Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. Colossians 3:16
Performing on stage with the guys of Skypilot is a great honour. One of the highlights of my music career.
When Trentan Kruger of the Skypilot asked me last week how long I’ve really been doing music for I had to stop and think… How long have I loved playing music?
My first memories of playing music was blasting out melodies on my harmonica for my pet Tortoise ‘Terry’ at the age of 4. Terry would stick his head up out of the water from his little pond for hours and listen to my tunes…. Through the early school years I sang in musicals and joined the school choir in grade 5 when my family moved back to Australia from Papua New Guinea.
Mrs Sandow the music teacher always put me with the girls because I had a high voice. A bit embarrassing for an 11 year old.
But music really captivated my heart when I was 13 years of age. A local primary school teacher called Gordon Mullen at Kangaroo Ground in Victoria offered to teach me and some friends guitar on Tuesday afternoons. I was a terrible student.. But Mr Mullen’s passion for guitar and for God sure had an affect on those puberty years. I spent countless hours of strumming my nylon string Yamaha guitar and striving to write songs and sing them to the motorcycle and surfing posters on the bedroom wall. I dreamed of performing to people one day but never quite felt good enough.
In the late teenage years I formed a band with some mates and began travelling around to church youth groups on weekends. The Steadfast Steamer Band built up quite a following around the Wollongong region. On Saturday’s Doug MacFarlane and me would take the train to Sydney and busk all day at Circular Quay or Manly Corso. That glued my heart to people who don’t know Christ and people who don’t go to church.
After that I began a solo career in local pubs, reaching out to people’s hearts through the cigarette smoke and stale beer aromas of an Australian pub. The rest is history. God called me to take a step of faith and serve Him with my music. That was 26 years ago.
But to answer Trentan Kruger’s question….. I’ve been doing music for 50 of my 54 years on earth. (And I still can’t read music…) But I pray there’s many more years of good ministry ahead by God’s grace.
Keep it real and keep it all about Jesus.
Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. She is a mistress and governess of those human emotions — which govern men as masters or, more often, overwhelm them. No greater commendation than this can be found — at least, not by us. For whether you wish to comfort the sad, to terrify the happy, encourage the despairing, to humble the proud, to calm the passionate, or to appease those full of hate — and who could number all these masters of the human heart, namely, the emotions, inclinations, and affections that impel me to evil or good? — what more effective means than music could you find?
- Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Pictured:Steve and Skypilot in concert at Discovery Church, Mt Evelyn Victoria..
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15
My old home town of Wollongong has a population of 292,000 people. It’s a beautiful city and formerly the largest industrial region in Australia.
We did a concert there last week to a very supportive and appreciative audience… but only 130 people turned up. I know the organisers were a little disappointed and I must admit it brings you back to the humble realities of life on the road in this music ministry journey. Even Jesus said it’s always going to be a tough gig in your old home town. But it’s more than that.
We’ve lost something very precious in the big cities and suburbs…. that good old fashioned spirit of unity and getting together for a good cause… Life is so consuming and demanding that people don’t take time out to simply ‘be’ together anymore. Our modern lifestyle is all programs and processes and time limits etc. Churches don’t ‘do’ stuff together with other churches like they used to. It’s more about building profile and programs and protecting denominational traditions rather than ‘being’ the Body of Christ to the community.
On a Monday night in a small farming town of Walla Walla with a population of 700 people… Over 260 locals and folks from other towns in the region came along to a farm shed to support our concert.
That’s about 40% of the population. I was humbled and so honoured by the response.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m so grateful for every opportunity in any town or city to sing and present the Good News of Christ… It just saddens my heart when I see modern churches so consumed with their own agenda that there is no time or place for unified evangelistic events for the region. Let’s not lose sight of the big picture. Ultimately it is about people… God’s love for people through people like us. Every conversation, every concert, every church meeting… Let’s make it count.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39
This past week we did concerts in a Church, a Pub, a Town Hall, an old grain mill and a farm machinery shed!!
But more than that we did concerts to people… and lives were changed for eternity.
People matter most.
Pictured:Over 250 people at a local farm shed on a Monday night in Walla Walla in Southern NSW
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
The rain bucketed down on the High School hall roof on Sunday night. People braved the wild weather to come out for the best gourmet BBQ ever!! Despite the torrential rain we kept to our plan as everyone was overjoyed by the unfamiliar sounds of the pouring rain. Answered prayer for the farmers. Answered prayer for the land. But we must keep praying… There is much more needed to break the drought and enable farmers to get going again. Some tough seasons in a country that needs to get back to the basics and believe again in God’s goodness and faithfulness. As it says in Romans 2:4 “Gods kindness leads us to repentance”.
It starts with you and me… God’s healing and forgiveness comes when we choose to first of all believe we are His people. Then with humble hearts willing to pray, repentant hearts willing to turn from our sin and expectant hearts for heaven and His right ways… That’s when things start happening!! And if they don’t….. Do we continue to choose to be faithful and obedient to the Lord? Yes.
This verse was a challenge from God to King Solomon after he had completed the building of the most magnificent temple of worship. The challenge came with assurances of God’s blessings and favour, but a reality check for the consequences of bad decisions when we turn our hearts away from his best.
I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 2 Chronicles 7:16
Today, because of Christ’s love, His blood and sacrifice… You and I are His temple. Let us live accordingly and shine with the radiance of His glory in a lost world.
Pictured: Sunday night at H20 Church, Maitland, NSW.