You Are Beautiful

You Are Beautiful

You Are Beautiful

I wrote this song after my last visit to San Francisco.  During that visit, I was reminded how easy it is to marginalize people.  We hear about this every day in the news and on social media.  But we don’t really talk about some of the most marginalized – those “dirty, scary people on that block you probably don’t want to walk down”….

My wife and I stayed on “that block” while in San Francisco, and we met some really sweet people.  We also ran into some people who are – probably insane.  The level of what seems to be insanity among the population we were among is more than I’d seen anywhere else (granted, I haven’t been everywhere – maybe this is more common?…).  We were really overwhelmed by this darkness.  I mean how do you reach someone who is incapable of being reached?  God have mercy…

We did run into a few people though who were wonderful and gracious enough to have chats with us.  Some were so pleased we would spend time with them, or even ask their name.  Some just wanted money for a fix.  Some were sleeping all day – maybe because it’s safer to sleep during the day?  I mean, that’s what I would do, if I lived on the streets – so we just left food at their feet.

Each story is heartbreaking, yet sweet.  These are PEOPLE!  With stories, and life, and dreams.  And value.  Never let someone tell you we as humans are insignificant.  As if it’s arrogant to put a value on a human (yes I heard this too, while staying in SF, at the conference I was at.  A very very intelligent man was spouting this lie to an audience who eat it up like steak…).  We as people ARE valued and valuable, to the One who created us.  This is not arrogant, because it speaks to HIS glory, not ours.

I wrote this song, after the visit.  For Anna, who lit up with the most beautiful smile, when we asked her what her name was.  For Doris, who could not see past her need for the next fix, even at the expense of the babies in her womb…  For Karen, who was actually the first person I approached, ten years ago.  I wonder what she’s up to today…

For Heather, who just needed a few more bucks to make rent, so she would not be thrown out on the street again.  For the Vietnam vet, who felt like he had no more use.  For the men piled on each other for warmth, as they slept in a forgotten alley…

I’m giving the song away.  But if anyone streams or downloads it, I’ll donate to a local Minneapolis organization called In Love Word and Deed.  They go out weekly and bring meals to people in Minneapolis.  They pray over and with, share love and good news with, get to know, cry over and with, these wonderful people.  They are wonderful people.  If you see fit, please consider helping them out.

And if you would, prayerfully consider, how your smile, your “hello”, your handshake or hug, might just show someone they matter.  Because they do.  And so do you…

You Are Beautiful

You are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

Dear Anna, such a beautiful smile
Such a beautiful name
And I call you mine
I’ve called you by name into My grace
My mercy is yours for the taking

Dear child, don’t you know yet?
Dear one, haven’t you heard

That you are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

Dear Doris, you don’t need that hit…
You don’t need that shame…
Cause you are My gift
I give you Myself
And that’s enough
If only you’d know this…

Dear child with a child of your own
Dear one, don’t let go…

Cause you are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

Dear Karen
Pure in heart
You think no one sees you…
But I do…
your name’s not forgotten
It’s on my book of life
And today you will hear me in paradise, say

You are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

You Are Beautiful

 

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Your Favor Rests Upon Me…

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Your Favor

I finished my record.  I was done.  We headed to Seattle, for our daughter’s wedding.  She married the love of her life.  It was wonderful!

Do I use the word “wonderful” too much?

While there, my wife, who was doing the flowers for the wedding, had to pick up all the flowers, greens, etc. for the wedding.  While checking in to our Air BnB, she thought, “Maybe we can see if we can find some more greens to go with the flowers.”  I didn’t know the green parts weren’t part of the flowers.  Greens and flowers are – not…  the same thing…

Anyway, there were wooded walking paths all around our neighborhood.  So – maybe?

So while putting things away, we could hear a chainsaw, or some sort of gas-powered tool.  We head out on our walk – and along the walk path are greens – CUT DOWN.  EVERYWHERE.  God literally placed all the greens we could need, at our feet!

I mean – ALL OF THEM.  P picked up more than she needed, and left a ton more than that on the trail!  Here is one pic, so you can see what I’m talking about.
IMG_2931

And that is just part of what my wife pulled together, from what was left for us.

God is so good…  I don’t typically think of things like this, or get caught up in the fascination of things like this.  But God – just TOOK CARE OF IT for us.  Wow…

Your favor, Lord, rests upon us…

So we’re heading to the store, to pick up flowers.  And we have to potentially cancel the order for greens, because we have enough now.  As we start to feel a little guilty, my wife gets a voicemail – no phone ring, just a voicemail.  It happens, we’ve all had it happen.

“Um – Mrs. Haj-nas-eee-wic – Haj-nas-erts – um, we got your roses, but – so sorry…  We couldn’t get any of the greens.  So sorry….”

!!!!!

