Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Good times are had all round the weekend

I was pretty amazed at the response my last post ended up having, some good points being made from differing views and although some of them were pretty strong I appreciate the fact that people are taking the time to read and to comment on different points. 
As some of you know I'm running our church youth camp this weekend and we've had an incredible response of registrations come in, surpassing our expectations of numbers for the weekend. It's really exciting seeing the amount of people that have registered for the camp, entitled "Connect 08"Connecting with mates and connecting with God - a time that's going to be an awesome time of hanging out together and being in a great environment.
I'm still struggling with my SuperHero costume as Mr. Incredible but hopefully I'll have that sorted in time for the weekend.We're really expecting an awesome time of not only hanging out together, but also seeing God show up in a really awesome way. In my experience, when we put ourselves in an environment where we're not trying to do anything put-on-ish but are just open and hungry for God to show up great stuff happens. 
I know that from some of the previous comments on the latest post that disagreement is likely, but God has done incredible things in my life in a way I couldn't have come up with on my own when I've been honest with Him and been hungry for Him to do something in my life. I'm looking forward to seeing what God does this weekend in my life and in the lives of those going. I'll keep you posted on what will definitely be an amazing weekend with God and mates... and some pretty full-on superhero costumes.
From last year's youth camp - Hollywood Movie Stars theme:

Rambo and Undercover Brother

Saving Private Ryan and Reno 9/11??!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I can't imagine life without you

We just had an awesome service this morning and we had the privilege of having Wayne and Libby Hurirua previously from the Parachute Band come and lead us in worship. These guys are incredible with creating an awesome atmosphere of worship and leading people into the presence of God. The worship time was amazing, the sound quality and fullness of the band was awesome, but what was an even greater sight for me was looking out and seeing the whole congregation of our church with the hands lifted and giving glory to God. 
There is nothing in life greater than connecting with God.
I'm so into extreme sports and all that kind of thing, but when it comes down to it, the feeling of fullness and wholeness that is felt when I connect with God cannot be replaced by anything. 
One thing that Wayne said within the service, was our absolute need to keep God first in our lives. The Israelites forgot their need to be in close, personal connection with God and ended up losing thousands of men to death because He was no longer helping them to win battles. They tried to figure it all out themselves and thought they had life downpacked without Him. I'm not saying we need to be close to God so we can win some battle; we need to continue being intimate with Him because if we don't we lose what life's about. 
Man the numerous times I've spent trying to find fulfillment in trying to be a 'good' person or trying to make stuff happen without having God in the mix has been the biggest waste of time. Without constantly being in close relationship with God means I eventually find myself burnt out, unhappy and unfulfilled. 

Going into this weekend's youth camp without completely trusting God is going to be a waste. Going into the rest of our lives without having God centre and close in our lives is a waste.

I know this sounds abit controversial but simply put, life is a waste if we're not in relationship with Jesus. 
Life exists because of Him. 
Life isn't fulfilled without Him.
Life is found completely and only in Jesus. Straight up.

I'm taken by lyrics from the new Hillsong United song "You Deserve" which say - "I can't imagine life without you, without you, cause it's all for you, yeah it's all for you God".
And truely, I can't even imagine life without God because it won't make sense.

If you haven't yet connected with God in a real way I'm praying for you. I'm praying that God will reveal Himself to you and that you will come to discover the true and amazing life that is only found in Jesus. 

Honestly, don't go another minute without saying to God you want Him and you want to live a life that's fulfilled, complete and totally connected with the one who loves you. God responds to prayers like that - so go for it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


One of the greatest innovations of the 21st century is the legal, worldwide phenomenon of downloading music, also known as iTunes. There was always Napster and LimeWire but my concience of downloading music tracks from other people for free wouldn't let me continue doing it. I thought I'd found the greatest thing on earth in LimeWire but I found everytime I'd go to use it I'd feel pretty convicted. My difficulty was that I (and growing number of other people) was getting frustrated by forking out $30 for a cd which only had 1 or 2 songs that I really wanted. But, then arrived iTunes and Hey Presto! I was sucked into it and I have never looked back.
For the fair few of you who haven't yet experienced iTunes, basically it gives you instant access to over 100's of 1000's of songs that you can buy individually or by the album. They've got bands and albums on their you've never even heard of - satisfying your musical taste from hiphop to rock to (help you) country. You can easily create an account with a visa card and buy individual songs for usually $1.79 each, giving you the opportunity to buy the individually specific song you want without buying the entire album. For example, you could buy 3 specific songs that you like from 3 different bands and pay just over $5. 
So, as a result of listening and buying some great songs lately, here is a short list of songs that I am currently playing on repeat:
(click on the underlined song to link to a video of the song on YouTube.)

