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Album Review ~ Equippers Worship By Equippers Worship

Category/Genre

Worship/Praise

Release Date

January 25, 2019.

Rating

4 Stars

Review


Fun, full of praise, and genuine heart of surrender, the Equippers’ recent release leads with simple and known words that nonetheless present in a renewed way, songs that inspire overflowing joy, peace, and worship in the fantastic way that never grows old.

Equippers’ enthusiasm is contagious throughout the album as love, hope, and faith in God are expressed in the most joyful and lively way, combining beautifully with masterfully put-together tunes/instrumentals.

About Equippers Worship


Equippers Worship is the sound of Equippers Church, based in Auckland, New Zealand. With long-standing worship leaders, Wayne & Libby Huirua and Isaac Graham, alonside their youth worship team, Equippers Revolution–the revitalized Equippers Worship team is excoted for what lies ahead with their renewed sound. Track 1, This Is How We Party, was led by Equippers Revolution.

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Book Review ~ The Minimalist Home By Joshua Becker

About the Book


Megablogger and international speaker, Joshua Becker, believes that minimalism isn’t about taking away from you. It’s about giving you something more.
In this highly practical guide, Becker takes you on a decluttering tour through every space in your house so you can love coming home—and love going out to live your dreams. Here you’ll discover…

  • How to tell your story through an inviting living room
  • What your clothes closet has to do with your self-confidence
  • Why less clutter in your bedroom helps you sleep better
  • How to decide what paperwork to keep and what to throw out
  • Which kitchen utensils are worth keeping
  • How to involve your family in the minimalist adventure

As Becker writes, “Minimalism doesn’t change you all by itself. It creates a context where it’s easier for you to change yourself.” Change starts one closet, one drawer, one room at a time. Change starts here.

Category

Non-fiction

Genre

House/Home

Rating

4 Stars

Review


The Minimalist Home is not only a wonderful guide for reinventing your home and personal space in a healthy and masterful way—and with satisfactory precision—but it also inspires a deeper search into the soul for a more meaningful and fulfilling life, which in turn inspire those around a minimalist to do the same.

Becker takes the time to prepare the heart of the reader in a pleasantly persuasive way that presents the daunting task of minimalizing in a realistic but simple way that paces progress in a manner that is encouraging for the enire household.

The Minimalist Home does NOT in any way insist that people sbould live with less than their needs. On the contrary. It rather highlights the beauty of the materials that supply those needs and some amazing wants so that they are more highly valued and better enjoyed by homeowners after clutter in disguise have been removed.

The Minimalist Home is a terrific guide for anyone—new to the idea or not—who wants healthier space in their beautiful home, but have no idea how to begin.

About the Author


Joshua Becker is the founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist, a website that inspires more than one million readers each month to find more fulfillment in life by owning less. He is also the cofounder of the popular digital publication, Simplify Magazine, and the bestselling (Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Amazon, Audible) author of several books, including The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own. Joshua and his family live in Peoria, Arizona.

Faith and not Sight

The fundamental truth about salvation is that we are saved by faith (believing on what Jesus accomplished on the cross) through grace (the love, mercies, favor, and power of God). But faith’s accomplishments doesn’t have to end there.

Being human, there’s the tendency to want to fall back into sensual living rather than being led by the Holy Spirit. More times than we realize, we ignore the truth provided and put right in front of us, and exchange it for the sensual and more “logical” option that makes sense by our human thinking, and then wonder why we miss a lot that happens right in front of us. The disciples of Jesus made this mistake time and again, and only understood a lot that happened in retrospect. One of such times was the Last Supper.

21When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’ 22Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

23Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.

25Then, leaning back on Jesus, he said to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?”

