Sunday, September 27, 2020
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Brad K

Words Kill, Words Give Life

I like words.  When you use them smartly, you can make people laugh, you can shock them and you can get them so lost in thinking about what you’ve said or written, their opinions and even their faith can be redirected.  That’s pretty powerful stuff.  Music can even do that to you.  But don’t get me started on music! Proverbs 18:21 says this in The Message version:

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”

The context of this verse can cover a lot of ground, but I’ve had this thought lately:  How many times do we put all of our efforts and even our faith, into honouring something that isn’t even true?  This one did the rounds in my family when I was younger, and at the time, didn’t know any better:   ‘God helps those who help themselves.’  I thought it was biblical, and I trusted the source, and so followed that so-called ‘proverb’ because God obviously expected me to always make the first move and with effort.  Actually, the quote belongs to Benjamin Franklin, the founding father of the USA. God’s idea is that we trust Him alone for salvation, and also trust him for our needs, but we do however need to go to work etc. ourselves.  But I know you get what I’m saying.  ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’ is another one of those.  Apparently that first appeared in a sermon by John Wesley in 1791 and nowhere in the Bible is that spoken about.  Jesus said we are defiled by what is in our hearts and nowhere is there the kind of teaching that suggested you take a bath, or tidy your room, although they are both really good things to do.

Look, I’m not saying taking a bath is ‘death’ or ‘poison’ as Proverbs 18 says, but what I am saying is that we can often shape our lives and the way we see God or our responsibilities, according to a blatant mistruth.  We enthusiastically share these things with others too and can start a stupid chain reaction of paranoia as people strive to be obedient and godly in how they live, think and serve, but chasing a false ideal.

Who has time to assume what might be true?  So let’s spend time in the Word of God.  Let us put our trust in Truth, act in Truth, share the Truth, and speak the Truth, because THAT is ‘fruit’.  I never what to be called one who spreads ‘poison’!

Are there any so-called ‘proverbs’ that have had you all confused? Connect with us by clicking the button below and someone in our team will reach out to you.

Interview: Third Day – Lead Me Back

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There’s a very good reason why Billboard Magazine has called them one of the greatest Rock ‘n Roll bands ever.  They are just that good.  They’ve won Grammys and America Music Awards, Dove Awards, Billboards Music awards, and let’s face it, our hearts as well.  Mac Powells voice is not every ones’ idea of a great night out, but millions of fans can’t be wrong, and they just keep selling albums. 8 Million, actually. CD shelves and download site are again putting my statement to the test, with but with 12 Gold albums, and 5 Platinum (two of which went multi-Platinum) our hopes are high for their latest release LEAD ME BACK.  This is their first worship project in over a decade, and was available from the beginning of March of this year.  Just before they set off on their Australian Tour, we got the low down from the band.

1Africa: Mac, what is the heartbeat behind LEAD ME BACK, and give us a glimpse into the vision you, David and Mark cast for this new release?

Mac Powell: We are really super-excited about this album and we’re not one of those bands that always, whenever you have a new record, say it’s the best record that we’ve ever made. We’re not one of those bands because we know that albums come in seasons. I think it [Lead Me Back] is the best record we’ve ever made…I really do. It’s a record that we’ve wanted to make for several years now but it’s just never really, whether it was opportunities, or the right songs, or whatever, it just wasn’t the right timing.  We knew that we wanted to present something different from us musically than we’ve ever done before. We knew we wanted to shake it up for us as a band so not only to keep us interested, but our fans interested as well, and to have something new and fresh musically and lyrically also. We approached things differently. We really set out to make it a very corporate feeling, corporate sounding album. We wanted this to be a record that churches could hear and that they could feel like they could do this music. There’s a lot of choir on the record, a lot of groups of people singing on the record and so that was something that we set out to do and I think we… I know that we achieved that.

1A:  Why, ‘Lead Me Back’?

