Friday, April 30, 2010

Come Unto Me...

Over the past week, I can't number the times I have heard others talking about the weariness they are experiencing through the trial and tribulations of this life. It's a normal thing that we will continue to face until Christ's return. So, where can we find a place to hide and recuperate?

The best passage that come up in my mind is found in Matthew 11:28..."Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

The Amplified Bible reads the same passage as follows..."Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] (29) Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. (30) For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne."

I love the Amplified version's depiction of's not just about sleeping or laying around, but also of recreation and refreshment. When we get weary sometimes, we want to just take a nap, right? But, that may not be the way we need refreshed at every point along our journey. Sometimes a "blessed quiet" time alone with God is what we need. When was the last time you spent alone with God to get rejuvenated? I think He could be exactly what you need, right?

Too often, we get mired down in the muck of this world and do all we can to get ourselves out, but never turn to the Master who can reach us no matter how far down we might be. If you are weary, worn down, need some refreshment...or just need to start back anew, call on Jesus' name...He will give you the rest you so terribly need!!!

I wanted to share the picture above simply for the fact that of all the pictures we see depicting Jesus, when was the last time you saw one with Him smiling? He's a friend and wants to see the smile put back in your life...

If you have a special prayer request I can word on your behalf, please let me know!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Carlos Whittaker - Ragamuffin Soul review

Not very often do I find myself actually with a big interest in the CD release dates, but yesterday was a huge exception. Since beginning this blog, I have come across a great number of bloggers and have built multiple "social networking" friendships and have learned from some of the best. Yesterday, one of my favorite bloggers, Twitterers, Facebook friends, and one of the most "what you see is what you get" personalities released his debut CD.

Carlos Whittaker is Worship Leader at Buckhead Church, and I find his openness to share his life so that others might get a laugh, be inspired to be more genuine, and even his ability to not take himself too seriously are a testament to how we should truly be.

Enough about the man, let's take a look at the CD. This work is one of the most varied compilations, all heart felt and touching different areas of our lives. Opening the cover, you find the words that sum up the heart of Carlos' passion, which is "Satisfy Us Lord, That You Would Be Enough".

Then, once you get to the music, 'Los gets things going with a great starter entitled "Rain It Down". This has been in my mind all day long as I have been doing everything. It's all about our need for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in our daily lives. What a great kickoff song for a great album."Can't Start This Fight" is up next and conveys the thoughts we have all matter how hard WE might try, this fight (life) is impossible to do without God's hand leading.

The third track is the one that first jumped out at me. In "God Of Second Chances", there is little surprise as we are reminded that the Lord is our Redeemer and loves us with an unfailing love. Track four "We Will Worship You" is a great anthem piece. It's all about giving up of self and asking God to break us of the desires that simply fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Another deeply profound and simply put offering! "No Words" keeps the mellow tone going with simply our words can be so meaningless in describing the Lord. But, we can still offer our shouts of hope and love to Him. Awesome stuff!

"Because of You" is another song that reels you in with a great beat and singable tune. It simply states "I come here to honor You, because of You, in awe of You"...enough said. "Shine On" simply shares that none compares to the God we serve and just asks Him to continue shining on. Announcing our dependence upon God, because with Him none else can touch us. Next is "Grace Already Won" - a great song to shout to God. Reminding us that because of grace we don't have to be feeling in bondage, but live in a great freedom.

"Jesus Saves" is up next with a great tempo and an unbeatable line that goes..."I am the sum of failing and of grace You overcame". How can we feel defeated when Jesus overcame everything by His death and resurrection? "In Your Presence" is a quiet, intimate, conversational utterance to the Lord. Realizing what we must do to engage the Lord with reverence, humility and awe...just a very inspiring song...

Next comes "Your Name", which Carlos amps up a bit with a bit more guitar than the Phillips, Craig and Dean version of Paul Baloche and Glenn Packiam's great anthem. Nicely revamped song! And finally, "We Will Dance" picks it up again to finish off the album. The line that you will be reminded of throughout the song is..."There's no one like our God"...and Amen to that!

I would give this album 4 1/2 out of 5. What a great debut work from a truly genuine worship leader/blogger/social media guru. But most of all, Carlos, thanks for letting your heart be seen in this intimate offering of praise and worship! Pick this album up at iTunes, Integrity, or at his blog

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Can Be Everything God Wants You to Be - book review

Last night, I sat down and opened the latest book I will be reviewing. I have been a Max Lucado fan since just after graduating high school. His latest, "You Can Be Everything God Wants You to Be" is a perfect blend of common-sense, Biblically sound and inspirational writing.

The sticker on the front of the book states that it’s the perfect gift for the graduate. I would take it one step further. It’s the perfect gift for the person who has lost focus. There are so many applicable thoughts contained in this short book (127 pages), that can be applied to work-related struggles, career decisions, and even re-focusing our lives to fit the mold that God has designed for us.

I would recommend this book for anyone who is in need of a boost to their morale. It doesn’t always mean we get the pat on the back of we’re doing okay, but sometimes requires us to analyze our entire decision making process. When we put God’s will in front of our own, we can truly be everything God wants us to be…notice it doesn’t say what we want…that’s where we get confused too many times. True happiness comes in finding His plan for your life and following it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Voice of Psalms - book review

My newest book to review is The Voice of the Psalms, which comes from the Ecclesia Bible Society and is published by Thomas Nelson. This was an easy read, from start to finish, and would be a great extra version for readers to indulge in when doing an in-depth study of the book of Psalms as well.

The Voice of Psalms contains the entire book in the Voice translation, and also contains several devotional applications and some comments on certain passages that may spark some thought for the reader.

Over the years, I have learned that reading different translations of the Bible can open our heart and eyes to some hidden gems that we may have missed in the KJV. Since expanding my study through different translations, now including the Voice, I feel that Scripture can be more easily applied to daily life application.

The Voice of Psalms was a good read, and I would encourage anyone doing a study of Psalms to pick up a copy. Great from cover to cover and another great complimentary book that Thomas Nelson has provided as part of the BookSneeze blogger review program.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”