CD Review: My Tribute: The Classic Songs of Andrae Crouch (Paul Lancaster)

As a diehard Andrae Crouch fan, I am not the best person to review a CD of someone else singing his songs. In my opinion, Andrae does the best job in delivering his own songs; however, it does bless me when others honor his memory. That is exactly what Paul Lancaster did with his latest CD.

This CD features the classics, I’ve Got Confidence; The Blood Will Never Lose its Power; My Tribute; Soon and Very Soon; Through it All; Take Me Back; Jesus is the Answer; I Don’t Know Why Jesus Loved Me; Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul; and Let the Church Say Amen.

Although Mr. Lancaster’s voice is different than Mr. Crouch’s, the music and background singers are reminiscent of Andrae and the Disciples.

Barbara Riley Passes Away

  • April 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm in

I was saddened to hear about the sudden death of Barbara Riley, wife to Tim Riley and mother of Daniel Riley (Gold City), Amy Riley Strickland, and the late Doug Riley. I used to wish I could meet her, as I thought she must have been a strong woman. I was also impressed with the fact that her husband and sons seemed to think the world of her. In an age where so many marriages don’t last, she and Tim remained faithful to God and to each other.  Please keep the Riley family in your prayers during this time.

Reflecting

This past weekend was one of reflection for me. I didn’t set out to do so. I just felt like God was speaking, and I needed to hear from Him. I can’t say I fully understand everything yet, but I do know I needed the reminder to take time to quiet my heart and tune it toward Him, even in the midst of a very busy season.

Thinking about everything Christ went through on the Cross makes me want to not leave one task unfinished before He calls me Home.  In a world that is more scary and unsafe every day, that thought is what keeps me pressing on on a daily basis. If I didn’t believe God still had a work for me to do, I would probably never step outside my door, but the safest place to be is in God’s will and, for me, right now, that still has me traveling all over the country, praying to be an encouragement to each person I encounter.

If you are discouraged but you know you are where God wants you, let that encourage you. Quiet your heart, read His Word, pray for His peace, and press on to keep the faith and run your race. One look at His face will make every mountain look like a stepping stone. Then, I guess that’s what they are anyway.

CD Review: As We Speak (Greater Vision)

If you attended the National Quartet Convention last year or saw the live stream, you are aware that Greater Vision released a new CD entitled, As We Speak. It became humorous, but it was worth the mention. In thinking back over the Greater Vision CDs I own, I believe this is my favorite since Faces. I rated it low because, in many ways, it is pretty typical of Greater Vision recordings, but there are some more uptempo songs and a couple songs I especially like, which is what makes it one of my faves.

The CD begins with the group’s recent hit, Put Out the Fire

We Can’t Tell It All has a typical GV sound. No matter how many songs we sing, it is impossible to fully describe our Lord.

Toes in the Water asks if we are fully surrendered or just getting our toes wet (my paraphrase). :)

He Does reminds us that Jesus sees and cares and understands.

Will I be a faithful example if the Lord has me follow In the Sandals of Daniel to the lion’s den? This is a toe-tapper but one that you need to pause to ponder.

I am really glad that they brought back Labreeska Hemphill’s song, Let the Blood of Calvary Speak for Me. “May it write me down as righteous where no righteousness has been, shielding me from wrath and judgment as it covers all my sins.” Lord, let it be so!

Never Will I Ever Again is a fun, fast song. I love it!

The tempo slows down as Rodney Griffin sings I Do Know. I may not know the future, but I do know what the next life will bring.

It’s encouraging to know that everyone is Saved By the Same Grace. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, rich or poor. God’s grace is sufficient for all!

The CD ends with the title track: As We Speak. This is another of my favorites on the CD. Gerald Wolfe does a great job communicating the message. I feel God’s presence every time I hear this song.

CD/DVD Review: Quartet Night Across America

Daywind Records has put together a CD/DVD collection of four top quartets to take us back through the decades to when Southern Gospel music first started and progressing into how it sounds today. Groups featured are Legacy Five, The Blackwood Brothers, Tribute Quartet, and Brian Free & Assurance. On the DVD, Paul Heil interviews Scott Fowler, Billy Blackwood, Gary Casto, and Brian Free. Since this is a live recording, there are a couple mistakes, but I still consider this a must-have for every southern gospel collector. Songs featured are as follows:

All: “Quartet Singing’s Going On”

Scott Fowler, Gary Casto, Brian Free, Butch Owens: “Give Me That Old Time Religion.”

