387cb05

A Life Revealed

By Rob Jones

Rob Jones
28db766International Business Development, Public Speaker, and Former Know-It-All

When Robin Williams committed suicide a few weeks back, I was sad, but moreso due to the world losing a comedic hero…. not because I mourned the loss of a fellow human being, even one that was so clearly broken.

It’s not like I didn’t care. On the contrary, I was a lifelong fan of Robin’s, starting with his first appearance on Happy Days, and eventually his tenure as the star of Mork and Mindy. He was just so wonderfully funny then. Unbridled and rare, he worked with manic fury and seemed inhuman and uncontainable. He was beyond quick witted as we all know, yet inside he was broken: a sad, angry, troubled man that was ultimately successful at the one thing that destroyed him: Depression.

So, it came as quite a surprise to me that his death reminded me of myself.

Now, to be fair, I’m not walking around in a depressive haze, fighting with every fiber of my being to will myself to live one more day. No. However, his death spoke to me because it reminded me so much of myself and what I believe(d) about my identity. He reminded me how much time I spent smiling on the outside and frowning on the inside.

So, today is the day I get it all out. Congratulations, because if you’re reading this, you get an inside seat into what it’s like to be Rob Jones. Never has the title of my website seemed more poignant.

To begin, I was born in 1966 in a small town in Southwestern Washington state. I was raised by clean living, God fearing parents who doted on me and loved my brother and I with endless passion. Our family had friends that lived nearby that also cared for us like second or third generation parents. It was very special and that climate spawned my love for music and my passion to pursue art, reading, writing, and a love for all things cinematic.

We moved many times over the years, as my father was in the car business. First, as a mechanic, then eventually into auto sales and management. We went where the jobs went and during the decade of the 1970’s, that meant a lot of addresses. It’s funny, because I can still recall them all, along with their accompanying phone numbers. When you’re little, memorization seems to be the one skill we all share.

At the age of 4, my parents had heard me mention how much I loved drums as I had shown t he desire to learn how to play. Because my mother was what I always called the most famous singer that nobody knew, she recognized my desire and chose to nurture it. Lo and behold, I was presented with a small drumset that ultimately became a source of idolatry for me. I developed quickly and in a few years, I was already showing clearly adult level skills that needed coaching and lessons.

When we moved to a new town in 1974, my parents arranged for me to see a drum teacher in the area that came as highly regarded. One evening, I went over to his home for my first official lesson. As I played for him, he began to frown. I recall this very clearly, because playing always brought me joy as a youngster, so seeing someone feel different stuck in my memory. When he drove me home that evening, he walked me into my house, and asked to speak to my mother. I was sent off to my room, but fearing that I had done something wrong, I waited around the corner, listening in on their conversation.

“Mrs. Jones, I cannot teach your son.”

“Why? What did he do wrong?”

“He didn’t do anything wrong. He’s better than I am.”

Now, to be clear, I’m not sharing this with you today to brag that I was somehow better than the teacher. On the contrary, there may have been other concerns on his part or he may just have wanted to satiate my mother’s desire for my successes. Yet, I don’t think I clearly recognized the power of his statement until a few years later, when it may have been too late for my developing mind and psyche.

Friends used to come over and just watch me play along with records. At the time, I was a bit obsessive with (of all things) the Bay City Rollers and Electric Light Orchestra. I love the Rollers because it was what I believed to be “rock and roll” and ELO reflected my penchant for classically influenced music, mixed with first generation rock and roll. Basically, I liked (and still like) rock a lot.

A few years later, we loved to the tiny central Washington town of Tonasket. Tonasket was a farming and fruit orchard community in the middle of nowhere (at least to me), so I wasn’t too interested in moving there. I longed for the chance to live in a city, near bright lights and art… the theater, movies and concerts. I wanted to see KISS and Kansas and Styx and the Tubes and they certainly weren’t bringing a concert tour to rural Washington state anytime soon.

What was interesting about moving to Tonasket, though, was that it would be the single most influential place I ever lived. It’s where I made the decision to be a “professional” musician, and where some of my best friendships were formed (and many of which I still carry to this day). A day after moving to Tonasket, I was sitting in my 5th grade classroom, doing a project, when I was called to the office. Upon arriving, I was escorted across the parking lot to the high school (I told you it was a small town) and asked to meet with the music teacher, Wally Moore. I was told he would be waiting in the band room.

