I was raised in what you might call
a Christian home. My mother was raised in the Nazarene denomination.
My father accepted God's challenge for his life when he met my Mother.
A family is something God can work powerfully through, and he used that
meeting between my parents to set into place a chain of events that would
not only create new lives, but influence thousands of lives for the kingdom
of heaven. Here's a photo of my family.
If you look closely, I think that's my great grandmother Emma French peeking
through the screen door. She was a Nazarene pastor in Montebello,
CA for many years.
In all our lives, God works through what we are willing to give him. Remember Jacob, who made "deals" with God. And God accepted his deals, because God knew that was the best way to help him grow to become Israel, the mature old man. In my life, I began to try and strike up deals with God after realizing at a very young age that I was a sinful corrupt little boy who needed a saviour. I couldn't undo the things I'd done. The things I harbored in my heart. They were like a seed that would sprout to maturity, and make me a destructive self-seeking person like those I'd learned about and met so far in life, unless something changed.
At the age of two, I lost my left eye, and was very conscious of God being near to me as my pride was brought to utter ruin. I would never be viewed as "normal". But God would use that to mature me and reveal the heart of the world to me. I believe God only allowed it to happen because he saw that my heart was terminally prideful. I wanted to exalt myself when I begged my sister to toss the toy gun into the air so I could catch it like some western star I saw on TV. I instead found myself crying in my mother's arms being rushed to the hospital. Much later in High School I finally remembered why my sister asked "Will you forgive me?" as we were growing up. I had been brainwashed to believe a neighbor kid had tossed the gun by my parents who were counselled to lie in order to save my sister from guilt.
Of course I let my sister know that I forgave her when I could remember. And that it wasn't even her fault anyway. I remembered my own motives as clear as the day. I was accountable to respond to God's hand of love reaching out to me at the age of two. I chose to accept my fault in the matter, and that allowed me to forgive my sister instead of believing that she had done it on purpose or some such thing and using it to make her feel as though she owed me something in this life. My sister is a dear sister in Christ today.
Some years later, I came to understand what Jesus Christ had done. I knew at the age of six that this was the answer to the guilt I felt when I acted selfishly and thought of myself above others. This Jesus had died for me, being perfect in every way. And he was related to God as a "begotten son" whatever that was. I didn't understand too well, but I knew that God loved me and had done something very powerful here. Yet I still struggled to think about him much, and instead became occupied with thinking about intellectual pursuits, becoming a sports hero, and..girls!!! BLECCHTTT!
It wasn't until Jr. High that I began to really get challenged in my spiritual walk. I remember having a firm foundation about certain things in my life. I was asked about my views on drugs on the bus by a close friend one day. I told him I thought it would be good to tell someone about this kid who was experimenting with drugs. I was thus viewed as a "narc" henceforth. Other things let kids know I was different, but a lot of it was just a resurgance of my pride. Now I was cool in my own eyes because I was different from everyone else.
A man named Jack Lowe came on as youth pastor at the Nazarene buliding I grew up in. The man began to challenge me. He invited anyone to drive around in a van picking up kids for fellowship Saturday mornings. I was there. And Jack did what a true minister of God does. He showed me the windows of opportunity in people's lives, and stood there smiling and gesturing; letting me know that all I had to do was let the spirit of God live through me. I was very sad to see him leave when the church went through a split over extra-biblical non-sense within a few years. God bless you Jack and Darla wherever you are.
A man named Neal Dirkse pastored and spoke much to challenge me as I as beginning to get into High School. Youth pastors Loren and Jody Bowles, Fred and Nancy Feetham, and Jeff Forsythe contributed so much to my experience and challenged me so much. I only wish we could have kept in contact. But Richard Parrot used his position for great things and it was during those days that I really abandoned all my plans to follow after Jesus Christ. Click here to see photos from those days.
During my final days in college I got a little recklaus and began doing gospel oriented presentations in Education classes and the like. There was good fellowship in those days and I was built up mutually by people like these! Here's a candid shot of best friend Jason Woodrow, who used to walk by the place we met, knowing that God was calling him to himself. He began to read the bible and walked into Pastor Parrot's office one day and said "I want this".
I began working with youth with my friend Larry McIntyre who had taken over after I graduated and he had returned from College. We had a lot of fun doing campouts, coaching basketball and I learned a lot from Larry about just being one of the kids, but standing up for what's important. Here's a pic of another great friend who emerged from those years. Bruce Caldwell is a perservering brother, in spite of the appearance that he lies dead by his inner tube on the icy grass of Mary's Peak here.
