Hymns!

 

Growing up we sang a lot of hymns in my church. At the time it wasn't something I was always pumped to hear played on Sunday mornings. I wanted to be cranking up Steven Curtis Chapman tunes, or the Newsboys (the Breakfast song anyone?) But as the years pressed on and I started leading more I noticed something. 

People knew the hymns. 

You could go to any church across the country and most everyone could be heard belting out Amazing Grace, Be Thou My Vision, It Is Well, etc. I would also look at the people singing the loudest and it was the people that I looked up to and saw as spiritual giants. The people that if you were going through something, you wanted to be praying on your behalf. 

That's why this project to me has been so special. 

This Thanksgiving I'm releasing my first Hymns EP project. It was done in collaboration with my good friend Joy Chadwell. She's an incredibly talented vocalist and songwriter herself and was ecstatic when I asked if she would be willing to lend her voice for this project. 

My goal is to give back to the church the songs they gave to me. To my grandparents both through blood and belief so that we can sing not just their songs, but our songs. The songs the Church has almost forgot. 

The hymns on this first EP are:
 

  1. Be Thou My Vision
  2. Come Thou Fount
  3. It Is Well
  4. Standing on the Promises
  5. There is a Fountain
  6. To God be the Glory

I'm so excited for you to hear it and can't wait to share it all with you. So keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. It's coming soon!

- matt

Who are you?

 

A few weekends ago my wife went on our churches women's retreat for the weekend (She took our son Corin, since he was only 6 weeks old at the time) which meant that it was just Ivy and I. The hard part about doing music as an independent artist is that there is always something that I could be doing. There's videos to make and edit, concerts to book and plan, songs to write and practice, social media accounts to maintain, etc. etc. etc. That's not a complaint, just the realities of life that I've chosen.

But for that weekend I made a different choice. I chose to be just Dad. 

If you've been with me for a while, I'm sure I've written several notes like this before to you. I find it harder to choose between what's good and what's best as opposed to what's good and bad. My career is meant to support my family, not replace it. 

Reality checks like this typically come right after a big musical win. This past one was after being out several weekends in a row for gigs. I start thinking "Maybe, just maybe if I push a little harder, do a little more then I can quit my day gig and do music full time. Wouldn't I be such a better tool in God's hand that way!?"

The short answer it no.

The longer I live the more I am constantly confronted in Scripture that God doesn't want our stuff, or what we can do for Him. He desires our obedience.

So the real question isn't what more can I do, but am I obedient where I am?

I started this off with a question of Who are you. When I started writing I was thinking that I would talk more about being a Dad, but I think it's more practical to talk about being a child. Ivy and Corin don't have to produce something for me to love them. I want what's best for them and even if they could mow the grass, fix the house and take out the trash, I wouldn't love them more because of it. But if they did those things and were disobedient in things that I had already told them to do that wouldn't make me appreciative of the extra stuff they were doing. 

We are God's children, not employees.  

So, who are you? You are a child first. 

Will making music ever be what sustains and provides for my family? Maybe. But it won't change how God thinks about me if I do. I'm still going to try and do my best, but I won't sacrifice obedience to do it. That would negate any message I could proclaim from the stage anyway. 

So today, today, I'm just a child. Not just a child, but God's kiddo. And for me, that's far more than enough.

- matt

First of all....


I want to stay thank you again to all of you for supporting my family. My life at times gets a little nuts with traveling, writing, recording, still doing my full time job, and of course just being a Husband and a Father. We have had a crazy journey ahead and I'm looking forward to see how things pan out. We make plans but God directs our steps. 

I typically try to write on monday mornings, but I'll admit have been a little behind recently. This past weekend I had a show in Cedarville, Ohio, playing for the Battle of the Bands, which I didn't win, but it was another great opportunity to share my music with people. I drove back to Indiana that night so Sunday morning Abby, the kids and I could go lead music at a church about a hour south west of our home to sub for their worship pastor. 

After getting home we ate a quick lunch then I spent the afternoon helping a lady in our Sunday School class move out of her apartment building that had a fire, then headed over to Warsaw, Indiana to see my musical hero, Steven Curtis Chapman. 

It was a crazy weekend. And I loved it. 

Why? Because it gave me the chance to serve people. 

