You Will Find Him On A Mercy Seat

I've Said Too Much FINAL

You Will Find Him On A Mercy Seat

Talking about God is taboo, isn’t it?  Yet – notice how everyone does it?  Everyone has an opinion about God.  Some believe in God, or a god.  Some don’t.  Some praise God, or a god.  Some could never fathom the thought.

But everyone talks about God.

Everyone has an opinion.  Myself included.

Many of our views of God, depict Him as one we have to “appease”, or keep at bay.  He’s like a volcano to us, ready to erupt at any moment, if we do or say one wrong thing…

Many of our views of God, depict Him as the sweet grandparent, who will give us anything we want, and don’t worry about how you act – that’s your parents’ job to correct – or maybe even THEY should stay out of it.

Most of the time – whether we believe in God or not – we put OURSELVES on the throne.  The two descriptions I just laid out, really describe us, more than God…

Some say God is violent and hateful.  Maybe because they have experienced violence and/or hate at the hands of those who profess to love God.

Some say God “never judges”.  Which I find to be so odd.  EVERYONE makes judgement.  Yet God doesn’t?  Read through the description’s God gives for everything He created, in Genesis 1.  He certainly was making judgement.  And the most famous bible verse of all time (John 3:16), talks to God making judgement – on the people He loved so much, and on the plan of redemption He had all along.

Yes – all along.  Jesus’ coming for you, was not Plan B…

So I strived to write, as best I could, a song that talks to God’s love.  Something so overwhelming, so invasive, so pure, so powerful, that nothing could stand in its way.

Yet so gentle, so kind, so free – that nothing but God’s love could compel another to understand it.

And this is difficult to communicate, when I don’t fully understand it myself.

So I guess this song is a work in progress?  As I very much am a work in progress.  Every day I will strive to know Jesus more.  Every day I will fail.  Every day, I will be lifted up, reminded that that failure too is covered, and should be less significant in light of His glory.

This is the last song on my latest record.  And for a reason.  On this record, I delved into topics such as feeling like an outcast, the desire for community, failing, faltering, self-defeatism.  It’s in many ways a sort of depressing look at how I simply do not have it together.

So ending with this song, is not only appropriate, but HOPEFULLY gives the listener hope.  I don’t have to have it all together.

He does.

And that’s enough.

You Will Find Him On A Mercy Seat
You won’t find Him in your anger
Righteous as you think it is
Your hatred for brother or sister
Just pushes the blade deeper in

You won’t see Him in your behavior
No matter how hard you try
You are not locked out by your failure
Tell me, who sold you that lie?

You will find Him on a mercy seat
You will find Him in Shalom
You will see His arms are wide open
As He welcomes you home

You can’t hide Him from your secrets
Darkness cannot keep Him out
Shame does not lead you to freedom
Or help you lay your burdens down

You won’t find Him in the hurricane
Or in fire or flood
Child, you’ll find Him in the whisper
That speaks of His eternal love

You will find Him on a mercy seat
You will find Him in Shalom
You will see His arms are wide open
As He welcomes you home

My ears have heard of You
But now my eyes see only You

You will find Him on a mercy seat
You will find Him in Shalom
You will see His arms are wide open
As He welcomes you home

You Will Find Him On A Mercy Seat

 

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Why Write About That?

I've Said Too Much FINAL

Go Easy On Me

I wrote about the song “Go Easy On Me” already.  But I wanted to talk a bit more on this topic, if it’s all the same to you.

Why?

Because it bears discussion.  It is a topic nobody wants to discuss.  And the one everyone should discuss.

You see, everyone knows someone who has dealt with depression, or mental illness, or has felt “like they are the only one…”

I’m guessing everyone has dealt with this, to some degree.

And they don’t want to tell anyone.  Or don’t feel they can.

Cause we’re supposed to “be strong”.  Or “have it all together”.  Or “not imagine Chris Farley doing air quotes as I type this”.

(I’m sorry, I use humor – even non-funny humor – maybe too much)

Here’s the thing.  I don’t want you to hide it.  I don’t want you to feel ashamed.  Cause you’re no different than me.  Or anyone else.

You may have issues, or problems, that I don’t.  But that’s OK.

You may suffer crippling depression, and I might not understand.  That’s OK.  I’ll sit there with you.

I don’t have answers.  That’s OK.  I can sit.

If I know you, you’ve done it for me.  I can do that for you.

And I you don’t know me – you likely know someone who would sit with you.

TALK ABOUT IT.  Don’t let the devil have high ground.  His only high ground is shaming you, making you feel inferior.  YOU’RE NOT INFERIOR.  Know this…

Too many people have succumbed to this crippling lie.  We read about our heroes.  We know someone personally.  We ourselves have been there…  But remember the most important about this – it’s a lie.

YOU MATTER.

You matter to someone.  Your partner.  Your co-workers.  Your siblings.  Your parents.  Your kids.  Your family.  Your church.

Your God…

And since you matter – this person, or these people, that you matter to – they want to hear what is going on.  Just like you do, for them.

But the devil wants you alone.  He wants that control over you.  You don’t have to give it to him.  That “control”, again, is based on lies.  So – believe the truth.  I know, you likely don’t believe it.  If often don’t.  But – CHOOSE to believe it.

