Constant DiscipleOne morning as Mike was having his daily talk with God, he asked God to guide him in everything he did. He asked God to make him a positive witness in all of his thoughts, words and actions. To make him a Constant Disciple. As he ended the conversation, it occured to him that Constant Disciple would be a great song title. Perry agreed and suggested that if Kucenski & Voogt ever recorded an album, it should be called Constant Disciple. Several months later, Perry and Mike made the decision to create their first album. As they began the recording process, they mused over the fact that at some point it would be good to write a title track for the album. They wanted something uptempo with some commercial appeal. Unfortunately, they weren’t feeling especially inspired that day. Finally, during another recording session, the Spirit inspired them with the chorus. “I want to drop, my nets in the ocean. Leave all my worldy dreams on the shore. I want to be a Constant Disciple. Constant Disciple for you Lord!” Perry laid out a great contemporary groove and Constant Disciple was born! Praise God!
Cool WaterAbout a year ago, Mr. Stark, the principal of our kids high school, ran in a marathon race. Afterwords he related in the school newsletter how he looked forward to the stations along the route where they handed out glasses of water. How refreshing that water was! He went on to compare the water to God’s Word, which refreshes our soul, just as water refreshes our body. What a great idea for a song! We have been performing this song in our church for quite awhile now and it has really received a great response. In fact, we have written a second verse, which we use when performing the song as a baptism anthem.
Plant the SeedThis song was fun to write because it was the first time Perry and I came to the session with a conceptual idea of how we wanted the listener to feel and what we wanted them to visualize. Perry’s melody immediately invoked the vision of a single car, driving across the desert on a deserted road. The air hot and still, and a dark thunderstorm looming on the horizon. The image seemed symbolic to us of the world mission field. Many times seeming desolate and hopeless, too big and too dark for two guys trying to spread God’s message of salvation, to impact. But we remembered, that God tells us in the Bible that our job is simply to spread the Word. It’s God’s job, through the Holy Spirit, to make believers out of those that hear the Word. And He also tells us, that not everyone who hears the Word will believe. Some will fall on stone, some will be washed away. As you listen to the haunting melody and rich instrumentation of Plant the Seed, what do you visualize? And more importantly, do you get a sense of hope, in a sometimes seemingly hopeless world? We hope you will be inspired to spread God’s Word, Plant the Seed, be a Constant Disciple and watch the Spirit work!
Syl is a song that God insisted we write, even though we tried to refuse to do so.
One Sunday, not so long ago, during the morning prayers, we prayed for the health of Roland Sylwester who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. It seems that the cancer had spread through a large portion of Syl’s body and he did not have long to live.
My wife and I were casual friends of Syl and his wife, in the sense that we had pleasant conversation on Sundays and had worked with Syl in the drama ministry. We had not socialized with the Sylwesters outside of church. We also knew them from their puppet ministry. They had performed many times at our church and were excellent at conveying a Christian message via puppetry.
When pastor had finished the prayer for Syl, I was suddenly overcome with the emotion to write a song that celebrated Syl’s puppet ministry. It was such an overwhelming emotion that I was caught offguard by it, and tried to shake it off. Throughout the remainder of the church service, I could not stop thinking about Syl and the idea of writing a song for him. As I drove home, the thought was still in my mind, but I decided that I would not write a song after all. I made this decision because I knew that if I did write the song, I would have to meet with Syl and his children in order to present the song to him. Feeling very uncomfortable at the idea of having to interact with people who were dealing closely with a difficult illness and pending death of a loved one, I told God I did not want to get involved.
God had a different idea, and by late afternoon that Sunday, I was secretly writing lyrics to a new song about Syl. I did not tell anyone that I was writing the lyrics, and had convinced myself that even though I had written them, I would never present them to Perry so a tune would never be written.
The next evening, Perry and I were in the studio, and as he typically does, Perry asked me if I had been working on any new song lyrics or ideas. I told him no, and we began to experiment with other ideas. As we worked, God began prodding me to present Perry the lyrics to “Syl”. I eventually did, with the thought that Perry would be uncomfortable with the idea, and we would not write the song.
I was right, Perry was uncomfortable by the idea. However, he also found that God was compelling him to compose, and he did compose a beautiful uptempo tune for the song. We recorded the song onto a cassette and then looked at each other. Neither one of us having the intent of presenting the song to anyone. Of course God had a different idea.
Later that same evening found Diane, my wife, and I at the doorstep of Syl’s son, Tom. He and his wife invited us in. We spoke for a time and I then gave Tom the tape an lyric sheet. It did not seem to be an appropriate time to listen to the tape, but Tom did read the lyric sheet while we were there. He seemed especially touched by a particular phrase in the song: “Syl, can bring an old sock alive”. At the time, we did not know why, but later found out that “old sock” was an affectionate name Tom had given his dad.
A short time passed and Syl’s wife, Verna called Perry and I one night when we were working in the studio. She thanked us for the song and told us how it had touched their lives. She also mentioned that Syl wanted to thank us personally for the gift.
On Sept 19th, my wife and I went to visit Syl in the hospital. As we walked up to his bed, Syl grabbed my hand with both of his. He squeezed tightly. He told us that he had received good news that day….that he would be with Jesus for his birthday! We cried. Syl thanked us for the gift of song we gave him. As the visit continued, Syl returned to me a much greater gift! His faith and conviction in Jesus and his heavenly home. His positive attitude. His joy in knowing of his eternal life with his heavenly Father. His was the greatest witness of faith that I have ever experienced.
I remember Syl often. And I thank God for giving me the opportunity to receive a gift so much greater than that we gave!