Author: Fuel For Faith

TWO VIEWS OF A RAPTURE

Will the rapture really happen before any tribulation events? Will some people be “left behind” when the prophesied rapture occurs? Will all true believers be watching tribulation events from heaven? Many evangelicals are convinced that these things are so, as I was, for twenty-eight years. I say “was” intentionally…

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These questions and their answers provided the motivation for me to write a book on the subject, which was published last year. The other motivation was that the “free world” is now changing rapidly in the direction of Tribulation-like social and political conditions. The time to prepare is now. That proverbial frog in the pot is getting very warm at this stage, and for the most part, doesn’t yet realize how serious his predicament is.

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I’ve published the main points of the book on this blog in over thirty parts, completely free to the interested: just search “rapture” and perhaps another key word such as “wrath”, “saints”, “Church” or “elect” in the search box above. I have nothing to gain here in terms of remuneration or popularity. This book is the result of a sincere desire to know the truth and to share it. However, I didn’t publish the introductory chapter on this blog, so here it is, in two or three parts, and in an edited form for the sake of space. You can find my book on Amazon in paperback or kindle (the full title is below*).

A PROFESSION

In order to allay the fears of some who may be wondering which cult the author belongs to, I wish to assure you that I believe the rapture to be a real future event. I believe the Bible to be the only inspired Word of God. I am not a-millennial in my theology, and I consider the nation of Israel to still have a vital role in God’s prophetic plan. I believe in salvation by faith alone, in the only Son of God, Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ is going to physically and visibly return, and exercise his Lordship over all the earth.

This book is written to those who are curious or confused about the rapture, or who are honest and brave enough to realize that there is possibly something other than the “safe” and cosy interpretation. It’s my contention that church leaders are failing their flocks by teaching a half-baked and faulty view, which is not preparing us for what may come in our lifetimes. Paul’s “falling away” will occur partly because people have not been informed and steeled for the truth.

ALL LEFT BEHIND critiques a common evangelical understanding of the timing of the rapture in relation to other events prophesied in the Bible. The prevailing belief is that the rapture will occur before any form of judgment or upheaval foretold in Scripture darkens our door. We will, adherents are convinced, be “snatched up” from this troubled world before things really heat up.

EX-ING THE EXPERTS

The subject of the rapture has always been present in my mind, and in sharp focus when it seemed like the Day of the Lord must be very close. However, my stance on this topic has changed, partly because over time the most influential teachers; the popular names in Bible prophecy; the very people I trusted to inform me on such matters, have on occasion been shown to me and to many others to be painfully and embarrassingly wrong in their interpretations and predictions. And so all the failed speculations helped fuel my own curiosity.

Not only are serious mistakes made, but the alleged “experts” seem to become entrenched in some kind of prophetic political-correctness, and refuse to budge from the mainline theory for fear of denying their faith and of going against the grain of current interpretation. Their attempts to fend off challenges to their entrenched positions are often weak and poorly motivated, and easily seen through by anyone with an open mind. Even big-name teachers, those known nationally and internationally, with a mile-long list of qualifications and perhaps decades of popular ministry experience, as good as they may be, sometimes say or write things which can be shown to be wrong by anyone with discernment, an open mind, and an open Bible.

Of course, interpreting Bible prophecy can be a tricky work, and the mistake so many make when examining legitimate prophecy is in attempting to force their speculations into present-day events, and possible future events, which are always “on the horizon”. It would be much better for them and us to either state honestly that they’re putting forward their own ideas which may or may not be right, or else to not speculate at all.

GOOD TIMING

Why does the timing of the rapture matter anyway? It matters because there are huge numbers of people in the West who see that the world must indeed be heading for some sort of a date with destiny, but who are either badly misinformed or uninformed, and who fail to search the Scriptures for themselves. There are millions of others who have no knowledge at all of what’s going to come upon planet earth.

