The morning began with congregational singing. Once again, Chris was in the audience searching for favorite hymns, Gerald was on stage directing and Stan kept us on pitch with the piano. Gerald encouraged us to sing loud even if we don’t think our voices are good because pitch changes as sound travels. “Part of worship is being able to lift your voice and sing to the Lord even if you can’t carry a tune,” he said, “by the time it gets to the throne, it straightens out!” We sang a lot of great classics that morning, including Great Is Thy Faithfulness, What A Day That Will Be, He Lives, Mansion Over the Hilltop, Sheltered in the Arms of God, When We All Get To Heaven, etc. A retired missionary from Africa, Ethel Lowry, requested I’ll Fly Away and a lady from Washington State asked for Come Thou Fount. Now, Gerald didn’t know the words to that one and asked the lady, Jenny White, to lead it. She did (a bright soprano there!) Gerald was impressed too, “What a beautiful voice! Do you have a CD?” Her answer was yes, but when Gerald asked if she had any with her she said no. He thought that was a good thing, ‘cause if she did, GV and L5 wouldn’t be able to sell theirs! LOL The congregational singing ended with Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus, which paved the way for this prayer, “Lord, teach us to trust You. We love singing those lines and they’re so pretty…but teach us to trust You when things are going great…and, (contrariwise) when we feel like we can’t trust anybody, help us to trust You.”
Before bringing the first group out, Gerald took a moment and let Stan play a few piano solos for us. “I’m not even going to tell him what to play,” Gerald proudly announced, “but if it’s not good, I’m gonna’ come out and whisper in your ear.” LOL Stan’s first solo was a fast one. Afterwards, Stan told us that it was written in the 30’s, and if you didn’t know the tune, it was Do Right and Come Smiling Through. “What a perfect song we sang, Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus, one of the best things about getting older is perspective,” said Stan. Then he went on to explain how you can look back on your life and see how God’s hand has been leading you throughout your journey. He also encouraged us by saying, “When we don’t feel Him, He’s still there. Call out to Him and you’ll feel Him.” At age 4, Stan starting taking piano lessons and his teacher taught him how to play this song – He Looked Beyond My Faults. After Stan quoted the lyrics he began playing it, and by the chorus, you could see him singing to himself. He played another hymn and the crowd stood. Gerald appeared from backstage and exclaimed, “They like you Stan! They really like you…you can wear something brighter next time.” LOL (He was wearing all black.)
“He’s a great entertainer, he’s hilarious, but he also has a tremendous heart for the Lord,” said Gerald, trying so hard to be serious as he introduced Ken Davis. But the minute Rodney brought out the podium on a dolly, all hope was lost…laughter rippled over the crowd. The dolly disappeared backstage again and we had a moment of silence, then Howie came out directing Rodney as he wheeled the dolly out, only this time, instead of carrying a podium, Ken Davis was on it! Laughter about split the theater in two! The light atmosphere was the perfect set up for another installment of Ken’s message “Fully Alive.” This time, he took his text from John 11 and reminded us of this important truth, “There are Christians who are miserable because they accept Jesus, but never spend time with Him.” A worthy phrase to consider.
After intermission, our host groups came out one last time. “Well, these guys have been great hosts,” said Gerald, “and they’re gonna’ come out and do the best they’ve done all weekend! Legacy Five!” God Cares For Me and Feeling Fine opened their set back to back. Taking a moment to thank the crowd for accepting Matt with open arms, Scott mentioned how it wasn’t easy for him to see Glenn leave. “The older I get, the more I hate change,” Scott mused, “does that get any better?” The audience answered with a loud NO. Surprised at the volume with which his answer came, Scott took a step back and smiled, “You’re so encouraging!” LOL Matt was featured on It Is No Secret and then Scott complemented the theater. Pausing a moment, he said, “Wouldn’t it be something if the Oak Ridge Boys showed up?” Everyone on stage agreed that would be great. Without hesitation, Howie casually lifted his arm to the side of the stage and said, “Make them welcome…” The audience applauded, but no one emerged from back stage. “Thanks for disappointing them on our set!” Scott exclaimed. Then Scott told a story about the last concert the Cathedrals did at the Ryman Auditorium. During the last song, all the artists present came up on stage to sing with the Cat’s and Scott stood right next to William Golden. When it was all said and done, and no more cameras were on, Scott asked him, “Can I touch it?” William said, “Yeah.” So Scott Fowler petted William Golden’s beard! “I don’t know why I disclosed that,” said Scott chuckling. Scott introduced their next song Ask Me Why, and Living in the Palace followed. After singing Palace, L5 went back and sang a chorus of Ask Me Why acapella in closing. (I happened to think that was a really classy way to end their set!)
