Update on my new ministry involvement at church: The youth group is going well. We watched a video called “Joshua” last week and this week. It was about a stranger who came into a small town and brought the people together to make good things happen. He also did some miracles. It all created quite an uproar. As the story unfolded, it became apparent that this Joshua was none other than Jesus Christ Himself.

At the beginning of each meeting, the group played kickball. Last week, one of the other leaders would rub my head and yell, “Rub a bald man’s head for luck!” Yeah, I’m mostly bald, and I’m not terribly young any more; but I’m still energetic! And what do you know? Sometimes the “luck” thing seemed to work for our team! But too little, too late: alas, we lost (tears in my eyes).

I had an odd dream this morning: I was working with group of high schoolers, outdoors, probably in the spring, elsewhere in the United States, perhaps Indiana or Kentucky. There was one other leader, whom I didn’t know. One tall boy, about 16 or 17, was particularly rude and insulting. When I stood next to him, he insulted me over and over again (I don’t remember what he said, exactly). I told him that his behavior was inappropriate, and he laughed at me. Calmly I continued by telling him that in some situations, his style of humor may be appropriate, but not 24/7. People who insult others all the time probably have insecurity or inferiority issues. “I’m not a psychologist,” I told him, “but you should really consider some counseling, possibly at school or maybe even outside.” The boy seemed to be “floored” by this—that someone would actually be concerned about him rather than simply offended by his remarks.

Just then, as the group was playing dodge ball, someone threw the ball in my direction. I dodged it, then picked it up and put a few other kids “out” before being eliminated myself. As I stood in the group of eliminated players, I woke up from the dream.

I think the dream happened because of my recent involvement with the church youth group. There are a lot of nice kids in our youth group, but each one has his or her own life full of stresses and problems, most of which contribute to a variety of behaviors. And last night, there was only one leader there beside myself. Also, we just watched a video called “Joshua,” most of which took place outdoors, in settings similar to the one in my dream.

I have decided not to do the praise band. As much as I enjoy some of the upbeat songs they do for the second worship service, I do not feel comfortable leading them. Some of the songs mention dancing, and it’s hard to do those without moving around a bit (or it would look funny to be standing still on stage singing them). Since I’m not comfortable dancing in front of a couple of hundred people, I believe that my discomfort would actually hinder worship rather than enhance it. Anyway, I’m already singing in the choir and doing some special music, plus working with the youth group; any more might be too much at this point.

My Gospel solo with the church choir on November 6 went off superbly. One lady in the church said it was “amazing… those scales are pretty hard, but you handled them perfectly. Every note was on pitch, and the timing was perfect.” Someone else noted that my face “lit up” while singing the solo. I guess it was just the message of God coming through. To Him be the glory!

Okay, I’m coming out of the woodwork on this one for the first time online: I’ve been writing new music since last summer (August 2004 to be exact) and have already produced a three-song demo CD in an effort to secure a contract as a singer-songwriter.

It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. Using a freeware program called MIDI DisAssembler, I created my own instrumental backgrounds. Then using Cakewalk Music Creator 2 (purchased at Best Buy for $40 on sale) I processed and mixed the various tracks including the vocals, which were recorded at home using a $20 Audio-Technica microphone. I had recorded music on tape before, years ago, but this was all new and different! The program is sort of like having your own sound board, like in a studio, complete with compressors and reverb and stuff like that. Done properly, the finished tracks sounded almost like what you might hear on a professionally recorded CD.

All that holds me back now from releasing the completed demo to several studios and/or publishing companies, is getting the sheet music written out to be submitted for copyright registration. Some of it can be done right in the Music Creator program; some songs would actually be more easily written out by hand. All I need is the time to work on this.

The demo (and all my music, for that matter) is a mix, both musically and in terms of subject matter.

  1. The first song on the demo, “When I’m Away,” is a love song I wrote for my wife; it expresses how I miss her and sometimes even worry about her when I’m at work. The music is light rock and reminds me of some of Elton John’s early work.
  2. “He’s Not Here” is one I wrote, arranged and orchestrated all in two weeks, right before Easter. It’s an upbeat, celebratory song about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  3. “Hopelessly in Love” is a slow love song with a steady beat and plenty of emotion. Stylistically, it reminds me of Andy Williams.

There’s a guy in my neighborhood that does his own rap songs and would like to collaborate with me on a hip-hop number. I am considering this, since I have such a song started, but so far all I have is a chorus (singing, not rapping).