Christmas Prevents Drowning-3rd Sunday of Advent

When my brother and I were growing up, we often went at each other.

We competed in anything we could come up with or we’d just poke one another.

I, being the younger brother, would poke my brother Tom because, well, he was the older brother. It was my job.

One day Tom and I were playing in a hotel swimming pool. My parents were at some conference, so the two of us needed to entertain ourselves at the pool. We had the whole thing to ourselves!

We were making up games as we went along, throwing things into the deep end and seeing who could get them faster or just trying to dunk each other.

We had been playing a long time and I was getting tired but didn’t want to quit.

I decided I should irritate Tom so I did something in the shallow wend to get him to chase me. As I started to get away from him, I ducked under the rope separating the shallow end from the deep end.

Right at the rope line the bottom of the pool took a huge descent to make the water deeper. Right when I got to that spot, I started to sink.

I knew how to swim, but I had become so tired I couldn’t keep my head above water.

I started to panic because all the effort I was giving to get back to the surface wasn’t working. As I flailed under the water, I looked up at the surface of the water and was scared…really scared.

I was going to drown.

In that very moment, I felt a hand violently grab my arm and start to pull me back under the rope to the shallow end.

I got my feet back on the shallow end floor, pushed up, got above the water and breathed a huge breath…and coughed up some water, but I breathed air.

That hand? It was my brother Tom. He saw me start to become helpless in the water and decided he should probably save me or have something to explain to Mom and Dad later.

I looked at him with a mix of fear and tears in my eyes.

He looked at me in all his compassion and said, “You ok?”

I, of course in all my humility, said, “Ya, thanks.”

That was a lot for us to communicate so deeply back then. Then Tom said, “Let’s get out of here and go back to the room.” This is code for “I don’t want to spend the rest of my time saving my little brother in the pool.”

Tom saw me in trouble and on the verge of drowning and said “I gotta do something.”

Isn’t that the message of Christmas?

We were drowning in our own sin and no chance to save ourselves and then God by His own choosing and grace, began a plan to save us by sending Jesus at Christmas to be born, live, die, and rise again!

It’s like He’s reaching in, grabbing us, and pulling us above water so we can breathe again!

When I sing “O Holy Night,” I am always reminded of my love for the air of forgiveness in these lyrics:

Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn!

That’s why Christmas is more than just a holiday about a sweet baby in beautiful straw. The passion is way deeper.

We drown without Christmas. We have our head and heart above water because of it!

Glory to God in highest and on earth!!!

God is good all the time!

Peder

“Up Close” With The Famous–2nd Sunday of Advent

A few months ago my son Ethan and I went to California. While we were there, we had a day to ourselves when I wasn’t singing.

So we visited a lot of places including the beach which was awesome since beaches in Minnesota are closed now … but the ice fishing is not far behind. :)

The smiles say a lot!

The smiles say a lot!

We went down to Hollywood and took in the Chinese Theater, looked at the stars on the sidewalk, saw the Dolby Theater, and so on.

Ethan thought it would be cool to take a tour where they show you where the “stars” live. So why not?

On a whim, we bought two tickets, got into a 15-passenger van without a roof, and found our seats among other star-seekers.

The brochure said we’d see the houses of Tom Cruise, Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, and others. The brochure also said, “No one gets you closer to the house of the stars” than this company.

Ethan was interested and I was curious so we put ear buds in so we could hear our driver/tour guide tell us where to look and whose house we were looking at.

He had a bit of a game show host to him with a voice of a stereotypical surfer dude and car salesman. It seemed to fit the Hollywood tourism vibe.

As we went along he would point out certain buildings where scenes from famous movies were shot and iconic streets. He told us that every famous person drives a black Range Rover.

He also would point this is the place where a certain star had a meltdown, that so and so’s ex wife or husband now owns this place, or the last time he saw the actual star (“about seven months ago”).

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I think that’s Ironman’s house on the top of the hill :)

He is doing his gig. I get that. But at times I felt like I had just turned on TMZ. I wasn’t ready for that.

The part that stuck out to me the most is when he would tell us a big star’s house was coming up. People would get their cameras ready and then it happened more often than not: the house was completely covered and surrounded by trees, or a wall, or it was a mile away so it looked no bigger than a pack of gum to us.

The key line of the trip was our tour guide saying, “Hey folks, that’s Tom Cruise’s chimney! Pretty cool yes?”

I’m not making that up.

I can’t imagine what these movie stars feel like as day after day vans full of people coming to take pictures—just to be near where someone famous lives. That is another world.