When I stepped into the room, I was greeted by a very large crowd, probably close to 150 people, all waiting for something, but I didn’t know what. As I walked down the stairs into the room, Mr. Moore came up to me, extended his hand and said “I’m Mr. Moore. We heard you were coming, and we’d like you to try out a new drum set the school is considering. Would you be ok with playing a bit for us and giving us your opinion?”

What? What do you mean “you heard I was coming?” I was floored. I was 10 years old and I was being asked, in front of a large crowd, if I would basically do a drum solo and give my 10 year old opinion on the quality of this drum set they were looking to buy. Even today, this request seems insane. Yet, it did happen. Of course, being 10 years old (and a bit of a ham), I sacrificed my artistic integrity to solo the heck out of that kit. After 15 minutes or so, I stopped, gave a thumbs up and asked if I could go back to my 5th grade class. Mr. Moore said thank you and it was over. Within a few days, I was asked to be the drummer for the high school jazz band, and also if they could feature me in the town music concert. I played with the concert band, played a Stevie Wonder tune with the jazz band, and did a drum solo. This was all within 2 weeks of arriving in town.

I spent the next 4 years living there, running home after school to play my drums, determined to learn more, get better and find fame: My destiny, as it were.

Ultimately, we moved a few more times until we settled in Olympia, Wa. where I graduated high school. I credit a few friends there, chiefly Evan Schiller, for forcing me to open my perspectives on music and how art and commerce didn’t necessarily have to combine.

Thank you, Evan, for introducing me to the world of “difficult music.”

I left Olympia to go to college in Portland, OR. and after a few years, ended up in the US Navy. After a 2 year stint trying to find a reason for signing up for submarine duty, the Chief of my boat, Master Chief Olsen, helped me get an audition with the Navy Band, where I ended up for the remaining years on my enlistment. During this period, I gained some of the most important relationships I would ever have, and met some of the most amazing musicians this world has ever produced.

After 7 years in the service, I was living in the Seattle area, where I was determined to take advantage of the fleeting music scene’s popularity, and get a record deal before I was OLD. After a number of starts and stops, I ended up in Swerve, a conglomerate of local players, and knew this was my ticket. We had a producer, great songs, a beautiful singer, and super talented guitar/bass players. We were on. Then, as quick as it ramped up, the choices of a local producer sent us in a different direction which ultimately ended in our disbandment.
After a few years, I was able to make one last attempt at “making it” before that ended in a washout in late 2003.

I decided that I was now too old for the music business and that I needed income. I needed to be a “normal” guy, living in a normal circumstance, working a normal job, earning a normal wage. I was remarried by now and it was time to grow up.

I do look back, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to play music with a number of iconic local, national, and international players. It was a blast and I learned so much about people, as well as developed skills I wouldn’t have without that level of exposure.

I ended up working in the insurance business, then adding in some real estate and financial licenses because I was getting quickly bored. Then, cut to 2008, when I got sued by a former business partner, then the chaos of helping a good fried escape the clutches of the US government and boom…. business stopped being good. In fact, business dried up altogether, along with my spirit and drive. I started blaming everyone else and found myself getting bitter. Adding to the mix were my kids growing up, moving out and getting married and it’s a recipe for distraction, which in my case lead to a few small disasters.

In 2010, I started a business which promptly failed, then spent the next few years doing what I could to re-establish myself as a viable professional, deserving of success, fame and money. The problem was more significant, though. I had changed so profoundly during the last 5 years that it wasn’t only a struggle to get back to who I was and where I was. It was that I didn’t believe in what I used to do and going back was a worthless consideration. By the time I got to 2012, I had decided the best course of action was a restart, both financially and in my career.

By the end of 2013, something came crashing into my head like a ton of bricks. I had spent a lifetime expecting a payoff. It was always about the payoff. The problem was I’d never picked a side, so there was no payoff. What do I mean by this? Well… I’ll tell you.

When I was little, my mother had noticed how much I loved music…. how clear it was that I was empowered by it and that it drove a part of my soul. She made a comment I’ll never forget, nor will I forget the thought that ran through my mind: “You know, Robbie…. you can play music for God. He gave you the gift. You should give that gift back to Him.”

In my head, I only heard one thing: “No way. God is boring. He’s not cool. Besides, you can’t play rock and roll for God.” Granted, this was 1972 or so, and there weren’t any Christian rock bands, but that’s besides the point. It wasn’t cool and there was no way I was going to do it.

