Guitar Hero Worship?

Posted by on Jun 19, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

I’m not a musician. But I would like to be. One of these days I’ll eventually get around to learning how to play an instrument. I finally managed to start updating a blog regularly, so this might actually be an achievable dream. Until then, I have Guitar Hero. First released in 2005,Guitar Hero is a computer game that enables you to play along with some great rock tracks by hitting the right buttons at the right time on the guitar shaped control pad. It’s like being in a rock band, except with out all the hard work and talent. And now there’s a Christian version on its way. Guitar Praise is a new product from an outfit called Digital Praise. Players will be able to rock along to over 50 Christian praise songs by artists such as Newsboys, Relient K and dc Talk. My question is: why does this game exist? Is it because there is a huge demand for music that belongs to the Christian music genre that it needs its own game (Like Guitar Hero: Rocks The 80s) or are there other factors at play? I’m not a huge fan of Christian music. That’s mainly because I have rarely found any Christian music that interests me. A lot of the time I find what I do hear either a cheap knock off of a successful, secular band, or the music is so bland it’s not worth listening to. (Please note: I’m not ripping into every single Christian band out there. I have by no means sampled everything in the market. I’m sure there’s some good stuff out there. I do enjoy the work of several Christian bands. Just over all, I find the good stuff is the exception rather than the rule.) Does Guitar Praise exist because of the Christian Bubble? Is it all part of an ideal that would see Christians completely separated from the secular world, giving them their own forms of entertainment so they won’t venture out into the big, bad world? If that’s the case, then I’m not on board. Sure, there are many things in this world that Christians should avoid. We shouldn’t be involved in anything that will lead us into sin. On the other hand, we still live in this world. We still need to be out there, taking a stand, making our presence known, bringing glory to God. We know that God uses us as his tools to bring people to him. Through our lives and through our proclamation of his glory, people come to salvation. If we hide ourselves away in our Christian ghettos, if we only do Christian things with Christian people, then we are being negligent in our duty to proclaim God...

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The Benefits of Living Together

Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

Around Christmas time, I was walking Star–my dog–and stopped to talk to my neighbor. I told him how excited I was that this was going to be my second Christmas with Marc. His immediate question was, “So when are you getting married?” Shocked, I said that we were already married. His next reaction was priceless. “Good. As it should be.” Wait, what? Why is it that we presume all young adults who are living together aren’t married? Maybe because less and less people delay marriage until they’re in their upper 20′s and early 30′s. Maybe because young adults in church look (and act) no different from those not in church. I apologize if this is offending anyone or stirring up needless drama. This really is the first time I’ve written on the topic–and this time I’m not wussing out. It is not my aim to judge or condemn anyone, but to pose the distinct question: What does it really look like to do life together in a healthy way? I’m not just talking about living together inside or outside the context of marriage. I’m talking about Acts 2 where the believers lived together and had everything in common (Acts 2:44). Whether you’re single, married, divorced, or living with roommates or parents–it’s a question I find myself asking quite often, especially in the first year of my marriage. I’m totally stealing this from The Sacred Search, a new book by Gary Thomas. In it he says, “God made you a sexual being but commands you to restrict sexual activity to marriage (1 Cor. 6:15-20; 7:36-38; 1 Thess. 4:3-7). At a certain point, for some of you it will become overwhelming difficult, to the point of courting temptation, to delay the marriage that will allow a holy expression of sexual activity” (The Sacred Search, page 84). When Marc and I got married I was scared. Terrified. It is by the grace of God I waited until marriage for sex, and also for living together. It wasn’t because God made me or my parents forbid it, but because I truly desired to have a physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy marriage from the start. When I say there are benefits to living together it’s because I’ve lived them. Not because I’m making you see my point or telling you what to do. I can only tell you what I am experiencing and what I’m experiencing has been nothing short of a miracle. It wasn’t until I got married that I realized how unhealthy I was living. Through Marc, God showed me it was the way I was living that was causing me pain–and I didn’t even know it. I was living at my...

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Break Up Your Fallow Ground!

