V Providing an online resource for Christian and religious studies
V Composing and performing praise music to inspire people to walk in the ways of The Lord
V Teaching seminars, workshops and classes
V Available for ministerial and pastoral services, revival meetings and worship services
V Striving to offer music education, bible study and physical fitness training to underprivileged children from San Diego County. While other ministries send money to Africa, Asia and Mexico, I prefer to keep our money here at home. We have many of our own people who would benefit from a “summer camp” where they would receive free music lessons along with bible lessons and a healthy fitness and lifestyle program. Click here for more information.
March 22, 2016 Update
I am beginning a complete re-working of this web site. I hope to move it to a more modern platform, such as WordPress, where we can have organize the content better through the use of tabbed pages, and perhaps we can get a good blog going, or at least a discussion forum. Once I get this done, I can begin adding more useful content to the site. I hope that it will become one of your favorite religious web sites! This will take some time to complete, so check back every so often, and hopefully one day you will see a nice surprise. In the meantime, I have beat my diabetes by losing weight, but now I have some serious back problems going on, and it looks like my back problems are too far along for surgery. I will be relying on prayer to pull my through this, so your prayers are appreciated. Just simply pray “Dear God, heal Tom’s back, and he’ll know what you mean. In case you have other friends or relatives with back problems, you can throw in my last name, but I’m sure that God already had that figured out, seeing as He knows all! Keep in touch!
June 25, 2015 Update
Not much has changed over the past year. I continue to work with the Dulzura Community Church as Managing Director and Music Minister. We have a small congregation, and my thoughts lately have been on how we can build our numbers from a community that more-or-less just wants to be left alone. We need to create a stronger missionary effort to reach out to our friends and neighbors. I am hoping that the pastor and his wife will pick up this task. They are not from Dulzura, so they are not acquanted with the members of our community. Pray with me that Howard and Donna might gain a deeper interest in being involved with our community, meeting our neighbors, and inviting them to worship with us each Sunday. I will try to help with this in every way I can. Please pray that I might be successful in my efforts.
Other than that, I am still working every week as a professor for the San Diego Community College District. I also teach an online class for Grossmont College and write a monthly column for "CQ Amateur Radio" magazine. In my spare time I use my ham radio and practice my guitar. I am hoping to also have more time to practice my tuba, which has been sadly neglected lately. Health has been good, and I'm still enjoying the company of my dear wife Peggy as we look toward our 40th wedding anniversary this October!.
News as of April 17, 2014
I wanted to make some comments today because God has done so much for me lately and I want to thank Him and praise Him in every way I can, and I hope that when you read this it will inspire you to also trust in God completely and to give Him control of your life. Although I believe that I knew better, I think that I was recently going through a phase where I thought I was creating my own destiny, and of course, it wasn’t working out too well. Things could have been worse, but they could also be better. Then I remembered that God will always provide for our needs and never leave us wanting as long as we realize that God is the only important thing in our lives and all that we need to be concerned about. I began to worry less about what I believed to be my goals and ambitions and did all I could to allow God to make that decision for me. My health has improved, my financial situation has improved, my family life always has been good and it continues to be (my wife and I enjoy each other’s company a lot), my career goals are beginning to fall in line, and things are getting done that were put off, and so on.
What I need to do now is to find ways in which I can show my faith by being a Godly person and doing more for others. I will continue to try to be more kind and fair with everyone, to look for ways to say “yes” instead of “no” (which is conveniently easier to say, but not always the Christian thing to do). You can help me by considering all I have said and making the same changes in your life, and then when you see all that God can do with your life, please share this good advice with others.
Since it has been over a year since I updated my status, allow me to share some other things that have been happening. First of all, I am not playing in a band currently. It has been a while since I worked steady as a musician. I really enjoyed the Christian band I was in, “Rightside,” but they made some personnel changes and I wasn’t as happy with the “new” band as I was with the original lineup. I still try to occasionally go to one of their concerts and will continue to support this wonderful group of Christian friends.