The problem with my life, though, was that I never picked a side. Because I grew up in a Christian household, I knew what I knew and felt compelled to be a certain type of person. What I think of as a church-y person…i.e.: one who wears certain clothes, talks about God all the time, never swears, waits until they’re married to have sex, and basically lives their lives like someone on TBN. That was NOT me. However, the natural compulsion to “do good” and to live as my parents expected was a huge part of me. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to, give that lifestyle up. I never did.

When I was in the music world, especially the music scene, there was an expectation to be and live a certain way. One has to be ok with virtually everything, and somewhat endorse it. You’re not cool if you’re not drinking, partying, screwing, or living like everyone else. Think about it. If you’re not doing what everyone else is doing, you don’t fit in, and I clearly didn’t fit in. I never felt like I could do it, as I didn’t want to lose myself in a haze of bad choices. I know me. I would have dug into drugs and women and ruined lives, chiefly my own.

So, the dilemma was clear. I had lived a life on the fence. I had never jumped all in. I had never joined a team. Because I wasn’t on A team, I wasn’t on ANY team. Therefore, how could either side believe or treat me as if I belonged?

1) I wasn’t interested in the seedier sides of the music business and I didn’t want to (figuratively) lose my soul.

2) I didn’t want to be labelled as a Christian, because that’s not only boring, it’s uncool and God knows I was desperate to somehow be recognized as cool.

Who would state that they were a Christian if they weren’t? That’s asking for an awful lot of heartache and ridicule. Heck, I might lose “friends” on Facebook and followers on Twitter and LinkedIn. That sounds so silly, but it has been a concern, because I feel like I actually have traction now.

What to do? Well, I had to pick a side.

I chose Jesus. I chose to be aligned with God. Yes, I am a human being. No, I don’t judge anyone intentionally. Yes, I have made huge hypocritical mistakes and said terrible things that HAVE hurt many people. I have proclivities that I know are unsavory and I struggle with them on a daily basis, but day by day God has not only revealed Himself to be King in my life, but is teaching me how to have dominion over my failings and the enemy.

For those that I’ve hurt with my words or actions, I am so sorry. We all grow up and out, but I took a weird road to get there. I am sorry that I let many of you down. I’m sorry that I wasn’t committed to being the man you thought I was. I’m sorry to my ex-wife for being a terrible husband. I’m sorry to my children for failing as a leader and as a father. I’m sorry for being angry when you needed a hug or simply love. I’m sorry.

Today, I started reading a book called Love is letting go of Fear. It’s not the reason I wrote this blog today, as it’s been on my mind for a LONG time. No, the reason I mention the book is that the timing of it reappearing in my life is clearly divine. It’s been on my night stand for some time, and had a thin layer of dust. It was a gift from my friend, Paul, and he wrote something quite poignant in the forward (when he gifted it to me).

He said “You are loved. You are power.”

He’s right. My friend Jenny is right. My friend Rick is right. My friend Macky is right. It’s time I revealed who I am and where I was and that it DOESN’T matter, because I’ve been lead here… right now, to write this, to share this with you and to FINALLY escape the failings and fears from my past. As my mother wrote recently, God is THE GREAT I AM. Not the great I WAS. These are such powerful simple truthful words. God is here, right now. He’s not in the past. He’s promised a future, but he’s ONLY here, right now.

So, here I am, wondering what to do next with my life, both personally and professionally (or both). If you’re the praying type, I’d love for you to consider lifting my family up, as we discover the path of our lives from here on out. What an exciting place to be!

Should we move to Japan? Stay in the Seattle area? All I know is I’m supposed to go big. There is no going home. Not until I die.

Hopefully, this blog today will act as an inspiration to someone out there, somewhere, who needed to read that they aren’t alone in their troubles or thoughts, and that there IS a plan. Let go of fear. Love like the world lives and dies on it, and you’ll be fine.

As Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “there can be no future without forgiveness.” I wish Robin Williams had read that. Maybe it would have given him the hope to live on and enjoy his old age. It’s sad that we’ll never know, but you don’t have to carry your failings with you any more. You can release them. Let go of fear. Today. Don’t wait 47 years (or longer) to live the one life you have in front of you. Go. Be special and valuable. Do it now.

