One creative’s struggle with discipleship…

I am a creative.

Bought my first record when I was 5: since, I’ve bought thousands – 8 tracks, vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and MP3s.  I don’t just listen to good music – I get lost in it – it envelops me.

Wrote my first song at 6 and and haven’t stopped writing since, recording multiple  CDs/Cassettes of originals with three different bands, and sang/played-on multiple other full-lengths and assorted other singles by other like-minded creatives.

I have done sculpture, placed first in competitions with my pencils and charcoals, and painted some unique portraiture with oils on canvas.

I do wood-working, building my own studio furniture, entertainment systems, desks, tables, and bookshelves.

I’ve written three film-scripts (directed two into short indie-films – no, you can’t see them), hundreds (maybe closer to a thousand) of poems, written one novel (& giving input on 3 others), and have developed a number of other literary ideas extensively.

I am a creative and I create, & am not afraid of that fact: I feel most alive when I am expressing myself creatively, and helping other unlock that same creativity.

When I create, I feel closer to God and see Him more clearly.

As a creative I will admit it: we creatives do not naturally “disciple” very well [Read more…]

REVIEW: John Mark McMillan – “ECONOMY”

I remember the first time I heard John Mark McMillian’s debut indie CD, HOPE ANTHOLOGY vol.1 (you can buy it for a reasonable price HERE).  It was later Summer ’02, & I was coming off of a multi-month Wilco-induced musical high brought on by the brilliance of YANKEE FOXTROT HOTEL and John Mark’s artsy indie-folk was just what the doctor ordered.  A couple years later I was one of the early-adopters who introduced “How He Loves” as a corporate worship song (thanks in part to the encouragement of Kelanie Gloeckler) years before the “sloppy wet kiss” controversy burned like wildfire through the church, much to my surprise: my only concern was the song’s wordiness, but it moved me to tears every single time I led it – even listened to it – so I didn’t really much concern myself with the debate. [Read more…]

Double Review: Aaron Keyes & David Walker

For the sake of honesty, I’m reviewing these two CDs because I am friends with their creators.  I admit that – to a degree – I may be biased by the fact that I personally love the hearts behind these songs.  That said, I truly believe that – whether or not I knew either one – I would still consider these two of my favorite worship CDs of 2011. [Read more…]

REVIEW: Brian Wurzell – GRACE OCEAN

Artist: Brian Wurzell
Release: Grace Ocean
Highlights: “Grace Ocean”, “Great Redeemer” – other notables included “Sing”, & “Floodgates

Brian Wurzell, the Worship Arts Director at Hillside Community Church inRancho Cucamonga, CA (formerly at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Chandler, AZ), has delivered to us a refreshingly unique, modern rock worship album.  GRACE OCEAN subtly tips its hat to indie-rock bands like Pedro the Lion and Starfler 59, while never becoming inaccessible.

Obvious corporate highlights  (take note, fellow worship leaders) are the hook-laden title track, which is pure ear candy (Can a “worship song” also be “ear candy”?  I guess so.  See exhibit A: “Grace Ocean”), and the mid-tempo ballad “Great Redeemer” – a prayer that God would “take our weakness and show Yourself strong”.  [Read more…]

REVIEW: Over the Rhine – THE LONG SURRENDER

Artist: Over the Rhine
Release: The Long Surrender
Highlights: “Rave On”, “Only God can save us Now”, “Oh Yeah by the Way”, & “The King Knows How

I still remember the night I first heard Over the Rhine. I was mostly into indie-rock and metal, and only went to hear them because some friends had invited me. It was ’92 when I walked into a dingy bar in Columbus, Ohio, and the stage was covered in candles, with little paths amongst the candle-light to a stool for each musician. When the band took the stage, it was like an angelic visitation – I don’t think I could even bring myself to clap during the performance. I sat still, jaw gaping wide, just taking in the subtle beauty – the understated excellence – of what poured from the stage. Needless to say, I’ve followed the band faithfully since.

That said, the Long Surrender, Over the Rhine’s 11th studio album, and – counting live CDs and compilations – 19th overall, took some well-spent listening to really come to terms with, even though it is truly one of the masterpieces of their catalogue. [Read more…]