John Schmid Music

Author: Beth Miller


May 2021 Newsletter

OF THE MAKING OF BOOKS, THERE IS NO END -The Preacher, Ecclesiastes 12:12
“Reading gives us something to do when we have to stay where we are.” -unknown

During the 13 month “two week” COVID shutdown, I read a dozen or so books written by people I know:
Ron Archer, What Belief Can Do, How God Turned My Pain Into Power and Tragedy Into Triumph
Peter Dunn- Unlikely Entrepreneur, Memoir of Peter Graham Dunn
Lizzie Hershberger- Behind Blue Curtains, A True Crime Memoir of an Amish Woman’s Survival
Dena Schrock- Behind Closed Doors, The Life Of A Swartzentruber Amish Girl
Monroe Miller- This Twisted Path, My Journey Through Abuse and Addiction
Randy Fath- One Solitary Tipi, My Story of Hope and Healing during Three Years Alone
Jacob Byler- Genealogy of Eli Byler (Lydia’s family- this book is probably not too exciting to non Bylers)

I have room on this one page to “review” two of these books:


I met Ron Archer when he spoke at a local event. He is a powerful speaker with a powerful story. He was a “trick baby.” His mother was a prostitute who was was forced by her pimp to have an abortion when she got pregnant with Ron. It was a botched abortion and the baby lived, although with severe medical problems. Ron was abused and bullied by some, he was rejected by his stepfather, he became a stutterer, a bed-wetter, and an overweight kid who banged his head against the wall to knock himself to sleep at night. At age ten, he held a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. The gun did not fire. Afterward, a schoolteacher and a widowed neighbor stepped in and shared the love of God with him- forever changing his life. In this message-driven memoir, Archer shows readers that regardless of background and experiences, God can transform your PAIN into POWER, and your MISERY into MINISTRY.

My favorite quote of his: “Eat the word of God, for this is the breakfast of CHAMPIONS. Are you a CONTENDER or a PRETENDER; a WINNER or a WHINER; a VICTOR or a VICTIM; a CHAMP or a CHUMP? You can be MORE THAN A CONQUERER!”


Born in China; shipped off to a Canadian boarding school at age 6; hitchhiked all over Canada after high school; married a Kidron girl he met at Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta; served in Mennonite Voluntary Service in New York City where he helped troubled girls earn money making wooden plaques; shut down by NY child labor laws; moved to Leanna’s home farm near Kidron where he started what is now the number one supplier of wood décor in the United States- P. Graham Dunn.

Peter Dunn is a loose cannon that is finally firmly bolted down (I think…). He is not afraid to try anything to grow his business and his many failures prove it. He is also not afraid to get back up, brush off his skinned knees (or broken bones) and keep going- he WILL find what works.

Unlikely Entrepreneur is inspiring on several levels:
-Peter overcame the hurt, rejection, bitterness, anger of being torn from his parents to go to boarding school.
-He found forgiveness for the school that mistreated him around graduation time when he was only being honest.
-He wrote this 270 page book in two months during the COVID-19 crisis shutdown. Peter redeemed the time.
-Exhibit “A” of a successful man? Look at his family. The Dunn family is the real evidence of Peter’s legacy.

This Memoir will inspire you.
CAUTION: You may want to fill out an application to work at P. Graham Dunn after reading this book.

The other inspiring biographical books mentioned above are just as good and can be ordered locally (Gospel Book Store in Berlin or Faith View Books, Mt. Hope) or on Amazon. I recommend them. Maybe I can “review” them in the near future.

“Readers are leaders.” -John Kennedy

How The Mighty Have Fallen

April 2021 Newsletter

A man committed suicide some years ago. In addition to the devestation that this caused his family, friends and the community, his widow discovered that he left her with huge debts. Several hundred thousand dollars of debt! She was forced to go to work, not only to survive, but also to pay off the impossible debt. She went from shock to grief to shock again, and then to anger… and then desparation. How could her loving husband leave her in such desparate shape?! I couldn’t imagine how she felt.

