Category Archives: Music

Random Thought Thursday: August 28, 2014


You better really enjoy being with your spouse once all of the kids have moved out. If not, you’ll be in quite a bind. Don’t neglect your marriage while the kids are living at home. Build into it and enjoy one another. Michelle and I did, and we’re really enjoying the empty nest.


I recently attended Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit.  It’s a yearly gathering of some 200,000 leaders from all over the world who desire to be better leaders.  One of the speakers this year was leadership guru Joseph Grenny who talked about the importance of having crucial conversations – which are conversations that need to happen but are very hard to have.  He said that if we don’t have these, we will end up acting out our frustration with the other person – which will only make the situation worse.  He claims that not having these kinds of conversations is what often stops the growth of relationships, organizations, etc.  His question is one I pose to you: What crucial conversations (in your marriage, at work, in your family, etc) do you need to have that you’re not having now?


A couple weeks ago, I took my son, Taylor, to Denver to see one of all-time favorite rock bands, Stryper.  He likes them too.  What a show! All 4  original members and all over the age of 50. 50 must be the new 30 because they are better live now than they were 20 years ago when I first saw them live.


If you’re looking for a good movie to watch, let me recommend a couple of recent releases – all about food – that Michelle and I have really enjoyed over the last few months…

The Lunchbox
Harvard University analyzed their delivery system and concluded that just one in a million lunchboxes is ever delivered to the wrong address. This is the story of that one.

Hundred Foot Journey
It is a story about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian restaurant and a traditional French one represents the gulf between different cultures and desires. It focuses on the rivalry and resolution of the two restaurants and is based in Lumière, France.

Chef Carl Casper suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner, he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife, his friend and his son to launch a food truck.

Random Thought Thursday: April 24, 2014


My first exposure to Johnny Cash was in college. An alternative/punk band named “One Bad Pig” did a cover of Johnny’s “Man In Black” song, and surprisingly, Johnny joined them on the cut.  It was a big hit on the college radio station I managed at the time.

That’s the first time I ever heard Johnny’s voice, and I wasn’t very impressed.  I wasn’t very impressed with the guy’s voice from One Bad Pig either.



Years later, I saw the movie “Walk the Line” about the life of Johnny Cash.  I loved the music, but it was Joaquin Phoenix doing all the singing – and at the time I thought that his version of Johnny was better than Johnny himself.

But with some good things, it just takes a bit of time for it to grow on you.  For me, that’s been true of mustard, asparagus, broccoli, and Johnny Cash.  And in my middle age, not much is finer than those once detested things.

Just last week, a “lost” album from Johnny Cash that was recorded in the 80’s was released.  The album is called “Out Among the Stars,” and man, is it good!  Vintage Johnny Cash with catchy tunes, classic lyrics, and a few guest singers – including Minnie Pearl! HOWDY!

Here’s one of my favorite songs off the album. It’s called, “If I Told You Who It Was.” Enjoy!




Random Thought Thursday: February 6, 2014


The Super Bowl was not super at all. I was done with it at halftime. Such a let down after so many exciting Super Bowls recently. Peyton Manning bristled at being asked if it was “embarrassing” – but it was. The Seahawks embarrassed the Broncos. Faster. Stronger. Better.



I thought the sculptures on my college campus back in the day were weird, but they were nothing like this. A sculpture of an underwear-clad sleepwalking man was recently installed at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and has left students seriously freaked out with its lifelike appearance. This is no joke. Check out the full story.


church calendar

Leave it to Walmart! Thanks to Chuck Thompson for this find. As if stupid church signs weren’t bad enough, Walmart is selling a church sign calendar for 2014.  When will the madness stop?!


Michelle and I were invited by some new friends to hear a new band (to me) last weekend, and now I’m enjoying some really good new music.  Ryanhood. Check out the video and then check out their web page. Very, very good. Thank you Bradley and Rachel!


Random Thought Thursday: January 23, 2014

Only one random thought today, but its randomness leads to more randomness – which leads to a funny picture where I’m wearing yet another atrocious outfit.


I listen to Pandora while I study.  One of the channels I listen to most is an “Electro House” channel that I created.  Electro House is music with a good beat (for keeping me awake and alert) but there are no words (because I can’t study to songs with words). I just let the music play in the background, and I go to work.

