Mike Burris’ Story:
I founded SpiritMusicMeetups for the Christian music community on November 1st 2020 because the Lord had given me many prophetic dreams, visions, and directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words since 2010 concerning the worship music I had played since 1983. This gave me a real burden inside me, but this culminated in October 2020 when the Lord told me who I am NOT and then finally who I am – my identity! Here is a synopsis of the key events from 1972-2020 so you can understand my motivation for starting this ministry. Scan it if you get bored!
After seeking the Lord for days about my current job at Ace Hardware, the Lord took me through pages of journaling to remember the careers and interim jobs and key Spirit-kind-of events I’ve had from 12-60 years old. At 12 I did landscape cleanup for years in Phoenix, Arizona to buy my first real drum set that cost me $1000; At 16 I scooped ice cream for a while at Baskin Robbins, and later cleaned up a beauty salon every night with my sister. At 17 I worked at Smitty’s Grocery store bagging, stocking, and doing carts and customer service to save for college. I also worked for that summer as an assistant in my dad’s drywall company to save more money. From 1977-80 I worked as a meat-cutter assistant and night-cleanup at Bashas Grocery store while going to Glendale Community College for an A.A. degree with honors. My music-minor scholarship helped with money. In 1980 I worked in the Watershed Management dept. of the University of Arizona to earn money, along with scholastic scholarships for a B.S. degree in Watershed-Management Hydrology with honors. One summer I did door-to-door encyclopedia sales in San Antonia, TX, but other summers I did my landscape business to get through college. I was always in school, working, or doing both. I became a Christian in September 1980 through the Church of Christ on campus. I felt the Spirit at my water-baptism but didn’t know what that was because the church didn’t teach about the Holy Spirit.
In 1983 after watching my church split from leaders fighting for power, and myself only knowing God through bible study, I searched for God in conversational-prayer to see if Christianity was even real, or all this was just a cult. I gave up
one day after a month of no contact with God, but as I turned around, before I could think another thought or take a step, I suddenly lost all strength, fell to the ground, and was filled with overwhelming unconditional-love and tears of joy. I still didn’t know that was the Holy Spirit or that this was a Spirit-baptism, but I knew it was “the real thing” God. I was on “cloud 9” for 6 months and saw so much in my life change. I no longer had religion, so I left that church, because I had real fellowship with a living God! They only had a book! I only knew 1 person on campus who understood my experience and I wanted more of it! She told me about a charismatic church in town called “Grace Chapel” that was experiencing revival because of the presence of God. So I went there and immediately experienced “worshiping by [singular] Spirit and/coupled [singular] Truth” (a) – not just great sermons about truth. In fact, I played drums in their services and experienced the anointing during worship, but again I had no clue that’s the name for what I was feeling, because ironically I never heard Grace Chapel teach on this either! I had played drums in many secular bands, but never in church because the Church of Christ said it wasn’t “biblical” – another false teaching I found out from extensive studies on the subject. So you can see that poor or false teaching can greatly affect your experience and understanding of Spirit-kind-of things. <Notes> a) John 4:23-24.
After graduating in 1983, I worked as a Water Rights Inventory Hydrologist for the Bureau of Land Management for a summer in Phoenix, but got a call to work as a Pyro-metallurgy technician for ARCO Metals, which got me back to Tucson where I wanted to live. Good thing my school transcripts were diverse and heavy on engineering, and a good thing my academic advisor was a good friend! After ARCO Metals folded a year later, I worked as a Civil Hydrology Engineer I at VEA/DMJM until they ran out of work, and then I went to Greiner Engineering as an Hydrologist Engineer II and department trainer. My computer programming skills exploded more as I continued streamlining the engineering process – something I started at VEA.
In 1985, I still really didn’t know much about my supernatural experience of 1983, so the girl that told me about Grace Chapel challenged me to study everything in the bible about the Spirit. One summer Saturday after 8 hours of using all my bible tools to find out that I had been deceived by the Church of Christ, I felt angry at myself for being so gullible and angry at them, but also so excited about this possibility of the Holy Spirit that explained what I had felt in 1983, and that I could have it again and again (a). Every time I read what was possible I said, “I want that!” Suddenly, I was very thirst like I had been in the desert for a week. So I stood up and turned around and took one step toward the refrigerator, but I was stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t move a muscle. I saw a shower of gold flood into my head and rush like a river through my body, out of my fingers like electricity, and down my legs to pin my feet to the floor. I was massively filled with overwhelming unconditional-love and tears of joy, like the 1983 event, but this time I knew it was the Holy Spirit I had just studied and longed for. Again, so much in my life radically changed for about 6 months. <Notes> a) like Ephesians 5:18, which is a strong exhortation to “routinely become filled by the Spirit” – see Spirit-Baptism.