God takes care of us.  Lord, your favor rests upon us…

I did not intend to write a song for Stella and Cody.  I mean – I DID.  But when my original idea went somewhere else, I did not consider writing another song.  I thought I was done.  I did not intend to write a worship song – when I couldn’t come up with anything, I thought I was done.

Then this…

I wrote most of it in Seattle, came home and wrote the verses.  I recorded myself plunking piano awkwardly, which fits the song.  This is probably my favorite song.  Because it reminds me of that beautiful day.  Of the way God’s favor was and is on Cody and Stella.  Of how God’s favor is on us…

God is so good….

Your Favor
Though I see through darkened glass
I will trust in You
Though I can’t forget my past
I will dwell on You
It seems the days turn into years
As Years go by as days
And as I rejoice through my tears
I delight in all Your ways

And as I stumble awkwardly
Through life
Toward You…
You give my greatest friend to me…
Someone who mirrors You

Your favor rests upon me…

Song written:  August 9, 14, 2017
Song recorded:  August 14, 2017
Song first released:  August 15, 2017

Your Favor

You can pre-order my new record here!  If you pre-order today, you’ll get EVERY song on it today!  Almost a week before everyone else!  🙂

You Will Find Me…

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With All Your Heart

I wrote this song for a dear friend of mine.  He and I had some pretty in-depth conversations about God, and religion, and the very hard truth of the Gospel that says Jesus is the only way to the Father – the only way to heaven.  And hell…  Nobody wants to accept it, or admit it, but hell (myself included), is a very stark reality…

But in these conversations, I hurt my friend deeply.  I callously called him a sinner.  I didn’t mean to be so callous, or “black and white”.  It just came out…  Because, you know, this is what Jesus says, I don’t “deal with what he deals with”.  Yes, we are all sinners.  But when you call someone a sinner to their face…  When you call their very life, who they are or identify as or with, SIN.  It’s…  There is a better way to engage in the Gospel truth.

I’m not at all suggesting we avoid talking about sin, or hell, or the truth of our brokenness and need for a Savior.  Please, those who are thinking as they read my comment, “You cannot change the truth”, or “Truth doesn’t care about your feelings” -I am not at all suggesting this. I just know that I was a bit clinical and calloused in my heartless, black and white statements.  I just talked about dehumanizing people, to make us feel better about our own decisions, in a previous post.  I did not mean to do this with my dear friend – but I think I did, even if involuntarily…  And for that, I’m truly sorry.  More sorry than I could ever express…

What I’m most sorry for?  What I said to my friend, is not something he’d never heard before.  Not something others haven’t said, or expressed, or suggested, or maybe even acted upon.  I’ve just piled it on…

I’ve often wondered, what is it that puts a wedge between God and man.  Man, of course – I know this.  We sin, and then hide from God.  And then sin more, and hide more.

But what about when a man like me, helps create a bigger divide?  I’m most sorry that I potentially contributed to that division in my friend’s heart.  And my greatest prayer is that he realize the God of the universe loves HIM, deeply.  As he is, NOW.  No matter how the Gospel message – the GOOD NEWS – is delivered to him, I pray he hears and understands that God loves him eternally.

So I wrote this stupid little song for my dear friend.  And there it is.

With All Your Heart
How am I supposed to believe what you say?
When you say I’ve sealed my fate
How am I supposed to know that you love me?
when your people show me hate

You would never ever be able to love me
To love me with all Your heart

Your words, they have been twisted into devils
Too many wolves attending the sheep
I am desperate to hear my Shepard’s call
Cause I feel as though I’ve been misled
Oh, tell me…

Would You ever really be able to love me?
To love me with all Your heart?

You will find Me
When you seek Me

With all your heart…

Song written:  May 16, 18, 19, 2017
Song recorded:  May 19, 20, 2017
Song first released:  May 20, 2017
Songwriters:  Ted Hajnasiewicz, Tony Preston

With All Your Heart

You can pre-order my new record here!

 

Are You OK With This???

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3000

I wrote this song for those who are most neglected, forgotten about.  The ones we want to dehumanize most.  We like to dehumanize, because it makes it easier to neglect them.  Or ignore them.  Or in this case – kill them…

If babies in the womb are not human – if they are truly globs of goo – then my assertion is completley wrong, there is nothing to be concerned with, right?

But you know you don’t believe that.  You wept when you lost your baby in the womb.  Or you were overjoyed, and excited when you found out you had a child in the womb.  What is different?  Your choice?

A heartbeat in 19 days.  A heart can’t beat, without the brain telling it to?  But I’m not a scientist, I could be wrong.

