Monday, February 21, 2011

Ahava Love Letter - "Disappointment - His Appointment"

Ahava Love Letter (#16)
 “Disappointment – His Appointment”
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” (Heb. 12:2 (NAS)

Dear family of friends,
Phil Keaggy is a very gifted nine-finger guitarist, who many have said is better than another “famous” one, Jimi Hendrix. I never listened to Jimi (thank God!), but I loved Phil. I still have several of his albums (the real 33 1/3 black vinyl ones) and then several of his CDs. Great music; and his voice is very unique.

Phil is a cool guy. In one interview with Harmony Magazine in 1976 he spoke of being one of ten children, with his mother being a very devout Catholic. (We have only eight kids in our family, and were pretty good Catholics.) He also spoke of how he lost his one finger.

“I was born in 1951. In 1955 I lost a finger on my right hand, my middle finger. We lived on a farm in Hubbard, Ohio, which had a big water pump, and I was climbing up on it. As I was kneeling on top of the platform, it broke and the faucets came crashing down on my finger and cut it off. I can remember it very vividly--as if it happened yesterday, and I can see my dad running down the hill, rescuing me, and taking me to the hospital. I can recall having a white cast and bandage; it was gigantic!

They tried to sew it on, but it didn't take, so I grew up with nine fingers. As a young kid, I was embarrassed about it a lot, especially when I was beginning to get into guitar. I used to be red when I'd play in front of people because I believed they were looking at my hand, which they probably weren't.” (The complete interview is at the very bottom of this Ahava Love Letter. But please read this part of my letter first!)

Phil was living at the Love Inn in Upper New York State, with Scott Ross (700 Club) and Ted Sandquist (who wrote the song “All Praise To The Rock,” which our band Ahava Love sings) when Laurie and I were also in a common purse community in LaSalle/Peru, IL in the late ’70’s. He came to Victory Community with his band in 1978, and held a concert at LP High School. What a concert that was! (They then stayed in our homes.)

I had the joy of taking Phil to the Charlotte, NC airport after he sang at Derek Prince’s Memorial Service on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2003. What a day that was. (He has an album called “What A Day” (1973), so I thought I’d use that pun here. Hope you caught it.) He actually sang two songs during the two hours of honoring Derek. One was “What A Day” that I have on the recorded video tape of the service.

Keaggy wrote and sang another great song on one of his 63 albums, entitled “Love Broke Through.” That specific song is called “Disappointment.” (Released: October 1976 New Song)  

When we sometimes think of disappointments in our lives, and dwell on the thought, “What was up with that, Lord?” Phil’s lyrics can surely help us in our considerations and wonderings. In fact, I still appreciate them so much, that I thought they are worth sharing here with you now. Read on…and allow the Lord to speak to you.

Disappointment - His appointment,
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God's better choice for me.
His appointment must be blessing
Though it may come in disguise
For the end from the beginning,
Open to His wisdom lies.

Disappointment - His appointment
Whose? The Lord's who loves best.
Understands and knows me fully,
Who my faith and love would test.

For like loving, earthy parent
He rejoices when He knows
That His child accepts unquestioned
All that from His wisdom flows.

Disappointment - His appointment
No good thing will He withhold
From denials oft we gather
Treasures from His love untold.

Well, He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller deeper trust
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.

Disappointment - His appointment
Lord I take it then as such,
Like the clay in hands of potter
Yielding wholly to Thy touch.

All my life's plan is Thy molding
Not one single choice be mine
Let me answer unrepining,
Father not my will but Thine.

(Phil Keaggy)

These lines stood out to me. “His appointment must be blessing, though it may come in disguise, for the end from the beginning, open to His wisdom lies. Disappointment - His appointment. Whose? The Lord's who loves best. Understands and knows me fully, Who my faith and love would test.”

If you recently had a disappointment, or even one from years ago that still haunts you, such as, “They should have done this”, or “You could have done that, but…,” consider again the answer to the “Whys” and the “Why Nots?” that we often ask ourselves and others. Start to trust again. As you seek Him, you will find that the answer will always be found in Yeshua (Jesus).

Let’s give our disappointments up to the Lord. We don’t need to keep fretting over what has been done. Move on. Get your eyes and faith fixed once again on Him, the Author and Finisher of your faith and mine.

He loves you. You can always be sure of that. Rest in His peace, His leading, His provision.

Ahava to you my family of friends,

Steve Martin
Love For His People, Inc.

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Ahava Love letter #16   Date: Feb. 22, in the year of our Lord 2011    


