When you feel like you don’t fit in, remember this is not your home. You are just an ambassador traveling through. Represent Jesus well, but be yourself and give glory to God!


I love the troublemakers, the square pegs religion tries to force into round holes. I love them because they see things differently. They are not fond of rules and have no respect of the status quo. These rebels are crazy enough to think they can change the world, and they do!

Larry Norman was one of the crazy ones. Born in Texas, his family moved to the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco. Yes, he was destined to be a hippy! As a teenager, he joined a band called “People,” an outwardly Christian band under contract to Capitol Records.

Larry and People would open for secular giants of the era including The Doors, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and The Byrds. This is where Larry made a huge difference in the world. It’s also where the controversy was.

You see, he was under constant criticism from non-Christians wanting him to drop his faith in Jesus, and terrible protest by the conservative church wanting him to drop his music, cut his hair and become respectable. So what did Larry do? Kept churning out songs and strumming his guitar.

Larry took Christianity into non-Christian cultures around the world. He was a missionary in the truest sense of the word. He was just so far outside the box of traditional church, most church leaders didn’t know what to think about him.

Enter the Brewer! In 1989, his album “Stranded in Babylon” was hailed as one of the best albums of the decade by European critics. Though barely noticed in the USA, it caught my attention. I was thrilled when my band was chosen to open for him when Larry’s tour came to Dallas.

While we were not close friends, I did stay up all night jamming with him. We shared the same stage and sat in the same booth at IHOP – some of my favorite memories.

Larry is regarded as the “father of Christian rock” and was inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Hall of Fame. Billboard Magazine called him “the most important songwriter since Paul Simon.” Before he died, Larry wrote a letter in which he said something deeply prophetic: “I feel like a prize in a box of Cracker Jacks with God’s hand reaching down to pick me up.”

Yes, Larry, you were God’s surprise to a world deeply in need of a rebel to bring music and ministry out of the religious realm of the Frozen Chosen. You were truly a prize the Father could use to glorify the Kingdom.

So hats off to the rebels who use their gifts to serve God and save sinners. I don’t know if you realize this, but the rebels, misfits and strays are my tribe – and if you’re reading this, it means you! Like Larry, dare to be different to make a difference!

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…
– Galatians 1:15-16


From my book: Best of the Brewer