Stop running with the racing rats – A personal note…

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Originally posted on The Dutch Luthier:
This 1956 film was made as a means of recruitment to interest young boys for shop class. It tells how the experience of designing and making something has benefits for the rest of your…

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A New Journey Begins

Tomorrow it arrives. I’m expecting a package from UPS in the afternoon that will begin a new journey for me. For many years I’ve wanted to build a stringed instrument; I made this my New Years Resolution this past January. Recently after joining some luthier groups on Facebook, the idea came to me that the best way to get my feet wet and gain some experience and knowledge, was to purchase an electric kit guitar, finish the body and neck and then assemble the components. I’ve always loved Fender Telecasters, so that was the type of kit that I purchased.

My plan is to keep the body and neck and then upgrade the electronics and hardware. I’ve spent a lot of time online researching guitar pickups, tuning keys, bridges, etc. and have watched quite a few tutorials on YouTube. As a matter of fact, YouTube is an incredible resource for people who want to do this type of thing. The guitar building community online has also been incredibly helpful; willingly sharing their knowledge and love for the craft.

The kit that arrives tomorrow is only the beginning of this journey. My hope is to next make a guitar body myself, do the routing for the pickup pockets, neck joint and control cavity. I’ll purchase a neck for that guitar and on a future project build and fret my own neck as well as the body. To be honest, making the neck seems to be the most daunting task, so, I’ll work my way towards that. I’ll purchase a neck without frets first and learn how to install and dress frets before I build a neck.

I’m excited about doing this. As I mentioned earlier, this is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time.

Sorry that this post is a bit of a departure from my regular/irregular posts, but I do plan on getting back to my faith journey as well as write about my new adventure, so stay tuned. Life is supposed to be an adventure.





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To make and use historical hand planes

For the reenactment project I make reconstructions of the tools depicted by Jost Amman in his portrait of “Der Lautenmacher” (1568). At the workbench we see a variety of tools: A mallet…

Source: To make and use historical hand planes

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Guitar making in Malawi

Another great post from the Dutch Luthier. What I really like about this is that skills are being learned and people are learning to provide for themselves crafting items that people will purchase.

Here’s a video of a great project: Loic Lemaire and Lennert van de Velde, two students of ILSA (International Lutherie School Antwerp), went to Malawi as a part of their internship. They gave…

Source: Guitar making in Malawi

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A Studley-like toolchest…

Another from The Dutch Luthier. Been reading his posts more and more as I’ve begun studying the process of crafting stringed instruments.

This is just one of those items in which the border between arts and crafts disappears. An amazing testimony of the care a craftsman gave his tools.

Source: A Studley-like toolchest…

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Woodworking in the 1940s

This movie was made around 1940 in a series called “Your Life Work”. These short movies were used to help young people choose their vocation. Just look at the work and the techniques. E…

Source: Woodworking in the 1940s

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Worship Conversation pt. 1

(I ran across this article that I had written for a newsletter 5 years ago and thought I’d post it here on this blog. I’ve been going through the documents that were transferred from our old computer before it died and there are quite a few articles that were never posted online.  Worship seems to be the major theme. I’ll be posting these in the upcoming days.)

I had a conversation with Lenny Smith after worship yesterday.  Lenny is a worshiper  who has been leading worship for decades and has written over 100 praise and worship songs, two of which our team uses frequently in our Sunday morning offerings.  One song; Our God Reigns, has been translated into many languages and I knew the song years before I met Lenny.  Lenny’s one of those rare individuals who are in complete awe of the works of God and who can talk for hours about worship.  In other words; he’s just the kind of person I like to associate with.

The conversation began with him affirming what we are doing as a worship community and confirming the direction that the Praise Team seems to be going.  Then we got down to the essence of worship and he really made something clear that I’ve never been able to articulate.

We were talking about leading worship and he mentioned audience.  He said that the trap is falling under the impression that God is our audience and that we feel that we do what we do in order to gain His approval.  What he said next really clarified it for me.  He said that we are the audience.  We are ushered into the throne room not as court jesters for the amusement and approval of God, but we are ushered into His presence in order to respond to His love with our adoration and praise.

Wow!  It’s so simple yet so true.  We seem to want to jump through hoops and perform for God with our acts of worship, but God has already done everything.  This calls for a response and I believe that’s exactly what worship is; a response to His grace, love, mercy, creation and mighty acts.  We respond with our praise, adoration, humility, offerings and awe.  This is worship.

