The Best of 2011

This is the same post I posted in “An Recreational Gamer’s Critique.”

Another year has gone by and we are left to reflect on the things of 2011. We had lots a great music, films, books and video games and a lot of stinkers. I will be going over what I felt was the best of the year.

Music

This was the year where I discovered a lot of great bands. I found some really good Indie rock bands that I liked such as Death Cab For Cutie, Real Estate, Band of Horses , and Bon Iver. There were a lot of good bands that put out another great album to add to their collections of great music such as Switchfoot, Owl City, MuteMath, Falling Up and Metallica. All of them had some great music this year but I would say my favorite album of the year goes to Puscifer with their album “Conditions of My Parole.”

First things first, I am a huge Maynard James Keenan fan. I may not agree with all of his ideals but he is a genius when it comes to music. Tool and A Perfect Circle rank high in my favorite artist lists. A Perfect Circle is in my top five. By saying that, When I first listened to Puscifer, I was not impressed. It just sounded like he was goofing off with other musicians and doing something different from Tool and A Perfect Circle. After that, I didn’t give much thought to listening to Puscifer ever again. A guy I knew who went to my church had told me that Puscifer had come out with a new album and that it was really good. I told him I would check it out but I didn’t until last month and I was really impressed. It had that Tool/A Perfect Circle sound to it while going off doing something different.

The five runners up are:

Switchfoot – Vice Verses

MuteMath – Odd Soul

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Owl City –  All Thing Bright and Beautiful

Falling Up – Your Sparkling Death Cometh

Films

I didn’t see as many movies this year. I usually see a lot of movies but this year, I really didn’t have the money to go out and see a lot of them but the ones I did see were excellent. I think my favorite of the year would have to be “X-Men: First Class.”

After being plagued with two terrible X-Men movies ( The Last Stand and Wolverine), I had very little hope for First Class. I thought it was going down the same road as Wolverine of having awful special effects, characters we wouldn’t care for and end up being a stupid summer action flick (like Wolverine was). I can honestly say now that I was wrong. X-Men: First Class was excellent. It dived deep into the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender gave excellent and believable performances that took us into the complicated relationship of these two friends that eventually turn into enemies. It not only is a great comic book movie, its a great drama and time piece film since it takes place in the 1960’s and gives us a look of how the 60’s were. This was by far the best X-Men film I’ve seen. Yes, I’m saying it’s better than X2: X-Men United and I loved that film.

Runners up are:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Pt. 2

Thor

Immortals

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

I Am Number Four

Television

I didn’t watch too much television this year but what I did watch was excellent. There were a lot of great shows. Some of them were new such as New Girl and An American Horror Story and some returning with another strong season such as Community, How I Met Your Mother, The Walking Dead, Entourage and The Big Bang Theory but one show stood out among them all and that would be HBO’s A Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones is about the violent struggle to control the iron throne by the kingdom’s noble families. While this is happening, a new threat arises from the northern snow and ice covered region and from the eastern continent. The show has multiple storylines following certain characters from different families. The show is an excellent drama with a great, complicated plot. The show also follows the book really well (which I’m only halfway through but i’m getting there. I want to start the second one before season two starts). I don’t want to say too much about the show because I think everyone should give it and try and if you get into it, it has some nice surprises.

Runners up:

New Girl

Community

An American Horror Story

Entourage

Mad Men (I’ve only seen seasons 1-3)

Books

Well, I didn’t do too much reading this year. I started reading A Game of Thrones this year but since that came out quite a few years ago, I won’t count that towards this list. Same goes with graphic novels. I read some Thor and Amazing Spider-Man Collections. The one thing I read that came out this year was Locke & Keys Vol. 4: Keys to the Kingdom.

