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Gospel Music Times Feature Article
Reaching for the Unexpected
by David East

As I sit here preparing to write this feature article, I have been trying to decide what type of article it should be. Since it's the beginning of a new year, I suppose it would be expected of me to write an article outlining everything we plan to do for the new year. Or, perhaps, an article discussing how the Gospel music industry will change in the coming year, for better or for worse. But those who know me know that I don't like being the "typical" anything. I like being unpredictable, and doing things that are unexpected, both musically and in my daily life.

So here I sit, trying to come up with something that is neither typical nor expected. Not an easy road to walk, my friends!

Outside, the temperature is below zero and the wind chill is WAY below zero. It's so cold that I saw a snowman on the corner with a sign that said, "Florida" (I borrowed that from Facebook. I just thought it was funny!). Inside, we've got food, heat, a billion channels on cable (of which only 12 have anything on worth watching), and we are all safely tucked together in our little house.

This last Christmas was a different one for us; in the past, we always tried to "outdo" the previous years' purchasing for the kids. This year, we found ourselves in a bit of a financial crisis that prevented us from repeating our previous years' sprees. I don't use credit cards because I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey's financial planning methods. So if we can't pay for it outright, we don't get it. But this last Christmas was probably one of the best we ever had, because even though the kids didn't get everything on their mile-long list this year, they were grateful for what they did get, and they actually showed appreciation to us for what they received. That is a huge change from Christmases past.

It put me in mind of the ten who were healed in the New Testament, of which only one returned to thank the Lord for healing him. Furthermore, it made me think of all the messages and teachings I've heard over the last year that relegates God to nothing more than an ATM that we go to whenever we need something. Sometimes I feel like I want to run through televangelists' churches and studios and turn over some tables to dump their money on the floor.

Folks, there are a lot of things out there being taught that do not conform to the scriptures. I have no problem with a workman being worthy of his hire, but when a minister lives in a million-dollar home, in the splendor of all the luxuries provided by the ministry he or she heads, something isn't right. Now, if these folks are becoming wealthy over the sales of books, recordings, or movies they have written that's one thing ; but, in my opinion, money donated to a ministry should be used for ministry. It was never intended for the Gospel to be used to make someone wealthy. But, I digress.

I'll bet you didn't expect that, did you?

As to the coming year, all I can say is that I pray God blesses each of us as we bless others. Happy new year to all of you!

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