Monday, April 30, 2012

Photography Contest Winners!

First, I would like to thank everyone who entered in our first photography contest! You all took such lvoely pictures and I greatly enjoyed viewing them. Also, a big thanks to our photographers who judged the pictures! Thank you for taking the time to view them.

Now.... the first place winner is..... CORRINE!! Congrats, Corrine. Please email me with your address so we can send you the camera strap cover!

Second place winner is..... VANESSA!!! Congrats, Vanessa. Please email me with your address so we can send you your camera necklace!

Thank you again for entering!!!!!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Michelle's Picks 2


Here are my last two top picks of music video's!

Pick #3

Pick #4

Did you know that Michelle loves vintage?!?!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Word From the Wide (The Wise Being God)~ Nadia

Dear Nadia,

What is God's definition of beautiful?

~ Curious

Dear Curious,
1 Samuel 16:7 says: “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” God doesn't base beauty on what our face or our body looks like – His definition of beauty is based on what our heart looks like. We can get a good idea of what God considers beautiful by looking at Proverbs 31. A beautiful, godly woman:
  • Brings good, not harm to others: a godly girl will encourage and lift others up; she will not gossip. She is thoughtful and puts others first.
  • Works with eager hands/sets about her work vigorously: a godly girl does not complain, but serves diligently – happy to do the work God has set before her (check out Ephesians 6:7).
  • She considers a field and buys it: this verse is basically saying that a godly girl thinks before she acts and is a good steward of what she has (including money).
  • Her arms are strong for her tasks: a godly girl will seek to strengthen and develop herself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. She will strive to do her best in everything.
  • She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy: a godly girl is humble and quick to serve others – especially those in need. She gives generously and selflessly.
  • She is clothed with strength and dignity: To be clothed is an analogy for completely covering yourself. Basically, all a godly girl does will reflect the strength and dignity of her character.
  • She can laugh at days to come: a godly girl trusts in God. She is not worried about the future because her life is in God's hands (see Proverbs 3:5-6).
  • She speaks with wisdom: a godly girl knows the truth of God's Word and speaks it.
Bottom line? Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

Did you know that Nadia likes to sing and dance?!?!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Testimony~ Heather Young

I was born and raised in a Christian home.  Early in life I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  I only listen to Christian radio stations, and have no urge whatsoever to do otherwise.  In addition, I have no desire to say cuss words.  If you would like to begin practicing those habits, pray that God would make you more like himself.  He works in my life every day, and I know he will do so in yours as well.  All you have to do is ask.

About a year ago, I was pondering whether or not I had trials.  Of course, in my small group at church, I would hear stories of what others were going through.  But, I felt different.  Instead of struggling to pray and have faith in God like everyone else around me, I had peace and did not feel like I was challenged with anything.  I talked to my small group leader, and she suggested praying to God and asking Him for a challenge.  Soon after, I spoke with my dad, and God gave me insight on why I felt like I wasn’t having trials.  He opened my eyes to ten things I had not seen before, ten ideas that helped me understand why I felt like I didn’t have trials.  I found verses that proved they were true, and now I would like to share them with you.

1.  Everyone has trials.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4:12-13

Hardships are guaranteed in this life.  “Do not be surprised” when you suffer, but expect to be tested.  Moreover, “rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.”  If you have joy in the fact that Christ has already suffered on your behalf, then that joy will continually encourage you throughout your journey.

2.  Everyone’s life is different, so not everyone experiences the same trials and things.

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Hebrews 13:20-21

God prepares us for what is to come.  Although these gifts may be the same as some others’, each and every person obediently pursuing God’s plan for their lives will be equipped “with everything good for doing [God’s] will.”  Also, God “works in us what is pleasing to him,” meaning he prepares us each n our own way for what he is going to let us experience.

3.  God has a special purpose and plan for everyone.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Jeremiah 29:11

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10

4.  My life reflects God’s grace and goodness toward people.

“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.”
Psalm 31:19

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:6-9

I realized that my life displays God's mercy toward us, because he has given me great faith to stand strong when things seem difficult. 

5.  I may not feel like I have trials, but I do.

“…so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted.”
1 Thessalonians 3:3-4

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
2 Timothy 3:12

6.  God doesn’t protect us from trials, he helps us through them.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

7.  The reason it’s hard for me to see my trials is because God helps me to get through them so they seem really small.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.”
1 Corinthians 1:25

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

8.  And in reality, trials are extremely small compared to our great big God!

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.”
1 Corinthians 1:25

“Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
Isaiah 26:4

9.  Trials make us stronger, even if we don’t feel like they do.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
1 Peter 1:3-4

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Romans 5:3-4

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
James 1:2-4, 12

The song “Stronger” by Mandisa relates to this topic very well.

10.  God doesn’t let us go through anything we can’t handle.

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13

A few days after a good small group discussion at church, my small group leader texted me and asked what I thought would be a good verse for us to memorize.  I found this verse, and the next week she brought cards that she had painted herself.  Having a verse put so artistically in front of me really helped me to remember it.  I recommend trying it.

