Luke’s Story

This is an article I wrote for Marvin Church’s publication The Mosaic.  The editorial staff asked me if I would include my take on Luke’s passion for worship and his journey to Marvin. It was fun! And harder than I expected. I’ve gotten lots of sweet feedback and encouragement, so thought I would go ahead and include his story here. 

If I know a thing or two about my husband, I know this: it had to be the Holy Spirit who moved him from Denver to Tyler.  Luke loves Colorado and all the things that go with it: the mountains, the powdery snow, the granola lifestyle…not to mention his entire family (Dad, Mom, three sisters, two nephews, four nieces!).  All of it is home to him. And as the saying goes, home is where the heart is. So, I have more than a sneaking suspicion that it was God’s sacred Guidance, Word and Will that landed him here smack dab in the middle of East Texas.  I, for one, am quite grateful for where it is Luke’s feet landed, had it been any other way, I would not have met the man of my dreams who quickly became the love of my life. In thinking back over the past year and half of dating, engagement and marriage, we have both been reminded of the Apostle Paul referencing the words of Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 2:9.  “The Holy Writings say, ‘No eye has ever seen or no ear has ever heard or no mind has ever thought of the wonderful things God has made ready for those who love Him.’ ” We have both been humbled by God’s hand and find ourselves praying, the simplest prayer there is when it comes to remembering our path to each other: “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You,” we pray. And yes, for those of you doing the math, our courtship was short and our engagement even shorter. After all, when you know, you just know.

As much space as there is in Luke’s heart for the Rocky Mountain state, there is also a bigger, and deeper, part of Luke that delights in music and leading people to worship our God.  Being married to him gives me the privilege of insight into his passion. Call it one of those inherent differences between men and women, call it my husband’s scientific brain, call it what you will: Luke’s take on God’s call in his life is relatively simple and completely straightforward. “Music is who I am,” he says. “So, I have to give it back to God.” I look at him for a moment and say, “Anything else?” But, “No,” he says definitively. There you have it.  If you ask him, he’ll probably tell you the same thing.  You know, marriage will teach you a thing or two about men and women (imagine that!).  Personally, I could probably spend an hour or two over lunch giving you details…stories…maybe even poems (if so inclined) regarding the things of my heart.  Different kinds of expression, I like to reason, but equally expressive in their own right. And I will say this: growing up with three sisters, the man has been trained well.  He knows how to listen to my stories.  After all, as we women know, there is a right way to listen to our stories.

Part of the reason worship ministry has taken up such large residence in our lives is because of how deeply seeded it is in Luke’s past. Growing up as a high-schooler in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Luke played the drums every Sunday for four and a half years at East Metro Community Church. He also began a lifelong friendship with Paul Bolding, currently Director of Contemporary Worship here at Marvin, the Worship Leader at East Metro Community church, a church in Aurora.  The inkling that perhaps this ministry is more than a temporary volunteer gig and more of a lifelong calling arose for Luke even as a young teenager. And like many Spirit-led nudges, they are usually reinforced by earthly and Godly voice of encouragement.  Paul has been such a voice in Luke’s life. The validation, support and career mentorship Paul has provided as a fellow musician and brother has moved Luke in more ways than one. Luke would say, “Paul and I have known each other a long time and it’s a blessing to have a sounding board with that kind of history, whether you like the feedback or not”.  Whenever I’m around the two of them, which, by the way, usually involves some level of goofiness I don’t totally understand, I comment to Luke: “You guys are like family!” And it’s true, I think they’d both agree, there’s little that could stand a chance as “awkward” or “uncomfortable” between those two.  They have some serious history —there’s even an embarrassing photo or two to prove it.

It’s no surprise, then that Paul was in-tune to Luke’s growing pursuit of ministry opportunities around 2007.  At this point in time, Paul was already at Marvin, leading contemporary worship. Whenever he and Luke would connect, he’d pass on words of encouragement, and eventually a position accepting applicants for Marvin Church that might be a fit for him. As a guitarist at the Community of Grace Church in Denver, Luke felt God’s continual hand in preparing him for full-time ministry. While I’m sure many of us have felt that exciting sense of God’s preparation- there’s no doubt that it’s also unnerving to face a sea of unknowns. When I hear Luke reflect on this time, I picture a kind of spiritual tug-of-war. On the one end, Luke was encouraged by the assurance that God’s plans were to “prosper [him] and not to harm [him]” (Jeremiah 29:11). But on the other end, things might feel a little less daunting if he could fit worship ministry into the life he already had going on.  There was zero-to-no appeal in the idea of uprooting (remember how I said he loved Colorado?), leaving friends, church, family, and parents who would say they have been blessed with disability as it has drawn them closer to their Lord Jesus Christ (he loves his parents so much).

