Monday, October 7, 2013

TIME MARCHES ON!

TIME MARCHES ON!
__________________________

I was at the salon
last week for routine 
maintenance when I
felt something sweep
across my lap. I looked
into the stylist's mirror
to discover that is was
my freaking chicken 
neck! In the immortal
words of Metallica's
"For Whom the Bell 
Tolls," time marches on.
__________________________

I recently have been inundated with a slew of mail from such outfits as the AARP, life insurance companies and even a local hearing clinic — all offering "golden years" benefits and discounts. (How do all of these guys find me?) But in the spirit of full disclosure, I will confess that I may  have  hung onto the brochure offering the hearing aid discount.

To amplify further the sound of that ticking clock, my son Jesse turned 20 this past weekend. It seems like only yesterday when I changed his diapers and we spent each day playing at the park, going out for lunch and watching Sesame Street videos. I thought that those "little guy" days would last forever. But in a flash, they were over. And in just a couple of weeks, Jesse will be relocating to Colorado in search of his own "pot of gold." Note to all parents: Our children are wonderful gifts from God. Cherish every moment. Time marches on, indeed.


Unfortunately, I was well into my 40s before I finally realized that my dad was right — about everything. I'd wasted so many years pursuing nonsense and doing stupid stuff. Note to teens: NONE of you will be young and beautiful forever. You wake up one morning chiseled and invincible, and the next morning you fall and split your face open on the nightstand while getting out of bed because your legs no longer take you where your brain tells them. (Muah ha ha — just wait and see!) And FYI, the choices you make today will impact your future in very big ways.

Here I am prepping for one of my first DJ gigs 
back in 1980. I was 17.  I was stupid. And
 it seems like yesterday. Time marches on!
I received my high school diploma at age 18 in June 1981. I then spent the next 25 years consumed by pursuing rock and roll fame and fortune. And on my 44th birthday in 2006, I finally received my first gold record — a token of appreciation from a world-famous band for which I'd recently worked. HOORAY for me — success at last, right? Uh, not so much. Then a few years later, my first book was published. HOORAY for me — more success, right? Nope — my first book sucked. I was a very sad and pathetic 47 year old who seemingly had run out of options, sitting at a table with a knife to my wrist. In short, I was drowning in a sea of darkness that reflected a lifetime of poor choices.

But the good news is, it's never too late to regroup, get it right and fully maximize our time on earth. And fortunately, I soon experienced a spiritual awakening and began paying more attention to the testimony of Apostle Paul and less attention to the testimony of Apostle Paul Stanley.

I now realize that this guy definitely isn't the
"Paulwhose Gospel I should be following.
Desperate to make up for lost time, I found an amazing church home. I plunged headfirst into the Word of God and got focused on Jesus. And be sure that (as I've said a bijillion times before), I'm NOT talking about "religion" — that stuff scares the crap out of me. I'm talking about "relationship."

Religion is insane and 
cruel — run from it!
-Pastor Ray Goolsby
(East Coast Christian Center)

I'd been "saved" as a kid, but I now desired more than mere "fire insurance." Through pursuing a deeper personal relationship with Jesus and a better knowledge of the Word of God, I discovered that oddly enough, my life isn't about me, or achieving fame and fortune. Who knew? It's about serving and honoring Him — often by serving and honoring others — it's about connection, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, patience, love and grace.

You must love the Lord 
your God with all your heart, 
all your soul, and all your
mind. This is the first and 
greatest commandment.
second is equally important: 
‘Love your neighbor as
yourself.' The entire law
and all the demands of the
prophets are based on
these two commandments.
-Jesus Christ
(Matthew 22:37-40) NLT 

I went back to school in 2011 at age 48, and in 2013 I received an AA Degree in Theology. Now that's nothing short of  sheer wackiness. I also now serve in the youth ministry program at East  Coast Christian Center in Merritt Island, Florida — mentoring teens during the weekly Wednesday night T-n-T services as well as serving as an adult leader on various summer camp excursions. I love my "East Coast" kids and they help to at least keep me young at heart. Through my involvement at ECCC, I was given the opportunity to experience my first missionary trip in 2012. And in 2013, I'll be celebrating my 51st birthday while loving on, and ministering to, my new friends in the jungles of Nicaragua.

I went on my first missionary 
trip in 2012 at age 49. It was the
4th greatest experience of my life.
Time marches on for sure, but it's never too late (or too early) to get in the game, get it right and make a difference — especially if your focus is on Jesus! I hope that this post has been a source of inspiration and I invite you to reach out to me via my personal email should you desire further encouragement. AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com

-Christopher Long
(October 2013)


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3 comments:

  1. Your testimony is nothing short of AMAZING, Chris! And you are so right. Religion has done it's share of damage to me with the finger pointing and judgement. I, too, am trying to make up for lost time. No jungles for me yet, though. There are a lot of people suffering right here at home, too.

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    Replies
    1. Amen! That's what's so awesome about ministry -- we're called to reach out and spread the "Good News" EVERYWHERE. We're as valuable in the jungle as we are in our local communities -- even our own homes!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for offering such kind and encouraging words.

      -Chris

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  2. Chris,

    Man, I love you honest, open, and "balls out" expression of your life experiences.

    Your opening photo caught my attention. I'm not treating my grays yet... hair is still "virgin" as you once referred to it. But, I don't know if I'd have the bravery to post a photo of me in the salon revealing the proof of my touch ups. That's just unbridled boldness. Brilliant.
    Your "DJ at 17" photo brought me back to the days of our youth. We really did grow up in a golden age of music, thought, technology, American strength, etc. Thanks for sharing that photo. Great memories.
    Your summation of which Paul's gospel is the correct gospel to be following was priceless, especially because in reality, Paul Stanley was your Pied Piper for many years the way Ace and Eddie were mine.
    And, your transition to the Gospel message is an natural and smooth as any writer I've ever read from.

    Keep up the good work that He's given you to do. You're a home grown beacon in Brevard and the Lord is using the broken vessel you've given Him to work with.

    Thanks for sharing this story.

    Kerry McD

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