“Welcome back Greater Vision!” Scott exclaimed. The guys dashed to their mics as the music for He Could’ve But He Didn’t Pass By began, and I smiled as Rodney and Chris smoothly exchanged mics in between lines. Chris was featured on their second song, You Were Faithful Yesterday. According to Gerald, they had a bunch of requests to repeat their new radio single I’m Looking For the Grace, so they did! Watching Rodney sing that was really something! He was so expressive with every line! Pleased with the result, Gerald cried out, “One more! One more!” – and they encored it. All over the theater people began to stand. “That chorus just fires me up!” Gerald exclaimed, turning to Rodney he asked him to quote the lyrics. Thoughtfully, Rodney recited the wordsand then the audience applauded the message. Well, from here to the end of their set, GV sang nothing but their new songs. What a treat! Gerald described this next one as being different from anything they’ve ever recorded. Just as he was about to tell us what it sounded like, he paused and said, “Ya’ll don’t listen to secular music so you wouldn’t know who this is…but it sounds like a Waylon Jennings’ song.” The crowd applauded and a surprised look crossed Gerald’s face, then he teased, “You know who that is?…bunch of sinners in the house this morning!” LOL Anyway, the song had a good country beat to it and was called Preacher, Tell It Like It Is. In between verses Gerald asked, “You like it so far?” After a standing ovation he added, “That’s a good ‘n.” The next new one was a ballad called I Can Trust You that featured Chris. It was a beautiful song that included a few lines of the hymn, Only Trust Him, in the bridge. Afterwards, Gerald asked Mildred (who was sitting on the front row) if she liked it, then said, “If a 97 year old woman likes it, it’s a winner!” Directing his attention back to Mildred he added, “I bet you liked that bridge,” and began singing Only Trust Him. Asking Stan to put that hymn in a “congregational key,” he led the audience in singing a few stanzas of the old ballad. “The theme of this morning, without any planning, has been trusting God,” said Gerald earnestly. He went on to say that, if that was the theme God had selected for today, that must mean there was someone there who needed to trust Him more. “We don’t always like the paths that God chooses for us to walk down,” he said, “but today, the Lord is trying to say to some folks in this room, ‘You may not like where you are right now but you need to trust Me.’ At the end of the journey you are going to look back and see how God has been faithful.” Slowly moving to the edge of the platform, Gerald knelt down on the stage and shared some of the things that have been taking place in his life and some of the people the Lord has brought his way to encourage him, and ultimately, what God has been teaching him through it all. He encouraged us that God is faithful and He will accomplish His plan, then he prayed, “Father, teach us to trust You even when it’s not the path we would choose. If we can trust You with our eternity, surely, we can trust You with today…and tomorrow.” Their closing song fit the morning’s theme perfectly, it it titled For All He’s Done and features Chris. The audience was on their feet without delay. Some had their hands raised in the air and others were softly weeping, but all left the building with hope and the promise that God is faithful. All we had to do is trust Him.
Conclusion: What I loved about this session happened after it ended…as people mingled with friends, they weren’t talking about how good the new Greater Vision songs were, or how funny it was when Ken Davis came on stage riding a dolly, or where they were going to eat lunch – they were talking about the theme, trusting God. Phrases like, “That applied to everyone in the room.” Or, “Wow, that really spoke to me.” – is what I heard as fans exited the aisles and stood in line to talk to their favorite artists. That impressed me because I go to a lot of events like this and that’s not a common occurrence. (At least not at the ones I’ve been too.) *smile* In fact, the last time I remember that happening at a concert was in October of 2011. So, not only what was said on stage an encouragement to me, the crowd’s reaction was as well. It would be tempting to say that my favorite part of the weekend was hearing half of GV’s new CD performed live, or laying special emphasis on the good, fun times. But to be honest, what happened in this session is something I’ll never forget. That’s because the artists allowed the Lord to use them to mold the theme by sharing the things they shared and singing the songs they sang. The artists. The artists being real and humble before the Lord and his ppl. Yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Thank you guys for surrendering to the call and trusting Him with your music ~ ya’ll are great examples!