Tuesday, November 04, 2008


This is reprinted with permission from my friend Derek Hale from Wichita. He writes...

My election day "scream at the windshield" moment came today while driving down the street to grab a bite of lunch. It came not from conservative talk radio or from NPR. It came from Christian talk radio. Don't ask me how I ended up there.

Anyway, the host (no idea who it was) was taking calls from callers who had voted earlier in the day. The callers that I heard were all talking about how they took their children with them to their polling places and they went on and on about "how important it was that children witnessed their parents voting" and about how "instilling the desire to participate in the democratic process" needs to instilled in children from a young age. I didn't hear much else because my shouting started.

I needed to shout because I imagined the type of folks that were out there listening to this same radio program and adding their "amen" to what was being said. I imagine these are the same folks that ship their children off to "children's church" on Sunday because the children are distracting and "would never understand what was going on anyway." I'm sure these are the same people that feel no desire demonstrate to their children "how important it is that children witness their parents worshiping on Sunday." No desire to "instill from a young age" a desire to participate in the worship of God almighty with the rest of the adults of the church. Nope, it is MUCH more important for children to get excited about the "democratic process" than it is for them to get excited about hearing God's call to worship, hearing that their sins are forgiven, learning the music of the Kingdom, hearing the Word thundered, and sitting down to eat a meal with Jesus every week.

And people still wonder why evangelicalism is as ineffective as it is.

Amen, Derek!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pure Words

My new CD, Pure Words, is now available from me. We sing several of these songs in our church, and I hope they might work in yours, as well!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The music in our church

Not being a very policy-oriented fellow, we don't have a written policy in our church about what music we will and will not use. But we do have some general guidelines...

1. The Psalms are the dominant source. We are not exclusive Psalmists, we think that other scriptures and songs derived from them may be sung, but we are dominant Psalmists. There are generally more psalms in our worship than other stuff. We try to avoid the sort of music that tells you how I feel, unless you are doing a psalm and that is what David is doing just there.

2. Word-for-word Psalmnody is preferable to versified Psalmnody. Of course there is a lot more accessible material for the versified sort than for the word for word sort, consult any Psalter and you will see what I mean. But I think that God built His word in such a way that the structure is part of His revelation to us, and we lose something when we restructure it. In our church, we use the Cantus Christi Hymnbook, and probably about half our service uses music that I have made.

3. We make use of our musicians. If your most able leaders in music play guitar, then by all means use them. If you have songwriters in your midst, encourage them to write word for word songs from the Psalms and the rest of the Bible for the congregation to sing.

We know that God has greatly gifted musicians in the past to write music for the church to sing, so we don't despise it, but learn how to sing it well. But we don't stop there; we try to build on the foundations already laid. We don't assume that church music has reached it's pinnacle and cannot be improved upon, we rather try to make songs that are more faithful to the Scriptures, because we know that the Scriptures shape us into the image of Jesus.

These are some things, in brief...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Concerts in October

Hey folks!

If there are any Texans or Tennesseans within range, you may wish to hear of the following concerts I will be doing.

On Saturday evening, October 11/08 I will be doing a concert for St. Davids Church at the following location;

We now meet in the chapel at the Boys and Girls Country Academy, which is located at 21225 FM 2920, Hockley, Texas, about 1 mile west of Rosehill Christian School on the south side of FM 2920.

and the contact people to ask directions are the Gene Franklin family. gene@crechouston.org and the Church website is http://www.crechouston.org/

On Sunday eve, 6PM, October 12/08 I will be in concert in Austin, TX at this location;

Park Hills Baptist Church
900 S. MoPac Expressway
Austin, TX 78746

This concert is sponsored by Redeemer Presbyterian Curch (PCA), and the contact person will be Susan Marcus smarcus@redeemerpres.org

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 18/09 at 4PM I am doing a concert in Nashville, TN, sponsored by the fine folks at St. Mark Reformed Church, at the following location;

501 Brewer Dr. Nashville, TN 37211 at the Nashville First Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Contact Joe Thacker for details, pastorjoeccp@gmail.com

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Timbrel as Moses

We were talking around the table tonight about things that happened to the kids when they were little, episodes when they got lost and so forth. I remembered this one...

Timbrel was 4, Zion was in her high 2s, Judah was probably ten months old. The Soles family took a drive out to the Dunes area south of town to look for some flat rocks we could use for a walkway in our backyard. We parked the minivan at the entrance to a gravel pit, and we got out to look around. Judah was sleeping in his car seat; I think we had been going to take him along but then realized he was asleep, so we just set his seat back on the bucket seat of the van, and Val looked around for rocks near the van. I took the two girls on a trip down into the gravel pit to look for flat rocks.

