Christmas Album “Must Haves” (2015 Version)

Countdown2.Christmas vinyl albumI seem to do this post later and later each holiday season…but I did start listening to Christmas music earlier in 2015! 🙂

Either way, here is my annual “Christmas Album ‘Must Haves.'” Year-to-year it doesn’t vary much, but I’ve added a few, reorganized a bit, and made sure the links are up-to-date. Also, everything I mention here (plus a whole bunch more) plays on Countdown2.Christmas Radio, my year-round Internet Christmas radio station. I received an interesting note yesterday from a listener:

Who, What are you? We just found your station this morning. It is wonderful. Thank you for making our Christmas more enjoyable.

If you, like that person, enjoy classic, traditional Christmas music with some other great holiday tunes mixed in…then you’ll love Countdown2.Christmas Radio.

Well, enough of the preamble! Here is 2015’s Christmas Album “Must Haves” divided into groups in that will help you, if you are just starting you collection, to know what to get first.

Top 5:

Continue reading Christmas Album “Must Haves” (2015 Version)

The Gospel According to Colt Ford

Colt Ford Workin' On Cover


During this second opportunity…I should say blessing…the Lord has given me to stand in this pulpit, I am going to do something I am famous…or infamous :-)…for doing at the church in Antrim, New Hampshire I pastored.

I am going to preach a sermon based on a popular song. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still a “Bible and Bible only” guy, but one of the advantages to being a topical preacher (versus expository) is there is more opportunity to choose “jumping off points.” Being a music addict, that means today you get to put up with the intersection of that love and the Lord’s Word.

I promise it won’t be too painful…every parishioner survived all my previous music-related sermons. 🙂

Who Is Colt Ford?

Anybody here ever heard of Colt Ford?

Well, I hadn’t until a couple months back when a tremendously talented country-musician friend of mine, David Britt, tweeted an image of a Colt Ford album he had just purchased. David’s tweets never steer me wrong music-wise…so I logged into Spotify and checked out Colt Ford’s work. I’d describe him as a country-rock-rapper. That is I would describe him as an incredibly gifted country-rock-rapper.

Continue reading The Gospel According to Colt Ford

My Advice for #the15

#the15 logo

For Christians, the Christmas season is truly a time for meditation about (and thankfulness for) the Incarnation…and ultimately…the Cross. This year, however, Christmas week was also the occasion for the formation of a new “we’re not gonna take it anymore” group, #the15. (The name is based on the Twitter hashtag it is leveraging.) Who are #the15? These three links will give you a decent idea:

Although there is far more history leading to #the15’s formation (so you should review the articles above…especially the first one), the combination of LifeWay stores carrying heresy and one of its employees, Ed Stetzer, insultingly blowing off a concern some had about John Piper mentioning the Pope in a tweet seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you take time to review “Who are #the15?,” you’ll see JD Hall (a Montana minister) summarize the answer to “Who are #the15?” with: Continue reading My Advice for #the15

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep…”

Ringing church bellsThanks to a version done by Cloverton, “I Heard the Bells” has become my favorite Christmas hymn. Researching the song a bit I learned that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s original poem (“Christmas Bells”) differs a bit from what we sing. I like his poem better; it stops where it should:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

(The hymn is shorter, and adds a verse after the last stanza.)

The poem is public domain, but credit where credit is due…I got it from 🙂

I Do Not Remember…

Mark JensenMark, I do not remember how it was to live with you the first five years of my life…

But I do remember you spanking me—not as cruel torture by a decade older brother—but as a kind sibling helping his frequently-disciplined younger brother no longer feel pain when he got spanked by his parents.

Mark, I do not remember why mom and dad kicked you out of the house when you were fifteen…

But I do remember you coming to visit, sick as a dog, and me selfishly pushing you (successfully) to give me your coin collection (which you kept in one of mom’s thread and needle containers).

Mark, I do not remember the next time I saw you…

But I do remember excitedly visiting a Mark Jensen mom found listed at a nearby hospital, only to walk in and see it wasn’t you.

Mark, I do not remember the exact year I got to visit you in Seattle during one of my business trips…

But I do remember taking your picture at the top of the Space Needle. We were brothers again.

Mark, I do not remember what I did to have you insist I be out of your life again…

But I do remember during the Seattle visit how you told me that when you were kicked out of house none of your friend’s parents would allow you to stay. You didn’t say it, but you were so alone. My heart broke. So, if me being out of your life meant less pain for you, I cared enough to accept it. You had more sorrow before becoming an adult than anyone should have their whole life.

