Worship: Stepping into the Spiritual Realm with Praise

Worship is powerful. It’s a tool that we have to enter the spiritual realm with praise. I know that kinda sounds like a science fiction/ superhero plot, but the reality, it’s the truth. One of the most powerful parts of our walk is worship, not because we gain something from it, but because we give praise to our creator. Many Christians like the idea of prosperity gospel, where when we enter a relationship with God, he gives us everything we desire. The problem is, this is a false belief. When we enter a relationship with Christ, the desires of things on this earth are meaningless and lead us to desire gifts over our savior. The true power of the gospel is that we have a God who died for us to set us free, so that we could come to him in relationship and spend an eternity with him. Blessings come from an outpouring of our pursuit of Christ alone. What does that have to do with worship? Well worship is often misunderstood. That’s why I like talking about worship, because I’m not a worship leader and can sing alright, worship leaders are great, but can get lost in their passions. I want to talk about what worship is and what it does, because in order to know how to worship, we have to understand God’s heart for it.

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Tea and Tracks #3

Hello again and welcome to the latest edition of tea and tracks, and I’m very excited to share these tunes with you today. The feel of the albums today is very dramatic and ambient, yet still peak the intrigue while you listen. I hope you enjoy these albums and give them a listen, stay tuned to the end to have a new flavor of tea that pairs very well with these albums. Remember to support the artists and share it around if you dig it!

The first album up is titled, Night Drive, by the “Chromatics.” This band from Portland, Oregon uses a variety of sounds mixing indie rock and synthpop with a little bit of Italian disco elements to create their own unique sound. Night Drive was released in 2007 and was the bands third studio album which departed from their early punk sounding music. The band includes Nat Walker who plays the drums, Johnny Jewel who plays the rest of the varied instruments used in their recordings, and vocalist Ruth Radelet. The album opens as a women is about to meet up with her boyfriend, but then decides to take a drive alone instead. That feeling resonates throughout every song as each is a perfect soundtrack to a late night drive. One of the most recognizable tracks is titled, “Tick of the Clock,” which was featured throughout the 2011 film called, Drive. The album gives off that intriguing neo-noir thriller sound, which creates vivid imagery while you listen. My favorite track off the album is, “Running Up That Hill,” which is a cover to Kate Bush’s original song from the 1985 album, Hounds of Love. Check it out!


The next album continues in the vein of synthwave styled music with a movie soundtrack feel, Visitors, by “Lazerhawk,” is incredible. Producer, Garrett Hays, creates music inspired by the cyber-punk stylings of the 80’s, yet keeps his tracks fresh and fast-paced. Released in 2012, Visitors, encompasses the feeling many children have as they look up at the stars and wonder what might be out there. The album explores that idea and culminates into a sci-fi infused electro album creating that cinematic feeling. The synthwave movement includes several up and coming artists who are incredible at their craft, this movement definitely has the potential to reach the masses but is currently a very little known genre of music. My favorite track off the album is, “Shoulder of Orion,” which is a perfect representation of this emerging style and cinematic qualities. Check him out and support the movement of synthwave music.


The next album is called Ring, by Glasser, which takes a break from the heavy uses of synth, yet still uses the electronic pop styling to keep her album fresh. Female singer-songwriter, Cameron Mesiro, incorporates tropical pop, tribal percussion, and electronic beats here and there to create a sound like none other. Her 2010 debut album, Ring, put her on the radar of many reviewers out there, and with good reason. The album is an incredible piece of art where you can tell that each track was written and created with specific intentions and just what she wanted it to be. Overall the album is very easy to listen to and has that free spirit sense throughout each song that many love and can connect to. MY personal favorite track is, “Tremel,” which shows off her style of music and her incredible vocals. I encourage you to give it a listen!


The final album we will be looking at today is titled, Beyond Dreams There’s Infinite Doubt, by Azure Blue. This album by solo artist, Tobias Isaksson, creates that 80’s pop utilizing lighthearted synths and creating the imagery of things that are going to be better on the horizon. The album has the mind wander into the daydream of the good times in life, focusing on friendship, nature, and love. The album is a truly wonderful piece of work and I highly recommend that you listen to it for yourself to fully experience this very talented musician. My favorite track is titled, “When Love is Pure and True,” which is a beautiful song and shows off all that this artist can do. I highly recommend this album.


