Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's cold outside...

Since Tuesday, January 27 I have been dealing with a significant snow fall and the results of a 3/4 inch ice storm. Much of our county is without electric thus causing many of our citizens to be without heat. We have set up a shelter but only a few have come to it. This is a lot like life itself. This world has it's problems; there is no doubt about that. People suffer from alcohol abuse, social problems, financial worries, their failures and many other things that cause them to lose hope. God has offered help to those who are in need. He has opened a "spiritual shelter" but most ignore it and stay in the cold. Their hearts are empty, they feel cold inside. Give God a chance, he will help you and will never abandon you...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Obama...

Yesterday Americans witnessed the swearing in of President Obama. Regardless of who you voted for, this man and our country need your prayers. Time will tell as it does with every president whether Obama will be a good leader. Our country is in need of a wise leader who will listen to the voice of God and one who will use good judgment. Please join me in prayer for the United States and our new president.

"For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Being like Christ...

How in the world can a person be like Christ? I have heard this most of my life that as a Christian we are to follow Christ's example. The Savior Christ (the Son) is God as is the Father and the Spirit. We will never be perfect like God is. I have failed God so many times. I have failed my family and my friends. So is there hope for me or a person like me? Sure there is! We were not created to fail although we were born into sin with a sinful nature. Life is an opportunity to show God just how much he means to us. Do we love God more than the sin we commit? Fighting temptation to sin pleases God. But when we do fail, God is there to help us by forgiving us and giving us a clean slate to start over again.

What can we do to be more like Christ? I have listed some things that will help you to be more like him (Christ):

1. Ask the Lord to help you.

2. Ask the Lord for wisdom.

3. If you fail make it right to the best of your ability by asking God for forgiveness and anyone you may have offended.

4. Read the Word of God (Bible), this is how the Lord speaks to us.

5. Study the Word, ask God to reveal his Word to you.

6. Practice the Word.

7. Realize you are human and you will make mistakes. This is not an excuse to sin but if you do sin ask God to forgive you and to help you to not repeat your mistakes.

8. Forgive yourself. This is probably the most difficult thing for Christians to do. I know it is for me. God forgives and throws your sin into the sea to never be remembered again. Unfortunately we do not forget our failures so, learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself. God is not going to hold something against you when you have asked for forgiveness.

9. Forgive others. If someone has hurt you, you have to forgive them. Again, I know it's hard but it is something God has commanded us to do, just like he has forgiven us.

10. Spend time with other Christians; whether it is in church, a small group that will help you grow in the Lord or just talking one on one.

11. Give back. Realize that if you try to help others, this action will help you. Don't always ask for God to bless you when you have the ability to bless others by your Christ like actions.

12. Spend time alone with God. Ask him to help you. Tell him your problems (he is interested in you because he loves you). Ask him to open doors for you to help others by sharing what He has done for you and them.

I will be praying for you...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My life as a musician...

This post is going to be a little more personal (and longer) than most I've written. The topic is my love for music and a test of my faith. One of my first recollections of my music past was when I was very young and I sang my first solo. It was "Silent Night" and my audience was my grandmother and other members of my family. After this I recall my first few times singing in church. I was so nervous I occasionally cried before I finished.

At the age of 13, I started playing the guitar or at least trying to play. A very good friend of mine helped me and taught me some cords that he had learned from his dad. After struggling to learn but not owning my own guitar on Christmas my dad gave me his guitar. I was thrilled! It was a Harmony Spanish guitar. As time went on my confidence, with God's help, increased and I was able to sing and play in church without too much discomfort. My friend and I started a Christian band called "Revelation". We had two guitars, a bass player and a top notch drummer. Starting to play in churches we were having a blast. Then a problem... we found out there was already a group by the name of "Revelation". What to do? Being the bright young rock (Christian) musicians that we were we changed our name to... "Revelation 2" (how clever). After a year or so our fine band split up and the remaining members called our new band "Obadiah". We thought this name (from the Bible) was cool! This group did not last very long so I decided to go solo. Next I started singing regularly at a Christian coffee house in Lexington, Kentucky. God moved in my life and taught me much about people and their problems. In 1974 (I believe) I entered a music contest at a youth church camp. I sang a song I wrote and played guitar with another guitar player accompanying me. After I was done the MC said "a star was born". Talking about getting the big head! I was on cloud 9. On Friday that week they announced the winner. I WON!!! Yes, I thought I was a star!