Until now. It wasn’t a spouse or a family member. It was a spiritual hero. World renown Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias died last May. What a loss! I wrote my feelings about him in our July CGM Newsletter. His writings and books helped me tremendously. I even bragged that I had breakfast with him once. Now the shock, the grief, the anger, the betrayal…

Accusations emerged that Ravi had sexually molested several women. I didn’t believe it. Many Christian leaders are routinely accused of all kinds of stuff. RZIM hired a law firm to investigate the allegations and clear the air of these rumors. The deeper they got into the investigation, the more evidence emerged that the “rumors” were not rumors. They were true! Ravi had a dark secret of sexual sins! He owned several massage parlors and he routinely went to them for “back problems.” Then he got very friendly with the masseuses. Then he got sexually involved. Then he paid them off to “keep quiet.” It just gets worse. How could Ravi do this to us?!; To his family?!; To the church?!; To the Lord?!

Several thoughts that I can fit on this one page:
-What Ravi said and preached was (is) true.
-What he did was sin.
-Sin always affects more than just the sinner. King David thought his adultery with Bathsheba would be just between the two of them. But then Uriah was murdered to cover the sin. The baby that was born died. David’s son, Amnon, raped his sister. Brother Absalom killed Amnon in revenge. Absalom tried to overthrow his own father, King David, and then was killed by David’s general, Joab. If you follow the path of sin and deceit seemingly started by David’s “private” affair with Bathsheba, it eventually leads to the loss of the Kingdom of Israel! All because of one night of sinful pleasure. I wonder what the fallout will be from Ravi’s secret life? At least King David confessed when he was confronted by Nathan the Prophet. Ravi had that chance when accusations surfaced in 2017, but he lied and denied. I believed him 🙁

I was a classmate of John Hong, a well known professor and evangelist in Korea. In a Bible study he asked the question: “How do you know you will remain faithful?” Six of us stared at each other. How could we know? John’s answer: “Surround yourself with holy men.” In other words, study God’s word AND be accountable to each other. Allow yourself to be questioned, challanged, “sharpened” by friends.

It’s called, “Accountability.” Where was Ravi’s board? Where was his accountability group? Where were the “Holy Men” in his life? Were there no signs of misconduct? Did he not have the bounderies that Billy Graham and Josh McDowell have set up?
– Never be with a woman alone.
– Always travel with a male friend.
– Never drive alone to or from the airport with a woman.

Chuck Colson, Chuck Swindoll and several others (including me) have a series of questions that they allow themselves to be asked every week in their Accountability Group: 1. Have you been with a woman anywhere this past week that might be seen as compromising? 2. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity? 3. Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material? 4. Have you spent adequet time in Bible Study and prayer? 5. Have you given priority time to your family? 6. Have you fulfilled the mandate of your calling? 7. Have you just lied to me? These seven questions are still no guarantee that I will not veer off the path, but they sure help.

I want to finish strong. I want to leave a clean legacy. I have every sinful tendency that lured King David and Ravi Zacharias and millions of other men throughout history.

Lord, may I keep myself open to your rebuke by being open to correction by my Accountability Brothers…


March 2021 Newsletter

Some of the Amish around here still cut the ice on their pond to fill an ice house so they have refrigeration all summer. I haven’t seen it for quite a while, but last year I did see a team of horses pulling a wagon load of ice near Fredericksburg, so I know it still happens. And just last week someone posted a picture of ice cutting day on Harrison Road just north of here.

Which reminds me of a story I just read recently: It was ice cutting day and men were on the pond cutting ice while others were loading the wagons and hauling ice to the insulated ice house between the house and the barn. When the day was done and the ice house was filled, one of men who had been in the ice house discovered that he had lost his pocket watch. He went back to look for it along with several other men who could squeeze themselves in the limited space, but after ten minutes they gave up. The only way to find a watch would be to take all the ice out. They weren’t going to do that. They gave up and headed for the house. Then a young boy entered the ice house after they left and in three minutes came out with the watch in his hand!

