At this time of year, it seems that nothing can compete with the games, (World Series, football, etc) … except, Brian Free and Assurance!!! These guys rolled into Lifepoint Church in Lebanon, Missouri, and it just happened to be the night of a big game between Lebanon and Springfield High School football – and to everyone’s delight, BFA filled the house! Wayne Truelove and his Truelove Quartet have been bringing Southern Gospel Music to Lebanon and the surrounding area for years, and I was so excited to find out that he was bringing BFA back. Actually, we had a little Gospel Sing of our own that night with multiple groups: Truelove Quartet, New Horizons, and Brian Free and Assurance. So with no further interruptions, let’s get started!
Truelove Quartet opened the evening with a medium tempo song featuring Darrell Pollock called Satisfied With Jesus. You know, every time I see this group, they just keep getting better and better! Keeping the tempo on an up-beat note, He Is Everything To Me came next. Each singer was featured on a line during this song, and on the turn-around Darrell asked, “Is He everything to you?” “This next song we’re going to do tonight …” began Chris, Truelove’s young baritone singer who proceeded with, “How many of you have lost a loved one? I know I have.” Chris went on to talk about the promise we have of seeing them again one day. His solo was next, a song fans will remember as a recent Kingsmen radio single, Missing People. Chris sang the first verse and Darrell was featured on the second. They really put the emotion into this ballad, it was very touching. When it came time for the break at the end of the song where various people are quoted on recording, Darrell narrated it by saying, “That one day there will be no tears, crying or pain – what a wonderful day that will be!” “This is our new song tonight,” said Darrell, then Chris and Jesse shared a duet on the first verse of a song called I Will Glory In The Story. “We really, really love singing to the Lord, we give the Savior all the glory and honor for that!” said Darrell. As Darrell told a little about the group, he told a Blonde joke that he heard that day. He said a blonde haired girl and her dad were walking down the side walk and the father said, “Hey! A dead bird!” The blonde looks up and says, “Really, where?” Darrell claimed that joke was the funniest thing he heard all day. LOL. Chris gave the introductions real quick, and then they performed their final song for the night, I Want My Stage To Be An Altar. Jesse was featured on the second verse – that girl has a voice on her! As the track faded Darrell closed their set with a prayer for both the artists and those listening.
Mr. Truelove introduced the next group, New Horizons. This trio began their time on stage with a classic hymn, How Great Thou Art. I felt sorry for them because one of the microphones wasn’t working and the sister of the group, Becky, had to share with her brother, Danny through half of the song. One of the sound ladies came up on stage and passed him a new battery, but I’m guessing it wasn’t the right kind because right in the middle of the singing, he tossed it forward to the floor on the edge of the stage! On the turn-around he ran over to their supplies and found the needed batteries, which Becky changed while he continued to sing the second verse. I must say, for singing as long as they have been, that transition wasn’t very smooth! Becky was featured on the next number, another great SGM classic, I’m Standing On The Solid Rock. The crowd really kept the beat clapping on this one! Sheltered In The Arms Of God followed, and the end of the second verse received a round of applause – it was very powerful and moving. Danny told a little of bit of how their trio began in 1967, and introduced his brother, Max and their sister Becky. “Well, we’re going to sing a song, it’s a question that we all have to answer as a nation,” said Danny, “it’s called, How Much Further Can We Go?” This up-beat Bluegrass sounding number featured Max. One verse of the song talked about politicians falling to their knees in prayer, and Danny, who’s involved in politics, did just that on stage in jest! LOL! “Actually that song was for every one of us,” said Max after the number ended, “the golden rule that God has given us, God wouldn’t have given it, if he wouldn’t have meant for us to abide by it.” Continuing on, Max said, “This next song was written based on a story from a Newspaper, it’s called Will You Walk Across Heaven With Me?” This slow song closed out their set featuring Max on the first verse and Danny sang the second verse.
Danny turned the stage over to his son, who was the pastor of the church. The Pastor stood up and told a story that happened last Wednesday. That night it was raining really hard and as he was driving, he saw a homeless man walking along the side of the road. He stopped and asked the man where he needed to go, the homeless man said, “Springfield.” The pastor replied, “Hop in.” After spending two hours at Wendy’s, he lead this young man to the Lord. (The Lord works in wonderful ways, doesn’t He?) The pastor then proceeded to take up an offering to repair their church parking lot. While the offering was being taken, Danny played a Saxsophone solo, Just A Closer Walk With Thee.
