Hi, this is Joseph Mattera of Mattera Ministries International. Welcome to God Today. What I want to talk about is how a musician – a rock musician – found Christ. It happened to be me.
In January I gave myself to Christ, all the way back in 1978. Before that I had an incredible trajectory of doing incredible things in terms of making money and even having fame. I was supposed to play at Madison Square Garden at the age of 17. God somehow was able to stop that from happening. By the time I came to Christ I found He was the true peace I was always looking for. He was the identity I really needed – more than having an identity in music.
For almost ten years, I gave up playing. I remember one of the turning points I had was after I was baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues in the summer of 1978. My friend told me that after Jesus was baptized in the Spirit, He was tempted of Satan for 40 days. He said, “Because you were baptized in the Spirit, you are going to have the greatest temptation you have ever had so far in your walk with God.” At that point, I had been a Christian for six months. The next day I got a phone call from a friend. He told me, “If you want, you can join this band. You don’t even have to audition. You are going to fly to Puerto Rico, you are going to record, you are going to go all over the world. You are going to be playing with some of the great musicians of the world. Do you want the gig?” I said, “I don’t know, I have to call you back.”
That night, as I prayed I asked God, “Is this temptation from Satan?” I didn’t know how to hear the voice of God in my spirit at that point, but when I said that prayer, “Is this temptation from Satan,” my Bible happened to open up. I looked down at my Bible and two words were highlighted in my Bible. It opened to Matthew 4 where it said Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would only bow down and worship him. As soon as that prayer came out of my mouth, “God, show me if this is temptation from Satan.” Two words in the King James came out: temptor and devil. Immediately, I knew Satan was trying to divert my assignment, distract me, get me off the right track.
The next day, I called up my friend and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t take this gig.” He said, “You have a better gig?” I said, “Oh yea, I’ve got a much better gig.” I found out years later, as I was giving my testimony that that band, especially some of the core musicians in that band, wound up touring with Billy Joel. To this day, the saxophone player at that band is still his saxophone player. God knows what kind of opportunities would have opened up. But, I tell you, God has blessed me so much since then. If it wasn’t for my conversion, I would have never met my wife. I would have never had my five biological children, I would have never launched a church in the rough area of Sunset Park in Brooklyn, NY. I would have never had the network of networks that we started in 1998. I would have never been leading the United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders. I would have never been on God Today – which is such a blessing seeing thousands of people come to Christ, reaching over 180 nations with our writings every week. All of this would have been gone if I had not listened to the Lord Jesus Christ. If i would have went with my original inclination to be that musician and putting music before God. I wouldn’t have what I have now.
I want to encourage you. No matter what the temptation is today, always put God first. God knows best. God has the best plans for the rest of your life. This is God Today and I’m Joseph Mattera.