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Category Archives: Pop Music

Quit Telling Me What The Problem Is!!

It was a bit of a rude awakening when we were informed that the ranch we had leased, lived on for nearly 25 years, made our homes, and were assured we’d be there forever, was going to be sold. I’ll never forget that day! Interestingly enough, the day before, I had written inside the cover of my Bible: “God, I want everything You have for me, no matter what it costs me.” I had no idea that the very next day He would begin to shift things in such a way that I could clearly see, at least a little of, what the ‘costs’ might be! It was even more the challenge because Julie and I had absolutely no back-up plan. As far as we were concerned we were going to raise our kids…..and grow old there. So everything was somewhat in chaos and we had no choice but to put our trust in the Lord.

That was in 1988, and we moved only 30 miles away south of Cheyenne, Oklahoma. I worked several odd jobs for a few months, everything from helping take care of cattle (which I was way familiar with), to some oilfield day work but nothing extremely stable or permanent. I saw an ad in the local paper and went for an interview, took an aptitude test….and was hired on the spot by Edgar Sellers (before he even looked at how I’d done on the test), a great guy who’d be my boss for the next seven years. I started with Western Merchandisers the next week!

The president of the company was John Marmaduke whose dad, Sam, had started the company on a shoestring a generation before. John was a brilliant businessman, in my opinion. He took a fairly small company and procured a contract with Wal-Mart that eventually enabled Western Merchandisers to supply all the music (Vinyl LP’s, 8-Tracks, Cassettes, CDs), all the books, all the computer software and most of the movies for the entire Wal-Mart chain, nationwide. After a few years Wal-Mart purchased Western Merchandisers for millions.

John was an aggressive guy in our regional meetings. He knew the business and didn’t tolerate amateurism to any degree. Let’s just say he ‘ran a tight ship’! I remember several meetings with sales reps, district managers and upper level management when people would start to talk of all the problems out in the field. John would rip into them….no matter what level they were in..…and I can remember him saying more than a few times, “I’m tired of hearing about the problems; Anybody can tell you what the problems are!’, “I want to hear from somebody who has a solution!”

I’ve never forgotten those meetings and what I learned from John. And, it’s true; whether we’re talking about the Federal Government, the Little League Baseball Team, the Chamber for Commerce, your marriage or the Church; just about anybody can tell you what the problem is….you don’t have to be genius to figure that out! There’s just not many out there who are solution minded.

So, quit telling me what the problem is…….I want to hear from somebody who has a solution!

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There’s a Lot More ‘Spiritual’ Music Out There Than You Might Think!

I’m a ‘music ‘ guy! I’m not a musician (kinda wish I was!), I’m a music guy; don’t get the two confused. I like a lot of different kinds of music; country, blues, jazz, soul. I like a lot of instrumental stuff too; love good guitar playing, trumpets and saxophones, too. I’ll even listen to a little classical music once in awhile. I can pretty much appreciate any genre for what it is. I guess it kind of depends what kind of mood I’m in.

I like some Christian music and just like with any other style of music, there’s some that just doesn’t appeal to me. I’m more of a non-traditionalist, I guess, when it comes to Christian music. I like our worship teams, Mark Simpson’s team and Jason Wilhelm’s, “Undefined”, CD is one of my favorites. I like Kevin Prosch, Charlie Hall, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Martin Smith & Delirious. They’re not necessarily your ‘mainstream’ version of Christian music but if I’m going to listen to Christian music, they’re who I’d listen to.

I think it’s sad that many of the great musicians and artists of the world are rejected by mainstream Christianity because their music is not classified as Christian, per se. There’s some incredible talent out there and some amazing songs and lyrics that never get heard by those too holy to listen to the likes of Springsteen, Dylan, Clapton, The Allman Brothers, Bob Marley, U2, The Doobie Brothers, Waylon, Sheryl Crow and *Rod Stewart, to name just a few. *Rod Stewart’s, “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”, was written by Van Morrison……about his relationship with the Lord! Who knew??!  I expect these people, and a lot more like them, are a lot more spiritual than they’re given credit for.

I’ve been collecting good, ‘spiritual’ songs by, so called, secular artists for a good while now. There’s a lot of them out there if you want to take the time to look, and listen. You might be surprised at what you’d find!

*Do you have some songs that you would recommend??

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Lady Gaga, Little Monsters & Jesus!

It’s been about three years since Julie and I, Cameron and one of her friends went to a Lady Gaga concert in Oklahoma City. (I’ll wait a few seconds for those of you so righteous that you just sucked all the oxygen out of the room!I)

On the way to the Chesapeake Center where the concert was to be held there were picketers….Christian picketers…..a lot of them, displaying their signs and banners “, “Lady Gaga is the Devil”, “God hates gays”; “You’re going to hell!” …. you know the typical unconditional love stuff that we’re so known for!

An interesting thing that I did not know was that Lady Gaga’s loyal followers are known as “Little Monsters”. They dress up in some of the wildest, most bizarre costumes and get-ups that you could ever imagine. It’s like Halloween on steroids! I’ll have to admit, it was a little out of my comfort zone! But the show was unbelievable; I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lady Gaga, whether you like her or not, is an extremely talented young woman. She can sing, she can dance, she can play the piano. She can do it all!

But there was a point three quarters of the way into the show that I did NOT see coming! House lights out, she’s in the spotlight lying on the stage. She says,  “Jesus, …. up there in heaven, …. all those people outside tell me you don’t love me…..but I know that’s not true! I know you love me, and I know you love all these “Little Monsters”, too!” And the bigger part of 20,000+ young people cheered as loud as they possibly could. I had a big lump in my throat; I could barely hold back my tears.  And I wondered if anyone had ever told many of these “Little Monsters” that Jesus really does love them. Oh, I know they’ve been told they’re no good and that God’s mad at them. They’ve been reminded of that over and over again but you could tell that they so wanted her words to be true! And I think, somehow, they believed it.

If the Father can’t depend on the church to tell the ‘good news’, He’ll use Lady Gaga, or anyone else He chooses, to let all us “Little Monsters” know how much we’re really loved!

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