Sara Bareilles

Chances are you've probably heard this song being played often on the radio. Regardless of whether you've heard it too much it's a fantastic song. To be honest I have no idea where she came from, I may have to get onto Wikipedia, but despite this being her first(?) single she's definitely one continue watching. Beautiful piano, an even more beautiful voice, tight bass and drums, and great melodies - well worth the listen... and a buy.

Op Shop

For anybody who said that New Zealand was too far off the map or too bogan to write great songs, they should be sued. OpShop, in my opinion, are way too under-rated and should be out there earning big bucks with songs like this one. They've had some good hits on the charts with songs like Maybe and No Ordinary Thing but I think there is definitely alot more to come from these guys. With their incredibly relaxed melodies, deeply moving lyrics and an overall world-class sound make sure you keep an eye out for this legendary band. Spread the word.

The Album Leaf

This guy is incredible. Basically, The Album Leaf consists of a guy called James LaVallethe and... well... that's it. He's a classically trained musician and this guy sure knows how to create music that fits like a jigsaw puzzle, connecting together beautifully crafted piano pieces with drums, bass and more synth. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to hear too much more of the music he's done but if this song is anything to go by it's definitely a band that would be worth getting some more of. Thankfully, iTunes has most of their back catalogue of albums. It'd be a loss not to listen to this.

Mute Math
Yeah I know I'm slow on the uptake with these guys. They've been around for a fair few months now but their incredible rise in popularity and acclaim around the world is just a confirmation of the talent and musical genius these guys are. Their music is like nothing I've ever heard before and they are already held as one of the greatest live bands around. Their energy is so awesome - they are one of the few bands that seem to display on the outside the kind of excitement they have inside. With songs like Typical, Chaos and this song - Control, they are bound to only increase as one of the greatest alternative bands in the world... with enough energy and passion to light up a whole city.

Hopefully now you have some more tunes to download, chuck into your iTunes program, add to your iPod and either relax, chillax or wax to. Any recommendations of songs I should download next?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who ARE you??

I was reading in John 1 today, best gospel by far by-the-way, and I came across this cool snippet from one of the verses. We're set in the wilderness, next to the Jordan river in Israel, when we read of Mr John. Baptist. 'J-dog' as I like to call him. We pick up the story in John 1:22 where it says "Finally they [the Jewish priests] said 'Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?'"
When I read this second part it reminded me of what my teachers or mum would say when I'd 'forgotten' to do my maths homework or when I'd stolen 5 of the last 6 shewsberry biscuits from the pantry: "What do you say for yourself?!"
I started to think, what if I was J-dog, dressed up in my camel hair clothing line and the my infamous beard filled with half eaten locusts and dried wild honey, and I was asked "What do you say about yourself?". I think I might have said something along the lines of "Priest man, have you not heard of me? I'm the wild man dunking people in the water" or "I'm the homeless guy who likes to swim all day - wanna join me?". But here's J-dog's response, tactfully and intelligently in the words of Isaiah the prophet: "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord'".
To me I can see Him being right in the middle of baptising someone or halfway through his "Making straight the way for the Lord" speech when he's rudely interupted by some guys dressed nicely in the 0001BC release of the 'Jewish Cloaks Ltd.' line and them asking him who he even is.
I can see John having a few choices here. 
First, he could choose to ignore them - I'm sure he had a few hecklers in his time that he was used to. Second, he could have got them in a head lock and involuntarily baptised them. Third, he could have stopped his sermon and responded to their question.
He chose the third option.
I was thinking as a result of his choice twofold: 
Number 1: When I'm interupted in my daily routine by some random people who ask me what I'm about, what do I do? 
- Do I ignore them? 
- Do I change the subject? 
- Or, do I stop what I'm doing like John did and answer them?

Number 2: If I do choose to stop and answer (which isn't always guaranteed) what do I say?
- Do I speak unconfidently, quietly and short?
- Do I say what I do for a living and possibly that I go to church?
- Or, do I confidently declare that "I am about relevantly and passionately sharing the gospel of Jesus with this generation?"

