Tuesday, September 29, 2009


My friend tells me that God doesn't do miracles in these "last days". No miracles?

Most of my Christian friends constantly ask for God's intervention. We ask for healing of cancer, or money to meet our needs, or the restoration of a relationship or that a celebrity would discover God and make Jesus their Lord. Man, I ask for that stuff all the time.

But my friend says the major miracles aren't part of our culture. He says, God can do extraordinary things - He did before and the event was recorded in the Bible so that future generations would believe. And, he says, that's why big miracles don't happen today.

Am I wasting my prayers?

I don't ask God to do miracles to make me believe more. (Well, maybe once in a while!) But generally, I'm just asking God to intervene in my life because I've done all I can do - the rest needs to be supernatural or the situation won't change.

A few major events in my life have happened because of prayer. I'm convinced God was there. He acted and my prayer was answered.

I guess I'd love to see a major intervention in an aircraft that doesn't crash or a tsunami that abruptly ends - all by the hand of God. It would increase my faith. It'd hit CNN and the whole world would know. And for my friend, it would show him that God is active, today.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Karaoke - Audition Week

(photo of Ben Davy with Newmarket qualifiers Katherine Cooke and Robin Cowen)

The marathon week for Karaoke Superstar going city to city is underway!

Monday night we visited Heritage Place Mall in Owen Sound. We arrived at 5:30. Man was it quiet. Hardly any shoppers. Junky and Tony were nearly finished setting up the backdrop, the P.A and lights. We broke for a quick bite at Subway and our auditioners arrived.

In Owen Sound, one competitor didn't show up - guess he chickened out?! At the judges' table was me, along with Phil Johnston from After The Anthems and producer and former TFK guitarist Jamie Aplin. They all had great insight and advice for each performer. Jamie was checking his blackberry all night expecting to hear from his "any-minute-I'm-going-to -have-a- baby" wife. Fortunately, he didn't have to skip out early.

Newmarket was packed out. Two levels of fans watching the performers. Andy Taylor from Season 3 was judging with me, along with the owner of the Treasure House bookstore Bob Fitzgibbon. A neat advisory board - a radio guy, a retailer and an artist.

Last night we were in Huntsville. Again, packed out in the food court. Probably 100 people and standing room only. One contestant was a no-show; another was a walk-up. Only one guy performed! Hey guys - come on! Let's lay it down for the boys!

I've seen some stand-out performances already - an edgy Barlow Girl style and a Relient K style. I'm glad we have variety. It's going to be a great semifinal October 17.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Good Time

Last night, Trooper made their annual visit to Barrie. Always great to see my favourite band perform. You might know their songs "We're Here For A Good Time" or "Boys In The Bright White Sports Car". Canadian classic rock at its best.

Singer Ra McGuire (from White Rock - the fish and chips capital of the world) and guitarist Brian W. Smith (also from the Van area) are the founders and have been in the band for 42 years - I really admire a partnership that can last that long. Through all the touring, record company junk, airports, wow. Marriages are probably not as strong as these two guys.

The set list hasn't really changed over the last ten years. In fact, I can recite it to you. I can also recite Ra's song introductions. But here's the attraction - the showmanship and accuracy are dead on. Ra's voice continues to deliver. Brian - "the czar of the guitar" discharges power chords with that stat sound. Scott Brown on bass seems to be hanging in and lovin' it. Gogo, on keyboards - I'm not sure what's up with him but Ra's intro for Gogo gets longer with every show. And stomping out a seriously heavy beat is Clayton Hill. Wow! As a drummer, I was fixated on Clayton for most of the set, watching his aggressive fills and splashes that were certainly more complex that the original radio hit, mixing up the beats, all for the better, and gosh he is amazing!

Next month, Ra gets to play his favourite venue - the Vancouver Commodore Ballroom - and for the first time he'll perform with his son Connor. According to Ra's online blog, he and his son have a strong music bond and I know he's pretty excited about the dad/son performance. I understand. I can't wait to see my son Brett perform with his new band "Handsome and Gretyl" - hopefully soon. Maybe he'll need a drummer?!

Trooper. Ra. You still rock, man! Mmmm. "The boys are really rollin'...."

(Photo - me and Ra from my archives)

Monday, September 21, 2009

They Get Us

Yesterday I was the guest speaker at Lighthouse Community Church in Wasaga Beach. Thanks to Pastor Paul Bailey for the stage-time. Lighthouse is one of the churches that really "gets us". They understand the mission of Christian radio and how we support the work of the church. I wish all churches understood the vision rather than isolating themselves. Thankfully, our base of church support continues to grow.

Janice and I drove in early and I biked home to Barrie. Summer returned for the day. Sun, 25 degrees, little wind. A great day in the saddle, logging another 55km to my summer odometer.

This is a crazy busy week. "Karaoke Superstar" is LIFE's new talent discovery showcase. Every night we're in a different city, looking for the next great singer. Several showcases are staged in malls, where LIFE and Christian music have a chance to be heard by non-church people. A crowd of people always stop their shopping and watch the action.

