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Archive for the ‘music’ Category

There’s been lots of hubbub going around about U2’s new album, No Line on the Horizon.  In the past I haven’t gotten too into the whole U2 thing (I think I might still prefer Coldplay), but after hearing all the positive feedback this new album was getting I decided to pick it up for myself (thanks, iTunes) and check it out.  I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, and I must say, I’m impressed.  Here’s a taste of what I’m really enjoying about this album:

Deep lyrics, a familiar tune infused with fresh melodies.  The whole album is good.  Give it a listen.

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As I was on my way to class tonight, Steven Curtis Chapman’s song The Change came on the radio.  It’s funny, because every time I hear that song, I realize more and more how cliche of a song it is.  But, no matter how cliche it is, it never fails to bring back memories of a certain loooong ride in the car on a family vacation the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school.  We were on our way to Pentwater, Michigan.  I was ticked off at everyone in the car – mom, dad, Kristen, and probably the dog too.  In my fury I had done what any typical teenager does – I popped a CD (it may have  been a mix CD, I don’t remember) into my walkman CD player (iPods hadn’t been invented yet), cranked up the music really loud, and looked out the window for the remainder of the trip.  I was the perfect picture of teenage angst and drama.

And then, something happened.  This song started ringing through my earphones and into my ear drums.  And, despite the cheese of them now, the lyrics did something… they penetrated my teenage angst and fury and reached in and grabbed my soul:

Well I’ve got this way of thinking that comes so naturally
Where I believe the whole world is revolving around me
And I got this way of living that I have to die to every single day
cause if God’s spirit lives inside of me, yeah
I’m gonna live life differently

I’m gonna have the change
I’m gonna have the difference
I’m gonna have the grace
I’m gonna have forgiveness
I’m gonna live a life thats showing
I’m undergoing the change

What about the change
What about the difference
What about the grace
What about forgiveness
I want to live a life thats showing
I’m undergoing the change

There was something about those lyrics that grabbed my heart, pulled it out of my chest, kicked it around a little, and then put it back in, waiting to be rebuilt by God.  I was convicted.

I spent the rest of that week wrestling, exploring and questioning.  What was the meaning of this whole Christianity thing that I had been associating myself with?  Did being a Christian really mean more than having t-shirts and WWJD bracelets and listening to (mostly crappy at the time) Christian music?  What was this change that was being sung about?

I read my Bible.  I journaled.  I prayed.  I lay in bed awake for hours most nights of that vacation.  I really struggled through what it meant to be a follower of Christ and not “just” a Christian.

So, basically, this cheesy song that I just heard on the radio tonight, was the catalyst for what I often refer to as the “turning point” or “conversion” in my faith story.  Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of those times.

Lately (and by lately I mean for approximately a year and a half to two years) I’ve been kind of trudging along in my faith journey.  I’ve been going through a looooong period of what I have learned to name steadfast faith (ty Aaron Wardle and an entire year of preaching Passionate and Steadfast).  As I continue to struggle through this season it’s a huge blessing to be reminded of those seasons in which I have been so passionate about my faith.

And so, despite the cheese of the song, I’m thankful it came on the radio tonight.

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It’s been a few years since I was first introduced to this beauty performed by Relient K.  I remember hearing the song for the first time… the lyrics completely awakened me to a new way of understanding the whole miracle of Christ’s birth.

This year I’ve been finding it difficult to get into the “Christmas spirit.”  It just doesn’t feel like Christmas.  And yet, tonight I find myself once again drawn back to Relient K’s “I Celebrate the Day.”

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say
To let You know how much You’ve touched my life
Because here is where You’re finding me
In the exact same place as New Year’s eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time that You opened your eyes
Did You realize that You would be my Savior?
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever?

And so this Christmas I’ll compare
The things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

Once again the lyrics are striking a chord with me.  The miracle of the God of the universe invading our world in human form – as a baby no less – is nothing short of just that: a miracle.  And I hope it remains that way for years to come – whether I feel like cozying up with hot chocolate and new pajamas singing along to carols, or whether it just comes again like every other year (kind of how this year has felt) – I hope that the wonder of “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14) would never cease.

Merry Christmas, from my world to yours.

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My sister has recently got me hooked on singer-songwriter JJ Heller.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been so refreshed by such grace-filled lyrics and haunting melodies (perhaps since Missy Higgins?).  Over the course of 4 or 5 days, the songs from her albums “Only Love Remains” (2006) and “The Pretty and the Plain” (2007) have come incredibly close to landing among some of the most played songs in my iTunes library.  I’ve been especially hooked on the title track to the 2006 album Only Love Remains (maybe this has something to do with the fact that I’m pretty sure Kristen has been running the song on repeat for approximately the last 203849822 hours in the room next door).

Usually such repeated play of a song causes me to get sick of a song really fast, but every once in a while a song comes around that deserves such airtime.  Such a song is one that resonates deeply in the core of my being – one that needs to be soaked in through the pores and made part of one’s being.  This is one of those songs.  So, here are the lyrics and a video of a live performance.  Let it permeate your soul.  Mmmhmm.

Scenes of you come rushing through
You are breaking me down
So break me into pieces
That will grow in the ground
I know that I deserve to die
For the murder in my heart
So be gentle with me Jesus
As you tear me apart

Please kill the liar
Kill the thief in me
You know that I am tired of their cruelty
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins
Until only love remains

You burn away the ropes that bind
And hold me to the earth
The fire only leaves behind whatever is of worth
I begin to see reality
For the first time in my life
I know that I’m a shadow
But I’m dancing in your light

Teach me to be humble
Call me from the grave
Show me how to walk with you upon the waves
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins
Until only love remains


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