04 Dec

Captivated – from the Catch That Train CD

Captivated

Here is Elisha at a concert recently, performing music.  He is our second son.  One of the things we do as a family is learn Bible verses by singing them as songs.  One of those songs is called Captivated, because it’s about being captured by God’s love.  The verses are taken from 1st Corinthians 13- from the Bible- arguably the best treatise on love ever written.

Love is not just a feeling or emotion, it is a choice.  It is sacrificial.  This is a song we’ve sung many times as a family and Elisha even has permission to sing it to me when I’m getting crabby.  Here are the lyrics:

Captivated by your love and it flows through me; it’s activated in my heart and I’m growing to see:

If I speak in tongues of men and angels, but have no love

I am only a clanging cymbal, a resounding gong

If I have the gift of prophecy and I fathom all mysteries

If I have all knowledge and faith that can move mountains, but have no love, I am nothing, oh I am nothing

If I give all that I possess to the poor and the suffering

And if I surrender my body to the flames but have no love, I gain nothing…

Love is patent, love is kind, it does not envy

It is not proud, it does not boast, it is not rude or self-seeking

And it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth of this song

Love never fails…and it always protects and always trusts

And it always hopes and always perseveres, through the years…

You can find it on this website on our media page at: http://www.envisionmission.org/media

Just follow the instructions!

20 Nov

Pray – from “Riding on the Wings”

Pray – When I was 15 a deep depression hit me hard.  I could hardly play music anymore, but one night I picked up my guitar and a song came in about 20 minutes that hasn’t changed since I wrote it.  It helped me out of my depression and it was a prayer of its own.  It has also been sung to many over the years, even to homeless friends right on the street, to help them out of their depression too.  It’s from the first album I ever did: “Riding on the Wings”.  Here are the lyrics:

When you’re searching for the truth, but you just don’t know

Where to find a way to soothe your dying soul

When you’re walking down the street on a lonely night

And you feel a fear way beneath, creeping inside

I will teach you how to pray, yes, God will show you the way

He will never let you stray, and you will never fall away

So when you’re feeling down and cannot stand on your own

When you’re losing ground, fold your hands and pray to the Lord

And yes, he will take away (some) pain, when you pray in Jesus’ Name

When your tears fall down like rain, you know His love will never change

So when you’re losing hope and tired times walk your way

When you just don’t know, close your eyes and pray

And yes, He will show you the light, with the wisdom of a child

When there’s teardrops in your eyes, you know for those tears He died

When there’s nothing more to say, just close your eyes and pray

 

You can download the “Riding on the Wings” CD on our media page:

http://www.envisionmission.org/media

Just follow the instructions on the website.

I hope it gives you peace just as it did for me.

 

 

 

13 Nov

Celebration! from the self-same CD

Celebration

Here’s a picture from the self-same concert at Sonlight Church in October of 2017.  And what a blast it was; we truly celebrated that night!  I couldn’t play the notes perfectly, but it was fun.

What can I say? The song is about celebration. But it’s important to have times of celebration in life. I think we’ll do a lot of that in heaven. We might as well get used to doing it now! The picture here is one of times of fun, playing music on Saturday nights. It reminds me of playing open mics, shows and at our old coffeehouse. Then going to church on Sunday morning and leading worship as a means of celebration as well.

Here are the lyrics:

Celebration, good times come on…all right

Good times on a Saturday night, out late ’til the Sunday morning

Lots of laughs and the weather’s right, outside the rain is pouring

Inside is better than out, that’s what it’s all about right now it’s a…

Little pie and coffee too, got a guitar sing the blues

Suit coat, nice dress, drop a coin it’s a big old mess

You can sing, you can shout, that’s what it’s all about…

Someday let’s all sit down, at the biggest party around

Up in heaven with the LORD, raise a glass now everyone

Come on and give a shout, that’s what it’s all about…

Good times on a Saturday night, go to Church on the Sunday morning

Come on and celebrate, inside the love is pouring

Inside is better than out, that’s what it’s all about…

You can download the Celebration CD on our media page:  http://www.envisionmission.org/media

Just follow the instructions and don’t forget to celebrate, especially this holiday season! Those of us who have eternal life through Jesus Christ have a lot to celebrate!

30 Oct

Sweetly Surrender – from the Celebration CD!

