Posts

A Peculiar Way

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Sometimes when God leads us to do something, the outcome doesn’t go as planned. This weekend, my friend Gretchen and I attempted a road trip from Minnesota to Texas. We both prayed before leaving and perceived this was God’s will. The original plan was for us to stay a few days with an intercessor who lives outside Dallas.  While checking my text messages in Missouri, I found out the intercessor doesn’t allow dogs in her home. Gretchen had brought along her chihuahua. Nevertheless, we continued our trip since Gretchen has a daughter in Austin she could stay with. Hours later, Gretchen received an emergency phone call from her parents. It became necessary for us to turn around and return to Minnesota.   This wasn’t a wasted trip from an eternal perspective. Gospel tracts were handed out along the way. One recipient was a McDonald’s employee in Kansas City who had to bring our order out in the rain. She still prayed with me to receive salvation. Jesus said in Luke 15:10,  “…there is joy

My Appointments with Dr. Demento

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This past Friday, a well-known radio announcer turned 80 years old. I emailed him a birthday greeting that day but then felt inspired to write this tribute since he helped get my music heard by a wider audience. Barret “Barry” Hansen was born on April 2, 1941, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduating from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Barry moved to California and earned a master's degree at UCLA plus worked a variety of jobs in the music industry. Eventually, he created a radio show featuring novelty songs and other unusual recordings. A colleague who called Barry “demented” for playing stuff like that inspired a new nickname. The Dr. Demento Show was soon heard throughout the United States and abroad on Armed Forces Radio. It’s probably best known for launching the career of parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic. The first time I heard of Dr. Demento was in 1982. I became an announcer for KMSC, the radio station at Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minnesota. During my shif

Recollections of Knut-Koupeé

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This past Wednesday I got together with an old friend. Adam Colt and I had lunch at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant and then picked up parts at a computer store. While driving me home, Adam mentioned a Facebook group for a defunct music store we both worked at. That prompted me to join the group and peruse through old photos of the store. That brought back memories. In July 1988, I landed a full-time job at Knut-Koupeé Music (pronounced “Newt Coo-pay”). I was hired to sell keyboards and other pieces of sound equipment. Weeks before I had moved into an apartment just three blocks away. It was nice being able to walk to work instead of dealing with parking issues in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. Another benefit to my employment at Knut was buying discounted equipment for my home recording studio. When I started working at Knut-Koupeé, I also deejayed several nights a week plus produced radio commercials. Working over 60 hours a week (particularly the ten-hour shifts at Knut) be

Monopoly Makeovers

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As a boy, I loved playing Monopoly. My parents originally taught me how to play this property trading board game. They soon resisted my requests to play it again because our games took too long. To pass the time on Christmas Eve, my sister and I often played Monopoly before Dad came home from work and we opened presents. One Christmas, Dad brought home a borrowed Nintendo Entertainment System that included a Monopoly cartridge. I played that several times on our TV. The classic version of Monopoly released in 1935 has properties named after locations in or near Atlantic City, New Jersey. In recent years, numerous specialty editions have come out with renamed properties connected with movies, colleges, or other themes. Updates of the game include new game pieces and credit cards for purchases instead of cash. This past Thursday, Hasbro announced Monopoly will get a “long overdue” socially conscious makeover. All sixteen of Monopoly’s Community Chest cards will be changed. Gone will b

"Next!"

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Thirty years ago, I was involved in a multi-level marketing company called Nu Skin . Although it didn’t prosper me financially as I hoped, it was a valuable learning experience. Many recruiting tips I learned in MLM were later applied in evangelism outreaches. One of which was not taking it personally when someone rejects what is offered to them. One Nu Skin distributor taught this analogy. Let’s suppose you excitedly call your neighbor saying, “Jim, I found gold buried in my backyard! Get a shovel and bucket and get all you want!” “Well, I’m a little busy right now.” “Didn’t you hear me, Jim? There’s gold in my backyard! Get a shovel and bucket and get all you want!” “Well, I really don’t have a shovel and bucket.” “Darn it, Jim! Just go BUY a shovel and bucket!” “Do you know how much shovels and buckets cost?” The distributor concluded the analogy by advising, “Folks, will you please learn to do this?” He then waved his arm like moving something out of the way and declar

Little Christians That Could

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One of my favorite books growing up was “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper. This story is about a group of toys on a train carrying them and some food. The train was about to go over a mountain when their engine suddenly died. The toys sought another engine to help them, but three big ones rejected their pleas. Then they encountered a smaller engine uncertain it could do the job. Nevertheless, the engine pulled the toys over the mountain while repeatedly saying, “I think I can…I think I can.” Many believers belittle themselves when facing unfavorable circumstances. When instructed to confront Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go free, Moses complained,  “O my Lord, I am not eloquent…I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”  (Exodus 4:10) Later when it was time to enter the Promised Land, most of the Israelites called themselves “grasshoppers” in comparison to the giants they had to fight off. (Numbers 13:33). Because of negative thinking, none of those Israelites posse

The Gospel Soul Winning Script

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During my early days with evangelism, I developed an approach called the Survey Technique . By asking short direct questions, you can maintain control of the conversation and find out quickly what a person’s spiritual beliefs are. Although the Survey Technique has helped me lead thousands to the Lord, I’m still open to utilizing new methods in reaching people with the gospel. Rodney Howard-Browne's ministry uses a tool called the Gospel Soul-Winning Script , which originated during their Good News New York campaign in 1999. I became familiar with it a few years later during evangelism outreaches with Rodney’s church in Tampa, Florida. At first, I resisted using the script. I found it restrictive and thought sinners wouldn’t be receptive to me reading the whole thing to them. Then while taking part in a 2009 outreach with Rodney’s ministry in Washington, D.C., my team leader asked me to “stick with the script.” Wanting to maintain unity, I complied with his request. Initially it fel