Good morning! Bless Yahweh, who gives favor. Favor from Him, and favor with men. I’ve been blessed by the people that Yah has placed in my life. I firmly believe that life is about relationships – my relationship with my Creator, and then, as an extension of that, my relationship with other people. It’s been how I conduct business relationships as well. In fact I have a hard time trying to separate business relationships from relationships in general. I’m not sure they should be separated. But that could be a long discussion, and best left for another time. But today I want to focus on one of those relationships.
About 33 years ago Stone County Band was looking for a place to record our second record. We had heard about Sweetwater Sound, and Chuck Surack, in Fort Wayne, IN. We decided to check it out. After a visit we booked the session and that began a relationship that has played out in my life throughout the ensuing years. Chuck co-produced that first record with us, and we garnered airplay in several markets around the country, but we fell just short of charting on Cashbox. We went on to record again at Sweetwater, before I left the band in 1987.
In 1993, after a stint in life insurance and financial planning, I came to the conclusion that music was really what I was meant to be involved in, so I went looking for the next step. I didn’t have to look long until I learned that Sweetwater had grown and was now a full time studio and music gear retailer. Through some interesting turns of events, where I kind of forced my way into an interview, I was hired. Throughout the 90’s I worked in the studio, before leaving for 10 years to pursue production on my own, and to manage Christian radio. In 2007 I was asked to return to Sweetwater, where I stayed for 8 years. I left my position at Sweetwater in January 2015. But the part of the story that is most important is that the relationship continues. It is the relationship that I have with Chuck Surack, that began in his small home studio on Getz Road, in Fort Wayne, that allowed me to be a part of the amazing international operation that Chuck has grown Sweetwater into.
Fast forward to today. I’m 61 years old and find myself in a place in life where I need to slow down, but not quit! I have some serious issues with spinal stenosis that has forced me to limit my on field time, but not to be permanently sidelined. So I’m continuing to do a little freelance to supplement disability, and I’m beginning to do some little singer-songwriter performances and some nursing home/assisted living shows. The nursing home shows are the best! They’re only an hour, and their very relaxed, and very rewarding. I get to encourage some people who really need it, while entertaining them for a brief period of time, and in turn I’m encouraged. I say all this to provide background for how the relationship that Yah has allowed me to have with Chuck Surack came into sharp focus again this week.
Since I have a bad back, and lifting a lot of heavy gear is no longer in the picture, I knew I needed to downsize what I used for the performances. I needed a PA system that was light, and made a small footprint, while giving me the power and flexibility I needed. But, I didn’t have the funds to purchase one. I was looking at the Bose L1, and while researching I ran across the new Mackie Reach. It looked promising, buy still I didn’t have the funds to get it. I went back and forth about contacting Chuck to see if he could help. After about two weeks of that I finally decided to send him an e-mail.
Chuck believes in relationship and he is a very community minded individual. When I laid out where I am in my life, and what I wanted to do with these nursing home performances, Chuck generously donated a Mackie Reach to me to use for these performances! Thank you Chuck! And I thank my Father Yahweh for His work in me that changed me from a young punk that went through relationships like water into a man who values and nurtures relationships. It’s something I wish I had learned a lot earlier than I did.
I am learning that if I want to have an impact in other people’s lives, in Truth, then it must be done in love. I realize that I’ve begun to value people far more than I once did. I think, in a small way, I’m beginning to realize that I have the mind of Messiah. I know that Scripture says that, and I believe it, but I’m beginning to focus on His mind a little more than my own mind. It’s a flesh versus Spirit thing. And it is something that grows more and more in me as I believe His Torah, and submit to His Spirit’s work in me to walk in it, to love Yahweh with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love my neighbor as I love myself. All of Torah obedience hangs on the choice to love.