My Testimony

SUMMARY:

I love the Lord. He saved me both to live this current life and life eternally.  HE has saved me in this life time and again.  I know HE loves me.  How can I not give HIM everything I have?

THE WORD, the Gospel has changed my life for the best forever. He has blessed me with a love of music, a more than reasonable retirement income, and knowledge and love of electronic music gear.  I love the old Hymns.  I am giving back only what HE has already given me.  I am offering HIM my body and mind and soul. It seems to me a perfect calling.

It is:

  • My Honor,
  • My Joy,
  • My Duty, and
  • My Calling to serve

EARLY LIFE

As many say, “I was raised in a Christian home”.  But what does that mean? I was baptized as a child. My grandparents were all active in the same church both when I was a child and after they retired to Arizona. Although they were church goers throughout my lifetime they didn’t talk about their faith. My maternal grandfather was an artist and his faith would show up in his works. My maternal grandmother was the only one who I ever knew to read her Bible.  The last time I saw my paternal grandmother said she prayed to Jesus all the time. Recalling conversation just brought me a big smile.

My dad was a “once saved always saved” guy but he knew the order of the books of the Bible by heart. His memorization skills didn’t pass on to me; I still don’t know the order. My mom had a book of Bible stories for children by her bedside. She never read them to me that I recall I but read them. We usually gave thanks before dinner. My dad passed away early and my mom is still alive. In her later years we would talk about things of the faith. I was surprised how little she knew. She sang in the choir as a youth. Now at 91 she has severe dementia but the she still knows the Lord’s Prayer, many great hymns of the faith, and is clearly comforted when I read THE WORD to her.  In summary, church was a social obligation to them. Beyond that, I don’t know.

I grew up in a United Methodist Church in the 60s and 70s.  I was an altar boy and by my parent’s insistence I was confirmed at 13. Upon confirmation the church gave me two “Bibles”. One was “Good News for Modern Man”, what I recall is that was the New Testament in cartoons. The other was an English translation of the Bible. I forget which one. It was unreadable. Both were thrown away years ago.

After confirmation my parents told me, “You are now a man in the eyes of the church. You can decide if you want to continue to go.”  As a teen in the 70s it was an easy choice.

I did go back to church for family events, usually visits with my grandparents. I walked straight into the world and the flesh. I kept going. In this period, I don’t think I ever stopped believing in God. Jesus was another thing and the Holy Spirit was totally another thing.

I continued going deeper into the ways of the world for years. I despised being evangelized and would actively disrespect those that tried. 

HE TOUCHED ME

In 1982 I called out to God from the bottom of a cliff with a crushed 2nd lumbar vertebra. HE sent two sets of worship teams to the top of the cliff.  I could hear the people singing praises but my calls to them were too weak for them to hear because I was in too much pain to call out loudly.

As the sun began setting majestically over the Shenandoah Valley, HE reached down and touched me and my pain backed off.  I will NEVER EVER forget that moment.

Meanwhile my best friend was looking for a phone to call the rescue squad.  He ran into a group of young men on a Christian retreat and told them where to find me.  The first people I saw after my friend left me were Christians.  They took off their coats to keep me warm and kept me talking so I didn’t drop into unconsciousness.

I was headed away from HIM as fast and far as I could. It took me a while to process what had happened but that day began my long U-turn back to HIM.

Yes indeed, sometimes HE uses some hard situations to get our attention and to realize just – how – real – HE – is!

MY CALLING

I’ve heard that God calls you into service for things you love, or have a heart for, and to things for which you have a gift.  Certainly that’s not always the case but if the calling is true and you are lacking in some way, HE WILL provide a way.

My First Calling:

In HIS perfect timing God provided me the wife of HIS choosing.  Her faith and knowledge of the Bible amazed me.  She was influential in bringing me back to Jesus.

I’d played bass in rock bands of various types since a sophomore year in high school.  I had moved into synths, drum machines, and multitrack recording in my early 20s.  By my early 30s with children and work I had let my hobby slide to almost never playing or working in the studio.

After two years of searching my wife and I finally had found a home church.  When we first walked in we knew it was home. It was the church that brought me back to my Lord.  I knew three people there from work. One of them, Jim, a devout Christian whose faith used to confuse me started work the same day I did.  He knew I played electric bass.

Rosie lived diagonally across the street from us in a rented room and occasionally baby sat for our two sons.  Once day she asked, “I know you go to church and I don’t have a car, can you take me with you?” Of course we said of course.

The music in our church was very traditional.  A small group of folks wanted to do “praise music”.  The deal they struck with the leadership was that they could play 15 minutes before the official service and then disappear, leaving no trace and time for the traditional prelude to begin.  I had no interest in “holy roller” music.

Sometime later Rosie said, “I come from a Pentecostal background, I love that praise music. Would you mind going to church early and bringing me so I can worship with the praise band?” Of course we said of course.

We started going early. I didn’t care much for the praise music. Jim asked me periodically to join the band.  Actually three times as I recall. I repeatedly and, I hope politely, expressed my lack of interest.

One morning they played:

  • Awesome God,
  • Thy Word, and
  • Lord I Lift Your Name on High

I thought to myself, “These are good songs, they can rock!” My mind was changed.  I started the next week and have never stopped.  Playing for the Lord was an entirely different experience than any previous music performance I had ever had.  That was in ‘93.  At some point later I switched to playing exclusively for the Lord.

The Lord was at work in me but he also used circumstances, Rosie, Jim, and Eddie, the band leader, to call me into HIS work and worship.

(There is a great story of the musical evolution of that church but that’s another story.)

My Second Calling:

We eventually moved and changed churches. It was a hard and sad thing but necessary due to my health (I’ll spare the details).

In our new church we played a mixed set (contemporary and traditional).  I had moved from tape recording into DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations).  I love the old hymns.  In about 2012 I wondered, “Can I use this gear to recreate a credible version of a hymn?”  The answer was yes.

After retirement I was in 3 praise bands in 3 different churches.  I felt that I could do more.  I wanted to do more. I felt the call.  No one I knew had the time to do more.  I’d have to do it alone.  I started working up hymns on my computer using Ableton Live and wrapping them with the scriptures.  My first few outings did not go well but people were kind.  I learned a lot each time around.  I went back to vocal lessons (I had taken them for 3 years in my 20s) to get my vocal confidence back.

I’ve now led a fair number of worship services with Ableton as “the band” and occasionally guest singers and a guitar player.  I’ve started documenting them under the XIN NOR project.

There have been many bumps in this road and many dead ends.  I am still learning.  I am not an easy person with whom to work.

I don’t know where it will lead.  I pray for HIS guidance but am trying to do my best to do work, to answer HIS call.  To be ready for whatever HE puts in my path. I am disabled and have many medical issues. Doing an event takes its toll.  Sometimes it takes everything I have.  I still cannot resist HIS call