Hey everyone! I’m back! From a very long hiatus! It’s been an interesting few months, but I’ll leave that for another post (you know, life gets in the way, and things like that…). Anyway, the purpose of this one is so to let you all know that I haven’t disappeared off the face of the planet, and to remind you that I will once again be posting things hopefully weekly, but maybe at a regular pace. So as I think up a clever title and topic for the next blog, I want to leave you with this piece of inspiration.

What area of your world are you changing today? Right now, whatever area or sphere of influence you are placed in, it is for a reason. Whether it is in university, the workplace, in school, or on a sports team; even in the music and entertainment industry; everyone’s got a place where they can influence the people around them and make a difference in this world. Not that we all need to push our beliefs on everyone and force them to take notice and action; that’s not the way we influence people. But in the Bible, Jesus said that we change people through love, and being ‘Jesus’ to the least of these. We are to foster relationships with our friends, colleagues and neighbours, and through god’s love in us, people will begin to notice something different in our lives, and will be very eager to find out what that is.

So I suggest to you, to take up a challenge. Ask yourself, which places will you be in this upcoming week? What people will you interact with? Do you know them well enough to insert yourself into their lives without it being forced? If yes, then take a chance. You never know who’s life you will change by the power of Jesus in you. Sometimes it only takes just one person to step out in faith and start the ball rolling on being the change we all want to see. Why not let that person be you?

There’s a song by Audio Adrenaline, called “Kings And Queens”, which basically talks about this concept, about being the salt and light of the world for those who do not have a voice, and for the people around us. Take a look at the video, and the lyrics below, they are very powerful! And be blessed! Hope you all enjoy your week, and I’ll be here posting hopefully on the weekend!

Little hands, shoeless feet, lonely eyes looking back at me
Will we leave behind the innocent too brief
On their own, on the run when their lives have only begun
These could be our daughters and our sons
And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating
I know my God won’t let them be defeated
Every child has a dream to belong and be loved

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty 
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout your name in victory
When we love when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these

Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won’t you look around these are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty 
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout your name in victory
When we love when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these

If not us who will be like Jesus
To the least of these
If not us tell me who will be like Jesus
Like Jesus to the least of these


Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free shout your name in victory
We will love we will love the least of these
We will love the least of these
We will love the least of these
We will love the least of these
We will love the least of these 
We will love the least of these

- From Audio Adrenaline’s “Kings And Queens”, from the album Kings And Queens releasing March 12th 2013

Til next time!

Josh

1 note 

Let my Life be the Proof Of Your Love!

I’m gonna be talking about a sensitive topic for the next bit- love… Yeah, I know, I’m not qualified, and yes I am single. And yes, there is pressure (I guess, unseen from myself!) to ‘be in a relationship’ with someone, simply because my parents were married at a young age, similar to how old I am now. Maybe this pressure is warranted, maybe it isn’t. But as I have recently thought about the topic of love, and also read through some chapters and verses to see what the Bible says about love, a few things came to me. So, I guess you could all take what I am saying to heart, or you could choose not to. However, let me point a few things out to you, and hopefully stir up some things inside of you and ask some pointy questions.

How many types of love are there? Yeah, I know, silly question… but, seriously, let that sit with you for a moment. In the Bible God mentions a few types of love, and the concept is driven home in various points in scripture. We are called to have unconditional love to our Maker, to Jesus; and also love between friends, family, as well as an intimate love between your spouse. So now that we’ve all cleared everything and agreed that love can exist on 4 different levels, which one does the world talk about? Well, on some level, we hear about all the types of love, the topic being present in movies, mainstream songs, books, work and social conversations, and even Christian songs have a mainstream focus once in a while about failed or successful relationships (take most of Mac Powell’s solo album!). But while all of these attributes of love are welcome in this world, and at different times in our lives necessary, even as a Christian, what does pure love look like? Any takers?

I haven’t had the experience yet of falling in love, and knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that I have met the person God wants me to spend the rest of my life with. And there’s a very simple reason for that- it’s not in God’s timing yet. And I am cool with that. Sometimes in this world, it’s tough to break out of what society says should be the norm. They say ‘you should have a girlfriend/boyfriend in high school’; ‘You should sleep around and date as many people as possible’. But often those stereotypical ‘truths’ that we have been fed are lies that are disguised by the devil. What makes a lie so good though? It’s because there is temptation, it’s because the alternative to living in God’s plan is made to sound ‘better’. But, as I am once again reminded in Mark 10:6-8, something happens to our spirits when we are in love and devotion to our soulmate- we become one, and it is no longer ‘myself’ and ‘my spouse’. It is ‘us’, and that is something very special. Not that I want to sound ancient or anything, but let me tell you this- I have not dated, nor do I feel the urge to until God shows me the one whom he has made for me. I know, that sounds cheesy, but it is a commitment that I have made to myself, partly inspired by singer Rebecca St James’ pledge and choice of abstinence. I’ve figured, God knows best, and it’s all in his timing, and this is a perfect time, that while I’m waiting for my future wife to be revealed to me; to bask in God’s love, and know the perfect Love that Jesus has for me first. Yeah, I guess I could hypothetically fall into and out of any relationship, but would that love last? Pure love is unconditional love- you’d have to be very committed to that relationship, through any circumstance. Basically, would you be willing to die for them?

