Friday, February 20, 2009

Jumping In

Here I am Lord.....following where I feel you leading me. May you guide my words and my thoughts!

Hello to all you folks in the blogosphere! After reading all of my freinds from ARMBC who have their own blog's, I thought I would share my perspective with anyone who takes a minute to read my humble writing. I write like I play the guitar....not looking for recognition, but hoping that the Lord can use me to change someone's life by revealing His plan of Salvation that was made possible through the death of Jesus Christ, upon a Cross, and His resurrection!

That is my calling, and it is my desire to use every gift and talent that He has given me to fullful that calling. I have been given the opportunity to play guitar in the Praise Orchestra at Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church. I say praise orchestra because that is exactly what we are. We are not just an orchestra, and we are not just a praise band, but we are a blessed group of musicians that get to use our talents to lead the praise and worship music at AMRBC. I am so thankful to be a part of a group of great people who, even with different views and opinions, can come together with one purpose and one desire...TO WORSHIP GOD!

I have told a few people the story of my journey to find myself as a guitar player in God's church, so now I will share that story with those of you who may not know.....

A little over ten years ago now, God blessed me with the opportunity to meet a beautiful woman named Carol. I knew the minute I saw her that my search was over. I know that sounds corny, and lots of people don't beleive that kind of story, but I had prayed throughout my teenage years and college years that God would open my eyes to the woman he had chosen for me since the beggining of time. That prayer was answered the moment my eyes saw Carol. Less than a year later, we were married. It was through Carol, that God began to work in and through my life once again. I had walked away from the church and from God years earlier after having grown up in the church. I was saved and baptised at the age of 9 and was very active in the youth group at my church. It was while I was in High School that I began to try to learn how to play the guitar. I began to desire nothing more than to be able to play the guitar and have all the fame and fortune that was suppose to come with that. I began to persue my desire's and not God's, and he allowed me to follow that path until I had all but given up on my dream. I played the guitar in my bedroom by myself and rarely ever let anyone ever hear my limited playing ability.

Fast forward about 10 years to the time when I met Carol. She asked me to attend church with her and I agreed. I had never heard of this rather small church that everyone called AMRBC, but I felt at home there, and we began to attend regularly. I had played a few songs for Carol at home, and even sang her a few songs, and I guess she told her mom about it at some point. Next thing I new, the Music Minister at the church, Larry, was on the phone with me saying, "I hear you play the guitar and we are trying to start a Praise Band....would you like to come and play?" Little did I know how that question would change my life.

When I went to the first practice, I felt so out of place. I could not read the music, and I didn't even know what the names of the few chords that I could play were called. I had learned to play by ear, and trial and error. I remember looking at the first sheet of music and seeing a Gm7 chord listed on the page. I had no idea what that was, but something in me was telling me to keep trying. I continued to play and to try and learn as much as I could, and the praise band was born with me as a member. Not much of a guitar player or a mature Christian, but God was working on both of those things. Carol gave me a fateful gift that first Christmas together...she bought me some guitar lessons!! The first real lessons I had ever had in my life, after I had been playing for nearly 10 years! God had planned that I would be taught by a wonderful Christian man that opening my eyes to what music could be in my life. Joe asked me if I had ever heard of a band called "Third Day"? My answer was "Third who????" It was soon after I began to listen to their music and learn more about guitar chords, leads, theory, etc. that I had one of those moments where God reveals something to you and you really can't beleive it. For 10 years, my desire was to follow my dreams and play the guitar for my purposes. Suddenly God revealed that if I gave up my dreams, and followed his dreams for me, he was giving me everything I had ever wanted!!!!!!

I found myself in front of people, playing the guitar, singing, leading worship! I never dreamed that God could use me in such a way! I never thought about the fact that using my talents and abilities to lead His people in Worship, was in fact an act of Worship! He has blessed me to be able to be a part of the amazing work that is happening at Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church. He has blessed me to have just celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary with my beautiful wife Carol. He has blessed me with 2 beautiful little boys Stephen and Spencer. He has blessed me to have had the opportunity to serve the church as Deacon, and several other positions of leadership at AMRBC. And most of all, he has blessed me with a desire to continue to grow in my Christian walk and my personal persuit of Christ.

I look at what God has allowed me to experience so far and really kind of get butterflies thinging about it. Playing in front of 2000 college students, 900 people every sunday morning, recording music in a professional recording studio, standing among 20 amazing musicians every week....each of those things are amazing, but I give all the Glory to Christ who has given me the ability and the desire to be a Instrumental Worshipper!! It's my prayer everytime I pick up a guitar, or talk with someone, that I am an instrument for God to accomplish his will. I know there are many days that I fail completely, but I will continue to try.

So if you have stuck around and read all my rambling here, I ask that you stick around and let me share my perspective as an Instrumental Worshipper and follower of Christ!

Humbly strumming,



J.E. said...

I will be sticking around. I am so proud we have another convert in our "blog" church. Glad you stuck around too!!!

jkstrib said...

YES! Our God is amazing. I have enjoyed being able to see firsthand what He is doing in your life!