There is nothing worse than getting the chance to talk to someone about what you're about and not having a clear, confident answer. John had one. What's yours?

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
1 Peter 3:15

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The gospel: compassionately passionate.

For those of you who've been reading and commenting on my last post you will already be up in the know as to what this post may be about. Some discussion was raised about really how we as Christians are presenting the gospel - something that has been an age old debate for a long enough time. The sides presented are in reference to making sure that we aren't sharing the gospel in a way that judges or demeans people or their opinions, while at the same time honestly highlighting our importance for Jesus to save us from our sin. Notice that I used the words 'our' in that last sentence. 
We're all in the same 'sin boat'. Much of the controversy and 'putoff' of Christianity in recent times is in reference to this very issue with many people saying that they often feel judged by Christians or feel as though they could never reach their 'holier than thou' rung on the ladder.
My thoughts are that this feeling can be felt when we as followers of Jesus, slip into the mindset that it's us vs. them. This kind of mindset can be very easy to fall into, I've been there myself many times, but is something that can be pretty destructive when we go about sharing the gospel with people who don't have the same belief system as us.I mentioned before, some of this mindset can be caused by missing the fact that it's not a "us vs. them".... it's a "us reaching us". What I mean by this is that we can easily forget that we would be in exactly the same boat as those who don't know God personally if it wasn't for God offering us the same gift that we're inviting others to. It's easy to slowly forget that we are just as sinful, just as fallen, just as in need of God - the only thing that's different between followers of Christ and those who don't is accepting God's free gift of salvation. Given by grace. We didn't get offered salvation because we're any more special - again, the only thing that is different is that we have accepted it and they haven't yet.

It's a pretty simple concept but it's a pretty important one to grasp. We're no different to the world. We make about the same mistakes (I know I do) and mishaps as others but we have someone who is willing to wipe them clean again because we're still human. It's important for us to watch the kind of words and language that we use - God loves His people, our language needs to reflect our love for people no matter what they believe. We need to meet people where they're at with a gospel that isn't judgement of others, but that is about helping people find a solution to the problem they often know they have.

Jesus. The ultimate example.
He didn't stand on the side of the gravel road in Jerusalem belting at the top of his lungs whilst holding a sign saying "Repent! The end is near" or something to that effect. That, as we would guess, would have turned everybody away or got him crucified right then and there. No. You know what he did? He made friends with the worst sinners. Not the ones who he thought might have had most of it altogether; he hung with the prostitutes and IRD guys. The guys everybody hated. And you know what he didn't do? He didn't preach at them about how sinful they were and how they were going to go to the worst place in the world if they didn't follow him. He saw the potential and the awesome person inside and brought it out. He didn't point the finger and say "you're the worst sinner I've met", he said "you're the greatest person in the world - why don't put aside the stuff that isn't going to work and follow me. You'll have the greatest life you can ever have."

What I'm getting at is I think sometimes we as Christians feel righteous enough to go about preaching the gospel in a way that makes people feel guilty enough about their not-so-pretty stuff that their only choice is to accept Jesus. But (in my experience anyway) they feel guilty enough about it already and the last thing they want is someone reminding them of that. What they want most is someone who can say "hey, what you've done doesn't matter when you choose Jesus. He accepts you for who you are, not for how perfect you are." That, to me, is the gospel. Yes, a challenge to people to realise their need for God's grace and redemption for their sin - but, also an invitation (which we've all been offered) to lay down their old life and recieve the greatest one they could have - for free.

I'm not a fired up super spiritual guy whose angry about Christians etc etc, I'm just putting out a challenge and an encouragement to think about the way we go about sharing the gospel. It's not supposed to be something we believe which somehow gives us an excuse to look down on people. It's an amazing invitation that God has offered freely to everyone who realises their need for God and chooses to accept Him. We need to be passionate about the sharing of the gospel but in a compassionate way. In a way that so freely offers it to anybody and everybody; just as Jesus did.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Prayer: the ultimate spare tire.