Phil Keaggy Interview 
Harmony Magazine
Early 1976
His dark hair and beard frame a face that expresses the openness and serenity of an inner joy. And when he smiles!-- somehow his eyes get into the act. He is Phil Keaggy, guitarist extraordinaire.
Phil lives with his wife, Bernadette, at Freeville, NY and is an active brother there at the Love Inn community. Besides his solo album, "What a Day," on the New Song label, and the three he did as a member of Glass Harp (Decca), Phil has contributed to many of the best Christian releases to date: Honeytree’s "Evergreen,'' Paul Clark's "Good to Be Home" and the 2nd Chapter's "In the Volume of the Book."
Not so much an interview as a testimony, the length necessitated our presenting in it two parts, with the conclusion to follow in the next issue of Harmony.
To Chuck Brown, Randall Pflum and Billy Gray, the interviewers who gave such care to see that the spirit of that afternoon was maintained, our heartfelt thanks.
Harmony: Could we begin with a testimony?
Keaggy: Sure, I was one of ten children; my mother was a very devout Catholic, but my dad was just sort of hangin' in there. He was raised a Lutheran, but he didn't really commit his life to Jesus. He was a hard working man-an iron worker. He put all his time and efforts into supporting the family.
My older sister, Ellen, had sung with orchestras like Guy Lombardo's and others. Later she became an actress. Ellen has been a real influence in my life. I always looked up to her as the star of the family and someone I could relate to, because I was really into music and television sets and watching movies.
As a kid, I was interested in anything that spun on a phonograph. I was fascinated by my brother's Magnavox hi-fi console, and I remember we used to play Guy Lombardo, Mantovani, even the Hilltoppers. all kinds of old music. My younger sister and I--just learning how to walk and talk and everything, would be watching the records and cutting our incoming teeth on the console of the hi-fi. By the time my brother got rid of the hi-fi, there were teeth marks all along the front of it.
Musically, at this time, Mom got me some Fats Domino records like “Blueberry Hill.” Then I got into Elvis Presley. I can remember the day my brother brought home records like "All Shook Up" and "Hound Dog". So anyway, this was all shaping my musical interests--all this kind of music --all these kinds of records.
Harmony: You caught the late fifties, then.
Keaggy: Well, yes. I was born in 1951. In 1955 I lost a finger on my right hand, my middle finger.
Harmony: How did it happen?
Keaggy: We lived on a farm in Hubbard, Ohio, which had a big water pump, and I was climbing up on it. As I was kneeling on top of the platform, it broke and the faucets came crashing down on my finger and cut it off. I can remember it very vividly--as if it happened yesterday, and I can see my dad running down the hill, rescuing me, and taking me to the hospital. I can recall having a white cast and bandage; it was gigantic! They tried to sew it on, but it didn't take, so I grew up with nine fingers. As a young kid, I was embarrassed about it a lot, especially when I was beginning to get into guitar. I used to be red when I'd play in front of people because I believed they were looking at my hand, which they probably weren't.
Harmony: It's amazing that you can do the finger picking that you do.
Keaggy: I'm not amazing at finger picking. I use my thumb, my forefinger, my ring finger and my little finger, and I put try to use them the best that I can.
Before my accident with my finger occurred, my oldest brother was killed in a car accident and two weeks afterward my younger sister had her big toe cut off. These were all really heavy things for my mom and dad to go through.
Harmony: It sure was. Musically, where were you about this time?
Keaggy: Well, we moved to the city in 1958. So here I was, just out of training wheels on my bicycle, and I had a little plastic guitar. After third grade I moved to a suburb of Youngstown, Ohio, called Boardman, and I got my first real guitar. It was a Sears Silvertone for about $19 that my dad bought me for my tenth birthday. I had wanted a set of drums, but my folks couldn't afford them, so I got the guitar.
I didn't know how to tune the guitar;. as it was when it came, that's how I thought it was supposed to be. A good friend once told me that when he got his first guitar, he tuned them all the same. So for about nine months I learned funny little melodies with my guitar tuned out. Finally, my brother Dave said "Here, let me show you how to tune this thing properly." I said, "Well, O.K., but I gotta learn all over again." I was disappointed.
It wasn't too long after that we moved to California for a season. I can still recall being into Elvis and the Ventures back then; old groups like that. I liked funky stuff, too, and I was getting more into the guitar and going to church on Sunday.
Harmony: It was your mother, then, that was the dominant Christian force.
Keaggy: Yeah. She was fantastic. She had so much love, and she was such a giving woman; she gave all of her time to her children and to people that she loved. She brought joy into a lot of people's hearts, so I put wanted to please her as well as I could as far as going to church. My dad didn't go. He'd just drop us off and then come back and pick us up, so there wasn't a spiritual unity in our family. My dad drank, which was a hardship for my mom, and all of us, too, and scared us kids a lot with the things that go along with drinking. Some people, they can't drink without being kinda mean sometimes. But I'm not talking down on my dad, because I know it was just the fact that he wasn’t born again, then. He is now. He just didn’t have a personal knowledge of Jesus then, and so he became a slave of drink and it would take him over.
Harmony: When did you get your first electric guitar?
Keaggy: For Christmas, when I was in fifth grade. It was a hand-made electric guitar and when I got it, wow. I was so happy! I spent most of my time with it. And when I was 12, I got my first good electric.
I was very interested in how record players worked, especially stereos, and Nick, who really impressed me as a nice guy and who worked at this electronic store, would show me around and let me work the different systems, stereo components and all that. One day I mentioned that I really liked playing guitar and he allowed me to record on the Sony Tape Deck and put sound with sound. I played little tunes like "Malaguena" and some different instrumentals I had made up.
One day Nick took me to a music store and said, "'Do you like all those guitars up there." I nodded and he said, "Pick one out.” So I tried them out and chose a Fender Stratocaster. I played it for a while and expected to put it back but Nick said, "Do you like that?"
"Sure!" "Well, it's yours," he said and bought it for me. I paid him back by sweeping driveways and working in the electronics store.
I had that guitar for quite a while and put a lot of time and effort into playing it.
We moved back to Ohio and I joined a group called the Squires. I was an eighth grader at a Catholic school, and everyone else in the group was out of high school. I played in clubs when I was that young, but I was protected from a lot of evil back in those days. The Lord had a shield about me. It wasn't until I was much older that I began to get into loose living and drugs and things like that.
