Just returned home from playing Friday night through Sunday morning at Church at Charlotte, for a HOPE Cancer Ministry benefit as well as weekend services. Before leaving on this trip I had a very energizing conversation with Will Ackerman in Vermont about the possibility of working together for our fourth recording project next spring. In Charlotte I had a conversation with a lady who had received a CD as a gift from someone and had used the music many, many times in her counseling practice helping clients receive a sense of peace and rest. There were many other special conversations throughout the weekend, including talking with my family back home. Conversations and relationships are gifts to treasure in life’s journey.
The song “May it Be” by Enya from the soundtrack to “The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring” has brought me to tears many times. The opening words “May it be an evening star shines down upon you. May it be when darkness falls your heart will be true. You walk a lonely road. Oh, how far you are from home.” invoke in me a longing for heaven, my true home, and a longing to treasure life’s precious moments here on earth.
These words from Psalm 23 (The Message) refreshed me this morning . . . “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.”
My wife and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary(!). In 2005 I wrote her a love song melody called “Captivating,” inspired by Proverbs 5:18-19 where it says, “…may you rejoice in the wife of your youth…may you ever be captivated by her love.” Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (the fruit of the Holy Spirit) are attributes that I need each day to be captivated by my wife and to be captivated by my faith journey with God. These cannot be lived out in my own strength, but only with God’s help and by His grace.
A few thoughts on calling and purpose that I was reflecting on this morning…”The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner. The realization of the call in a person’s life may come quickly like a clap of thunder or it may dawn gradually, but however this awareness comes, it is always accompanied with the undercurrent of the supernatural – something that is inexpressible and produces a ‘glow.’ If you will agree with God’s purpose, He will bring not only your conscious level but also all the deeper levels of your life, which you yourself cannot reach, into perfect harmony.” – Oswald Chambers
Having some quiet time this morning, I was remembering my favorite summer job at Adventures Unlimited canoe rental in the Florida panhandle. I began to learn the importance of including times of solitude in my life as I would work to unload 100 canoes early in the morning, then rest in the river listening to the breeze, the birds and the flowing water. Solitude plays a vital role in pausing to listen for God’s voice in my life and in the creative process with my music.
Is my life more of an argument or more of a story? This penetrating question entered my life a few years ago and began to transform my thinking and relationships. My faith is vital to my life and God’s saving grace is truly amazing, undeserved and unearned. Yet, for much of my life the beauty of this truth was in the shadow of an “argument” perspective, that I was supposed to “defend” my faith. For several years now I have been growing in living and sharing life as “story” – getting to know people through their story and discovering where my story and theirs connect. Love, acceptance, forgiveness and grace are at the heart of this – not judgment or “being right.”
Over the past couple of weeks I have been reading short devotions on leadership and the issue of dependence on God rather than myself. Here are some things that jumped out at me that I didn’t get to blog last week…
I have to grow in trusting God to meet my every day human concerns so I will give my entire attention to what He is doing right now, in the present moment. Accountability is what to seek, not autonomy. I will either view God’s character in light of my circumstances, or my circumstances in light of God’s character.
I attended and shared my music at a men’s retreat led by Dr. Ken Boa, an amazing writer and speaker along the lines of C.S. Lewis. Here are a few nuggets from the time discussing Identity (origin – where did I come from? who am I?), Purpose (why am I here?), Hope (destiny – where am I going?) and finishing well (ending our journey with excellence).
The key to humility is to be amazed by grace…the One who knows me best loves me most, the world defines me by my power, my position, my possessions, my intelligence, my looks, etc…the word (scripture from the Bible) defines me through simple declaration of truth, filled with mystery and wonder that is part of living by faith.
Part of the story behind “The Voice” CD and the title track from this 2005 album…by the time I was in high school I was a worrier and perfectionist, overly conscious of what others thought of me. The voice I heard often in my mind was my own, criticizing my performance and pouring on more pressure to succeed. God was part of my life, but it took a long time before I deeply explored the possibility of hearing His voice. Could He actually guide my steps in life? Could He provide the wisdom, discernment and comfort that I needed? Could I really hear His voice? The more I have pursued this, the more I have encountered profound conversations and intimacy with a God who cares for me beyond my comprehension. Scriptures to consider: 1 Kings 19:11-13 and Isaiah 30:21).