Sunday, December 25, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
[My Hope Is In You was brilliantly written by April Geesbreght and resonates with the cry of my heart found throughout my latest album, THIS IS WHAT WE BELIEVE. My Deluxe Edition CD contains 6 additional songs (4 acoustic remixes and 2 new) and a devotional corresponding with each song. The following is the devotional I wrote for the song, My Hope Is In You.]
As I'm typing this, the states of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi are dealing with the repercussions of the most severe tornadic activity in our nation's history. Entire towns were flattened, the death toll was already in the hundreds after 24 hours with hundreds more missing. I read this morning that University of Alabama students are asking for prayer as they pull bodies out from the wreckage on campus.
Earthquakes have recently devastated Japan and Chile, the repercussions of which will last a lifetime for those who have lost loved ones.
Death is a part of every life. And that fact in no way diminishes the gravity, difficulty and emotional pain it can bring to those of us who remain.
When my 2-year-old boy, Nicky, was diagnosed with Eosinaphilic Esophogitis (EE), a rare, painful and, thus far, incurable disease, it rocked my family to our core. It dropped us to our knees, face-planted us in prayer. I wept like I've never wept before. He spent months in Children's hospital and on December 6th, two days after his 2nd birthday, we found out that he had Septic Shock, his organs had dropped, a 104 degree fever hadn't broken for days and he was admitted into what we accidentally discovered was called "the bereavement wing" of the PICU; where children don't normally get discharged.
When the ground on which you are standing begins to shake, you will naturally reach for the closest thing you believe to be the most stable or secure.
David says in Psalm 62, "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Fortress, I will not be shaken."
My wife, Sarah, and I have always believed that God has a plan. More than a plan: a Perfect plan, the end result of which is His increased glory! Its the kind of perfect plan that would make all of mankind spontaneously shout out loud for joy if we understood the half of it! So even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil, He is with us! He's promised He will never leave us or forsake us: even through the droughts and the storms. Before we were even blessed to become parents, Sarah and I spoke of the reality that if God graces us with children one day, we will simply be their caretakers, they will belong to Him and whether they live for 90 years or 9 days, He holds the measure of their days. Who are we to say how long anyone is supposed to live? Can we improve on God's perfect plan?
The foundation on which we stood was rock solid. We were not the solid ones. He is. Our hope is in Him alone. The peace that passes understand was our song. Multiple nurses would spend their downtime in Nicky's room and tell Sarah, "There's such a peace in here!" Then Sarah would tell them why.
And on one glorious day, a befuddled doctor told us that the most severe case of EE they had ever witnessed was no longer remotely present in Nicky's little body.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
We're driving from Fort Wayne Indiana to Chicago right now. Literally driving into the sunset. It's been one week since we started this promo tour and I am definitely feeling an interesting combination of fatigue and excitement.
Monday morning, Greg and I had a 4:20am lobby call in Seattle and flew to Kansas City where we met with Jen Allen from Centricity to do a show at a local Chick-Fil-A with KLJC 88.5. It was pretty cool to stand outside and lead a parking lot full of people in worship!
The next morning, we had another 4:20 lobby call and flew to Dallas, TX to visit KLTY 94.9, they let me play My Hope and MSMG on the morning show then I chilled with John Hudson on the New Music Cafe program for a while. We zipped off to Vista Ridge Mall for a noon concert in the center of the Mall under the giant glass rotunda. A mall full of Texans praising Jesus in the Mall is a thing to hear!
We liked it so much we did it again the next day in Winston Salem, NC, but not before I lost my luggage. We boarded our Delta flight a couple hours after the Dallas show and as we tried to finally take off, the Captain said that we'd sheared a drive shaft in the starter of engine #1. They wouldn't cancel the flight because it MIGHT get fixed. It ended up being delayed for 5 hours…we were guaranteed to miss our connection in Atlanta to get us to Greensboro, NC in time! So we booked flights on American Airlines to get us to Charlotte ASAP. (But since the Delta flight never cancelled, they couldn't transfer us: had to buy new tickets) We gave descriptions of our 5 bags to change planes and left for Charlotte. But one bag never arrived. My clothes. The Baggage man said they found it and it would arrive in Greensboro on the Delta flight the next morning.