David Carr:  Do we name the album after one of the songs, or do we name it after just the overall theme of the record, the songs and the lyrics? Do we just grab a line from one of the songs? I mean there’s just so many different ways you can approach that. We’ve done that a lot in the past where we’ve taken one of the songs, like this song “COME TOGETHER,” from the album “COME TOGETHER,” and it just felt like a good over-arching message to give to our audience about unity and coming together and putting aside our differences and so we’d named the album “COME TOGETHER.” So when it came time to naming this album (and I’m with Mac, I do feel like it’s our best record yet and I try not to say that every time but in this case, and I felt like it is) I think all of us just felt like every one of the songs had merit to be the title for the album. Just about every song. But there’s this little refrain kind-of short, it’s not even a whole song, it’s right in the middle of the album and it’s called, “LEAD US BACK.” And I remember one day just kind of listening to the album through, and with that falling right in the middle, it just felt like, gosh you know, this really is an album where there is that theme of Moses leading God’s people out of slavery and then Jesus leading us into freedom. And again, it’s exciting to have an album where so many of the songs do seem to want to take you to that message. It’s not all of them, but I think we can safely say that that’s kind of the overarching theme of the album.

1A: Can you give us a brief insight into the production process?

Mark Lee:  Well, there were really so many things about this album that were different or unique than the normal recording process. Just the three of us meeting up with these producers was unique. A lot of times we’ll go in with this A-list of people that we really want to, or would love to be able to work with. Sometimes our record company will have some suggestions and we’ll have this dialogue about who we want to work with. This time around it was just such an organic process in that, as we talked about doing an album, we all felt that it was time to do a worship album. I think David was referring to earlier, we wanted to do something different than what we had done up to this point.  Anytime Mac sings on an album, it’s going to sound like THIRD DAY. He’s got that signature tone to his voice, but we wanted it to sound like something new.

Mac Powell:  I would like to say that these guys really shook it up for us in the studio. I mean we’ve been doing this for a long time and have a way that we’d like to record – a way most rock bands do. But we totally went the opposite, almost the opposite on a lot of these songs in the recording process. Really, a lot of it started with just me on acoustic singing the melody and the guys, the producers, recording that and then the other guys coming in and adding their things. Sometimes the drums were almost last which was really different but it allowed David our drummer to be able to live with the song and be able to approach and re-approach it.

1A:  We know it’s a Third Day album ’cause of Mac’s voice but there are other familiar voices in there too, on Lead Me Back.

Mac Powell:  We have one song in particular called, “IN JESUS’ NAME.” We have some of our great friends on it. Natalie Grant sings on it, Michael W. Smith, Michael Tait from the “NEWSBOYS,” David Crowder also singing on it; mostly doing like a background thing. Another guest artist on the project is “HARVEST” – her name is Harvest Parker. Oh yea, “ALL SONS AND DAUGHTERS” also sings on two different tracks.

1A:  Guys; you often express how you are rockers, but you’re actually just ordinary people.  Tell us something to cement that truth!

David Carr: We spend a lot more time than people realize at home. I think we sometimes give the impression when we’re on the road that we’re just always gone and our poor families never see us but it’s really not the case. When we work, we work and we stay busy in seasons. But we’re home so much too. There are a lot of days where I’ll go out and mow my own grass, or take out the garbage and I just totally just forget about what I do and forget that people see it in a very different way than we probably see it ourselves. And I love that!

Mac Powell: I just did the dishes right before I came over here to do this interview so I don’t know if that helps in the answer?

Mark Lee: And, I was doing laundry too. I was doing laundry and the dishes, so there you go.

1A: Thanks boys!  Between writing great rock tunes and doing the dishes, you find the time for us, so thank you so much.  Have a great Aussie trip, knock their socks off with the songs from your new album, and all of your greatest hits, and here’s to another big Third Day release, that praises God, and changes lives.

Mac Powell: Thank you guys for having us.

Here’ that first single off LEAD ME BACK, Soul On Fire:

One is the Loneliest Kidney

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At the beginning of March, Mark Hall, the lead singer of the contemporary Christian group Casting Crowns, received the news that he had a malignant tumour on one of his kidneys.  It was the kind of news that shocked his fan base, but in true Mark Hall fashion, he appeared to take it in his stride.  We can only imagine what was happening deep down inside, but Mark showed us his brave side, and on the 11th of March, with millions of people from around the world praying, Mark had one of his kidneys removed.  Mark is recovering very very well, and last weekend he was even back on stage performing. He seemed to struggle with the high notes though.  Mark said he thinks they removed the high notes with his kidney, so I’m guessing he has kept the kidney with a sense of humour!

Talking about performing; there are few comedians with the kind of good, clean humour that you’re going to get from Tim Hawkins.  Tim also happens to be a good friend of Mark Hall, so of course, Tim couldn’t be quiet any longer, he simply had to write a song that celebrated Mark’s remaining kidney! Here’s Tim’s tribute song; One Is The Loneliest Kidney.

