On Sunday, June 6, 2004, I spent most of the day at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, with my good friend and brother Phillip Pierce enjoying the Crossroads Guitar Festival.  This three-day music festival was organized by Eric Clapton to benefit the Crossroads Centre, a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Antigua which Clapton founded.  The event included performances by noted guitarists like B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Joe Walsh, Robert Cray, Bo Diddley, J.J. Cale, Jimmie Vaughn, Steve Vai, John Mayer, Neal Schon, Vince Gill, David Hidalgo, and many others.  Unfortunately, Brian May, who been previously billed as one of the performers, was unable to make the trip from England.  While I was majorly bummed about missing what was likely my only chance to ever see May perform, it was still an incredible concert.   

Before I get to the main point of this post, let me provide an answer to the question, “How does a preacher manage to spend 10 hours at a guitar festival on a Sunday?”  I will be more than happy to explain.  In February of 2004, we began worshipping in our new facility at the McDermott Road church in Plano, Texas.  Since 2000, we had been meeting in two services in the modular building and utilizing a middle school down the street for additional classroom space.  The new building not only met our classroom needs, it also provided us the luxury and blessing of meeting together in one morning worship assembly, at least for the next 11 months, until we had to revert to two services.  During those 11 months, on the first Sunday of the month, everyone shared together in a fellowship lunch and an early afternoon devotional before dismissing for the day.  The Crossroads Guitar Festival just HAPPENED to be on the first Sunday of June.  I promise that I had no influence on which Sunday we had the fellowship lunch!

After morning worship, Bible classes, lunch, and a devo, Phillip and I quickly exchanged our dress clothes for more comfortable garb and made it to our seats in the Cotton Bowl by 2:00 p.m. for a concert that would last until midnight. 

During the middle of the afternoon, Eric Clapton and B.B. King appeared on stage, sat in a couple of folding metal chairs, and wowed the crowd with an extended set which featured their artistry and mastery on blues guitar.  Eventually, Buddy Guy emerged to join them on stage, and, a little later, a fourth chair was set up for John Mayer.  While John Mayer is an accomplished musician, he appeared to be somewhat tentative as the four guitarists traded licks.  After taking the lead for the second or third time, Mayer shook his head slightly, stood up, unstrapped his guitar, laid it on down in front of Clapton, King, and Guy, and walked off the stage.  Applause erupted from the crowd in recognition and appreciation of Mayer’s humility and deference toward these significantly older and more seasoned performers.  Mayer’s actions were quite unexpected and refreshing, particularly in an industry that is sometimes noted for overblown egos and a desire to dominate the spotlight.

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think…” (Romans 12:3)

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.” (Romans 12:10)

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12) 

Admittedly, it was a rather strange place to be reminded of the teaching of Jesus and Paul on the subject of humility.  But, then again, it was a Sunday!


A gift from Phillip that proudly hangs in my office.