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

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

random reads

Lighting Rod, a song




When I was falling from the sky you were
My lightning rod, you
Guided my feet back to the ground

When I was learning how to die you were
My empty tomb, more
alive than anything I’ve found

Out of the blue, after the long night
Upwards I flew, wings melting in the sunlight
Out of the storm, trembling and awed
Into your arms I fell, like a lightning rod

When I was tumbling through the air you were
The rock that broke my fall
Holding me hard against your heart

When I was stumbling through my prayers you were
The tunnel and the light
Winding my way back to the start

Out of the blue, after the long night
Upwards I flew, wings melting in the sunlight
Out of the storm, trembling and awed
Into your arms I fell, like a lightning rod

A High Calling, a devotional thought

There’s a line in Acts 20:26-27 that’s pretty sobering for a minister of the Gospel, like me. Paul is delivering a farewell address to the church in Ephesus, where he had served previously for some three years, “serving the Lord with great humility and with tears” (v. 19). He reminds them of his ministry among them, and then he says: “I declare that I am innocent of anyone’s blood ... because I did not hesitate to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”

The implication here is worth all kinds of careful reflection. On the one hand, if Paul were to have held back in his teaching, on this or that matter, let’s say, because maybe he thought it wouldn’t be well-received, or might step on toes, or what have you, then, apparently, he would be responsible—guilty of their blood—for whatever problems they faced down the road because they did not know God’s will, of God’s way, when they should have. On the other hand, because he did preach the whole Gospel, even the difficult parts that wouldn’t have won him any popularity contests, Paul can leave his ministry at Ephesus with a clear conscience.

Teaching, preaching and serving as a pastor is a great privilege, to be sure, but it is also a huge responsibility.  And if Acts 20:26 is any indication, those who dare to take up this responsibility will give an account, in the end, of how faithfully we discharged our duty to proclaim the whole counsel of God.  May the Lord give much wisdom and even more grace.

Thick or Thin, a devotional thought

There's a phrase in Acts 11:23 that I find both inspiring and challenging. The background is that persecution against the church has scattered believers from Jerusalem all across the region, with the ironic result that the Gospel now is reaching out to all sorts of places it never had before. At the same time, Cornelius, a non-Jewish centurion, has recently converted to the Faith, demonstrating to the church in Jerusalem that the Gospel’s for non-Jewish people as well (up to this point the church has been exclusively Jewish). At this point in the story, the Gospel’s reached as far as Antioch (in northern Syria), and the church has been growing there with Greek believers in particular; so the Church in Jerusalem sends a delegation led by Barnabas, up to Antioch to investigate.

And here’s the striking line. Because when Barnabas sees “the evidence of the grace of God” among the Greeks in Antioch, he is glad and he “encourages them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” That’s how my NIV phrases it, but in the original it’s a bit more vivid. Literally he tells them to “continue with the Lord” (the verb is prosmenō, to remain in, to continue with, to abide in), and to do it with “purpose of heart” (the noun is prosthesis, a purpose or intention).

In other words, Barnabas tells these brand new believers:“set an intention in your hearts to stick with the Lord.” It struck me because, on the one hand, Barnabas knows these Christians are likely to face persecution (it was persecution, after all, that brought the Gospel to them in the first place); and on the other hand, these believers are brand-spanking new in the faith, full of (presumably) untried, untested enthusiasm for Jesus.

What do new believers need especially to do, after they’ve come to the Lord and the sheen of conversion is starting to fade? Especially if and when following Jesus is going to mean sacrifices large and small? And what should pastors like Barnabas encourage them to do, well before buyer’s remorse sets in? Determine in your hearts—set it as a clear, conscious intention—that you’ll stick with Him, come what may, thick or thin. Such intentions won't make it any easier, maybe, when thick does get thin (or vice versa), but they certainly increase the likelihood that we'll get through the thin (or the thick) with our grip holding as firmly to the Lord as the hour we first believed.