Indecisive Dave

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I have a favourite British comedy series that featured in the 1990’s called The Fast Show.  It’s a collection of skits, each featuring their own unique characters.  One of the characters is called Indecisive Dave.  The skit always takes place at a pub, and Dave and his mates are drinking a pint of lager and getting stuck into some serious discussion about sport, or politics, or whatever.  Dave usually starts off with a solid bit of opinion and then takes a sip of his drink, looking rather pleased with his contribution to the conversation.  One of his mates follows that up with his own ideas, and almost always disagrees with Dave’s opening statement.  That’s where the comedy begins. Dave immediately rephrases what he has just said, so that it’s in agreement with his good friend’s opinion. Dave never wants to ‘rock the boat’!  The next mate shares his thoughts which are always different to what Dave has just said and Dave makes another feeble attempt to re-phrase his opinion to keep up the new bit of information.  Dave is sure of nothing. I love the skit; it always ends with Dave freaking out because he doesn’t know what to think any more.

I find Dave hilarious because of his accent, yes, but mostly because there’s a bit of all of us in there.  We want to fit in.  We want to say the kind of thing that attracts people to us, but depending on our personalities, we might also enjoy a good bit of discussion or debate as well, to get our point across, to redirect or to learn – something Dave never ever attempts. Could it be though, that in a bid to be an individual, yet not ostracise ourselves from those closest to us, we tend to shape shift slightly, into a less dramatic version of Dave?  I want to have my say and believe in something, but because of what is being said around me, and my desire to fit in, I’ll put my real feelings aside and buy into the common denominator.  I know people that do this around sport.  No real commitment to one particular team.  They watch the game with their group, and then side with the strongest character, and their allegiance sways like the wind.  You might be the strong one, and the next thing you know, there are a few ‘Daves’ yelling for your team!  Sometimes it takes a crowd to get some people going, but if you can get people to doubt their convictions for long enough, and make your argument strong enough, people will budge.  Politicians know how to do it, great motivators know how to do it, and it tests our mettle daily.  Spiritual expression is another place where the simple question of ‘what do you believe?’ can spark an avalanche of responses, but one person that is unconvinced of their answer, is ripe for the picking if you take them a story that is convincing enough.  How do you choose a soft drink, shampoo, a chocolate bar or even a new car?  How much does that company’s marketing team lord over you?

“If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.”  What do you stand for?  What do your morals dictate?  How do you make your choices, and how do you deal with opposition?  It’s time to decide, because there’s an emotive wave coming, that’s driven by the strong, sucking in the lukewarm masses, and it’s about to come rolling by.  Will it deflect off you, or will you tumble right along with it, not kicking or screaming, but nodding in agreement, because hey; everyone’s doing it!

Things Are a Royal Mess

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Things are a royal mess.  Well, that’s how they seem at least.  It’s a time of choices. You can choose to be depressed and to moan and groan to everyone how your country/government/place of work/church/school/neighbourhood is going down the tubes.  There’s a choice to be totally removed from it and to hope all the negativity will simply just disappear.  Or you can get out from under your rock, to stop complaining about things on your Facebook page, and start to make a difference.  Now I know we can’t just step out of our homes and into a parliamentary building or boardroom and rewrite policy, but you can encourage your family, or the children in your classroom, or the men and women in your office space, or the members of your church.  We don’t want to be oblivious to the wrold around us, and we don’t want to be unrealistic about what is happening and how it is percieved, but we need to be preachers of hope.

Why not go and flip through a history book, or scroll through a detailed website.  The world is shifted and opinions are changed, not initially by enormous decision makers, but by men and women who are firm in there convictions and resolute in their efforts to see a positive impact made in their areas of influence.  They could be Lawyers, pastors, business people, sports people, and even the youth, and their passion for change is fully charged, and their intent to do good is smartly directed.  The same might be true for those bringing destruction, but somehow, and I don’t know if it’s a Universal law or what it is, but good seems to rise up and deliver the goods.  The past is full of these examples.  I’m a South African, and right now, Xenophobia is rocking the Rainbow Nation.  We have a history of disturbing events, but somehow we get through it. We simply have to.  20 years ago we saw an entire shift in the way the entire population is considered, and despite the hurt, the ship has sailed fairly smoothly, although there is a very long journey ahead.  The destruction is most likely being caused by a minority of people with hatred on their minds.  So where are the majority then, with their hearts of love and acceptance?  Why are people so slow to do right?  Surely the people who want what is right, far outweigh the enemies of peace, so where are they?  Where are the agents of change, to take us out of our respective royal messes?  Where are they indeed!

