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.

CD Review: Turn Your Radio On (Watts, Rowsey & Bean)

Watts, Rowsey & Bean consists of Nicole Watts Jenkins, John Darin Rowsey, and Gina Bean. I’ve been listening to John Darin Rowsey since his days with New Journey, so I’m most familiar with him but his name alone made me interested in this CD.

Old-time southern gospel fans may immediately assume that the title track is the old Albert E. Brumley classic, Turn Your Radio On, but it is actually a new, rousing song written by Watts, Rowsey & Bean.

“I don’t wanna Waste Another Day. Not one minute if You’re not in it. Jesus, You’re the only reason that I live.” Do I hear Amen?

I Still Am Your Child is a reassuring song that God is ever near, arms open wide when we go running back to Him.

He’s in Control is another song of encouragement. You will reap if you faint not! Keep hanging in there.

Written in the Scars talks about the crucifixion and yet the fact that it doesn’t end there. This is my favorite on the CD.

“There’s going to be rejoicing When Revival Comes to Town.” Real revival, that is. There are way too many things that are called “revival,” which has nothing to do with changing lives. When true, Heaven-sent revival comes to town, you will notice the difference.

I’ve Come to Bless You is a song of praise and worship to the only One worthy of our praise.

Faith is an older song written by Karen Peck Gooch and John Darin Rowsey. An uptempo song that talks about what faith is.

The Bible says that, if we don’t cry out, the rocks will do so in our place. This next song tells us Don’t Give a Rock a Chance. I hope the rocks never have to cry out because I am not praising my God who has done so much for me.

He Lives to Love talks about how great the Father’s love is for us.

The LeFevre Quartet Has a New Bass Singer

  • January 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm in

And the winner is … Jonathan Epley! Jonathan previously sang with the Inspirations and, more recently, the Ball Brothers. I’ve no doubt that he will be a good addition to The LeFevre Quartet. Besides Jon, the quartet consists of Mike LeFevre, Jordan LeFevre, and Jeremy Peace. I will be watching their schedule and hope to see them the next time they come to my area.

Good Thoughts from Ian Owens on Judging

Note from Sony: If you are friends with Ian Owens on Facebook, you may have already seen the following. However, the message is important, and Ian communicated it very well, so I feel like it is worth posting again here. Plus I know that not all my readers are on Facebook and may not be familiar with Ian or Soul’d Out Quartet. Thank you to Ian for his permission to post this.

STOP IT!!! Just STOP!!! I’ve talked about this before, but I need to talk about it again. “The Bible says judge not!” This is being thrown around constantly. It’s being shouted by the unbeliever to the believer when they are told they are living in sin, and it is also being shouted by the believer who has never been taught correctly. Most recently, I’ve seen it used by one believer to another to say that church discipline shouldn’t happen because the person being disciplined is being judged and the Bible says we are supposed to love and support and “Judge not!”

Some believe that Jesus said we are to love each other so we shouldn’t judge each other. Those same people are confused about what “judge” means. “Judge” has been colloquially used to mean different things, so semantically it’s all convoluted. It doesn’t mean to condemn, to look down on, or to have prejudices. It means to make a decision based on knowing what is right and wrong. We ARE commanded to love all equally and to not be respecters of persons, yet we ARE ALSO commanded to rebuke and discipline. The Bible doesn’t say, “Judge not.” It says:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2).

This means that, when we judge or make a judgement, we are to live by the same standards we use to judge, and we should be prepared to accept the same consequences we mete out. We judge and make judgements every day. If a sex offender lived down the street from you, would you let your children play at his/her house? Why or why not? Any answer you give is based on a judgement call which comes from judging.

So many in the world and “church” are getting it wrong. Grace is a wonderful gift, but we are still accountable and responsible as Christians! Let’s say that a fellow Christian is addicted to pornography. He/she is actively grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit and is living an unrepentant life. It doesn’t make the rebuked less than the rebuker. And, if handled appropriately, it doesn’t mean the one doing the rebuking and judging doesn’t first love the judged. Sure, God’s grace is abundant, but we are not meant to use up that abundance with purposeful intent.

“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).

It is the church’s responsibility to promote and preserve a lifestyle of holiness in its members.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

“For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality” (1 Timothy 5:18-21).

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4, KJV)

That passage from 2 Timothy is where so many churches are today: looking for that happy, feel-good gospel that tickles the ears.

The bottom line is people today believe that once they are adults they are beyond reproach, rebuke, accountability, and discipline. That goes equally for “church people.” Those of you with children … do you discipline them? Why? Because they did something wrong? How did you know it was wrong? Did you judge it to be so? Uh oh. When you disciplined them, was it out of hate or was it because you love them? Hmm. So you CAN discipline in love when you know and believe that the behavior correction is for the good of the individual. The only difference between childhood and adulthood is that the authority changes. The authority is no longer our parents, but instead becomes the law, the church, and God. We are accountable!

“Judge not” has become a catch all for people to throw around when they don’t want to be made to feel bad. But we have to feel bad sometimes, folks. We have to. I’ve said this recently, too, but it’s time to stop being spiritual babies. It’s time to become spiritual adults. Grow up and stop throwing away the verses that make you uncomfortable and offend your “sensibilities.”

