In the spring of 1966, the entire 4th grade class was marched to the gym where we were made to take a musical aptitude test. Other than listening to single notes played on a variety of instruments and answering whether or not they were the same, I remember little else about the test. Weeks later, I came home from school and my parents greeted me saying “the school called.” Oh, how those words could make me sweat bullets and launch my suspicious mind into a frenzied inventory of excuses even before hearing the school’s complaint.
If only it were that easy. (Image captured from video at Bethel.TV)
“Do you remember the music test you took?” my parents asked. “Uh, no” said I. Dad continued with a grin “it’s difficult to believe, I know, but the school says you have a talent for music.” My little mind did a Bat-Turn** trying to Continue reading
Gone are the days when I could wile away the hours playing my guitar; responsibility trumps making music. More than a hobby or profession, playing is a means to work out what I’m feeling when words elude me. With everything I need to do in caring for my elderly father and working with my wife to make a home for us, there is no more telltale sign of self neglect, than the dust buildup on my guitar. So when our wedding anniversary rolled around this year, I took my wife and my ‘girlfriend’ Roseanna* to Orcas island.
A place to reconnect
The ferry out of Anacortes to the San Juan islands affords many awe inspiring views as it weaves between the islands. Secluded on 80 acres, our room at the B&B overlooked a working sheep farm, from which the comforters in our room were made. Fresh eggs are collected and served for breakfast together with ripened fruit from the orchard. There is no television in the room; it is a place for rest and to reconnect. Continue reading
The Lord began preparing me to leave religious Babylon (man’s church) decades before I actually walked away from it. Blow upon blow, hurt upon hurt, the only way I would leave man’s church is when the discomfort of it all obliterated any hope of remaining. I could recount a hundred such abusive experiences, any one of which should have motivated me to leave, but I was deeply devoted to “the church” since it was there Jesus revealed himself to me. That’s a ridiculous notion, of course, returning weekly to the place I met Jesus. He could just as easily have appeared to me in the dentist’s office. If He had, would I make an appointment to have my teeth cleaned every week in the hope of seeing Him again?
Perhaps leaving was more difficult for me because I was a performing song-writer of original Christian tunes, so the church was my defacto performance venue for half a lifetime. Yet even that was hurtful because my home church saw me only as a guitar-player for the praise band; Continue reading
A benefit concert for a free medical clinic inspired me to write a new song for the event. The heart of the person who put it all together really touched me as one of few genuine church building efforts I’ve seen in years.
For the concert, the Lord impressed me with a message about Church building. Most of us have heard that the “Church” is a people, not a building. Yet it seems whenever church building is discussed, the conversation always turns to a house of wood. Concerning the things of this world we work so hard to build and maintain, Paul tells us that the Lord will test the quality of our work by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13).
Accordingly, we really need to ask ourselves whether what we are working on will survive the fire, for only that which remains is worthy of our labors. We can be certain that our church buildings, camp and conference grounds, church buses and the like will be burned up. When the ‘things of this world’ are gone, I think we will see that our only enduring work is the investments we have made in others (Matthew 25:31-46). Continue reading
Three times in 2 days, it has rained when there were blue skies overhead. It first happened to Karen and I when we went out for lunch yesterday and the Lord treated us to a brilliant rainbow and a pair of eagles riding on a thermal in the distance. God simply wowed us!
I’m certain there’s a rational explanation for the rain here in what airline pilots call the “blue hole” on the northern flanks of the Olympic mountain range. But who cares about being rational! Our hearts are swelling with love for God and appreciation for the beauty and wonder of His creation!
So I’m interpreting the experience as a “song request” from the Almighty and an Continue reading