DNA at conception.  AT CONCEPTION.  So what – so a tomato has DNA.  But a tomato’s DNA doesn’t change into a peaches DNA.  Nor does the baby’s DNA in the womb change at birth, from a glob of goo’s DNA to that of a human being.  It’s human DNA at conception.  This baby in the womb is a human being…

This is a life.  We all know it.  I don’t want to vote my argument.  I don’t want to run around making abortion illegal.  Others are doing that, and good for them.

But I do want to talk about it.  You may hate me for this discussion.  But I’m asking you – would you have the discussion?

And I’m willing to hear you out.  You have a story.  You may have had an abortion, or paid for one.  Tell me your story.  Let’s talk.  Let’s not gloss over it, or make it ok – but at the same time I am not interested in making you a monster.   You’re not.  You’re a victim, my dear friend.  A victim of a society who by now has never know abortion as anything BUT holy and righteous.  Think about that – Roe V Wade was what, 1974?  33 years ago?  And how many years before that was the message argued that abortion is good?  So how can we know different?  NOBODY IS LEFT who knew different.

3000 babies are killed in America, every day.  EVERY.  DAY…

Are you really ok with that?

Please don’t answer here, with your quick knee-jerk response.  Please, please consider this, and answer that for yourself…  And then, if you are willing, come talk to me.  I Would so appreciate it.

I wrote this from the perspective of those who never had a voice.  Who never had a name – at least not to us.  Who were all known by their Creator…

3000
I wonder will she think of me?
Will anyone think of me again?
Will nights be long for anyone?
Will anyone give me a name?

Among the faceless the nameless…
How can I expect you to care?
How can I expect you to love?

Would You give me a name?
Would You see my face?
I am seen…
I am known…

Song written:  May 5, 2017
Song recorded:  May 5, 13, July 19, 2017
Song first released:  May 6, 2017
Note:  this song was originally released as an acoustic single, with all money going to an organization called “Conquerors”.  This organization ministers to those who have had abortions.  You can donate to them directly or find the original single.

Musicians:
Kate Stiglicz – Cello

3000

You can pre-order my new record here!

You Have Been Set Free…

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At A Price

Every few months, I have the privilege of going to Lino Lakes Correctional Facility to sing for and with a group of men, at an event called “Friday Night at the Q”.  I think “Q” is the name of the building we are in.  It’s about 200 men who are on fire for Jesus, singing praises to Him together.  Nothing compares to this, as a musician or a worship leader.  I think it’s the closest I may get on earth to what it’ll be like some day singing before the throne of God…

There is a banner on the wall in this room, with the verse from Romans 6:

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18)

I am always struck by this verse, as I’m in there.  These men are NOT free, physically.  They are prisoners.  But they are FREE, in ways many of us, even believers may not be.  So many of these men have truly laid their burdens down before the foot of the cross, and let Jesus take them.  Have you?  If not – why don’t you?

That question is for me, as much as it is for you.

If you ever get the chance – Ask these men about this freedom.  You’ll be amazed…

So – why become free, to then become a SLAVE again?  As this verse seems to indicate.  It doesn’t make sense???

Well – there is a difference here.  The “slave to righteousness” is voluntary.  Much like slavery in OT times was.  It was voluntary servitude.  Maybe to pay off a debt.  Sometimes, those who paid their debt, or were forgiven their debt (Look up the Jubliee), volunteered to remain servants – because they were so loved and taken care of – and they so loved their master.  This is the picture of we who are in Christ.  We are so much indebted to our Savior – and yet we willingly serve our loving Master.

Then – often even those who volunteered were turned into forced, tortured, captives.  Much like the slaves in Egypt.  Much like us, as we are slaves to sin.  We voluntarily sin, but we cannot get out…

But Jesus sets us free….

Do you know this?  Ask one of these men about it…

I wrote this song for these men, because they have changed MY life.  God is doing amazing things in and through their lives – ask them about it…

I took lyrics from the hymn, “Amazing Grace”, as it is probably the most fitting gospel song written by man.

You once were slaves to sin.  Now slaves to righteousness.  Do you know this?

At A Price
By blood
A hefty price
You’ve been won
Bought your life

Amazing grace
How sweet
The sound
That saved a wretch
Like me
I’m found…

I was
A slave to fear
I lay that down
You draw me near…

The Lord is good
To me
His will secure
My hope
And sheild
Forevermore…

The earth
Will melt like snow
You’ll be my God
Forevermore…

Song written:  February 26, March 6, 7, 2017
Song recorded:  April 7, 10, July 21, 2017
First released:  April 10, 2017
Songwriters:  Ted Hajnasiewicz, John Newton

Musicians:
Courtney Jayd – Backing Vocals

At A Price

You can pre-order my new record here!