In 1987, after another industry slowdown and layoff, I helped Gospel Supplies Books & Gifts move to their new big location, installed their Point-of-Sale/Inventory computer, trained people on its use, did floor sales, clerked the register, did customer service, and was the book buyer for the Reference & Pastoral Aids departments for so many pastors and bible students. This is where I saw that the Body-of-Christ was very ignorant about the bible. I developed a real burden about this. Customers, staff, and family helped me get to Calvary Chapel Bible School for a semester in California, where I became the valedictorian. But I was disillusioned about the void of the presence of the Holy Spirit there. Although I met several kind Christians, there were a lot of fights over the bible and boy-girl pairing as if I were in a public high school, and I didn’t have money to go another semester anyway.
So in 1988 I came home where I worked 4 jobs for Kelly Temporary Services until I picked up a short-term contract with APW Engineering Services as an Urban Hydrologist III consultant. When that ended I started another career in 1989 at Sunquest Information Systems, doubling my pay over the next 9 years, going from Client Support to Application Interfacing as a Programmer, then Senior Programmer Analyst, and received many awards in customer service. I took various day and week classes there including Dale Carnegie, Franklin Planner, Fred Pryor, Stephen Covey, and Landmark Education, and even got about half-way through a M.A. in Organizational Management (HR) from University of Phoenix before Sunquest decided to stop funding their continuing education program. Rats!
Even through Sunquest said I was a “mover & shaker” in the company, they didn’t want to move toward quality control but remain trapped in the “tyranny of the urgent putting out fires and building iron spokes for clay wheels.” I renegotiated my job description and pay as Engineering Services’ Process Re-engineering lead Programmer Analyst. I was also loaned out to the Application Interfacing department as their Department Trainer. I also taught principle-centered leadership, time-management, and other courses through Client Education to help change our work environment. However, I had already been making plans for a years to leave, because I could see they would never really change. Plus I had a burning passion to start my own business to do what I was passionate about – drumming! I wasn’t even really listening to God by then, but He still moves us along! In June 1998 I started my music career after 9 years of disillusionment with Sunquest. I started CoreBeat – Teaching Drums & Percussion and before long I was swamped with students, teaching from 4 locations. I played in many bands! I continued for 10 years until the economy took a big hit.
But I regress now concerning my spiritual growth: In 1989, I also was an A student for 8 months at Southwest Bible College, 1 month at Moody Bible Institute online in 1990, 1 year at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1991 toward a Masters in Divinity Exegetical Theology degree, and 1 month in 1992 at Arizona Christian University. I stopped pursuing this scholarly path because it was incredibly dry and few classes had any real spirituality to them – it felt like money and effort down the drain!
In 1993 after being very disillusioned by the greed and building program obsession of church leadership in several churches I had performed for, and disillusioned with the emptiness of studying the bible toward a degree, I quit playing and studying the bible and instead started developing products and workshops to be the next big motivational speaker, even creating a website called UMakeItSo.com and developing planning tools for it.
But then in 2008, I got really sick with acute pancreatitis from rich food, alcohol, and lots of caffeine. I lost so much weight and had horrendous sleep problems that I nearly died, even after going to so many doctors. Nobody helped and I only got hooked on their sleep meds! It wasn’t until 2010 before a Christian doctor Rachael Gordon and a Christian acupuncturist Reggie Stout helped me take the first steps of faith in getting free from the meds! This really humbled me to once again really seek God for a miracle. I was watching lots of DVDs because of insomnia, and watched Miracle of the Passion, a documentary of Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson. I was convinced that I could have a miracle happen in my life. The next week I found Passion of the Christ in the same exact spot of the last DVD – in fact, I though it was that one until I pulled it out. Wow!
On 8/28/2008 I watched The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson alone in my front room. Suddenly, I clearly saw the last 15 years of my life as a wasteful indulgence of self-centered sin that led me nowhere and I couldn’t imagine the next year, let alone 5 years, being the same. I clearly saw my desperate need to be entirely healed (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) from myself, and I clearly saw Christ on the cross as my only hope – I had tried everything and everybody else! In many ways I was experiencing the process of salvation, the Greek word soteria meaning to be “delivered, rescued, and restored to wholeness.” I told the Lord I wanted nothing to do with my past and just wanted to come home – that’s the meaning of “repentance,” a change of life direction. Suddenly I was so thirsty and got up to go to the kitchen for some water and immediately walked into pure, no-strings-attached unconditional-love, completely forgiving and completely accepting of me, wrapping itself all around me as if I were being hugged by pure unconditional-love, or a blanket of unconditional-love was pulled around me like a big warm comforter – that is the meaning of Parakletos describing the Holy Spirit (a). It was so overwhelming I couldn’t even stand, so I fell to me knees and just wept profusely with pure joy – I was instantly home! I could have stayed there forever – nothing else mattered! This is when my miraculous healing began. Many life-long addictions just faded away – I felt like I had been released from a long prison sentence! I felt so unconditionally-loved, so full of joy, so at peace, and I just wanted to remain in this. I had forgotten my 1983 and 1985 Spirit-baptisms, but it just happened to me again – after 15 years of sin! That is unconditional-favor-of-grace! <Notes> a) Parakletos: ‘Close-beside’ caller, summoner, or inviter; helper, succorer, or assistant; encouraging teacher, counselor, comforter, or consoler; defense-attorney, judicial-advocate, or court-intercessor.
My body healed, though it took me a year to get off the sleep narcotics they gave me! In 11/2008 I worked for 6 months for Micro Import Service doing customer service, parts ordering, and organizing their database and parts room, but it was an extremely vulgar, emotionally abusive environment, not because of the owner who I greatly admired, but his manager. I had to proseuchomai conversationally-pray just to get through every day there, so when the industry slowed down and their work dried up, I was grateful to get laid off! I focused back on drumming as my body continued getting stronger. Many manifestations of the Spirit came into my life and I returned to drum teaching, but now with a perspective of ministry. Later on a long trip in Oregon to help a friend move, God spoke to me often about what ministry really is, so I realized I needed to scrap that whole deceptive UmakeItSo.com approach I had to life along with my motivational-speaking career. I was inspired to create JesusMakesItSo.com. The Lord got me back on track!
Then in 2010 an old friend I used to work with 13 years earlier at Sunquest helped me get back into programming for SCI Solutions making 50% more money than when I left! It was super stressful after being gone for so long, having a huge learning curve – like flying a space shuttle – and I was seriously out of practice with the dog-eat-dog office politics. My house roof also blew off in the beginning of the July monsoons and my mom got really sick with Alzheimer’s. After I year I jumped at the opportunity to being let go, because I still needed too much supervision, and I was stressed out! Some of my pancreatic/adrenal gland problems were coming back! I used the time to help my mom move from home to home. And God provides money, too – I was able to live off my salary and 3 month severance package for 3 years!
In 2011 my mom died and God knew I would need the time for all this, cleaning out the house with my sister, fixing it up, and getting it sold. Then I returned to CoreBeat Drumming. During this time I had so many incredible manifestations of the Spirit while attending Freedom Fellowship church, more miraculous healings, and filled up many journals with directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words and events.
I even took a profound class on the Holy Spirit at the old Grace Chapel from an elder friend Gerry Loper I knew back in 1985 – the Lord miraculously led me to the class the week before it was going to start! I was reading a book on the Holy Spirit called Forgotten God – Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, by Francis Chan. I had seen it in one of the rooms at my mom’s nursing home that the room occupant said was changing her life, so I immediately bought it. I came out of a late night movie at the mall, saw a woman sit down in the food court, and something glowing came over her that I couldn’t describe. It bothered me all the way home, so I returned with that book to find that woman and ask here what happened. As I reached for the mall door handles she came out and I explained. She told me she had been Spirit-baptized, and was feeling His presence after a long day at work as she sat down to proseuchomai conversationally-pray. I could see a joy but also a glow on her face. She told me about Grace Chapel and that Gerry was teaching the Holy Spirit class. I about fell down, especially after I showed her the book. So I left a note on the church door, and my friend Gerry called me. Unbelievable! I reunited a week later with him like old friends!
