Prophetic Shelf Life

Prophetic and encouraging words often have a shelf life. This doesn’t mean that they have a “Use by” date printed on the back, after which they’ll no longer be fit to consume. Instead, even though the well-aimed sentences that friends speak over us often don’t mean a thing in the moment they’re verbalized, a day usually comes that their words jump off the pages of our memory and confirm a calling, spark a new desire, or help heal an old wound.

For example, the other day, I texted a friend, “It seemed right to pray that you would grow into becoming one of the premiere worship artists,” to which she replied, “That is amazing and interesting. Right now the songs God has been giving me aren’t corporate worship songs.” Did I hear God wrong? I don’t think so. Here’s why.

Twenty one years ago, I was a cocky ten year old sitting comfortably beside my dad in the front row of our charismatic church when our pastor’s wife, Jody, surprised me by saying, “Stand up, Robert!” I snapped out of my daydreams and politely rose at her request. Then she declared to me and the whole congregation, “One day, you’ll sing and dance like David sang and danced.”

I was a mini-jock, who’s heart and soul aimed to inherit the high-flying mantle of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and all I could picture that “sing and dance like David” meant was doing the Holy Ghost hop like my dad to the up-tempo scriptural songs in the grey carpeted aisles of our church. I smiled, nodded, and sat down thinking, “No thankyou. I’m a basketball player.”

At the time, it made as much sense to me as calculus to a kindergardener, and I didn’t have the wisdom to place it on the shelf, so I tried to burn it in the furnace of my reckless forgetfulness. But somehow God fireproofed that memory.

Flash forward to my freshman year in high school. Mr. Seal, a teacher that I barely knew at the time, told me, “You’re a writer.” I hesitated and shot back with, “I don’t know. I like math and science.” “Nope, you’re a writer,” he said again. “Why?” I asked. “I can always tell a good English student when I see one. You’re a writer.”

For whatever reason, I never forgot that exchange, but I didn’t like English at the time. I did well in it, but I liked math. In fact, I was in the top ten in our region for algebra that year. I didn’t write or read hardly at all. I just read the books required for class, played basketball, and felt superior to my older sisters because I was way better than them at math.

Now jump ahead again. Four years ago before my bike trip across America, Janet, a good friend of mine, told me that the Lord would use me to sing over specific people. I wasn’t really sure what that meant at the time. I pictured me pulling off the side of the road, jumping off my bike, grabbing my backpacker guitar, and singing prophetically over random people. To my relief, it never happened quite like that, but something else did….

Looking back on some of those “what the heck?” and seemingly random words that my pastor’s wife, a teacher, and my friend spoke over me, I realize that their shelf life ended a long time ago. When my back was turned, they tumbled off the backburner of my memories into the deep soil of my heart and took root like a seed waiting for water. As I’ve spent significant time with God, roots have grown and green shoots are about to appear. Jody, Mr.Seal, and Janet, I hope you’re reading. Let me tell you three things that are happening right now.

Jody, I’m working on a worship album. I’m also bringing back worshipsongweekly.com and starting to work with other artists in Nashville on great corporate worship songs for the church. Many of them are based on the Psalms. You’ll definitely see me “sing and dance.”

Mr. Seal, I’m actively writing a book about my bike trip across America. It’ll take at least a year to get the rough draft ready, but I trust that you’ll help me edit it.

Janet, I’m releasing a new album called “Meant to Love.” All of the best songs on it are songs that I’ve written for other people. As I write songs for others, I often feel the Lord’s presence. And ironically, those songs always gain the most success. Example: “Love for a Lifetime.” I wrote it for Scott & Ruth Buckingham as a Christmas present from Ruth’s parents. Now, it’s on 3 radio stations and in a commercial, and everyone who hears it, loves it.

I’m humbled that the Lord led willing and obedient speakers of truth into my life. You saw something I couldn’t see with the eyes of faith. You heard something that I couldn’t hear with the ears of discernment. You spoke truth into existence, much like your Father in heaven. Thankyou. Keep seeing. Keep listening. Keep speaking.

To hear my music, go to: robvischer.com

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Why I Quit facebook!

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Facebook. It’s a mammoth success, right? The behemoth, the Goliath of all social networking sites. And yet… I hate it. Keeping up a personal page on facebook is like having hundreds of acquaintances, who you haven’t seen in years, march into your living room and throw concert flyers and invitations to board game parties on your carpet. While it’s not the worst thing that could happen, it’s still annoying.

