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!

Goodbye to a Ragamuffin of a Teacher

On April 12 the earth said goodbye to author/speaker/teacher Brennan Manning. He wrote books like Abba’s Child, Ruthless Trust, and most notably The Ragamuffin Gospel.

Photo from

Photo from

I actually got to take in Brennan’s teaching in person at a Compassion Artist’s Retreat in Nashville in 2001. It was one the first times I got be a participant rather than a presenter. It was also unique because the participants were all musicians, speakers, and communicators who spend their life traveling the road using their gifts, skills, and art to help people connect with Jesus and at the same be time an advocate to rescue children who can’t rescue themselves.

I remember being a bit intimated. It was a room filled with my musical role models and people whose mark on Christian music and ministry made a path for me to do what I do. I had feelings of being out of my league, a ministry misfit, unworthy to even sit with them. Wrong? Probably but I was so amazed at the wealth of talent in the room I was giving in to my insecurities of “not good enough” and I prayed “Please, God, help me not miss You.”

When Brennan came out for the first session, he wandered to the front in his white hair, kind of abrasive demeanor and started by saying “I want to put a sign in the entry of my house that says, ‘Don’t come in here and should on me!’”

He then proceeded to spew out words about we need to stop treating each other, and more so ourselves, like we need to try harder, be better, and live with guilt of “if only I would have, should have, or could have, then God would be more pleased with me.”

I was hit with a fire hose of Gospel.

I thought I was there for fellowship and some sweet candy inspiration when I actually experienced two days of a life-changing truth I never trusted: the God creator of all calls me His son and I get to call Him Abba.

It was that retreat where God would start a new work in me through Jesus that would change my songwriting, worship leading, and teaching.

It was where Father’s love would taste like it never had before. Healing started and, to be honest, still continues.

One of my favorite fruits came the weeks after that time with Brennan, a song I am so glad I got to write: “Abba I Belong To You.”

Yep, that’s where it started. Brennan actually taught me the phrase. It has changed me forever, and I have never tired of singing and leading the song.

I never got to see Brennan Manning after that weekend. I wish I could have. I would have loved play the song for him.

Brennan’s life has been recorded as hard with lots of bumps, frustrations, and falls. I get it.

I am also grateful for that window God opened in my heart those spring days in Tennessee and that He used a ragamuffin to get my attention.

I am forever grateful Brennan.

I belong to my Abba Father God. Not matter how many times I “should” on me.

Have you been influenced by the life of Brennan Manning? Have you found the song “Abba I Belong to You” to be helpful?

In memory of Brennan, you can download “Abba I Belong to You” for free at Feel free to share this with anyone who you think would be blessed by it.

Abba adores you.


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.

It Came in the Mail- Writing “Come to the Rescue”

On the Rescue project, a song that was truly a labor and love to write was “Come To The Rescue.” My 13-plus years of partnership with Compassion International and adopting two of my children has revolutionized my heart and the heart of my family. Our ministry’s heart for orphan care has grown and continues to become more passionate. After we had written and recorded “Roll The Stone Away” on the Taste and See project, I discovered I wanted to write more about this theme: the urgency of taking care of children in poverty, orphans, little ones who can easily go unnoticed and the hurt to advocate for them and tell the stories of how the Father God’s heart is all about this.

When we were writing the Rescue CD, I had always kept a bunch of side notes about God’s heart for the poor, left behind, widows, orphans, and so on. The difference this time was finding the word or words that would really speak of what happens when you reach out to a child and pour some of yourself into them AND how we just can’t procrastinate about doing something. I was standing in my kitchen with my wife, Sherri, when one our staff brought a package we received from Compassion.

It was information about a new program called Rescue Me, a ministry specifically for children who are under five years of age and are at high risk of not surviving. It was this ministry and more so this word “rescue.” Rescue means “to free or deliver form confinement, danger, or evil.” That said everything to me.

I already had a tune in my head that I came up when I was on a run so I started to lay down some ideas and immediately sent them to Bob Stromberg and my producer Paul Marino. Because they both have a heart for Compassion and children in need, we went right to work.

The one thing about the song that is different is it has less of a feel of gentleness or graciousness. What I mean is that sometimes when we talk about a subject like this we tend to approach it with “Would you mind if we talk about poverty?” or “If it doesn’t make you uncomfortable, could I tell you about children who are hurting?” The word rescue itself pretty much squelches that. To rescue someone is not convenient; it’s an urgent moment. When we wrote this song, we wanted to be true to the word and the reality. Children need to be rescued. It’s urgent and not always convenient.

Check out the “Come to the Rescue” video.

Please retweet it, re-post it, share it in whatever way you can. It’s not about charity; it’s about justice.

If you go to and click on the Compassion Tab and sponsor a child, we will send you a copy of Rescue. Just email me at and tell me you sponsored a child and we will get the music.

