Category Archives: Lighthouse
Lighthouse, the bluegrass band I play in (occasionally) reunited for a couple of performances in December.
The first was at the North County Bluegrass and Folk Club in Escondido, an annual tradition for us. The people there are always so generous with their enthusiasm for our music, and this year they not only brought us back for an encore but bought us out of CD’s. (Pity the poor souls who get a Lighthouse CD for Christmas!) But it felt good to play a full set of music with my bandmates. It has actually been a year since we did that last. We only played twice all last year, once in my backyard for Easter and another short appearance at College Avenue Baptist Church in August.
Our second performance was at Shadow Mountain Community Church, part of their annual “Shadow MountainChristmas” celebration/concert. We did three shows, performing one song titled “Follow the Light,” a Christmas song that I learned from the McLain Family Band about 35 years ago. In the concert, we followed a mariachi band (a first for us I think) and enjoyed jamming with them backstage in the dressing room. They couldn’t speak English very well but the language of music seemed to connect us pretty well. I can now pick out a little “La Bamba” on my banjo.
All in all, playing with Lighthouse has been one of the bright spots for me this Christmas season so far. This time of year seems to add so much stress and anxiety, with all the busyness and responsibilities that go with it (especially now that I’m on a church staff). But getting to play some music once again has brought some extra joy into the season for me.
What I need to do now is take some time to focus on the real source of our joy at Christmas, the child who came to us at Bethlehem. Curiously, I am finding that being on a church staff doesn’t automatically make that possible.
This has been a difficult year for Marci and me in many ways … yet also one with many blessings. I know that the shortest route to joy is the path of thanksgiving, so that’s where I must go. As I look back on the year, I see a new church and a new ministry, a new granddaughter (beautiful Layla!), a new kitchen (under rather trying circumstances but new nevertheless), new friends, new experiences (like attending junior high camp at Forest Home and watching our son do his thing), new books in print, new health insurance (Medicare!), and the list goes on. God is so good. The child who comes to us in the manger every year is not only our Savior, but a perfect picture of the goodness of God, the best of all his gifts to us. He is the source of our joy.
What brings you joy this Christmas?
Every year on Father’s Day weekend, my two worlds (music and ministry) collide at Huck Finn’s Jubilee, the biggest bluegrass festival in Southern California. A couple years ago, it won the IBMA Award for “Bluegrass Event of the Year.” I’ve been attending this festival in Victorville, California for most of it’s 34 years (same age as my radio show) and it is always enjoyable despite the fact that the weather can sometimes be brutal. It’s usually too hot, but there was one year when we actually froze to death. We’re expecting hot weather this year.
For years I have served as stage announcer (emcee) for the festival on the main stage Saturday night and all day Sunday. I also conduct a nondenominational chapel service on Sunday morning which draws about 300 people or so who are camping for the weekend. My band Lighthouse provides the music and I get to preach a gospel message, usually with a Fathers Day theme. This year, I’m focusing on Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son which he told to illustrate the amazing grace and love of God the Father.
Marci and I are still stuck in a hotel, waiting for our house to be restored after the fire. Really, we’re waiting for our insurance company to pay for the work being done. Once that happens, we should be able to move back in. All of our belongings are being held for ransom it seems.
I’m hoping that being at Huck Finn will provide a little break from the stress this situation has caused us. I know we’re going to hear some good music!
I play banjo in a bluegrass band called Lighthouse and we play every first Wednesday of the month at the Friendly Grounds Coffee House in Santee (9225 Carlton Hills Blvd.) from 7 to 9 p.m. Come on out and see us sometime. It’s free and a lot of fun.
UPDATE: we are not playing at the Friendly Grounds any longer (as of January 2010). If you’d like to see if and when we’re playing or get more information about Lighthouse, visit our web page.