NQC 2014 Highlights: Day 2

Wow. What a night! I can listen to Southern Gospel music for hours and not tire of it.

Brian Free and Assurance started the night with an acapella version of “Peace in the Valley.” They then sang a couple of their newer songs and ended their set with “Long as I Got King Jesus.”

I am so glad that Wilburn and Wilburn are on the main stage this year. They may have been there last year too but they definitely deserve it. I have two of their CDs, and they are top-notch–lyrically and production-wise.

The LeFevre Quartet was one of my favorite sets of the night. They started with an old Gold City song: “He set a fire beneath my feet and sent me running.” I don’t know the title but I love that song. They ended with “Jesus Saves.”

Kenneth Bishop joined Mark Bishop on stage to sing an old song the Bishops recorded: “I Rely on Him.” It was great to see Kenneth again. He hasn’t aged a bit.

Scott Fowler reminded everyone that it was 15 years ago that the Cathedrals said farewell to fans at the National Quartet Convention. And it was also 15 years ago that Legacy Five made their debut there. Where has the time gone?

I am not a huge fan of acapella groups but The Pennyloafers did a very impressive arrangement of “Goodbye, World, Goodbye.” They even made instrument noises at one point. That was not what made it impressive to me but it is noteworthy. I don’t think I could describe it well enough but, if you order the webcast, be sure to look for that song on tonight’s portion.

Karen Peck Gooch’s daughter, Kari, joined Karen and New River on the NQC Stage for the first time tonight.

Mark Trammell ended his set with singing, “It’s Almost Over.” It received a standing ovation. A great job and a song many needed to hear with everything that is going on in the world right now.

Lauren Talley sang “He’s Alive” by request. I hadn’t heard her version before but I love how she puts her whole self into it.

The most touching moment of the evening was definitely The Perrys. Tracy joined them onstage in a wheelchair. His voice didn’t have a lot of volume but he was singing. During “I Can Trust Him,” he broke down and cried, tears streaming down his face. I know Libbi was feeling the emotions too but her voice didn’t waver. What a moment! They also sang, “I Got a Hold of God This Morning.” Then Tracy and Jared Stuffle sang “Three Men on a Mountain,” backed up by Bryan Walker and Andrew Golden. They closed with, “I Wish I Could Have Been There.” Oh yes. My cup is full and running over. I look forward to hearing more tomorrow!

NQC 2014 Highlights: Day 1

I am not able to attend the National Quartet Convention this year so I am watching the webcast and I’m thoroughly blessed already. I tuned in a bit late as I thought it started tomorrow but I’m glad I double checked so that I got to see most of this wonderful evening.

Steve French was not singing with the Kingdom Heirs but Andy Stringfield filled in the baritone spot while playing the piano. They included a song the Kingsmen sang years ago, “We Shall Reach Heaven Some Day.” Jerry Martin sang his signature song, “I Can Pray.”

The convention played a video of classic, funny Cathedrals moments. It made me miss them so much but I’m glad their memory lives on.

Connie Hopper recently underwent cancer surgery so she was not there this evening but Melissa Brady did an excellent job filling in for her. Claude said that Connie will arrive on Wednesday. The latest report from the pathologist says that everything looks clear. Praise the Lord for that!

I had to laugh when the Booth Brothers took the stage for the second time and Michael Booth said, “Here comes Ronnie and Quitter.” Jim Brady will be with them until December 31 when Paul Lancaster will be taking over. They were as good as they ever are: fun, entertaining, but still sharing the Gospel message. They did several songs around one mic, including their popular song, “Still Feeling Fine.” Michael talked about how Southern Gospel artists don’t throw away old songs. Then they sang, “Then I Met the Master.”

Willie Wynn made a special guest appearance this evening after being introduced by Gerald Wolfe. He didn’t sing but shared some funny stories.