After two years with the Squires, I joined another group, The New Hudson Exit. But the strain of going to school and playing all the time got to me so I left and went to California. I stayed with my sister there until my folks came out. We found an apartment and they lived there for a year and a half, I only stayed seven months. They allowed me to come back home to be with a friend who I'd been writing to, that I'd known since grade school. His name was John Sferra.
John and I had written back and forth expressing our desire to form a group of our own to play the kind of music we wanted to play, especially our own music. Our desire was to have a group that was big--nine piece--like the Electric Flag and Blood, Sweat and Tears. We had big dreams.
Over the neat year and a half Glass Harp was formed consisting of John, myself and Dan Pecchio. My god, at this time, was my instrument. I worshipped musicians, listened to their music, copied their styles and spent hours playing along with Beck or Bloomfield or Hendrix, with Harrison, Clapton and others. I wanted to be a really good rock guitarist and become well known; that was my heart's desire. The Beatles were idols to me. I had every album, every European album, every single they ever recorded. I tried to fashion my vocal style like McCartney. Now I realize the Lord’s given me my own style and I appreciate that, though I still consider McCartney a much better vocalist than myself.
Harmony: Well, I don't know about that.
Keaggy: (laugh) Anyway, we were beginning to become better known in record contracts, our crowds began to grow and we were beginning to play second billing to well-known groups.
But the 18th year of my life was very dark; I was into drugs by now. I knew my mom was concerned about me. My dad didn't know anything; if he did, he'd have hit the ceiling. The unity and discipline wasn't happening in our home, the Bible was not openly read. That was something you heard about in church; that's the way Catholics were taught, at least in those days. So I never read the Bible till I was saved when I was 19. Ever! Now, it's like my road map to heaven; I read it every day. It speaks to my heart; it speaks to me about. everything I need to be and do.
Anyway, back in '69 I was experimenting with LSD. I had done some trips and it was terrible, I thought it might enhance my creative ability in music, but it didn't. I once heard a tape of me playing when I was high and it was awful. I sang weird and I played badly. I thought I was doing such a great job, but it was a deception.
People I was supposedly very close to, who were close to me, were turning on me. It seemed really strange. They were making gestures or mocking me. The things that people do under the influence of drugs is incredible! It's satanic. I was experiencing such fear, I thought I was going to get my head bashed in once because this guy looked at me and I saw hatred coming out of his eyes and oh ! it was just, oh ! terrible. It was like a nightmare.
During these days I would take naps in the afternoon because I'd be so tired playing at night, staying up till 4 in the morning, getting up early and napping again in the afternoon. I'd wake up having nightmares, or daymares, whatever you want to call them; whatever it was, it was like flashbacks.
I was into that whole scene! I had "Peace" written on my wall and I went around giving the peace sign, but I didn't experience peace in my life. I didn't know what peace really meant; it was just a cliché.
Harmony: How did you get turned around?
Keaggy: On February 14, 1970, my dad and mother were on their way to take my sister to her girlfriend's house. At the time I was down in Maryland playing with the group and was high as usual. When I returned I received word from my brother Bill that they were in an accident, a head-on collision. The steering rod had punctured my dad's lung; mom was in critical condition and, as a result, members of the family came from Arizona, California, Pennsylvania and all over. Dad was going to be all right but he was shattered. His world, his whole life was crumbling.
Mom looked very bad but I thought she would snap right out of it, I was very insensitive to the reality of what was going on. I was living in my own world, trying to do my own thing, not really caring about people, just myself. I remember visiting her at the hospital and saying, "Don't worry, mom, you'll be okay." A week later she died.
I was in Mansfield that weekend playing. I came home at 5 in the morning and the lights were on as I entered the house. They told me mom had died at such and such a time and I remember that I fell right to floor in despair. My whole world was shattered, too, because I had really loved mom and I knew that she prayed for me and wanted the best for me. I began now to experience an emptiness in my life--right down deep, gut level, right where my spirit is. I felt I was lost and needed help.
My sister, Ellen, who I hadn't seen for about three years, told me she had an experience that changed her life completely, a born-again experience. She had met Jesus Christ and her life was changed. I just listened to her as she shared her experience with me. And as I looked at her, I saw that she had hope. I could see that she was reflecting peace in her life, and joy, and love.
She shared with me that mom, before she died, praised Jesus. She said that mom had a vision of Jesus, that she literally saw the Lord and beckoned everyone to come see what she was seeing. Mom could only whisper but she was saying, "Praise God."
Mary Ellen was sharing with me and my younger sister, Geri, about how we both could come to know the Lord and have our lives changed. She invited us to an Assembly of Cod service one Sunday morning while she was in our area. I heard the Gospel preached and I responded with my need, I went forward, knelt down and said, "Jesus, come into my life."
I knew I'd tried a lot of other things; I'd seen the other side. I wanted to see what God had to offer me. But I didn't know a whole lot. I didn't even know what He was going to do, but I knew Jesus was the answer.
Part 2:
Keaggy: So I was saved on a Sunday morning, two weeks after my mom passed away. I experienced a joy that morning; a burden was lifted from my shoulders and something new took place. In the Bible, I John I, it says that I wasn't born of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the living and abiding word of God, so that when I received Jesus, I received the seed of eternal life and it's been growing ever since. My life began to change -- even my desires that very day that I accepted Jesus were different. I went home and listened to "Presence of the Lord" by Blind Faith. Out of all my rock collection, I just wanted to hear that song; something to talk about the Lord.
Harmony: What was the reaction of your friends to your experience?
Keaggy: Well, there's a verse in the Bible, Psalm 118:7, that says, "The Lord is for me among those who help me." That's a verse that I'll always remember because God's people, the few that I knew, were beginning to be a blessing to me, and lead me by the hand to answer some of my questions and to pray with me, because I had no fellowship.
