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Three Little Birds

Three Little Birds

Don’t worry about a thing.”  While these are words that many people recognize as being from Bob Marley’s song, Three Little Birds, they are also words that are captured throughout the Bible.

 

Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you?” (Matthew 6: 25-30)

There are many things that we worry about… bills, health, jobs, relationships, etc. There are so many things that seem to be out of our control and cause us great anxiety… the words of the apostle Paul remind me that it is not God’s desire for us to worry when he writes, “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

As I turn to God for comfort and peace, I often find that my worries are smaller than when I started. I am also reminded that I am not alone and that God’s love is bigger than my worries.

Paul also writes that we are to, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) If you have a lot on YOUR mind today… remember that God loves you and that you are not alone.

Blessings and peace from the Parrot Island Band. May your hearts be filled with songs of joy and love.

Jesus and Jimmy Buffett

 

Jesus and Jimmy Buffett

(Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by religious discussions, please stop here… I’ll go get some chips and be right back… OK, if you are still with me please know that I am not putting Jimmy on the same level as Jesus, just sharing some personal thoughts, feel free to disagree).

What do Jesus and Jimmy Buffett have in common for me? We’ll… they have both spent a lot of time on the water and down by the sea. They also have a message that is appealing to the regular guy/gal (although we as Christians have often made it less accessible by adding man-made rules, formality and sadly… at times, a judgmental attitude. Remember, I gave some of you a chance to leave earlier 😉 ).

One of Jesus many facesThere was a book written a few years ago called Jesus in Blue Jeans, that looked at Jesus heart and message for the ordinary man/woman. What a great book and concept. I have found that there are many outside of the church environment who are followers of Jesus, but not great fans of “organized religion”. Many of these people are hanging out incognito in Hawaiian shirts and wearing flip flops (and are really neat/fun people)

 

Bry and the Coral Reefers share a laughAs I have shared in other places, I met Jesus and Jimmy Buffett within the same year. When I shared this at Tropstock (the Parrot Island Band opened the very first day of the very first Tropstock), a couple of the Coral Reefers present had a good laugh. While Jesus changed my life as a teenager, Jimmy’s music also got me through some very difficult years.

 

It was very moving for me at Tropstock (Trop Rock music festival) when one of the attendees came up after we played (during Tropstock Worship) and asked if he could talk for a minute. He share a renewed sense of hope and appreciation of God’s love for Him. At the end of our conversation, we shared a prayer and a sense that we had shared a special moment together (something that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t combined our love for God and Trop Rock music together).

Much more to share about Jesus and Jimmy, but enough for today. One more connection between Jesus and Jimmy, they both celebrate the same birthday… December 25th (and bring joy to many, although in different ways!). No offense intended… I realize there are many more important discussions we need to have, but it is also OK to look at the lighter side of things from time to time (and trust me, I do…) Have a great day… time for another snack.

It’s My Job

 

It's My Job

So Let's Make the Best of It

Let’s face it, some days it is really hard to get out of bed and go to work. Even as a pastor, I have days when I would like to pack my bags and run, or maybe sail away. I remember one night in particular when I was on my way home from a very long (unpleasant) meeting and I found myself humming a song. When I got home, I pulled out my guitar and a piece of paper and wrote my song, “See Ya Later, I’m Gone”. When we play this song at our gigs, we usually see heads nodding and a smile that seems to say, “yes, I feel that way sometimes too”.

One of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs is a song that band member Mac MacAnally wrote called, “It’s My Job.” The song tells of an encounter street sweeper listenin to Parrot Island Band tuneswith a street sweeper who was whistling and bouncing along as he carried out what many would see as a “menial” job. Asked how he could be so happy to be doing this kind of work, the street sweeper said it was his job,

 

 

“to be cleaning up this mess
And that's enough reason to go for me
It's my job to be better than the rest
And that makes the day for me"

The next encounter was with the writer’s uncle who was a banker and self-made millionaire. Asked why he seemed so sad, the banker said,

“it's because in my contract there's a clause
That says "It's my job to worried half to death
And that's the thing people respect in me
It's my job but without it I'd be less
Than what I expect from me"

How do we find meaning in our work and embrace the attitude of the street sweeper?  In part, it is in finding work that we love, but it is also important to love the work that we find ourselves doing. Even the best jobs have their downsides and as we see, there are jobs that would drive us crazy that others seem to love!  Our faith can enhance our work when we follow the encouragement found in the Bible,

17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

One of the ways I have found to keep my perspective on work fresh is having another outlet. As part of the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, Georgia… I have found a way of getting away from the stress sometimes associated with my "day job". The Trop Rock music that we play, write and listen to is a great way to enjoy each day and look forward to the next.

Until next time… it's Jesus and Jimmy.

Why Don’t We Play Golf at 2?

 

Anyone Going to Watch the Masters?

