Friday, May 20, 2016

Burger's Preist

There are a lot of things that wear the "Christian" label. Music, movies and books are the obvious ones, but there are others like clothing companies and... ah... I think that's it.

Or so I thought. A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to check out a new restaurant in Barrie called Burger's Priest.

I saw the sign going up a couple of weeks before hand. Seemed weird. Although, the thought of having a new burger place to check out quickly replaced my confusion with the name.

Disclaimer, I would have checked this place out either way, but I did go as part of a media day... and it was really good!

I'd say the burger to fry ratio was a bit off (seemed like I had more fires than I knew what to do with), but both were great. I've really developed a taste for "pretentious burgers" over the last few years. Unique and creative mix and matches of cheeses, meats and toppings. They had a couple of those. One including deep fried mushrooms. YES, PLEASE.

And milkshakes! I hadn't had one of those since I was a kid. Not sure if it was good or if I was just milkshake deprived, but I want another one!

Anyway, the thing that stuck me most is how Christian the joint is. There is a wall with scripture in English and Hebrew on it. All the burgers have Christian and theological terms/ names associated with them and little crosses adorn the menu. It was kinda neat.

I dug it!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Be Thou My Vision

I wouldn't call myself a hymn guy. Personally, I prefer modern worship songs. That being said, I do have a soft spot for hymns. Especially when you put a modern twist on it.

My favourite hymn is Be Thou My Vision. Originally, it was an Irish folk song. You can hear a bit of that history in the overall sound/ composition.

I know and love this song. However, I feel like I just heard it for the first time recently.

We sang it at church on Sunday. It wrecked me. I don't know how else to describe it.

I'm a big advocate of meaning what you sing in Church. If you don't want to surrender your whole life, singing "I surrender all" probably isn't the most sincere thing you can do!

During practice I was hit with this line - 

Verse 3 
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise; 
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise... is that true?

I hate to admit it, but I don't think it is for me to the level I believed it to be.

Riches and praise are tangible. They can be measured. Success can come through awards, critical acclaim or wealth. None of those things are inherently wrong, but to strive for them is.

To make God your main focus is hard. There's not a goal you can set. There's no tangible standard or evidence for it. Depending, there may not even be any earthly reward. However, as Christians, it's what we're called to do. It's what I am called to do. To daily take up my cross and follow him. That's hard.

I did sing the song on Sunday. However, not as a statement of my frame of mind or how great at being a Christian I am. I sang it as a prayer. A prayer that one day I would be able to say that line without any hesitation. That I could sing it without a shadow of a doubt that that is who I am. Someone who seeks God before praise, wealth or anything else this world has to offer.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Matt Thiessen from Relient K is one of my song writing heroes.

The guy can write. Like... really, really, really well. He's the Matthew West of Christian Rock.
He'll take a sentence that doesn't seem to have any logical follow up line and put the perfect verse... and make it so fun!

Example - 

It's simple, catchy and just sappy enough to not be cheesy. Love it!

In recent years, Relient K have been... less than awesome in my books. The songs are still well written, but seemed to be lacking a bit of that youthful cheekiness. The joy wasn't there.

Enter their new song Bummin'. To be honest, I don't know what I think of the song... nor do I know if the joy is back.

What I do know, is I've listened to it about 12 times today and am [finally] enjoying a new upbeat pop-rock song from Relient K!

'Bout time!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Growing up, worship music was produced by one group - David Crowder * Band. I couldn't get enough of them. Still can't really... which is too bad since they closed up shop a couple years back.
David is still writing and recording. It's still good music... but it's missing a bit of that special David Crowder Band something.

Anyway, I've been going through their discography recently and was reminded of the song Remedy.

It's a really cool song. Very minimalistic in it's instrumentation. Just a simple piano and banjo line with a bit of drums. Sure it builds, but the first 2 minutes are a breezy, enjoyable ride.

Lyrically, like all Crower Band songs, is where it really shines. It's a song about our "sickness". That sickness being sin. Our need of a cure and how Jesus is that cure. The thing I love most about it is the closing of the song. Through the violin swells and soft banjo plucks, the song turns into a prayer. A prayer for God to use us to be a remedy to a sick world.