The rest of the band just couldn't figure out what was going on. I liked them; we got along well and were united in our goals for the band. But something had happened to me. I saw something in my own life that I had never seen before, and I saw that the reason that I had been given a talent was to glorify God. I was to write music that expressed the love of Jesus.
I began to refuse their dope. We traveled in a little Fiat together, and we'd squeeze in and they'd offer me a joint, but I just didn't want it. The Holy Spirit had spoken directly to my heart. I remember being stoned one night and I just started feeling a conviction happening inside me. It was like hearing another voice saying, "What are you doing to yourself? You don't need that, it's deceiving you." But on the other hand, I heard other people saying, "Here, come on. What's wrong with you? Be like us." Hey, that's a really heavy thing to go through as a very young Christian, and I really sympathize with your young Christians, became it's really hard to take that step. But I was strengthened at this time by some regular fellowship at a little place called The Barn.
Keaggy: We signed a contract with Decca in the summer of 1970 and in September we recorded our first album. It was recorded in New York City in about a week. Even though I had bronchitis and had to sing one verse at a time, it worked out. And I was even able to get in a witness for the Lord Jesus in "Can You See Me" and "Look in the Sky." "Look in the Sky" was completely spontaneous in the studio, at a warm- up practice at 10:00 in the morning. The words just came, they flowed; nothing really spectacular, but it came out of our hearts. We enjoyed playing together and we really got tight musically. But spiritually we were going different directions.
We did a California tour right after we recorded our second album, Synergy. I met a lot of Christians there, I remember leading a brother to the Lord in San Diego who later gave me an acoustic guitar valued at close to $1,000. He just gave it to me. I was not expecting it. That album was a real experience because I was able to sing The Answer, a song I wrote right after my conversion to Christ. And with two Jewish producers and an engineer that didn't care about Jesus, I was surprised that out of 15 songs, one of the ten that got on the album was The Answer. I praise Jesus for that work, because it's just a simple song of testimony.
Harmony: The California tour was a very successful one for you?
Keaggy: Well, yes. It opened a lot of doors for the group. We played Winterland out there, and Whiskey A Go-Go, and we did a KSAN-FM live concert, which was aired over the whole San Francisco area. We played on the same bill with Michael Bloomfield. Mike's a guitar player I'd respected for a long time. I learned his licks and I worked with his style, but when I saw him I was kind of disappointed because he was going through a lot of changes. It's like the Bible says: "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." It's the same way with a musician. If he's living in despair, if he's down a lot, it will come out in his music.
I was very up: I was the most up at that concert than I had been in a long time because, first of all, I wanted to play well: I was clear-headed, I loved Jesus, and I wanted to play unto the Lord with all my might; secondly, Michael Bloomfield was there and I wanted him to be impressed. What we played was recorded that night and to this day I am happier with that recording than I am with any of the albums that we recorded, it's that good. But when Bloomfield's band played it seemed down and just wasn't flowing. But I still respect him; I don't know what he's doing these days, but I pray that he's beginning to see the light. I know he's Jewish, and the Lord is doing great things among Jewish people. So I pray for him.
Anyway, as far as recording, after the second album, we did a concert in Carnegie Hall, which was recorded and supposed to be the third album. It was good, but it wasn't released for some reason. We then went into the studio and recorded It Makes Me Glad. We all worked the best that we could. The group knew that it would be our last album together because I had given notice that I was going to leave. And on August 8, I did. It was a really heavy thing for everybody. I had changed my mind four times previously but this time I knew that if I stayed, I'd be disappointed.
Harmony: So you left. What then?
Keaggy: I was out of Glass Harp for only two weeks, and started searching for "a kingdom of God in the flesh." I stayed four days at Love Inn, worshipped and sang my songs for them. The day I left to go back to Youngstown, Ohio, they cried; they had attached themselves to me.
Harmony: How did you know about Love Inn?
Keaggy: Well, Peter York's brother Bruce told me that he had stopped there on the way back from his honeymoon in Cape Cod. He told me that I should check it out, that the Lord was doing some really great things there.
Harmony: Who is Peter York?
Keaggy: Well, he's a brother that I had met and spent some time jamming with even when I was with Glass Harp. He was only 14 at the time. He wasn't Joe Musician, but I sure enjoyed his company. He was simple, not heady or highminded, and he and I hit it off as friends. We got together and wrote a couple of songs and really experienced something between us. The Lord was joining us without our knowing it.
Bruce had said, "Someday you ought to get together with Peter and just sort of play once in a while.” And I said, "I’d enjoy it occasionally, but I couldn't think of a permanent thing with him." But it ended up that way for about 51/2 years, Peter and I touring together.
Harmony: How did the What A Day album get recorded?
Keaggy: After I left the Love Inn I went back to Youngstown and did the music for some children's films. I really hit it off with the engineer at Motion Picture Sound in Cleveland. His name was Gary Hedden. He suggested that I cut some of my songs there. So things started falling into place.
I had also met a man by the name of Al Stevenson who had worked at Channel 25 in Cleveland. Out of the goodness of his heart he said he would back me in this album project. So he put forth $2,800 and said, "Whatever the cost is, go right ahead. You can pay me back when the album comes out." It was really incredible how God was doing this; the desire of my heart for two years before this had been to record an album of the songs that the Lord had given me. So on January 2, 1973, What A Day began to be recorded. I spent six days in the studio with Gary. Sessions were from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Everything flowed; there was no striving. Gary and I became good friends, and I didn't preach at him; I just showed him how Jesus had changed me and let him know how I felt about the Lord when he asked me. The Bible says, "If any man ask you to give the reason for the hope that lies within you, do it". I was able to do that, and a week later Gary accepted Christ on his own. Both he and his wife became Christians and they're doing well. They're both baptized in the Holy Spirit. I was baptized in the Spirit in 1970 at a Kathryn Kuhlman service: It was a beautiful experience.
Harmony: Back to the album, what next?
Keaggy: Well, after Scott Ross and I had shared his vision of a record company called New Song when I visited Love Inn. I believed in it and wanted to be a part of a record company that would be totally for the Lord and guided by scriptural principles. So I sent the masters to Freeville with a note saying, ‘This is the album and if New Song wants to release it, I'm all for it.’ But due to lack of experience and finances we were unable to put the album out until June ‘74.