Pandora let’s listeners “like” songs, and those songs will come back around more often.  There are times when a song is so good that I stop what I’m doing to see who it is and to “like” it.  More times than not, the songs that grab my attention on this channel are from an artist by the name of Mord Fustang.

mord fustang

I did a little research and discovered (of course) that this is not his real name and that he’s from Estonia – which is a small country in northern Europe that was once a part of the Soviet Union.

In 1998, Michelle and I took a group of high school students on a missions trip to Estonia to assist a church there in a building project and to connect with their teens and young adults.

It was a good trip – except for the fact that me and a few of the students got pulled over by the Estonian police for cramming too many people in our car.  I believe there were six of us crammed into a car the size of a modern-day smart car.  The cop pulled us over and lectured our young driver.  He was told that the fine would be the equivalent of $10, and I told him I’d pay it.  One of the kids then asked the driver if the officer would be willing to pose for a picture with us.  This macho-acting officer paused, then smiled and said “yes!” And here’s the photo.  (No laughing at my outfit, please.)

053Anyway, all this to say, Mord Fustang is a very good producer of music, and I like that he is from Estonia because I’ve been there and got in trouble there.

Listen to What I Found!

TV Announcing

In college, I was a Mass Communications major, and I spent most of my free time in the radio studio.  I hosted 2 radio shows a week, and over the four years there, I worked as news director, production manager, general manager, and sports play-by-play announcer.  It was a great time to learn radio by doing it.  I doubt there were many listeners back then, but it was fun, and I learned a ton about radio and verbal communication in general.

After college, I was hired as an overnight board operator and disc jockey at an “oldies” station in Milwaukee.  It was there that I got my big break and my on-air broadcasting career began.

This career didn’t last long as it became clear that God was calling me to use my communication skills in a different way – teaching and preaching in a church setting.  20 years ago, I began another communication-based career…and I’ve been a pastor ever since. I’ve had many opportunities over these 20 years to satisfy my love for radio, but my main mode of communication nowadays is preaching God’s Word to my congregation every Sunday morning…and I love it.

The other night, I stumbled across some old recordings I made way back in the day while still in radio.  My daughter, Alexis, and I listened and laughed.  Among the things I found is this recording from 1994.  It was my audition tape for future radio jobs based on my time at the oldies station.  It’s 2 1/2 minutes of oldies dj-ing fun.  Take a listen!

Random Thought Thursday: January 16, 2014


This world is big, and it’s filled with billions of people.  I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to travel to so many different parts of it and see how the rest of the world lives.  It really has opened my eyes to their plight. I think differently and even act differently because of it.  The United States is such a small piece of the world.


It just dawned on me that I will celebrate 20 years in full-time ministry work this year.  This is me in 1994 when I began as youth pastor in Dayton, OH.  Hard to believe anyone took me seriously back then!  Hard to believe anyone does now for that matter!

Sign crop
I received a lot of good ideas on what I should put as the inaugural message on our new church sign.  One of my favorites was from Fred Iacoletti who said, “If you can’t think of something, a vandal will put something up by the end of the week. Then if you like it, you can keep it, and shift the blame to someone else if we don’t like it.”

I’m always down for shifting the blame, but the letters came in today, and the inaugural message will be revealed tomorrow. Plus, vandals will have a hard time with this sign as the letters will be anywhere from 13′ to 17′ off the ground.

I’m still writing “2013” on things.  Are you?

I think I’m ready to proclaim that “Mechanical Bull” by Kings of Leon was my favorite album of 2013.  It just keeps growing on me the more I listen to it.  Take a listen to the song, “Wait for Me.”


Dinosaurs of Rock

“I love rock and roll.” – Joan Jett, Mike Potter
Joan sang these words, but I live them!

I really do love rock and roll, and even though my mother has wished for 30 years that I would grow out of it, I have not.  Recently three “dinosaurs” of Christian rock released brand new albums.
Stryper. Bloodgood. Sacred Warrior.

These were bands I was listening to in my teen years on my huge stereo system that I spent all of my money building.  This system included two 150-watt box speakers that could literally shake my parents 100 year old house. Perhaps this is why my mother hoped and prayed that I would grow out of it.

Just like fine wine (so I’m told) these bands have become better and better with age.  And because it’s been so long since their last releases, I’ve really enjoyed listening to my old pals playing some new stuff.  Here’s a sample of some of their new music.  They’re older…but they can still rock!