Thursday, February 26, 2009

Don't Jump

I got home from a somewhat local show last night around 11:30pm.   I led worship and did 'special music' for a Revival at a Baptist Church down the road in little Monroe, GA.  Great town, great people, great food.  They took really good care of me.   For those of you who don't know what a Revival is, this is not the unplanned revival that happens when the Spirit of God points out areas of your life that need work and you actually listen to Him, this is a time where the church gets together every night for a few days and a speaker speaks and singers sing, and hopefully, the Spirit does what I just mentioned He's prone to do, and hopefully we respond. :)

Anyway, I came home and Sarah was still awake, so we talked about the evening, and as we were getting ready to go to bed and started turning off the lights downstairs, she told me, "I think you need to make more money."  I paused and thought about all that she could possibly mean.  I'm thinking, "well, I could try to play more often, I'd hate to raise my price for no good reason, ...I feel I'm doing the best I can."   So without saying anything, I just kinda stopped and looked at her, like, "I...don't know what to do with that."

Then she realized what I thought she meant.  See, a couple days ago, Daniel found some money in Sarah's Bible that was given to us by a relative for both boys.  He was having a blast with it, using it as a flying carpet for some of his toy men.  I thought that wasn't the best idea, and he got very sad when I took it from him...so I decided to draw him one.  I placed my Great Grandfather on the bill instead of Ulysses S. Grant & explained to Daniel that this was Pappy's Pappy.  (All 3 of them named Daniel Nicholas Shust)  ...and Sarah simply thought that I should make (draw) some more money...for Daniel to play with.   ...ah Ha!

Proverbs 25:8 says, "Don't jump to conclusions-there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw"  ...or in my case 'heard'.   My story was a harmless thing we laughed about immediately...but how often do we find ourselves believing what we want to believe about something or someone that may not be true at all?   God, help us take a baby-step toward holiness today and heed the advice in Proverbs 25:8. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rest

Sitting outside in the freezing cold
But the sun is bright 
and my coffee's bold

No, that's not a lyric from the new album.   ...kinda sounds like Vanilla Ice.  We actually share a birthday.

Anyhow, I must admit, I've struggled for a few weeks with having just a few gigs, while other artists were touring the country, as if I were doing something wrong, or that 'my time' was up.  But, I don't think that's true, I think I'm just in an in-between-albums-season that has me home.   I'm still working on stuff for the future, the new album, a title, artwork, photo shoot ideas, I need to write all 12 song journals for you guys to read (which i love to do).  So it's been great to be home and eat Sarah's cooking and sleep in my own bed and play with my two boys.  It's a blessing.  Thank you, God.   Speaking of which, Daniel just walked outside in his navy PJs and Elmo snow boots.  It's not snowing, but uncle Nick bought them for $2 at a Salvation Army when we were in PA.   Daniel loves them.  a little too much.
So, instead of fun stories from the road, you're going to keep getting fun stories from home.  Or in this case, deep thoughts by Aaron Shust.  Shallow-deep.  This morning, I was taking Daniel downstairs to fix him some "e-mail" (oatmeal) and it was chilly in the house (66).  We have hardwoods downstairs, so I was putting socks on his little feet.  I sat him on my lap at the top of the stairs and he got a little wobbly and scared, "Anyo paul down?" (Daniel fall down?)  "You hold on tight, buddy," I told him, then realizing that he's sitting on my lap, facing out, he really can't hold on at all.  So I told him, "Don't worry, bud, Daddy's going to hold on to you, I'm not going to let you fall down the stairs"  And he relaxed; he trusted me. 

Maybe you see where I'm going, 'cause it hit me like a ton of bricks.  How often to I TRY to hold to God for dear life AS IF THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO DO THE SAVING.   Nothing against Mr.Powell, whom I highly esteem, when he sings "Hold On To Jesus" cause I sing along to that song with gusto, and I need to remind myself to hold on, just like any chance Daniel gets to hold on to my neck when we're on the slippery stairs, he does!  But sometimes you just can't.  

It's in those moments that we need to trust that He Holds On To Us.  Jude 24 calls God "the One who is able to keep us from falling!"  