With the Masters golf tournament only a week away, it is time to break out my song Why Don't We play Golf at Two?  It is a re-write of Jimmy Buffet's song, Why Don't We Get Drunk and Sc**w. As we play at a number of Country Clubs and also family oriented events, this song has raised a few eyebrows and chuckles. While the Parrot Island Band plays a number of Jimmy Buffett and Trop Rock standards, we are known to "clean up" the lyrics a bit here and there in order to accommodate the little parakeets in the crowd.

follow the Mastrs oif Trop Rock, the Parrot Island BandThis week I also purchased my first video game in almost a decade, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Video. I have been to Augusta twice (a practice round and a regular tournament round), but have not had the opportunity to actually play the course. In a couple of rounds on the video game, I have enjoyed seeing the course (on the video) but have definitely NOT mastered the game.

 

 

As I have written in one of my songs, Hey Jimmy Won't You Give Me a Call, I would love to play a round of golf with Jimmy Buffett. I have found that I can really get to know people during a round of golf. Although people you would like to meet are somewhat disappointing when you actually do meet them, I still have hopes that Jimmy would be a fun guy to hang out with for awhile. Anyway, if anyone has his ear… tell Jimmy  there is a Landshark and round of golf waiting for him here in Atlanta, GA.

 

           

 

 

School Boy Heart

 

School Boy Heart

school boys love Parrot Island Band tooI love the song “School Boy Heart” by Jimmy Buffett and Matt Betton. It reminds us that everyone is multi-dimensional and unique. Among other interests and influences (including his southern/gulf-coast view and dialect), Jimmy weaves his love for flying, sailing and writing into this song. While many of us share Buffett’s love for music, fun and ocean waves, it is important to also be true to ourselves and our own unique talents and influences (and not merely copy the Buffett image).

While I grew up with a short drive of VA. Beach, Va., I also had a number of other influences that formed my view of the world. I was the son of a golf professional and spent most of my childhood chasing golf balls and turtles around the numerous ponds and lakes of the local golf course where my father worked.  My life was profoundly shaped by my grandmother and great-grandmother, as I spent many nights and weekends at their apartment. There I learned to appreciate Lawrence Welk AND Hee Haw, both playing on the same night back to back.

One of the biggest influences on me has been music (especially Trop Rock, although I didn't know what genre it really was until the last few years). At the age of 12, I was given a nylon string Epiphone guitar and 5-6 “group” lessons at a local YMCA. From that moment on my life has been shaped by the music I’ve heard, the musicians I have looked up to and the opportunities I have had to play with and for others.  I sometimes wonder if other people stop to consider the many outside influences that shape who we are and how we view the world.

In recent years I have recaptured the dreams of my youth by playing with our band, the Parrot Island Band. The Parrot Island Band is a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band based in the Atlanta (more specifically, Acworth), Georgia area. Through these experiences I have had the opportunity to meet several members of the Coral Reefer Band (Jimmy's backup band) and have actually played a song with Doyle Grisham… a highlight I have already documented in another blog.

Just as each of us have unique experiences and talents, we are also given unique gifts to love and serve others around us.  The Bible speaks of “spiritual gifts” that are given to us so that we might build up, encourage and love those around us (1 Corinthians chapters 12-14; Romans chapter 12; Ephesians chapter 4; and 1 Peter chapter 4).  I hope that if you are reading this, you might realize that you have special gifts and talents to make this world a better place (and make you extremely valuable to those around you). OK, hum along with me… “I’ve got a school boy heart…”, now go write your own lyrics (figuratively) given the influences, experiences and talents you have been given…

Until next time, it's Jesus and Jimmy.

Jesus, Jimmy and Peace of Mind

 

Jesus, Jimmy and Peace of Mind

Peace Like a Palm Tree

Peace lIke a RiverThere is an old hymn, "Peace Like a River"  (an African American Spiritual) that speaks of having "peace like a river" in our souls.  I have always found a great deal of peace sitting by  a lake, river and especially the ocean. This week I have faced some very difficult circumstances and I must admit I am not finding very much peace at the moment. Scripture tells us to "cast all our anxieties" upon Jesus because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) . Perhaps it is time to practice what I preach 😉 and let God help me with a problem I can't fix on my own.

 

Relax and enjoyI am also reminded of some difficult days in High School when I was learning to play guitar and hearing this relaxing music from an up and coming musician, some guy named Jimmy Buffett. Songs of island, beaches and palm trees had a way of calming the storms within. There is just something about a palm tree swaying in the breeze that  is relaxing and calming. There are no palm trees here in Acworth, Georgia, but I do have a guitar… probably time to pull it out and play a few Trop Rock songs.

 

Playing with Linda and Kevin in the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett tribute band here in Atlanta, Georgia, has also been a very rewarding endeavor. Our music has taken us to Myrtle Beach, Cocoa Beach, Savannah, GA and many other beautiful places. I'll take a little time now to find my peace and give thanks for the many blessings and friends that I have. Perhaps you are facing some tough moments… God's listening, Jimmy's singing and if you ever need the Parrot Island Band to help you find a peaceful, relaxing place… please don't hesitate to give us a call.

What’s Your Window on the World?

 

What's Your Window on the World?

