Ever since I can remember, I’ve been singing. My interest in music began as a child in the 70s running through the house with my hair slicked back, collars flipped up singing “Jail House Rock.” The king never knew he had a young blonde protégé in Minnesota.
Although I’ve been writing songs ever since then, it wasn’t until college that my twin brother (also on this site – Steve Olson) and I started a band that would give us our first taste of performing in front of real human beings in a concert-type venue. The band was called Parresia. We did many concerts at churches, youth events, outdoor festivals and the New Union (now called Club 3 Degrees) in Minneapolis. After about 4 years with Parresia, my wife and I decided to take a job opportunity that would move us to the San Francisco Bay area. It was a huge step of faith and I struggled with fear over whether or not I’d ever find the same opportunities there to remain active musically.
That fear turned out to be ill founded, since almost immediately, I became involved in the worship program at Marin Covenant church. I began to discover a whole new way to use music to edify and build up the body in a way that seemed far more culturally relevant than what I was used to. Probably for the first time, I began to experience FUN and JOY while worshiping. Needless to say, I was hooked. Throughout this time, my own musical compositions began to take on a new life and character of their own. My music began to express the deep moving of Christ in my heart and life, which I learned could draw other peoples’ hearts to God as well.
A few years later, after having been laid off from my position, my wife and I decided to take a step of faith and pursue full-time music ministry. With seed money from several supporters, we launched a nonprofit ministry called Hearts In Surrender, but when our church fell upon difficult circumstances, my attention, as well as that of our board of directors seemed to be drawn, out of necessity, to broader concerns of the church we were all a part of. As a result, I found myself engaged in independent consulting.
After much prayer, and 9 years in California, my wife I packed the kids and the dogs and headed back to Minnesota to be near our families again. Once again, we left our music connections behind and headed into some uncertainty. And once again, God put music right back in our laps almost immediately! I now lead a contemporary service at First Evangelical Church in Maplewood, MN. Although Hearts In Surrender still exists, we’re still praying about how it all ties together.
As it turned out, God had been working in very similar ways in my brother and I over the course of the 9 years we were apart. He and I are collaborating now again and in the process of finding a style that reflects who we really are. Our music reflects our journeys to be sure. We’ve both known the struggle of learning to surrender fully to God. We’ve both walked through difficult circumstances and found God not on the other side of them but right in the middle of them, when we’ve humbled ourselves and let go. God has been gracious enough to keep removing from our lives the things we’ve placed before Him. Maybe you can relate. He’s a master surgeon with a sharp knife, but His hand is steady and He has our wellness at the center of His concern for us.
ALMOST (but not quite) everything!
Favorite Bible Verses / Passages:
Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 6 (the worry part)
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