Thursday night is a very special time. It is family dessert night and tonight was Tommy’s favorite: chocolate chip cookies. Tommy’s mother was almost done baking and the smell permeated the house. Tommy’s father cuddled with his daughters on the couch while the little boy embraced their dog Shiloh on the ground in anticipation of the goodness that awaited him.
“All right family,” mom rang off cheerfully. “The cookies are done!” The children were allowed two cookies and a glass of milk. They savored dessert night together and finished watching the family movie.
Later in the night Tommy’s stomach began to growl. Perhaps, he hadn’t eaten enough or perhaps he just wanted more cookies… Whatever it was, he found himself on the countertop reaching for the cookie jar atop the fridge and eating one cookie after the next. When he laid back down he felt pretty bad – partly because he had eaten too much and partly because he felt bad. Gluttony and guilt weighed heavy on him. Still he was tired and sleep came quickly. (Thanks to the carb crash.)
“Thomas!” his father scolded him loudly, “Come out here now!” “Did you get into the cookie jar last night?” “N-nn-no daddy,” the child stuttered softly, cookie crumbs and chocolate stains still on his face. “Look Tommy, I know that you did and now you’ve lied to me about it. Please don’t lie to me, son. For the next month you are not allowed to have dessert during our family dessert nights. Now get ready for school and let’s go.” Tommy’s dad was upset because his son lied and because he usually took the leftover cookies to the homeless on his way to work every Friday.
“Tommy, come out here quick, son.” Father called from the kitchen. Tommy scurried out of bed. “Did you get into the cookie jar last night?” Tommy’s eyes darted away from dad as he looked down with regret. “Yes, I did, daddy, and… and I’m sorry.” He softly spoke. Sitting in silence for a moment his father sighed. “I know you love cookies, and I do, too… Do you know that what you did was wrong? “Yes, I do, daddy.” “Ok, Son, I forgive you and please don’t do it again.”
“Tommy,” father whispered, “Get up, let’s go.” It was early and the sun hadn’t come up yet. Riding in the truck Tommy wondered, “Where are we going, daddy?” “I know what you did last night, son. It was wrong and you deserve punishment.” Tommy hung his head in shame. He couldn’t see as the sun had just begun to come up and it was blinding. He wondered what kind of punishment awaited. Mostly, he wondered if he’d ever be allowed to have cookies again. The truck stopped and they got out. Father took Tommy by the hand and began to walk forward. Squinting his eyes and straining to see, Tommy finally got in the shadow of the huge building they were walking towards. Right in front of him was a big sign: “Cookie Factory.” “You are my son and I love you. You see son, I just bought this factory and everything inside it is yours.”
Certain moments in life sometimes seem to perfectly align. Recently this past summer I was driving to the beach with my glowing fiancée. We were holding hands, smiling, laughing and slowly making our way through the L.A. traffic. The music was the perfect volume and we made this turn under an overpass where the sun became brilliantly blinding. And in this moment so many inexpressible feelings from many spectrums collided in a vast array of emotions. Tears welled up in my eyes. Sometimes things are so beautiful in life there is an ache, but when all the colors bleed together the collimation is Joy overtaking. A sense of something far greater than self or those we are connected to but the one who is infinitely connected to each of us. Deeply and personally, never waving in His love. And this moment was merely a whisper of affection and a display of the vast beauty He creates daily, for us to enjoy. We are surrounded by majesty and too many of those moments can pass in vain if we aren’t careful to stop and observe the soaring whispers all around. Let the beauty and ache of life resound in your soul and recoil a greatness that can only be experienced through the eyes of knowing God.
Pen meets paper with strokes of imagination inspired from the artist’s eye. As ink dries it paints the picture from the poet’s mind. He meditates on the perfect words, contemplates on the similes and metaphors, and intricately dedicates time to every jot and tittle. An endless pursuit of his greatest masterpiece yet, still he appreciates his older works for it is the compilation that has built him up to where he is now. And though he works in the now, he has hope that there are greater works yet to be done once this is accomplished. And so he continues to write with painstaking detail and love. “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT) We are God’s, and we are His Masterpiece. In awe already? I know I am. And it gets even better! The Greek word for masterpiece used here is “poema” – which we would translate into “poem.” We are God’s poem. Moments in our lives are his lyrics; days are stanzas that the master writer is composing. God doesn’t make mistakes. God made you to be exactly who He wanted you to be – gifts, talents, dreams, experiences and all. And through the good and the bad He is shaping us into the image of His Son. We are valuable because God created us. We have worth because Jesus died for us. And we are precious because God has put the Holy Spirit in our hearts and the Kingdom of God in our hands. And so the Grand Creator continues to create.
