July 7, 2003
The thought used to pop into my head a lot: There must be something wrong with me. Memories of failures and defeats, foolish mistakes, and rejections would start swarming over me like a bag of worms plowing through a field of manure. There MUST be something WRONG with me!
As I approached my 49th birthday, I had a secret ministry singing to my pastor. I had a Sunday morning ministry singing to an empty sanctuary. I would have loved to make a CD. I wanted people to hear the songs God had been giving me for over two years. There were over 200 by now. Didnít that count for something?
One of the churches in the area had a strong connection to the Toronto blessing. The pastors had visited more than twenty times since 1994, shortly after it began. Friday nights they held "Renewal Meetings" where their team of musicians would play a lot of songs and after a time of worship and a short message, the musicians would start up again and everyone who wanted to be prayed for would be prayed for by members of the prayer team. Most people ended up on the floor, as did my wife and I on quite a few occasions.
Our pastors, George and Carla went often, and sometimes we would go with them as we had become fairly close. It was often during those meetings that I would be bombarded with the oppressive thoughts that basically told me, "There Must Be Something Wrong With Me". You see, I had thought that I would be sharing these songs at our church and that God would move on peopleís hearts and minister as He was doing at this other church. I thought, especially, that George having been admittedly touched by my songs, would put two and two together and realize that with my musical gifts we could have renewal meetings also. I was surprised and somewhat chagrined when I learned that George had hired a new worship leader who had been a worship leader in Connecticut and was acquainted with our church because he married a former member. "Rodney" was British and flamboyant and about twenty years younger than me. Gretchen, who was being replaced was about twenty years older than me. The worship leader at the church we visited Fridays was also much younger than me, which only accentuated my feelings of failure and inadequacy.
I knew these thoughts were not of God. Quite the opposite, I knew it was satan who fed them to me, but it was still very difficult. Often in my frustration I would cry out to the Lord and He would reassure me of His love and give me another new song.
I tried to cultivate a friendship with Rodney and we even played some songs together which he said were "awesome". He invited me to join the worship team and I told him I wasnít free to do that, and he said, "Oh, I see. All right," in his British manner. After about a year he came to me before church to tell me he wanted to train me to be his stand-in when he was on vacation, but within a few weeks he was fired and replaced by the youth pastor who also was twenty years younger than me, and seemed to feel threatened by my gifts and desire to share them.
This discomfort went on for almost two years between the fall of 1997 and the summer of 1999.
In February of Ď99, Jo and I went to Charlotte, NC, to meet up with two women friends from the west, who are near and dear to us. We went to Morning Star fellowship which is pastored by Rick Joyner. The musicians included Don Potter, Leonard Jones, and Suzy Willis who were known as ĎHeart of Davidí. We had all their CDís and videos and often shared them with friends. They have a School of Prophecy, and prophetic teams that pray for you and prophesy over you at the end of their weeknight meetings. Itís a three person team with a leader and two students. You sign up and wait until they call you. Jo and I decided to go in together.
While we waited, I was quite skeptical about the idea of someone prophesying over me, believing that only a select few people had that kind of gift. Jo and I went in after a little while. The leader was a woman who looked like Cheryl Tiegs, and there were two young men. They prayed for a little while and then the woman began to tell Jo things God had shown her. She was very accurate. Each of the two young men had something to add. When they spoke to me, there was very little except one of the men said he kept hearing the word Thomas. Afterward Jo couldnít understand why they had so much to say to her and so little to me. I confessed to her that I had gone into the meeting very skeptical, with an attitude that said, "I donít think youíre who you claim to be." I had to repent of my unbelief. We went back the next night and I was eager to receive from God, and I did. They spoke encouragement to me concerning the frustrations I was having at church.
During that short time away, I sensed God was asking me, did I want to cash in on the songs He had been giving me or did I want to keep receiving them? I knew the answer instantly. I wanted to keep receiving the songs, because they were bringing me closer to Him, and also because I loved the songs and experienced so much joy whenever I got a new one.
We went back to Charlotte in May with a couple of women friends from our church. During the three month interval, I had spent a lot of time seeking a purer heart and to know Godís will for these songs, and for my life. I had asked Him if my desire to share songs in church was wrong, and if the infrequency of those opportunities was the way He wanted it to be, because I wasnít right with Him, or somehow I wasnít ready. It was then that He revealed a scripture to me, I Corinthians 14:26:
How is it then, brethren? When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
I realized my desire to share songs was normal. It didnít mean I was insecure and needed approval. It didnít mean I was a narcissist and needed admiration. It didnít mean I was a show-off, and it didnít mean I was an egotist. It meant I had songs that were supposed to be shared. It meant there were lots of people who had something edifying to share who were not given the opportunity to share in their church. Not just songs, but teachings, revelations, tongues and interpretations. Not just me, but everybody!!!!! Just as I had been skeptical about the gifts of others, the church was full of skeptical people.
After that, I stopped experiencing the oppression I described. Whenever satan tried to bring it on me, Iíd just take the attitude, "Donít waste your breath, devil. I know itís all lies."
In May, the message we received on our pilgrimage to Morningstar was that our wings had been clipped, but that they would grow back stronger than ever. Our church was going through an identity crisis. The pastors wanted the church to be "in the river" but many families were leaving because they didnít want to be around that, and some others were leaving because they did, but it wasnít happening fast enough. There were power struggles galore.
The worship team was confused and scattered. The youth pastor, "Bart" who had started out as a drummer on the worship team was now the leader of the team. He was playing guitar, which was an instrument he wasnít comfortable with. It showed. The bass player took over being drummer and sounded like a bass player trying to play drums. The new bass player was a beginner and struggled to find the right note.
When Iíd come in on Sunday morning around 8:00 and start to sing new songs, God would manifest Himself to me and the sanctuary would become impregnated with His Spirit. Then around 9:00 the worship team would begin to arrive and quench the Spirit and then weíd have a fairly dead "Praise and Worship" time after the service started around 10:00. I stopped wondering why things were the way they were, and just became very relaxed in doing what I knew God had called me to do.
There was a pastor from Scotland who used to come two or three times a year. "Pastor Hugh" had become an overseer of the church. He seemed to view me in a negative way. (I know thatís hard to imagine.) Whenever George spent time with him, it seemed our friendship took a few backward steps. George had asked me about being an elder in the church about a year earlier and I said after taking time to pray about it, okay. Now George was upset because he didnít want me to be upset, but Hugh had decided they should install four other men as elders, now, and three others down the road. I was part of that second group.
I showed no anger, discouragement, or disappointment when George told me, even though the men chosen ahead of me seemed to be less qualified. My life outside of church had never been better. God was blessing me with genuine signs and wonders on my job and in my home.
Whenever Pastor Hugh visited from Scotland, he would speak at every meeting and everyone seemed to agree he was the epitome of what a man of God should be. He was the one who had decided Rodney should be fired. I didnít want to see Rodney get fired, because I loved him and wanted to see him succeed, even if I hardly ever got to share songs on Sunday. Now he was out and Bart was in.
They had a Sunday night meeting for men only with Pastor Hugh as the speaker. I showed up about ten minutes early and brought my guitar as I had on occasion before for these monthly menís meetings. One friend asked me if Iíd written any new songs lately, and I took out my guitar and shared a couple of new ones. Several other men were apparently enjoying the songs when Bart who was a giant of a man came onstage with his guitar. I figured Iíd finish the song and let him take over, but before I could even sing another note he said, "Excuse me!" into the microphone. "Weíre gonna start now."
I felt embarrassed and disrespected. I though about taking my guitar, putting it in its case, and walking out. Instead, I just sat down and stopped playing. Bart played three of the deadest and lamest songs Iíd ever heard, and every one just went along with singing them. Pastor Hugh shared his message as though nothing unusual had happened and everyone went home.
After that, I stopped coming on Sunday mornings at 8:00, and I made one more date with George to sing to him in the morning, but when he cancelled, I didnít reschedule or offer my services any more. I knew the Spirit of God had been grieved and quenched, and I knew it would soon be time to leave, although we continued to attend for nine more months. During that time, I would gladly have resumed singing before church on Sunday morning, and would have been willing to minister to George had he asked me, but he didnít. The Lord spoke a word to my heart that helped me to understand what was happening, and stay happy during this time:
"Because they have despised My gift, it will be taken from them and given to another."
During this time, I received a phone call from a friend who asked me to visit a close friend of his who was hospitalized in the area. I had met Mike once back in 1996 right before he moved to Oklahoma. He was a very powerful looking young man who had big muscles from weight lifting. He often stood up and preached and had left Pennsylvania to attend Bible school. He got leukemia his first year, and after massive chemotherapy and radiation treatments the cancer was in remission, but now he weighed barely a hundred pounds and could not even get out of bed, he was so sick.
I went to see him, and told him we had met three years earlier. I had a clear leading from the Lord that all He wanted me to do was sing songs to Mike. No pep talks, no bible verses, no chit chat. In fact, I told him, "Mike, God sent me here to sing to you. Is that all right if I do that?"
He looked at me, somewhat puzzled, and said, "Okay. Go ahead."
I sung songs usually for about a half hour, whichever songs God led me to sing. When it was time to quit, Iíd tell Mike, "God bless you brother. Iíll come back soon." After the second meeting, I found myself kissing him good-by and promising to come back.
Mike was 39, married, and had five little kids. The oldest was eleven. I visited him at odd times as God would direct me. Sometimes a few other people would come by his door, or Iíd visit someone else besides, but my heart was into ministering to Mike. He would lay back in his bed and lift his hands as I sang to him. We never talked because it would have ruined things. It was always just hello, pull out my guitar, start singing, and kiss him good-by.
One Friday, I was sitting at my desk at the publishing company where I worked thinking about Mike, and I asked the Lord to give me a new song that was especially for him. My phone rang and I signed up a new customer for our company, which was my most important role there. I was finishing with the processing of their new account application and their first order when the new song started to come.