I got back late on Sunday night from a weekend away for a break with my mate Sam. It was good times; chilling listening to music and walking in the rain to get dinner from the local takeaways.
We left around 3pm on the Sunday afternoon to get back in time for us to get ready for the week to come when, 20 minutes away from the bach and about to drive up a huge hill in the mountains, our front left tire on the car instantly punctured.
Here is actual video footage of the events that followed as recorded from Sam's digital camera:

So there we were sitting on the side of the open road, 20 minutes from the bach, 2 hours from home, with a punctured tire, our 'spare' tire punctured with the sun going down pretty quickly. Needless to say we were becoming pretty desperate and weren't exactly excited by the prospect of sleeping in a car with 3 wheels or thumbing a ride back to the bach.

We read Philippians 4:6 and figured that you can never do with enough prayer in times such as these. We prayed, and prayed, talked, and prayed. Our last ditch hope was sitting in the laps of 3 guys on quad bikes we'd met approximately an hour before, hoping on the off chance they might have a spare tire and rim that'd fit our car.

We kept praying when in the dark night came headlights that slowly pulled over to the side of the road and the 3 guys jumped out declaring they had found a tire and rim that would fit. It was legendary - the tire fitted, we almost ran out of gas but they happened to have a spare 20L petrol container and were willing to pour it into the car if we paid them back.

Basically, Jesus is not only a man - but He is the man. See how I fitted in a little theology in that statement too? Yes, I may not be the most scientific person with a brain that oozes philosophical data, but to me the chances of 3 guys turning up in the middle of nowhere as the sun is going down with a spare tire and rim that fits exactly our car and has a spare 20L petrol container isn't just chance. Call me superstitious but that looks alot more like God than coincidence. God is interested in every situation of our lives and is willing to help us out if we're willing to honour Him by asking Him to help. 

I can just see God sitting there on His throne rocking it out with angels surrounding Him singing "How Great is Our God" by Chris Tomlin, when suddenly He hears the small, slightly desperate prayers of 2 naive young guys on the side of the road with 3 wheels on their car. He jumps up, the angels still singing in perfect harmony, looks down and starts feeling for them. Then the greatest thing of all happens - they ask Him to help. He gets the opportunity to come through without barging on in. He sends 3 random quad bikers completely covered in mud to go check them out for Him. I think that's cool that He moves when He sees we really want Him to. And in a cool way. I realise that it probably doesn't go down exactly like that, given that God not just in heaven but right next to us but it's cool to think it went down like that.

Basically, give God the chance to do what He's longing to - help out His children who really want Him to turn up. When you need Him, put aside your pride and ask Him to help. He's eager, like a 3 year old kid ready to find the eggs in the family Easter egg hunt, to bless us and to remind us how awesome He is.

In the end, the moral of the story, pray when you need help. And, have a proper 'spare' tire.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Foo Fighters Gig Top 10 moments

I went to the Foo Fighters on Tuesday at the Vector Arena. Honestly, I don't know where to start. There were so many awesome factors that made the night one of the best gigs I have ever been to. Although I've done this recently I thought to make it easier reading (and for my ability to express how the night was) so I've put together the top 10 things of the night.
So here we go:

1. The greatest walkway.
So my good friend Kevin decided that although the gig started at 8, and the Foos would still only come on at 8:45, he would take a half day off work and cruise in to get good general admission placing - arriving at the prompt time of 4pm. Can somebody say "what a legend friend"? The stage was set up in a way that also had a huge walkway, approx 30m, that went right through the middle of the crowd, right into the centre of the stadium. Kevin just happened to get their early enough that we managed to be standing right next to the walkway - 1.5m away. Everytime Dave Grohl ran down the walkway with his arm furiously strumming his strings I was there with my arms stretched as far as possible with a camera capturing every moment. I've decided that one day when we get our own church building I shall demand a walkway that goes right into the centre of the congregation - with some sort of pully system that pulls my drumkit along it.

2. The falling, fully set stage.
At the end of the long walkway was a circular hole which at the time seemed useless. But, while they played one of the best songs of the night, nobody seemed to notice a second stage slowly falling from the roof. It had a drumkit, mini grand piano, percussion kit, bass, electric guitar and 3 mic stands sitting all set up ready for the Foos to run down the walkway and play an acoustic session right next to us.

3. The triangle solo
This guy was a legend. Never have I seen a triangle solo done so well in my life. It obviously wasn't as good as a drum solo, there's only so much you can do with one metal piece in the shape of triangle and a tiny metal rod, but it definitely inspired me to reconsider my destiny as a drummer and begin thinking seriously of the possibility of my future as a professional triangle soloist.