So what was your answer? I guess most of you, in the heat of the moment, would say yes, I would die for ___ (my girlfriend/boyfriend, fiancé, spouse, children, friends, siblings, parents, whatever you want to put in there…); but let me throw a spanner in the works. Would you die for your enemy? Say what? You heard me! The bully who picked on you at school for being fat? The one who blamed you in university for cheating on an exam when it was him who cheated off you? The one who stabbed you in the back when things weren’t going their way, the one who deserted you when you told them you were a Christian? Yeah, that person. There may be 4 forms of love that Jesus speaks about, and we all may be masters of those kinds of love (after all, it is easy to love those who seem like nice people…), but what about those who wronged you? Yeah, I reckon that would be very difficult. I mean very, very difficult. I guess you could forgive them if the situation called for it (more on forgiveness in another blog), but loving the person?

One of Jesus’ commandments, in Matthew 22:36-40 was “Love the Lord Your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and Love you neighbour as yourself”. (See how it doesn’t say ‘love your friend’?), and in another part of the Bible, in Galatians 5: 22-23, Paul, an apostle, speaks about the Fruits of the Spirit, of which one is Love. But how does that relate to someone loving someone difficult? How do we do that? With God’s strength. And we look to Jesus, who exhibits his perfect Love, to His whole creation, even the unsavoury characters. Jesus is the embodiment of true Love. Once we grasp this, and once we realise that to love someone truly is the same way as we love Jesus, and how we perceive ourselves, and grapple with how Jesus love us unconditionally (so much that He died on the cross for us), then our perspective is definitely going to change. When we know the infinite love God has for us, it will be easier to love others; in whatever capacity we want to, because we know the One who first loved us, while we were still sinners, is with us every step of the way. And in those times when we don’t feel like loving people, for whatever reason, then God will step in, and with His love, His eternal and unending love, we can love others, with an ability that will be easier than before. I’m not saying you’ll become best buddies with your worst enemy overnight, but with God’s help and His presence in your life, anything is possible.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone- and Dad and Mum constantly remind us that when they were my age, they were engaged. However, God’s love and just soaking in His presence has given me peace and I don’t have to be worried. Until such a time that is planned, when God wants me to meet my future spouse, I will keep on loving anyone I can, with Jesus in me.

There’s a verse in the Bible that has struck out to me (1 Corinthians 13), about love, and just today, a band called “For KING AND COUNTRY”, from Australia, filmed a music video to a song about this verse. It’s a very captivating video that you can watch above, or read lyrics below, with the video presenting a dystopia in a society void of love. Reminding me of how people were trapped inside a ‘prison’ in the movie ‘The Island’; this confronting video speak to us, about what would life look like if we were disillusioned with the world’s view of love. We’d be lost, and in a world where everything is relative, and there would be no moral standards. I wouldn’t want to live in a world like that, would you?

What does perfect love look like to you? Who do you love that you need to remind to them or tell them? This life is very short, and in the blink of an eye, this world will disappear. So, while we are on this Earth, let us love without reservation, and let us love with the love Jesus Christ has given to us. Let the world see our love through our actions. Whether it is to our parents, siblings, friends, spouse, our ememies (I know, it’s tough…), or even a stranger; when it all comes down to it, in the end of our lives, only love will remain.

Who do you want to love today? With God’s help, our lives can be the proof of God’s love that is bubbling out of us!

Until next time

Josh

If I sing but don’t have love
I waste my breathe with every song
I bring, an empty voice
A hollow noise

If I speak with a silver tongue
Convince a crowd but don’t have love
I leave a bitter taste
With every word I say

(Chorus)
So let my life be the proof
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You
And what You’re made of
How you lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof
The proof of Your love

If I give to a needy soul
But don’t have love then who is poor
It seems all the poverty
Is found in me

Chorus
So let my life be the proof
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You
And what You’re made of
How you lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof
The proof of Your love

Ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
When it’s all said and done
Ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
When we sing our final song

Only love remains
Only love remains

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-7, The Message)

-for KING & COUNTRY- ‘The Proof Of Your Love’, from the 2012 album “Crave”

