TAKE COURAGE

sad guyIn addition to my songwriting/recording career, I’m a worship pastor, and each week I pray through dozens of requests that come in to the church.

Sometimes I’m just floored by what a truly broken world we live in. I read about heartache and loss, struggle and pain. Job stress and illness. Relationships in deep trouble. Loneliness. Doubt. Fear. All of this from people that I care about, people I serve each week.

When life gets hard, it can be a struggle to trust God, to continue to believe He’s with us and that He loves us. And the truth is, sometimes what we know and what we feel are completely at odds.

So allow me to share some encouragement from Jesus. But first, a warning: this is not the stuff of Hallmark cards; Jesus has never been the type to pretend that life will be easy.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jesus, John 16:33)

If you’re familiar with His story, you understand that Jesus knows something about “having trouble” in this world… Continue reading

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THE “LEAST FAVORITE” CHRISTMAS SONG POLL!

horrible musicA couple of years ago I posed the question “what is your LEAST favorite Christmas song?” For some reason, that blog post has disappeared from my website, so I figured I should ask again. Here’s the poll – what horrible holiday song did I miss? And just to make it more interesting…

IdahoHoHo2012coverOn Thursday 12/20/12 at 7:00 central, I’ll draw one name from those who participate in the poll AND comment. The prize? A copy of the new IdahoHoHo CD (feat. my new Christmas duet with Jaime Thietten [listen here: Come to Us (O Little Town)] which is only available in Idaho at Moxie Java Coffeeshops with proceeds benefitting Idaho Food Bank!

Remember to comment after you take the poll so I’ll include your name in the CD drawing! (UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats Leanne Watkins!) Continue reading

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CAN’T YOU BE MORE LIKE JESUS?

I have an older brother, and when we were kids, Rob possessed the very useful talent of always appearing to be completely innocent.

No matter what mischief we had gotten into together, when we were caught, I would get in trouble and he would somehow get out of it.

I guess he just had an innocent face – and he must’ve been smarter than I was since I would always be the one caught holding the evidence of our misbehavior. At least, that’s how I remember it…

Can you imagine having a brother like Jesus? Of course, certain schools of thought insist that, when the Bible says “brother” or “sister” it means something more like “cousin,” but it’s actually pretty clear that Jesus’ mother Mary and her husband Joseph had other children. Jesus had siblings.

So think about this: how rotten would it have been to have JESUS for a brother – someone who was actually perfect? The Bible doesn’t give us much detail about His childhood, so this would fall into the category of speculation, but I imagine the others got really tired of hearing “Why can’t you be more like your brother Jesus?” That must have been really, really irritating.

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CHRISTMAS SALES!

Everywhere you look there are holiday sales – online, in stores, and now, of course, right here at my little website. I’m operating on the assumption that there’s got to be someone on your Christmas list who would enjoy my music (hint, hint) . . . And honestly, your support means a great deal to me.

Place your order right now to get it before Christmas!

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CHRISTMAS SHOW TONIGHT!

Hey guys, if you’re in the Boise Idaho area, I’m part of the 89.5 FM KTSY Christmas show TONIGHT (Thursday, Dec 6).

I’ll be doing some of my Christmas songs (including a brand new one that I’ve never performed) along with special guests Ryan Stevenson, Jaime Thietten, Illusionist/Ventriloquist/Comedian Scott Guinn and more.

It’s all going down tonight at 7:00 pm at Eagle Christian Church. Admission is free – but please try to bring a new, unopened toy for KTSY’s toy drive.

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SNEAK PEEK: NEW CHRISTMAS SINGLE

I know, I know … it’s kind of early for anything “Christmas” … but I just finished a new song – a duet with the fabulous Jaime Thietten – called “Come To Us (O Little Town)”.

It will be featured on the multi-artist “Idaho Ho Ho” CD, available EXCLUSIVELY in the Boise, Idaho area at Moxie Java coffee shops and at the Record Exchange.

The best part? All proceeds go to The Idaho Food Bank.

To hear a snippet of the song, click the CD cover image or click HERE. Please comment to let Jaime and I know what you think!

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ALL THINGS?