Looking for Sunshine

While our experiences cause us to look at the world in a certain way, it is also true that how we view the world determines how we feel about certain experiences. If we have had a number of bad experiences, we may tend to look at things from a “darker” perspective… OR,  if we look at things from a more positive perspective, we may be quicker to find a silver lining in difficult circumstances (and don't forget, a Parrot Island Band tune can always lift your spirits as well ;-)).

What's Your Window ont eh the World?In the song, Window on the World, Jimmy Buffett sings about a number of experiences like travels and musicians that were only here for a short time. As in the song, I can relate to nights without sleep and too much caffeine consumption (mine coming from a childhood developed soda addiction). I am sure that many can also relate to the longing of a loved one while spending too many nights from home.

 

Sometimes our circumstances are difficult and it is easy to be overcome by everything going on in life. A Bible verse that I have found helpful along the way is from Philippians 4:8, “Finally…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is praiseworthy- think about such things.”  Now, I’m not one of those people that believes that a “positive attitude” solves all problems, but I do believe that when we live our lives looking for the best in others and the good around us… we are more likely to feel better about the challenges that each day brings.

The title to the song Take the Weather With You (Neil Finn and Tim Finn) seems to beg the question, what kind of weather (attitude) will you take with you? It also seems to suggest that we have a choice as to what we see when we look out our windows and that we can decide to take sunshine or dark clouds with us as we go about our daily life (another reason I appreciate Jimmy's Margaritaville attitude, he invites us to look on the bright side of life). My window on the world?  Although I don’t always succeed, I try to see the blessings and blue skies that come my way… and I wish them for you as well. 

 

Jimmy Buffett

 

 

Charlie Sheen Hysteria

 

What's Up With Charlie Sheen?

Pray for Charlie Sheen?

I have been changing the channel all week trying to get away from Charlie Sheen. Every station. Nearly every program. All showing Charlie Sheen ranting and wild eyed, looking like he is about to implode. Just when I was ready to close the book on Charlie Sheen, someone asks that we add him to our prayer list at church. I'm torn. What about all the others who are struggling and aren't famous? Shouldn't we spend time praying for those who are really trying to get their act together? And as to all the publicity…surely there must be more important news on TV? The unrest in the Middle East maybe? Or the rapidly rising gas prices?

Just when I find myself ready to dismiss the request to pray for Charlie, I find myself speaking on the kind of people Jesus reached out to. Those far from God. Those even farther from the church. Those who feel rejected by people of faith. In other words, Charlie Sheen. Someone's son. Someone's brother. Someone's father. I'm not sure that Charlie is too worried about what God thinks about him (or cares if I pray for him), but I am pretty sure that God loves him and would indeed want us to pray for him (and the countless others like him who are on the edge of disaster).

Not all that glitters is ... a diamondIn the song Diamond as Big as the Ritz, Jimmy Buffett sings of a man who has everything money can buy, and yet becomes a prisoner of his own success (or in Charlie's case, fame and money).

 

 

As Jimmy puts it:

It's the prophecy of the unattainable dream

if you take one look behind the shine

it doesn't always gleam

All of Charlie's posessions, his giant house, his money, his cars, his godesses… can't buy Charlie what he really needs… peace of mind, peace with others… OK, I'm in… "God, bless Charlie and help him to know Your love… and forgive me when I am too judgemental". I'm still changing the channel, but I'm (and I'll get the Parrot Island Band here in Atlanta to do the same ;-)) pulling for you Charlie.

Until next time, it's Jesus and Jimmy.

Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 12-13)

Pastor and a Parrothead

 

Pastor and a Parrothead

Walking a Thin Line

Walking that lin lineIn his song Fruitcakes, Jimmy Buffett states that there is a "thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning". As a fan of  Jimmy Buffett and a follower of Jesus, there are many opportunities to walk that thin line.  My relationship with Jesus and my love for Jimmy's music both began about the same time while I was in High School and at the time I didn't see any tension between the two. As the years passed, I came to realize that Jimmy has had his own struggles with "religion" (which is quite different than faith, but that is a blog for another day) and that many Christians feel that you can't be a parrothead and a believer.

What I have discovered over the years is that parrotheads and christians both come in all shapes and sizes. I have also learned that people from both sides have many misconceptions about each other. What has been a pleasant discovery is that there are many followers of Jesus who also call themselves parrotheads. Unfortunatley, most of those who are parrotheads and christians feel that they have to keep it a secret. My hope is that through these blogs, I can encourage those who are also walking this thin line to openly enjoy the laid back music and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett (and yes, the Parrot Island Band), while also living out personal convictions of faith.

Yes, I am a pastor. More importantly, I am a follower of Jesus and His teachings of love and grace. I am also a parrothead AND I lead the Parrot Island Band: a Trop Rock, Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band. Here is a "Trop Rock" treasure to think about today; Jesus said, "I have come that they (you and I) might have life and have it abundantly". For me, (and many) that includes tropical tunes, beaches and plam trees.

Until next time, it's Jesus and Jimmy.

Parrothead