So we spent the night in Charlotte and drove to the Greensboro/Winston area the next morning in time to be on the WBFJ 89.3 morning show with Tami and Jeff (thanks Bonnie for making us pancakes!!) I played Your Majesty and My Hope is In You AND MSMG on that show. We always have a lot of fun on the morning shows to, they're fun people: morning show people. Jen went to pick up my luggage but returned with bad news. It hadn't arrived. Thankfully we were playing at another mall, so I hit Macy's for some essentials and PacSun for some T-shirts. Done. I played the show just outside the Macy's at noon to about 700 people. What an awesome testimony to people to hear that many people sing the words, "Jesus", "Holy Holy Holy", "This Is What We Believe", etc.
Straight to the airport to fly to Fort Wayne, I explained my luggage situation to Delta Debbie and she called American Linda who found my luggage in Charlotte!! I found Lifesaver Linda and asked her to expedite my luggage to Fort Wayne. We arrived in Fort Wayne around 9 and found out that my bag was arriving at 11:30pm after they would deliver. So Greg graciously offered to pick it up for me so I could sleep. Awwwww! Thank you Greg.
We visited WLAB Star 88.3 this morning and I just shared my heart and songs with the staff, they prayed for us, we prayed for them, it was beautiful. Then we went to Sweetwater (amazing!) and worshiped the Lord in a conference room with 130 people who were just fed pizza. It doesn't have to be in church on Sunday people, Jesus can be praised anywhere! We got a tour of the Sweetwater facility and then spent the afternoon with Melissa Montana (from Star 88.3) at DeBrand chocolates home store. Un. Real. Melissa shared stories and captivated us with God's amazing grace despite hardship. What a dear soul.
Hopped in the car, aimed it toward Chicago and put it in drive...
Monday, August 22, 2011
PHILOMATH OR AND PUYALLUP WA,
21 & 22 August, 2011.
We could not have asked for more beautiful weather the past two days. Greg Lee, my friend/road manager and I drove from Seattle down to an hour South of Portland on Saturday to play at a 3 year old festival in the fine town of Philomath. (Fill-OH-muth.) It was a warm one, but we had a great time. A few brave souls, came all the way up to the stage and sat in the shade of the stage-roof. And at the end as I was walking off, a guy yelled, "GLORY TO YOU!" I smiled, nodded, pointed up and said, "Glory to Him!" Waving as I walked off he said, "No, 'Glory To You', play 'Glory To You'!" I haven't played that song since 2007 with MercyMe. I never would have guessed how much I missed playing that song. And I remembered all the words and the chord change from F# to E on the bridge. A miracle.
Third Day and Peter Furler were just up the road playing at FishFest in Portland and since I was doing a Solo show, Nate was available to play guitar for Peter as he was in a pinch (his entire band was playing somewhere else…you see, we all share, although I threatened Peter to not get too attached and that I'd fight him if he tried to take him. The 4 hour drive down and back to Seattle was full of Aussie tributes. We listened to Hillsong United Aftermath on the way down: that album is legend. Then I read aloud to greg tweets from two good friends how are hilarious and Aussie. So I read them all in my best Australian accent. Then we listened to Peter Furler's new album: also legend. Then we read some Rebecca St James tweets aloud for good measure. Or good "meezha."
Puyallup was a wallop of a day. (Pew-OL-up.) We had a soundcheck at 7:45am for church, I played My Hope Is In You and MSMG before the message and Your Majesty afterward. Pastor Ron Sanchez preached on Acts 2 and it was amazing. South Hill Calvary Chapel if you want to look it up and listen to the archive messages. The congregation sang along with Your Majesty with gusto and it was amazing. We had lunch on the water in Tacoma then headed back for a sold out show. People came to see Jesus, they came to worship him. They worshiped Him through singing, by lifting their hearts and minds and by partnering with OneVerse to bring the Word of God to the lughuru people of East Africa.