4. "Everlong", the band explosion and the now-famous guitar throw
Personally, one of my favourite Foo Fighters songs is called Everlong. If you haven't heard it... well, shame on you. Half way through the acoustic set the rest of the band left and Dave Grohl played some acoustic songs on his own. 
When he started playing the song Everlong the crowd went manic and were crazy in expectation of it being played. The song is often played with just an acoustic guitar for the first 3 or so verses and going into the chorus again the band explodes, coming to life to create a huge array of volume, energy and dynamics for the rest of the song. Dave Grohl was in the centre of the stage coming to the end of the third verse with still the band nowhere to be seen and expectation going through the roof - when suddenly he throws his electric guitar with strength at the stage just as the rest of the band explodes into the mighty chorus. Needless to say you don't need video footage to imagine how crazy the entire arena went when this happened.

5. The lights, screens and deaf light techies
You can understand that for a band and tour of this magnitude the lighting was always going to be epic. They didn't disappoint. Screens came to life full of live footage from the stage and more lights than I could count were alive and kicking in a spectacular, hugely colourful way. As the stage crew were setting up in preparation for the band, we chuckled (with style, of course) as 4 lighting techies climbed dodgy ladders to the top of the lighting rig, strapping themselves in so they could light the band wherever they walked. We could only imagine how their ears were going to feel by the end of the gig with an unimaginable amount of front-of-house speakers right next to them. No amount of earplugs mashed into ear casums could save their eardrums up there. I wonder if they're beginning to hear something else other than a ring yet?

6. Everybody's favourite gig goer - the moshpit hash smoker.
Yes, there always has to be one. And this one just happened to be close enough to us that I was beginning to feel abit trippy but still just far enough away for me not to discover who the loser was. There would be these wafts of the pleasant smell of pot being smoked and slowly making its way towards my friends and I, conveniently coming to rest just above where we were standing. From then on I found I enjoyed the night so much more :)

7. Taylor Hawkin's drum solo
I haven't always been a fan of the bogan, bearded, cigarette-hanging-stylishly-from-the-mouth look (not my first choice of look for playing drums at church) but dispite that the guy can play the drums. His drum solo was legendary. Not many words can describe the talent and skill of a guy whose toured the world numerous times over and probably plays triplets in his sleep. One word can - legendary.

8. The male stripper
It was one of the band's guitarists birthday that night and near the end of the set, in the middle of a song, what seemed to be a rampant fan jumped onto the stage. Suddenly he stripped right down to undies and began dancing for the guitarist; a thoughtful birthday gift from the rest of the band. You can understand why I didn't take a photo. Actually, I don't know how this made the top ten list. That's awkward.

9. The live feed encore
The band 'finished' their set and went backstage while the lights continued to stay on and people were left hoping they were a cool enough band to still do the cliche encore. After a good few minutes, when it seemed all hope was almost lost, up came a live feed on the screens of backstage. The camera went up against the back wall and began going down the setlist of the night until it came to the bottom of the page and sat their for a second or two. Slowly, the camera turned around and there, with the entire screen full, was Grohl's face. He teased the crowd with the possibility of 1 more song and they went mental. Seconds later the band came on to play the one final encore song. Which in fact turned into 7 songs.

10. The great rock-loving, concert-experience friends
It was awesome to experience an awesome band with such awesome friends. There is nothing worse than travelling the world or seeing an amazing sunrise without anybody else to talk about it with or to experience it with. These guys were the whole reason I went and made the whole time 10x better because I knew they were having the same great time that I was. And, without them I wouldn't have had anybody to hold me up by my hips and help me see over the ridiculously tall general admission people standing in front of me who really should have been standing at the back. Ahh, got to love friends... with long legs.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

3D - the new rad fad

I have to say it - 3D is the new rad fad
I've been dying to say that rhyme all day. As I sit down in a remake of the classic Tom Hanks typing pose from "You've Got Mail" I struggle to hold myself back from breaking out in a hip-hop rhyme -

Yo, Yo, my mind is going crazy like my nerves are some sort of a yo-yo,
Some people struggle to believe the fact that I like to say some things like say-so,
I'm the Torbay gangsta full of all the hip-hop, trip-top non-breaking law,
Don't come running to me if you want to become part of the Torbay HardCore,
It's a big time deal, rolling the streets on my new found love,
Keeping them safe from the crazy minded wuv dove. - s. Doves.

