There's a Trick of the Light I'm Learning to Do

This is a collection of songs I wrote and recorded in January - March, 2020 while on sabbatical from ministry. They each deal with a different aspect or expression of the Gospel. Click on the image above to listen.

Three Hands Clapping

This is my latest recording project (released May 27, 2019). It is a double album of 22 songs, which very roughly track the story of my life... a sort of musical autobiography, so to speak. Click the album image to listen.

Ghost Notes

Ghost Notes
A collections of original songs I wrote in 2015, and recorded with the FreeWay Musical Collective. Click the album image to listen.

inversions

Recorded in 2014, these songs are sort of a chronicle of my journey through a pastoral burn-out last winter. They deal with themes of mental-health, spiritual burn-out and depression, but also with the inexorable presence of God in the midst of darkness. Click the album art to download.

soundings

soundings
click image to download
"soundings" is a collection of songs I recorded in September/October of 2013. Dealing with themes of hope, ache, trust and spiritual loss, the songs on this album express various facets of my journey with God.

bridges

bridges
Click to download.
"Bridges" is a collection of original songs I wrote in the summer of 2011, during a soul-searching trip I took out to Alberta; a sort of long twilight in the dark night of the soul. I share it here in hopes these musical reflections on my own spiritual journey might be an encouragement to others: the sun does rise, blood-red but beautiful.

echoes

echoes
Prayers, poems and songs (2005-2009). Click to download
"echoes" is a collection of songs I wrote during my time studying at Briercrest Seminary (2004-2009). It's called "echoes" partly because these songs are "echoes" of times spent with God from my songwriting past, but also because there are musical "echoes" of hymns, songs or poems sprinkled throughout the album. Listen closely and you'll hear them.

Accidentals

This collection of mostly blues/rock/folk inspired songs was recorded in the spring and summer of 2015. I call it "accidentals" because all of the songs on this project were tunes I have had kicking around in my notebooks for many years but had never found a "home" for on previous albums. You can click the image to download the whole album.

blogs I follow

random reads

Readings, 2020

Readings, 2020
Paradise Lost, John Milton

Adorning the Dark, Andrew Peterson

The Soul of Shame, Curt Thompson

Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado

Halos and Avatars, Craig Detweiller, ed.

Fool's Talk, Os Guinness

Brendan, Frederick Buechner

The Screwtape Letters

Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis

The Pilgrim's Regress, C. S. Lewis

Becoming Whole, Brian Finkert and Kelly Kapic

Real Sex, Lauren Winner

Out of the Silent Planet, C. S. Lewis

Voyage to Venus, C. S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis

Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis

Screwtape Proposes a Toast, C. S. Lewis

40 foci for preaching

When I was studying preaching, my homiletics prof, Blayne Banting, taught us about the importance of the sermon "focus." In biblical preaching (i.e. preaching that is focused specifically on a biblical text), the "focus" is that single sentence that distills, encapsulates, crystallizes and summarizes the message of both the text and the sermon. Ideally, everything in the sermon, in some way or another, feeds into or flows out of the focus, and anything that doesn't is shelved for another sermon. Hadden Robinson called it "the big idea"; Blayne Banting called it "the focus." In biblical preaching-- and Blayne Banting was quite clear about this-- the focus of the sermon must emerge from, and tie directly back to the focus of the text. Whatever the text says-- at its heart-- that's what your focus should say; the focus statement should be the result of careful prayer, thought, theological reflection and disciplined exegesis of the text.

The idea of a "homiletical focus" has been very important in my own development as a preacher, and I've found writing the focus statement to be one of the most arduous but invaluable and rewarding initial steps in my process of sermon prep. Sometimes the focus statement will go through up to 10 or more drafts before I finally have it clear.

Is it worth it, all this fuss about a 10-word sentence? I don't know, but I do know that a couple of weeks back, someone mentioned the first sermon I preached at the FreeWay, a year ago, and, without knowing any of this finicky stuff about "homiletical foci" she said: "I remember, you told us: we need resurrected eyes to see the resurrected Lord" (see item 1 on the list below).

So I preached my 40th sermon at the FreeWay this Sunday. I've mentioned
before how I'm not one to let biblical milestones like 3s or 12s or 40s pass by unnoticed, and so today I'm thinking back through the last 40 Sundays in the pulpit at the FreeWay (Daniel might call it 40 sevens, maybe?), and mulling over the first 40 foci of my preaching. I admit that some are better than others, but here's the last 40 things I've told the FreeWay about God and life together with him.

1. Luke 24:13-33: We need resurrected eyes to see the resurrected Lord.

2. 1 Kings 19:8-18: God's promises never have to go back to the beginning.

3. Luke 13:1-9: If it don't bear fruit, it's time to uproot.

4. Luke 14:15-24: God is determined to throw the greatest party in history.

5. Luke 16:1-9: Be a scandalous spendthrift of God's grace.

6. Luke 18:1-8: Kingdom come prayers never fall on deaf ears.
7. Genesis 11:1-9: No height of hurt is impossible in the community built on sameness.

8. Jeremiah 29:4-14: God has peace plans for his people.

9. Amos 5:8-26: God rejects empty religious show.

10. Galatians 5:13-15: True freedom is servanthood; and servanthood is true freedom.

11. Mark 1:14-15: God's revolution is happening now, turn around now and believe it.

12. John 3:1-15: God's Spirit is birthing believers into his kingdom.

13. Luke 9:28-35: This chosen one fulfills the history of God's life with his people.

14. Mark 10: 35-45: The king of God's kingdom rules as the servant of all.

15. Acts 1:3-11: In the meantime the Spirit holds us out to the world.

16. Psalm 45: He will reign forever and ever.

17. Luke 1:67-80: The promising God has visited us.

18. Isaiah 7:13-14: God is with you in the mess.

19. Matthew 1:1-17: The Christ's family tree is rooted in scandal and faithfulness.

20. Luke 2:22-36: This little baby is the God-hope we've been looking for.

21. Matthew 2:13-23: The Son of God will weep and wipe Rachel's tears.

22. Luke 2:41-51: We'll find this child of destiny in his father's things.

23. Luke 2:52: The Son of God grew God-wise, God-strong, God-loved.

24. Job 41: 1-11: God's faced the chaos on a scale we can't imagine.

25. Revelation 22:1-5: A day's coming when all manner of thing shall be well.

26. Psalm 1: There's no two ways about it with God.

27. Psalm 26: We walk right with God because his Christ walked blamelessly for us.

28. Psalm 29: The Lord is the real life-giver.

29. John 12:12-19: Death is defeated when the king of love rides into town.

30. Matthew 27:50-54: It really is a good Friday.

31. Mark 16:1-18: God rolled back the stone because we were helpless to move it on our own.

32. Colossians 2:11-13: Baptism is our heart-circumcision.

33. 1 Corinthians 15: 35-49: The God who creates is the God who resurrects.

34. Colossians 3:1-11: You've been raised from the dead: make your life extraordinary.

35. Isaiah 49:13-16: The Lord God out-mothers us all.

36. Hebrews 9:11-15: Jesus is our perfect High Priest.

37. Acts 2:1-13: The Spirit of God has begun the harvest.

38. Genesis 48:8-20: God doesn't choose the way the big-shot executive world chooses.

39. 1 Timothy 2:1-8: Pray for them all, starting at the top.

40. Luke 11:9-13: The Perfect Father will give his children the perfect gift.

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