Janie and I did an internship at a large Vineyard church on the west side of Los Angeles some years ago. One outstanding fact about that amazing congregation was the many Hollywood personalities and those who were trying to make it on the music scene. Most of those present were new to following Jesus so it was an exciting time for everyone.
At a Friday Believer’s Meeting, I ran into a guy who looked a lot like a member of one of my all-time favorite bands. This group has been in the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame for years. I mentioned to him that he looked remarkably like a rock star from that band and he said, “That’s because I am him.” Doh!
Over the next couple of years, I got to know him fairly well as we led worship at baptisms and various other events together. (NOTE: a Hall of Fame guitar player will make any worship leader sound great.) This guy had famously and suddenly quit his band a year earlier. That was fact had become well known because Rolling Stone magazine had written much about it. Leaving the group seemed like an illogical decision since he wasn’t asked out of the group according to all the stories. I might have been out of place but I had to ask him what was behind his decision to quit. He said something that continues to impress me to this day.
“What happened was I came to Christ!” (That’s a story for another day. It is exciting.)
“One day shortly after I gave my heart to Jesus I just woke up and the Lord spoke to me. He told me I had to leave the group or ‘I would die.’ I wasn’t sure if he meant ‘die spiritually’ or ‘physically’ or ‘emotionally.’ It didn’t matter. I knew that was the Lord warning me.” I retorted, “But couldn’t you have figured out a way to stay with the group and just given God the glory for your new faith in Christ?”
“God told me to quit. That was it. I had to quit. I knew it would be costly but I had to quit. At the time I didn’t know any better than to just obey the Lord.” Wow. As they say, “That will preach.” His wisdom haunts me still. That step of obedience cost my friend tens of millions of dollars in concerts and new album sales. His band is still touring to sold-out mega venues of Boomers who want to revisit the music of their youth. Still, he has no regrets he says.
I wonder how powerful the Church will be when we get to that point of fearing the Lord more than we fear the loss of income or than we fear the loss of apparent opportunity. Our best days are yet to come. Let’s obey our way forward.