Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm preaching at the Heritage Campus this coming Sunday . . . 9/29/13

I will be preaching at the Heritage Campus on Sunday, September 29th during the regular 10:30 AM service there.  

The message title is, "Hearing God's Voice."  In this sermon, I explain the 5 historic ways that God has spoken to his children.  

There will be a 5th Sunday fellowship lunch immediately after the worship service. Come one, come all!

God's graces till amazes me . . . ><>

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I'm preaching this Sunday . . .

I will be preaching at the 8:30, 9:45 and 11:00 AM worship services at the Down Town Campus of the First United Methodist Church in Grapevine, Texas.

We are finishing up our current sermon series, "Our Favorite Sins."  My message will focus on steps we can take to help with those desires in our lives that can lead us down paths we would not really want to travel, or cause us to experience consequences which we would rather have avoided.

I will be preaching at the Heritage Campus on Sunday, September 29th during the regular 10:30 AM service there.  The message title is, "Hearing God's Voice."  In this sermon, I explain the 5 historic ways that God has spoken to his children.  At the end of this sermon, you will be surprised to realize how much you already know!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

TODAY (September 19) is North Texas Giving Day - to benefit Hugworks!!

Please help me support 2013 North Texas Giving Day that will in part benefit the great program my friends at Hugworks provides for children in area hospitals, and to support future plans to provide music to senior adults in various venues.   

Help support all that Hugworks does by clicking on this web address.


God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Both sad and excited to report . . .

This past week, after a 4+ year run, my good friends at Grapevine Guitar Works closed the doors to their showroom in Grapevine.

Sad . . . as I really enjoyed having a guitar store just a few blocks from the church . . . in particular because the main owner is a dear friend . . . I helped paint the showroom, hand slat-board, and helped display guitars as my schedule permitted. In truth, I spent a lot of days off helping around the showroom.  Even sold a few guitars.  Played a bunch.  Figured out in the process the kind of guitars I like the best.   The GGW showroom and storeroom were  also my "hidey-hole", or the place I could hide for a while to deeply think about things that needed thinking about.

I'm going to miss that place.

I am excited as well . . . as GGW is not going away by any means. They are re-vamping their website, and will soon be an even stronger presence on the internet. Below is more info directly from their website.

Check them out in the days to come.  They always have done me right and good.

I'm still a local music store kind of guy . . . but times change.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>


We are re-inventing our website over the next few days, to coincide with our major decision to close our Grapevine, TX showroom in favor of a full service concierge and appointment based guitar trade and sales organization. For those of you who have supported our local showroom over the last 4 years, we offer our sincere thanks.  Our online presence will be stronger than ever as you will see in the coming weeks and we look forward to this model, which we view as the future of how people try and buy guitars. While your waiting for our new site to go live, please be sure to head over to our eBay store, where every item we have in inventory is listed!  And as always, if we're online, we're available to live chat!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I will be singing tonight at our Be Our Guest Meal . . .

A quick announcement . . .

I am singing tonight at our monthly Be Our Guest community meal, which will be served in Leach Hall here at the church beginning at 6:00 PM.  This is a "sit-down-family-style" monthly meal we offer and serve to anyone who lives in or around our church neighborhood. 

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I will be preaching at the Heritage Campus on Sunday, 9/15/13 and Sunday 9/29/13 . . .

For those who have not heard, or would like to know . . . I will be preaching at the Heritage Campus on Sunday morning, September 15 and 29. 

The service begins at 10:30 AM.  On the 15th, I will be preaching a sermon in the current sermon series, "Our Favorite Sins" on desires that I will also preach at the Downtown Campus on September 22.

God's graces still amazes me . . . ><>

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Music2Life . . .

I am in the process of learning more about Noel Paul Stookey's efforts with the new Music2Life organization.

To go to the Music2Life website, click here.  Their Facebook page is here.

I have tremendous hope for efforts like Music2Life and Playing for Change.  At some point, all these groups, and others, need both monetary and musical support.