This was recommended to me by a friend so I started reading volume one and it was amazing. I went through all four volumes this year and I can say that this is one you don’t want to miss. It’s about a family the Locke family that moves into their Uncles place, called the “Key House,” after the rape of their mother and murder of their father. They are trying to move on with their lives but are unaware that the evil behind it all is located in the Key House and wants the location of special keys that allows strange things to happen such as removing memories from ones head and having your soul leave your body. Again, I will not say to much about this story because I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone who is going to read it.

Video Games

This section was quite difficult for me. I had my favorite game picked out but then another one came out at the end of the year that made me question my choice but I stood strong. My favorite game of the year is “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.”

I loved almost everything about this game. It did almost everything right (except for one or two hiccups here and there). The thing I liked best about Uncharted 3 was the relationship between Drake and Sully (don’t get me wrong, the action and set pieces are awesome too). There story is told very well and executed very well. If you want all my thoughts on Uncharted 3, check out my review which can be found in “An Recreational Gamer’s Critique”. Link to the side of the page. The game that almost changed my mind was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The only reason I didn’t pick Skyrim is because the large number of bugs and glitches that sometimes ruins the experience for me.

Runners up:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Batman: Arkham City

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Battlefield 3 (Multiplayer Only)

That conclude my list of The Best of 2011. So now i’m curious, what is your Best of 2011? Comment below and let us know what was your favorite book, album, film or video game of the 2011. Now I leave you with a few of my favorite songs of 2011.

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The Heart of Christmas

The holiday season is upon us again. The stores are packed with shoppers doing their Christmas shopping, families putting up the Christmas tree and Christmas lights on the house, people moving around getting their houses ready for their families who will be visiting. So much is going on that we sometimes forget the true meaning of Christmas.

God sent his only son to this earth for us because he loved us so much and I think we sometimes needs a reminder of what the true meaning of Christmas is. So this Christmas, don’t get hung up on all the presents and the decorations. Celebrate the day that Christ came to this earth so he could one day die for us.

I just want to leave you with a few of my favorite Christmas song. Hope you enjoy.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

What We Deserve

Just a thought I would like to share with you all:

I haven’t been spending much time on facebook lately but when I do, I see alot of posts of people saying “I deserve a better job,” “I don’t deserve this,” or “I deserve to have a good relationship.” I’ve been seeing a lot of posts like that and it’s frustrating especially when these things are being said by some of my fellow church goers. Do we really deserve anything in this life? I think not. We are sinful beings. We do terrible, awful things to each other and treat other people terribly yet we believe we deserve the best in life. I think not. We deserve what we get. God sent his song Jesus Christ to die for us even though we didn’t deserve it. We don’t deserve God’s love but he loves us anyways. He provides so many opportunities in our lives so we may have a better life and we should be grateful for what we have.

Top Five Scariest Games

Since it is Halloween and I’m a huge geek, I decided to make a list of the top 5 scariest videogames I have ever played. Hope you enjoy.

Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 follows James Sutherland who comes to the town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his deceased wife Mary. When he arrives, he finds things aren’t what they seem. Everyone in town is missing except for a few people and many terrifying monsters (See image top right). 

The thing that separates Silent Hill 2 from other survival horror games is that it takes out the cheap scares (such as monsters or zombie jumping out at you) and replaces it with a creepy atmosphere. The sound of the game is amazing. In the game, there is a radio you pick up that alerts you when there are monsters near by. To get the true, frightening experience, you need to turn that off and run along the foggy streets of Silent Hill (Bottom right) and down the dark corridors of the buildings  listening for the terrifying creatures that hunt you. The fog also contributes to the creepiness factor of the game. The Playstation 2 and Xbox had enough power to handle a game that would allow you to see buildings at a descent distance but wheres the fun in that. Konami decided to add heavy fog to the game which allowed the player to only see so far and you can only see the creatures when they are close enough to attack. During parts of the game where you are exploring indoors, there is no fog but since most of the town has no power, the inside of the building are incredibly dark including the ones that do have power (Bottom Left). The story of Silent Hill 2 is incredibly dark. It hits on subjects such as domestic abuse, incest, murder and suicide. By the end of the game, you will be heartbroken. It’s an incredibly sad story but when the game finishes (and depending on which ending you get), you will be completely satisfied.