I got a chance to meet some of you in Cedarville at the show. Thanks again for coming out. I got to serve the Universal church by being entrusted to lead another pastors flock. I was able to serve a friend by helping her move. (Mind you, I got to use my trailer which, outside of actually playing music, meeting you, and traveling, Loading-in and out is one of my favorite things to do, which is essentially moving.)

Steven Curtis Chapman reminded me of the power of music. His songs have been the soundtrack to the majority of my life. He's a big part of why I write the way I do. And he is still using his talent to serve others. I felt so honored to be served by him Sunday night. 

So an encouragement and a challenge for you. 

How have you served others this past week?

What opportunities has God given you to serve others?

We are all given the chance to glorify God with every breath of every moment. I want to live more intentionally and be aware of where God is giving me the opportunity to serve others even with the small things. 

 

-matt

One Thing...

 

That's it. Only one. If you could only do one thing today what would it be?

Would you spend more time with your family? Call a loved one you rarely see? Walk a little farther, run a little longer? What would it be?

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. In fact the next breath isn't either, but that can either dishearten you, or encourage you to maximize the time that you do have. 

Be encouraged friend. We know Who holds the future. Be a good steward of the time that you have and use ever breath to glorify Him. 

- matt

A Year and a Half Later

February 1 2016 the day after my beautiful daughter was born, Traded It All was sent out into the world. Not many people knew about it though and in retrospect, I'm not surprised.

You see, that was before I knew my fans. I was still under the impression that great music would just find the ears it needed to get to. Unfortunately, or fortunately I was wrong, and that's how I met them. I started intentionally trying find you. I was so excited to share my music with the world and I knew that it all starts with individuals and that's why I've been gigging, tweeting, videoing, blogging and instagraming. So I could find you. 

I wanted to you to have it. I wanted you to hear the stories, the emotion, the pain and the joy that Traded It All as a whole had to offer. 

Why? Because I care and I want to help. 

The day after Traded It All released, I found out my daughter had Transposition of the Great Vessels and had to have open heart surgery at 16 days old. That's tough. And I know I'm not the only one who has had to face life like that either. 

You matter to me friend. I can't change what life hands you, but I want to be the soundtrack that walks with you through it. 
 

"Every dream that I traded for this reality
Made me a richer man no fortune could ever bring"


Those words ring more true now in my life than they did when I wrote them. This has been a crazy journey for me. Figuring out how to be a Husband and Father while pursuing the dream of making a positive impact in others. It's not been easy, but it's worth it. 

I never could have dreamed that I would have another record (In The Gray), Stickers, T-Shirts, and Mugs out just a year and a half later. I did it all for you. Because every time you wear the shirt, drink coffee from the mug, or see a compass rose, I want you to hear the soundtrack to your life. That life isn't unicorns and rainbows all the time, and that's just reality.

But I care. I'm not the only one either.
 

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33


Ultimately, my hope and prayer is that you'll believe what God thinks about you. His opinion of you far out weighs anything that I could ever write or say and that is truly where Hope is found. That's also why I have an affinity for compass rose's. It's my goal in life. I'm not the ultimate authority on truth life and hope. But I know who is and I will spend my life until the day I die pointing you and everyone else I meet to Him. 

Singing with the sounds of Crickets for a choir

I love singing outside

The prairie behind us in this picture has been being cultivated over the past 12 years to re-introduce certain species of plant life back into this area that would be the same as it was before the first settlers arrived 200 years ago. It was absolutely gorgeous.

We played for Tom's church as the congregation looked beyond us into God's vast creation. Crickets and birds were our backup choir. Part of cultivation the land means that the owners burn everything right after winter in the spring to keep out invasive species. One of the songs that Tom wanted us to play was "Beautiful Things" by Gungor. 

The words on the page just leaped out as we sang, 

All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come out from this ground, at all?
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

It was definitely an incredible experience and reminded me of all the times that I spent in Camp ministry leading worship outside, under the stars at night or under the tree canopy in the afternoon. I truly cherish and miss those times. 

It's good to unplug so we can remember, reflect and resolve. 

Tom and I were talking before the service about how many times we start to fall in love with what we create and lose the awe and beauty of what God already created. And yet the most beautiful part of it all is that He invites us to be apart of His eternal family. Taking our nothingness and making is glorious.