Sweetly Surrender

Here is a picture from one of our recent concerts – Mitchell at piano

This song asks some important questions, brings out fears, assurances and finally settles in sweet surrender.  I’ve always hated the idea of death, but then I’m not sure we were meant to love it.  I find myself struggling with many things, but God always reassures my heart that it’s going to be okay.  I know He is trustworthy.

Here are the lyrics:

Oh yes, I’m going back to my only friend; I’ll give up all I have, all I have to Him

Yes, I feel it in my soul and I cannot let go of this feeling that I have, that I have, oh for You

No I did it wrong again, got my hands on the wheel; I’ve got to give it up, up control over me

Jesus, help me find the way from the nighttime to the day, thank You for the light to see your grace and your face

Your love so tender, I sweetly surrender.  No more pretending, just sweet…

Sometimes I get so tired, that I cannot see the light.  Why do people have to die, I wonder why?

But you always come to me and tell me that my will is free, and when I do not understand you’ll always be

Right there by my side, whispering words of life.  When I cannot always hear, always hear, not all the time

When the rain is pouring down and I cannot hear the sound, I will trust you even then, even then oh my Friend

Your love so tender…

To access the CD go to http://www.envisionmssion.org/media and follow the instructions.  If you donate even a $1 you can get a code and access the CD or book of your choice.

 

 

23 Oct

“Awake!” from the song Wake Up oh Sleeper

Wake Up Oh Sleeper

As part of the One Voice Project in Whatcom County we are recording a new song: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/one-voice-worship-project-music-art#/

What a beautiful expression of the unity of the Church this album has already proved to be. There are 11 other musicians doing songs for it and we are so excited to be a part of it.

This particular song “Wake Up Oh Sleeper” is taken from Ephesians 5:14 as well as Psalm 57:7, Isaiah 51: 9 and 17; as well as 52:1. I tried to find all the verses I could about waking up because I believe we need to wake up as a church and we will find the LORD awake to us! We so easily go to sleep in ourselves, but we need to sing to our souls and wake them up even as we cry out to the LORD to awaken us.

Here are some of the lyrics:

Wake up oh sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you, He will shine on you…

Awake my soul, awake melody and song; awake my soul, I will awaken the dawn…

Awake, awake oh arm of the Lord, clothed in strength as in the days of old; awake oh Zion and sing of His love.

Rise up Jerusalem and sing…”

I’ve had to sing this song to my soul recently and I hope as people hear it they will also be awakened to the glory and love of Jesus! It means we come out of hiding and into our true destiny in Christ. We rid ourselves of sin and go into the freedom He has for us! 

There will be a concert and a CD available with paintings and various artists contributing so find out the details on the link at the top of the page.

16 Oct

Okay, Uhuh, Alright – from the new “Celebration” CD!

Okay, Uhuh, Alright!

Sometimes you just have to say, Okay, uhuh, alright.  What?  Let me explain: we used to have a discussion night every Wednesday at our coffeehouse.  I remember that sometimes folks would feel very strongly about an opinion; so strongly, in fact, that they would yell or cry or even have to leave.

It’s so important not to make being right the main thing, but love.  Sometimes it’s just better to agree to disagree, or let it go, or just nod and say, alright, I see where you’re coming from.  That’s what this song is about.

It’s a song from the new Celebration CD:  http://www.envisionmission.org/media and it’s a fun one.  If you’d like to download it just follow the instructions on the link.  We will also have sung this one at our CD release concert as well.  Here are most of the lyrics:

There’s a time to speak and a time to be quiet.  There’s a time to refrain and a time to say, Okay, uhuh, alright

There’s a time to be angry about what is wrong.  There’s a time to let go and a time to be strong and say, okay, uhuh, alright

There’s a saying, I know where I come from: Okay, uhuh…

There’s a saying written down in the Bible: be slow to speak, and quick to listen, okay…

And slow to anger it also says, ’cause it’s not worth getting angry about…

I got friends who love to debate. I got friends who don’t so I say: okay…

I enjoy thinking that I’m always right, but sometimes I’ve just got to say…

You got rain coming down from your face; then you should never have gone that far, so say…

There are deeper things than just being right, things like love, respect and being kind…

 

09 Oct

Under the Moonlight – from the new Celebration CD!

