Skin Deep

Nichole Nordeman did a great front page article for CCM magazine about the pressures of outward appearance even in the Christian music industry and how even the artists struggle to remain real sometimes. Nichole Nordeman interviewed thirteen popular Christian music artists, some of which include Bethany Dillon, Chris Tomlin, Krystal Meyers, Natalie Grant, Bebo Norman, Mark Hall of Casting Crowns, and Rebecca Barlow of Barlow Girl. What’s more, the article has several pictures of the actual artists in their high school years.

I stopped receiving CCM magazine a few years ago, but all is not lost. Anyone can read the article thanks to Nichole Nordeman and CCM. Her website states:

CCM has partnered with Nichole Nordeman to bring this special digital issue to you, their fans, absolutely FREE! Just click on this link and use the login listed below:
Username: freeissue0704 & Password: name417

Like what you read? Spread the word and pass it along – it’s free for your family & friends, too!

This is one of those articles I recommend that everyone check out because it is good to know that it is not just everyday people who face these issues. This article starts on page 48.

Favorite Music

Someone at church asked me for a list of worship music and all. I put together this somewhat quick list. It’s nowhere near complete, but it’s some of the good music I like. I added Worship, Christian Rock, and Contemporary Christian and split them up on different pages. If someone was looking for some good music, here’s a rough list to start you out. The bolded names are my favorites. Also, I didn’t put full albums all the time simply because I either haven’t listened to all the songs, or I didn’t find the rest of the album that great (sadly). If anyone has favorites not on this list, feel free to add them in a comment.

Good Christian Worship, Rock, and Contemporary Music

Do I Dare

Do I dare to walk in sin
To live my life giving in
To the lie: I can live however I want
And call myself a Christian

Do I dare to stand irreverently
To enter in Your presence so easily
Thinking I can meet You whenever I please
Without fear and trembling?

For so long I thought I was living for You
But all of this time I’ve been playing the fool

Like a mirror
Your holiness illuminates my sin
Lord, I don’t want to live my life
In darkness again
I want to be purified
Changed by refining fire
So I can be the light

Week after week, day after day
Listening to what You have to say
Learning Your word and knowing Your way
Do I dare to disobey?

I don’t want to fall away from the truth
But walking the narrow road isn’t easy to do
I know it will happen to me
If I don’t hold on to You

For so long I thought I was living for You
But I’m so tired of playing the fool

1 John 1:5-7 / Ephesians 5:8-10

Do I Dare by Carrie Pettit

I love these lyrics.  I was listening to a song (Life of Faith) on the radio Thursday night, and finally found who sang it.  I love her music.  Very real — very relatable.

My Thoughts on United 93

I just got done watching United 93 for the first time. It’s two weeks in a row for September 11th-based movies. Like last time, I’m not really sure how you describe such a movie. Watching it without any emotion: it’s just another movie. However, when I really think about these lives and how they knew they were living their final moments, it really gets me. There was a part where they did a very deep drop, and at first I wasn’t thinking much of it — but then I realized, this was like a roller-coaster (I hate roller-coasters).  This was like the dip that normally comes back to an upgrade — only this one didn’t.  How these people had the courage to go against everything, really spoke to me.  I knew the story of what happened on that flight, but I never really could fully grasp the depth of it.  Maybe it’s because I never fly.

This movie should be seen.  As I said last time, forgetting about that day will only cause us to relive it in another attack.  History virtually always repeats itself, and unless we stand up it’s going to again.  Last time it was harder than the first.  If anything, this should be a warning.

Music Reviews

One of my favorite things in life is music. Music can speak volumes. There’s so much music out there that there’s always something available that can speak directly to your heart about how you feel. So here it is, two mini-reviews of some CD’s I’ve been listening to lately.

Fireflight CD Cover The first disc is by Fireflight entitled, “The Healing of Harms“. The album is short, between 30 and 35 minutes, which does seem to make it go by rather quickly.  However, the content is pure, heartfelt, and honest. The listener is challenged in the first single released off of the album, You Decide, to decide today if your going to give God everything, or if you’re going to remain complacent (“God is calling out to you just let healing start / Will you open up and let Him in”).  I only wish the album was a little longer, other than that it’s going down as one of my all-time favorites.

Jessie Daniels CD Cover As is the debut album by Jessie Daniels. I’ve not got into a good contemporary artist in quite a while, so I guess sometimes there needs to be a change. This album changed it all. After seeing her listed somewhere as a new Christian artist, I rushed to check her out. I was amazed. Each song is written by Jessie Daniels, 19, herself.  She’s got some passionate lyrics about God, life, and relationships.  From the song Stand Out, which talks about laying down what others think of you (“Why are we so quick to hide originality / We try and try to fit inside a false reality / We’re all the same when it comes to putting on the face and its such a shame”), to the song The Noise, which talks about hearing God’s voice through everything (“I don’t know why / I don’t know how / It’s so easy to forget / And fall back in / So I start listening / To something that was said / In a world that’s deafening / Above everything”).  She’s very relevant, and I’ve fallen in love with the album. She’s most definitely on my list of favorites.

I said I’d only review two, so there they are. I’m not the best reviewer, but I felt these two required a review for their originality and because they’re two relatively newcomers into the industry (Fireflight just getting recognition). Remember to check them out! I’m sure you’ll love them.