My Heart Is In Memphis…

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My Heart Is In Memphis

Almost a year ago, Adam and Kate were married.  What an amazing day, from the bluegrass band they had playing PRE-WEDDING, to the house the stayed in, to the yard they got married in two houses down, to the walk Adam led us on to HIS BRIDE, to the amazing (A- MAY- ZING!) food, to the dancing and laughter.  Beautiful, brilliant and wonderful.

One thing I loved, was watching Adam and his mama dancing late in the evening.  It really was sweet, and I could not take my eyes off them.  To see the joy in my wife’s face, dancing with her son…

Wanna see?  I am stealing this pic from someone, so I ask for forgiveness in advance…

15042028_10104432063141890_3800040812757858550_o

Isn’t that just tremendously heart-warming?

So – P adores her kids.  And Adam and Kate are way too far away.  They moved to Seattle, then to Memphis – WAY TOO FAR AWAY.  It is such a wonderful time when we get to see them, and so crushing to my wife when we separate.

I wrote this song for Adam, from P’s perspective.  I tried to capture how she feels, and I kept thinking of the picture above, as I was writing.

My wife cries every time she hears it, and turns it off – she just can’t…

My friend Tony (the challenger…) suggested I find someone to play pedal steel on this.  So I did!  Toby Wilson lives in the UK, and offers his services (pedal steel, dobro, acoustic guitar, etc.) on a site called Fiverr.  I first learned of Fiverr from another friend of mine, Spencer Bernard, who suggested I look into it for musicians who play those instruments I cannot myself.  Great ideas Tony and Spencer!

I really, really love how this song turned out.  And there I go again with making my wife cry…

My Heart Is In Memphis
My child, don’t you worry
If you can’t make it for Christmas
I’ll keep the phone line open
Just to hear your voice again

My child, you’re all grown up…
And I can’t stop it if I try
Still you’ll always be my son
And I ain’t gonna lie

Oh and I
I wanna dance with you forever
And hear your laughter fill the room
It’s all these memories that I treasure as I long for you…
My heart is in memphis…

My child, don’t you stop
Love your woman
When times are harder than you thought
You would ever have to bear

My child you’re all grown up
And the pain is part of growin’
But the pain won’t kill your joy
Oh, you’ll always be my boy

Oh and I
I wanna dance with you forever
And hear your laughter fill the room
It’s all these memories that I treasure as I long for you…
My heart is in memphis…

Song written:  March 17, 2017
Song recorded:  March 17, April 7, 2017
Song first released:  March 18, 2017
Single released:  April 7, 2017

Musicians:
Toby Wilson – Pedal Steel Guitar

My Heart Is In Memphis

You can pre-order my new record here!

 

Religion Is Stupid…

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Eleanor Rigby

I will lay out the reason this song is even on the record.  “Tony”, in the story below, is Tony Preston, my good friend and musical companion.

March 18, 2017:

Tony:  I challenge you!!!  I throw down the gauntlet!!!

Me:  A duel?  Parcheze?  Staring contest?  Twister???

Tony:  You record a cover of my choice!!!  I record a cover your choice.  Bob Denver chooses the winner!!!

Me:  Can do it any way I want?  And same for u?  No winners tho – in war, nobody wins…

Tony:  Bob Denver is dead, sooooo… we won’t actually find out who wins until neither of us cares anyway, and yes!!!  Anyway we want!!!  Call it an exercise of creative freedom.

Me:  Deal.  Challenge accepted.  Here are the rules.  No hitting about the hair and face, and that’s it!!!

So that’s how it went down.  I chose “Fall in Philadelphia” by Daryl Hall and John Oates.  Tony was probably thinking, “What the h, H”.  Then he gives me “Eleanor Rigby“…  A freaking Beatles song.  And a hard one at that.  COME ON!!!

So Tony’s cover is incredible.  Here is a link, give it a listen!

So I went to work on my rendition of a classic.  I hate you Tony…

I actually like how it turned out!  My wife disagrees.  But hey, can’t win ’em all…

As I listened to the lyrics – lyrics I’d heard so many times before, but never paid much attention to – I was saddened.  This is what we have turned a relationship with Jesus into…  A charade…  A lie… A sham…

It seems so many walk away from Christ, because we Christians so often show how God can’t be real – because we live and act as if He isn’t…  That’s what I hear in these sad, lonely lyrics…

Yeah – religion is stupid.  God is good, and so much bigger than any dumb man-made religious activity.

Eleanor Rigby
Eleanor Rigby
Picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window
Wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Father Mackenzie
Writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near
Look at him working
Donning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
What does he care?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the lonely people…

Eleanor Rigby
Died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father Mackenzie
Wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved…

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the lonely people…

Song written:  Some time in 1966 (Paul McCartney and John Lennon)
Song recorded:  March 16, 2017
Song first released:  March 17 2017
Songwriters:  Paul McCartney, John Lennon

Eleanor Rigby

You can pre-order my new record here!