26Jesus answered, ‘It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.’ And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to, ‘What you do, do quickly.’ 28But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. 29For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, ‘Buy those things we need at the feast,’ or that he should give something to the poor.” —John 13:21-29

The scenario in the above text mirrors a lot of our experiences with the Holy Spirit where He may tell us something that we need to know, and sometimes not directly, just as Jesus did by not mentioning Judas’ name but giving a pointer to who the betrayer would be. While the Holy Spirit may not always pronounce certain things directly, He certainly supplies enough such that if we apply our hearts to understanding through prayer and studying the Word of God and have our minds continually renewed, we will grow in wisdom and be able to prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2), for it is the glory of God to conceal a matter and for kings (the children of God) to search it out (Proverbs 25:2).

Why would God conceal His matters?

Because we are already intimately and fully known by God (1 Corinthians 13:12). He made us. But when we search Him, we get to discover amazing things about Him, and get to know Him on a personal and intimate level. This is pleasurable to God, and this is how a genuine relationship is built—two people put in the effort to know each other, and love and accept what they discover. God’s part is already fulfilled. But by concealing His matters, we search, find, and discover beautiful things that delight us about God. And because we have pursued God—despite His graciously free gift of salvation—He doesn’t come cheap to us.

Back to the topic.

Faith. Not sight.

Sight (or sensuality) built on sentiments led the disciples to believe that Judas couldn’t possibly betray Jesus despite Jesus saying, “Most assuredly I say to you…” Sensuality made them believe even after Jesus had given Judas the dipped bread, that Jesus was probably sending him on an errand. It couldn’t possibly be anything else.

In the same vein, the Holy Spirit may whisper certain things to our spirits over and over again. But because of sentiment which clouds judgment, it will lead to false wisdom and understanding, and so our hearts will insist on a certain direction (which could lead to complacency), because by our own understanding, what the Holy Spirit is saying just seems too impossible or incompatible with what we may think we know. But nothing is impossible with God. God could raise nothing and make it good, and He could also declare unfit what may seem to you as everything. This is where the wisdom of God prevails over the feeble perception of man. God’s thoughts and His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). And if you will have God’s best, then you must allow your spirit to be led by His. You will need to learn the discipline and humility that will teach you to listen to His voice and follow His direction and instructions. Otherwise, like John and the rest of the disciples, time and again, you will miss what the Spirit is saying and may realize it too late.

Timing is important if we will live higher and above the standard of the world and our flesh. It is the ONLY way to live a groundbreaking life of faith that not only pleases God, but also enables us to fulfill the destiny that He has planned for us—living it to the fullest extent in such a way that it institutes the maximum effect in this world and in the one to come the way God intended from the beginning.

Also, it’s not just your destiny that could falter when you fail to listen, the destinies of those tied to you may be affected as well, even down your generation (as seen with the children of the Israelites who had to remain in the desert for forty years instead of forty days because of their parents’ disobedience in order for God’s punishment toward the parents to be fulfilled). Also, souls may be at stake. God’s grand scheme will DEFINTELY prevail. But some souls could be lost forever. Jesus did warn that it would be worse for anyone who led the little ones to sin (Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42).

About the Editor


Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, a Mogul Global Ambassador, and a screenwriter. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards, in 2014, in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category. In 2017, she was invited by actress, Jenn Gotzon to become one of contributing writers for the forthcoming and highly anticipated Christmas comedy movie, The Farmer and the Belle, due for release Thanksgiving 2018. In 2018, Miranda was invited by Waterbrook Multnomah to be one of book bloggers to be part of a special launch team that helps launch its elite authors whose books have been listed as bestsellers on the New York Times Lists.

To learn more about her book, To Die Once, and her journey as an author, you can follow her author website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.

*The article, Faith and not Sight, first appeared on To Be A Person (TBAP).

