I kind of despise writing biographies. You know what I mean? You have the “about me” section in a social media profile and you feel all this pressure to prove you're something notable or special. Well, I´ve never found any joy trying to impress people or focus on myself. Interestingly enough, I find I´m most happy when I completely forget about myself (thankful to Jesus for that lesson.)
That being said, i do find myself curious about others who put out content -so if you want to know, here you go:
I currently live in the suburbs of Stockholm Sweden. Many years ago I couldn´t point out Sweden on a map…but then I met a beautiful swedish girl named Kajsa.
A friend gave me her e-mail address and said “Every time I meet this girl God puts you on my heart.” Well it sounded like rubbish to me, but apparently he was onto something…seeing as how we now have four children sleeping upstairs and have clocked over 10 years on the marriage-o-meter.
I still love her -and these kids are awesome! Parenting isn´t for sissy´s though, and we´re crashing our way through learning how to raise children. We´ve got two boys (Miles and Elliott) and two girls (Adele and Norah.) Of all the things I might fail at, I don´t want to miss on being a good husband or a good dad. It´s gonna take a miracle…but I know someone who´s good at those ;) .
To jump back a bit…while I currently call Sweden my home, I was born and raised in ´Merica...-the USA. I spent the first year of my life in Kansas (chocked up a lot memories there.) The next 10 years or so I lived in San Antonio, Texas. Around age 10 my dad got a job in Colorado so we headed to the Denver area. I´ve got four brothers, they´re all really talented and really funny. My Dad is too. I have a fantastic mom as well who´s probably poured more into me than I´ll ever know.
Several of my brothers and I grew up doing gymnastics which took up a huge portion of our time. I wasn´t too bad at it, but I had a knack for crashing and racking up large medical bills for my large family. Somewhere around age 14 I decided to let it go and shortly after picked up the guitar with some friends. Once I knew my first 4 chords I decided to write a song which felt quite natural and fun after having played around with poetry as a kid. Since that time I´ve loved songwriting.
We grew up around church and I was pretty good at the church kid thing -which isn´t always a good thing. I knew most of the answers and how to behave, but when I came into my young adult years God starting sorting me out. I remember laying in my bed really being struck with some of Jesus´ lines like “some day, many will say to me `Lord, Lord, we did all this religious stuff´ and I will say ´get away from me, I never knew you.´ “
Dang. I realized I was doing most of the right stuff but for most of the wrong reasons. I wasn´t living in a real connection with God or trying to please Him. Actually, the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me that I may have just been using God to try to leverage status and other things for myself. It slowly started to dawn on me how guilty I was -even though most of the people around me would have said I was a good Christian. I got afraid of God -and you know what? I´m glad. The scriptures say fearing God is the beginning of wisdom.
After that the message of Jesus clicked. I realized that God truly had every right to judge and destroy me, but that God was willing to count Jesus´ death as the payment of my fine with Him. After that i didn´t say cheap stuff like “Jesus is my homeboy.” No. I thought of myself crying at His feet. He´s my only hope of forgiveness -there is no other. And that fear I had of God was expanded with the love of God. A God who would take great pains to save His enemies who owed Him everything. Even me.
That´s when the engines turned on. I couldn´t keep myself away from the bible and I couldn´t keep myself from talking to people about this. Having Jesus in charge of my life felt wonderful. And knowing I was forgiven felt amazing.
My high school buddies and I had been trying to get proficient enough at our instruments to help lead some songs every week for the youth group. Well, we were terrible at first but things progressed and we played around more and more in town as well. As time went on, the band we had formed called Foolish Things pulled us out of college and out of jobs until it became our full time thing. We spent the greater part of 10 years traveling the U.S. in a van. We loved the adventure and playing concerts and I loved that we had constant crowds we could speak to about Jesus.
As the seasons of life change, the band wrapped up and unsure of what to do next I was driving a delivery truck in Denver for a short season. After a few months a local church contacted me to see if I would be interested in coming on staff as a worship pastor. I was a bit hesitant. I´ve always said I know I want to give my life to ministry but I wasn´t sure I could ever be on staff at a church. (The years of traveling through nearly every denomination and seeing too much ´church politics´ behind the scenes had me a bit wary.) But it was hard to argue with the reasoning: “Hey, we need a worship pastor and you´re probably not very passionate about delivering packages…how about we give it 6 months and we can decide later if it´s a fit on both ends.”
So I started on as the worship pastor for Calvary Chapel South Denver. As my time went on there I ended up taking on more and more responsibilities and they ordained me as well. Though I enjoyed most of what I did there, my favorite was pastoring the young adults group. It was such a special group of people and I loved to be with them and fell more and more in love with teaching the bible.
That swedish girl Kajsa had moved to the U.S. with me when we married and about this time we had been getting more and more thoughts of Sweden on our mind. Every time we were back here to visit her family and friends we could sense the spiritual starvation here (it is statistically one of the most secular countries in the world.) We wondered if God would ever have us move here to serve His purposes. It wasn´t something we wanted to do unless we knew it was God, so we calculated how much it would cost to move our family and told only God the number. That number was 10,000 bucks. We figured if He supplied we´d know it was His idea.
Turns out -it was. Because one day we received un-expected money from two different sources totaling 10,036 dollars. That was pretty hard to argue with. We let the church know we apparently needed to move to Sweden and three months later we were here…with no real concrete plans. That´s ok because we knew God sent us and I had a language to learn and a family to feed.
We´ve been here 5 years now and I still don´t know all of God´s plans. I can now speak Swedish like a five year old, and we have a church that meets in our house. We´re all trying to learn how to “be” the church instead of “go” to church -that takes time. I feel a burning to keep sharing this message of Jesus with everyone around me while they still have a chance. I feel a burning to help people understand the bible and how it connects to their real life.
Shortly after we moved here when I was praying I kept hearing the phrase “give yourself to music”. I don´t always hear phrases when I pray but in this case i did. It kind of took me off guard. I never planned to leave music completely alone, but hadn´t intended to “give it” so much energy in this season of life. Well, it wasn´t exactly a twisting of my arm since I truly love music -but I´m not really sure what it should look like right now. That´s one reason for this sight. One single place I can share both music and teaching with anyone interested.
Life is a fascinating journey and has no lack of joys and pains. Our author is, in His mysterious ways, moving behind the scenes hoping we´ll reach out to Him. He has begun to set up a kingdom -not of geographical boundaries but of hearts who want to be ruled by and in relationship with their maker. Wherever you´re at on your journey I hope you end up close with Him and hope my life might play some kind of role in helping.