Archive for The Power of Influence

The Power of Influence: Gloria Bible

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

I’ve saved the greatest, deepest, broadest influence on my life till last. I almost omitted my wife entirely, since I’m too close to fully understand her influence on me, and this article must be too brief to express what I do understand. And I realize that much of my appreciation should be spoken to her alone.

But here are a few things I need to say about her that are very relevant as you reflect on your own influencers and those you influence.

If I were a bachelor, I’d probably be huddled in an apartment somewhere, with a smattering of uncoordinated decorations here and there, rarely eating a balanced, home-cooked meal, nagged by an inner restlessness. That’s not an assessment of all bachelors. It’s an assessment of myself. What value can one place on a beautiful, stable home filled with a joyfully-reciprocated love, shared joys, shared concerns, and 42 years richly-packed with those wonderful, everyday moments? How does one measure the influence of that?

How can I estimate the influence of one who loves me as I am but is not afraid to tell me when I need to do better? Someone who is always there to help when I’m overwhelmed or incompetent or focused in the wrong direction? How can I assess the value of a sister in Christ who shares my faith and love and deepest commitments?

I could go on, but you see what I mean. Her influence is too pervasive to estimate. But she has made a few specific contributions that directly apply to my work:

1. Beginning at age 25, I wrote very little music and focused instead on writing lyrics. A very knowledgeable friend and colleague once told me in no uncertain terms that my gifts lay with writing lyrics, not music. So I sat back and waited for my knight in shining armor—a composer who would share my passion for congregational music and provide all the musical settings I needed. I looked and waited for 20 years, and no one came. But my loving wife faithfully nagged me all that time and finally convinced me to try providing my own music. It was the Lord’s plan, and I’ve never looked back. If I’ve ever written a good hymn setting, thank Gloria.

2. She has no professional knowledge of hymns or of writing in general. But she is a sensitive, sympathetic, godly lay person who by nature says exactly what she thinks. I value her opinion. So I unfailingly play for her every new hymn I write, then listen for her response. I can’t tell you how many times her comments have caused me to give a hymn just the revision it needed.

3. Just shy of my 60th birthday, I got down-sized out of the church music publishing field where I had spent my entire adult life. God clearly called me to focus on writing hymns, and that doesn’t pay the bills. Gloria has taken over as bread-winner, and without her, I literally could not do what I’m doing.

When it comes to appreciating those who have influenced you, or when you’re looking for the best place to invest your own time and encouragement, don’t look past the person standing right next to you.

The Power of Influence: The Apostle Paul

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

If I were to be completely accurate in describing the influences on my life, first would be God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ, working through His Holy Spirit. By comparison, no one else would be worth mentioning. But I have chosen to limit myself to extra-biblical influences…with one exception.

In the realm of human influencers, I just can’t skip the Apostle Paul. I’ve read Acts and his letters many times, and beyond the divine wisdom God has spoken through him, I have been moved and shaped by Paul’s living example.

Perspective

No matter what challenges or hardships came at him—and there were many—he seemed to maintain perspective. He kept his eye on the ball. He locked his focus on what was important. He never seemed to be knocked off balance.

How vital that is in my life and work as well! Circumstances seem to make me either discouraged or complacent, faithless or overly confident. My view of important issues is too often tainted by self-centeredness.

Father, give me the mind of Christ as You faithfully gave it to Paul.

Singlemindedness

Several times Paul uses the word haplotas. Its root meaning seems to be “simplicity”, but it takes on different shades of meaning, depending on the context. In reference to giving, it is often translated as “generosity” (Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 9:11, 13). In 2 Corinthians 11:3, it describes an engaged woman’s love for her fiancé—the kind of love we are to have for Christ. In Ephesians 6:5 and Colossians 3:22, it refers to the way Christian slaves should serve their earthly masters, with “sincerity” of heart.

To me, the translation that fits all these contexts is “singlemindedness”. We should give and love and serve with singlemindedness.

That’s the sense I get about all Paul’s service to Christ and the gospel. He lived and loved and served with singleness of mind.

Father, that’s the kind of service You and the gospel deserve from me.

