June 21, 2003
Attention musicians. Did you know that God loves you? What I mean to say is, did you know that GOD LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVES YOU? He has given you many wonderful gifts.
So why do we sometimes get frustrated when we try to share our gift and it seems that nobody wants it?
Do you ever find yourself choking on the song youíre not singing while the rest of the Christian world seems perfectly content to trot out the same old songs that have become the "standards" for a "contemporary worship" service?
In dealing with these kinds of feelings, I will share with you about the CD recording that never happened and the fabulous band that never was.
It all goes back to the early summer of 1997. Having received more than thirty new songs from the Lord in the past year and a half I was becoming obsessed with the idea of making a record. Especially since I wasnít a worship team performer and only rarely shared music in a church setting, I had a hunger to record these new songs. It was not uncommon for me to talk to another musician or two and say, "Iíll be making a CD this summer and Iím looking for some good voices (drummers, guitar players, bassmen, etc). Would you like to be on it?"
Tell people youíre making a record and they can be part of it, and you get lots of positive feedback. "That sounds great. Where will you be recording?"
"Weíve got several possible places," I would respond. "We just need to see how God leads." (Excuse my religiosity!)
Things were perking in our life around that time. We were making tremendous progress in getting out of debt because of five-figure bonuses I was receiving at my job every three months. I figured weíd take two or three "thou" and crank out some CDís. Talking about it definitely made me feel important for a 47 year-old musical unknown.
My wife and I had just returned with our two youngest children from a vacation in South Carolina and Florida. Weíd stopped in on the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola. We visited old and dear friends who were very impressed with our spiritual growth. They were astounded at all the new songs I had "written".
After returning to our home in New Kensington, I contacted a recording studio that advertised in a "Christian" newspaper. I took Jo with me, because we had developed an understanding over the years based on several disastrous decisions I had made against her advice. Our understanding was that unless we BOTH had peace about a decision affecting our family, we wouldnít do it.
When we got to the studio I was very impressed with the young man who operated it. Number one, he struck me as someone who really loved the Lord. Number two, he had all the earmarks of a professional in terms of equipment and expertise. He played several recordings he had made of local musicians, and they sounded very good. Number three, he was an excellent musician himself, playing several instruments. Number four, and perhaps most important at that stage, he seemed to genuinely like my songs and the way I played them.
Of course, I found myself wondering if he really like the songs, or was he primarily interested in getting my business? He talked about several different recording packages and asked how much were we planning to spend. "About $1600," I said, without blinking. We stayed for more than an hour, and Jo only asked a few questions. She seemed to be studying the studio while keeping me on some kind of leash, so I didnít whip out the old checkbook and say, "Letís get started, bro!"
I certainly was feeling those kinds of emotions. As far as I was concerned, here was a great guy, a brother, who liked my music, would make me sound good, and whose rates were very affordable. Hallelujah! Weíre gonna make a CD! Isnít God good!!!
As we drove away, I asked Jo, trying to bridle my wild enthusiasm: "Well, what did you think?"
"I donít know," she answered.
Iím thinking: You donít know?! What do you mean you donít know? Didnít you hear how good his groups sounded? Couldnít you tell he really likes my tunes? Itís a terrific fit. Are you not serious about me making a record?
Well, I had to resist the strong temptation to say these words that were popping into my head. All I said was, "I think he really likes my songs."
Jo said, "I though he did, too, but I thought it might just be because he wants the job."
I felt a hundred per cent positive that I wanted to record at this studio, but I was committed to my marriage, and to trusting my wife to be my helpmeet, my partner in life. So I didnít try to persuade her to give me a green light. Hard as it was, I decided to trust God to show her whether we should go ahead and record at this studio.
After a few days that seemed like a few years, I asked Jo if she thought we should record with the studio we had visited, and she said, "Iím sorry Davey. I just donít have peace about it."
She only calls me "Davey" about three times a year, so I knew she knew I really wanted to do it, but that she genuinely felt we should hold off. I think she was the most surprised woman in western Pennsylvania, when I said, "Weíll keep looking," instead of responding with anger or disgust, or just being argumentative.