“We are very, very privileged to have the group Brian Free and Assurance with us tonight,” Wayne announced, “When we were looking for a group to have in, every page we turned kept saying Brian Free and Assurance. Let’s give a STANDING OVATION for BFA.” Everyone stood and applauded while the guys took the stage – and it was a pretty lengthy standing ovation! The energy that filled the room the moment the guys walked on stage was very apparent. No, it was electric! As the guys stood there with mics in hand waiting for the applause to die down, you could see in that moment the love and appreciation this group has for their fans. They mouthed the words “thank you” to the
audience more than once. When everyone took theirs seats the guys kicked off their set with Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee sung accapella. “Praise the Lord,” Brian exclaimed after the hymn, “Keep those hands going and let’s have a good time tonight.” Go Tell The World was the number everyone participated on, the crowd kept up a steady beat to the end. “He’s coming! Amen!” Bill said afterwards. With no break between songs they went right into Anything Is Possible With You, featuring Bill. As the track for the next song played, Brain asked, “How many tonight still believe in the Holy Infallible Word of God, raise your hand.” All hands went up! – then, Brian began singing BFA’s current radio single I Believe. Brian introduced the following song as an oldie that goes back a few years; it was none other than Glory Road. As you can imagine, the first high note of the quartet song received some hoots and hollers! At the end, there was such a great applause and shouts that Bill turned to Brian and said, “Brian, can you sing just a little more of that?” Brian pretended like he didn’t want too, but the obvious joy on his face betrayed his antics. After the encore there was an instant standing ovation! As everyone sat back down Brian stepped forward and thanked everyone for letting them come back to Lebanon and exclaimed how they loved coming here. Brian shared with the audience that he goes way back with both Truelove and the New Horizons (25 years or more) – too many times to mention, in his opinion! Their next song was Just A Little
Talk With Jesus – Jeremy really rattled our pews with that one! Half way through the song when it sped up, with very little encouragement, everyone began clapping. Referring to Jeremy when the song ended Brian said, “It’s hard to believe ‘that’ comes out of him!” He went on to introduce the guys. When introducing Bill, Brian mentioned that Bill has been with him for the better part of 11 years and said it’s hard to find someone that dedicated. Bill turned to Brian and gave him a bit of a hug, to which Brian good-naturedly replied, “Hey! Get off me!” Next, Brian informed everyone that Jeremy’s dog Baily is now famous, – Baily is in Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver’s music video! So if you see the video, the basset hound that’s chasing the truck is Baily! After Jeremy’s intro, Bill stepped up to tell a little about Brian. “Does it look like he has this glow about him?” Bill asked concerning Brian’s countenance. “Well, he’s been like that for the last three months, and that’s because he’s a grandpa!” Brian let out a “Wahooo!” – and that made the audience laugh. Once we were brought up to date with what’s been going on with the guys, Brian continued, “We like to tell you about our families because they are called to this ministry just as much as we are.” He introduced Never Walk Alone by sharing their personal losses over the last year and a half and how the lyrics this song have really helped them get through those times.
“That is the wonderful assurance we have as Christians – that we will never ever walk alone.” said Bill, then, turning to Brian, he told him that he did an exceptional job that night. “How many of you know that when a person gets saved a miracle happens in their life?” Bill went on to tell of how he and his wife had the privilege of leading their oldest daughter, Brittney, to the Lord a few years ago as an intro to his solo, The Part Where You Come In. “This song is very special to me,” said Bill, “and when you hear the words, you’ll know why.” Bill sang his best on that one! Their next song, Brian explained, was requested from many that night … and that song was Oh What A Savior. If you’ve seen BFA perform this song live, you know the emotion that Brian puts into it, and if it’s possible for him to sing it any better, he certainly did. A standing ovation summed it up! “I love that song,” Brian said, “and as long as we’ve got King Jesus – we don’t need anybody else!” When Jeremy hit the track for Long As I Got king Jesus, the crowd never sat down! BFA’s signature song proceeded to bring the house down!
The guys told about their product and we had a short intermission. I have to mention the Cd pitch because it was just hilarious! Bill held up all the items for Brian to talk about and when they came to their vinyl record, Bill kept trying to slide it out to show everyone and it just wouldn’t cooperate! Next, Bill accidentally dropped the NQC DVD, to which Brian remarked, “That one’s discounted!” Bill was also having trouble with the T-Shirts and so forth. Finally, Brian was telling about their tote bags when Bill takes a bag, slings it over his should and waltzes back to the soundboard just like a lady! Brian said, “I don’t know if he’s under medicated or overmedicated, but whatever it is – it’s not working!” LOL! The audience was enjoying every minute of it!
The time for the second set rolled around and at first it seemed like they were going to sing as a trio, but Bill walked in just as Jeremy started out on God Will Close The Door. The energy just poured off the stage the rest of the evening! You Must Have Met Him followed, and again, Bill put his all into his solo. After that up-beat number, Brian stepped forward and sang what must be his signature song, For God So Loved. Once again, Brian quoted John 3:16 before the second verse and had the audience complete the final lines… “Have everlasting life.” To say that Brian sang his heart out on this one just wouldn’t be enough, there aren’t words to describe how the Spirit was moving that night. Let’s just say that it was beyond powerful! There was an electric energy that stirred every heart in the room, of which, nothing but a standing ovation would do!
