The Gift of Your Membership

This week I’m in Augusta, GA, coming to you from one of the greatest golf courses in the world.

Well… sort of coming to you from there.

I’m not exactly a member so I just had a take a quick video because I was afraid I’d get kicked out.

Here’s the whole story:


(Here’s the YouTube link just in case)

For me, driving around the green hoping for a peak inside had to be good enough.

But that’s not the case with Jesus.

You never have to settle for good enough when you’re with Jesus.

He’s a member so you get to be a member. What a privilege that is!

Hear Him say “Come, see all the things I have for you.”

So much more than just good enough.

Have you ever gotten to “authorized personnel only” access to someplace special? How’d it feel?

I’d love to hear your story. Tell me in the comments or on Facebook.

God is good,

Peder

Advent #4–In His Presence

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the Savior’s birth with us! We had such a great time on the This Christmas Tour.

As we head into these final few days before Christmas, I have one more invitation for you.

If you are in need of some peace and joy, respond the way we see throughout scripture:

The way Adam and Eve responded.

The way the prodigal son responded.

They all responded the same way.

(Technical difficulties? Here’s the YouTube link)

Whether you need refreshment of joy, hope, encouragement, or healing, I invite you to respond in the same way.

Allow yourself to spend some time in God’s presence.

Sing. Worship. Pray.

Find the hope, joy, and love wrapped in a little baby.

You won’t regret it.

From my family to yours: Merry Christmas!

Peder

Advent #1: Remembering

A couple of weeks ago I got to lead worship at my home church, the one I grew up in. Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ulen, MN shaped me in a lot of ways.

It was amazing walking back into the sanctuary and thinking about all of the memories.

Let me tell you a little more:


(Technical difficulties? Here’s the link to the video on YouTube)

I felt all sorts of emotions during my visit to Bethlehem Lutheran. What do you think Mary and Joseph felt during their trip to Bethlehem?

What about you? What are some things in your life that draw out memories?

God uses the things that shaped us to make us who He wants us to be.

What are some things that have shaped you?

Share the traditions, places, and stories with your family. Let me know how it goes with a comment.

See you next week!

Peder

Confirmation, Belief, and Unbelief

This past we celebrated Ethan’s Confirmation of Faith.

In our church, this is a time where students who have attended a weekly time of worship, teaching and small group time for three years say they are ready and desire to make profession of their faith in Jesus Christ.

There are many things they have to do to reach this milestone and proclaim their faith in front of their family, peers, and church.

Though most students come to this time and want to be confirmed, the honest part is their faith is not perfect. Some actually will say they have grown but are still unsure of where they are at. After leading Taylor’s group and now Ethan’s, I’ve come to realize how an honest view of where you’re at in your faith is actually beautiful.

Ethan
Let’s be real: our faith is not based on just emotion or feeling though they are involved.

So many parts make up the faith that God has given us.

It’s God first and foremost that makes belief in Him possible. We love Him because he first loved us.

Yet when we mixed in the world and it’s allures and distractions it can get messy.

So why is it beautiful?

Because to hear these young lads ask questions means it’s important to them and they want to know. They are seeking Jesus.

Jesus said, “Seek Me and you will find Me.” WILL find me. Not MAYBE but WILL.

I think of the father who’s son was possessed by an evil spirit. The disciples tried to cast it out and they couldn’t. So the father goes directly to Jesus and asks Jesus to heal his son of his sickness. Jesus then asks the father THE question.

“Do you believe?” Jesus asked.

This father in his humility, fear, and desire to help his boy said, “Yes I believe. Help my unbelief.”

That’s being honest. That’s real. That’s beautiful.

I think that’s why Jesus then healed this man’s son–to help his unbelief. To show the father his honesty was covered in grace.

Jesus would understand the heart of a parent yes? And let us not forget, he loved that son.

Maybe He wanted to teach the disciples to judge less for an “As Is” situation and meet the person where He was.

Jesus sees the heart. We can trust Him with what He sees in our heart…even if we have our times of unbelief.

Ask for help in your unbelief. Meet Jesus in it. Seek Him you will find Him.

It’s okay.

If that’s where you are right now, I wrote a song about this very thing. It’s called “Yes, I Believe.” Maybe you’ll find it helpful. Here’s the link.

I’m grateful for the courage of my son and his friends to be honest and care enough to say “I believe” in front of each other and yet still ask hard questions.

Have you struggled with a season of unbelief or wrestled with hard questions? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.

God is good all the time.
Peder

Live Like You’re In The Game!

I love tournaments. The competition, energy, tension. Win and play again or lose and go home.

The NCAA March Madness is a favorite time for many sports fans because of that.

The underdog taking on the favorite hoping for that one game where they take down the giant. The player who shoots the free throws to tie the game with no time on the clock or, better yet, the last second shot from deep beyond the 3-point line to win the whole thing.

In moments like that there is so much emotion: one team rejoices and one team feels empty. You see 18-22 year olds jumping around like kids who got some free candy or having faces of tears like someone took the candy.

It’s one thing to watch it but to be a player in it is a whole different ball game (no pun intended 😉 ).

photo credit

photo credit: O via photopin (license)

Some times you hear players after the game talk about “If only I would have did this or not done that.”