Back home in Dulzura, we have a new pastor at the Dulzura Community Church – Howard Kischassey, former pastor of the Faith Fellowship Church in Lakeside, CA. We have picked up a few new members and like all small churches, we are struggling to stay afloat. The church actually closed while I was away one week. Peg and I spent about two months looking for a new church to attend and then finally realized that seeing our church close was a victory for Satan, and I would not stand for that. So as you can see, we once again chased away Satan and God is in control!
Our piano player, Enola, found it necessary to retire at age 91. Her arthritis was causing her great pain every time she would play for us. I am helping out for the time being with my guitar, but I too am feeling arthritis pain in my hands and don’t know how much longer I can do this. The search continues for a new piano player.
I am now a professional writer – I have been contributing a monthly column on the subject of International Amateur Radio news for “CQ Amateur Radio” magazine. My official title is “International Editor.” I also try to write other articles and booklets on the subject of ham radio. I am also working on a new textbook “Guidebook for Weekend Teachers” which will be of benefit for both full-time and part-time teachers in all subject areas. I have three other books started that I will eventually return to and finish.
I continue to work each day as a full-time professor for the San Diego Community College District. I also have a part-time job teaching an online class for “Virtual Assistants” each year for Grossmont College.
This is the time of year when those of us living in the “back country” need to do our week abatement. In previous years I have hired friends to help with this. I might do that again, but since I’m feeling much better, I will try to do most of the work myself. My warranty on my lawn tractor expired. Sears used to come to my house and fix everything for free, but now I am on my own to cover repairs. Fortunately, I made a new friend who is a mechanic, and he might be able to help me out if necessary. Amazing how God works, isn’t it? God put a mechanic in my life because he saw that I needed one! Besides his mechanical skill, Moose is also a good friend and a devoted Christian. He is going through some health problems and is possibly facing knee replacement surgery, which could lay him up for a long time, so please pray for my friend “Moose.”
I have been enjoying my ham radio hobby and have been working to assemble a reliable home amateur station that will be available in case of emergency. I also have built a portable setup that can be used for communications in the field from remote locations. It is powered by batteries and two solar cells. Besides being affiliated with disaster response agencies such as RACES, ARES, California Disaster Corps, CERT, Skywarn and the Mountain Empire Amateur Radio Club, I also enjoy making ham radio contacts for my own relaxation and amusement.
I am still looking for ways to help spread the faith, so please don’t hesitate if you think of any ways where I can show my devotion to Christ and be able to say “thanks” in my own way. Please keep in touch – it’s good to hear from you. My email is email@example.com.
News as of March 8, 2013
I went to see a private screening of the new movie “Home Run.” Most people are anticipating that this is going to be a good movie, and I concur. Although it is yet another attempt to work the same plot of “troubled person turns to Jesus to turn his life around after all else fails,” I never get tired of watching Christian movies like this. This movie is not just for you to see, but I believe that it is intended more as an opportunity to take one or more of your own troubled friends to see this as a subtle way to suggest the Christ is the answer to their problems. The movie does not “cram Christ down your throat,” but is rather subtle, yet effective. The other way this movie works is as a chance for Christians to make a stand and tell Hollywood to stop glorifying Satan in film and therefore weaken Satan’s hold on the people. How many young people do you know that follow Christ the way you did when you were a child? Go see the movie when it opens in theaters on April 19! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org is you have any questions..
News as of February 8, 2012
Thing have not changed much since my last update, so I didn’t feel that it was critical to update this page until now. I am still promoting my ministry as always and remain a faithful servant and follower of the Lord. My health is continuing to improve as I have been able to lose 85 pounds of fat in the last five years. My goal is to lose 40 more pounds over the next three years. I haven’t had much opportunity to play music lately, but I remain available if the opportunity should arise. I have recently become interested in ham radio and in disaster emergency services, and have made many accomplishments in these areas, such as becoming a certified member of ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services), RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service), CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), and Skywarn (storm spotters, a division of the National Weather Service), in addition to obtaining my “Amateur Extra” class radio license, the highest license class available for amateur (ham) radio. My wishes are to be able to use my skills to bring comfort and security to the members of my community in times of disaster or other emergencies. I have had some similar experience with ham radio and with the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, so it is all coming back to me easily, and I am making a lot of new friends in these areas. I also enjoy listening to scanners and shortwave radio. Check out my radio web page at http://radio.tomsmerk.com. As far as my employment as a college professor goes, I was fortunate to be assigned eight hours of overtime each week, and also my online “Virtual Assistant” class at Grossmont College is a huge success this semester, so I am busier than usual, but not too busy for you, so please keep in touch, I am always interested in hearing from you!