I pray that my testimony has helped you to understand why you are having trials, how you should react to trials, or why you feel like you don’t have any trials!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Interview with Jamie K

Hello Readers!

I, Haylie, got the great privalidge to interview Christian artist Jamie K! I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did and that you will go out and buy her CD "Never Gonna Stop"!

1)Tell us about your new album “Never Gonna Step”. What will we find on it?
You will find The Bible set to hip hop music. : ) Most of these song lyrics are straight out of The Bible and all are inspired by scripture from the Old and New Testament. God has captured my heart and I can’t help but write, rap, and sing music about Him! The music itself is an upbeat hip hop feel that will make you want to dance and fill you up with The Word of God at the same time.

2)You said that your heart is inspired by youth. What are you doing to reach them?
I look back on my time as a teenager and realize it was one of the most influential times of my life. I can remember a few people who took time to speak life into me, to encourage me in my walk with Jesus. Their words stayed with me the rest of my life. I want to be that person to the youth now. I want to speak life into their lives! So for my tour for this album I am going to schools and performing these songs with my fellow artist and good friend Sheila Marie. But our goal isn’t just awesome music, it is also to be an inspiration and speak life into these young people. Telling them truths from the Bible: God is with them, to stand strong for Jesus, to pursue their relationship with Him above all else, and yes you can achieve your God given dreams! Don’t be afraid to dream big, because your God is a big God and can do all things.

3) Tell us about Jamie K Entertainment.

Jamie K Entertainment is my label. Even from when I was a young girl I always had an entrepreneur spirit selling lemonade or I even started my own dog walking buiness! : ) God has grown my entrepreneur dreams since and God willing, I plan to expand Jamie K Entertainment in the years to come to produce and work with other artists, make music videos, and even movies. To create the best in music and media in all forms that glorifies God and spreads the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are so many talented Christians out
there and we need to reach the world in ways it understands like music, tv, and movies.

4) It’s refreshing to see that a Christian artist put a “Jesus!” page on their website! What was your thinking behind that page?

I haven’t always been labeled a “Christian Artist” in fact my first album was a secular album I released when I was graduating from college. I was a Christian writing music, but my heart wasn’t in it for the right reasons and I was unintentionally misusing my gift of music God had given me and missing out on the best He had for me. Over the last few years God has completely captured my heart and every aspect of my life, which is reflected in my current album “Never Gonna Stop” I came to realize my greatest success comes in serving Him not money or fame. So everything about my album and myself as an artist I want to direct the attention back to Jesus. A true deep meaningful relationship with Jesus is the most important decision anyone could ever make, so inside my album cover I wrote the scriptures each song is based on and included the website and Jesus link so anyone who gets a hold of my album has the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and ask Him to be their Savior.
5)What is one of your favorite ways to serve God?
God has been teaching me to “live by the Spirit.” I always thought the most important thing for me was performing and music, surely that is how I would really reach people! But I was so wrong. It isn’t what we do in the exciting times that is most important, it is what we do in the mundane repetitive things of life. So for me when I do everyday things like taking my dog for a walk I pray for God to help me see the people around me through His eyes and to literally “Walk in the Spirit”. So sometimes I feel the Spirit lead me to talk to an old woman sitting on a bench, or a young girl walking with a book, and it amazes me how when you let God use you to reach out to a stranger in everyday life circumstances it can change someone else’s life. Anyone can put on a great face when they are in the spotlight, but when you’re not your true character shows in how you live your everyday life.

6)When do you feel closest to God?
That constantly changes for me. I usually feel closest to God when I play piano, in my time studying His Word, or fellowshipping with other believers praying and worshiping God as a church body. But then there are times when I don’t feel Him and wish I could! God promises in His Word that “He will never leave you or forsake you” I always desire to feel His presence but I have learned to not trust my feelings and trust in His Word, He is always with me, that is what His Word says whether I feel Him or not.

7)What is one of your favorite attributes of God?
His faithfulness, it amazes me! How could he always love us and remain faithful to us even when we turn our back on Him? The book of Hosea in Old Testament is one of my favorites, all about how God always loves us and remains faithful when we do not, I can not fathom His faithfulness and love for us!

8)What do you enjoy to do in your downtime?

I love to take my dog to the beach and laying in the sand or playing in the water. I love feeling the sun and being outdoors playing tennis or wakeboarding. My husband and I also recently took up archery and that has been a blast, I shot an apple! : )

9)If you were standing in front of a large crowd of teenaged girls, what is the one thing you would tell them?
Don’t believe the lies the devil is trying to tell you! I wasted too many hours as a teenager looking in the mirror wondering if I was pretty enough when God had already made me as His masterpiece! You are a masterpiece! When the devil tells you your not good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough rebuke him in the name of Jesus Christ your Savior and say “I am a child of God, holy, set apart, loved, cherished, and you and your lies have no power over me.” The devil was defeated 2,000 years ago when Christ was raised from the dead, he has no power over Christians, but he will still try to lie to us and make us believe he does, but he doesn’t that is only part of the deception! You are free! You are who God says you are, and He says amazing things about you!
For a scriptural list of who God says you are:
10)What was your inspiration behind your album “Never Gonna Stop”?