Yet, people do this tour by the hundreds every day.

When the angels came to the shepherds in the fields the night Jesus was born, they told them they would find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go and see this thing that has happened!”

When they got there, they did not have stand outside of a grove of trees or look at a huge wall and wonder if the Messiah was on the other side.

The shepherds got to get as close as they wanted. Right up to the manger!

I fact it’s what God wanted in the first place: that anyone can come to Him and know real love, hope, joy, and peace!

Way better than just a chimney!!!

This is the focus of the new original song we wrote for the Christmas card project.

The lyrics say:

May the star invite you
May the angel song remind you
May His mercy find you
And give you perfect peace

May you seek your treasure
Only at the manger
May you find no strangers
Only family
This Christmas

May you find joy, joy, joy
May you find love, love, love
May you find hope in the One
Who has come, come to give you
Joy, joy, joy
Love, love, love
May you find peace
In the One who has come

This Christmas

THIS CHRISTMAS
Peder Eide/Paul Marino/Jeremy Johnson
(c) 2014 Van Ness Press, Inc. (ASCAP)

I’m excited about our new Christmas project, This Christmas, for a lot of reasons.

One of the many reasons is that how people can use this Christmas Card of music to give away to friends and family and share the amazing truth of God’s love that comes in Jesus!

My friends, don’t miss this next invitation:

YOU CAN GO TO THE MANGER AND GET AS CLOSE AS YOU WANT.

You don’t need a ticket and your tour guide is the Holy Spirit.

There will be no sarcasm. :) Only joy, love, hope, and peace that comes from the One who has come This Christmas.

God is good all the time!

Peder

This Christmas and the Weather-1st Sunday of Advent

There is a joke in Minnesota (and I’m sure other places too) about the weather: If you want to know what the weather is like, look out the window every ten minutes because it could change that fast.

It never seems predicable, and it’s never like last year. :)

There are a number of things in life like that. Relationships are not always the same, sporting events are not predictable all the time, the economy changes, and so on.

For some this can be hard because we like to know the future or at least be able to plan ahead.

Maybe it’s control. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it helps us feel like we can trust something more when we know how it’s going to turn out.

Over the next four Sundays of Advent, I want to put before us the goal of focusing on this Christmas.

This Christmas is about saying to the Lord,

“What do You want me to know about You this Christmas? How can I be different by the end of the Advent season?”

I believe if we go into the Christmas season expecting it to be like last year or what not, we will either be disappointed or distracted and not see what God has for us.

Don’t misunderstand me, God’s promises DO NOT CHANGE. :) Those are very predicable, trustworthy, and God is in control.

The true experience of Advent is when we come to the manger and say “O Come Emmanuel and do what You want with me.”

How do we put handles on that? It’s like this picture on the side of the Blessing Cup we bring to our Taste Worship events.

The Blessing Cup

When you look at the two lower case letter i’s, can you see the cross?

Yes? Now it’s really what you’re going to see. When you look for it you will find it.

This Christmas, you will find the joy, hope, love, and peace that comes from the One who has come this Christmas.

You just gotta look for it!

Be willing to let it look different than last year.

So here is an Advent question for you and your family to ask each other at a meal together:

“What would you like God to do in your heart and life this Advent season?”

Everyone answers and everyone listens. :)

I’d love to hear some of the answers in the comments section below.

Blessings, my friends,

Peder

November and Children

It’s amazing that it is November 2014. I really enjoy November.

It’s Thanksgiving. For the Eide family that means getting together with extended family for lots of fun food and football.

It’s the start of basketball season for most teams.

It’s also when we start thinking towards Advent and Christmas.

There might be some snow which means snowmobiles and snow blowers…ok not as fun but still very pretty when it comes. :)

IMG_3080

Makenzie, Teshome, and me

One thing about November that is close to the heart of Eide family is that it is National Adoption Month. It’s a month to pay extra attention to needs of orphans and the power of adoption.

As most of you know our Makenzie is adopted from Korea and our son Teshome is from Ethiopia. I never have enough passion to express what an amazing gift and privilege it is from the Lord to have them in our family!

When I write about these subjects, the comment I get is something like “We are not an adoptive family so this is a bit irrelevant to me.”

I get that.

But I believe I speak for our family and for a lot of other families when I say that orphan care and adoption is a team effort.

Even more so it is a need that still warrants more attention. It can easily fly under the radar because adoption seems like a parent thing or that orphan’s thing or foster care is for those amazing people who have a heart for that.