It was a crisp warm summer day in an afternoon that would be forever burnt into my memory. I was a little boy with my father and he was teaching me how to ride a bike. I had training wheels on, of course, and he thought I was finally getting the hang of it. We had been at it all day and the time had finally come. He pulled out some tools and detached the safety device. Now I was on my own. I remember not being able to balance at first but soon I was flying! (Picture E.T. video cover – at least that’s how I felt) I eventually learned how to ride and it became second nature. Not without my fair share of crashes and accidents though. So many things in life are like that: new, scary, thrilling, uncertain, dangerous, exhilarating. But once we “master” them we can lose that first love we once had. Learning guitar was a similar experience of trial and error and finally learning something just to see a new hill to climb. Recently, I was driving to lead worship for a service and I had all these thoughts. It occurred to me that God had been preparing me all my life to do the things He’s called me to do (Ephesians 2:10). What a profound thought. I was amazed at how easy it was to forget the time the Father had been training me. That there was a destination and a goal. My whole mindset changed as if this was the first day I had ever lead worship. And though the songs were familiar and I had played the chords many times, I found a new joy and passion in the small things I do that God considers great. I found assurance and confidence not in myself or anything I possessed but in God’s plan (Romans 8:28-29). You were created with a purpose, goal and destination. It’s awesome to stop and feel the hand of the Father on your back as He removes the safety wheels and propels you into a great unknown future.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing himself.” –Leo Tolstoy
In order to change, you must change. In order to change the world we must be the change we want to see.
While profoundly obvious, it struck a resonating chord in me. At the beginning of 2013 I wrote an article on sustainable life-long change and how to implement it. Now in another New Year I find myself reflecting on the ways that I’ve changed, what’s made that possible, and why change is so important.
In order to first change we must admit something needs to change. When I was drug-addicted in Las Vegas, at my wits end and falling beyond rock bottom, I knew that my life had to change. It was hard to stare into the unknown with the fear of losing the things I loved the most that were also destroying me; drugs, broken relationships, pain inside that I was running from…
There are many reasons (or excuses) why we fear change but what it ultimately comes down to is the unknown. The “What if?” Yet, that is where excitement and adventure live. In change we grow (hopefully for the better) and the more we change, the easier it can become to tackle things that at one point seemed insurmountable. You can conquer your mountains.
How do we change? See my post here for more thoughts on that question.
I will leave you with these words of wisdom: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” - Martin Rooney
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman
“In the beginning God created…” (Genesis 1:1).
The first thing we learn about God is that he is a Creator. An inventor, an architect, a visionary. The words of God then go on to tell us that we are created in His image or likeness (Gen. 1:26-27).
In Hebrews it says that God “is the same yesterday today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
The implications of this are huge. God created us and made us to be like him. He not only created once, but continues to create and inspires creation. He’s given us the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) and called us to join Him in the renewal of all things. Just as God breathes forth words of new life that feed our souls and awaken our spirits to dream and hope, so too, we are empowered to dream, create and speak forth God’s words and to be a witness.
For some this is preaching, others – musical gifts and worship, for others it is painting, visual effects or architecture; though all very different, they are together proclaiming the beauty of God. Creation. A universal language understood by all, the need and desire to create something out of nothing. To make beauty from ashes (Isa 61:3). To explode the beauty of our creativity from the abstract into tangible creations that stir the human spirit and touch the heart. We are different from animals in that we dream dreams and have the gift of imagination.
May God use the gifts and inspirations that He has given each of us to bring forth His kingdom, beauty and Love. Love is why we create and it is why we breathe and exist. God is love and without love we are nothing. Take heart in the things you were created to do and trust God to provide you with the inspiration. Create as you were created to create. For this is a true act of worship – to do what you were created to do.
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” -Eric Liddell (Olympic medalist)
Just as God is a triune being so He also created us; three in one, we are body, soul, and spirit. We possess intellect, will, and emotions. These make up the core of every human being.
Intellect is what sets us apart from all other life. We can reason, plan, imagine, learn and create. Within the scope of our minds lie untapped potential and genius; we are, after all, made in the image and likeness of God. Our will is what we strive for, what we want out of life and what we will do to make that happen. Our will is happening every day. We can choose to be selfish or selfless, giving or taking, caring in action or apathetic to the needs of others. Today is your will, what will you do today?
