Statement #1: I am old.
*I know I’m old. So? In my entire life I have never been around such a large group of individuals who consider someone my age “OLD”!
Statement #2: I am irrelevant.
*So because of my age I know nothing about what’s going on in the world today. By that I mean, “supposedly” I know nothing about current life issues; life as a GEN-X teenager, modern music, raising children today, etc, etc.
I remember well-being a rocket scientist at the ripe age of 18 and thinking that my mother, (36) ,and my father, (38) ,didn’t know “JACK” about what was happening in my life. Although some of that may have been true, it was mainly because they chose not to accept what I was doing. It was still going on. I, on the other hand, was never that trusting with kids I was around. My greatest pleasure as an adult, parent, or step-parent was the “bust”. I loved knowing far in advance what was going on, and then making the kids sweat it out prior to telling me. An even better approach was calling them out at an inopportune moment and watching them squirm in denial in public. Even when they knew they were caught they would fold like a Jew at a Catholic Bingo parlor. (Whatever that means. Sorry. Must have been from God. I take no credit).
But here I am, barely on the north side of 54. I’m way over-weight, out of shape, a physical mess. Why would any young person care anything about what I have to say, or what I may have to offer them as advice for life?
How about this: Let’s just say that I am Jackson Rathbone or Taylor Rautner, (I have found that if I have to tell you who these “eye candy” guys are you are old!) Now, zoom ahead about 30 years, add in tons of drugs, alcohol, bad relationship choices, multiple career mistakes, and selfish endeavors not of God’s plan, and who do they look like? How about the guy under the “Gatsby” cap in this photo? (If you know the “Gatsby” reference you are like prehistoric old).
Well, I know I never looked like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, (although he is also from Kentucky), Jackson Rathbone, or Taylor Rautner. I was always this normal…average…chubby kid from Kentucky trying to be something more than a farmer or a coal miner. Yet, in the end, I still ended up being your everyday working class joe. The one exception though is that “I am a practicing Christian”. What does that mean? It means that I ask God to direct me in the majority of decisions I make, no matter how large or small. Why? Because 54 years worth of knowledge tells me that I have not been very good at it on my own. “Thinking you are in charge” is the #1 mistake of all teenagers, and adults! Yet they make it over and over, year after year.
I’m not perfect. I don’t claim to be. Neither are you. Are you so bold to proclaim it?
When it’s time to get my worship on, I strap on my guitar. Next, I bow to my Lord and Savior, asking him to use me as his tool (yeah I said Tool), his vessel, basically in whatever way he sees fit. Then, within moments, I open my head, heart, and body (as bad as it is) to the movement of God. From that point I am the clay he uses to create beautiful art that is only captured by the ears and hearts of the beholders. (Or so I’ve been told) Or is it?
So, you are a 16-17 year old in High School. You’ve done a few stupid things. Here is where you think, “I’m too dirty for God”. “I’m not perfect, and the church doesn’t want me”. “If I surrender to God now my life will be boring.” ” I won’t be able to do any of the fun things all the other kids are doing.” ” I’ll get into this church/God thing later”. Then the car you are in with a bunch of friends crashes. You are propelled out of the car into a tree. You die on impact. But. after all this, you never made your peace with God. Even worse, some of your friends made their choices about accepting Christ as their Savior based off whether you did it or not. Now “THEY” are dead and you are alive. Sound familiar?
The stories go on and on. Bottom line here is that sometimes experience speaks volumes when you are young and heading into life’s decisions for the first few times. It’s not about being independent. It’s about seeking God’s will for your life. The struggles I face today are here because of the choices I made on my own away from God so many years ago. Just like a gigantic row of Domino’s (the game, not the pizza), the choices you make today will affect every other choice you make though-out your life. Do not neglect and leave God out. Ask someone who knows!
Now…am I still too old to be relevant?
This past week was much less eventful than the previous week. But in this case, that was a good thing. As a matter of fact, God has blessed me in so many ways since my accident that I cannot even count them all. It is amazing how in the face of adversity, pain, and struggle God will reveal himself to you and provide comfort and blessings in abundance. You just have to remain faithful, prayerful, and thankful. Our God loves us. In the trials of life that becomes hard to believe sometimes. But I stand as living proof that our God exists as do many of my friends and family around me.
- I received several calls from the V.P. of sales for my company reaching out to me and making sure I took the time I need to recover fully, both physically and mentally from my truck accident on September 16th. It is hard for me to do, but I have been making my self listen to him and doing my best to heal.
- Went to an outstanding church service in Zephyrhills at “My New Walk” church. They were celebrating their 3 year anniversary. I was amazed to find out that they have an average attendance of 700 people per weekend through 3 services with the majority being first and second service attenders. They also have over 200 volunteers working there each weekend. That’s unbelievable! The pastor announced that they are starting a campaign to build a new facility and move out of the YMCA. At first I grimaced, but in my heart know that they are doing the right things at this church and it will succeed.
- I am meeting Pastor Gary on Tuesday for lunch to see where I fit in the ministry at New Walk. I just want to advise and lend my talents where they are needed, not where I need them.
