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JFH Staff Blog | January 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lessons from a Posion-Ivy t-shirt

Throw it off

I spoke at a retreat in Texas last weekend.  I shared how when I helped my pastor clear some brush from his land I came in contact with Poison Ivy.  Two hours into our work he said, “Don’t touch any plants with three leaves.”  He was a tad late.  Every plant I saw had three leaves.  Not good.

The right side of my upper body broke out in the Poison Ivy rash. Also, I learned that poison ivy oils remain on your shirt.  And if the shirt rubs against you, you can get the Poison Ivy rash also.

I had a shirt with me in a Wal-Mart bag. I told them it was the shirt I wore when I got Poison Ivy.  I shared how they could get Poison Ivy from the shirt.  I asked, “Who is allergic to Poison Ivy?” Many people raised their hands.  So I tossed the t-shirt into the crowd. There were yelps, screams (probably curse words), arms flailing, glances of rage at me, and a mad scramble to avoid the t-shirt (After a minute or so I let them off the hook and told them that in fact it wasn’t the shirt I wore and that it was clean anyway).

My point was and is this:  In Colossians 3:8, Paul says to “Put off [throw off]” some things:
-    Anger- a festering, seething, underlying, boiling anger (anger fantasies).
-    Wrath-  A boiling over or explosion of anger.
-    Malice- Planning and acting to harm someone
-    Slander- Words that will injure someone’s reputation
-    Obscene talk
-    Lying

Paul says to treat these like a Poison Ivy t-shirt.  In other words, you don’t want these anywhere near you.  When the temptation comes to think upon or act on any of these, we are to flail, scramble, fight off, and avoid them like a poisoned t-shirt. We do this by God’s grace, for God’s glory, and for our good.
 

We Recommend - Sarah Kelly, 'Where The Past Meets Today'

This week's recommendation is inspired by the fact I just saw this artist lead a worship service once again only a couple hours prior to writing this. It's no secret that finding refreshing worship music is a difficult task and Sarah Kelly grabbed our attention with a firm (but loving) grip with her 2004 debut Take Me Away. However, her sophomore album briefly deviated from the worshipful direction that that album established as she began to tell the heartbreaking story of her struggles with having been physically abused. The sophomore album, Where The Past Meets Today, is a very personal journey and a vulnerable and honest glimpse into this lovely worshipper's heart. Considering what Kelly has been through, Where The Past Meets Today is umistakably a pretty dark album, but the singer/songwriter mixes classic rock tunes with soft, piano laments to create a unique musical experience. In the midst of the dark times, Sarah sings with hope for brighter days and an end to this season of her life. With her 2008 album Born To Worship, Kelly returned to her roots with an upbeat album that completes a three-album story of darkness and redemption as the album represents her deliverance through God's grace. Where The Past Meets Today is still a wonderful listen and a great album for anyone going through a hard time in their life.

Sarah Kelly
Where The Past Meets Today (2006)

Click here for a JFH Staff Review.

Our synopsis: "Brutally honest classic rock record that bares the soul of Christian music's truest sweetheart. Kelly is a light in the darkness." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Brokenness, Depression, Hope.
Song Highlights: "At About Midnight," "Out Of Reach," "Remember Me Well," "Hold On Love"

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Where The Past Meets Today? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Monday, January 19, 2009

We Recommend - Lucerin Blue, 'Tales of the Knife'

Lucerin Blue was somewhat overlooked back when they released Tales of the Knife.  It's a very solid rock album, and it did go over fairly well, but a lot of Christian rock fans I know haven't really heard of the band.  After this release, they recorded a few more demos poised for a follow-up release, but broke up soon thereafter.  But if you can find a copy of Tales of the Knife anywhere, you would do well to buy it and jam out to it.  The passionate vocals tend to bring about comparisons to the Deftones and maybe even a more watered-down Project 86, and the instruments are very tightly played.  There's not much when it comes to bold faith in the lyrics (save for the "I realize I can't live less the love of God" in "Superstar"), but he sings with conviction for whatever he sings about.  Again, if you find this album somewhere to buy, pick it up.  Fans of solid, sonic rock songs will definitely enjoy this. - Scott

Lucerin Blue
Tales Of The Knife (2003)

Click here for a JFH Staff Review.

