When I think about the meaning of that word in looking back on the past seven years of my music ministry, I sometimes stand in awe…not at any accomplishments that I have made but at what God has done in this ministry in such a short time. I remember when my wife Esther and I were sitting at a table having dinner with “The Chandlers”, a very popular southern gospel singing group and Lenoir Chandler was telling me that my unique music ministry would be “blazing a trail” for other instrumentalist I have to admit, I was so excited but a little apprehensive. Now, as I reflect on God’s goodness and faithfulness I see that Lenoir was right. Of course the awards and recognition over the past few years has been special to me because much of it came from my peers, but most important have been the simple things like an email from a thirteen year old boy who said that my music has helped to draw him closer to God. It is times like that that I am reminded that my mission is only to plant a seed. That seed is to be one of hope and encouragement to young and old. My desire is to plant it through my music and through my testimony. When I weigh my ministry with these scales of hope, then all the other blessings that God has allowed me to experience are just other indicators of His goodness. Although I have had the pleasure of experiencing some great concerts such as the Independence Day Celebration at Liberty University, with the contemporary Christian group “Sierra” and the great Charlton Heston, and sharing my music with many of the great musicians at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society, and with the Georgia Fingerstyle Guitar Association, I am constantly reminded that my heart is in ministering in churches.
I also look back over the year 2001 with thanksgiving and with sorrow. I am saddened by the loss of my dear friend and mentor Chet Atkins. I will miss you Chet. I also share the same sadness that we all experienced from the events of Sept 11th. I was on a tour out in Colorado during that time. I remember that a week after that tragedy I was with my family up in the Rocky Mt National Park. As I looked down over the vast valleys and the beautiful forests of Aspen trees, I stopped and thought; Man can destroy what Man built, but no man can destroy what God has built. God is, and has always been in control. Then I remembered I John 4:4, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world”
Now I consider the next “reflection” that I face, and that is my personal reflection. My hope is that those who see me and hear my music will see a reflection of Him. My hope and desire is to be used as an instrument of Him, just as my guitar is to me, and that the music and the testimony will reflect a message of Gods goodness and Hope. As I look into the year 2002 and beyond, I am excited about the future and my ministry. I look forward to meeting so many of you and making new friends and hopefully bringing a smile to your heart by way of my music.
In His Hands