Sunday, March 02, 2008

Transition Season

Two years ago today I made, arguably, one of the biggest decisions of my life. I shut down what had become 70+ hours of my week, consumed all of my energy, and was the primary focus of my life. It was the day that I took Indie Access Radio off the air. As crazy as it sounds looking back, it was true, I lived for music – it defined my existence. I was always driven to attend every live show that I could. I’d meet the bands, their managers, their label reps – anybody that was anybody, I would track down. Quickly, I myself even became a small “somebody” in the indie rock scene. We’d go to shows on VIP lists, get free merch given to us, record labels would call me, we’d sit in vans and green rooms doing interviews, I even sat on a panel of "industry people" critiquing up-and-coming artists once – all was going even better than I had ever planned.

The problem however was it was consuming all of me. My marriage suffered, I had few true friends and my focus was 100% on IAR, which was in fact, myself. I was a Christian in loose terms, heck, I had even been a youth pastor before… twice! But, I had absolutely no fruit of a true Believer, I was simply a “Christian” by general definition, buried under layers and layers of self. To get real personal, I had started drinking again, but never in too great of excess this time around, just enough to fit in and be accepted. My time working on the station caused me to almost always be online, so this was perfect for me to continue my unexplainable fascination with porn. Time with my wife consisted of talking about IAR and what show we were going to next or upcoming interviews that I had landed. I was doing fine, listeners were skyrocketing, website hits were through the roof in 20+ countries, ad-buyers were becoming interested – I had arrived, right? I thought so.

As anyone who paid attention two years ago knows, all came to a sudden halt when God walked into the picture. You see, my whole life I knew deep down that there was more to me than what I had ever really sought out. After all, it’s much easier to just promote whatever it is that you’re into at the time and go with that. The next thing you know, you’re thirty-something and that deep longing for more has become so buried, you don’t even remember it’s there. Well, a long story short, (you can read that in the old blog) God chose to step in and unveil my eyes. In a matter of a couple of days, absolutely EVERYTHING in my life changed. My house didn’t burn down, my wife didn’t die – it was no great tragedy that “drove me to faith out of desperation”, it was literally like I saw with new eyes. What I saw I didn’t like anymore – I was being called to die to my pride, my control, my idols, my addictions and it was tough. So I took the station off of the air, cut my ties to the music industry reps and labels, chose to die to self and embarked on a new journey.

I sit here now still on that journey. The last two years of my life have been absolutely incredible. I’m closer to my wife than I’ve ever been. I have a network of friends that would literally sell all they have in order to help me, if I were in need. I still love music, but have pretty effortlessly left behind the millions of “songs about nothingness” that used to be the soundtrack for my life. I have found purpose, I have found joy, I have found what it means to truly live. So to the scores of you that sent emails and messages that sent me off with “thanks and God bless you”, I have truly seen the hand of God rest on my life and each day is better than the last. To the few that said, “you’re crazy, what’s wrong with you?” I say, here I am, now two years later and I would NEVER trade one day of what I have now for a lifetime of success with Indie Access Radio.

So I encourage you, as one who is living it out – striving to be who he was created to be – why do YOU exist? What are your promoting? In Christ and in He alone lies your destiny, your purpose. ALL else is futile and will end in death, it really is that simple. Stand up, stand out and say no to the lie that it’s all about you. It’s all about Him. It’s ALL about Him.


The Hoov said...

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust int he LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your waysacknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

I believe this passage rings true in your life. It is something to be said for people who stange their whole life. Walking away from their "dream" to follow God's path for you. As i told you already Proverbs 27:12 "The prudent see danger, and take refuge. The simple keep going and suffer for it." You took the change in the course, you took the way that might have made you look foolish walking away from something that was actually becoming sucessful. But your prudency has saved your marriage, house and your realtionship with your heavenly father.

You Rock Joel!

Anonymous said...

So I've been thinking about this blog for a couple of days now. Trying to come up with some way to say what I feel about the last two years. Somehow I can't put into words what has transpired. But I will try.

These last two years have been incredible. (But that doesn't even do it justice.) What God has done in and through you, in and through us, has been indescribable in many ways. When the station shut down, I went away for the weekend wondering where my identity went, who my husband was, and what was going to happen next. Little did I know that it was just the tip of the iceburg.

I know it's a cliche' but it's true. God has transformed you into a man that I am adjusting to live with. To see you talk so lovingly about a 60+ year old man who thinks you are called to preach... leaves me staring in awe and wonder. To sit in the car and you speak truth to a homeless man in Roswell as we take him to his sister's... I am amazed.

No one who reads this blog can truly comprehend the transformation that has taken place in this man's life... except for myself and His Father. The change in the atmosphere in our home is something I would never trade. I never want to go back, but always go forward. However, there are times for reflection to see where we've been and where we're going. This time leaves me speechless.

I love you and I'm excited about the year of new beginnings!!

Joel Spencer said...

the hoov: No, YOU rock! Thanks for saying what you did. Nothing else matters in the end but my relationship with Him.

Joel Spencer said...

"anonymous" (not really): Wow, you brought tears to my eyes. This journey, this life, this calling really is beyond description. We have been lavished by His love. We have been transformed. We have seen His face. We will continue on together, removing EVERY obstacle that's in the way!

Jimmy Hope said...

Hi Joel,

Therefore IF any man be in Christ, He is a new creation (creature).
Old things have passed away... behold (look)... ALL THINGS have become new. As you've been in Christ, you've become a new man.
You've become a God man. The only way to receive the new things of God is to allow the old things to pass away (die). Joel Spencer has become a new man ... A God Man ...
A man of God.

One of the tremendous blessings of my journey in recent days has been to bear witness of the wonderful move of God in the Spencers. It's
been great to share the journey.

What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? What does it profit a man if he loses the whole world and gains his soul?

It's still Christ ... and Christ alone!!!! May that good work Jesus Christ and Daddy God has and is doing you continue until the day of Jesus Christ.....

Your forever friend and brother,

Jimmy Hope

Joel Spencer said...

jimmy: It's funny how God sends others to encourage us and remind us how He's transformed us. Thank you for doing your part in my life. I know without a doubt that I would not be pursuing the Lord as I am without the handful of God-seekers that are in my life, like you and Judy. What a privilege we have to spur one another on in Him!

Anonymous said...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!What a lasting change. To God be all the glory. To all I say, what a joy it is to have a son who emulates the Lord, walks by the Spirit and encourages and lovingly rebukes, sometimes at the same time. There is completeness in this kind of family relationship. Your life being lived for the Lord overflows to us all.
love mom

rave.n said...

I sent you a comment when this message went out from the IAR myspace account but reading thru it again - right now - your boldness is inspiring.

On the retreat I went on two weeks ago God really gave me impression that it was more than "okay" to change jobs and focus on a new career but that He directed it.

My transition won't be as drastic as yours. I'm far from a dedication of 70+ work week here but I am walking away from the security of a salaried position to "follow God".

It sounds a little crazy to the world but then again -- you did sound a little crazy to me too :)

You giving up IAR was almost as out of character as if you'd said y'all were *trying* to get pregnant.

However the work and love of God has become so clearly evident in your life that I look at any change or call He puts before me as an opportunity to be transformed as well.

Thank you for leading by example and being the kind of friend that sharpens.