July 05--From the time Richard Guerrero learned to play the guitar, he felt called to use his talent for God.
But writing music was not his forte -- at least, not right away.
Even though he'd grown up in a musical family and learned to play drums and other instruments when he was a boy, Guerrero never realized his true gift was writing lyrics.
And his true calling was writing Christian music.
"I prayed at first to learn to write songs. I felt it in my heart that it was something I should do," the 42-year-old Yoakum resident said. "I would be sitting down and playing guitar and humming a tune, and God would tell me to go get my book and start writing."
Encouraged by his wife, JoAnn, Guerrero began to write songs whenever he felt inspired.
"I would let her listen to it, and she would tell me if she liked it," he said, describing his first songwriting experiences about five years ago.
The first song he ever penned, "Throne of Grace," would become the first single and debut album of Guerrero's band, Restored in Christ, which is releasing nationwide July 30 through Tate Music Group.
"They're a Christian music label, which is why I was drawn to them," he said. "I know if it's meant to be, God will open doors for us."
Guerrero was already playing in his church band at New Life Baptist Church in Yoakum with his son, Richie Guerrero, 20; Brandon Thiry, 20; and Larry Aguilar, 44.
But he knew he wanted to take the band's music and their audience beyond the church's walls.
About three years ago, he asked his band members if they wanted to officially form a contemporary Christian band and attempt to transition out of the church and into the Christian music scene.
"I asked them to pray about it first. I did not want them to commit because of me," he said.
For Richie Guerrero, it was an easy decision. He had been playing music with his father for more than a decade.
He has idolized his father since boyhood, admiring his fatherly and Christian example.
"He was always a good spiritual leader in our family and taught us how to walk with God," Richie said. "It showed me how to become a Christian and grow up the right way."
It was also an easy decision for Thiry and Aguilar, who immediately knew Restored in Christ had the potential to mature into something great.
"God blessed me with a talent and I want to take it as far as we can," Thiry said.
Restored in Christ's "Throne of Grace" EP features eight worship songs all written by Guerrero.
The album is dedicated to Jesus Christ, the band's biggest fan, JoAnn Guerrero, and New Life Baptist Church, among others.
"All we want is to reach God's people throughout the state and the nation. I want to be used by God to minister and spread his word through music," he said. "That's our prayer. And I think this could really be something big."
(c)2013 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas)
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