Just for one moment.  A day.  Or an hour. Or a minute.  Or – the next second.

YOU MATTER.

This song, along with this record – all money raised from it is going to To Write Love On Her Arms, an amazing organization that seeks to bring hope to those who feel most hopeless.  Check them out. Reach out to them if you need.  Donate to them if you can.

And if you are in need – please do reach out.

And if you know someone in need – please reach out to them.

And the Enemy Becomes My Friend, Just Because He Wants My End…

Go Easy On Me

I've Said Too Much FINAL

I recorded a song of mine last year with some great musicians in Nashville.  Joe Gilder, Jason Roller, Matt McGee, Steve Peffer and Tim Horsley.  Unbelievably talented, and they took my song in a direction I never imagined!

So I did it again, with this song.  Another one knocked out of the park!  Hands down, now the two best sounding songs in my catalog, thanks to them.

So on to the song itself.  This song was probably the hardest song for me to write.  Probably because I wanted to end it on a positive note.  The last verse, I wanted to talk about “hope in Christ”, even among all the self-beating-uppery, self-doubt, self-loathing.  Joe Gilder suggested that trying to make it “positive” at the end, broke the flow of the song.  It’s dark, it’s a place of pain and struggle.   Then suddenly happy?  Doesn’t seem to jive.

Yet I had a hard time going darker.  I don’t know why.

Afraid to be honest, maybe?

See, we ALL struggle with feelings of “I’m not worth it”.   But we don’t want to talk about it.  Certainly I don’t want to write about it.

But I can’t be the only one who has ever struggled with feeling worthless.  I messed up.  AGAIN.  So I beat myself up.  AGAIN.  Which leads me to mess up.  AGAIN.  why can’t I ever get it right????  what is wrong with me???

It’s a tricky thing, the devil does, to get us to believe – REALLY believe – we are worthless…

We’re not worthless.

But the song is about struggle.  It’s an uncomfortable song, in which I hope someone might find comfort.  “I’m not the only one…”

You’re not the only one.  And you’re not worthless.  You were worth it to Him…

I did not end the record on this note however.  More on that in my next post…

Go Easy On Me
Sometimes there’s a weight
Like a boot upon my throat
I feel it pressing in again
This is getting old…

Sometimes it’s easier to listen to the lies
That tell me I’m not worth the trouble
And what a pain am I
Sometimes I forget
You’re not done with me

Go easy on me…

My life is a mist
Yet I press against the wind
I’m not afraid to die
But I’ve never lived…
Oh, I wanna live…

Sometimes I find myself in the company of thieves
And I forget just who I am and all You’ve done for me
And the enemy becomes my friend just because he wants my end
And it feels so much easier just to lay down and beg…

Go easy on me…

My heart has failed…
Will my body follow?

Go easy on me…

Go Easy On Me

Maybe I Need A New Start?

One Step Closer

I've Said Too Much FINAL

There are days when I’m just ON FIRE, and want to share the love of Christ with anyone and everyone.

There are days when I’m dull as a butter knife from a kid’s toy tea set, and I just want to hole up and binge watch – anything that would take my mind of anything.

This song encompasses that battle.  The battle between our flesh and our God-given desire to reach and love the least of these.  The struggle between wanting you to know you matter, and not wanting to sacrifice that which really doesn’t matter…

Maybe you can relate?

I put the song to an upbeat, pop-rock rhythm.  I was listening to a lot of Petty when I came up with the riff.  So I probably stole it.  I definitely did not replicate his sound – I tried, for years.  I can’t.  But he’s a definite songwriting influence on me.  Has been for years.

We’re doing this one live, with full band.  It’s super fun to play!

So – if you CAN’T relate, maybe you can dance?

I dunno.  Either way, please enjoy!

Love,

T.

One Step Closer
Tell me why it can’t be
Why can’t I love the least of these
From my gated community
Why is it so much work to be free?

I’m changin’
But I so long to be the same
I’m dyin’
But dyin’ ain’t easy

One step closer
To the edge, or to Your heart?
Which direction is closer?
Maybe I need a new start?

It’s not that I don’t see
It’s just these things I wish I could unsee
And to fix my eyes on Thee…
Why’s it so hard to know I’m free?

I’m changin’
But I so long to be the same
I’m dyin’
But dyin’ ain’t easy

One step closer
To the edge, or to Your heart?
Which direction is closer?
Maybe I need a new start?

One Step Closer

 

#YOUMATTER

You Are Beautiful

I've Said Too Much FINAL

My wife and I were in San Francisco last fall.  Wonderful city.  We were in the Tenderloin district.  It’s the area where, seemingly, all the homeless people are herded.  I say this, because one of the women I met while there, told me should couldn’t go past a certain street.  “The cops won’t let us”.  I found that odd.  It was getting near the “high end” area.  Maybe these people are an eye sore?  Probably – we all kinda think that about these people…

People…

So – I tend to LOVE going out and hanging with people on the street.  I might bring food, I might just offer to sit with someone and chat, if they will have me.

