A Musician's Changed Life and Path


Since my early teens, music has been a driving passion. My youth was filled with playing in several different types of bands and playing gigs resulting in moving around the country chasing different musical opportunities. My musical pursuits eventually landed me in Georgia.

When I was  23 years old, I was playing and rehearsing with a prog-rock band. I had been living in Atlanta for about a year after having moved from a band situation in Tampa, Florida. I had an apartment with a girl I had met in Florida. I had picked up a daytime job working as a fitness instructor for a short time than finally landed a job working in a corporate America job, an investment brokerage's operations center. It was my first office job. My mom gave me wise advice when I was a teenager to be open to working in a steady career so that I have something to fall back on when money wasn't coming in from playing music. At that point, my life was pretty good; I had steady money coming in, I had great benefits, the bills were being paid and I enjoyed playing with the band I was in.

Life Takes a Turn One Sleepless Night…

At that time, I had something “unexpected” happen to me one restless night in my apartment. I couldn't sleep so I had gotten up and fixed myself a sandwich hoping that I'd eventually get sleepy. As I sat down on our living room couch to eat, I happened to look down at a big family bible that was given to us by my girlfriend's mom as a gift. It was open to a random page on our coffee table displaying artwork on the opposite page of the scriptural text on one page. This huge bible sat as a centerpiece on the table as a decoration because a number of pages showed ornate religious paintings from famous Renaissance artists. I happen to look down and read a verse of scripture on that open page from the Old Testament while taking a bite of my midnight snack and the words felt like they leaped off the page and gripped me. 

It read: 

"Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them! The harp and the strings, The tambourine and flute, And wine are in their feasts; But they do not regard the work of the LORD, Nor consider the operation of His hands." (Isaiah 5:11-12)

As the words were sinking in, a picture of a nightclub band playing before a rowdy, drinking crowd flashed in my mind - a band just like the one I was rehearsing with. The words painted the picture perfectly, although from an ancient context, but the party atmosphere and the indulgent mindset of the participants were the same. Those words spoke to me personally, what I was doing and where I was in my thinking. No thought of God, no thought of what was right and wrong. No thought of how I was living my life before a Holy God. No thought of my own sinful lifestyle, which all of the sudden I became acutely aware of. 

I've read things in the bible before without it ever disturbing me. I once had been given a paperback New Testament bible when I was in my late teens by a Christian friend that tried to talk to me about Jesus and “getting saved”. I thought he was a religious kook but there definitely was something different about him that made an impression on me. He had a contentment and a peace that I didn't have. I tried reading the bible he gave me but it never seemed to make any sense to me. But this time, it seemed alive and it was deeply affecting me. It felt like God was talking right to me. Those words were to haunt me everyday and every night. It disturbed my sleep for the next few weeks. I couldn't shake it and I couldn't forget those words, no matter what I did. I continued doing everything I've done before and playing with my band but it just continued to gnaw at me. Playing with my band became increasingly more uncomfortable. I tried to suppress the inner turmoil, but that scripture just kept after me. 

The Bible says: 

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

I know that my “encounter” sounds crazy and if it didn't happen to me, I'd blow it off. Nothing ever affected me like that before. I wrestled with the words I read and I made up my mind to let my band know that I couldn't continue. My explanation wasn't well-received and it must have sounded nuts. The guys in the band thought I had lost my mind but I knew I had to do it. I didn't understand why at the time but I just knew I had to leave the band and I felt like my life was being interrupted and it was about to change. It wasn't something I was seeking but I knew it was right. I was not religious but I wasn't an atheist either. I wasn't brought up in a Christian, church-going family, except for having attended Catholic mass as a young child in NY. I believed in God but I had more of a bent toward science explaining life and the universe. But something else was happening here that was completely out of the realm of my own life experience. People used to say that they "heard the call of God" when they came to faith and that's the only way I could describe it. I didn't understand what it all meant but I knew something was going on that was outside of my ability to process it all. All I knew to do was I had to do something about it. 

More Crazy Occurrences…

Over the next few weeks there were a number of "coincidental" incidents that converged in my life that led me to a turning point when I came to placing my faith in Jesus and leaving my old life behind. I look back and know that those events were "divinely orchestrated" and served to be beacon lights in my path that guided me to surrender my life to God. But at the time it was just too weird and coincidental that these things kept coming at me. 

