MUSIC REVIEW :: WE THE KINGDOM

in the months with five Fridays I post a review. FOR MY 2020 REVIEWS I’M CHOOSING CHRISTIAN PROJECTS or artists THAT HAVE TOUCHED MY SPIRIT DEEPLY.

Today I want to introduce you to one of the freshest sounds to come from contemporary Christian music in a long time.

We The Kingdom is a multi-generational family band consisting of brothers Ed Cash and Scott Cash, Ed’s daughter Franni, his son Martin and dear friend Andrew Bergthold.

Birthed from four decades of shared difficulties and influences We The Kingdom’s music intertwines worship and gospel with a retro-fresh folk/country/rock reminiscent of 70’s greats: Doobie Brothers, Lynard Skynard, The Allman Brothers, Loggins & Messina, Creedance Clearwater Revival and many more.

Having individually been behind the scenes on songs sung around the world, We The Kingdom band members came together to tell their own stories with lyrics that are vulnerable yet edgy. Their songs span the full spectrum of human emotions, embracing  brokenness, honesty, and the redemptive power of God’s love.

“The heart of We The Kingdom is to create music that candidly tells how God reached into the middle of our brokenness, and drew us into His story of redemption. Songs of testimony and worship have been a healing salve for us. We want to share our journey with others with the hope that God will use that as a catalyst for healing in others. Our heart’s desire is to see captives set free, relationships restored, and people brought to the Cross. We pray that God would sew the thread of His promises through the stories of each song we write, and weave together a tapestry that points straight to the great love of Jesus.” – We The Kingdom

WTK’s first EP Live at the Wheelhouse released in the fall of 2019. Their debut album: Holy Water is scheduled to release August 7, 2020.

Below are three of my favorite videos We The Kingdom has released: God So Loved, Child of Love and Holy Water. Each song /video stands on its own as a beautiful work of music and visual artistry with wonderful Christian messages.

I hope you will take time to soak in some truly great music that will tug at your heart strings while uplifting your spirit and soul. Enjoy!

I was introduced to We The Kingdom with this anointed church session video featuring Tasha Cobbs Leonard.

We The Kingdom dropped this single July 2, 2020. Filmed like an old home movie road trip with a 70’s retro-rock soundtrack this music video is my personal favorite today.

Another fav of mine. With exquisite scenery and a lovely representation of different nationalities of people, this video shows that God truly loves the whole world!

Check out We The Kingdom YouTube channel here for all their amazing music. Blessings…  

MUSIC REVIEW :: PEACE by BETHEL MUSIC

FOR MY 2020 REVIEWS I’M CHOOSING CHRISTIAN ALBUM PROJECTS THAT HAVE TOUCHED MY SPIRIT DEEPLY. THIS IS THE SECOND REVIEW IN THE SERIES. Check out my first Music review here.

 

PEACE by Bethel Music

Release Date: April 10, 2020
Album length: 12 tracks: 1 hour 9 minutes

There some artists or producers that you can count on to be consistent in their products. For me, I know if a project comes from Bethel Music it will be a quality production, with music and lyrics anointed by God. If you’re unfamiliar with Bethel Music here is a brief description from their website.

“Bethel Music is a community of worshipers pursuing the presence of God. We exist to gather, inspire, and encourage the global church toward deeper intimacy with the Father. Together, we express who God is and who we are in Him, capturing fresh expressions of worship in every season.”

Albums | Bethel Music

Released during the COVID-19 world crisis pandemic, this album couldn’t have come at a better time. There are millions of people around the world hurting, lonely and desperate for music that will lift their spirits, inspire their souls, and heal their hearts and minds. This album is specifically created for that.

“Peace. We started this project almost a year and a half ago, not knowing the right time to release it. Over the past few weeks as we’ve watched everything unfold, we knew the time was now. We believe God will use this album to calm your mind, heart and soul during a time of uncertainty — He will silence any fear or anxiety. Peace is a person, and He is near.” ~ Bethel Music 04/10/2020

The orchestration of the music is exquisite. With the tranquil sounds of ocean waves and winds in the background, the soothing pace of the music allows you to drink the songs deeply into your heart and soul.

