Sunday, July 02, 2006

Grocery Store & Famous People

I know I'm old when I enjoy going to the grocery store. Our Publix is nearby, so I often offer to go to the store for Karla, and more and more she entrusts me with this important task of obtaining those items that provide for our family's basic needs and then some.

Yesterday early evening, I was searching for just the right loaf of bread when I felt someone grab my arm. I looked up to find STEVE GREEN standing in front of me. What a delightful surprise at Publix. Now, I have seen several "famous people" at Publix through the years - one of the neat benefits of living in Nashville - but this encounter was so heart-warming because of who Steve is. He is always an encourager, and he was so gracious in many ways.

I laughed when he told me he was looking for just a certain kind of box fan for his bus. The kind that had a certain base and would not easily fall over. It's strange, but I knew exactly what he was talking about! He did not find it at Publix, so he was going to have to move on to another location.

He was leaving that evening for the Dayton, OH area for a concert that is most likely taking place as I write this.

The most interesting part of our conversation was when he told me in the course of our ever-so-normal conversation that he had just finished changing the sheets on the beds in the bus. My reaction must have surprised him, because his response was "well, I might as well do it - someone has to!". How's that for servanthood at its best.

Made me wonder how many other famous people I have seen at Publix who change their own sheets on the beds in their expensive tour buses!

I hope you will take a few more minutes to read about this extraordinary man of God -Steve Green. Oh, and I can't wait until December 8 when he will join our choir & orchestra for a one-night-only Christmas Concert! That will be grand!!

One of the advantages of a career that spans a little over two decades is the ability to look back and hopefully gain a proper perspective. God’s good providence can only be seen as we thoughtfully review the events of the past. From such a vantage point much that seemed important at the time fades away and the very common community of family and friends becomes the highlighted means of grace that God has used all along.

God sovereignly planted me in a missionary family, providing a remarkable context and training ground for ministry. He gave certain abilities and gifts that were to be stewarded and used for His purposes. Out of His free love, He extended kindness in Christ, rescuing me when I did not have the sense to know of my own perilous predicament. He gave me a wise and precious wife whose counsel, encouragement and constant love has strengthened me. He sent teachers and leaders and pastors to instruct and help give shape to a particular calling.

He let me meet Billy Ray Hearn and Peter York, who gave me an opportunity to record. He sent Greg Nelson and Phil Naish to give musical guidance and much needed assistance. He brought along Jon Mohr, Phil McHugh, Doug McKelvey and other writers to help put a life message into song. God called my brother, David out of the banking business to help and protect and be a companion in ministry.

He sent wonderful teammates, Cecelia, Mark, Brenda, Ed, Brian, Fred, Jan, Carry, Beamon, Jeff, Patti, Barny, Charles, Paul and many others who covered my weaknesses and taught me what serving is all about. God gave an entrusted platform that spread across 50 countries, letting me be an ambassador and representative of Christ. He put it in the hearts of church leaders to invite and provide a place for music and the communication of the gospel.

During an interview I was asked to describe the greatest moment of my career and also the lowest and most difficult. But how can we really know which is which? From heaven’s point of view it may be that the most thrilling event was perhaps the most dangerous and unguarded, and what I thought was the lowest point was in fact, the place of greatest blessing.

With each passing year there has been a slow (God is merciful and patient), but growing awareness that all of this has very little to do with me and everything to do with the sharing of life and calling along side other glad subjects of the King. In the end, the only appropriate refrain is, “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory!”

To learn more about Steve, be sure to go HERE