What's Your Passion?

I grew up in a musical family and my earliest memories are when my father’s side of the family would get together and play music together.  I was fascinated with how every instrument would compliment one another to create this sound.  So I had the passion of music early on. If you are a musician there has been a cartoon going around that pretty much explains it.  It reads. “ Musician” the only people I know who spends $5000.00 for equipment, loads it up in his $500.00 car, travels for 5 hours to the show and plays for 4 hours for $50.00. Musicians are the most passionate people I know.  The love for playing music consumes you.  

There are many levels to being a musician.  Either you want to play music for fun or you want to earn money for playing music.  When you decide to play music for money you are putting your self out there because the competition is brutal. When I first went to Nashville, a friend of mine who played piano for George Jones told me when you get to Nashville. “ YOU FIND OUT HOW GOOD YOU’RE NOT” which scared me to death.  I learned to play all instruments by ear not by the note. So me not being able to read music I thought I was defeated but then he said find your niche.  I went on the road for 3 months and off for two weeks and back out on the road and repeated the process for 10 years.   I have slept in “Band Houses” “Motels” “back rooms where I would not even let my dog sleep now.  But for the love of the music I did it and did not even flinch.

I know no other profession where people would say “I would love for your band to come and play for X event next weekend, it will be great exposure for your guys”.  You would never ask a plumber to come out and fix your problem and say I will make sure my entire neighborhood will know of your service.  You expect them to do a job for a fee.   People don’t understand that for a band to play any event there is travel time to the venue, time for the band to set up equipment, and then sound check, which is normally 2 hours prior to start time.  The next step is to play for 1 or 2 hours for the EXPOSURE and then you get to tear down all the equipment and then travel back home.  So for a job from 12 till 2, you start at 9am and you get home about 4pm, but your only playing for 1 maybe 2 hours is what the promotions person tells you even though that is an 7 hour day for the musicians.  There is a great line in a Travis Tritt song that says “Why's the rich man busy dancing while the poor man pays the band”.

I say all of this because of the passion I have for playing music. I have gone through all of these scenarios and lived to tell about it. When you see someone playing at a club, beach restaurant, or on a street corner, they are there because the love for what they are doing is outweighing any obstacles they are facing.  


What is your passion?  Would you do almost anything at almost no pay just to pursue it?  That is what Jesus asks us to do, is pursue him with passion. Be devoted to him, draw close to him and trust him. 

Colossians 3:17  “What ever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of Lord Jesus”. 

Romans 8: 28     “ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”


Ok, So what does this all mean?  What ever you are passionate about is the purpose according to his will?  Regardless of the passion you have it can be used to further the kingdom.  Sometimes just being nice to someone or helping someone in need is a gift.  God uses everything and every one for his kingdom.  
As James says in Chapter 1: 25  “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it---he will be blessed in what he does.”


Are you using your passion to further the kingdom?

Your reward in heaven will be waiting.  

God Bless

Mike


Don't Be A Cow

There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don’t. Now that the horrible joke is out of the way, it’s time to be serious. There really are two kinds of people in the world, cows and rhinos. You don’t want to be a cow. 

A cow loves to lie around all day, chew their cud, and moo (which is their way of complaining). They like to stay in the herd and travel by the way of least resistance. They love to be lazy and just hang out all day with nothing to do. But most of all, cows love to be mediocre, they just want to blend in and be ordinary. On the other hand, rhinos love a great challenge, love risks and swimming upstream, they want the ball in their hands in the final seconds of a game, they are great dreamers, but most of all they are thick-skinned chargers who enjoy the excitement of running through the jungle of life rather than following the herd of cows to the meat market. 

The good news about cows and rhinos is that you can be either one. Itʼs not a list of physical attributes or abilities. Itʼs an attitude. There is nothing stopping us from being a rhino except ourselves. We are capable of charging anything head on, but it can be lonely. You don’t see rhinos in big herds. You usually just see one standing out in a field by itself. As much as I want you to be a rhino in your everyday life, its much more important to be a rhino in your spiritual life. 