Blessings.

life of Christ

The Life of Christ

How is it that we experience the “life of Chirst?” It took me a very long time to realize how it actually works. I know I know, I’m supposed to just have faith, right? Well, I find its easier to have faith when you have more understanding.

For years I was trying to live in a way that I thought would exhibit the characteristics of Christian life. It worked for a while… No, now that I think back on it, it didn’t work at all. I was constantly doing the very things in life that I didn’t want to do. And many times it is the same today.

Have I figure out how to live the perfect “Christian life” now? No I have not. I still struggle. What I have realized however, is that the life of Christ already operates in me without me having to “work” at it.

This life of Christ is what keeps the universe from collapsing in on itself. It is what makes things go so to speak. His life is what causes us to wake up in the morning. The life of Christ is what causes us to love our families. And if you give in to the life just a little more, you will find that it will cause you to love people outside your family as well.

“Trying” to live the Christian life is like “trying” to breath. You don’t have to try to breath. It is something that happens naturally. Now of course I’m talking about a healthy person. I realize that people sometimes have health issues. My point is that the life of Christ in us is a fact, something that just is, and happens without effort on our part.

We simply need to have faith that it is true. Give up “trying” to live right and you’ll find that it will happen naturally, because the life of Christ in you is true. So take a deep breath and relax. Jesus is alive and He literally lives in you. Just be sensitive of the impetus that you know deep down is from the life of Christ. Here is a clue though; God is love.

There are outside influences you’ll have to avoid, evil influences even. If you are not acting out of a heart of love you’ll know you have been affected by one of these outside influences, and acting out of the flesh. God is love, therefore the life in you will be one of love.

Thanksgiving 2014

Today was thanksgiving. We had plenty of family and friends all together and there was a lot of cooking; two turkeys and a ham,  mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing, potato salad, home made cranberry sauce, and a lot of other stuff I’m not mentioning. It was a lot of food. There was lots of deserts. I only sampled one, the one I made, a pumpkin cheesecake. It was quite delicious.

My son Gabriel is home from school, and so is his friend Samantha. She goes to a different school, although they went to the same high school. And now he and his sister, and mom and their friends are headed out shopping. Black Friday! I didn’t want to go; too tired. And I hate shopping.

We all had a good time, and now I’m full and in need of some sleep.

20141127_154912I am thankful for many people and many things in my life; friends, family, health and provision. I will continue to be thankful to the Lord for life. That includes my family. Especially my kids. I am thankful for my friends, though it has been hard to make new friends here in South Carolina.

School starts in January. It will be good to be doing something on a daily basis again, although my back pain has not decreased.  It was the reason I stopped going a year ago. It will be tough, but I want to finish what I started.

Anyway, I just wanted to say to everyone, Happy Thanksgiving!

joelosteen1

The Joel Osteen Most People Don’t Know

By Phil Munsey

Phil MunseyphilmunseyLove Jesus, my wife & life, my kids (crazy about my grandkids) I shepherd-shepherds. Chairman of Champion Network of Pastors w/Joel Osteen. I’m a gracist.

While praying alone in the auditorium of Lakewood Church in Houston recently, I sensed God speak in my spirit.As I pondered just how and why God has used Joel Osteen to fill this massive auditorium with the masses week after week, I felt God respond to my query with a simple impression: “Joel Osteen is a friend to sinners.”

As the day progressed, the impact of that statement began to overwhelm me. I couldn’t think of another minister with significant public influence who could bear that title—not even a close second.

Of all the accusations Christ received, none were more controversial—especially from the religious crowd.

I began to reflect on the phenomenal ministry Joel and Victoria Osteen have had in our nation, beginning with their work as pastors. Since 1999, Joel has pastored Lakewood Church, the country’s largest church—in fact, the largest in our nation’s history. It’s a church where some 45,000 people attend weekly at one location. Lakewood Church buzzes nightly with discipleship classes facilitating its.. Read the rest of the article..

The Problem With Trying to Obey the Law? No Grace

This is my input into a conversation that was started on Google+. You can follow it here if you’d like: https://plus.google.com/+JessicaLove777/posts/cr72yoz5Yuo (This thread has since be deleted)

1452027_619503694836364_285665036490175878_n

This poster started a fierce conversation on Google+. Was either taken down or I was blocked. I don’t know.