 

F.E.A.R.

In, F.E.A.R., you play as a member of First Encounter Assault Recon and you have to eliminate a man named Fettel who is under control of Alma, an extremely powerful psychic whose spirit is being confined in a secret lab facility. Your goal is to stop Fettel before he releases Alma. The thing that makes this game so frightening is that it deals with the psychology of the encounter in the player’s mind at all times, in order “to get under the player’s skin” instead of focusing on monsters jumping out at the screen for cheap scares. Some of the scariest moments in F.E.A.R., other than the infamous hallway exploding around Alma scene (see image top right) happen when you are exploring the environments. A simple light flickering, the sound of Alma running around out of eyesight, or just climbing down a ladder to discover that Alma was standing right behind you (see image bottom right). Those were the moments that truely terrified me. All these scary moments make a game worth playing with lots of frights and an intense ending.

 

Resident Evil 4

In Resident Evil 4, you play as Leon Kennedy (From RE2) and you are recruit by the secret service to search for the presidents daughter who has been kidnapped by a mysterious cult in a rural village in Europe. Don’t get me wrong, all the RE games have their creepy and scary moments but this game was a step forward in the Resident Evil series. It leaves the traditional RE format and puts you in the perspective right behind Leon’s shoulder (Image top right). The gameplay focuses on action and shootouts involving crowds of enemies in large open areas and when aiming, the camera zooms in making it difficult to view your surroundings which adds to some of the most frightening moments of the game.  The game also has some intense boss battles (image to the left) that leave you on the edge of your seat trying to survive.

 

Alan Wake

Alan Wake is a writer who is suffering from a two year writers block. The game starts out with Alan and his wife arriving in the small town of Bright Falls. They make their way to the cabin that they are staying. After a fight, Alan takes a walk outside when he hears his wife scream. He runs in and finds her missing. He then wakes up a week later with no memory of what happens and he finds himself stalked by some strange dark entity that hides in the darkness.

Alan Wake is a very unique game. The story is set up like some sort of Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft story. It’s really interesting and you really don’t know where it is going. They game is also divided up into episodes each with a cliffhanger at the end. This makes the game more addicting. I found myself desperately wanting to find out what was going to happen next.

What makes Alan Wake a frightening game is the setting. It takes place in a town (resembles the town of Twin Peaks for those who saw the show) surrounded by mountains. Running through the dark forest with only a flashing light is extremely creepy but when you add the dark figures that stalk you and come out of nowhere, its becomes creepier. The game puts alot of emphasis on using light and light being safety. Your flashlight in the game is your greatest weapon. You have to shine your light on your enemy to destroy the darkness the shields them then your enemy is vulnerable. Its definitely a game that shouldn’t be missed

 

Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly absolutely terrified me. Twin sisters Mio and Mayu Amakura are visiting the spot where they used to play as children, which is due to be swallowed by a dam soon, when they are drawn to an abandoned village by a crimson butterfly. They end up in the village and discover a cult ritual had gone horribly wrong and their are tortured souls walking the village. What makes this game so terrifying is that is made like a Japanese horror film (see image to the left) which is terrifying enough. In the game, your only weapon in the game is a camera called Obscura. The camera exorcises the souls of the dead when their picture is taken but it does more damage the closer the spirit is. This does create alot of intense moments int he game and there are alot of them. I don’t want to say too much about it but this game is an experience. It’s downright the scariest game I have ever played.

And that is my list of the top scariest games I have ever played. What are your thoughts? Did you find them scary or are their scarier games that I still haven’t played? What is the scariest game you have ever played?