As I mentioned, the future falling away from the faith (2 Thessalonians 2:3) could be caused at least in part by a failure to prepare the people of God, so that if or when things begin to go badly for the Christian Church, many people will be offended, because the rapture, which all the “experts” had predicted and promised would occur first, had not happened. The stark, gripping truth is that for most of the world’s Christians, persecution is already the norm! It’s only in the pampered West, where the pre-tribulation rapture is most commonly believed, that we still have it good, but that’s already beginning to change. If our freedoms vanish, and the rapture has not come, how will believers react? Our leaders should be preparing us and informing us, not encouraging us to stick our heads in the sand.

Come back for the second part of my introduction to ALL LEFT BEHIND*.

* ALL LEFT BEHIND: The Case Against a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, by Nicholas Fisher, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. Alternatively, you could just search this code within Amazon: B07K5NX5RB

CHRISTIANS AND UFO’s Part 4: THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSION

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons… (Paul, 1 Timothy 4:1).

Does God fly around the universe in a space ship? That’s the contention of some people who think that we Christians are mistaking alien intelligence and technology for a god of our invention. I don’t intend here to pass on detailed research results: this is an argument of logic and personal observation, and a few scripture verses…

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AN ANCIENT ALIEN TREE..?

Some years ago I set out to write a book for Christians on the subject of aliens and UFO’s. I determined to research the topic as much as I could, and got to work reading some up-to-date literature by alien believers and researchers. However, what I have to say here isn’t intended to be a detailed report on the alleged “evidence”: I will leave that to someone else.

It wasn’t long before I found myself bogged down in what turned out to be a dark, disconcerting and depressing subject. There was no joy. There was no happiness or hope, as portrayed in “Close Encounters”: it was all about unpleasant and nightmare-inducing abductions; hypnosis to attempt to get at the truth of how someone’s body or mind had allegedly been tampered with; close encounters with frightening beings and their craft which served to traumatise, and on top of that, “information” passed on by aliens to certain people who they apparently favoured, which concerned plans for the human race. This didn’t seem like the operation of a benevolent but timid race of aliens.

Perhaps most interesting to me was what these “aliens” frequently had to say about “religion”, and more specifically the Christian faith, which was that Christians and the Church have been holding back man’s evolution. And we, or at least our beliefs, needed to be dealt with. Sounding oddly like a rapture explanation, one such report even claimed that we Christians would have to be physically and suddenly removed from the earth. I don’t recall reading where Islam was similarly blamed for the ills of mankind, or Hinduism, or Communism: it seemed to rest squarely upon the Christian faith.

Here, to the Bible-believing Christian, is a series of alarm bells which suggest a more logical source of actual close encounters.

A common theme in alien circles is that even the Bible contains loosely veiled reports of UFO’s and alien activity. Observers in Old Testament times had no ability to understand or adequately describe what they saw, it is said, and so wrote about flying scrolls and wheels in wheels and fiery chariots instead, in order to describe alien space craft. It’s a common resort of those who refuse to take our Creator at face value: to re-make him-attempting at the same time to paint as ignorant the Bible-believing Christian, and to dispel the notion that God has moral standards and will bring us all to account one day.

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Why cannot the flying scroll of scripture be just that? The scroll in Old Testament times was a clear visual reference to the revealed Word of God which was constantly being neglected and ignored. Scrolls were what documents were written on. A scroll in the sky doesn’t have to refer to anything other than the written word. And why shrink God to fit inside a little ship anyway? My God is far bigger, far more able, and far more intelligent than any rinky-dink alien creature. Of course God is “up there”, because, says Solomon:

“Even the heaven of heavens cannot contain you” (1 Kings 8:27).

God not only travels the stars, he made the stars. He upholds every particle which those stars consist of. He is altogether and infinitely above the small, limited, weak notion of aliens who apparently aren’t even able to do their job of helping earthlings evolve beyond war, strife and death. If they are so far ahead of us, why are they failing in their mission?

At this point I want to put together some of the elements of this little apologetic, and get to what I believe is the meat of the issue. First, a summary.