I can't begin to describe how humble and honored I feel that I get to use music to impact people's lives for the sake of the Gospel. God doesn't need me. He could use a donkey if He wanted to (He did that once come to think of it...) and yet He chose to give me something that I can't help but share.

I can't wait till I can play for you friend. Be sure to click below so you can be up to date on when and where I play next. I'm using an app called Bandsintown that will help keep you notified when I'm playing a show near you. And hey, if I'm not and you'd like me too, feel free to check out my booking link. I'd love to play for your church, coffee shop, family, or camp. 

Thanks again for all your support Matt! 

- matt

CRADLE Walk for Life

For the past 5 years I've been honored to ask and play for the CRADLE Pregnancy Care Center in Portsmouth Ohio. It is such a cool ministry and one that is near and dear to my heart. I am a huge proponent for the right for all lives. One of the hardest things I think that plagues our society today is not racial or political, but the idea that we have the right to decide to end another humans life because it is a nuisance to ours. 

We are so thankful to God who provides abundantly!!! He provided such a beautiful day for the Walk for Life 2017! God sent 106 Walkers and He sent approximately $5,900.00 in donations and sponsorships!!! These funds will be used to continue CRADLE’s mission - to make Jesus Christ known, to convey life is valuable, and to connect with and help the community God sends to us! THANK YOU to everyone who participated and helped with this fundraising event! To God be the glory!!
— CRADLE Pregnancy Care Center

I personally would like to thank all of you who not only helped make this event such a success, but are doing work in your own community to fight for the unborn and also love on the young soon to be parents helping them make the choice to allow their child the same opportunities that they were given to live. 

- matt

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GospelFest 2017

Incredible.

This past Sunday I had the honor and privilege to be one of 10 bands to open for Tenth Avenue North at GospelFest in Kettering OH. It was absolutely amazing. Brandon and I kicked off the whole show. 

I don't really know how to describe it, but hearing music that you've created come blaring out of a $300k sound system is like a Rocky fists in the air, yell to the sky, type of feeling. In short, it rocked! I was able to meet many of you and had such a blast singing with you.

I can't wait to see what comes next.

 

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Faithfulness

As a new father it’s cause me to think back to the things that my dad did for me that really meant something to me. 

One of the most meaningful things for me as simply this. He showed up.

I am the middle of 4 kids. I have an older, twin and younger sister. Basically I was surrounded by girls. Even our pets were mostly female till we got my dog when I was in high school. We were all heavily involved in in extra curricular activities like soccer, tennis, cheerleading, 4-H, band, choir etc, etc. Point is we were busy. 

During elementary school my father was also going through his doctoral program. He started when my little sister was born and finished the year she turned 7. We knew he was busy. He was a full-time professor at the college in town and had papers to grade and work to do, but he always showed up. 

My father didn’t play soccer when he was younger and we will bug him about not being able to play anything but the radio, but regardless, he showed up. I cannot remember a soccer game or a concert that my dad missed. It didn’t matter if he had the world riding on his shoulders, there was nothing that was going to keep him from being involved in his kids lives, and it left a huge impression on me. 

As a young father now i feel the pressures of work and constantly fighting the urge to use the excuse that “I’m too busy.” The real lesson is that we make time for what we believe is important. 

My father resolved to be faithful, not just to my mother but to his kids as well. He didn’t just put food on the table, he showed up in our lives. He didn't always understand what he was watching, but that wasn’t the point. The point was he was making an effort to prove to his kids that we meant something to him. He was committed to watching us and helping us succeed.

I’m a songwriter and have been writing since I was a kid. My first gig was in college at a local coffee shop in town. My father was there. A few weeks ago, I had a gig at an outdoor festival. My parents, who live about 50 min away, drove over for my 50 min set just to hear me play. 

Faithfulness is remaining loyal. It’s showing up even when it’s understood that it would be inconvenient. As a father now, I want to instill in my daughter and my future children that I’m in this for the long haul. I am never to busy for them. I believe that as a man I am called first to be faithful to God, then my wife, then children, then whatever vocation I have. If that order is ever to be switched there will be issues. 

Our kids need to feel the support of fathers who show up. And when I say show up I mean be more than just physically being there. We need to be invested, involved and interested. They are the greatest legacy we can ever leave to this world. 

As a dad, Show Up.

