Thursday, September 30, 2010

September Music & Book List…

Hey friends, I thought I’d make a little list of what I’ve been listening to and reading this month. Hope you enjoy! :) 

CDs:

“For Those Who Wait” by Fireflight 

 fireflight

When you’re fighting to believe in a love that you can’t see, just know there is a purpose for those who wait.”

I love this cd! It hasn’t left my cd player since I bought it a couple weeks ago. “For Those Who Wait” is an album full of passionate rock songs, and powerful lyrics carried by lead singer, Dawn Richardson’s soaring vocals. The musicianship of the band even feels tighter this time around. Some of my favorites are “Core of My Addiction”, “Fire In My Eyes”, “Recovery Begins”, and title track “For Those Who Wait”. Fireflight is one of my favorite bands, they are as amazing on their cds as they are live in concert. Be sure to go out and get this album!

“Finger Painting” EP by The Ember Days 

emberdays

This is the new EP by rock/worship band, The Ember Days. I saw The Ember Days open for Showbread back in 2008 and just fell in love with their music. This album is primarily an instrumental, only two songs contain lyrics. But these songs feel very worshipful and peaceful. I actually plan on posting a more in depth review of these beautifully intriguing songs, so be looking out for that! Some of my favorites are “It Is Well”, “Rest”, and “Hope”. You can purchase “Finger Painting” EP or download it for free @ www.comeandlive.com

Books:

“Velvet Elvis” by Rob Bell

velvet elvis

Though I haven’t finished reading this book yet, I already feel like I’ve learned so much from it, and have really been inspired by the thoughts of author, Rob Bell. So much so that it even inspired the blog I posted below (The Few That Pursue Wholeness). “Velvet Elvis” actually came out in 2005, but I just barely purchased it a couple weeks ago. Even though I came into it five years late … I’m so glad I finally picked it up. It’s a thought provoking read about the Christian faith that will challenge your roots to go deeper.

“The Organic God” by Margaret Feinberg

theorganicgod 

It’s funny, I think this book was on a previous reading list I posted last year. I actually started reading “The Organic God” by author, Margaret Feinberg, around this time last year, but got distracted from finishing it. Maybe that’s a good thing in a way because when I picked up again in early September, I found that it spoke to my heart in an even stronger way than it did a year ago. I’m planning on posting a blog soon about my thoughts on this book because it just truly inspired me.

So that’s what I’ve been listening to and reading as of late! Hope you will check out these great cds and books, you won’t regret it! Would love to hear what cds and books you guys have been into lately so drop me a note! :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Love Is The Final Fight

“John Perkins said it right, Love is the final fight.” – The Sound by Switchfoot

Sometimes I just don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to love. Love… it shouldn’t be that hard of a concept to grasp, especially for a follower of Christ. How many times did Jesus mention love in the bible? He not only constantly talked about it being most important but he lived it. He showed love to the most unlovable. Yet this is the one thing Christians cannot seem to get right. 

I know this sounds like a rant and maybe it is a little bit. But mostly I think I’m just trying to work it all out for myself in black and white, and inviting you to join me in this place.

I want to understand why I can’t love well. Why I seem to fail at so much. Why at times I feel too apathetic or too concerned with myself to even try. Why my good intentions are not enough.

I want to understand why we can’t love well ….

Why followers of a loving God, who sent his only Son to redeem this world, can’t love well. It’s so puzzling to me why church is a place where judgment and hurt seem to sometimes reign supreme. Why have so many people been hurt in churches, in the very house of God? Why do churches split? Why are Christian families broken and in turmoil? Why are husbands, wives, children, brothers, and sisters fighting against each other as if their mortal enemies who’ve drawn battle lines? Why do Christians gossip and lie? Why are we so hell bent on hurting each other?

I know that Christian or not, we’re all human and imperfect. I mean that’s the very reason we need God. I’m a firm believer in that the church is for sick people – which is every single human being on this planet. I suppose that’s why the church can be a place where hurt happens, because it’s full of sick, imperfect people. Trust me, if you’re looking for a “perfect church” you’ll never find it. But still I can’t help but question, shouldn’t we – people who have Jesus inside our hearts- be better than this? We have The almighty, holy, loving God inside of us … yet we’re no different than people who’ve never known God. And in some cases worse. And it shouldn’t be like this. This isn’t the way God intended it to be.