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Aliens hide all the time. They have never been officially acknowledged, by any variety of government or administration. Many or most scientists, while they might entertain the idea of pan-spermia, or that there is likely to be life somewhere out there in the universe, routinely scoff at the idea of little green men hiding behind the clouds. The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence has revealed or admitted to nothing. Most encounters are readily explainable. The only purported hard evidence-an alleged crashed alien ship in Arizona’s area 51 with its dead occupant-has never been revealed to the public or to the many who believe it was or is there.

Alien encounters are usually profoundly frightening and unsettling experiences. Alien theology seems to harp on the need to shut up Christians or if necessary to dispose of us. Alien theology is tied to that of evolutionism: i.e., that there is no creator in the Biblical sense, and that ultimately all of life evolved from non-life. There is no evidence that this ever happened, and it is never observed to happen today.

Once again, I do not totally rule out the possibility that God created life elsewhere, but I very much doubt it, from what I read in scripture. The creation account makes us appear to be totally unique. The claim that the universe is so vast that there must be other life is easily answered by saying that it is vast because God is vast. How could an infinite God make a little universe? And if he did, people would be mockingly saying that an infinite God wouldn’t make such a little universe. The universe is a reflection of the utter glory and power and majesty of God. There is no need for little green men to help in that regard.

Ancient Demons

UNMASKED!

So what do we make of all the alleged encounters and evidence? I think that scripture makes the answer clear, in many places:

Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

The fallen angels “masquerade” and pretend that they are something they are not. They can make you think you see things, and they can make you actually see things which are not what you think they are. Sometimes what people see or encounter really does or appear to be a UFO or an alien.

Un-fallen angels are also able to manifest themselves, and they appear as humans:

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2).

Whether we know it or not, we are all in a spiritual war. The fallen angels’ chief plan and intention is to deceive us out of our faith, in whatever way possible: usually through sin and lies such as evolution and false religion. It seems logical to me therefore, that a perfect idea for Satan and his angels, is to deceive those who are intent on believing that little green men are our salvation, and not Jesus Christ at all. Their programme of hiding and just appearing to some in various forms, and preaching against the Creator, is not logical to someone who actually thinks it through, or who has not been adequately blinded. And blinding to the truth is what our adversary loves to do, in his hatred for God and us:

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV).

It’s Jesus Christ who is the image of God, and not a bug-eyed creature from another planet.

Thanks for reading. Reasoned input is welcome. To sample my recent album, made with the very talented Nathan Fisher, click the link below…

Album Artwork

https://sherbetimage.hearnow.com/?fbclid=IwAR3Jz35cEubXRP1dNmb6_PjVkFFUq-FgaqCbfj_tHqsaatHMZF0SbyxDZYw

CHRISTIANS and UFO’s Part 3: ASSISTED EVOLUTION?

Evolution is a dirty, deathly concept as it is: are aliens involved in it also?

In my teens I read a book which had been immensely popular at that time and before my time: “Chariots of the Gods”. The thesis of the book was that aliens have been grooming the human race throughout its history and pre-history, so that much of what we know as mythology, such as the ancient Greek pantheon, was inspired by visits to earth of the alien race attending us.

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ANCIENT CROSS-EYED ALIEN: NO ON-BOARD TOILET FACILITIES. NOTICE ALSO THE BINKY…

Other purported evidence can be seen in ancient structures such as Stonehenge and the Mayan temple. These structures. goes the story, are so cleverly made, and made in ways and to specifications which humans were totally incapable of thousands of years ago, that they ‘must have’ been made by aliens.

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OH NO! THE PYRAMIDS MUST BE UPSIDE DOWN!

There are some who also see the Great Pyramid as being of alien design, such is the size and technological scope of it. The blocks were so large and heavy, they say, and fitted together so perfectly, that it “must have” been built by aliens. It “could only be aliens”, because humans, according to the secular view of things, had barely stopped dragging their knuckles on the ground and hitting each other with big sticks by the time some of these objects were made. They were ignorant, unlearned, weak and grossly incompetent, just a few thousand years ago.

