Together?

Great Expectations

I've Said Too Much FINAL

First things first.  While this is the most recent song written for this record, I cannot recall how it started to come together.  I know it began with a title, then somewhat of a concept that changed over time.  Then the idea of writing about community – people actually interacting FOR REAL, not online in the interwebs in pretend-world.

But most important – I stole the first three words, “It’s kinda funny”.  While hashing out the riffs, I got an old Kiss song in my head.  The riffs are in no way the same.  But the song, “Two Sides of the Coin” came to mind.  Specifically Ace’s line, “It’s kinda funny…”.  So I took it and used it throughout the song.  If he wants, I’ll buy him lunch.  Lunch will be more than I’ll make on the song, so….  Ace, this is my public invitation to lunch.  I’ll buy.

But nothing fancy.  I mean – it’s lunch, for the love…

What of the song?  I had another song in it’s place on the record.  I was done with the record – but not that song.  I’m still waiting on a blistering solo from my buddy for it.  So I needed to replace it.  I came up with this.

Maybe if I buy Ace lunch, he’ll play the solo?

I wanted this song to be light, as I talk about the alternative to hiding behind our keyboards.  Putting ourselves OUT THERE.  We’re given this great gift of life on earth, with other people.  What if we were actually IN THE MOMENT?  What would that look like, huh?

And it’s a fun rock song.  I hope you like it.  And Ace – that invitation is always open…

Great Expectations
It’s kinda funny how lonely and sad we are
When we’re surrounded by a virtual sea of people
It’s kinda lonely, just being the only one
I’d be less lonely if I’d only find the
The other onlys who are also lonely
And maybe we’d all be the lonely onlys together   

 It’s kinda funny how we talk and talk and talk
But never think to walk the walk
Cause that might take a little more than talking
And we might run into some people walking
And God forbid we ever walk the walk together 

 And in the end if I’d only said
Hey nice to meet you, maybe we’d be friends
And isn’t that what we’re made to be, together 

Great Expectations

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Remaster?

I Will Absorb the Blow

I Will Absorb the Blow Remaster

I was playing around with a solution called “LANDR”, where they master your songs for you, automatically.  I’m still learning as I go, with this recording, and mastering is another part of the puzzle I don’t (and may never) have a handle on.

Still – I wasn’t overly impressed with what I heard.  Don’t get me wrong – it sounded nice, all things considered.  But my remastered version wasn’t far off, and might even be a bit better – softer anway.  I think the issues with the song stem from recording first, mixing second.  Meaning I need to improve my skills in those areas.  THEN, I can work on mastering.

BUT – since I was experimenting, I thought I’d use one of my fav songs from my last record.  It turned out slightly better than the original – if nothing else, it’s a bit louder.  But I think my voice in particular sounds a bit less “harsh”, especially when compared to that of Abasa’s Asake, who has a voice like BUTTER, I tell you…  I always thought mine sounded a bit like nails on a chalkboard, when put right next to his – and I don’t typically hate my voice.  So – this master is a bitter softer, and I “think” better.  May just be me.

So – it’s FREE, as usual.  And if you enjoy, that pleases me.  And I will stick to doing my own masters for now.  🙂

Love you!

T.

I Will Absorb the Blow Remaster

I Am For You…

Official - I Must Become Less 5

I Will Absorb the Blow

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32)

This is a very special song for me.  I tried to write it with the above passage in mind, keeping in mind that we are to forgive each other, LOVE each other, just as Christ loves us.  The first verse applies to brothers, the church.  The second to my wife.  The last – God to us.  I am so pleased with how this one turned out.  It really is a sweet song.  That sounds odd to say about something I wrote.  God is good…

So – I had this idea to have a friend of mine share the lead vocal part with me.  His name is Abasa Asake, and he is a monster singer.  You’ll hear for yourself.  He was gracious enough to help me out.  Funny – when he came over to record, started laying his parts down, we’d finish a take and I’d be like, “Woah….”, an he’d be like, “Meh…”.  🙂  He is super critical of his voice, but he’s AMAZING.  I almost didn’t want to keep any of my parts in, as I feel weird hearing my voice on the song now.  He’s that good, and I feel pretty inferior in my flesh.  But God is good, and it turned out very well…

I hope you enjoy this song, and are encouraged.  Encouraged if you are in any sort of relationship, be it family, church, a marriage.  God is for you.  Your spouse if for you.  Your brothers and sisters are for you.  I do well to remember this, as I am so very blessed…

Ted Hajnasiewicz:   lead and backing vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drum loops, Hammond B3, piano
Abasa Asake:   lead vocals
Elise Magalis:  backing vocals
Joan Boyer:  backing vocals

I Will Absorb the Blow

i must become less…

Last Day…

Today is bittersweet… We leave our family in Santo Domingo, to rejoin our family in Minnesota. God is so good…

