Not Your Grandpa’s Christian Music

My first brush with contemporary Christian music was about 10 years ago.  My wife had picked up a Casting Crowns album and popped it into the CD player.  From that moment on I was hooked.

I liked the fresh sound.  It wasn’t stuffy.  There were loud drums and electric guitars.  It was current with meaningful lyrics that spoke to me.

That first Casting Crowns album opened my eyes to a whole genre of music that I never knew existed.  Since then it’s become my favorite kind of music.

If you are new to current Christian music I’m here to get you started. Pick any artist on the pop, rock, hip hop, or CHR charts and I could point you to a Christian artist with a similar sound and much more positive lyrics.  The kind you wouldn’t mind your kids to hear.

For starters, there are stations online you can stream.  My favorite is Air1.  It’s fun and upbeat.  They also have a sister-station, K-LOVE, that’s the same type of music just taken down a notch.

Like Katy Perry?  Try Britt Nicole, Jamie Grace, or Francesca Battistelli.

Think Eminem is cool?  Try KJ52, Lacrae, or TobyMac.

Into hard rock?  You’ll love Red, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Skillet.

Here are a few more of my favorites:  Newsboys, Switchfoot, Third Day, Needtobreathe, Group 1 Crew, Superchick, Brandon Heath… I could go on and on.

The other thing I’d recommend is attending Winter Jam Tour 2014. There’s a good chance they’re coming to a city close to you.  No need to get an advance ticket.  It’s just $10 at the door.  You might want to show up early because they reach capacity crowds pretty much everywhere they go.

Perhaps the coolest thing about listening to contemporary Christian music is the way a song can reach out and grab a hold of your heart. God is the ultimate DJ and will always play the right song at the right time. Whether it’s one to make you smile or with a message you need to hear you’ll be amazed at the number of times you’ll say to yourself, “that’s just what I needed right now”.

Try listening to this type of music for a week and I guarantee there will be a few songs that speak to you and stick with you.  At the very least you’ll realize that today’s Christian music… is definitely not your Grandpa’s Christian music… but I bet you could find something he’d like.

Have a favorite Christian artist or song that really speaks to you?  I’d love to hear about it.

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Uses For Dropbox

If you check out the Android Apps I Recommend section of this website you’ll see Dropbox listed.  I thought I’d take a few moments today to share with you a few of the ways that I use it.  If you’re an iUser they also have an app for you.

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In case you didn’t know, Dropbox is a cloud storage service.  By using it you’ll have access to your files anywhere you have an internet connection.

Both free and paid options are offered.  You start with 2GB for free and can get up to 16GB free in various ways including inviting friends to join.  My free account is up to 8GB.  Most of the extra storage I got by beta testing different versions of their Android app.

When you sign up for an account you can install the Dropbox software on your PC or Mac.  This allows you to keep a special Dropbox folder on your desktop.  Any file put into it is automatically uploaded to the cloud.  Any file uploaded to the cloud from your phone is downloaded to your PC and shows up in this folder.  It’s really pretty slick.

Ways I Use Dropbox

* Every morning at 3am my phone makes a copy of my call log and texts.  These files are then sent to Dropbox.

* After the 3rd incorrect PIN entry on my phone it silently takes a picture with the front facing camera and sends it to Dropbox.

* I have a folder set up where I put the audio of our Pastor’s weekly sermon.  A link to it is shared with the congregation so they have access to the audio.

* Any picture taken with my phone is automatically sent to Dropbox.

* We have a “family” folder where my wife and I share files.

* If I start writing a blog post on my tablet I save it to Dropbox to have easy access on our PC.

* I backup this website to Dropbox every Sunday.

* Before a trip I can put a few movies on my Nexus 7 and have other movies stored to Dropbox.  Once the kids have watched all those on the N7 I can delete them and download different ones from Dropbox.

Those are just a few of the ways I use Dropbox.  If you have any creative ways you use it I’d love to hear them.

If you don’t have a Dropbox account you can sign up for free here.  When you use that link we’ll both get a little extra storage.

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Using “The Force”

My wife and I both got a pretty cool late Christmas gift:  The Fitbit Force.  It’s a fitness/activity/sleep tracker that you wear on your wrist 24/7 (except when showering or swimming).  It counts your daily steps, distance you’ve gone, calories burned, flights of steps you’ve climbed, sleep quality, and more.

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We’ve both been wearing the Force for a little more than a week and I have to say that so far I am impressed.  It’s comfortable and stylish.   I thought it might annoy me wearing it while sleeping but it hasn’t.

For me it’s a constant reminder to be active.  Instead of calling a co-worker to ask a question it compels me to walk to their office.  It gives me a reason to park a little farther from the front door to the office.

It can also help you keep track of what you eat and drink via the mobile app and website.  Earlier this week I saw a picture on Facebook with the caption “If you bite it, write it.”  The app helps you do just that.  There is a convenient place to log the foods you eat and it lists the calories you’ve taken in.  When you’re honestly entering everything you eat you’re a lot less likely to have that extra Oreo.

Through the website you can set up a group of friends that use Fitbit devices.  It allows you to encourage, taunt, and keep up and compare your progress to theirs.  It’s a pretty cool way to stay motivated but I have to say my chance of getting more steps than my wife is pretty slim.  She works in a large retail store and just going from the parking lot to the break room probably nets her 500 steps. Plus, she’s up and going all day helping customers.  Yesterday she broke 20,000 steps!

I think one of the coolest things about the Force is the sleep tracking. You press a button when you’re ready to sleep and press it again when you wake up.  It keeps track of your movement throughout the night and lets you know how many times you were restless and gives you a sleep efficiency rating.

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It also has a vibrating alarm feature.   Set it and when it’s time to go off it pulses to wake you up.  No jarring alarm to startle you and your spouse.

I like the Fitbit Force and would recommend it to anyone who wants to get a little more active.  Sure, you could walk more and keep better track of your sleep and foods eaten without one… but it wouldn’t be near as much fun.

Do you have a Fitbit device?  A tip you use to stay more active?  Leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear about it.

 

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