It felt odd wearing a summer dress in February, but as I walked into the West Jacksonville Baptist Church (WJBC) it felt more like summer. Then again, we were in Florida…and it sure beat the winter temperatures we left at home! It was the night before the cruise (Singing at Sea) and one of the groups that were going to be on the cruise, the Mark Trammell Quartet, happened to be right there in West Jacksonville.
For the last few years MTQ has booked WJBC the night before the cruise and I had also heard that it was common for Mark Trammell to preach after the singing. Well, I don’t know about you, but I like some good preaching! The church treated the evening like a regular Sunday evening service and because they’ve been doing this for years those who were going on the cruise knew where to find good singing the night before. We were in good company!
You knew it was getting close for the service to begin when church members milled the isles with their choir robes in hand. Shortly after, the church choir began singing the Perry’s song I Knew It Was The Blood and then the pastor sang If You Knew Him with the choir backing him. A variety of church activities (like the offering and then the children’s offering) filled up the time before MTQ was brought on stage.
The Mark Trammell Quartet recently released their new project, Your Walk Talks, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when they stepped on stage and began singing those new songs! They kicked off with a song that, though an old Stamps-Baxter tune, they re-cut on their CD – I’ll Go Over Jordan Someday. It fit the refined atmosphere in the building. The CD’s title track, Your Walk Talks, was second on the list to be sung and Nick’s song, Don’t Stop Running followed. Mark stepped up to the pulpit and quickly introduced the guys (so as not to take up too much time talking) and went on to quote the chorus of Your Walk Talks because he was sure some of us in the crowd didn’t catch every word when they sang it. LOL The night before MTQ had been in Wooster, Ohio and made a 900 mile trip to be at West Jacksonville that evening. Like the pastor mentioned when he introduced them, MTQ could have taken their time getting to Florida and told the church that they couldn’t make it this year, but they made a point to be there with the folks. (I for one was quite pleased with their dedication!) The next two songs featured bass singer Pat Barker and were also from the new CD. The first was the Cathedral classic Thanks To Calvary and the second a peppy new song called I’ll Take It To The Grave. Mark introduced his solo as a word of encouragement to those who’ve been in the ministry and have wondered if what they do even matters. The lyrics of Too Much To Gain To Lose assured them that it does. Two more “old,” yet powerful songs closed the singing portion of the night: Wonderful Time Up There and The King Is Coming.
The guys slipped off the stage and Mark took his place behind the podium to preach. It would be very easy to give you a little synopsis of what he said, but I want to give you the chance to hear it for yourself. He preached his personal testimony coupled with an illustration of the wheat and tares parable from Matthew. His sermon was titled “Are You the Real Thing?” It’s 40 minutes, but I encourage you to listen to it…it’s very challenging and thought provoking.
Are You The Real Thing? – Mark Trammell
Mark Trammell gives his personal testimony with Matthew’s parable, the wheat and the tares, on Super Bowl Sunday at the West Jacksonville Baptist Church in West Jacksonville, Florida.