The Weight (Thrice Cover)

A few years ago, I recorded a bunch of just-for-fun covers to share with friends and family. One of the songs I recorded was The Weight by one of my favorite bands, Thrice. For whatever reason, I didn’t think the performance was up to snuff, so I didn’t share it with too many people. Well, as I was sifting through my audio archives for Flight Metaphor’s Kickstarter rewards, I rediscovered the track. Maybe I’m more forgiving of myself these days, because I think it sounds fine now!

Anyway, here’s the song – hope you like it! (If you do, Thrice does it better. They’re also putting out new music in 2016, so that’s pretty neat.)

To download the mp3, click here.

Thanks Dudes

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I wanted to share a few words about three relationships that are very important to me. This year in particular, I am very thankful for the friendship I share with my bandmates in Flight Metaphor.

Last weekend, we released our first project in over two years. In that time, we’ve seen more than our fair share of…well, life. We’ve been through multiple career changes, relationship changes, we got sidelined by a vocal cord injury, and one of us even became a father. And somehow, despite various dysfunctions within the band itself (we are sinners, after all), we’ve managed to stick together. When other bands would have hung it up, we persevered.

While we’ve been busy creating songs about Jesus, Jesus has been showing us a lot about what it means to be brothers. I’m not talking about the sanitized “buddy-buddy” version of Christian brotherhood, but the kind that doesn’t pull punches. The kind that isn’t afraid to call you out if you need it. The kind that can be frustrating, annoying, and sometimes hurtful…but in the midst it all, it’s rooted in love and genuine care. We know we have each other.


Bryler – When I first saw Your Face (the band) over ten years ago, I was blown away. But I never would have dreamed that the kid jumping around and screaming on stage at The Rock would one day be in a band with me. I’m so glad you are!

Cody – When I first met you at The Haven in what, 2002(?), I only knew you as “the guy playing guitar for David.” In fact, I’m not sure if I even met you that night! Regardless, never in a million years did I expect you to become one of my best friends, the guitarist for my band, and a partner in ministry. Thanks for everything, man.

Bill – When Good Morning Douglas fizzled back in 2004, I never would have dreamed that we’d be in another band together. But here we are, and I love it. Thanks for putting up with my wussy music and making loud songs with me, big brother.

Flight Metaphor will never sell a million records, and that’s ok with me. What we’ve got is more valuable than a sold out stadium – although I wouldn’t mind having both! But honestly, I’m very thankful for you guys, and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together. More than that, I’m thankful for your friendship. Here’s to the last three years, and here’s to many more!

– Mike

PS – You can buy Flight Metaphor’s new album right here.

Rambling on the Resurrection

On Easter Sunday, I shared this tweet:

The passage referenced reads, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (NIV).

NT-220-medOur hope is in the resurrection. As Jesus rose from the dead, so too will those who put their trust in him. But to what end? The Christian response to Jesus’ resurrection is to become like him in his death. That means self-denial. That means seeking God’s purposes instead of our own. That means deferring to God when his Word is at odds with our sensibilities.

If Easter is nothing more than an amnesty party, we’re selling God short. If Jesus’ resurrection has no impact on our lives the week after Easter, or the week after that, and the week after that…then what’s the point? Thieves and murderers often return to their old ways after being released from prison; what makes us think we’re any different? No, unless we are willing to say “yes” to Jesus and “no” to everything else, we too will return to our folly.

Too often, we forget that God requires something of those who say, “I am a Christian.” If we’re only given a half-Easter half-Gospel this sounds like a bait-and-switch, but obeying God’s commands is not a burden for those who know Jesus! If we’re doing it right, if we truly understand what it means to die to ourselves and live unto Christ, it becomes be a joyful, life-giving act of worship.

This is what I know: the old is gone, and the new has come. We need a bigger appreciation Gospel, and a bigger understanding of the Kingdom of God. Thankfully both stretch far beyond our wildest imaginations.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” In Jesus’ own words:

[Jesus] said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
– Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)

All I’m asking is that we consider what that means. If we want to become like Jesus, there’s no other way.

