There’s something about ice cream and Gospel Sings…they just go together, ya know. On Saturday afternoon I had those two exact things at my fingertips. A scoop of Vanilla ice cream in a Styrofoam bowl in my hand and a seat under a tent at the very place two quartets and a duo would perform a few hours later. Yep, there’s nothing like ice cream and Gospel Sings.
With an up-beat song called Promises of God, The LeFevre Quartet kicked off their set followed by Saved By the Blood and We Are the Church. “Good evening church,” Mike LeFevre greeted, “Well, we are the church and we are glad to be a part of Indian Creek and we are here tonight to lift up God’s name.” Mike introduced his quartet and then his pianist, Michael, played a solo for us. Afterwards, they sang Let You Lead Me, Jesus and then Jordan was featured on Come and See, a song that did well for them on radio not that long ago. Mike went on to talk about how his parents would take him to the all night sings in Atlanta when he was a kid. Back then he would think, “If only I could get on one of those buses.” Now, he admits to thinking, “If only I could get home!” LOL Speaking of those old time singings, the LeFevre Quartet went on to sing an old time song – Rainbow of Love. Their tenor, Thomas, followed with another classic, O What a Savior. One time they were singing in Kearney, Missouri the promoter asked them to sing an old LeFevre song from the 1960’s. Mike answered him, “We don’t know that song.” The promoter replied, “I haven’t paid you yet.” Mike replied, “I guess we’ll learn it quick!” LOL That old song was I Love to Call His Name. I enjoyed hearing that song live because it’s one of my favorites and I don’t hear it sung very often! On the other hand, my favorite LeFevre song closed their set, Jesus Saves. This powerful ballad had the crowd on their feet…guess I’m not the only one who enjoyed it!
Before the next group came on Danny talked about the TV show he’s involved with in Atlanta and reminded everyone of the times and station. So for all of my Georgia friends who live in and around Atlanta – Gospel Music USA on channel 57 at 2:30 PM!
“Truthfully,” said Danny, gearing up to introduce the next artist, “I have grown up knowing Jonathan Wilburn. Jackie and Elaine were great Christian parents and I am so proud of what Jonathan has done with his family.” Wilburn and Wilburn kicked off with a song I love hearing them sing, Let’s All Go Down to the River. “This song is requested every night we sing,” Jonathan said, “It’s called Jesus Will.” Jordan then stepped up to sing that ballad, Jesus Will. (Even though that’s a slower song, it’s catchy and has a great message – probably why it’s requested so much!) After that, Jonathan exclaimed, “Alright! Let’s run the Devil outta’ here tonight!” With a good Country beat, Devil Be Gone came next and also featured Jordan. During the turn-around Jonathan reminded us that, “The Bible says, at the name of Jesus the Devil has to flee.” When Jonathan asked the crowd how many folks had a praying mom he chided them and said, “Now don’t be afraid to hold your hands up…we’re not gonna’ cut ‘em off!” He went on to tell a story of a man who fought in the war and was critically wounded. If he were to live, he needed surgery immediately or he would lose his life. Before they put him under he asked what time it was, they told him and he replied, “No, what time is it in the States?” They checked and said, “Four o’clock.” He told the doctor, “You can go ahead and do your surgery because every day at four o’clock my Mom prays.” Jonathan went on to sing Mama, a song off their Family Ties project. After Jonathan and Jordan introduced each other to the crowd, Jonathan told a story about Jordan hitting an “emo” (little ostrich) with their truck while driving down the highway one afternoon. He especially had a chuckle when the officer asked Jordan what the emo was doing when they hit it. Jordan said, “He was high-stepping!” The officer looked at him and questioned, “Can you describe that?” So Jordan said, “You know, high stepping…” then took off down the road doing what the ostrich did. Jonathan even talked Jordan into demonstrating “high stepping” for us! LOL A serious Bluegrass song, He’d Still Be There, followed along with I’m Rich. While Jonathan tried to get the crowd to clap he told the audience, “If I got to sweat and sing, you gotta’ clap!” LOL Afterwards, he talked about the day he became rich. “I am rich because on July 17, 1977 at a revival service at Macy’s Hill Baptist Church I made my way to the old fashioned altar and He saved me and gave me a job to do. He’s got a job for you too – I don’t care how old you are or how rich or poor, He’s got a specific job for your life.” They closed their set with Broken Man Like Me and Funeral Plans. “Have you enjoyed Wilburn and Wilburn?” Danny asked as he came on stage.
Jonathan spoke a little before the love offering and Michael (LeFevre’s pianist) came and played Leaning on the Everlasting Arms while the buckets were passed. Before bringing the last group on, Danny asked all the volunteers to come down to the front. As they did so he reminded us that they gave up their vacation days and personal time to be here and work at the sing over the weekend. The crowd thanked them by standing and applauding.
