Peace Is Here

I’ve been waiting and waiting for this Thanksgiving thing to be over! ūüôā

I love Christmas time. I love it so much, that I recorded some Christmas songs when it was still summer. I’m weird, I know.

But I didn’t want to just throw them at you. Partly because it was summer – or early fall at least – and I know how sick you get of Christmas music, when it’s put on the shelves two American holidays early. But also because I don’t have to – I’m not in the business of making money with my music, so I have the freedom to give it away at an apprpriate time.

Now is that time. When our bellies are still over-full, and our minds are not quite again sharp. When we’re put off by all the Black Friday goings-on, or maybe excited by that loot we got while shopping. When we want to put the tree up, or maybe just sit down and relax.

Peace is here. Now. Not in a month. This time of year is exciting to me, because it reminds me of what hope is. Hope isn’t an “I wish” kind of hope. It’s anticipation of what we know will come. Peace is here.

So I wrote this song, maybe a Christmas song, maybe not. But it’s called “Peace Is Here”.

The second song – yes, I did two songs – is more of a light Christmas love song.¬† I wrote it a couple years back when wooing my wife.¬† She likes it, and maybe you will too.¬† It’s called “I Promise”.¬† Give it a listen.

Both songs were a complete joy to write and record. Remember, I love Christmas! I love Christmas music. These may not be the songs I have playing when we put up the tree (Maybe I’ll tell you about those – they are near and dear to my wife’s heart, and mine now as well), but maybe you will. Or not. Either way – I hope you enjoy them, and I hope you find joy this holiday season, maybe a kind of joy you never expected.

God bless you!


Within Your Reach…

My wife bought me a mandolin for my birthday – she’s so cool! I’ve been noodling around with it, learned to play the ending to “Maggie Mae”, things like that. I think I’m going to love recording with it, and incorporating it into songs here and there.

Last weekend I also read the Replacements “biography”, “All Over But the Shouting” – which sparked so many memories for me. Not because I lived it – I didn’t. I didn’t even know who the band was until my senior year of highschool, when a friend kept hounding me about this “Minneapolis punk band”. Like I care – I don’t even like punk rock.

But they weren’t punk rock. Not to me. Songs like “Answering Machine”, “Sixteen Blue”, “Skyway”, and at the risk of sounding uncool, “I’ll Be You”, showed me they were a band that could write songs. Great songs. I never knew about their legendary drunken mess shows, until long after that was old to them. I never saw it. I saw them live once, on the last tour, and that was amazing to me. They just were so – REAL to me. And reading this book, brought back back memories for me, of being a kid in a band, ready to take on and conquer the world. Of being confused as a teenager, because I was too shy to pick up girls, because (in my mind), nobody understood me, and because I was going to show the world some day. Or something like that.

So since reading the book, and of course listening to and apprecaiting again how great their songs are – along with learning how to play this cool new instrument – somehow, I got this brilliant idea to try and make my own little rendition of a Mats’ song. I was listenig to the Hootenany album, and “Within Your Reach” came on. Such a beautiful song…… So simple, so raw, so pure. Yes, it has a drum machine on it – but they ain’t hidin’ it. It actually makes the song that much better.

So I started fiddling with my mandolin, and figured out how to arrange this song on it. I don’t think I did so well – I fumble my chord fretting even on guitar, even more-so on the mandolin. But you may think it’s kinda cool, I dunno. It’s a great song, no matter the treatment, I think. So if you don’t throw up when you hear it, great. I hope you enjoy!

You can hear the Mats’ version here:

And you can get that book here:

And – if you are around Minneapolis Friday night, there is a Replacements Tribute show going on at First Avenue! Check it out! Sadly, I can’t make it. So if you go, please tell me how great it was.

And thank you baby for the mandolin! I love love love it!!!

Do Not Be Anxious…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Very powerful verses.¬† Ones many of us know.¬† Ones I’ve “preached” to my wife, my kids, my friends.¬† Ones, sadly, I don’t follow very well myself.¬† If you break it down……

Do not be anxious about anything……

That’s the first part I fail in, when trying to apply this verse to my life.¬† I am often anxious.¬† How am I going to complete this task, I don’t even know how?¬† What if I fail?¬† Why didn’t they tell me about this earlier?¬† I have no time!¬† What if something else comes up, and I can’t do it?¬† And another, and another and another…..

What if my kids don’t accept Christ?¬† So many people in this world – DON’T.¬† What am I doing wrong here?

What if I fail AGAIN at being a husband????  Have you seen the statistics????

You get it?¬† I’m anxious.

but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God…..

I change my mind – THIS is the first part I fail in.¬† I simply don’t pray enough.¬† I am either too lazy (I want more sleep), too boastful and proud (I can do it on my own – or another form of pride – I don’t want to bother you God….), or too ashamed of my sin – the shame pushes me away from God, which leads me vulnerable when tempted so I sin again…..¬† Lather, rinse, repeat……

If I were to pray more – to just approach Jesus with everying in my life, good and bad – I think I’d do a lot less failing in the area of being anxious.¬† Why?

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

If we put on Jesus Рtruly put on the armor of God, and trust him with our every care, we will have peace.  And Joy.  Jesus says he wants his joy to be in us, and our Joy to be complete.  Why would we not take him up on that?

I know it seems so hard though.¬† it’s a constant battle.¬† One day I’ll do well, one day I’ll fall flat on my face.¬† I can tell you the difference between the good and bad days though – and it’s never MY doing that makes the difference.¬† It’s when I stop DOING, and just BE with him………¬† When I focus on God, and all his gloriouis, beautiful qualities.¬† When I am truly thankful for all that he is, and all that he’s done for me.¬† And I’m not talking cars and houses – I’m talking saving me from the old self that lied, stole, yelled, lusted, hated, betrayed, gossiped – the list goes¬†on and on….

Sure, I will turn back to that old self from time to time – when I forget that he’s saved me and made me new, that he has great plans for me.¬† I am thankful that it’s becoming less and less, as he’s transforming me, making me perfect as he is perfect, and ONLY because he is perfect.¬† This has nothing to do with me – the only way I can ever fully stop being anxious and giving it all to him, is to constantly think on him.¬† That is why these beautiful words follow the previous verses…..

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable‚ÄĒif anything is excellent or praiseworthy‚ÄĒthink about such things.

This describes Jesus, as only he is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable.  Only he is worthy of our praise.