In the early to mid 70's I got the opportunity to audition for Bill Walker. Mr Walker was the producer for Johnny Cash and Eddie Arnold. I borrowed a van, loaded up my equipment and headed for out for my BIG BREAK. As I arrived I took my guitar and asked the person at the front desk if I needed my PA system and they said just me and the guitar. I had moved up to an electric guitar which was a Gibson SG look alike. I bought my guitar and Sears amp for $200.00. Waiting for my chance, there were a few people ahead of me... then my name was called. This was my first time in a "real" studio and the people behind the glass asked me if I was ready. I said yes and began to play and sing. When I was finished, they said thank you and I would hear something in a couple of weeks after Bill Walker in Nashville reviewed the recording. I believe this was on Friday. On Monday I received a phone call and the man on the phone said Bill Walker would like to offer me a recording contract. I could not believe it. I was so excited. I was asked to return to the studio.

When I arrived back at the studio they asked me to sit down. They started a multi-track recording of myself. I listened and then came the contract. They said they would spend $100,000.00 and let me record two singles of their choice (not Christian songs). Bill Walker would produce the song and distribute them nationally. Then came the issue of a security bond. They told me I would have to pay $1,500.00 to secure the recording. They said the reason was they were burned on a resent contract after they invested thousands of dollars the person breached their contract. They said they could sue but decided it was not worth the bad publicity. So now new artists would have to invest in their own future. They believed if the artist had to spend their own money they would not quit until at least they made their money back.

$1,500.00 was a lot of money to a young man like me and a lot of money in the 1970's. It might as well been a million. I worked in a hamburger restaurant so I was not rich. I was on my own and money was very tight. So after much thought and prayer I had to say no to my BIG BREAK. I was so disappointed. Something like this rarely happens and now it has passed me by... I have often wondered "What if???"

I have to believe now that it was God's will and his protection on my life that allowed this opportunity to pass. He saw that I would be compromising my values by singing secular music. But at the time I did not think this or understand. I may have ended up as many artists do, on drugs or worst. I don't know... only God does and it was in his hands. I was in his hands and I thank him for that.

In June of the year 1976 I sang at a small Kentucky Church and there in the congregation was a beautiful young lady. I was smitten by her beauty and fell in love. In December we were married and in April of 1977 we moved to Florida. God opened many doors for me in Florida. I got the opportunity to sing and play in many churches across the state, a convention, a local county fair, at the local jail ( I finally had a captive audience) and youth rallies, lead worship in a church and more.

In the late 70's I had surgery on my left wrist. This was bad as it affected by guitar playing and caused me pain when I played. I was forced to change my playing style. In 1978 we had a baby girl. I needed to pay off the hospital bill so I traded my car (a 1968 cherry apple red Camaro) for money and a 1976 Les Paul. I got a baby and a great guitar. In 1981 we had a baby boy. Life is good!

In 1989 we moved back to Kentucky. I continued singing but mostly at my church... Then...

A few years ago my singing came to a halt. I had surgery on my throat. Now after a hiatus of not singing and playing the guitar less and less, I believe it's time to start back. I also believe that if you don't use whatever talents God has given you, you will lose them. My throat hurts after I sing for a while and my range in not like it use to be. I started to get depressed. I thought my music life was over. I tried to sing in church again but I had to sing what I felt were "safe" songs.

Now I have another opportunity. I may start singing and playing in a new worship band. I am excited and nervous at the same time. Please pray for me that God will heal my throat and will use me for his glory. I give the talent I have left to him.

I'm sorry for the long post. More to come later...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

7 little secrets...

My daughter-in-law who is a very sweet young lady challenged me to write down 7 little secrets and put them on my blog. Wow, I thought is there seven things about myself that others don't know (and I don't mind telling). OK, here goes...

1. When I was young I wanted to be a garbage-man. I would watch the men laugh and sing while riding on the back of their truck and thought, what a cool job. I ended up being a firefighter and rode on the tailboard of a fire-truck.

2. When I was younger I would wear sometimes two pairs of pants so I wouldn't appear so skinny. I don't have that problem (being skinny) now... unfortunately.

3. I once fell asleep at the altar in church. After a while I felt hands on my shoulder as people started praying for me thinking I had a serious need.

4. When I sang to my wife at our wedding, I made up the words to the song because I never learned the real lyrics.

5. I was offered a singing recording contract when I was 18 years old.

6. I was once a disc jockey at a Lexington (Kentucky) radio station and would love to do it again.

7. I would love to live in somewhere between New England and North Carolina on the water. But, if I did this my family would have to move too!

Well, that wasn't so hard and it was kind of fun. I have more secrets but they will have to go untold... at least for now.

I hope you enjoyed my little secrets. Thanks for reading...