Simply Terrifying

Halloween is upon us again. I found myself realizing that I had no plans for the first time in years. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Halloween falls on a Monday night so I don’t want to go out and do anything so I have decided that I’m going to stay in for the night but I want to do something Halloween themed. I either want to watch a Horror film or play a scary video game. I decided to compile a list of my favorite horror films. I will also be compiling a list of video games that would be excellent to play on Halloween. Hope you enjoy.

Movies:

Saw (2004)

The original Saw film in the only Saw film that was worth watching. It stuck us in a room with two men who had no idea how they got their and they try to figure out how they got their and why. We are introduced to these two characters and we are put in the same position as these two men. We are trying to figure out why they are there and how are they going to get out. The movie is intense and has a nice twist at the end.

 

 

 

Children of the Corn (1984)

A young creepy boy preacher convinces all the children in a small town to murder all the adults. That should be enough to interest you, right? No? How about this,a young, foxy Linda Hamilton (and some other guy) arrive in the town, befriend a few innocent children and try to escape with the children. There are many jolts, winces and frights. And even though the “He Who Walks Behind The Rows” fella never shows his face, you will definitely feel it’s presence and leave you feeling uneasy and creeped out.

 

 

Let Me In (2010)

Screw Twilight, this is a true vampire love story. A young, mysterious girl named Abby moves next door to a young, trouble boy named Owen. They become friends and he soon discovers that she has a dark secret…She is a vampire. Whooo! Let Me In is wonderfully directed and has a creepy, chilling atmosphere through out the entire film. We watch as these two characters begin to rely on each other through out the film.

 

 

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

The first zombie movie I saw where the zombies didn’t slowly shuffle towards you, they are strong, they are fast and they sure are hungry. I was on the edge of my seat every time a zombie entered the screen. This film also has one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever seen….a zombie giving birth to a zombie baby. Yeah, it was disgusting. I would also like to give credit to Zombieland which I also highly recommend.

 

Frailty (2001)

Frailty is a gem. One of those rare movies that is overlooked by many. It’s about a single father who believes he is called by God rid the world of demons (or terrible human beings) and is helped by his two sons. Bill Paxton gives a great performance and through out the film, your trying to figure out if Bill Paxton is crazy or actually called by God to do these things.

 

 

Identity (2003)

Ten strangers become stranded at an empty hotel and during their stay, people are dying. Some of the acting isn’t very good in this film but its a nice little suspense/thriller that leaves you wondering “what the heck is going on?” and it has a nice little twist at the end.

 

 

 

 

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

This film holds a special place in my heart. It was the first R rated movie I saw in theaters. It’s about four teenagers who accidentally kill a man in a car accident. As all smart teenagers do, they decide to dump the body. One year later, they become stalked by a man with a hook. There are some suspenseful scenes but the thing that stands out most about this film was seeing how the characters lives fell apart after the accident and through out  the film, their friendships are rekindled by the events in the movie and then they start dying which makes some of the deaths hard to handle.

 

 

 

Scream (1996)

Scream was a fun and gory slasher flick that was well done. It kills one of the biggest actresses in the film right off the back and then it discusses the rules of a slash flick throughout the movie. Its well written, well acted and overall a nice suspenseful movie that shouldn’t be missed.

 

 

 

Childs Play (1988)

Dolls are creepy….thats pretty much it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crow (1994)

A rock star comes back from the dead to seek revenge on those who murdered his fiancee and himself. It’s more of an action film than a horror film but it takes place on Halloween so I figured I would add it. I consider The Crow a Halloween movie just like I consider Die Hard a Christmas movie. What makes The Crow so special is you feel for Eric Draven. Brandon Lee did an excellent job at getting the audience to feel his sadness and despair he feels for his lost love and the anger he has towards those who took his life away.