The pit curved sharply to the right just ahead, and kept curving till we had gone probably 220 degrees when we came to the end of the pit. I found some good rocks high up on the bank while Timbrel and Zion played down on the floor of the pit, which was pretty solid and mostly dry, except for a few puddles left by a recent rain. The rock that I had found looked too big for me to carry all the way back to the van, so I had the bright idea to go get the van.

"Girls, Daddy is just going to walk over this ridge and get the van, and I will drive it around to where you are, you just stay there!" Timbrel's eyes widened, but I don't think I noticed...

Bad idea, Daddy!

I went around and found Val loading rocks she had found, so I helped her finish and told her the plan. We shut the door beside Judah, got in, and drove down into the gravel pit, and started around the loop toward my rock, when we saw a rather distressing sight. Timbrel had decided that there was no way we were leaving them there, and like Moses she began to lead the children out of the wilderness. Unfortunately, she didn't have much sense about big puddles, and the one we found her stuck in was about 50 feet across. She was out in the middle, both boots stuck fast, and screaming her head off; Zion was about 15 feet behind her, both boots stuck fast and screaming her head off too.

I saw them and slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the van, and ran out to rescue the girls and their boots, which was a difficult task... that mud was really sticky! We all became quite a mud fest; me carrying two screeching girls up to the van. But the van was screaming too... When I hit the brakes, I had failed to notice that Judah was not buckled into the bucket seat, and he went pitching onto the floor face first, still strapped in his car seat. His lip was swelling up at the same rate as his voice...

The Soles family mourned, and I'm sure half the town heard it.

Sword Drills

Sword drills are a great way to raise your child's knowledge of where things are in the Bible. I used to do this with my big three, Timbrel, Zion, and Judah, though we have not done it much for a couple years now. I have begun to do it with the next three, Jewel, Jonathan, and Eden, and they have been getting much quicker.

So today we did a sword drill open, to see where the littles stack up against the bigs. Jewel started out smoking with a couple of wins, but then Zion and Timbrel stole the show once they got warmed up. I think Jonathan got a win once, and Judah got one as well. Judah doesn't have great memories of sword drills, just a continual series of losses to his extremely quick big sisters. They are pretty tough competition!

"Swords in the air!" (all the bibles go up into the air, closed and spine upward)

"Find Jeremiah 31:9!" (everyone repeats "Jeremiah 31:9!")

"Go!!" (everyone rushes to find the reference)

Someone stands up and starts to read, hopefully a split second before their neighbor starts, and everyone else groans, especially if they were close...

If your sword drillers are really competent at finding their way around, try this variation;

"In the historical books, find the story of David and Goliath!"

If someone knows the reference they can call it out, and they win; if not, they have to look it up.

(after some digging, someone says "1st Samuel 17!")

This is a great game.

Also overheard...

Val heard Joe singing another of my songs today, only this time a really old one, with a twist...

Set me free to be what I need to be
Cause there's a higher college got a hold on me...

What!?! He's been recruited already?!?

Jonathan must have played that for him, I don't think he has it in his room...


So I'm playing songs for some of my little kids, when Joseph (4) asks me if I could play "Denetch". (emphasize the first syllable.)
"I'm not sure I know that song."
"It's on your CD. Denetch."
So he starts to sing it for me... "Denetch, Denetch, Denetch, De, MANAMANAMANA..."

It appears that "Golden Calf" has a new name...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Names of the Patriarchs

The question was put to me, "Why memorize the names of the Patriarchs? Why not rather spend your time memorizing some verses that will help you in your walk with the Lord?" My answer is this;

1. God seemed inclined to give us the list of those names and their characters many times in Scripture. It seems to me that God is placing special emphasis on something when He repeats it again and again, I don't think He is big on wasting words. When He repeats something, He really wants us to get it.

2. They are our fathers. If we have been adopted into Christ, then His history has become our history. We have been brought into relationship, into covenant, with all that God has worked in before. Honor your father and mother, the Lord tells us. So we learn about them, but not just about them; we learn what God has done in history as we learn about them. And learning all the whats, whos, wheres, etc. in the Bible DOES help us in our walk with the Lord, because we learn who He is and what He does and how He works.

3. For little kids about 4 years old this song is a fun challenge. They haven't had a great grasp on how to speak for very long, but now, a challenge! They love it. And besides, I'd much rather fill my kids heads and hearts with "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," than with "heavenly sunshine" or "arky, arky" kinds of songs. Abe and company, that is real stuff; the other stuff is fluff that someone made up. Little kids are knowledge sponges, fill them up with Bible, and not with distractions.

4. Little kids can grasp a story, or a list of names, much better than they can grasp an abstract concept like justification by faith alone. That is how God built us; we learn by stories when we are little, we learn to think abstractly in our teens. I'm quite sure that is why God built the Bible with so many stories in it, so that His children would remember.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Thanks for those brakes, Mr. Stephen!

