Tag Archives: music

27 Seconds

How disheartened I was to find out that I had misquoted one of my favorite movies and solidified it on a recording.

I had this thought about a scene in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. It’s a wonderful scene where Molly is trying to show Mr. Magorium that he has much to live for. They’re in a clock shop, setting up all of the clocks in order to hear them all chime at one time.

You see, at this point in the film there’s a comment made about 37 seconds of time… I had always thought it was 27 seconds, so when I looked up the quote as I was writing a song, I googled 27 seconds, but apparently others have misquoted this as well… so I fed off of their misquote and immortalized it in my song… oh well, right?

Mr. Magorium: 37 seconds.
Molly Mahoney: Great. Well done. Now we wait.
Mr. Edward Magorium: No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime.”

And it’s true. That moment always shook me. I’m an incessant worrier. I’m a worrying junkie. I have to get a fix. But one of the most oft ignored commands of Christ is to *not worry.* And yet, it’s the hardest one for me.

I believe that if I’m honest with myself, I love having the stress there as my excuse to have vices, as an excuse to escape and be selfish. Maybe that’s harsh, but I find it valid. There are valid reasons for stress, I’m not criticizing that, I’m merely saying that a lot of times we totally miss the beauty in front of us due to our worry and fretting.

We’re meant to be like Christ, to find him in every face, every moment… instead, we often seek comfort and pleasure, trying to escape our worry. We worry about finding ways to escape our worry.

So, I want to give you this song as a Christmas present. This is probably just about my favorite song I’ve ever gotten to bring to life… may you see the presents in front of you. May you see Christ in every moment, and find who to kneel down and wash. In my life, it’s often been my friends, kids; the people right there in front of me.

I used to pine for big ministries, but now, I see that my ministry is this minute. The small things that can give the world around us hope and life.

Merry Christmas.

broken things

photo by Nichole Park Photography

photo by Nichole Park Photography, http://goo.gl/u7JJ90

I had a wonderful thing happen the other day, seriously, a heart-wrenching God-send.

I’m working on these songs, grappling with what I feel they’re saying to me. This may sound neurotic, but once I’ve gotten them out, it’s like a birth… they’re now their own separate thing and I have to honor whatever those emotions were trying to say.

In turn, the songs also have to honor what I’m trying to say. This is the first time I’ve genuinely had an overarching theme that is complete and concise. It makes me so glad. In the end, these songs are saying to me the things that I’ve been needing to hear. I’m getting a chance to write an album of songs that *I* want to listen to and spend time with God in.

Some of the songs get kicked out, because they’re not talking about what I’m wanting to convey… so they have to go, or wait for some other time before they get to exist.

Wednesday night I was driving to Memphis with my wife. She drove so I could write. (very kind of her) I wanted to listen to some of the songs that didn’t yet have lyrics. I pulled up one that I hadn’t messed with in a good 6 months, and to my surprise, I had already written lyrics.

I had completely forgotten. A while back, in a night of sadness I was praying and just trying to find the sorrowful feeling I was having inside… I had forgotten that there was a whole song that gushed out and I had recorded it really fast as a rough draft so that I wouldn’t forget it.

I cried. It really ministered to me the other day.

You see, we’re broken. We’re all broken. We all try to spend so much time pretending that we’re not but we are. The good news is that there’s a God who absolutely adores the broken things. He longs for our company… and in his presence, but by bit, he makes us whole.

Sometimes I’m amazed at the words that the Father will send us in our messes. He speaks so kindly, and his kindness certainly brings us to repentance.

____________________________

Broken Things

clear my mind – tell my soul to be still
So I can hear You whisper in the middle of my noise
Tell my waves to be still
be still

I just don’t get you sometimes
I see you sleeping in the boat when I’m terrified
Tell my waves to be still
be still

God of my anxiety
Lord of my rest
Author of my being
Messiah, saviour of all these broken things

We just don’t get it
We probably never will
Your perfection doesn’t make much sense to our minds
We argue about you all the time

We want to prove to you that we know what to do
But when we try we only prove that the opposite is true
We argue about it all the time

God of our anxiety
Lord of our rest
Author of our being
Messiah, saviour of all these broken things

Let us learn to let go of the ruins we call home

Song #1 – Making it right – not getting it right

So, right now I’m working on a new CD… and I’m very grateful because I’ve had a real writers block for the longest time. I’ve had music for these songs for a long time, roughly 1-2 years. The music expressed deeply what was brewing in my heart with God, life, love. But I just couldn’t find the courage to express it with words.

