Sunday, July 31, 2011


What an amazing day it was to attend my first Heaven Fest.

I used to be a bit of a concert fanatic when I was younger. I've enjoyed the live musical stylings of individuals and groups as diverse as Rick Springfield, Boston, Roger Waters, U2, John Mellencamp, The Kinks, Toad The Wet Sprocket, The Cranberries, 10,000 Maniacs, Chicago, Donny and Marie Osmond, Pink Floyd, Hootie & The Blowfish, The Cowboy Junkies, Natalie Merchant, Sally Taylor, The Indigo Girls, Blues Traveler, The Romantics, Peter Mayer, Sarah McLachlan, Jars Of Clay, R.E.M., Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, The Young Dubliners, Runaway Truck Ramp, Vince Gill, Open Road, Cake, and, well, I could keep going, but I think I've already gone on long enough ... or, more than likely, too much.

With all my exposure to various musicians, I've never experienced anything like Heaven Fest. Thousands of people wandering from stage to stage under the intense high altitude heat. I was lucky enough to enjoy Sanctus Real, Jeremy Camp, Superchick, Mercy Me, and Skillet. Great musicians all, but they weren't the focus of the day, regardless of how we all may have felt at times.

Music reaches out and touches our souls. It evokes memories like nearly nothing else, and it provokes feelings which often lie buried inside without blends of melodies and words to help them surface. There's something else that comes when listening to music focused on God. At some point, the music is less about what you're taking in, and more about what you're putting out.

Worship. That's the "something else." It's not about what He needs, because He needs nothing. Rather, it's about what we need, because we need everything. He is everything. Perfection. Even better than Donny and Marie Osmond.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Today was not a good day in Norway. What happened is beyond our understanding. What happened was yet another tragedy in yet another part of the world on yet another day. What happened was yet another reminder of how broken we are, and how lost we can be. I wonder if we've become numb to daily horrors that people experience. I wonder if we've lost perspective and it's only briefly gained when large scale events that we can somehow relate to shock us to the core. I wonder how much it takes to even shock us anymore. Today was not a good day in Norway, and my prayers are with the people affected, as my prayers are with all people affected by tragedy in any given moment on any given day. And still, for me, it was different today ...  

Today was a good day.

Fridays feel good to many people since it marks the start of the weekend, and the weekend for many means no work and all play. That's not why today was a good day.

Today was a good day because I started it by blessing a friend with breakfast as he blessed me with some help I needed. We had a great conversation along the way as well. Real and honest and encouraging.

Today was a good day because I had lunch with another friend who made a point of reaching out to me in order to check in and listen. Not only did he treat me for lunch, he gave me some much needed guidance.

Today was a good day because I met with yet another friend in the afternoon for our weekly time together that just hasn't happened as often recently. We shared our struggles and made a simple plan together.

Today was a good day because I finished it with worship and a message from one of my pastors that was clearly directed toward me. God has a way of doing that.

Friday reminded me that our lives are not meant to be spent idle or in isolation. We're meant to be active and in relationships. I'm fortunate to have a purpose, as well as a wife, as well as daughters, as well as friends, as well as a Savior.

Today was a good day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


We're all broken.

Hiding that fact about ourselves from others tricks people into thinking there is such a thing as self perfection (or at least something close to it) in this world, and they just can't live up to it ... and it tricks us into thinking we can.

We need to get real, act real, and keep it real.

None of us are any better than anyone else. None of us will ever attain or even come close to perfection, because it doesn't exist in this world. Thank you, Jesus, for helping me allow you to be my perfection.

We can do absolutely nothing without Him. We can do absolutely everything with Him.

Father, it matters not when I have run away from you
or when I have chased after you,
for you're always there.
Like a river carving the rock, you've softened my heart
and drowned me with your overwhelming love.
Angry at times with my inability to escape your raging waters,
I'm forever thankful to bathe in your eternal springs of hope.

Monday, July 4, 2011


He didn't "take her life." He isn't "the one responsible for her death." As harsh as it may sound, and as dramatic as it may sound, the accurate description is that he is my sister's killer.

It's been a few months since we began picking up the pieces and were saying goodbye to my sister, Kathy. This coming week, the man who killed my sister will be pleading guilty to a single felony count, avoiding other charges he would also most certainly and easily be convicted of. I'm sharing here the letter I'm sending to the prosecutor to pass along to him. I do this not to sensationalize a tragedy, but rather to give insight into what I hope to come out of my sister's death. Time heals wounds, but scars remain.

Dear Brad,

Kathy was my sister. Kathy was a daughter, a mother, a niece, an aunt, a cousin, and a friend. And, Kathy was a sister. Kathy was my sister. And, I loved and miss Kathy very much.

Imperfect as Kathy was, as we all are, Kathy's not the one who killed herself, and neither am I, and neither is anyone else ... except you. You verbally and physically abused Kathy repeatedly over a long period of time. You chose to drive that fateful morning while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. You drove with extreme recklessness, lost control of your vehicle, and killed Kathy. You fled the scene without knowing if Kathy could be saved or not. You denied driving the vehicle, denied knowing Kathy, and denied those who loved Kathy the knowledge of her death until long after Kathy died.

It's time to stop the denial and accept ownership of everything you've done. It's time to stop throwing your life away. It's time to stop living a life of selfishness and destruction. It's time to start making something of your life. You have been blessed with an opportunity to do this.

I forgive you for everything. I don't have an ounce of that power of love and forgiveness inside of me except for what I've received. Recognizing my absolute brokenness, openly admitting it, and allowing myself to accept my need to stop living for myself has given me the strength to truly forgive you for everything. I want you to feel this as well.

God's grace is all you ever need. He died for you, so live for Him. Your life here won't ever be perfect. However, you will be changed beyond what anyone or anything can do here for you. You will desire to put Him first. You will strive to put others next. You will struggle to put yourself last. And, you will finally feel the love you've always been searching for.

I sincerely forgive you and love you and hope (for your sake and for others) for a changed life for you,