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

Jeremiah 4:3-4.  ‘For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:  “Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.  Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart.”’ Hosea 10:12.  “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, ‘till He comes and rains righteousness on you. This article owes its genesis to a walk I took last summer along a path that runs through two fields near my home.   It was during the dry spell that came at the end of June.  In the first field the farmer was growing maize, and the corn really was ‘as high as an elephant’s eye.’ Although there had been no rain for a while the maize was growing splendidly as the roots sucked up the moisture and nourishment hidden within the ground.  The field was doing what a field is supposed to do- it was providing a crop and the farmer would soon have a harvest from it- thirty-fold, sixty-fold or a hundred-fold, I don’t know, but that is what such fields are for- to produce fruit; a crop, a harvest. But when I walked into the second field, it was a very different story;  there was no crop.  There had been at one point; I could see the stalks where the maize had been cut down by a combine the year previously, but since then the farmer had left the field to lie fallow.  Now because of the hot, dry weather that we had been having, the surface of the ground had been baked hard.  Underneath it might have been soft, but there was a sort of hard skin on the surface, and almost nothing was growing- just some scrub and a few weeds- no crop. A day or two later, there was a torrential rainstorm and I thought, well, that rain will turn the field into a real quagmire, but to my surprise, when I walked through the second field the next day, the ground was still as dry and hard as ever. The rain had not penetrated that hard outer skin and had flowed off the field and into the ditch.  Now imagine if the farmer had dropped seed on that land hoping for a harvest.  Fat chance!  The seed would have remained on the surface of the ground and either the birds would have eaten it or the rain would have washed it away.  The seed needs to go deep down into the ground before it will germinate. So what does the farmer need to do to get a crop out of that field?  He must...

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Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 5) : The Guarantee

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

Ever since I started buying comic books digitally, I’ve been going through a lot of iTunes credit. So I’m always on the lookout for discounted iTunes cards. There’s this site I check out that keeps a record of who is selling these cards at the cheapest rate. When I’m running low on credit, I pull up the site, find out who’s got the best discount, then go shopping. But even though I’ve seen the price on the website, even though I’ve checked out the stores catalogue, I’m always a bit apprehensive when I walk up to the counter. What if I got it wrong? What if they’re not really on sale? Will I look like an idiot when I ask for the discount and there isn’t one? Although I’ve been promised the discount, I’m never sure I’m going to get it until I hand over my money. God has promised me, through his Word, that the death of Jesus has paid for my sin and that if I believe in Jesus, I’m going to heaven. But how can I be sure? How do I know that Jesus really has deal with my sin? How can I know that God actually will follow through on his promise and let me into heaven?  When Jesus was on earth, he knew he had a mission and he knew what it would take to complete it. In Mark 10:33-34, Jesus said “The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priest and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” If Jesus had died on the cross and stayed dead, then we would have no assurance what so ever that we would be saved. Instead, Jesus conquered death. He went to the grave and then told death who was boss. One of the reasons Jesus came back from the dead was to prove he had the power to deal with sin. If he could take on death and win, then how much more could he save us from sin? After all, God is not in the practice of making promises that he can’t keep. Throughout the Bible, time and time again, God has proven himself. If he makes a promise, he keeps it. We see in the Bible that God promises that God’s people, that is, people who follow his son Jesus, will be saved.    ”What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son,...

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Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 4) : The Only Way

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

A number of years ago, there was a show called John Safran’s Music Jamboree. Each week, John Safran would take his signature sense of humour and journalism and look at the world of music culture. In one of the episodes, Safran looked at one the most exclusive night clubs in Melbourne and wondered what it would take to get nine 18 an 19 year old males through the door. Watching from a surveillance van across the road, the first attempt was a miserable failure. The bouncer didn’t even open the door before telling them to be on their way. But Safran had a plan. The next night he called the club up and told them to expect a big name band from the US to rock up. That they should be prepared for them and put their name on the list. How would these young men manage to convince the club that they were famous enough to let in? They would dress up like Slipknot, a 9 piece metal band, well known for wearing overalls and masks. And it worked. Not only did they get in, but they got given a private room and gave out autographs to fans. Now I know I’m not good enough to get into heaven on my own. But what if like these young men, I could get my name on the guest list? What if there was a name that could get me into heaven? A name that would guarantee me entry? Well there is such a name. And that name is Jesus.   We’re not good enough for heaven and deserve punishment. But God still loves us. He doesn’t want us to go to hell, even though that’s where we should be headed. But because of what we have done and because of what we have failed to do, hell is our destination. And there’s nothing we can do to escape it on our own. We need someone to save us. And God is the God who saves. God sent his son Jesus to earth. Jesus, the only one who never sinned. Never did anything wrong. Never disobeyed God. Never rejected God as king of the universe. And because of that, Jesus is the only person in all of history who is good enough to walk through the doors of heaven. When Jesus was here on earth, he had a mission. His mission was to save us. To open up the gates of heaven so that we could walk on in. To do that, he went to the cross. He allowed himself to be sentenced to death. Even though he had committed no crime. He willingly took the floggings and faced the...

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