The last two nights have been spent at “Jesus is the Gate” church revival in Glenarm, Illinois which was held on August 1-2, 2015 with special Southern Gospel artist, Annie McRae belting out her praise and worship songs for the Lord Jesus Christ. As one fan noted, “She blew the roof off!” Annie grew up around Southern Gospel music and began touring at age 15 along with her sister, Kelly for about 12 years. According to Annie, she sang her first solo in church at the age of 6 and she continued to learn how to sing by standing by the altos so that she could learn how to sing harmony. She and her sister recorded their first album titled, Annie & Kelly McRae, produced by Jeff and Sheri Easter when she was 15 years old and her sister was only 13. Both sisters have performed with Bill and Gloria Gaither with their song titled Walk on the Water.
One of her first tours was with Mark Lowry at Notre Dame University before thousands of people in 2001. She was also nominated for a Dove award in 2006 for Country Album of the Year with her album Perfect Love, and she was nominated for Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year with the song Low and Down. Her sister continued to tour until she got married and then went off the road. Annie continued to tour with her other groups she formed until 2010 at which time she decided to take some rest for herself. She had been residing in Nashville, TN but has since returned to her family roots in Mississippi.
Her latest album is titled Purpose and Passion, which she performed some of the songs during her concert at Jesus is the Gate. She learned well from one of her mentors Gloria Gaither, when Gloria instructed her to not just fill up an album with music because you needed to, but to wait until you had at least ten songs you were just dying to share with the world.
Annie McRae’s songs are available for purchase at Itunes, Amazon, Spotify and other online music retailers. She is also out on YouTube with the Spirit and Truth Ministries. She also writes her own blog called, Remedy Girl on WordPress.
The Feast of Pentecost was 50 days after Passover and it ushered in the birth of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ when the Holy Spirit fell upon the believers that were present that day as they had been commanded to do by the Lord Jesus. Biblical tradition cites that this feast is called by the Jews, Shauvott. The feast of Pentecost is a Greek word indicating that there are 50 days from the time of the Feast of Weeks and Pentecost. The Scriptures clearly state in
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
After this initial outpouring at Pentecost, we as Christians no longer have to wait the 50 days that the Lord Jesus prescribed for His disciples. This was just an initial waiting period until the promise of the Father was to come down from Heaven, namely the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus knew that for His disciples to stand firm in the face of opposition, that they would need the infilling of the power of the Holy Spirit. It is no less true today as Christians are facing hostile situations across the globe. It is this abiding and ever-present presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords that keeps the Christian from wavering in their faith.
Many Christians sometimes still mistakenly believe that they have to wait for the Holy Spirit to come to them. However, when you believe that God has raised up His Son from the grave and you believe in your heart and you confess this with your mouth, the Holy Spirit immediately comes to indwell your spirit and you once again are open to hearing from God as He speaks to your spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that is the conduit for this verbal transaction from God to creature. After the Holy Spirit comes to indwell with His presence, you have now experienced being ‘born again.’ This process of being ‘born again’ is necessary because the first couple, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God and they lost the presence of the Holy Spirit and they died that very day. They didn’t die physically, but they died spiritually and this is why we needed a Savior to pay for our sins. This is why God was going to send the promise. What was this promise? The promise was the Holy Spirit once again coming to dwell with mankind; to those who choose to believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the Scriptures, fire is used to denote the very presence of God and it also is used to signify great power. We see this in:
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, to go by day and night.
But beyond this, in the OT, the Hebrew word for ‘breath’ or ‘wind’ is ruach, which is also used to indicate spirit. In this case however, it was not just a ‘spirit’, but the Holy Spirit Himself. So what significance does the tongues of fire have for today’s Christian? While that powerful display was a one-time phenomena, the imagery of the fire, or God’s presence covering the disciples’ heads also lends itself to today’s church. In that we also as born-again children of God also are blessed with the covering of God’s presence through His Holy Spirit. The imagery of the rushing, mighty wind lends itself to the knowledge that Yeshua, the Christ still wields His power and authority over the natural earth realm as well as the heavenly, as He sits enthroned with His Father in heaven.
