There is nothing like good Southern Gospel Music to cheer up a gloomy day! Dark rain clouds dimmed the drive to Mauldin, Missouri, but they didn’t dim the excitement of seeing Jonathan Wilburn and his son Jordan in concert at the First Southern Baptist Church. This would be the first time I’ve seen Jonathan sing since he left Gold City, and I was so excited! It’s so great to see him back on the road! The little church could seat around 300 people and had a beautiful stained glass picture behind the baptistery portraying Jesus as the Great Shepherd and a little lamb at His feet. The church pianist played a few solos on the baby grand before the concert, then the introduction was made, and the evening began!
Wilburn and Wilburn kicked off their performance with an upbeat Country sounding tune featuring Jordan called I’m Gonna Move. The audience clapped to the beat from the beginning of the song enthusiastically. On the turn around, Jonathan stepped forward and said, “Now you understand that we just live in a temporary home on this earth, I’m going to a home that eyes have not seen and ears have not heard…” As an intro to the next song, Jonathan announced that it was all because of Calvary that we have the hope to move, and began singing the old hymn, At The Cross. Jonathan was featured on the verses, and when he and Jordan harmonized on the chorus they faced each other to sing those lines. While another upbeat track played it’s intro, Jordan reminded the crowd, “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world, amen!” He was then featured on Greater Is He. After that song, Jonathan came forward and talked to the audience a little bit. He said that it was great to be back in Mauldin, MO, then went on to tell a story about their GPS system. “That thing will lead you off course,” said Jonathan, “It will take you down roads a horse wouldn’t go down! He continued on, talking of how they were in Nashville, TN, and the “little woman” on the screen told them to go down this certain road, then turn onto the interstate. They did. Then it told them to exit off the interstate onto this little road…then get back onto the interstate, and yep! – It was taking them in circles! “If I were to have followed that thing,” Jonathan chuckled, “We would still be in Nashville…and that was a month ago!” On a serious note, he began using the GPS system to illustrate how “things will let us down, men will let us down. So many things that we put our trust in fail, they will all fade away, but He will never fail us!” (It was a perfect set up for the next song!) I Can’t Even Walk followed, featuring Jonathan. Just before the chorus began he asked, “How many of you know what I’m talking about?” Speeding things up a bit, the classic, When He Calls Me I’ll Fly Away, came after that. The audience clapped in beat strong from the beginning, and Jonathan slipped into some of his old dance moves. No longer was the last note sung and Jonathan passionately asked, “How many of you have that assurance that when He calls you’re gonna’ fly away? If you don’t know Jesus, tonight would be a great night to get saved.” He introduced Jordan then, and had him sing the powerful ballad, When God Ran. When the song finished, Jonathan stepped forward with a big smile and said, “That makes a daddy kind of proud!” Turning to Jordan he added, “A father and son singing about the Father and Son. Hey! I like the sound of that! I just made that up!” Continuing on, “Every night people come up to me and say ‘pray for my son…I don’t know where he is,’ or, ‘pray for my son…he’s in Iraq.’ And here is my son, singing the praises of the Father!” Pausing a moment, he then began a different thought line, this one centering around the disciples who were fishermen. “They were fishermen,” Jonathan stated, “dirty, tired, hungry ole’ fishermen…but isn’t it amazing how things change when the Master comes in? He can pass by and make all things new! Think about it, those old common fishermen became the twelve most storied people in the Bible. Common people doing uncommon things”…then he challenged us to get out and do something for the Lord because time is running short. The powerful ballad There Rose A Lamb followed. Jordan was featured on the next song, Mercy Came Running. You could tell from they way he sings that he really enjoys what he is doing!
