Sunday morning, after the Truthseekers Homecoming, Brian Free and Assurance were scheduled for the worship service at Lone Oak Church in Marion, IL. Jim Snyder of the Truthseekers is the worship minister there, and the bass guitarist, the church pastor. For that morning it was asked that no photos or video be taken because they wanted to have an atmosphere of “worship” instead of “concert.” I do have to say, for a blogger who is use to spending every concert with her fingers stuck on a nine inch keyboard, constantly taking notes, it was very refreshing to just sit back and enjoy the service! I was also surprised by how much I remembered! (Though I did jot down song titles on a small pad) So I’ll give my disclaimer here: this review may lack a little detail and word-for-word content compared to others! I’ll try to make up with words what we’ll lack in pictures too!
Lone Oak was a medium-sized church, with four sections of pews and a wide stage elevated a few steps above the main floor. As I settled into a pew on the second row, center stage, congregation members milled around and chatted before the service began. A few minutes later, band members from the church began tuning guitars and such, and then the music minister, Jim Snyder came and led us in some singing. On the right side of the stage a lady sat and played a beautiful, glossy black baby grand, and an older gentleman played acoustic guitar behind her. Moving to the right a little, in the center of the stage, Jim led the singing and played his harmonica at points. Beside him, the pastor sat on a stool playing his bass guitar, and behind the pastor was another guitarist on the far right. We sang a few songs together as a congregation, and then the pastor made some announcements. We sang Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to those who were celebrating those special days that week, and the pastor did Children’s Church before BFA came to sing. As the kiddo’s came up to the front and sat on the stage steps, the pastor invited any kids that were visiting to join them. One little boy from the row behind me went up. The pastor asked him his name and where he was from. The little boy gave his name, though he said it so quietly I didn’t hear it, but when it came to where he answering where he was from, he showed the pastor by taking him (the pastor) by the hand and leading him back to the pew where his parents were sitting! How cute! The pastor encouraged the children that they are number one in God’s eyes, and that to Him, they all are winners – and gave each child a little medal on a necklace to remind them of those things. Then … it was time for the worship service to begin. The pastor let everyone know that no matter what was going on, on stage, the altars were always open, and that people were always willing to come down and pray with anyone at any time … then, he introduced Brian Free and Assurance.
The guys filed on stage and quickly set up their mic stands while Brian cheerfully greeted the crowd, “Good morning everybody!” BFA began with a nice, mellow/medium tempo song, called What A Beautiful Day For The Lord To Come Again. (If you ask me, it was the perfect song to open a church service with on a Sunday morning!) Though it was “morning,” and we know how tenor’s get picked on for singing in the morning, Brian hit that high note at the end flawlessly! Go Tell The World followed, and as the last few notes rang out Bill let everyone know, “He’s coming! Amen!” To the left of the stage, Brian voiced the question, “How many still believe in the Holy, Infallible Word of God? – I know we do.” This led into his solo, I Believe. Opposite to the stirring ballad, an up-beat quartet song was next – I Keep Looking Up. Snapping his fingers to the beat, I caught Brian singing “do-da-do-da-do-das” to the intro! LOL. I believe that was the first time for me to see this one done in concert, and I loved it! It was one of those songs where all the guys get to sing a line on the verses. “The whole reason why we were created,” Brian reminded, “was to praise Him. If we do that, we will leave here different from what we came in.” How appropriate that the next song was, Just A Little Talk With Jesus! Many know that song features their bass singer, Jeremy Lile, so afterwards, Brian shared, “We call him ‘little monster’ because it’s hard to believe that big sound comes out of that little body!” Next, Brian asked how many were seeing BFA for the first time and introduced the group. When it came time for Bill to introduce Brian, Bill asked the audience, “He tells stories about us all the time, do you want to hear one about him?” The crowd answered with a good applause, so Bill began explaining how they don’t have a bus driver, and all the guys help out with the driving. Well, one night Bill was driving and it was time for what they call the “grave yard” shift (around 4:00 a.m.) and pulled the bus over to get Brian up to drive his shift. As Bill described to us, you have to be very careful in waking Brian up… Bill demonstrated how he “softly” wakes up Brian so as not to startle him, which made Brian roll his eyes at the exaggerated drama. Anyway, Brian, fresh out of the bunk with hair sticking out in no particular direction, goes up front and begins driving. Bill wasn’t even back to his bunk before the bus pulled back out onto the road. Bill thought to himself, “That’s way too soon, Brian could NOT BE FULLY AWAKE!” So, Bill walked up to the front of the bus to check on him, and as soon as he reached the front, he saw the blue lights start flashing in the mirror. Pulled over already! The officer comes up to the driver window and shines his flashlight in Brian’s window and says to him, “Your eyes look bloodshot, have you been drinking?” Brian’s reply? – “Your eye’s look glazed, have you been eating donuts?” The crowd couldn’t help but chuckle at that! As the next song began playing, Bill turned to Brian with a questioning look, “Glazed?” he asked. Brian looked at the audience and informed, “I got the ticket.” LOL Bill sang the Part Where You Come In, a song about the time when we come to know the Lord. “What a moment that is,” Bill commented. When that song concluded, Brian slipped his mic back in its stand and began telling about the song that is named after their current project, Never Walk Alone. He told how and why they pick songs for a recording, and then encouraged the congregation that “No matter what we face, we will never walk alone.” Brian sang this song by himself and just poured his emotion into it. If his face doesn’t tell you that he means what he’s singing – nothing will! Anything Is Possible With You followed, and then For God So Loved. Again, another great ballad that commands the listener’s rapt attention … and again, another song performed beautifully by its soloist. “What a song!” Brian exclaimed afterwards. And if you looked, you would see the emotion in all the guys eyes – those lyrics are powerful. There was no finer moment to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ than then, and so Brian did. I attempted to capture his words with my pen and paper in hopes to share with you all, but I fear my hand couldn’t write fast enough! “Hell is a real place,” He began, “Not a state of mind. It’s a physical place – so is heaven. The Word says that you have to have a relationship with Christ, covered by the blood…anything less and you’re lost.” Brian shared of how they have travel all over the world and of the complacency they see in churches. “Now is the time to put an end to the complacency and surrender your life to Christ.” They opened up the altars and sang What Will You Do With Jesus as the invitation song, and as their closing number they performed a very stirring rendition of Long As I Got King Jesus. Standing Ovation!
Conclusion: This was my first time to see Brian Free and Assurance minister in a morning church service…and I wasn’t disappointed! We were ushered before the throne from the very first note! Though the guys were singing in the morning hours, you couldn’t tell from looking at them or listening to them, that the night before was a late one – they were all energetic and smiling, and singing for His glory!
Because BFA were in a morning worship service, I was interested to see if they would do anything different with their program. They added two songs: What A Beautiful Day and I Keep Looking Up, but everything else remained the same – and it fit the service perfectly. You know a group is focused on the Lord all the time when they can do their evening concert set in a morning worship service, not change anything, and be confident that everything they do is appropriate and right for that setting. BFA not only says, “It’s not about us, it’s all about Him…” – they prove it in their ministry. Thanks guys for another great time of worship!