“Let’s cut to the chase,” Danny began, “how many remember The Cathedral Quartet? Will there ever be another Cats? No, there will not be another Cathedral Quartet, but there is one group that has captured the essence of what George and Glenn did every night and I want you to welcome them…The Mark Trammell Quartet!!!” MTQ kicked off with Leave Your Sorrows and To Know He Knows Me. Mark talked about their weekend and then the track for Ransomed and Redeemed began. However, with a good squeal the track came to a stop. Mark said, “I’m going to give Dean a minute to fix that so it won’t bother you all like it’s bothering me.” So after a minute they sang Ransomed and Redeemed, Don’t Stop Running and God’s Been Faithful. “Amen,” said Mark, “Here’s another new one, listen,” and then they sang When the King Comes to Claim His Throne and introductions followed. After introducing Randy (the bass singer who’s on the road with MTQ presently) Mark mentioned that Randy, “Had been after me for letting him sing a special song for you all…and that worries me because he hasn’t told me what that was.” Randy took that as a cue and jumped in, “God has laid this on my heart,” and talked about how in a few months he’ll be getting married and wanted to sing this song for those who meet later in life. The song was called Side By Side. When Randy first started singing I almost choked – I knew that song from somewhere! Let’s just say, it’s not what you would call a Gospel Song. Half way through, Nick walked off stage. When Randy finished Nick came back and asked Mark, “Who’s singing with us next week?” Mark just shook his head and waved to the audience, “Goodnight everybody!” LOL Walking back over to Randy he said, “I don’t know who you got that from but you can give it back to them!” So, what did they sing next? Yep, I’ll Take It to the Grave. What a hoot! They had a request for Too Much To Gain To Lose, which they did next and then they sang Your Walk Talks and The King Is Coming.
Dustin, Nick and Randy left the stage while Mark brought his Bible and a small stand over to the center of the platform and prepared to give this message on “Fear.” I have written out the points he spoke on here so you could read what we heard that night… “We are afraid to be who we think we need to be according to the Word of God. We’re afraid to go out into the world and proclaim that this is the Word of God. We’re afraid to raise our children the way we know we need to raise them because we’re afraid that somebody will take them away from us. We’re afraid of so many things. The Lord gave me this particular verse of Scripture and this message to remind me that I don’t need to be afraid. There is a story in the Word of God. There was a time when the apostle Paul encouraged the young preacher by the name of Timothy and here’s what he said to him, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 7:1) Now here’s what I want us to look at quickly…
Power – God does not want us to live in fear, He wants us to live in His power. If we go to the original text we find a word there, that word is Dunamis – that word literally means the inexhaustible recourse provided to us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. The inexhaustible recourse provided to we who believe in Jesus, being the Christ, the Son of the Living God, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, that’s who he’s talking about here. If we live in fear we’re living outside of something that God wants for us in our lives. He wants us to operate in His power. In Dunamis. He wants us to realize that inexhaustible recourse that resides in us because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. Right now in your mind, in your heart, if you’re one of those folks who’s afraid to make the next decision in your life, if you’re afraid to take the next step, if there’s something you’re supposed to be doing for God and you don’t want to do it because you’re afraid you’re gonna’ fail. (He went on to talk about how he was in that same mind set 12 years ago when God called him to start this ministry, but God met every need and provided so now he can say to us, if God did it for him, He’ll do it for you.)
Love – He also wants us to live in His love. When we go to the original Scriptures we get to this Greek word Agape – this love is unfettered, this love is without condition. Unconditional love extended to someone that does not even deserve to be loved in the first place because our lives are nothing but black, filthy sin; that’s what we’re born in and that’s what the Scripture teaches us. But God has offered us His unconditional love. The blood of Jesus is what cleanses us from our sin and the Bible says that perfect love casteth out fear. God doesn’t want us to live in fear He wants us to live in His power and in unconditional love. You say, ‘What is unconditional love?’ Let me show you, this is a little example I give most places where we go if I get to preach this message this is the example I give: My wife and I love to watch television together at night. We do find a few things we actually care about watching and if I’m not at home she will tape it on DVR and I get to watch it when I get home. She and I will sit down on a Tuesday night and invariably an hour into that programing I’ll look at her and say, ‘I’d love you a whole lot more than I do if you’d get me a bowl of ice cream while you’re up.’ If. I’d love you a whole lot more if…I’d do more things for you if…you ever been guilty of doing that? It has strings attached to it. I’ll do this for you if you’ll do this for me. When’s the last time you did something for somebody because God told you that that person has a need and you can meet it, go do it. Don’t expect a thing in return, just go do what I’m telling you to do. The test of our obedience what He tells us to do. We operate in His power, that’s what He wants us to do – we operate in His love, that’s what He desires for us. We can operate in that which is unconditional, no strings attached. How wonderful it would be if everyone under this tent tonight was so in tune with the Holy Sovereign God that when He tells us to go do what we need to do, without reservation, we go straight to it. And when we get finished we’re not waiting for any reward, we’re not waiting for any pat on the back, we’re not waiting for anyone to say anything to us because we know what we’ve done is right and pleasing to God and that’s all we needed is to know we’ve pleased Him. Perfect love.
