Be Present Where You’re Present

Hey friends!

It’s been awhile.

But here’s a little look inseide my life during my camp counselor days.

Join me on the stage at Ingham Bible Camp where I learned to play guitar:

(Here’s the YouTube link if you need it)

Stop for a second and take a look around you.

What’s God doing? How can you give Him thanks for what’s going on?

If you want to share it with me, I’d love to see your response in the comments or on Facebook.

He could be putting into motion something you’ll still see the fruit of 20 years from now!

God is good!
Peder

Like Phineas Has Ferb, I Have…

There was this song idea rolling around it my head.

It came from Isaiah 6:3:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

The Hebrew word for “glory” is kavod, better translated “weight and presence.”

I wanted to help worshippers remember that God’s presence is everywhere.

That means everywhere is holy ground.

So I took this idea to my very dear friend Bob Stromberg.

Like Lone Ranger has Tonto, Batman has Robin, Charlie Brown has Snoopy, and Phineas has Ferb, I have Bob Stromberg.

Bob and I with our lovely wives in Guatemala

Bob and I with our lovely wives in Guatemala

As I met with Bob in person, he listened carefully to my ideas, the message, and some lyrics that were rolling around in my head.

Now, co-writing a song together is about trusting the other person, being vulnerable, and being willing to do somethings you’ve never done before.

Bob challenged me and he encouraged me.

Then he had to go to California for a few weeks to perform.

The guy’s busy.

He’s written plays, books, comedy shows, and he’s been featured on America’s Got Talent.

He could have told me the song would have to wait until he got back.

But he didn’t.

That’s not how Bob works.

That’s not how creativity works.

In no time, Bob had ideas.

As he’s driving down Interstate 5 in Los Angeles, he’s recording lyric ideas into his personal recorder.

He’s sitting in traffic singing to my voicemail.

When his long days were over, he’d go back to the hotel and type up more ideas to email to me.

His creativity knows no bounds!

He used his limited personal time to dig into my song.

What he came up with would become some of my favorite lyrics capturing exactly what I was hoping for in the song “Holy Ground.”

When I’m walking in the mountains
Strolling down a busy street
And always when I’m alone
By the ocean drone
I hear You’re calling out to me
This is Holy Ground

I’m grateful for my Bob.

Not just his contribution to that song and so many others, but forever more his friendship and, yes, his heart.

“As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp.” Proverbs 27:17

Bob is one of the pieces of iron who sharpens me.

When I was in the studio recording “Holy Ground,” there were some changes that needed to be made the very moment we were finalizing the song.

I was struggling.

So I called Bob.

He took the time that very moment to talk me off my proverbial cliff of worry, and he helped make the song even stronger.

Just in time.

It’s both Bob’s gift and his heart.

He cares about the art and the artist he’s working with.

I can say this from experience: you don’t find that everywhere.

Hey, friend, you’ve been getting emails from me about a new teaching series Bob’s made.

It’s called Mastering the Art of Creativity.

They’re instructional videos and more about how to draw out your creativity abilities and growing them like never before.

Bob knows what he’s doing.

He’s finally teaching publicly things he’s been teaching me privately for years.

If you work in any type of vocation or ministry where coming up with “new” is needed, you’re gong to want to dig into what Bob has put together.

It’s definitely worth your time!

What he teaches has helped bring my music and ministry to a whole new level.

When I’m writing a new song or building a new event, Bob’s one of the first “Ferbs” I put on my team.

He’s been part of over 30 songs I’ve recorded. (Plus some we haven’t recorded yet).

Songs like:
Abba I Belong to You
As Is
Roll The Stone Away
Why Wouldn’t I
Come To The Rescue
That’s What Family Does
Draw Us Together
The Reason We Live
What A Ride
Come On In
Love Has Come

If you’ve ever sung any of these songs, you’ve already been impacted by Bob’s work.

Let him impact yours.

Our God is the creative God.

Because of His goodness, there are no limits to what news things can come about.

I can’t wait to see what He does through you.

God is good all the time!
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

Preparing Like the Lynx

Wow, it’s been too long! I hope this blog finds you well! It’s been quite a summer with lots to talk about as well as awesome things to come.

I have a tradition to go with Allison to a Minnesota Lynx game. The Lynx are the WNBA team here in Minnesota. We are big basketball fans, and it’s Allison favorite sport. The Lynx are one of the top teams in the WNBA and have two championship banners. (More than my favorite NFL team ;))

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This year we were blessed by some friends who are season ticket holders to get in early and sit on the court itself during the shoot around. It was right up close.

To watch some of the best female basketball players in the world go through their pregame drills and shooting was really fun. To be up so close and feel the speed, focus, and intensity that these girls warm up with before even playing gave a new appreciation to how serious they are about their jobs.

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They were always verbal and affirming, which is a favorite part for me about girls sports. Always calling out “nice shot,” “you got this,” “push yourself,” and so on. Always positive. Even the coaches bringing their energy up always talking, communicating with the players.

They do this before every game! Every game. Add on to that the practices and the workouts.

Can we learn from this when it comes to how we prepare for worship, mission trips, coffee with friends, small group time, youth nights, and quiet times?

