Thursday, October 19, 2006


As many of you know my Aunt Darlene recently passed away after battling heart problems for nearly three decades. When she died she was only 58. I have buried three grandparents, but man, this was a really tough one.

You had to know Aunt Darlene. She was the 'life of the party' at family functions when i was little. She had an infectious smile and people just wanted to be near her.

I was so glad we got to see her in the hospital in London the day before she went under with morphine. She told us she was ready to go and when i asked her what she was looking forward to most, she said seeing Jesus, as her eyes lit up.

Don't take your loved ones forgranted. Treat them well. Focus on their good qualities. You really never know when you could lose a brother, a sister, a parent, a good friend. Death is no respector of persons.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


This past Sunday we ventured to a different church than usual. We are in the process of trying to find a church that has kids Rachael's age and that we feel comfortable with. As most of you know, I was raised Brethren in Christ. My home church was in Frogmore, near Tillsonburg.

Sunday we headed to Stayner BIC church about half an hour from Flesherton. I had not been there for probably fifteen years or more. I had last went up with an old youth pastor. The church is quite nice, bigger than i expected, and has padded seats! I would say about 150 were in attendance this particular morning. The senior pastor was away, so the youth pastor was in charge and spoke. His name is Dave Hamill. Both Lauretta and I know him from EBC, and she used to see him at youth events. He spoke on OBEDIENCE-what is is, how to do it, and the benefits of it. His presentation was good, including use of a film clip and modern translations of Scripture.

The worship team was also bigger than i thought it would be, complete with drums, bass, and acoustic guitar. Songs included "Come Thou Fount" and "Lord I lift your Name on High". Rachael seemed to manage fine in the nursery. Only near the end of the service did a worker bring her to us, saying she was asking for "mom". I am proud of Lauretta for leaving her in the nursery, even though it was hard.

I saw the fathers of a couple EBC'ers i know-Howie Scheffer, and Ryan Brown, so that was neat. We want to go again to this church when the senior pastor is speaking.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

ADD TO THE BEAUTY Posted by Picasa
Sara Groves is not just a singer, but a communicator of relational stories. Her songs on 2005's ADD TO THE BEAUTY deal with the intricacies of human relationships and the vertical-horizontal relationship between Creator and creation.
The best musical comparison for Groves would be perhaps, Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan, or some of Dido, or Jann Arden's work. The disc is full of light pop sounds of a soothing nature. CCM magazine picked this as the best of '05 and it would be hard to argue with that assessment! In an age of manufactured music stars (of which i admit i like my fair share), this is a breath of fresh air.
The opening track 'When it was over', finds Groves singing about conflict and offering this solution: "Love wash over a multitude of things/Make us whole." 'It's Going to be Alright' is co-written with former WhiteHeart member Gordon Kennedy. On it she sings the following to someone going through a dark time: "I did not come here to offer you cliche's/I will not pretend to know of all your pain/Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith for you."
ADD TO THE BEAUTY was produced by Brown Bannister who has worked with the likes of Petra and Amy Grant. On a final note, Groves bears somewhat of a resemblance to country artist Sara Evans in this album's photoshoot.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

STRYPER REBORN Posted by Picasa
Back in the 1980's if you were to ask a non-believer to name a Christian band, they would probably say either Petra, or Stryper. Each of these groups received flack from the church for using worldly music to spread the Message. Stryper was also criticized for their outlandish attire. Nevertheless, they rose to prominence with albums such as TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL and IN GOD WE TRUST. But, by the 90's, around the time of their AGAINST THE LAW disc, the guys were drinking quite a bit, and they more or less called it a day, except for doing a couple new tunes for a best of project.

Fast forward to 2005 and Stryper is back with three of the four same members. The new member is bassist Tracy Ferrie, formerly of WHITECROSS. named REBORN one of the best albums of 2005.

REBORN begins with two cuts that speak of the transformation needed for one to be truly free. On 'Open your eyes', they sing: "Open your eyes, loosen the vice that constrains you/Open your eyes, burn the disguise that you wear/Open your eyes, break the unfaith that controls you/Open your eyes, truth will be there". Lest the band be accused of not being specific enuff about the object of their faith, read these words from the song 'Passion': "Jesus Christ I want to serve You/I want what You want for me/Sacrifice-I don't deserve You, thru Your passion I am free".

