Thursday, August 30, 2007

looking up

i believe heaven will not be a strange place for us

if in fact we've truly followed Him here on earth

i believe we are going home

a place that we will instantly recognize as home

the moment we enter the gates

we will not be lost for a second

after all

God made us in His image

i believe we'll fit right in

won't have to roam around like lost aliens

if in fact we sought the kingdom first

allowed Him to transformed to be like Jesus

while we still walked the earth

it's the task He set before us

to seek the kingdom

to glorify Him with our lives

to be more like God's son

the more we die here

the more we establish the kingdom in us

the more we die here

the more we discover our eternal selves

i once read a book called The Great Divorce

about a bus trip to heaven

how a man

couldn't even tread upon heaven's grass

because he was fallen

if we don't seek the kingdom here

we will not understand the kingdom there

the things of heaven will repel us

we won't understand it

and we'll be homeless

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

truth & consequences

since the beginning

there has always been truth

since the beginning

there has always been consequences

since the beginning

our Father has been dealing with the fall

ever since Adam fell and broke his crown

there has always been consequences

The Son was sent to save us from consequences

truth can not be altered or redefined

truth simply has to be recognized

then dealt with

God himself has never changed the reality of truth

He did not break law to free us

Christ willingly fulfilled the law

paid the price required of man

we each have the freedom to choose

life or death

right or wrong

like Dylan sang

it may be the devil

or it may be the Lord

but you got to serve somebody

if we walk away from from what is true

there are consequences we each face

by choosing God or self

life or death

all choices great and small

have consequences

good or bad

each choice made

accountability is tied

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday night at The Vine

The Coffee Vine Cafe: We were asked late Friday evening to play Saturday night as well. Jose' couldn't make it so I went ahead and said I would. I had some new horns that I had just purchased to to trick out my old speakers. Unfortunately I buggerd the job of installing them right before time to play. I thought it would be simple enough a task for an tech-challenged idiot like myself to do. Both cabinets fluttered something awful and I decided to take the system down and just belt out my songs, running my guitar through my Line 6 effects stomp box and small Sony hot spot monitor. I really didn't know if I was going to pull it off or not but the crowd wasn't as intense as Friday night.

Most of the night I was background ambiance to their cool coffee house environment. There were some really neat dynamics that happened in spite of the lack of P.A. There was one song that I was joined by a young percussionist that Gina met in the sitting room behind the stage. She encouraged him to join me on stage and cut loose. My friend Rachael who works at the cafe' joined me for a worship song I wrote called My Desire. She is a little shy but has an angelic voice. I told her that I'd like to invite her on stage for future gigs. She is really good and I found out our voices blend well together. It was nice to have a moment of real praise and worship during the event. I didn't push it to happen but didn't hold back when the moment came.

Gina came home excited because she got some percussion lessons from her new found friends. I think we are going to drive out to Ashville tomorrow and visit their church. There wasn't a big crowd there last night but we had a wondeful time.

I don't play the song Sugar Blues that well on guitar, but last night was the first time I belted it out on blues harp and just sang it a-cappella. . Sugar Blues is a song that Brooky Finlayson and Barry Goss wrote while touring with Terry Talbot a couple of decades ago. It's a great song. Nori and Barbie Kelley (The Wind) do a great version of the song as well. I always enjoy backing Brook up when he plays it. Tonight though, I found a way to make it my own and will throw it into my line up from here own out.

I have been asked to play in September, both Friday and Saturday nights, the 21st and 22nd. I would like for The Guise (Brooky Finlayson, Michael Bynum and myself) to play there one night in the near future. Michael...are you up for it? Do you think it would be a good Rapha outing?

Playing at the Coffee Vine Cafe' is just as much fun as I thought it would be. I'm looking forward to next month's venture.

Friday, August 24, 2007

tonight tonight

I don't know why I have been anticipating tonight's venture more so than others. I've sung to a lot of crowds down through the years. Maybe it's because I haven't played a secular venue since Jose' and I played the The Courtyard venue four years back. I enjoy playing inside and outside of church walls.

I have songs that one can't play in church, love songs and the like. Throughout the eighties I had a coffeehouse in which I could play all my stuff. Michael and I as Dreamer used to play a mix of loves songs and Jesus music. I never had a problem with it because all my Jesus music songs are love songs. Back in my late teens and early twenties I had this idea of putting together an album entitled Praise & Other Love Songs. I never did...maybe one day.
If in fact Love is God, then do we not limit the meaning of the word love by defining it as a mere verb. If God is Love...isn't this agape love a noun? Love isn't something you take lightly, a mere feeling that one falls in and out of. Love is a great deal more serious than that. Our God infused love is how we are witness to the world. Our love is how we emit God to the world around us. Our love to others is His aroma. This God love isn't fickle.

