2011 was a year of many great songs, but only a few standout albums. After discovering a few great new songs on top-song lists, and being generally unimpressed with top-album lists, I decided it would be too hard to do a list of top albums. So here we go, the top 13 of 2011, in some (probably meaningless) order:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
The kingdom of God = where God is king.
Seeking His kingdom means understanding what God values (we know He values us!) and living according to these values. Essentially, we are called to think like God, something we will call Kingdom Thought.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my [Paul’s] joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:1-3)
These are the things God values—things that come from love and from the Spirit (also, see the Fruit of the Spirit—those things the Spirit produces when we abide in Him). Things like power, comfort, success, our own glory—these things the world values, and are contrary to God’s kingdom.
We learn what God values through His Word and by seeking Him in our situation. A few questions to consider:
What is God like?
How does God view me?
What are the eternal impacts of my actions?
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God….But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:12,16)
Lately, I’ve been hooked on the works of Pogo (AKA Nick Bertke from South Africa). Here’s his remix of the Disney classic Snow White (that’s right—the cartoon feature film). Watch the video. Snag some name-your-price downloads here.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
This is the first of Jesus classic teaching known as the Beatitudes (from the Latin beatus = blessed, happy). Being blessed goes further than just a temporary state of happiness, but a new right-standing relationship with God because of Christ. When we are poor in spirit, we recognize our need for God—we are poor because without Him we have nothing. Likewise, those who mourn (v. 4) aren’t necessarily mourning the dead, but mourning the devastation that comes from sin, and turning to God for comfort.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus lists values that are patterns of His kingdom. His kingdom is the place where He is King, not necessarily heaven, but heaven on earth as well, in our hearts and actions.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. (Colossians 1:13)
And this is where we now stand. We are to value the qualities of the kingdom, contrary to seeking our own power, self-gratification, comfort, success, etc.—things that the world tells us to seek.
I blogged before on John Hendrix’s sermon doodles (which have inspired an evolution in my own note-taking). These are some random works from his portfolio. The detail and colours are always incredible.
These two short videos by Charles Bergquist demonstrate some simple but captivating techniques in videography. I love the movement of the text in the first video. The ocean + water are certainly a source of inspiration, especially water in super slow-mo.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
Gravityrepresents the law of attraction found in this verse, drawing near to God so that He will draw near to us. One way we draw near to God is by learning about Him from His Word. Our goal is to spend time daily in the Bible, and read it through in two years.
These are the designs I made for Gravity, happening right now at Pulse Youth, and for 2012 and 2013. Pick up a reading plan here or join Pulse on Facebook to get the monthly plans.
I love listening to various music blogs’ top songs/albums of 2011, and this song was on nearly every list, so you’ve maybe heard it. Anyway, I’m hooked, so I thought I’d post it so that you can get it stuck in your head too. It will definitely be on my top of 2011.
I just finished reading Genesis and Exodus straight through, for the first time in at least a few years. My perception as a kid of the Old Testament was always that God was very different from the character of Jesus in the New Testament, raining down fire and judgment on the unrighteous, whereas Jesus was (typically) gentle and loving.
But what I was able to see for myself this time through is that God really is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus was around since the beginning of time, and He even makes a few appearances in the OT (i.e. wrestling with Jacob—Genesis 32). The character of God in the OT is merciful, personal, loving, jealous, judging—yes—but always righteously, and very consistent with Jesus in the New Testament.
Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exodus 33:11)
After spending time with the Lord, rewriting the tablets, Moses’ face shone because he was reflecting the glory of God, and so he covers his face with a veil. Because Jesus died in our place and rose from the dead, we can have the same level of relationship that Moses has here (Hebrews 10:19).
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:16-17)
The Spirit brings freedom from our misunderstanding and hardened hearts towards God, and now that a relationship with Christ has removed the veil, we too, like Moses, are able to reflect the glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).
…A few important things on reflection:
It is a reflection of God’s glory, not God Himself
Others see His glory in the evidence of His change in us
The reflection is of His character, knowledge, ability