News as of June 8, 2011
I finally finished recording my praise / worship CD, “For The Faithful.” I have been planning this since 2007 and working on it since 2008. The CD features four original songs: “The Merciful Plea,” “Salvation,” “High Time In My Life,” and “The Full Armor Of God.” The other eight songs are “”Somebody Touched Me,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” “How Great Thou Art,” “Just A Closer Walk With Thee,” “The Lily Of The Valley,” “Softly And Tenderly,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Why Me Lord.” The feeling is sort of “old country & western” with a few bluegrass songs. I’m sorry to say to my old friends at the San Diego Rescue Mission that the song you remember me by, “Soap. Soup and Salvation,” did not make it on to the CD because it is too different of a song from the others, but I still plan to put that on one of my upcoming CDs which will contain original country, blues and folk rock songs. The “For The Faithful” CD was recorded at the “Audio Barn” studio and was mastered by Jim Burnett at “The Upper Room” studio in Santee, CA. If you know any church, bible study organization or recovery house that is interested in having me do a show to promote the CD, please contact me and I will be glad to set this up any time between now and the end of the year. God bless you all for being so patient, and I hope you like what you hear. I also just finished an instrumental jazz guitar CD titles “Will Play Jazz For Food.”
Both CDs (as well as my previous recordings) are available on my web site in the "Store". Let me know what you think! Also, remember to keep checking my performance calendar to see where I’ll be performing. Come to one of my shows, and remember to say hi!
Also in the news is the sad fact that I decided to retire from my Christian country rock band “Rightside.” I have been having some health problems lately, but I can manage and enjoy normal health as long as I don’t take on too much work. As much as I enjoyed working with the band, it was taking up more time from my schedule than I was able to offer. The band recently “downsized” by dropping three singers, one of which also played the Yamaha keyboard. It was the big sound that the band achieved with all the original members that attracted me to join up with them, so I must honestly say that I started to lose interest when the band decided to go on as a smaller combo. I have always been a fan of a big vocal harmony sound. The new band features Linda Lee Burnett on lead vocal with unison backing vocals by Julie Magers. Both girls do an excellent job, and the instrumental musicians are far above average, but the sound is not what I was used to, so I decided to use my limited time to pursue other projects. You can keep up with my musical career at my musician web site.
News as of July 7, 2010
The new year so far has been good for personal spiritual growth as I continue to study to improve my ministry efforts. Our Christian country gospel rock band, Rightside, is making an effort to reach out to more venues than before in an effort to reach more people with our music and to continue our giving of time, talent and financial support through Gospel Review Ministries. Our new CD, “Living on the Rightside,” was released May 22, 2010 and is available from our website RightsideBand.com. I am also continuing work on my solo praise CD, “For the Faithful,” which will consist of original songs as well as old favorites. I hope to have this completed by Fall 2010.
I haven’t given up completely on my efforts to start a summer camp which will bring free music and bible lessons to both children and adults. I am continuing to collect musical instruments and supplies. Please contact me if you have any unused instrument you would like to donate. Until my plans come full circle, in the meantime I am working with Gospel Review Ministries on the possibility of presenting one or more gospel music festivals at a local rural campground or similar location. The two or three day events would include music, vocal and instrumental workshops, ministry and fellowship.