But things have been changing. My wife and I have been overwhelmed by the safety and shelter of the love of Christ and his people. Something cracked inside and now it’s all spilling out.

So, one by one I’m going to go through these songs, and what is on my heart with them. (You’ll have to just wait to hear them, however)

This first song is all about the fact that when Christ claims us, we’re his. He knows us. He’s not shocked by us. He’s not expecting us to perform like a perfect dancing toy for him to assess.

In fact, he knows far more deeply than we do what a mess we really are, and if we’re willing to follow along, he knows the path to take us on that will lead us to life.

This is a message that I cannot emphasize enough to myself.

We have an incredibly messed up idea of perfection. We look at performance, not progress… we look at looks, not the heart. We have the idea that things going smoothly, being just so, is perfection. But God seems to have a different idea.

The scriptures are a huge, massive tale of God showing us just what his perfection actually looks like. And it seemed to be a big deal to Christ as well, as he said that we should be perfect as he is perfect. Then, he proceeded to treat sinners, wretches, prostitutes, traitors… he treated them in ways that were so outside the box.

Our God is the restorer. He is creator, and recreator. He puts things right. Christ set people right. He restored them to being the children of God, made in the image of God.

If perfection was this messed up, performance based idea of getting it right and things going smoothly, then would God the father not be a horrid failure? He created this world, and allowed room for it to make the choice to hate him.

No, his perfection is inviting us into the dance of making restoration along with him. We get to join in as he makes all things new.

___________________

My Refuge

you don’t have to get it right to be mine

you don’t have to perform for me

you don’t have to get it right to be mine

set your eyes on me and you will see

 

Your perfection is nothing like mine

I am resurrection

your perfection is nothing like mine

I renew perception

 

Rise and face the dawn

 

Rise and face the dawn

be a harmony in the eternal song

rise and face the dawn

all creation will sing along

Confessions of a Pirate – Enjoying the Small Things

I’m veering a bit from my usual blog fare for a moment of appreciation for the arts and intellectual property. This is, however, a concept that I want to teach to my kids. (pirating is not)

This morning I did something that is becoming a new and improved habit in my life, I bought a CD. Yes, I know. . . For those who know me this is coming as a shock. But this last year I’ve been progressively setting aside my pirating ways in favor of a clearer conscience.

I’ve rediscovered something that had been lost in my life for a very long time. You may think me corny for saying this, but oh well.  I wanted to share it with you.

When was the last time that you sat down and listened to a CD all the way through?

Honest, sit there and ask yourself.

Most of us would say that we don’t have the time to do this. I normally would say the same.

Do you remember the days when you’d buy a tape or a record, and couldn’t wait to plug it in to your walkman on or set the needle down and listen to it, from start to finish? It was an adventure.

I don’t know why, but when I think about this concept I often think about the old grunge and alt-rock albums I bought in middle school. The first time that I clicked my fresh copy of Pearl Jam’s “VS” album in my walkman in the big back seat of my parents car I was just drifting away. The sounds were incredible.

It was the same with R.E.M., Nirvana, The Prayer Chain and so many others. These bands, though some aren’t much to my tastes these days, worked very hard on each and every song, ordering them in a way to take you on a journey and leave you with a message, a feeling, a thought.

An well written album is like performing “inception” on the listener. Any record worth listening to from start to finish has been made to share, teach, impart or give something to the listener.

This concept has been all but lost lately. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about a little debate she had with her 17-year-old about how she only buys single songs off of iTunes and never hears the whole records.

99 cents for a song is an easy buy for an easy fix of a catchy tune.

My kids are all under 10, and they gravitate toward this too. They like a song that is playing as they prance through the room, and they ask for it to be played over and over and over. It’s a normal tendency.

But there’s another thing, for those of us to whom the likes of the “peer-to-peer” universe has infected. When we have access to everything, nearly everything ceases to be special.

