Friday, April 25, 2008

I spent the last week in Nashville at Gospel Music Week, which always concludes with the Dove Awards ceremony on the final night. I told my manager, Dennis Disney (no, not that Disney – I don’t think – hmm) that I’d come up if he thought he could make it worth the time, energy and dollars to get there.

I flew into Nashville on Sunday morning and hit the ground (I always hate using those words anywhere near the word “flying”) around 9:00 AM. My first stop was to go out to see the kids – that alone made the trip worthwhile.

On Sunday afternoon, I was a part of a panel of artist and industry types. We sat at our respective tables and were put on the clock. A group of young and older aspiring artists and songwriters would gather around and ask questions. Everything from, “How do I do this?” to “Where can I go to use the gifts I have?”

Another question that came up a couple of times from some of the younger attendees – “Who are you?” When I answered their question, some of them still didn’t know. Someone asked if that bothered me, given all the years I’ve put into this, my response was, “No, actually it’s kind of funny and it definitely keeps things in perspective.”

But it is nice when people know, I have to admit.

I was introduced to Mark Hall from Casting Crowns. Mark was very nice and said some nice things. He told me I was his “car singer.” Huh? He told me that when he was growing up, he would ride around in his car and sing along with me. He said Steven Curtis Chapman sang the stuff he sang in church. I asked him why. He told me in every song of mine, I’d throw in a couple of lines or notes as if to say, “So, you thing you can hang with me big boy? Try this!” And then I’d be out of his range.

I laughed but later thought, “Hmm, so that’s why Chapman sold so many more records than me?”

At this point in my career, I wish I’d recorded some of those songs a little bit lower myself. They tried to warn me.

I spent most of the week doing media for the new record. Lots of radio interviews and some television.

The most intriguing TV thing was for a network from Kenya. It set me to thinking about the world outside my world – and I’m still thinking, praying and hoping something comes of the contacts I made. I’ve got some ideas that actually have nothing to do with me. A breakthrough.

I sang at an art gallery on Tuesday night in a small showcase of artists. One of the girls that was on the list to perform was the daughter of Chuck Girard, one of the real pioneers. She's a great singer and one of the best songwriters I heard all week. You should check out Alisa Childers (spelling might be off).

On one trip through the maze at the convention center, I saw this guy from far off and watched the buzz around him. A dead ringer for the president! And a really nice guy. He said he’d been a fan for a long time and gave me one of his DVDs.

At the airport, before boarding my flight home on Thursday, I was browsing the magazine rack, looking for the latest bike or golf mag – something easy for the flight, something I could fall asleep reading, and I saw a magazine title I’d never seen. I love Nashville for lots of reasons, so what I’m going to say is no indictment on my beloved southern culture, but you might only be able to buy this magazine in the south. “Garden & Gun.” There was a picture of a great looking black lab perched on some expensive looking iron patio furniture – it could have been the cover of some highbrow publication, but, no, it was “Garden & Gun.” I didn’t want to spoil the many layers of weirdness I was enjoying in the playground of my head by opening it and actually seeing what was inside.

I might ask Santa for a subscription to “Garden & Gun” for Christmas! It would be a great coffee table conversation piece, eh?

Chuckling to myself as I left the airport bookstore with my copy of USA Today and Golf Digest with Tiger Woods on the cover, I heard this announcement over the airport sound system. “Would the person leaving the Elvis painting at security please return to claim it?”

Love ya, Nashville. Entertaining as always.


Friday, April 18, 2008


Our enemy is not dumb.

It always makes me uncomfortable when I hear anyone crow about the Adversary as if he were some dolt stumbling around trying to trick mortals or stab them playfully with his pointy stick. This is, and always has been, serious stuff.

From the origin of our faith with the birth, the life, the death and resurrection of Christ, people have set themselves against each other in the name of religion. It would take volumes (and volumes have been written) to articulate all the details of who said or did what to whom. You could spend a lifetime reading the stories. Truth is stranger than fiction, they say.

When Christianity first appeared in Rome, the Romans, who were very tolerant at the time, of different religions, thought little of it. To them, it was just an offshoot of Judaism and they certainly were familiar with that. But it didn’t take long for the teachings of Christ and His followers to intrude upon some long-held beliefs of the Romans. Only one God? Hmm. Everyone loving each other? No, Romans, not like that!