2 notes 

I’ve been looking at my previous blog posts recently; and something just struck me. I have realised that I have not given you all a clear indication of who I am; like I said I would do in my very first blog post. I remember saying that I would like to connect with some of you via tumblr. So, that got me thinking- how could I effectively do that without revealing too much in one go? So this is what I decided- I would show you guys my profile, split up into a number of entries, and talk a bit about each part for about a paragraph or so. And I guess my hope is that the things and the intimate details of my life so far that I will choose to share which will be related to my ‘favourites’, will inspire you all to answer questions about your own lives, and what you all value. Think of it as a series of likes and hobbies, favourites, and whether these statistics make me who I am, or is it something more?
So here goes… Profile Part 1 (I really gotta think of something creative for next time…)
Name: Joshua Daniel Andre
Date Of Birth: 30/12/1989
Primary School: Claremont College, Coogee
High School: South Sydney High School, Maroubra
University: UNSW Kingsford
Likes: reviewing Christian music albums, listening to music, watching TV shows, hanging out with friends, spending time with family, playing sports games on Nintendo Wii, watching cricket (live and on TV), tweeting, cooking, reading, going to live concerts, making DVD’s via showbiz, playing board games, playing piano
Dislikes: horror movies, snakes, spiders, brussel sprouts… (not really sure what else, I’ll expand on this later in a few blogs time!)
Hobbies: reviewing music, blogging, tweeting, reading, cooking, playing cricket in the backyard, walking to and from uni
So… hello again! My name is Joshua Andre, and I am 22 years old, turning 23 this year. Actually it would have been 23 next year in March, but that story of my brother and my premature birth will be for another blog (which will be soon, hang tight, guys!) And another blog will probably be about names, and the significance of first names and whether they dictate the things we do in life, so stay tuned for that…
As you all can see, I have quite a lot of likes, with a bit of variety also (although I aim to be a bit more adventurous in my likes and hobbies in the future!). And I’m sure you can guess why reviewing Christian albums is at the top of the list- I hope you guys are blessed by my reviewing on christianmusiczine (check the site out if you haven’t!)- I will share my story of how I became part of that site in a few blogs time. However something that I would like to put on my likes list is a bit more exercise- my weight is a bit more than I would want; but I am sure with God’s strength and presence in my daily walk with Him, He will help me lose the kilos that I want… enough of that though, you guys can read through my likes at your leisure. Let’s quickly focus to my dislikes, which are few but are quite prominent in my life. Horror movies, snakes, spiders, are a big no-no, but others… well I’m drawing a bit of a blank though… when I think of more I will tell you guys. Actually that topic seems like a a good blog post in the future- “fears and dislikes, expanded”! Hmmmm….
So anyway, what are the things you like to do, and which things do you absolutely loathe? No need to give reasons at this point, but if you want to, feel free. After this blog, I’ll continue on showing you guys the next parts of my split up profile, then go back to the start and delve into a few areas that are on my heart. It’s then my blogs will probably be around 700-800 words, or maybe more. How does that sound? So it’s ‘My Profile Series’ for about a few weeks, with a few favourite lyrics or music videos to change things up…
Oh, and before I forget, my first movie review will probably be online (on this blog!) soon. Stay tuned for the review of “People Like Us”.
Til next time
Josh

I’ve been looking at my previous blog posts recently; and something just struck me. I have realised that I have not given you all a clear indication of who I am; like I said I would do in my very first blog post. I remember saying that I would like to connect with some of you via tumblr. So, that got me thinking- how could I effectively do that without revealing too much in one go? So this is what I decided- I would show you guys my profile, split up into a number of entries, and talk a bit about each part for about a paragraph or so. And I guess my hope is that the things and the intimate details of my life so far that I will choose to share which will be related to my ‘favourites’, will inspire you all to answer questions about your own lives, and what you all value. Think of it as a series of likes and hobbies, favourites, and whether these statistics make me who I am, or is it something more?

So here goes… Profile Part 1 (I really gotta think of something creative for next time…)

Name: Joshua Daniel Andre

Date Of Birth: 30/12/1989

Primary School: Claremont College, Coogee

High School: South Sydney High School, Maroubra

University: UNSW Kingsford

Likes: reviewing Christian music albums, listening to music, watching TV shows, hanging out with friends, spending time with family, playing sports games on Nintendo Wii, watching cricket (live and on TV), tweeting, cooking, reading, going to live concerts, making DVD’s via showbiz, playing board games, playing piano

Dislikes: horror movies, snakes, spiders, brussel sprouts… (not really sure what else, I’ll expand on this later in a few blogs time!)

Hobbies: reviewing music, blogging, tweeting, reading, cooking, playing cricket in the backyard, walking to and from uni

So… hello again! My name is Joshua Andre, and I am 22 years old, turning 23 this year. Actually it would have been 23 next year in March, but that story of my brother and my premature birth will be for another blog (which will be soon, hang tight, guys!) And another blog will probably be about names, and the significance of first names and whether they dictate the things we do in life, so stay tuned for that…

As you all can see, I have quite a lot of likes, with a bit of variety also (although I aim to be a bit more adventurous in my likes and hobbies in the future!). And I’m sure you can guess why reviewing Christian albums is at the top of the list- I hope you guys are blessed by my reviewing on christianmusiczine (check the site out if you haven’t!)- I will share my story of how I became part of that site in a few blogs time. However something that I would like to put on my likes list is a bit more exercise- my weight is a bit more than I would want; but I am sure with God’s strength and presence in my daily walk with Him, He will help me lose the kilos that I want… enough of that though, you guys can read through my likes at your leisure. Let’s quickly focus to my dislikes, which are few but are quite prominent in my life. Horror movies, snakes, spiders, are a big no-no, but others… well I’m drawing a bit of a blank though… when I think of more I will tell you guys. Actually that topic seems like a a good blog post in the future- “fears and dislikes, expanded”! Hmmmm….

So anyway, what are the things you like to do, and which things do you absolutely loathe? No need to give reasons at this point, but if you want to, feel free. After this blog, I’ll continue on showing you guys the next parts of my split up profile, then go back to the start and delve into a few areas that are on my heart. It’s then my blogs will probably be around 700-800 words, or maybe more. How does that sound? So it’s ‘My Profile Series’ for about a few weeks, with a few favourite lyrics or music videos to change things up…

Oh, and before I forget, my first movie review will probably be online (on this blog!) soon. Stay tuned for the review of “People Like Us”.