- Spent an awesome time with my wife on Friday going to Jacksonville. We bought a new truck (new to me). 2006 Expedition Limited. My daughter says it is “Pimped out”! We stayed over Friday night and drove back Saturday. It felt good to have some alone time in a vehicle. First time I have driven very far since my accident.
- Awesome unexpected surprise! unexpected because in all the shuffle of the last couple of weeks I had forgotten that I had offered Matt Brouwer a place to stay when he was in town doing business. It was great though. He is always welcome in my home at any time. When I met Matt last year I felt a connection with him. Matt is very much a “what you see is what you get” person and that is very hard to find in the music business. That is why I have felt so led to support him and his music ministry any way I can. www.mattbrouwer.com
- Got to share some great pool time this weekend at our friends, Kristi and Steve. They are good people and our friendship continues to flourish. We attend church together and have spent a lot of Sunday afternoons hanging out at the pool and relaxing. I am very blessed to have them in my life.
- Got quite a bit of music work done on my “Restoration Project”. It started out being something for me to give my Grandma for a gift. Now it is more about an outlet of Worshiping God for me. I have had this little 8 track digital recorder for over a year and have done basically nothing with it. Now I am probably doing the most important music project of my life and learning how to use it all at the same time. Shame on me! Anyway, I’m not looking for a music career anymore. Just want to do something that is pleasing to the Lord.
It’s Monday. The sky is a little grey. I am tired. My knees are aching and my feet hurt. I can’t get motivated to do much but sit here at this new age idiot box, my computer. I have spent most of the morning trying to get the new website up and running, but haven’t had any luck. I really don’t want to do anything.
You may be asking yourself, “What does that have to do with the past weekends events?” Well, have you ever been used by God in ways that just overwhelmed you? I don’t mean just little helping hand type stuff. I am talking about blow your mind moments! That is what this past weekend was for me.
A couple of months ago my Pastor forwarded me an email from the manager of recording artist Matt Brouwer. They were looking to book some dates in Florida. I went to Matt’s site, www.mattbro.com and took a look around. I read his bio and knew that we needed to get this guy at our church. I didn’t know how I was going to get it done. I didn’t know how we were going to pay him. I didn’t know how I was going to promote the event. But I felt a pull at my heart to make this happen. Within 24 hours I had booked the event. From there I did everything I physically knew how to do to get this concert off the ground.
Friday I had the opportunity to meet recording artist Matt Brouwer and his band at the gig he was playing prior to coming to our church event. I had offered to let them use some gear and had lined up a radio interview for that weekend with a local Christian radio station. After getting there I found that the location manager did not have a sound engineer for the band to use to do sound check and rehearsal. So I volunteered to help them out. As I sat there God began to speak to me. I knew not only that this concert event at Crossroads was going to be big, but that God was in it completely. It was there that God said to me, “You have planned well. I will not bring you more than you can handle. It is those I want to be at the show that will attend.” From there it got much easier for me in regards to attendance. But God was not finished.
Saturday rolled around. The group showed up at the church a little late, which actually worked out well because I had some other things I needed to get ready for the evening show. My Christian brother Dave was there to help out (Thank Goodness!) with getting everything wired and the microphones run. With concerns for the volume in the cave we call a church sanctuary we got out the decibel meter. Both of us were amazed that the volume was well within our limits, even though it was full and plenty loud. It was a moment if disbelief.
When rehearsal was over we all went our own ways. I ran home to clean up and pick up my wife. We went back almost immediately to our Emmaus Group gathering where Matt was also speaking. I was so tired I could barely move. Dave asked me what worship songs I was going to do with the Emmaus Group. I had no idea. A few minutes later he pulled out a medley we had put together a few months ago. I said “YES”. It was perfect for these folks. God was all over it. As we sang out the verses of “How Great Thou Art”, How Great Is Our God”, and “Awesome God” I was moved by his presence and God resonated again, “You have planned well. It’s going to be alright”.
Following the gathering we were about 30 minutes from opening the front door. After a few last minute details I found myself in the back with some of the band members. It was at that moment that God put a burden on my heart to share with these guys the trials of our church over the last few years and that it was no mistake that God had led them to this place at this particular time. I wasn’t sure if they thought I was crazy, but knew that God would not have it any other way than for me to share that with them.
The concert began. I played a serious video piece call “1000 Questions”. People were struck from the first moment with the realitization that the problems of this earth are real and we can do something about them. Then Matt and the group began to play. It was unbelievable. The music was perfect. The crowd was responding in full force.
Midway through Matt shared his call for World Vision.org. We showed the video “One Life”. People were changed. Afterwards, we took up an open offering for World Vision. This was not something that I had asked permission to do, I just felt led to give it a go. In about 10 minutes we collected almost $700. When I got the news I was overcome with tears of joy, and of being overwhelmed that God had used me in this way. I was forever changed in that moment.
The following morning was more of the same as Matt and the band led some amazing Worship. Then we rolled the”One Life” video again. That morning 11 World Vision children were sponsored. Now, people in our church have seen the vision, They are talking about outreach and how to change to World. All because I acted on a subtle nudging from God to have this concert event.
If God gives you a subtle call, how will you respond? Hopefully without delay. But be aware, the rewards you get will not be here on this earth, but in the Kingdom if Heaven.
Pray Well, Love Long!