God deserves the best. The best everything including the best music. Christian music doesn’t have to be a certain sound and it should be as good if not better than secular music because God deserves the best! My goal was and is to write and produce Christian Music that is the best in quality and content to inspire people to want to know Jesus.

Favorite color? Yellow
Favorite movie? Enchanted
Coffee or Tea? Decaf : )
Sour or sweet candy? Chocolate!
Heels or flats? Flip Flops

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Favorite Author~ Hogan Stevens

A couple of weeks ago, I received a new book in the mail, a book I had been anxiously awaiting for what seemed like forever. It was the first of a new series, and yet it was the ninth book in an epic storyline that spanned over three series, all by the same author: Bryan Davis.

Years ago, when I was about 12 or so, I read my first book by Davis, and I immediately fell in love. It was Raising Dragons, the first in a four book series. I've always had a love for adventure type stories that include some fantasy elements, but usually those type of books are a bit harder to find in the Christian section. At least, it's hard to find any that are actually good.

Well, as soon as I got my hands on that first Bryan Davis book, I could hardly put it down. It had just the right amount of adventure, packed full with ancient secrets and tales told by dragons. Yes, that's right! Dragons. And the awesome part is that all of his books show a great amount of Christian ideals.

The first series--the Dragons in Our Midst series--centers around Billy Bannister, a young man whose life is turned upside down when he discovers that he possesses dragon genes, and Bonnie Silver, a lovely girl who loves God with all of her heart and hides a strange secret from those who wish to hurt her. She and Billy meet in the first book and come to understand that they have a lot in common--because his father and her mother used to be dragons centuries ago, Billy and Bonnie are now being hunted by an evil dragon slayer intent on taking their lives. Over the course of the four books, Billy and Bonnie establish a strong friendship, and together they go through many dangerous and exciting adventures learning about a past filled with dragons-turned-human, traveling through both heaven and hell, and coming to understand just what plan God has for their lives.

If you have never read these books, then I heartily suggest you do so when you get the chance. They are by far some of the best I have ever read; I would easily put them in my top 10 list. And that's just the first series!

The second series--Oracles of Fire--is even better than the first. It's another four books, and while we are introduced to many new, amazing characters, Billy and Bonnie (along with their friends Walter and Ashley and more) are still a big part of the story. The first book in the Oracles of Fire is called Eye of the Oracle, and it starts with the Flood in Noah's time, leading all the way to the present, with Saphira usually as the main character. We follow Saphira through her journey as a lowly slave girl that finds love in the eyes of her Savior. Her tale is a sad yet lovely one, and she is probably one of my favorite characters ever.

Bryan Davis has a true talent for writing. With his many complex, realistic characters that each have a personality of their own and his magnificent plotlines that have you on the edge of your seat the whole way through, I guarantee these books will steal your heart and ignite your imagination.

Are you ready for a twisting, suspenseful adventure full of secrets kept by dragons and dangerous villains seeking to cover the world in darkness? Then these books are for you.

Because, of course, we know that the light always prevails.

And with Bryan Davis as the author, the story is bound to leave you wanting more.

Did you know that Hogan is the master at falling down the stairs?!?!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Photography Contest Day 7

Day 7~ Words

Today is Day 7 of our photography contest! The category today is words.

“Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” ~ Proverbs 1:23

Friday, April 20, 2012

Photography Contest Day 6

Day 6~ Christian

Today is Day 6 of our Get Snappy photography contest! The category today is Christian.

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father serve.” ~ John 12:26

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Photography Contest Day 5

Day 5~ Camera

Today is Day 5 of our photography contest! The category today is camera.

“So God created man in his own image, after our likeness:” Genesis 1:24a

Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Abby Whear.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Photography Contest Day 4

Day 4~ Negative

Today is Day 4 of our photography contest! The category today is negative.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Photography Contest Day 3

Day 3~ Vintage

Today is Day 3 of our Get Snappy! photography contest! The category today is vintage.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Photography Contest Day 2

Day 2~ Times of Day

Today is Day 2 of our Get Snappy! photography contest! The category today is times of day.

“The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth forever: the moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth forever.”~ Psalm 136: 8-9

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Video: What If Twitter Was Around at the 1st Easter?

Watch this video portraying what it might of been like if Twitter was around at the first Easter.

Video: What If Twitter Was Around at the 1st Easter?

Photography Contest Day 1

Day 1~ Nature

Today is Day 1 of our Get Snappy! photography contest! The category today is nature.

