Dear friends,

Recently, a fellow musician approached me to talk about my music and the instruments
that I own. He asked me about the make and model of my current Acoustic guitar. I told
him that I bought my guitar 6 years ago to replace one that had been stolen. The one
I use now is an Epiphone Masterbilt guitar which I bought online. It has definitely
served me well in the past 6 years. I have been using it extensively for my work and
for writing my own music. This guitar at the time was very affordable. The one I owned
previously (the one that was stolen) was worth roughly around $1500 and I didn’t have
enough money to invest in another like it. The Epiphone comes nowhere near that
price tag.

Koko's Epiphone
So my friend encouraged me to start thinking about investing in a professional grade
acoustic guitar. He told me that since I play guitar for a living, playing a higher
quality instrument that is more reliable would help a lot in my growth as an artist
and a musician. He was very encouraging. I valued what He meant because I have played
my share of instruments and have often dreamed about having a professional instrument.
The only problem is that my financial situation will not allow me to make this
investment. More than likely, I probably will not be in a spot where this could turn
into reality for a very long time. Hannah and I at this point, do not have disposable
income. Even if we did, we have other priorities as a couple that are more important
that acquiring another instrument.

Upon hearing this, my friend understood my situation and provided me with a shocking
response. He said that He would be willing to put money towards me buying a new guitar
as a way to support me and my music. I was floored by this. It is super encouraging
to know that someone would believe in me so much that they would go above and beyond
to make certain dreams of mine a reality right now. He encouraged me to look around
for one what would suit me and my music well. We eventually found a solid candidate.
The amount of money that He was willing to give would be available to pay for more
than half of this guitar’s price.

I started to get pulled down by gravity as I realized that I still could not afford
to pay for the remainder of it’s cost. It was a very emotional time. I got so excited
but I was quickly humbled by the fact that it could still not happen. So I decided
to wait. My friend thought that it was a great idea to be patient.

My Bosses (Josh and Andy) from the Table told me to include the details of this in
my next newsletter and just put the information out there for those who support me.
They said that other people might be interested in supporting me just like my
musician friend. They encouraged me that the worst thing that could happen is that
no one else would respond. I really had nothing to lose. I came to a place where
I was at peace knowing that it is out of my hands. I stopped worrying about it and
sent out my newsletter with all the information about the guitar.

The same day that I printed and put out my newsletter, an anonymous donor handed my
boss (Josh) a cheque with the exact amount I needed for the remaining cost of the
guitar. Apparently, the donor told him specifically that this amount would go for
that purpose. As you can imagine, I WAS THRILLED! Here it is:

Koko's Larrivee
This guitar is made in Vancouver, BC by the famous canadian guitar company called
Larrivee. Remember when I told you about the guitar that I owned long ago that got
stolen? That too was a Larrivee. I bought the Epiphone to replace it. I was angry
about the loss 6 years ago but clearly, it seems like God knew all along that I
would one day own another one. This is really what the story is about. It’s about
providence and how certain events have a way of revealing what God had been planning
all along. Getting this new guitar has been an amazing blessing and affirmation of
God’s hand in my life. I am so overwhelmed at how much I’ve been cared for by Him.
From the beginning of my journey as a musician, it feels like doors have kept
opening for me. My sense of purpose has never been so alive.

I am so blessed to have a community of people who support me and continually see
God’s work in me. I am humbled and thankful for these friends. I am so blessed to
have a wife who supports my passion for music and who never ceases to fight for my
dreams. I am blessed to serve a God who never quits pursuing me and stretching me
in my relationship with Him. I am a very blessed man and all the glory and honour
be unto God for wherever His Spirit leads me in the future. My faith is strengthened
and my sights are clear.

Koko's Epiphone AJ-500R and Larrivee C-03MT
If nothing else, I hope this was encouraging. Thanks for reading.

In Christ,
Koko

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Words by Charles Wesley circa. 1746
from “The Funeral Hymns”
Table Church Music 2013
Arranged by Koko Relleve

O when will the saviour extend
the arms of his mercy to me
the days of my pilgrimage end
My soul from it’s prison set free?
when will the dear moment arrive
which long have I pined for in vain
and still I would die to revive
and suffer with Jesus to reign
with Jesus to reign…

to mourn and to suffer is mine
while bound in a prison I breathe
and still for deliverance pine
and press to the issues of death
What now with my tears I bedew
O might I this moment become
My spirit created anew
My flesh be consigned to the tomb
Consigned to the tomb…

Come now and rescue (I pray
For this, and for nothing beside)
make ready, and bear me away
Thy weary disconsolate bride
the days of my mourning and pain
cut short, and in pity set free
and give me to rest, and to reign
forever and ever in thee.
forever in thee…


“The Day He Passed Away”
words & music by Koko Relleve
The Table Church Music 2013