But I digress....tonight I'm carrying my guitar and songbook to a quaint coffeehouse and sing songs I've written down through the years...some praise and other love songs. I hope you all can make it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

another departed Jesus freak

"I had a prof one time... He said, 'Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway'." - Rich Mullins

Rich was a CCM artist that died around ten years ago.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Old coffee

This morning Gina and I woke up dragging. It's been a wild week so far. I reheated a cup of left-over coffee from yesterday. It was pretty good considering. I'd never done that before but Gina made a whole pot last night for her mother and it felt wasteful to dump all that joe out for a fresh batch. Gina said that the coffee cup that I was drinking out of didn't look too clean last night. I didn't taste anything or nothing bobbed it's head from the surface. It didn't seem to get me started like I had hoped.

Jose' dropped by late in the morning to help me put some new speakers in my old cabinets. As it turned out, the people at Parts Express didn't send me all the parts that I needed. I should have checked the box out a week ago when it arrived. I ordered the parts but doubt if they'll be in by Friday's concert. Jose' hung around for a little while and we had Chinese together. I think that I am just now cooling down from that spicy shrimp dish.

The red van is finally ready to pick up. Now all I need is the money to pay for the repair...maybe tomorrow. It will be nice to have two working vehicles again. The up side? We stuck together and saved on gas throughout the Summer.

Katie doesn't have a show tonight. This is the last week of High School Musical at the Ritz. Katie has had a blast and she does a great job on stage. I will be taking her tomorrow night and will be watching the show all the way through for the first time. Tonight Katie will do her homework and study the math she's been having a hard time with. We were thinking about letting her do the up coming Willie Wonka play but I think she's just too young to handle the responsibilities of doing plays and school too. School wins out every time and I'm not going to let it suffer for the theater darling.

Catch ya' later.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I created a new mypace account for my music. I've posted two songs there. My Desire, a song that my friends J. Holland and Allan Rhodes helped me record in my basement about a year ago. Allan brought down his new 16 track recorder and lugged it in to try it out. Before we knew it, we had a song recorded.

The other song is Turn Away. It's a pro-life song that Nori Kelley recorded for me when Gina and I still lived in Bowling Green, KY. Brooky, Michael Bynum and Barbie Kelley did back ground vocals for it. STAND had already been released and so Turn Away became an orphan song in my closet.

I going to start pulling together my orphan recordings from the basement, studio and select live recordings to compile a new CD. I've had a lot of request lately for my music and I have nothing to give but a CD that was released during the last century.

Two songs I'd like to include are Unrighteous Man and Looking At The Future (Brook's song). Both are live recordings when The Guise (Brook, Michael, and myself) led worship at Vineyard earlier this year. I would also like to include Bruce Cornutt's song Sometimes I see Jesus. Jose' did some nice stuff. Hopefully Richard recorded the worship last night.

There are other songs that I'd like to include such as This Is The Way, Pentecost, Jerusalem and Deep Blue. These three songs I have definite ideas, and would like for them to be recorded in studio. Who knows, maybe one day I'll record Praise, one of my earliest songs. I'd love to have a cello and a choir for that one. I'll probably throw in a few more live tracks to make it an even dozen.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I've been asked to lead worship for recovery on many occasions over the past year. I love leading worship, but always a challenge when for recovery groups. It's taken me a while to finally get to a place where I can go and it not seem like singing to a brick wall. Like Jericho, we do not sing to the wall, but worship our God that tears down such walls.

I now go and lead worship by become a model of freedom and worship...even though a gathering is looking at me as a performer or spiritual nut job. I've also feel led, for these particular non-church occasions to throw in songs that offer hope and redemption...songs that were not written as worship & praise songs. So we go into the fields singing praises to our Lord and casting seed.

I still feel awkward about their applause because I feel as if they are applauding a performance and not to the glory of God...but they do not understand the concept yet. Maybe I need to relax a little bit...just keep moving time tangible evidence...the realness of His inhabiting our praise.

I do enjoy singing to these folk. They seem to really listen to lyrics. Music is such an incredible vehicle for communicating God stuff. It's just a different experience and on the most part refreshing that these people seem to absorb the music even if they seem stand-offish. I remember times when my heart was broken, music was a balm. Lyric saturates into broken hearts. We write songs when we are feeling the brunt of life. The Blues was born of tears and loss. I think music reaches places that mere words can't. I believe we appreciate the lyrics to Amazing Grace when we are at a place when we need grace the most.

