CHUCK ELMORE
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REMEMBERING ROCKY This month marks the five-year anniversary of the passing of Rocky Green, a dear friend and major influence in my life. I shared the following at his memorial service in Lubbock, Texas, and wanted to pass it on to encourage you and honor his memory. It is fitting to call this a time of reflection. On those rare and precious occasions when we are blessed to come across a person of beautiful character, we are most drawn to them because they reflect Christ. The Apostle Paul urged the church to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Paul had received direct revelation from Jesus, and I’m sure it would’ve been less daunting for Paul’s readers to imitate a tent-making preacher than to imitate the Son of God. I have found myself in recent years and days imitating Rocky Green. I hear it in the way I strum a chord, I see it in the way I talk to the cashier at the 7-11. I used to tell Rocky that he talked like Jesus, with amazing insights that I hoped to one day fully understand. I fondly remember a phone call I had with him when he was living in Hawaii. He was driving across the island, dissecting some amazing spiritual revelation when he said, “We’ve got ourselves a green light, man, why aren’t we going?” I replied, “Yeah, man, I’m with you. I get what you’re saying!” Rocky laughed and said, “No, I was talking to the guy in the car in front of me.” Someone expressed their remorse that Rock would not be around to raise his child with Jena, but they believed he would have been a good father. I contend that Rock WAS a good father. He fathered people he played music with. He fathered people he surfed with. He fathered people to whom he taught the Word of God. He did what good fathers do. He did for others what Tom did for him...he offered guidance and wisdom and encouragement. He called people into their godly inheritance and drew them to their destinies in Jesus, and he spoke blessing and life over those whom he fathered. After the release of Rock’s first CD, daysyouthoughtwouldneverend, my wife Becky and I attended a ministry conference in Denver with the Greens. I remember the buzz and excitement from people there over Rocky and his music, and I remember feeling awed by him, and more than a little inadequate and insecure. In private conversation, I told him that while I would never be as talented, gifted, or anointed as him, it was enough for me to be his friend. Rocky lovingly looked me in the eyes and rebuked me, reminding me that God had equipped me and qualified me and given me purpose every bit as valid as Rocky’s, and that the Kingdom of God wouldn’t be served through me being a spectator. And though I’m older than Rock by three years, on that day he spoke to me with a father’s heart, and I received it. All of us knew what a good friend Rocky was. Many of us can truthfully say that Rocky was the best friend we ever had. I felt a deep bond with him because of our similarities. Both of us raised in a Christian home with lots of music and no television, both had strong, bearded, God-fearing fathers, both had beautiful mothers with angelic voices, both with protective older sisters and independent younger brothers, and both with a nomadic lifestyle, living in many different places over the years. I had gotten used to making friends and leaving friends when I met Rocky, and I had made peace with not having someone to call a best friend. But in Rocky I found a love I saw between David and Jonathan, and I would often ask myself which of us was Jonathan and which was David? For the longest time, the answer was obvious. Rocky was the anointed one, the giant slayer, the poet warrior, the singing shepherd. But Rock has changed my thinking. It’s not because my brother has fallen on the battlefield, a righteous man who died a righteous and honorable death, the praises of his Savior on his lips until the end. It’s because while Rocky lived, he, like Jonathan, gave freely of his inheritance. He gave willingly out of what was rightfully his. Isn’t that why we’ve all gathered today? Because Rocky, through his words or prayers or songs or hugs or smiles put crowns on our heads and made us feel like kings? I will never again see the ocean without thinking of Rocky. Even when he was landlocked, he’d talk about it. I still remember the sawhorses and planks he set up in the barn at the ranch in Ft. Sumner that he used to do paddling exercises. He wanted to maintain his surfing shape. I once expressed remorse to Rocky when a home church Becky and I started with Tom and Sherry had run its course and come to a conclusion. Rocky said to me, “The Lord sent you a beautiful wave and you rode it all the way in to shore. Now it’s time to paddle