It something I've been thinking and praying about a lot recently. How can God use me to be a "salve" to the world. It's easy to sit on the sidelines and comment about other people's issues. But how can we help? So I guess I'm liking this song for more than one reason!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Defeating A Resolution

As I mentioned at the top of the year, I have a lot of goals in 2016. One of the most important ones, (to me) was to start reading again. My goal was a total of 5 books in 2016. I'm quite happy to say, I managed to do in under 4 months!

Here's a run down on what I read and what I thought of each book.

House of Silk - Anthony Horowitz
House of Silk is the first official book in the Sherlock Holmes series since the death of the original author - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I was sceptical at first... but did Horowitz ever nail this one. He managed to capture Doyle's writing/ mystery style perfectly. The mystery itself... was unexpected. It took a pretty dark turn pretty fast in the last few pages. However, as a die hard Sherlock fan, I'm still glad I gave it a read.

House - Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker
Peretti and Dekker more or less wrote the books that defined my childhood. I stayed up really late getting absorbed in Thr3e, Blink, The Oath and The Circle Trilogy (which had 4 books in it....). More recently, I haven't been able to enjoy Dekker as much. Still love Peretti.

House was o.k. It didn't seem like a Christian book for the first 300 pages... by the time the allegory kicked in it didn't really work for me. The set up didn't line up with the payoff. After waiting years to read this... it was a bit of a let down.

Murder On The Orient Express - Agatha Christie
As you may have noticed, I like mystery/ thriller novels. This is a classic, so why not? Well, it turns out it's a classic out of a series of classics... so I kinda dropped into the middle of the main character's run as a detective! Once the mystery started, I enjoyed it. Before that I was confused as to who everyone was and  why the book was acting like I should know who they were!

Airframe - Michael Crichton
This book both made me terrified of flying and totally confident all at the same time. It's about a plane crash that shouldn't have happened and the investigation to figure out why it did. I learned a lot about air planes, most of which probably isn't true. However, if I even get into a discussion with a pilot, I may actually understand him now! The book was enjoyable. There was some strong language in it, so bare that in mind before picking this up.

The Visitation - Frank Peretti
After the disappointment of House, I decided to revisit my favourite Peretti novel. Would I still like it as much as I did as a kid?

Yes. Yes I did! It's weird... I've had a lot of life happen to me since I read this the first time. That life experience made me appreciate this book all the more. It's not a book for everyone. especially if you don't like supernatural elements. However, if you're a Peretti fan, grab this one! It's 520 page masterpiece of thrills and faith. My Christian walk is better for reading this one.

There's what lead to a successful resolution! What have you been reading? I need to get some new books!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


There is a lot of debate about the ratings systems in place today. People seem to think it's suppressing art.
Personally, while I don't think they are perfect, I like having them. I almost always rely on some form of content advisory when going to see a movie (mostly IMDB and Plugged In), but having a big PG-13 on the sign helps the decision making along! You  know what to expect going in.

TV also has a rating system. So does music... however, I've never had to use that one!

What confuses me is why books don't have ratings. Yes, there are a lot of books on the market. Around 300,000 were released and re-released last year alone... however, it's weird there isn't some sort of system in place.

There aren't even content advisories. Plugged In will review hip new books and Common Sense Media has a few... but it's hard to find a consistent source for content in novels.

I've started reading a couple of books only to bail within a couple of chapters because of excessive harsh profanity or lewd content. These aren't even obscure or edgy books. One is considered to be the grandfather of science fiction. The other was 1984 which is taught in high school... which I guess means I'm being too uptight? I donno... I thought it was a little racy.

Book industry - Get your junk together and start putting content advisories on your stuff!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


I love winter. Nothing compares to taking a stroll through a blizzard or sipping on a tea unable to see across your yard from all the white. The cold... isn't as great in my books... Especially when it's really windy or damp. It cuts though you. That's isn't fun. Snow is fun.

That being said, I'm really excited for spring. I'm looking forward to taking a couple of trips around the Barrie waterfront on my bike, being able to take a walk without losing feeling in my legs and hitting up local eateries on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

What I'm most excited for is my most crazy goal. I want to ride my bike to work and home again... on the same day. I technically did this last year. My car was broken so I rode in one morning, bummed rides all week and then rode back home at the end of the week. It felt good, but I'd like to do a round trip in one day.
The biggest issue doing it is psychological. It's almost all up hill on the way to LIFE. Which is fine for the first 5 minutes... the next 20 are the killer! Working up the courage to do it is hard... Hopefully I'm able to do it this year!

