Tag Archives: music

A Farewell…

So the story goes a little like this…

10 years ago or so, I remember leading worship at a youth gathering event in our area where 150+ students came together for the sole purpose of worshiping Jesus under one roof, no matter the denomination. It was around the time in modernism where you would see evangelical ecumenicism a little more often. Either way, it was a good thing. The church that the gathering was held in was a United Methodist Church, from the outside, you would usually expect a totally different vibe, but it was surprisingly refreshing. I guess I thought there would be lots of robes, candles and wood.

Anyway, that night I had the pleasure of meeting Melinda, the youth pastor who spoke at the event for the evening as she was in the rotation to speak. I didn’t think she would remember me since at the time I probably sounded like an underdeveloped guitar player who ‘thought’ he could sing. (Side note. I actually listened to a song the other day that I wrote back then, that if it ever got leaked, I really don’t know what I would do. It is one of the most awful things I’ve ever heard. For those of you who may have a copy, please burn it.)

Years pass, and along the way I am able to build more connections with pastors across the city and more specifically with First United Methodist Church via the Music Minister at the time and Melinda through city-wide youth pastors meetings. The opportunity had arose at FUMC to apply for a new role at the church for professional staff to develop the growing contemporary music ministry at the church. I thought “nah… I don’t have a masters, so I won’t even try.”

Any-who… This was a very difficult season for me and my family five years ago that I wasn’t sure at the time how things would pan out, and out of the blue I get this call from Melinda. She says, “dude, I put in a good word in for you, please apply. You’re really what the church is looking for, at least start the process…”

After that, honestly, my first question was like, “I don’t think I could work at a Methodist church, aren’t they like theologically liberal and won’t I need to play the organ and stuff?” I remember her replying with… “this place is different, just apply man…”

The Staff…

So I applied, did the interview, and got the job. Thank you Pastor Craig Curry and FUMC Staff Committee circa 2009 for giving me a shot at it, I don’t know if you all realize that this big shift made waves for my growth and future as a pastor. I still can’t believe I got it, I wasn’t ready in so many ways, but through the strength of The Spirit, He carried me through  journeys that I will never forget. It would take me too long to describe the valleys and mountain-tops of working and being so trusted to pastor so many people through tears, counsel, prayer and through leading worship.

Over my time at FUMC there has been staff that have come and gone and a few that have stayed. The main-stay through my tenure has been Melinda. What a good friend and partner in ministry you’ve been. From worship planning, Tuesday’s tear-filled prayer, outreach and mission; everything seemed to be in sync. Thank you for your patience with me. So sorry I have to say good-bye in this functional capacity, but if you ever need a wild badger delivered in a manger in your office, please let me know… (inside joke…)

Thank you Pastor Dave for being a patient and prayerful man. Every time you would leave the office to pray, it was so encouraging to me as a young man in ministry to see that diligence. You have been able to navigate our church through some difficult seasons, thank you for that. I will miss our impromptu prayers sessions, your leadership will not be forgotten.

The People…

About a year ago we started community groups at FUMC. I don’t if any of us in our group expected to see such life-giving moments of nitty-gritty christian community. Every week in our home was more than worth it, we couldn’t wait to see every single person every week. It’s been so amazing to see work by The Spirit in people’s stories and lives. Thank you so much to those who have trusted so much of your time and energy to see what God can do when we are mindful about His mission of seeing us reach out and invite others to what we do, love each other. I know Travis and Kory will serve you well, they are generous and passionate about the move of God in our communities.

One of my favorite things about working at FUMC is their encouragement for me to grow through education, and to give me opportunities to feed into others lives. One of my giftings is to mentor teenagers and young adults, and through the past 5 years I’ve been able to feed into so many lives. You all know who you are. Thank you for allowing me to speak into all your lives, and I hope this won’t change even though I’ll be serving someone else. I care for you all so deeply.

The Music…

When I arrived at FUMC in 2009 I knew it would take a little time for me figure out the type of sound, flare and dynamics that would begin to identify the music of the church. ‘They’ say it takes 3 years before you first notice significant shifts in culture and process in anything you do, no matter the type of organization or program. (I believe the standard calculation looks like this in these cycles; 3, 5, 7 and 10 years are the big shifts in vision and culture…FYI) I can verify that at 3 years, all of our bands began to change. I believe they started to see the possibilities that could take place if we focus our attention to Jesus,  expectations of leaders, and excellence in our craft.

The Sound EPIt was at this time we produced our first EP. I couldn’t believe we did it. I was so proud of what we all accomplished in little ol’ Farmington, and how much we all learned together. And of course above you can see the Live Recording we did this last year…

All of you have been so impressive to me. Your consistency, talent, passion and friendships have all been so influential to me. The AAD jam sessions and practices filled with tears by worshiping together with the gifts of music I will never forget. The video will help explain a little bit… but thank you for everything, thankfully our family is staying in Farmington so we can jam here and there together, just call me!