“And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:”


Photograph taken by Abby Whear.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Hunger Games~ Movie Review by Kari Willinger

When I read the Hunger Games series I couldnt wait til the movie came out and when it did I went to the midnight premiere. The first book was amazing as was the movie. I loved it and I hope you will too.
There are 12 districts and 1 capitol. There is 1 president. There is the Hunger Games. A pageant where, by law, 1 boy tribute and 1 girl tribute from every district, in between the ages of 12-18m, is sent into an arena, to fight to the death. This will be watched by the all districts and the Capitol. This happens every year and this year everything will change. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is the girl tribute from district 12. There are 24 tributes and only one comes out. Can she become who everyone wants her to be and in the end win the Games? Can she leave her mark on districts and give them hope for a better future?
This was rated PG-13. There is three uses of d*** and two uses of h***. There is no sex or nudity just bare legs and you see a man wearing only tight fitting shorts in a video. This movie has alot of violence, the only thing to really worry about if you do not like violence. I give this movie a 4/5.
Did you know that Kari likes to dip her Ritz in water before she eats them?!?!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Our Generation for Christ~ Zachary Tingle

            We are growing up in a world that continues to accelerate. Our culture and the culture of the world, at large, insist that we be “productive” every second of our being. This pressure has had a dynamic effect upon how we view femininity, masculinity, and ultimately romance. Over the last thirty years all three of these things have either become badly twisted or destroyed altogether. We will have to be proactive in rebuilding these ideals or we risk not only losing the beauty of God’s design for relationship but also losing security that comes with living in God’s template.
A bit of historical context…

            Probably the single most pivotal factor in the decline of Godly romantic relationships was World War II (WWII). Starting at the beginning of the 20th Century the women’s rights movement gained a whole lot of momentum and popularity which only grew leading up to WWII. When the U.S. joined WWII the vast majority of male population was either shipped to Europe or the South Pacific. The result of all the men leaving to go fight was that a huge of number of women went to work to help support the war effort, but unlike the previous wars in our history they did not do this through a domestic medium (making clothing, sending food, providing moral support via communication). WWII was different; when we went to war the women of the U.S. rallied and went to work in the factories. They assumed all of the industrial roles that the men had held until then (this was necessary for our country to survive the war but it helped do the irreparable damage that the American psyche suffered from the war).
            Externally, the years following the war were some of the best years America had seen since its birth. The economy prospered, the standard of living soared, and the U.S. was leading the world in everything from agriculture, to industrial production, to scientific discoveries. However, all was not as well as it appeared. The vast majority of the men who returned from WWII were deeply scarred. They had watched friends die, innocent people be murdered, and cities become wastelands. The effect on them and on our culture was devastating. Because of what our men had been through, most of them emotionally and psychologically withdrew. These men who had been heroes on the battlefields of the world could not shake the haunting after-image of what they had experienced (the reason many of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers do not talk about the war to this day).
            As many of you are aware, the father’s role in a family is absolutely critical. Many of the “Baby Boomers” (Americans born between 1946 and the late 1959) grew up with a very distant father. There were, of course, exceptions—but they were rare. Because of this, the men of that generation grew up without a role-model helping teach them about manhood, leadership, chivalry, and romance. They grew up without a reasonably good idea of how to lead a woman. Similarly, many of the young women grew up without the love, attention and affirmation that are so important in the formation of a stable, secure woman.
            The mother’s role is also important; many of the mothers of the era had tasted the industrial world and liked it. They had provided for themselves and their families for the years while the men were at war. The thought of not having to depend on anyone was intoxicating. The idea of being independent continued to grow and these women began to push for more political, economic, and social “equality.” This rise in maternal independence affected the collective perception of fathers and it was not a positive shift. It further lowered the esteem in which men were held and consequently lowered the value of traditional (and Biblical) masculinity and femininity.
            The 1960’s was the immediate effect of the lack of father figures. Men found their identities in rebellion and immorality. The women of that decade sought attention, affirmation and love through immorality and “independence.” Romance was completely detached from parental authority because parents were viewed as “puritanical” and “outdated,” beside the sad fact that most parents weren’t paying that much attention anyway. After our society recovered from the shock of the 60’s it tried to compensate by balancing the traditional views with the rebellious ones. The result was the dating system in which it is socially acceptable to emotionally and sexually sample different people until you found “the one.” This virus grew and spread until sexual immorality was so common that abortions became socially acceptable and were legalized in 1973 (Supreme Court Case Roe v. Wade).
            As the 70’s passed into the 80’s our already damaged culture began to shift into a system in which the value of “instant gratification” surpassed all. The mass-availability of televisions provided for impersonal use of free-time and further reinforced the concept of getting what one wants when one wants it. It also thoroughly backed the concept of romance as an interaction of perfect emotional bliss that should be acted upon while it lasts. The cinema of the 80’s portrays the sadly twisted roles of emotionally and relationally passive men and increasingly assertive women; all with the strong undertone that one should get what one wants when one wants it.
            The 80’s passed into the 90’s and the ultra-strong feminist movement began to taper off with the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment. Our society had been so damaged by the now two generations of absentee fathers and overly assertive mothers that no one knew exactly what male and female roles were supposed to look like. “Sadie Hawkins” dances became normal and homosexual couples became socially acceptable (if still a little odd). Terms like “equal opportunity dating” emerged allowing either gender to initiate the relationship. Parents had now fully shifted from an entity of respect and authority to the butt-end of the now fully-fledged “teenage” culture. Rather than heeding Biblical wisdom and “honoring…father and mother” teenagers sought to mislead, deceive and slander their parents. The blame was not one-sided though. While teens did not honor and obey their parents, parents failed to assume their God-given roles as the leaders and authorities of the home. The damage the collective American society was too deep and too completely shattered.

