Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Hello Friends: 5.9.13- Improvise

Hello Friends,

Last weekend at West Salem Foursquare I began my sermon with a playful poke at Country Music. Even though that genre of music isn’t my “cup of sweet tea,” hopefully everyone knows that I’m a kidder.  Which reminds me: What do you get when you play country music backwards? You get your truck, your dog and your wife back!! 

OK…I better stop.

Truth be told: I grew up listening to Alabama. I currently dig all things Taylor Swift (whom I know is not REAL country). And, impulsively, I once bought a Garth Brooks Double Live CD. So, there you go…I actually LOVE country music!  Can I come out of the doghouse now?

Actually, I’m an eclectic music listener.  Currently, my car stereo is locked into 89.1 Portland Jazz. Jazz is an amazing genre of American music. There is so much about jazz that is frustratingly amazing. It’s simply complex. It’s raw, creative, reckless, free, organic, and collaborative.

Much of the great jazz available is a result of improvisation. Such was the case with perhaps the greatest jazz album of all time, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Released in 1959, the Kind of Blue sessions included Davis, pianist Bill Evans, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists Julian Adderley and the great John Coltrane. This ensemble got together in New York with a three-track tape recorder and improvised one of the most influential albums ever made.

The folklore surrounding the album is that Davis called for almost NO rehearsal and the musicians had little idea of what they were to record. The band was only given sketches of scales and melody lines on which to improvise.


Isn’t much of life about improvising?  Often we’re only given some “sketches” or “melody lines” to build from. The rest requires a level of faith in God and reliance upon others. This is consistent with something I heard from a musical legend in his own right: Caleb Quaye. Caleb is a rock guitarist and studio musician best known for his work with Elton John, Mick Jagger, Cory Knowland, Paul McCartney and Hall & Oates (my personal favorite…she’s a man-eater…).

Caleb is also a Foursquare pastor.

Recently he was speaking to group of emerging leaders at a conference I helped organize.  We asked him to talk about leadership and jazz. He boiled down his talked to ONE THOUGHT with TWO ELEMENTS.

One Thought:  Improvisation

Two Elements:  Trust and Risk

Much of life is about improvising, which requires a lot of trust and risk.

Who do you trust?

What are you willing to risk?

Questions to ponder.