 

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

Paranormal Activity 3 succeeds where the first two failed. The camera angels used in the film set up for some really intense, creepy and suspenseful moments especially the camera that sits on the rotating fan. Everytime they showed something from that camera, I would get an uneasy feeling in my stomach. It’s an uneasy movie about two sisters who are haunted by an entity who the youngest girl calls “Tobey.” Weird things begin to take place in the film, the youngest daughter talks to Tobey and weird things begin to happen but when an innocent game of Bloody Mary goes wrong, all hell breaks loose. The movie has an uneasy feeling through the entire thing and has a terrifying final fifteen minutes that left me lying in my bed that night, terrified to turn off the lights.

The Crazies (2010)

The Crazies was surprised at how good this film was. I expected a lame, zombie like horror flick but ended up with a well crafted, suspenseful, sometimes disturbing film with believable characters that you will find yourself rooting for throughout the entire movie.

 

 

 

 

 

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose revolves around the court case about an exorcism that killed a young girl. The defense gives evidence of supernatural occurrences and the prosecution giving evidence that everything can be proved by science. The creepy factor of this film is when paranormal things start happening to the people who are involved in the case. The lawyers start experiencing creepy things in their own homes. Because of this film, I make sure that I am asleep by 3 am (which according to the film, is the devils time).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

John Klein heads to a  small West Virginia town to investigate a series of strange events, including visions and the appearance of a bizarre entity known as the Mothman who appears right before a disaster. The movie is an excellent suspense movie that makes you question the characters sanity. You wonder if these things are really happening or is this his way of grieving over his wifes death.

 

 

 

Mimic (1997)

Scientist genetically create an insect to  kill cockroaches that are carrying a virulent disease only to have the insects go after their next predator, mankind. In this film, no one is safe children and adults die (and I saw this when I was a child.) I also hate bugs.

 

 

 

 

 

Psycho (1960)

A young woman is murdered by a young motel worker with a split personality. Most everyone knows about this film so i’m not going to say much about it except this…I still freak out when i’m taking a shower. I always get the feeling that someone is on the other side of the curtains with a knife. Terrifying. I at least want to die while wearing pants.

 

 

Signs (2002)

After mysterious crop circles appear throughout the world, an ex-preacher, his kids and his brother still grieving over the death of a family member prepare to deal with an upcoming alien invasion. M. Night Shyamalan creates an excellent and creepy film.  It flows smoothly and eerily from scene to scene. he leaves no fades to black which helps build suspense. As one scene ends the other smartly begins. That’s what keeps the audience watching as if we were tucked tightly into our beds and rapidly turning pages of a good book.

 

 

The Ring (2002)

A young journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone in a week of viewing it. It’s about a spirit of a girl who’s sole purpose is revenge. When Samara came out of the tv, I almost crapped my pants.

 

 

 

 

The Happening (2008)

I know most people hated this film but I loved it. The movie starts off with people randomly committing suicide all over different cities. They soon discover (*SPOILER*) its the plants.They started releasing a neuro-toxin that somehow inhibits the will to survive. Granted, the explanation is the weakest part of the film but the film has some really suspenseful scenes as the survivors flee the cities trying to survive.

 

 

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

In a small American town, a diabolical circus and its demonic proprietor, Mr. Dark, prey on the souls of the innocent people of the town. At first, the carnival seems perfectly normal, well as normal as a traveling carnival can get, but soon people in the town go missing and two young boys discover Mr. Darks secrets so they set out to destroy Mr. Dark and the carnival before they take control of the entire town. I’m just gonna come out and say it, carnies are creepy. That’s it.

 

 

 

 

 

Those are some of my favorite movies that fall into the horror genre or would be a great movie to watch for Halloween (The Crow). What are some of your favorite horror films?

The Magic Lives On

July 15, 2011 was the release of the final film in the Harry Potter series. I found myself standing in a theater in Perrysburg, Ohio anxiously awaiting the premier of Deathly Hallows Part 2. I stood there, wearing black pants, white dress shirt and a sweater vest with a Slytherin sticker on it, thinking about the joy that the Harry Potter series has brought me and many others over the past decade.