 

Bible Review ~ NIV Kids’ Bible: Polar Express Adventure

Category

Religious/Christian

Genre

Bible/Kids

Rating

4 Stars

Review


Using illustrations of the polar world, the NIV Adventure Bible highlights special themes from the Word of God in a fun and simple language that children can understand, which is paramount in setting children on the right path to finding God and building a relationship with Him. Such beautiful themes include: the ABC of giving your life to Christ and becoming a Christian, the Ten Commandments, What is Love?, How to Pray, What Jesus Taught, Jesus’ Life Path etc.—with the aim to open the Word of God to children in such a way that with little or no guidance, studying the Word of God will not only be enjoyable and a fun experience, but will also be a profound spiritual journey through the eyes of a child.

A truly fantastically themed Bible put together for the benefit of the spiritual growth of children!

Book Review ~ Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped By God’s Grand Story By Dr. Christopher Yuan

Category

Religious/Christian/Non-fiction

Genre

Christian Living/Sexuality

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


Holy Sexuality—coined to explain God’s view on matters about human sexuality, from desire to marriage and everything in-between, Dr. Christopher Yuan dives into the sensitive topics of gay sexuality, singleness, marriage and how it relates to the church and the church’s approach to dealing with the gay community. This is an exceptional read that will help Christians to better understand God’s Word on these matters, which will lead to better lovingly approaching their gay loved ones in a manner that truly honors God, embraces them, and yields fruit.

Holy Sexuality is deep, thorough, and forthright and provides an excellent roadmap to navigating issues of homosexuality, singleness, and desire as a whole. This isn’t a book just for Christians with Gay loved ones; it’s for the Church. A book truly birthed at a time the Church needs it the most.

About the Author


Dr. Christopher Yuan has taught at Moody Bible Institute for more than ten years, and his speaking ministry on faith and sexuality has reached five continents. He speaks at conferences, on college campuses, and in churches. He coauthored with his mother, their memoir, Out of a far Country: A gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope. He is also the author of Giving a Voice to the Voiceless. Dr. Yuan holds degrees from Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, and Bethel Seminary.

DVD Review ~ Hillsong Kids: Can You Believe It? (Songs of Truth)

Category

Religious/Christian

Genre

Musical/Praise/Children

Release Date

November 16, 2018.

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


Fully loaded with a version of Hillsong’s prolific music, for kids, “Can You Believe It?” features songs of truth—praise and worship—that mirror a heart for God, as well as fellowship and togetherness of the Church. The DVD, presented by FUNNY MAN DAN, guides kids and adults alike on a musical tour that is humorous, as well as spiritual—prepared especially to show Jesus to children in a memorable and fun way.

Wonderful DVD features include music videos for selected songs, live sessions in the studio, and amazing fun lyric/sing-along videos.

A lovely release for kids in today’s Church and outside of it.

Artist Scoop ~ Interview with Music Artist, Screenwriter & Author, Tyler Russell

Meet the phenomenal Tyler Russell! Tyler is an author, screenwriter, and music artist who’s out to take the world by storm by letting God use him in a myriad of ways. Very passionate about life and his work for God, Tyler released a Christmas single in 2016, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (find on apple & spotify), and a pop single this August, 2018, Now or Never (read the TBAP review here), written with fellow artist and friend, Zandy Fitzgerald of The New Respects, and took some time to talk to TBAP about it, as well as his story of faith, family, writing, and his take on life in general. Take a look!


Miranda ~ Hello Tyler! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today! Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Tyler: 
Thank you for having me. I am a west coast boy, born in LA and raised north of Portland, OR. I now live in Nashville, Tennessee. I am one of six children; three of my siblings were adopted from Haiti in 2000. I earned my BFA in Theatre from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. After college, I began to write a lot as I continued to work for my Mom’s company. She is #1 NYT Bestselling Author, Karen Kingsbury. I have adapted several of her books into screenplays, and I sold my first screenplay last year. It was a Hallmark Christmas Movie called Maggie’s Christmas Miracle. I am also currently working on my first book series, The Baxter Family Children (co-written with my mom). Book One, Best Family Ever, will release in February 2019.