Emotions. We laugh, we cry, we jump for joy, and sometimes we fall down alone with no one to help us up. Some would deny their feelings and try to bury them as a weakness. The whole "real men don't cry" gets drowned out over "Jesus weeping," while others are so led by feelings that what they want out of life (will) and reason are sometimes sacrificed in search of satisfying a feeling (or not feeling).
In today's culture so much of what is propagated is to escape and numb feelings. From our warped view of what true masculinity is to the constant overload of entertainment, viral videos, TV, video games, etc. It sometimes seems to me that the last thing people want to do is check in to themselves and ask the hard questions, yet those are the ones that matter most. When I'm dead in my casket will I be proud of what I accomplished? Today? Are the things I'm doing helping me achieve my goals? Do I have goals? Have I really forgiven that person that so deeply hurt me I couldn't tell anyone what they did to me? Why am I so bored with my life? Why must I be entertained all the time with never a moment to reflect...
The point is that God created us to thrive in who we are. God gave us that gift of pain so that we could share our experiences with others and help in their liberation. God gave us dreams and visions that we may see a little more of His Kingdom on earth. God has given us the gift of today to reflect and forgive, to plan and move forward and ultimately to accomplish His will. Don't squander your life away not facing the hard truth of who you are, why you went through the things you have and why you have that dream that only you can accomplish. Embrace yourself, turn off the TV, write out a few goals and find healing in the hurts you try to drown out.
I leave you with the opening verse from a song of mine entitled "The Dreamer's Dream"
“These dreams could cost These dreams could cost a lifetime These dreams could cost These dreams could cost a life”
VM: What inspires your music? Ed Fuchs: Passion. “In the beginning God created…” And as we are made in God’s image I believe that He wants to use us to create new things. I receive songwriting as a gift from God. Some of the deepest hurts of my life have birthed some of my deepest songs. It was 9 years ago today that I lost my dear Aunt Robin and from that tragic loss came my full length concept album‘Beyond Eternity’s Shore.’ I have seen Romans 8:28 realized in my life time after time. ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
VM: Being a Gospel artist you can’t just put out quality music, you have to put out quality music with a message and make sure that message lines up with the word of God. Does that make writing songs harder for you or not? Ed Fuchs: Songwriting for me is mostly a prophetic act of worship. For many songs I will turn on the recorder and just sing and play guitar. ‘The One and Only’ was an 11-minute song when I first recorded it. Then I listened to the recording I made and wrote out all the lyrics and only kept the best. That song focuses on God opening the blind eyes and letting the dead rise. It’s a sequel to ‘The Only One’. I like to choose topics and scripture that most seem to shy away from. ‘Sent from Above’ is a great example of how I interpret Isaiah 53. I was also an associate pastor for several years so I try and make sure that what singing is theologically correct.
VM: Is there a particular Christian artist or producer that you would love to work with? Ed Fuchs: Wow, that’s tough one. There are many great artists out there that have inspired me. Let’s see… KoRn was one of my favorite bands growing up and to know that Brian ‘Head’ Welch is now saved and using his talents for the Lord is an amazing testimony to how great our God is. I would love to write and work with him some day.
VM: With you being from L.A. you probably see a lot of young apiring musicians with GOD GIVEN TALENT, but instead of using their gifts to glorify the Lord, they’d rather use music to achieve money and fame. If you had a chance to witness to younger musicians and deliver them from that mindset or at least plant a seed in their souls, what would you tell them? Ed Fuchs: I would probably try to get to know them first and see where they are coming from — build a relationship and see if we can help each other, jam and even hangout. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Every gift is from God; singing, songwriting, painting, friendship and listening.
VM: Do you have any new music out or coming out and how can we keep up with all the latest on Ed Fuchs? Ed Fuchs: I recently released a CD called “Beyond Eternity’s Shore” and I have another CD called “Set Us Ablaze” – you can find both on my website (www.EdFuchs.com)- it has all my music available to listen to, download or purchase CDs and merchandise. You can even get some free downloads. It also contains all my contact information. I also send out newsletters. Email EdFuchsMusic@gmail.com to sign up for the mailing list or contact us for booking inquires. You can also connect with us on social media such as www.facebook.com/EdFuchsMusic (all other social media also have EdFuchsMusic in their name). My music is also available on iTunes. I have some new band members and we are working on getting some new material ready to record as a band hopefully soon.
VM: Well that concludes my Interview thanks for your time and sharing some of your life with us. God bless you, brother!!
Victor Miller: I am here with the anointed Christian Rock musician Ed Fuchs, and would like start by asking, how are you? Ed Fuchs: I’m doing great today.