“Away, My Unbelieving Fear”
words by Charles Wesley, 1746
music by Jason Pipkin from “New York Hymns”

As darkness reaches day
with trouble and dismay
when death leads to decay
and all in silence lay
the day he passed away

when sin is at it’s peak
sorrow makes all weak
when hope seems out of reach
the pain goes deep
the day he passed away

Away my unbelieving fear
fear shall in me no more have place
my saviour doth not yet appear
He hides the brightness of his face
away

but shall i therefore let him go
and basely to the tempter yield
no in the strength of Jesus no
I never will give up my shield
away

he cried out for our sake
humble to the grave
he cried out for our sake
humble to the grave
the day he passed away

For questions about our music and The Table Church, please visit our website tablechurch.ca or send an email to info@tablechurch.ca

Also, check us out on Facebook for updates.

In Christ,
Koko Relleve

Here’s a collect that I arranged earlier this year. Taken from “Celebrating Common Prayer”.
The words are practically verbatim. The cello part is not final. This is merely the beginning
of a long process of planning for the next Table EP. Details will be revealed next year.

Merciful God
Arranged by Koko Relleve
Table Church Music 2012

Merciful God
Your Son came
To free us from our sin
Overcoming death
And rising in triumph
That we who are redeemed by His blood
Be made ready to meet You face to face
This we ask for Jesus’ sake.

Thanks for listening!
Kokes


Dear readers,

I am creative. I recognize that I thrive in situations where I am forced to produce some sort of solution or some sort of creative response to a challenge or a problem. I believe that this is just how I was wired as a person. The challenges that I am talking about are not just ones that are brought on by situations or other people. I am also talking about the goals and challenges that I give myself. I believe that as an artist, it is important to set goals and to challenge yourself in order to attain an inner peace about what you are capable of and also what your limitations are. This is an important part of an artist’s journey in life.

But what do I know? I am just a 24 year old with limited experiences. Some of you have known me for a while and have seen the trajectory of my creativity. The past few years have been exponentially more creative for me that any other. I have found myself in situations where I am fulfilling goals that I have set a long time ago. This is a good place to be in. It feels great. The danger is, getting caught up in the craft. In the busyness of being creative, it can be just all about the end product and the achievement. I recall feeling depressed and frustrated after having solved an issue or attained a product because I didn’t care about the journey. This is dangerous.


I believe that there are powers in this world that make us focus on the self and the inflation of our ego. Sadly, I know this all too well. I imagine that you do too. Every time a person speaks and we don’t listen, we miss out on what relationship it may bring. Every time I feel puffed up about how much attention I am getting, I miss out on what really matters in the moment. Every time I am driven to build something but disregard all other tasks that I was responsible for that day, I miss out on discipline and character building. Basically, what I am trying to convey is that I am responsible for the gifts that I have been given. I believe that as much as words have the power to create and destroy, gifts have the power to do the same. It lies in the way gifts are used, much like words.


Most of you have known me as a musician. It is a simple title that is hard to ignore because it is obvious. I love music. I like to sing, and to play guitar. This title was given to me because i was given that specific gift. It has become a huge part of who I am, not only in the eyes of my peers, but also in my own thinking. I accept it wholeheartedly. I do feel that I have achieved some things within music that most people haven’t. I also believe that there is so much more that I can do to move forward in this gift. Again, I am merely recognizing my capabilities and my limitations. I think it is important to know where I am at. The hard part is always getting caught up in how much control I have over my gifts. Let me explain.

Creativity comes with an ego. That is about as simple as I can put it. With anything I produce, I feel a sense of pride and a sense of entitlement to whatever benefits may come as a by-product of creativity. Left to my own devices, It becomes ‘The Koko Show.’ My friends have been gracious and have told me that somehow, they don’t see my persona being tied to an inflated ego. I tell them that it may not show, but it is definitely there. I am blessed to be a part of a community and now a marriage that keeps me accountable to my actions and how I handle my responsibilities and gifts. Hannah is my #1 ego meter. She definitely lays it on my thick if I have been a bit pretentious. I need that. Any creative person needs that.


So where does this lead? you might ask, ‘You have good thoughts and all, but how do you rise out of it?’ With every situation and every blessing or praise that I receive, it is important to recognize that I did not get there on my own. This is where I start. I think that entitlement tries to get comfortable in the thought that “I” achieved something. To put everything in perspective, I think of my parents and how much they sacrificed to bring me to a place where I am able to realize my gifts. I think of my siblings and how they’ve put up with my issues time and time again and still manage to encourage me to push my creativity. I think of my wife and how she sharpens me with love and refines my thought process. I think of my community of friends who are equally creative in many other ways. I think of my mentors and leaders who see potential inside me. I think of God and how I am held together by the strength of His word and His life.