Getting a notification on facebook is like getting an envelope in the mail that looks important, then disappointedly realizing it’s a birthday card from your dentist reminding you to schedule your six month appointment.

Farmville, Zynga, Wheel of Fortune, Mystery Balls of Magic Trickery, Little Castle, MOB Pursuit, Killer Rodents with Diabolical Deathmen Concert event, Graduation Party invites from someone you’ve met once, Farmville 2, blah, blah, blah. Notifications never stop even if you try to block them because they’ll come out with Wheel of Fortune 2.1 or Farmville Gangster Style… Facebook, unlike the iphone, sports apps and games that suck. Who wants to waste their life away by taking care of animals on a fake farm and even spending real money to buy those faux animals?

I’m not sure what drives a worldwide population to participate in a world full of virtual poking, mass invitations, and chatting with people who they’d never pick up a phone to call. I know my ideas sound old-fashioned. I mean, real face to face relationships that aren’t interrupted every 2 minutes by a mobile facebook notification? Crazy.

I recently saw a new made-for-tv Facebook ad. The narrator verbally jumped in by modestly comparing the book of faces to a chair. Then the comparisons became more grandiose. A concert hall, a country, the universe. The universe? Am I missing something? Maybe facebook is the product of the wanna be rock star generation. Maybe facebook inc.’s view of itself stems from the hyperbolic importance many of their youthful population places on each moment of their own lives.

We document everything. We take pics of the places we’ve been and upload them to instagram. We think up hilarious quotes and zoom them to twitter. We make stupid videos and place them on youtube. It’s like we’re living in denial. Not everyone can be famous. Not everyone should be famous. And not everyone should want to be famous.

Don’t misunderstand. Our lives matter. We’re not just cogs in the assembly line of life, and I don’t hate everything about facebook. I like the ability to find people, email them, put a post on their wall, and I loved being able to share pics and videos. But one thing I noticed right before I quit facebook was that I started depending on facebook to meet my music needs and make my music connections. I started trying to network through facebook, promote through facebook, and get famous through facebook. It started eating up way too much of my time. Then one day God whispered, “Give up facebook. Let me be your manager, your booking agent, and let me make your connections.” So, after making sure it was Him, I did. And within this last month, God has given me more favorable connections with songwriters and artists than I’ve made in the last three years.

A few Sunday’s ago I stood up in church to share my testimony. “I have good news for you,” I said. “You don’t have to make it happen.” I told them that God had directed me to quit facebook and trust Him for success. After the service ended, as I put on my coat, a younger guy gave me a handshake and congratulated me saying, “Welcome back to the real world. I think you’ll like it here.” And I do like it here. I really do.

P.S. If you read this because of a wall post on my facebook music page, I understand why you think there might be some hypocrisy involved in this blog post.  I was led to quit my personal page. My music page is much less time consuming with no unnecessary invites or notifications.

Visit my regular website and hear my music at robvischer.com

Redeeming Love: The Best Novel of All Time

Blogging… I haven’t done it in a while for a few reasons. 64 hour work weeks, time with my wife, and music. I’m shoving all of that aside for a few brief moments to share with you the most inspiring book my mind has ever devoured. Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. Seven years ago, I read it in two days. Three days ago, I picked it up again after one of the girls that my wife and I work with accidentally left it on a coffee table. It was better than I had remembered, and I read it again in two days. Two days. All 466 pages, including the author’s note at the end.

Redeeming LoveI love this book. If there were ever an Holy Spirit inspired work of fiction, this is it. I was on the edge of tears many times, but since my wife and I read most of it aloud, I tried to contain the emotion so that we could finish the book quickly. The pages in that book will inspire thousands of songs, books, works of art, and life changes. I can’t get over how she engraved my memory with images of characters that I will never actually meet. It’s not just a book. It’s a revelation of God’s love, and I urge you to dive head first into it’s pages.

I plan on writing a soundtrack for this book. To help me out, comment and tell me some of your favorite moments from Redeeming Love.

Also, visit my site and listen to my music at robvischer.com

PIE: a lesson from Men In Black III

First of all, the subject of this blog proves that you can learn a hidden truth or bit of wisdom from almost any thing or anybody. I don’t eat desserts, and I don’t like Men In Black.