            Our generation is different. While we have unfortunately been raised in this wreck of a culture we have the rare opportunity to change things. With the dawn of the new millennium society has become so totally apathetic that the main peer pressure is to not shake the system up. Rather than facing overwhelming pressure to engage in sinfulness we are pressured not to try and change anyone else’s indulgence. Psalm 14:3 say that “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” In our generation we are simply told not to resist this, but not necessarily to embrace it.
            Our society believes that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that no one can dictate anyone else’s reality. This is a HUGE opportunity. We have been given a new identity in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). We are no longer required by our sin-nature to be “corrupt.” Our culture is now ideologically open to us standing for a Biblical worldview (even in dating). All one has to do in this decade is tell someone that standing with the Word of God is what works and that it is Truth (most people are very hesitant to pick up an argument about Truth and will drop it).
            Even with our amazing advantage over the last few generations, walking with Christ in romance can be one of the hardest things do. Our bodies (mostly hormones) urge us to shift focus away from Christ and toward the person of interest. Most of us have also inadvertently embraced the norm of not including our parents in this aspect of our lives. The simple truth is God commands us to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12) and it is not honoring them to exclude them from the process of choosing the person with whom we will spend the rest of our lives. We who are still unmarried are called to purity and integrity. Let’s be the generation that begins to bandage the cultural wound. Let’s be the generation that learns how to comport ourselves within the Biblical standard so our children will have the role model that the last several generations have missed. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thousand Foot Krutch

Sometimes the best way to move forward is to go back to the basics, taking all of the raw energy and emotion of the past and channeling it into the present, coupled with all of the progression and knowledge obtained in the intermediary years. And that’s exactly what Thousand Foot Krutch is doing on the aptly titled The End Is Where We Begin, which doesn’t just showcase the group’s thunderous musical pursuits coming full circle with its most cutting edge album to date, but also finds Canada’s favorite modern rockers voluntarily walking away from record label life altogether (even after a slew of profitable offers came along) to reignite the passionate DIY work ethos that first emerged over a decade ago.

The End Is Where We Begin summarizes everything we’ve been through as a band, and where we are now- the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another,” confides front man Trevor McNevan. “We’ve been through every transition you could face as a band in the past year, aside from the band line up, and our entire team couldn’t be more excited. Against all odds, not to mention some pretty lucrative record contracts, we’re following what we feel is the right thing for us to do, and at the end of the day, that’s our responsibility. We’re very thankful to have the support and trust we do with our audience; they’re as much a part of our team, as anyone else. We’re growing together, and look forward to each new step we take together.”

For those who’ve been following the Ontario-bred players since their formation in 1998, it’s been a continuously escalating highlight reel that includes best-selling albums, four top 25 Active Rock hits (including the top 20 smash “Fire It Up”), plus a slew of soundtrack slots. In fact, the group has literally infiltrated every facet of pop culture, from ongoing ESPN appearnces, to various NASCAR, MLB, NHL and NFL airings (including the 2010 Super Bowl), along with the “GI Joe” movie trailer, WGN-TV’s “Smallville” and EA Sports’ “NHL 2010” video game.

That trend is continuing at breakneck speed with the new project, which even prior to hitting streets, found the lead single “Let The Sparks Fly” and fellow adrenaline-infused rocker “Light Up the Sky” picked up by ESPN. Both tracks also serve as the ultimate tone setters for the sonic explosions contained within The End Is Where We Begin, which could be considered the ultimate Thousand Foot Krutch mix-tape showcasing a myriad of full-throttled personalities.

“If I had to use one word to describe the sound of this record, I would say ‘uninhibited,’” ponders McNevan. “From the beginning, the architecture of this record was different from the others. I knew this one was something special when I felt the need to go back- back to just sitting on the bed with a guitar with no outside voices- and being inspired by just the simple possibilities. The past songs and records have always been honest- that’s something very true to our hearts as musicians and always will be- but this was something different. There’s something that happens when you turn the sound down and just listen. I’ll never forget those moments.”

Throughout that period of simplifying and waiting for inspiration to arrive, McNevan popped in the band’s very first project, That’s What People Do, which echoed respected rappers like Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys, cross-pollinated with the rhythmic grooves of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Those inspirations return throughout The End Is Where We Begin, alongside the group’s continuously marinating blend of towering choruses, razor-sharp rhythms, epic arrangements and stadium shaking rumbles.

“As a songwriter, Trevor’s always been one to keep his thumb on the pulse of what’s going on in music at any given time,” explains drummer Steve Augustine.

“This record in a lot of ways, is a bridge going back to where we came from, traveling all the way through where we’ve been, to where we’re going,” states McNevan.

One key sonic ingredient that runs throughout the album is a raw grit that mirrors the group’s unrelenting live sound. To capture that sound, Thousand Foot Krutch teamed up with good friends, producer Aaron Sprinkle (Deftones, Anberlin, Pedro the Lion, The Almost) and mixing engineer J.R. McNeely (Paramore, Underoath, MXPX, Relient K). Sprinkle co-produced with McNevan, as well as produced Masquerade.