Harmony: What finally made you leave Youngstown for Freeville?
Keaggy: In June, 1974, while touring with Paul Clark and Peter York, the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to 'get off the road, quit being a lone-ranger minister and get plugged into a body (join a community).'
Bernadette (my wife of 11 months at that time) and I were still in Ohio but we knew our hearts were at Love Inn. I felt a part of Love Inn and the album connected me with them.
Harmony: How did the Love Inn begin?
Keaggy: Love Inn began as an idea in Scott Ross' head and grew into a large fellowship group with a national ministry.
Harmony: Could you describe Love Inn and the function of its ministry?
Keaggy: The elders at Love Inn are Scott Ross, a former deejay turned minister and Ted Sandquist. The Love Inn Community of Freeville, New York, is a body of believers functioning primarily according to New Testament patterns, and is not just another church on the corner, or a commune. We're a family and God is teaching us more and more. There's a quality of life that's being experienced here, in a practical outworking of the Lordship of Jesus in our lives, that is surpassing anything I've come from.
In addition to New Song Records, we publish Free Love, a bimonthly newspaper, produce biblical teaching tapes, and produce the Scott Ross Show, which is a nationally distributed contemporary gospel music show. Our worship and business center is in a completely remodeled barn, which also homes the book and record store and studio where Scott's show is produced.
Harmony: What was your immediate reaction upon joining the community?
Keaggy: One of the first things that happened to me here was that I had to come under authority. It's been hard for me to let go of my independence, but I am learning that they are not trying to hold me down, or restrict me out of jealousy, or just to put their thumb on me so that I won't be happy. It means less time spent on the road sometimes but I'm experiencing a lasting closeness with other Christians. I look in my brothers' faces and see the love they have for me.
Harmony: What is your function at Love Inn?
Keaggy: To learn discipline and how to serve others. I've taken on the responsibility of being part of the Love Inn staff. If I show faithfulness in this job, the Lord will entrust me with greater things. When I'm not on the road, which is most of the time now, I work at Love Inn. Nine to five, Monday through Friday, I work in the tape duplicating room. I clean the place, unpack twenty-five tapes of the Scott Boss Show each day and duplicate a total of 800 shows on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday afternoons, I work in the recording studio with Ted Sandquist on a song to go along with Scott’s show topic. It becomes tedious and menial work sometimes. I get my eyes off Jesus and say, 'Oh, Lord, this is a drag I could be out there telling people about Jesus with my music realize, though, that He's trying to tell me, 'Son, I’m not finished with you yet."
Harmony: Where did you and Bernadette meet? Is she a hometown Ohio girl?
Keaggy: Yes, she is. We met in '71, when the Glass Harp was playing at Oden's Den in Akron. I'd see her there Monday nights with her friends every week. She can tell it, if she likes.
Bernadette: Well, you about said it. We used to go hear the band play and I guess I hadn’t ever planned on meeting him. I just enjoyed their music. One time, during a break, he came over and stated talking to me. And gradually we became good friends.
Harmony: Did he reveal he was a Christian at the time?
Bernadette: Yes, he shared the Lord Jesus with me, and it was a totally new thing for me. I was brought up Catholic but I had strayed from that, so it was a different approach and it really interested me, I was open to it. He took me to a couple of prayer meetings that he regularly went to and introduced me to some of his Christian friends, and I could see that they bad something special, a glow and a happiness that I really desired.
Keaggy: People need to see it in us. I'm sorry that I couldn't have been more loving toward people when I was a young Christian. I was so zealous and interested in winning them to Jesus that I forgot about loving them first. I think marriage has helped me understand that. We have been married since July 1973, and our relationship is as exciting as it was when we were first married. Jesus renews our love. daily. Because of our relationship, we can learn how to love others well. Down deep inside, people can sense whether or not you receive them in love, or you are trying to rap on them or Bible belt them.
Harmony: Bernadette, what's it like being married to one of the top guitarists in the world?
Keaggy: First of all, I'm not. Not even in New York.
Bernadette: You know, it's funny. A lot of people ask me that and also questions like "What's it like to be ministered to 24 hours a day?" But even when I first met him, I just saw him as a person, not as some famous musician up there playing in front of hundreds of people. I love his music and I listen to it, and I don't play his album every day but just once a while.
Keaggy: (laughter) Mostly when I'm gone.
Bernadette: And I love to hear him when he creates new music.
Harmony: Getting back to What a Day, the album really ministers.
Keaggy: I appreciate that. The album came out of my life. Now I Can See is the song that really speaks what my heart is saying. When life goes into an album, life comes out. There is a lot of music that is fantastic technically but it lacks life and spirit. Jesus said, "The flesh profits nothing, but the Spirit gives life." I've got music that's fantastic musically, but then there's music that the Lord ministers through. He anoints it. The input that you receive is also your output. Its roots go back to influences in a person's life that have been good and pure. You know, when it comes to anointing, that's something only the Lord can do: He can use someone who isn't as talented or someone who is much more talented than I am. I encourage people to get into music but I remind them to remember who's the author and giver of that gift. I discourage people from getting a guitar just to be like me. When someone is given a gift from the Lord, the Lord will accomplish that which concerns that gift. It's all for the purpose of glorifying Him, to build up the Body, to edify the Body, and to bring news to the fainthearted -- -- to those who are lost, and to set the captives free.
Harmony: What are your goals?
Keaggy: I know I can't let my music take prominence over the Lord’s will. We haven't had the finances to put out my second album, but I'm been doing backup work and production. I guess my goal is to really trust the Lord for all of it. I want the album to be released and I want to know more about guitar -- those are the desires of my heart. Those are desires God can grant if you delight yourself in the Lord.
As this story goes to press, Phil is going into a west coast studio to cut his second New Song album. The album, produced by Buck Herring is scheduled for a fall release. As reported in Vol. I No. 6 of Harmony, New Song is now distributed by Word, Inc. (

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ahava Love Band - Beit Tikvah night at Antioch Intl. Church in Fort Mill, SC

Ahava Love Band

- Steve & Laurie Martin - vocal worship leaders
Little Big Eagle - bass, Toni Bogart - keyboard, Lorelei Ross - violin,
Bill Terrell - electric guitar, James Starens - congas

(Photo by Curtis Loftin - Beit Yeshua, Lincolnton NC)

Laurie Martin (Steve Martin) praying over Shabbat candles
at Beit Tikvah
- every Friday night at 7 pm
to honor Israel
learn of our Jewish roots.

Antioch Intl. Church
8180 Regent Pwy. Fort Mill SC

(photo by Curtis Loftin - Beith Yeshua, Lincolnton NC)

Ahava Love Letter - "Barney"

Ahava Love Letter 
 “… he encouraged them all, that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. (Act s 11: 23-24NAS)

Dear family of friends,
Most of us might remember Barney Rubble, the good friend of Fred Flintstone. You know, Fred, the animated “pre-NASCAR” man who worked the rock quarry, before cell phones could fit in your pocket. Along with his faithful wife, Wilma, and of course Fred’s face-licking mini-dinosaur appropriately named “Dino”, they all were good neighbors and friends of Barney and his black-haired wife Betty. (The original “B&B”.)

You might also recall Barney Fife, the deputy sidekick of Sheriff Andy Griffith, also a TV icon in the early ‘60’s. (OK, so I continually age myself. What does that say about you who remember these guys too??!!) Barney didn’t always get it right, but he tried as best he could. And it made for good entertainment, back in the black and white days.

How many of you remember the other Barney, from the ‘30’s (as in 34-39 A.D.), the one first written about in the 4th chapter of Acts, in our Bibles? Though his name was actually spelled “Barnabas”, I thought I’d get your attention first, and then share what I really want to in this Ahava Love Letter.

Barnabas interests me. He isn’t among the apostles most often written about in the New Testament, nor the one that you hear spoken of much at all in gatherings, alongside the first Twelve. But if it wasn’t for Barnabas, would there be a “Paul”, as we know of the formerly named Saul?

You see, Barnabas was the one who gave Paul the “open door” to the doubting ones in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27.) Especially after the transformed Saul became Paul. Who wouldn’t have been a bit skeptical, if you had known of Saul’s earlier efforts to destroy the first believers in Yeshuah HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ - Hebrew), and then find out he was now “one of you.” Oh really?

Barnabas gave Paul the boost he needed to start his God-given journey. He was the encourager (his name actually means “son of encouragement”), the one who stood up and said, “Give this guy the opportunity to do what the Lord has ordained him to do.”

Barnabas was the one who risked his own reputation, by saying, “This one is genuine”; to stand with him when others would rather have pulled back and let the guy try to prove it on his own; what he had been called to do.

Didn’t you appreciate someone like Barnabas, in your own life, who stood alongside you, holding you up on your wobbly legs, when you first got started in your personal walk with the Lord, and in the calling He apprehended you for?

My “Barnabas” was a young man named Doug Van Hoff, who encouraged me in 1973-77, while the two of us worked together on third shift (11 pm – 6 am) at Eagle’s grocery store in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (The “other store” down University Avenue, from Hy-Vee, where football great Kurt Warner worked years later. Another “night stocker”, maybe?)

Doug was a very quiet guy, about five years older than I was at the time (at age 20.) He walked with a slight hump, and had a big smile when he did. During our nightly breaks, we’d sit on the cash register counters, (with the black conveyor belts and all) and he would read a chapter or two from the Bible. Even while the local rock and roll radio station was blasting over the intercom, to keep the whole crew awake!

Sometimes during the night he would walk over to my aisle during “stocking times” and had me question why I was singing so loudly that song then airing. “Do you know what you are singing?” he asked, when I had been belting out along with The Beatles, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” I shut up real quick after my ignorance was replaced with understanding. Thank God.

Doug suggested one night that he and I pray for a person in China to get saved. I had no idea who we were praying for, and questioned to myself the validity of the prayer. Then a couple of nights later he said, “Now that the one we prayed for is saved, we need to pray that they get someone to disciple them.” So we prayed for that one to have a godly man or woman come into their life to help train and encourage them.

Then a week or two later we prayed for that new Chinese believer to get Scripture into their hands, to have the written Word in their own language. Who knew – other than the Lord Himself – that Laurie and I, about 30 years later, in 2002, actually maybe delivered Chinese Bibles and Derek Prince translated teaching books into their hands? Or even their children or disciples, on our trip with director Ross Paterson of Derek Prince Ministries – China? Wouldn’t that have been God??!!

I hope you had a “Barnabas” in your life. I hope you even have one now. That someone who will walk with you, encourage you, and tell you that the Lord is indeed leading you, directing your steps, and you are not alone in your walk with Yeshua. If you don’t have a “Barney” (or “Barnie”, if a lady is the proper fit!) in your life now, ask the Lord. He is faithful and will give you who and what you need. In the meantime, I would love to be an encourager to you, so let me know how I can!

We all need encouragers, whether we have just started on our journey, or are forty years along the mountain trail. I have a few in my life, and am so appreciative of them.

Ahava to you my family of friends,

Steve Martin
Love For His People, Inc.

P.S. Beit Tikvah meetings, held as part of Antioch International Church’s desire to bless Israel and instruct believers in our Jewish roots, is held every Friday night at 7 pm in Fort Mill, SC on the former Heritage USA property. We are next to our good friends at Morningstar fellowship.  (Address: 8180 Regent Parkway, Ste. 118  Fort Mill, SC 29715)
Laurie and I, along with the Ahava Love Band, share Messianic worship music as we enjoy giving praise to Adonai. Senior Pastor Peter Wyns also loves sharing on his Jewish roots. We are Jews and Gentiles, coming together as one, for His end-time purposes to be fulfilled. We will walk together in unity.
Please plan on joining us when you are in the Charlotte area! 
Love For His People , Inc.needs your generous encouragement too. Please consider donating now on-line by clicking here for our website’s “Giving Opportunities” tab, or by sending checks to the address below. Todah rabah! (Hebrew - Thank you very much.) ©2011 Steve  Martin      Love For His People, Inc.  P.O. Box 470035   Charlotte, NC 28247-0035      E-mail:
 Facebook pages: Steve Martin  and  Love For His People       Twitter: martinlighthous  and  LovingHisPeople  
Blogger:         YouTube: loveforhispeopleinc

Love For His People, Inc. is a charitable, not-for-profit USA organization. Fed. ID#27-1633858.  Tax deductible contributions sent by mail or given on-line will receive an e-receipt for each donation, for you to print out. (Saves the ministry on postage?  