On our recent trip, we took the exciting route to Vancouver. We crossed from the Yellowhead to the Caribou highways at Little Fort, just south of Clearwater, and stayed at a campsite in Bridge Lake. The next day we drove out to Clinton. Now, on my map there is a road connecting Clinton to Lillooet, but I stopped to ask one of the locals about it just the same.

To old lady in store; "Is there a road connecting Clinton to Lillooet?"
"Yes, just up there." pause... "Some of it is gravel..." pause... "It gets a bit washboardy sometimes, if you are in a hurry, you better go around by the highway."
OK, I'm not in a hurry."

So we drove on a paved road for 17km west of Clinton, to a nice little provincial park, where the pavement ended, and the road narrowed to one lane (!), and began to climb in switchbacks up this mountain. We climbed and climbed, a couple hundred yards this way, a couple hundred yards that way... I remember pointing out the view to my kids at one point, when the lake was a couple thousand feet below us, looking down at it from about a 60 degree angle. One lane, gravel, hoping nobody came from the other direction. When we finally topped out we were overlooking the valley where Lillooet is, but seeing it from very high up. That side of the valley was all open, and made for a long trip downhill.

My big kids are of the sort that wants the trip to be fast and done, no dilly-dallying or shortcuts (which always take longer); this time I was told that I could take more shortcuts if they were like that one...

The rest of the drive from Lillooet to Whistler was pretty spectacular as well. Driving down from the pass into Pemberton the road was a 15% grade for 5km., full of switchbacks, and my brakes were smoking by the time I reached the bottom. We were very thankful for Stephen's brake job he had just done on the van. The old ones would have left us in a pile somewhere in those hills...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Old people and old songs

I had the opportunity to lead the singing yesterday at PRBI's 75th anniversary celebration. As I expected, the vast majority of the heads in the crowd were white or gray; people to whom PRBI's influence has meant a lot in their lives, and are free to travel to such an event.

I have noticed a phenomenon with regard to congregational singing. If you are doing the music for a conference, and you want the audience to sing poorly, do new songs, or do contemporary worship songs. If you want them to sing heartily, do hymns. Especially if there are white heads in the crowd.

We did a number of hymns on powerpoint, like Holy, Holy, Holy, And Can It Be, Day By Day, Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, and about 10 more, all done in the original hymn style with no modern updating, singing all the verses, accompanied by my daughter Timbrel on piano and myself on the guitar. The only thing I did that was new to these people was that I substituted Christ Shall Have Dominion (from Ps.72) for Onward Christian Soldiers. And all these old pre-mil dispensationalist folk sang it with delight.

I heard many comments afterward about how good it was to sing good hymns together, and that the singing was wonderful. "I love singing these hymns, because you can do the harmonies!" one lady told me. "I knew ALL the songs!" said another. "I liked your selection, you picked all good ones!" said one man.

A 60ish lady told me of attending the 85th Anniversary for PBI, where the singing was led by some son of Three Hills who had made it big in music, and who did all his own songs for congregational singing. Of course, hardly anybody knew them, so the congregational singing was very poor, and the lady was somewhat disgusted. But she was delighted by our singing last night.

The only comment I heard about the song selection which was not good was from the young (maybe early 20's?)lady who ran the powerpoint. The program was going a bit long, so I needed to cut one song, During a break I went back and told her which one to cut. She sort of winced, and said "but that was the only one I know..."

There are some serious problems in the evangelical churches in this part of the world, and I am poking at the edges of one of them here. I hope to write more later about this.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I did an interview this morning with Kevin Swanson of Generations Radio. I'm told that it will be airing on Thursday, Aug.14/08. You can catch it here http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/Generations_Radio/ when the time comes.

I also did an interview with the local newspaper, who had heard somehow that I have a new CD coming out soon.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Where's The Brakes?!?

I took my big van in to my mechanic brother, Stephen, for a check-up, and was told that it was a good thing I came in, the brakes were almost gone. He tells me that they work as normal right up until they go, then they suprise you. But I'm looking at $800 to replace them...ouch.

Val came home from a drive about town today, and told me the brakes just started squealing on my little van... OUCH!

Friday, August 01, 2008


"...and the second is like it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Except in Canada, where we read this command as "You shall leave your neighbor by himself."

Most of you have probably heard by now of the (surely) demon-possessed fellow who stabbed and decapitated a fellow passenger on a bus in Manitoba. How many people were on that bus at the time? It surely takes at least awhile to complete the deed of removng someone's head, why did nobody intervene? There were lots of things at hand that could have been thrown at him, to distract him long enough for somebody to tackle him and disarm him.

He could have been stopped cold, before he did the deed, if it were legal to carry concealed firearms in this country. In fact, you can be sure this would not have happened at all if that were the case...

I strongly suspect that there will now be a push to outlaw knives in Canada. Just watch.

