Top Albums of 2014
2014 has been a particularly strong year for music, with most of my favorite artists releasing new albums. Below are my top choices, in order, thus far:
• Songs of Innocence – U2
• Anomaly – Lecrae
2. Neon Steeple – Crowder
3. Fading West and The Edge of the Earth – Switchfoot
4. Rivers in the Wasteland – NEEDTOBREATHE
5. 20 – Jars of Clay
Two other highly anticipated releases that may crack this list are Love Ran Red by Chris Tomlin and Rise by Trip Lee, both of which will be released October 28.
~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~
- The Maze Runner, rated PG-13
- The Edge of the Earth: Unreleased Songs from the film “Fading West” – Switchfoot
- Anomaly by Lecrae
~ THIS AND THAT ~
- Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong, the new album from For King & Country, who also guests on one song on Lecrae’s Anomaly, debuted at #2 on the iTunes top albums charts on September 16. Congratulations!
- And the exciting new music just keeps coming. From Jars of Clay to Lecrae, U2 and Switchfoot, now comes news that Chris Tomlin has released a new single from his forthcoming album Love Ran Red. The album features the singles “Waterfall” and “Jesus Loves Me”, along with “Almighty” and “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” which were included on the Passion: Take it All album earlier this year. Below are the lyrics to this excellent new worship anthem “Jesus Loves Me”, which I’m sure will be soon be sung in churches around the world:
My heart was a stone
I was covered in shame
When He came for me
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms
Jesus, He loves me, He loves me, He is for me
Jesus, how can it be, He loves me, He is for me
And it was a fire
Deep in my soul
I’ll never be the same
I stepped out of the dark
And into the light
When He called my name
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms
He holds the stars and He holds my heart
With healing hands that bear the scars
The rugged cross where He died for me
My only hope, my everything
- My good friend Jeff told me that Steve Taylor is getting ready to release his first new album in 20 years. It will be called Goliath and will be released November 18. His band – The Perfect Foil – includes Peter Furler. Can’t wait!
- Stevie Wonder, who rarely tours, will be in concert at the United Center in Chicago for the Songs in the Key of Life Performance tour on November 14. This will be a performance of his classic album of the same name. I saw him in concert at the State Farm Center (then called the Assembly Hall) back in 1974 and have long enjoyed his music.
ALL LECRAE ALL THE TIME…
- Lecrae’s Anomaly album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart on September 17. Congratulations to Lecrae on this accomplishment! Read more here, and also check out our review of the album in this week’s post. As a thank you to fans, his label, Reach Records, released a new song, “Non-Fiction” on Soundcloud. Listen to “Non-Fiction” here, and read this story about his reference to Tim Keller and Andy Crouch.
- Here’s Lecrae on how he wrote the song “Nuthin’” on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/segments/12026. Lecrae joined Jimmy Fallon’s house band, The Roots, for musical interludes between segments. He rapped portions of songs from his new album, including “Nuthin,” “Fear,” “All I Need is You,” “Say I Won’t,” and “Welcome to America.”
- Speaking of Lecrae, check out Mike Cosper’s article “He’s an ‘Anomaly’: Lecrae’s Unique Platform on Top of the Music World” here: http://thegospelcoalition.org//article/anomaly-and-lecraes-relationship-with-christ-calling-and-culture
- And check out this article from World Magazine “Rapper Lecrae Finally Gets Mainstream Acceptance: http://www.worldmag.com/2014/09/christian_rapper_lecrae_finally_gets_mainstream_acceptance
- And one more on Lecrae….before he held the No. 1 spot on Billboard 200 charts for his newly released album Anomaly or sat in with The Roots on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, he was simply Lecrae Moore, a teenager who grew up on the southside of Houston without a strong father figure. Watch him describe his faith journey below on the video “The Cross”: http://billygraham.org/story/how-lecrae-gained-everything/
- Kathleen Nielson gives her recommendation on what novel every Christian should consider reading.
- Michael Card recently was a guest on Steve Brown, etc., talking about his new book on the Gospel of John, the final book in his Biblical Imagination Series John: The Gospel of Wisdom. You can listen to the program here: http://www.keylife.org/shows/the-gospel-of-wisdom-michael-card
- Check out Michael Card’s updated website at www.michaelcard.com. You can sign up for the Card Community, Michael’s new newsletter here: http://www.michaelcard.com/#!community/cbde
- Banner of Truth has now published their first 30 ebooks. Check them out here: http://banneroftruth.org/us/store/product-tag/eBooks/
- Andy Stanley’s next book is Ask It: The Question That Will Revolutionize How You Make Decisions. It is a revised and updated version of his book The Best Question Ever and will be released October 21.
- David Murray has written a new book – The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World. Read about it here.
