Being a Christian Musician in San Diego
The only excuse for an essay like this is that it is an answer to a very simple question: What does it mean to be a “Christian” musician? On the surface it seems to lend itself to a one or two sentence answer or at very best a short essay.
So what does it REALLY mean to be a “Christian” musician
Well, let me start with defining the terms. The first use of the word Cristian comes from the book of Acts chapter 11 verse 26. But today the common understanding of the word “Christian” is simply someone who is Christ like or like Christ. Well, if this is the criteria for being labeled “Christian”, I am far from one. For I do not qualify! I am nothing like my Lord and Savior. He was the most patient, kind, loving, wise and powerful man that has ever graced this planet.
However, I do try to live in such a way that reflects his kindness and love and I also believe with all my heart that Christ is who He said He is:The Messiah, The son of God who was raised from the dead for the forgiveness of our sins. And in today’s terms that definitely qualifies me as a Christian. I could quote a myriad of scriptural references about the etymology of the word, and how they apply. But that is not the point here. However, it definitely leads me to a side note about being a Christian Musician.
What I mean is, If I start using/quoting scriptures or singing about Jesus, many people, and I mean MANY people, will immediately tune out, turn off, make fun of and walk away quickly. I will immediately lose the secular audience. This is much different than secular (non-religious) musicians. They can sing/rap about just about anything and people are okay with it. They can use ridiculously sexually explicit lyrics, cuss and say every sort of profanity, promote violence, degrade women, say the “B-word” or N- word” every five seconds, you name it. Nothing is sacred. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t even get me started.
For example, this dude was playing a song in his car next to me and my beautiful two year old daughter, that was not only SUPER loud (I really don't care what people listen to… but blasting it for others, is where I take issue — especially at La Jolla Shores, a family beach), but this song was SUPER OFFENSIVE. It said the “N - Bomb” every other word. Literally! Let alone the B-word about just as much. And mind you this is in front of my precious little girl.
This takes us back to the “Christian” piece that I talked about earlier and whether or not I qualify as one. I wanted to literally pull this dude out of his car beat his ass like I would have before I met Christ and teach him a lesson in respect. (mind you I have been training Muay Thai kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since this kid was in diapers). But, I simply just gave up my parking spot (not at all easy to find in the middle of summer), drove away and said a quick prayer for him. Trying my best to live like Christ. But to me, the amazing part about the whole thing is that the people around him could have cared less; as if it is commonplace to listen to that sort of garbage. Let alone expose our children to it! But you know as well as I do, if he was blasting music about Jesus people would look at him like he was a freak.
Sorry for that little “bird-walk", but it was important to the content of the message. Now I will continue defining the terms at hand. The next term in question is “musician”. Pretty straightforward. Someone who plays music. However for me, this is pretty funny for my guitar teacher back in the day (early nineties) Jiri Svaboda; when I was studying classical/flamenco guitar, would yell at me. That I never played the pieces on time. Honestly, the music was really hard and it was a lot easier to play it the way I liked to hear it. Besides I had to go surf. I didn’t have all day to sit down and practice with a metronome. George elegantly told me that I was just a “finger wiggler” if I was not playing the music on time. And as of today, I was just asked to join a band at church but was reluctant to answer because I did not want to have to study the music, practice with others and be responsible for my part within the music. So whether or not I qualify as a “musician” is up to you. But I’m more than happy with being known as a finger wiggler who plays his heart out.
Now, if you've managed to stay with the essay this long, please indulge me a little longer, for we are headed into the “blood and guts” of what I think it means to be a Christian musician.
Many of the ideas of this essay were derived from a message called “Is God enough?” by John Robert Stevens, the founder of the Living Word Fellowship. It was a message about a true walk with God. That if we were to lose our money, our titles, our dreams; would simply being in God's presence be enough? It is a lot deeper than you think! One of the pieces in the message that stuck with me and will eventually be a song was the idea that God loves you enough to knock the crutches out from underneath you; crutches being the things that we lean on to get us through the day. (i.e. money, status, vices etc). The things that we use to define us. Imagine just for a second if someone said you could walk with God, but had to give up your smart phone or all access to the internet, social media, tv, etc. Would you really be able to say that would be easy.
I have thought long and hard about this idea. So much to the point that I have been unable to write about it for quite some time. Until now. For over the last couple of weeks I have been through some very traumatic experiences; including my wife having emergency surgery, my daughter being born at 34 weeks. My best friends blood running through my fingers as we try to save his life, broken bones in my shoulder that I can’t rehab, unpaid leave from work and the list goes on. Listen to the music on YouTube if you really want to see what I'm talking about. But this leads me into the thesis: GOD BETTER BE ENOUGH! Everything, literally everything is passing away in this world. Our relationship with God is paramount to salvation in this world and the world to come.