If you sing, play an instrument . . .

If you have sung in the past . . .

If you have any kind of musical skill . . .

There are people out there who would benefit you crossing their path.

There are different community, church, personal, private and corporate groups and organizations, like the Hugworks group that I participate with, who need help in their efforts to make music once again the power in people's lives in can be.

Please consider learning more about any or all of these groups, but most especially the ones active in your area.

Can't find a group in your area . . . then start one!

God's grace still amazes me . . . and many others . . . ><>

Friday, September 6, 2013

Finally . . . back to singing!!

No more talking about it . . .

No more getting around to it . . .

No more wishing it was like it use to be . . .

No more worrying about cancer, or any other stumbling blocks, getting in my way . . .

After more than a years absence from regularly singing and playing guitar for others . . . this coming Monday . . . September 9, 2013 . . . I will sing twice in the morning at Dancing Rivers in Grapevine (senior living / retirement facility), and . . . I will sing for the children who attend  our Monday afternoon "Project Fun" after-school program.

My goal for singing to others this fall, winter and spring is simple enough . . . to sing somewhere . . . for somebody . . .  at least once a week.  I am confident that my pastoral and personal calendars can handle that with no problem.

My voice is good (I actually think it's improved since my 2nd throat surgery . . . but its only strong for about 30-45 minutes).  I need to build up the endurance I had back when I was singing 2-3 times a week before being diagnosed with cancer and going through surgeries and treatment.

Endurance will come again from singing regularly.

My Guild jumbo's are in great shape, and "Marty" (my Martin DC-16) can handle any situation where I need to "plug in."

So . . . decent "pipes" and good equipment.  And . . .  a good attitude as well.

I know what's at stake for me personally, and for the people I sing to.  And, if I might be so blunt in saying . . .  I truly "give a damn" again about singing!

At some point this past year, I guess I lost the passion to sing . . . perhaps because I had no singing voice for 3-4 months.

But the observations a couple of people shared with me in past months has helped me see things differently again.

My wife confirmed something that was brought to my attention for the first time this past July at Philmont.  She told me that when I sing and play guitar, I look different.  She said that I look really happy and full of joy.

At Philmont this past July, one of my protestant chaplain colleagues, Dr. Jim DeLair, told me the same thing.  I think the way he put it to me was, "every time I've seen you playing your guitar . . . you just glow!"

I'm ready to sing.

I'm ready to play guitar.

I'm ready to glow . . . and to help  children and adults glow through the power, comfort and healing that comes through music.

I'm ready . . . really ready!  Let's do this!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Resurrection time! I just un-retired :"Marty" . . .

Pardon the picture of yours truly with spiky hair and a failed attempt at facial hair . . . a road I traveled several years ago without success.

A couple of years ago . . . I "retired" my favorite guitar of all time (so far), my Martin DC-16GTE cut-a-way acoustic electric dreadnaught (the guitar in the picture).  I was able to purchase it in May of 2005 thanks to my receiving funds from a grant, along with gifts from 2 friends. I had used it a lot over 6 years, and it had the road damage (nicks, cuts, scrapes, head stock bumps, etc.) to prove it. 

Fearing it being damaged accidently (or maybe because at the time I wanted to justify getting another guitar) I retired "Marty" to my home study.

Too be truthful, several friends told me I was going to be making a mistake.  I sometimes hate it when others are right!   Well, sometimes . . . maybe this time in particular . . . but it really was a mistake on my part.

I am in the process of re-arranging my home study, which I share with my wife, because I am moving into a smaller office at the church in the next few weeks, and most if not all of my music files, books, etc. will not fit in the new space.   Most of it needs to come home.

As  a result, I have been moving things around at home, getting ready for the ensuing clutter to follow.  In the process, as I was moving "Marty's" case, I stopped and pulled him out for a quick "hello" and to check him over.  Played on him a while. Not bad, not bad at all.

Then this past Saturday, as I was preparing to leave my house to officiate and sing at a graveside service at a local cemetery, I realized that I had not brought home either of my Guild jumbo's.  So, I grabbed Marty and off I went. 