How can we possibly think that we could ever perform for Him?  All we can ever do is respond to Him with an offering because He is worthy.  Worship is merely that; expressions of adoration and I don’t believe that it’s confined to Sunday mornings only.

For those of us who are in Christ Jesus; He is already especially fond of us and no amount of performing rituals, songs or acts of worship will make Him any fonder of us.  Isn’t it a relief to know that we are accepted by Him through our association with Him?  I guess that’s why Jesus calls us friends and what a friend He is.

I hope I get to talk to Lenny again soon.  He’s just the type of individual I like to be around.  You see friends respect you enough to challenge you and I appreciate that.  It’s essential for our growth and I’m glad to know that Lenny cares.

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The Freedom Letter

For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. 

(Galatians 1:13-17)

I’ve returned to the pages of the Epistle to the Galatians and for good reason. We hear much about Christianity, but we hear too little of the freedom in Christ. Perhaps that’s why Christianity doesn’t seem to appeal to our “post modern” culture. Maybe that’s why, when people hear about Christianity they immediately think of rules to live by, but that’s not what Christianity is about.

I remember when I received Christ as my own and I remember the feeling of the weight of the world being taken away from me. It was explained to me that it was through faith and by grace alone that I was accepted by God. It wasn’t necessary to earn God’s favor; besides there was nothing of any value that I could give or bring to God, other than myself. Years of church service have dulled that and I need to be reminded of this central and essential element in a walk with Christ. It’s quite freeing to know that rules and creeds are of no value to God.

I guess the hardest thing to digest in all of this is the paradox that submission to God’s will, His perfect will, is what sets you free. It doesn’t make sense that to submit is equal to freedom, but we’re talking God’s economy and not the ways of man, but when you really meditate upon it and digest the knowledge that our creator has designed us for His purpose, it makes more sense than any truth that you may hear.

Paul writes of this freedom beautifully in Galatians. That Damascus Road experience must have been powerful. His encounter with the living Christ caused quite a transformation. It rocked his whole world and led to him to preach the Gospel with such passion that it caused him to fight against the very beliefs, ideals and traditions that once were at the center of who he was. He had been a zealous defender of his religion to the point of persecuting the followers of someone called Jesus. He was so respected by the religious leaders that he was given permission to travel to Damascus to haul back these heretical believers of “the way”. His encounter with Jesus changed his life and caused him to become the great evangelist he was. We should all view the Gospel as transformational, because it is. It has the power to change lives and “rescue us from this present evil age.”

I’m going to take my time reading this letter again and I plan on writing about what I find. Maybe I can help others remember the freedom that they too have in Christ.


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It’s happening again. The old restlessness that invades me from time to time has returned. I’m not content with the status quo, not satisfied with “that’s the way it’s always been and the way it will remain” and I’m not happy with dead and lifeless worship.

Once again, life filled worship is at the fore of my thoughts and once again I’m seeking opportunities to be filled and failing in the search. No satisfaction with the Sunday morning “traditional” offering of multiple choirs, poor organ playing and the same old “show”of what some consider “worship”.

I really have no idea why this restlessness invades me as it does, but it appears that I’m wired for dynamic worship; lots of praise lifting our Lord high and being engaged in the effort.

The funny thing is that I enjoy traditional worship when it’s clear that it’s about the Lord, but I can see through a show and recognize when people are more concerned about “stage time” and control. That’s the most annoying thing; the focus on individuals and their talents, it’s the idols of institutions and local customs being lifted up and it’s the reverence for how it’s always been rather than the reverence for our great and awesome God.

I want more of Jesus in worship, I want the Holy Spirit superintending the praise and I want to see the Father exalted! That’s hard to do when the service is about components that exalt individuals and the music ministry that they run. I need more of God and less of idol worship.

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The Parable of the Fishermen

     A man decided he was going to fish, so the next day he went down to the sporting goods store and bought a book on fishing. After returning home he read the book and learned about all kinds of fish and the methods for catching them. The next week he went back to the sporting goods store and purchased a rod and reel. After returning home he practiced casting the line on the rod and reel and became very good at it. The next week he went back to the sporting goods store and purchased hooks and bait. After returning home he taught himself how to put the bait on the hooks. The next week he went to the sporting goods store and bought special clothing for fishermen and then went home. The next week he went to the sporting goods store and found people talking about fishing and spent the entire day there discussing the pros and cons of various theories on fishing. On his way home he met his neighbor who had a cooler full of fish. He said to his neighbor; I’ve never seen you at the sporting goods store nor have we ever talked about fishing. How is it that you have a cooler full of fish. His neighbor replied; I went fishing.


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