I remember when the first Harry Potter book was released. I was like most kids who grew up in the church. I heard adults putting the books down, saying it taught witchcraft to children so I hearing this, I chose to avoid Harry Potter. It wasn’t until 2001 when the first film came out that I witnessed the magic of Harry Potter. I was thrown into a beautiful, magical world and introduced to many characters that I would eventually grow to love. The film had caught my attention but I was confused. I didn’t see why christian parents were making such a huge deal about Harry Potter. It didn’t teach any magic at all. The story was about the power of love and friendship. It didn’t matter, my mind was placed elsewhere with the release of The Lord of the Rings. I put Harry Potter aside and just continued with my life.

It wasn’t until my Jr year of High School that I saw another Harry Potter film. I went to see The Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004 with my mom, brothers and sister that I rediscovered my interest in the series and it held my interest until the very end. After seeing Goblet of Fire in theaters in 2005, I decided to read the books. I picked up the first book in June of 2006 (right after I graduated high school) and i read through the first six by September 2006. I would not say I was obsessed with the books, more passionate. It was great literature, great story and most of all, a cast of great characters that you can relate to in some way or another. I attended midnight showings of the next four films and saw them multiple times and read The Deathly Hallows the day it came out and now I found myself at the final film of the series. I looked around at the hundreds of people at the theaters and wondered if they were remembering how they came to love the series and what it meant to them.

To me, Harry Potter was an escape from my life. I left my home school and went to a vocational school so I could get a head start on my career. I left all my friends to go to a new school and I really didn’t handle it well. I had friends at Penta but I wasn’t really close to them. Then after I graduated, I decided to go to a community college instead of an University and I was the only one of my close friends who did that. I landed a job right after high school as a Toddler teacher at an inner city daycare. It was alright at the time but I knew it was a  job that was going nowhere.

I started reading the series and I got sucked into it. I was thrown into a world a magic and followed a young boy as he discovered this world. I followed his life as he grew up and went through adolescence, faced and had to overcome danger yearly and acted selflessly to protect others. The story also has great themes including the power of love, normality, oppression, survival, and overcoming imposing odds, abuse of power, prejudice, and free choice. There are many lessons to learn from this series and they are all very well written.

I sit here now writing about how much Harry Potter meant to me and why I love the series so much. Now that the series is done, now that their will be no more books or movies, I realize that magic is not gone. The magic lives on in all of us fan boys.  The lessons we learned from the series, the characters we learned to love, and the events that transpired in the series that we feel we went through and overcame with Harry, those feelings will live on with us for years to come. The Magic lives on. I now ask for your feedback. Why does Harry Potter mean so much to you? I look forward to getting your feedback. Now as I finish up, I would like to leave you with some pictures of my Harry Potter collection and fun memories.

We All Need Love

I went on a trip to Gatlinburg, TN a few weeks ago with the college group from my church. I went to get away from all the problems I have here in Ohio, to get away from home for awhile and spend time in awe of God’s marvelous works. I ended up spending the weekend dealing with people who don’t know how to show compassion and love to each other very well. I see people who can quote scripture off the top of their heads say nasty and terrible things about other people. No wonder people don’t believe in Christ. They see how Christians treat each other and who honestly would want to believe in a God whose followers don’t practice what they preach.