“How did you find it?!” they asked, astonished.

“I just sat real still until I heard the ticking. Then I reached between some blocks of ice toward the ticking sound and there was the watch!”

Be still and know that I am God…” Ps. 46:10

In our modern fast paced world with meetings and schedules and electronics and so many concerns and distractions, I find myself more like the men who quit looking for the watch than the young boy who sat still until he heard the ticking.

I read through the Bible every year and pray every day, but when it comes to prayer, I seldom hear the “ticking.” I know prayer works, but I am reminded of Elijah when he “ran for his life” from Jezebel (I Kings 19:3) and ended up in a cave. God told him to get out of the cave and “stand on the mountain before the Lord.” A great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but “the Lord was not in the wind;” and after the wind, and earthquake, but “the Lord was not in the earthquake;” and after the earthquake, a fire, but “the Lord was not in the fire;” and after the fire, “a still small voice.”

It was this “still small voice,” (the ‘ticking’?) that spoke instruction and encouragement to Elijah. He heard the “ticking.”

We need prayer. Our country needs prayer. Last week in the US House of Representatives, Florida Rep., Greg Streube, stood up against the evil Equality Act, saying that transgenderism is contrary to scripture. NY Representative, Jerry Nadler, said, “What any religious tradition describes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.”(!) Mr. Nadler, it was a concern of the founding fathers. What has changed? When is the last time we saw one of our leaders kneel in prayer for our country like George Washington did at Valley Forge (in the snow!)?

I (we) need to pray. Until I (we) hear the ticking, the still small voice. I’m concerned about our country, but my main concern should be my own prayer life. “Lord, teach me to pray.” Lk. 11:1

“Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all, pray.”

R.A. Torrey


2020 started well: A concert on New Years Eve at Shipshewana; a “birthday bicycle ride” on New Years Day (71 miles); several prison services before heading for Harrisonburg, Va. on the way to Florida; concerts and visiting in Pinecraft, and then four prison services at the Annual We Care Prison Week in Alabama.

After two weeks of events in Ohio we headed back to Florida for our Annual CGM Banquet, concerts, a prison or two, and then I joined The We Care Prison Ministries Banquet Tour: thirteen cities and banquets from Meigs, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas… And then- BOOM! COVID!

We took a basketball team to Grafton Prison on March 16. The next day all Ohio prisons were quarantined. Soon, all prisons in the country were closed. Eleven events and services were cancelled in March and fifteen events were cancelled in April. I didn’t count the total number for the year, but I’m guessing close to 100 events on my calendar were cancelled.

My pastor, John Risner, summed up the year in his sermon on the last Sunday of the year:
The year started out with much hope and excitement. THEN… 1. COVID 2. Toilet paper shortage 3. Zoom Meetings 4. Face Book Live Concerts 5. Schooling from home 6. High School Sports cancelled (while our girls were at the State Tournament!) 7. Study online 8. Quarantine

  1. Travel ban 10. Unemployment 11. Businesses closed 12. Social unrest 13. Financial hardships 14. Riots 15. Prostests 16. Murder hornets 17. Conspiracy theories 18. Outrage everywhere
  2. Anger 20. Public meltdowns 21. A contested presidential election 22. And there was even an Amish political parade (in Fredericksburg)!…

BUT! After a month or so of “nothing” and many cancellations, I was able to do a few things. I sang about once a month at the Walnut Hills Nursing Home on the porch outside. I did some mushroom hunting and found no mushrooms, but I did test positive for Lymes disease. (The Dr. thinks we got it in time.)

In July I fulfilled a bucket list dream of following my great-great-great-great grandfather’s 1812 journey to Wayne Co. from Mingo Bottom, Ohio (now Mingo Junction) to Apple Creek via canoe. He floated down the Ohio River in a 68’ dugout canoe to the mouth of the Muskingum, then up the Muskingum to the Killbuck Creek, then up stream to just north of Holmesville where he unloaded the goods off his canoe near Butler Spring onto four 4 horse wagons and drove overland to Apple Creek, where he lived until his death in 1838. His trip took a month.