Under the Moonlight – from Mitchell’s new CD “Celebration”! 

Rochelle was 16 years old and I was 17 on our first date at an Italian Restaurant down at Bellingham Bay.  (It’s no longer there today.)  After we had some nervous conversation over pasta, I held her hand and we walked under the moonlight.  She says now that I held her hand so tight that it hurt her, but she didn’t say anything.  It was however a romantic evening. I sang a song about marriage to her and gave her flowers, which was a little much on a first date.  But this song, “Under the Moonlight” was written about that night.

It is on the new CD “Celebration” which will be released on October 20, at Sonlight Church on Bender Rd. in Lynden.  Any donation made to Envision will mean that a person can take a CD home for free.  You can get the new CD downloaded also on our website: www.envisionmission.org/media

Here are the lyrics:

Under the moonlight, I held your hand.  You made me realize, you’re my romance

When I close my eyes and remember the times, under the moonlight

Under the moonlight, I saw your face; through your disguise, beyond time and space

When I look back and and remember the times, under the moonlight

Oh here it comes, that funny feeling; oh and it’s got my heart

And it’s love, under the moonlight

I promised you that you would always be mine

Faithful and true, but I didn’t stay by your side

And now I’m asking for your forgiveness, it seems like the hundredth time

So long I’ve waited, your face is hidden, and now I’m hoping to find

You’ll answer me; we’ll be together and forever be

When I look ahead to the times, under the moonlight…

 

 

 

25 Sep

Let the Son Shine

Let the Son shine through me and you…

Rich Mullins wrote the song “Awesome God” and many other songs that Christians have sung for more than two decades. He died in a car accident in the late 90’s. He was a beautiful man because of His receiving the love of God for him in Jesus Christ. He could have lived a wealthy life off the songs he wrote, but instead chose to live in a hogan on the Navajo Reservation in a town called Window Rock, Arizona. He lived simply and sang songs for the local Natives, finding out what life is really about.

I lived on a nearby Reservation in 2000 in the city of Zuni, New Mexico. The Pastor there knew Rich Mullins pretty well, since Rich had sung at his church and school quite a lot. One time Rich was talking about how he used to get up at 5 something am and see the sun lined up perfectly with the natural window at Window Rock. He said that he wished he could be like that with Jesus- so perfectly in line with Him that folks could see Him shining through. Pastor Mike Meekhof encouraged Rich to write a song about that. Rich thought that was a good idea. He died not long after that and never wrote the song.

When I came to Zuni, Pastor Mike asked me if I’d write a song about it, so I went to Window Rock and prayed and God gave me a song called “Let the Son Shine”. Mike’s son Chad really wanted to learn it, so I taught it to him back in 2000.

Recently there was a tribute for Rich Mullins at Window Rock. His brother Dave came and his guitarist Mitch McVicker. A local radio DJ heard Chad singing that song “Let the Son Shine” and asked if Chad would sing it at the tribute. Chad did so, and I was very honored by that.

I pray that all of us can let Jesus’ light shine through us so that others can see Him and His love. If you’re interested in hearing my version of it, you can use the instructions on our website to download the “Walk in the Park” album: www.envisionmission.org/media

“See the sunrise at the break of dawn; watch the birds fly over Window Rock.

Something strange begins when the morning comes; see the window lining up with the sun.

Let the Son shine through me and you, like the the sun shines through Window Rock

See the Son rise from an open tomb; let us rise with the Son…”

11 Sep

Humility and the Sunrise Part 4

They entered the palace grounds and made their way into the hall of the Empress Kogyoku.  The sound of the musicians playing their flutes, drums and bells could be heard all through the grounds.  But when Naka no O’e entered the hall, his eyes fixed on Iruka.  And there he was, sitting next to Naka’s own mother, the Empress.  Naka no O’e and his guards with him bowed low to the Empress with their faces to the ground.  She acknowledged them gladly, but her face was slightly pinched.

Naka no O’e stood first and then his guards.  They all bowed slightly towards Soga Iruka.  The Soga wore his naga-bakama which surrounded him on the floor where he sat on his legs.  Yet his face wore a broad and confident smile, his moustache perfectly trimmed.  To Naka no O’e it seemed like his enemy was gloating, satisfied in his place of power at the Queen Mother’s right hand.  Then Soga Iruka’s eyes caught sight of the swords that Naka and his guards carried with them on their belts.