The Difficulty of Movie Smooches

You know how it works. When the guy finally gets the girl they smooch, and usually with open mouths. I have told my children that those kind of kisses are essential, but not until they are married, and that they should not engage in such activities until then.

Easier said than done... Val was sitting at the table the other day while 6 year old Chloe was eating a peach. Chloe seemed to be greatly enjoying the sensation, with great big bites and long contact with the peach.

"What are you doing, Chloe?" says Val.

Chloe replies, "I'm kissing my wedding boy!"


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Standard Song

This was a kind of a kids song before I was writing kids songs. My wife tells me I should record it again...

The Standard Song
Watch your eyes, they might see
Things they’re not supposed to see
Always screen the things you view
They become a part of you
Have a standard and stand by it
As a safeguard against the devil’s lies
You’ll regret it if you cross that line
It will lead you into compromise
So watch your eyes

Watch your tongue, it might say
Things it’s not supposed to say
Careless words can leave a scar
So stop and think before you go too far
Have a standard and stand by it
May a song of love always be sung
Your neighbor feels the effects of it
He may be blessed or he may be stung
So watch your tongue

Watch your mind, it might think
Things it’s not supposed to think
What you think is what you’ll do
So dwell on what is good for you
Have a standard and stand by it
Don’t be fooled into changing your design
You can choose what you will think about
You can leave those evil thoughts behind
Oh watch your mind

Have a standard and stand by it
May the Lord’s reflection never dim
Victory is certain if you will
Take your thoughts as captives unto Him
©Mar.31/1987 Jamie Soles

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trusting In You

This is the oldest song of mine that i have on any of my albums. I had been writing songs for about 3 years when i wrote this, and it is on my Fidelity album.

Trusting In You

Sometimes life gets hard, don’t know just which way to turn
And it seems like one way or another I’m gonna get burned
But Jesus I know that You’re holding my hand
And You’re gonna be there when I need You, helping me stand
Helping me stand, I’m trusting in You

When I see the storm closing in around me
There’s no shelter in sight and it seems like it’s gonna drown me
But You’re a rock I can cling to, to weather the storm
And no matter what happens Lord I’m safe in Your arms
I’m safe in Your arms, I’m trusting in You
Trusting in You

Jesus when you are near anxieties fade away
My fears and troubles seem to disappear cause they can no longer stay
Lord in Your marvellous presence I’ll always want to be
Cause Jesus when I am with You my bonds are loosed and I’m free
I truly am free when I’m trusting in You

Lord I need to trust in You more
Won’t you help me open up my door

Lord by Your hand You uphold me with strength from heaven above
You take my thoughts from this world full of sin
And surround me with Your love
And when my work here is finished, my final day is done
I know to heaven You’ll take me to live forever with the Son
Forever with the Son because I’m trusting in You

©Mar.5/1984 Jamie Soles

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Least Of These

This song was recorded on my first ever album project which is now (thankfully) unavailable, "Walk By Faith". Our band, Damascus Road, was pretty popular in our town, and people were clamoring for a tape, so one of our guys booked a studio for us. I think we had been apart all summer, and had about a week to practice these songs... After a total of 9 hours in the studio, we had recorded our 10 song first album! By the time it came out we were sick of it...

The Least Of These

Another heartbeat, another voice
Another hand reaching out for help
Do we have a choice
A man is hungry, a man is ill
In a world so self-preserving
If we don’t help no-one will

We are to be the light of the world
Shining out to the lost and the lonely who are near
But will a man listen to the good news
When he has no bread to eat
Or he has no shoes upon his feet
I tell you he is the least of these
The least of these

Another drunkard, another bum
Another derelict on the street
Will you be the one
He needs the gospel, he needs a meal
Don’t give one without the other
He doesn’t need a halfway deal


You did it unto the least of these
You did it unto Me
You did it not to the least of these
You did it not to me
You did it unto the least of these
You did it unto Me
You did it not to the least of these
You did it not to me

©Apr.14/1986 Jamie Soles

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Leave 'Em Behind

Leave ‘Em Behind

I have seen the dying embers of desire in silence lay
Half buried in the ashes of defeat
I have known the waves of apathy to break upon my shore
And swirl the dust of death around my feet
I have listened to the whisper of deception in my ear
And felt the subtle poison in my mind
But I have seen the wind of heaven blow away the clouds
And it’s time to leave those other things behind
Leave ‘em behind

I have noticed the condition in the shadows of my heart
To choose to do what’s wrong instead of right
I have harbored my ambition in the shelter of my soul
And made myself an idol in Your sight
I have shared the yolk of bondage with the proud and evil men
And joined them in the scorn of those who find
But I’ve been drawn with power by the Man upon the cross
And it’s time to leave those other things behind
Leave ‘em behind

There is no room for excuses there is no room left for pride
There are no unbridled passions left untamed
When you’re chosen by the Father there is nowhere you can hide
From the gates of hell your life will be reclaimed
To the ones who will not listen, to the ones who will not hear
To the ones who close their eyes and ears and minds
In this life and ever after let the consequence be known
That Jesus Christ is leaving you behind
He’s gonna leave you behind

©Nov.26/1989 Jamie Soles

This song was an expression of my early readings in reformed theology. I can track when I first started thinking along these lines by looking at my songs... They generally started moving from a "the-end-is-coming-soon!" approach to a much longer view of history, in September of 1989, three months after Val and I were married. What a ride I have taken her on! Wheee!!!!

