*** PREFACE*** 
As I maintain this website and blog, I have thought long and hard about what it should represent. I am a Christian (though an admittedly struggling one) and the purpose of my life is to bring glory to God. But this is a website devoted to guitar and drums. My goal (in an effort to be professional) was to check my Christianity at the door and let this website be about what it is about: music lessons. 

I have not shunned away from Jesus and do not deny Him (on this website or in life), but have tried to separate that from what I do here. But I cannot do it anymore. I'm not here to force anyone to believe anything, to become preachy, or anything like that. On a practical level for this website, it just means that I will be sharing my thoughts about life, the church, and God more frequently. This will probably take the form of blogs and discussions in the forums.  I cannot divorce what I do and what I teach from who I am, so you will begin to see more of me around stickandstrum in addition to general information and tips. 

If you have any questions about Christianity, theology, the church, or life or want to discuss anything please feel free to post in the forums or contact me. 

It is Easter Morning. I woke up around 4am and could not go back to sleep. I tossed and turned and got something to drink, but ultimately I found myself sitting on this futon in our home office at 5am with a copy of Francis Chan's Crazy Love. While reading a book isn't incredibly unusual for me, anyone that knows me well knows that I only see 5am once or twice a year...and rarely on purpose. You see, I have been running from God for a while now. Life looks great superficially, but it is easy to find yourself going through the motions with nothing to show for it inside. 

I read the first half of the book and went back to bed for a few hours before waking up again to finish it. I don't want to write a review the book (though I highly recommend reading it), but instead look at what reading, thinking, and praying can do to draw you closer to God. I have not been actively running from God, but passively letting my life pass by me. To borrow an illustration, life is much like a flowing river. There is no standing still. You either have to  swim upstream or lie back and be taken wherever the river flows. The funny thing is that the river moves so slowly that you don't even realize that you've drifted from where you've started until you are miles downstream. It's like going to the beach and playing in the ocean only to realize after a few minutes that you are a hundred yards away from where you began. You didn't try to move. You just passively go along with the flow. 

This is no way to live life. Life must be intentional. That is, you must choose to live it on purpose. You must decide to swim upstream to something better. As I read through the gospels I cannot help but see that Jesus was extremely intentional. Everything He did was on purpose. He didn't just happen to find Himself in situations and decide to perform a miracle or deliver a quick sermon while He was there. There always seems to be a particular person or purpose in his meetings. I will likely write more on this later but, for now, suffice it to say that Jesus lived his life on purpose and that I aspire to do the same. 

I have been overweight my entire life. At 5'10'' I ballooned to 275 pounds. Over the last few months I have managed to lose 50 pounds and I am in the best shape of my life. How did I weigh so much in the first place? By passively living my life and packing on pound after pound without realizing it. How did I lose weight? I did it. Everyone always sits around waiting for the best methodologies, whether it be for weight loss, business, or living the Christian life. The truth is, that everyone is different and every situation is different. What makes one successful? Perseverance. I have managed to lose weight because I have been eating better and I'm in the gym or running 4-5 days each week. There is no secret to it. Find something that works for you and do it. Do it relentlessly until you achieve your goals. I have long believed that theology and philosophy may be overcomplicating the basics of life. Nike sums it up pretty well: Just Do It. 

So, I have been waiting to feel like following God or getting into shape. Though there may be some decisive moments in your life, chances are you will never continually feel like making the change. But it only takes one stroke. You merely have to stand in the river, realize that you have been drifting and start swimming. 

I remember hearing someone say that if you feel like you've lost God, you should check the last place you left Him. A little cheesy, I admit, but after studying my life it becomes apparent where the problem lies. At some point I stopped pursuing God entirely. I stopped reading, praying, talking...everything. 

With me it starts simply. Sitting on an old futon in a dark office in the wee hours of the morning. Reading forgotten truths about God and His handiwork. Talking openly to a God that I thought had forgotten me. Feeling like for the first time in a while that my life has purpose and meaning again. Turns out that God had not forgotten me. I had drifted away, moment by moment, without even realizing what was happening until I was miles downstream. But it is never too late. Get up and take that first stroke.