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

I feel Brennan Manning just nailed it. People see the way Christians live and they want nothing to do with God because of us. Now the question is how can we change this? Simply love. God sent his son to this earth because he loved us and as his disciples, we should love others.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

The Bible clearly tells us, no commands us to love each other and let everything we do, be done in love. So why don’t we? I think we have trouble loving others because we get caught up in our own selfish desires and we want to be loved ourselves. I think if we just show love to each other, we will be loved back. There is a song by the band Mae called The Fisherman Song (We All Need Love) that just nails the topic of love. Here are the lyrics…

“Tonight I find it hard to sleep
each sound and squeak i hear
keeps me staring at the ceilingOh it’s dark as night outside
and i can’t stand
the quiet that it brings meand i got too much on my mind
i think it’s time to take a drive
and leave it all behindi’ve got a song that’s halfway there
i think it needs the ocean air
i’m gonna grab my guitar
and get in my car

oh, i need some understanding
i need a little love
gonna speed down to the oceanside
in a race with the stars above

with my guitar in hand
i sit down in the sand
i can see the sun is coming

courage fill and crack the sky
with purple silver and golden light
join the day from night

on the shoreline a fisherman
with the bait on his line and a rod in his hand
is ready to greet the day

he turns around to notice me
and the two of us are patiently
waiting for the suns rays

i just need some understanding
and a little love
and somehow i am thinking now
i can get what i’ve been dreaming of…

but this fisherman is closing in
i think he could be crazy
he says, “would you ride with me, ohhh
i could use the company
i got a fish to catch
and you have got a song to sing.”

his eyes are wide as the boat would sway
oh would you like to say you have my attention
see i cannot hear to write your song
but you don’t have too long
to show me what you’re working with

i like to give you just a little somethin’
and you may think it’s nothing on first listen
in the time it takes for you to make love,
you can break love
waste love
and throw it all away…

but all you need is faith
and hope will bring a brighter day
and every time you love
let it lift someone else up

if someone tries to burn you
give him your hand and turn and pick him up
when he’s all alone

now if you find yourself getting frustrated
try not to get too jaded
or you could go insane, like me

and tell your man you must be crazy
your m.o. is lazy when it comes to love
if every failure and turning tide
i toss the blue moon rays
but it never comes back to me

so have some faith, you say

and hope will find its way
well i doubt what you’re sure of
and it seems to me the greatest of these is love

but it’s so hard to love…
we were sitting on his boat
our backs to each other
he was giving me a little time
and all that he said
was hurting my head
wondering how to leave the selfishness behind

all that i could say
is that it’s so hard to love…
the way that You always do

i stepped off the boat and thanked the man
not sure what i was thankful for
when i turned back around to see him again
he was already gone

walking back from the water to my guitar
that’s when the light came on
i knew what he was talking about
i know how to finish my song

LORD, i just need some understanding,
i need a little love
and i want to sing this song to somebody
who does what they’re made of

Oh, we need some understanding
We all need love…”

I just love this song. It’s about how we should love others. I love the part where Dave Elkins sings ” if someone tries to burn you, give him your hand and turn and pick him up when he’s all alone.” I feel this is what we (christians) need to work on.

Well, those are my thoughts. If this post doesn’t make any sense, I am sorry. I just started jotting down my thoughts as they came. I would like to leave everyone with one last thing that had me look at myself and my actions and I feel everyone should read this and take a look at themselves.

“Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent  his one and only son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sen his Son  as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love on another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us…” 1 John 4:8-13

The Sound of Silence

I would like to say that I am a busy person. I work almost forty hours a week, I volunteer about six hour a week at my church’s youth group, i’m involved in the college group at my church, and hold a Bible Study at my house. This doesn’t include my social life, the time I spend just hanging out with my friends or family. There are people who also do the same thing but more. Someone might also be in school, studying about ten hours a week to help keep acceptable grades or they could be playing a sport putting in countless hours to stay in shape and improve their game. Now take all that and ask yourself “Why does God feel so far away?” Think about it. We put so much time into other things such as friends, school, work, videogames and we dont’ spend anytime talking to God. No wonder it’s so hard to be close to God. We are so busy. There are too many distractions from God.