Passion

Paul was passionate about Jesus Christ.

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him. (Philippians 3:8-9, NASB)

His passion is contagious. His words about preaching beautifully describe my own call to write hymns:

If I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel…I have a stewardship entrusted to me. (1 Corinthians 9:16-17, NASB)

Father, continue to fan in me the flames of faith and love and singleminded passion for Your glory. May they burn in my heart as they burned in Your servant Paul.

The Power of Influence: Timothy Dudley-Smith

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

By January, 1983, I was feeling the need for informed and candid reactions to my hymns. I had earlier written to Timothy Dudley-Smith (1926-   ) in my capacity as director of Lillenas Publishing Company. He was already a well-known and widely-respected hymnwriter. So I worked up my courage and wrote him in a personal capacity. I told him about myself and my hymn writing and sent along nine of my hymn texts. I enclosed a check for $5.00 to cover postage for an airmail reply, since he was living in Norwich, England, and I in Kansas City.

In less than two weeks, I received a lengthy reply. He returned my check, explaining that “really I have so little to say that will help you that I should feel a fraud to keep it; and I have had so much help and encouragement from others that it is a privilege to be writing to you now about your own work.” He went on to explain his own unworthiness as a critic, ending with “…and I have many other lacks which make me hesitate to write. But since you ask me…”. My first lesson from Timothy Dudley-Smith was a lesson in deep humility.

He went on to give detailed responses to my specific hymns and as well as comments about hymn writing in general. He talked about the importance of opening lines. He candidly asked me, “Do you revise enough?”, then gave a number of examples of my typing errors, clumsy expressions, colloquialisms (he disliked contractions in hymns), loose expressions, scansion, and the lack of adequate punctuation. He gave his own take on “false rhyme”. The final third of the letter was entirely a lesson in revision.

I responded, sending him revisions of the same hymns plus one additional one. Again, he answered within days. He included an entire page of detailed responses to the additional hymn, Raised from Death to Love and Living. His praises and criticisms helped me polish the hymn, and it is still in hymnal use.

Our correspondence continued similarly through several more letters that year, and we occasionally touched base in the coming years.

My revision process is still not as painstaking as his, but I consistently employ one technique I learned from him. After arriving at the best finished draft I can produce, I let the hymn sit for several days, then come back to it again. Getting the hymn out of my mind for a few days, I can then see it with fresh eyes, and revisions and needed improvements are apparent that I would otherwise have missed.

Whatever my hymn writing is today, in 1983 it was primitive by any measure. I marvel that such a capable writer took my scratchings so seriously; that such a busy man, with so many demands on his time, took so much time with me. I still aspire to the balance of kindness and candor that he showed throughout his critiques.

Timothy Dudley-Smith was a vital part of my development as a hymn writer. He gave me one of the greatest gifts one can give a writer: a truer perspective. He helped me see my work more critically and showed me a practical road toward improvement.

The Power of Influence: Charles Wesley

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

As a music composition major at the College-Conservatory of Music, the University of Cincinnati, I trained to be a composer of classical music. To learn our craft, we intensely studied the works of classical masters. In the years before sound recordings, composers used to learn the techniques of classical masters by hand-copying their scores.

One of the best ways to learn hymn writing is to employ the same strategy: study the hymns of the best hymnwriters. Immerse yourself in their work.

Before I had any personal designs on being a hymnwriter, the Lord exposed me to the hymns of many, many hymnists. Since I grew up in a hymn-singing church, hundreds of hymns were already engrained in my emotional memory. Then in my 20’s and early 30’s, I collected old hymnals and read many of them. While at the University of Cincinnati, I used to take old hymnals out of their rare books collection and photocopy entire hymnals on the spot so that I could read through them on my own.

In my early 20’s, before coming to Lillenas and before having any designs on music publishing or hymn writing, I bought numerous newly-published collections of songs and hymns. Some were contemporary collections from the “Jesus music” movement here in the U.S., while others were the hymns of British hymnwriters from the “Hymn Explosion” of the time—Fred Kaan, followed by Brian Wren, Fred Pratt Green, and Timothy Dudley-Smith. I read through each and every song and hymn. Often I would make notes on what I liked and didn’t like about each selection. What great training the Lord gave me! I had no ambitions. I was just following my interests.