“This was to be a peaceful meeting, Naka no O’e.  The invitation came to me with full assurance that there would be no weapons among the court.  Why then do you come with swords?”

“Iruka,” Naka began.  “You and your Soga have wrongfully taken power which was not given to you from heaven.  I know that you plan to overthrow the Empress and take the throne.  How could I trust that you would come unarmed?”

At this Soga Iruka frowned and the Empress put her hand over her mouth.

“We will have none of this language in the palace hall,” the Empress spoke firmly.  Her lips were already very small on her somewhat portly face, but after she said this she puckered them even more tightly.  Then she said again, “You agreed to come here in peace, my son.  And you will stop these angry words.”

“This day all plans to overthrow your rule will cease forever, my mother.”  And he bowed low to her quickly from his hips.  Then Naka and his guards after him took their own seats to the left of the Empress with her personal servants and guards.  She then called for the music to cease and the Memorials to be read.  Soga Kurayamada Ishikawa no Maro entered the room and bowed low with his dark-skinned face to the ground before the Empress.  One of her servants brought a set of wooden books to Kurayamada.  He took the first book in hand and began to read from it with much expression.

As soon as Kurayamada’s voice started to read, the sound of the palace doors shutting could be heard all around the palace hall; all twelve of them were closed quickly.

Naka no O’e turned toward his guards… find the rest on the media page: http://www.envisionmission.org/media

04 Sep

Humility and the Sunrise Part 3

 

“My master needs access to Her Majesty’s palace hall.”

“I thought that was what you said to me.”

“Then why did you ask me to repeat myself?”  Kagetoki’s thin face was unflinching.

“You cannot be serious, Kagetoki.”  The courtier’s buggy eyes fixed intently on the servant.  “I cannot allow even Naka no O’e to enter alone without Her Majesty’s knowledge of it.  What is the Crown Prince hiding that she cannot know?”

“He is hiding nothing from you, Courtier.  There are things that are too terrible for Her Majesty to know, too dangerous for her.  She must be protected.”

“And it is my duty to protect her; I am a shield for the Empress.  Therefore I must know his intentions.”

“But must she know?”

“Why do you speak in riddles, Kagetoki?”

“You know what I speak of, Yashimoto.  The Soga have ruled in place of Her Majesty far too long.  I know you share our ideals.  The power of the Imperial family comes from the Deities.  These men have built statues in their own honor, but they have no right to the throne.  You must help us stop them.”

“Her Majesty favors Iruka and his father.  I can do nothing to stop them.  I must do the will of Her Lordship.”

“Empress Kogyoku is a trusting woman.  She cannot be blamed for their manipulations.  She cannot see their motives.”

“Are you questioning her royal wisdom, Kagetoki?”

“Do not be foolish, Yashimoto.  You know what I say is true.  Help us.  My master seeks the best interest of Her Majesty that she may rule this land truly and not only in appearance.”

“Your master looks out for his own best interest, not the interest of Her Majesty.”

“I must disregard that insult, but I assure you, my master seeks the best interest of all the Imperial family, the traditions of our people, and to do the will of the Deities.”

“And why do you expect me to trust your master’s motives more than the Soga?  You speak of their manipulations while you try to manipulate me also.  What do I have to gain from trusting Naka no O’e?”  The Courtier smiled thinly.

“Do you seek Her Majesty’s best interest or your own?”

Yashimoto gave no answer and Kagetoki shook his head.  “Yes, you will be rewarded for your help.”

“What does that mean, servant of Naka no O’e?”

“He is offering each of you three golden sheaths with long swords in each, given to the Imperial family from the Tang Dynasty.”

“So I will help him.”  And Yashimoto’s grin grew larger.

Kagetoki bowed slightly.  “My master will be pleased to hear it.  The palace gates must be closed after everyone has entered.  He instructs you also to tell no one of this, but the palace guards.  If you fail, you will all be less than rewarded, eightfold.”

“Tell you master not to threaten after he has offered rewards.  It does not leave his friends with sweet tastes in the mouth.  None will know of this here but the palace guard and whoever else has joined with your master’s cunning.”