out and wait for the next one.” The Lord sent Tom and Sherry a beautiful wave, and for 34 years they rode it. At various stages, Emiel, Caleb, and eventually Jena and the rest of us caught the wave, too, and it was a glorious ride. And though the end was rough and we thought we were going to be dashed against the reef, the Lord protected us. He has put us on firm ground. He is letting us catch our breath. And when we’re ready, Jesus and Rocky are urging us to paddle out and catch the next one. There will never be another like Rocky, but our Father knows what we need, and He will provide. Rocky once penned the lyrics, “There is a gap in my life, now that you’re gone. I’m not prepared for the lonely times to come. I’m going to miss you, I already do, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of you.” So what do we do with this void we all deeply feel? We yield the harvest from the seeds Rocky has sown into us. For unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it will not bear fruit. We must not let what Rock has sown into us lie dormant. May our love for Rocky birthed from the love he had for us flow warmly over our heads like anointing oil. May we receive our crowns from the nail-scarred hands of the King of kings, and may we walk with authority on this earth as ambassadors of a victorious kingdom. The enemy is wily, the darkness is pervasive, and those wounded and in captivity are everywhere. They are stuck in traffic in the car in front of you. They are behind the counter at the 7-11. And they need the love you have, the love that Rocky showed you, the love that Jesus shows you. And though we can’t hear Rocky’s laugh, or see his smile, or feel his sincere embrace, he is still encouraging us and cheering us on. And he’s doing it in good company from a great cloud of witnesses, where I am positive he’s the life of the party. To Tom and Sherry, your son walked with God. With great care, deep love, and faithful stewardship, you trained him up in the way he should go, and he did not depart from it. To Emiel and Caleb, you must know that you both were used by God to shape who Rocky was. It was a beautiful sight to see the three of you in a room together. To Jena, I speak for all of us who loved Rock when I say we covenant with you and your soon-born child to pray for you, love you, and even go without so you and your child will never have to. Thank you for beautifully completing Rocky’s time on earth and for loving him for better or worse, in sickness and in health. May the Lord grant you peace and joy that overshadows your sorrow. To Rock and Jena’s child, you are being born into a generational blessing passed down from your grandfather, to your father, and soon to you. You are the seed of Rocky, and you will walk this earth and continue his godly legacy through the grace of Jesus Christ. We can’t wait to tell you stories about your Daddy. And to Rocky, my brother, my Jonathan. Thank you for your life. Thank you for your love. Thank you for showing all of us that we are sons and daughters of the living God. And in your words, “When the time comes to say goodbye to you, only my Jesus will pull me through.” Goodbye for now, my fellow traveler. I love you. Chuck Elmore, March 3rd, 2009 On the Release of Earth and Heaven “A hungry hope birthed in our hearts, and as a child to nurse,
Faith, like the Blessed Infant, grew to overwhelm the curse.” “Prophets Spoke” Christmas music has always been special to me. Many of my favorite holiday memories are strongly connected to songs of the season. While I enjoy a variety of holiday music, I especially love the hymns and carols of Christmas, and dear to me is the way those songs express the gloriously humble and hopeful arrival of Jesus to a hopeless world. It has been my desire as long as I have been writing and recording music to one day have a Christmas album of my own to offer to the world. I am happy to say that day has arrived! For the last three years I’ve been planning to record a Christmas EP with friend and musical collaborator Andy Othling. Andy has been successfully producing music on his own for several years as Lowercase Noises, and I wanted some of his signature sounds for this project. Andy is also a great musical storyteller, and my goal with this album is to tell a story. Our first swing at it three years ago showed promise, but as we progressed we both realized we couldn’t achieve what we wanted with the Christmas deadline fast-approaching and decided to postpone for a year. Opportunity arose last year as Andy was invited to play guitar for Future of Forestry on their fall and Christmas tours, and we put the project on hold for another year. So here we are, three Christmas seasons after we started planning this, and I can honestly say that