Friday, January 18, 2013


If you didn't know...I like music. I was just perusing some old music and it made me want to write a blog about some very underrated music (at least underrated in these here parts). My wife, LaRae, always calls me a music elitist, which I guess is true, but I just like well written sustainable music. I like all different kinds of music from folky to hip hop, and almost everything between that (still waiting for some folky hip hop tho). So I made a little list to brag on some good stuff. Everyone I write about here I would highly recommend to anyone, whatever your musical taste. And the reason I am writing about them is because I think they should be substantially more popular than they currently are.

The Frames. Glen Hansard is such an under rated and overlooked writer/musician. If you doubt then go listen to the bands album 'Fitzcarraldo.' Specifically listen to 'Say it to me now.' This album was released in 1996. Then he performed it stripped down in the movie 'Once,' which another of his songs won an oscar for. But this song holds up, 17 years after release. I know, at least for me, that when a song triggers a want and desire for me to grab some sort of an instrument and write something, it's good music. And this song makes me feel that every single time. Check out original here... then the one featured in the movie...

Paper Route. I continually mention this band, because they are just all around solid. If you like the current trend of music (electronic-y), but also like indy band stuff, Paper Route will become your favorite band. For real. For example just listen to the track below, and after I will bet 9 people out of 10 will think 'how are they not more popular?!' and...Go.

This Will Destroy You. This is an instrumental rock band. There are probably a lot of these bands, but I  think 3 stand alone- 'Explosions in the Sky,' 'Hammock,' and this band. Their first album is 'louder' - with the use of amps pushed to the limit, and it was great, but their newest album is one where you can score a movie with it, or put it in the background of your day. Take a gander...

I just wanted to point out some great music for y'all to jump into.  Give it a listen and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Favorites of 2012

This is a random list of my favorite things over the year of 2012. I waited till the 21st because I didn't want to waste my time if the world ended.

Figure. - This app is so in depth for being a .99 app. You can create loops on the fly, even if you have no musical background, just select a key and time signature and you are off to being the next Jazzy Jeff. Seriously worth every cent.

Pitfall! - Surprisingly I have very few Iphone games, I just end up not ever playing them. But Pitfall is like an upgraded version of Temple Run and is a lot more fun. Great game for the bathroom (don't act like you're above that).

A Creation Liturgy: Gungor
Michael Gungor is an amazing musician and writer. All around he is just legit. This is a live album that they recorded out on the road at different places which makes it even cooler. It's good. Get it.

Rehearsals: The Digital Age
I have wore this LP out. Every song is good. Their rendition of All Sons and Daughters song 'All the Poor and Powerless' is not just good, it's moving. I can't wait for more of their music to come out.

The Peace of Wild Things: Paper Route
I have no idea why this band is not huge. So talented with not just junky pop rock, but so much depth in their music. Paper Route has been one of my favorite bands for a long time and if you haven't heard their stuff, just grab any album, they are all good.

The Reckoning: Needtobreathe
Even though this album came out in 2011 I am including it because I didn't get into it until 2012. This is my favorite Rock album over the past year hands down. So good. I can put it on and listen straight thru and not have to skip anything. Listen to the title track to get a good feel for the album.

Night Visions: Imagine Dragons
I saw a video of them playing their first single acoustic and beating their feet and slapping their legs for the beat, I was sold. Just a good band, and I haven't heard a song I don't like yet. Here is the video I was talking about-

I could write about music a lot more, so I will just give a quick list and move on... Lovesick- Glorious Unseen, Forever Reign- Hillsong Chapel, Babel- Mumford and Sons, The 2nd Law- Muse. Okay I'll stop.

Lawless is my favorite movie of the year. I think Shia LeBeouf and Tom Hardy nailed this movie. When it was over I was disappointed that there wasn't more. Skyfall is the newest Bond movie and a gritty version of him, I loved it. The Dark Knight Rises, epic and left with a cliff hanger, Batman done right. I am not a scary movie guy really but Cabin in the Woods kept me guessing till the end and was just a solid movie.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Connecticut Tragedy.