We went back to Haina today, to do VBS, and pass out Operation Christmas Child gifts. Today I was filled with joy, watching the teachers watch their kids as they opened the gifts. I can’t help but think the Lord looks on us this same way, as we receive and rejoice in the tremendous gift He has given us…

Leaving for one last dinner with our brothers and sisters in Santo Domingo. Then we head to the airport… 😦

The God of Hope…

I went to a really cool conference this past weekend, for the church I am a member of.  Not cool because it had great music, or latest fashions, or new key phrases that seem to stem from bible verses but aren’t REALLY the bible verses, just some cool worldly twist on a bible verse.  No – it was really cool because, for me, it was a combination of conviction and confirmation.  I would love to elaborate – but I’m honestly feeling a little lazy right now.  So instead, I’ll talk about this verse in Romans, and how it tied everything together for me.  This was a verse I read this morning, the morning after said really cool conference….

From Romans 15….

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This verse was not referenced in the conference, but I think it gets to the heart of what the conference was about.  It all comes back to Jesus.  We can’t do anything without him.  Well – we CAN.  But it will not bear fruit that will last.

Yet, we so often strive to do it alone.  Or to cut God out of the equation, let alone turn the reins over to him.  For me, this verse pierced my heart – “Ted, you are not trusting in me.  You are not experiencing my joy in full, because you are still going your own way”.

May the God of hope – our Lord, Jesus Christ – fill you with joy and peace….  As you trust in him – meaning he WILL fill you with joy and peace, when you trust in him.  He won’t make you “happy”, or give you things.  Well – he might.  But that is not what we are to desire.  We are not to desire objects, or temporary happiness, or expect that we should “follow our dreams” and that is from God.  God’s deisre for us is not comfort, or financial gain, or pretty trinkets that will distract us – no, he wants us.  His desire IS us.  His desire for us is salvation – to be restored to what we were created to be – in communion with him.

His desire for us is joy and peace…..

And in him – ONLY in him – we find joy and peace.  Anything outside of that will fail.  And anything outside of that – is sin.  When we strive to have THINGS, and worldly pleasures, we really need to ask God if this is his desire.  Or is it taking our eye off Christ?  Because if it is – it’s sin.  When we try to vote our opinions into law, instead of sticking our neck out and sharing the truth with one guy who God may put on our heart to share with – it’s sin.  When we don’t trust that God has a plan bigger even than all of the wickedness of this world – that he’s already won, no matter how bleak it may look to our eyes – it’s sin….

We should not think of sin as those “major things”, or something that falls in line with ten rules.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.  And love your neighbor as yourself.  Jesus said these two commands sum up the law.  Which means two things to me:

1.  The law is still valid.  Many question that.  I think they are misguided.  Jesus came to fulfill the law.  I do not think however the law is the answer, or the key to heaven.  It’s a guide.  It leads us to Christ, the truth the way and the light.  As we see in these two commands, all other commands are to point us to Christ – to the only one who has faithfully loved God the Father with all he has, and the only one who loved his neighbor perfectly, as himself.
3.  Anything that falls outside of these two commands – is sin.

So – you can go ahead and do all the good you want.  You can follow all the commandments you want – whether they are from God or from man – doesn’t matter.  You can live a “righteous life”, and “not do those major sins” or abominations that others do.  But if you don’t love God with all you have, and because of that love your neighbor – you are sinning…….

I am sinning…….

So – back to the verse.  As we trust in the Lord, as we abide in him, as we cling to the vine, our joy is complete.  And it overflows, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Overflows.  We can’t contain it.  We HAVE to give it away.  We MUST.  We have no choice, we’re overcome by his love!

But are we?  Or are we consumed by the world?  I know I am.  I know that I WANT to be overwhelmed with his love and mercy.  And I know God wants that for me.  But I am so often distracted by this world – the new house, the job, Dylan’s baseball, paperwork, the lawn, Stella’s ortho appointment, the messy garage, that new tv we want, the local news, the political debate that I know nothing about but so want to shove my opinion down your throat, my diet, the laundry, on and on.  I am too busy for you, Lord.  Check back later, k?  Love ya……

Lord – forgive me for making myself so busy….  Forgive me for taking anything on myself, and sinning against you. You are not a God who desires tithing, and sacrifices, and that we cower in terror – though you could be.  You are not a God who desires we follow religious dogma.  You are a God who desires mercy, holiness, truth, beauty.  You desire US.  You see us as merciful, holy, honorable, beautiful, through your son Jesus Christ.  Though we are not these things of ourselves – we are because you took our sin upon yourself, and gave us your righteousness in return.  I pray that you strengthen me, so that I might be less about pleasing myself, and more pleasing to you.  Not to obtain some gift – but beause I desire to please you, the lover of my soul….  Because you first loved me.  I worship you, by being what you created me to be.  Nothing more.  Help me to believe.  To trust in you. To be filled with joy and peace overflowing, so much so that I must share with others.  May your ways be my ways.  In Jesus’ name.