Old Songs

I periodically look back thru my catalogue of songs from the old days. Some of them need to stay in the catalogue... but others could stand an airing.

I think I will start posting the lyrics to some old songs that have either never seen the light of day, or the day they saw was a lot of years ago.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Remember that story at the end of the life of David, where he gives Solomon instructions about dealing with a few tough nuts in Israel? "Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.", he says of Joab. Solomon hears and heeds, and the first couple chapters of 1 Kings tell the tale of the deaths of Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei. In each case, Solomon sends Benaiah to do the deed. It sort of looks like the tale of a don with his hit man, so I have taken the liberty to shorten Benaiah's name to something more manageable. Bible stories meets The Godfather...

Benny (1 Kgs.1:52-2:46)

If you show yourself a worthy man
Not a hair of your head shall fall
But if wickedness is found in you
You know who I’m gonna call
I’ll call Benny, Benny, Benny
I’ve got a job for you

If you play your game of subterfuge
If you seek to undermine
If your hat size grows too big for you
You fight against your life
Hey Benny, Benny, Benny
I’ve got a job for you

If you hold onto the altar horns
To escape from what you’ve done
In the day of peace you shed the blood of war
Your blood thirst days are done
Benny, Benny, Benny
I’ve got a job for you

If you break the oath you swear to God
If you love to disobey
If you think your words will be forgot
We’ll remind you yet today
Benny, Benny, Benny
I’ve got a job for you

@Mar.31/2006 Jamie Soles

Friday, June 20, 2008

Off To Camp...

We are leaving early tomorrow for a 12 hour drive down to Abbottsford, where we will stay overnight, go to church in the morning, and head to a family camp just outside of Princeton, BC on Monday morn. It is sponsored by Christ Covenant Church of Langley, and is promising to be a great time. This is a good tool for the building of body life, if it is in the hands of elders who care about their flock. And the men in Langley certainly qualify in this regard.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pure Words

The album we just recorded will be called "Pure Words", from the text in Psalm 12 "The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times." ESV

I have been in the studio recording an album of the early Psalms (1-
16, but missing Psalm 9, which I may one day be man enough to
write.). I have done mostly through-composed, word for word versions
from the ESV, in song style, most of which could be sung by a
congregation that sings modern music. But I do have a few
chant/quasi-chant numbers that may interest you.

I have a vigorous antiphonal version of Psalm 7 that I have now
recorded (John Barach translation) with guitar, bass, drums,
tambourine, and other percussion.
It will take a thorough learning of the song for a drummer or a bass
player to know when to change. But it seems to me to be easily

I have also done a chant version of Psalm 4, in high Anglican style,
brought low by me...:-) It seems to me easily sung. I have
accompanied it with guitar, bass, a string pad (I think...), four
part harmony, and another instrument following the words and melody.
I think this one will be hard to accompany until the musicians learn
it well.

I have a Psalm 5 version that is very easily learned and very easily
played by most normal accompaniment instruments. When I first played
this for our church, the guys came to me afterward and said "Gordon
Lightfoot!"... It apparently reminded them of The Wreck Of The Edmund
Fitzgerald. (Which may or may not commend it to you...)

For Psalm 10 I did the Cantus version of the Genevan, minus the
harmonies and twice the speed. This song will, I think, be very
difficult to accompany as I am doing on the album, but hey, you have
the Cantus! My drummer and bass player had to greatly stretch their
imaginations to make this one work... The bass guy did it, but we had
to put the drums together piece by piece. It sounds pretty awesome to
me, but I am biased.

This album will not be available for a few months yet, it is still
being edited, but I hope to keep you posted. And I will try to get sheet music built for it as well.


We are tracked. We are on track. Our tracks have been laid. After wiping out our tracks in the entryway (it was raining), we made tracks for home yesterday, and arrived last night.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bryan Adams Anthology

On my way home from Three Hills I listened to 33 straight songs by Bryan Adams. Quite a feat, I'd say!

I like Bryan Adams sound. He can write compelling, feel-good music. But you can't trust anything he says, especially if you are female...

Behold, the man who proceeds into every undertaking loins-first... Even as he has grown older, he still desires to be led about by his hormones. Rushdoony's "Revolt Against Maturity" applies here, right across the board. Perhaps this is why he has never learned to write anything in a minor key...