When Ben and Allie Goodrow, two of my wife and I’s closest friends, invited us to check out the third installment of Men In Black, I groaned, since I had intentionally never seen the first two. Watching Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith crack jokes and kill aliens while playing the characters of… Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith… isn’t the kind of thing that gets my entertainment radar beeping. I immediately asked for other movie choices even though I knew Wabash has never really been Optionsville. The single-screen Eagles theatre downtown is the only popcorn and film game in the area, so whatever flick its showing is the one you go to watch. That’s probably why my wife dragged me to the Twilight rendition of Snow White a couple weeks before. But that’s a whole different blog.

Anyway, as I grudgingly agreed to go to Men In Black III, I prepared for the worst of Hollywood storyboarding to waste two hours of my precious life. In many ways, I was not disappointed. Boris the Animal was the first alien super villain that my cynical eyes were introduced to. I’m pretty sure he was the dude from Flight of the Conchords, a two person musical comedy team turned internet phenomenon.

As the movie opened, Boris found a way to go back in time and destroy the earth. Then Tommy and Will had to go back in time and stop the Animal’s insanely evil plot to dominate the world. Cliche, cliche, blah, blah, blah, wisecrack, cliche…

That’s kinda how the movie went, but then, in the middle of all the computer generated silliness, there was a miraculous epiphany. It bursted through the screen like a laser beam through a fog of foolishness. When Will and Tommy reached an undecidable decision, an uncrossable crossroad, what did they do? Did the more experienced agent pull a Maguiver and figure out how to make a fork, a car antenna, and a set of special shoelaces into a time travel device? No. Did Will bust out some gadget that he had previously left in his glove box during Men In Black II? No. Instead of some Hollywood-style trick or save all, the older Tommy suggested that they get some pie at the local diner.

Will’s reaction was the same as mine for a second… “PIE? What? That’s crazy? We have to figure this out, and you want pie?” While Will was still slightly agitated, Tommy calmly ordered the pie and ate it as if he were on vacation.

In that moment, my epiphany came. The wisest men I’ve known usually aren’t in a rush. They have a schedule. They are prompt and on time for appointments and deadlines, but even when they’re up against the wall with an important decision, they take time for “pie.” They rest. A little bit of R&R widens their perspective. They know through experience that focusing too hard on their problem only gives them tunnel vision. And with tunnel vision, it’s impossible to see the solution that encircle them.

Needless to say, Tommy and Will figured solved the proverbial puzzle as they downed their pie and chatted about other things.

Since then, I’ve started using this approach in songwriting. If I can’t think of the next line for a song, I scrub some dishes, or take care of some other thoughtless task, and usually, I conceive the perfect line while doing other things. If it’s a bigger problem, I’ll go out to snack with a friend or do a good deed.

What if instead of stressing about every little problem that comes up this week, you make a pledge to have some pie? I’m not talking about watching tv, playing video games, or something entertainment driven. Do something old-fashioned for a change. Take someone you respect out to eat or invite some friends over for dinner. Do something to rest and to intentionally be with good people. Once you stop isolating yourself and focusing so intensely on your problem, I guarantee that good things will happen, especially if you rest in God.

So, although I don’t eat desserts, and although I’ll never watch Men In Black again, I’ll take the black suited wisdom from MIB III and sit down for some pie this week with a friend, but hold the fruit and flaky crust, cuz for me it’ll probably be Chicago Deep Dish.

To check out the blog that I love the most go to: worshipsongweekly.com

My Wedding Vows… (with video)

Weddings. I’ve gone to mounds of them. When I was younger all of them seemed like the same old same old. You walk like lemmings into the church lobby, wait in the amusement park-sized line to autograph what looks like a really expensive address book, then some dude takes your significant other to her seat while you follow behind. Then you wait and wait… and wait some more while Bridezilla and her already-out-of-style-minions secretly fix their mascara because it’s too gloppy for the big day.

And while you’re craftily scrolling down the program estimating how long it will be until your next bathroom break, the wedding begins. First the grandparents and parents are seated, which takes entirely too long and has you recalculating your half-hour guesstimation. Then the three year old flower girl tosses petals to the ground while trying to coax the 2 year old ring bearer to complete his 50 foot dash. By the time the girls in matching prom dresses get down the aisle, all you’re thinking is “C’mon. Nobody walks this slow in real life.” Then everybody stands for what you hope will be a bride and a Chris Brown song, but it usually ends up being a piano player plunking out something that’s either overplayed in church or never played anywhere.

The preacher talks. They light candles. You get the idea.

The worst weddings are the ones where you’re secretly trying to force your mind away from bets or predictions on “how long this one will last.” Those are the ones where iron-clad smiles shield the audience from reality, and the bride’s dad, if he’s there, is reluctant to say “Her mother and I.” It’s the one where a partner settled for another because of pregnancy, shame, or manipulation, and everybody knows it, but they won’t say a thing. It’s sad.

There are other weddings though. Good ones. Ones where the reception isn’t just a drunken attempt to forget the prior boredom of the ceremony. The good ones are the weddings where expressions teeter on the edge of laughter and tears, where receptions are celebrations of the two lives joined, and where the music and vows make every one feel like they’re standing on holy ground in between two sacred creatures being joined forever. At those weddings you almost feel the groom’s temptation to skip the reception. You can almost taste your “kiss the bride” moment be it past or future. You see the unique love of the couple expressed in everything from the flowers to the music to the first dance. It’s beyond breathtaking. It’s life changing.

The first time I ever felt like that was at Jay & Jen Horsfall’s wedding. I can still remember Steve Tucker belting out beautiful renditions of “You Are so Beautiful to Me” and other classy ballads from his piano bench. When it was Jay’s turn to read his vows, he pulled out a few Dunkin’ Donuts napkins to read them from. When he slowly explained how he would sacrificially love Jen like Jesus loved the Church, it felt like holy ground. And I literally took off my shoes to honor that moment.

There wasn’t anything special about the setting. The church’s red carpet was tacky, and the pews were outdated. The auditorium was too big for the crowd. But the wedding inspired a sense of awe that I have rarely felt. It was as if God was walking the aisles saying, “Pay attention. This is love. Open your eyes. This is love.” Even now, as I type this, I can’t quit crying. Jay, if you’re reading, I remember your wedding. I haven’t heard from you in a while, but if you ever wonder how to love Jen better, read your vows and go love her like that.

When Jo and I planned our special day, I always had Jay and Jen’s wedding in mind. We couldn’t spend the cash that they spent, but we owned it. I still ask people, “Wasn’t our wedding the best wedding you’ve ever been to?” I know. Awkward question, right? But I don’t really care about their response, because on my wedding day, even Jo will tell you, I became a new man. I promised to do things differently. And Jay, you were my example. I hope you read these vows, man. And as you read, I pray you remember yours. And maybe, just maybe you’ll be tempted to take off your shoes because your marriage is holy ground.

Two days ago I checked facebook to see if there were any funny things from our first few messages that I could use in our vows. As I scrolled through, I chuckled about how forward I was with you from the get go. In only my second message, I asked you on a date. In my fourth, I asked for your phone number. As soon as you messaged me your digits, the long pages of facebook letters stopped and the 4 hour phone calls began. On July 4, I called you for the first time and kept calling you almost every day afterward. On July 15 we met in person.Then on July 28 a curious message from me appears on facebook, It says, “I love you… and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Now the crazy thing is July 28 wasn’t the first time I had said that. I remember dropping the “L” bomb on July 17, just two days after meeting you in person. And the first time I saw you standing outside your sister’s house, all I could think was, “This is it. This is it.” You’ve heard me tell the story before, and you know that my experience of love at first sight wasn’t based on feelings of butterflies or rainbows. It was based on an instant and unshakeable confidence that I would love you for the rest of my life.

It’s the same today. I’m not marrying you to fill my desire for a romantic high. I’m marrying you because I have confidence that my love for you is more than just emotion. It’s unshakeable commitment. It’s unswerving pursuit. And it’s unwavering affection.

In Ephesians 5:22, Paul writes, “Wives submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife…”

Well, that makes it pretty clear what your role is…

The thing that I want to make sure I don’t leave out is my role… “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…”

JoAnna, I can’t promise to be perfect like Jesus, but I can promise to love you like Christ loved the Church by doing these things:

Just as Jesus studied the Scriptures while he was on earth, I will study God’s word and pray for a deeper revelation of God’s love.

Just as Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit, I will ask the Holy Spirit to teach me in all things and to speak to me, so that I will have the wisdom and the strength to love you deeply, creatively, and consistently.

Just as Jesus washed his disciples feet, I will humble myself and find ways to serve you and meet your basic needs.

Just as Jesus became one of us, I will try to see the world from your point of view.

Just as Jesus laid down his life through crucifixion and torture, I will do the painful things to love you even if it causes me physical or emotional harm.

I will be faithful as God is faithful. I have forsaken all others and my affections will never veer to the right or the left.

I will love you in word and in action.