Ahava Love letter #15       Date: Feb. 15, in the year of our Lord 2011   

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ahava Love Letter - "Dreams Do Come True - Part IV" (Final of series.)

          Ahava Love Letter   
“Dreams Do Come True – The BARN”
(Part IV of Series – Final)

This is the LORD'S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23 (NASB)

Dear family of friends,

In the previous parts of this series (I - III) I shared the beginning of “dreams do come true.” In addition to other means of confirmation, through a dream the Lord gave to me in 1991, a major move, resulting with exciting changes, came about in my life and others, in 1994. It was the start of a new challenge, in a new area, with old and new friends. I conclude this current ahava journey (love in Hebrew), with this final segment of Ahava Love Letters - “Dreams Do Come True” - Part IV.

As you may recall in my previous love letter (Part III), there was a horse barn in the dream. (A “working” barn, as I described it in a written note accompanying the dream drawing, when I shared it with others later, back in 1991.) There was the one on the property. But there were horses in it.
The need for a larger “tent” for the newly started “Watch of the Lord” was very apparent. But where? Space on the new property we now occupied was limited, even with all the acreage the Lord had now entrusted to us small band of prayer warriors.
During another time of “day” prayer, in addition to the Friday all night prayer group, Bonnie received a word, or vision, from the Lord, in regards to the horse barn. That was it! The horse barn could become the next location for the “Watch of the Lord” and All Nations Church Sunday meetings. Are you kidding, Lord? A horse barn, with horses in it?!
Yes. That was the answer. Just like Jesus Himself was born in a lowly place, the ways of the Lord are not ours. (Thank goodness!) His answer to our seeking Him for His provision was right there under our noses. (Horses do create a certain scent, in their stalls.)
But in no time, the horses were trucked away to another location, and my Dad, Louis Martin, and I, took turns swinging the five pound sledge hammer to remove the 2” x 10” x 10” planked stall walls. What an exciting, but hard labor time, it was. Art Maki joined us in literally carrying away the stall doors. Timmy Bryant helped as he could, when not doing his other jobs in caring for kids and running errands. Bill Doak, Sam Carpenter, Willie Hardee, Bobby Hussey, Rick Hardee, Calvin Elston, Ham Fitcher, Selva Ayempeuromal, Josh and Ben Martin, and so many countless others provided more manpower. Even homeless men from Charlotte were driven to the barn during the week by Art Hatton, to give their strength. The Lord overall was giving much grace and energy to His “laborers in the field.” Literally.
Over the next few months, many came on the weekends to join in the effort. While still continuing on “building in the spiritual” with the “Watch” every Friday night in the chapel, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., we got a few hours of sleep and then came back to “build in the natural”. The zeal of the Lord consumed us for His purposes to be accomplished. We were also very grateful for the ladies who cooked great lunches for all. Lila Martin, Ginger Hussey, Laurie Hardee, Rainbow Coan, Linda Hardee, Martha Doak and others. Picnics outside every Saturday afternoon!
When the completion date came, after much blood, sweat and tears (of joy!), “The Barn” began working. We could fit about 120 comfortably in the gathering place, but there were times when many more came to bless the Living God of Israel, to worship and sing His Mighty praises. Powerful healings, prayer for all the nations, especially Israel, were protocol. Shofars were blown. The sound of loud drums and the congas filled the night air. It was a good thing we were out in the country. No neighbors calling to report loud noises!
The faithful worship team, led often by Bobby Hussey on the keyboard, played and praised for hours and hours. Bob Smith, Bob Sherrill, Doug Goff, Rick Hardee and Gilbert Crespo on the drums were the musicians. Laurie Martin, Laurie Hardee, Rainbow Coan, Patti McPherson, Tim Tennant, Angie Carpenter, Brian Johnston and Ed Brigham were the backup singers. As for me, I loved shaking the tambourine, and singing the great songs, while at the same time reading Bobby Hussey’s lips. (Sometimes it was so loud I couldn’t hear what he was singing!) It was a great time being with the Lord of Hosts and His people.
Those glorious days lasted exactly two years. On Sunday morning, Father’s Day of June, 1997, the last meeting took place in “The Barn.” That portion of the property was sold to building developers, and within a month or two there was nothing left of this simple, yet awesome, location of the Lord’s doing.
Hold those other horses! My Dad, whom I know I inherited this from, didn’t want to see anything go to waste. He and I gathered up a few of the 4’ x 6’ x 8’ panel sidewalls, one of the entry doors, some of the heavy duty 6” x 6” posts. We then built a “mini-barn” in the back of my home’s yard! To this day, while housing the “pulpit” that the head pastor sat behind, my yard tools, three of Jeff Gordon #24 NASCAR tires, and a few memories of days gone by, this “stone from the Jordan River crossing” stands.
Isn’t the Lord amazing?! Isn’t He so full of love, provision, and hope for His children?! He is our Heavenly Father.
Many of those relationships, bonded over 15 years ago, still unite several of us. We prayed together. We worshipped together. We ate together. We worked together. We saw the Lord do miracles together.
I would love to share a whole lot more, but maybe at a later time.
Before I end this letter, and series, I want to share one very important concern the Lord keeps pressing deeper and deeper into my heart. It seems that I am almost consumed with this desire of His.
What I really loved seeing during those two years together were the different people, who came from different churches, to bless the same Father. What a joy it must have been for Abba to see His children enjoying His presence with one another.
I long to see the day when Abundant Hope (Matt & Darlene Woodhouse), All Nations Church (Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda), Antioch International Church (Peter Wyns, Jesse Enns, Richard Tompkins and myself), Beit Shofarot (Yossi Wentz), Beit Yeshua (Curtis Loftin and Doug Williams), Cornerstone Church (Mark DeVito, Alan, John and Brian), Chavda Ministries International, CFI-USA (Hannele Pardain), Derek Prince Ministries (Dick Leggatt), FIRE Church (Scott Volk and Michael Brown), Highway To Zion (Cathy Hargett), Hope of Israel (Sam Nadler), MorningStar Fellowship (Rick Joyner, Dave Yarnes and team), Present Word Ministries (Robbie Phillips), St. Giles Presbyterian (John Brown, Mike Green and all) and Vision for Israel (Barry & Batya Segal) - fellowships and ministries that we have either been members of, currently fellowship with, or served at over the last 17 years here in the greater Charlotte, NC area - will gather together at least one day. Imagine having each tribe and each people, blessing the Almighty God of Israel, as His children together. What do you think that will do to His heart? What do you think it will do to yours and mine?
“The Barn” gatherings were meant to be just a taste of what is to come. His plans for each of us are so beyond our dreams, visions and imaginations.
What a Mighty God we serve! The One Who WATCHES over Israel, Who also indeed watches over all those who will choose to draw near to Him and the rest of His Body.
Let Jesus (Yeshua) know of your heart’s love and commitment to Him today. Let us show our love for Him by walking together in love and unity.
Now would be such a good time.
Ahava to my family of friends,
Steve Martin
Love For His People, Inc.