I believe God has called us to a higher standard. A higher standard of love. The bible says people will know that we are Christians by our love (John 13:34-35) . That can be a very scary thought, can’t it? That means that without us speaking even a word, but just by watching our lives and the way we treat them, people should know of the God we serve. How much better would this world be if us Christians kept our mouths shut a little more and instead simply lived the life? If instead of spouting off self righteous words and judgments that have served to hurt people so many times if we just loved them. Simple as that. If we focused on their needs instead of being so self seeking. If we just looked at a person and thought “I wonder what they need?”,  or “Lord, What can I give them?”. Most of the time the answer will be love. Unconditional love and acceptance.

If we just walked out our Christianity in a loving, real, genuine, and authentic way then people who do not know him just might ask us to tell them the source of our love, peace, and joy. Then we would get the chance to open our mouths and speak what we’ve been living out, and people will believe it and want it.

It often feels like a fight to love well. And maybe that’s because it is. I’m not trying to sound all churchy or anything here, but I believe love, real love, is spiritual warfare. Being loving often times goes against the very grain of our humanity. We’re fighting our flesh, our carnality. Maybe that’s part of what it means to “die to self”. I’m not sure if most of the time we even know what it means to die to self. Our human love is so flawed and so limited. And there’s a real enemy out there that wants us to hate and wants us to fight. And if we’re not actively seeking God everyday we’re going to lose the battle to love well. How do we walk in love?

I think it takes the supernatural love of an all powerful God living and breathing inside of us. I find when I make sure to have my prayer time with God everyday I’m way more loving, and way less easily irritated and angered. Prayer not only changes things, but it changes you. It’s the love of God in us that gives us the ability to love, especially the ability to love people who’ve hurt us.

I also believe that this love has to start at home with our families, and friends. If we can’t love our family and friends right then how can we love other people right? It does us no good to go to church on Sundays, then go home and treat our family and friends badly. Doing that almost feels like counterfeit Christianity. I believe that Sunday morning, sitting in the pews, is only a very small part of what it means to serve God. I believe that getting up on stage and singing, preaching, teaching, ect., is only a small part of our Christian walk. I believe the paramount part happens after we get home from church, and the other 6 days of the week. Behind closed doors with our loved ones,  our friendships, how we treat the random people we come in contact with everyday at work, school, or the supermarket. This is our ministry. This is our mission field.

I feel like we need to get back to the basics. We can sometimes get caught up in our fancy churches, our theological discussions, and arguments that we forget to love – which is the very basics of our faith, of Christianity. Have we forgotten that? Our church doors might as well be closed up if we have. What are we without love?

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” - 1 Corinthians 13:1 (New International Version)

"Darkness cannot cast out darkness. You need a light for that. Fear cannot cast out fear. You're gonna need hope for that... death warrants more death. But I believe life wants more life and I'm convinced that the greatest weapon we've got is LOVE! And maybe, in a world full of fighters, in a world imploding with hate, maybe to be a lover, you gotta be a fighter. Maybe that's the biggest fight, the only fight worth fighting, the fight you're gonna be in for the rest of your life" – Jon Foreman (Switchfoot)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Interview with artist, Lanae Hale

lanaehale2

Hey friends, in August I decided to start posting one interview with an artist/musician every month. These are interviews that have been posted on the e-zine I co-run with my friends called, The Waking! You can see the first interview I posted with Joy Williams below. This month I want to share with you guys an interview with an incredible artist, Lanae Hale!

Honesty and vulnerability - that is the main theme that runs through the beautiful, acoustic guitar driven songs of Lanae Hale. We discovered her music a year ago and were completely captured by her willingness to share her heart so openly. Lanae was kind enough to answer some questions for us about her music, and her past struggle with self injury. We want to thank Lanae for taking the time to chat with us! Hope you enjoy! :)

TW: Can you tell us the story of how you started playing music and writing songs? Was music something you always wanted to do?