How about you? What is your goal for this spring/ summer?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Being Social

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about one of the many paradoxes in my life. I didn't really want to blog about it, but I feel like someone else has to be able to relate. So here you go!

I love socializing but hate being social. See? Paradox.

Hanging out with friends is one of my favourite things to do. The bigger the group the better. I love to get a large groups of people together for dinner and a movie. I do it about twice a year. The group gets bigger every time. It's nice being able to set up something fun for people you love.

However, drop me into a large room full of people I don't know... it's a different story. I know people that thrive in that situation. They would walk out of there 30 minutes later with 13 new friends that they will keep in touch with for years. I think my sister got that gene in my family, because I am not that person!

When I started going to my current church was when I first realized this about myself. It was the first time I had gone to a church by myself. Before that, I had always gone with my family. They "anchored" the experience. I always had a fall back if I wasn't feeling comfortable or couldn't work up the courage to talk to someone.

Anyway, all of that to say that I am trying to change. Instead of staring at my phone, I'm trying to engage with people in conversation. Using the church example, I started going to a small group to meet people in a more intimate setting. I also never sit in the same place twice. You meet new people all the time and get a new perspective on the stage.

Why go to all of that work if it doesn't come natural?

Because I know I'm missing out by not doing it. I'm missing out on meeting some really cool, exciting people. I'm losing out on relationships that could help progress me in my faith... or visa versa. 

If you're struggling with meeting new people. Take the first step. Sit in a different place at the school's cafeteria, notice what someone is reading over lunch break at work or make small talk at the coat rack at church. 

At the end of the day, this is the easiest way to live out the great commission Jesus gave us. Talk to people. You never know where it will lead.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


As I've mentioned once or twice before, I love me some movies. Going to an advance screening is something I've always wanted to experience. Being able to see a movie most people can't is cool.

I got to go to my first advance screening last night. The film was the new faith based flick Risen.

Christian movies are a really challenging thing to make... and rarely done well. It's easy to put the focus more on the moral/ message than on the characters and the story (a good story with real characters will convey a message better than a message with a story tacked on).

The best way I've seen to combat this is by setting your film around the life of Jesus. The story and the message go hand it hand. It makes for some really compelling stuff. Risen is a great example of that!

Risen is the story of a Roman centurion who is assigned the job of discovering what happened to the body of Jesus. It's a pretty clever set up really, take a story we all know... and add a slight twist.

It was a lot of fun to see Clavius (the Roman played by Joseph Fiennes) investigate the resurrection and wrestle with his own faith.

I also loved the way the disciples were portrayed. They really felt like sheep without a shepherd.

As is to be expected,
there was some poetic license taken. That being said, it was probably the best type of license you can take. It didn't change or effect the story in a negative way.

I give it a hearty thumbs up. However, I will say that the first 5 minutes does have a fairly intense action scene. Pretty brutal. I wouldn't recommend the beginning for kids. After that it's pretty tame... aside from shots of the crucifixion... again... which is to be expected!

It hits theatres this weekend. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I Am An Old Man

O.K... that title is exaggerated. I am not an old man... I did just have a birthday though... so age is on my mind.

It's weird. When you're a kid, you think 18 year olds have it made... They can drive, grow a beard, watch the movie Spawn, have a girlfriend AND eat whatever they want. THAT is the life!

I've been over 18 for years... and still have never seen Spawn (and don't plan to!), can't grow a beard (and don't want to) don't have a girlfriend and try to eat healthy foods (with the occasional dash of ice cream... Seriously ice cream is awesome...).

None of those things are what they seemed at first glance. Well... I can't speak for the girlfriend thing...

However, I have found other things that I love. Working isn't as awful as it sounds as a kid... it's actually fun! Board games with friends are great. Playing on a worship team is awesome! Watching movies and getting caught up in the characters and stories is an experience unparalleled... so is making those stories for other people!

The things I thought would matter... didn't. It's all the unexpected and unforeseen things that have proven to make "growing up" great!

The best part is it hasn't stopped!

Buying a house, getting a girlfriend (or even a wife), career choices, car choices and maybe even kids... all of those are things that could very well happen in the next 10 years. And you know what? I feel like an 8 year old excited for that future.

But I have something going for me thing time that I didn't before. I'm excited for the obvious... but I know that none of those above things will be as good or bad as I expect them to be. They will be different. And that is why I am excited. I KNOW there will be surprises. Some good, some bad, but all of them unexpected and exciting.