The artist chosen for each song selection is perfect. The restraint of the vocals simplified down to whisper singing makes PEACE truly a breath of fresh air to worship music today!

The visuals on the lyric videos themselves are incredibly peaceful with the wind blowing gently against the backdrop of a clear blue sky.

PEACE by Bethel Music ministers healing to a disquieted world. In this simple amazing project God brings supernatural healing through the science and technology of music to those seeking relief from anxiety and depression.

“The songs on this album merge worship and cutting edge techniques scientifically proven to help heal the parts of the brain damaged by emotional trauma by engaging both sides of the brain through the gentle panning of peaceful soundscapes known as bilateral music. As you listen, breathe slow and deep, invite the presence of God into your life and watch how He prophecies the truth over you and gives you His perspective.”  ~ Bethel Music Heart of the Album Video Description

As a contemplative person I’m drawn to the quiet music that PEACE presents. It’s simple, life-filled, uplifting, inspirational, relaxing, encouraging, healing and above all peaceful. Most of the songs are familiar worship songs that have been reworked with a softer sound. There are also a few new songs that you will want to hear again and again.

A new favorite for me. I highly recommend PEACE by Bethel Music!

Step out of the busy-ness of your day and breathe in the peace of God’s Presence available to you in this beautiful album by Bethel Music. Below is the full PEACE album YouTube playlist. Be blessed!

 

MUSIC REVIEW :: JESUS IS BORN by SUNDAY SERVICE CHOIR

 

 

JESUS IS BORN

by the

SUNDAY SERVICE CHOIR

 

 

 

 

One of the best things to happen in 2019 was that Kanye West rededicated his life, and now all his music, to Jesus Christ. Early in January, he formed a choir/band called the Sunday Service Collective under the direction of the amazingly anointed Jason White. Which includes a group of extremely talented musicians and singers from all walks of life. I’m sure none of them expected the gig to last for more than a few weeks.

Now more than a year later they’ve been singing together every Sunday all across America in small churches and large alike. From exclusive indoor venues like The Forum in Los Angeles to outdoor venues in Salt Lake City, Jamaica, and Baton Rouge. In the fall between every Sunday service, Kanye and the Sunday Service Collective produced two Christian operas: Nebuchadnezzar and Mary. And if that wasn’t enough Kanye and his phenomenal group of artists released two truly remarkable albums: Jesus Is King and Jesus Is Born.

Jesus Is King, Kanye West’s ninth studio album and first gospel album release, not only debuted at number 1 on the charts, but every track landed on the Billboard Top 100 within days of release!

The  Sunday Service choir performed on the first song. Kanye and other featured artists rounded out the 11 track set. My personal favorites on this album are: God Is and Water. To some this album was a disappointment considering Kanye’s musical reputation and past successes. But for me, I think we should give him grace and room to grow in his new life and creative ventures as the avant-garde Christian artist/innovator/designer that he is.

Jesus Is Born Releases Christmas Day 2019!

As promised, by Kanye West, executive producer, the Sunday Service Choir debuted their first album Jesus Is Born on Christmas Day 2019. Exceptional in today’s music market, the album has 19 tracks with a playing time of almost 75 minutes. The album is a collection of some of the most powerful praise songs and life-changing worship music available today. It features beautifully performed traditional gospel and praise music, sprinkled with covers of a some secular songs reworked for Jesus, including some of Kanye’s previously released songs.

Jason White ministers to the choir, who minister to the listeners… drawing our hearts and souls into every song.

Jesus Is Born features Choir Director Jason White’s beautiful voice heard on almost every song as he directs the choir’s incredibly precise harmony, the powerful lead vocalists, the amazingly talented musicians playing a wide range or instruments: organ, piano, guitars, an assortment of percussion, horns, and more. This band and choir could hold their own with the finest R&B or jazz groups today!

A worship experience with inspirational versions of soulful bluesy songs.