- I love to read books, almost exclusively on my Kindle. I enjoyed John Piper’s article on books that we will never read. You can read it here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-books-boomers-will-never-read
- Don’t forget to check out what I’m Currently Reading for some good book and devotional recommendations.
- Here is the first full-length trailer for the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay film: http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2014/09/15/the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-first-full-trailer/
- Kirk Cameron’s next film is Saving Christmas. The promotion for the film states: Every year at Christmas time it seems the baby in the manger takes more and more of a backseat to retail sales, Santa Claus, and political correctness. With “Merry Christmas” being replaced by “Seasons Greetings” and court ordered removal of public nativity scenes, the fruit of Mary’s womb is falling on hard times. But this year, Kirk Cameron is taking back Christmas with his engaging new movie Saving Christmas. Opening in select theaters November 14, the newest movie from the star of Fireproof and Unstoppable is filled with laughter, warmth, and God-honoring cheer! Saving Christmas will change the way your family sees and celebrates this magical time of year. Check out the official site for the film here: http://savingchristmas.com/
- Andrew Barber has a problem with Christian films (and so does Tammy by the way, but perhaps for different reasons). Barber writes that there are currently two primary problems with Christian films: (1) they are either inherently dishonest and/or (2) they are primarily concerned with what C. S. Lewis called “egoistic castle-building.” Read his article “The Problem with Christian Films” here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-problem-with-christian-films
INTERESTING ARTICLES, VIDEOS AND EARNEST PRAYERS:
- I found this article from World Magazine about two Christian colleges – College of the Ozarks and Louisiana College – to be very interesting. Read “A Tale of Two Schools”.
- In honor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s 25th anniversary, a video sermon of Tim Keller’s February 17, 2013 sermon “Suffering and Glory” from Acts is being offered free for a limited time. Click here to find out more.
- Scotty Smith’s daily prayers often hit me just where I’m at. This prayer about perfectionism is an example of that. Read it here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2014/09/16/a-prayer-for-greater-freedom-from-performance-ism/
- Steven Lawson writes that we often attempt to live the Christian life in our own strength. But, we have God’s power within us, enabling us to do what is otherwise impossible. Read his article “The Power to Persevere”.
- Kevin DeYoung offers a prayer for revival in Scotland. Read it here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/09/18/a-prayer-for-the-revival-of-religion-in-scotland/
- R.C. Sproul recommends that Christians memorize Psalm 51 as it is a perfect model of godly repentance. Read his article “What Does Repentance Look Like” here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-repentance-look/
- Eric Davis shares 7 truths to arm God’s people for their spiritual holy war against sin from Puritan Pastor John Owen. Click here to read them.
- I’ve mentioned this before, but wanted to again recommend the daily podcast The Briefing with Albert Mohler. I listen to the 20 minute program of daily worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations each morning. Here’s a link to the site so that you can listen too: http://www.albertmohler.com/category/the-briefing/
- Albert Mohler writes that “The sexuality crisis has demonstrated the failure of theological method on the part of many pastors. The “concordance reflex” simply cannot accomplish the type of rigorous theological thinking needed in pulpits today. Pastors and churches must learn the indispensability of biblical theology and must practice reading Scripture according to its own internal logic—the logic of a story that moves from creation to new creation. The hermeneutical task before us is great, but it is also indispensable for faithful evangelical engagement with the culture.” Read his article “Biblical Morality and the Sexuality Crisis” here: http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/09/16/biblical-theology-and-the-sexuality-crisis/
- The Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Seminary announced the 2014 FSI Conference, presented in association with First Light of St. Louis: “Homosexuality and the Church: Towards Faithful Pastoral Care”. To find out more and to register, go to: http://www.covenantseminary.edu/the-thistle/francis-a-schaeffer-institute-2014-conference/
- I found this brief article from Colin Smith to be helpful. Read “Three Things That Can Keep You from Following Christ” here: http://www.unlockingthebible.org/three-things-can-keep-following-christ/
DESIRING GOD ~
- We don’t like to wait – I know I sure don’t. Paul Maxwell of Desiring God writes that helpful to remember that “God’s most precious gifts are often established in gradation for three reasons”. Read what those reasons are in his article titled “Do You Hate to Wait?” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/do-you-hate-to-wait
- Jon Bloom of Desiring God writes “Irritability. I give into it too often. It’s time to take this sin more seriously and lay it aside (Hebrews 12:1). Every time I’m irritable I burden myself with the detrimental weights of prideful selfishness and relational conflict. And as my irritation overflows on others, it burdens them too because my harsh words stir up anger in them (Proverbs 15:1).” I know I struggle with irritability more than I would like to admit. Read his article “Lay Aside the Weight of Irritability” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/lay-aside-the-weight-of-irritability
- David Mathis from Desiring God writes that one of the most loving things you can do for someone is tell them when they’re wrong. Read his article “Give the Blessing of Rebuke” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/give-the-blessing-of-rebuke
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
- In honor of Jimmy Fallon’s birthday last week, Billboard looked back at his best musical impersonations of the past year.
