Had I understood the cost in the beginning, I may have never set foot on this path. Back in October 2006, I set forth to start learning a new programing language with the hope of being able to utilize what I had learned to rebuild www.GodlyChristianMusic.com. I had done some programing in the past and figured that after a month or two I would be able to get started on the task. Little did I know what I was getting into. Before me was a programing language that was far more complex than I had ever dreamed and only after a couple month of dabbling with some videos and books did I realize that I had not even scratched the surface. At a certain point, I finally realized that in order to be successful with the task before me, I would have to devote myself to studying and reading a major text book for several months. And so the task began...
Day after day for weeks on end I read. Then I read some more until about seven months passed and I came to the end of over 800 pages of technical jargon. At that point, I was simply trying to get an overview of the programing language and had not yet even attempted any significant amount coding with the new language. Nevertheless, my first attempts were also met with several barriers to cross.
When I first started programing, I quickly found my book knowledge certainly was not up to par with my experience. Even the most simple tasks rendered error upon error. But such were the least of my difficulties when I began working with some new hosting companies. One thing the text book never covered was how to work with the environment that my website hosting company was providing. The problems multiplied with an upgrade to Windows Vista which rendered a few key programs useless that I have found to be essential to my work. In addition, my hosting company had a number of issues of its own.
During that time my hosting company started a several month process of upgrading their system. Their changes slowed down many necessary functions which prevented me from being able to work. In addition, they had some kind of problem that made it impossible for me to access www.GodlyChristianMusic.com from my home. When everything had settled down, I had already gone through three different companies over the course of about two months. Each switch taking over a week to get everything back up and working properly. Yet this was only the beginning of trials.
Around the same time, I came to the conclusion that my knowledge of graphic and web design were going to fall far short of my goals with the site. So after about a month of deliberation, I finally broke down and purchased a major Adobe(R) package. This marked a new horizon of learning as plunged into several tutorial videos and waded through prolonged tinkering sessions struggling to grasp how to use this professional design software. From the onset, I found myself wresting through a totally different perspective of design than I had ever encountered before. The tools were powerful, but they weren't as simple and intuitive as the cheaper programs that I had been familiar with in the past. Nevertheless, after more than a month's worth of study and design, a simple new look to the site was produced that remained the appearance of the website from around November 2007 to September 2008.
After the new look had been completed, I began the first major stage of programing. It all started with a lot of planning and then some database work. From there, labor on the back end of the site commenced. I wanted to create a system that artists would be able to log in and see what songs were being downloaded. In addition, I wanted to give artists the ability to post new songs and manage their section of the website. This had several obstacles, but the greatest was clearly attempting to apply what I had read from the textbook nearly a year before I reached this point. When the administrative side to the website was completed, it marked the first major victory and mile marker in completing the process.
The next greatest task would be designing the user interface which would become the familiar appearance to the common user. The design process was long and tedious. Trying to come up with an elegant design that would remain simple and intuitive for the average internet surfer was something that took nearly two months. But once the design was created, all the programing that followed took just about as long. Through many debugging session the site came to an acceptable level of completion and the process of deployment took place.
This entire process of design and development of the site has been full of trials, but they have only been piece in the puzzle that slowed or stopped the website from moving forward. In the midst of all the website work that went on, I was also working to bring my home to the place of having running water, heat, and modern flooring (something more than plywood). Also during this season of work, many of my friends faced many difficulties which frequently pulled me away from my work, to help and pray.
Despite everything that has made this site difficult to produce, it is now available and I am faced with the question, “Was it worth it?” But this is where you come in. As Apostle Paul spoke of the difficulties that he faced at times, he frequently exhorted his readers not to feel sorrow over his trials because they were necessary for their joy. In the same way, I am not try to make you feel sorry for me, but I am pleading with you... don't make my labor in vain. Use the site and encourage others through the music found within its pages. Build up the body of Christ through it and with it, so that when I stand before the throne, I will hear that it was worth it!
PS. Thank you for your prayers, God has been listening.
There is still more on the way...Most of the work that has gone on to date has been behind the scenes creating a complex music management system. Now, with this data structure in place, the front side of the website will be transforming as well. Presently, the front side of the site is only a skeleton of the rich features that are coming. In the future, the front side of the site should offer a great service to artists and listeners.
I want to thank all the artists and listeners who have been praying. Ever since my last post about two months ago, asking people to pray, I have gotten more done on the site than in the previous six months. Your prayers haven't totally stop the difficulties or trials, but somehow despite the difficulties, progress just seems to continue anyway. In some ways, it has been like running through a cross fire during a war. Before, I was getting hit by the bullets regularly, but now only occasionally. Nevertheless, even with an occasional wound it hasn't slowed me down too much! Thank you for those who have been offering up requests.