Emerie, Love You Still

One year ago today, I saw my friends go through one of the hardest things I've ever witnessed in my life. On August 4th 2016, Jenn and Brandon welcomed Emerie Elisa into the world and 3 days later on August 7th she was in the arms of her Savior. 

There aren't very many words, if any at all, that you can say at a time like that. And quite honestly much of what people say doesn't really help. There's nothing that you can say that would have brought little Emerie back, or made the pain any less. 

One of the few things that stuck with me during that time was a statement our pastor said. 

"Cling to the God your frustrated with. He can take it, but you need Him more now than ever."

At the time it was hard for them to hear music on the radio because all of it was happy clappy, everything is going to be okay.  But that wasn't their reality. Nothing was okay.

We live in a broken fallen sinful world where life just sucks at times. And it hurts. Pain can't be clapped away. For the rest of their lives they will live with the pain of losing a daughter they so eagerly sought to love and hold yet will have to wait until eternity to hold her again. 

"Emerie - Love You Still" was written for them. It was my way of putting their raw emotions in a song that made sense. We may never know why, but we will always love, Emerie and the God who now holds her till we reach the other side. 

Anxious and Waiting

It could be any day now.

At any moment things could completely change and life as we currently know it will soon be a long forgotten past reality. 

My wife Abby and I are expecting the second edition to our family almost any day now. Her due date is August 9th, but when it comes to babies, when you get into a certain window, it's pretty much they come when they want to. Which is why we are anxiously waiting. 

Anxious gets a pretty bad wrap at times. 

The definition of the word has a very negative connotation because we do not know the outcome and are therefore worried about the event itself. 

I remember how nervous I was while we were within the "any day" time waiting on Ivy. Even though it wasn't a surprise (we knew she was coming for about 9 months) there is nothing that can really prepare you for becoming a father. Sure you can hang around other people's kids and or read a bunch of parenting books (which I did, but no where near as many books as I did getting ready to be a husband) but being is more than just doing. 

Being a father or a mother is not just a checklist you can follow and your kiddos will turn out fine. For some, being a father or mother means having kids that aren't present in this world anymore. I know personally several families that live in this reality. They are still a mother and a father. They still gave their children the best they had even though their time on this earth was short. 

I don't take life for granted. I count it a blessing everyday that we still have Ivy to hold especially after her open heart surgery at 16 days old. Life is precious. I count it an honor and a privilege to be a father and I can't wait to have another child brought into this world, if the Lord wills. 

Until that time though, we wait.

Hopefully soon I'll have pictures to show and stories to tell, but till then though I maybe slightly anxious in my waiting there is one thing that still will not change. 

God is sovereign and He is good. 

He knows my child by name and He will always do what's best even when I don't understand. That is the reality that I want to live in. It's the reality that I want my kids to grow up understanding. Though we may not know the outcome, we can know Who is always in control. 

- matt

Priorities

This past weekend was busy with a lot of activities going on but I had a gut check on Saturday. My wife texted me and asked if we could hang out because she missed me. My wife. The woman I go home to every night misses me. I was working when I got the text. (Granted I was scheduled to work the Saturday shift so that wasn't a new thing)

My priorities have always been outlined as follows: 

1. God
2. Wife
3. Kids
4. Work

There are times when I tend to juggle things around too much and the order flips around. My wife had a very loving and gentle way of reminding me. 

"I miss you. Can we hang out."

There is nothing more heart wrenching  to me then disappointing the people that I love. Life is full of intentional choices. We are either intentional about making them or intentional about not making them and them being made for us. So I chose to focus on being with her more this weekend instead of just running around like crazy.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon when my daughter was throwing a screaming fit. (Those of you who know her and believer her to be an angel 24/7 should come live with us for a few hours.) I made a choice. I picked her up and held her in my arms till she stopped and we could talk about it. I chose to be the Father she needed and not the passive dad she wanted that would let her scream and get her way. 

I chose to be the Husband my wife desperately desired and not just the money machine she never asked for. To love her with my time and not just provision.

I choose. It's on me. The list of priorities will only stay in the right order if I'm intentional about it. 

And I will be intentional. Life is too precious and my family is too important to forget them in the process of trying to provide for them. My greatest fear is accomplishing something that doesn't matter. What I do does not matter as much as who I am. 

I am a: Believer, Husband, Father, Employee

And that's how it should be. So how are you friend? Are you choosing what's important? 