Amen…..

What Would You Do?

Yesterday I had the privelege of teaching the 4th and 5th graders at church about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Daniel’s good friends, and how they handled the command by King Nebuchadnezzar to fall down and worship the monstrous idol he constructed whenever they hear music being played.

Long story short, they refused, and were thrown into a blazing furnace – a furnace so hot the guards who threw them in immediately melted and died. LUCKFULLY, Our Lord saved them from harm, and in the process so impressed King Nebuchadnezzar that he decreed all the people’s of the land of Babylon would worship the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego!  WOW! 

I love that story.  If you don’t know it, you can find it in Daniel chapter 3 .   You will love it too, no doubt.

So – as I was preparing for this lesson, I kept asking my wife “what would you do?”.  When King Nebuchadnezzar decreed all persons will fall down and worship his idol or persish in the fire – “what would you do?”.  When the king threatened Shadreach, Meshach and Abednego to their faces with a treacherous death in the furnace – “what would you do?”.  When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood their ground, knowing they were destined for the furnace – “what would you do?”.

Note that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had faith God would deliver them from peril – but they did not have a guarantee!  From verses 16-18 of chapter 3:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

They were willing to die in the flames, instead of worship the golden statue, and so break God’s heart.  What would you do?

Now – we’re most likely not going to be faced with a decision over our very lives such as this.  At least not today in the United States.  We should take a moment and realize this kind of thing DOES happen throughout the world today.  And we are not guaranteed we will NEVER face something such as this.

But – what about the things we do face?  Being mocked for our beliefs – do we stand up and take it, or do we try and mock back?  Or worse – DENY we know Jesus, like Peter did?

What if we are around friends or co-workers engaging in inappropriate conversations?  I myself WAS that innaprpriate person in my past, often innitiating that sort of conversation.  How would I handle it now, if I’m suddenly pulled into one?  Would I stand up and try and correct my friends?  Or at least try and walk away from it?  Or worse – ENGAGE in it, just to fit in?  While I’ve not had to engage in it recently, I must confess I HAVE allowed some foul language to come from my mouth when in the presence of my potty-mouth friends.  I STILL do that from time to time, when I could instead just not participate.  Instead pray for my friends.  Instead seek strenght from the Lord.

Recently, a friend was telling me all about a trip to a tropical region, where they visited some Mayan temples.  Before they could enter, they had to participate in a Mayan religious ritual.  Basically – you participate, or you don’t go.  What would you do?  Would you refuse, and miss out, and possibly be scorned by friends and family?  Or would you participate, even faking it, and so grieve the Lord?

Or how about if we have a worldview that is different than much of the world?  Will we speak boldly, in love, the truth?  Or will we live as if our worldview, or Lord, isn’t important enough to share with those who don’t yet know him?

Most of  these things are things we probably run into on a daily basis, in some form or another.  None of them will get us killed, at least not here in the US.  And all of them are harmless, right?

Or are they?

From Mark 8: 

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Create In Me a Pure Heart

Today is the beginning of Lent. What a wonderful time to reflect on one’s relationship with God, to repent of sins, to turn towards the Lord instead of away. Oh, that we would do this daily, and not just “in season”. 🙂

Psalm 51:10 says “Create in me a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit in me”. I am beginning to pray this daily, as I am so easily prone to wander. Not necessarily to sinful acts – though they can and do often follow, as I of my self do not do well at resisting the temptations laid upon me by my enenmy.  No, just to “grow stagnant” or get lethargic or laxidasical in my walk with God.  That in itself is actually a sin, as I am turning to things of the world – even if they seem innocent – instead of my Lord and Savior.

It’s during times like Lent that we consider this more often, no?  That we almost make new “new year’s resolutions”.  “I’m gonna go to church more often”.  “I’m gonna pray every day”.  “I’m gonna read that bible all the way through!”.  But we so often fail in this area (I do), just as we can often with new year’s resolutions.  Why?  I think it’s because we are missing the point……

It’s not “I”, but “HE”.  While all of those things are great, and we do need them – we need to truly turn to God.  To truly trust in God.  To truly seek him, and not the ways of the world.  Oh, that we would do this daily, and not just “in season”.

Lord, I love you.  I love you because you loved me first.  I love you because you loved me so much that you sent your only son to die in my place.  I love you because you love me so much that you have numbered every hair on my head.  I love you because you have comforted me in times of trouble.  I love you because you have blessed me, and because you bless others through me.  Father God, create in me a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.  I pray this in your son Jesus’ name.  Amen.