Would you be willing to hear me when I say caring for children in need is a believer in Jesus thing?

James says it’s true religion when we take care of those who can’t help themselves.

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27 (NLT)

Why does Jesus talk so much about taking care of orphans, widows, the sick, imprisoned, disabled, and so on?

I think because He knew in our fallen world it would be a huge issue and because those people are His sons and daughters.

Yet it’s easy to forget.

Me and one of our sponsored children Ziana in Uganda

Me and one of our sponsored children, Ziana in Uganda

Can we do something this month to fight for the children in poverty, orphans, families in adoption, and families willing to be foster care families?

Being blunt my friends, if you say you love Jesus, then this challenge involves you and your love for your Savior. Scripture is clear. It’s not a duty; it’s an act of being a follower.

So for this month here are some ideas for you, my friends, to engage in the lives of children in need this November.

1. Find a family you know in your community that is adopting or has adopted and ask what they need. Don’t assume what they will say. Every family is unique. They will appreciate it more than you could imagine. Believe me: it will be a blessing.

2. Find an agency that deals with adoption/foster care and call them/email them and ask what needs can be met. It’s not just about money. It would be awareness, Facebook posts, clothes, volunteers, etc.

3. Sponsor a child in a third world country with Compassion International. You have heard me say a hundred times but it works and once you engage in it, your life will be more filled for it and a child in need can meet Jesus in a real way through your sponsorship.

There are 30 days in this month to do something. Please don’t say “I’ll do it later.”

When Jesus said when we reach out to the least that that is Him, He meant it for real.

You might be amazed how God uses your willingness to help a child to actually draw you closer to Jesus Himself.

Let’s make a significant impact this November.

Thanks for reading.

God is good all the time,

Peder

Christmas is coming!

It’s not yet Halloween and I’m still talking about Christmas already. I can’t help it. I’m so excited because we’ve got some new Christmas music this year!

Have you see the video?

(Or watch it on YouTube)

When shooting the video in Nashville, I was trying to get out the right words and information. I do ok at this kind of thing but sometimes it took more than a few takes. The pressure is high when you know what you say will be recorded forever!

At one point getting frustrated because I kept goofing up. I was trying so hard to find the right phrase. My friend Adam producing this clip said,

“Just tell me like how you would tell anyone sitting in front of you.”

That worked and made a lot of sense. A simple truth that needs to be louder for each of us I think.

When I thought about my heart for the person across from me it came out so much better. In fact, even better than I could ever conjure up with all the practice. I love Christmas and it’s truth about God’s love and His compassion for His children.

I think we make sharing Christ’s love and message of salvation full of the right words and certain types of prayers.

What if we pause, look across from ourselves, feel the love we have for the person we’re talking to and just offer our heart?

recording xmas video

You might be surprised how the Holy Spirit comes through you and out of you. It’s probably way better than what you could come up with on your own. :)

God’s heart for us shows up this Christmas. It was His love for us that caused Him to send Jesus to redeem us. If Christ is in us, we can have that same heart for anyone.

Maybe don’t try so hard.

Just love the person in front of you. It’s like your showing them Christmas even before Halloween!

God is good all the time.

Peder

New This Christmas

I just can’t help it. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. Of course, it’s all about our Savior’s birth. I love that story! And I love all of the December celebrations that go with it–the traditions, the movies, the family time, and especially the music.

This year we’re bringing some new music to your Christmas.

(If it won’t load here, watch the video on YouTube)

This Christmas is unlike any other Peder Eide Christmas CD because it’s a music card designed for you to be able to gift it to those who need to hear about the love of Christ.

With gifts in mind, we’re running some special sales in the online store so you can pre-order your copy of This Christmas and some copies for your family and friends.

Plus, I’d love to celebrate Christmas with you:

Wednesday, December 3–Alexandria, MN
Thursday, December 4–Rosemount, MN
Saturday, December 6–Grayslake, IL
Sunday, December 7–Pewaukee, WI (morning worship)
Wednesday, December 10–Brookings, SD
Saturday, December 13–Wausau, WI
Sunday, December 14–Grand Forks, ND

December 17, 2014–Fargo, ND
Friday, December 19–Oshkosh, WI
Sunday, December 21–Hampton, IA

You can find the details for each event on the tour page.

We’d love your help getting the word out.

This Christmas FB header

Buy This Christmas for everyone on your Christmas card list.

Invite your friends to a Christmas show.

Share the video on social media. It means a lot to me so be sure to tag me so I can thank you. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

Blessings, my friends. And let me be the first person to wish you a Merry Christmas this year!