Here is a come to the “Come to the Rescue” ringtone download: Cometotherescueringtone

In a village by the river where the water once ran sweet
a child and her family would gather there to eat
now she sits there weeping, hungry and alone
it’s all gone
poverty surrounds her and weaves it’s wicked spell
She hides inside her memories to bear this living hell
The voice the whispered hopes and dreams has all but gone away
gone away
All that she has
is a bowl full of tears
a stomach that’s aching
a heart that is breaking
praying somehow someone somewhere will hear
and come to the rescue

He wanders through the garbage down a moon-lit, muddy street
looking for shelter, just anywhere to sleep
for a little boy who’s eight years old, it’s hard to understand:
Why did they die and leave him behind?
All that he has is a bowl full of tears,
a stomach that’s aching,
a heart that is breaking
praying somehow someone somewhere will hear
and come to the rescue

Can you hear them? Will you listen?
Can you hear them? The forgotten and alone
Will you listen? To the hungry and afraid
Can you hear them? The one that’s losing hope
Will you listen? It doesn’t have to be this way
Can you hear them? / Can you hear them?
Will you listen? / Will you listen?

Until all that you have is a bowl full of tears,
a stomach that’s aching,
a heart that is breaking
to be the somehow someone somewhere who hears
and comes to rescue
Come to the rescue
Can you hear them? Will you listen?
Can you hear their cries? Is your heart breaking?
Can you feel the aching inside?
Can you hear them calling, calling
come to the rescue
come to the rescue

I never dreamed a song would come to me through the mail.

Keep carrying the Kingdom of God, my friends, to all who need the presence of our Abba Father.

God is good all the time.


Risky Songwriting: An Inseide look at the song “Be”

I was leading worship for a senior high youth event called Godstock during the time when I was writing for the project Taste And See.

The speaker was a friend of mine named Lyle Griner who works with Peer Ministry Leadership. He shared the powerful story of when his first wife passed away suddenly and his journey through that darkness. At the end of his talk, he asked me to come up and play some acoustic background music while he led the students through a time of prayer from Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”

He taught the students a prayer with that verse broken down into sections. He started each line with the beginning of the verse but would subtract a word each time, making it shorter and shorter until all that was left was “Be.” I was so moved by this prayer because Psalm 46:10 was a crucial verse for me when I lost my mom to a car accident when I was 14.

As he continued to teach the students the prayer, I took the music I was playing behind Lyle and sang the words of the prayer in my head. I would adjust the music to fit the words without disrupting the prayer time. In my head it was coming together.

When Lyle was done praying, I started to sing what was in my head. In songwriting this is the biggest risk you can take. First, because you have no idea how it’s going to flow. Second, because you have no idea how it will be received.

This is what I sang:

Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I am

Be still and know

Be still


Praise be to God! It went amazing. When I began to sing the tune, I loved the words coming off of my lips. It became so important for my own heart to hear myself say those words out loud.

That was the chorus right there. After the weekend I invited Bob and Paul to help me write the verses of what became one of my favorite songs.

Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I am

Be still and know

Be still


Though mountains fall,

the earth give way

I’ll be your refuge.

I’ll be your strength.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am

Be still and know

Be still


Be safe

Be loved

Because I am sovereign

you are not forgotten,

of this you can be sure.

I know your hopes.

I know your fears.

Rest in My promise that I am here.

Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I am

Be still and know

Be still


Special thanks to Lyle for blessing my life with his powerful story and journey.

Here is a link to a free ringtone for the song “Be.” Sometimes it’s good to “be” reminded that God is still God and His peace is perfect no matter who is calling. 🙂

Hope you’re enjoying the inseide look. 🙂 I’m enjoying telling the stories and hearing how God has used these songs in your life.

Does Psalm 46:10 have a special meaning to you? How about the song “Be”?


“Be” Written by Peder Eide, Paul Marino, and Bob Stromberg  Copyright 2006 Ya Sure! Music (ASCAP) Van Ness Press. Inc. (ASCAP) Stream Mountain Music (BMI) All rights reserved. Used by Permission

Inseide the Songs

A few nights ago I sat in the kitchen with my oldest son Taylor talking about the music industry. He said “Dad, you been doing this full-time for over 16 years.” We talked about how many CDs we’ve made and especially all the songs we have written. It was a cool conversation. It also gave me an idea…

So many times I have been asked, as most songwriters are: When you write songs, does the music come first or the words?, How do you come up with the lyrics?, Who is your inspiration?, How do you know when a songs is good?, etc.

I’ve decided to answer some of those questions (and more) here on my blog. For the weeks ahead, I’ll blog about songs I have written and what was the process in writing them.

The amazing studio players on the Rescue Project

What songs have you always wanted to know about how and why we wrote them? 

Songs from Rescue, Taste and See, Perfect Surprise, and even older albums are all fair game.

I might answer you via a written blog or maybe a vlog. We will give out free ringtones and even some free full song downloads.

Pick any song you would like to know about, leave a request in the comments section, and I will bring a little behind the curtain thought as we go “inseide” the songs.

I look forward to hearing which songs you’ve always been curious about.

Grace and peace,