I'd encourage you to write down what's important and keep that list close by. It's always good to have a reminder to keep us all on track. You need it. I need it. And most importantly, our families need it. 

Your friend, 

- matt

Would you sign your name?

My Grandfather was a hard working man. I remember when I used to mow his grass there were times that he would watch to make sure that I did it right. (Yes, there is a correct way to mow grass) If I didn't he would ask me about it and make me do it again. My father got this kind of work ethic from him as well as I remember spending countless hours working on projects with him around the house. 

There were a couple of rules you always had to keep in mind. If you borrowed something, you always returned it better than you found it. You always did you best and you always finished the job.

There are a lot of people who work hard these days. In fact, some people overwork themselves. But do I always want to sign my name to my work? 

When it comes to music, I always want to give you 110%. That's part of the reason why some projects take me a little longer than anticipated to get finished. I want you to have the best of what I have to give. If I'm going to steal away your attention, I want it to be worth your time. 

I've got some really cool stuff coming down the pipeline that I can't wait to get out to you. But I promise I'm not going to send it, till it's the best I can do. That's my promise to you. 

And with that, I'll sign my name. :)

- matt

God, Police and Psalm 139

David starts Psalm 139 by saying, "O Lord, You have searched me and known me You know when I sit down and when I rise up." (NASB 1995) 

I grew up in Ohio where police officers were all very clearly marked and had to have their headlights on if they were sitting off the side of the road. It made it a little easier to figure out when you should dial back your cruise control or at least turn it off real quick so your "under 5 doing fine" mantra could hold true. 

Three years ago my wife and I moved to Indiana where the laws are a little different. I could be driving past a dump truck and still feel the guilt of not wanting to be over the speed limit for fear that there is an officer in the passenger seat with a radar gun. 

I've only been pulled over twice in my life. Both were for speeding and both resulted in tickets. (Which I admit, I did deserve)

Sometimes I find myself believing that God is the cosmic police. That if I break one of His rules I'd be sure to see flashing lights in my rearview mirror. 

God does have rules, but He's not a cop. His rules are designed to give us the best, Himself. I see the progression throughout Psalm 139 as David first talks about how God has already searched him and knowns him. In the middle of the Psalm he admits that there is no where we could go or hide that would separate us from God. He even knew us as He knit us together in our mothers womb. 

At the very end of the Psalm is where is feel like we should all progress to be. To find ourselves asking God to test us and see if there would be any wicked way in us so He can lead us in the everlasting way. 

Carrying on with the metaphor, it's like asking a police officer to ride along with you in the passenger seat. I know I have a tendency to speed so to keep me from that I want you to ride by my side. (Cue Carrie Underwoods, "Jesus Take the Wheel")

But seriously, there is a heart change that goes from seeing God as the cosmic police looking to pull you over, into the Loving Father that He is, coming along beside us and teaching us how to drive. 

We're going to mess up, it's inevitable, we aren't perfect, but we don't have to hide in shame. It's been paid for.

We Did It!

So last week I posted this picture of Brandon and I right before we went in to our try out for the opportunity to open for Tenth Avenue North at GospelFest in Dayton OH on August 27th. We did our absolute best and gave it everything we had. We chose to do a shortened version of "Traded It All" and the judges absolutely loved it. 

Enough in fact that out of the 30+ bands there we were selected along with 9 others to open for Tenth Avenue North!!

We were both super pumped and have already started brainstorming how to make our time slot as jam packed and awesome as we possibly can. 

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I had shared earlier with you about this and I heard from a lot of people that they were excited for us. This gives Brandon and I the chance to share our music with even more people, and we couldn't do it without your help. Thank you thank you thank you!

We were also asked to be apart of another tour called "The Extreme Tour" during the month of June and July. My work schedule makes it hard to do all the dates for that one, but we are going to do as much as we can. 

We are so excited to see where things are going. Thank you for your support and encouragement. We love this and we love you!

Fair-i-see

This last Sunday I had the privilege of teaching Abby and my Sunday school class. The passage we were going over was from Luke 18 where Jesus was telling a parable about the Pharisee and the Tax collector.

In those days, a Pharisee was a religious leader, a rule follower, the holier than thou pastors of the day that were well respected and revered in the Jewish community. They were the guys that took the ten commandments and made guardrails around them so that they wouldn't even get close to breaking the rules. 