Mark, I do not remember our last interaction…

But, it doesn’t matter. You are gone. You were alone. Nobody even knows exactly when you died.

Well, Somebody remembers how we spent our first five years together, why you were kicked out of the house, when I next got to see you, the year we were atop the Space Needle together, why you last insisted we lead separate lives, our last interaction, and the exact moment you entered eternity.

Surely a God who knows whenever a sparrow falls to the ground (Matthew 10:29), knows all of that and more. All your pain and all your smiles. All your sorrows and all your joys. All your demons and all your angels. “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”1 You may have never realized it, but you always have been of more value.

Mark, God will show you the love you refused to receive from your family and me. Will you be in heaven? I do not know. However, I do know the God who cares for sparrows cares for you and that your demons will torture you no more.

Mark, I do not remember the last time I told you, “I love you.”

But I do.

1 Matthew 10:31, English Standard Version.

UPDATE: With info from a sibling, corrected a couple of ages in the post.

“Judge orders baker to serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs”

WhippingOminous words:

"While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one’s religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers," ACLU staff attorney Amanda Goad said in a statement. "No one is asking Masterpiece’s owners to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple."

The rest of the article is available here. Basically, if you don’t want to use your artistic skills (translation: free speech) to implicitly endorse something you consider (and the church from day one has considered) sinful…too bad…something that is specifically mentioned in the First Amendment (religious freedom) is trumped by something that is never discussed in all of the Constitution (sexual preference).

This reminds me of a sermon I did called "Steppin’ Stone." In it I shared a similar case with a Christian photographer: Continue reading “Judge orders baker to serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs”

The Result of Double Faith

Between a couple trips through all 66 (and Bible studying) I've read every word in Scripture more than once, yet I still run into stuff I don't ever remember seeing before. Sure, it could just be that I've got an awful memory, but instead it seems to me that God's written word is like a gold mine where no matter how much you dig the precious metal never runs out…even when you are digging in the same exact place. It is inexhaustible.

For instance, a day or so back I was reading how Ahaziah (bad king of Israel) wonders if his injuries are going to lead to his death and decides to go ask Ekron's god Baal-zebub via messengers. The only real God sends Elijah to intercept Ahaziah's intermediaries, and Elijah sends them back with a pretty negative message. Seeing them so soon the king was surprised, and asked them why they were back so quickly. They relate the communication and then:

[Ahaziah] said to them, "What kind of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?" They answered him, "He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist." And he said, "It is Elijah the Tishbite" (2 Kings 1:7-8, English Standard Version).

Now, perhaps you are far more observant than I am, but I never caught that Elijah wore clothing made of hair and a leather belt. Why does that matter? Fast forward to the New Testament and: Continue reading The Result of Double Faith and

Once again I’ve stayed up to late playing :-), but out of it you now can take advantage of two short URLs that are easy to remember: — a smart phone-friendly page with a simple Traditores Radio player embedded in it that should work in any browser that supports JavaScript and Flash or HTML5 — a really simple URL to remember for Traditores Radio’s home page…so simple that you should share it with all of your friends! 🙂

And…you can still find the home page via

WDJD: Neighbors



Concise Oxford English Dictionary

neighbour (US neighbor)

n. a person living next door to or very near to another.

† a person or place in relation to others next to it.

Merriam-Webmster's Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition)

1neigh•bor \r\ n

[ME, fr. OE nr dweller — more at nigh, boor] bef. 12c

1 : one living or located near another

2 : fellow man

From My Mac's dictionary (Leopard 10.5.7)

neighbor |ˈnābər| ( Brit. neighbour)


a person living near or next door to the speaker or person referred to : our garden was the envy of the neighbors.

a person or place in relation to others near or next to it : I chatted with my neighbor on the flight to New York | matching our investment levels with those of our North American neighbors.

any person in need of one's help or kindness (after biblical use) : love thy neighbor as thyself.


You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor. —Walter Bagehot, in National Review

Love your neighbor, yet pull not down your hedge. —George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum

It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor. —Eric Hoffer, in New York Times Magazine

Merriam-Webster, I. (1992). The Merriam-Webster dictionary of quotations. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster.

Jewish Definition (in Jesus' day)

Continue reading WDJD: Neighbors