In simple terms, 3D is awesome. I went to U2 3D with my good-time friend Sam, who funnily enough always provides a good time. It was my first 3D movie, and to be honest I was a little skeptical. I mean really, pictures looking like they come off the screen causing you to almost wet your pants at the fear of something chopping your head off? But, U2 did it. As progressive a band as they are, I can't say I'm surprised they were the first guys to do a musical 3D movie.
I have no idea how they managed to do it, but it seriously looked and felt like we were in the front row of the crowd - sweaty, mushed and adrenaline pumped just like the rest of them. Except we weren't. We were in comfortable red arm chairs in an empty theatre. 3D somehow messes with your 3rd dimension and makes you feel like you're actually there. The movie made both of us start singing at the top of our lungs to songs like "Where the Streets Have No Name" and get out our cameras taking pictures like two soldiers getting trigger happy on their AK47's. I never would have thought I would become subject to breaking the law of taking photos in a movie theatre - but this was just too good to miss.
Unfortunately, I couldn't even make it into the movie theatre without making a fool of myself. I had just put on the greatest 3D glasses ever known to man, which were an upgrade from the green and red lenses, when Sam turned to me and said - "look around - everything is in 3D already!" Here is me in total awe as I look around the outside of the theatre door checking out all the awesome chairs, lights and rubbish bins which are were in '3D'. Little did I click on at the time that our world is 3D already without the glasses. That isn't going to stop me wearing them down an ordinary street though.

I think the fact that we live in a world that doesn't just consist of 2D dimensions is exciting. Truly, I'm stoked that we actually get to live in a world that looks real as opposed to some average pencil drawing with really bad colouring in by a 3 year old. Real life excites me. 

I hope that someday someone might make a 3D movie of my life - but with only the really good parts. They can leave out all the screw ups or bad choices I've made. It could turn into a really awesome feel-good movie that contains ninja fights, wicked surfing airs and an exciting twist at the end. My gang the 'Torbay Hardcore' turns on me in an unexpected battle with the Browns Bay Badboys - I still beat them all with only my hip-length-platted rats tail. Needless to say I'll probably break out into some history-making hiphop rhyming rap just as a sentence explodes onto the screen saying: "THE END..... will never come for the legend of Rhys Lake". I'll also be wearing my 3D polarised glasses on the cover of the DVD which will sell millions.
A 3D movie of my life is now part of my will. Watch this space.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The top 5 essential ingredients to making a rock show rock.

So I'm going to the Foos on Tuesday - a post-modern classic rock experience which is bound to blow my mind and most certainly my air drums. Given that the last show I paid decent money for was Justin Timberlake, I have abit of roughing up to do if I am to fit with the rock image and culture.
Therefore, after some researching and hard thinking, I've put together a list of the top 5 things that are essential to the enhancement of the ultimate rock show experience; a list of things to make the rock show rock, if you will.

1. A rough, unstylised haircut and beard.
This is best personified through the lead singer Dave Grohl, who has one of the best hard-rock looking haircut and beard. Nothing says "I'm going to rock this place like you've never seen done before" like a full on beard and long thick messy head of hair. There is no greater rock look than the sweaty, thrown around one. Although my hair is still reasonably short I will be attempting to achieve this look by failing to shave for the next few days and allowing my hair wax to continue sitting unused and unloved next to the mirror.

2. A prepared voicebox for the screaming sections.
Although I haven't attended many rock shows I must say I'm pretty experienced when it comes to the screaming sections of a rock song. This however, has not stopped me from tirelessly practicing for these sections. There is nothing worse from going all out at the beginning of the screaming section and having your voice either husk off or break. Believe me. I've managed to scrap all of the Foo Fighters albums off a friend and I've been cranking particular songs in order to build up an immunity to the tired voicebox and hurting throat. The great thing about the Foos is that nearly all of their songs contain some section that allows you to lean back, breathe deep and thrash your vocal chords with a massive screaming vocal chorus.
"Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?!?!!!!"
"What if I say I'm not like the others, what if I say I'm the pretender?!!"
"Come alive, come alive, come alive, come alive!!!!!"

