A calling

Many of talk about what we do as “a calling”. What exactly does that mean? For some, it’s something that God called us to do, and we ran. We ran as fast and as far away from that as we possibly could. Or for others, we started out excited and passionate, and then reality set in and we became disillusioned. It wasn’t anything we did or didn’t do…..it just happened.

For me, growing up as a pastor’s kid in the church, I knew I was called to serve in the church. I never wanted to be a pastor. To me, from a young age on, that wasn’t something I felt was good for a family. So, I wanted to teach. And I did that for one, and then God redirected me from that quite abruptly and directly toward the church. So, over time, and after some struggles in my head, I accepted that calling.

But something else was always weighing on me. Something I felt called to do, but never really invested the time to do it, for a whole lot of reasons, every which one of them was an excuse. I felt called to write music. Initially, I saw it as a way to help increase our income when we were struggling financially…..having two young daughters can definitely lead a father to be concerned about that! Very quickly, however, I realized that it was not as financially lucrative as I had hoped. And, of course, a big part of that was because I didn’t invest the time or believe in myself or my abilities.

Something changed this past week to very directly and abruptly refocus me into that calling. On Thursday, the woman who leads our prayer team asked if she could speak to me in our Senior Pastor’s office. When he isn’t in, we typically use that space as a meeting area. So, we sat down. She tells me that while she was praying on Wednesday night, God put my face in front of her. And she proceeded to to pray things out of me that I hadn’t shared with anyone, along with praying things into me. I will spare you the details, mainly so I don’t start crying while typing this! But the point is that God used this, along with a couple of other things to radically shake me. To tell me that there’s something I’m supposed to be doing.

Due to being in my position for almost 2 years now, that’s about the time that I really, intentionally stopped writing. Oh, I’ve done a few things, here and there, and I’ve got a list of things I’d like to be working on. But, I never made the intentional steps necessary to invest myself in writing and arranging music. But after Thursday morning, I started getting a flood of ideas. The first one was very clear. I need to give things away. So you’ll notice the “Free Stuff” page on the site. And that’s exactly what’s there! FREE THINGS!! 4 of them, in fact. A devotion for church musicians, an organ introduction and harmonization of the hymn “Built on the Rock”, a choral/congregation setting of Psalm 46 and a handbell verse setting of the hymn “A Mighty Fortress”. All you have to do is click on the pdf file, download it, and use it! With this site, and with what I’m doing with these giveaways, it’s my hope and prayer that you are blessed by the music and thoughts I share, and that it encourages and helps you in what you’re doing in your congregations. Obviously, I do have compositions that I have composed (and will be composing) that are available for purchase. If you like the free things you get, I’d appreciate it if you’d consider purchasing some of my other compositions as well.

Finally, to be able to invest more time intentionally into writing music, I’ll be writing blog posts a bit less. Instead of daily, I’m going to scale back to Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with Friday’s post being a YouTube video of me playing the organ. I’ll still be sharing some of my thoughts and encouragements for you to be finding harmony in the physical, spiritual, emotional and relational aspects of your life. Because if we’re not doing that, we will fall very, very, very quickly into that place of frustration, disillusionment and doubt.

Please download the free resources, share with other musicians you know and share the website with others! One last thing. I’ve written a devotion book based on 30 hymns and songs. Today is the last day it is free on Amazon.com. You can either click on this link, or go to Amazon and search for “Words of Worship” with my name. Otherwise, after today, it’s a whopping  $.99.

Thanks for all of your support and encouragement!

 

Prelude, Fugue and Chaconne

 

Powering through

Over the past few weeks, I got back into routine. That routine led to busyness. That busyness led to me not really taking the best care of myself. That led to me feeling rundown and exhausted. I kept powering through to get stuff done. Finally, last night….I started feeling it. The sinus congestion. The sinus pressure. The sneezing. Then to my throat. Now this morning, I feel like I’ve been run over by an eighteen wheeler. So today, I’m going to listen to my body.

I’d rather not listen to my body, as I’ve got a ton on the list to do. But, the list is going to have to wait today. The problem is, sure, I can power through today, but when am I going to get hit again? And am. I going to be the best for people around me if I don’t rest? No way!! I hate having sinus headaches, which makes me extremely grumpy. I don’t sleep well, which adds to the tiredness.

Rest is important. Eating right is important. Exercise is important. Listening to your body is the most important. If you don’t, then you’ll pay for it. I’m paying for it today. Make sure you are taking care of yourself, because if you’re unhealthy, it will catch up with you. It’s not a matter of if, but when,

 

Being healthy–Moderation

I’ve written this week about eating healthy, exercising and drinking water. The key to all of these is moderation. When we get excited about a new thing, we can tend to go overboard. So you’ll see people eating salads for every meal, or getting meal replacement shakes, or going to the gym 2 hours a day or drinking 5 gallons of water in a day. That’s not moderation. Over the long term, that will fail.

We need to have balance in what we do. When you look at the diets out there, you see lots of “give up this” or “don’t eat that”. I think the best thing to do is have what isn’t the best for you on a minimal basis. For example, I like biscuits and gravy. It’s not the best for me. I only have it about 2-3 times a year, and that’s it. If we completely take out the things that we like, then what kind of life is that?

Going overboard may bring short term success, but over the long term, it’s hard to continue. In exercising, overdoing it could cause physical injuries, which will set you back. If you think of the tortoise and the hare, that’s the lesson to follow. Slow and steady wins the race. You can do it, just do it in moderation!

 

Being healthy–drinking plenty of water

One of the things that we don’t do as much as we should is drink water. We do great at soda, coffee, and plenty of other drinks that aren’t good for us. But what we really need to drink is water.

8 8 ounce glasses of water is what is recommended by many experts. Whether we drink more or not, the point is to drink water. When I was growing up, and especially in college, I got in bad habits. I would drink Mountain Dew quite regularly. In college, I would drink it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not something I’m proud of at all. And for the longest time, until January of 2015, I would regularly drink Diet Dr. Pepper. Since January of 2015, I had Diet Dr. Pepper floats at Baylor for the Alleluia Conference that I went two those years, and I had a Coke Zero on my birthday, September 2nd. I now drink coffee, unsweet iced tea and water. But mainly water.

How do you drink enough water? Get a water bottle. Fill it. Drink out of it. When it’s gone, refill it and repeat. I know, that seems simple, but we make it a whole lot harder than we need to. If you’re not a fan of just plain water, you can get packets of flavor to add to it that don’t add calories.

So, let’s raise our water bottles in a toast to being healthy! Drink up!