Also, I began to get challenged to use music for more than show. Rick Larrabee inspired me to start praying about using it for outreach and building up the body of Christ. Rick used to have a band called "Ricky Pop and the Solid Rockers", and most of the members started their own band when he got married, called "Sceptre". They produced several albums and are one of the more successful Oregon bands in the history of Christian music.... which is something like being the most successful Ice Cream man in Alaska. :-) They had a cool sound though, and Matt Summers had the best hair a drummer could dream of.
When Larry left about the time Pastor Parrot moved to Salem, I kept working with the youth. Tina Denny, daughter of the famed musician Martin Denny of Hawaii had joined our group after falling in love with Jesus during those days of our college group. She handed me slips from the offering one day from three girls at an all girls shelter home called "Tri-Center" where Walter and Lucille Hines ministered. They were interested in receiving Christ as their saviour, or so they said. Turns out one of them did and the other two weren't real certain about why they had filled those forms out. I went through a primer pack with this girl for several weeks and watched her begin to grow. I continued to do a bible study out there for many years and shortly had help from Karen Bull (aka "Doris" from a camp skit we performed as "Doris and Henry") who became the official youth pastor.
From the day I turned down the offer to join to church board, I haven't been an official anything. I've ministered where Jesus leads, and worked out my salvation with fear and trembling. Working with the youth in Corvallis was great. Here's a few of the kids. Derek, Chris and Matt here. Lisa, Holly and...what was her name..? Not the spice girls...maybe the space girls? (Shot during a play in Lebanon, OR we did.)
In 1985, after substitute teaching and driving the kids around in the mega vega for a few years, and falling in love with a girl who would marry a guy who was probably not quite into walking with God, I moved to Eugene to work as a lab tech at U of O. I became a stench in the nostrils of the humanistic society there and perhaps someday I'll begin compiling the information I've saved up on that era. But I initially began working with the college group at the Nazarene building in Eugene because the youth pastor seemed to have no place for a servant. The Lord called several people out of the luke warmness of that group. Meanwhile I volunteered at a shelter home so I wouldn't totally loose touch with kids. Christian Family services shelter home. Here's a photo of a guy whose family stayed in my little apartment for a week or so in order to escape from the lady who had a drug store in her house they had been staying with. It was taken at CFS in 1987 some time.
In 1988 several guys fairly young in Christ began a guy's house in Springfield. We rented a six bedroom house which I finally released in 1995 after serving over 40 guys with a place they could call home and be built up in Christ. The Brethren , a group of young Christians who met in Campus Crusade around 1990, began to practise at the house. I had put a studio together in the basement and I had continued the composing I began in 1987 with my first keyboards. (Rick Larrabee's old Rhodes 73, and a Kawai K3, my first synthesizer) The brethren worked hard and put together a successful tour of ministry, and grew together in Christ through the experience. Ken Sutton, Lead Vox is now a minister for Calvary Chappel in England. Ken wrote most of the lyrics and did a lot of the work in promotion for the band. He keeps me updated with his ministry in England now and then, and I pray he and Lynn will continue to prosper for God's kingdom there.
Rob Tranch, keyboardist and trumpet, is now a youth pastor in Spokane. I owe Rob so much really. Rob encouraged me to get involved, in spite of the fact I was much older than the kids, in Campus Crusade at U of O. I can't imagine how much less fulfilling my life would have been without Rob's genuine spirit in the works.
Guitarist Bob Rannow is a pro golfer and works in Lincoln City now. Bob brought so much joy to my heart as he played lead, and we still get together now and then to jam. He and Kathryn will always be best friends and people I can count on in time of need.
Rythm guitar Cyrus Rad gave the band a stability both instrumentally and spiritually. He and his family have been a tremendous encouragement to me through the years, and again I owe them more than I can say. He is a naval doctor now, after working down the hall from my department in research with brothers Frank Beratta and Chris Barbour. So many great moments with those guys...
Karl Stumpf still works locally. Karl was a great roommate, and also gave a lot of stability to the band. A man of honor. A hard worker. And probably the best musician in the band. I need to call them before I go to Montana. Boy am I negligent. :-)
And of course, Alfredo Pinto. Alfredo was one of my longest term roommates, and we became the best of friends. He is teaching ethics in the school system in Denver today, and playing percussion for Bruce Carrol. Here we are on mom's porch in the early 90's. Friends forever. That's what the Lord gives to those who follow him. I would trust these guys with my life. And we've entrusted each other with the message God has given us, and built us up in through each other.
Here are some other special brothers and sisters from Campus Crusade. Scott Coleman was given a sailboat, and we used to as a place to bond many times. Scott works locally doing ministry things. He specializes in video work as you will see in the Brethren photos. He managed the band for a while and has been a great brother through the years as well.
So much to say. I'll just have to get back to add things as I can. Here are a lot of things I've written through the years concerning spiritual things. Enjoy, -Bob