Dear friends, I have just returned (to LA) from a whirlwind 3 week tour of NZ and Australia on behalf of Planted by the Water during which I labored alongside old friends and new, performing in clubs, bars, Churches and house concert events. I led some worship, did a bit of teaching, shared a few of our collective ‘church in the bar’ adventures and, mentored a whole lot of creative artists, songwriters, musicians and singers. It fed my soul in a delightful way to be doing what comes most natural to me.
Thanks to everyone who supported our endeavors either through the donating of funds, attending and or participating in our events. Thanks too for the many and varied gifts; all the comfortable beds and quiet places in which to sleep, all the scrumptious meals, coffees and local foods and wines and, all the rich conversations around kitchen tables, in coffee shops and bars, on Church pews, in backyards and on long walks or the bus, train, car, ferry and plane rides.
Apologies to all the people we didn’t get to see this trip. We are planning another expedition down under (and other destinations) later this year and so, if you are interested in hosting an event (or two) now’s the time to say so… either by sending us an email or messaging me on Facebook.
I am a tad weary (in a good way) but very much encouraged, with a clearer view (than I have had for some time) of the role Planted by the Water is to play. With many invitations to teach, set up workshops and create events from community leaders around the world, we now must find the wisdom and or the resources to map out the where, how, when and who for this coming season.
Thanks (in advance) for your prayers, words of wisdom and encouragement and, your generous financial support.
As our Party for the Soul tour continues, we are heading north to partner with our friends in Switzerland. From Dec 1st through to Jan 11 (2017) we will be ‘doing our thing’ in bars, clubs, Churches up and down the country… with a few impromptu House concerts thrown in for our very generous hosts… and anyone game enough to invite us in. With more events to be confirmed…
Here’s a little taste of some (very live) Fondue for the Soul…
I have been taking the “Let it Go” show on the road of late as part of the Identity Series.
Synopsis: In His presence… as I begin to let go of who I think I am, of the hurts and struggles of the past, of the sins of my father and the guilt and disappointments that have held captive my heart… I make room for the real me to emerge. Like Lazarus materializing from the tomb, once strangled by that deathly shroud of the old man, of my old ways, I come alive… I am reborn… to be the person I was always meant to be… the precious child God knew before I was born. Jer 1:5 “Before you were born I knew you…”
This is a process of healing that begins in worship and continues with the learned prayer practices of Letting Go… of casting not just my cares upon the Lord but everything that keeps me in that prison of false or misshapen identity.
The Closer I am to Him, the closer I am to myself… the closer I am to myself… the closer I am to Him.
Here’s a video of a live session from CBC, the Church family that helped us move to California back in 93.
I was thinking today of the deep sense of belonging I have when, after I am able to find the quietness in me, I can be still long enough to ‘enter’ God’s presence. All I need is a moment, and the weight of the world falls from my shoulders and I remember once again who I am… and that I have some value… and an important job to do.
I am not sure what your typical day looks like but mine is mostly one of chaos in which I am constantly battling my way through a jungle of work, stress, finances, emotional ups and downs, fatigue, ‘getting older’, other people’s expectations of me and my own distorted view of the path ahead.
When David so beautifully wrote “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere…” he knew what he was talking about.
We are each designed to be an important part of a puzzle… of God’s great plan. The plan doesn’t make sense unless all the pieces of the puzzle are in place.
I need you to be you as much as you need me to be me.
We spend so much of our time not really knowing who we are or believing the lie that we don’t have anything of value to offer our community… and or we see more value in another and so then we try to be like him or her… and that doesn’t work… no matter how hard we try.This is why… the one moment alone with our “Dad’ is so imperative.
Without water we dehydrate, without oxygen we suffocate, and without some aloneness with His spirit we depreciate our own spirit, our identity and our value to each other.
So please do me a favor will you… put down your phone… and take a stroll along the beach or sit for a few minutes in the garden or hide yourself away in the attic, or turn off the car radio on your way home from the office… and be silent and try to enter that mysterious place of welcome, of identity, of permission… to be encouraged, to be reminded of the simplicity of who you are and how valuable you are to the rest of us.
A story of escaping the prison of professionalism after finding love inside the music.
I was raised to be a professional musician. To play all the right notes at the right time. Nothing more and nothing less. Do the job, take the money and move on to the next gig.
Like a coal miner’s son I was born into a trade and a tribe that I would serve, through good times and bad for the rest of my days. They’d bury me with my guitar and my union card.
I had a dinner suit for the bigger clubs and casino shows, blue jeans, black T’s and doc martins for the smaller pubs and seedier clubs, an array of guitars and amps, skills and ‘guitar licks’ enough in the genre’s of jazz, blues, rock and country music to make a decent living. After several hundred club gigs I graduated up into the recording studio brotherhood and, as a professional I was on time, I played my parts proficiently and I got the job done. I continued to rise through the ranks and soon I was performing on network Television.
I had made it and as much as a guitar player can be, I was model professional.
Now and then in the midst of this professional journey I would be foolish and play music for fun… on my own of course, in a room somewhere private… where no one could hear me… and I would fall upon little treasures that I didn’t understand or know what to do with… and so, I would keep them to myself and then go off onto my next professional gig, keep my head down and do my job.
But, like a child reading his first Agatha Christie novel… I could not put ‘the book’ down… or stay away from my closet musings with my guitar and these little noodlings or melodies of childlike lyrics… all of which… was very unlike the professional I was trained to be. For, without realizing it, I was falling in love… with music and these simple little musical ideas and chordal shapes.
I would stumble upon a basic uncomplicated chord progression and begin to imagine a rock pool or a mountain stream and I would sit there and let the peace wash over me. Then I would hear someone walking down the hall towards my hideout and I would hurriedly put my guitar away as if I had been caught doing something naughty.
It can be difficult as a ‘professional’ to step down from the ‘lofty’ stage-platform to enjoy music as much as the fan or the amateur. When I listen to my live recordings with my professional ears I hear flat notes, wrong chords, jumbles lyrics, imbalanced mixes and the occasional annoying cough from an audience member (would someone please pray for that person).
And so I need, from time to time to be reminded that, often the most beautiful recordings, perhaps like people, are the slightly broken or imperfect ones. And… I should know this… because it is in these ‘live’ moments that I am at my best within myself, collaborating with the other musicians and singers and of course, the most important people in the room… the audience.
Quite recently, a good friend was thanking me for my new live album and as he mumbled on about how he and his wife had been fighting over the CD… I wondered to myself… ‘What new live album?’ I soon understood that he was talking about this mix of live recordings I had collected over a few years and had (in a weak moment) given to him as a present.
The thing is… the request for the live concert recordings is becoming all to common… and while I battle with the sliding scale of quality I am gradually weakening my resolve in favor of the lovely messy moments of live music making… and like Jesus… I am stepping down off my throne… and setting the mixes free. For, my fan ears tell me that there is something lovely in these recordings… and these same fan ears allow me to enjoy or enter into the moments of worship as I listen to these tracks.
And so… I want to make this available to all the people that have encouraged or prayed or supported me over these many years. It is a live worship merry Christmas present (without the carols and bonbons).