18 May 2010

Know your enemy

Youth is wasted on the young.
- George Bernard Shaw

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me ... - Psalm 71:17

One morning during second grade summer school, when my family lived in Northern California, I stood in front of a school assembly and sang Johnny Horton's Sink The Bismarck. Everyone clapped. It was great. Since that moment, I’ve wanted to be a rock star.

Thank God for unanswered prayers.

My one brush with rock stardom came when I got on stage with a New Jersey punk-rock band, touring through Europe, named Mucky Pup. We met in a overlit bar before one of their concerts. We shared a few beers … then a few more … and then we did shots of Jaegermeister … and then we drank a few more beers ....

Before you could shout Sex Pistols! three times fast, I was on stage with Mucky Pup, in front of 800 screaming Germans, singing covers from The Who. The base player for Mucky Pup stopped playing long enough to take my picture. It was cool.

Near the end of the set, I climbed on top of stage speakers. About eight feet above the audience, I executed a stage dive - a very stylish one, I might add - directly on top of the mosh pit. A dense cluster of unsteady arms held me up for a few seconds before we collapsed on the floor. About half the people were cursing, the rest were laughing, and all of us were scrambling to stand up before our heads got stomped on. The music continued.

One is never too hedonistic for prayer.Kari Cobham

Outside the concert hall, I shared a cigarette with a German girl, while Mucky Pup continued to play. After, I had to run to catch the last regional train back to Bamberg and the Army base. Morning formation was just three hours away.

The train was empty. I slid a window down, shut my eyes, and let the cool German country air hit my face.

At moments like this I felt lonely and a little lost, and would wonder about God. -- How far away He seemed, how wrong I was to think so.


It took a long time for me to realize that attention seeking behavior, like trying to impress people who do not know me, hard partying, stage diving, performing for the crowd, are empty promises.

All human stories, your story, my story, are stories about grace, either accepted or rejected.

You can reject God’s love, but you cannot outrun God’s love. He loves you dearly, no matter what you have done.

Even when I was wide open and running from God as fast as I could … He was there, pursuing me, loving me, waiting for me. He loves you that much, too. Do yourself a favor and stop running.

... Father, You are our God and we thank You for your mercy and grace. Walk with us and turn our hearts to follow You. Help us to see Your truth. In Jesus name we cry out to You ...


  1. Good post, Russell. We all have a story, we all have a path we followed until He laid hold of us.

  2. 'all stories are about grace...accepted or rejected' ~ yes indeed.

  3. 'You cannot outrun God's love'...thankfully!

    Wonderful post today

  4. I'll echo what Kathleen - "all stories are about grace...accepted or rejected".

    That's awesome.

  5. Someone once said to me, "you may not believe in God, but He believes in you."

  6. Powerful and true. Thanks Russell.

  7. What a powerful testament and story of the person you became in God versus the person you wanted to be.

    I'm so glad He corrects our paths. I too, have had my moments... the ones I like to pretend don't exist, but God saves.

    I love that.

  8. AnonymousMay 18, 2010

    i had to google mucky pup. i'm just a hick from the sticks, ya know.

    amen to your prayer.

  9. ... all of us were scrambling to stand up before our heads got stomped on ...

    Please tell me this isn't where "luvstomp" originated?

    You're a courageous man. Not to do all that, of course. To share it.

    Grace. Thank You, Lord, for grace.

  10. I, too, especially like your line: "All stories are about grace. . .accepted or rejected."

    Good post.

  11. AnonymousMay 18, 2010

    I'm echoing everyone else with the 'accepted or rejected' line... thanks for sharing this powerful story with us, Russell.

  12. Glynn - I really enjoyed your story this week. Thanks man.

    Kathleen, Kathy, Maureen, Bridget - Thank you Ladies. I'm so interested in your life stories. Thank you for reflecting them through your blogs.

    Joyce - May God always run you down and overwhelm you with His love.

    Kass - Awesome, that God loves us so much.

    Jason - Thank you, too, Bro.

    Duane - Sometimes those corrections hurt. Ouch! But, you are correct to thank our Father for them.

    nAncy - Now, you know Nancy, I was born in Arkansas and raised in a small town, 2000+ people, in Kansas ... :-) Bless you for not knowing Mucky Pup. That speaks well of you ... :-)

    Anne - LOL. That is certainly not what I was thinking when I thought up LuvStomp. And, there is a very thin line between courage and recklessness ... :-)

  13. You touched something in my soul with your story -- and it is resonating in tune with your words.

    Thank you.

  14. I love what you said, that all human stories are stories about grace. There is so much more that I wish I knew how to put into words. Thank you just doesn't seem to fit quite right, but it is all I can find the words to say.

  15. You reminded me of a time in 1984 when, after nearly 20 years as a believer, I fell into a terrible "Mucky Pit". I felt so horrendous I couldn't even read the Word; read Psalm 31:9-10 [Amp], and closed the Book. For a couple of months, every once in a while, I would hear "I'm right behind your shoulder, Joanne. Just turn around." I couldn't do it; the guilt was overwhelming. Over a period of weeks and months, I allowed Him to restore me to Himself -- by His grace. Only by His grace did I survive spiritually and emotionally... and even physically. So, all you said was the absolute truth. [After 25 years, I rarely have that incident pop to mind, but your story pulled it out. And, the purpose? God's grace!]