Help Celebrate My Birthday!

For the past three years, we’ve reproduced a Johnny Cash picture for my birthday.

It’s 10 weeks until my birthday, so it’s time to start planning the 2018 Johnny Cash Birthday Picture.

Stop by my Facebook profile (here) to leave a picture suggestion in the comments and to vote on your favorite submissions.

Updates: The Gospel Coalition, Front Porch with the Fitzes, and New Songs

A few updates for the month. I’ve had the joy of being a guest writer at The Gospel Coalition, a guest on the Front Porch with the Fitzes podcast, and posting a few of my favorite song collaborations with David Ward. More information below. Continue reading “Updates: The Gospel Coalition, Front Porch with the Fitzes, and New Songs”

Our Dog Died Today

Today we’re mourning the loss of Jude (2003-2015), our 15-year-old black lab. He was a great dog from beginning to end.

We knew for some time that he was nearing the end. He mostly laid in the sun and slept this spring. Evenings were hardest for him, as his hip was giving him problems. But every morning, he’d meander out of his kennel, fetch the ball once, and then find a spot to nap in the shade.

Last night, I came home to find him unable to get up. We knew it was time. So, after we told the kids this morning, they each said their goodbyes and we took one last picture.

The oldest two sat with him in the shade from 8 am until the 2 pm appointment. Continue reading “Our Dog Died Today”

Women in the Storyline of Redemptive History

Women Have ValueThe #MeToo movement has sparked some good conversations about the value and significance of women, a conversation that has moved into the church in helpful ways (#ChurchToo).

A friend’s tweet got me thinking about the significant role women play in the Bible’s storyline of redemption.

So, for my own benefit, I started jotting an off-the-cuff list of notable places women show up. I stopped at twenty.

I ended up posting it to Twitter as “Twenty observations of women in the storyline of redemptive history from Genesis to Revelation.”

A friend suggested I post it on the blog. So, here it is! Continue reading “Women in the Storyline of Redemptive History”

Dads Hurt Too: A Memoir of Miscarriage

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered,” Jesus assures us. “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” The argument here is not: people matter, therefore sparrows are insignificant. Rather: sparrows are significant, so how much more valuable are those created in God’s image?

God’s voice—not the voices in my head or those of my neighbor—is the final word on the matter: If he values the hairs of my head more than sparrows, how much more must he care for my child—his own image bearer?

And when that child falls to sleep, hidden in my wife’s womb, will the Father in heaven not notice the father on earth? God cares for these little ones. God cares about mothers. God cares about fathers. Both moms and dads have every right to mourn.

I’m writing today at the Risen Motherhood blog, sharing a personal story of experiencing miscarriages as a father. You can read the whole piece here: “Dads Hurt Too: A Father’s Memoir of Miscarriage.”

As you read, would you consider doing a few things for me?

Continue reading “Dads Hurt Too: A Memoir of Miscarriage”

The O Antiphons — An Ancient Advent Devotion

I love Advent songs and Christmas carols. I love the tradition, the nostalgia, the familiarity. Most of all, I love the way a good carol points us to who Jesus Christ came to be and who he is for us today.

One of my favorites is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” This carol has its origins in a set of seven Latin antiphons known as “The O Antiphons” or “The Great Antiphons.” The verses may have originated as early as the 6th century. They were used in the Benedictine Abbey, being recited by leaders in descending order before presenting gifts to members of the community. The O Antiphons were shaped into Latin verse in the 12th century. Continue reading “The O Antiphons — An Ancient Advent Devotion”

Merle D. Hay: One of the First Americans Killed in World War One

To most Iowans, the name “Merle Hay” is associated only with a mall in Des Moines and the road that passes in front of it, both of which bear his name.

Growing up in Glidden, Iowa, I knew of Merle Hay as our hometown war hero—the first Iowan and one of the first three Americans to die in World War One. Friday, November 3, 2017, marks the one-hundredth anniversary of his death. To honor him and his sacrifice, I’m sharing a new song, “The Ballad of Merle D. Hay.”

Merle David Hay was born July 20, 1896, on a farm near Carrollton in Carroll County, Iowa, the son of Harvey and Carrie Hay and the older brother of Basil and Opal. In 1909, the Hay family moved to a farm east of Glidden and continued to live on various farms around the Glidden community. Continue reading “Merle D. Hay: One of the First Americans Killed in World War One”

Remembering Johnny Cash

September 12 marks the anniversary of Johnny Cash’s death. There are few people who I haven’t met who have impacted me as much as The Man in Black.

To honor his life and legacy I’m publishing this new song—CASH.

I wrote the lyrics a few years ago as my attempt to tell Johnny’s story, based on something Cash said: “Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight.” Continue reading “Remembering Johnny Cash”

The Waves, the Caves, and the King of Grace

A New Song — Wave Upon Wave

Listen to this week’s new song—Wave Upon Wave.

The Story Behind the Song

Jenny and I leaned against the gazebo railing watching the moonlit waves roll in on the Jamaican beach. We were celebrating fifteen years of marriage. Our conversations covered the joys and sorrows, blessings and difficulties we’d encountered, been surprised by, and moved through in that decade and a half. We talked about our hopes for the future, the ways in which we hoped to grow and change.

Just out from the gazebo stood a solitary pillar of stone, around which the waves broke. I wondered about how long it had stood there. Had it always been alone? Or had it once been part of a shelf of rock, now eroded and gone?

I knew that over a thousand years of waves crashing against it, the pillar had been—and was still being—shaped and changed. Nevertheless, to the human eye—especially to the eye of a one-week visitor—the pillar seemed the same each day. Continue reading “The Waves, the Caves, and the King of Grace”

Author Spotlight: The Rabbit Room

The Rabbit Room’s community of authors and musicians has blessed and inspired our family through their creative endeavors. I’m excited to giveaway some of their books this month (see below for details).

Andrew Peterson’s music is a family favorite, to the point that our middle child once tried to get out of garbage duty by announcing, “I’m not a garbage man; I’m Andrew Peterson.” (Does Andrew take out the garbage? Inquiring parents want to know…) And here he is (six years ago now) giving it his all, playing through Andrew’s Christmas album, Behold the Lamb of God.

Continue reading “Author Spotlight: The Rabbit Room”