3. The classic sweat band.
This point can often be overlooked easily; seen as a small ingredient to the enhancement of a rock show, but, it is vital. Other than the fact that almost every musician has at least one sweat band, they provide an important part to the experience. Sweat must, and I say this with emphasis, must be evident. Without an evidence of sweat you haven't put much in effort. However, when this sweat increases in volume and begins to cloud your vision it becomes a serious problem. Sweat in the eyes not only hurts but also decreases the enjoyment and experience as you are unable to visibly see the band and other happy-go-lucky fans. Without the classic sweat band, which comes in a variety of colours, you are just another fan who is held hostage to the frustrating constant flow of natural fluid.
This is by far the greatest sweat band.

4. Appropriate toe protection shoes.
Again, these can easily be overlooked, but from previous experience toes can be easily mashed without appropriate protective footwear. This is a must for the moshing and thrashing the human body about in a rhythmic way is to be enjoyed. There is nothing worse than having the time of your life with your friends and favourite band but still have an aching pain in your feet.

5. A camera with a proper flash.
Some shows prohibit cameras being used, but until the option of downloading images taken from the human eye is invented, use a camera. Cameras provide a way in which we can forever have a record of the greatest rock show we ever attended. I once took a camera to a show that didn't have a flash and all I got was black photos with the occasional glimpse of colour. It sucked. Honestly. My other problem is that often if I'm in the mosh pit I'm too small to get a good shot with my camera because it's either blocked by all the tall people who should be at the back, or it's actually aimed at the speaker to the right given that I can't see where I'm aiming the camera. Therefore, get a camera with a flash - and some of these.

And there you have it, the top 5 steps to creating a greater rock experience. I will be following these in preparation for Tuesday night - hard rock with the legendary Foo Fighters. Keep your eyes open for some (hopefully) good photos and some great stories. Like standing in line for 4 hours.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Avoiding death: A how-to guide.

"For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil...
Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.

Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel.

For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.
The evil deeds of a wicked man ensare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.
He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly."
Proverbs 5

I read this passage the other day and it challenged me big time. I think the first part of the passage is quite self explanatory - "Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave." Now, before you begin to start worrying about whether I'm cheating on my wife, given that I don't have one, I'm coming at this more as a person who continually slapped in the face with sexually charged media; billboards, tv, magazines, songs, conversations - the list goes on.
To be honest, it's really difficult. It's often not talked about or honestly expressed how hard it really is trying to live a pure life in the midst of such straight up, tempting stuff.

I think because it's not talked about as much as is needed amongst christians, it's almost assumed that nobody struggles with the adulteress', or closer, sin's "honey dripping lips". It's almost turned into this, "if we don't talk about the difficulty, nobody will struggle with it" type mindset. But, from my understanding and conversations, many many christians struggle with the difficulty of living a life that's far from the 'adulteress' path'. I mean, as rewarding as the returns are - death and graves, it's still pretty difficult to "keep to a path far from her". 
Not only does the temptation of sexual sin look appealing to the eye, it also appeals to our fleshly desire which goes against the kind of life God wants us to live.

I guess for me, still young and very much in the midst of today's youth culture (I like to continue telling myself that I'm still relevant to youth culture given that's who I work with), one of the greatest things we could benefit from is being honest. Not going to so far into the depths of our soul that we don't know how to get out, but more just being honest in a safe, appropriate environment about the stuff we struggle with. My thoughts are I'd be much more happy to talk with a close mate or group of mates about the struggles than spiritually die. I'd rather seek to encourage eachother to keep far from the death directed path than to try to keep my pride and aimlessly wander down the road towards her house and destruction.

Thing is, God knows every step we take and where every step is going to take us. He makes it clear, just read Proverbs 1 - 5. But, it's pretty easy if we try hard enough to push aside his warning voice and pretend it's ok. However, trying to ignore the voice of a close friend warning us of where our steps might be taking us is often alot harder.

Therefore, in the appropriate way and setting, we need to be honest with each other and be willing to be straight up about where we're headed. I certainly don't want to waste my best energy, time and dreams on some worthless, empty and destructive temptation the world tries to sell us. I want to walk the other way: towards God and towards an amazing life.
Goal for the week - find someone to be honest with about the stuff you struggle with and delve into the scripture together about where God wants to lead us. Go on, you know it'll be phat.