Change Agents

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“Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing himself.” –Leo Tolstoy

In order to change, you must change.
In order to change the world we must be the change we want to see.

While profoundly obvious, it struck a resonating chord in me. At the beginning of 2013 I wrote an article on sustainable life-long change and how to implement it. Now in another New Year I find myself reflecting on the ways that I’ve changed, what’s made that possible, and why change is so important.

In order to first change we must admit something needs to change. When I was drug-addicted in Las Vegas, at my wits end and falling beyond rock bottom, I knew that my life had to change. It was hard to stare into the unknown with the fear of losing the things I loved the most that were also destroying me; drugs, broken relationships, pain inside that I was running from…

There are many reasons (or excuses) why we fear change but what it ultimately comes down to is the unknown. The “What if?” Yet, that is where excitement and adventure live. In change we grow (hopefully for the better) and the more we change, the easier it can become to tackle things that at one point seemed insurmountable. You can conquer your mountains.

How do we change? See my post HERE for more thoughts on that question.

I will leave you with these words of wisdom:
“Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
- Martin Rooney

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
- Howard Thurman

Created to Create

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“In the beginning God created…” (Genesis 1:1).

The first thing we learn about God is that he is a Creator. An inventor, an architect, a visionary. The words of God then go on to tell us that we are created in His image or likeness (Gen. 1:26-27).

In Hebrews it says that God “is the same yesterday today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

The implications of this are huge. God created us and made us to be like him. He not only created once, but continues to create and inspires creation. He’s given us the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) and called us to join Him in the renewal of all things. Just as God breathes forth words of new life that feed our souls and awaken our spirits to dream and hope, so too, we are empowered to dream, create and speak forth God’s words and to be a witness.

For some this is preaching, others – musical gifts and worship, for others it is painting, visual effects or architecture; though all very different, they are together proclaiming the beauty of God. Creation. A universal language understood by all, the need and desire to create something out of nothing. To make beauty from ashes (Isa 61:3). To explode the beauty of our creativity from the abstract into tangible creations that stir the human spirit and touch the heart. We are different from animals in that we dream dreams and have the gift of imagination.

May God use the gifts and inspirations that He has given each of us to bring forth His kingdom, beauty and Love. Love is why we create and it is why we breathe and exist. God is love and without love we are nothing. Take heart in the things you were created to do and trust God to provide you with the inspiration. Create as you were created to create. For this is a true act of worship – to do what you were created to do.

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
-Eric Liddell (Olympic medalist)

Embrace Yourself

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Just as God is a triune being so He also created us; three in one, we are body, soul, and spirit. We possess intellect, will, and emotions. These make up the core of every human being.

Intellect is what sets us apart from all other life. We can reason, plan, imagine, learn and create. Within the scope of our minds lie untapped potential and genius; we are, after all, made in the image and likeness of God.

Our will is what we strive for, what we want out of life and what we will do to make that happen. Our will is happening every day. We can choose to be selfish or selfless, giving or taking, caring in action or apathetic to the needs of others. Today is your will, what will you do today?

Emotions. We laugh, we cry, we jump for joy, and sometimes we fall down alone with no one to help us up. Some would deny their feelings and try to bury them as a weakness. The whole “real men don’t cry” gets drowned out over “Jesus weeping,” while others are so led by feelings that what they want out of life (will) and reason are sometimes sacrificed in search of satisfying a feeling (or not feeling).

In today’s culture so much of what is propagated is to escape and numb feelings. From our warped view of what true masculinity is to the constant overload of entertainment, viral videos, TV, video games, etc. It sometimes seems to me that the last thing people want to do is check in to themselves and ask the hard questions, yet those are the ones that matter most. When I’m dead in my casket will I be proud of what I accomplished? Today? Are the things I’m doing helping me achieve my goals? Do I have goals? Have I really forgiven that person that so deeply hurt me I couldn’t tell anyone what they did to me? Why am I so bored with my life? Why must I be entertained all the time with never a moment to reflect…

The point is that God created us to thrive in who we are. God gave us that gift of pain so that we could share our experiences with others and help in their liberation. God gave us dreams and visions that we may see a little more of His Kingdom on earth. God has given us the gift of today to reflect and forgive, to plan and move forward and ultimately to accomplish His will. Don’t squander your life away not facing the hard truth of who you are, why you went through the things you have and why you have that dream that only you can accomplish. Embrace yourself, turn off the TV, write out a few goals and find healing in the hurts you try to drown out.