One of my favorite songs on the new album sings this chorus:
Rest in the arms of the One who holds you
Rest in the arms of the One who knows you
Rest in the arms of the One who won't let go

Friday, February 13, 2009

San Valentino

Valentine's Day plans: Spill em! Are you planning to do anything?
Before Sarah decided she wanted to hang out with me forever, I once went to a greasy spoon and ordered one hamburger and one hot dog. All my friends were on dates. So sad stories are okay too.

We...aren't really big on holidays (besides T-day, Christmas and birthdays sorta), so we're not dressing up in red and going to a nice restaurant. (but if you're doing that, it's cool) we're dropping one of my favorite meals to my friends Julia and Hayden, cause Julia just had a baby! (I'm not telling you what we're bringing, Julia, you'll have to wait to find out!) then we're all driving up to hang out with my parents and brother's family for the day...and even spend the night. It really has nothing to do with Valentine's Day, it's just the weekend. Dad is BBQ'ing ribs which will be amazing and take up 2 bottles of BBQ sauce probably. Probably not, but they're good. So it feels more like Memorial Day, but hey, there's a lot of love bouncing around in our family. So here's to San Valentino.

So back to my question: what's your plan? Don't worry, I doubt your spouses/better halves will read this. You won't spoil anything.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Watch Over Me: Part III

My voice is almost completely back.  Which is good, I'm recording today.  Last Thursday I was in Corinth, MS when many of you were praying that my voice would return in time for the evening show (thank you.  it did, Praise God!)  and Sarah, my wife, called me that afternoon to see how I was feeling and told me she had a God Story to tell me.  She's not the kind of person that just throws around 'God stories', so I took notice.  She started by saying, "Just so you know up front, everyone's fine: no one is hurt."  While that was supposed to comfort me, it strangely made me a little tense.  

She had just laid Nicky down for a nap and determined to not pick him up in the event he cried.  Too much of that and your kid will never learn to fall asleep on his/her own.  She crossed the hall to play with Daniel and build some towers with blocks.  Nicko started to cry and even as she was thinking "let him go", she stood up to check on him.  When she walked into the room, she felt an urgency to remove him from the room immediately, even though he was sound asleep again (within seconds!)  The same urgency, she said, as if the room were on fire.    She scooped him up and laid him on Daniel's bed, and now he's crying.  "What Mom wakes up a finally sleeping infant?", she asked me.   Then she walked back into the nursery to see what in the world her problem was...and the shelf fell out of the wall and into the crib!   She said she just stood there with her jaw to the floor. 

I'm still at a loss for words.  How Cool that God would choose to spare us the potential trauma that little Nicky could have experienced, by impressing on Sarah to act contrary to logic.  Granted we still have accidents and bruises and spilt blood, and tragic things happen to God's children every day.  But every once in a while, God reminds us that He IS involved in our daily lives...and that He's watching over us!  

Any "God Stories" out there?  Where it was obvious that God stepped in?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Speechless

I traveled to Pittsburgh for the Superbowl to watch with many of my Pittsburgh friends, and contracted a nice little sore throat the first night up there.  My friends made sure we had a humidifier on in the room and my family is fine, but I woke up with a painful throat.  It progressed over the weekend and by the time we crammed 48 people into the Witterman house for the Superbowl, I think I killed my voice trying to talk over the excited din of fellow Pittsburgh fans. 
Usually my voice returns the morning after I use it too much.  But 3 full days later, I'm still whispering.  I've had to cancel a gig tonight (happening right now without me) 2 meetings, a recording and a radio interview so I can stay home and get my voice back for the concert tomorrow in Corinth, MS with Mr Crowder and his band.   

But I'm also listening and reviewing my new songs for the new album.  It's strange to think that's me singing.  Hearing myself do what I, at the moment, can no longer do.  It's scary actually, will my voice ever come back?  What if it doesn't?  What will I do and who will I be if my voice doesn't come back?  Am I a singer?  Or am I simply a child of God that can be loved by Him, and love others and be used by Him, even if I'm hoarse for the rest of my life. 

Job lost his family and his livelihood.  What could you not possibly imagine God taking from you?  Would you be able to say in the words of Job 1:21 "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised"