In early September of 2005, I traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi to work with a disaster relief crew following Hurricane Katrina. We spent ten days preparing and delivering meals to survivors, those whose lives and possessions had been ravaged by the wind and water.
As an Iowa native, I’ve seen what weather can do. We’re no strangers to tornadic destruction. But the aftermath of Katrina was unlike anything I’d ever seen in person.
As we worked that week and then returned home, the words of Job stuck in my head (Job 26:14): “Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?” Continue reading “Worshiping God After a Hurricane”
We are listeners. It makes sense that, if the Lord created the heavens and the earth by his Word, then his creatures would be wired to listen.
Our problem is not that we listen. The problem is the voices to which we listen. This too is evident in the creation story. Adam and Eve did not fail because they listened, but because they listened to the voice of the serpent and not of the Lord.
We follow after our first parents, walking through a world filled with a thousand voices. Continue reading “We Are Listeners — What Do We Hear?”
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.”
That request, made by Jesus on the Mount of Olives the night before his crucifixion, was no serene or stoic prayer. Luke tells us Jesus prayed “in agony… and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.”
In his plea, Jesus confesses three things: Continue reading ““Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.””
In less than five weeks, Christians around the globe will observe Easter (or Resurrection Sunday)—the Sunday set apart in the traditional liturgical calendar to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Continue reading “An Easter Hymn (and Free Download)”
The winters in Iowa are dark and cold—a long stretch of months during which it gets dark before dinner and imprisons you in the house every evening until Easter. Kids get cabin fever. You (and they) need to escape to another world.
During one winter, several years ago, I found myself spending the evenings from dinner until bedtime reading fiction aloud to our oldest three boys. I had somewhere picked up a copy of N.D. Wilson’s Leepike Ridge. I loved it and finished it in one night. A straight-forward, uncomplicated but fantastic adventure, it inspired me to try my hand at writing a book. (I’m still unpublished—but I’ve got two books down and two more half-written. Thanks for the inspiration, Nate!) I had a similar experience with Boys of Blur.
Continue reading “Author Spotlight & Book Giveaway: N. D. Wilson”
Greetings, friends! I’m so thankful for your support. I’ve heard encouraging feedback from many of you about this month’s songs — “I Have a Champion” and “The Right to Write (and a Song to Sing).”
Thanks so much for listening and for sharing links and posts on your social media accounts. Those little things go a long way in helping me share these creations with new listeners.
Continue reading “Thanks for Your Support!”
My dad and I sat in the front room around winter break of my freshman year in college. I had finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life.
Sometime during my first semester at the University of Northern Iowa, I joined a thousand other students in an auditorium, mesmerized by the words of a man whose story had been released as a popular film a few years before. In the wake of his new-found popularity, he now toured the country sharing his story with students as a motivational speaker.
“I want to be a motivational speaker.” I laugh now to think of that aspiration.
My dad didn’t laugh. He asked a simple question, “What are you going to say?”
“That’s the problem,” I admitted. “I don’t know what I want to say.” Continue reading “Something My Father Said”
Several years ago, to my surprise, I found myself listening to a significant amount of country music in my (radio-only) car. I appreciated the way country songs told stories, usually sad ones, which often smuggled important ideas into the heads of unsuspecting listeners. (For what it’s worth, I also like the songs about nothing and dogs and pickups and girls…)
One day I had the thought, “I bet I could do that.” (Humble, I know.) So I sat down over my lunch hour and whipped out a story-poem about a boy and his big brother — “I Have a Champion.” I emailed it to my friend Jeff Bourque, trusting his Nashville-sense could tell me if it was any good. He wrote back, “Made me cry. ‘Nuff said,” and went to work on a tune. Though it is one of my favorite collaborations with Jeff, we haven’t done anything with it in the years since.
Last June, my wife and children surprised me with a Father’s Day gift, one they had evidently worked on for some time—a storybook containing the song lyrics with illustrations by my kids. (Probably my favorite Father’s Day gift ever.)
Continue reading “My First Country Song”
You might have noticed (well…I hope you’ve noticed!) that it has been fairly quiet around the site since 2016 ended. I hope the New Year has been kind to you.
I wanted to provide four short updates on what I’ve been busy with and what you can expect in the month ahead… Continue reading “An Update, a Preview, and a Giveaway”
It is no secret that the end of the year can be a depressing time for some. The holiday parties and family gatherings are over—leaving us to say goodbye to loved ones or remember those who departed this year. The decorations and lights come down. The days are dark and cold. The trees are brown and the fields are barren. A year draws to its end, perhaps with reminders of unaccomplished goals and the speed with which life progresses, and we wonder if the next year can bring anything different. For some, the world and the future appear bleak. Continue reading “Hope and The Last Rose of Summer”