If we are going to see change, and shift the tone of conversations around dinner tables and coffee machines the world over, we need action.  It starts with the leaders, even the heads of families, not being afraid to express their disgust when wrong is left to fester.  Hold people accountable, show others where they might change, take care of your own intentions, and remind people that there is hope.

Here at 1Africa we are not afraid to declare that our hope is in Jesus Christ. Through His world He has taught us how to live, and how to love; something we can do, because He loved us first.  If you would like to hear more about the Man who is the source of our hope, during  this life, and the one we look forward to after our time on earth is through, why not click on the link below.  Keep that hope alive!

Sunday Jesus?

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Despite humanity’s intelligence and moments of sheer splendor, we do seem to allow dollops of oddities in, that make a job like mine all the more interesting.  Saying something inspirational is tough, and sometimes the most profound thoughts don’t bring the ‘wow’ as one might hope.  Sometimes the simplest ideas strike just the right chord. Perhaps it’s because it’s true to all of us.  That’s often what makes comedians so darn funny; when we see ourselves in the most hilarious routines. One of those situations can best be described as our ability (sometimes without us even knowing) to live our lives in different compartments. We have a ‘compartment’ for work, one for relationships, one for spiritual things, family, work, sport, etc. We compartmentalize our lives and we try to exist in each one separately, instead of just letting them be just 1 thing.  Men are more prone to this than the fairer sex, apparently.  I read a psychologist’s take on this concept and it was alarming. The thought that launched this train is how, sometimes, we think we can separate our relationship with God and our involvement in the world. It’s best illustrated with prayer. We end our time of thanks and supplication with an Amen, and we tend to think that once we’ve said it, we’ve logged off from God. We act as if we’ve closed some door or killed some connection, and we then just continue with our lives as if God’s no longer in it. We might use bad language, or disrespect our spouse or children. We might slip back into some horrid habitual sin or something, and get stuck into it without too much thought. How can this be? I know we are all a bunch of sinners that acknowledge God’s grace, but if we stop trying to put God and our time with Him into some or other compartment, away from the rest of our lives, I’m more than convinced our behavior will adjust.

This article is a challenge.  I know we all do our best, and some don’t have this issue of putting God in a Sunday-or-when-I-need-You box. We struggle with accountability to a God we cannot see. Our faith wavers because we can’t sit down and talk to our God in a way we’d like to, with an answer that will guide or inspire. We need faith and bucket loads of encouragement, and come on now everyone, it’s tough! Perhaps we need to be reminded that God is near (Psalm 145:18) and He’s there when we need Him, and there even when we imagine we don’t. God is gracious (Psalm 145:8) and He is rich in love, but come on everyone, I never want to be accused of making a mockery of Grace, do you?

Where to now? Well, let’s not separate God from the rest of our lives.  He is Lord over our lives, all of it, and we need to remember that He knows us, what we are thinking (Psalm 94:11), how many hairs we have on our heads (Matt 10:30) in fact, He has known about us since the beginning of time (Jer 1:5, Eph 1:4) , and He loves us and is interested in our lives. Let’s acknowledge and celebrate God’s love and presence. What could be more inspirational than the ever present companionship of the King of Kings? Now go and be exceptional, He’s right by your side!

Weekend Sports Wrap – 20 April ’15

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Mondays mornings are all about catching up with the weekend sports results and we got a good dose it on the 1Africa weekend Sports Wrap.  We’ve got news on yet another record from Novak Djokovic; Steven Gerard’s dream has been shattered; Jim Furyk wins for the first time in 5 years and Lewis Hamilton has done it again.  Listen up for all the details.

How to Wear a Bow Tie

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I’m not what you’d call ‘fashion confident’.  I know a handful of people like that, and I think they are so brave. They tie their top shirt button with no thought of wearing a tie, and gawdy pants are being partnered with a busy shirt.  Someone once told me that you can’t do that, but now it’s in all the catalogues.  Style and rebellion have given birth to a culture I watch from a distance.  I visually consume what others dare to wear, and I feel a little worse off for it, particularly when it comes to wearing a bow tie.  I want to try it, but I’m nervous, and it shows.  I wanted to wear a trilby once and chickened out.  It’s up in the attic in a bag.  I should have given it to a brave friend.  They would be rocking that look. Sigh.