Then Sunday, the speaking tour continues - but for a change I get to attend my home church. I have not spoken at APC for at least two years, choosing to let Tim Maassarany and Ben Davy be the guests while I sit in the pew. APC is a great church for LIFE. The people genuinely care about LIFE 100.3. They cheer me on; they're great listeners and big givers. For ten years Pastor Wayne has invited LIFE to share about our radio ministry and after five of those years I made APC my home church.

Looking forward to Sunday!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Really Big Show

From yesterday's post, you know I was excited about the Toronto U2 concert. U2 is not my favourite band but what I like is "a big show" and U2 are masters of "going big". Big sets. Lots of scaffolding. Live videos. Moving stages. Ramps and runways bringing the singer into the crowd. Any band that does that, wins me over.

Last night at Skydome the lid was open and looming over us was the CN Tower which displayed its own light show! Red and yellow illumination spun up the tower and swirled around the pods. It was a light show bonus!

On the south side through the Dome roof were the waterfront condominiums. From the stage, Bono looked to the condos and said "hey if you're listening to the show, flash your lights" - and a bunch of them did!

Musically, the songs, especially the really Christian songs, brought about an a auspicious idea. Sometimes I felt like I was part of a 50,000 voice choir, as we sang:

You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Oh my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

It was like voices of unity ascended thru the Dome roof into the Heavens with God looking down on this tiny earthly spectacle. I wonder what that would be like.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I'm going to see U2 tomorrow night. I'm excited! None of my friends wanted to go with me so I bought one ticket on the floor. My seat will be great but I won't have anyone to share the experience with.

From what I've read, the U2 stage is double the size of the stage used by the Rolling Stones on their last tour. Crazy big! And it's the "360" show so there's a clear view of the band from any side with the speakers flown in the roof.

I already googled the set-list so I know the order of the songs. I guess that spoils the fun for some people, but I like to know in advance so I can look forward to it. Some of the new songs I'm not familiar with so I'll listen to them on line and be able to recognize them at the show.

Another thing I like to do is google "the meaning" of songs. Fans get on a forum to post their thoughts of what the song means to them and the varying opinions give you a perspective that, perhaps, you hadn't considered. All of that helps me be familiar with the new songs.

I confess I used to be very anti-U2. I didn't really get them. Bono has said and done things that led me to believe he wasn't real about his faith. But that's just external stuff - I've got lots of that going on, too.

Then, I went to the Vertigo show a few years ago. It felt like the most Christian show I had ever seen. I left feeling spiritually uplifted. Optimistic. More tolerant. More understanding.

You don't have to go far to hear about Bono's compassion for people in horrific, inhumane circumstances. In an interview I heard him say, "our politicians aren't doing their job at feeding the homeless so rock stars have to get involved and get the job done."

Recently, I heard that U2 auctioned off 600 tickets for each show on the tour and are giving the proceeds to the Aids Foundation. That's about 8 million dollars.

I see Bono making a big difference in the world. As a spokesperson. As a political activist. As a fundraiser. Demonstrating love and compassion. Who knows how many organizations he's financially helped or spoken on behalf of.

So, Thursday night in Toronto ! Ya!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Biking In Barrie Sucks

I love Barrie. But as a cyclist, this is certainly an un-friendly city.

I can't think of one road in Barrie that has a lane devoted to bikes. Not one.

Ottawa - what an awesome city! Lanes strictly for bikes, help the biker to feel safe and the traffic to anticipate other traffic.

Peterborough - not as bike-friendly as Ottawa, but not far behind. A number of roads have bike- only lanes.

But Barrie - yikes! Even the bike path that shadows the Bay is strangled by the high volume of unleashed pets or pets on extremely long leashes. And there's the people who wander aimlessly on the bike side of the path, instead of the walking side. (There is a separate path for walkers) Not to mention the outrageous curbs that would easily flatten your tire if you took them head-on. Of course the lakeshore in Barrie has been under construction for three summers - 3! Why? Because they want to move Lakeshore Drive ten feet away to the old rail-line. Ten feet! Millions of dollars to move a road ten feet!

Meanwhile, up in the east end, Nelson Street is cut up with choppy, replaced pavement heaped over previous replaced pavement, that's cracked from harsh winters and obviously neglected by the City Of Barrie.

Biking in Barrie is lousy. Sometimes I wished I lived in Ottawa. (What do I mean "sometimes"?!!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Heart LIFE!

Is it ok that we market our radio station? Are you offended?

I've met people who think that our world manufacturers too much stuff about Jesus. Goofy stuff. A fish for the back of your car. A dangley angel for your rear view mirror. Bumper sticker with your station because it's all about Jesus.

Is that using Jesus name to get publicity?

Or is it using our name to give Jesus recognition in "the world".