I can not even imagine the number of blogs/articles/tweets ect. that have been written about the small town of Newton, Connecticut in the past week. The heartache that these families are feeling right now I cannot even pretend to know about.

It is sad to say, but for me, students death, shootings and even mass killings have almost become routine. To give some background to this: I remember being called into the gym as an 8th grader to be told about how one of our schools 6th graders had killed himself, people cried, people asked why, then a few weeks later it was forgotten. Then towards the end of my freshman year we had another assembly about the shootings at Columbine High school, people cried, people asked why, then a couple weeks later it was done. Then my Junior year, 6 of kids from my high school died in a car accident, and in the same school year another of my classmates drown in a canoeing accident. Our school is a small one, just under 400 people so needless to say it was a huge shock to everyone in the school and our community. I remember it making national news at the time as well, but even this with time has been mostly forgotten. Then as a Senior at Liberty, the news of the Virginia Tech Massacre spread through our classes like fire.  Three months later I moved to Blacksburg Virginia.  Death, in sudden unexpected ways, whether by accident or on purpose has become almost expected. I am not numb to this per-say, just not as shocked any more by the depravity of human nature, or at the fragility of life. 

Obviously the situation in Connecticut is a bit different because of the age of the kids, because none of them even got a chance at living their lives. Their lives were literally stolen from them, and thats what breaks our hearts and hurts us so much. It probably has effected me even more because I am a father now and can not imagine losing my daughter.

This tragedy has really made me look at the Christmas story a tad different. Jesus was born into a dark dark world. He was born outside in a stable. I know you know this, just stop and think about America and think about the last person you know that was born outside, not because they ran out of time to get to the hospital, but because no one cared, it just doesn't happen. Jesus was born into a society where a king could decided to mass murder infants under the age of 2, under a government that had no opposition, because they were to scared to do anything because 5 years before Christs' birth 2000 Jewish rebels had been crucified and left hanging on a long road between cities in Galilee.
Jesus was born in a dark world, in fact that is the reason he came. The world was broken and had no hope. Christs' birth set things in motion for a kingdom where there is no darkness or evil, a kingdom with Him living and ruling. Christ birth is the definition of hope.

This event is heartbreaking, sad and just mindless. As a believer I know that the world currently is in a terrible state, but Christ coming as a baby shifted time and space and has given the entire world hope. 
I pray for the town, students, faculty and family of Newton, Connecticut and I pray that you experience  hope in the midst of your grief.

Thessalonians 2:16 & 17
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts andestablish them in every good work and word.

Friday, November 30, 2012

December Nights

December Nights is something we have done at Northstar for the past 4 years. We simply move everything to the evening and we do not have church on Sunday mornings. It has been one of my favorite new traditions. We do it for a number of reasons. We are a portable church so we setup and tear down every week, with December nights we pick a location and leave everything set up. So this provides a much needed break for all of our volunteers. Besides the added break, it adds to the 'awe' of Christmas. I think everyone has memories of past Christmases with lights, trees and cold breath in the night air. To put it simply with technical terms, December Nights feels more Christmasy. I know that selfishly I enjoy it cause I wake up on Sunday mornings and don't have to be anywhere. As a pastor and growing up a pastor's kid, it makes you feel a little like a rebel, because you feel like your missing something. I can not wait to spend Sunday mornings this December with LaRae and Harper!
I am also excited to spend our evenings celebrating Christ coming to earth in an old church! If you are in the New River Valley you should come and join us. We don't mind if you are a member somewhere else and are just peaking in! Come and celebrate and remember the day that Christ turned the world upside down.
 5pm at West Main Street, downtown Christiansburg. More info here

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post Election.

This was started as a tweet lol obviously it was longer...