It might sound silly but sometimes we just jump in to our faith events with out any prep of prayer or study. Sometimes we jump in not even expecting God to show up.

Can we be a source of encouragement to those who are coming in the door? They’ve traveled to the event. Can we tell them how glad we are that they came? Or maybe we can look forward to what God has for them.

Can we make a prayer list before we get to our prayer time or quiet time so as not to get scattered and feel like we are not sure what our time was about?

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The Lynx won big that night. They won as team.

Preparation matters.

What would your experience if you look for some prep before your next time of worship?

Just an idea… but I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

God is good all the time!
Peder

Traditions are Like Light

It’s been great to see so many of you on Christmas Tour this December. Those of you who’ve made it out so far have seen this little tree sitting on the piano. It’s become a tradition and is part of every Christmas concert we do.

Here’s a little pre-concert vlog about the light that traditions bring:


(watch the video on YouTube)

Traditions are like light. They help us when we get lost.

They’re worship and they’re worth repeating year after year.

What new tradition are you going to start this Christmas?

(If you want to sponsor a child, here’s the link to Compassion).

The Runner vs The Skateboarder

I like running. I’m more inconsistent than I want to be but it’s a time when I can think without being interrupted. I ran track in high school, but it’s my wife, Sherri, who is my inspiration and encouragement to run, and she reminds me how great I feel after a run. Tired? Yep. Energized? Definitely.

I was out running on a beautiful Minnesota fall day when this kid with his flat-brimmed hat on backwards looking at his iPhone just cruised by me on his skateboard!

I was on the sidewalk and he came right into my peripheral vision on the street and eased by.

I actually felt myself pick up the pace (which feels slow now) to try and keep up with the guy, hoping to pass him.

He didn’t even notice me. He didn’t care. He just went on his way enjoying his wheels and music.

Lots of thoughts entered at that moment:

  • I’m so slow! What happened to my speed from days gone by?
  • That kid is so not getting a workout. The skateboard is doing all the work.
  • I’m gonna beat this flat brimmed, untied shoes, no care in the world boarder
  • I hate falling behind anyone. I hate losing!
  • I’m glad I don’t own a skateboard. I’m working hard. I’m better off than he is.
  • It’s not fair that I have to run and he doesn’t.
  • I’m embarrassed to be so slow; I hope he doesn’t remember me.
  • I’ll never get faster.

They go on and on.

I know, it’s not very Christian like.

But I’m being honest about what I was thinking because it made me think about how as followers of Jesus we compare our “faithfulness” and “strength” to people around us.

It’s not helpful to do this! 

What if I change a few words in my thoughts. Do you ever have thoughts like these?

  • I’m so doubting! What happened to my confidence from days gone by?
  • That person is so not trying. God is doing all the work.
  • I’ll go to to show everyone how I worship.
  • I hate falling in front of anyone. I hate screwing up!
  • I’m glad I not a lazy church-goer. I’m working hard. I’m better off than them.
  • It’s not fair that I have to struggle and he doesn’t.
  • I’m embarrassed to have questions. I hope he doesn’t notice my fears.
  • I’ll never get it right. I’ll never win.

I run because I get to run. I try to get in better shape. I may try a race. I really just want to get stronger, feel better, and take care of what I’ve been given.

Isn’t that a part of our faith and connecting with God and His presence?

We have each been given a certain measure of faith in accordance to what God decides (Romans 12:3). It’s not about comparing ourselves to each other. That takes our eyes of the prize (Philippians 3:12-14).

Our running is about OUR run!

God has laid it out and is excited to show Himself to you in new ways. Don’t feel defeated by the skateboard! In fact ask God to bless those who seem to speed on by that they would know the presence of the Father like never before!

This Thanksgiving, give thanks that you get to run, walk, or roll. It’s what God has made for you and He’s is excited to meet you in it.

God is good All the Time!

Peder

Family and The Elephant In The Room

“My family does ok.”
“We are so glad just to get through a day.”
“We all get along.”

All we ever hear about is how much work family is. Anything beyond survival is just a bonus.

While getting along is good, it’s not ultimately what God’s designed. He has so much more in mind for families.

Is family hard sometimes? Absolutely.

But is it just for survival and getting along? No way.

One of the challenges for a family can even be believing that family life can be fun and faith-filled rather than just a lot of work.

I think of it like the circus baby elephant. As soon as he’s born, he has a chain put on his foot. As he grows up, every day he has this chain on his foot keeping him captive.

Once the elephant becomes an adult, he could easily break the chain and be set free. But because he has only ever known the chain of captivity, he has no idea what he’s capable of!

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That’s a lot of families. They have no idea what they are capable of in the kingdom of God because of some kind of chain they feel they can’t break!

Your family is made to break any chains keeping you from experiencing God’s destiny for you!

That’s what this year’s All In All Out Family Worship Tour is all about.

My daughter Allison and I want families to know and experience the blessing and adventure that God has created for them.

It’s not too late for your family!

God truly will take you “As Is” and start right now. Being bound by a chain of what life is like right now doesn’t meant you need to stay where you’re at!