2 Timothy 1:7 says: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord”. We need to be bold enough to charge hell with a water gun. I would love to tell you what that looks like for you, but rhinos tend to make their own paths. I hope that you find your own path to take, it starts with prayer, listening, and finally charging ahead. 

Excuse Me!

Since moving to Northwest Florida 2 years ago from Orlando we have learned how to “Bring it down” a few notches.  Which is a good thing.  Yes, Orlando is the home to Mickey Mouse, Universal Studios, Sea World, The Orlando Magic, and many football bowl games. But living there we wanted to be as far away from the theme parks as we possibly could.  Yes it is an exciting city with something going on every single weekend.  And it can be a great city just so your money doesn’t run out.  

There is another side of Orlando where you are so keyed up because of the traffic in town or always being aware of your surroundings because the crime is so apparent, it just wears on you physically.

For instance in March every year in Winter park they have the Winter Park Art Festival.  They have nationally known music artist to play in the park on Friday night of the Art Festival.  To get a seat for the concert you have to take a blanket down to the concert venue early in the morning the day of the concert.  I’m talking 7am.  Someone will have to stay with it to hold your spot.  Of the ten years we attended we never once got to sit in front of the stage, we always threw our chairs and blanket at the rear of the stage.  We always had a good time but it was a 5-6 hour ordeal for a 1-1/2 hour concert 15 minutes away from our house.  There are 300,000 people attending over a weekend.  It’s wall-to-wall people, and not all people are nice.

And since we have been here in Northwest Florida we attend Bands on the Blackwater in Milton for the past 8 weeks and we get there five minutes before it starts find a great place (in front of the stage) and enjoy a 2 hour concert under the stars.  I know Milton and Orlando are two different city’s but, the stress level is way down.

We all get into situations living life where it’s just the way it is and we forget there are people living a whole different existence and surviving. 

It’s the same way when you live a certain way and you have minimal or no faith life.  Now many of you are doing well, have a good job, great family, house, cars in the driveway.  You think I don’t need God.  When we focus on ourselves we have this tendency to always want more.  Bigger house, another car, better clothes, traveling or what ever IT might be.  God is blessing you. There is another side of this life.

We need to step back and say “Excuse me” I need to check myself at the door and understand I am being blessed.

1 Timothy 2: 3-4

God our Savior…wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of truth.


When we are stressed about our situations, even when God has not answered our prayers the way we desire, the knowledge that God is on our side and wants good for us should be comforting to us even though we may not understand.  There may be a different life God has planned for us and we need to be open to the new life which God has in store for us.

  Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


Blessings

Mike

How Rested Are you

AE is a term that is used in Church circles when everyone tries to catch their breath.  AFTER EASTER.  There is such a build up to Easter Sunday and Christmas Eve for everyone involved in and around church.  All of the volunteers who open doors, greet, run lights, run sound, run the PowerPoint, clean the church, fold bulletins, prepare children’s programs, musicians and singers rehearsing prior to these dates.  As much as we prepare for these important dates it seems like all of the build up and “POOF”, they are gone and its on to the next big thing.  

The bottom line is that Easter Sunday and Christmas Eve are important services, but everything that was done for Easter and Christmas Eve is done every single week.  Each and every service is about every person walking into service and having a connection to the Lord.  Regardless of what kind of week we have had, God will meet you in your situation.  

I have a friend who is the worship pastor for a large church and during Holy week he rehearses with the band Tuesday night and Wednesday night for Easter.  Thursday afternoon rehearses for Thursday and Good Friday service. Then he leads a Communion service for Holy Thursday and then leads a completely different service for Good Friday.  Oh yea, he still does 2 Easter services on Saturday evening and 4 Easter services on Sunday.  Each and every service would not take place if volunteers did not make it happen.  They are just as exhausted as the Worship Leader.  So family time at Easter does involve a nap.