I leave you with the opening verse from a song of mine entitled “The Dreamer’s Dream”

“These dreams could cost
These dreams could cost a lifetime
These dreams could cost
These dreams could cost a life”

Intimate Interview with Ed Fuchs

ImageVictor Miller: I am here with the anointed Christian Rock musician Ed Fuchs, and would like start by asking, how are you?
Ed Fuchs: I’m doing great today.

VM: When did you give your life to Christ?
Ed Fuchs: I said the ‘sinner’s prayer’ at age 12 one very early December morning. My Aunt Rhonda was visiting and she walked me through the Bible and I prayed this prayer. I was baptized at age 13. I wish I could tell you that everything got better after that but in fact it was then that the real war for my soul was waged.

VM: Can you elaborate on what led you to the Lord?
Ed Fuchs: My Grandma Sally died of cirrhosis of the liver from alcohol abuse at age 48. The last year of her life she spent playing piano in my uncle Bobby’s Church. Unfortunately, my mother would follow in her footsteps for many years. I come from a divorced family and had a difficult upbringing. My mother was an alcoholic and had an abusive alcoholic boyfriend that would tear me down emotionally. “You’re nothing. You’ll never be good enough. This is all your fault,” were some of lies I was left to believe. After years of torment I turned to drugs in my teen years to escape the pain. I knew God was real and He was with me, there was a very real struggle in my life. When I turned 21 my mother and I had both gone beyond rock bottom and we left Las Vegas and both entered Teen Challenge, which is a Christian life school for people with drug and alcohol problems. We completed the program and went onto the Ministry Institute they offer afterwards. We’ve both been sober seven years coming up in February andGod uses our story to bring hope to others. (I come from a bloodline of ministers on my mother’s side, so one could say I was led to the Lord by a generational calling.)

VM: How did you get into music?
Ed Fuchs: Struggling with worthlessness, depression, and anger turned inwards I gravitated towards angry, powerful music. Music was an outlet for me. Music was my escape. I took Band in sixth grade and at the advice of my mother I started playing the flute. Once I got my first guitar, I threw myself into it as much as I could. Songwriting was something I was doing as soon as I could. Even though I never met my grandma, I feel as though this is something we share together. My mom isn’t very musical and she views my gifts as a way of God giving back to her some of the things she lost from her mother. I’m grateful to have music and a generational call in my blood.

VM:  I read on your website that you weren’t always a Christian Rock artist, at one point in your life you were a metal front man. Can you explain what that transition was like for you?
Ed Fuchs: God radically transformed my life. I still enjoy heavier music as well as a plethora of other genres, but somewhere along the line I came full circle. The metal music I was playing in Las Vegas was very technical with many parts. Now, sometimes I will write a song with just a catchy chorus, a few verses and maybe a bridge or guitar solo.

VM:. A child flutist turned singer/songwriter/guitar player, it’s obvious you are blessed with a lot of musical talent. Even though you didn’t always use your gift to glorify the Lord, looking back at it do you think it’s safe to say that you were really being groomed to walk in the anointing God has for your life?
Ed Fuchs: I’m humbled to be used by God and even as I think back to the dark bars with the bright lights we played at, I can see God’s hand in preparing me for my calling and ministry. I’ve been leading worship for many years now and I’ve learned a lot from both sides of the spectrum.
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VM: What inspires your music?
Ed Fuchs: Passion. “In the beginning God created…” And as we are made in God’s image I believe that He wants to use us to create new things. I receive songwriting as a gift from God. Some of the deepest hurts of my life have birthed some of my deepest songs. It was 9 years ago today that I lost my dear Aunt Robin and from that tragic loss came my full length concept album‘Beyond Eternity’s Shore.’ I have seen Romans 8:28 realized in my life time after time. ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

VM: Being a Gospel artist you can’t just put out quality music, you have to put out quality music with a message and make sure that message lines up with the word of God. Does that make writing songs harder for you or not?
Ed Fuchs: Songwriting for me is mostly a prophetic act of worship. For many songs I will turn on the recorder and just sing and play guitar. ‘The One and Only’ was an 11-minute song when I first recorded it. Then I listened to the recording I made and wrote out all the lyrics and only kept the best. That song focuses on God opening the blind eyes and letting the dead rise. It’s a sequel to ‘The Only One’. I like to choose topics and scripture that most seem to shy away from. ‘Sent from Above’ is a great example of how I interpret Isaiah 53. I was also an associate pastor for several years so I try and make sure that what
singing is theologically correct.

VM: Is there a particular Christian artist or producer that you would love to work with?
Ed Fuchs: Wow, that’s tough one. There are many great artists out there that have inspired me. Let’s see… KoRn was one of my favorite bands growing up and to know that Brian ‘Head’ Welch is now saved and using his talents for the Lord is an amazing testimony to how great our God is. I would love to write and work with him some day.

VM: With you being from L.A. you probably see a lot of young apiring musicians with GOD GIVEN TALENT, but instead of using their gifts to glorify the Lord, they’d rather use music to achieve money and fame. If you had a chance to witness to younger musicians and deliver them from that mindset or at least plant a seed in their souls, what would you tell them?
Ed Fuchs: I would probably try to get to know them first and see where they are coming from — build a relationship and see if we can help each other, jam and even hangout. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Every gift is from God; singing, songwriting, painting, friendship and listening.

VM:  Do you have any new music out or coming out and how can we keep up with all the latest on Ed Fuchs?
Ed Fuchs: I recently released a CD called “Beyond Eternity’s Shore” and I have another CD called “Set Us Ablaze” – you can find both on my website (www.EdFuchs.com)- it has all my music available to listen to, download or purchase CDs and merchandise. You can even get some free downloads. It also contains all my contact information. I also send out newsletters. Email EdFuchsMusic@gmail.com to sign up for the mailing list or contact us for booking inquires. You can also connect with us on social media such as www.facebook.com/EdFuchsMusic (all other social media also have EdFuchsMusic in their name). My music is also available on iTunes. I have some new band members and we are working on getting some new material ready to record as a band hopefully soon.

VM: Well that concludes my Interview thanks for your time and sharing some of your life with us. God bless you, brother!!

“Any time you see the stars, You know that I’m not very far”

I’ve been to two funerals on Valentine’s Day. A time where couples cuddle, exchanging chocolates and roses, instead brings for me a certain somber tone.

Robin was my aunt. I loved her like a second mother. When chaos would ensue in my abusive alcoholic upbringing she was the one I would run away to. Her death was much too soon and she will be forever missed and cherished in our hearts.

Counseling books will tell you that there are five stages to the grieving process; denial, bartering, anger, depression and finally, acceptance. Once she died I went straight to depression. In an effort to alleviate my pain, I became engulfed in drugs. I wanted to escape but instead I became enslaved. In pursuit of freedom, I found chains.

I remember Ray, a talented bass player on the worship team, genuine and sincere; he truly had a heart of gold. He was the kind of guy who’d give you the shirt off his back. He was killed in a tragic car accident one early morning as the desert sun came up to meet him for one last serenade. It was a closed casket funeral and I was one of the people/brothers to shovel dirt on the coffin. As we headed back into the gathering for the memorial service I hid in the restroom to take my elixir of pharmaceutical grade opiates, muscle relaxers, and Xanax in hopes of drowning the pain and numbing myself to the vicious cycle I was in. I left Vegas three days later…

Robin died nine years ago and Ray seven. It has been a long journey now approaching seven years of sobriety on February 19th. I’m a better man for it. Robin and Ray would be proud. I miss them terribly at times. I know that they are in the better place now, beyond eternity’s shore.

In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 Apostle Paul mentions the “third heaven.” Many people have wondered what the number reference is to and some cults have even built doctrine surrounding this somewhat obscure passage. Here is what I’ve learned: the first heaven is the one that we can look at right now and behold the birds flying, hear the wind whispering, and watch the lightening split the sky. The second heaven is the celestial plane where the cosmos collides in a vast array of giant sizes and fascinating colors, God’s beautiful handiwork. And the third heaven? It’s simply the place where God is. It is the better place. The dimension we cannot see but someday will. And right now Robin and Ray are there worshiping the Creator and waiting for us. We are but breaths away, only moments until morning’s final wake when the Son will come up and greet us, too.