The truth is: God is the only one who can take your “As Is” moment and turn it into something beautiful.

Go all in as a family seeking His Kingdom so you can discover the amazing adventure God is making in you and your family to go all out!

That’s what the concert is about. That’s what we believe family is about! That’s what we believe God’s Kingdom is all about!

Will Allison and I get to see you on the All In All Out Tour? Here’s hoping it’s a yes!

For concert information, head over to the tour page.

What Does Church Look Like?

I have traveled a lot of miles. By plane, by highway, by both. I’m afraid to add them up. In those travels I have gotten to see and still see a lot of different churches and a lot of different worship services. I’ve seen pretty much every style, format, and size. You name it, I think I’ve been able to be a part of it. It’s actually a real honor and it has shaped me in amazing ways, and even more so it has influenced how I write music and lead worship. Something is simmering in my mind and I want your opinion:

Scripturally-speaking, what is church supposed to look like? What is the picture? Who is there? What are the main things you notice in a service or maybe a building?

The book of Acts comes to mind for me as well as the conversations the Apostle Paul had with the different churches. What about for you?

All of this questioning comes from an experience I just had as a presenter at an amazing conference called D6. D6 draws from Deuteronomy 6 and focuses on children and family worship. I learned a lot and hopefully offered something good. It has pushed my mind and heart to take an important look at church focus.

I’m not trying to fix anything; I’m hoping for some good conversations. Church is God’s idea and I want to understand it more, not just go along with it or make any assumptions.

So, let’s talk it out. Would you leave me your thoughts about what church looks like in comments section of this blog?

I hope to hear from you. Thanks for the time to talk.

Blessings and (as always) God is good all the time!

Peder

P.S. If you are looking for an amazing resource for family worship and family formation, please check out my friend Rob Rienow and his ministry Visionary Family. Awesome stuff for marriage and family!

Hosanna!

Palm Sunday is here! You know the story. Read the Message version:

See How Your King Comes

The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem. They broke off palm branches and went out to meet Him. And they cheered: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in God’s name! Yes! The King of Israel!” Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it: No fear, Daughter Zion: See how your king comes, riding a donkey’s colt.

The disciples didn’t notice the fulfillment of many Scriptures at the time, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that what was written about him matched what was done to Him. The crowd that had been with Him when He called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after Him.” John 12:12-19 (MSG)

I love the word Hosanna. It’s powerful. It’s passionate. It’s more heartfelt than we realize sometimes. The word is interpreted with the words “save us,” a cry for salvation but it’s also a declaration of praise! Some might find it to be a mix that doesn’t easily mix but I think it mixes well.

Picture what it might look like! I see hands raised at “Hosanna.”

Raised hands represent celebration, surrender, and a reaching out to touch and be touched!

Hosanna, save us, blessed is He who comes!

I think it deserves a hand raising!

If you were drowning, you would raise and wave your hands to be rescued.

At a winning score by your favorite team, you raise your hands in celebration!

Same hands…

This Sunday, spend some time with your hands raised to the Lord!

He is the one who saves us! He is the One who deserves all praise!

HOSANNA!

God is good all the time!

Peder

Behold Worship

Ok, so first of all I am so sorry for this taking so long to write another blog. No excuse other than I will not try to let it happen again. I am writing this blog from about 38,000 feet above Missouri flying home from an amazing event called Behold. It’s a youth conference in Alabama with over 900 students and adults. I have been so honored to do this event a number of times. It is a weekend of worship that, to me, is a taste of heaven. The people of the South are so amazing and loving. I truly feel like family even though I don’t say my words correctly and I have no desire for grits and I like Auburn and Alabama (I can’t and WON’T choose). The Behold team is off the charts and have become so dear to me. Oh, how I love for the people of Behold.

You look great, Behold!

Every event I do is important to me but I think this weekend was in the perfect place on my calendar. In 12 hours from when I write this I get back on a plane to fly to India with my wife Sherri and my oldest son Taylor. We are traveling with a ministry that is so important to me called Compassion. We are going to see the ministry of Compassion and what they do to help release children from poverty.

The trip has stressed me a bit. Along with schedules, it’s hard on Sherri and the kids with all the planning involved and it’s hard on all of the wonderful families who take care of my kids while we are gone. It’s one thing for Daddy to be gone in the US but another to go half way around the world.

Yet at Behold we worshipped and sang out loud that “we are not orphans” and cried to God to “do what You want with me” and that to be able to “taste and see the Lord is good” is the best of all. It was church how I hope and desire it could be every day.

Behold, you bless me.

It was extra special because because the folks of Behold made it possible for me to bring the band.

Thank you Behold!

Oh it was fun!!! I am so blessed to play my music with the likes of Sara Renner, Tim Zhorne, Todd Anderson, Christian Ankrum, Todd Behrens, and the list goes on. You know who you are.

Hey, friends, here is the takeaway for you. Are you stressed? Overwhelmed? GO WORSHIP! Swim in the ocean of God’s goodness. Dive deep, swim, just float. Whatever! I did at Behold. It helps!

God is good all the time!

Peder