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Esterlyn lead shares modest start

When the band Esterlyn gave a free concert in Fresno Christian’s Ground Zero, I was incredibly impressed by their collective talent. I was especially moved by lead singer Luke Caldwell’s willingness to devote his life to whatever God calls him to do. He is a remarkable spiritual leader and I was very encouraged by the conversation we were able to have after the show.

The following includes a one-on-one question and answer time that he allowed me after the performance.

Houts: How were you introduced to singing?

Caldwell: I don?t think I was really “introduced” to singing. The first time I really remember singing was just worship songs at church. I?m not classically trained or anything like that. Honestly, I?d never sung before I was 19. It really wasn?t even something I was that interested in, until that girl walked up to me and gave me a guitar, telling me God told her to give it to me. That was really the start of my journey in music. It was definitely God?s call in my life, so he definitely introduced me to music.

Houts: Did you have a “backup plan” in case you didn?t make it in the music industry?

Caldwell: I never tried to make it, that?s the funny thing. I?m kind of the opposite from a lot of people. I never wanted to get into the music industry. I?ve always been focused on doing ministry, so I was actually a youth pastor for five years at a Bible college and I loved it. I had a big youth group, I loved teaching the word and I would lead worship here and there.

People just started contacting us, asking if we?d play at different things and it kind of progressed until it literally got to the point where we were getting so many opportunities to play that I had to make a decision and say, ‘do I want to do this? Is this what you?re calling me to do, Lord, or am I supposed to stay and be a youth pastor? Whatever you want to do, Lord, I want to be a part of it.’

My prayer since I was about 18 is that I want to be wherever it is that I can affect the largest number of people, so, wherever that is, that?s where I want to be. For this season of my life, this is where that?s happening.

As far as a back up plan, I definitely don?t have one. I just know that God will direct me to a different place wherever that may be, to affect more people, when that timing comes. I really don?t care what I do with my life; I just want to be affecting people each day. Right now I feel like this is definitely where he wants us to be, so we?re just continuing to be faithful.

Houts: How did you form Esterlyn?

Caldwell: I?ve had a lot of different people playing with me over the years. I definitely wouldn?t say that I put it together. I?ve always prayed that God would put together the people that he wants me to be with. A couple of the guys I?m with right now I met at church.

One of them was saved at our church a few years ago, and we have a drummer from Seattle. God?s definitely brought the people together, but I never know what God has planned so they could be a completely different lineup the next time I see you {Houts}.

Houts: What has been your biggest struggle as a musician and how are you dealing with that?

Caldwell: I don?t know if I necessarily have struggles as a musician; I?d say I have struggles as an individual. All of us, in living a life of faith, want to live with the Lord, walk in the Spirit, be legit in life and choose to walk in the newness of life.

As far as a musician, music to me has honestly been secondary. I like music, but I wouldn?t say I?m super passionate about it. To me, it?s more of an opportunity to speak into peoples? lives. Like tonight {March 5}, we love leading worship but we love being able to share with people.

Houts: Do you have any advice for young, aspiring Christian artists?

Caldwell: It definitely has to be a calling. I don?t know what everyone?s motivations are, but I know that in life, if you?re not motivated by love, it?s not going to be successful. God says in his word that anything we do in life that isn?t motivated by love means nothing. That has to be the driving factor. When people are driven just because they love music or because they want to be famous or make money?which isn?t necessarily going to happen?I don?t think those are good motivations.

I encourage people that they should seek God?s plan for their lives. God does put desires into our hearts. The Bible says that when we put the Lord first, he will give us the desires of our hearts. I think the goal is to put him first, and then those desires will come. How that looks will be up to him. It could be leading worship for your children?s ministry, a home group or just encouraging your friends. It also could be playing for thousands of people. That has to be left up to the Lord.

I don?t live life putting expectations on God where I?m like, ?this is what I want to do, this is how I want to do it,? so, I think that?s a healthy place to be. If you?re living life with these expectations of how everything should turn out, you?re ultimately going to be disappointed because none of us know what God has planned for us.

If you are an aspiring musician, you have to learn your craft. It takes practice, like anything in life, there?s no way around it. If you want to be a musician, you have to sing or play and learn how to craft songs. All that is important, and it also needs to be driven out of a heart of love. I?m not saying there?s anything wrong with being a musician that doesn?t sing about God, you can do that as a career. For us, it?s more of a ministry than just playing music.

For more features, read the April 24 article Guess Who: The 27th Subject.

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