Til next time

Josh

Hey everyone… it’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post, but you know, life gets in the way… but I’m back now after a much needed break, and I will be making sure I do frequent blog posts, at least once a week, maybe twice…

Now, a few blogs ago (or maybe near the beginning of my blogs…); I talked about a Tenth Avenue North song called ‘Losing’, and the significance behind that song. You can read that blog here. But coming back to the subject of this particular short blog, the band released a superb album last month called “The Struggle” (which in my opinion you should all grab on iTunes immediately, or within the day!); and one of the songs which stuck out to me, besides the lead single, was the title track. In my opinion Mike Donehey is one of the most profound and poignant lyricists and songwriters today; just look at the lyrics below and listen to the song via lyric video above.

There’s a wreckage, there’s a fire
There’s a weakness in my love
There’s a hunger I can’t control
Lord, I falter and I fall down
Then I hold on to the chains You broke
When You came and saved my soul
Save my soul

Hallelujah
We are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and
Makes us children
Children, drop your chains and sing

So why, Lord, do I still fail
Do I wear thin
Why do I still give in to temptation
On my own, I am bankrupt
I don’t trust You or take You at Your word, Lord
What You’ve promised

Hallelujah
We are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and
Makes us children
Children, drop your chains and sing

Hallelujah, death is overcome
And we are breathing
Hallelujah, our stone hearts become
Flesh that’s beating
Hallelujah, chains have been undone
And we are singing
Hallelujah, the fire has begun
Can you feel it

Hallelujah, death is overcome
And we are breathing
Hallelujah, our stone hearts become
Flesh that’s beating
Hallelujah, chains have been undone
And we are singing
Hallelujah, the fire has begun
Can you feel it

Hallelujah
We are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and
Makes us children
Children, drop your chains and sing

Now I don’t know about you, but I do struggle. Whenever I am losing focus in the things I do each day, and my mind wanders to how a God so pure and mighty could ever love someone like me; sometimes it is hard to reconcile that fact with the fact that Jesus died and rose again, just for me. Sometimes, and I guess this is subconsciously, I try to do more and be better- so that God can love me more and that I can be accepted and appreciated for who I am. But the truth is Jesus has already done all the work, so I don’t have to. That’s the beauty of grace. He died and took on all of my sin, and all of humanity’s sin, so that we each have the chance to live again with Him. We are free, and that should be a wonderful thing that we don’t have to carry this heavy load around us anymore. Sure, you may not be able to please your friends or parents, every single time, but that’s fine because you don’t have to. Who are you proving yourself to? Yourself, your close friends and family? God? He is already pleased with you, as I am sure the people close to you are as well! As such; we are free from expectations, and we should be able to do what is set on our hearts (by God!), because if it is in His plan, it will happen!

So what chains are you holding onto, what things do you want control of, and what things do you want to prove to persons X, Y, and Z? Because of Jesus did for us 2000 + years ago on the cross, we are free, and we are not struggling to be free. So ‘…children, drop your chains and sing…’, and let’s live life to the fullest!

Hallelujah, death is overcome!

Til next time

Joshua

Anonymous asked: Great to see you are still passionate for the LORD Josh. You were when you were eight way back in year 3. Hope that you are keeping well. How is Jon and what are you up to? Luke (Mr Bracks)

I’ve been good, as has Jon as well! Thanks for ‘re-connecting’, Luke! (it’s hard to say that, after knowing you as Mr Bracks for our primary school years!) :)

How is teaching in Orange? We both saw your wife on Masterchef this year on Allstars and last year on Season 3, and we were rooting for, and praying that she would succeed in the competition! It’s great that she was a shining light to the others in the house… By the way, have you been reading my blog long?

I’ve got a twitter (@JoshuaAndre21), facebook (facebook.com/joshua.andre.50), and I also review albums and interview artists at a  Christian music website (christianmusiczine.com/author/joshua-andre) so you can keep up with what I am up to on these sites! and my blog also! If you want, don’t hesitate to send me a friend request and/or follow me!

Praying for you and your family and hope to ‘catch up’ soon! here’s my email: danjoshy@yahoo.com.au

I was listening to my iTunes library just the other day, to one of my favourite songs this year- Karyn Williams’ ‘Rest In The Hope’, when I started thinking about my favourite songs and why they are my favourite songs. What makes a song great? I know I talked about this topic in a previous blog, but let me just say this for a bit. Songs make us laugh, cry, some make us question, hope, and also inspire us to dare to dream, and take a leap of faith. Music is indeed a universal language, sometimes listening to a song can lift us from failure to success, from the pits of despair to smiling from ear to ear. There is a quote I read from Karyn Williams, from her pre release bio (yes I am reviewing her album to be posted online next month!), and she says this about music- “Music has a way of healing in a way that nothing else can.  You can listen to a great speaker and or sit outside on a sunny day and feel better about life, but when you are lost in a song that is speaking to you, there’s nothing quite like it.” So below are my favourite songs of all time. It’s hard to whittle the list down, but I did it. It is categorised- one list for songs from this year/last year, and another list for all time.