During my first 12 years at Lillenas, I consciously prepared for the next denominational hymnal by reading through uncounted complete hymn collections looking for potential hymns. Some of the best of these found their way into Sing to the Lord (1993), which I had the privilege of editing.

I say all the above to make this point: in my formative years, I read many thousands of hymns from a wide variety of traditions. But I particularly studied the hymns of one particular writer: Charles Wesley. In addition to encountering his work in older hymnals, two projects intensified my exposure to his hymns:

1.  Around the late ‘70’s, scholar Carl Bangs went to Bud Lunn, then head of Nazarene Publishing House, and suggested that the company release a new collection of Wesley hymns. I was given the joyful task of compiling such a book, which meant combing through many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Wesley hymn texts. Wesley Hymns was released in 1982.

2.  During that same time frame, Wesleyan theologians were debating whether John Wesley associated entire sanctification with Pentecost. I contributed to the debate by doing a comparative study of the two topics as treated in the Wesleys’ hymn publications. The fall, 1982, issue of the Wesleyan Theological Journal published my study, “The Wesleys’ Hymns on Full Redemption and Pentecost: A Brief Comparison”.

As I immersed myself in Charles Wesley’s hymns, they became part of me. He wrote hymns for public worship, as well as more devotional hymns, and both were infused with his deep desire for the fullness of God.

He so beautifully and naturally balances the objective and the subjective. His fervent passion was fueled by both reason and emotion, by scripture as well as personal experience. As a result, notice the wide variety of protestant traditions that still consider his hymns a high water mark. The sheer quality of his work has taken his hymns far beyond their theological home turf.

I’ve long wanted to infuse my own hymns with his balance. And how the evangelical church still struggles to find that balance! The Apostle Paul could have been talking about Wesley hymns when he wrote:

I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. (1 Corinthians 14:15, NASB)

Father, thank you for providing the example and influence of Charles Wesley. Continue to keep our minds and hearts open to his lessons.

The Power of Influence: C. S. Lewis

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

I am a huge fan of audio books and have been for many years. That’s how I first came to know the writing of C. S. Lewis (1898-1963). At present I own recordings of 25 books by him and another five books about him.  I’ve listened to most of them multiple times. He is easily my favorite extra-biblical author.

I’m including him among my major influencers, even though I never met him. I’ve written elsewhere about how his ideas on reason and imagination have enlightened me (see Reason and Imagination). But that’s only one of the ways his writing has enriched my thought and my life.

When I began reading and listening to his books, the first thing that struck me was how clearly he thought and wrote. He dealt with complex ideas and chains of reasoning with amazing clarity and simplicity. That’s what I need to do as a hymn writer. Hymns must express complex and lofty ideas in a way that is understandable and natural for the average lay person. C. S. Lewis shows that it can be done and points the way. For me, his apologetic works do this best, especially Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, and Miracles.

I rarely read or listen to fiction, but Lewis is a shining exception. His fiction inspires me to see the world from a broader, loftier perspective. His stories give me hope. He unselfconsciously shows Almighty God working His loving will in the real, physical world in which we live. Again, this points the way for my hymns. His Chronicles of Narnia are justly famous along this line, but I love The Great Divorce for the same reason. And don’t miss his space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. For years I avoided them, thinking that science fiction written before 1960 would seem primitive. How very wrong I was!

The Screwtape Letters is still unique after all these years. How could a book on so dark a subject as temptation be so whimsical and even funny? Writing can be both entertaining and profoundly meaningful!

But the main reason I find C. S. Lewis so enriching is his insightfulness. With most books, even excellent ones, you are likely to get fresh, provocative insights only every once in a while. With Lewis, the insights are an almost continuous stream. My impression is that this comes not just from his great mind and great heart, but from the fact that he read deeply and widely. He seemed to synthesize insights gleaned from the entire body of Christian literature.

