Twelve Years

cd-caya-2This is the week for remembering, it would seem. Just days ago I marked the eleventh year since the start of this blog, and today, August 29th, we passed another special day in our family’s history.

In the year 2002, our music had become the primary focus of our days and weeks, and even years. Our young family—married less than five years, with boys aged nearly-three and almost-one—we had begun to accept invitations to share our music with people around the entire country. Weeks and months were spent on the road performing the songs I had written previously, as well as leading groups of Christians in worship music composed by others. This often led to more songs being written by me (including some more worship songs to lead more people in singing) and it eventually led us to produce another album-full of these songs in recorded form.

That summer we had spent a few weeks in the studio, after a few weeks in various practice locations, after a few years of crafting and “learning” the songs ourselves. The culmination of these weeks produced our third full-length studio album: Come As You Are. And on August 29th, at Crosswinds Wesleyan Church in Canandaigua, NY, with our friend Paul Robert Jones opening the evening by performing some of his own music, we celebrated the finished work of this album with a hundred or two of our friends. It was a great, fun, memorable night.

Through the years, the songs we recorded that summer have spread across the globe. The CDs and cassettes have made their way through postal services, and carried by hands to far away lands. They have been downloaded to computers and other digital music devices. And they have impacted hearts and minds and lives with the message from our Father: come as you are, not who you will be; it’s rough from the start, you might think you are beat. But it’s not the righteous I want, for I came to seek and save the lost. Just come to me!

The song—the whole album—was a collection of the words God spoke (even still speaks) to me. His invitation to a broken soul, well aware of his inabilities and shortcomings and failures, to a life of freedom with him. Free to be my broken self. Free to hope for better, to know he accepts me and wants to show me, lead me to the Life that I’m meant to have with him—in him.

We listened to it again tonight. Most of my kids and I. (Mom and oldest daughter were off sorting clothing for a community clothing give-away, and scoring some that would also help our family.) We listened, and sang. I told stories from the recording days. I thought through the words. I think they did the same.

The message still resounds in my heart. All of these songs. I want to know you better Lord. I want nothing less, nothing more.1 And, I don’t want this to end here; my life for you just in a song. Please change my heart, Lord, and let me words speak for you. I give my life to you.2 And, songs like The Mountain To The Sea, and My Visible, See-Through Friend, and Because… all of them, really. All reminding me of my life, found in him.

If you’ve not heard the album, you can listen to all the songs here. Or, we’re on Spotify. And iTunes. And Amazon. You’ll find us out there. I would love for you to hear the whole thing. All the better if you can find a quiet time to listen to not just my voice, and Jen’s voice… but the voice of The One who made you, loves you, and invites you:

Come as you are.

  1. The One – basic – Come As You Are
  2. Heart Of Mine” – basic – Come As You Are

The Need to Be Right (Can Be So Wrong!)

Right vs. WrongSomehow, through the centuries and millennia of history, religious folk have gotten the notion that the supreme goal of their spiritual pursuit is to know the right answer—to find and know the Truth. With a capital ‘T’.

Certainly a goal of spiritual hunger is to find answers, enlightenment, and ‘truth’.

But just what that means—”What is truth?”, to quote Pontius Pilate—has been, and continues to be, the cause of such great fracture.

The Focus Is Wrong

If you take a photo of someone, but somehow you focus on the background rather than the subject (the person), you end up with a picture of the wrong thing. What you intended to capture is blurry and secondary, while the extraneous surrounding is what your eye is drawn to. The intended subject is still present, but it’s secondary and you must look hard to find it.

Truth is certainly important. You can do a search through Scripture right now for the word “truth” and, my goodness, the results are plentiful!

But Jesus said:

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!”—John 5:39


“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”—John 14:6

Jesus spells it out: he is Truth. Truth is not a concept, or a list of correct answers, doctrines, beliefs, practices—it’s a person. The person of Jesus.

His Kingdom is so much less about the what (what we should or shouldn’t do) or the where (church, temple, Israel, etc.) and so much more about the whom (God, others) and the why (because he loves us).


But we keep making “truth” about what we know, and especially our interpretations of it, don’t we?

Why do you think there are so many religions? How about just within Christianity? There are approximately 41,000 organizations who call themselves Christians, but separate themselves as “different” from the other 40,999.

We make our differences much more important than what we hold in common.

¡Ay, ay, ay!

The words Paul wrote to Timothy would be helpful to folks today who argue over “truth”:

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.—2 Timothy 2:23-25

The point is that we need to care much less—almost to the point of not caring—about being right and much more about living as greatly loved children of God, loving his other children—and I mean all of them. (Whether or not we agree with them. On anything!)

When we are “right” it makes us smug, self-righteous, and somehow “different” than “them”. Which is not how it is. We are all in the same boat. All in need of grace. All made in the image of God. And all given the ability to freely choose to know him, or not. (And the best part might be that He himself doesn’t seem to be in as much of a rush for us to “get it right” as most people who identify themselves by his name!)

What It’s All About

I read a blog post this morning at Donald Miller’s blog (by a guest author) that ended with this paragraph:

Amazing grace binds us with its simple message that keeps us together. Despite our differences, we are a people tied to each other in love. So we will keep singing “Amazing Grace” and we keep kneeling in the waters of grace so we can always love one another.

The author told the story of how she always thought better of herself for her distinguished taste in music for not liking the song Amazing Grace. However, in one moment when she saw that through the song community/unity was experienced and enjoyed, it was an epiphany for her of what really matters. Not the “truth” of a song’s worth, but each other, and sharing and celebrating what we have in common—made possible through grace.

You see, that’s what this is all about.

We can either hold our ground and fight for “the truth”, OR, we can accept the Truth that God loves every person he created, more than we can possibly imagine, and it’s not our job to change them, convert them, save them, or even condemn them. That’s all his job. We are just to surrender ourselves completely to him, follow him, and as he leads, use every opportunity he places before us to love other people as we ourselves have been loved.

That’s really it.

It’s not about whether baptism saves you, or if you’ve received the gift of the Holy Spirit, or if Allah is the same God that Christians worship, or if Mormons are Christians. It’s not about when and how Jesus will return, whether you are “Once Saved, Always Saved”, free will or predestination.

It’s just not.

It’s about loving God (because you are loved) and loving others.1

In Ephesians, Paul exhorts the believers there to be united, despite their differences. I love the line from early in that chapter, “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Perfectly said, and oft-repeated in our home.

Listen to how he concludes those thoughts:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.—Ephesians 4:31-32

Yes. Please. Let’s do.

Sometimes We ‘Get it Right’

Now go get a box of tissues, and read this article. 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity.

Sometimes we transcend the “need to be right” and cross boundaries that we’re “not supposed to cross”, and we just love. Really love.

I believe, that’s who we are meant to be.

We’re not meant to be the ones who are Right. We are meant to know the One who makes Right.

I rediscovered a very related (and pretty funny!) post from this blog’s past. If you have the interest and time to read more, please read Be A Christian!! And, somewhat related: check out this post from even longer ago!