Kanye and the Sunday Service Choir are single-handedly reviving traditional gospel choir music but with a new twist. They’re sharing the message of Jesus Christ in nontraditional ways with a fresh style. And most importantly they are reaching an enormous audience the church wouldn’t normally be able to reach.

The music is worshipful, sweet and tender, uplifting and energizing.

I’ve been listening to the Jesus Is Born album almost daily since its release on Christmas Day. I can’t get enough of it!  This is more than just a praise album. God’s Presence is palpable. The Holy Spirit anointing is powerful.

It’s tough to choose favorite songs on this album because there’s so much incredible music presented. My top 5 in album order are:

        1. Revelations 19:1
        2. Rain
        3. Follow Me-Faith
        4. That’s How The Good Lord Works
        5. Total Praise

Be blessed by the amazing music on Jesus Is Born with the link below. You won’t be able to sit still and silent while listening to it! Enjoy!

  YouTube Playlist Here:  Jesus Is Born Album • Sunday Service Choir                        

Listen to Spotify samples of  Jesus Is Born below:

BOOK REVIEW :: THE RED SEA RULES by Robert J. Morgan

The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times

by

Robert J.  Morgan

 

 

 

Difficulties and challenges are not strangers to most of us. And during these trying times it’s helpful to have a voice of experience that can help walk us through. This is what The Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan does for us.

A dear friend recently introduced me to this simple, yet profound, little book. She’s been through trying times these last few years and told me that this book has helped her make it through. Because it was so important to her she kept her copy of The Red Sea Rules on her night stand so she could read it regularly.

After I was able to look at my friend’s book I quickly ordered my own copy. I’ve been going through it as a devotional on the weekends for the last couple of months.

Using the Exodus 14 story of the Israelites as an example, Robert Morgan shares 10 God-given strategies for walking from fear to faith during difficult times. Here is a sampling:

Red Sea Rule  #1:  Realize that God means for you to be where you are.

Red Sea Rule  #2:  Be more concerned for God’s glory than for your relief.

Red Sea Rule  #3:  Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.

Red Sea Rule  #4:  Pray!

Red Sea Rule  #5:  Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work.

Red Sea Rule  #6:  When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.

Red Sea Rule  #7:  Envision God’s enveloping presence.

Red Sea Rule  #8: Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.

Red Sea Rule  #9:  View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.

Red Sea Rule #10:  Don’t forget to praise Him.

I’ve really been enjoying these sweet inspirational readings. The chapters are short which makes The Red Sea Rules perfect for a devotional reading time. Each chapter offers a few questions for reflection at the end.

I highly recommend The Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan. This book is one I’ll be reading over and over again. I hope you will consider getting copy. It’s a great gift idea for the upcoming Christmas season. Another wonderful thing… The publisher has provided a discount for bulk purchases. If you want to give them away as gifts you can buy them here in bulk for less.

Enjoy this brief video of Robert J. Morgan telling about his wonderful book: The Red Sea Rules.

BOOK REVIEW: ANONYMOUS by Alicia Britt Chole

 

 

 

Anonymous:

Jesus’ Hidden Years… and yours

by

Alicia Britt Chole

 

This book has been a life changer for me. Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole is one of the most applicable books I’ve ever read. I first read it when her series on the TBN network began airing in October 2018. Once I began reading I was blown away by how much it spoke to this season of life I’ve been in for more years than I care to count.

In this groundbreaking book, Alicia teaches us about the 30 Hidden years of Jesus Christ’s life before his ministry went public. A topic I’ve never read or heard anyone teach about before. Here’s a snippet from Part One:

…Consider the growth of a plant. Before a gardener can enjoy a plant’s fruit, she must tenderly and strategically attend to its root. So a plant’s birth begins with its burial. The gardener commits a generally unremarkable seed to the silence of the soil, where it sits in stillness an sightlessness, hidden by the smothering dirt. Just when it appears as though death is imminent, its seeming decay reveals new life. The seed becomes less and yet more of its former self, and in that transformation takes hold of the darkness and reaches for the sun. All that is to come rests greatly upon the plant’s ability to tightly and sightlessly develop to roots in unseen places.

