MWS – he didn’t meet my expectations :)

MWS & ME Today I went to Paris, ON, thanks to David C. Cook, to a special invite gathering to listen to  Michael W. Smith share about his new album. I was grateful to be invited, but in the midst of some other things keeping me busy, I was asking myself while I was driving today why was I going? Have I really got time for this? I’m sure I could be doing something more productive.

I told myself, that perhaps I’d see some of my worship pastor friends or connect with some new ones, and catch up or have some productive conversations but I wasn’t expecting much else. I have enjoyed Michael ‘s music, in fact it was some of the first ‘tape’s and ‘CD’s I had.

Michael arrived and began to share with us about his life, and his journey and what amazed me was his openness of heart and humility. He bashfully expressed his gratitude for God’s grace and favour on his life, amazed at what God has done. Stories of his family, struggles, and victories weaved into the narrative of his journey, and how Christ has worked in his life. As he shared, it was clearly evident that over his 30 year career in music that Jesus was more real to him than ever before.

That was probably best captured when he began to play video segments of his newest CD/DVD release. Song after song after song, was powerful, moving, inspiring, and full of God’s presence. It was really remarkable that Michael, along with others in the room, was moved to tears by the power of the songs he shared even while watching himself on video, as if experiencing it for the first time.

Today, and specifically Michael didn’t meet my expectations, he exceeded them. I found Michael to be real, genuine, down to earth, humble, sincere, and passionate. He has a profound gift from God that he uses to bless others in many ways. Today he used it to be a blessing in my life, and I’m incredible grateful.

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Promise Keepers 2012 – 2013

Tonight as i’m writing, i’m sitting in Calgary,AB airport waiting for my last flight of the season home, after serving Promise Keepers Canada, this time in Cranbrook, BC. I have served PKC as the National Worship Leader, in 13 events across Canada. It has been an overwhelming privilege to play this role, and to serve the men of Canada that have attended. A number of things struck me about this season that i wanted to share.

In each of the 13 events, I worked with a different band in each city. I’m incredibly grateful to the men that served along side me in each city, that played skillfully, and with servant hearts to lift up the name of Jesus. Over and over again we saw men turn their hearts and lives to Christ, we watched them respond as they discovered for the first time or remembered the greatness of Christ and His love. We were humbled to experience the whole hearted worship of Jesus, and at times were bystanders as they overwhelmed us with their enthusiastic engagement. There were a number of songs in each weekend that gave voice to depths of their souls, but in each event there was one song that stood out among them all. I hope to someday thank the co-writers of this song b/c i would want them to know the impact that this song had on the men across the country of Canada. Over and over we heard men sing overwhelmingly with full voice – 10000 Reasons…
Bless The Lord oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

There were times when the men’s voices overtook the band, times when the men began to sing the song spontaneously, times when no music or worship leader was required b/c the men had made the song their own. It often was an emotional experience, but it was more than that, as it was men willfully engaging in worship to The Lord Jesus because this song gave them a vehicle and a voice to do so. Time after time we watch and listened in amazement as men ‘sang like never before’ to ‘worship His holy name’. I am forever grateful to be to have experienced this – men worship Christ with all they had…lifting the name of Christ in the room and in their own lives.

I would like to thank a few other people for the opportunity to experience this…
My wife Anita – served the men of Canada each w/e i was away – giving me up and praying for them
My children – Noah, Hannah, Ella, for their sacrifice of time
Kirk Giles – President of PKC for this opportunity and encouragement.
Rick Verkerk – National Events Manager for partnering with me on song lists, facilitating great events, great team work on and off the stage, and for your encouragement.
Mark Garner – for every seen and unseen act of service before, during, and after each event, especially the many trips to and from airports in snow, ice, rain, and even sun 🙂

To The Lord Jesus Christ for the opportunity to serve your heart for the men of this country, in the form of the ministry of Promise Keepers Canada, and for the joy of witnessing your presence resident in the transformed lives of men across this country. I am incredible humbled and grateful for this privilege, that you were able to work in and through me to bring honour to Your name. You alone deserve the honour and glory.