Recapturing Joy: A Short Testimony

This week, I was invited to do something I haven’t done in a while: to be quiet before the Lord.

I know what you’re thinking. But Mike, don’t you do that all the time? Well…no, I don’t. It’s a common assumption that pastors get up before sunrise every day to pray for three hours, but that’s just not me. I’m a night owl thanks to my mother, and more often than not my prayers are written down, sung, or expressed in an ongoing dialogue between me and God.

That’s not to say that I don’t value traditional silent prayer. In fact, I’d like to cultivate that discipline. But, like anyone, I make excuses for why I can’t won’t (school is starting back up, my second job is keeping me too busy, some days I just need rest, etc.).

Regardless, on Wednesday I was given permission to slow down and hear from God. I’m spending the week in Denver for a Covenant Orientation class, and our instructors have been starting our time together with daily devotions and prayer. On this particular morning, our instructor gave a brief talk and then asked us to be silent and present ourselves to God.

I quieted my heart and prayed these words, over and over: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.”

Lately I have been feeling stress from several areas of my life, so much that sometimes I feel like I’m rushing through everything just to get it done. As a result, I’ve felt my joy slipping. It’s not that I’m depressed or that I have any reason to be sad; it’s just that I feel like sometimes I’m simply existing rather than living into my identity as a child of God.

So in the silence, I asked the Lord to breathe newness into me – and that’s exactly what happened. I felt a peace that I haven’t known in quite some time.

And get this: at the end of our quiet time, our instructor broke the silence by reading these words…

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
– Psalm 95:1-7

God used these words to remind me that he’s in control, he’s got my back, and he’ll take care of me if I let him. I don’t remember if it came to me during my prayer or not, but the words that have stuck with me since then are, “Be still, and know that I am God.” What a gift.

I don’t know what it will look like yet, but when I return to my normal routine I’m going to carve out more time for being silent before God. I want to continue recapturing my joy. I don’t want to rush through my days; I want to experience new life in Christ to its fullest extent!

United in Christ Interviews

Hokus PickBetween 1998-2000, I published an e-newsletter called United in Christ. As a young teen sensing a calling to ministry but with no clue where to start, I went with what I knew: the internet. I was an avid reader of the Jesus Freak Hideout and a member of several online communities, so I created my own hybrid of the two. I began e-mailing my family and church friends a weekly newsletter containing a hodge-podge of anything and everything “religious,” including my confirmation requirements and random scripture references. Oftentimes, I would unashamedly lift content directly from JFH – but always with attribution! I’ve posted the first issue here for posterity, complete with grammatical errors and even an incorrect scripture reference.

One of my favorite pursuits for United in Christ was interviewing Christian bands. While my journalism skills were nonexistent (I was 14 when I started), it was exciting to reach out to artists that I looked up to and actually get a response. Upon re-discovering my archive of newsletters, it occurred to me that people may actually enjoy reading these “lost interviews” from the bands they listened to 15 years ago.

In all, I scored seven interviews: six bands and one television personality. Rather than edit or correct them, I’ve decided to present them in their original form:

A blues rock band that I honestly do not remember in any capacity. If you know anything about these guys, let me know in the comments.

I saw this band open for Bleach and Viva Voce and they blew me away. I actually still listen to this band from time to time.

Hokus Pick
Every youth group kid was obsessed with “I’m So Happy” in the late 90’s. As you can tell from the interview, I was no exception.

Leif, the Witnessing 101 Guy
Did anyone else stay up ’til midnight every Saturday to watch Real Videos and G-Rock?

Pep Squad
I interviewed this band and I didn’t even own their CD.

See above comment.

Satellite Soul
This was my most “controversial” interview, as one of my more conservative subscribers chastised me for including Mr. Suttle’s advice about yellow snow 😛

Even though United in Christ was somewhat of a trainwreck, I’m thankful for everyone who encouraged me and put up with me during that time (including the people I interviewed, as I’m sure it was obvious to them that I was just a punk kid). It wasn’t long before my pastor recognized what God was up to and encouraged me to use my gifts in the Church. It’s silly, but I see United in Christ as my first step into public ministry.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as I do!