Miranda ~ Is there a special story on how you became a Christian? Would love to hear it!

Tyler: 
I was raised in a Christian home to parents who found their own relationship with Jesus in their 20s. We were at church on Sundays and in the Bible throughout the week. I’m really thankful for such amazing parents who knew the importance of teaching us the Truth, and letting us figure it out on our own. My relationship with Christ is very personal. I realized how necessary it was in High School where there were ample opportunities to choose darkness or light. I chose light, which can be lonely at times. But every season since, I have held on to my faith and chased the light. I know I need to be in the Word and prayer every day. And I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me in all I do. To be filled with the Spirit and be empowered from Him is essential to walking in Holiness in 2018. I simply am no good without Him.

Miranda ~ When did music become a part of your life and, at what point did you decide to go professional?

Tyler: Whether I was making up songs as a kid, or doing theater, or singing in church, music has always been part of my life in some way. I grew up learning piano, and that became a helpful tool as I began to song-write in High School where I also learned guitar. I knew I always wanted to do music in some capacity. And I have had seasons where I pursued it, but the door never opened. I knew it was God saying, “Not yet.” And I always said that I would be patient and wait for the right time. And this feels like the right time. He has orchestrated so much of this and opened doors to work with the right people. So, I am just taking steps forward as He leads.

Miranda ~ In describing the dream that God has laid on your heart, where do you see God taking you?

Tyler: I just want to be used. That has always been my prayer.
I have so many passions and interests, and I hope to be able to do all of them at some point in my life. But most of all, I want to bring glory to Jesus and lead people to Him. I want the things that I make, write, sing, and say to touch people and make them think or feel something. And I want to be a person who brings light into the world. I really want to step out of God’s way and let Him work. My ‘YES’ is on the table for Him. So I will go where He leads and do what He says, and hopefully keep using the gifts He has given me along the way.

Miranda ~ You’re clearly passionate about your faith. What, however, led you to choose mainstream as opposed to Christian?

Tyler: It’s an interesting question, and it’s one that comes up often. It’s also something I ask myself a lot. Now or Never was something that I loved writing and it’s a song that I love to perform. It has this infectious energy to it, it makes you want to dance and smile. It felt like the perfect song to lead out with. I know that there is power in bringing light into the world, especially in such crazy times like we are in now. But Now or Never is one side of me. It’s one thing I want to say. I think that as more music is released, people will see the other sides of me. I write worship songs. I write things about my faith. But I also have songs about my heart, and about my life. Heartbreak, friendship, family, fun… these are all part of anyone’s life. They make up who I am. And these songs come from God. I know there are messages in these songs that need to be heard. So I hope that my music doesn’t just reach one audience, I hope that the message reaches whoever needs it in that moment.

Miranda ~ Now or Never is mainstream but deeply inspirational. What inspired the writing/music/tone? What would you say is your guiding principle when writing a song?

Tyler: Now or Never was written with my friend of over ten years, Zandy Fitzgerald. She is in the group, The New Respects, whose debut album, Before the Sun Goes Down (read the TBAP review here) was released the same day as Now or Never – Go get it. It’s amazing! She and I got together for a writing session and, after discussing how often songwriters write sad, heavy songs, we decided to go for something fun, something we would listen to on a road trip, and a song that we would want to dance to. Something that made you want to roll your windows down and just have a good time. We both rely heavily on our faith, and we understand the importance of knowing that tomorrow may not be there. It isn’t promised. All we have is today. So, we liked the idea of choosing joy and committing to live in the moment. And within an hour or so, most of the song was finished. Then I took it to the incredibly talented Eric Arjes. He produced this track and helped bring it to life. He really is a genius. He understood my vision and helped make it even better.

Miranda ~ Since you’re just starting out in the music business, how would you describe navigating it so far? Is it anything like you thought it would be? How is it different than what you thought?