Favourite songs of 2011/2012:

The Hurt and The Healer (MercyMe)

Forgiveness (Matthew West)

Rest In The Hope (Karyn Williams)

10 000 Reasons [Bless the Lord] (Matt Redman)

God You Are My God (Desperation Band)

He Said (Group 1 Crew)

Me Without You (TobyMac)

Hope Is Calling (Bellarive)

One Word (An Epic, No Less)

Sing Along (Christy Nockels)

Oh Our Lord (Paul Baloche)

Center of It (Chris August)

Finally Home (Kerrie Roberts)

How Many Times [Need You Now] (Plumb)

After All [Holy] (The Digital Age)

Let Me Feel You Shine (David Crowder Band)

Overwhelmed (Big Daddy Weave)

Jesus Friend of Sinners (Casting Crowns)

I Choose Jesus (Moriah Peters)

Jesus Healer (Bluetree)


Favourite songs of all time:

How Great Is Our God (Chris Tomlin)

History Maker (Delirious?)

I Am Free (Newsboys)

Hosanna (Hillsong)

Blessed Be Your Name (Matt Redman)

Here I Am To Worship (Tim Hughes)

I Can Only Imagine (MercyMe)

King of Glory (Third Day)

Love Came Down (Bethel Live)

Majesty (Delirious?)

God’s Not Dead [Like a Lion] (Kristian Stanfill)

At Your Name (Tim Hughes)

Revelation Song (Kari Jobe)

Our God (Chris Tomlin)

He Reigns (Newsboys)

Jesus Messiah (Chris Tomlin)

How He Loves (David Crowder*Band)

Above All (Michael W Smith)

Lead Me To The Cross (Hillsong)

Jesus Freak (dc Talk)


PS: I will do a proper list for christianmusiczine at the end of the year, including reasons.


What are your favourite songs? Why are they your favourite? Chances are God wants to speak to you through your favourite songs, so just close your eyes and let God minister to you.

Until next time,

Josh

4 notes 

Sometimes I look at Americans and I wonder what it would be like to be them. That’s right, I envy them! Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking ‘You live in Australia, with iconic landscapes, natural and manmade, that would rival any building or structure in the U.S. You have all these exotic foods, animals, and home-grown TV shows. The Aussie people are some of the friendliest on the planet. So why would you envy people living in the U.S.?’ Yep, in some ways you are right. But there are some things that the U.S. have that I envy.
I follow quite a number of people on twitter (be patient, I will sign up to facebook soon!); and most of them are from the States. Most of them are Christian artists too, so I guess living in America for these performers is part and parcel of the journey and a fact of life. Not that it should bother me, but there are many day to day things that they tweet that I am envious about. One of them is the American fast food outlets and restaurants, and quite a number of them catch my eye- In and Out, Taco Bell, Chick-Fil-A, Cracker Barrel; the list goes on. Not that I am ungrateful or anything  for the food places in Australia that I love, which Subway and Hungry Jacks are at the top of my list; it’s just that seeing constant tweets about the things I can’t have is very hard for me to bear. I can give an exposition about everything else, but I’ll just keep things brief. TV shows and the U.S. schedule is more reliable than in Australia, with the Aussie schedule updated daily, and shows pulled off the air midseason, and returning months and months later with the core audience dropping and obviously the show loses steam! Movies also release earlier in the States, and Christian themed films are almost a certainty in the wide release cinemas. Christian albums seem to release and find themselves in the shelves of the local Target or Big W store. There are also so many Christian concerts and festivals held in the States with high profile artists; and not many artists tour ‘down under’! As for radio stations, there are plenty more radio stations in the States, including Klove and Air1, which are Christian music based and family friendly. Whenever I have the chance, I listen to these stations instead of the Aussie stations (I have an app on my phone!). And there’s been so many American movies that I have seen, showing landscapes that to me are so breathtaking; that I have sometimes wondered what it would be to live in the U.S. amongst all of these wonderful things. 
But therein lies the problem. If I am too focused on what the States is doing, I’ll miss living life, and the moment God has planned for me right here in Australia. If I’m too focused on wanting that car, that house, that job, these group of friends, that person who I think will be my spouse; I’ll lose sight of what’s truly important- what is placed in front of our very eyes. Sure it’s nice to daydream, and think about the ‘grass that is greener on the other side’; but to wish you were there instead of where you are right now, is kinda pointless. God placed you where you are for a reason. But that’s not to say he orchestrated everything in your life (that’s another blog topic, a meaty one!). Not every situation comes from God- some comes from Satan, but even in those circumstances God does use everything for His glory.
We need to understand that there is a time and place to wish the things we do not have, or to hope to go to the places we haven’t been to, to sort of tick it off our bucket list; but what God wants is for us to be content with what we have, where we are, the ministry we are in, and our current circumstances. Even if where we are and our situation is good, if we’re always hoping to hang out with the Hollywood people or rub shoulders with artists at the Doves, or make it big somewhere else; sure that may happen far in the future; but it may not. And then what? It’s not really God’s fault if something doesn’t happen that we think should. It’s just God saying ‘This is not in my plan, and I have something better for you.’ God knows everyone, loves them and wants the best for them- he said so in Jeremiah 29:11. He has been everywhere we haven’t been. He knows what’s best for us, and has told us not to be anxious and present every request to Him.
So next time you are thinking about something, a circumstance, a place, someone; other than the very thing God has placed you in, think about why you are thinking about it. Maybe God wants you to be in that greener pasture, and that’s ok. But when those thoughts consume you and you become obsessive, it’s starts to become unhealthy. So take things one step at a time. Ask God to reveal his plan to You. He is God and we are not, so we ultimately need to trust his decision. When God closes a door, it tends to be for a pretty good reason; and he’ll open another door somewhere else.
That’s not to say that you should give up on your dreams and such. Rather the opposite. But don’t think ‘I must have it otherwise I’ll be unhappy’. Happiness isn’t birthed from how many things we have or how many successful plans we have. Happiness comes from Jesus and what He has done. So be content. Go with the flow. Let God show you the signs of where He wants you to be in the future. It may just be what you want and what God wants coincides.
So do I think I’ll visit the States in the future? Most definitely. Do I think I will probably meet some famous people and maybe become friends with them? Ummm, that’s a stretch, but I’m hopeful. If it’s in God’s plan, then I’m ok with it. Right now it’s looking like a holiday around 2013/2014, for Christmas and the Passion conference. We’ll see. But I’m not going to obsess about it. And you shouldn’t obsess over things either. Unless it’s Jesus we’re obsessing over… 
:)
Where do you want to go, or what do you want to be, and who is the person that you envy? Because you are a child of God, you should be envied. Your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Think about that!
Until next time
Joshua