Six Years and Counting

  • January 23, 2016 at 5:37 pm in

Six years ago today, I uploaded my first post on Southern Gospel World. How excited I was! I wanted a place to review CDs for the groups I love, as well as to share what God is doing in my life and what He is teaching me. I have really enjoyed this outlet, and I am thankful for each of you who read my blog each day.

I realize I don’t post as often as I should. I hope to change that, but sometimes I feel like I become redundant. If you read my writings for any length of time, you will quickly learn the topics that are the most burning on my mind. Only occasionally do I come up with something new. Because of that, I prefer to wait and write when I am really inspired, instead of to just writing for the sake of making posts. If you get tired of checking my page to find I’ve not written anything new, take some time to read my old posts. And be sure to subscribe so that you will be notified when I have posted something new.

My prayer for this coming year is that we all continue to grow in the knowledge and the grace of our Lord. May we see others as He sees them, walking in mercy but willing to speak as He leads, in the hopes of drawing others closer to Him. This is our purpose and I, for one, want to be faithful.

The Statesmen Are Back!

  • January 21, 2016 at 7:35 pm in

Back in the 1960s, I don’t think there was a quartet as lively as The Statesmen Quartet with Hovie Lister.  They were before my time, but I love watching the old videos of Jake ‘s expressions and Hovie’s exciting piano playing. They took Southern Gospel Music to a whole new level and left quite a legacy.

AG Publicity announced today that The Statesmen Quartet is making a come back.  The members of the original group are no longer around; however, Hovie Walker (who was named after Hovie Lister) is putting together a group, which he says will have the “same class and quality of sound” as the old Statesmen that everyone loved.

The group will consist of Hovie Walker singing bass, Deon Unthank singing baritone, and Wallace Nelms singing tenor. They are currently taking auditions for a lead. If you are interested in auditioning, you may email Hovie at hwalker@bellsouth.net.

CD Review: Mile Marker One (Zane and Donna King)

Zane and Donna King do not have voices that I would have put together in a duet, but they found a way to blend their musical styles and voices that really works.

The only song on this CD that was not written or co-written by Zane and/or Donna is the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness, which starts the CD.

The CD continues with that same theme in a song titled No One Like God.

I first heard Keep Me in Your Will when Jessica King sang it a number of years ago. I did not realize until this CD that Zane King co-wrote that song. It continues to be one of my favorites, and Zane and Donna do a great job on it.

Donna sings the uptempo Shine. “When things get too tough to handle, just shine.”

Nothing Without You is self-explanatory.

If There Was Any Other Way talks about God’s heart toward those who are suffering and hurting. Although there are times you must walk through dark valleys, God is still there holding your hand.

Hallelujah Jesus Saves has a fun tune that you will enjoy singing along with.

Anything reminds us that nothing is too hard for God.

When love finds the lonely, when sweet prayers are spoken and tears are washed away, and when He hears “Jesus loves me” from the lips of a little child … these are the moments When God Smiles.

How Does It Feel to Be Home was written in memory of Norman Holland, the former vice president of A&R at Daywind Records. Although we miss those who have gone before, we would not wish them back.

The CD ends as it began: with the Postlude: Oh Tu Fidelidad/Great is Thy Faithfulness.

Read God’s Word

It has been a while since I have even attempted to read through the Bible in a year. This year, I am doing just that, along with my regular Bible reading (reading through more slowly) and a Bible study.

This has me going through five different sections of Scripture at present. I thought it could be a bit overwhelming but, so far, I am enjoying it. Each portion is different from each other and yet each serves a purpose.

I don’t know if I will do this every year. I’ll have to see how this year goes but, for this year, I am looking forward to seeing what God speaks to me, as I draw near to Him and ask Him to show me the way I should go and to help me to be faithful. This continues to be my constant prayer.

You may not have the time to read as much Scripture as I hope to this year, but I encourage you to read at least some Scripture every day. Even if it’s one verse that you meditate on each day, it will not return void.

Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (emphasis mine). Although sin is sometimes pleasurable for a season, it is the pure in heart that shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

Won’t you take time to read God’s Word today?

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8, emphasis added).

As I was reading the Beatitudes the other day, this verse especially jumped out at me. It seems like the verses on purity and holiness are the least-quoted verses any more, but I am challenged by this verse.

I wonder how many people on earth are truly pure in heart. It is a rare person who doesn’t at least struggle with lust, jealously, anger, etc. Yet, these are some of the things that can keep us from seeing God.

Despite popular belief, we have no reason to be proud. We should be constantly asking God to search us and try us and show us those impure thoughts and motives. We should be daily drawing closer to Him and becoming more and more like Him.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be blessed. I want to see God. I want to be pure so that I don’t stand before Him full of shame and disgrace. I want to hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” I expect that I will be more aware than ever before of how holy He is and how wretched I am. But I praise Him that He saved a wretch like me, and I will continue singing, “More like the Master I will ever be. More of His meekness, more humility. More zeal to labor, more courage to be true. More consecration for work He bids me do.

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