year, it helped me mapped out a couple of routines and disciplines that made the year successful.

"Often what we think is the good life is not really the good life at all. It's nothing but smoke and mirrors. It's an illusion, an elaborate trap. It's a collection of empty promises. But that doesn't mean the good life doesn't exist"

The Holy Wild by Mark Buchannan
A lot of people aren’t big on Theology. I don’t know why. Cause Theology literally means knowledge of God and what you know about God automatically forms how you relate to him. This is not a ‘Theological’ book. Mark Buchannan, a Canadian pastor writes poetically about the various character of God. This really changed my perspective and broke down old shacks I had built about who God is. Great book to pick up if you think you don’t know God. Also a great one to pick if you think you know Him. Never mind I was in the latter category before I picked up this book and found out a couple of pages into it I was actually in the former. It’s an awesome one I kept checking things up in through the year even after I finished it.

"Sabbath is a gift of the restful God to His restless people"

Sex God by Rob Bell
When a controversial author writes about a controversial topic, you sure know it’s not one to miss. Above controversy, I must say this is a beautifully written book. 

"The other day my five-year-old son asked my wife, "Mom, what does sexy mean?" She thought about it for a second, and then replied, "Sexy is when it feels good to be in your own skin. Your body feels right, it feels comfortable. Sexy is when you love being you"

The Secret Things of God by Dr. Henry Cloud
Dr. Henry Cloud is a world acclaimed professional psychologist and business writer. He is also a Christian. He is such a blessing to the Christian body and to this generation.

"While God alone is all powerful, we do have a certain amount of power in our lives- the ability to exert control over the things that affect us. One of the marks of mental health is the degree to which people realize that they have control over their own lives and exercise that power to choose"

Wild Grace by Max Lucado
The normal awesomeness of Max Lucado plus some instructive relevant uniqueness makes this one an excellent read.

"Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace threw him a party"

I hope you enjoyed going through this list and got some ideas of books you might want to check out this coming year.

What good books did you read this year? What books do you think I should place on my list in the coming year? Please tell in the comment section. I would love to hear from you.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Reducing God.

Photo by Jeff Samuel

We started with our stories of God as we sat in the old dusty room full of books and alpine shelves. ‘What do you see God as?’ the teacher asked.

Petite Lovette Pretty-Face dropped her Marc Jacobs bag that could hold a new born baby and started ‘I see God as. . . ‘She went on, wiped a tear a time or two, adjusted a golden brooch on her big lapel and smiled at the end.

‘What do you see God as?’ asked the teacher looking straight at Mr Longhorn Sleepy-mind. He ranted about his life experiences, how he has come to love the quiet and nature. ’I see God as’ He kept saying. He had a lot to say but half way I caught myself and Lovette Pretty-Face dozing our heads off. No wonder the name.

The next person was the nameless guy down the road. ‘I see God as. . . ’ he started. At a point I was lost cause I thought God had no more names cause there was nothing he didn’t compare God to. Pretty-face smiled at moments till her make-up cracked and frowned at moments till I was sure I could see a new wrinkle forming. Looking back now, I don’t know what all that meant, maybe her agreements and disagreements. 

The last man before me was the popular Mr. Lovely-Bubbly-Happiness, which we always thought for a long time was actually his wife’s name. He didn’t let the teacher finish the question. ‘Love Love Love’ was all he kept shouting till he ran out of the room. This was how I knew he had lost it: When he reached the front door near the see through window, he shrieked and did an uncommon Zumba move. The teacher muttered a prayer I didn’t hear. Lovette Pretty-Face exclaimed a high pitched ‘God have mercy’ and Longhorn mumbled something about the end being near.

God is. . .
When we take heart cups and try to fill it with the ocean God before us, walking away boldly that it is all there is to this ocean, aren’t we missing something? No wonder His call to us is to live near, diving through the ocean.

God is. . .
How far have we gone with this great evil, taking a part of God and calling it God? We can’t afford to live on a character of God. God is love but he is also a judge. Just like God became a baby but he is also divine. God has daily mercies but a day is coming he’s wrath will be unleashed on all disobedience and evil. It takes patience and balance friend and a heart that has been circumcised by only him to perceive him rightly.

God is. . .
This is the test. This is the test to know if you holding up a cup to the world as God or you are pointing them to the vast somewhat mysterious ocean. Does the God you bow to baffle your mind. When last did you it occur to you ‘I thought I understood you’. Can you wrap you mind around the God you claim or is He wrapping his loving arms around you?

God is. . .
I am not saying God is totally mysterious. God has made himself known in Jesus, he has come near and he is close and he longs that we know him. But a knowledge of God should never be mistaken for knowing God. 

God is. . .
No debate: the God we know is the God that would be seen through us. Show me who you are and I will tell you your god. Who we are and are becoming is really important. Who we are is at our core, our values and the things we cherish. I think what a lot of people forget when they choose idols is that what we worship doesn’t only give us pleasure, what we worship also forms us.

God is. . .
My goal in writing this is to call us to wonder, to call us to the step by step faith which is our inheritance as Christians, to call us to the creativity the Holy Spirit longs to display by crafting our individual lives. We are masterpieces not mass products. I think it’s religion that does the later to us. A personal relationship with God is endless, making our hearts in the long run desire eternity with him. 

God is. . .
God was a baby right? And that was the incarnation but if we never step beyond that we would never experience the salvation and life his death and resurrection brings. Same with every one of his character. Blowing one out of proportion is distortion the biblical image of God. We must view like a tapestry for the big picture. Zooming in will make you mistake a white onion for a flower.

God is. . .
God is not a sum total of your experiences be them good or bad. He is more. Daily I open my eyes to a world where I see a lifestyle carved to bring humanity back to God torn apart into multifaceted religion: this is majorly cause people have tried to reduce the wonder of God down to their own one moment out of earth experiences leaving no room for the God of heaven to move again. The absence of love is pride, we must remind ourselves and pride is very evil. The voice of pride is ‘my way or the highway’. Oh! the boxes we have created for God and we wonder daily why red seas don’t part anymore and the blind Bartimaeus in our midst aren’t getting healed. 

Putting God in a box is actually putting yourself in a box. God is everywhere, all powerful and cannot be limited. What we limit when we limit God is the potential he’s placed in us. We remain small when we’ve been called to greater things.


What box do you have to step beyond today to come to a greater revelation of him?

Have yourself a merry BIG Christmas.

Celebrate The Wonder :)


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