Sometimes I look at Americans and I wonder what it would be like to be them. That’s right, I envy them! Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking ‘You live in Australia, with iconic landscapes, natural and manmade, that would rival any building or structure in the U.S. You have all these exotic foods, animals, and home-grown TV shows. The Aussie people are some of the friendliest on the planet. So why would you envy people living in the U.S.?’ Yep, in some ways you are right. But there are some things that the U.S. have that I envy.

I follow quite a number of people on twitter (be patient, I will sign up to facebook soon!); and most of them are from the States. Most of them are Christian artists too, so I guess living in America for these performers is part and parcel of the journey and a fact of life. Not that it should bother me, but there are many day to day things that they tweet that I am envious about. One of them is the American fast food outlets and restaurants, and quite a number of them catch my eye- In and Out, Taco Bell, Chick-Fil-A, Cracker Barrel; the list goes on. Not that I am ungrateful or anything  for the food places in Australia that I love, which Subway and Hungry Jacks are at the top of my list; it’s just that seeing constant tweets about the things I can’t have is very hard for me to bear. I can give an exposition about everything else, but I’ll just keep things brief. TV shows and the U.S. schedule is more reliable than in Australia, with the Aussie schedule updated daily, and shows pulled off the air midseason, and returning months and months later with the core audience dropping and obviously the show loses steam! Movies also release earlier in the States, and Christian themed films are almost a certainty in the wide release cinemas. Christian albums seem to release and find themselves in the shelves of the local Target or Big W store. There are also so many Christian concerts and festivals held in the States with high profile artists; and not many artists tour ‘down under’! As for radio stations, there are plenty more radio stations in the States, including Klove and Air1, which are Christian music based and family friendly. Whenever I have the chance, I listen to these stations instead of the Aussie stations (I have an app on my phone!). And there’s been so many American movies that I have seen, showing landscapes that to me are so breathtaking; that I have sometimes wondered what it would be to live in the U.S. amongst all of these wonderful things.

But therein lies the problem. If I am too focused on what the States is doing, I’ll miss living life, and the moment God has planned for me right here in Australia. If I’m too focused on wanting that car, that house, that job, these group of friends, that person who I think will be my spouse; I’ll lose sight of what’s truly important- what is placed in front of our very eyes. Sure it’s nice to daydream, and think about the ‘grass that is greener on the other side’; but to wish you were there instead of where you are right now, is kinda pointless. God placed you where you are for a reason. But that’s not to say he orchestrated everything in your life (that’s another blog topic, a meaty one!). Not every situation comes from God- some comes from Satan, but even in those circumstances God does use everything for His glory.

We need to understand that there is a time and place to wish the things we do not have, or to hope to go to the places we haven’t been to, to sort of tick it off our bucket list; but what God wants is for us to be content with what we have, where we are, the ministry we are in, and our current circumstances. Even if where we are and our situation is good, if we’re always hoping to hang out with the Hollywood people or rub shoulders with artists at the Doves, or make it big somewhere else; sure that may happen far in the future; but it may not. And then what? It’s not really God’s fault if something doesn’t happen that we think should. It’s just God saying ‘This is not in my plan, and I have something better for you.’ God knows everyone, loves them and wants the best for them- he said so in Jeremiah 29:11. He has been everywhere we haven’t been. He knows what’s best for us, and has told us not to be anxious and present every request to Him.

So next time you are thinking about something, a circumstance, a place, someone; other than the very thing God has placed you in, think about why you are thinking about it. Maybe God wants you to be in that greener pasture, and that’s ok. But when those thoughts consume you and you become obsessive, it’s starts to become unhealthy. So take things one step at a time. Ask God to reveal his plan to You. He is God and we are not, so we ultimately need to trust his decision. When God closes a door, it tends to be for a pretty good reason; and he’ll open another door somewhere else.

That’s not to say that you should give up on your dreams and such. Rather the opposite. But don’t think ‘I must have it otherwise I’ll be unhappy’. Happiness isn’t birthed from how many things we have or how many successful plans we have. Happiness comes from Jesus and what He has done. So be content. Go with the flow. Let God show you the signs of where He wants you to be in the future. It may just be what you want and what God wants coincides.

