Archive for the 'John David Martinez' Category


Rejoice and be glad in it

Today I have decided to celebrate the life that God has given me. Lately, I’ve been so preoccupied by the crisis in my life that many hours of joy have been stolen from me because of my worrying and anxiety. The Word of God says, “do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to Me, your God.” Give thanks for everything! Yes, that means the good and the bad. Even more so when we are in the bad. It goes on to say that if we do that, “the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

So today I have decided to put a smile on my face, put kind words on my lips, and song in my heart. Why? Because God says so. And I want to obey and honor Him for giving me another day to be joyful and not a “fuddy-duddy.

Philippians 44 “be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy.” (New Century version)


You Heard My Cry

I was talking with a lady and her son after choir practice a few weeks ago. It was their first time at rehearsal. She was very excited and couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was. Her son, on the other hand, was not as excited. He was feeling like he was at an old folks convention for crazy singers. You see, we are an excitable bunch on Wednesday nights. I wanted him to know that the excitement came from us being  grateful believers. We are happy to be there because of  what Jesus did for us. When I asked him his age, he quietly said, “twenty five.”  I immediately felt the Holy Spirit prompting  me to tell him my story.


“Here Lord?  In the middle of a crowded hallway with people everywhere? OK.”  Without hesitating, I said to him, “when I was  your age I put a gun to my head.” The look on his and his mom’s face told me that I needed to explain quickly what this had to do with choir. At the same time, a choir member that I’ve known for 5 to 6 years standing with us said, “I didn’t know that JD.”  So this is why I felt it was time to share my story of redemption (short version) with all of you. I hope it gives some of you hope and an idea of why I am so excited to be here.

Thirty-five years ago, I left the Marine Corps with one goal in mind: I was going to play rock-n-roll and make it big. Well, I didn’t make it “big,” but I sure did Rock & Roll. I got to experience the feeling of huge concerts with big name acts as a front band. If you want to know the truth, it was no big deal. During that period, I fell into the trap of that dark life style. My darkest moment was on a hot August morning in 1982. I was tired of the person I’d become. I was not a rock star – instead, I became a selfish drug addict with no future. I put a gun to my head that night several times. It was a 4 to 5 hour spiritual battle for my soul. I cried out to the Lord. “… He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy  pit of destruction, He set my feet on the rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God….”  Psalm 40:1-3 .  Well as you see, God won and now I am serving in the most amazing place.  Singing the most amazing songs that bring so much joy, peace, and comfort to me and the thousands that hear them.

What does it have to do with choir? Well, a lot…for some of us. Because that is a place where we can serve our Savior and  “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart  to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20 . If you’re feeling like God can’t use you, come visit us here at CBC and see what he’s doing with some that thought the same at one point in their lives. He heard our cry.

“Giving thanks to You,Father, who has…translated us into the kingdom of Your dear son, in whom I have redemption through His blood , even the forgiveness of sins.”


He Renews My Strength

Life has a rhythm. We wake up, we go to sleep. Workdays, weekends. Running errands, being still. Labor, rest. Rest…even God rested after 6 days. He declared a day of rest (Sabbath). But sometimes we decide that we need to keep going. Got to press on to finish the project and get a headstart on the next one. If I skip lunch or work longer hours, I’ll get more done. Stop! It doesn’t work – or at least not for long. The “always on” lifestyle is likely to be switched off permanently if not careful.

Don’t get me wrong.Working hard is not a bad thing. Jesus was always pushing himself to the limit to meet the needs of the people. But one thing He always did was take a break. He got himself alone with God and rested. Now the bible does warn us not to be lazy. In Proverbs 6:9-11, it says ” But you lazybones, how long will you sleep?” It goes on to say, “I want you to learn this lesson, a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will pounce on you like a bandit.” Whoa…forget the nap I was wanting to take after this.

We are so fortunate here at CBC that we have leadership that encourages us to take our vacations and our days off. Spend time with our spouse, kids, or ourselves. Catch our breath. Read, write, relax, and worship. That’s right, “worship.” Worship renews the spirit, as sleep renews  the body. Rest times can become special times of worship. These are great times for you and God  to be together. An intimate moment with God, minus all the distractions of our corporate worship time. So make sure you allow yourselves the time to get away. Nothing will fall apart, because it’s God’s ministry anyways and He’ll find someone to do it if needed.  Take your breaks, power naps, and vacations and worship God at the same time. Enjoy.


