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He traveled with the Beatles, hosted them as friends in his California vacation home and he produced their greatest albums. He was business savvy, he was a ladies man and he was rich. He was in the center of all the action, he was making important decisions and he was needed.

Until he loved his lifestyle of sex, drugs and alcohol more than he loved his work.

Then his world collapsed in on itself.

Ken Mansfield, former Beatles record producer, went from living high on fame and fortune to wading neck-deep in fear and futility.

Ken talks of packing all that he had left into three boxes, and boarding a plane in California with hopes to make a comeback in Nashville.

Life would only get more difficult. Promises fell through and soon he was completely destitute. The Beatles’ sidekick had nothing.

His pockets were empty and so was his soul. He was depressed and exhausted. Empty in every way.

Until a young woman befriended him.

They started hanging out together, sharing stories, having a cup of coffee, meeting up with some of her friends. She was a Christ follower so, of course, she shared about her belief in Jesus.

Ken was cool with that ... you know, peace man, it’s all good.

And it was all “cool” until their relationship shifted into serious. After some time, she explained that unless he chose to follow Christ she would have to break it off. She clarified that her relationship with Jesus was too important to compromise for a man.

Ken said he was in (or at least 49 percent of the way in). He still had a little pride, after all.

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Desperate for work, Ken finally took a job as a stagehand, the most menial job in the music world echelon.

One night Whitney Houston came out onto stage to sing and one of the floor monitors wasn’t set to her specifications. So, she stepped back and refused to continue singing until someone adjusted it.

Moving the monitor was Ken’s job.

Sitting on the front row that night, as Ken had so often done, were all the top record producers and big wigs of the music industry. They were his “once upon a time” peers, those with whom he hobnobbed.

Ken did not want to walk out on that stage.

However, God told him to get his “happy buns” out there and do his job.

In that moment, when he felt he could not be more humiliated, he knelt down on his knees and moved the floor monitor around until Whitney was satisfied. He said that he moved that monitor as if unto the Lord.

Emptied now of every last ounce of pride, Ken’s life was changed. Now God had room to move in and fill him up. Instead of the insatiable desire to self-gratify, Ken began to love others unselfishly. Joy invaded his life. Hope was restored. Forgiveness set him free.

God loves to fill empty places.

I am often too full. I have too many appointments, too many thoughts of self, too many chores to get done, too many doubts, too many books to read. I am too full ... sometimes too full for God.

As we enter into this Christmas season, the season of too “full,” I am thinking about emptying. A little less running around, a little less buying, a little less food. I need a little less of my agenda, my thoughts on a matter, my expectations.

I want more of God, so I must be less.

Larry and Linda Kloster sponsor this column.

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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