“Any time you see the stars, You know that I’m not very far.”

Let that be the song that Robin, Ray and lost loved ones sing over us.

Click here for a FREE download of the ‘Set Us Ablaze’ Album featuring the song ‘Stars’: http://bit.ly/TLhmh6

Songwriting – Scraping the Surface

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As I look back over my life I am amazed at how far God has taken me and everything that He has brought me through. Today I have a music ministry creating music for the One who has created me. I’ve released two records, had the opportunity to minister to many people locally and nationally-from the lost coming for a rock concert in Hollywood clubs, to the worship lovers in churches and the spiritually curious at outreaches, as well as the broken and addicted looking for the hope I was once desperate to find, and I am very excited for what 2013 holds.
 
On February 19th I will be sober for 7 years having successfully completed the Christian life school Teen Challenge as well as Teen Challenge Ministry Institute, a Bible College equipping graduates for hands-on ministry. The best part? My mother, Rose, has also successfully completed these endeavors and also approaches her 7-year sobriety mark. Today we both have each other, our God, sobriety and more than that, purpose.
 
Through the years that seem to have flown by, there were times when emotion weighed heavily on our hearts. Questioning our mutual sobriety and wondering if it would last. Past hurts returning to render us undone. All along the journey there was threatening silence that found us, alone, in our insecurities… Could we forgive? Could we forgive each other? Could we forgive ourselves?
 
These daunting questions begged for reckoning but with me in the Men’s home in Riverside and Rose in the women’s home in Ventura, strict schedules and limited phone time, the pressing circumstances didn’t afford us the opportunity to share and heal.
 
In the brief moments we shared on those short long-distance calls when time was never enough, when I missed the comfort of family and could only speak with Mom on the phone, I would tell her that all she had to do was look up to the stars on “Miracle Mountain” in Ventura, and know I wasn’t that far away looking at the same stars. Years later I would write a song called Stars to capture that emotion, and though it has the God-creation meaning, the obvious romantic interpretation, and several others, I wanted to share parts of this song-writing process with you, the ones called life, loss, and Love.

Click here for a FREE download of the ‘Set Us Ablaze’ Album featuring the song ‘Stars’: http://bit.ly/TLhmh6

‘New Year’s Resolutions’ – The Power of Less

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Happy New Year! Best wishes to you, your family and your friends! And though I’ve written with exclamation marks, I don’t necessarily mean the ball dropping, fireworks exploding, everyone screaming, kissing your lover on the lips “Happy New Years!” (don’t get me wrong, I do wish you that one and I hope your Eve was unforgettable). The Happy New Year I wish you is about…
 
What is your resolution? What is it you want to do/want to stop doing? People are hoping for many things this 2013. They chew nicotine gum, start gym memberships, and make new commitments. Statistics, however, tell us that after a few weeks this new enthusiasm fades away and we are left with a bitter taste in our mouths (especially if we are chewing nicotine gum). So what’s the key to success? How come we can’t quit drinking, smoking, eating garbage food, and start running 5 miles a day, practicing our instruments 2 hours, praying 1 hour a day??? As you read that last sentence I’m sure a 5-hour energy commercial or something else equally ridiculous went through your mind and that’s the point. You can’t do everything all at once! Introducing, ‘The Power of Less’…
 
If you were to introduce just one new healthy habit into your life, you would have a 90% success rate. A new habit can take 21-28 days to become a habit. If you were to introduce 2 new habits at the same time your chances drop significantly and 3 at a time the stats fall crashing to the floor.
 
The idea behind sustainable change is to pick a new habit/goal to accomplish and do just that one goal for the next 2-3 weeks before introducing a new one. Make it so easy that you can’t fail. Most will try to take on the world, will fail, and then say, ‘Well, there’s always next year.’ Don’t wait another year or another day to become the awesome person you were created to be. Implement small changes, find some accountability, and do something today.
 
What are your goals for the New Year? What habits will you introduce today to make sure you reach your goals?