the delay was positive, even providential. There are production ideas, experiences, musicians, and most importantly songs that would not have been on the album had we recorded earlier. Earth and Heaven is a six-song EP that features a few of my favorite sacred Christmas songs, as well as four originals that I’ve written or co-written over the years. The songs vary in style, but consistent are the themes of God’s generosity, the lowliness of Jesus’ birth, and the redemption of creation, first through Jesus, and now through us, the redemption earth and heaven have waited for. As you listen through, you will hear the story of creation, the fall of man, the plan of redemption foretold, the annunciation of the coming Christ to Mary, Mary’s response of praise, and at last, the awe of earth and heaven at the Nativity. They are songs of adoration and wonder, of gratitude and worship. Thank you to all who patiently waited through the past three years. Thank you to my precious wife Becky and our daughters for their support throughout this process. I want to thank Barbara Garcia at New Life City for staying after me to get the album finished. Thanks to Pastors Alan and Gail Hawkins for financially supporting the production of this album and encouraging me along the way (and for inspiring some songs). Thanks to Jacob Lampley for the technical support back in the demo-recording phase. Thanks to Jayne Cawthon for your angelic harmonies. Thanks to Kristen Daugherty for making our string arrangements sound amazing on your cello. Thanks to Stephen Dumas and Dee Brown for co-writing, singing, and playing with me on the album. Thanks to Joni for saving “Magnificat” from the cutting room floor with a beautiful and worshipful melody. And of course, thanks to Andy Othling for working tirelessly to produce this music, and for making the recording of it a wonderful experience. I appreciate all the tears, lumps in my throat, and goosebumps your musicianship caused. The Spirit of God moves through your music. So here, friends and family, I humbly submit Earth and Heaven to you for your listening pleasure and for your spirit’s encouragement. I hope you agree with me that it was worth the wait. I am grateful to all of you who support my music, and I pray the blessing is returned to you as you listen to these songs. May the hope of Jesus rise up within you. Merry Christmas!
December 2010 brought the release of my second independent release, A Dove On Distant Oaks. Musically, the album (produced again by the multi-talented Donn Halliburton) carried on in similar style to Beyond the Veil, although it showcases more of my band members and their contributions to the sound of my music. I was especially pleased to have lead guitar player Andy Othling co-produce two tracks (“As I Lay Me Down” and the title track), and singer and guitar player Stephen Dumas add his smoky vocals to several songs and a wonderful acoustic solo to “Crown.” Lyrically, the themes of the album are of God’s faithfulness and of our identity in Christ as not only those He has rescued but as those He sends out as messengers of what He’s accomplished Most of the songs on the album were written since the release of Beyond the Veil, but several songs appeared on early demo recordings (done with the assistance of dear friends Rocky Green and Zach & Joni Nichols) and made a comeback due to the insistence of my wife Becky, my mother, and friends and supporters of my music from way back. I’m glad I listened to them and I’m very pleased with how those songs turned out. Many folks are curious about the album title, which is the name of the tune Psalm 56 is set to (check your Bibles). It also resonates in Psalm 55:6-8 and speaks of finding shelter in the Lord during times of tempest and storm. The Lord’s shelter was strong for me and many others within the last two years as we grieved the loss of Rocky Green. Rocky’s importance in my life as a friend, brother, co-laborer of the Gospel, fellow musician, supporter, encourager, and source of inspiration cannot be overstated. I pray that the lyrics on “Walk Again With God,” “Calling All Saints,” and “Made Right” remind you of who you are in Jesus. I want “Let Me Hide,” “A Dove On Distant Oaks,” “As I Lay Me Down,” and “Tears In A Bottle” to give you assurance of God’s faithfulness. I want “I Sing of Home,” “Peace Be Still,” and “Crown” to inspire you to move ahead in the mission Jesus has called you to, to preach the Gospel and advance the Kingdom of God. My desire with “Arms of Jesus (Rocky’s Song)” is simply to pay tribute to my friend and honor a life lived to the glory of the Lord. Thank you for listening to my music and supporting this ministry. I’d love to hear how it blesses you. Blessings of grace and peace to you through Jesus.