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Crown Him (Majesty)

This song starts with one of my favorite ‘traditional’ hymns (Crown Him With Many Crowns) from my up bringing with time spent in the local First Mennonite church in Vineland, ON. I specifically remember this song being sung Easter Sunday am, at the 7am ‘Sunrise Service’ at one of the local churches who shared the service year after year. I was overcome with the presence of God as I listened to this song today, especially as I recalled the challenge from the first chapter of Francis Chan’s Crazy Love series. Stop praying but behold and pray.

I pray that this is a blessing to you as well.

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Trip to NFLD

This w/e I had the privilege of taking my wife Anita with me on my trip to St. John’s Newfoundland, while working with Promise Keepers Canada. My parents now reside in Bonavista, Newfoundland so this afforded some family time as well.

The Promise Keepers event in St. John’s was a great experience, where God’s presence was evident in so many ways, not the least of which was the response of men to live fully Alive!

From there we traveled to Bonavista, and spent a couple days with my parents and had a concert at the Garrick Theatre, in tandem with local artist Sherri Abbott. Its always great working with local musicians with passion hearts to play and passion hearts for God.

Sadly we leave in the am and hopefully we will get home. There has been many flight delays out of St. John’s due to fog and now tropical storm Sandy is supposed to hit our destination – Toronto tomorrow…:) I need to fly out Thursday to Edmonton so……….:)

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CD Release Party/Anniversary

I’m not sure exactly how to express what the last 2 days have been like but that’s what I’m guna try to do in this blog…:)

Last night – Oct 14 was the CD release party for my first CD called ‘The God Who Sees’.

Today – Oct 15 is the 18th wedding anniversary for Anita and me.

Last Night –I’m so grateful to all those who where able to make it to the party and concert last night, enjoyed it via live stream, and to all those who couldn’t attend but sent encouraging words. It was a really wonderful night, where these simple prayers, that were set to song came to life. I was really humbled first by the sense of God’s presence, and by the reaction of those at the concert. It was kind of overwhelming, surreal, and fantastic all at the same time. How God blesses us for being obedient to Him, when He already knows its for our best, is astounding to me. I’m amazed by the sense that our Father God is smiling, because He knew how much I would enjoy sharing these simple prayers in song, live and on CD. Most importantly, I’m overcome by the sense that He’s smiling too because these songs remind me; remind us of how great He alone, ‘The God Who Sees’, really is.

Today, is just as incredible, actually more. Today I’m back to my ‘real’ world, the world where I live and breathe every day, and wake up with bad breath, messy hair, and early am paper routes with my 3 kids – Noah, Hannah, and Ella. Most importantly, today, Monday Oct 15, I woke up next to my incredible wife Anita, to celebrate 18 years of marriage. We have shared a pretty remarkable life together. This year, after much encouragement from Anita, we spent many Friday’s together with Derek Elliotson in his studio recording the CD. Anita who dances but doesn’t sing, was just as much a part of this project as me, in fact we co-wrote one of the songs on the CD, which Robin Mark sings with me. As we talked over coffee today, I shared with her that though she was in the audience I felt like she was up on stage with me, and that doing a CD now at this stage in our lives, afforded us the opportunity to accomplish this project together. It wasn’t just about making a CD but it was about sharing our lives together, sharing our hearts, and working towards a goal together. It has created strength and not strain in our marriage. We got to celebrate what happened last night and this year – today on our anniversaryTOGETHER.  We are forever grateful. Thank You Lord.

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Things…

Well, i have decided that i need to actually write something on my blog…i’ve only had it since what January?

The last few months have been an incredible journey for my wife and I being able to be in the studio with producer Derek Elliotson on Friday afternoons drinking Starbucks and recording original tunes. Its been a really rich time spending that time with my wife, who has been so supportive to this process. She has been encouraging me to do this for years.

In our life, my specific roles outside of the house have made it challenging to ‘work’ together. However, with the CD project we’ve been together every step of the way…what a privilege. We even wrote a song together.

As much as I’m excited about the CD coming out and everyone hearing it, I’m even more excited when I think about what this project represents for me and my wife. Its like in the Bible in the Old Testament, when God taught them something, or revealed Himself in a new way, they would build a monument and name the place related to what God had done. This CD for us will be about the songs that were stirred in my heart, but also what was built in our lives together…for that I am ever grateful to You Lord. Thank You.

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I just got started

Well i’m just getting started with this blogging thing…late to the game i know…curious how this will all come together…anyway…hello world!

 

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