The first week of school is now over.  Most of the classes seem to be decent.  The only class that I don’t think I’ll like at all is a computer class.  I don’t think she (the instructor) likes Google.  It’s basically the same class I took last semester, which is lame.

Someone hit my car yesterday.  I’ll have to take it to a body show.  It was at the dangerous intersection of Taylor Road and the I-85-west off ramp.  We were both okay.  I just want to get my car fixed.  I don’t like having anything wrong with it.

Prayer in the Darkness is tomorrow night at 10.  I hope people come.  Something I’ve had to learn is that there may not be a lot of people, but never to be discouraged.  It’s easy to get discouraged, though.

This past week has been busy with the release of a new version of E-Blah.  It’s been a little bit of a pain this time, as there were several problems at the start.  I’ve fixed just about all of them right away, though.  I just didn’t have enough people to beta test before release.

I’ve really been enjoying my Urge music subscription.  I’ve found so many new CD’s and artists that I would have otherwise never listened to.  Ten dollars a month may seem like a lot, but when compared with buying several CD’s every month that costs the same amount, it’s well worth it.  Currently I’ve been enjoying Jessie Daniels, Decypher Down, and Fireflight, among others.  One of my favorite songs right now has to be “You Decide” by Fireflight.  The music video made me fall in love with it all over again.

Someone told me not so long ago that one of the reasons why it’s good to get out of Tallassee sometimes, is to see joy.  I guess I wasn’t so sure what was meant by that … until this week.  Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.  Maybe I was overlooking it.  I’m not really sure, but I’m beginning to see that what this person said was true.  Maybe everyone’s just hopeless (or feels that way, I should say).  I went to several places in Tallassee this week and the people were just so down.  I went to Wal-Mart today, for instances, and the lady checking me out literally looked like a zombie.  I’m not sure what needs to be prayed for first — things broken (such as drugs and religion) or fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, etc).

Something I have been learning recently is attitude and how I look at things.  When I first walked into English class (late, I might add) and realized it was British Literature, I could have turned off and just said I’m going to hate this, or I could go in with the mind set that it’s going to be interesting.  So far it has been interesting.  It’s attitude though.  I wonder if I just have a bad attitude about a lot of things, so that’s something I’m going to try to work on getting out of. I don’t want to make pre-judgements about anything — people, things, places, ideas, etc.

New Things Come in Time

I’ve been looking at getting a new computer this year.  I’m not totally sure I’ll be able to get it yet because of monetary reasons.  I should have enough for college, cell phone, and gas and a little left over to use however I want to.  I want to keep a fair amount stored away because of anything I may need it for (ie: the clutch in my car needing replacing).  I still want to get something going in helping someone.  I’m still thinking of sponsoring a child; however, I don’t want to commit and then find something else I want to contribute to that’s closer to home.  It’s not an excuse for waiting, I would rather focus on my community first before hand.

I’ve got a few more minutes left on the last message in the “Living In Graceland” series from theMill.  In the last one Aaron Stern talks about helping the needy.  I want to help them.  I would really love to focus on my age group (which is fast approaching: “used to be my age group”).

There was an entry I added, ironically, a year ago tomorrow.  I wasn’t even aware that it was the “anniversary” of the post, but either way — I was going to talk about.  In brief, the post is about who I’m looking for in a future wife.  Recently, I’ve just about grown to the point where I’m not sure it can be met — and others around me have told me the same.  So I’m keeping the list until September 15th, 2006 — unless something changes.  That’s a full month.  If nothing has changed from now and then, I’m changing it.  Some of the things that I feel are essential for me to connect to whomever I date (and hope-to marry), are the things I’ll probably reform or remove.

Of the items on my list that’ll be changed is music.  Why did I add music in the first place?  It all comes down to this: garbage in, garbage out.  I want a pure relationship.  I can’t relate to music that has ungodly content.  I mean, the music doesn’t have to have plain out “wrong” lyrics.  Even if they’re about just relationships, I don’t relate to most.  Does that mean I specify all secular music as “wrong”?  Of course not, I like a few (key word: few) secular groups.  They’re not on my media library, though.  I don’t listen to them in the car.  I just don’t have enough time to listen to Christian music and secular to see what I like and don’t like and worry about the lyrics.  This is just one of the few things I’ll change.

A few days ago I felt like just striking out most of the entry, but have decided just in the past hour or so to wait.  If I get rid of some of the constraints, I may find someone whom I like.  I suppose I could talk about it all day, but right now it’s not going to change anything.

All I’m going to do now is pray and hope for the best.  I’ve prayed that if I’m living in legalism, or my list is legalistic, that it’ll be revealed to me.  I want to be real with people, but I also have deep convictions.  I try to be as real with people as I can.

I’m enjoying work this year.  The air conditioner doesn’t work in our office, but that’s life.  Last year I complained of it being too cold.  So I shouldn’t complain, I guess.

I’m ready for school to start … I think.  Next week is going to be different.  I’ll probably go eat lunch at least one day out of the year.  Maybe I can see some people in class and sit with them at lunch.  Meeting people is horrible though.  Especially if you don’t have anything in common …

New things, they come in time …