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Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Next Chapter


First Presbyterian Church, Santa Rosa
One day, during one of my angrier times, I exclaimed, "I am leaving music ministry for good! If God wants me, He knows where to find me." The only part of that rant that proved true was that God indeed DOES know where to find me. He found me with a guitar strapped on at Twin Cities Church - ever in His service as always. And He has a new assignment for me; I am joining the staff of First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa, CA as the Worship Leader for their contemporary service. This is a half-time position rather than my previous full-time jobs. But be that as it may, God is calling us to walk together some miles on the journey to the kingdom and I am excited to go.

This time, however, things are different. I am not the person who left full-time music ministry 8 years ago, swearing never to go back. This is a good time to go over some of the lessons learned during this time.

1) I am as God made me to be; a musician. That is not a position greater or lower than anything or anyone else. It is nothing to either gloat about (never my tendency) or to be ashamed of (often my tendency.) I give God joy when I simply do as I was created to do and give Him glory for it.

2) Worship is NOT what happens on Sunday. It is what happens when our lives show that God is worth everything. When we treat the people he has created (which is, at last count, all of them) with dignity and love, that is worship. When we choose his ways - integrity, truthfulness, love-in-action - over the ways of this world order, that is worship. When we revel in the wonder of all that God has made, that is worship. Heck, when we laugh uproariously with a child, THAT is worship. Sunday morning is for inspiration, resolution, guidance, and direction. And music has an appropriate role in that.

3) It's not all about me! When people are upset, most of the time I'm just a convenient object - not the true sources of their discontent. The corollary is also true; when they are really pleased, chances are I had but a small part in that.

4) Healthy things grow. A church is a living organism. If it is not growing that is an indication that there is some unhealthiness resident.

I would be less-than-candid if I did not say that I have some butterflies in my stomach. There are some logistical hurdles to be overcome. I still have to find the other 50% of my income. Also, my wonderful, precious daughter of 19 years is not planning on making the trip with us this time. Her destiny is calling her and she is hearing that voice coming from Southern California. All of the pleading and powering-up in the world won't change that my baby - the one whose little laugh and delightful whimsy used to make me laugh (and keep me sane) for two decades - is a nearly grown woman now. Just like I broke away and became my own person at about her present age, she is following the natural way of things. It's not her fault that it is too soon for me! But none of that is going to stop me.

For several years, I have seen myself in the lyrics of one of the greatest songs of one of our greatest songwriters, Paul Simon. I think they are appropriate now.

"In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade,
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down,
Or cut him 'til he cried out in his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, I am leaving."
But the fighter still remains."


The Boxer, Paul Simon

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Musician, educator, audio engineer, guitar junkie!
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