If you haven’t asked the Lord Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior as of yet, and you would like to Get a Life, confess Him as your Lord and Savior and you will experience the new birth for yourself.
The National Day of Prayer was first observed informally by the Continental Congress in 1775 and then later on it was observed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. During the Presidency of Harry S. Truman, he declared an actual day of observance on April 17, 1952 and it was brought into law by a bill that he signed. It was President Ronald Reagan who amended this law and declared that this National Day of Prayer would be set on the first Thursday of May, beginning in 1988. In different languages it is written as:
National Day of Prayer in English and
Día Nacional de la Oración in Spanish
היום הלאומי של תפילה in Hebrew and
기도의 건국 기념일 in Korean (Holidays.)
There are many things that different people do on this day. Some people just simply pray for our Nation and for the people that they know. Other people observe it with prayer and with fasting and also to entreat the favor of the Lord God Almighty, that He might bless this nation once again and restore this Nation to greatness.
According to the National Day of Prayer website, it will be televised live on DirecTV 365 as well as being streamed live on their website. It will begin at 9:00 a.m.to 12:00 EST and broadcast from the Cannon House office building in Washington D.C. Some of the speakers that will be presenting will be Anne Graham Lotz and Dr. James and Shirley Dobson.
Many cities across the nation will also be hosting Prayer breakfasts and other linked events. In the Chicago area and surrounding communities (or even nationwide), there will be at least 40 different events, so to see which one is close to you just click here and enter in Chicago, Illinois. Other countries such as England and Australia will also be participating with the United States of America and prayer will be uplifted to our Creator at the same time and on the same day, May 1st. Hallelujah!
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
Let us pray!
There is absolutely nothing more delicious to hear in your ears than love words spoken by the person you love. As a Christian, there is nothing more delicious to hear than love words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ to His Bride. As a Christian, there is nothing more that compares to speaking love words back to the Lord Jesus in confirmation of our shared love for one another.
This writer also writes poetry and here is one that I wrote as a love poem back to the Lord Jesus:
An Intimate Friend of Mine
He’s been the best friend any woman
could ever hope to find. A friend in
the truest sense of the Word. When all
others threw up their hands in despair,
He was there to comfort and encourage.
A friendship, (I laugh now at our tentative beginning)
with our hearts united, knit together in a common purpose. I had to unlearn
my distrust of men, taught in a school
where there was no mercy. He was so patient!
I’m sure He must have wanted to shake me by
the shoulders every time that I displayed
my ignorance. My heart filled with rage at
some injustice that I’d seen. Oh, how slow
I was to learn the lessons He was teaching.
A close friend, to be sure, for the rest of
my life. A shared intimacy, of hearts and minds
exposed to the light of knowledge. A knowledge
of the other person’s goals and desires.
Indeed, a very close, intimate friend of mine.
So speak those words of love, for you may never get another chance to tell that special someone that you love them and need them as well. As Christians, we love and need the Lord Jesus Christ to the very core of our beings. So tell the Lord Jesus how much you love Him today.
Acting as the roving reporter with my notepad and an ear for great Southern Gospel music, this writer attended the 2013 Manchester Southern Gospel Festival located in Manchester, Illinois just south of Jacksonville, Illinois. This is a three day event starting yesterday evening, August 16th and will be slating their performances until August 18th. Last night Clint Everetts opened the festival. Others Gospel groups such as the Joylanders, the Lesters and the Chosen Ones sang for an appreciative audience. They gave three great hours of great Southern Gospel music while still adding in some “plain old country music.”
Today, the music festival is continuing with groups and individual soloists such as:
- Becky Lercher
- One Voice
- Down East Boys
- Joe Arview
- The Chosen Ones
These groups will play their music starting at 1 p.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. They each will be entertaining their audiences twice. This is a free event but they are asking for Love Offerings to cover some of the costs.