Only 8 people signed up, but I knew I was supposed to be there. However, 50 people showed up and there was hardly any room! What? That class changed my life! I’ve never seen the Holy Spirit invited, no teacher hog the spotlight, and no pastor try to take over the conversation! I’ve never seen such Body-of-Christ ministry! And I’ve never seen so many manifestations of the Holy Spirit through the Body ever! Almost everybody experienced supernatural tongues, even all throughout the day, signs & wonders and lots of prophecy. It was a crying shame that the main church leadership never agreed to continue the class, even though we all begged for it! A prophetess from Alaska heard about it, prophesied over the class (you could hear a pin drop), and singled out 2 of us for particular anointings – mine changed my life from then on!
In 2013 I got married at 53 for the first time, married to my wife Charlotte. What a radical transition in life! God brought someone into my life that for years had already heard way more prophetic words directly from the Lord, filled up even more journals than I had, had been writing a book from them called What One Sheep Heard the Shepherd Say, and been involved in Theophostic or Transformation Prayer counseling.
From 2013-2016 I continued CoreBeat Drumming and Teaching until I changed it to TeachMeToDrum.com in 2016. Teaching and drumming really dropped off but we’ve managed between our combined incomes and also by being frugal.
On January 1, 2020 I tried to go back to meat cutting at Sprouts Farmers Market but couldn’t keep up with the intense janitorial night cleaning, so proudly became an Ace Hardware man in mid-January and worked there until November 1st. Now for “the rest of the story!” as radioman Paul Harvey would always say – here’s the really good part.
Remember, the Lord was having me review all this work experience up in my journal? After I would remember each job and what I did for them, after I journaled this, I sometimes felt proud, sometime frustrated that it didn’t continue, and sometimes happy that it didn’t. It was a mix of emotions! Then I listened to the Lord for awhile, and He would say, “But that is NOT who I made you to be; This is NOT who you are.” After a while thinking about this, I would agree that many times I was initially excited but then disillusioned, or I was only in it for the money to meet a pressing need, or that I was ultimately laid off anyway. Although I could sort of see how one thing prepared me for the next, some of it looked like a waste of time! After much introspection, I had to agree that “What I was doing then was really not who I was.”
My last job was at Ace Hardware, so for quite a while I would proudly tell people, “I’m an Ace Hardware man – but also a professional drummer and teacher when I’m not at Ace.” But in October 2020 the Lord said, “Mike, you are NOT an Ace Hardware man!” So I said, “But I’m still a good professional drum teacher and drummer.” After all, I gig 1-2 times a week, teach a bunch of students, and write drum books on the side that I hope to spread around and really influence drumming for the better.
Then several days later on the way to Ace, the Lord said: “Mike, you are NOT a professional musician or drum teacher. That’s NOT who I created you to be.” I was nearly in tears for the rest of that work day, because I was so proud of having influenced over 5000 students, having had 2 big websites, played in 37 bands, and created so many teaching publications. For days I was numb, saying: “Then who am I?”
Then one day in the middle of October on the way to Ace, He said: “You are an anointed musician, who knows what it means to be filled by My Spirit, who knows what it is to play by My Spirit, and one day you will play in My courtyards with many others that I have chosen.” Now, I do remember long ago while playing my rudiments on a pad in the bathroom, He told me about playing in His courtyards and that’s where the heavenly music people hear comes from, but I had long forgotten this. Well, this has just blown my mind!
Once I accepted this, and started really listening and journaling and re-visiting my practice room, many directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words of God occurred. On 12/6/2020 I woke up from a very disturbing dream where the Lord told me much about the nature of God’s work, particularly for me – see the dream! After these many event happened then everything quickly changed, and this SpiritMusicMeetups BLOG idea quickly came into my mind while I was Spirit-practicing one day. Since then, I’ve been working on the website nearly every day, especially after I stepped out in trusting-relying-faith and gave my 2 weeks’ notice for my October 30th resignation from Ace Hardware! It’s incredibly freeing to finally know who I was created to be – my identity in Christ. Once I “saw” this for myself, hundreds of dreams, visions, and prophecies I had before started coming together to make sense!