I recently heard this quote, and maybe you’re familiar with it:

“Everything will be all right in the end. And if it is not all right, that is because it is not yet the end.”

I like that. It’s comforting … kind of. But I think it’s incomplete.

Romans 8:28 is much better, in my opinion:
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” 

Take a minute to go back and read the previous verses; Paul has just been writing about enduring suffering and seeking strength from God as we persevere. So when he writes “all things” work together for good, he’s not saying “everything’s fine – you won’t have trouble paying bills, your kids won’t ever make poor choices, and you won’t ever get sick.” Remember, he’s writing to a church that’s facing real persecution. So when he says “all things work together for good,” what can he possibly mean?

The answer lies a little later in the chapter:

Romans 8:31-39: “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one – for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one – for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)  [There’s a Halmark card slogan for ya…]

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.

  • Neither death nor life,
  • neither angels nor demons,
  • neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow,
  • not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love!
  • No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God makes all things work together for our good. Amen and amen.

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OBSTACLES TO KNIGHTHOOD

One minute, Josiah was just fine. He was almost ready for school and was in a great mood. Next, I heard a plaintive wail coming from the hallway and I turned back around to see Joey collapsed on the floor, sobbing bitterly.

Assuming he’d run into the wall or stubbed his toe (he has, unfortunately, inherited all of my physical grace) I asked him what was wrong.

With all the anguish a seven-year old can muster, he answered through his sobs, “I’ll never be a knight!”

You have to understand that Josiah is obsessed with everything to do with knights. Armor, swords, Narnia, Arthur – this is the stuff that really stirs up his already vivid imagination.

So I figured it was just one of those sad moments in life when the cold hard anvil of reality comes plummeting down to crush childhood fantasy into smithereens. Maybe he had realized, suddenly, how hard it would be to find a career path that rewards specialized knowledge like how to rescue princesses from dragons or how to properly care for your sword.

So it was with sympathy that I asked him why he couldn’t be a knight. Still sobbing, he answered with despair, “Because knights don’t have freckles!”
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TOURING UPDATE

So we’ll be heading out in a few weeks for a quick tour. I usually direct y’all to my Tour page for concert schedule updates, but instead today I thought I’d just post my concert plans for the rest of 2012 right here. It is my website, after all…

9/29 thru 9/30 – Everett, WA
10/10 – Cheyenne, WY
10/11 thru 10/14 – Colorado Springs, CO (private conference)
10/14 – Colorado Springs, CO
10/15 – Grand Junction, CO
10/17 – Las Vegas, NV
10/18 thru 10/21- Hume Lake, CA (private conference)
10/21 – Vacaville, CA
11/4 – Caldwell, ID (Valley Church Invasion service)
11/8 – Chapel at Boise Bible College
11/9 – Eagle, ID (Gary Smalley event)
11/17 thru 11/18 – Idaho Falls, ID
12/6 – KTSY Christmas Event

We decided to not tour in December this year, but I’m going to be working with 89.5 KTSY on a really cool Christmas event (more details to follow).

For 2013, so far we’re planning shows in AZ, TN, IL, IN, CA, OR, WA, ID, UT and CO. I’d like to get some things rolling for MI, WI and OH as well – and if your church or venue or conference is interested I’d love to talk with you guys – no matter where you are. Comment below or message me!

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TEN YEARS

Ten years ago, I hung out my shingle as a solo artist (after several great years with my indie band “the nobodys”). 2002 was a big year for me; I released my first solo CD, my son Josiah was born … and I moved my family 2,000 miles from Nashville to Idaho.

But secretly … I feared my music might never be heard by much of anyone, and that moving to a place like Idaho would be the death knell for my career. I didn’t want to acknowledge it, but there was a nagging voice in my mind saying “it’s all over – you’d better have a Plan B.”

But then a funny thing happened: my tour calendar started filling up, and by 2003 I had my first bona fide radio hit when “I Love You Lord” hit #1 (and stayed on the Billboard radio charts for over 9 months!). Soon I had more songs on the radio and had toured all over the U.S. I began a partnership with The JESUS Film Project and started hosting their daily radio feature. I was traveling overseas Continue reading

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