Twas a good night. 4 hours of sleep and flight to Kansas City later…here I type.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Friday was a big day in Seattle. We started the day at Spirit 105.3, I played MSMG and My Hope Is In You on the morning show with Matt, had a lunch with the staff and played them some songs, telling them some stories about the journey, we shot a twelve days of Christmas that Spirit 105.3 is going to do this year, should be hilarious. I got the 9 ladies dancing verse and we even coerced the station Music Director, Sarah Taylor to dance. Yep. You heard it hear first.
Friday's concert was the first time we were able to sell This Is What We Believe, just the standard edition, the deluxe editions haven't been shipped yet, although I did receive my copy and it is beautiful. I'm pretty excited. We're selling 2 Standard Edition CD's for $10 for the whole Promo Tour (until the Release Show in Atlanta on 8.28) which is a pretty sweet deal…another reason to come to the shows. :)
The HOUSE worship center was a cool, quaint little living room feel and I was glad to meet and be reacquainted with quite a few Twitter and Facebook followers. It was a small room and it felt very…"family" A family drove all the way from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to come to the show and requested during the set that I play Create Again…which I haven't played since 2007. Thankfully she had the words memorized and helped me through it. I haven't sung those words in so long, that they moved me to sing them again. Someone else brought a kleenex up to me after I told the story of Nicky and sang My Hope Is In You. It was a special night, a unique night. Less of a worship experience and more of a Storytellers hour (and a half) about songs written for a worship experience.
A good way to kick off a promo tour. :)
Sing of My Redeemer
Matchless (with Blessed Be Your Name)
To God Alone
Take Over (with Give It All Away)
Give Me Words To Speak
My Hope Is In You
My Savior My God
Your Majesty (with Holy Holy Holy)
Monday, August 15, 2011
The Deluxe Edition of This Is What We Believe comes with a Hardback book including a short devotional that corresponds with each song on the record. Here is a sneak peak of the devotional for the title track.
THIS IS WHAT WE BELIEVE
What do you believe? What you believe defines you. It defines who you are.
How you think.
How you act.
How you feel.
What you fear.
What you value.
What you love.
How you spend your time.
How you spend your money.
When a traffic light turns green you believe it safe to proceed.
When you step onto an airplane you believe the captain capable of operating it properly.
When you order food at a restaurant you trust the food is not poisoned.
None of these are givens, they require a substantial amount of faith.
You may or may not believe that there is Intelligent Design behind the forming of our intricate world.
If so, do you believe that Designer is aware of you?
You may or may not believe whether that Designer is what some refer to as "God".
If so, is God gracious and loving or angry at His creation?
You may or may not believe that people will be responsible for the actions committed during their lifetimes.
If so, believing in karma will cause you to live differently than if you believe your sin has a consequence.
If you are like me, you believe Jesus of Nazareth was more than a carpenter, more than a good teacher, more than a prophet. You believe that he was the Son of the One True God, Creator of the entire universe and the lover of your soul. You believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and came to be the Lamb without blemish, God's Lamb, who would literally take away your sins and the sins of the world. You would believe that after he successfully accomplished His mission, He died but came back to life, never to die again. He sits at the right hand of God the Father and some day is coming back to reign forever. You would believe that He is the definition of pure love.
If you believe that, it will effect the way you approach life. IF you believe it. And if you do, you are not the first and you are not alone. We are a part of a great company as we look back two thousand years to the confessions of the apostle Peter: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God", the apostle John: "In the beginning was the Word", John the Baptist, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world", the Roman Centurion at the foot of the cross: "Truly this man was the Son of God", and so many more.
Where is your foundation? Are you on sure footing when the storms of life scream? Where is your hope? Is it secure?
What you believe either binds you or frees you.