Adams has made his (substantial) living on "last-night-was-the-greatest, Babe!" songs. They are all lies, intended to seduce you, but there is obviously something else going on here. If each of these songs could be divorced from other contexts, they would probably be much easier to accept. I could imagine a married man employing one of these songs for his wife and it would be fitting and appropriate. But I confess, I don't understand how it is possible to write a song for such an occasion and not have it misappropriated by fornicators and adulterers, including (it seems) the author of the song. He writes the song as though it is autobiographical, but he has written so many of these to so many different women...

I suspect that these songs have been great engines for immorality in our culture, and will continue to be. He can't stop this thing he's started... But I do hope that God would save this fellow soon, and cause him to stop putting more of it into the airwaves. His voice needs to join with a congregation of God's people, because it was made for the praise of the Triune God, and it will maintain the desire to be "18 till I die!" until he can leave behind his pursuits of self and pursue Jesus.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kill To Get Crimson

My life has been greatly enriched by listening to the music of Mark Knopfler. I have been on to him since the mid-nineties, when I first heard his Golden Heart album, and discovered a former rock star who could actually think. Wonder of wonders! This man reads! Then I listened again to the Dire Straits stuff he did in the eighties and discovered I had not been listening very closely. His whole body of work is full of stuff that Christians should be listening to, rather than the drivel on the (sub)christian radio station.

I listened again to Kill To Get Crimson today as I was driving down to Three Hills. What a superb album! It seems to me there are not many musicians who can build a thematic album, let alone to develop their theme in such a way that their music is the perfect fit for the songs, but Mark Knopfler is a master at it.

The singer of the songs is old, an old man, (and once an old lady) reflecting on various happenings in his life. He is not the same man from song to song, but he has a long history in all of them. Knopfler is able to get himself inside the head of someone in the latter portions of his life, and to sing his story. There are hardly any moments of great energy (though the one with the accordion and clarinet in Heart Full Of Holes is a great moment.), but there is a good bit of quiet beauty, and some quiet ugliness too, in Behind With The Rent.

I remember the officers watch in my hands
Repair it or die, I was told
It's a wonder to me, I still don't understand
Why I ever survived to be old
With a heart full of holes

He remembers learning to waltz as a twelve year old, under the dreaded tutelage of MacIntyre, an old army commander-turned-teacher. It's funny...

One, two three, Two two... we're all a disgrace
MacIntyre tore us apart
And we danced with ourselves when we all found a space...
Waltzing with fear in our hearts
Waltzing with fear in our hearts

He recalls what it was like for an artist in the late nineteen thirties, with the pressure to go to war and bury the gifts that he had for the common good...

Get a job with a pension
And don't ever mention
You once had a craving for the brushes and paints
So go, forget it, let it all go, let it all go
Go, forget it, let it all go, let it all go.

This is a masterful album. Are there other artists of Knopflers' quality and status in the music world who are doing these kinds of things? It is a delight to me that Knopfler has the vision to write through the eyes of the old, and to beautify and dignify the aged in this way. He has done this for several albums now. Sailing To Philadelphia was about the discovery of America, both early and recent; The Ragpickers Dream was, by and large, a bums-eye-view of life, and it was set in the early twentieth century. All The Roadrunning (with Emmylou Harris) is a travelling, road of life album. Now Kill To Get Crimson does life through the eyes of age, with music that is both aged and very finely crafted.

Putting yourself in someone elses shoes and seeing from their perspective is a good way to gain understanding of that person; it is also a good way to keep you from thinking about yourself all the time. Christian musicians need to learn this lesson, cause we are really stuck on ourselves and how we feel and how we think.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for Mark Knopfler, for the great gifts You have given him and have caused him to share. If he is one of Yours, thank You! And if he is not, would You please change that situation and make him one of Yours?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The stuff I find...

I found a note on my desk in front of this computer today, written in very neat handwriting...

"I am exceedingly annoyed with this computer. Yes, sirree, it doesn't do anything it's told. That is a very bad quality in a slave of any type."


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Oh, April...

It was -15 and snowing at my house this morning at 8AM.

Lord, please bring global warming...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Update on Ontario Concerts

Please note the changes in the schedule for Ontario concerts. The Guelph concert is on Tuesday, Apr.29, at Emmanuel Canadian Reformed Church, rather than on the 24th. And there is a new contact number for the Brampton concert, Sharon Brink left me her phone number. Please check over the list and see if you can make it!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Concert Schedule April-May 2008

Hi folks!

Here are the concerts and conventions I expect to play in the next couple months.