The album concludes with a rocked up version of 'Amazing Grace', followed by a re-make of 'In God we Trust'. Stryper will be at a couple of festivals this summer and are booking a church tour.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

NO GREATER LOVE Posted by Picasa
When Greg Xavier Volz left Petra in the mid 80's, it was not the end of his musical career. In fact, he continues to record solo material to this day. Last year he released two projects, one of them being NO GREATER LOVE. The musical styles on this cd are not ones that are popular today. On some cuts, i can hear echoes of old Randy Rothwell material, he being an Integrity worship leader. At other times Volz serves up Caribbean type fare, that puts one in mind of Bobby McFerrin's "Don't worry be happy". The album is nicely added to by some classic guitar work by Will McFarlane.

The title track is up first. It is a classic bluesy rock number with a short lyric: "No greater love has any man than this/That he lay down his life for a friend/But Jesus laid it down for all the world to see/So that many would believe that He died for you and me/This is the greatest love that the world has known/that the world has known".

Thematically, the songs fall into the categories of praise and exhortation. On 'Shout Aloud', Volz offers this praise: "Jesus Christ has set me free, by the blood He shed on Calvary/He is worthy, I will praise Him." On 'Walk, love, do', he exhorts believers to "Walk humbly, love mercy, do justly."

It's good to hear the former voice of Petra still at it. It's a shame his music is not widely distributed though. To order Volz products call Match Made in Heaven Music at 1-800-445-8404, or visit

Monday, February 27, 2006

BEAUTY HAS GRACE Posted by Picasa
Jaci Velasquez began in Contemporary Christian music as an inspirational singer more or less, with hits such as 'On my Knees'. In 2005, she released BEAUTY HAS GRACE on Word Entertainment.

On this album, she dabbles experimentally with the pop and light rock genres. And on a few tracks, she has a raspiness in her voice not too unlike Ashlee Simpson.

What one will notice when reading thru the lyrics for the ten tracks, is that she is a Christian who does not have all the answers to life's dilemmas, but she has chosen to put her trust in her Lord who provides her with comfort and solace. Velasquez uses multiple songwriters including industry vet Chris Eaton on a track.

One gets the feeling Velasquez is trying to reach a younger audience with this project. At times she sounds hip, at others it seems a stretch. But, overall I like this project. It is a statement of genuine, down to earth, upward looking faith.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


It all began when 80's band Heart Attack decided it wanted to record some of their original songs they had lying around. Their vocalist got hurt in an accident, which was just one event that prevented the music from being released. A couple of the remaining members, Brent Handy and Alan Sandifer, contacted some of their favorite artists to see if they would be interested in working with them to put out the songs on CD. John Schlitt of Petra agreed to do vocals on all ten tracks, while ex-Petra drummer Louie Weaver played drums on several tracks. Schlitt and Weaver recorded their parts at different times. The result is the Cd PROJECT DAMAGE CONTROL, put out in 2005.
Right off the bat, it should be stated that this is not a Petra record. For one thing, it does not feature the songwriting or guitar work of Bob Hartman. Secondly, it also differs from a Schlitt solo project. Lastly, musically it is more akin to the likes of REZ or DOGS OF PEACE. It has a darker, heavier feel.
The album features several catchy tracks. LIAR is about the great deceiver: "He's the liar, liar, liar/He sounds good for a while/He's a liar, liar, liar/Don't give in to the words of a liar, liar, liar". NEW JERUSALEM points to the ultimate destination of believers: "We're on the way to New Jerusalem/We're on the way to see the Lord/We're on the way to New Jerusalem/Praise Jesus forevermore". The last cut, TRY AGAIN" is very 80-ish musically. It speaks of witnessing: "Some people come him Jesus/Some don't call at all/He's the King of Kings and Lord of Lords/I've got to tell everybody I know!"
There is talk of another PROJECT DAMAGE CONTROL cd. No official word yet as to who would take part. The sound quality on PDC is not as good as on a Petra record by far, but this is not a major record label release. It can be bought or ordered thru your local Christian shop.