AFTER EASTER, or in the springtime, everyone starts talking about vacations.  Normally our mind is running a million miles an hour trying to do way too much on too little time. When we do make an effort to try to slow down or go on vacation the first thing we do is organize a schedule.  Now that’s relaxing!  I’m reminded of the movie “Vacation” when Chevy Chase travels all across the US to see the Grand Canyon. He and his wife look out of the vastness of the Grand canyon for 3 seconds he then nod’s his head a few times and says “lets go” cause they have to get to Wally World.  A band mate from Missouri once told me this about Floridians, “People are in such a hurry to get somewhere so they can relax”.

A few years ago my wife and I were one of 3 couples who traveled to Spain for 10 days.  We traveled in a van and had somewhat of an itinerary.  We were in Torremolinos and we were looking for a lunch spot around 2 pm.  It was siesta time and all, and I do mean all shops were closed for a nap.  I can just see the sign here in the states.  “Sorry we are closed for lunch and a nap and will return later this afternoon”.  Not going to happen.  There is such a different culture overseas where dinner might last 3-4 hours and the conversation and laughter could last deep into the night.  

What ever your form of rest or rejuvenation is, make it a point to put down what is stressing you out and find your quiet place and turn everything over to God. Let him work out all the details. Enjoy your family, friends or what ever your refuge is. Know that what we are doing today will be our past soon and it forms our character. Pull back the reigns and focus on what is important and keep that thought in the forefront of your mind to make this day count.

Matthew 11:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.


God Bless

Mike



40 Days

Lent was never something I participated in as a kid. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I even heard about it and that people gave something up for a few weeks. Of course, all my friends were giving up sodas and chocolate and so I associated Lent with giving up things that were bad for you anyway and clumped it together with New Year’s resolutions. If you know you need to change, why wait for a certain day to make that change?

I also hated giving up the same thing as anybody else. Because Ive always done something random and that wasn’t a big deal to begin with, I don’t remember what I’ve given up in the past. But this year, hopefully, I’ll remember. You see, this year I gave up shaving. The fun part is, I go through seasons of trying to be clean shaven and seasons of wishing my beard was as long as the Duck Commanders. Not shaving is really just a normal part of my life. But I did this for one very specific and humiliating reason. So I could shave half my face and share this picture with you. 

Half Shave.jpg


There it is. In all it’s hideous, disturbing glory. Why would I go through 40 days of lent, take an embarrassing picture of myself, and share it with you? Because I want you to see how much someone can change in 40 days. Despite my track record of previous Lenten fasts, taking 40 days to get rid of stuff that weighs you down, distracts you from what’s important, or just isn’t good for you can make all the difference for your life. 

The great news is you don’t have to wait until New Years or next Ash Wednesday to get started. You can start to make a change right now. And by limiting yourself to 40 days there is always light at the end of the tunnel. And if you start today, April 30, there are exactly 40 days until Pentecost (just in case you want to keep in line with major religious holidays). 

I have a suggestion though, don’t think too hard about giving something up. Try to find things to add to your daily routine. For instance, you could:

  • Read the entire New Testament (it only takes 18 hours to read it out loud, or less than 30 minutes a day)

  • Pray through the Book of Common Prayer’s Daily Office

  • Get outside and just bask in God’s creation through walks, hikes, bike rides, bird watching, or whatever makes you happy. 

  • Find one random person a day and make it your goal to make them smile. 

  • Begin and end each day with a Psalm.

  • Memorize one verse a day.

  • Sit in absolute silence for 10 minutes a day, listening for God’s voice. 

  • Keep a journal, write down your prayers, look back at it often to see where God has worked.

  • Search scripture for each time the number 40 appears. 

  • Learn to play an instrument

We all could us a little change in our lives. Don’t put it off, start now.