A very special closing note:  I hereby dedicate this entire four part series of “Dreams Do Come True” to my Mom and Dad. They had moved down to Charlotte, from over 40 years in Iowa, to help me with the work of the Lord. He had just retired at age 63, after spending 33 years working in the hot, dusty Viking Pump iron foundry in Cedar Falls, IA.
In the evenings, while yet there in Iowa, he also used to give of himself to several churches, laboring with his electrical skills to rewire their buildings. It was his gift to them, to show of his inner love for His Savior, Jesus Christ, as best he knew how.
Little did we know that he had early stages of lymphoma cancer over those two “retirement years” of 1995-1997, while part of “The Barn” history. Not until later, because he never complained to my knowledge, but continued being such a role model, and father figure, to so many of us.
I am so proud of my Dad. He spoke very little, but was such a hard worker, and provider for Mom and all of us eight kids. When he went to be with our Lord in July, 2000, before his 68th birthday, we mourned his passing, but rejoiced that his suffering in his natural body was over. He now dances in heaven with the rest (and best) of them!
So much honor and appreciation belongs to him too, along with the other natural and spiritual forefathers that I am deeply grateful for. Thanks Dad for being such a great example of how to “walk the walk”, while not speaking idle words. I love you, and miss you.
At the bottom of this Ahava Love Letter is a poem I wrote to honor him, nine years after his passing, on July 7, 2008.

P.S. Beit Tikvah meetings, held as part of Antioch International Church’s desire to bless Israel and instruct believers in our Jewish roots, is held every Friday night at 7 pm in Fort Mill, SC on the former Heritage USA property. We are next to our good friends at Morningstar fellowship.  Laurie and I, along with the Ahava Love Band, share Messianic worship music as we enjoy giving praise to Adonai. Senior Pastor Peter Wyns also loves sharing on his Jewish roots. We are Jews and Gentiles, coming together as one, for His end-time purposes to be fulfilled. We will walk together in unity.

Please plan on joining us when you are in the Charlotte area!  
Love For His People needs your generous support. Please consider donating now on-line by clicking here for our website’s “Giving Opportunities” tab, or by sending checks to the address below. Todah rabah! (Hebrew - Thank you very much.)
©2011 Steve  Martin      Love For His People, Inc.  P.O. Box 470035   Charlotte, NC 28247-0035      E-mail:
 Facebook pages: Steve Martin  and  Love For His People       Twitter: martinlighthous  and  LovingHisPeople  
Blogger:         YouTube: loveforhispeopleinc

Love For His People, Inc. is a charitable, not-for-profit USA organization. Fed. ID#27-1633858.  Tax deductible contributions sent by mail or given on-line will receive an e-receipt for each donation, for you to print out. (Saves the ministry on postage?  

Ahava Love letter #14    Date: Feb. 8, in the year of our Lord 2011          Part IV (and final)  in the “Dreams Do Come True” series.

My Father Is With My Father
Nine years ago this July month,
My Father took my father home to Him.
After sixty-seven years on earth,
He has him in His place, of far more worth.

A quiet man, who didn’t say much at all,
But who spoke with his hard work, and commitments too.
These made him the real godly man I trust he was,
Which few probably knew, though I think it ‘twas.

Two jobs a day, most of those years of life,
Providing for eight kids, and our Mom, his wife.
Two pairs of hands, a heart of determination and will,
Made him the one I often think of still.

Not one to complain – just do what it takes;
Fixing peoples homes and many churches, for God’s sake.
Foundry life was hot, dirty and most often forlorn,
But he still had the garden, providing all with beans and corn.

Putting in electric outlets, insulation and lights,
Made the evening hours long and not that bright.
But when finished, and another job was done,
Gave me a sense of pride, in being my father’s son.

So kids, love your dad on earth, and especially the One above.
Learn what you can now, as he shows you His love.
And fathers, keep your children taught, with all the good you know,
For they need to see the Way, but not just for show.

My Father has my father, now in his heavenly reward.
He’s probably fixing someone’s mansion, so far upward.
Maybe he’s tending a garden, or camping with some friends,
Or getting the rest he so deserved; but with helping hands still lends.

For you Dad, with love,

Steve and all your family
July 7, 2008