I even hear players put the loss on their own shoulders saying they cost their team the game. Noble? Maybe. Hard on the heart? Definitely.

Think about the disciples. They thought they had suffered the worst loss ever when Jesus was crucified and died.

The One who called them from mundane life to experiences of healings, miracles, intense conflict with people who wanted to kill Him. The one they followed for three years of their lives seeing things they wouldn’t know how to put into words.

The One who said He loved them and the One they loved was gone in a sequence of events of brutality, fear, betrayal. It’s a cloud of hopelessness.

This feeling of defeat and blur of confusion was endured for three days.

This wasn’t a ball game. For these followers is what the very heartbeat of who they were thrown into tornado of havoc and spit out with no compassion.

Imagine what it would be like for a team who lost a heartbreaking game in the tournament to get a call to find out their loss had been reversed and they were now declared the winners!

How would that feel for those players that they were still in the tournament and still invited to compete and play in the next game?

Magnify that emotion by a million and then you might taste what the Mary, Martha, and the disciples felt when they found the tomb empty and Jesus reappeared to them.

What was happening in front of them was inconceivable: Jesus had come back to life in front of them. What was happening inside of them was even more inconceivable.

They were being told not to go home and curl up on the ground in defeat but instead all things had been reversed and they were still in the game!

We’ve been told the same thing.

That should cause anyone to jump, shout, dance, even shed tears but oh they are tears of joy!

Does it do that to you?

We just celebrated Easter Sunday, the most crucial day in the life of a Christian. It put us back in the game.

How do you live after that? How will you live this year?

The disciples lived the wake of the resurrection of Jesus like they never had before. They didn’t want to waste their second chance.

You? Me?

We’re still in the game through Jesus Christ. Not only that, the victory is already ours!

Don’t live like you wish you would have, should have, could have.

Play!!!

God is good.

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”).

IMG_3902

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

The Star Still Shines

I love what I get to do. Not only do I get to help people love Jesus, I get to see His love in His children.

On Christmas Tour I got to spend time with a family of three brothers and a sister after one of the concerts.

The sister cherishes the time she gets to spend with her friends and has a great passion to help others. The brothers love to talk sports which, of course, I don’t mind at all.

Even though we cheer for different teams, we found common ground in our favorite players. It was fun to hear them share their wealth of knowledge of both basketball and football. I was even more impressed with how these three brothers took turns sharing their thoughts and stories, never trying correct each other or outdo each others comments.

For almost an hour, the four of us sat around the table sharing why we liked or didn’t appreciate certain players and teams. While the boys didn’t always agree, they respectfully listened to one another and each one got a fair chance to share his opinion.

photo credit

photo credit: CliffMuller via photopin cc

Throughout Advent we’ve been talking about light. Both literal light like on my farm and while I’m running and also figurative light like the light of traditions.

Those boys shine a different kind of light. They shine the light of Christ.

When the baby Jesus was born, the star over the manger could be seen all around. It’s how the magi found the Christ child. They saw the star, were drawn to it, and followed it until they found Jesus.

Light still points people to Jesus. Except now it shines in us.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

If we’re walking in Him, then His light shines in each one of us in the way we live our lives, the choices we make, and the words we use.

It shines in the way we treat each other. From the convenience store clerk to the people living in our house.

His light is His presence.  If you are a follower of Christ, carrying His light is bringing His presence.

Chances are this Christmas you’re going to spend some time with your family. Maybe your family gets along great. Maybe you’re like my family and sometimes there’s some tension.

Sometimes shining the light of Christ isn’t the easy option. But it’s the right choice. The good choice. It’s what family does.

No matter which sports team you’re rooting for, root for one another.

Merry Christmas, my friends,

Peder

Running in the dark

Finding time to run is getting harder and harder these days. We’re trying to juggle so many schedules in my house, it gets dark earlier, and, of course, it’s colder this time of year. Running’s just not easy to fit in.

I try to take what I can get, so even if the sun’s going down, I head out to see if I can get some miles in. It’s inevitable that I’m gonna finish my workout in the dark.

Luckily, my running route has a decent path. It’s not narrow and not real rough. However, it’s also not well-lit and there are a number of moments when I can’t see the path.

It’s hard to run when you can’t see the path. It feels more stressful because you can’t see where your feet land, and it makes you run a different rhythm. You strain your eyes trying to not step on a crack or some uneven ground that would send your ankles into pile of dust. When you don’t know where to step, it adds tension and changes the way you run. It’s more work and less fun.

In the Psalms, there is the scripture I’m sure your familiar with that says “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.” God has made a path for us that leads us into daily living, not just surviving. Scripture is about giving us the light to see where to go so as to not fall into the ditches of this world by taking our eyes off God’s plan for us. When you have light on your path, it’s less stressful, more rhythmic, more fun. It lessens the stress of rolling your spiritual ankles on edge of the path when you lose sight of the middle.

God even used a star as a sign that Jesus had come to the earth.

We need light to live.

We need Jesus, the Light of the World, to know real life.

This world was really spiritually dark and God sent his Son to be light to show us Himself, save us from ourselves, and give abundant living.

This second week of Advent, give thanks for The Light that has come to the world in Jesus, the Savior born to you this day.

Without Jesus we would be truly in the dark.

God is good all the time.

Peder