Phil Wickham “Children of God” Review

Are you a fan of the song “This is Amazing Grace” and the latest hit “Your Love Awakens me”? It is Phil Wickham‘s gifted songwriting and hip voice behind these and other great songs, including his newest album released this year, “Children of God”! Wickham’s music has a unique sound like nothing I’ve heard on Christian radio, so I was excited for the chance to review his latest!

Let me tell you, this album had me at “hello.”

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“Children of God” by Phil Wickham Released 2016

The first song on the 12-song album is the Doxology/Amen, a modern, heart-opening arrangement of the original doxology with the addition of a very simple and worshipful chorus. If you know my household’s fondness for the Doxology (read more HERE), then you know I cannot resist this song. And talk about powerful lyrics…as Wickham adds a verse that sings:

“Praise God for all that He has done; Praise Him for He has overcome; The grave is beaten, Love has won; Praise God, our Savior, Christ the Son.”

I mean, if his voice sliding up the notes of “the grave is beaten, Love has won” doesn’t fill your heart with praise, NOTHING will!!

And I have to say, mixing the old with the new is so fun and brings the tradition of a great song into the present for some who would otherwise be resistant to hymns. Kudos for breathing new life into the Doxology, Phil! But enough about the first song ;). (Because I truly could go on and on about the Doxology, in any format.)

I have to say that I really love Phil’s voice. It is unique and modern and young. His music is upbeat and cool. And the songs on this album are easy and catchy, a great soundtrack for a sunny day trip!

And there’s a reason “Your Love Awakens Me” is quickly becoming as popular as “This is Amazing Grace,” which topped the radio charts as BMI’s Christian Song of the Year and was the “most-sung worship song in the North American church” (Christian Copyright Licensing International). (The rest of this review is continued beneath the video link below 😉

As a cool backstory to this album, in 2014, Phil was unsure he would ever sing again when doctors discovered a polyp on his vocal cord. Through this time of uncertainty, he felt God reassure him that his identity was not in what he did, but whose he was–thus inspired the title of his album.

The title song is really gripping too!

“We are believers…all our hope in the Risen One. We are soldiers…we’re fighting with faith and love. We are pilgrims…on a journey to reach our home. Standing together, WE ARE the children of God.”

AMEN.

Isn’t it great to know we all struggle with identity, but yet God still knows us as His? His creation. His masterpiece. His children. His to hold, protect, love and keep. Forever.

And to that I say, PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOOOOOOOW…..

So thankful this talented artist was able to continue his career as a songwriter and worship leader. Please consider purchasing this great CD! Links below!!

Official Website – www.philwickham.com

iTunes: smarturl.it/PW-COGiTunes


Amazon: smarturl.it/PW-COG- Amazon

Spotify: smarturl.it/PW-COG- Spotify

 

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Craving Hope: “Captive” Review and DVD Giveaway!

I have been thinking and writing about nourishing the soul. One way I do this for myself is choosing uplifting entertainment. If someone would have suggested I choose uplifting entertainment while I was in my twenties, I would have rolled my eyes and accused them of living in a bubble. But my thoughts have changed on the subject.

Maybe it’s the mom in me, or the fact that life has become stressful enough without watching movies that glorify violence, highlight terrible and hopeless situations and celebrate sociopaths. But I’m just tired of that. Sadly, many shows and movies are now built around protagonists who are villains, con-artists and sadists. I don’t mind realism, but I don’t want to watch people slowly unravel and find new ways to hurt those around them. That isn’t fun for me. Nor does it feel like entertainment.

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Win your own copy of this DVD!

More and more, I crave messages about hope and redemption. The “Captive” movie, based on real events, satisfied my need for both.

You may remember the story from news headlines when fugitive Brian Nichols held Atlanta resident, Ashley Smith, hostage. Fearing for her life, Ashley turned to Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life for guidance. And that’s where the story took an unusual turn.

“Captive” kept me on the edge of my seat. What I found most thematically interesting is that both the captor and captive have messy backstories–Nichols (Golden Globe Nominee David Oyelowo) with his criminal past and Ashley Smith (Kata Mara), a widow struggling to rebuild her life after a meth addiction. Instead of offering an US verses THEM approach, the movie reveals an unlikely yet complex kinship between the two individuals that reminds us we are all broken…and that there is hope for us all.

Lucky for you, I am giving away a DVD copy of this great movie for free. Enter HERE!

DVD Release Date: January 5, 2016
Runtime: 96 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse) 
There are over 30 minutes of bonus content on this DVD including Journey Through Darkness: Filming Captive and Faith and The Purpose Driven Life.  Also included with this DVD is a Digital HD copy that can be instantly streamed and downloaded.

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Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

2014 in Review

Thank you for following my blog last year!! The numbers are growing!! Please share with friends. Much love in 2015. xoxoxoxo

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Z is for Zumba

I waited until after New Years to return to the gym. Not because of any resolutions, but simply because the holiday rush left zero time for working out. So last week, I got my butt back to the gym. I love Zumba – but after a few months of no Zumba, I returned angry. I allowed that anger to fuel my workout. I moved my body to the music, but I didn’t smile much. My legs felt like lead. And my bouncy parts were bouncier (and not in a good way, I might add). But this is the only way.

A few classes later, I am slowly returning to my previous Zumba self. I feel stronger. I dance harder. In time, I may even feel like a sort of 21st Century Ginger Rogers, if Ginger wore her husband’s ratty old t-shirt and some elastically-challenged seven-year-old workout pants. I do not dress like a Zumba dance goddess. But I do dance like one. Just kidding, I don’t do that either.

Here are some things I love about Zumba, in no particular order:

The room is dimly lit. Good, because I sweat A LOT. It is NOT pretty.

The instructors dress like hip hop moguls from the 90’s in ripped neon tanks and pants with all kinds of zippers. I find it daring to wear so many zippers while whipping your body around in a frenetic frenzy. Clearly, this is not a new concept (see my earlier 90’s reference), but it still fascinates me.

I love the music. Who doesn’t feel inspired and instantly sexier with a little Shakira in the house? I even begin to like the music I didn’t like the first ten times I heard it. I was never into clubbing. But now, at the age of 33 and with a toddler, Zumba is as close to a crazy night out as this girl gets. I can appreciate that.

Zumba makes me feel sexy. I love that the women in the class are every age, shape and size.  They are shaking their booties like the best of them. I notice the regulars. I don’t know most of their names, so I assign them descriptors. The lady with the big earrings and sparkly tops. The girl who loves the mirror. The pregnant girl with the wild eyeshadow. The girl with no hand-eye coordination, God bless her. The lady who must be at least 60 years old, yet incredibly more fit than I am. I wonder how they would describe me – the tall, angry girl who desperately needs a workout-fashion makeover. It doesn’t matter. We are all there for the same thing. Sexy is relative.

Zumba teaches me this life lesson – don’t take yourself too seriously or you can miss out on some serious fun.

Love,

J. Laurel