Constantine relieved some of the tension by declaring Christianity as on of the official religions of the state. But then the invasions started and confusion led to violence – lions, tigers and bears and worse. The violence lasted a very long time. And the violence goes on.

I was in a bookstore the other day and picked up “European History for Dummies.” I’ve been interested in history since college. Actually, my interest peaked and was sustained when I realized I didn’t have to study history for grades or memorize dates for tests.

This book is a fun read and hits the high (or low) points of the most significant events in the history of the continent – a history that, obviously, has had a dramatic effect on the entire planet.

But as I’m reading it, the most vivid, recurring element is that religion has made such a profound footprint on all human events. Some would argue that the footprint has made a mess of human events and continues to do so. To bring it closer to home, and to speak only of my own beliefs, I overheard someone say a few days ago, “…the problem with the church is not Jesus, it’s Christians.”

Christians that are easily distracted (me), Christians that are sometimes weak in their faith (me, also), Christians that don’t always believe that they’re truly forgiven and that they have to perform like sideshow monkeys (uh, me again). That grace is real and sufficient – period.

And the Enemy is simply delighted. His scheme is working out just fine, thank you very much.

When all is set aside but Jesus, faith makes sense. But how did we get this way? While you and I were born in sin, and while you and I are certainly responsible for our own footsteps – misguided or true as they may be – the current state of the planetary union doesn’t rest on me or you. We are a part of the great sinful collective that has no option but to throw ourselves at the mercy of the court.

What a relief. What good news.

When gossip, rumor, or even disturbing truth finds it’s way into my ears, I will try my best to trust in Him that made everything.

What is man that you are mindful of him . . .
Psalm 8:4

I’ll remember today that God is not the Author of confusion. That would be the other guy. I’ll remember that God will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is fixed on Him.

You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26: 3

Wayne Watson
April 18, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Face

One of the songs from the new project that’s getting the most attention and draws the most frequent comments is called “When You See Jesus.” You can read a description of who it’s about and why and when it was written on the website.

But right now, it gets me to thinking in a whole different light.

Years ago, I wrote another song called “Would I Know You Now” and it was inspired by a wandering imagination (like a lot of songs) that was sort of a daydream. I imagined Jesus walking into an everyday situation – approaching a table full of friends in a restaurant or a group on the first tee at the local golf course - a couple of fishermen in the early hours of a summer day (of course, in this picture, He would be walking on the water, you know). Maybe He’s walking up to a group of parents at a kids’ soccer game or happening upon a bunch of teenage boys sitting on the hoods of their cars in the parking lot talking smack about how fast they can go, how much beer they drank last night, which girls they’re after.

Jesus came to the world as a gift from the Father – A gift to be shared. But, too many times, like a spoiled kid, I hear myself say, “Mine!”. The healing of His shadow isn’t cast over the wounds of the world as readily as it ought to be.

More likely, the message I/we send to a lost world is, “Look, get yourself together, and stop doing whatever it is you’re doing, then we’ll talk and maybe you can bend yourself into some shape that will fit what we’re doing. Yeah, I know Jesus said He would do the work in you and that He would change you, but it would really be better, and most of us would be a lot more comfortable if you’d do something about it yourself. And try some mouthwash while you’re at it.”

Who has the face of Christ? Your neighbor? Your pastor? Would people confuse him with the Savior. Odds are against that, you say? Why? What is so different? “Well, my pastor is so recognizable, people know him.” And we have our opinions of our favorite preachers and we’ve come to our own conclusions about his Christ-like traits or the lack thereof. No, people would never mistake _______________ for Jesus. And really, I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just so obvious that most of us are far from being mistaken for the Nazarene.


But what about me? Same pity. There are things about me that would stop people from ever mistaking me for the Christ.

I want to believe that if I were to encounter the Lord face to face, in person, real flesh and blood, I would know it. But He might be nothing like I expect Him to be. Like most people, I have that picture hanging on the Sunday School class wall burned into my head. You know the one – Jesus, dressed in a robe with an extra sash or two, sandals (cool), with that serene countenance. Skin color – hmm, not brown but not white and not black but not yellow either.

