Sunday, January 23, 2011


Time flies, and changes are inevitable. When I look back at some of the fond memories I have from past years, I don’t know whether to be happy or sad. Happy that I had such wonderful times in years past, sad that those times are past, never to be lived through again. Recently we watched a video of my first guitar recital. It was a landmark performance for me, my first time playing in front of a real audience (other than at church). The pieces I was playing weren’t exceptionally difficult (though at the time, they seemed like an impassible mountain of music). But it was such a special time for me, to have the privilege of playing in a real music hall, with other students playing real classical guitar pieces. Then I thought about my most recent recital, where I played the Prelude and Allegro from a Bach suite. It was another major event in my life, but it was just another recital. It wasn’t the huge achievement that the other one was. Sure, I had a wonderful time playing those pieces (which were much more challenging than the ones I played at my first recital) but it wasn’t any great mental struggle to get up there and play them. I’m surely thankful for videos and pictures to help me remember those special times.

And then, I look at myself. I’ve changed a lot through the years. Years ago, I was a little adventurous boy who loved to run outside through the rain, ride my mountain bike for an hour every morning, and even enjoyed cooking. I still enjoy cooking somewhat, but I don’t do much anymore. My life is so different now. Back then, it seemed I always had lots of chores to do. I never could get quite enough time to do what I wanted. But now, looking back, I realize that I had far, far more free time than I ever get now. For a long time, I blamed it on my daily hour of guitar practice. But it’s more than that. My life as a whole is different. I have emails to answer, a blog to update, videos to edit, deadlines to meet, responsibilities at church, more schoolwork than ever before, and chores to be done. And I haven’t even started working at a job, or studying for my learner’s permit. There are so many things that I’d like to do, but I can’t do because I don’t have enough time to fit them in.

I’ve wondered if all these changes are good. Some of them haven’t been, I’m afraid. Sometimes I make poor decisions about how to spend my time. I might answer an email to a friend instead of working on a project that has a deadline. By God’s grace, I have been improving in that area. Other changes have definitely been positive. I’ve been learning to take responsibility for my own decisions. Learning how to accept the consequences of what I choose…

Then I came to the sudden realization that, whether or not I like what’s happening, I’m growing up. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. My friends aren’t 12, 13, 14 years old anymore. (I still have plenty of friends in that age range, of course. J ) Many of them are now in their upper teens, or early twenties. They’re growing up too. Some of them have gotten married. My world isn’t the same as it was 5 years ago.

But there’s one thought that comforts me through all this. God’s hand is leading me, and He’ll be there for me every step of the way. If I trust Him… 

And I’m sooo thankful for wonderful memories that I’ve been privileged to have from years past… I know that there will be many more things to remember in the future. I want to enjoy life as God brings it to me. I don’t want to spend my life wishing that the “good old days” were here again. Sure, there are some things I miss about them. But there’s no turning back.

And why should there be? Though there are some things I’ve had to leave behind, there are new opportunities, new adventures, new friends, and new blessings ahead. I wouldn’t miss out on those for anything.

The day I sat down with my steel string guitar, to record a few songs on a cheap RadioShack microphone and a PC laptop with a freeware audio program, I never dreamed I’d be where I am today. Today I have a much more powerful, flexible recording system. But I’m ever so glad that I recorded those pieces when I did. It gives me something to look back on. That was a special time. I was constantly discovering new things I could do with the guitar.

Now, my recording sessions are much different. My guitar is different, my playing is different, my microphones are different, and my computer and software are different. But the memories of the old times are precious. Even though I didn’t know where to put the microphone, or how much EQ to add. Even though I left the speakers on the laptop turned on, and got a little feedback…  Even though I turned up the bass on my recording far beyond what was reasonable. Those times are past. But there’s something I’ve learned over those same years, that’s more important than knowing the right kind of reverb to use, or where to put the microphone. Something far more important…

It’s learning to enjoy the journey. Enjoying where God has placed me now. Knowing that though things will change, I can still be content knowing that God is leading me. And knowing that the destination is far better than anything I enjoy now.

Don’t fear to leave the past behind. Press upward and onward and forward. No turning back.

“Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”


And in case you were interested, I thought I'd include the video of my first recital. I was 13 at the time. I had been taking guitar lessons for nearly a year.

I apologize for the glitch in the middle of the video - I didn't know where the original captured video was, so I just copied it off the DVD, and there was a short gap in the middle for some reason.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

No Turning Back

Imagine looking at a stormy, fearful passageway, with dangers lurking in every corner. You can’t imagine how you’ll make it through. The only thing upon which you can rely is the promise of your superior’s protection.

And then, behind you, is a lush, attractive meadow. (Doesn’t this sound like something from Pilgrim’s Progress?)  You wish with all your earthly heart that you could contentedly sleep in that meadow.

But now, the Master tells you to advance. The salvation of souls is at stake – even the salvation of your soul. There must be no turning back.

Total commitment. No turning back. No thought of giving up. This is the only way that the battle can be won.

When the time comes to fight the powers of darkness (even if that battle is in the solitude of the heart, struggling over an impure thought) no half-hearted soldier is fit for the task. 

No man who after a time resolves to go back to the beggarly elements of the world, is worthy to be called a disciple of Christ. If he does not intend always to be on the side of truth and righteousness; if he does not mean to be a brave, whole-hearted soldier, to endure opposition from a determined foe, and to press close to the bleeding side of Jesus, not faltering or turning back, “he can not,” says Christ, “be My disciple.” (ST July 28, 1898)

This is what GYC is all about…

And more importantly, this is what I want my life to be all about…