Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Ridge Concert

I spent the past weekend with the staff and congregation at a church in the Dallas area called The Ridge.

Friday night we gathered at the home of a friend of mine who is a member of the church. They are new members there and are diving in with both hands and feet. I haven’t played an intimate home gathering like this in a while but there I was – perched in front of the fireplace in their living room with the staff and spouses sitting around me.

We had a tremendous dinner and great fellowship that night. I always smile at the fact that, here we are, relative strangers to each other but “family” in God’s embrace. It gives an instant kinship that was especially warming during this time of year.

Saturday night, I did a concert at the church. It’s not a big place – a few hundred seats at the most. The church is set just off the entrance to a beautiful neighborhood full of nice, comfortable homes. Driving through the development, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of those people might find a church home at the Ridge. I wondered how many were still looking for something more than the life they were living.

The weather turned bad during the day of the concert. The wind blew 20 to 30 miles per hour and the temperature dropped dramatically. By the time we got up on Sunday morning to do the two services at The Ridge, the gauge in my car said it was 26 degrees.

Back to Saturday - there was a wedding in the church that Saturday afternoon. With the show scheduled to start at 7:30, I was a little nervous about how little time we would have to reset the stage and do a good soundcheck. Hearing that they were going to be out “by 6:30” didn’t help. I know how long things take to get ready for a concert and this was going to be tight.

I wrapped up the soundcheck at 7:25, rushed back stage to have a few minutes alone, ponder the set list, pray ( by now, after all these years, I’m aware that you can never wait until right before show time to get “prayed up” and prepare. If your not ready by then, you have to deal with the stresses and consequences) and change clothes.

It was a good night. The room felt like it was filled with good friends. There were people that had been listening to my stuff for years and years. They felt the warmth of the memories of time passed and enjoyed the new songs that I hope will become touch stones of the here and now.

Sunday morning, after venturing off in search of a big cup of black Starbuck’s stout, I pulled into the parking lot around 8 AM to rehearse with the worship band for the two morning services. It was great to sit in and just play with the band. Joey is the worship leader at The Ridge, so he took the lead. I played piano and sang along. It enjoyed being a part of the team for a day.

Driving toward Houston Sunday afternoon, I felt great. It had been a good time spent there in Dallas. I have lot’s of friends in D. Some new, some from a long time back.

About 15 miles north of the town of Fairfield, traffic came to a complete stop. I mean the kind of stop where people were getting out of their cars and visiting. We sat there for about a half hour. I’m always curious as to what is going on up ahead that can cause this kind of stall.

You know, you sure don’t want anybody to be hurt up there, but most of us can’t wait to see why we’ve been sitting for so long on a major federal highway. I’m beginning to think that two lanes of highway between Dallas and Houston probably aren’t enough. Would somebody get on it and take care of this?? Thanks.

When we finally started moving and eventually passed the scene of all the trouble, I saw that it was an 18 wheeler that had burned down to the wheels! Guess everybody was alright. But everybody had to take a look.

After we passed the accident site, I-45 turned NASCAR! I mean everybody dialed it up a few notches to make up for the lost time. Again, the two lane thing is not working! But, thank the Lord, I arrived home safe, tired but satisfied and grateful to be able to do what I do.

One more encouragement to SIMPLIFY this Christmas. Most of us take one more shot at this tremendous season and THEN declare "Next year, we'll do this different. Less stuff and more of the things that last - the things that mean something". Then the next year rolls around just as the debts of this year are paid and , again we vow to make a change. Folks, time is flying. Nothing is sure except His precious love and His hand upon us - wherever we are. Put your foot down and make some changes now.

This would be my last concert for a while. My next date is in mid January in Ruston, Louisiana.

I hope I can get out more in ’08 and see a lot more of you. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate your prayers and support.

Keep smiling and let up on yourself a little. The pressure won't go away by itself until something blows or until you turn down the heat or take some aggressive action against those things that are tearing you up.

I wish you peace and joy this Christmas.



Anonymous said...

Love your insights and that you can write them with such picturesque words and wit...most of all honest and with a love for God at the head of the list. I love your new web sight! You're not getting older your getting better! Have a blessed Chirstmas and good old fashioned fun with yur kids and grandkids.


A Life Inspired said...

Hi Wayne,

Remember me?! (Don't you hate it when people say that to you?!)

Actually, we have met, but I don't expect you to remember me. In the late 80s, we met after one of your concerts at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas; a friend of mine who ran sound at PBC introduced us. I've been a fan of your music since before then. I had the blessing of seeing you at Willow Bend church earlier this year and I had to smile when I saw your graying hair (sorry), I thought, "we've grown up together" ... we have, I'm older too.

When I saw you at Willow Bend, my heart told me something was different about you. I later read about the changes you'd gone through in the letter you posted on your website and I've prayed for you.

In His sovereignty, God has a way of letting us go through such tough times, but if we allow Him, we grow deeper in intimacy with Him. Although I'd walked with God since I was a child, my faithquake came in '99. While I never would have chosen such brokenness, I would never trade the intimacy, confidence, and peace I now have in God as the result of trusting Him through that difficult time. Have you ever read "A Tale of Three Kings" by Gene Edwards? It is such a powerful story packed in just a few pages; it helped me discover the sovereignty of God and that there truly is no better place to be than in His protective will.

I'm enjoying my new CD, Even This. One of my all-time favorites is still The Sacrifice...that song was always just another song on a record of favorites, until I heard you explain the story behind it at a concert. And that is one of the things I have always admired about you, even when you were newer and younger in the business with so much fame and attention, when you walked on stage to perform, I didn't see a famous Christian pop guy, I heard a minister's heart as you shared your stories and sang. I believe that is the power behind your music, it's longevity, and the way it touches a listener's soul; I'm one of the many who's been blessed greatly by your words and melodies.

I was able to visit The Ridge Sunday and enjoyed hearing your music again. I pray you enjoy the beauty of this holy Christmas season!

For Christ's Glory,