Tuesday, November 29, 2011

John C. Maxwell - Journey From Success To Significance

Author - John C. Maxwell

Title - The Journey From Success To Significance
Release date - April 7, 2004
Publisher - Thomas Nelson

Pages - 128 pages

In this must read hard back, John C. Maxwell president of INJOY reminds us that we cannot achieve our wildest dreams by remaining who we are. He also highlights the demarcation between success and significance and encourages with various real life stories of the importance of us living for others and going beyond ourselves in being significant.
Filled with quotes and real life stories that would inspire you, this book is a must read for those who desire to make the journey from success to significance.
Book Description (Amazon) : Best-selling author and nationally renowned motivational speaker John Maxwell looks beyond a worldly view of what matters to find a deeper call and a greater purpose in life. Stripping away the myths of success touted by our culture, he boldly and confidently asserts that true significance is only found by living in relationship with God and by using one's energy and influence to pass along God's love to others. Written in Maxwell's straightforward style punctuated with engaging stories and anecdotes, The Journey from Success to Significance is right on target for men's groups and business people as well as graduates.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Shai Linne - The Attributes of God

Artist - Shai Linne
Album - The Attributes of God
Release Date - November 1, 2011
Recording Label - Lamp Mode
iPod Pick - Faithful God (feat. Chris Cobbins and Sovereign Grace Kids)

The album starts off with the attention drawing spoken word piece titled 'The perfection of Beauty' which features Blair Linne. 'Only you are beautiful' speaks up Blair ' but yet invisible. True beauty is spiritual'. This beautiful piece is followed up by the repetitive chorused 'Not to Us' which I personally think should have come up later while a more powerful and fist bumping track such as 'Our God is in the heavens' ( which comes after the same styled 'Taste and See') should have been the album opener after such a powerful spoken word intro.

The half instrumental/interlude track 'The Holiness of God' comes up next followed by the retro styled 'Mercy and Grace' which might sound to fans of rap music like the old school Tupac's 'California Love' in sound style. The swaggered up voice of Melissa T. Shows up on the deep searching and soulful 'Lord of Patience'. This one is a personal favorite. The song talks about how God is enduring in his love towards us. A line would sure catch your attention "we know with you a day is like a thousand years and does that mean for every sin you cry a thousand tears" . And really I don't know why but the guitar intro of this track is reminiscent of Adele's 'Turning Tables' intro.

The track 'All consuming fire' comes next asking and answering the question 'What is sin? The glory of God not honored. The truth of God not sought. . The presence of God not priced. . . The person of God not loved. . . That is sin". 'Perferct Love' comes up next styled musically like 'Lord of Patience'. Okay,' Faithful God' which comes next is just so sick, it so so good. It's very hard to compare to anything and the guy featured on it Chris Cobbins' got a great voice. JR shows up on ' The Jealous One'.

This is my first Shai Linne record and I can boldly say that this man of God has something deep going on with Jesus. 'The Attributes of God' is a very focused album lyrically though sometimes musically monotonous. This is the type of rap album one carries along on a personal retreat and I don't mean to underestimate this beautiful work in anyway. I'm just pondering the deepness of this record. Only few people can boldly declare the attributes of God on a rap/hip hop record. For fans of hard core rap looking for some deeper lyrics than stories of sexy girls, gunshots and police infested weed stores, Shai Linne just place out a perfect alternative on 'The Attributes of God' and please do go for it, it's far worth more than the deal.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

D.A. T.R.U.T.H - The Whole Truth

Artist - D.A. T.R.U.T.H
Album - The Whole Truth
Record Label: Universal Music Christian / XIST
Street Date - September 13, 2011
iPod Pick - Cherished Feat. Cece Winans

It's all about being real and second chances on 'The Whole Truth'. Personally I'm reminded of a truth, which if we don't adhere to as Christians might lead us down a spiral down turn of pride, and it's that we are Christians not because we are perfect people but because we have received the grace, forgiveness and righteousness of Jesus Christ which also leads and empowers us to do the same, to give grace and to walk in righteousness.

On 'The Whole Truth' rapper D.A. T.R.U.T.H comes clean about his own sin and how God exposed him publicly ('Lights') and tells listeners the hard price they have to pay for the pleasures of sin and also begs for their forgiveness ('The Whole Truth'). Listeners are encouraged on the hard rock influenced sound 'Impossible' that God can do the impossible if we take our eyes off what we can see. 'Without God' follows in the same vein musically but with a throw back style. One of the things that really got me excited when I got this record was that one of my favorite worship leader, Mia Fieldes (who is popularly known for her participation in the Hillsong United band) was featured on a song ('The Whole Truth'). And the Skylar Grey -esque track is a must listen though very similar in progression to the popular 'Coming Home' song by Dirty Money and Skylar Grey but it's still a fresh tune you don't want to miss. 'Can't Believe' which features Eric Greene starts off like 'Bones' by Hillsong United but runs into something Pitbull would pull off if he had a duet with hot stepper Usher. Yes, its got that dancehall flavor, amazing tune.