What most western Christians fail to realize is that Jesus was a Rabbi, AND the Son of God, who came to keep the law because we could not. Therefore he was a teacher of the law. Jesus did not teach new testament theology. He was an old testament teacher, a teacher of the law.

However, once he did fulfill the law and died, and rose from the dead, the new testament was set into motion. Peter, John and especially, Paul ere teachers of the Gospel. Paul was sent specifically to the gentiles. Did he teach them the law? No. He taught them the message of Grace.

So the problem that western believers have is that we try to mix the law and grace, and it doesn’t work. It is because we don’t realize that Jesus’ life was to first fulfill the law, SO WE WOULDN’T HAVE TO. So the only thing we need to “DO” is believe.

I spent the first 25 years or so of my Christian life trying to keep God’s law. The more I tried the worse my sin became. (Read Romans 7 & 8) The problem with trying to keep the law is that I didn’t really believe what the scriptures said concerning who we are in Christ. We are what Jesus is, the righteousness of God. The moment I began to actually believe the word; that Christ is in me, and I in Him, that I am righteous and holy, that I have His nature, that is when my life actually began to change.

As long as we are trying to obey the law we are operating in the “flesh.” So the thing to “do” is believe. Believe who you are in Christ.

worlds

Worlds I’ve Traveled To

At this point in my life I don’t know what is real and true and what is not, excepts for a couple of things.

  • I exist here in this place and time.
  • I got married at some point and had children.
  • That family was broken somehow.
  • God is with me, still.

I find myself hoping that the world in which I live would end, soon. I don’t like it here. I very rarely enjoy anything or anyone. Is it me? I don’t really know. I think most people would say to me, “you just need to change your outlook on life. Stop being so negative.” I’m sorry, but I don’t think you can just change your mind and be different. It has never worked that way for me.

I thought getting married would be one of the best experiences of life. It turns out it was one of the hardest things I ever tried to do. As miserable as it was, I got very angry when it ended.

I felt like I had been transported to another world. I kept hoping I would wake up one day and everything would be back to normal, but it never happened. Instead I had to get used to the world I was now in.

I have been transported a couple of times now, to different worlds. Each time I find it harder to be happy than the previous world. In my current world, like the last one, I find myself alone most of the time. In this world though, I can’t call my mom. Some of my friends have gone on to other worlds. Some remain here, suffering.

I don’t understand the process. I have never been that smart. Perhaps I never will be.

Religion has played large rolls of most of the worlds I’ve lived in. It is not a large part of this one. Oh, I hear lots of religious stuff. I’m just not listening. There are too many conflicting beliefs and interpretations and predictions that are not true. I am quite tired of religion. I’ve had enough.

God is here in this world, Jesus, His Father, just like they were in the previous worlds. Through their Spirit I am together with them. They stay with me through my sadness. They haven’t taken away my sadness. I don’t know why, but at least they are here, and that is comforting. Maybe they will take is away one day. Maybe it’s me, holding on to it. I don’t know.

My kids are in this world, though I don’t see them everyday. Sometimes I don’t feel needed by them. But then, they don’t know what or who they need. They don’t ask my advice about anything. Sometimes I give it anyway. I am their dad after all. Sometimes I impose my will on them, for their own good. I am competing against a million other influences in their lives, but I have to try. I brought them into a very dark world, and it gets darker by the minute. My desire is to get them out alive. Sometimes, most of the time, I don’t know how

Pray For Peace

For the last several decades Israel has had to deal with attacks, whether it be snipers or rockets, from the palestinians, hamas, and others. And the moment they decide to defend themselves the whole world goes ballistic, screaming about unfairness.

I seriously doubt that there is a person out there who wouldn’t at least try to defend themselves if repeatedly attacked by someone. I know I would defend my house and my children if someone was attacking them. So why doesn’t Israel have that right?

I say if you don’t want your butt whipped don’t antagonize and enemy you can’t beat. I understand there are injustices, but, there are injustices all over the world. Sometimes there is a need for force. But why not try to deal with those injustices in a civilized manner? Don’t start something you can’t possibly win and then cry foul.

That’s just my opinion. My suggestion to all of us watching these situations all around the world is to pray. In a world that claims to be as enlightened as we claim to be, why can’t we live in peace with one another? Pray for the peace of Israel, Russia, the Ukraine, Nigeria, Sudan and everywhere there is conflict. We seem to be on the verge of WW3. I promise you no one wants to see that happen.