What Are You Going To Do When You Grow Up?
by David Vaughn
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"What are you going to be when you grow up?" I remember my mother asking me this question when I was six years of age. I knew then, even at such a young age, that I was going to be in the music business. I loved music, and being raised in the ghetto of East St. Louis, Illinois, I was convinced that if I could get into the music business, I could escape poverty.
I remember the day as if it were yesterday. A country musician, Cowboy Jake, by stage name, came to my school to entertain us with a free concert. As I gazed covetously at his big diamond ring, fancy clothing and the beautiful car he was driving, I knew right then and there, I wanted to be just like him. I wanted all that stardom had to offer.
After the concert, I had a chance to meet Cowboy Jake, and I told him, "I want to be just like you." His response came as a surprise, but it set in motion what would become my future. He told me; "son, you don't want to be like me, I'm broke. What you want to be is the owner of a record company, they make all the money." Cowboy Jake delivered an interrupted moment to me!
A family member gave me an old guitar, and I started playing. I never played very well, but I didn?t care. I was going to own the record company. I wasn?t going to become an artist. So how I played, or how well I sung, was not of importance. I was "paying my dues," and preparing myself for my day of destiny. I didn't want to wait until opportunity knocked. I was going for the big brass ring, and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
By the age of eighteen, I owned a teen magazine, recording studio and a booking agency. I was on my way out of the ghetto. I didn't want to live a ghetto life again or ever look back. Being shot once and stabbed twice before I reached the fifth grade, I was bound and determined that if I ever had a family, I would never let them live in the way I grew up.
By the time I was twenty-eight, and one hundred twenty-nine gold records later, I had arrived. I was socializing with the stars, and as they say in Las Vegas ?on a role.? Nothing was going to get in the way of me fulfilling my destiny. I truly was living out my answer to my mom?s question: "What are you going to do when you grow up?" All my friends from the past were either dead or in prison, but I had escaped, and the music business was the answer.
I have not known many people who could say: "I am living my dream." But I could, and loving every minute of it. The music business became my power, and money became my god.
Today as I look back on my life, I realize that it was molded out of fear. Fear of not having enough money to overcome my fears. Fear of being broke. Fear of living in the ghetto. Fear of being a failure. The only fear I had lost, was the fear of God. Arriving was not at all like I pictured it to be.
The year was 1974. I was promoting a group called Styx and had a hit record Lady, at the top of Billboard's Chart.. I was also promised part ownership of the label that Styx was on. The label was an imprint of RCA and had offices in Chicago, Hollywood, and New York. I was also working with other artists, and had one in particular that wrote like Croce. I wanted him to take Croce?s place as a writer, so I sent him to Chicago to work the "Old Town" and get the feel that Croce had of the South Side.
One day, in the RCA office in New York, I received a call from my writer friend. He began to explain to me that he had found "GOD." He spoke of a book that he read by an author named "Gideon." It was called The New Testament, and in the book, the main character's name was "Jesus." Don't laugh my writer friend, who's name is James, but I call him Jim, had never heard of Jesus nor did he ever encounter a Bible before. So thinking that Gideon wrote The New Testament was an excusable mistake.
Even though I was born in the ghetto, my mother was a devout church member. In my youth, I would go to church every Sunday with her. In 1974, I attended only on Easter and Christmas. Because I used music to get me out of the ghetto, the church didn?t approve. But, I still had enough of Sunday School and sermons to know that Gideon did not write The New Testament. Several years earlier, in the late sixties, I had many artists and business acquaintances that went the way of Jesus, and I knew that if Jim became one of them, I would lose millions of dollars.
I told Jim to drive to my ranch in Columbia, Illinois where I lived; I would fly in from my office at RCA to hear more. What I really wanted to do was convince him that the Bible was a myth, and that Jesus was not God. But I dared not tell him that over the phone.
I waited for Jim's arrival and saw him drive up my driveway. He had this big smile across his face. I thought he was high, as we both got high on occasions, like every day! I invited him in and asked if I could give him some refreshments. "A soda would be nice," was his reply.
Jim, I asked, "Who witnessed to you?" "No one," he replied. So I asked another question, "Then how do you know you found God?" With a stern, but child like voice, Jim answered "I just know! I read the whole book and Jesus is LORD God." I was puzzled, but I had my mandate to convince him of his error.