- Did you see Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Jimmy Fallon in a lip sync battle recently on The Tonight Show? If not, check it out here: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/segments/11951
- Joc Pederson is one of major league baseball’s most promising prospects, but he’s evidently not exempt from tasks typically assigned to rookies. A photo surfaced last Friday of Pederson, wearing his Los Angeles Dodgers uniform, and a clubhouse attendant fetching coffee and other beverages in Chicago for his teammates. Check it out here: http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/11556539/joc-pederson-makes-coffee-run-wearing-los-angeles-dodgers-uniform
IN THE NEWS – ISIS:
- Here is an interesting article from the New York Times on how ISIS works.
- Former Petra and Head East lead singer John Schlitt has been working with Jay Sekulow of ACLJ, John Elefante and Mark Townsend. They have just recorded their first original tune, Where I Stand, which is a moving tribute to the persecuted Christians in Iraq. The song goes hand-in-hand with an original book written by Sekulow called “Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore.” The song is available when you purchase the book.
- Scotty Smith tweeted the below picture of women being sold like slaves in Mosul, Iraq by ISIS, saying “This is what true slavery looks like, people”.
- The only thing that we have earned at the hands of perfect justice is perfect punishment. -RC Sproul
- If you have wasted your whole life, and have five minutes left, you can live them to the glory of Christ. -John Piper
Quotable: Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. -Steve Jobs
INTEGRATING FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday
- Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes that business success and gratefulness go hand in hand. Read his “Tuesday Tip” titled “The Wonder of Gratitude” here” http://drzimmerman.com/tuesdaytip/gratitude.php
- Here are quotes on leadership that Dr. Alan Zimmerman is known for and people have found helpful: Download your copy by clicking here
- On this month’s Leadership podcast titled “Keystone Habits”, Andy Stanley talks about habits that can change your organization. You can find the podcast on iTunes or here: http://andystanley.com/free-resources/
- Here is a one-minute video (“60 Seconds to Significance” from The High Calling) from pharmaceutical and vaccine industry consultant Boyd Clarke on how to take criticism.
- I found this article about reflecting on our performance at work from J.B. Wood to be helpful. Read “How To Know if You are Doing a Good Job”.
- What are the best places to work? Here is one list – from Fortune – of the top 100 best companies to work for: http://www.greatplacetowork.com/best-companies/100-best-companies-to-work-for
- Matt Perman writes “What are the components of an effective management philosophy that is based upon the fact that humans are in the image of God and that the glory of God is the goal of all things? I am going to outline eleven”. Read his article titled “Management in Light of the Supremacy of God: How Should Christians Think about Management” here: http://whatsbestnext.com/2011/01/management-in-light-of-the-supremacy-of-god/
- Matt Perman shares the slide deck he uses to help introduce people to the theology of productivity that he gives in What’s Best Next the book. It can serve as a good refresher for those who have read the book, and also something that you can easily share with those who haven’t read the book.
- I receive the Lead Like Jesus e-devotional three times each week. This one from last Friday got my attention as the prayer stated “Lord, I hand over my need to be in control, my desire to look good in other people’s eyes”, a few things that are probably counterfeit idols in my life. Read the entire devotional here: http://leadlikejesus.com/blog/blog-post/seeking-answers#
- In this twelfth installment in the series on love at work, John Kyle writes on what it means to rejoice with the truth, even when you’re at work.
- In this article titled “Heroism in a Cubicle”, Dr. David Leonard states “To put it differently, you must resolve to be intellectually virtuous; you must resolve to be heroic, even in your cubicle. dc46cd4#sthash.y5L6UZKH.dpuf
- Can unfulfilling work be a vocation? Read Gene Veith’s comments.
- In his article “What is the Vocation of a Student”, Andrew Spencer offers five lessons he wishes he had learned as a younger student. Find out what those lessons are.
- Christianaudio is offering John Maxwell’s Leadership Series audiobooks at a discount of up to 75% off through September 30. Check out the details.
How then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work Book Club ~ Chapter 2
This week we continue our book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. Read the passages I highlighted in Chapter 2: The Gospel, The Kingdom and Our Calling: What Does the Bible Say About Work?
What’s Best Next Series – Part 8 What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
- Architect CREATE A FLEXIBLE STRUCTURE
- CHAPTER 14 Setting Up Your Week
We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from chapter 14.