 I am now reminded of what a waste. So much time, energy & passion we put into pushing what we think about something (in this case politics and could be either side) and it is so very temporal. Sadly I have to admit that I do not remember the last time I pushed and petitioned for someone to know Christ, to even a minimal degree as the passionate door knockers/callers of this last election. I feel as tho I should make a sign that just says Jesus and stick it in my yard. I know it isn't exactly the same thing. But the energy that we as Christians put into something should always be less than what we put into spreading Christ right? I know it is a weird thing to think about, but for me it has been very convicting. And to be honest I think this blog would have come to fruition no matter last nights outcome.

 I know it is so difficult to have a full view of something, but as a believer we need to look at this from Christs perspective. No I have no idea, nor will I guess, at what Christ would have said about this election. But I know he would view it as something very insignificant, mainly because he breathed us into existence.

As we freak out or celebrate, remember that our ultimate hope comes from someone that is already a King. Not just a king of some empire, but literally THE King of everything.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kid Worship.

So this summer has been extremely busy. Not really in a bad way at all just a lot of here and there traveling, I am currently sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Cleveland so that I can upload a file to Captain Jeff. Anyways, I had the opportunity to lead worship for two different camps this summer. Which really is something I have always wanted to do, travel and lead worship. The two camps were both for Jr. Highers and were completely different but incredibly the same. They were different in the way that one was 'camp' the kids stayed in little cabins (not air conditioned) the chapel was open air, they had morning activities, raising the flag act, if you have been to a summer camp this is probably what you remember. The second was on a college campus, great food, great facilities, felt more like a youth conference then a camp, cause of the lack of wilderness. I am not making a case for either just wanted to show how they were different. These two camps being completely different were still the same in one regard. The worship. They were excited, they were loud, they were passionate and they truly worshiped. I know some of us are on the cynical side and we try to cop out and say 'of course they are loud they are 12, 13 and 14 year olds,' and 'kids that age don't even know what worship is.' Well I would completely disagree. Yes, I will give you kids always know how to get loud, but don't tell me that kids don't know what worship is. We are all ingrained from birth to worship, most of us just choose the wrong thing to do so. Look at David, David was 15-17 years old when he stepped up to kill a giant that everyone feared. He had already took on bears and lions. But thats not what I want to talk about. Psalm 23, yes the passage that is quoted on many a 'Precious Moments' wall hanger was more then likely penned by a 13 year old David, while strolling the hills and watching over sheep. There is something special about kids this age worshiping, and it's not due to the loudness. I think that one of the reasons is because of a lack of priorities. I mean that in a good way. Kids this age do not have to worry about a mortgage, a baby, bills, ect... Because of this they don't get their priorities out of whack, they know whats first and they put Christ there. We, I, us need to think like kids, to train ourselves to forget about the junk that we have to take care of and fully concentrate on worshiping God, and constantly step into his presence. I think that if we are diligent in our worship, our problems will be seen as how they truly are, very temporal, and very small for a God that raised Himself and waked out of a tomb. Worship Him, It is what we are meant to do, what we were made to do.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Social Injustice and Jesus.

Kony 2012. Big news right now. If you haven't heard here is what I am referring to check the video on the bottom of this post.

I love that people, especially young people, are starting to care more about social injustice. It is a big deal, really big deal. The thing that is troubling to me and to be honest makes me anxious is the blurring of the line and making social injustices 'church' issues.

Now do not get me wrong we, as believers, are called to love people including our enemies. And really a lot of time that is a jump off point for sharing the gospel. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, providing medical care ect... What I get concerned with is that is where it ends most of the time. We feed, we clothe, we help heal, but we lose focus because we look at the temporal. We are called to so much more.

As believers we aren't called to only feed the body, but to feed the spirit. This life will end. But that is just the beginning. We need to be ever conscience about the spiritual life of people everywhere. Jesus did not come to put an end to child slavery but to save our eternal souls. And that, and only that should be our mission. I ask you believers to please not replace the reason we exist with a good cause. I suggest using these causes and injustices to further the name of Christ, not just to make a difference. Yes, I would love to leave this world as a better place, but I would rather leave this world in shambles and see the difference I made while spending an eternity with Christ.