When youíre tired of fighting the good fight of faith/ He will carry you all through the day/ When you feel weak/ Itís His face you must seek/ He will carry you/ All of the way/ Be blessed and refreshed/ He will give you rest/ Rejoice in His love/ He is more than enough/ Cast all your cares on Him/ As you draw near to Him/ he will carry you all of the way He will carry you/ He will carry you/ he will carry you all of the way/ He will carry you/ He will carry you/ He will carry you all of the way
You can listen to this song at www.mydaddylovesme.org
Itís the first song on Ď1949í which was dedicated to Mike.
The next afternoon, I went to the hospital to see Mike and share this new song. To my amazement, he was in a wheelchair, and his father and older brother were visiting. He had evidently told them about me, because they were more than just friendly. I played the new song which everyone loved, and several others, and we had quite a crowd that day, as Mike was out of his room for a change.
Mike seemed to be making tremendous progress. Our common friend had told me how he wanted so much to be able to go home, and even if he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair, he was determined to be with his wife and raise those five children. I saw him a couple more times, and he seemed to be making great progress, when I got a call from my friend saying Mike had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and been transferred to another hospital. I got permission from my boss to leave early and went straight to the hospital. I met his wife for the first time and several other family members. I had not brought my guitar, as I felt it might be inappropriate, but at the insistence of Mikeís father, I played a couple of songs on harmonica and sang to Mike, who was in a deep sleep. I stayed for several hours and promised to come back the next day.
When I arrived early the next evening, the atmosphere in that room was grief, despair, and fatigue. There seemed to be no hope whatever, and the medical prognosis was that he could die at any moment. I brought the guitar as Iíd promised but hesitated to play it. I sat with Mikeís wife on my left and his Dad on my right. There were about eight or ten family members in all, and several others in the waiting room. Several had told me how wonderful it was that I visited him and shared songs. Apparently, he told every one about it.
"Well, arntcha gonna play that thing?" his father asked after Iíd been there a good while.
"Well, since you twisted my arm, I guess I better," I answered.
I took out the guitar and started to sing some of the happiest songs I know, like ĎMy Daddy Loves Meí, íI Just Wanna Praise the Lordí, íSaturate Me With Your Presenceí, íWell I Declareí, Gradually, all the heaviness and depression began to dissolve and the peopleís faces started to change, and their breathing sounded different. Godís presence was changing everything around.
I started to sing another new song, called íWhen I Open My Eyesí. Itís song #1 on ĎDraw Near to Godí.
In the morning/ When I rise/ I want to worship You/ I want to worship You/ A new day is dawning/ Iím waking up/ I want to worship You/ I want to worship You/ When I open my eyes/ I want to see Your face/ Every morning/ when I rise/ I want to worship You/ I want to worship You In my heart Lord/ And in my mind/ I want to worship You/ I want to worship You/ Let Your Spirit/ Rule my life/ I want to worship You/ I want to worship You/ When I open my eyes/ I want to see Your face/ Every morning/ when I rise/ I want to worship You/ I want to worship You I want to worship You/ I want to worship You/ I want to worship You/ In spirit and in truth/ I want to worship You/ I want to worship You/ I want to worship You/ In spirit and in truth
An utterly astounding thing happened in the middle of that song. Suddenly, all of Mikeís family stood up and surrounded his bed and began to pray, and lift their hands and cry out to God. This went on for almost two minutes. Then, just as the song was finishing, I felt Mikeís fatherís hand squeeze mine, and I stopped playing the guitar. They called for a nurse. Mike had stopped breathing. His heart had stopped beating. He had gone to be with the Lord that He loved so much.
One of his aunts told me afterward that right before Mike had breathed his last breath, he had indeed opened his eyes and looked at the family members that were surrounding his bed, and smiled. Then he closed his eyes. Although there was grief felt by all, there was a peace and joy in that room I will never forget for as long as I live.
I sang ĎHe Will Carry Youí at Mikeís funeral a few days later.
During this time, I pursued peace with all men, including (and especially) the new worship leader, Bart. He apologized for cutting me off at the menĎs meeting, sort of. When we recorded Ď1949í, our first CD the following winter, Bart played congas, and the original bass player turned drummer played bass marvelously. We practiced a few nights at the church and everyone who heard it was astounded. People wondered why we didnít play together on Sunday mornings. I knew why, but I kept these things to myself.
Maybe there is something wrong with me, but it isnít anything that will keep me from loving God and receiving His love. Every minute of every day, God has a plan for my life and for yours, also. Keep seeking to know Him more. Keep asking Him to reveal His plan for your life. You are a musician. God gave you musical gifts. Enjoy them, and share them as He leads and guides you.
You want to bless other musicians? One way is to tell them about this newsletter. Remember your comments are appreciated. We love hearing from you. Keep singing and worshipping the Lord. He rejoices over you with singing. Get used to it. He isnít going to change. Might as well enjoy it!
Oh, and we have a new article by Don Francisco called ĎAre You Called to Minister in Music?í My dear friend Jack Helser will be posting it at our web-page www.mydaddylovesme.org soon, if he hasnít already. Jackís met Don. I havenít, but weíve learned a lot of the same lessons. Check it out.
[ HOME ][ Archived
Newsletters and Articles ][ Listen NOW!
[ Contact David ]