Their quietness is a little disturbing...but I can understand that. God whispered for me to pray over them before we started...for joy...for a peace amid each individuals hardships. This is something I need myself. I spoke what I felt needed and didn't know where the seed went...but I felt obedient to do so. It would be nice for them to not feel uncomfortable about being there. God bring joy to those men and women pursuing hope, those that need to know joy.

Jose' accompanied me last night's worship. I love this man dearly. I really do. There is a peace and depth to my friend and brother Jose'. I enjoyed our long conversation and lunch last Friday at The Fish Market. I enjoyed sitting next to him playing guitar last night. I look forward to next Friday night when we play at the coffee shop. It will be a different kind of gathering and I will be performing for that event. This will be an audience and not a congregation. There will be worship though, maybe not to the naked ear, but we all know that the Holy Spirit isn't tied to a pew.

eyeballs click

we can close our eyes
look the other way
try to think happy thoughts
but something is going to have to be done
about Iran
on the edge of nuclear
on the edge of Armageddon

President Bush will have to commit before stepping down from office.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

more news from the front

My niece Carrie sent a letter a few days ago. The following is an excerpt from that letter.

"...As for Robert, he is doing pretty good, but he still needs prayer support. He has been having problems with one of his knees, and he's been in a lot of pain for about the past month. He has no idea what's wrong with it. It just started swelling up and hurting one day, and it's been like that ever since. He went to medical about it, and they said he needed an MRI but they don't have the equipment for that over there. So they just gave him some pain relievers and said he'd have to wait until he got home to do anything about it. I think that's pretty horrible since he's got about 5 weeks left, but there's nothing we can do. He also broke out in a heat rash a few weeks ago, and it only seems to be getting worse. He went to medical about that, too, and they didn't do much for it either. As I'm sure you all know, a heat rash starts to sting and burn in hot weather along with the normal itching. The temperature in Iraq has been around 138 degrees lately, so he's been pretty miserable. Please continue to keep him in your prayers. Other than that, he has been doing really well. He's still the top person in his job at work, and he's still doing the job of a Staff Sergeant. God has taken care of him this whole time. He hasn't had to leave the base once, and that is such an answer to prayer. We are still waiting for him to be promoted to Corporal, especially since he's doing a job several steps above his rank. He was actually up for promotion not long ago, but he had to run another PFT (Physical Fitness Test) first. They have to run a certain number of them a year. They always take a Pre-PFT one week and then take the official one a week later. He got an incredibly high score on the Pre-PFT, but his knee got much worse before the real PFT and he wasn't allowed to run it. Still, we know that God is in control of his promotion, too, so we're just staying focused on Him. That's all the news for now. I'll keep you all posted about when he's actually coming home when I know more. Like I said before, I'd like to be able to see at least some of you before I leave, so give me a call if you have time. Robert and I love you all very much, and we thank you for all of your prayers and support."

As you lift up our servicemen and women, pray also for the families they leave behind.

Friday, August 10, 2007

august dates

Jose' just treated me to lunch. He picked me up and drove me over to the Fish Market today as an early birthday present. I'm turning 49 on the 19th. Life goes even faster once you get over the hump...downhill all the way. It was a great lunch and a great conversation. I love my friend Jose'. I look forward to playing with him on the 27th. He's also joining me to lead worship at Grace on the 16th.

I've already tried the coffee at the Coffee Vine Cafe' and it's incredible. If you don't like my music, you definitely won't be disappointed with the joe. I've always enjoyed singing at coffeehouses and look forward to this engagement. Please come if you can.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Can you believe our old Caravan has been in the shop (five different shops) ALL summer long? The Finlayson family has been running off one car for three months. We've poured all our money into the business that we simply can't buy another car...even a used one. All our money is going elsewhere. The upside is that we've all been together this summer. We pack the kids in the only van we have and drive and stay at the office all day together. The kids have been real good about it, finding activities to do and for the most part behaving while patients are in the next room.

Gina likes having the kids around. Being a home health therapist before we started our business, Gina didn't get to spend as much time seeing her kids. She's been able to spend time with Katie and Kelsey between patients.

