Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Rock God Met The God of Rock!

I love amazing encounters with really interesting people. This past weekend I had one of those. I had the opportunity to work in security at the International Guitar Festival which took place at Market Hall here in Dallas, Texas. Imagine if you will a giant convention center filled with nothing but guitars and things pertaining to the music business. It was quite a gathering of very peculiar people. There were large music vendors like Gibson, Fender, and Yamaha all showing their newest wares that turn the mediocre into guitar virtuosos. There were lots of 50-something women still dressed like they were groupies waiting for Motley Crue to come out of the stage door so they could party with the band. Unfortunately, they still look hot, only in their own minds. And yes, there were lots of 60-something men, adorned with rock gear who still live in a 70s time capsule. It was sad. Remember the song by Jethro TullToo Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die”? That song was written for these wrinkled musicians of the days of yore. But my weekend changed at a place called the cave.

I was working the back of the facility at a small room where they did “up close and personal” guitar clinics. George Lynch of Dokken blasted the room at a decibel level to make sure that nobody had ear drums left. Like Spinal Tap, he just wanted to make some ear drums bleed. They screened a great movie called “The Wrecking Crew”. Watch it if you can. It's amazing. But then, in came rock star Rick Derringer to do a clinic. I stood outside the room, trying to look as daunting and bad-ass as possible. I was security after all. But I listened intently to everything he was saying. He told his story. The room was packed; and all ears were focused on his captivating storytelling abilities. Everyone was amazed at the famous songs he had played guitar on, and the fame he had accumulated. And then he did it. He played the famous song that everyone thinks about when the name Rick Derringer is mentioned: “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”. Horned hand salutes bobbed in the air as swaying heads and tapping feet played right along with his song. The man hit all the high notes. He still has it. Then his clinic took an amazing turn.

He went on to tell the people that he had rewritten that song due to the fact that he now has a relationship with Jesus Christ that changed his life. And he sang it with the new/improved lyrics. “Rock and roll hoochhie koo” was now “Read the word, live it too”. “I'm high all the time, hope you all are too” now sings “I'm high on God hope you all are too”. And the lyric that still sang the same “truck on out and spread the news” took on a whole new meaning. It was at that time that half the crowd got up and left. They weren't interested in hearing any of that “Jesus shit”. Rick didn't seem to mind. He continued with the clinic, giving glory to God by telling about how his life changed for the better. His smile was peaceful and angelic. His testimony of God's provision in his life was motivational. I was stunned, inspired, amazed, and so proud of him. There was no doubt that God has done an amazing work in his life.

Here's where the story gets really good. As I stood by the door, God spoke to me. He said to tell Rick Derringer that “I will honor those that honor me. That was straight from the Old Testament.

“But now the LORD says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” 1 Sam 2:30

As Rick was leaving I walked right up to him and told him that God had given me a message for him. He didn't balk or discount me. He stopped and said “What is it?” I told him. He immediately raised his hands in the air and said “Praise God”. Could this be the man that worshiped at the altar of the rock gods? I guess that is the beauty of the transforming power of our Lord. I then told him a version of Luke 12:8 that just came off the top of my head:

“Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God.”

We hugged, and he went outside to do a radio interview. I saw him again briefly the next day and reminded him what God had told him. He raised his hands and kept walking. I love that man.

So why do I write this story? Because as we approach Easter, it is good to remember that the power of the resurrection can work in the life of any man; regardless of how bad he might seem to be. There are bonds that can be broken, healing that can take place, and new starts in life that can begin.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Cor 5:17

We all have some old things that need to pass away. Let this season be the time of spring cleaning. And then call out to the One who raised Jesus from the dead. By looking at Rick Derringer, I can tell that God is still in the miracle business.

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