My love will remain constant for you whether you are rich or poor. Whether you are sick or healthy. Whether you’re crying or laughing. Whether you’re grieving or partying. Whether you’re sinning or doing good. Whether you’re silent or speaking. Whether you’re yelling or whispering. Whether you’re helping or hurting. Whether you’re far away or at my side.

No matter what emotion you display or distance you choose, I will constantly be loving you even when you can’t see it.

I will be a leader worth following, and a husband worth submitting to. I will always have your best at heart.

JoAnna, thirteen days after I met you, I typed on facebook, “I love you… and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” The only thing that’s changed from those words on facebook to this moment is that today I’m making a binding “til death do us part” commitment in front of you and our friends and family. The commitment is summed up by this. “JoAnna, I love you… and today, I choose to spend the rest of my life with you… til death do us part.”

Me presenting my vows framed and written around the first pic ever taken of us together. photo by Allie Goodrow

How I make BIG DECISIONS…

Decisions change your life forever. Whether it’s subtle, like deciding to cut your portions in half at every meal to lose that muffin top, or more drastic, like a snap decision to marry the girl or guy you’ve only known for three days, decisions, whether good, bad, or seemingly neutral, will change your life. Some will elevate your confidence and success to unprecedented levels, and others will deliver the stiff uppercuts that leave you wounded and reeling.

Decisions come in all sizes- where to live, what to believe, who to marry, how to dress, and what to eat for breakfast. Some seem like “Eh, no big deal,” and others seem to have a certain weightiness to them, like once we throw them on the teeter totter of life, they’ll be like the fat kid that no skinny twig would ever wanna teeter or totter with.

How do we decide on the “big ones,” especially when there’s so many options? I mean, we no longer move 10 miles a day by horses, mules, and covered wagons, and not many of us scavenge for rabbit meat and wild berries. We have jets that’ll take us anywhere on the globe in less than 2 days. We have WalMarts that give us twenty different choices of chicken. We have single malls that hold more stores than most of downtown Chicago. We got options! Even for the big decisions.

Last week, on the way back home from church I wondered, “How long will we really be at Wabash Friends Church? When will we stay in Wabash, IN until? There’s so many more cities that I want to live in and see. Will we move to Ohio, Michigan, another spot in Indiana, or maybe Kansas City or even California?” My ponderings picked up the pace, “Will I be a worship pastor, or will I travel all of the time? Where will Jo teach? Will she teach? What grade will she teach? Which state is hiring teachers?” And on… and on… and on… If I would have continued with the “Which’s,” “What’s,” and the “Where’s,” it would have been paralyzing.

Thankfully, the Lord holds the center of these conversations. While I’m questioning each of these things for myself, I’m also asking the Lord for His answers. And even as I’m writing this wondering how He’s going to answer and where Jo and I will go, He keeps leading me back to simple steps of obedience that I need to take right now.

As far as the specifics of my future go, I’ll continue to ask God and plan with wisdom, but I don’t have to know how it’s all going to turn out. If I ever had childlike faith, it’s probably right now, because like a child, I have lots of questions. Although most seem unanswered right now, I know for a fact that I have a good Father. If I ask for food, He’s not gonna hand me gravel. And if I ask for direction, He’s not gonna leave me in a cloud of confusion.

Within, the last two weeks I’ve realized that every decision will change my life. That’s why I’ve made the best decision of all. I’ve chosen to ask God continually to reveal the meaning of His written Word to me. And whatever He says to me through Scripture and through the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit is the truth that I’ll line my life up with, no matter what the cost or consequence.

So, God has spoken to me. He didn’t answer any of the questions that I asked Him. He told me to go do something small. It’s not really the answer I was looking for, but I’m gonna go do it. And who knows, maybe it’ll lead to all of my questions being answered, but if not, I know that one Word from God not only can change my life, but it will change my life.

So, from now on, how will I make big decisions without feeling paralyzed by a huge amount of options? With small steps of obedience. And I’m off…

Please check out my other blog by clicking on: worshipsongweekly.com

The rest of Jo and I’s wedding pictures will appear in a blog and youtube video soon accompanied by my new single! They’re awesome! Allie Goodrow did an amazing job! Love you guys!

Why I Quit my Job… again…

I’ve never been one to badmouth past employers or bosses… and I’m not about to become that stereotypical past employee right now. Like every job, my position at White’s Residential in Wabash, Indiana had it’s upsides and downsides, but most of my fellow employees were what they’d call on the streets “good people.”

