Just wanted to send a quick shout-out to all the folks who came to listen to my lunchtime concert at George Fox University today. I’m fairly certain that the music that I was able to present is not indicative of normal sit-down fare at a Christian school, even one known to have progressive thinkers. If you were there for the whole thing then you witnessed how I tend to borrow from many musical idioms and experiences, which some people find unusual. (Me, it’s just how I tend to live.) However, it also means that, having pulled material from a wide repertoire, I tend to not remember all of the songs that I may perform on a particular date. I lead worship on a regular basis, and I’ve done special music at different conferences and events, and the older I get the more it all starts to blur. So if you really enjoyed one of the songs I performed and you want to know more about the songs (or, in some cases, who wrote and/or popularized them if they’re not original pieces) then you are in the right place. Who knows, I may even make some of the originals available for download. Today’s setlist consisted of the following…

Walk-in music:


My favorite tune by alt-jazz-rockers Steely Dan. I got on their bandwagon (the Danwagon?) late in life, but the first time I heard this tune, I was on my way to go get a Christmas tree with my post-college roommates in Chicago. I was thinking… this is a fun little song… I like this… who is it??? Mine is the only arrangement I know of with a sequenced drum solo in the middle. Email me for an mp3 copy, and check for the original version here.

“Linus and Lucy”

This song should need no explanation to anyone over the age of 21. My arrangement is funkier than the normal one you hear, but that’s the main difference. Well, that, and I threw in a reference to a mid-80’s sitcom theme. Did anyone catch what it was? It happened in the beginning. If you wanna hear it again, email me and I’ll send you an mp3. As for the original, you can find it here.

Introductory Praise & Worship Music:

“You’re Worthy of My Praise” / “Holy Holy Holy” “One Pure and Holy Passion”
“Here I Am to Worship”

These are popular modern praise and worship songs, most of which have spent a long time (and may still sit) on the list of 25 most popular Christian praise and worship songs, according to CCLI. (I say “Christian” praise and worship because most pop songs are praising and worshiping something… a hot girl, a hip car, a cool pair of jeans… or even just love itself.)

Unplugged Number:

“The Shelter of God”

I wish I could tell you who wrote that song, because technically, it wasn’t me. At least not the words, anyway. One of my wife’s friends gave her a book of illustrated poetry once, and while perusing this book I found a poem entitled “The Shelter of God.” I was so moved by this poem, I decided to set it to music.

And then Holly and I moved to Portland from Chicago and I lost the book somewhere in the shuffle. *shrug*

I probably altered the lyrics a little to fit them to the melody, so if anyone has seen this book and knows the poem, forgive my taking artistic license. Here are the lyrics, evocative of Psalm 91:

Lord, you are my hiding place
A shelter from the storm
Protection from the heat and the cold
I rest under the cover of your wing

Your love is all around me
Your love is all around me
Your love is all around me

Above me to uplift me
Beneath me to support me
Behind me to protect me
Before me to guide me
Around me to shield me
And within me to strengthen me

Lord, You are my hiding place
This day, and forever,
Lord, You are my hiding place

This tune has yet to be recorded, because of licensing/copyright issues.

Instrumental/Smooth Jazz:

This song was born from a season of frustration for me, when I was trying to do the right thing and failing miserably. (I’ve had many seasons of life like that.) Something about the acoustic guitar arpeggiator on the keyboard workstation was very soothing to me, so I started messing around, created a groove, and then plucked out a melody for it. I’m in the process of putting words to it now, but it’s taking awhile. So right now it’s just an instrumental.

Inspired Cover:

“What A Heart Is Beating For”

This is a song by singer/songwriter Chris Rice. I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of his overall, but I heard the song for the first time last year, and I was smitten by its marriage of simple melody and heartfelt emotion. As someone who often prides himself on being relatively calm and detached, I need songs like these to be the antidote for my perfectionist inertia. The message of the song: Just get out there and love already, geez. That’s what a heart is beating for. You can find the original recording here, and you can also find Chris Rice’s blog, entitled That’s What A Heart is Blogging For, here.
Original holy hip-hop:

“That’s What I’m Standin’ On”

This was a tune I wrote for a worship conference a few years back, where the speaker was talking about standing on the rock that is Christ Jesus. I tried to capture this idea my own way. Here’s the chorus, in case you missed it:

It’s not the skills that I possess or the connections I have
It’s not the grades that I achieved in English or math
Not that way that I approach navigating my path
But the fact that when I stand I never stand alone

It’s His Spirit inside, always workin’ in me
Reminding me that He’ll provide everything that I need
In the places where He leads, I’ve struggled indeed
But He’s the solid rock in me, that’s what I’m standin’ on

“The Lord Giveth”

What I dropped today is actually a remix. The original track I used here, which was written as a companion piece for a sermon at the former Axis ministry of Willow Creek Community Church. One of their producers called me and asked me if I had any original spoken word or hip-hop material related to the story of Elijah and the widow in 1 Kings 17. I told them no… but I would pray about it and write one if the Lord gave me the lyrics.

And then He did, so they came out to my north Chicago neighborhood and shot a little video for it:


“Kingdom Livin’ (I Go to Work)”

As I’ve no doubt mentioned, my friend Sahaan McKelvey and I started a hip-hop duo way back in the day (like 8 years ago), and we call ourselves The Iccsters. (Mostly because when we got started in our church, we didn’t want anyone to call us the Irvington Covenant Rappers.) These two songs have been two of our our biggest hits. You can listen to “Cereal” and a few other tracks on our myspace page. ]]>

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