That's what makes life so cool to me. So worth living. The surprises, the unexpected and the mundane. It all mixes together into this weird potpourri. It doesn't always smell great, but when it does, it was worth the stink!

I can't wait to see what's around the next corner.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My 2016 Goals

I meant to have this posted a week after December 31... whoops!

I don't make resolutions at New Years. Too much pressure. I make goals. LOTS. This year I have 25. I know, that seems like a lot. But, I figure if I only accomplish 15, that's 10 more than I would have pulled off had it been 5 goals.

So far it's going o.k. Some of them can't be done during the winter, so they are on the back burner. Others involve me being in a creative mood... which hasn't happened this week. Hopefully next week!

I have 3 goals that are really important to me. These are the ones that I have to do by Dec 31 next year. Here they are!

1. - Read 5 Books
The number of books is pretty low... but I also wanted to give myself some grace. The idea with this goal is to read more. I used to read all the time when I was growing up. Loved it! However, I've slacked off recently. I figure by the time I get 5 books read, I will have a routine in place and be able to double it by year's end. I have read a book and a half so far. It's good to be back!

2. - Improve Devotion Time
I'm usually pretty good to make time for devos... but I admit I slacked a lot in the latter half of 2015. I got busy... and allowed devos to suffer... So far I haven't missed a day (including Saturdays, which is something I've never done before!)

3. - Exercise More
Man... this list is cliché... seriously though... Almost everything I love involves sitting. Watching movies, reading, work, editing video, gaming, board gaming, filming (sometimes... usually standing), guitar (again, I only stand when I'm not practising)... that's a lot of time in a chair. Add in the fact that I don't like sports and you can see why it's on the list!

So far number 3 has been the hardest. Mostly because it hurts... a lot... I like exercising... just hate what it does to your body!

What are your goals this year?

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Best of 2015

I love recapping my favourite things from the year.It's mostly for me... this time next year I'll look back on what I loved from the year before... it becomes a nostalgia trip for me. Hopefully you enjoy the ride! Please note, some of these things didn't come out this year, but I discovered them this year, which is why they are on the list.

Favourite Worship Album
Empires - United
Song Highlights - Say The Word, Touch The Sky, Street Called Mercy 

I've been a Christian for longer than I was a non-Christian. That being said, growing up, I hated worship music. Loved Christian music, just not the stuff you hear on Sundays. The band that got most of my fire was Hillsong United. The fact worship music is one of my favourite genera is a small miracle... the fact I bought and like a Hillsong United album is a sign of the end times. I guess we really do change with age.

Warning, the album isn't a big and bold endeavour. It's a very quite, reflective record. Great way to get yourself in a head space for church or to unwind for Sunday night devo.

Favourite Pop Album
Heart In Motion - Amy Grant
Song Highlights - Every Heartbeat, Good For Me, Ask Me, Galileo and Hope Set High 

I've been in love with how good this album is since the summer. SO CATCHY. Apparently Amy took a lot of heat for this one back in the day... that confuses me... it's the perfect mix of flaky relationship songs, deep reflections on faith and driving synth beats. I love it.

Favourite Album That Actually Came Out This Year
This Is Not A Test - tobyMac
Song Highlights - Light Shine Bright, Backseat Driver, Like A Match, Feel It

Welcome To Diverse City is one of my favourite albums of all time. It's strikes a great balancing act between tight professionalism and fun over the top youth. It's great. Most of his newer stuff lost that vibe to me, but with This Is Not A Test, Toby is on a rebound... not that his other stuff wasn't good. This was just more fun!

Biggest Nostalgia Trip
Jurassic World

Every kid has that one film they watch over and over and over and over until their parents beg them to stop. For me it was Jurassic Park. I still love it. Believe me when I say that the first 15 minutes of the film were an emotional 15 minutes. The movie was fun, if a little contrived, but the nostalgia was strong with this one!

Rapid fire honourable mentions!

Favourite song to play on guitar - Found In You
Biggest Relief of the Year - Force Awakens being great
Favourite New Food - Brie hamburgers... seriously... soooo goood
Favourite Thing I Made -

Favourite Concert - For King & Country - Kingdom Bound 2015
Favourite Memory - Touring with AFT
Best Musical Surprise - Kevin Max - Broken Temples