Brian took the next few minutes to present the Gospel and encourage Believers. I just had to take the time to write out what he said in this concert review, because I firmly believe that everyone needs to hear and be inspired to stand up for what we believe in. I was very motivated by what Brian shared – hope everyone who reads this will be too! …
“We live in a world that needs Christ. They are searching for answers in anything and everything except where they are – and that is in Jesus. Christians, it’s time that we all know where we stand. If you’ve been flittin’ through life, playing church like I did for the first 23 years of my life, being associated with religion and knowing that there is a God, … going to church somewhere trying to look the part, act the part and sound the part. If that’s the case in your life, you need to understand that you are just as lost as somebody who has never heard the name Jesus. Unless you’ve been born again, unless you’ve been covered by the blood of Christ, no matter what you hear said in this day in time by anyone – there is only one way to heaven. One way to heaven. I am so sick of seeing these “coexist” stickers on cars. If I weren’t a Christian, I’d run into the back of them as soon as I saw one! (Everyone laughed at the sentiment) I have a big ole’ Ford Truck with a push bar on the front and buddy, I could do some damage! – push that there “coexist” sticker about where that glove compartment is! Coexist … what they are telling you is that what we need to realize that there are many paths to God, and there are many gods. People now-a-days worship anything and everything. I’m not going to coexist with the Devil. That’s what it amounts to. I will not be tolerant to other religions. I will not accept them. I will not tolerate them in my life or in my household. I can’t control what everyone else does, I can’t control this country – I am only one person – but I can control what comes into my house. And I can control what comes into my life. There is no in between – you’re either for Him or against Him, you’re hot or cold, – if you’re lukewarm, He’ll spit you out of His mouth. Now it has come to a point where we as Christians have to know where we stand and what the Word of God does say. Don’t be ignorant of the Word of God. Trust me, those people that believe what they believe in stand firmly. I was talking to a lady last night; wouldn’t it be wonderful if we as Christians would have half the boldness and fearlessness of the Muslims? I’m not talking about the violence; I’m talking about speaking out what they believe. I’m talking about Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, these people don’t hesitate a second to blanket the country with their belief. Yet, a lot of times with Christians, we’re closet Christians. We sit back and say, ‘I’m a Christian, I’m saved, born again, my family is too and that’s all I’m really concerned about.’ And your neighbor is dying without Christ.” (The minute Brian spoke that line, a little child very loudly exclaimed, “Uh-Oh!!!!” Since Brian was talking about a very serious subject, though it could have been cause to giggle, no one laughed … and the sanctuary being so quiet only seemed to amplify the response! It was as if God used that pure-hearted reaction from a child to convey the seriousness of the statement – yes church, our neighbors are dying and we go about our daily business with no concern for their souls. ) Brian continued, “People you work with are going to Hell. Your friends at school will know what Hell is if they don’t give their hearts and their lives to Christ.
“You would not believe some of the things we see on the road. We go into churches sometimes that believe everything’s okay. No matter what lifestyle you choose, it’s okay, just as long as you are happy with it, as long as you have peace in your heart with it. Let me tell you something: if what you are doing in your life and what I’m doing in my life – anything we do in our life, goes against the Word of God, it is sin. And it is wrong. It’s not up for popular opinion to vote on, it’s not an issue to be discussed, it’s not up for a committee to get together and decide if the Word of God is true or not. If the Word of God says something is wrong – it’s wrong.”
Brian asked everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes – if there was anyone who didn’t know for sure that they were on their way to heaven, he asked them to quickly slip their hand up and down. After a few moments, he prayed for those people. During the next song, What Will You Do With Jesus Today? – Brian invited those who had their hands up to come down to the altar, they could also come down if they wanted to make a public profession of the decision they just made. When that song ended he talked a little more about salvation and the responsibility every person has before God once they know the truth of the Gospel. He said that he’s talked with many people who say, “You don’t know what I’ve done, God can’t forgive me,” – then, declared that God will save and forgive you no matter what, and tied that thought around to their closing song, Jesus Will Pick You Up. The night ended with the house on their feet and these guys singing their hearts out!
Conclusion: This was the first time my grandparents attended a BFA concert and all I can say about the night is – WOW! They enjoyed themselves immensely and my grandpa was tickled pink that he was able to buy a vinyl record. 🙂 I have never been to a BFA concert that was like this before – you could just feel the power of the Holy Spirit in the air! Not only did all of the guys put forth their very best vocally, but I appreciated greatly that Brian wasn’t afraid to step up and speak the truth. He commented that sometimes people get upset because they didn’t come to hear “preaching,” yet, every time I hear what Brian has to say, it is so practical and applicable to our everyday lives, it’s hard not to be drawn in to his words of edification. I praise our heavenly Father for men like these whose dedication to the gospel of Christ lifts up His name and encourages the body of Christ, for it can truly be said of their lives, “it’s not their job, it’s their life!” Keep up the great work guys, and never stop Preaching to the Choir!
“Do you know Jesus Christ, or do you know of Him? Are you full of religion, or are you full of Him? There’s a difference.” – Brian Free