So do I think I’ll visit the States in the future? Most definitely. Do I think I will probably meet some famous people and maybe become friends with them? Ummm, that’s a stretch, but I’m hopeful. If it’s in God’s plan, then I’m ok with it. Right now it’s looking like a holiday around 2013/2014, for Christmas and the Passion conference. We’ll see. But I’m not going to obsess about it. And you shouldn’t obsess over things either. Unless it’s Jesus we’re obsessing over… 

:)

Where do you want to go, or what do you want to be, and who is the person that you envy? Because you are a child of God, you should be envied. Your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Think about that!

Until next time

Joshua

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So any guesses for what day it is? Yep, that’s right- the 4th of July aka Independence Day- the day of celebrating freedom if you will. Whatever background, race, socioeconomic status, gender, political leanings, and other preconceived ideas that we have that makes us human, are all put aside on this one day to celebrate the identity of being part of an amazing country (in this case, the 4th of July is for Americans…). In fact, you can read more about many artists’ 4th of July celebrations here, here and here.

On a broader scale, this time is a celebration of being alive. In Australia, we have Australia Day in January, and I’m sure each country in the world has its own special day; but I guess regardless of which one you celebrate; the fact that we are in a global and fast moving culture means that each country’s ‘Independence Day’, or maybe a few countries’ are publicised enough for the rest of us to be reminded again about this special day. For me, as I am Australian; I do not celebrate the 4th of July, but I do respect the day. And so I should respect other countries’ national days. But more than that; as the bulk of twitter accounts I follow are from America; I was constantly reminded today that the price of freedom is great, and that true freedom requires great sacrifice. And the more I thought about it, I thought to myself ‘are we truly free?’

I mean, sure there’s the one day a year, where we celebrate our identity as whatever nationality we are; but what about the other 364 days a year? Most of the accounts that I follow said something along the lines of ‘Happy 4th of July, happy Birthday America, let’s remember today, and give thanks to those who fought for our freedom’; and others talked about celebrating with a barbecue and fireworks. Now in Australia we do not go all out on that big of a scale, but Australia Day does consist of a day at the cricket, and/or movies at the cinemas, and/or a barbecue and/or swim where we invite all of our friends. Fireworks…well, I reckon that is kept to a minimum in Australia… Which brings me to the point- sure it’s great that we all celebrate our earthly freedom, with all of the rituals and other things associated with it; but having said that, to me the one day a year celebration and reminder should also be a prompting, and a catalyst to get us thinking about our spiritual freedom. Take a listen to the song above, and you can tell it is about freedom and our identity in Christ.

We may all be Christians, and saved through Jesus death on the cross and resurrection; but sometimes in life, the circumstances we are left in or with, may dictate our emotions and our stance; and that may rise to us feeling down, trapped, or not good enough. The devil may be telling us lies, and we may have burdens we are carrying that we think we need to carry alone. But here’s the beauty of grace- God has paid for all of our sins in the past, present and future- and we do not have to carry our loads by ourselves. Just like how Christian put his burdens at the cross in “Pilgrims’ Progress”, so can we. We can also share our stories and our struggles with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ- talking does alleviate some of our burdens and troubles, and what better way to encourage each other! The Bible says that when two or three are gathered Jesus is among them. He is here. He is here even when you don’t sense or feel Him. So whatever you want to tell him, go ahead! For we are meant to be living free in this world, with no chains; with no reservations and inhibitions! Christ has risen, and we can truly be thankful!! We can say ‘Yes! Because my name is in the Book of Life and I will spend eternity with Jesus Christ, I am Free!!’

So today, let’s take a good look at ourselves, and our ‘Independence Days’! What do you do on your country’s special day? Is it going through the motions or what is the reason behind all of the celebrations? The Bible says ‘If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed’! Amen! So let’s live each day as if we are free; because we are! And let’s not make this a once a year thing… let’s make it all year round!! Because Christ did not die to give us freedom on the 4th of July; He gave freedom for every second of every minute of every hour of every day or every year! Celebrate this year and this day in freedom, everyone- the Freedom that Christ has wiped our slates clean! We are worthy, we are holy, and we are blameless in God’s eyes! So now, rejoice!

Check out this video of Newsboys singing ‘I Am Free’ while you are singing and rejoicing in freedom! It truly is magical and inspiring!

:)

Til next time

Josh

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sarahisawriter:

I’m sick and tied of comparing myself to other people.

I don’t normally begin my blogs with a statement like that, but I’m so dang stirred up about this, I just needed to say it.

Now, forgive me if it feels like I go into third person with this a few times. Honestly, I think I’m preaching…

2 reblogs in a week, both from Sarah's tumblr? Wow! What can I say, she’s a brilliant writer! But seriously, the topic of comparison that is talked about in this blog above (read it now if you haven’t then carry on…) is always mentioned in society. What you do, who you are, what you look life, is always compared to others. You say to someone ‘I’ve got a pay check worth $40 000 this year’, and someone else says ‘I’ve got $50 000’. You say ‘I’ve got this big house, car, wife, three kids and two dogs’, and someone else says ‘Well I have that, and a lakeside view, plus my house is 4 storeys’. You say ‘I lost 30 kg on this weight loss program’, and someone else says ‘I lost 50!’.