Our mission is to talk about things Christians talk about. Movies we went to, restaurants we ate in, ball games we went to, and the pastor's message last Sunday. Christian radio is only Jesus - it's our lives. "Our" stories, filtered through the eyes of a Christian.

We buy gas from non-Christians, full well knowing that some of the profits to go support terrorists camps. But we still buy gas.

So why would a button or bumper sticker with a company logo on it be bad? We think of LIFE as the connection to all churches in our community.

So we put up billboards, in high traffic areas all over Barrie, Peterborough and Owen Sound to remind people to listen to "Christian radio". Look around. You'll seem.

No, we're not shy about Jesus. And we hope he likes the billboard!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


"A Psalm in the morning and a Psalm at night". That's what my friend told me to read.

I haven't had a good structured devotional time for years. Years ago I bought study guides from the bookstore and followed them in a group. You know how it works? Read the study guide, read the Bible passage and answer the questions. That was ok. But it seemed like "homework".

Looking for ideas, I asked a bunch of guy friends what they do for devotions. Of the six I asked, only one has a devotional life. And his devo is hardcore, putting me to shame. But he inspired me, knowing that at least one guy is connecting with the Lord every day.

My devotions are part-journal. I note something good happening to me, or some place I went, or my emotion for the day. Then I have three categories:

Reading: I write here the Bible chapter, or another non-Biblical book I'm reading.
Listening To: I write here a specific song I'm hooked on.
Thinking About: I write a few things that are on my mind.
Praying: I write a list of requests and I always try to include something to be thankful for.

This format can last half an hour if I'm soaked in it, or if I'm rushed, it can be embarrassingly short. I journal a few times a week but I tend to skip it on those days when I'm cranky.

When I refer back to the journal I see my times of pain and my moments of thrill. Kind of like the Psalms, right? Days filled with praise. Days feeling attacked.

So - "a Psalm in the morning and a Psalm at night". No matter how tired, no matter how rushed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back To School

First day of school. My family had just moved to Nashville. We were familiarizing ourselves with Brett's school and Crystal's school.

I remember a scarey moment on the first day of school. Crystal was taking the bus to school. We're telling her, "ok Crystal, you don't get off the bus until you get to YOUR stop. Mommy will meet you at the bus stop."

So I'm at work. It's after 4:30. School's been out for an hour. My wife calls me at work - panicking - "Crystal didn't get off the bus!" So, was she ON the bus at all? Did she get off at the wrong stop? Or, did something worse happen?

I remember feeling frozen and helpless. Maybe ... someone KIDNAPPED OUR KID WHEN SHE GOT OFF THE BUS!!!!

So my wife is freaking out on the phone. She had already called the school and we were told that Crystal did in fact get on the bus.

And, in walks Crystal. Late.

"Crystal! Where were you?"

"I forgot to get off the bus and had to wait until the end of the route and he drove me home."

Ahhhh. A memorable day. First school day in another country and we thought we lost our kid.

So, if it's your kids first day on the bus - don't panic. It's gonna be a good day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Molitor Wins!

Friday night was fight night!

A fight? Whaaaat? Is it a Christian fight? Hahaha. Not exactly.

They call it "Rumble At Rama". Steve Molitor is the hero in the featherweight class (122 pounds) and laid a whoopin' on Dario Azuaga from Argentina. Having seen Steve a few times already, I don't think Azuaga was much of a competitor. Maybe because Steve lost his world title in November they are matching him with less worthy fighters. If that's the case, that's lousy. I hate fixed stuff.

Steve is amazing to watch. He bounces around the ring like a rabbit. And his punches are real fast. It's evident that he's a trained professional because of the speed and concentration.

It's gotta take a lot of fortitude to climb in a boxing ring and take blows to your head and torso, over and over, until you, or the other guy, can't take it anymore. From my boxing club last year, I felt totally spent at the two minute mark and ready to pack it in. I can't imagine how these guys have the stamina to go 8 or 10 or 12 rounds of three minutes, hammering away at the other guy as your power decreases and all the while trying not to get the snot knocked out of you.

But it was fun. And Steve won. So we all left happy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The Top 10 Things I Love About Ottawa

10. Elgin street - busy! Professionals hurry to work by day; a club scene of
partiers by night

9. The Byward market - a congestion of pedestrians

8. The Rideau Canal - barely a ripple as it coils through the city, pouring into the Ottawa River. The bridges connecting Ottawa U to downtown. The late afternoon joggers and walkers enjoying the uniqueness of the canal through mid-town.

7. The red maple leaf on the OC Transpo buses. So patriotic in the capital!

6. The view of Parliament Hill and downtown skyscrapers from Gatineau

5. The hot air blips hanging in the blue sky over the city

4. The guys have man-bags!

3. Smoked meat at Dunn's.

2. Rendezvous with friends at Zakk's.

1. Really fast cyclists screaming with speed through the city streets and stick-handing the stalled traffic on Bank Street!

Mmmmmm....I love this town!