As a Christian musician, the one and only thing that drives me is my relationship with God. That the sole purpose of my music is to worship God, to cry out to him, to love him and to try to bring lost souls into his presence. It cannot and will not ever be about me. I must first seek the kingdom and realize that all things shall be added to me.
This is much, much different than secular music or secular musicians. For in their world it is all about them. What they look like, what they dress like, what they act like, what they do, how awesome they are. Many, if not all, do it for the fame and for the fortune. They have a specific purpose and agenda with marketing schemes to accompany.
I however, am doing it for the sole purpose of serving God with the talent that I have been given. The talent of finger wiggling. LOL. But seriously, when it comes to my music I cannot do it for the money. For the love of money is evil. I cannot do it for fame because God as opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. I can not do it my way for I know my steps are ordained by the Lord.
In addition to this, the planning, logistics and drive behind the Christian music is way different then someone in the secular world. For I truly try to be led by the Holy Spirit in every aspect of my music. This is why I have boxes of CDs just sitting in my closet.
I was so excited to get them finished after so much struggle. How the CD’s got produced and finalized is actually a great story that hopefully someday I will write about. They are simply sitting in my closet because I do not feel that I have heard from the Holy Spirit of where I should give them out, who I should give them to and what exactly I should do with them. So I am going wait upon the Lord, to continue to stay in the Word and wait for his direction and confirmation through the people around me and that small still little Voice that guides me; known as the Holy Sprit.
People in the secular world however, have a strategic plan of how to go out and make money, to market themselves and conquer specific demographics. I however, am a “Christian” musician which makes my mission 100% different. (There are many “Christian” musicians who have specific game plans on who they are going to target and how.) But it is not my job to judge them as authentic or not. My job is “to stay in my lane” and be obedient to Christ.
What I mean by this is that I must come to the realization that God's plan is the only plan for me. He may simply have me playing in my room or the people around me for the rest of my life. And that's it. For that is where He wants me; in connection with Him. So I may better serve Him, His kingdom and His purposes.
There may not be any worldwide recognition. There may not be large sums of money. There may not be any videos that go viral. There may not be stadium’s full of people with thousands committing themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. At least not with me leading them. Honestly, there may not be any of the things that I have dreamt of.
And as a true Christian musician I must be 110% content with that. I must know in my heart that God is enough! And always will be. I cannot and will not do the music for fame, fortune, titles, status, recognition, etc. I can only continue to play my music as a communication and worship to God. And if He so wills it, that He uses me to be His mouthpiece, that He uses me to expand the kingdom, that He uses my music and talents as a means of developing resources to help the needy; then I would consider myself extremely honored and blessed to serve the almighty Creator!
So in short, for Lguapogreengo (Lg3) being a Cristian Musician is nothing else except being an obedient servant who plays heartfelt music and worship. If the good Lord decides to use my music and talents, then I am ready and willing to serve. If not, or until He decides to use me, I will continue to stay in the Word and will continue to write Psalms that glorify the Almighty Father, songs that cry out for help, songs that ask for wisdom on how to be more Christ- like.
Why Lguapogreengo is now LG3
And on a side note: The next year we will be switching the name Lguapogreengo over to Lg3 because many “Christians” judge the name “lguapogreengo” - the handsome American- as cocky and self righteous. They judge without knowing the history behind the name or what I want to do with it.
So as a “Christian” musician I need to watch out on both sides of the fence. I need to be careful not to say Jesus to much in the secular world or come off as too religious; because there is absolutely no radio or t.v. play in that. But I also need to be careful on how I present my media, my ideas and even my name. For many “Christians” can and will judge what I do and say that I’m not really “Christian at all. And therefore they won’t listen to, buy or support the music. (even though1/3 of all revenue generated goes to the expansion of the Kingdom.) But if you want to know how I really feel about this subject listen to my latest track: “God would like it and I would too” on Youtube. It’s straight nasty.
I used to ask people to please purchase the music if they liked it after listening. Or to share it with somebody after watching. So the music would grow. But, I am learning that God is in charge of the production. He is in charge of everything. My job is to stay obedient, and try to walk in the Spirit. Then, and only then, will I be effective. So until next time my friends, thanks for listening.
Since writing this I got confirmation about what to do with the cd’s. I was told that I was given freely the talents and anointing to write the music. So I should give freely. I was told my job is to sow seeds into the kingdom. That my music blesses and brings peace to the listener. Awesome! It is clear. My job is to bless people with the music. Give it away! And I will trust God for the funds to renew the order. This is soo fun.
So until next time.
Peace be with you.