And now for today’s tea of choice that goes right along with our music today, Twining’s Jasmine Green Tea. Green tea not only tastes very smooth, but it is great for being able to sit down and relax in our chaotic lives. Green tea has a very rich history in Asian culture and in Japanese culture especially, with ceremonies that take place to drink it. This is a great choice of tea that definitely goes well with the albums we have looked at today. I hope you have enjoyed this third installment of Tea and Tracks, if you liked it feel free to share and comment! Stay awesome.

-Joshua Thomas

Tea Fun Fact: Green tea uses the same leaves as black tea, except, green tea is steamed and black tea is roasted.

Tea and Tracks #2

Hello again tea drinkers and music lovers! This is a bit late but the future schedule will be every other Monday. Got some fun stuff today, music to help you chill out or have fun during those days that seem way to long! Remember, this is a way for you to check out some stuff you may have not otherwise heard of, this is music that I really dig and want to share with all your lovely faces. Now let’s jump in!

The first album to check out is skater/musician Tommy Guerrero with his album, No Mans Land. Tommy Guerrero writes music that is perfect to chill out and have vivid imagery, especially in this album where it feels as if you have just stepped onto an old spaghetti western film. The use of his guitar gives off the picture of what the old west has always been portrayed to the public, this album could have very well been a soundtrack to a Sergio Leone film (the creator of the Man With No Name trilogy).  The simple beats behind creative guitar riffs gives the album so much life and allows each individual track its own story and personality. The album has no lyrics and allows you, the listener, to create the setting and imagery of each track as you listen to the smooth nature of the album. The album is a mix of funk, r&b, and indie rock which gives the album such an incredible unique flavor and I highly recommend it to anyone. My favorite track is “Sticks of Fury,” but each track fits together so well so I highly recommend you listen to each track on this wonderful album.


The next album is titled, The Age of Adz, by Sufjan Stevens another unique album and style of creating imagery in the listener’s eyes. Stevens is a story teller at heart, and this is clearly understood through this album, yet the simplistic traits of a story are used. The album focuses on the theme of unmitigated love (and affection), and comes about this whether talking about a sleepover, old age, illness or the apocalypse. The album is a compilation of pop songs strung together with indie electronic sounds and classic folk music, which comes together into one of the most unique albums I have ever listened to. Sufjan Stevens is a musician that many would consider to be “hipster” due to the unique style and vision in his work. My favorite track is, “Too Much,” which encompasses the main style of Sufjan and speaks about the pressure that many face every day in life.


The next album is actually an EP titled, Bullrider, by Mastah Syphe which goes right along with this theme of unique styles in music. This experimental electronic album may turn some off away at first, but much like other forms of art, is absolutely why it should be listened to. This electronic album is not a typical club beat that one may hear, but an artist’s vision of how one can push their medium to the limit. The tracks stick to a 160 BPM style which allows the energy of the track to stay up, while mixing in distinctive switch ups and heavy bass. My favorite track off the EP is, “Helicopter Krunk.” I highly recommend giving it a listen and take a step into the world of experimental electronic music scene.


Now the final album, which I’m am very excited to talk about is, Charge!!, by none other than “The Aquabats!” This band encompasses the term of being unique and uses fun and can change your mood in an instant. The bands roots emerged from the ska scene, but has since changed into a mainly rock genre of style. Now what makes this band unique is each of the band member’s personas that they use when they play, which adds even more too this already incredibly fun band. The current members include, The M.C. Bat Commander on vocals, Crash McLarson on bass guitar and backup vocals, Jimmy the Robot on keyboards and the occasional saxophone, Ricky Fitness on drums, and of course Eagle “Bones” Falconhawk on guitar. Now you may be saying to yourself, are you serious right now, and to that I say yes! The album I chose, Charge!!, is my favorite because of its great music and fun rock nature that it’s all about. The music is exceptional and great to listen to, which is why more people should listen to what they have to offer. I have never been to one of their concerts, but each show they give is an experience in itself, where they play commercials and play games during the show. I hope to one day go to a show just to experience the good times that would be there. They recently had their own show on the Hub Network titled, The Aquabats Super Show, which is reminiscent of early Power Rangers and Batman television show. So to bring it back, check them out and give it a listen, I can guarantee you will enjoy it! My favorite track is, “Hot Summer Nights (Won’t Last Forever)!”


Now! For this editions’ tea of choice, the Samurai Chai Mate Tea from Teavanna. Since I’m on a theme of uniqueness today, this tea brings together the way of the warrior being strength, skill, fairness, mercy, power, energy and balance. The tea embodies this spirit with an invigorating green mate and green rooibos blend. Cinnamon, anise and cardamom blend with papaya, pineapple, orange and lemongrass. So check it out and remember to stay awesome!

-Joshua Thomas