Mark Trammell introduced “The King is Coming” by mentioning that, if he could sing a song, knowing that it would be the last song he would ever sing, it would be this song. I heard it anew this evening. Very powerful. Nick Trammell’s wife is expecting their second child any time so, if that call comes, he will be heading back to Alabama.

I don’t think Gerald Wolfe can get through a concert without leading the audience in singing hymns, and tonight was no exception. He did it a couple times, one of which was at the end of the night, after which he closed in prayer, asking God’s blessing on the week and mentioning that if at least one soul gets saved this week, the convention’s purpose will be accomplished.

I am looking forward to the week ahead. There will be plenty of favorites and a number of groups I’m not familiar with. I hope to note what I consider to be the highlights each evening. Please don’t critique my writing style, as I will merely be sharing snippets after my brain has more than likely shut down. There will be many more groups performing than I will mention, and better, less choppy ways to say things but you will get a feel for the event, and that is my purpose in sharing.

If you are at the convention or watching the webcast, I would love to hear what the highlights are for you each day as well.

Two Groups Announce New Members

  • September 20, 2014 at 11:12 am in

Jim Brady recently left the Booth Brothers to start a new group with his wife, Melissa, but they left people hanging as to who the third member of the Jim Brady Trio would be. Last night, they announced that the third member will be someone who is no stranger to Southern Gospel Music: Tim Parton. Tim is mostly known as a pianist but he did sing an occasional solo when he was with Legacy Five. I can see how he will blend in well with Jim and Melissa, and I look forward to hearing this great new group.

Jim Brady’s departure left a vacancy in the Booth Brothers and they just announced their new member as well: Paul Lancaster. I first heard Paul when he was with the Mullins but he has filled in with various groups through the years. Although it can take time to adjust to changes, I’ve no doubt that God is leading this group.

I wish both of these groups well and look forward to seeing them in concert somewhere in the future.

Don’t Forget

I am reading through the book of Numbers and remembering how important it is to not forget the good things God has done. Unfortunately, humankind hasn’t changed and, when trials come, it’s easy to wonder how God can do these things to US–His servants! Bad things do happen to Godly people, however, and you must remember it is these things that increase our faith and have the capacity to make us more Godly if we would surrender.

This is a reminder I needed today. I have seen God’s hand at work so many times and, even when I can’t see, I need to trust and know that everything He allows in my life is for my good and His glory. It is often in the valley that I take more time to seek His face and listen for His voice. I admit this to my shame but it is something I think about when trials come. If this is the only way that God can get my attention, then I need not complain but, instead, I should be praising Him for His faithfulness in continually drawing me closer to Him.

I pray I never forget His goodness and His love for me. I hope you don’t either. Over and over in Scripture, God told the Israelites to Remember. God is still saying that today. Thank Him for His blessings for they are many.

Concert/CD Review: Journey of Hope (Tribute)

I had the blessing of seeing Tribute back in July. They had concert copies of their latest release, Journey of Hope, but since it wasn’t yet available outside of concerts, I held off on reviewing it. I am happy to let readers know that the CD is now available for purchase.

The concert began with the familiar song, Stepping on the Clouds.

Then they went into a song from their new CD: I Could Sing About Heaven. This is a pretty typical song but I can still enjoy a simple, toe-tapping Southern Gospel song. “I could sing about Heaven for a million years. Still I could never tell it all.”

Riley Clark 7-11-14

Riley Harrison Clark sings the encouraging I Will Rise. “Trials never last forever. I will rise.”

I like their song, I Want to Thank the Lord. Most people don’t thank Him nearly enough for everything He has done for them.

After that, they introduced the group.

I was glad to see them bring back an old Perrys song, I Remember the Day. They could have put a bit more energy into it but I still like the song. I am so thankful that God saved me when he did over 20 years ago!

Josh Singletary 7-11-14

Josh Singletary then played I’ll Fly Away on the piano.

I first heard God Wants to Hear You Sing in concert by Jason Waldroup. This was my first time to hear Tribute’s version but they did a good job.