Riley Harrison Clark, Bill Shivers, Billy Blackwood, Matt Fouch: “Heaven’s Jubilee.”

Blackwood Brothers: “Just a Little Talk with Jesus,” “How Great Thou Art,” “Have You Talked to the Man Upstairs.”

Tribute Quartet: “This Old House.”

Blackwood Brothers and Tribute Quartet: Happy Medley (“Happy Rhythm” and “Wonderful Time Up There”)

All: “Patriotic Medley (America the Beautiful, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, God Bless America).”

Brian Free & Assurance: “In My Robe of White,” “Only God Knows,” “Long as I Got King Jesus.”

Legacy Five: “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” “Boundless Love,” “He Made a Change,” “Hello After Goodbye.”

Tribute Quartet: “Sweeter as the Days Go By,” “Good News from Jerusalem,” “Everything I Need.”

Blackwood Brothers: “You Can Find What I Found.”

Brian Free & Assurance: “Say Amen.”

Legacy Five: “Christ is Still the King.”

All: “Looking for a City.”

In other news, Daywind announced last week that these groups will be taking this on the road. To bring Quartet Night Across America to your town, contact The Harper Agency at info@harperagency.com or by calling 615.851.4500.

Go the Extra Mile

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles (Matthew 5:39-41).

I love the Sermon on the Mount, as this is where Jesus taught His followers to not merely obey the law but to go the extra mile in serving God, experiencing life with Him instead of just doing the bare minimum (the Pharisee way).

Although the Bible is the guideline for every true Believer, the above verses are ones I never hear taught. I hear more people who are concerned about being taken advantage of, and whose focus is on defending themselves and their “rights.”

Jesus went on to say:

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:46).

I agree that evildoers should be punished, and Scripture affirms that, but Jesus taught us to go the extra mile in order to live at peace as much as possible and to love those who do us wrong.

Maybe part of the problem is that we think of love as warm, fuzzy feelings toward a person when, in reality, love is something that comes from the heart. It is refusing to be angry and bitter no matter how much of a right you have to be so.

I realize this is easier said than done, but this is where the Holy Spirit comes in. James 5:16 tells us that “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” I am testimony to the fact that, if you desire desperately to have a clean heart toward someone who has wronged you, God will answer that prayer.

My bottom line is this: Do you respond to situations like Jesus would? There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. There may be a time to defend yourself, but I believe that it’s often pride that causes our flesh to become defensive and retaliate. We need to stand for truth, but our focus should be on Christ and glorifying Him. If that is not your motive, pray for wisdom before you do anything other than what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.

CD Review: What a Moment (11th Hour)

what-a-momentThe latest CD from 11th Hour is my introduction to them. My first impression is that they are an average group, but I know sometimes it makes a difference when one sees them in concert.

This CD begins by reminding us that we need that “sea walking, Mountain Moving Faith.”

Look at Me Now is a couple stories of people who were changed after they met Jesus.

The tempo slows down for Love Still Holds Our Scars.

You may have been Bound for destruction and hell but, if you know Jesus, you are now Bound for Heaven. Praise the Lord!

He Welcomes the Beggar talks about the beggar Lazarus and then talks to modern-day “beggars” who are looking for hope.

Aren’t you glad that He’s Alive and So Am I?

My favorite song on the CD is When God Shows Up. Written by Dianne Wilkinson, Kenna West, and Lee Black, you will feel God show up as you worship Him.

Can You Burn asks if you can stand through the fire when persecution comes. Can you burn with the zeal you used to have? This is something we must all ask ourselves.

There Ain’t No Bones in the grave where Jesus laid. He’s alive!

Another song I really like is I Trust. Trust is an area I pray to keep growing in.

Speak the Truth in Love

I don’t know what your first thought was when you saw the title to this post, but my emphasis is going to be on two small, but very powerful words: in love.