Heart of a warrior

Ten and a half years ago, I started attending CBC. I sat in the back and just checked things out. I told myself I was just going to lay low and not get as committed as I was in my other church. Well, shortly after that I saw that they needed someone to help lead worship at Church Under the Bridge. I volunteered and fell in love with it. Later, a friend called and asked if I would pray about leading this band at the mens monthly breakfast. I really didn’t want to do it, but I went ahead and did. I loved it! Today, that group  meets Monday nights  and it’s 200 plus strong. I look forward to Mondays to lead the men of this church in worship. There is something about hearing male voices roaring out praises for our Lord.

It didn’t start out that way though. At first, I was the only one singing. I started telling them at every  meeting  that I wasn’t there to entertain them, but instead I was there to lead them in praises for our God. One of the first things I did was lower the keys to the songs. Even though I was comfortable with them, it wasn’t about me. Then I picked familiar songs. I think I’ve done  “Open the Eyes of my Heart ” one million times since then, but guess what? I got them singing. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Once I got them to  learn the songs, I would introduce a new one. But the whole time, I was sharing insight on what worship is.  It’s important to educate your congregation on why we worship. The more you remind them that it’s not about us, the better it gets.

So keep keep  reminding  them (guys)  about how excited and boisterous they get at sport activities.  And tell them…if you can get that  excited at a football game or concert, how much more excited should you be when God’s Holy Spirit manifests Himself  at one of your gatherings. And also that …  “real men sing loud!”


With all Your Heart

I just returned  from a mission trip in Southern Peru. While there, I had the privilege of  worshiping at a church in Cuzco.  The worship band consisted of 6 members.  It was lead by a young man named Joel on acoustic guitar and backed up by an electric guitar, bass, drums, and two female vocalists.  They were very good and had lots of energy. They started out with Israel Houghton’s “Lord You Are Good” then followed with a Hillsong medley. They ended with “At The Cross” (Morgan/Zschech), and it was amazing! The reason I was so impressed with this young group is because not a single member knew how to read music.  There were no charts,  just a lot of passion, raw talent and a genuine love and understanding of what they were singing and playing for our Lord. It brought to mind one of my favorite scriptures in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord,not for men.”  That’s what I saw.  Servants pouring their hearts and souls unto the Lord.

I recently read an article  where the author said, “self-taught, is usually an excuse for ‘I didn’t  take the time to learn to do it well.'”  While I agree that we are called to “play skillfully” for our Lord, not everyone is fortunate to have the discipline, time, and/or money to study music.  These young people had not studied music, but you couldn’t tell one bit.  I, myself, am self-taught and I try to learn something new everyday about music because I want to do my best for God.  But  if I hadn’t had folks encouraging me to think big, not less of myself due to lack of  formal training, I would have never had the opportunity   to lead worship here at CBC with a full choir and orchestra.  Today, thanks to Ray who encouraged me and had faith in me, I am privileged  to do just that, with all my heart and almost no knowledge of the “squiggly notes” and what they mean.

So encourage – don’t discourage – those who come to your ministry to serve with little knowledge of music. You may get the surprise of your life because God can use anyone when He wants something done for His kingdom. Even if they are self-taught. So…with all your heart – “make a joyful noise unto the Lord” and…practice!!


John David on Location

John David is on his annual mission trip to Peru. Check out his video blog – enjoy!

JD video blog and Sponsorship video from Taylor Stakes on Vimeo.


Be Still

I love my quiet times with the Lord. I look forward to my morning meetings. It usually starts with sharing a cup of coffee with my wife Judy in our backyard. We talk about our plans for the day, then she goes in to start her daily routine of walking, shower, makeup, and dressing for the day. That leaves me alone for the next hour to spend intimate time with God. I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about what I’m wearing. How my hair looks (the little I have). No stressing over the technical aspects of a worship service, etc., etc. I just join in praise with the singing of the birds and the rhythms of the wind. No interruptions! Except for an occasional screeching of  a cicada being chased by a bird that has decided on breakfast instead of singing (Really happened). Did I mention that I love my quiet time?

Too many times, we worship leaders and members of the team get so busy preparing for the next service, that we don’t make time to meet one-on-one with God. In doing so, we really miss out on something special and sacred. In Psalm 46:10, God says, ” Be still,  and know that I am God.” Did you get that? Ssh! Stop, look, and listen. He longs to fellowship with us . We  just need to  “be still…”

This requires us to find “that place.” Mine happens to be, weather permitting, my back yard. But it can be anywhere. In your car, at the park. In your office (phones off) and no interruptions. Wherever you decide to do it,  it’s so important – so you can feel and hear the awesomeness of God. He longs to be with us. And He wants to hear our songs and the beat of our hearts.

So tell your ministry team to  find “that place,” and join in sweet harmony with creation as they praise the Lord! You will be glad you did.

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