Tyler: I have learned a lot about the music business throughout the last few years. Something I am learning is that you have to know what you want. You have to know what you want to say. No one can make that decision for you. And if someone does, it will not ring true. And you will come across as being disingenuous. You have to know what you want, and as a Christian, you have to know where God is calling you. Too many opinions may sway you one way or the other. But if God said it, then you move. So much goes into music these days. Not only do you need to put in the work, writing, working on an instrument, vocal lessons. You need to find the right producers or musicians to play on the track. There is social media and marketing the song. And then, once it’s been released, you need to brace for the feedback which really requires thick skin. The music business is all about being authentic, strong, courageous, and knowing how to market yourself. It’s not done without putting in some very hard work, especially as an independent artist.

Miranda ~ Who are the people who’ve inspired you the most professionally and generally in life?

Tyler: My parents definitely inspire me personally. They have such strong faith and have used their platforms and vocations as ways to glorify Christ. They teach me a lot about joy and humility every day. They teach me what it means to be selfless and serve others. They are a huge inspiration to me and make me want to be better all the time. Musically or professionally, I would say in one way or another, whether from a place of songwriting, marketing, resilience, life story, or passion for Jesus, some of the inspirational people for me are (in no particular order) Pastor Steven Furtick (From Elevation Church) and Michael Todd (From Transformation Church). I listen to these Pastors’ podcasts regularly. Musically, I am inspired by so many artists, but I like Need-To-Breathe, Carole King, Ben Rector, Jeremy Camp, Taylor Swift, John Mayer, Phil Wickham. The Worship Director at my church, Dwan Hill, is an amazing songwriter, musician, and man of God. He raises the bar for me in so many ways and displays what it means to be someone who is thriving and working in the music industry without compromise. He puts ministry and family first. Period. He sets himself apart. And that is hugely inspirational.

Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for at this moment and generally?

Tyler: I am so grateful for my family. Family can be tough sometimes. There are ups and downs and seasons where people go off and do their own thing. But at the end of the day, family is family. And we only get one chance with our family. So, I am grateful to have mine. I am so thankful for my health. I am thankful for Jesus in my life, and the friendship and Sonship I have with Him. I am so blessed to have the freedom where I live to be able to worship Him freely and study the Bible. And I am grateful for exciting adventures ahead and the countless songs I have yet to record and release. I hope this is just the beginning.

Miranda ~ Since you’ve already launched onto the music scene, what advice would you offer someone who believes they’ve been called by God into mainstream music and are just starting out?

Tyler: Don’t compromise. You may feel called to mainstream music, but that doesn’t mean that you have to change who you are. Your songs can be about your life, but let your heart be about Christ! Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Stay in the Word. Surround yourself with people who will sharpen you, call you out when you do wrong, and then call you up and encourage you to be better. Be strong and courageous. Step out of the boat and just go for it! Be willing to shift and move as God leads. His plan is better than ours!

THIS or THAT (The Fun Qs!)

Coffee or Tea? Coffee

Gym or Outdoor? Outdoor

Sneakers or Boots? Boots

Running or Walking? Running

Cereal or Fruit? Cereal. Always!

Music or Books?Music

TV or Magazine? TV

Summer or Spring?Summer

Rain or Snow? Rain

Blazer or Leather Jacket? Leather Jacket

About Tyler Russell


Tyler has spent most of his life performing, writing, and singing. He grew up doing theater and acting and began songwriting in high school. He went on to study worship at Liberty University where he toured in a gospel choir. He then moved to Nashville to pursue music and finish his degree, earning his BFA in theater from Lipscomb University. He has toured the country singing and leading worship, sharing the stage with artists like Jeremy Camp, Mandisa, Tremaine Hawkins, and Michael W. Smith. Along with music, Tyler is also a screenwriter and novelist. He is currently working on recording and releasing original music and his debut single, Now or Never, is available now! You can visit Tyler on Twitter at @TyRuss107! Ephesians 3:20