“I work on a lot of the song arrangement/pre production in the writing stages of the record, and then get with the guys to add their input and work through what’s best for the rhythm sections of the song,” says McNevan.  “Steve and Joel are two of the best players out there, so that part’s always a treat. Making the record, Aaron and I ran between his studio in Seattle and mine in Nashville, working on everything there and overseeing things remotely, while Steve and Joel tracked bass and drums in their home studios in Canada. It’s an interesting process, but seems to work well for us.  We’re a very hands on group of guys.”

 “We aimed for the sounds to be pretty raw and to reach back on purpose, like [2003’s breakthrough record] Phenomenon, which had a certain kind of energy to it that we weren’t able to find again until now,” says Augustine.  “We wanted to do a raw record where we’re not replacing sounds or realigning parts to fix things, but going in with strong takes the first time around and having that translate towards more energy.”

The lyrical make-up of The End Is Where We Begin is just as urgent and insistent, while continuing in the group’s positive and proactive tradition. Hardly a moment goes by on the album where listeners aren’t being motivated towards a call to action, much like how the band literally risked its whole career to put its unadulterated artistic vision on display.

“Without trying, this record has a very militant theme to it, with songs like ‘War Of Change’ and ‘Courtesy Call’ painting more of a visual for that,” states McNevan. “There's an urgency to it and I think the timing feels right. This record's heart can be summed up by ‘Be The Change,’ the album’s lyric and phrase seen throughout the album artwork.”

Continues Augustine: “We’ve always felt we’ve made music for everyone, whether that be rock or whatever style we happen to be recording at the time. We try to make good music anyone would enjoy, but with a positive message that talks about what we believe and what comes from the heart.”

When it comes to Thousand Foot Krutch’s vast array of listeners, which include a half million Facebook followers from literally all walks of life, few bands can boast having such a loyal following. Not only do the guys make it a point to sign autographs after shows and stay feverishly connected on social networking sites, but they even provided a hands-on opportunity to get involved with the making of The End Is Where We Begin. Fans are taking literal ownership of the record after contributing to the group’s indie efforts via (a new venture that allows artists to “fund and follow creatively”) and in return, the band provided an all access glimpse into the recording process.

“Since day one we’ve actually been uncomfortable with the term ‘fans’ because these people mean so much more to us,” assures McNevan. “They’re the friends and family of the band so to speak and I think they’ve grown to trust us over the years, which is something that’s been built between us and not manufactured…Teaming with Kickstarter allowed us to launch the idea of recording this record and open the door for anyone who pledges support to be a part of the process. It’s not just about asking for money, which would’ve made us feel pretty uncomfortable. It’s about being able to create packages with various levels of exclusives, from Skype calls with the band, to exclusive vinyl, handwritten lyrics and just a closer connection in general. We had no idea what it would amount to and if we’d even make our goal, but we ended up going quite a bit past it.”

When it comes to the subject of surpassing goals, The End Is Where We Begin doesn’t just find Thousand Foot Krutch’s new career direction taking off like a tour de force, but also serves as a creative pinnacle that blends the most innovative elements of yesterday with the ground-breaking strides of today. “I think this is a step forward in a new and inspired direction for us musically and as a band,” sums up McNevan. “It’s everything we could’ve hoped for and we’re excited to head into this season. Sometimes we need to go back to go forward and remember where we came from, which connects on a lot of different levels. We hope to keep making music that’s honest to us and continue to grow together with our audience.”        @ officialTFK

Feature courtesy of Rick Hoganson.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fall on Your Knees~ Cassie Stout

Fall on your knees in prayer, you will be heard.
Fall on your knees in pain, you will be healed.
Fall on your knees in repentance, you will be forgiven.
Fall on your knees in worship, you will be up-lifted.
Fall on your knees in tears, you will be comforted.
Fall on your knees in selflessness, you will be rewarded.
Fall on your knees in disbelief, you will be amazed.
Fall on your knees in sorrow, you will be cherished.
Fall on your knees.
You WILL be loved.

Did you know that Cassie loves video games?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lilies First Photography Contest!

From April 15th to the 21st, Lilies Among Thorns Magazine will be hosting our first ever photography contest! Each day we will have a different category in which you can enter in your picture via Flickr or Blogger through Mr. Linky. The winner will receive a camera strap cover donated by Stephanie Temesy from prettylittlecovers Etsy shop. Second place winner will receive a camera necklace donated by TuesdayFreya Etsy shop. Here are the daily categories.

