Monday, November 16, 2009

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, November 9, 2009

Everything Is Different Review and The Holidays

I have to start today's post with a quick review of my favorite band's, Shane and Shane, new album which is entitled "Everything Is Different". At first listen, it wasn't my favorite album and a few of the songs I was unsure about. However, I've had the CD in my car playing non stop for the last week and it has really grown on me. As all musicians, these guys continue to grow musically and lyrically. They took a very simplistic approach on this album using simple chord progressions and not a ton of extra programming and created an album that reflects their heart of worship and adoration. The lyrics are powerful and are completely saturated with the gospel found in Scripture. A lot of it is verbatim out of the Word of God, which is never a bad thing. As a worship leader, I do have to say there aren't a lot of songs on here that would translate well to a congregational setting, but I can assure you this album will challenge you, encourage you, lead you to the throne as well as comfort you in whatever emotions of life you are in at the time you listen. I've already figured out 4 or 5 of the songs on guitar and have enjoyed playing them. I wasn't thrilled that several of the songs were written in alternate tunings, but I can't really blame Shane Barnard for his creativity and growth instrumentally and as a song writer, it's quite impressive. It's hard to pin down one or two favorites, but the ones that stand above the others so far are Everything Is Different, I'm Alive, Worthy of Affection, Great Reward and their version of The Lord's Prayer, which I wasn't thrilled about at first, but really like now. You can go to to watch a few videos and get more information on the CD, but I highly recommend buying it and wearing it out.

In other news, Brittany and I finally had a chance to enjoy a date night together this past Friday. We drove down to Buckhead and enjoyed an amazing dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. In fact, we also enjoyed our leftovers the next day for lunch. It's nice when you pay a lot for dinner that you actually get a lot of food and can keep some for later. Anyways, I have been sick since last Thursday so that hasn't been too much fun, but luckily I have an amazing wife to take care of me and a really strong immune system as well. I seem to be almost all the way better now.

As the holidays near I get excited about a lot and also a little anxious. I love getting to spend time with family and friends and all the festivities that are involved with this time of year. I love Christmas music and it is almost time to start listening to it, haha. I don't like all the time spent traveling in the car or the money spent and stress that can sometimes come out, but I think we all are in that same boat. For example, there isn't much in this world that I enjoy doing more than giving gifts or serving people. Yes, part of that is my people pleaser side that I have tried to get away from, but most of it is just the enjoyment in doing something for someone else. However, since we don't exactly make a ton of money, we have be very frugal with how we spend, who we buy for, what we get. I mean, last year we couldn't even buy presents for each other, although my homemade Christmas card for Brittany was one of a kind and she loved it. Just ask her. With that said, I am going to try this holiday season to enjoy everything and to rejoice in the blessings the Lord has given to me. I will enjoy the driving, the spending, the planning, the activities, the cleaning, the wrapping, and all the "busy" stuff. I will also enjoy spending time with my wife as much as possible, time with family, both original and new. I will enjoy celebrating the true meaning of Christmas in that of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You see, in our country and culture, these times have become so much about go and do and buy and plan and bake and all these action verbs that cloud our minds and use up our time and bank accounts. But what if this year we decided to not focus on those things, but focus on what really matters? What if we rejoice in the goodness of our Savior? What if we enjoy actual quality time with loved ones and really engage each other in fellowship? What if we decided to not let the little things get us down or stress us out? What if Jesus was King of our lives and the object of our affection rather than the things we want or get this year?

I'm not saying that traditions and festivities are bad, so don't take that. All I am saying is prioritize what is truly important. If you are a parent, teach your children the joy of giving rather than the expectancy of receiving. If you are married, spend time with your spouse and treasure them high above stuff. Love and peace always and may you bask in the radiance of the glory of Christ this season. He alone can satisfy. He has created nothing that will give you more pleasure than Him.

Hayes Party of Two