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!


It’s Love. The Second Sunday of Advent

I am currently sitting on a plane after a concert on my Love Has Come Christmas Tour.  A bit tired, squished in my seat, and cold because apparently we need to make the airplane feel like a Minnesota winter to keep the holiday mood real. Oh, a blanket would be nice right now…

So with Delta-frostbite I’m trying to type out this devo for Second Sunday of Advent. The second candle on our traditional wreath represents love, a word we recognize as the heartbeat of God the Father. It’s actually who He is. There is so much we can write. The power of love, the abuse of the meaning of the word, and so much in between. So for our devo, I want you focus on what it feels like to be in the presence of the genuine, godly and what I would call advent love.

photo credit: oddharmonic via photopin cc

Let me introduce you to Lonna Grabenstien. Lonna is a woman who ministers at American Lutheran in Gothenburg, Nebraska. She is a wife of many years, a mom of three awesome children, and now a grandma to three grandchildren. I’ve known Lonna for most of the years of my music ministry. We just performed our Christmas concert at her church and loved is what comes to my mind.

From the first step out of our vehicle on our arrival to the closing of the door of the truck at our departure I witness from afar the act of loving people like Jesus talks about.

As soon as we arrive and Lonna appears in the picture, there are kids begging for her attention, and everyone gets not just a courtesy but full attention to whatever question they have or even just telling her a story even if it has no relevance to what’s going on.

She listens with more than patience. She listens with joy. It is amazing to see. It’s constant. It has a touch of chaos. Every student is affirmed and even blessed with touch and words that have a feeling of destiny. You would think Lonna would get worn down to a level of just being tolerant but there is no way that’s happening. Every child feels like her favorite. I think they are.

Thanks, Stephanie!

It’s love.

Then there are the older ones. The junior high, senior high, and adults. It’s the same thing. In every introduction of anyone who comes our way, she speaks words of beauty about each person like I’m meeting a dignitary or someone who is about to cure an awful disease. It’s not a sale; it’s not a pitch. It’s real passion and understanding for each person who walks up to us.

It’s love.

When the concert was over, my dear friend Lonna was at it again so pouring thank yous and blessings onto everyone who came for the evening event. And then my heart was touched by how during our loading out of our production gear, she would encourage me with more stories and words of how she could see God moving throughout the whole concert and that there were so many people who needed to hear what was said.

It’s love.

You probably know someone like Lonna in your life. They are out there, and we love to be around them. It’s truly attractive and inviting and fun to be around those who love with more than just niceness but with true passion for who you are.

We just worshiped on the second Sunday of Advent. It’s about love. We remember that God has sent His Son Jesus at Christmas not out of duty, obligation, or need but because of something else.

It’s love.

My question to you is this: Do you realize you could be a Lonna to someone else today? Right now? Like even as you are reading this, there is someone in your life who needs what you have and you can give it to them.

It’s love.

This is a straight-forward challenge, directive, commissioning to you this week–well, the next four days–go give something real, unconditional, powerful, through your words, actions, giving, time, effort to someone very specific in your world and do it because you can.

You have all training, skill, and resource necessary to succeed. You can not fail. Why? Because…

It’s love.

God is good all the time


With Is A Power Thing – Behind the writing of You’re With Me

I was on a flight to an event going through my normal routine. I like to have a coffee in one hand and the newspaper in the other. I especially like it early in the morning because then it’s like I’m reading brand new news and not something I caught a piece of on the trillion screens we have in every restaurant, mall, airport, and even on our phones. I like to read the story. In the midst of reading world news and editorials an advertisement grabbed my eye.

Unfortunately for the company, I don’t remember what was being sold but I remember the picture and title. It was a picture from behind four kids sitting on the beach with their arms around each other looking out at the ocean waves. The words across the top were “With is a powerful thing!”

I love that line.

Weeks later I was at Camp Timber-lee with the band playing for a senior high extreme weekend. The speaker was an important friend in my life named Pastor Jeff Klein from Wheaton, IL. Jeff has taken many days to talk with me and pray for me. I actually send my lyrics to him to check my theology, content, and message.

That weekend he talked about how so many people in the Bible are referred to as people who “walked with the Lord” or how “the Lord was with them.” In the examples he gave, I started to think about how I forget that when life gets so hard.

Photo from Microsoft Clip Art

Even as I write this, I confess to you I feel very overwhelmed by some things and even defeated in some regard. When it’s hard, I will sometimes call on God in prayer like He is located at some fire station down the street or like He is an ambulance.

But it’s just not like that.

I started to write down people in the Bible like Moses or David and wondered what they may have felt like in super intense moments.

Did they call 911 or did they act and speak like God was already right there with them because God was with them? I took my ideas to Paul Marino, and we begin to write but something missing. I know God is with me and yet I can be scared…

I heard Pastor David Housholder preach from Acts 2, and he talked about how in verse 14 Peter preaches with bold urgency even knowing he risked his life doing so but was not afraid. Then Pastor David asked, “Why wasn’t Peter afraid?”

His answer? Because Peter was just filled with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is NOT afraid. That’s what I needed to hear and what I wanted the bridge to say in the song, so that’s we wrote.

My friends, for me “You’re With Me” was a different style to write and but as you read and I hope listen to the song, you will realize the RESCUE God gave us was so we never, and I mean never, have to be afraid.

Simply because God is with us.

Take a listen to the song. Download the ringtone here: yourewithme_rt

God Is Good All The Time,


Some days I stand at the water like Moses I have nowhere to go
Sometimes I facing the giant just holding a sling and a stone
It’s then that I cling to Your promise that You have not left me alone
You’re before, You’re behind me, You’re so close beside
You’re in me, You’re through me, You’re over me
You’re with me

Some days I am circled by lions who seek to, to devour my soul
The times I choose to deny You then I hear, I hear the rooster crow
It’s then when I come to my senses and hold to the hope that I know
You’re before me, You’re behind me, You’re so close beside me
You’re in me, You’re through me, You’re over me
You’re with me

I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid.
‘Cuz you’re not afraid
I know You’re with me
I’m not afraid. No, I’m not afraid
‘Cuz You’re not afraid, Lord
‘Cuz I know You’re with me
I’m not afraid. No, I’m not afraid.
‘Cuz, Lord, I know You’re not afraid and I know that You’re with me
You’re before me, You’re behind me, You’re so close beside me
You’re in me, You’re through me, You’re over me
You’re with me. You’re with me.