Sunday, April 15th~ Nature (either elements or nature itself)

Monday, April 16th~ Times of Day (sunrise, morning, evening, afternoon, twilight, sunset, )

Tuesday, April 17th~ Vintage (items, clothing, settings etc…)

Wednesday, April 18th~ Negative (in negative setting)

Thursday, April 19th~ Camera (A camera must be in this picture in anyway)

Friday, April 20th~ Christian (any item that can represent Christianity; cross, Bible, church, person praying etc…)

Saturday, April 21st~ Words (words anywhere; written in chalk on the driveway, written on your hand, written in a journal, pages of a book etc…)

Here are the rules:
  • You must be a follower of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine.
  • You must submit at least 5 photographs the entire week to be qualified for first or second place. If you do not think you can submit at least 5 photographs, we encourage you to participate anyway. J
  • You must submit your link onto our Mr. Linky from your Flickr or Blogger account the day it is assigned. If it is linked after, it will not be judged.
  • You will receive 5 bonus points if you add a Bible verse that goes along with your photograph. It can be either on the picture or used as a description of it.

Your photographs will be judged by Haylie Gregory: editor, Haley Oscar: assistant editor, Cassie Oscar: photographer, Abby Whear: photographer, and Lauren Jaji: photographer. Your photographs will be judged on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best. They will each receive one vote per judge per category. The categories are: creativity, color (unless negative), shape, contrast and overall balance.

Example: Photograph 1~ Creativity 5, Color 4, Shape 4, Contrast 5, Overall Balance 4. Total Score~ 22

The most one can score on a picture is a 25 unless it is the negative picture. If you participate on all 7 days, you have a much better chance at winning.

After April 21st, all the scores from each judge will be tallied up. The person with the highest score will receive the camera strap cover. The person with the second highest score will receive the camera necklace. The winner will be announced on April 30th along with the second place winner and two honorable mentions.

We hope that you will participate in our photography contest! We also want to encourage you to tell your friends and other photographers about this contest!

Get snappy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Michelle's Picks!

Hey Everyone!

Here are some of my current favorite music video's!

Pick #1

Pick #2

Did you know that Michelle loves Reeses?!?!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

10 Lies Hollywood Tells Us~ Nataleigh Robinson

If you live on this earth (which you probably do) then you have probably experienced your fair share of expectations.  Your parents expect you to clean your room, your friends expect you to be there when they need you, your pastor expects you to pay attention in youth group and God expects you to share the good news of His son. 
All these things are rather reasonable expectations but often we can feel like we’re getting mixed messages.  We get one message from our friends at church and a completely different message from our friends at school.  Our parents tell us one thing while our teachers tell us something different.  Our pastors present one way of gaining success while society presents an entirely different way to gain success. 
The Devil uses a variety of lies to confuse us into living our lives in a way that is less than holy.  But we can’t expect to realize these things as lies if no ones ever pointed them out to us.  Not to worry that’s what this article is here for.  Here are ten lies that Hollywood tells us

1. You have to be a size one to be considered attractive.  A hundred years ago people held a very different opinion of beauty.  It was considered much more attractive to have a little fluff.  But in 1959 something happened that forever changed the way beauty was viewed.  This life changing event took place in the form of a still very popular toy named Barbie.  Barbie was stick thin with the perfect hourglass shape and drop dead gorgeous.  Every girl wanted to look just like her.  And so the search for beauty began. We’ve all experienced insecurity at one time or another, it’s part of being a girl, its part of living in a sinful world.  Since sin entered the world women have struggled with wanting to be attractive.  There isn’t anything wrong with wanting to look good, after all God tells us to take care of our bodies since they are the temples of God (1 Cor 6:19-20).  I think this includes watching out weight but it doesn’t mean obsessing over it.  God made each of us with different builds and not all of us will be able to healthily fit into a size one.  What’s important is that we except the body God has given us.

2. Being a virgin is something to be ashamed of.  Turn on the TV for any extended amount of time and you will quickly realize that our society is obsessed with sex.  Adult shows and movies are full of sex scenes and explicit sexual jokes.  Kids movies are less obviously filled with sexual undertones and innuendos.  Even some commercials have an underlying sexual message.  Living in a world filled with never-ending sexual messages and friends who are constantly hooking-up, it can be difficult not to feel like you’re the only virgin left on the planet.  
I can assure you that you are most definitely not.  There are hundreds of students who are still virgins.  In 2009 34% of high school students admitted to being sexually active and even if there were another 10% who had had sex but hadn’t admitted it that still roughly 56% of high school students who are still virgins. That’s over half of your school.  Just remember that the next time you’re thinking of giving in just because your ashamed of your virginity.  You’re not alone and God values your purity more than anything else.

3. Marriage doesn't last forever.  God created marriage.  God realized how lonely Adam was and decided that he needed not just a friend but a partner, someone who was so close to Adam that it was like they were one person.  As if to illustrate just how close he wanted Adam to be to his wife, He decided to create her out of one of Adam’s ribs showing that she was an important part of him that could never be replaced by anyone else.  No friend could ever be closer to him than her.
Today divorce is as normal as changing your socks.  People get married, start fighting, decide it’s not working and give up rather than sacrifice a bit of themselves to rekindle their love for each other they would rather tear away from that part of themselves and move on to someone else.  100 years ago people would have never thought of divorcing someone so easily they worked at it until death parted them no matter how difficult it was.  Marriage doesn’t have to end in divorce, it is possible to have a life long commitment if you’re both willing to work at it.