They sang Safe Thus Far and then Riley led the congregation in singing Farther Along.

Good News from Jerusalem is still a fan favorite.

They took a break to collect the offering, then Tribute came back out singing, He’s Leading the Way. I will never get tired of hearing them sing this song. This was the first song I ever saw them sing on stage, and it made me stop to listen. I’m so glad He’s still leading the way in my life.

Anthony Davis 7-11-14

After that, they sang He’s Been Faithful, and Anthony Davis sang, Leaving on My Mind.

Kyla Rowland wrote, I Am a Soldier. “I am a soldier reporting for duty. I got my sword and shield. I am ready to fight.” Can you proclaim that today?

Many groups no longer give altar calls but they gave an altar call that night and then closed with another chorus of I Remember the Day.

imgSongs on the CD which the group did not sing in concert include:

The encouraging song, He Can Do It Again.

Josh Singletary sings All Made it Ashore, a song that tells about the shipwreck on which the apostle Paul prophesied that not one life would be lost, and there wasn’t. No matter what you are going through, you also can make it. Keep holding on and don’t give up.

Those Who Know Me Know has a bit of a Jamaican feel.

Everything I Need is another uptempo song of encouragement. No matter what I go through, my Heavenly Father is everything I need.

Everybody Needs Jesus needs no explanation. A simple, true fact.

In the Valley, I Can Hear His Voice: When things are going well, we don’t always take the time we need to be still and hear but, in the valley, that is sometimes a different story.

Another song I really like is God of All My Days. It ends the CD leaving me worshiping the God of all my days.

Everything I Need is another uptempo, encouraging song. No matter what I face in life, God is everything I need.

A Call to Repentance and Surrender

After Bible Study the other night, we were sitting around talking, and someone mentioned that, before he knew the Lord, he wouldn’t attend church because he knew he wasn’t living right. Thankfully, he finally hit a place where he surrendered to the Lord, changed the things he knew needed to change, and surrendered his life to Christ.

I understand why churches stress the importance of coming to Jesus as you are instead of waiting to be cleaned up but it also seems like way too many stay as they are, even after making a profession of faith. Isaiah 1:18 says, “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ said the LORD: ‘though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’” This doesn’t mean your sins become white but that your life of sin disappears as you begin to serve God.

In Romans 6:1, Paul asks, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” In verse 2, he answers his own question, “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

In Galatians 2:20, Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” We know Christ knew no sin so, if He lives in me, I won’t live a life of sin either.

Many times in Scripture, people were told to repent. That call still goes out today. If you are one who looks nice on the outside but inside, you are full of uncleanness, repent. If you are nice to the people at church but mean to your family, repent. If you are living a life that you know is not honoring to God, it is never too late to turn from your sinful ways and surrender those areas to the One who loves you more than you will ever be able to comprehend. The answer isn’t to stop going to church; the answer is to understand your need and turn to Him today.

Pretend that you are about to take communion. Think about the horrendous death that Jesus suffered because of your sins and mine. As you begin to bring the bread and cup to your lips, does your heart well up with gratitude for what Christ has done for you or do you find yourself squirming because you know that you are not able to take communion worthily but you know that others have no idea what your life is really like? Worse yet, do you not feel that sense of guilt about the life you are living?

Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and whips every son whom He receives.” If you are able to sin and not be disciplined by the Lord, you should really search your heart to know if you are truly His.

Let me also say here that there is a difference between conviction and condemnation. Condemnation feels no hope. Conviction is the mercy of the Holy Spirit tapping you on the shoulder and showing you what you are doing wrong so that you can change. That is what I want you to feel today: the conviction that only God can bring. I don’t know your life. I don’t know what you’re going through. But I do know that God loves you, and He can change you today, whether you have gone to church for a day, a month, a year, 5 years, 65 years, or not at all. His arm is not too short, and He desires you to spend eternity with Him. Won’t you surrender today?