The record of history and of archaeology is really quite different. Saying that the Great Pyramid must have been built by aliens is poor logic and circular reasoning: “people couldn’t have built it because people couldn’t build such things”. Even secular history books-the ones not guided by radical agendas-will admit that in the earliest known civilizations, such as that in Mesopotamia, people were writing and reading and studying geometry, science, literature, maths, and astronomy or their version of it known as astrology. They were aware of such things as the orbits of some of the planets. It didn’t take them ten thousand generations to go from scraping marks on sticks to studying geometry: man was intelligent from the earliest true recorded history, and it doesn’t have to be anything to do with aliens passing on knowledge. And if aliens are supposed to be helping us evolve, why is it that we’ve forgotten how to build pyramids and temples?

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

Humans from creation were genuinely intelligent, and when they became settled enough to take root and to thrive, they were able to develop sciences, literature and arts. Evolutionists have poisoned our minds to assume that people before a few hundred years BC (yes, BC) were ape-like creatures with an IQ of three. But all recorded human history-real human history and not speculation-shows humanity to be intelligent and capable.

Scripture declares that God made man and woman fully formed. They were not ape-creatures. They had fully developed brains and minds and hands, and likely set to work using them very quickly. Pockets of civilization and learning quickly grew and developed around the world, and what remains of their handiwork is seen today. In some cases, they had developed such technology and skills that we still don’t know how they did what they did, or even why. It really only needs to be as simple as that. No alien help is needed. Just wind humanity up, and off he will go, building, studying, researching, learning, developing and growing.

IS LUKE SKYWALKER A GOD?

I am more than willing to agree that there really were some mighty heroes and larger than life characters in past ages, and some indeed may have inspired many legends, myths and religions. However, to automatically assign them the status of alien is really not necessary. Humans have incredible warriors, intellects and statesmen in reality, even now. We also have heroes and villains born of our imagination-and all of us, except perhaps some who have lost their minds, would agree that such characters as Luke Skywalker were not real people. Similarly, the fish-people of Mesopotamia were likely inventions to tell a story, just as Bilbo Baggins, Captain Kirk and Poo Bear are in our time.

Finally, the truth is that any space ship which may or may not exist is within God, not the other way around:

For in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28 NIV).

Album Artwork

TO SAMPLE MY MOST RECENT RECORDING (ABOVE) CLICK ON THIS LINK:

https://sherbetimage.hearnow.com/?fbclid=IwAR3Jz35cEubXRP1dNmb6_PjVkFFUq-FgaqCbfj_tHqsaatHMZF0SbyxDZYw

THE US ELECTION: DID GOD FAIL?

If you were one of the millions in the United States praying for the right outcome in the US election, you may also be one of the millions wondering where God got to on the day, as I’ve been tempted to do…

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Biden has claimed to be a Bible reader. At the same time he is all for unfettered abortion for any reason, all the way up to birth. He heads a party which fully supports sex changes for those who feel like having one, and he is a total globalist, who will continue to sell out our nation, and the West, to China and other foreign powers. He will further destabilize the Middle-East by again favouring radical Iran over American ally Israel. His party has come to hate America and what makes America prosperous. The party has prospered by working to demonize its opponent-Trump-the Orwellian Goldstein of the 21st Century-accusing him of everything it could cook up. What freedom there is in the world, which the US has championed and defended, is under threat, particularly now that lies and deception are the order of the day.

So where was God? Here’s my take.

First, the election isn’t over, despite all that Pravda-US is telling us. There are legal challenges and a considerable volume of evidence of election rigging in several states. States that Trump was winning clearly on election night suddenly found hundreds of thousands of new votes-for Biden.

But if the challenges fail, there are some hard lessons for us to learn. First, we as professing believers have to remember what Scripture actually tells us about the world, and not what we would like to be so. Jesus. about to be crucified, was told by Pilate that if he would just defend himself he could escape his fate, but Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world”. So if this world is not Christ’s kingdom, whose is it? The answer is clear. Jesus said, on the night of his betrayal and following crucifixion:

I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me (John 14:30).

And Paul wrote:

…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).

