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  I absolutely worshipped my Dad. When I grew up I wanted to be just like him. I made every effort to please Dad, but I couldnít ever seem to please him. The only time I could ever get him to pay attention to me was when I did something wrong, and then he would yell at me or spank me. But I had a plan I was sure would get my Dad to pay attention to me in a positive way.
     You see, my Dad was a talented musician. He could play almost any instrument. I grew up watching and listening to my Dad sing and play the guitar. He was a member of a country-western band. He could sing, play rhythm, bass, or lead guitar. He could even play steel guitar or fiddle. He could do it all.
     When I was about nine years old, I selected one of his favorite country songs and asked Dad to show me some basic chords on his guitar. I memorized the words to the song and learned when to change chords on the guitar. I worked very hard every night for about two weeks. I practiced over and over. I knew Dad would be very proud of me now.
     Soon, I thought I was ready. I was so excited and nervous, I could hardly wait to perform for my Dad. When Dad got home from work, I made my musical debut just for him. I played and sang my heart out for my Dad. I felt so good when I had finished. I just knew Dad would love my gift to him. But, I couldnít believe my Dadís reaction. He laughed and laughed at me. My feelings were very hurt. I felt the tears starting to flow, so I turned and ran from the room. I left the guitar where it was and never touched it again. I believed that I had no talent at all playing a musical instrument or singing.
     As the years past, I found myself in High School and a part of Mixed Chorus. It was only for a half semester, and would be an easy credit, or so I thought. One day in practice the teacher wanted each one of us to sing a solo to determine our note range and what part we would sing. I remember sitting and listening to each one as they stood and sang their part in front of everyone. I grew more nervous each moment as it came closer to my turn. When the teacher called on me, all I could think was everyone laughing at me just like my Dad had done years ago. I just froze and refused to sing. The teacher ordered me to the office and would not let me come back to Mixed Chorus until I agreed to sing. Needless to say, I never went back to class, and I never sang for anyone.
     The years passed. I would attend church on Sunday morning and evenings. I loved to sing the old gospel hymns. I envied the people that would sing solo in front of the church. I even got the nerve to join the church choir. I didnít mind blending my voice in with others, but I never wanted to get so loud that someone might hear my voice. I still didnít want to take the chance of embarrassing myself in front of people with my singing. And no way would I ever consider singing a verse of a song solo. I always refused when asked.
     The years continued. I was in my late forties now. I had learned to surrender more and more of my life to the Lord Jesus. As I grew to know Him on a more personal level, I looked upon Him as a big brother, and on His Father, God, as my father. A Dad in Heaven that loved me for who I am. A Dad that paid attention to me in good times and bad times. A Dad that would never ever laugh at me. And I wanted to sing my heart out for Him. I bought tapes and practiced and practiced my singing to Him. I couldnít hit every note just right. But God saw that I was worshipping Him in song. He listened to me with His heart, not His ear. He could sense and feel my intense desire to please Him as I sang to Him.
     Ephesians 5:18-19 - Donít be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. (NLT)
     I have learned that as I sing it comes from the heart and it is to honor and glorify my Dad in Heaven. He loves to hear me sing to Him. I have learned to get up in front of church and sing songs with my wife to glorify Him. I even sing some verses solo. I donít worry anymore about someone laughing at me. I am singing for my Lord, and He knows my intent and desire is to give Him all glory. My trust and faith in Him gives me strength to overcome my fear and stand in front of others to sing for Him. My song is from the heart and to the Lord for His pleasure.

Ollie