Rest and Refocus

After a busy six months or so, I am taking a much-needed vacation to rest and pray, as well as fellowship and veg a bit. I have been struggling physically and, because of that, have felt a need to get away and renew my mind.

It is easy to become discouraged and depressed when things aren’t going right, when you’re not feeling well, when life is moving faster than you can keep up with and you’re not getting done half the things you want or need to do. These are the times one must refocus, draw near to the Father, and ask Him what He desires of you. Some things we think we have to do, we don’t in reality. Or at least not in the time frame we think they need to happen.

Yesterday, I finished a book I was editing so I’m praying for more editing work but I’m also trying to rest in the fact that, if God doesn’t bring me more work right away, He may know I need a break or there may be something else on which He would like me to focus my time and energy. These are the things I’m striving to discern as I rest and refocus.

I realize you may not have the option to take off for a couple weeks, but I would encourage you to find time wherever you can to make sure you get the rest that you need so that you can better see things from God’s perspective. If you are overwhelmed, it is a sure sign that you are long overdue these things. They are important for your health and sanity, as well as your relationship with God and your family.

A Quick Post

  • August 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm in

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted on here. My brain is continually running but my energy has been struggling lately so I’ve not gotten around to putting my thoughts into a form anyone else can understand. :) Hopefully I will be back to posting regularly very soon. I just received Tribute Quartet’s latest CD so I want to review it before too long as well.

If God brings me to your mind, please keep me in your prayers. I need a lot of wisdom right now to know how to best take care of my body. I don’t feel like God is finished using me so I trust Him to restore my strength in due time.

Thank you to those who read my blog regularly. I am so grateful that God allows me to write and share what He is teaching me. I trust you are growing along with me to become more like Him. He is the reason I have a song to sing and a blog to write.

CD Review: You’re Everything to Me (Joel Lance)

Joel Lance is back with ten new Christian country songs, nine of which he wrote.

You’re Everything to Me is a song of testimony, thanking God for where He brought us from and praising Him for who He is.

Cross to Paradise reminds us that Jesus forgave all our sins when He was nailed to the cross. Because of Him, we will one day see Paradise.

How Long asks how long you’re going to wait to invite Jesus into your heart. “Life ain’t a fairy tale. It’s either Heaven or it’s Hell.” Please don’t wait too long.

His Still Small Voice is all I need to know my God is real.” A song of faith.

Songs that don’t need an explanation are I Love My Shepherd and Now You See Me, Now I’m Gone.

Too Ashamed to Die paints a picture of a man who receives the news that he is dying. Although not afraid to die, he begins to think of the things he hasn’t done yet. Don’t put off tomorrow what you need to do today.

This is followed by Packing Up and Going Home and Sunday Night Revival.

Broken is a cry for healing. “Heal me now so I may live again.”

Let Them Find Me Guilty

Every once in a while, when I’m listening to a CD, a line from a song will jump out at me. This morning, I was listening to The LeFevre Quartet sing, “If they ever judge me, let ‘em find me guilty of serving You all my days.” Pause a moment to think about that. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the worst thing someone could say about you is that you serve your Heavenly Father? Unfortunately, the only one who has lived such an exemplary life was Jesus, but He gave us an example that we are to follow.

You can make excuses all day long as to why you do the sinful things that you do but the reality is that we are sinners. That is why we sin. “Sin seems pleasurable for a time” and so we eat of “the forbidden fruit” and trust that God will forgive us, for, after all, He knows what sinful beings He created.

The fact is that God does forgive sin when a person truly repents but He will not overlook a lifestyle of sin. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2). I’m so glad that “He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I do ask God to “search me and try me and know my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me to life everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, my paraphrase). I am thankful that He is not finished with me. The longing to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant” has me striving to keep running with endurance the race set before me.

Yes, if they ever judge me, let ‘em find me guilty of serving You all my days!