About a month later, Jo and I were at an outdoor music festival involving several churches in our town. I sang a couple of original tunes after our churchís "worship team" played for about a half hour. Then, Jo and I sat to watch the next group which was from another local church. They played "black gospel" tunes, with a guy on the keyboards and four women singers. After a minute or so, Jo said, "Thatís the guy!"
"THATíS THE GUY!!!!!!"
Jo and I had talked about what songs we were going to put on the CD, and who else was going to play, and we had a guitar player and drummer who were from the other side of the state where we used to live. Both were part of my original team of six "Prayer Covenant" partners.
"Thatís the keyboard player!" Jo said with complete confidence.
I, being the skeptical one, said, "Well, why donít you talk to him when theyíre finished."
Jo, being the shy one, said, "Okay, I will!"
As soon as they finished, Jo grabbed my arm and said, "Letís go talk to him."
"For real?" I asked.
So Jo and I walked over to the guy who had been playing the keyboards, and Jo introduced us. We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries, and then Jo dropped the bomb. "Davidís going to be making a CD this fall, and I believe youíre supposed to play on it."
"Oh, really?" he said.
"Thatís what the Lord told me," she replied matter-of-factly. It turns out "Jim" worked for Teen Challenge, which seemed like a large coincidence, since "Mack" the guitar player friend from the Pottsville area also worked at a Teen Challenge center way across the state. So I asked Jim if he knew Mack, and he was astounded that I knew Mack, too, since he had met him on several occasions and they had even played music together. And I was astounded that my wife had picked the only person, out of all the musicians that showed up that day, that could possibly have known my friend that lived 250 miles away on the other side of the state!
So now, it seems we had the band. Me. Jim. Mack. And Lenny, who also lived in the part of PA weíd originally come from. He was a terrific drummer, but had many personal problems, not the least of which was a marriage that had been falling apart for the last several years.
Jim started coming over to our house twice a week and I taught him the songs we were going to do on our record, which we were going to call "Walk on the Water." Our musical styles meshed, and we seemed to get on real good, except that you never knew whether or not Jim would show up for practice. He worked a "graveyard" shift, and sometimes he came, sometimes he didnít. But when he did we had a good jam.
About two months later, we headed for Schuylkill County to get together with Mack and Lenny and play some music. The four of us met at Lennyís house, since it was easier to gather around his drum set than have him pack it up and set it up somewhere else. We played for about three hours, and everyone had a great time. Everyone present thought we sounded great. Everyone seemed to really like the songs.
We set up a date to get together again in three weeks, and talked about possibly going to North Carolina to record, where a friend of mine was developing a home recording studio. Mack seemed uncomfortable with the idea, because he was a pastor of a local church and didnít know if he could get away. His pastoral responsibilities made it difficult to plan anything, and our next practice was cancelled because Mack couldnít make it.
When we finally did get together again, it was early December, and there was snow on the ground. We met at Lennyís and brought along a friend of ours, a woman who had a strong prophetic bent. She loved to pray for people. She prayed for me. She prayed for Jo. She prayed for Jim, and she prayed for Lenny. Then, she prayed for Mack. He looked extremely uncomfortable. She prayed sweet things for him, but he seemed offended.
After a little while, we began to play music, and it sounded fabulous. Mack played some brilliant leads. Jim and Mack sung wonderful harmonies with my lead vocals. My oldest and youngest daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren were digging it. Just when things were really getting exciting, Mack said he had to go home to prepare his sermon. Then, Lennyís wife seemed to be upset with him about something. Jo and our family left, and it was just me and Jim and Lenny. I decided at that point that this was a band that was not meant to be. I didnít tell anyone, except Jo, later, but I knew that while playing these songs and sharing them with people was vitally important to me, it wasnít that important to Mack or Jim. I knew Lenny wanted to come along, but I also knew I didnít want to engage in a tug of war with his wife.