Marty is about 9 years old (using the serial number as a reference), and let's just say that the wood that guitar is made of has "opened up."  In other words . . . it sounded great . . . played great . . . outside ... an awesome experience to play him again.  Several people came up to me after the service to compliment the guitar.

I played him some more that evening.  i lost track of how many times I heard that guitar whisper to me as I played it, "what the hell did I ever do to you that caused you to put me in a case for two years without so much as a "hello", or "kiss my foot', or 'have an apple?"

If you know what movie that line is from . . . then you are my age or older.  Great movie.  One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies.  That's the only hint you are getting.

However, the question was a fair question to ask . . . in fact, it needed asking.

I apologized . . . not sure if "Marty" believed my response, or my promises to put him back into my regular guitar arsenal.  Playing him again as often as I can will patch things up between us . . . I hope.

So . . . here I am realizing that I own a bunch of great guitars . . . several of them gifts . . . and several I've worked for or purchased outright.  And a question comes to mind . . .


Why do I have as many guitars as I do? 

I've been asked this question . . . and sometimes I wonder if the people who ask are trying to make me feel guilty, or if they are simply curious.  Anyway, I got sort of worried about what my honest response would be, and spent some of my time at Philmont thinking about it all.

Here is what I accepted ownership of . . .

In the past, I've claimed or tried to justify getting guitars as my effort to find "the" guitar.  The honest truth . . . I am a collector at heart and in spirit.

I collect hiking / walking sticks.

I collect hats (size 8 hats to be precise.)

I collect Boy Scout patches. 

I collect tools.

I collect song books and sheet music.

I collect ukuleles and Native Indian flutes.

Why?  More than likely, it has something to do with my enjoyment of "the hunt" for each item, and the joy or surprise when I find one, or stumble across one accidently. 

Also, I collect guitars.

I like guitars.  I like playing them.  I like researching and learning about them. I like looking for particular guitars (the hunt??)  I like collecting guitars (and glad I have been able to acquire a few in these past years because I am, in part, good at what I do and fairly compensated for it.) 

Some of them I play a lot.  Some of them I don't play very much at all.  Some I use acoustically, and some I use when plugged in.  Some I will keep and some I will trade.  Some of those trades will lead to sadness and regret, and some will lead to joy and surprises.

I own two great Guilds jumbos, 3 great Taylors (and one not so great) . . .

And, I have "Marty."

Of all my guitars, "Marty" has the deepest place in my heart.  The first "really good guitar" I ever owned . . "Marty" will be probably be the closest thing to ever being "the" guitar for me. 

Yet, I will probably never have the "one" guitar.  Maybe . . . perhaps . . . Who really knows ... We will have to wait and see.

It's not a matter of Guilds being better than Taylors, or Taylors being better than Martins, or Martins being better than Guilds . . . (although . . . I am have always been partial to the balance and tone of Martin's ... I've just never been able to come across one that I would trade something for).   A good guitar is a good guitar, the brand doesn't matter.  To some people it does . . . but not as much for me as for others.

That being said . . . I may have the opportunity in the near future to acquire a "dream guitar" in the form of another Martin.  A slim outside possibility at present.  I hope to share more one way or the other in the future.

Oh, by the way, I brought "Marty" back to my church office.  All I have now in my office within arms reach are "Marty" and the 2 Guilds, along with my PA and my acoustic amp.   They will completely fill the space I will have for them in my new office.

My current goal is to play "Marty" a lot more, especially when I plug into a PA or amp.   He is the best sounding guitar plugged in that I have (yes, better than any of the Taylors),  Mercy, the sound from that guitar, acoustically or plugged in, is really sweet.   Doesn't sound like I'm the one playing it.  Hopefully in all the time I have spent looking for guitars, I have still made some time to improve as a player.  Perhaps having "Marty" back in my life will move that along in a good way as well.

That . . . would be a good thing.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>