Lanae: I have LOVED music and have LOVED singing ever since I can remember!  I grew up in a very musical home.  My mom is a singer and my dad is a singer/songwriter and self-taught guitar player!  I picked up the guitar when I was about 14 and started writing songs!  They would just come out of me.  Writing songs was and still is like journaling my heart out, but instead of in a notebook, it’s to melodies.

TW: Your latest album,"Back & Forth", which released in 2009, has some of the most beautifully honest songs we've heard. What inspired the songs on this album? And what was the writing and recording process like?

Lanae: My songs are inspired by life!  They are inspired through my personal life experiences and struggles and in those I’ve observed. 

Recording is one of my favorite things to do! It is such a creative time!  I normally travel and perform alone, so It’s so nice to get into the studio and hear my songs put to interesting sounds and instruments.  The possibilities are endless in the studio!   

TW: The title track, "Back & Forth", is such an honest and transparent song. Can you tell us the story behind this song and what inspired you to write it?

Lanae: God gave me this song, but at the time I didn’t really know why. The Lord made it much clearer to me after my album came out.  That’s when the spiritual warfare came on strong!  Satan is NEVER happy, when believers go out in faith and obedience and speak about hope! I realized then how much that song meant to me!

TW: Self injury is an issue that's really close to our hearts here at The Waking. You've mentioned it's something you struggled with in the past. Can you tell us your testimony and how you came through such a dark time?

Lanae: Well, I struggled with the addiction of self-harm for about three years when I began to have lots of suicidal thoughts. I had grown to hate myself and I had forgotten where my hope came from.  I ended up reading a scripture in the bible, Psalm 147:3 that says “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” At that point, I had taken control of my own life and was trying to numb myself from emotional pain, but I was SO desperate for healing.  I knew I had to let go of control and ask if Jesus would heal me.  That’s when the long journey of recovery began.  It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, but Jesus was with me every step of the way! If I fell, He was right there to pick me up with His arms of grace and help me start again…clean and without shame or guilt.   AMEN!!!

TW: What has the response to your testimony been like? And what would you say to other people who are struggling with this issue?

Lanae: I love that people feel more comfortable to come up and talk to me after a show about life and struggles.  I think when we are honest and vulnerable about our personal struggles, satan’s lies become exposed and therefore begin to lose power!

TW: Do you sometimes find it difficult or uncomfortable to address such a hard issue or is shedding light on it more freeing?

Lanae: I have been SO grateful that the Lord has been able to use the junk in my life to help bring hope to those who feel trapped and unfixable.  I was there too, but the Lord truly is the ultimate healer!  It is so worth it to me to expose my past, so that others who are struggling with the same things can see that there is hope and healing!

TW: We love the empowering lyrics of song, "Here's To The Girls". It speaks the heart of so many girls out there. What's the story behind this song?

Lanae: I met a girl and heard her story.  She had an extremely rough life and it broke my heart.  It seems to be a pattern with most girls that I meet.  There is so much heartache hidden underneath! Most girls don’t feel beautiful or worth it!

TW: We here at The Waking promote creativity of all kinds. What are some things that inspire your creativity?

Lanae: Being outside, listening to music, riding in the car at night with the windows down, looking at the stars, talking to my best friend (my husband) about life, the ocean, the mountains, a good book...

TW: When you write songs you just seem to put your whole heart out there, and that's what truly draws us to your music. How do you think we as followers of Christ can create art that is honest and real, as opposed to songs full of "Christian clich├ęs"?

Lanae: Just be real and vulnerable!  I think we fall into a trap of trying to create a perfect Christian bubble life on the outside, because we are afraid of judgment if we were to reveal our inner struggles.  The truth is, life can be messy, and painful and EVERYONE has something they struggle with! I don’t care who you are! As believers and followers of Christ, we have hope!  This life is just a vapor, it will soon fade and our hope rests not in this life, but in our eternal one with Jesus!