The next morning, Jim and I and Jo all shared at a local Foursquare church where the pastor was another one of my six Covenant Prayer partners. Jim and I played a couple of our new songs plus a few familiar ones the pastor requested. Jo shared a lively message and she and the pastor prayed for people who responded to the Spirit of God that was filling the room.
Afterwards, we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant with the pastor and his wife, our family, Jim, our lady friend that liked to pray, and my "adopted mother" June, a close friend, 80 plus years-old, who I always visited. We had a nice time and headed home. Jim drove himself, so Jo and I were able to assess the situation. She was astounded that I had decided to dis-BAND, or a-BAND-on ship, so to speak. I think she was very pleased with me, that I wasnít determined to hold onto something that was going to prove frustrating and unfruitful-- that I was willing to believe that God had a plan, and that He would reveal it to me.
During the coming year 1998, I received over a hundred new songs, and spent untold hours singing them to the Lord Who had given them to me. At our local church, I continued to minister to the pastor during seven a.m. private meetings where Iíd pour living water on him through the new songs I was receiving. Sunday mornings starting around eight a.m. I was at the altar in the sanctuary singing my heart out.
I didnít tell Mack or Jim the band was breaking up. I just let it die a quiet death. I did tell Lenny what was going on and he was understanding and supportive. We continued to pray for each other, and God continued to bless us as we did. A few months later I received a peculiar letter from Mack expressing his displeasure at the changes that he saw in me and Jo. It accused us of thinking that we were better than him. It hurt a lot, and I didnít know how to respond, so after much prayer I decided to just keep praying for him and give him space. Eventually, we re-connected. He and Lenny played brilliantly on our first CD, Ď1949í which was recorded in the winter of 2000. Jim was out of the country at the time, but we worked together at Teen Challenge for a couple of years after we released the CD.
The first CD was recorded at Going Home Studio in Erie. The second one, íDraw Near to Godí was recorded at Upper Room Sounds, the studio our friend Tim started in Weldon, North Carolina. Our third CD, ĎPink or Blueí was recorded at Judah Studio Ministries in Rochester, PA. This was the studio we had gone to visit in June of 1997. So five years later, when Jo had peace about it, we went ahead, and God blessed the project mightily.
Life is about making choices. It was Jo who remarked, "Good choices, or bad choices, you know Godís gonna love you." I said, "Wow! Write that down, Honey!" She did, and it became this song:
Good choices/ Bad choices/ God just keeps on loving you/ Good choices/ Bad choices/ God just keeps on loving you/ No use living a life of regret/ When God just keeps on loving you/ No matter what you do/ He keeps on loving you/ Good choices/ Bad choices/ God just keeps on loving you/ God just keeps on loving you
This is song #3 on ĎPink or Blue?í the CD we recorded last year. The excellent bass player is Michael Yuricha, the young man we had met five years earlier. We were totally blessed recording at his studio.
Visit our web-page at www.mydaddylovesme.org
Listen to the music today, and be blessed! Thatís June (my "adopted mom") on the front cover of ĎDraw Near to Godí and our grandkids on the back.
Iíll be talking to you again soon about more adventures with God as a sold-out musician and things we had to learn before He released us to record our first CD. He has given me a heart for all people, because He loves everyone. He has especially given me a heart for musicians. You are a treasure of innumerable worth to Him (and to me). If I can help you in any way, even minister to your pain, I count it an honor and a privilege. (Hard to believe? Try me.)
Let me pray for you:
Father, I thank You for your gift of life and for Your gift of music. I pray for my brothers and sisters today that they would have ears to hear You singing love songs over them right now. I pray that their lives would be impacted by an increased awareness of Your presence and Your love. I pray for peace and joy to rise up inside each one. I pray for new songs to express Your love for us and our love for You. I ask this in Jesusí name, thanking You for continually increasing the joy of Your salvation in our hearts. Father, I love You, and treasure every word You say and every melody You create. Create the melodies and words in my heart, and in our hearts, that You may be exalted and that more and more lives would be touched by You, saved by You, and blessed by You. Amen.
Be sure to sing to our wonderful Lord today. Let Him put a smile on your face for all the world to see.
Yours in word and song,
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