Katie is in the upcoming local production of Disney's High School Musical. That means most nights we're dropping her off at the old Ritz theatre to rehearse between the hours of 5:00 and 8:00 pm. Having only one means of transportation, living in Southside, working in Gadsden means that Gina, Kelsey and myself stay at the office until it's time to pick up Katie. We usually get home around 9:00 every weekday night. The girls bathe and go straight to bed.

School for Katie starts tomorrow. I am concerned that going to school and being in a play might be too much for her. She's committed herself and there is no turning back until the curtains close. I'll be picking her up from school, get her homework done, feed her, and then run her over to the Ritz. She's having a blast pretending to be a singing dancing high school student.
Speaking of shows...I'll be singing at The Coffee Vine Cafe at the Rainbow Plaza on August 24th. The place is located the corner where MiCasita's used to be (next to the new Fuzzy Duck). The owner did a wonderful job transforming the place into a beautiful coffeehouse & deli. I'll be starting around 7:00 p.m. that Friday night. Consider yourself invited because I'd love to have all my friends there that evening.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

because of you

If Larry Norman was the grandfather of Jesus Music (Christian Rock-n-Roll), Keith Green is the big brother. The Sunday edition of The Gadsden Time published a half page article on one of my old favorites. The article gives a brief biography of Keith Green’s life, music, and death.. It’s nice that Keith is remembered from time to time.

Many people talk about where they were when Kennedy’s die, but I remember where I was July 28th, 1982 when Keith Green went home. I was on my way back from Helen, GA with my parents. We heard the news over the radio. I thought it odd to hear Keith’s name being mentioned over a secular broadcast…something about a plane going down upon take-off, killing Keith and two of his young children. It was so very sad.

The first time I ever heard Keith Green was at a concert down UAB back in 1977 (the year I graduated high school). I didn’t know who Keith was at the time. It was one of Christian Brother’s Association early sound rental ventures that I was invited to go along (and work). It was before the ministry had our own truck so Don Rakestraw had borrowed the Laverty Music truck for the venture. I remember Brook and me riding down in the box of the truck, keeping large loosely secured P.A. equipment from falling on us. I remember at one point, laying on top of two of two mountain cabinets while Don steered the truck down I-59.

When we arrived at UAB, we started unloading the equipment. There, on the stage was a bushy headed bearded fellow donned in faded blue jeans and a flannel shirt. For some reason I thought he was a local artist. In the mid to late seventies, Wendell Miller of Ecclesia Productions were hosting a lot of Christian concerts in the Birmingham area, both local no names and the big names. Keith was new to me. It was his first, solo Christian album entitled For Him Who Has Ears To Hear. It became one of my favorite albums and the song Because of You, a theme song for when I ran the old F.R.E.E. House.

Keith’s wife, Melody Green, was working the record table in the lobby. I came out of the bathroom before the concert and was cutting up with her. She looked at me as if I were an alien or possessed by the devil so I made a quick exit. Some people don’t know how to take this nut, so I just tip my hat, apologize, and duck out.

So the music begins. This hairy stranger mans the studio piano and I was transfixed for the entire concert. His passion, his zeal, his message riveted the audience. I can not remember such power and life pouring from one person and from each song. His performance, his dynamic way, made even the piano seem to come alive. It was funny, joyful, worship, sermons, and tears all rolled together. I half expected little cartoon characters to come dancing out of the piano. I knew that night that Keith Green would always be a favorite. I bought an LP and wore it out.

So here’s to Keith Green. Here’s to a true servant that wasn’t trying to be a part of the music industry. Keith was a guy that created wonderful music and gave it away for all who had ears to hear. Keith was more than a singer songwriter, he was a piano armed, God anointed revelator. I loved his passion and his point blank tell the truth in love way of ministry.

God, thank you for Keith.

Friday, August 3, 2007

cowboy up

Funny, the toys I bought for Katie, Kelsey is now playing with. The toys I thought Katie would like but didn't, Kelsey is all about today. Kelsey likes to wear that old red cowboy hat I gave to Katie when she was around her age. Kelsey has been riding her horse throughout the clinic this past week. She likes to go bang bang. She's a sweet kid.

Roy Rogers Riders Club Rules
Be neat and clean.
Be courteous and polite.
Always obey your parents.
Protect the weak and help them.
Be brave, but never take chances.
Study hard and learn all you can.
Be kind to animals and care for them.
Eat all your food and never waste any.
Love God and go to Sunday School regularly.
Always respect our flag and our country.

The baby boomer generation would have done better to have followed Roy's Cowboy Code.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

a question to ponder

as anal as Emily Post seemed to be
having written that huge book of etiquette
never mentioned anything about
a courtesy flush