TW: I read that you're in the studio right now recording another album! You just posted a beautiful new song called, "Crossroads", on your "Life with Lanae" video blog. We loved the line "I know that your cross is my road home". Can you tell us a little about the meaning behind this song? And is it going to be on your upcoming album?

Lanae: I wrote Crossroads after having a hard conversation with an old friend who had walked away from the Lord!  She had decided to take life into her own hands and do things the way she wanted.  Unfortunately, it led her to a very dead end and she tried to commit suicide.  I was devastated, because, I knew what she needed.  She needed Jesus! I knew that in her life she was at a crossroads and I ached for her to remember and recognize that the cross was her only way back home!

www.lanaehale.com
http://lanaehale.wordpress.com

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Few That Pursue Wholeness ~ Thoughts inspired by "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell


Had a nice day of book browsing today and stumbled upon a used copy of "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell. I've been wanting to read this book for a while, and have heard so many good things about it over the years, but just have never gotten around to picking it up.

After I purchased this book, I was pleasantly surprised to open it up and find that the previous owner had underlined a ton of their favorite passages and put notes and scripture verses in the margins. I love buying used books for that very reason...I love getting to see what another person got from the book, and what parts spoke to them, or even the interesting things that somehow seem to get left inside of them.

Kind of random, but I once bought a used Ted Dekker book off e-bay and discovered that the man I bought it from had left birthday cards & anniversary cards given to him by his wife and daughters inside. And let me tell you, it's really awkward to open your Ted Dekker book to discover a sort of... um ...personal shall we say...anniversary card that some man's wife gave him. ;) Don't know how those things would get left inside of a book but anyway...I'm getting off on a tangent.

I was flipping through "Velvet Elvis" a little earlier, reading some of the paragraphs the previous owner had underlined, and I came across a quote that really resonated with where I have been lately and just had to share it with you guys....

"I'm learning that very few people actually live from their heart. Very few live connected with their soul. And those few who do the difficult work, who stare their junk in the face, who get counsel, who let Jesus into all of the rooms in their soul that no one ever goes in, they make a difference. They are so different ; they're coming from such a different place that their voices inevitably get heard above the others. They are pursuing wholeness and shalom, and it's contagious."

... I think I must have read that quote at least 5 times. I think the problem I see in myself so often, as well as others, is that we're not living connected to our hearts and souls. We're so afraid to face the junk in our lives that we'd rather bury it all underneath the ghosts of this world. We don't want to let anyone into those rooms...especially not Jesus. So we live for all the temporal things of this world, trying to fill the gaping whole of our hungry hearts and souls up with things that could just never fill them.

But I want to be one of those few Rob is talking about. I have seen people who live this way, who let Jesus into those dark places and bring his light, life, and healing. I've seen people who are pursuing wholeness, they are different, they have made a difference in me. I've heard their voices above the rest... I want to follow in their footsteps to the foot of the cross.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Musings...

These are just a few musings I scribbled in my notebook the other night. I've been hearing & seeing a lot of things lately that have been breaking my heart. These things have given me a deeper hunger for God's presence in my life, to dive deeper into my relationship with him. To really know him, hear him, and be changed by him. To take his message into the world and live it so others may come to know him too. I don't know... I just know that more than ever before I do not want to conform to the patterns of this world, I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.

Maybe this breaking in my heart is God giving me a passion to see people come to him that I've just never felt as strong before....



I want to be a light in this dark as night world. A city on a hill.

The only way to fulfill the purpose and calling placed in me is to surrender, fully immerse myself in God. Daily dying to self, to my will, so I can be alive to Christ.

To put aside the pollution of this world. To throw off the chains. Let go of the reigns - I've been in control for way too long. Seek healing for my troubled heart. Cast all my cares on him for he cares for me. Look away from the distractions - focus my eyes on You. Run from temptations. Throw away the idols that have stolen my affections. For I will never bow!

Instead I will throw my hands up to the One True Living God! Singing praises to the one who loves me so unconditionally! Who died to give me an eternal destiny. Let his spirit collide with mine. Let his truth touch every area of my life. Transform me and change me until I'm never the same. Be saturated in the glory of his holy name.


(C) Krystal Celeste