Our synopsis: "A solid rock album, through and through.  Not perfect, but still a very good listen, and one you can keep on repeat." (Recommended by JFH's Scott Fryberger)
Perfect For: Relationships, avoiding a stagnant life
Song Highlights: "Game," "Monday In Vegas," "Chorus of the Birds," "Superstar," "This Letter"

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Tales Of The Knife? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Take it on the chin

Many years ago I was within two weeks of proposing to a girl.  Long story short the relationship went bust. She left me for another dude. Yes, therapy was needed. Seriously, I was devastated. And I needed closure.  So I did the manly thing and threw everything she’d given me into the trash.  Notes, cards, stuffed animals…. Ladies, I never understood why you give stuffed animals to us. It’s not like we’re hanging with our boys and say, “hey man, check out my Rifle… and my Tickle-Me-Elmo.”  I digress…. (No offense girls, I like Tickle-Me-Elmo). 

As my self-pity was unfolding before my dad he came to me and said, “Son, let me tell you something.  You got burned.” To which I wanted to say, “I love you too, dad.” He continued, “Take this on the chin like a man and move on with your life.”

 I carry those words with me to this day. I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately but life is hard.  Adversity pounds us. Relationships bust, sickness lurks, opportunities vanish, transmissions fail, friends betray, and moms and dads divorce.

 I ran across this verse yesterday that got me thinking about this: “If you faint in the day of adversity your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).  So how do we find the strength to take life and adversity on the chin? 

There’s one greater who took it on the chin for us.  Jesus. Actually, he took on infinitely more. He took it in his hands and feet with nails that pinned Him to the Cross. He took on the wrath of God and died for our sin.  But He conquered death and sin by rising on the third day.  And we have His Spirit within us to “take it on the chin” because we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37).  

What are you dealing with right now?  Take it on the chin and move on in the strength of the one who took it on the chin for you.

Monday, January 12, 2009

We Recommend - NEEDTOBREATHE, 'The Heat'

NEEDTOBREATHE won me over when I happened to see them open for Jars Of Clay in early 2007. I had given their debut, Daylight a listen before it dropped and wasn't too impressed. However, their live show -- and their return to their southern roots on The Heat -- is what caught my attention. Bear Rinehart's soulful vocals are at home on The Heat, never sounding better. With them in the studio right now working on a follow-up, it's had me hoping it will match the quality of this release. And while they do sing about relationships a lot -- lost loves, etc -- they do strike more spiritual chords on this album, from the worshipful "Signature Of Divine," to the memorable tribute to the Rinehart brothers' preacher father in "Washed By The Water," or "Streets Of Gold," which addresses the hope of seeing a loved one again some day in Heaven. Still a record I spin regularly.

NEEDTOBREATHE
The Heat (2007)

Click here for a JFH Staff Review.

Our synopsis: "Soulful alt pop with more of a focus on the spiritual this time around. One of the best of 2007." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Worship ("Signature Of Divine"), Love & Relationships
Song Highlights: "Signature Of Divine," "Washed By The Water," "We Could Run Away," "Second Chances," "The Heat," "Again"

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album The Heat? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Monday, January 05, 2009

We Recommend - Family Force 5, 'Dance Or Die'

Happy New Year! As we get set for another year in music (which is looking pretty promising if you ask us!), let's keep glancing back at some standout records of 2008. Another favorite this year was Family Force 5's Dance Or Die -- an album that took the crunk rockers into the dance music scene. If you've ever seen these guys live, you know they're an amazing live band who can entertain like few others. Sure they may seem silly to those who take their music just a bit too seriously, but these guys know what it takes to put on a good show, and they do it with ease. Dance Or Die is a new era for the five and maybe a bit hard of a pill to swallow for those who were attached to their first record. Dance Or Die even introduces a couple of ballads into the mix -- a daring and brave move on the band's part. While it works for them, it does disrupt the album's energy flow, but the tracks have proven to be some of the fans' favorites. And while there isn't an in-your-face spiritual message, the band does take us to higher altitudes via "Radiator" and "D-I-E 4 Y-O-U." There's something about this band's albums that make them extremely replayable for me. Dance Or Die is one I keep spinning long after a fleeting favorite is removed from my car stereo's rotation.

Anyone else have this one? Let us know if you recommend it and what your thoughts are on it!


Family Force 5
Dance Or Die (2008)

Click here for a JFH Staff Review.

Our synopsis: "Fun and funky with an emphasis on dancing to save the human race (?!), Family Force 5's Dance Or Die is no sophomore slump. It's proof these guys will be around for awhile." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Dancing, fun, and bold faith ("Radiator")
Song Highlights: "Dance Or Die," "Wake The Dead," "Get Your Back Off The Wall," "Fever," "D-I-E 4 Y-O-U"

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Dance Or Die? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

 


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