VM: When did you give your life to Christ? Ed Fuchs: I said the ‘sinner’s prayer’ at age 12 one very early December morning. My Aunt Rhonda was visiting and she walked me through the Bible and I prayed this prayer. I was baptized at age 13. I wish I could tell you that everything got better after that but in fact it was then that the real war for my soul was waged.
VM: Can you elaborate on what led you to the Lord? Ed Fuchs: My Grandma Sally died of cirrhosis of the liver from alcohol abuse at age 48. The last year of her life she spent playing piano in my uncle Bobby’s Church. Unfortunately, my mother would follow in her footsteps for many years. I come from a divorced family and had a difficult upbringing. My mother was an alcoholic and had an abusive alcoholic boyfriend that would tear me down emotionally. “You’re nothing. You’ll never be good enough. This is all your fault,” were some of lies I was left to believe. After years of torment I turned to drugs in my teen years to escape the pain. I knew God was real and He was with me, there was a very real struggle in my life. When I turned 21 my mother and I had both gone beyond rock bottom and we left Las Vegas and both entered Teen Challenge, which is a Christian life school for people with drug and alcohol problems. We completed the program and went onto the Ministry Institute they offer afterwards. We’ve both been sober seven years coming up in February andGod uses our story to bring hope to others. (I come from a bloodline of ministers on my mother’s side, so one could say I was led to the Lord by a generational calling.)
VM: How did you get into music? Ed Fuchs: Struggling with worthlessness, depression, and anger turned inwards I gravitated towards angry, powerful music. Music was an outlet for me. Music was my escape. I took Band in sixth grade and at the advice of my mother I started playing the flute. Once I got my first guitar, I threw myself into it as much as I could. Songwriting was something I was doing as soon as I could. Even though I never met my grandma, I feel as though this is something we share together. My mom isn’t very musical and she views my gifts as a way of God giving back to her some of the things she lost from her mother. I’m grateful to have music and a generational call in my blood.
VM: I read on your website that you weren’t always a Christian Rock artist, at one point in your life you were a metal front man. Can you explain what that transition was like for you? Ed Fuchs: God radically transformed my life. I still enjoy heavier music as well as a plethora of other genres, but somewhere along the line I came full circle. The metal music I was playing in Las Vegas was very technical with many parts. Now, sometimes I will write a song with just a catchy chorus, a few verses and maybe a bridge or guitar solo.
VM:. A child flutist turned singer/songwriter/guitar player, it’s obvious you are blessed with a lot of musical talent. Even though you didn’t always use your gift to glorify the Lord, looking back at it do you think it’s safe to say that you were really being groomed to walk in the anointing God has for your life? Ed Fuchs: I’m humbled to be used by God and even as I think back to the dark bars with the bright lights we played at, I can see God’s hand in preparing me for my calling and ministry. I’ve been leading worship for many years now and I’ve learned a lot from both sides of the spectrum.
Happy New Year! Best wishes to you, your family and your friends! And though I’ve written with exclamation marks, I don’t necessarily mean the ball dropping, fireworks exploding, everyone screaming, kissing your lover on the lips “Happy New Years!” (don’t get me wrong, I do wish you that one and I hope your Eve was unforgettable). The Happy New Year I wish you is about… What is your resolution? What is it you want to do/want to stop doing? People are hoping for many things this 2013. They chew nicotine gum, start gym memberships, and make new commitments. Statistics, however, tell us that after a few weeks this new enthusiasm fades away and we are left with a bitter taste in our mouths (especially if we are chewing nicotine gum). So what’s the key to success? How come we can’t quit drinking, smoking, eating garbage food, and start running 5 miles a day, practicing our instruments 2 hours, praying 1 hour a day??? As you read that last sentence I’m sure a 5-hour energy commercial or something else equally ridiculous went through your mind and that’s the point. You can’t do everything all at once! Introducing, ‘The Power of Less’… If you were to introduce just one new healthy habit into your life, you would have a 90% success rate. A new habit can take 21-28 days to become a habit. If you were to introduce 2 new habits at the same time your chances drop significantly and 3 at a time the stats fall crashing to the floor. The idea behind sustainable change is to pick a new habit/goal to accomplish and do just that one goal for the next 2-3 weeks before introducing a new one. Make it so easy that you can’t fail. Most will try to take on the world, will fail, and then say, ‘Well, there’s always next year.’ Don’t wait another year or another day to become the awesome person you were created to be. Implement small changes, find some accountability, and do something today. What are your goals for the New Year? What habits will you introduce today to make sure you reach your goals?