In San Francisco, in the Tenderloin District, I didn’t have to approach anyone.  I was approached.  Over and over.  And over again.

Some were kind.  Some not.  Some were destitute.  All were, really, but some more than others.

But I felt – overwhelmed.  To the point where, at one point, I said, “No more, Lord.  I can’t take one more…”  Selfish, I know.  And God didn’t stop.

I wrote this song about a few people I encountered in San Francisco, last fall.

Anna – this wonderful woman, came up to me and my wife, asking if we had a dollar.  She looked so – sad…  I asked her name, and you would have thought there suddenly was a different person, as she lit up and declared, “Anna”!  With such a beautiful smile.  I mean – stunning.  Not in a “Greta Garbo” sort of way.  More in a, “Wow, someone wants to know my name?”  I was struck with the thought, when is the last time someone asked her?

Doris – this woman was a wreck.  Pregnant.  Strung out and high.  Wanted money, so badly.  I couldn’t.  I don’t often have money on me, actually.  I did, but knew this would be bad for her.  “Lord, what should I do?”.  I felt led to give her food – and as much as she wanted.  So we went into this local pizza/burger/whatever place.  And she ordered a personal pizza.  And some chicken strips.  And a burger.  And a 2-litre of coke.  And fries.  And a few other things.  I just said, “Yes, yes, yes, you bet”.  Rang up a huge bill, just to lavish love on her as best I could.  We chatted for quite a while, as we waited for all that food to be made.  She was lovely, and so personable and engaging.

Until the food was there, and she asked again and again for money.  Pleading.  Begging – “Please, I just need a few dollars…”, with no real reason for the money.  When I couldn’t give it to her, she grew more and more upset.  I left her, upset with me.  She didn’t owe me anything – but it was so clear that NOT giving her money was a good thing.  Yet so very heartbreaking…

Karen – Karen is actually the name of the very first person I approached, after being saved.  Like two months or so after being saved.  I was in Kansas City with my son.  I made this poor little kid come with me, as I went to “share the Gospel with this poor homeless woman”.  To my amazement and relief, she shared the Gospel with me!  Such joy in her heart!  It was so encouraging and wonderful.  She was wonderful and engaging, as she shared her life with us.  So dang cool…

I chose these three to write about, and to, in this song.  All three had major impacts on my life, and God used them to touch my heart.  And I wanted to write something that God might actually say to them – or to you or me.

YOU MATTER.

I don’t think we really believe this.  That the God of the universe cares deeply for each of us.  That He’s capable.  That He’s willing.  That He REALLY loves us, that much.

But it’s true.  We do well to remember this…

And I pray for Anna, that she know this.  That a chance encounter is not all that she knows, when it comes to knowing her name is important.  That she see SHE is important to Jesus.

I pray for Doris – that she no longer live in shame and fear, that she be FREE in the name of Jesus!

I pray for Karen – that she continually rejoice in the Lord – whether that is still here on earth or when she stands face to face with Christ.

I pray for you – that you know God loves you with an everlasting love…

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…
If only you’d know this…

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

‘Cause you are so 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 in 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

 

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

I’ve Said Too Much?

I’ve Said Too Much

I've Said Too Much FINAL

Title tracks are often anthems of some sort.  I would not say that is the case here.  It’s probably my least favorite song on the record.  But I do like the harmonies.  And I do like the subject.

Not the best job selling you, is it?  🙂

I forget when I started writing this song.  But I wanted to parlay a bit of the conundrum of what social media has done.  Especially in this day and age, where we are all seemingly “on edge”.  There is so much strife in the world.  We have a president nobody seems to want.  We have division over whether he’s a righteous man, or “chosen by God”, or just a common thief.  We have justifications for his actions, or hers, or yours, or mine.  We have judgement, condemnation, celebration, congregation, separation, justification, self-gratification – every form of “ation” you could think of.

And it’s ALL magnified today.  You can’t get away from it.

But you don’t really have to enter into it.

So there is a false sense of “safety”.  “I can say anything I want now.  The guy on the other end of the screen isn’t really real.”

We are dehumanizing ourselves, slowly but surely…

Or worse – we’re silent.

I’m silent….

Because I’m afraid that you might not like me.  Or maybe I don’t like you, and I don’t think you’re worth my words.  Or maybe both?

And we’re afraid.  So afraid…

What if this happens?  Or that doesn’t happen?  What will happen to me???

So this is my convoluted confession.  I’ve gotten so wrapped up in not getting wrapped up, that I’ve avoided any sort of risk of entanglement.  I’m comfortable.  I’m lazy.

I’ve said too much…  By saying nothing…

I like the funky solo.  Don’t you?

I’ve Said Too Much

I’ve said too much
By saying nothing
And doing nothing
And being nothing I said I would

I’ve done all I could
To push you away
And keep you at by
So have a nice day
But please don’t stay here
In my space…
In my heart…
In my mind

I’m sorry if
I offend you
Or neglect you
Or make you feel you don’t belong

I’m sorry if
You don’t believe me
Or don’t agree with me
Or don’t like the way I say
The very words that set you free
From your shame
Or your pain or your death

I’ve said too much
By saying nothing…

I’ve Said Too Much