A Farewell…

My prayer is that FUMC in Farmington is faithful to Christ. Never abandon Christ. Love Him and His Word before anything. This local church showed me what genuine friendships look like. Continue to be intentional about local mission. FUMC is probably one of the most active churches in the community that I’ve ever seen, just always remember to proclaim the Gospel by sharing the Good News. Be bold. Be loving. Be the Church.

Lesson 1: the very beginning

If your connection speed is slowing down, just turn the HD setting off

Finally… I know, the lessons are finally here. Life has just been nutz! God has blessed us with a new baby girl! If you want to see her just check out my videography page and you can meet her. The guitar lessons have begun. Check them out, learn, ask questions, or leave a comment at the end of the post and I will do my best to answer your questions or things you might want to learn on the next lesson. Remember, practice-practice-practice. I feel like my high school basketball coach, but it really is the only way for you to get better. Practice at least 40 minutes a day without being interrupted. I hope you enjoy!

Where It All Started

I was 9 years old when I first put a guitar in my hands. My mother bought guitar lessons for my brother and I while we were still living in Orange County. I didn’t really appreciate the lessons that my mom was paying for, and I was the annoying kid in the class who thought it was the coolest and funniest thing EVER to slide your pick up and down the string like an idiot, hoping other people would actual think it was funny.  I loved punk and ska at the time and didn’t mind the idea of learning some of what I listened to, like NOFX, Sublime, Skankin’ Pickle, and maybe some early Offspring. Even though I didn’t appreciate the guitar lessons yet, I know a seed was planted for my love of music later. So, thanks Mom.

Not exactly the kind of kid ready to learn some serious guitar… I just wanted to eat, play video games, and maybe empty the trash once a day as a chore

Well, believe it or not, I was a decent basketball player when I was younger. I really worked hard at it and was able to play and compete with people a lot older than me. I really thought it was the “thing” that really set me apart. I really put everything I had into it. I remember the very last game I played. I was in eighth grade playing with AA (small school) varsity basketball game. Some of my best friends that I have today including Sifford and Kurt Neil were on my team that year. They can probably remember this awful moment…I can remember it like it was yesterday. In a high intensity moment we were behind by 1 point with only 45 seconds left in the game. I lifted my coach’s spirits really high because I had stolen the ball from one of the other teams’ point-guards at the perfect moment for him to call a time-out. It was a real game changer. So he makes this decision to make me (because he was so proud of me), the 14 year old among the 17-18 year old players, complete the last play. Well, to save you the stress, I bombed it, blew it… I basically passed the ball into the other teams hands and lost the game.It makes me laugh now, but it really sucked..


During the middle of that last year playing basketball, my father took me to a classical guitar concert of a little known artist in New Mexico named Ronald Roybal. It changed my view on things… I knew that I wanted to play music. Roybal would flow on his guitar and play with such passion. He was meditating with his guitar and I wanted to do that. That day, I asked my parents for a classical guitar and lessons again, and this time I would appreciate it.

Gordon Peck at “The Music Man” store in downtown Farmington would give me my first lessons. I remember him at our first lesson saying, “Are you ready for this? We aren’t messing around here. We’re gonna be playing Bach and Mozart, not Metallica”. But I knew exactly what I was getting into. I took a full three months of lessons, and he gave me the tools to teach myself. So I would began to play my guitar 6 hours a day, every day. I remember I couldn’t stop playing, I would play while my parents were asleep, and as soon I woke up in the morning. Some of that lengthy practice and perfection was a result of the issues I was having with my OCD at the time. I would play the music until it was absolutely perfect. If I missed a phrase, or if my nail hit the wrong side of the string I would start the piece of music from the very beginning and do it again. Sometimes I would reach the end of the song, miss the last measure and start all over again. Sometimes this would happen 10 to 15 times. I eventually found my niche, and I loved the Romantic-Period style of classical, with a rubato Santa Fe edge to it. I still play that style to this day.

Now, I play the classical guitar, acoustic guitar (Canadian-fingerstyle), double-bass, keyboard, drums, and I sing. I love it.

My grandfather Raymond Paz was such an inspiration to me, my family, and everyone who was able to meet him. He was such a passionate and loving man. He loved to hear me play, and I loved to play for him. He would always ask us grandchildren to show off our talents for him. One year when I was 15 years old, I really wanted to make him proud so I made him a home-made CD of me just playing my guitar. I wanted to share with you one of his favorite songs…