Tomorrow on August 18th, they will be holding Sunday morning worship services with the Chosen Ones and the Soul’d Out Quartet. Then Pastor Steve Weber will preach the morning sermon. The time for this will be at 10 a.m. and will continue until 11:30 a.m.
Friday evening’s performance was attended by approximately 200 people enjoying good old Southern Gospel music as these talented groups and soloists performed, giving praise and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ivan Parker was in concert at the Hargrove Chapel at Lincoln Christian University on March 23, 2012 and the audience loved every minute of his performance, giving him at least five standing ovations. Ivan Parker sang such favorites as:
- Proud to be an American
- Midnight Cry
His opening act was the Ball Brothers, whose concert this writer already reviewed. Ivan Parker was down-home and during intermission made available to his fans the opportunity to have concert goods autographed. He also made available a t-shirt that was patriotic in nature which went well with the song, “Proud to be an American.” His fans eagerly filled the lobby and gladly waited in lines to buy his latest CD’s as well as the t-shirt, waiting for the shirt to be autographed as well.
Ivan Parker’s testimony is this: he says he was “saved at age 9 in his daddy’s church in Sanford, when an evangelist preached a fiery sermon on the rapture of the church and heaven. “I remember that night well,” he said. “I was sitting on the back row with all my friends. When the invitation was given, I couldn’t get to the altar fast enough. My mom and dad had always told me that whenever it came to salvation, I couldn’t get to heaven on their experience – I had to have my own” according to http://www.ivanparker.com/bio.html
Ivan just recently has allowed his son, Josh Parker to begin touring with him since he just recently graduated from Cumberland University with a degree in music. He performed a guitar solo of the song, “Shout to the World” and the audience sang along with great pleasure and favored him with a standing ovation as well.
For the remainder of the month of March, Ivan Parker will be singing in Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi. If interested in finding possible tour dates in your area, you can go to http://www.ivanparker.com/tour.html and then go to his concert. All said and done, the evening was a delightsome treat and well worth attending.
This writer didn’t know what to expect as I prepared to drive to my Alma Mater, Lincoln Christian Seminary in Lincoln, Illinois to see a concert by the Ball Brothers last night, March 24, 2013. The Ball Brothers are a uniquely different Southern Gospel quartet whose style is different from most other Gospel quartets.
The Ball Brothers came on stage and they wowed the audience from the first note of their first song. They are a younger quartet whose music is geared to all ages from the fans who range from Grandmothers to teenagers. They sang a wide medley of traditional Southern Gospel hits such as:
- Beulah Land
- There is Hope
- It’s all about the Cross
- Not Anymore
- You Love me anyway
The Quartet consists of Andrew and Daniel Ball; Cody McVey, Andy Tharp and Chad McCloskey. They have been singing since 2006 and they tour the world. What is remarkable is that they are local boys who have made it big; they grew up in Mt. Pulaski, Illinois which is a small town in Logan County in the middle of the state. Although they have since moved to Chicamauga, Georgia, yet they continue to remember their roots and still play at Mt. Pulaski events such as “Christmas on Vinegar Hill,” which is an annual event that hosts many arts and crafts vendors in a city-wide festival.
Their newest recording is “Strength” in 2012. Some other facts that are interesting are:
- Won the 2011 Singing News “Horizon Group of the Year”
- Appeared on the popular Gaither Homecoming video series.
- Performed on the Main stage of the National Quartet Convention.
- Shared the stage with some of the biggest names in Gospel and Country music including: The Gaither Vocal Band, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, the Martins, Legacy Five, and many more. Travel more than 150 dates per year across the World (according to their website.)
If interested in knowing their scheduled tour dates, you can go to their website at: www.theballbrothers.com
They also have a YouTube series called: “Rollin’ with the Ball Brothers,” which gives their fans an opportunity to see what they are like ‘behind the scenes,’ which is something most fans don’t often get to see. Their musical style blends the old with the new in a fantastic four-part harmony with silken voices that are well worth the price of the ticket for an enjoyable evening at a Ball Brothers concert.