Peder

Waiting to Land

I fly a lot. Not as much as some but enough to have given me a lot of experiences.

I’m not talking about being delayed or having a flight canceled. I mean losing an engine in mid-flight or landing and then aborting the landing and taking off again because there was another plane on the same runway. Not to mention some of the most amazing and interesting people I’ve been able to sit next too in all of my airtime.

Recently I was thinking about how when you fly from one city to another, you can’t see were your going. You can look out a window but not forward. That’s someone’s head or the back of the seat in front of you.

Delta has this tv channel on some flights where you can watch an airplane icon move slowly across a simple map that posts the names of some major cities as you fly near them. It’s a little interesting but I find myself with certain emotions that the little bit of info this channel provides.

delta flight tracker channel

When I look at it, I sometimes feel great because I can see we are almost to our destination. Sometimes I get bummed realizing we are not very far OR bummed because the flight has been great and is almost over. I’ve actually found myself just staring as it moves so slowly across the screen.

Does it really help to know how far we have to go or how far we’ve come?

I think maybe in some cases yes.

But sometimes we can spend too much time measuring progress that we miss the most amazing views.

When I’m staring at the little airplane on the screen, I’m not looking out the window to enjoy where I’m at. I’m missing reality for a progress chart.

I’ve heard it said that the greatest present of God is being in His presence. I might miss that if I’m too focused on the map and progress.

Is that what God said by “THIS is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad IN IT!”?

I personally need to be more in the present and take in the Presence. I already have a confirmed destination in Jesus. I’ll get there when the pilot says I should. Until, I need to enjoy the window view. It’s amazing!

God is good all the time!

Peder

Choosing to Lead

My parents are heroes in my life. I lost both of them at younger ages but I am grateful for the time I had with them and the impact they’ve had both on my life and the lives of others.

Over the years, I’ve met so many people who knew my parents and were affected by them in some way. Strangers come up and tell me stories of my parents loving service, strength to hold fast, and their effort to do everything with excellence and 100 percent heart.

I have even had people come to me and tell me how they disagreed with my folks in some way and how even then they felt like my folks were their friends.

My parents were willing to make hard, unpopular decisions. Not because they wanted to but because it was best and right in the sight of God’s goodness. Their heart was to put up the good fight for those who couldn’t help themselves like those in poverty or foster care, refugees, or hurting friends who needed an advocate.

My parents didn’t just take on a cause to take on the cause. They truly stood with resolve behind what they believed in.

When they were alive, I never understood how powerful the commitment to stand for what you believe in would have a lasting impact.

Allan and Sylvia Eide

I just remember them talking late into the night about the struggle of feeling like an island with no emotion left to offer because of untrue rumors, getting excluded in community circles, and even having hurtful things being said to their face because others didn’t agree with what they were doing.

Understand my folks were not perfect or rebels. Far from it. They just stood firm with hard decisions because of Christ because it was right and what is the point of something that is good if you don’t fight for it.

Remembering these characteristics of my parents is extra precious because there have been many times I have felt like I’ve been in some similar situations.

I’ve had to make some hard decisions regarding leadership positions I’ve been entrusted to. Like my folks I tried to make nothing in haste, sought a lot of counsel, and prayed through it extensively. I feel good about my decisions.

Yet every decision still involves trust and usually affects other lives.

I have tried to my best ability to be loving without vacillating on the choices that seem to be the best.

The hardest part is probably hearing information that is going around that isn’t accurate and knowing that people are responding negatively without having all the pieces to the puzzle in any of those situations.

It’s hard to resist the temptations of trying to control the info or attacking with self-righteousness to bring justice where I think it’s needed. Those never produce good fruit.

I am blessed with friends, colleagues, coministers who stand with me and are for me. Still sometimes you can feel pretty alone. It’s part of leadership and being committed to what you believe.

Maybe that’s one the reasons why the Bible talks about trusting in the Lord with all of your heart and leaning not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

It’s interesting that God talks about the heart in this verse when it’s the mind and all the “possible scenarios” of what people are saying or doing that fuels fear and hurt.

Is it because whatever a person speaks usually reflects what’s in their heart?

Is it because the heart is often the metaphor of where Christ lives?

Is it because the heart is how we describe our passions, our loves, and dreams, and God wants us to give all of that to Him daily?

Maybe yes to all three.

To be very open with you: those times are really hard and that’s ok.

When I’m in it, I don’t know who will like me and who won’t in the end. I might learn that I need to do things differently. I’m totally fine with that as long as integrity is kept.