Wed. Apr. 23/08 - fly from Grande Prairie to Hamilton, ON
Thurs. Apr. 24 - nothing yet
Fri. Apr.25 - OCHEC conference in Hamilton
Sat. Apr.26 - OCHEC conference until 4 PM
- evening concert at Cornerstone Canadian Reformed Church in Hamilton... Saturday, April 26 at 7:00 pm
Cornerstone Canadian Reformed Church

365 Stone Church Road, Hamilton, ON
Opening by ION!
Contact: Brigette VanHuisstede at pbvanh@mountaincable.net or 905-387-6252

Monday, April 28, 2008 at 7:00 pm
Rehoboth Canadian Reformed Church on Hwy.#5

1225 Dundas St., Burlington, ON
Joined by Covenant Christian School choir
Contact: Joanne Hordyk at joanne.hordyk@primus.ca or 905-689-8735

Tuesday Apr.29/2008 at 7:00 pm
Emmanuel Canadian Reformed Church

8037 Hwy 7, Guelph, ON. From Guelph, W on Hwy 7 past Jones Baseline
Contact Anita VanRootselaar at vanr.pa@gmail.com or 519 831-2144

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 7:00 pm
Heart Lake Baptist Church

10245 Kennedy Rd. N., Brampton, ON
Contact: Sharon Brink (905) 793-2179 or the church at 905-846-1770

Thursday, May 1 - 10:30 AM at Dunnville Christian School. If you have children coming to this, please accept the invitation to bring yourself to the concert! Contact Margaret Kamping mkamping@dunnvillechristianschool.ca

Fri. May 2 - INCH convention in Lansing, Michigan. At the Lansing Convention Center, 333 East Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI
Sat. May 3 - INCH convention

Mon. May 5 - fly home from Hamilton to Grande Prairie

May 19-30 I go into the studio to record another album, this time of the early Psalms, most of them from 1-16.
May 31 at Christian Felowship Assembly in Grande Prairie, AB.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Random ipod selections Mar.18/08

1) Ruth 4 - Alexander Scourby

2) Daughters - Jamie Soles, Memorials

3) Through New Eyes - Jamie Soles, River

4) Busted - Johnny Cash, Live At Folsom Prison

5) Long Way Back Home - Pierce Pettis, State Of Grace

6) Revelation 084 - James Jordan Revelation series

7) It Don't Mean A Thing - Eva Cassidy, American Tune

8) Leviticaus 7 - Alexander Scourby

9) Esther 8 - Alexander Scourby

10) Jack's Valentine - Over The Rhine, Good Dog, Bad Dog

Monday, February 25, 2008

Larry Norman; 1947- Feb.24/2008


I have many of this mans songs burned permanently into my internal hard drive. I'll do this one out of memory, in honor of a man who inspired me to make music.

The Great American Novel

I was born and raised an orphan in a land that once was free
In a land that poured its love out on the moon
And I grew up in the shadows of your silos filled with grain
But you never helped to fill my empty spoon

When I was ten you murdered law with courtroom politics
And learned to make a lie sound just like truth
But I know you better now, and I don't fall for all your tricks
And you lost the one advantage of my youth

You kill a black at midnight just for talking to your daughter
And you make his wife your mistress, and you leave her without water
And the sheet you wear upon your face is the sheet your children sleep on
At every meal you say a prayer, you don't beleive, but still you keep on

And your money says "In God We Trust!"
But it's against the law to pray in school
You say we beat the Russians to the moon
But I say you starved your children to do it

You were far across the ocean but the war was not your own
While you were winning theirs you almost lost the one at home
Did you really think the only way to bring about real peace
Was to sacrifice your children to kill all your enemies?

Your politician, they all make speeches, and the newsmen all take notes
And they exaggerate false issues as they try to shove it down our throats
Is it really up to them whether our country sinks or floats?
Well, I wonder who would lead us if none of us would vote...

My phone is tapped, my lips are chapped from whispering thru the fence
you know every move I make, or is that just coincidence?
Well you try to make my way of life a little less like jail
If I promise to send you tapes and slides and send them thru the mail

And your money says "In God We Trust!"
But it's against the law to pray in school
You say we beat the Russians to the moon
But I say you starved your children to do it
You say all men are equal, all men are brothers
Then why are the rich more equal than others?
Don't ask me for the answers, I've only found one
That a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son

Larry is now In Another Land, and I hope to meet him there one day.

Sock drawer

Joseph, my 3 year old, comes wandering into the kitchen today singing one of those out-of-the-blue lyrics...

"I'm so happy living in a sock drawer"...

Come on, Joe. Your room is not THAT small!

Random ipod selections Feb 25/2008

These are the first 10 things that showed up on my ipod today when I put it on random.