It’s not surprising that Lewis has inspired a number of my hymns. To give them a look and listen, just click on the links below. Both the printed copies and the downloadable recordings are free (see the upper right-hand quadrant for the “Listen” link).

Christ Is Come
Ever Full and Overflowing
God My Father
Longing for Jesus
Our Lord I AM
See the Father Walk Among Us
The Heart of Christ
We Choose Joy
What Will You Do with Jesus?
You Came to Us

The Power of Influence: Tom Fettke

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

Previously, he had taught high school choral music in Oakland, California. But when we started working together, Tom Fettke was selling pianos and organs out of a store showroom. When we needed to talk business, I had to call him there.

During the early years when he worked such full-time jobs outside music publishing, he sometimes wrote third shift, between late night and early morning hours. That’s how dedicated he was to his writing. When I met him in the summer of 1975, soon after I became music editor at Lillenas Publishing Company, he had already had a Christmas musical published by Lillenas, Love, Joy, Peace, as well as several anthems.

We hit it off from the beginning. Our ideas and personalities were radically different in many ways, but we were both secure enough to be completely honest with each other. That candid communication has taken us through all the years and all the situations since.

At that point, Lillenas was going through a changing of the guard, and by the late ‘70’s, I was not only director but also in charge of product development. Whenever I had an idea or needed a sounding board, Tom was my first stop.

He and I grew up together in the church music publishing business. Tom has always been a superb composer, arranger, and producer. But what made him unique was his avid interest in the behind-the-scenes aspects of publishing. Most writers only wanted to write—forget the business end. Tom was the opposite. He was insatiably curious about the rest of publishing—product development, marketing, song selection, copyright, and more. Thus he was absolutely invaluable to this young publisher who by now had more than he could possibly handle.

Basically, my 38 years in church music publishing have been more interesting, fun, and fruitful because of my close personal and professional friendship with Tom Fettke.

But he has also had a profound influence on my writing. Coming to Lillenas out of the Conservatory, I brought with me a handful of Christian songs, with original words and music. Tom quickly praised the lyrics but asked to be allowed to do his own musical settings. Thus our relationship as composer and lyricist began early and continued through perhaps 100 songs, give or take. A number of my earlier hymns, still in print, were written at his request.

Tom was and is a perfectionist. He would ask for a lyric to fit certain criteria, or I would offer one I had written, and I could count on the fact that he would call me and name multiple spots he wanted “re-examined”—which meant redone. He forced me to be much tougher on myself in every area of lyric writing, but especially when it came to the singability of my words. I learned that I had to be unflinchingly aware of the flow of the sounds of the words, how easy and natural it was to sing those consonants and vowels to those notes, in that context. If I didn’t iron out those problems before I sent him the lyric, he would force me to address them. Over the years, I came to examine the exact motion of the mouth required to say or sing each sound and each syllable. Could that sound be easily and naturally sung to that pitch, at that tempo, in that context? If not, it had to be replaced, no matter what the sense demanded.

That training in Tom’s school of lyric-writing has proven invaluable in my later years as I’ve focused on hymn writing. Hymn writing is like building a ship in a bottle, with every word having to be exactly right in relation to a long list of criteria—denotation, connotation, singability, meter, rhyme, etc. Anything I know about writing singable lyrics was learned under the tutelage of this dear and very exacting friend.

Thank You, good Lord, for Tom Fettke!

The Power of Influence: Ralph Bible

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

As I reflect on my dad’s life, I am struck by how very faithful God is.

Born on May 20, 1919, in Decoursey, Kentucky, he was soon moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and he spent the rest of his life there. He was the youngest of 11 children born to Samuel Steele Bible and Sarah Bible. His older siblings had longer, more flowery first and middle names. By the time my dad came along, they were out of energy and out of names. He was just Ralph Bible. No frills, no middle name.

To show you the spread in the children’s ages, his oldest brother, Hascal, died in combat in World War I, while my dad fought in World War II.

His mother died of tuberculosis when he was two. His father was totally consumed in trying to save their farm during the Great Depression—a battle he eventually lost. Thus my dad grew up without parental models and without the attention a child needs. As a result, he struggled his entire life with a poor self-image.