On July 5, daughter Amelia and I launched our 17’ aluminum canoe (with a motor) at Mingo Junciton and headed down the Ohio River. In two days we reached the Muskingum where we motored up stream through a series of locks to McConnelsville where Lydia met us and we switched daughters. Katie jumped in the canoe and Amelia went home with Lydia. Altogether there are 11 locks on the Muskingum, which is the longest river that is entirely in Ohio. Katie and I made it Conesville, just south of Coshocton, where we ran aground in the wide and shallow river, so we stopped there and I finished several days later in a kayak! 160 miles total trip! Our Philip Smith II family heritage trip.

After the canoe trip we went to New Wilmington, meet several of Lydia’s cousins for the first time. It’s a long story, but her grandfather came from there around 1918 and that side of the family was basically cut off. Everyone was excited to meet each other and now we are having the Byler Family Reunion in that community this summer.

The rest of the year slowly opened up to churches, banquets, concerts… just about everything but prisons. They are still closed and ultra cautious. COVID in a prison could spreat like wildfire! We did get the opportunity to send in 45,000 cookies, but we could not go in with them. We delivered them to the front gate and left.

The year ended with a perfect white Christmas- six inches of snow on Christmas Eve and then it left about three days later!

In FEBRUARY- We plan to finish the We Care Tour (see schedule) and then back to Florida for our Annual CGM Banquet, a concert at Birky Square and then back to Ohio.

Blessings! Pray for us! May God grant us a good year and bring us back to “normal.”

A Song Speaks To The Heart

I try not to let it bother me, but when somebody gets up and leaves during one of my concerts, it bothers me.

Last week at The Salvation Army Resource Center in Medicine Hat, Alberta, I was singing a Tribute To Johnny Cash before transitioning to gospel by singing Steve & Annie Chapman’s song, I Want To Go With My Daddy. Halfway through the song a man abruptly stood up and walked out. I guess he doesn’t care for Gospel songs?

After the concert his buddy told me the rest of the story: When he heard Steve Chapman’s lyrics about a son following his dad down the wrong path, he said, “I’m going to go spend time with my son!”

What a great reason to leave a concert! Even if it’s me singing! Great lyrics, Steve Chapman!

Steve Chapman once told me that some of his songs are recorded with the purpose of never being sung in a concert setting. They are recorded to reach that man who drives his pickup by himself with a CD player and hears God speak to him through a song when no one else is around. I don’t think I Want To Go With My Daddy is one of those, but it sure did speak to a man publicly in Medicine Hat last month. And he acted. Right now!

Songs seem to speak where preaching or reading doesn’t. Gospel Echoes representative, John Yoder, who toured with me in Alberta, told about a man who approached him at a banquet last year: “I was incarcertated at _____ Correctional several years ago when your team came to our prison. I was not allowed to attend the chapel, so you came back to my unit and sang for the 20 minutes you were allowed. I want to tell how much that meant to me. Many groups come and talk to us, but you sang. It touched my heart.”

Now folks, let me clarify, speaking and preaching are very important, and I consider my singing as “plowing the ground for the seed that will be planted by the preaching of the Word.” But sometimes singing is what reaches the heart of a man. It did in these two examples. Stories like these keep me singing.

I wish there was room to put the words to Steve’s song here, but they can be heard by googling, I Want To Go With My Daddy by Steve Chapman.

A closing thought:


I. Music is a science.
II. Music is Mathemtical
III. Music is a Foreign Language
IV. Music is History
V. Music is Physical Education
VI. Music Develops Insight and Demands Research
VII. Music is all these things, but most of all, Music is Art.

That is why we teach music:
Not because we expect you to major in music…
Not because we expect you to play or sing all your life…

But so you will be human…
So you will recognize beauty…
So you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world…
So you will have something to cling to…
So you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good-In short, more LIFE.