Among some of the things that were going on, there were a number of chance encounters with people who shared Jesus with me: 

  • A bassist in a music store where I was trying out a guitar who struck up a conversation with me and invited me to church. He shared with me about famous musicians (ones that I listened to) who became Christians. 
  • The keyboardist (not a Christian) from the band that I was in (I eventually quit) lent me an album, “Seeds of Change” by Kerry Livgren, guitarist/keyboardist with the rock group Kansas. He wanted me to learn a couple of songs from it for our band to play. It turned out that the album was a full of songs that had a Christian message and was the result of Livgren coming to faith in Jesus Christ. The album was impactful and I had no previous idea of it's message until I listened to it and it was affecting me. When I told him that the album was religious, he agreed and he didn't care about that but liked a couple of the songs and thought they would be cool to play. That discussion about that album actually turned out to be the opening for me to tell him I couldn't go on with the band. I had been trying to avoid it and put it off but it was time to let it go. 
  • Later, I was given a book by Kerry Livgren of the rock group Kansas about his experience of  coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Livgren was also confronted with a collision of worldviews as well before surrendering to “the call” of God. Ironically he later on became a bible teacher in his local church where he attended with his wife when he moved back to Kansas and I am presently doing the same thing at my church.
  • A policeman came to our rescue one late night on the interstate after my car ran into a piece of lumber dropped by a truck in front of us and caused us to run into a ditch. This was in the 80's before people had cell phones. We didn't know anyone we could call for help and the policeman offered us to stay in his apartment till he got off duty in the morning. I was incredulous that he would offer 2 complete strangers to crash at his place for the evening while he finished up his night shift. I asked him why he would do that and he said, “because I'm a Christian and Jesus just told me to do it”. I had no words. I was just stunned that this would happen and the timing of it was beyond explanation. 
  • One night I got a phone call from a guy that didn't know me and who I never met invited me to a bible study at his house. I was reluctant and I agreed to it. I was wrestling with a collision of my “science” world view and this new “thing” that was happening with God interrupting my life. It turned out that the man who called me was a Doctor of Bio-chemistry, another member in the bible study was a neuro-surgeon, another was a computer specialist with the armed services and the last guy was a Christian missionary. 3 of the guys were educated men of science and technology. This was much more than a coincidence. They shared the Gospel with me. I was strongly coming to a crossroads in my life with all of this happening.

There were more things that happened including some inexplicable things that I had encountered and followed by timely phone calls of someone who had felt an inner prompting to pray for me. I was still not a follower of Jesus but I was quickly surrendering. In the privacy of my apartment, I silently said a prayer to God for Him to forgive my sins and confessed that Jesus died for my sins and I needed Him. Something new happened inside of me at that moment. I can't explain it but after that prayer, I went outside and everything seemed to be in color after I had been living in a dead, black and white existence. Everything was new, including me. It's like what the bible says:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself…" (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

Those things that happened to me aren't typical of all people and everyone who comes to faith in Jesus Christ comes in a different way. Some are more dramatic and some not very dramatic at all. It's not the experience that matters at all but that the heart and the ears are open to hear the truth and it's that truth that will set you free. The changed life because of faith in Jesus is a miracle all in itself.

In the end, the outcome is what's important: the filling of the God-shaped void in our lives that only the grace of God can fill through coming to terms with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that being:

"...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

The bad news is that we are all sinners and stand guilty before God deserving death and eternal separation from Him (Rom. 3:23, Rom 6:23) and that we're in need of God's forgiveness and to be set free from the slavery of sin.

  • "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23)
  • "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

The good news is that God sent His son Jesus to die and pay the penalty for our sins. It was a rescue mission. God did that because He loved us and Jesus willingly took on the punishment that we deserved in our place.

  • "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  (John 3:16-17).
  • "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

Because of all that, God calls us to come before him in prayer and ask for forgiveness, and he requires us to turn away from our sins (repent) and surrender our lives to Him through Jesus Christ.

  • "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)


It’s been 40 years since and that change has remained and the journey continues. I can tell you, that there is nothing more wonderful than having a relationship with God through knowing Jesus and the changes He makes in your life. Everything in this life and world pales by comparison. I want to give glory to God for what He’s done for me because He’s worthy of it. My desire is that I can help give others realize that God is not far from them and is wanting to reach down into their lives and give them an eternal future. He can fill your life with hope and love for Him and others. Life is tough, but having God in our lives gives everything purpose and promise. We don't have to clean up our act before coming to God. As the old gospel hymn title says, you “Come as You Are”. 



“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

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