From January to July, I served as an assistant house parent in a cottage full of 12 to 15 teenage guys who had either been in the Department of Corrections or were on their way if they didn’t get their act together. I thought I might like it, but it turns out, I was wrong.

I took the job in January because JoAnna and I had to pay for our wedding in April, and I had spent all of my cash a couple months earlier on a gargantuan diamond ring from Medawar Jeweler’s in Jackson, MI. Okay, so maybe the ring wasn’t immaculately huge, but it definitely emptied out my wallet. In order to buy the ring, I sold every piece of clothing that I didn’t wear regularly, my HD Camcorder, and every piece of junk that the pawn shop would ante up some dead presidentials for. The crowning achievement of my efforts came when I did a four day hair salon tour in Kalamazoo, MI and sold 100 cd’s to 100 different ladies (both stylists and customers). I literally had over 1,000 bucks burning a hole in my pocket thanks to the generosity of curler and hairspray laden womenfolk.

After I bought the ring, my first thought was, “I could have talked them down to an even lower price.” My second thought was, “I’m getting married on February 25th!” Let’s be honest, the February date didn’t happen. So we pushed it back to March. Then we pushed it back to April so my Grandma, my aunt, and my uncle could make the trek from Minnesota. I’m glad we delayed it. It gave us some much needed time to plan, think, and save money. We planned our wedding on the cheap, but it still cost thousands of buckaroo’s that we wouldn’t have had without jobs at White’s.

Back to the job. Why did I dislike it so much? 3 reasons.

1. It wasn’t music. 2. It wasn’t music. 3. Refer back to reasons 1 and 2.

I spent 16 hours a day managing and disciplining teenage guys. They hadn’t known discipline or a work ethic for most of their life, so it was understandably a hard task to instill good values. I remember days when it felt like all I did was answer questions like, “Can I go to the bathroom?,” “Can I have my meds?” “Mr. V, can I go outside?” “Can you get me a snack.” Other days were worse. One kid hit me in the chest a couple of times after I wouldn’t let him near a baseball bat. (He was violently angry, and I figured baseball bat + out of control teenager= not a fun time.)

Some of the brighter spots in my job came when some of the guys took me up on invitations to study the Bible, practice guitar, or participate in Subway Shootouts. Subway shootouts were three point competitions on the basketball court, where I would promise that any guy who beat me would get a Subway sandwich paid for by me. Only two or three guys won during my six months. My goal was zero, but nobody’s perfect. There are many good memories of me and the guys playing until 9:30 p.m. when the summer sun had almost disappeared behind the rows of Indiana corn. Some nights seemed like a scene straight out of Hoosiers, the famous movie about heartland basketball.

My favorite times though were definitely in Bible study. Every time I studied with any of the dudes, they ate it up. We would read something in Proverbs, and they would say, “Oh, you mean you’re not supposed to cheat on your girl?” and other things like that. I’d laugh out loud, because some of the right’s and wrong’s that I had taken for granted were heaven sent revelations to them. At the end, I really loved hangin’ out with some of them so much that I dreaded saying my final “goodbye.”

On my last night, we pulled our chairs around for cottage council, the current events meeting for the cottage, and I said, “You are experiencing your last two hours with me working in this cottage.” Immediately, I got an honest and mixed reaction. The guys who I had to discipline the most celebrated. But others were shocked and kind of sad. When I told them I was leaving to pursue music, some of them genuinely wished me luck and said, “Mr. V, you’re gonna be famous one day…” One guy even said, “Awwww man, what about Bible Study?”

In a couple years, White’s will probably seem like a blip on the radar, but there are certain guys who I’ll always remember. Like the dude who said, “Awww man, what about Bible study?” or the one with a rainbow belt who always sang a little off-key, but tried so hard to learn, or the guy who still asks me for guitar lessons every time I see him. Those guys make it hard to leave a place like White’s. The other not so pleasant personalities make you wanna run.

But in the end, I didn’t leave because I needed to escape, and I didn’t consider staying because I needed to help. In the end, I needed to feel alive. When God speaks a calling into your life, He means what He says. And when I was 16, He said, “You’re a songwriter.”

Now, doing anything else but music feels like I’m selling myself short. When I started working at White’s, I asked God about it, and I always heard Him say, “I have something better for you than White’s.” And if I tried to be a lawyer or an accountant, I’d probably hear something very similar.

Why did I quit White’s? Because God said, “You’re a songwriter.” And I finally chose to believe Him.