For a long time the bow tie was for the formal occasion.  There’s a gala event and you’ve been invited. ‘Black tie’ is printed on the silky smooth invitation, and as a man, you feel like every moment in your life pales in insignificance compared to the sheer glory of wearing a tuxedo.  You fix the black bow tie in place, and you dread for the scores of ladies who are moments away from heart palpitations.  You know you look good.  You’re a man in a tux.

It would seem that now there is more to the bow tie than an important event or the 007 fancy dress party; now you can dare to wear one whenever you want.  Is this wrong or very right?  Life is hard.  It’s clear I’m not the one to give the best advice, although I have so desperately wanted to try this trend. Let’s hear from someone who knows a thing or 2 about fashion, designer Scott Sternberg, for GQ Magazine:

I’m taking something important from what Scott had to say: Feel good about what you’ve chosen to wear, realise that you’re going to be noticed, and don’t think about things too much, just have fun. This sounds like good advice for life.

Do you consider yourself a man of style?  Every friendship group has 1 or 2 of these guys, so if you’re one of them, share your style secrets with us, I want to ooze style confidence too!

Wheel of Fortune – SNL

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I love laughing.  I’m not just talking about any kind of crack up, I’m referring to the kind where the tears stream down your face and your cheeks hurts and your sides ache.

Get set to come undone with this skit from Saturday Night Live.  This is from season 31 and stars Tom Hanks with a collection of the amazingly talented SNL regulars.

Dare to Share

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Is it just me or are people cynical and untrusting?  I’ve been convinced that it’s part of the modern human condition but  I’m starting to wonder if it really is an issue of ‘now’.  200 years ago, as you wandered down the dusty street, stepping aside to miss being knocked over by a horse and carriage, did you also feel unsure of people’s motives and carry fear for the future?  Surely yes.  The desire for people to get ahead, and often at the expense of others, is in no way a new issue. Going into business with someone held risks too, as they do today, and the opportunity to have your heart broken was as likely, although it would never have happened through an sms!  Time has done little to shield us from the sinfulness of others, and them from ours.  It seems sensible to assume though that in the developing world, particularly where the gap between those that live comfortably and those that are desperately trying to keep their heads above water is so large, that things feel all the more trying.

Maybe we left the path less traveled to keep its name so we could chase our pipe dreams.

Why do we struggle to trust others? When you’re not convinced that someone else has any feelings towards your well being, and has become over-the-top obsessed with theirs, you’re likely to get hurt.  People are looking out for themselves and their nearest and dearest, and when someone does something selfless and humanitarian, it makes the local newspapers, instead of just being the norm.  Maybe we left the path less traveled to keep its name so we could chase our pipe dreams. This is a gross over-generalisation from my part, I confess, but being a world changer is not exactly at the forefront of everyone’s minds, is it?  Perhaps we’re spending too much time on what blows our hair back and neglecting those that are in want.  Imagine never being able to give, because you simply never get?  Who wouldn’t want to be in a situation where there is no want and out of our excess we can freely share.  I’m afraid the chances of people sharing from their excess is about the right heart’s attitude.  Having a lot, is often a catalyst to the desire for more still, and the vicious cycle of desire spins out of control as it changes the very core of the one that now has dollar signs in their eyes.  Not everyone wants to share what is theirs and will easily accuse others of being ‘lazy’ or a ‘leach’.

We might never close the widening chasm of need, but it’s up to us to try.

It would seem to me that it’s up to the special few that will share of what they have, even if it’s a stretch for them to do so.  We might never close the widening chasm of need, but it’s up to us to try.  Even changing the life of one person or one family through our selflessness, will mean the world to them, and who knows what opportunity and emotional drive could be created out of that one gift?  You might release a world-changer with one simple gesture from the heart.  Let’s not blame or point fingers or insult, let’s simply act, in a constructive and effective way, and watch what incredible things might happen.  Don’t be surprised if it changes you the most.

What would this post be if we didn’t jump on the chance to give you the invitation to be introduced to a Saviour who dared to share more than anyone else ever has? Here at 1Africa, we’re passionate about sharing our faith with everyone who comes across our path. Curious to know what I’m talking about? Click on the banner below and watch the video that follows!

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