The Akon styled 'Cherished' which features Grammy award winning artist Cece Winans would blow your heart away. Tracks like 'Go Misfit Go!', 'Alive', 'Survivor' (which features the amazing 'Suzy Rock') and 'Ain't Going Back' are a musical revolution. Haven't heard anything like them before.

This album is a great comeback for D.A. T.R.U.T.H. It's beautiful hearing someone talk about how they are receiving grace from people and God after a fall ( seriously nobody talks about stuffs like this these days). And it's not just the transparency, this record can get any party bumping. Wondering what this is all about and wanna hear the whole truth? Go get D.A. T.R.U.T.H's new album, it's 'The Whole Truth'.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Erin Healy - The Baker's Wife

Author - Erin Healy
Title - The Baker's Wife
Publisher- Thomas Nelson
Pages- 271

I started ‘The Baker’s Wife’ with shaky hands. Somehow from the first few pages, the supernatural twist drew me in.

Meet Audrey, formerly the pastor’s wife but now the baker’s wife. And no, it isn’t a divorce, it’s a series of event which flows from a choice that brought about this change. Meet Diane, a woman who is tired of her yesterdays but they keep showing up in her today. Meet Julie formerly Juliet,  a single 't' could mean a whole lot but then the first we hear about her at the beginning of the story is her blood spilled all over the foggy town’s intersection.

For me reading the Baker’s wife wasn’t just about the supernatural thrilling suspense. There were lessons to be learnt. 

  • What are the moral consequences of us neglecting a spiritual assignment as Christians?
  • Where is the thing line between grace and works in the matters of faith?
  • Can we practically love a broken person back to wholeness?

These are a part of the tough questions Author (and former Editor) Erin Healy tackles with a suspenseful and mystery driven thriller and she does a very good job on this one. The writing is insightful and sometimes is dashed with a poetic touch. But a little problem I had was at the ending chapters of the book. Healy touches on very sensitive and controversial psychological spiritual themes but makes no solid conclusion, in the style of Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ throwing the conclusion of such discussion to mere characters. I would have loved a bit more biblical perspective in these areas.

All in all, The Baker’s wife is a must read for anyone who loves the creep  . . . creep supernatural of V.C. Andrews, the action and ‘save the day’ protagonists of Ted Dekker novels and the emotional touch of Karen Kingsbury. Grab your loaves fast, you don’t want to miss the best servings from the best fiction bakery in town. Go go go get Erin Healy’s 'The Baker’s Wife'. After you have devoured the last page, you would smell the loaves still.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jai - Culture Shock

Artist - Jai
Album - Culture Shock
Label- Outlet Music Group
Street date- August 02, 2011

Album length- 15 tracks: 59 minutes, 10 seconds
Genre- Hip-Hop/ RnB/ Urban
IPod pick- Saviour

Meet Jai though She's been around for a while, featuring on various hip hop artists' songs such as 'Hero' by Trip lee and 'God is Enough' by Lecrae. And now, she's out with her debut titled 'Culture Shock' which is sure to put out some shock waves on the music scene.

The album though upbeat and really hard to be classified into one genre is centred on the greatness and the mighty works of God ( 'I Love You (Human)', 'You Deserve My All', 'I'll Wait', 'Praise Grenade', 'Calling You'). Jai also tackles the subject of being confident in one's own skin on the upbeat 'Reflection' singing 'who am I to say i'm not good enough/ not tryna add colur to the Mona Lisa'. On Saviour we hear beautiful accapella echoes in the style of veteran artist Brandy. You would simply love it! 'Stand Alone' has a beaty african-esque danceable tune in the style of Beyonce's 'Girls' but at a slower pace. It's one of my personal favourites. 'Dancing For You' on which Guvna B features sounds like Beckah Shae meets Kesha, In fact Jai drops a long rap.

Other highlights include the morning sunshine song titled 'Good Day' which is sure to brighten up anyone's day with it's powerful message and energetic beats and 'Calling You' (on which Lecrae features) which is a pure praise song unto God.

I wasn't surprised when I learnt Jai wrote or co-wrote every song on this album and this is why. Fine, it's a hip album with lots of beaty tracks, party-ready is the term. In fact, a friend of mine while I was playing this said playfully 'and the party album of the year goes to Jai's Culture Shock' and I really giggled at that. But beyond the beaty music I hear some deep passion and heart on this album sincerely. The lyrics are deep, reflective and at all times point to a sincere relationship with God.

Truth be told there's no song titled 'Culture Shock' on this album but this album is 'shocking' in every sense. Tired of the same ol' same ol'? Need something fresh, real and at the same time entertaining? Let Jai awaken you with a shock from the deep 'sleep' our culture keeps pulling us into. :)


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