As with a child in the womb and a seed in the ground, God’s unanticipated move of hiding Jesus granted him protected, undisturbed room to be and become. From God’s perspective, anonymous seasons are sacred spaces. They are quite literally formative, to be rested in, not rushed through and most definitely never to be regretted.

Unapplauded, but not unproductive:  hidden years are the surprising birthplace of true spiritual greatness. ~ Alicia Britt Chole

If you’re in a dark season of waiting. If you have a dream in your heart that you want to share with others, yet the perfecting time fails to appear… this book is for you.

I highly recommend Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole!

Watch Alicia Britt Chole on Praise introducing her book and then watch Anonymous series on TBN. Here’s a sample of one of her interviews… enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW :: Addiction and Grace by Gerald G. May, M.D.

 

ADDICTION AND GRACE: 

Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions

by
Gerald G. MaY, M.D.

 

Gerald G. May, M.D. (1940-2005) was a psychiatrist, spiritual counselor and Senior Fellow in Contemplative Theology and Psychology at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Maryland. He wrote many books and articles blending spirituality and psychology. (Excerpt taken from book cover.)

The Shalem Institute is grounded in Christian contemplative spirituality yet draws on the wisdom of many religious traditions. As a result Dr. May references various religious traditions in his writing.

This may be off-putting to some. However, I’ve found far more of his content valuable than not. I’m not a theologian, philosopher nor am I one to argue doctrine. My personal practice when reading different books is to take what I can use and leave the rest.

There is much to praise Addiction and Grace for. Especially being written in the late 1980’s, I believe many of May’s ideas and psychological thoughts on addiction were ahead of his time and may still be.

Addiction and Grace isn’t a quick read. Each sentence, paragraph and chapter will provide you with much to contemplate and ruminate on. You will find an in-depth study of the psychological layers of addiction, as well as how they effect our mind, body and spirit. Dr. May shares personal struggles and stories of several people he counseled with different types of addictions.

For me, having read this book twice, the best take-away was and continues to be in the last paragraph of the book:

“The specific struggles we undergo with our addictions are reflections of a blessed pain. To be deprived of a simple object of attachment is to taste the deep, holy deprivation of our souls. To struggle to transcend any idol is to touch the sacred hunger God has given us.” ~ Gerald G. May, M.D.

Blaise Pascal wrote about the God-shaped vacuum that we all have. This deep longing in our souls can never be satiated by anything created in this world. Dr. May is teaching us that we aren’t supposed to re-direct that longing to anything. He suggests we not only make friends with the empty place, but come to fall in love with it. Scripture teaches it is possible to be comfortable with and live with the pain. The Apostle Paul learned and accepted that God’s grace is sufficient!

I highly recommend Addiction and Grace by Gerald G. May, M.D.  I hope you’ll consider reading this power packed book to deepen your walk with God as you continue to press through your own personal pain and struggles.

Contemplate your emptiness. Sit in the empty place. Bring your emptiness to God. Let God’s Holy Spirit and grace fill that empty place. Because no matter what we try to put there, the emptiness will never be fully satisfied by anything in this world. God’s grace truly is the only thing that can satisfy our souls!

BOOK REVIEW: LIVE THE LET-GO LIFE by Joseph Prince

LIVE THE LET-GO LIFE:

Breaking Free from Stress, Worry and Anxiety

by

Joseph Prince

 

 

With beautifully applicable stories and a fresh look at some familiar Scriptures, Pastor Joseph Prince challenges us to take a different walk through our daily life.

Rather than allowing the worry, stresses and challenges of life to choke the flow of God’s grace; we must relax and let go of situations that are ultimately out of our control and allow God’s amazing grace to flow as He intends it to to the needed areas of our life.

 

“God is always supplying by His grace. Our part is to let go and let His supply flow.” ~ Joseph Prince

 

Pastor Prince tells us, as long as we are worried and in strife, we preventing the flow of God’s grace to come where we need it the most. While we are so caught up in the worries and trying to solve issues, we are actually preventing God from doing the work we are asking for.