Largely unsupervised, he lived wild in his younger years. Even many years later, with adult children of his own, he wouldn’t talk about the things he did when he was young. The regrets were still very real.

Fortunately, his oldest sister, Bessie, took it on herself to look out for him as best she could. She went to extraordinary lengths to keep him in church, even when it took bribing him with candy. When he came back to the Lord as a young adult, he credited Bessie’s faithfulness.

My dad was a loving, very devoted father. All the years we were growing up, he worked second shift for Proctor & Gamble. As a result, during the school year we saw him only on weekends. But he always made Saturday our day together, no matter what other obligations were pulling at him. He wasn’t perfect, but we always knew he loved us.

His spiritual influence on me was profound. As a child, I remember his prayers. His voice took on a high whine, a very emotional tone that I found embarrassing. And his prayers were far, far too long for my childish attention span. But they stuck with me. I could tell by the way he prayed that God was very real and personal to him, and that helped make Him real to me too.

During my teenage years, when I got desperately confused about something, I could go to my dad. He always seemed to have exactly the right thing to say to soothe my troubled spirit.

Throughout my growing and adult years, Dad frequently reminded me that he was praying for me, and I always knew he was.

Those who have raised children and reflected back have surely been struck by the truth of the old adage: far more is caught than taught. Our children don’t always listen to us or remember what we say. But they tend to absorb the persons we are. Our living example is a powerful influence on them.

My dad was a humble, godly man who loved his family and loved his Lord with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Though family economics kept him from graduating from high school, he had an intelligence, an active mind, and a profound wisdom that outreached the classroom. But his lasting influence didn’t come from intellectual brilliance, unique talents, or worldly accomplishments. His life was abundantly fruitful because of the person he was and the faith that he lived day after day, year after year.

The Power of Influence: Dr. Thomas Scott Huston

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

Bigger than life—those are the first words that come to mind when I think of “Doc” Huston. He was over six feet tall and slightly hump-shouldered, with thinning, wispy red hair. Some of his ways would have seemed brash and uncouth in a younger, less authoritative man. His smile was warm, his gestures often broad and dramatic, and his voice could boom with unapologetic passion.

He was given to definitive pronouncements, almost theatrical in their fervor, and when the situation demanded it, he had a temper to match his red hair. As he strode down the hall with his distinctive gait, everyone knew he was there, and when he arrived at class, he “made an entrance” without even trying. But he had a twinkle in his eye that seemed permanent, even in his wrath.

During my senior year in high school, I attended a Saturday music theory and composition class in the College-Conservatory of Music building at the University of Cincinnati—part of their preparatory school program. The teacher of that course introduced me to Doc Huston. Knowing I was about to enter the Conservatory with an interest in composition, he offered to let me to sit in on one of his composition classes during my freshman year. When school rules allowed me to switch my major to music composition at the beginning of my sophomore year, I officially studied composition with him for four more years, including one year of master’s study.

His composition classes were always held in his office studio. When he played one of his students’ compositions for that week, he would attack his studio grand piano with an energy totally unbridled by correctness. I remember once when a younger student tried to tell him he was playing his masterpiece incorrectly. Bad idea. His more experienced students knew that Doc was hearing far more than he was playing.

He always had a cup of coffee and a cigar in composition class. The coffee was often a victim of his passionate gestures and would end up inside the grand piano. A cursory mopping up was all the attention it got. Cigar ashes regularly fell on a student’s precious manuscript. Doc would brush them away without missing a beat.

How many times did I hear him rant about the five perfect compositions in music history! Bach’s B Minor Mass…Brahms’ Third Symphony…there was a Stravinsky in there, but I’m ashamed to admit I don’t remember the rest.

As a student, there were some younger profs I respected more when it came to knowing the technical details of music analysis. By comparison, Doc seemed more of a broad strokes guy. Sometimes I even wondered if Doc wasn’t using theatrical proclamations to cover his lack of detailed familiarity with the literature. Forgive me, Doc.

