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music – musings – mission

Story

My dad is a forester, my mom is a folk singer…
My uncles are butterfly collectors, tile layers, Scientologists, and flamenco dancers…

I was dreaming of being Kris Kristofferson in “Convoy”.
I wanted to be a truck driver.

In 1989, while playing Poison’s “Fallen Angel” to a packed crowd of screaming teenagers, I felt God tap me on the shoulder. We were driving home the last few songs of our set, the energy was building, and as I took in the moment, peering through the smoke and the lights, caught in the audience’s joyful response, it seemed like I heard God quietly say, “I want you to do this.”

A few years later; 1993, still before the age of the Internet, email, cell phones, Chris Tomlin, Delirious, or Third Day… I began the adventure of my life, visiting youth groups, camps, and Sunday services with just a batch of original songs, a trunk of cassette tapes, and my acoustic guitar. I was on a brand new road to where music was going in church, and logging 100s of 1,000s of lonely miles up and down California, at odd hours of the day and night, joining the rushing current of 18 wheelers, I realized I had finally got my wish…

I was a truck driver!

I graduated in 1993 from Bethany University in Santa Cruz.  I married Heidi, the love of my life, a week later, and we are thankful to now be celebrating 20 years of marriage.  I’ve produced ten CD’s of original music…oh, and four children. As our kids grew (three teenagers now!), my desire for a more local, close-to-home existence and some dramatic nudgings of the Spirit prompted a change.  I had been “on the road”, full-time, for over seventeen years and an opportunity opened up to serve at my local church while attending graduate school at Biola’s Talbot Seminary. Three years later, I have earned an M.A. degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care and have graduated as a licensed spiritual director.

I currently serve as Associate Pastor at Commonwealth Chapel in Richmond, VA, focusing in the areas of adult discipleship and spiritual formation…and I still have been known to crack out the guitar from time to time.

8 Comments

  1. Wow, very fun to read this Justin! I missed the trucker thing when you were growing up, but I’ve always loved that trucker song. Interesting how God weaves things together. I’m sending the flying V photo (new kind of christian) to Gregg (current father of teens) to encourage him, good days ahead! Victory! -Love, -Dad

  2. Hey Justin!
    I love this story! So fun. One question – why oh why didn’t you have big hair and bandanas in your original band photo???
    Have fun! Laura

  3. Just saw a flyer that you will be at a local church May 4th… Our family quit going to church over a year ago and have not found a church we wanted to attend… We are going to give this church a visit and maybe it will get us all back on the right track. My 13 year old daughter is even excited about going.. Thanks for doing what you do… I am sure you are the reason many people attend a new church and hopefully stay there.

    Lynn G.

  4. I read your blog comment at windrumors.com and clicked on your link to learn about your ministry… God bless you and yours- if you’re ever in the Atlanta area, I’d love to come see/hear you!

    Also, if you haven’t heard Bryan Duncan’s latest release, ‘Still Dancin’, check it out- AWESOME!! http://www.bryand.com

    Love, Hugs, and Prayers,
    Gina (a clinger to Hope in GA)

  5. Wow a rocker!? I had no idea preppie. Praise God Walmart started selling sandles and invented surfing. I must say I agree with Laura, big hair would have been funny..I mean nice. I had it when…when I had hair.
    I will need to share the body weave I got when I had long hair ( why do you bring up my hair? Let it go. .I did although not by choice) LOL.
    I actually thought you were years older then me.
    I’ll also have to tell you about my metal days sometime.
    Great story.

  6. so fun to read the story ! i remember convoy. LOVED THAT MOVIE! see you this summer sometime! – josh

  7. I hope I found the right band — when you first started out, performing at youth groups and churches, I think you played at mine. I bought one of the CDs you had there, but after leaving for the military, I was never able to find it again… I remember it having a black cover, not much art… but the songs were powerful and I have yet to find them since… if I have the right band, is there any way to get the original CD from back then again?

  8. Hey Justin. It was great meeting you and experiencing your class at Spirit West Coast in Del Mar. You were really cool and your information was enlightening and your style was laid back and approachable. Your class was one of my highlights for the entire event! I bought your CD and then I thought I lost it until it popped up today. I gave the CD a whirl and absolutely just loved it. The CD starts with the song “California”. I really love all the different instruments you used on the CD and the very creative songwriting and arrangements. My favorite song is “Fade Into You”.
    Hopefully, we will bump into each other at the Mount Hermon Songwriting Conference as I just noticed that you are going to be there. I am still trying to work it out to be there. Thanks for your ministry, music and commitment to serve God!

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