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The 5 albums that changed my life

Several albums have made an impression on my life, but these are the ones that have influenced me more than all the others. Out of all the music I’ve ever listened to, these are the albums that have had the longest lasting impact.

#1 Hillsong United // In a Valley by the Sea

In October 2007, Lindsay and I left the church in Kokomo to begin a new adventure with CrossView. This was the same year Lindsay’s brother Chris was in Australia studying at Hillsong – and we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go visit him in Sydney during the 2 week period between the end of our time at Judson and the starting date at CrossView. We were worn out. There had never been a time in either of lives (and hasn’t been since) when we felt so overwhelmed and drained – our zeal for ministry was dissipating. But the trip to Australia would provide the breath of fresh air that we needed. During that trip, Hillsong was unveiling the songs from In a Valley by the Sea and we bought the CD, months before it ever came out in the states. And so the songs on this album vividly remind me of a time in my life when God restored me to a deeper understanding of the calling he had given me, making this by far the most influential album I’ve ever heard.

#2 Crossmovement // House of representatives

Christian rap has gotten a bad rap for a long time, but these guys were so fresh and unlike anything else Christian rap had ever heard when they first came out. They expressed biblical concepts in a way that helped me remember them – and I still remember the lyrics to most of their songs. This album showed me that you can speak truth in a direct and confrontational way with whatever medium you are gifted in producing.

#3 Lifehouse // No name face

I still remember the day my brother called me and told me about the song “hanging by a moment”. It was in the days of Napster and I illegally downloaded it. A few listens is all it took before I wanted to own their album – so when it came out I got it. Jason Wade has since became the songwriter I respect the most – there is something special about being able to write a song full of truth that applies cross-directionally to a variety of topics. Among the historically great songs “hanging by a moment” and “everything”, is “simon”. I fell asleep to this song every night for over a year.

#4 Jeremy Camp // Stay

Jeremy Camp lost his wife shortly after they were married – and he wrote this album as a response to God through it all. His continued trust in the faithfulness of God through the pain has served to remind me that it is in the middle of the most difficult times in our life that our real faith is actually exposed. I heard Jeremy tell the story live at one of his concerts, and as he sat there with an acoustic guitar playing these songs I saw the heart of an artist I would like to model.

#5 Jeremy Riddle / Full Attention

I’m not sure there has ever been an album this spirit filled. He refuses to compromise the wording of scripture to make it more accessible to the music. “Please keep my eyes fixed on you, please root my heart so deeply in you, keep me abiding that I may bear fruit” is the chorus line that I have tried to live by. Whenever I want to be surrounded by the presence of God and turn all of my attention to Him, I turn on this album.

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