This past week an important influence from my early years in music passed away.  Her name was Randi.  As often happens nowadays, pictures and posts starting popping up on Facebook with people sharing their reflections on her life and her influence on people.  One of those pictures was of Randi and me, along with a ragtag bunch of musicians, standing in front of The Living Christmas Tree at my home church in Indiana way back in 1985.  As soon as I saw the picture I was transported back in time to not only the moment of that snapshot, but to all of the times that Randi, Gary, D.K. and others in that picture, impacted my life.

In December of 1985, I was a freshman in high school and well into my 3rd full year of playing the trumpet.  Gary was the Student/Music Minister and Randi was the Director of the Winds of Praise.  (Yes, I know, pretty awesome name.  Seemed to be the common name for any kind of brass or wind ensemble in churches during the 80’s.)  Anyway, one of the most significant things these people did for me was they gave me a chance.   A year earlier as an eighth grader I was allowed to start playing with the group on Sunday mornings, which led to more and more opportunities to use and develop my musical gifts.  More importantly I was able to use them in the context of worship.


I had no idea then, but looking back now it is clear how God was using Randi and Gary and many others to plant seeds that were cultivated through high school and eventually college.  Along the way there were many who continued that process. God used them to challenge, encourage, and point me towards what He was preparing me for.  In June of 1994 Okolona Christian Church became the next group of people to give this kid a chance - and I’m so glad they did.


I share all of that to encourage anyone who reads this to consider a couple of things:

1.      Don’t underestimate the power of your influence in someone’s life, especially when you empower them to do something simply by letting them jump in and try.

2.      Because God is outside of time, He is not limited by it, thus he is fully present right now in your future while still being present with you today.  Crazy, I know.  But extremely important to remember, especially if you are anxious about your future.  Just like God is using you to influence someone else, He is using others to do the same for you.   Consider who might have been or is right now a Randi or Gary in your life and give thanks for that person.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)