4. It is weird when parents show affection for each other. Television loves to make fun of parents who have a happy and healthy relationship.  Whenever parents start to get a little cozy, the kids always have to walk in and tell them how gross they are, forgetting that they were just sitting in the backseat of a car doing the exact same thing and worse but without the wedding certificate.  For some reason seeing a married couple who’s over the age of 40 show any affection for each other is inappropriate and disgusting, but it shouldn’t be.
We should be willing to encourage our parents to show their love for each other because that’s how we know they still do.  Far too many marriages end in divorce because someone thought they were getting too old for affection and the other moved on.

5. It is ok to lie as long as no one finds out. If you think this isn’t a lie then you’re lying to yourself because according to the Bible it’s not ok to lie.  In fact lying is one of the “thou shalt not’s” in the 10 Commandments.  So many times in the shows we watch we see our favorite characters lying to teachers, parents and even friends in order to save their own necks.  The plot line often follows like this: an especially naughty character that’s known to be a troublemaker convinces the main character to lie because “I never get caught” and “it’s so easy”.  The main character gives in and the lie works and they realize wow that wasn’t so bad after all and so they continue to lie and lie and lie until finally they’re caught and then suddenly they’re sorry and now that they’re in trouble they realize it was a mistake.  But we’re often left wondering whether they really learned their lesson or if they’re just sorry that they didn’t get away with it

6. A high school pregnancy will not turn your life upside down.  In the last 10 years there has been a strange influx of movies and shows about teen pregnancy each with its own way of showing that pregnancy is kind of cool, even in high school.  With Juno in 2007, Secret Life of the American Teenager premiering in 2008 and Pregnancy Pact in 2010, teenagers are more aware than ever that teenage pregnancies can and do happen.  While each of these movies and shows are pro-life encouraging students to keep the child despite their age and their mistakes none of these shows reveal the realistic side of what happens when you have a child while still a child yourself.  Whether a girl decides to raise the child herself or give it up for adoption there is no denying that her life will be forever changed and she will never be able to go back to her old life or her old friends despite what Hollywood tries to tell you.

7. It is unacceptable to not 100% accept someone else's beliefs.  Society is constantly trying to confuse us into thinking that when we disagree with someone about something we are in essence telling them that we don’t love them.  So many people will even go so far as using scripture against us, they’ll remind us that we’re supposed to love everyone because God is love.  While this is true and as Christians we have more reason than anyone else to show unrelenting love to those who are different from us, but the problem comes in when we allow people to scare us into submission.  God tells us to preach the gospel boldly, he told us we would experience hardships and persecution because of our faith.  He didn’t tell us that our Christian walk would be simple but he promised he would be waiting for us at the end of the road and he promised that his son would be interceding for us and that his Holy Spirit would be walking beside us all the time.  Everything we do and say should be said out of love and selflessness but if we truly believe that we have the answer than we should not be afraid to share our opinions and we have just as much political right to share as they do, despite how they try to convince you otherwise.

8. Love is an emotion that can't be controlled.  As girls it can be hard not to get caught up in the romance of a good story.  Many of us are romantic saps all the way to the bone and even those who pretend not to be really do want someone to love them deep down inside.  No one knows better than Hollywood how desperate each girl is to find her Prince Charming who will be different from anyone she’s ever met and will be absolutely perfect.  From a young age girls are indoctrinated with stories of princes who ride in and save the princess from some terrible danger and ride away with her to live “happily ever after”.  By the time we’re in high school we have such twisted ideas of love that it’s no wonder that many of us end up with our hearts broken and our confidence shattered.  Hollywood tells us that we can’t choose who we fall in love with it just happens but if that were true then God’s command to love everyone would be very difficult to follow.  If we can choose to love our grouchy neighbor who complains whenever we step on his grass then we can certainly choose not to give our hearts away to someone that isn’t following God

9. If you’re single there must be something wrong with you.  In a society that relies so heavily on relationships it is no wonder that not having someone to call your boyfriend can make us feel like there might be something wrong with us.  When we see our friends with their special someone it can be difficult not to feel alone.  But there is so much more to life then dating relationships and there is so much more to relationships then the butterflies.  God made us for relationships but that isn’t limited to dating relationships.  God wants us to build our relationship with Him, our family and our friends before we even begin to think of having a dating relationship

10. Sex will not affect you emotionally.  Hebrews 13:4 tells us “to keep the marriage bed pure” this means to not give away that which was meant to be saved only for our husbands.  Society tries to convince us that sex will not really affect us, that we can just do it and not really think of it after that.  The truth is that sex outside of marriage can be very emotionally painful.  Don’t fall for the lie that if you give in he’ll stay with you.  The truth of the matter is that guys like to have something to pursue once you give them what they want they’ll have nothing left to fight for and since you’re married they’ll have nothing keeping them with you and so they’ll leave.  Don’t fall for the same lies that so many girls before you have fallen for.  Keep the mystery, good Christian men would much rather prefer the mystery anyway.

Did you know that Nataleigh wants to open her own home for teenagers?!?!