1. Hour Of Gold - Emmylou Harris, Red Dirt Girl

2. Father And Daughter - Paul Simon, Surprise

3. Numbers 18 - Alexander Scourby, OT CD9

4. Speedway At Nazareth - Mark Knopfler, Sailing To Philadelphia

5. Rev.182 Nazirites, Rev. 20:4 - James Jordan, Exposition of the Book Of Revelation

6. Fool - Over The Rhine, Ohio

7. Machpelah - Jamie Soles, Memorials

8. Human Touch - Bruce Springsteen, The Essential Bruce Springsteen

9. Midnight Rider - Willie Nelson, 16 Biggest Hits

10. Thoughts On The Curriculum - James Jordan, Education Thru New Eyes

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fort Nelson

My family and I left last Friday to drive up to Fort Nelson, about 6 1/2 hours to the northwest of us. We went to pick up a harp, to visit my brother, to do a concert, and to lead a service. It was a good time. I think the saints there were encouraged, for which we are thankful.

Encouragement is in short supply in Fort Nelson, a town of roughly 6000 people. The Canfor sawmill shut down, much to everyone's surprise. About half the town is directly affected by this closure. I was told that house prices dropped by about 40% when the mill did the deed.

On top of that, I got an email from my sister-in-law there this morning telling us that her brother's house just down the road from them burned to the ground last night. Her brother is in the now-crippled logging industry, and he and his family escaped from the house with the clothes on their backs and nothing more. Fort Nelson is not the kind of place where you can do without a house for the night; it hit -41C when we were there this weekend.

So if you remember, please pray for Jeff and Val Unruh and their family, that the Lord would meet their needs, and that God's people would rise to the occasion and provide for them in this time of great need. And pray for the church in Fort Nelson, that she would be a great source of hope to the people there as they shine the light of God's Word on their situation. And pray for Danny Soles, who is a really good man in a strategic place, that he would be bold and wise to deal with these issues both in the church and in the town, in such a way that many would see and remember and turn to the Lord.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

In The Deep Freeze

The five day forecast for Grande Prairie does not have the mercury rising as high as -20C, all the expected highs are lower than this. We hit -40 this past week once.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Man Trying To Find Himself

This was the title of a sermon that aired on the local Christian radio station last night. I was hoping he would get the right man, but I was disappointed once again.

It is both disappointing and amusing to me to watch evangelical commentators and preachers trying to deal with the life of the patriarch Jacob. Almost without fail they identify Jacob as the scoundrel and Esau as the hard-done-by honest guy. They identify with Esau when he complains about Jacob.

Now, we are told in Psalm 1 not to walk in the way of the wicked, stand in the way of sinner, or sit in the seat of the scoffer. But it seems to me that we do all these things at once when we prefer Esau to Jacob, who is spoken of in the text as a "perfect" man. Esau is the one out quadding all the time, not looking after his responsibilities, while Jacob is looking after the farm.

Jacob, in the sermon, was a fellow trying to find himself, which seemed to be a code word for finding God. He still has not found himself, and he is almost back to meeting up with Esau again after 20 years with Laban (who is bad, but not as bad as Jacob, of course!)...

I wish these guys would take the Bible more seriously. There is only one man in the Bible who ever "found himself", and that is Philip, who found himself at Azotus after talking to the Ethiopian Eunuch.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Christ Covenant Church of Grande Prairie

Our church is an excellent place.

The Lord has blessed us in many ways. Hospitality is operating, love of the brethren is strong. We are outward focusing, considering and learning how to love our neighbors in such a way that they will come to worship Jesus. We have a liturgically-oriented service which even the little children can take part in and understand, we all joyfully come to the Lord's Supper every week. We delight in pregnant mothers and baby baptisms. Our little children dominate our church prayer times with their requests and offers to pray for this or that. And we sing like we mean it.

And the Lord has blessed us with quite a few of the next generation. I'm sure that half our church population is 16 or under, and many of them are very useful evangelists for the kingdom of God. We also have a growing number of young men who are serious about knowing God and seeking Him, and who are busying themselves with the building up of His kingdom.

We have a faithful group of men shepherding this flock. It is a great delight to me to work with such godly men, who have endured many trials for Jesus sake and have emerged with a better sense of humor than before. These men are serious about looking out for the souls of those entrusted to them by the Great Shepherd. They weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. And three of them are very good preachers!

And our wives and mothers are glorious! We have several large families in our midst, and many fruitful and faithful ladies running them, whose creativity and willingness to help others seems almost boundless. As the head of a family of ten, I have been in churches where we would NEVER be invited out. But here it happens all the time. And if a mom needs to be gone for a few days, one of these homes will be ready and willing to take in the mom's kids for awhile.

The Lord has granted us at least the basic outlines of a vision that goes beyond ourselves. We pray regularly for the other churches in our town that name the Name of Jesus, that their efforts for the sake of the kingdom of God would be fruitful, and that because of the labors of God's people many, many more of the currently-unbelieving folk in Grande Prairie would become true worshippers of the Tri-une God.

We meet currently at the Grande Prairie Christian School, but starting in the first week of February we will be meeting at the Golden Age Center, on 101 St and just north of 102 Ave in downtown Grande Prairie. Worship will be at 10AM. Come and worship!

Our church is an excellent place.