'Insight' Into God's Guidance
When I was still in high school, my brother, sister and I, along with some friends, started a Christian rock band called Insight in Erie, Pennsylvania. Like most beginning rock groups, at first we stunk -- definite garage band material. But we loved Jesus and we loved music and so we played, and played, and played, and slowly we didn't stink as much.
One day, in a scene similar to the one in the movie That Thing You Do (which was about a band from Erie, Pennsylvania, by the way) our drummer, Kevin, announced that he was leaving to join the military. While we were sad to see him go, in the long run, this event changed "our collective fate -- our creative destiny" (sorry, another line from That Thing You Do). You see, the departure of Kevin made way for the arrival of John, a union-card-carrying, professionally paid, polka playing, wedding singer band member musician who was also a decade older than the rest of us.
When John appeared on the scene things began changing rapidly. He played as well or better than any drummer I had ever heard before (that's still true, by the way). And he was so meticulous that he actually waxed and polished his white Slingerland drum kit (they were like mirrors when he was done) on a regular basis.
I'm still amazed that John ever agreed to join our fledgling band, but God had something very special in store for all of us from that point forward.
We all wanted to become as good at our instruments and our singing as John was at drumming. After countless hours of practice and with the inspiration of John and The Beach Boys (we worked hard to re-create their impeccable harmonies) it actually began to happen.
We moved out of the garage and onto the stages of countless venues throughout the northeastern United States. In time we were playing at festivals with groups like Whiteheart and singers like Russ Taff and Sheila Walsh (who we opened for in our hometown of Erie, PA). We played anywhere there was electricity, and eventually at hundreds of churches, dozens of Christian schools, public schools, secular and Christian colleges, coffee-houses, detention centers, prisons, city festivals, you name it.
It was an amazing time in our lives. We were honored to preach the gospel to thousands of young people, many who received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We played together for six years and recorded two albums.
Everywhere I went in those six years and in the many years that followed that special time, I have been asked one of two questions, "How do you know if you are in God's will?" and "How do you know if you are making the right decisions?"
People who love Jesus want to serve Him and want to be obedient to His commandments. They read the Bible verses where Jesus told His disciples, "If you love me, you'll do as I say" (John 14:15). And also, "How can you call me Lord, and not do the things I command you to do?" (Luke 6:46). But while we can discover His general will within the pages of Scripture, it is much more challenging to discover His specific will for our lives.
The Bible can show us, for example, that it is God's will for us to care for and provide for our families, but it cannot tell us if we should pursue a specific job opportunity.
So I wrote a book called Seven Keys to Hearing God's Voice, in part to help Christians learn that there is not one particular way that God leads His people. The book shows that most of the time, the Holy Spirit will string several threads of direction into our lives and it is in the weaving of this tapestry that we see the picture of His guidance.
But I have also had many non-believers tell me that they wished there were some way to know if they were making the right decisions in life. I share in the book the story of a young lady I worked with in an internship during my college years who, with her father, purchased a duplex as an income property. With a hint of nervousness in her voice after this major investment she asked out loud, "How do you know if you're making the right choice?"
I hope that a non-believer or a seeker can read my book and receive the revelation that God is real and that He is concerned with the intimate details of our lives, not just the major problems of the world. By surrendering to His lordship, you are also asking Him to help you to make the right decisions in life.
Back when I was in Insight I used to sign autographs (yes, people actually asked for them -- I don't know why) with my name and the Bible verse 1 Peter 5:7. The Amplified Version says this:
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
My prayer is that the seeker and the unsaved would come to know Jesus through reading this book and that they would learn to do just that -- cast their cares on the Lord and trust in His leading.
It is fun to reminisce about those wonderful days in that wonderful band (Insight, not The Wonders). I haven't heard from some of the band members in more than twenty-five years now. I'm not in a rock band anymore. Now I spend my time as a writer and speaker, telling people the Gospel story at churches or conferences, or on the Internet and through my writing. Today when people ask for my autograph (yes, they actually do ask for it sometimes), I sign my name and add my new theme Scripture, Psalm 37:23-24:
The steps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord, and He delights in their way. And even if they stumble they won't be utterly cast down, for He upholds them with His hand.
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