On July 29, 2009, God caught Luke’s attention in His own way. Luke was in a highway car accident—he directly hit an SUV at 75 miles an hour that swerved out of control, hit a median and spun into his lane.

While the event was terrifying, and the recovery process a long-road, Luke really sees the blessing in it as the time of surrender and revelation he experienced. Out of work, depressed and injured (the car accident created some serious back issues), he tells me, “I was broken and at a point where I surrendered my desires and prayed Lord open the doors and I’ll walk through them.”  It’s difficult for me to reflect on this time in Luke’s life even though I know his testimony like my own. Besides the chills I get when I think about the wreck, I find myself wanting to interject into his timeline and provide some reassurance. “Don’t worry,” I would say.  “Your back will get better soon! God is working in ways you cannot even imagine! And in just a year, we’ll get to meet!” But then, of course, that would be me doing all the talking; probably confusing my poor and aching husband who is trying to discern the voice of God.  Personal issues aside, after a brief period of waiting, which felt anything but “brief,” sure enough, an opportunity presented itself. Paul told Luke about the Director of Productions opportunity at Marvin.  Deep dependence brings about deep communication with the Holy Spirit- at the end of your rope, on your knees, or in my husband’s situation: lying very straight on your back.

After a couple of interviews and a trip down to Tyler, Luke was offered the Director of Productions position and began his work in January 2010.  Luke embraced the responsibility and challenge to make sure worship “happens” at all four, now five services, whether it’s TV broadcast to engineering sound for contemporary worship. While the learning curve was a steep one as Luke walked into a new community, church and ministry, I’ll take a moment to brag on my husband and tell you that he is the most capable learner I know.  God has gifted him with keen trouble-shooting abilities, technical inclinations, lots of managing people, and a can-do attitude with extraordinary responsiveness to high-pressure situations.  For those of you that know anything about productions, you need, all of these skills and most of the time, all at once.

Eight months into his time at Marvin, Dr. Robbins approached Luke about leading a worship service on Saturday nights.  The contemporary Saturday night service would aim to reach those whose schedules or lifestyles make Sunday morning church a difficult commitment.  Luke responded with enthusiasm and began setting plans in motion for the birth of 5:14 worship. “5:14” references to Matthew 5:14: “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” After numerous auditions, the 5:14 worship band was formed, and what a group of fine musicians and people, they are! I am very much in admiration of their consistent focus on the Lord and Him as the most important audience member. Whether the auditorium is packed, or whether there are just two or three gathered, Luke prays constantly that he and his worship team might remember they are ultimately playing for an audience of one: the King of Heaven. 5:14 Worship kicked off October 16th 2010, and shortly thereafter Luke and I went on our first date.

At the time, I was living and working in Waco, and experiencing a bit of a transition year myself, having graduated not long ago from Baylor University with a master’s degree in social work.  Our first date, sparks flew, we were both smitten, and I knew this bearded, long-haired, Texas transplant of a wonderful man was “the one”! He carved a wedding proposal into a tree, and we were married on April 8, 2011.

Before that, there was, of course, “the sea of unknowns.” I had to move to Tyler, find an apartment and a job, yet for those of you that know the “la-la land” that is young love, these all feel like minor details. God was gracious even to my love-struck and bumbling self. My passion is providing clinical therapy and counseling to children living in poverty who may not otherwise receive quality care.  In Waco, I worked as a children’s counselor at a domestic violence shelter, and was uncertain of the non-profit opportunities available in Tyler. I called the Children’s Advocacy of Smith County even though their website said there were no employment opportunities at this time. As it so happens, a therapist had put in her two weeks notice that very week, and I was hired as a full-time children’s therapist by Thanksgiving of 2010. Whew! My family and friends could barely keep up with the rapid changes happening in my own life…neither could I, for that matter. But, I knew it was wonderful, and I was confident showing the way. The Children’s Advocacy Center provides resources, advocacy and therapy to children who have been victims of physical and sexual abuse. While the reasons that necessitate our services are certainly dark, it’s a privilege to witness the transformative and healing process in these precious children—a blessing, in fact, and I am honored to have a hand in my agency’s mission.

So, here the two of us are, now, “The Hummels,” foreigners in a new land (I’m originally from the East Coast). With that, I might add that Texan hospitality has been extended to us tenfold (just ask me about our wedding, which is a separate story in and of itself, a story of generosity), and Marvin Church is at the center of such graciousness.  Thank you, Marvin, for embracing us. Thank you, Lord, for giving us the opportunity to glorify You with the passions and ministries you have called us to. And to get to do it together! I don’t know that there is a greater gift.

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