Please continue of offer up prayers to the Lord for His protection on the site. I still face many difficulties and little delays in getting this site ready for you. I have had problems with my hosting servers, my own computer, and have had some crazy financial things happen, but despite all this, the Lord has provided. He has been a supply of endurance, encouragement, good friends, and everything else... Nevertheless, since the project is an ongoing one and because there is much to still be done, do not cease praying and asking the Lord to fill me with the knowledge of His will and to protect me from the evil one. I am continually tested and pulled in many directions, sensing that the devil would like to sift me as wheat. Therefore, if this site has been a blessing, please thank God for it and ask His will to be accomplished in drawing all men and women who find it to intimacy with Christ!
Concluding this post, let me give a you poem that came to me as I have been working on the website:
Here is Satan's army rearing for war,
his horses are snorting cheering to sore,
men strewn across vast fields ready to fight.
Standing round about me with evil delight,
waiting and waiting for the trumpet call to kill.
From their mouths vile tauntings constantly spill.
“You weakling, we will eat you alive...
you are worthless, it's vanity for you to strive.”
Though true such words may be, I stand not alone,
for one much greater than I, has descended from His throne,
stands closely just behind me, upon this little mount,
His hand upon my shoulder, His frame firm and stout.
Standing closer he spoke in a whisper, “see what I will do.”
But the trumpeters interrupted, defiantly they blew.
The vast army yell even louder with hatred in their sight,
they raised their flashing sword as they moved in for the fight.
The ground shaking the ground quaking for as far as I can see,
from east to west man upon man charges forward against me.
But now, even tighter, the grip upon my shoulder did grow
and a soft warm whisper upon my ear began to blow.
“Be still,” my companion said so gently in reply,
and then that vast army fell with a great cry.
Man upon man, face upon foot as far my eye could see,
Not one soldier stood any longer to fight against me.
From the ground arose the sound of a distant meadow still,
quietness and peace from around the valleys began to fill.
No more fighting and no more war,
absence of strife beckons and opens its door.
With this power supporting and helping at hand,
who shall run against me or prevent me to stand.
“Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.”
Over the course of the last several months, countless set backs have occurred. Everything from personal situations, computer issues, and web hosting server problems have consumed my time from being able to finish the work on this site. I am beginning to see that my greatest short coming has been prayer. I don't think I have really considered GCM as something that would make someone try to harm me, but I was wrong. Satan has had a hay day going to great lengths to cause the work to stop and to discourage me. There have been some points where I have been ready to give up altogether, but I really feel like the Lord want me to continue pushing on.
This brings me to where I have fallen short. I have not been faithfully asking the Lord to bless the site, grant me time to work on it, and protect me from the devil's schemes. Nor have I valued your prayers enough in order to ask you to be praying for me and this work. Last month, there well over 7,000 visits to the site and people downloaded nearly 50gb of music. It is a blessing to know that there are a lot of people out there that like the site, but now I need your help so that I can server you all better. Please, as you listen to the music, pray for me. When you come to the site ask the Lord to allow His favor to rest on it and to protect it against the devil's attack. These needs are no longer abstract requests, they have become painful realities as I have been consistently loosing ground. Therefore, I am finally declared war with this site against Satan's kingdom and I ask that you join me with your prayers to raise the flag for our King!
On the front side of the site, users who have Internet Explore version 6 or lower will notice some bugs have been fixed in the appearance of several pages. A fairly complicated problem associated with how IE6 and lower renders pages, required a significant amount of time to fix, but the issue appears to be resolved now. (Feel free to report future errors through the Support pages.) In addition, there have been some problems associated with the donate page. PayPal’s server appears to be running fairly slow. There is not a lot that can be done with this issue, but now you can also donate through Google Checkout. Take a peak at the Donate page.
Hope you enjoy some of the new music. We have much more on the way...
As you can already see, there has been some changes to the look and feel of the site. Divine Design began work in September planning and setting goals for what Godly Christian Music was going to become. Now you are beginning to see the fruit of the last months worth of work. The site will continue change as the project progresses onward. Over the course of the next season, Godly Christian Music will be getting a database system and new user interface programmed in ASP.NET (a popular web programming language). This will enable users to begin searching the music by genre, artist, title, and more. Nevertheless, even before these changes become fully implemented the sites music content will be increasing. Stay posted on this news page to find out when new content is added and where to find it.
Over the last couple years we have become the home of many independent artists’ music, but there are still countless talented people all over the place who have never been able to publish what they have received from God. Godly Christian Music is not only hoping to get songs that are already recorded by artists, but also to begin recording artist that don’t have the ability to record, edit, and mix the music themselves. This news page will be keeping you up-to-date on who and what we may be recording.
One other addition to the site is the ability to donate to the cause. Godly Christian Music is presently serving thousands of people around the world each month. In August alone, eight hundred new people found the site and began downloading its free songs. As Godly Christian Music continues to grow the demands on our server have increased and as our projected growth begins to sky rocket, we hope that some of you might be able to offset our expenses and help keep the site going and growing.
We hope that the new additions to the site will help to draw more people to truly know Christ Jesus our Lord. There are so many things that draw people away from Jesus and in the midst of difficulties, many times a song about our Lord can help keep us focused throughout our day. The Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.
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