But 20+ years after leaving the Conservatory, when I turned from writing lyrics alone back to composing my own music, it was Doc’s oft-repeated broad strokes about music composition that proved unforgettable. Doc had majored on majors, not on minors, and I reaped the rewards of his wise investment. His basic principles lie behind every good hymn setting I’ve ever written. (I’ll take the blame for the rest.)

Externally, he was not a poster child for conservative evangelical Christianity. But he was outspokenly, unapologetically Christian in a place and time when profs more often sneered at God and openly mocked belief in Him. For a college kid struggling with his faith in a very atheistic environment, Doc was a light in a dark place, a homing beacon on the shore of a safe and welcoming harbor.

The Power of Influence: John Matre

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

My “musical career” began in fifth grade with school band. When they demonstrated each of the instruments, only the clarinet seemed like something I might be able to do, so that was reason enough. I took up the clarinet.

My band director from fifth grade all the way through high school was Mr. Matre—John Matre. I liked him.

And I guess he liked my clarinet playing, for he encouraged me all along the way.

In fact, in seventh grade, he came to me and offered me free private lessons on the clarinet, on his own time. I was flattered and honored, so I took him up on it.

I don’t remember anything specific that he ever taught me. Perhaps it’s my spotty memory, or perhaps it was because he was a trombonist, not a woodwind guy. But that didn’t matter. With my temperament, I was never destined to become a world-famous performing artist on anything, clarinet or otherwise. By the time I was 18, I was good enough to be accepted into the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati as a clarinetist. But at the beginning of my sophomore year, when school rules allowed me to become a music composition major, the clarinet was abandoned forever. Not even my wife of 42 years has ever heard me play.

But what was important is this: because Mr. Matre thought highly of my clarinet playing, so did I. Because my music was important to him, it became important to me.

My music ministry began there and then—in the seventh grade with free clarinet lessons from Mr. Matre. Thank you, John Matre, for giving of yourself to me. Everyone I have ever touched with my music thanks you as well.

The Power of Influence: Dr. Morris Weigelt

In mid-June, 1975, my wife, my one-year-old son, and I moved to Kansas City, Missouri, so that I could begin my new job as music editor for Lillenas Publishing Company. We immediately began attending a little church in the suburbs, Grandview Church of the Nazarene. That same week, Dr. Morris Weigelt moved to KC to take up his appointment as Professor of New Testament at Nazarene Theological Seminary. He and his family started attending Grandview Church as well.

His influence on me began as I simply heard him preach and teach. Though I had grown up in the church, he opened for me a whole new dimension in Bible teaching. He laid open God’s Word in greater depth than I had ever imagined possible. He taught with warmth, practical relevance, and a sense of bubbling fascination. His considerable intellect was blended with a spirit that was passionate and contagious.

So imagine my surprise when in 1977, he came to me and asked me to team-teach an adult Sunday School class with him. Each Sunday morning for three years we sat side by side on stools and together taught a Bible lesson to a room full of adults. Our only coordination was a brief phone conversation on Saturday night to set general direction. Otherwise, the back and forth between us was completely unscripted. The format was his idea.

Tell me, why would a Bible scholar and expert teacher in the prime of his career approach a 27-year-old kid with such a proposal? I had never taught the Bible to adults—I had never even considered it before he approached me. But I’ve never stopped teaching the Bible since, both in person and in writing.

He has continued to be a guide, mentor, and encourager to me over the years. For more of his wise counsel, see Saturate Yourself with the Truth and Don’t Pick the Fruit Too Soon.

Most importantly, Morris’ example turned me on to creative communication of biblical truth. That passion is still alive and well in me and burns behind everything I do. He showed me that God’s Word could be taught with greater depth, warmth, and relevance than I had ever dreamed.

The Lord turned my life toward doing that same thing through hymns. Congregational music can be much more than a temporary emotional experience. The truth about Jesus Christ demands that it be more. Hymns can help nurture our eternal relationship with the Living God.

Dr. Morris Weigelt helped open my eyes to this possibility, and I thank the Lord God for his influence in my life. The Lord has used him to help me fulfill His calling.

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