No way can we measure up to the standards we place on ourselves. We cannot beat others and be at the top- there is always someone better than us as something, yet we may be better than them at something else! Life wasn’t meant to be lived in someone else’s shadow, and us yearning to be someone that God didn’t intend for us to be. There is only one ‘you’. There can never be another. For it says in Jeremiah 29:11 that God has unique plans for us, that no one else can fulfil. We shouldn’t wish our life away in favour of a life that appears to be more ‘greener on the other side’. Because then we will never fully be happy and content with our lives.

Before I go, here’s a video for you to see- ‘The Disciple Jesus Loves’. In it, lead singer of Tenth Avenue North Mike Donehey, tells us that John was referred to the disciple that Jesus loved, but not because that’s all who Jesus ever loved; but because Jesus did love Him. And he does love us. No matter what we’ve done, he loves us. Whether we do more or less, He loves us. And he is calling us out of our insecurities and into a future with Him. Into the plan that he has fashioned that only you can do! Doesn’t that sound awesome?

Til next time,

Josh

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It’s been a tough and crazy ride last week (which was one of the reasons why I didn’t really feel like blogging!); and through it all God has been teaching me something. Listen to the above Steven Curtis Chapman song ‘Last Day on Earth’, from his 2004 album “All Things New”, then read on!

Mum was sick this past weekend, literally in bed the entire two days (Saturday and Sunday!) She took two days off- Monday and Tuesday- as well, as she was recovering from some dizziness and nausea. Mum was dizzy every time she sat up, and slept for,…let’s just say a percentage over 50% in the 24 hours of the day on both days on the weekend! During that time when Mum was sick, I wasn’t up to doing much. Reviewing, blogging, almost anything that required me to do something at the expense of praying and thinking about Mum during that time, left me feeling a bit yucky and empty at that moment. But what I did do during that four day period was think. And think til I was crazy I did! Thoughts ranging from, ‘Oh, I know Mum’s gonna be up and walking and feeling all bright and chirpy in a few hours’ to ‘But what if it’s like that time in 1999 where Mum had pneumonia and was bedridden for days on end?’ That thought scared me, and while it never crossed my mind that Mum was going to die from this sickness (no chance!); and guess what- Mum is fine now, and is at work currently- I was thinking a lot about death and what that means for each one of us living on this planet.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the 2008 movie ‘The Bucket List’, with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. If not, here’s a quick run down. Two strangers, Carter and Eddie, meet in the hospital, when each one has been given the news that they have terminal lung cancer. Given less than a year to live, both create their own bucket list, a list of things to do before you die. Then they go off and do things that they hadn’t done in ages, or haven’t had the courage to pursue. They take a round the world trip, and live the rest of their life in a freedom and a wild abandonment like they had never done in the past. The movie has a pretty emotional ending, and I won’t spoil it for you; but this is how each one of us will end up in the end. Either by natural causes or some freakish accident or any other means (I am hoping and praying it is the former by which everyone dies by!); we will all die one day. Unless Jesus comes back before hand as to which we won’t die but be judged by Him on the Great Day (more on this topic in another blog!); we will all have out allotted time on this earth and that’s it- no more time left in righting our wrongs or fixing our past relationships. So let me ask you all this. If you knew when your death date was, what would you do differently? What would be on your bucket list?

What would you do first? Maybe you’d be like Carter and Eddie and just go off and live the life you’ve dreamed of. Or you’d try to fix your broken relationships so that at least you’d be right with the people you love in that perfect moment before the end. Or maybe you’d be like 99% of the population- do everything in your power to prevent or prolong your death date. Whatever the case, if I knew the exact moment that I would die; I wouldn’t really try to change it. No, scrap that; at first I’d do everything in my power to change events to prevent my death. But then I’d stop and think. Why would I want to prevent my death when I’d just be prolonging the inevitable? And then I’d think about what I would really do… I would make sure my salvation and faith in Jesus was still intact. Then even if I did die suddenly, I’d at least have confidence in where I’d be- I would be in the presence of Jesus for eternity after my life on Earth. Then I’d make sure all my family, and friends, knew Jesus personally too. Which needs heaps of prayer right now; as currently my grandparents are not Christians. That’s very sad :( . Anyway- then I’d spend time with my friends, family, and cherish every moment with them. What I’d also do on top of that depends on how long I’ve hypothetically got left to live, but that’s irrelevant!

You know the saying ‘Your health is most important?’ Your salvation is more important that that! Jesus came to Earth so that we may live. His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead means that each of our physical deaths sometime in the future (hopefully not in the foreseeable future!) are definitely not in vain. We do have a purpose! I just pray that it doesn’t take a life changing experience for us to realise that time stops for no man. Our time is precious. When you think you have all the time in the world, something is ripped away. So now more than ever, it is essential for each one of us to look in our hearts and be honest with Jesus. Who knows, He may answer you and give you what you are seeking. And whatever problem that you are facing will be nothing in comparison to the joy and peace, and purpose that Jesus give you.

So, the time is not later- it is now! What is it that you want to do to have a fulfilled life? Money won’t buy you happiness, but Jesus will! And as we all do not know when the world is going to end (only God the Father knows when Jesus is coming back…) I suggest we each live a life that is pleasing to Jesus, and that pleases Him. I pray that the fear of death doesn’t quell and stop us from living life. Just look outside at creation! It is a beautiful day, whether rain or shine, a day to be celebrated, as we are alive, and Jesus is alive.

What is on your bucket list? Is cultivating a relationship with Jesus at the top? What would you do on your last day on Earth?

Til next time

Josh

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