Let me repeat that. . .

When we have access to everything, nearly everything ceases to be special or precious to us.

I have gone through phases where I had so much stinkin music on my computer that I’d never know what to listen to. I could download the entire catalog of any recording artist of any time.

But the magic is lost.

When I was 16 I was so in love with the album “Siamese Dream” by Smashing Pumpkins that I couldn’t wait for the follow up collection of out-takes and b-sides to come out. I skipped school to be the first one into the record store. Then, I went straight home and listened to it beginning to end, three or four times.

There was so much anticipation with each record, but with the age of file “sharing” this has become a lost delight. Most kids really don’t look forward to new cds. You click the download button, load your iPod and add it to the play list.

This morning I downloaded “Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen” by alt-rock legends, The Choir. They’re an amazing bunch of guys who write convicting and insightful masterpieces about life in Christ.

At lunch, I enjoyed every last note and lyric. I ingested the album. I loved it. It took me somewhere, and it was somewhere that I wanted to go. I felt, by the end, close to the band and their heart. I heard them… and I came back from my lunch ready to enjoy my friends, work. . . my life.

In a recent newsletter put out by a great guy named Jeff Goins, he quoted Stephen King saying that “Art is a support system for life, not the other way around.”

I love that God has given us music. I love that these recording artists put hundreds of hours of heart and soul into these recordings. I want to experience them with them. I want to utilize art in the way that it was made to be utilized; a support for life. It breeds new perspective, encouragement and reflection, it’s great.

This is one more area where our society is simply hell-bent on disposable consumption. We’re treating art, movies, music the same way we do fast food.

We all know what happens when we eat too fast. You get indigestion. Right?

I’m beginning to believe that it’s the same with life, the universe, and everything. . .

Eyes Wide Open

As of late I’ve been smitten with the new Jars Of Clay album, ‘The Shelter.’ It’s a seriously convicting batch of songs from a band that I haven’t often given much time or attention to. But these songs have really grabbed my heart.

Song after song is laden with the conviction that we are in fact made by God, for each other. Each and every one of us has what the other needs. God has made us to be one.

One particular song has really gripped me though. It’s called ‘Eyes Wide Open.’ The song is refreshingly honest, and it’s an honesty that we need.

The truth is- We fight God all the time.

We want our way, our comforts…

We want to convince ourselves that we’re ‘believers’ or ‘disciples’ or even the big ‘c’ word, ‘Christians.’ The fact is, we’ve got to measure ourself against the one and only, the Christ himself.

We have a serious lack of belief. We walk around with faith that can barely move pebbles, let alone mountains. We don’t have lack. We get what we want when we want it. We are a culture that barely needs God, let alone wants him meddling in our cozy lives.

Here’s a good question to ask ourselves- “How can we live in a way that invites the Spirit of God to be with us?” I heard about someone asking this yesterday, and it really caught my attention.

So I’ve got to honestly ask myself- “Am I serious about being near God? If I am, then what is in my way?”

Is there anything worth having in the way? Is there any pleasure, delight, comfort, that can compare to knowing the maker and lover of your very soul?

So here’s the lyrics to this song I mentioned… it’s a conversation with God. Think good and hard on it, and if you’re up for it, pray along with it.

Talk to me, ’cause I’ve been talking to myself, Help me get these thoughts out of my own head

I don’t believe, most days I don’t believe, Mercy is true, it’s hard to live with the things I do

So God, bruise the heels we’ve dug in the ground that we might move closer to love

And pull out the roots we’ve dug in so deep, finish what You started… help us to believe

Keep our eyes wide open (love is kind and love is daring, everything we need to keep our eyes wide open…)

We can’t go on, it seems this conversation’s done, it’s so hard to win these fights and love you at the same time

So take my hands till grace makes her way to bend, till the things I’ve set to ruin only lead to my own end

So God, bruise the heels we’ve dug in the ground that we might move closer to love

And pull out the roots we’ve dug in so deep, finish what You started… help us to believe

Keep our eyes wide open (love is kind and love is daring, everything we need to keep our eyes wide open…)

Draw us in, send us out…

Draw us in, pour us out…

Help us to believe