When you start to see the foundation of the process, you begin to see that what you are actually entitled to is not that much at all. You are a small cog in a bigger machinery. When I get to this point, all I can do is laugh. I begin to realize that my ego holds no weight in this argument. Seeing the bigger picture and how I am a part of it is where true creativity comes from. All that I produce with this body comes from that.

I am creative. I realize that. But I was created that way. I did not get there by myself.

Thank you so much for reading.

Koko

photo credits:
Nature shots by Yours Truly
Family picture and profile shot with guitar by Klark Relleve

Dear friends,

It is very easy to get excited about the fall. September has the habit of bringing about new things. New perspectives, new marriages, new classes in school, new internships, new opportunities, new jobs, new apartments, new blog posts titled after epic films, new music, etc… But how do we continually renew our hope in goodness in the world? In my case, how do I continue hoping in the goodness of God?

In the past year of my internship, I met many situations filled with hope and adventure. Also, I experienced hard times. I don’t recall a time when I had everything together in perfect harmony. There is always something that rocks my framework of what I see as comfortable and safe. This is specially true with my faith. One day, I could be awesome at keeping up with my devotions and being super productive, and the next, I could feel super inadequate and worthless. It feels like everything comes around and is part of a cycle. But how can I daily make choices towards the good rather than bad? The inner battles I face can also bounce outward and affect how I interact with people. How can my hope in Christ be renewed daily?

In the past, I’ve subscribed to thinking that if only something new and exciting happens in my life, I would be renewed and fulfilled in a whole new level. I would wait for some spark to kickstart my faith again. It ended up being all about the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical high rather than a steady and lasting flame. A theologian by the name of N.T. Wright once said that as important as the spark of the match may be, it’s purpose is to light a flame for a candle, a torch, or a fire to produce something that is steady and consistent. If I live my life in a constant need of a spark, am i lighting anything concrete and long lasting? Do I need multiple sparks? In this case, metaphors can break down and people may argue that different situations bring about different approaches. I get that. I just think that In my life, I am ready to nurture a flame that was lit in me long ago. Hoping for a new temporal spark may not do me any good because I already have a flame going.

My love for God and for goodness in the world needs to be nurtured at this point. A step towards the right direction is accountability. Prior to being engaged to my now lovely wife, we took a course called ‘pre-engagement counselling’. We sought counsel from a couple that we looked up to in our church to unpack the depths of our relationship. We found it to be super helpful in bringing to light some of the deeper issues that our relationship had. anything from conflict, resolution, to how we view finances, and even our stances in faith and family. It brought us deeper into this place where we are accountable to them in how we relate to each other. It also brought us closer to God and it ultimately led to our marriage this past summer.

Now we are here, after the wedding and the week-long honeymoon. We are settled into our basement suite and are faced with a new hope and a new challenge. How do we nurture marriage? How do we sustain a relationship that we desire to last for a lifetime. In a world where half of all relationships lead to divorce, how do we work past arguments in a healthy way? Ultimately, how do we reflect Christ to one another? To get there, the only answer is Christ himself. When we made our vows, we made sure to clearly state that our vows were founded on the help of God. Left to our own selfishness and expectations, I’d be surprised if we even last a year in marriage. But if we follow and implement the love of Christ, and His peace to our union, I am certain that we have a chance. If there is such a thing as goodness, I have to trust that God is the source of it because He modeled it.

As this new season begins, I will be faced with more challenges and even more opportunities for a spark or another high. But I need to be reminded of the hope that needs no spark. The hope in Christ is that He already went through all the steps of refinement and He is willing to trace His steps and guide us to do the same. When the God of all creation desires this much interaction and relationship from me, it would be foolish for me to choose my own expectations and selfishness. This is where my hope comes from. As the old hymn states, ‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.’ This is a type of hope that is worth living for. For the first time in my life, I am ready to nurture it.

Thanks for reading.

Koko Relleve
Music Intern/urban Missionary
The Table Church
Victoria, BC

The wait is over folks!!! I’ve been working on this album for a while now.
It is very rough because it was all mixed by yours truly. But this is quite
the accomplishment for us as a church and for me as a musician considering
how little i know about recording.

Here is the bandcamp EMBED:

Thank you all for being so patient. Take a listen and reward yourself! Hehe.

much love,
Koko Relleve

Our engagement photos, done by our lovely and talented friend Jessica.

jessicamorganphotography

About a week and a half ago I made the long awaited trip down to Victoria.  It had been almost a year since I had returned to  my favorite city.   Somewhere between the charming cityscape, abundance of green trees and the mysterious ocean, I fell in love with Victoria all over again.

Amongst many of the great friends I got to visit down there, I was thrilled to get to spend some quality time with Hannah and Koko.  Like always, we had a blast spending the afternoon taking some fun photos.  Knowing these two for a while, it was exciting to have the opportunity to finally celebrate their engagement. Congratulations Hannah and Koko! I cannot wait to capture your upcoming special day on camera!

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