There is no way to get rid of the distractions in our lives but what we have to do is seek out time with God but there is always the thought in our minds “when I seek out God, I never find him or I never hear him.” Well, the question is are we seeking God our properly. Are we getting rid of all the distractions, all the noises in our lives and being silent and still so we can hear God. This reminds me of a story about Elijah in 1 Kings 19: 11-13.”Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” The Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. And then there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and he went out and stood at the entrance of the cave…”

The Lord was not in the windstorm, earthquake or the fire. He was in the silence. I believe the gentle whisper was the silence. God spoke to Elijah with the silence. He felt God when everything was quiet. That is when we will hear God. We will hear God when we take ourselves away from all of our distractions, from all the noises in our lives and just sit in silence. I sat in silence last night. I turned off all the electronics in my room and sat in complete silence. There were not distractions and for the first time in weeks, I felt at peace. I felt close to God. At that moment I just felt the urge to pray and lift praises to God. I felt the need to pray for the kids in the youth group, for my friends in the college group, for my family, my coworkers, the people suffering in Japan. I prayed my little chubby heart out and I have never felt this close to God in a long time.

We may feel that God is far away but he is closer than you think. He is there behind of the noise in our lives. We just need to be silent and listen. 

“In the secret, in the quiet place. In the stillness you are there.”

Slow Your Breath Down

I remember this one time, I was about fifthteen years old and we were selling candy bars for something. I wish I could remember what it was but it was a long time ago. Well, the church had a way to help us pay for the cost for this trip by having us sell candy bars. When I was growing up, I had some issues. I was the middle child and I was always seeking attention (because my brothers got all the attention since they were athletes) so I would do things that would put all the attention on me. Well, we sold at least $100 worth of candy bars and things were looking good until I realized that I was sitting on over $100. I could take this money and do whatever I wanted with it. I could get so many cool things with $100. So I took the money. I remember thinking that there was no way this could backfire on me. Well, it didn’t. I went out and bought cds, toys, candy, etc., etc. My parents noticed that the money was missing and questioned all of us. I denied everything. My parents had to pay the money out of their pockets. They believed that one of my friends took the money so I still got to go on the trip. I continued to steal money from my parents and family for quite some time until the guilt was too much for me to handle and I had to confess what I had done.

How many time in life do we find ourselves caught in an on going lie where it seems like there is no way out, that we have done something so horrid that we can never be forgiven. Thats whats so awesome about God is that he forgives us no matter what we have done in our lives. Whether its stealing money, getting drunk or high, or adultery, God will always forgive us. Psalms 103: 2-4 says “ Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals my diseases. he redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.” Another verse that would be Hebrews 8: 12 which says “And I will forgive their wickedness, and i will never again remember their sins.” How awesome is it that we have a God that is willing to forgive us no matter what we have done.

Its verses like these that just take my breath away. God forgives us no matter what we do. Even if we step away from him for some time, he will always take us back. I now leave you with lyrics from a song that means alot to me. A song with a strong message, about the plea from God to just slow down your life from all things that we are running from and come back to him. He will not only forgive but actually remove all of our burdens. God has the power over sin and relying on Him is the only way we can have the strength to overcome our sin and guilt.

”This chest is full of memories of gold and silver tears. I’ll give you more to own than all of this. And I’ll give you more than years for you were once a child of innocence and I see you just the same. Your burdens couldn’t win or lose a thing. Oh, I’d tell you once again but you’re aways on the run.

Slow your breath down. Just take it slow. Find your hear now, oh you can trust and love again. Slow your breath down, just take it slow. Find your smile now. Oh you can trust and love again oh.

If you leave, I’ll still be close to you. When all our fears rain down, I’ll take you back a thousand times again. I’ll take you as my own. I would sing you songs of innocence til’ the light of morning comes. Til’ the rays of gold and honey cover you in the sweetness of the dawn but you’re always on the run.

Slow your breath down. Just take it slow. Find your heart now, oh. You can trust and love again. Slow your breath down, just take it slow. Find your smile now, oh. You can trust and love again, oh.

You’re not alone! You’re now a part of me. You feel the cure, I’ll feel the toil it brought you.”