We have clear evidence all over the Christians’ instruction manual, the Bible, that the direction of world history is not towards Utopia, as Hegel’s cathedral pictured, and as all the biggest socialists and communists such as Marx have claimed, but towards a date with the fury and the vengeance of God. We all want to see America do well, and the rest of the world too. We hope and rightfully pray and work for a better world-but there will come a time, sooner or later, when that date with the wrath of God will come. And there is a process which leads to it: one of moral decline, in which it will seem like the wicked have their way.

The apostle Paul wrote about the civilization he was a part of, and that when a society persistently and recklessly turns its back on God and on all that’s right, God reluctantly gives them over to their wickedness. When they have stopped their ears to the gospel totally, and when they have abandoned themselves to all that is ungodly, God just lets them go, and the worst thing which could possibly happen to them-that God is no longer calling them to the narrow path of righteousness-takes place (Romans chapter 1:18-32)

Are we there yet? I don’t know, and I hope not, but our God never did guarantee that the godly would win all the elections if they just pray hard. If that were the case, we could pray our way to Utopia. But that isn’t what we’ve been told will happen. So let’s keep fighting for our nation-it’s worth fighting for-but let’s remember what we’ve been told.

Happily, moral decline isn’t the end of the story, because we’re also told that when that great Day of the Lord does come, our world will be restored to its rightful owner, and righteousness will flourish:

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15 NIV).

TERRY RUFFLE

Volumes could be written about Mr. Terence Ruffle. Never a dull person, Terry made an impression wherever he appeared…

It wasn’t always a welcome impression, but it’s impossible for such a showman to be himself-and to be what he wanted to be-and not rub someone up the wrong way. He was willing to be friendly with anyone, but if he detected unpleasant vibes, he would reciprocate. I don’t believe he was ever vindictive-it wasn’t in his nature.

If I could sum up my view of Terry in a couple of sentences, I would have to say that he was always at the centre of every situation he found himself in, and that, upset a few delicate sensibilities as he did, he was never boring.

I once wrote a blog post about my best friend, which was in fact he. We weren’t always the best of friends though, and in recent years fell out of contact. Most of what I’m writing here relates to the earlier part of our lives, up to about the age of thirty. He may have mellowed somewhat after that, once he realized he wasn’t going to be a rock star after all. Living here on the other side of the Atlantic, and being married and “responsible”, I don’t know quite what he became.

However, when we were together, we had many huge laughs, intense fun thrashing out those tunes, and lots of cerebral conversations. His mental energy always ensured this, and brought out the best of me in that regard-and most likely the worst also. Not only that, but he was one of those people who can make you feel totally appreciated and welcome. He would look people in the face (unless he knew they didn’t like him), he would take an interest in them, and make them feel like he really wanted to be with them. I couldn’t ask for anything more in a friend, but there was more.

Optimist that he was, Terry was rarely under a cloud, and when he was, it was normally because he’d lost a girlfriend, lost a family member, or lost a band. Spending time with Terry was always enough to blow any blues away: the fun and the optimism were infectious. I’ve known perhaps three people who could make me laugh uncontrollably: Terry is the undisputed champion. There were times when I literally couldn’t breathe for laughing, and the beauty of it was that I was able to make him laugh too. He laughed easily-an invaluable trait.

He was capable of being a deeply caring person. Some who knew him might find that a provocative statement, because, being incurably sanguine and confident, he was prone to insensitivity. He really didn’t mean to irritate or be utterly self centred or at times narcissistic: it was just part of his natural persona. But when he did think things through-how others felt and what they might be going through- he was touched to the core. He would freely express concern, and if the situation presented itself, he would act to alleviate the problem.

Strangely, even Terry’s selfishness was food for amusement and laughter. If he dispatched himself to the “offy” to get a little something to drink for everyone, it came as no surprise to all awaiting his return, despite the disgust and frustration, if it took him literally hours. Indeed, he might not have came back at all. We knew what he was like, we compensated for his distracted nature, and we had a chuckle that he could be so totally self-absorbed.