I am also working on several books for publication. The first book will be a self-help book which will contain valuable information based partly on biblical principles. The book is designed to help people improve the quality of their life, reduce stress, set and follow goals and improve personal and career relationships. There is a section for teenagers seeking help and understanding with the many problems faced by this age group. I hope to be able to find and agent and a publisher that will create a name for me as a writer so that I may write follow-up books that will explain why it important to put your faith in God and follow the teachings of Jesus. I am getting more and more concerned about the growing number of people that don’t believe in God, do not follow a Christian religion, and even speak out against God and Christians trying to bring ridicule and uncertainty on religious beliefs. If these people would put as much effort into supporting Christianity instead of condemning it, our population would be much better for it and we would begin to see positive change in the world.
After four years of writing my blog “Guitar Wisdom,” it is almost ready to compile into a book as well. The Guitar Wisdom blog contains articles of interest to guitar players and students, performers and music teachers.
My other goal for 2010 is to contact as many other ministries as possible and become acquainted with their staff and their beliefs and platforms so that I may work together with them for the common good. As more and more ministers unite to support issues, I plan to be “in the loop” and will contribute what I can to support a good cause and to help spread the “Good News.” If you are reading this and would like to share comments, ideas, web sites, information, articles or anything at all, or if you just want to say “hi” (I’d love to hear from you!), please contact me at email@example.com.
News as of December 4, 2009
This Christmas season has me joining the popular local gospel group “Rightside (formerly known as the “Gospel Review Vocal Band” for a number of Christmas concerts at local East County churches. The band has been in existence for ten years, but has been without a guitar player for the last nine years! If they decide that they like the addition of a lead guitarist in the group, I’ll look forward to being a part of their ministry and doing shows throughout the coming years both locally and on the road. This band is a super group of singers and musicians – you gotta’ hear them! Check the Rightside website for the performance schedule and more information about the group. The group has also added a second male tenor singer, bringing the total up to nine people – four singers and a great country rock/jazz band playing the music! All monies collected by the band at the concerts will be used for Christian ministry projects.
News as of November 4, 2009
I have abandoned my plans to create a program to provide free music and Bible instruction. The success of the program relied on raising funds to cover facilities, musical instruments, supplies, music, and equipment. The project relied on public donations to raise these funds, and the donations were not received as expected. The program was originally designed to offer music instruction to school-age children who lost the opportunity to study music in school when the State funding was cut and public school programs were eliminated. I did not want anyone seeking a music education to be left out, so the program was open to adults as well. Part of the program was to include a summer camp in the mountains where music and Bible study classes would be held daily and a final recital performance would be offered to the public.
am saddened by the lack of public support for this program. As the State of
April 15, 2009 Update
To my friends at the San Diego Rescue Mission - My carpal tunnel surgery on Friday, March 13 was a success, and I have regained use of my right hand. Now that I am able to return to my role of leading the music at the Rescue Mission every second Sunday of the month, I have discovered that the San Diego Rescue Mission is now using only “in-house” resident musicians in the Sunday worship services. I will miss you all, and if the opportunity to return and play music as before comes around again, I’ll be looking forward to seeing you all again. Thanks for your concern, and as always, my best wishes to all of you.
News as of December 1, 2008
have moved back to my new house in
I am still building my music ministry as a songwriter and performer. I have written several songs and will be writing more in hopes of recording a praise CD next year. The style of music will be what I call “old-time country Gospel.” It will contain some of my songs plus some old favorites such as “The Old Rugged Cross,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”
I am also seeking sponsors or benefactors to help me rebuild my recording studio which was destroyed by fire last October. The cost of the facility will be about $25,000 for the structure and $100,000 for the equipment. Most of my losses were uninsured, so this is going to be a financial burden unless my prayers are answered. Anyone wishing to donate the building will get a lot of publicity when my new CD is released. Once I get the building erected, I can add the musical and recording equipment a little at a time as I save and budget for it.
In the meantime, I am still available for weddings, house blessings and banquets / assemblies (I have been an ordained minister since 2003). Contact me at (619) 818-2079 if you would like to arrange a service, or if you are interested in having me bring my music and worship to your church, or contact me if you need help and have no one to turn to.
I would like to hear from anyone who has visited this site. Please take a moment to send me an email with your suggestions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, don’t forget to live your life according to the Bible, and keep the faith!