Sound mind – and last this little Greek word is a strange word, but we get to this phrase, sound mind, that’s what God wants us to have. Isn’t it odd that this is in the Scripture now and we live in the 21st Century and when we look across that we think, ‘There ain’t nobody I know got a sound mind anymore.’ Not in this world. Obviously, the writer of this little book did not see anything like what we see today, he’s never driven in downtown Atlanta, he don’t have a clue. Sound mind, that little Greek word Sophronismos – the ability to think clearly in a world that can’t. That ability comes from the divine touch upon our lives. God does not want us to live in fear. He wants us to live in His power, in His love and have a sound mind.
How many know what it is to live in the power of God? What causes us to be able to operate in the love of God no matter what someone has done to us, but we elect to love someone else because He loved us so much that He made provision for us that we would not have to spend eternity in hell. We can live eternally with Jesus because of the unconditional love of God… agape. If tonight you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior you have every right to live in fear of tomorrow.
Mark went on to the invitation and though I don’t know how many souls were saved that night, I do know there were professions of faith! Then we broke for intermission…
When all the groups came back on stage for the second half, Danny suggested they do an old red back hymnal tune, “What about Old Time Christian?” The crowd hollered, “Yeah!” So they sang it. After that, Danny pointed out that when Mark Trammell was with Gold City, he was the one who arranged their sound. “That man is a musical genius,” Danny said, “So we’re going to feature the baritone next to him…do you want to hear Mike LeFevre sing When I Get Carried Away?” LOL When Mike finished up his solo Danny went on, “That was really good! Why can’t you sing that good every night?” Mark answered for Mike, “Because he doesn’t stand next to me every night!” LOL Next Danny asked Jonathan if he felt like singing Midnight Cry, and that one received a standing ovation. “It’s not going to be long,” said Jonathan, referring to the second coming of the Lord. The next tune on the program was Standing on the Solid Rock and when I say they encored that one five times, I’m not exaggerating! The crowd loved it and stood for every chorus. Though they were getting ready to wrap it up, a man hollered out from the crowd, “One more!” So Danny said, “I don’t think you’re gonna’ get out of here without one more song.” Jonathan Wilburn had one that he wanted Mark to sing, and so he stepped up to introduce it. “Every one of us here has troubles,” Jonathan began, “every one of us have sorrow and pain and have searched for that light…and His name is Jesus. I thank God I know who He is. His light gets brighter the closer I get to home. One day this ship is gonna sail in. You know, it has its battle scars, but it doesn’t matter what shape this ship is in because Jesus is the Captain!” Then Mark stepped up and sang The Lighthouse!!! (Oh, the power that song poured forth!) Yet, the night wasn’t quite over, for Mark told Jonathan, “Since we did that one I get to do one more.” To the audience he said, “In honor of those who have served and are still serving, who defend us so we can do what we do without fear, thank you.” Statue of Liberty, the song of all patriotic songs, closed out the night. There was no better way to conclude an evening at a Memorial Day Gospel Sing than with that song!!!
Conclusion: The night, well, the whole weekend really, was a success. LeFevre, Trammell and Wilburn were excellent choices for Saturday night and each group sang their hearts out. It personally tickled me because they all sang my favorite songs – it can’t get any better than that!!! Also, it was great to hear Mark Trammell preach again. I recorded the audio on my i-phone so I could type out the notes above. Normally, I would add an audio file to this site (like I did in February) but I don’t feel I can do that with this message. Not because the audio wasn’t good, rather, the young man whose playing piano for the LeFevre’s decided to play backup while Mark was preaching. This perplexed me because Mark wasn’t giving an altar call or getting ready to take up a love offering, he was preaching… and you don’t play when someone’s teaching the Word of God. It’s simply not the place to do so – and it was very distracting. The tone of Mark’s message was not the type that could be improved upon by light, flowery music. He was preaching hard and a bit fiery, and what the pianist was doing changed the whole dynamic. On the other hand, every other part of the night was perfect! I never had the privilege of seeing Mark and Jonathan with Gold City, and so, The Lighthouse was a very special treat!