He would, however, freely admit that he was the consummate hedonist. In fact, I’d say that this was his raison d’étre for a large portion of his life. It was this attitude in him which made him so much fun to be around, and yet also, at times, so irritating and obnoxious. I know I’m not speaking ill of the dead here: I believe Terry would read this and laugh, and most likely agree with most of what I’m saying. He would probably even be flattered.

I knew Terry from Junior school: he was in my class. At age ten, the rest of us thought he looked a little odd (though we probably looked just as odd). He had a patch over his lazy eye. He rolled his head a little, and when he ran, it wagged from side to side. By the time he was thirteen, he was already working at looking like a rock star, and did it pretty well. I remember seeing him on his easy-rider bicycle, wearing a stars and stipes t-shirt, and holding an LP, most likely of Jimmy Hendrix or Woodstock.

At sixteen his hair was over his shoulders, as mine was, and he had taken to wearing shades even in dull conditions. By the time he was eighteen he’d adopted a new wave look, and then not long after that, sported a flat-top, which was eventually bleached-and a leather jacket. He told me, around that time, that if he didn’t “make it” (as a rock star) by the time he was thirty, he would give up. There was no lack of trying with Terry.

In Terry’s zeal to try all things illicit, he never, to my knowledge, touched LSD. He wanted to protect his brain, which was his second favourite organ…

I had jammed with Terry and friends of ours (Mark Robbins, Paddy Mulville, Bob Mardon and others) from the time we were fifteen-he on his Stratocaster and me on bass. We successfully and frequently attracted the attention of irate neighbours or the policeman they had dispatched in order to stop the hideous noise emanating from our practice room.

So much could be written on the subject of Terence and bands, including those I was in with him. He really did have considerable potential, which desperately needed some professional coaching and direction. I think his best performances were with the very talented Carl Seager and The Flying Heroes, of which I was a proud part for a while, and also with Paul Sullivan and various incarnations of The Accidents.

The most fun I ever had playing with Terence was in the Surf Rats. Our intention, as per Terry’s direction (of course) was to play the instrumentals as fast as we possibly could. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but with the line-up we had, it actually worked very well. There were moments when we were playing that were so sublime I could not possibly describe the feelings and emotions I had. “Oh euphoria-you know it’s so good for ya…” and Terry’s love of pleasure, and his aim that all those with him felt the same way, made the sensation of euphoria possible-a talent very few of us have. All I can say is, Thanks, Terry, for providing me with so much fun, laughter and great music.

How to choose an anecdote out of the thousands which could be told? They are all so rich. Terry and I left the pub one evening (how many anecdotes involving this bloke could begin with that sentence!) and determined to visit someone who lived on a nearby barge. This entailed, obviously, stepping a short distance from the quayside onto the side of the barge. I went first, but my foot slipped off the side of the barge, and I fell between the concrete and the boat. Luckily for me, I did in that moment manage to grab on to both sides on my way down, otherwise I would have been at least waist deep in good old Maldon mud and water, in the darkness. Perhaps I would have fallen in all the way: probably not a good idea in my condition.

So there I dangled helplessly, between the devil and the deep blue sea, gasping for breath and wondering what was going to happen next. And what was Terry doing? Those of you who knew him can answer the question: he was laughing hysterically. Once he’d regained a degree of sanity, he grabbed my arm, and impressively, lifted me out of the miry clay.

It seems unnatural to have to say goodbye…to the best friend I ever had. Bye, Terry, mate. I did love you.

To SAMPLE MY LATEST RECORDINGS, go here:

Album Artwork

https://sherbetimage.hearnow.com/?fbclid=IwAR3Jz35cEubXRP1dNmb6_PjVkFFUq-FgaqCbfj_tHqsaatHMZF0SbyxDZYw

FOR FURTHER READING RELATED TO TERRY, try these:

https://nickyfisher.com/2012/09/25/profile-of-a-good-friend/

https://nickyfisher.com/2015/08/22/my-ten-greatest-experiences-3-playing-music/