By the way, the picture at the top is not from the Sunday School wall. It was a gift from a friend from Romania.

We haven’t come as far as we’d like to believe about the color thing. For better or worse, we can’t claim ownership (though yes to some responsibility) of any particular racial or tribal prejudice here in the USA . Sometimes I wonder how the planet holds to its orbit with all the violence perpetrated by one superior group against another, faith against faith, one tribe trying to rid the earth of its rival.

If Jesus were to walk into the hills of Afghanistan and occupy a spot around a Taliban campfire or sit at a war table with an American Colonel, would I know Him? If he were to press His face against the fence surrounding a refugee camp in the Sudan, would I know Him? If he were to check into the hotel room right next to me, could I feel it?

And skeptics laugh. “When will you people ever get over this.”

I’ll never get over it and I’ll never stop looking. The more time passes, the more promises are unfulfilled by a world that tries to placate me with more storage space on my ipod, bigger TV screens, faster internet service or better gas mileage or more energy through pharmaceuticals, the deeper I breathe and believe that He is here now and He is coming then and there is more than this.

And I’m thankful.

Sweet Jesus, thank you for your patience with me. Sometimes my faith seems so small it makes a mustard seed look like an asteroid. Open my eyes a little wider today so that I can see you in everything and everyone. And so I can keep from freaking out at every obstacle that shakes me and makes me ask stupid questions that you answered a long, long time ago.



Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Busy Week

Just a few words to catch up…

Last Tuesday, I did a simple little promotional video at a local studio here in Houston. It was set up to advertise a cruise I’m a part of in June of this year.

The hosts were a very nice couple by the name of Gil and Mary Ann Markarian. They showed up to do the interview segment of the promo and we felt very comfortable together right off the bat. That always makes things easier.

After we were done, I taped a couple of songs from the new project for them to use along with the interview. I sang “Sing for Joy” and “When You See Jesus.”

So, we wrapped it up and they told me they were hosting a half hour show on the local Daystar Network here in Houston, and then asked if I would come to be on the show with them on Friday.

I was planning on leaving early Friday to be in Dallas for a meeting that evening but pushed everything back a few hours and did the show.

Daystar is a huge Christian network and growing all the time.

Thursday night, I was at Lakewood Church here in Houston. You know, uh, the biggest church in the country! Well, before you get all excited, I was there to play for a group of about 400. They were a group called The Gathering of Church Bookstores – as in Christian bookstores located inside churches.

I was honored to play for this group. They are the fastest growing segment in the world of retailers of ministry products, books, music, etc. One church north of here just set up a ten thousand square foot store in their church to meet the needs of their congregation and their community.

Along with the retailers were forty authors representing their newest publications. It was a cool assortment of folks.

I gave them all a copy of “Even This” and played for a half an hour from the new project. Afterwards, so many of them came by for autographs and expressed their excitement and interest in hosting a concert at their respective churches. They were a great audience – laughing, crying, holding their collective breath at the right times. I was moved by their response.

So that was Thursday. And after the TV show on Friday I drove on up to Dallas.

Saturday morning I played a private event for a friend.

Sunday Morning, I sang in the worship service at the First Baptist Church in Carrollton, TX. Great church! Alive! Fresh!

That night, I played an hour concert. I love playing and singing this new music. It seems to touch people with its frankness and simple, direct message. Of course with the new material, I’ll always throw in a couple of oldies like “Friend of a Wounded Heart” “Almighty” and that night, did an encore of “The Touch of the Master’s Hand”. Man, how many thousands of times I’ve sung that! I still like doing it.

After the concert, my favorite moment was when a group of teenagers came up and told me how much they enjoyed the evening. I was overwhelmed by the expressions of some new, young and unexpected fans. Some of their parents had been listening since they were kids. What can you do?

Anyway, all this to say, it was a great, busy week. Things are starting to get rolling and the new project is gaining momentum. Next, we’re beginning to work on the radio promotion for the first two singles from “Even This.”

I hope to have the finishing touches on “Turning Into Dad” – the book I’ve been working on for the past 8 years about my father. You’ll see it on as soon as it’s ready – hopefully just in time for Father’s Day ’08.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.