Now take the exact opposite of that and you have a tax collector. They were jews themselves that would take advantage of their own countrymen by collecting the tax for Rome, but would over charge and keep the excess. They were rich, and they were morally bankrupt. 

Now the story Jesus tells is about these two men going to the temple to pray to God. I'm sure everyone already figured out the end of the story... or at least they thought.

The Pharisee stands before people and shares his resume of greatness. 

The Tax collector huddles far off and beats his chest not even looking to heaven. He knows he has nothing to bring to God or nothing he can do to justify himself before a holy righteous and just God.

Jesus says that the Tax collector is the one who left justified while the Pharisee does not.

What a shocking twist to a crowd thinking it should have been the other way around. 

I find that in my own life though, many times I find myself in the shoes of the pharisee, sharing my resume of good deals and all the reasons why I am righteous, when in reality, I am like a child trying to clean himself up after rolling in the mud. There is nothing that I can use to clean myself up with that isn't already as bad off as I am. 

We need Christ. He is our hope. A Holy Righteous and Just God needs a perfect sacrifice. I can not repay what is owed. That's where they heart of "Cling to the Cross" comes from. What many would consider Christianity's greatest downfall was in fact our greatest victory. Christ's death brought me life. Not because I deserved it, but because He gave it. 

This is the hope that we have. The light that we carry. 

My prayer for you, is that you can rest in this truth. You don't have to clean yourself up to come to God. He has offered a way that has nothing do to with your effort, just your acceptance. 

Losing My Voice

For the Church, Easter Sunday is a big deal. It seems like everyone is trying to do something special to bring more people in, shake things up, or just emphasize just a little bit more the things that we as believers hold so dear. 

My wife's home church in Southern Ohio, where we were both members and I attended while working at a Christian camp there had asked me to come back and lead music on Easter. Not because I'm some big shot, but because everyone else who typically would lead was going to be out of town visiting other family for that weekend. 

I always love heading back to my wife's stomping grounds because one, her family is awesome to be with, and two it feels like home to me too. 

We drove down late Friday after I clocked out of my day job and drove off into the night. (Mind you my day job has me talking on the phone the grand majority of the day and my throat was already feeling a little scratchy from talking so much)

The next morning when I woke up, it was gone. 

My voice was no more. I tried everything to try and get it back. I'm usually quite the talker, but didn't say a whole lot throughout the day to try and save it for Sunday. I drank fluids and sucked on Hall's all day just hoping I'd have enough of a voice to lead the next day. 

Just incase it didn't work, I had my wife practice singing the songs so at least she would be prepared. Her Aunt joined in as we practiced around the dinner table in Abby's grandparents Kitchen. 

The next morning I woke up hoping a miracle had happened, only to open my mouth and realize it was worse than the day before. 

We drove to church and I played the guitar as Abby and Aunt Wendy practiced singing. My computer (which runs all my click tracks and loops) wigged out and I had to play with just my acoustic. I had enough of a voice to invite people to stand and then to pray after we finished Jesus Paid It All.

I had so many things planned. I had loop tracks and clicks all ready, I had designed this awesome setlist of songs that would truly excite people to the truth we all know and proclaim throughout the year and you know what? That's not what was needed. 

God gave me a chance to see something that I tend to lose focus of at times. 

Easter is a time we celebrate, but it shouldn't be the only time we celebrate. We didn't need a million things going on to make Sunday work, we needed to focus on the Truth of who God says He is and what He has done for us through His Son. 

Since I couldn't sing, I just played guitar and read the lyrics. Lyrics of songs that we so easy glaze over so we can get to our favorite part. I'm so thankful that God didn't give me my voice back. People didn't need more of me on stage, the needed to see more of Christ. They needed to sing unhindered by my "brilliance" so together we could proclaim the Truth that "Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow"

In light of God's sovereignty how can each moment not have a divine purpose.  

Play That Song On The Radio

It happened. It was kind of surreal actually. My song “Psalm 139” was set free on the radio waves this year. Faith and Friends Radio is a radio station that is located out of my hometown region back in Ohio. I got a chance to meet two of the radio personalities that I grew up listening to as a kid for years. That in and of itself was pretty crazy knowing that I’d heard their voices so much that they sounded like family, yet I’d never actually seen their faces. 