We live in a world where people are willing, and often way too eager, to give their opinions on things. Gone are the days when people would weigh their words and find a way to be gracious toward others (at least to their face).

Although there is a need for honesty in a time where it’s near impossible to know who to trust, many forget that, if they don’t have love, they are merely a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13). If something needs to be said, there is a way to say it, and that way is with grace and humility.

One could argue that Jesus was not always graceful when He confronted sin, but I don’t feel like this gives us the right to get in people’s face, tear them down, call them names, etc. Jesus taught His disciples to love each other and to think of others as better than themselves. If you truly believe that the person you are confronting is better than you, you will consider your words carefully before you say them.

People are more likely to receive a rebuke if they know you love them and truly care about them. If you are more concerned with being right than you are about the other person being right with God, then hold your tongue and do not attempt to address the issue. More often than not, you will just make things worse, and they may harden their heart even further and never repent.

I see this in doctrinal debate too. I love being around people who are strong in their faith and know what they believe, but some have a hard time having strong beliefs without condemning those who have different beliefs. Within the Church, there are different callings, gifts, and, yes, even doctrines. Just because someone believes differently than you do does not mean they do not love Jesus. If you are a true Believer, you are most likely at a different place in your spiritual walk than you were ten years ago. We should all be constantly learning and growing, so learn to bear with those who are at a different place than you are.

In John 17:21, Jesus prayed that we would be one, just as He and the Father are one, but that unity will not come by fighting each other. You are responsible to study to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15) and to be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you (1 Peter 3:15), but there is a way to do those things, and the answer is lovingly.

I leave you with these words from the apostle Paul: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6). That is my prayer for all of us. Don’t let the enemy use you to bring strife and division among God’s people. Instead, encourage each other to love and good works and, if rebuke is necessary, ask God to help you to do it in love.

CD Review: Moments Like These (The Bowling Family)

The Bowling Family is comprised of Mike and Kelly Bowling and their daughter Hope. This is my first time to listen to a full CD of theirs, but what a blessing it is. I give it 5 stars because of the quality of the songs. There is not a “dud” on this recording. Songs of faith, hope, and the resurrection fill this CD, leaving you encouraged and ready to face another day.

Mike sings the uptempo, Praise God, He is Alive.

Hope sings about One Moment of Faith.

I Was There is the Heavenly Father reminding you that He was there during everything you have gone through … and He will continue to be.

Mourning to Dancing is another toe-tapping song of hope.

In the next song, Mike tells us again I Believe He’s Alive.

The tempo slows way down for a song Mike and Kelly Bowling wrote with Marcia Henry Bloodworth: Even When You’re Asking Why. “You will never get to walk this road by sight. Only faith will lead you through the night. But God loves you and He’s with you, even when you’re asking why.”

Some of you will know the old song, I’ve Got My Foot on the Rock. I hadn’t heard this one in quite a while.

God is Always Good reminds us of that truth that many seem to lose sight of. No matter what you are going through, it does not change the fact that God is still good.

If you’re still not convinced, the next song puts it another way: God Likes Working in the Midnight Hour.

Kelly sings Our First Hallelujah There, a song that ushers you into the presence of Heaven as you picture your first moments there.

Random Sunday Thoughts

Hey Everyone, I know I’ve not done a lot of blogging lately, but hopefully that will change soon. I love to write, but sometimes I lack the mental energy to get down my thoughts without it becoming a hodgepodge of random things.

If you have not yet done so, I would encourage you to read the devotional I wrote for Music Scribe today. I write for them most every Sunday, and sometimes I think they get my best posts.

Much of what I write about are issues I am working through. I am very aware of my humanity, but I desire to draw closer and closer to Jesus until it is no longer I that lives but Christ that lives through me. I am so grateful that He allows me to write for Him, and I pray to always point you to Christ, the only One who will never disappoint you.

This coming week, I plan to do at least one more CD review, and maybe I will get around to finishing some posts that I’ve started but haven’t completed. God has so much to say to each of us. I pray that we will never be too busy to listen.

God bless you all. Have a great week. Pray for me when God brings me to mind. And may you be encouraged no matter what life brings your way. We serve a God who is always faithful.

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