I know, I will trick him and he will see clearly that he is wrong and that he should listen to me. I will guide him into true reality, were my thoughts. So I went and got a "KJV" Bible, dusted it off and opened it to the Book of Psalms, and said to Jim; "If you have God, then play" and handed him the Bible.
"There's no music" he replied. With a quick response, I exclaimed; "You don't need any music; you say you have found God, God wrote it! If you have God living inside you, you should be able to play it!" I was sure this would convince him. He looked me square in the eyes and spoke in an all-knowing voice, "Well, I know I found God, so if God wrote it, I will play it." He began to play chords he had never played before. I heard music that I never heard before. We both were in shock. King James Version, word for word, verse by verse, Psalm 1. Unbelievable! Jim had found a new form of music. And the seventies sure did need a "New Music."
My wheels were turning. I told Jim to keep on playing. Psalm 2, then 3, and in the middle of Psalm 4, I knew I had what no other record company had, "Music from God." No one in the industry could come close to what was before me. I would own it all!
I got up from the chair where I was sitting, and began to walk towards the phone to call my partners so they could hear what I had discovered. Of course, my real motive was to demand $12,000,000 from them if they wanted in. Back in those days, the music industry was run by "the family" and "the family" had plenty of money. So $12,000,000 was pocket change in comparison to what I had to offer.
Half way on my quest to make that lucrative call, an interrupted moment occurred. A still small voice from inside me gently spoke. A voice that I hadn't heard since I gave my life to Jesus as a youth. "You are robbing God. That's His music not yours." At that moment, I thought God was going to put a hit on me and kill me. I fell on the floor, laying in a pool of tears, weeping like a baby, and shouting to God; "If You will spare my life, I will serve You from this moment forward!" Of course, God wasn?t going to kill me, but I didn't know that then.
I started to study the Bible. I wanted all there was to know about Jesus, my Savior, my Lord, and my God.
The following Sunday, I wanted to go to church. Now this was the early seventies and I had hair down my back with a ponytail, wore high heeled patent leather shoes, yellow pants and a purple silk shirt. I also took all the paraphernalia out of my purse and replaced it with a Bible, slung it over my shoulder, and off I went. It didn?t matter what church I went to; I thought they all loved Jesus the way I did. I entered the first church, and a deacon, kindly ask me to leave. So I went to another church. There, too, I was asked to leave without making a scene.
I was not going to quit, so I went to another church. I was so excited that I had Jesus. Surely, some one in church would be excited with me. Well, no one asked me to leave. After the service was over, I ran down the isle to share my testimony and encounter with God; but the pastor was intimidated and just said, "that's fine, but we don't believe in the Jesus Movement."
Now, I didn't know what to do. The next day I put an ad in the local newspaper to have a Bible study in my home. I wanted to be taught God?s Word. The paper must have misinterpreted my wording because when nineteen people showed up for Bible study, they thought I was the one who would teach them. I didn?t want the study to be a disappointment, so I asked Jim to play Psalms, and I started reading the Word, and began to share with them what I saw. Everyone wanted to come back the next week and have another drink of this new-found well of living water. God used a mistake in the newspaper to deliver an interrupted moment.
That interrupted moment, interrupted my plans for life. But, I have never thought for one moment, that I've missed out on anything. All my music business friends thought I overdosed and fried my brain. They were half-right, I did overdose, but it was not on drugs, it was on Jesus.
I had to tell my mother about my experience. She, of all people, would understand my excitement. Every day, since the day I was born, she had prayed for me to find the treasure and riches that Jesus offered.
I remembered her words from the year before when I introduced her to Loretta Lynn. I was working for MCA at the time, and giving Loretta a birthday party. Upon the introduction, my mother told Loretta that she was proud of me for being successful in the music business, but, "one day he will do his real calling. You know, he is a preacher." When those words were spoken, I was so embarrassed that I wanted to hide under the table, but what I am doing now, is exactly what she knew from my youth.
So, I went to see my mother. I told her of my encounter with Jesus. She smiled and without any excitement in her voice, said, "good." "Good. I thought you would jump for joy!" I said.