“If it’s a miracle you need, a miracle you will get— if you remain in peace.” ~ Joseph Prince

 

The teachings in LIVE THE LET-GO LIFE  go against everything in our human nature. It takes committed determination to persevere to the peace that God wants us to have in our lives. We must labor to rest, to believe in the promise that Jesus made,  that the peace He left us is ours. It’s up to us to accept it and keep accepting it each and every moment of every day.

I highly recommend LIVE THE LET-GO LIFE by Joseph Prince. If you struggle with stress, worry and anxiety, this is God’s answer for you today!

Book Review

When a book continually hits my radar it means I’m supposed to read it.

2018 was my year for Streams.

There are almost as many types of devotionals as there are people and issues. Formats range from monthly to yearly. Some have short daily readings with a Scripture reference and a simple encouraging word for your day. Others are dedicated to specific topics or people groups. Streams in the Desert is for everyone.

With its pinpoint Scripture references, relevant stories and beautifully supportive poetry this devotional is perfect to help us make it through life’s daily challenges. One might be hesitant to read  Streams in the Desert since it was written in 1925. But because humans still struggle this book is completely applicable to life in the 21 Century. 

Lettie Cowman and her husband were missionaries to the Orient in the early 1900’s. When her husband became ill in 1917 they returned to America where she cared for him until his death in 1924. It was during those trying years that Mrs. Cowman penned this touching devotional. For me knowing this history of when it was written gives it much more meaning and insight.

With the new year just ahead, now is the perfect time to get your copy. I highly recommend Streams in the Desert! It’s one of the best devotionals you will ever read! I’ll be returning to it again and again.

Our capacity for knowing God is enlarged when we are brought by Him into circumstances that cause us to exercise our faith. So when difficulties block our path, may we thank God that He is taking time to deal with us, and then may we lean heavily on Him. ~ Lettie B. Cowman 

Book Review

 

New Seeds of Contemplation

by

Thomas Merton

 

A 20th Century Christian mystic, Thomas Merton is far and away one of my favorite authors. Although I haven’t read all his books yet, New Seeds of Contemplation is in my mind his greatest work. Without a doubt a modern spiritual classic.

The depth of Merton’s spiritual understanding is difficult to grasp. His words are soothing as a pool of cool water. I want to swim in them for hours.

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men. Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them: for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the soil of freedom, spontaneity and love.” ~ Thomas Merton

In New Seeds of Contemplation Merton takes us to deeper levels in our spiritual walk, teaching us about faith and humility, thoughtfully helping us to find our true identity in Christ. If you are on a serious spiritual growth path, seeking a clearer understanding of your relationship to God, this is the book for you. 

My feeble words fail when trying to describe the magnificence of Thomas Merton’s writing. Poetic, transcending, life-changing, mesmerizing, core-cutting, astounding, incredibly perfect, a true gift from God. It leaves me almost breathless… Always wanting more. 

The highest of recommendations from my bookshelf. READ THIS BOOK!

 

09.24.14

BOOK REVIEW

 

Deep-Rooted in Christ: The Way of Transformation

by

Joshua Choonmin Kang

In January 2008, I was introduced to Joshua Choonmin Kang when Renavare` suggested their followers read Deep-Rooted in Christ together that year. Because I am such a fan of Richard Foster and the Renovare`organization, I was confident the book would be amazing. I was not disappointed. In the tradition of classic spiritual writers, Joshua uses the spiritual disciplines to show us the path to Christlikeness. Written with 52 short chapters it is perfect for a weekly devotional. There is so much life changing wisdom that once through barely skims the surface. I’ve read this sweet book several times since I first got it. If you are looking for a new devotional for the upcoming year or perhaps a Christmas gift, I would highly recommend Joshua Choonmin Kang’s beautifully written book Deep-Rooted in Christ: The Way of Transformation. I’m looking forward to reading it again myself.

11.27.13