Bill and Melody are the two that I was so fortunate to meet through a mutual friend, Joy Chadwell. (She’s a singer and songwriter as well too and has amazing stuff, you should do yourself a favor and check her music out.) We met at Faith and Friends Radio Chocolate Festival in Dayton Ohio. I gave them a copy of my Traded It All CD so they could give it to Pete Vecchi who is the radio host for a program called Horizons. Horizons features local artist from the area so they can promote the local music. Which as a local musician I am a total fan of. 

Because I met them before the craziness of Christmas it was a while before they were able to work my song into the program. I am so grateful for them being able to give me the opportunity to share my music with their listeners. I am humbled that so many were able to hear something that up to that time only a few people at my gigs and at church were able to hear it. 

A personal thank you from me to all the people at Faith and Friends Radio. Please be sure to give them some love and thank them for supporting local musicians. Also, be sure to listen to them online.

Why Do I Write

I’ve been writing poems since I was a kid. I have an old notebook filled with really simple elementary rhymes about an old red truck (I listened to country growing up. Makes sense right?) and being on fire for God (classic youth group imagery right there). The more that I’ve written, especially this year, the more I’ve seen my reason for writing. I don’t know if I knew this what why I wrote, or if the meaning found me but here it is. 

It’s to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

After spending a month in a hospital with my daughter right after she was born my wife and I were confronted with a lot of hurt pain and joy. All mashed together. Some people were crying and celebrating because their kids were getting better. Others were there crying because their kids weren’t getting any better or had even left this world altogether. 

I’ve been to many funerals in my life, but I haven’t been to many hospitals. Funerals seem like the time where even though were sad and it’s hard, they are more removed from the fighting for their life than in hospitals. The realization that someone is here and then isn’t any longer is one of the rawest emotions that I truly struggle with every time I'm faced with it. 

For those people, I want to comfort them. They need our love. Our support.

I found myself turning off the radio after a recent friend lost their newborn daughter. Those songs just don’t work in a time like that. I wanted to be that voice, that friend that walked together with them through the pain. Through the unknown, having no answers for them that could take it away. I want my songs to find them and offer just that. A friendship that carries them through. 

In the same breath, I want to wake up those who are sleeping. I don’t want people to miss this life. We’ve only got one. What a shame to waste it on thinking that we can coast. To those, I hope my songs kick them off the couch and into action. To see life through someone else’s eyes. To engage the world in which they live. 

Like a hospital has doctors and nurses that see patients on the rise and the fall, I want the songs I write and sing to be there for all.

The Reason I Traded It All

We were expecting out first child talking about the stereotype of now that we are parents we better be responsible and can’t do anything crazy anymore. For me, that was a motorcycle. I’ve always wanted one, bad enough to the point that I wrote a research paper back in High School about how they aren’t as dangerous and my parents tried to make them seem. 

Regardless, I knew things were going to change. We were talking on the way back from telling my wife’s family in Ohio that we were expecting. I remember the exact spot right outside St. Mary’s Ohio that the thought, I traded it all and now I wouldn’t trade a thing came into my mind. I quickly threw my phone at my wife for her to type it down before I forgot it. 

I waited till we got to a stop sign when I snagged it back from her to finish writing the lyrics to the third and second verses down. This idea that life is about trades isn’t new. Of course, there are many things that we trade. It was truck cards for me, baseball or Pokemon cards for other kids. We attribute worth to certain things that we willing give up for something in our minds that has more worth. It’s the same reason others trade with us. They see what we have as more valuable than what we have and the trade is made. 

This is essentially how our economy works except it’s with money and goods or services. The value of what we get is worth the cost of what we pay. 

What I still find hard to grasp is that in God’s economy, I traded my filthy rags to become His Child because of Christ sacrifice for me. That is a trade that I am so thankful for, but in the expanse of the entire universe seems so unfair on my account. I have done nothing but dishonor and shake my fist at God and yet while I was still doing it, He chose to pay for it so that I might know the riches of His glorious grace. That makes me want to fall down on my face every time. 

So why did I write it?

I wrote it to remind myself and others that trading is okay. It’s okay and the you have a choice. You get to choose what you give away. In fact you have a responsibility to choose, otherwise you are giving someone else the ability to tell you what they think is more important for your life. 

Don’t waste it. Make the trade.