For three or four years after that conversation, I still thought my mother was not excited about my new-found relationship in Jesus. Even though she would not miss my teaching or preaching on the streets, I held this feeling within. One day, I got the message. She was not surprised at my conversion, because her faith was so strong that she had already begun living as though it happened years before my actual experience.
From 1974 to 1980, I roamed the streets of Columbia and nearby towns as a street preacher. The Bible study began to produce some anointed followers, and I was soon a pastor of a coffeehouse / church. I regularly preached at various churches in the St. Louis, Missouri area, and shared God?s Word in a prophetic voice.
In 1981 & 1982, my family and I went to school at YWAM. There we spent most of our time in Central America and Mexico.
In 1983, I started a ministry called "Commission: Isaiah 58." This ministry was to the widows and orphans in Central America & Mexico.
It was Easter Day in 1986. I was working in one of our orphanages in Mexico when I got word that my wife had left me. It was my fault. I was so busy taking care of widows and orphans that I left my wife and children at home too often. They, too, had become widows and orphans. Knowing my sin, I stopped the entire ministry and closed all doors of my involvement. This was another interrupted moment.
In 1988, I remarried, but dare not establish any ministry of my own. I continue to study God's word, and have experienced many incredible revelations from God. I have been an aid in establishing several artist/ministry biased record companies, but I have refrained from ministry participation.
On January 1, 2000, another interrupted moment came into my life. From that moment, I began to seek God?s face like never before. Instead of hunger strikes, like times past, prayer and fasting has become a way of life. Today, I am in the process of finishing my sixteenth Christian oriented book, and I am ready once again, to preach the Gospel of Jesus. Because of all my present day failures, and all these years of ignoring my calling, I feel that I am the least likely to preach. But, I now realize, it is not me, but Jesus who lives inside me, who will now be speaking His Word.
The last two years have been the most broken and humbling years of my life. I have been in and out of the pits of Hell so many times, the flames of fire have burned to ashes every material possession I have accumulated. I am now stripped and lay barren before God and man. But through each disgracing obstacle I face, the Grace of God allows me to overcome.
Outwardly, I see no way why God should or could use me, but inwardly, there runs an unstoppable "river of living water." Every day when I wake up I face life, look the devil straight in the eye, say, "Boo," and have another glorious drink from Gods well.
David Vaughn e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or www.DavidVaughn.injesus.com
Over the last thirty plus years of walking with Jesus, I have written many books of my experiences. I would like to share some of them with you via e-mail. These books are 25 to 90 pages long, but you do not have to print them out if you do not want hard copy. I must warn you that they have not been edited, so the spelling and grammar is somewhat to be desired. Just e-mail me a title and I will e-mail you back your book. You can order as often as you like. The books are free to my personal list. As God leads, I will make them available to others. After 15 years, I am stepping out the cave into the world. Please keep me in your prayers. David Vaughn
I will send one book at a time but you can order as many as you like. If you want them NOW, go to my website www.DavidVaughn.injesus.com and download all books posted.
By David Vaughn, Nashville, TN.
1) No Revival: This book is an account from a visitation by the Holy Spirit proclaiming that there is nothing to revive. God is doing a new thing.
2) Interrupted Moments: This book is about interruptions in life that God uses to teach us to grow.
3) Full Armor: This book is an account of a 47-day fast where Jesus handed me a bomb and said, ?eat it?, and I did.
4) Do You Hear God? This book is a teaching on how to hear God, and is God hearing you.
5) Restoring The 8th Breach: This book is about the 8 breaches in history of David?s Tabernacle of Music.
6) Theo.: This book is a journey into the incredible plan of God.
7) Promoting God: This book is how God promotes your music ministry.
8) A Quest For A Perfect Marriage: This book is my quest to discover a perfect marriage.
9) Discipleship Class Outline: This book is an outline dedicated to the teachings of Watchman Nee?s ?Spiritual Man? Vol. 1,2,&3
10) Life Of The Son: This book is the life of Jesus from Genesis- Revelation.
11) Five Fold Ministry: This book is a teaching on Apostles, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher.
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what an impressive resume and collection of publications.
Thank you for sharing your testimony. May God use you in ways that you cannot imagine. May God bless you and others through you. May God bless the articles that you have written.
Thanks for this testimony, David. God bless you and your work. -Carole