I always want to see God’s Kingdom come and all involved see how much God adores them and loves them in this.

I also do not want to live in my wounds or fear and lean on my own understanding. I’ve always hoped that one day my children will hear from others about how their dad helped them or made a difference so they can be encouraged to fight the good fight.

Here is my take away…

I can’t lead and make choices and measure them solely on peoples agreeing with it.

I can’t make every one happy. Sounds cliché but it’s a reality.

I must, as best I can, try to stay keep a clear conscience before the Lord.

I must remember I may never get to see the fruit of my labor and that’s ok…

Why?

Because the second part of Proverbs 3:5-6 says “acknowledge the Lord in all of your ways and He will make your path straight”

I really want the straight path. I believe that’s what my parents were trying to show me.

God is good all the time.

Peder

Golf and The Church

I love the game of golf!

No secret to many of you.

I love the challenge of getting better, the competition, and the stories shared among friends.

No two rounds of golf turn out the same, and I especially love getting to play courses around the country I’ve never played before or are famous.

Unfortunately, I don’t play as much as I used to. A lot of circumstances play into why but I definitely appreciate every chance to play now more than ever.

It’s a game that tests the emotions, problem solving skills, coordination, and truly can expose your character good or bad. :)

It’s a fun moment when you make a long putt or hit a long shot that felt so right when you swung the club and lands close to the hole. It’s a game I hopefully can play a long time from now.

The worst thing I can do when it comes to golf is compare myself with other golfers.

Sounds kinda like a cute, simple thought but listen closely.

If I compared myself to other golfers, I would have quit a long time ago.

My brother Tom is a really good player. He beats me every time. I play with Tom more than I play with anyone else, and I’ve only tied him once.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to beat him some day. Beat him bad. I love him and he is my brother but oh I want to take him one time.

Tom and I golfing in Arizona

Tom and I golfing in Arizona

If I would have looked at his game then looked at mine and said I’m not good enough, I would have quit a long time ago.

Quitting would have saved me from a bunch of heartache, greens fees, golf balls, and emotional trauma.

But I also would have missed out on so many laughs. I would have missed out on being surprised in Florida by him and two other friends for a birthday golf outing. I would have missed out on so many good talks we have had about family, career, and life.

There are too many stories we tell from being out on the course that we did together that could never be told because they never happened.

I would have missed those things! All because I compared myself to someone else.

To the Christian Church, I make this appeal: please don’t compare your self to other churches.

Don’t measure your worth on how good you are based on how other churches are growing or their technology or what ever.

If you do that, you’re missing what’s going on in YOUR church.

God is doing things in your church that are not being done anywhere else!

Are you aware of that? Are you seeing them?

Being A Parent Is Hard Sometimes…

Being a parent is hard some days…

It’s not a negative thing; it’s just hard some days.  I never realized how much emotion can be spent on a daily basis just thinking about what each child might be experiencing in their world.

It’s kind of like traveling the border of one country to another. As I go from one child (country) to another we are suppose to speak the same language but the different nuances of each country are enough to feel foreign.

Each country is in a completely different state of development. Some are at peace; some are in conflict either internally or with a another country (sibling). Each country has a different vision for itself. They are beautiful visions for the most part.

Eide nations out to breakfast (a first day of school tradition)

Eide nations out to breakfast (a first day of school tradition)

Some countries are not growing like they could; some think that just because they said they are ready that that is enough to be ready. (Oh the frontal lobe of some countries :))

Then of course are the moments where I forget how old a country is and I treat them all the same which makes “the whole world” a bit more crazy and I might be creating an environment for a hostile coup!

As head of these United Nations (dad), it just seems impossible for world peace!

Yet the cost of giving up is way too great compared to the cost of emotion and heart that drives parental diplomacy for the greater good of each country.

This is all I can say:

Thank You, Lord, that I get to be the head of these beautiful, precious countries. Thank You God for allowing me to struggle in this and I pray it would teach me more about You so I can bring You to these unique countries. Jesus remind me when I’m tired, worn out, feeling defeated and like a failure that it’s worth the energy, that everything matters, and Your voice is only saying one thing to me: “Keep going for I am with you.” Holy Spirit, hear from heart thankfulness for what You have given me as a parent and let Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in each wonderful country in my care!

To think on other things other than God’s goodness makes it harder to parent.

Today, I don’t need it to be harder. I’ve got five amazing countries in my house of many nations.

Therefore I’ll keep going even if it’s hard today…

God is good all the time.

Peder