Tag: artist

Your Dream . . . Worth the Wait!

Patrick Cavanaugh’s book, Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, reveals intriguing details of George Frederick Handel’s life-changing experience composing The Messiah. By age 56 he was about to retire as a failure when a friend gave him a libretto of Scripture verses—and everything changed.

Cavanaugh writes, “Handel threw himself into writing and in a staggering stretch completed part one in only six days, part two in only nine, and part three in another six. He worked feverishly, driven by one overwhelming purpose.”

According to Cavanaugh, at one point he answered the door with tears streaming down his face and cried out, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God himself.” He had just finished what would become known as the “Hallelujah” chorus.

Cavanaugh describes this amazing experience: “Handel completed an astounding 260 pages of orchestration in only twenty-four days. During that process, he didn’t leave his house, and friends often found him sobbing with emotion . . . . Some have considered it one of the greatest musical feats in history.”

Writer, speaker, and producer Phil Cooke reflects on this inspiring account in his blog . . . It was as if he had been waiting his entire life for that moment.

“Even Handel’s commercial successes were usually followed by financial disaster. He was attacked by the church and many at the time felt little reason to believe his talent was worthy of any kind of legacy—until The Messiah . . . .

“Out of a past that was uneven at best, the creation of Messiah was a burst of creativity driven by the remarkable passion of a man who glimpsed his one real purpose.”

Phil asks this penetrating question: “What’s that one moment you’ve been waiting for all your life? How many times have you thought about giving up?”


“Let People See Jesus . . .”

“Gary made every day count, not only with his God-honoring work, but with his God-honoring life.”

—Dave Alan Johnson


Gary Johnson (left), Joan Considine Johnson and Dave Alan Johnson

Gary Johnson, with his brother Dave Alan Johnson and his wife Joan Considine Johnson, co-created, wrote, and produced two of the most beloved and successful television series for faith and general audiences (Doc and Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye), as well as movies and other television projects. We at Mastermedia are saddened by the passing of our dear friend Gary Johnson. We’ve asked his brother, Dave, to honor him with reflections on his life . . .

My brother, Gary R. Johnson, was one of the best writers in Hollywood. He is the best “clever dialogue” writer I’ve ever come across in nearly thirty years of working in this business at the highest levels. He worked in the entertainment “major leagues” for twenty years solid, made a lot of money by any standard, and won innumerable awards and praise for his work. He was grateful for all of that, but if we could ask him today to define success, he’d say it was that he followed Jesus through it all. And for those of us left behind, we couldn’t agree more.

On Father’s Day, June 18th, Gar, as we called him, went to be with his Savior Jesus Christ after a battle with cancer. What he knew, even long before the cancer, is that success, money, and accolades earned in this life won’t help us when it is time to meet our Lord. It’s so easy to buy into the lie that our success here on earth is what we should be living for. Gar knew there was more, and it was demonstrated by how he lived.

After his illness became public, we got hundreds of notes from people he knew, worked with, and touched over his lifetime. What moved us most wasn’t that they said he was a great writer, but that literally every person commented on how genuine, kind, humble, and uplifting Gar was. He was like that because he followed Jesus and let Jesus shine through him. He wasn’t perfect. No one is. But the good news is we’re not expected to be.

I’m hopeful that Gary’s life is a reminder to others, as it is to me, that even in the midst of the pressures of this sometimes thrilling—but always crazy—business, our goal is to let people see Jesus in us. Gary did that.

On June 18th, I lost my lifelong best friend. He also happened to be my brother. It has left a massive hole in my heart. I know that over time that empty space will begin to fill back in . . . and I thank God for that. But I also know the hole will never fill completely. A piece of me is gone, and I will miss Gar and the joy he brought every day until I laugh with him again in heaven. Many others feel the same.

He went too soon, but the truth is we live in a world where even a long life is still a short time. Gar knew that and he made every day count, not only with his God-honoring work, but with his God honoring-life. We will miss him. Our loss is heaven’s gain.