Make This Christmas Your Own

25 years ago this simple Americana-Country Christmas song, written by my good friend Bruce Ellis and I, began. It’s a prayerful request for the “more” of Christmas to shine through for all of us.

Bruce and I were reconnected in recent years again in Nashville – a true songwriter’s city – and we realized how much we both love the song born all those years ago. So, we decided to do something fun with it – to support our local Nashville Rescue Mission.

With the help of Nashville music producer Sam Ellis, as well as filmmaker and great friend Ryan Smith, we put the song to music and a performance video.

On a (fun) Saturday we captured the main footage, which was shot in the historic setting of Tulip Street Methodist Church sanctuary in Nashville, home of the Nashville Vineyard (who graciously let us use their gorgeous building).

True to a thread of the Nashville sound, this Americana song (where some of my own musical roots lie) points to the deeper meaning of the Christmas season.


And the deeper meaning of the Christmas season has always had to do with God’s heart toward the marginalized, the homeless, the vulnerable, the displaced, the struggling, and the poor in society.

That heart beat at the center of Jesus’ life and ministry.

One of the ways we can express and experience the “more” of Christmas is to become aware of the plight of the homeless in our town/city. Truly “seeing” the homeless in our community is where we can all start this Christmas.


My family and I support the powerful and effective ministry of the Nashville Rescue Mission in our Nashville community. They are committed to helping the hungry, homeless, and hurting with hope and transformation. And they do it, day in and day out.

At the end of the music video, I talk about the Nashville Rescue Mission, and the good work they do. I’d love for you to listen through to that part.

I’ve had the privilege of leading worship and speaking in some of the Nashville Rescue Mission Chapel services, and seeing their devoted staff in action. All I can tell you is that I believe in them, and they are lifting the whole of our big-city-with-a-small-town-heart when they do what they do.


I’m asking all my friends, if you feel so led, to consider supporting your local homeless mission.

Or join us by sending some of your Christmas giving to the Nashville Rescue Mission at:

They do amazing work, and your contribution will be valued by our homeless friends here in Music City.

Thanks for caring – and we hope you like the song.





You can listen to the song on:

YouTube –
Spotify –
iTunes –
GooglePlay –


Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.