Loren KotterLoren James

I grew up surrounded by the spirit of God with Bible believing parents and friends. As expected I was drawn to church as a kid. I loved God. It was easy to love God as a child. But growing up around daily family commotions, school responsibilities and ridiculous friends I lost focus of Gods plan and love for me and everything went hazy. The innocence of childlike faith diminished. I never doubted Gods existence I just believed He wasn’t fitting in my life and due to certain incidents I felt like He was far away. I supposed God was simply for the “feeble-minded” and He was something great for certain people, but not for me.

Although I dabbled in immoral ways I never felt comfortable not going to church altogether. I knew the Christian way of doing things on the outside and had no problem pretending like they meant something on the inside. I had however internally walked away from Gods pure real love and spiritual guidance. After a few years of reluctantly going to several churches for my own ungodly reasons an old friend invited me to
Calvary Chapel Mission Hills. God had been showing Himself to me but still I wasn’t ready to fully accept Him. Nevertheless His love at this church was so strong that almost immediately after attending I felt like I was finally in a church I could love and eventually invited my parents who love it now too.

My whole life by no means had I ever had an enthusiasm of any kind for singing, guitar or any aspect of music. I was skipping down the selfish roads of my ever-wavering desires. In spite of it all, Gods plans for me differentiated (as they often do) from my own. When I started coming to this church I was inspired to play the guitar and sing but only for my own amusement. God changed that as well and after playing for a few months He gradually moved me to leading worship for our girls fellowship and sporadically the youth group. I loved it but if I had of known what God was cooking up for me I would have tried my hardest to put it all to a screeching halt.

Over time God used this church body to unblock my heart from Jesus and for at least six days a week I started fellowshipping with different groups from CC Mission Hills. This included worship practice and setting up on Saturday nights. A couple buddies of mine were on the worship team and I loved being there watching them play with the band (They’re so dang skilled!). I know now that God was intervening when I was asked if I wanted to practice with them for fun one Saturday night. I was nervous but halfheartedly said ok, never intending on actually singing in front of the Sunday crowd. The following day I arrived flabbergasted to see my microphone all set up. It mortified me.
Greg Skodacek (our fearless worship leader) knew I certainly didn’t want to sing on stage but he bet I would do it. He won that bet and I anxiously sang (about 12” away from the mic) in front of our little church. Self-consciously for the following year or so I sang and over time (and after nearly everyone trying to motivate me to move closer to the mic) I put away my pride and started singing and playing the acoustic guitar on stage for none, but Jesus.

As I had gotten closer to my microphone God had gotten closer to me. In between His many plan changing moments, I learned and am still learning to sing for, not only my newfound love of music, but also my newfound love for God. He turned my moribund existence into brilliant magnificence so many times and all by His hand does He do it daily and will He do it forever.

He has made all things beautiful, each in its own time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)