Pointing to the American Flag sitting off the side of the stage, Jonathan asked, “Are you thankful to live in the land of the free? One nation UNDER God…I thank God for every solider, every veteran, every man that is fighting even this very hour. The red stands for the blood of every man that has given their life so we can be here tonight and worship God, so we can choose the job we want to choose, so we can have a family…we are so fortunate that we can have our Bibles in our home and we don’t have a tank rolling down the street saying, ‘your curfew is ten o’clock.’ We don’t have that kind of stuff here in the United States of America, we don’t have to have someone stand guard outside afraid that there might be a bomb in here because we are worshiping Jesus Christ. Thank God for the solider, or we wouldn’t have these freedoms we enjoy. On the other hand,” pointing to the Christian flag on the opposite side of the stage, “the greatest solider that has ever touched the face of this earth is Jesus. We (the Wilburn family) come from a long line of patriots, even more so, we come from a long line of Believers in Jesus Christ. He fought the ultimate battle…the cross stands as a banner of freedom to every born again child of God. This Man named Jesus was the greatest solider to ever live, without Him we would have no America to fight for. Because of our belief in a holy God who sent His holy Son, this is what’s made America great today, they both combine together to let us know that the freedom we share as Christians, knowing that we will live with Him, and the freedom we has as Americans, knowing that we live in this land of the free ~ folks, freedom is never free.” The next song carried that very title, Freedom’s Never Free. Father and son shared solo’s on the verses, Jordan taking the first verse and Jonathan the second. This was one of those songs that really, really touched the audience.
When I Get Carried Away came right after, with Jonathan singing the verses. The crowd really clapped with the beat on this one! “I’m gonna have the time of my life when the time of my life is over.” Jonathan quoted, “If you get a grasp of that, we don’t have to wait until your life is over to celebrate. You know, that’s the reason why other religions look at Christians like they’re crazy – we sing, dance and shout about dying! (Audience chuckles about the thought) Think about it, because the same resurrection power that brought Jesus Christ out of the grave, what I read in the Bible, is going to take these mortal bodies and be made like new – a body that won’t rust out, tire out, wear out, get sick, but will be glorified and sanctified. I’ve always wanted to run like Bo Jackson, I like the Olimpics where they put that stick in the ground and go “wheeeeew” (Pole Vaulting). If I did that I’d break every bone in my body!!! But one day I will have a body likend unto the Son of God! This is not a fairytale, this is not Disney World, it’s the Truth.” Jonathan went on to introduce the next song, he gave a little history of when he began singing, first with the Wilburn’s, then with Gold City. With Gold City there was a signature song that they sang every night, it was without a doubt requested and he even suggested that there was someone there tonight that would like to hear it. “Because we’re living in the last days,” Jonathan continued, “and very soon, we’ll see our Savior in the clouds at the Midnight Cry.” Even with just the two parts singing, it was very, very powerful! It brought everyone to their feet in ovation accompanied by a long applause.
The pastor came up and announced that it was time for the offering, prayed and sent the baskets around. We didn’t have to wait long for more singing. Instead of a break, they brought Jonathan and Jordan back up for another round!
Snickering, Jonathan teased the audience, “The thing is we didn’t charge you to get in ~ but we are going to charge you to get out!”
By way of introduction to the song that would open up the second half of the concert, Jonathan exhorted everyone, “No matter how small a thing you think you are doing, continue to press on and reach your hand out to someone.” Jonathan was featured on the next song, the old classic Through It All. The next song was one they sang in honor of Mothers Day, Jordan had it all to himself, it was Mary Did You Know? Jonathan came up and said, “I know they say you shouldn’t sing two slow songs back to back…” (but they were going to!) “Think about it, if it weren’t for Calvary, when storms come about us, the storms of life that we suffer, who would we have to hold on to? Who would we have to go to? Who would we have to depend on? There would be nobody. Cause you see Buddha is still there (in the grave), Muhammad is still there, but Jesus is risen from the grave. He is with us, He’s alive and He is well! Aren’t you thankful for that tonight?” Jordan sang the ballad Had It Not Been. While the atmosphere of that last song still lingered, Jonathan asked, “Where else are you going to go to find the joy and the Spirit that we have here tonight?” He announced that they wanted to do two more songs, the first of which just talks about all the little blessings that we enjoy, and with that he began singing Thank You Lord, For Your Blessings On Me. (And I bet ya’ll can take a wild guess as to which one was their last number for the night!) If you said I’m Rich – you’re right! This snappy tune was oncored beyond number! On the last couple of choruses, both Jonathan and Jordan came off the stage and sang walking down the isles. (Well, for Jonathan, it was more like dancing down the isles!) There was a man sitting on the end of the pew a couple of rows behind me, when Jonathan reached him, he jumped towards him gripping his arm and shaking it on the “I’m Rich” line! Then, on his way back down the isle on the other side, there was this sweet old lady who he sang to while holding her hand. It probably isn’t necessary to mention this, but I will anyway ~ this song received a standing ovation!
Conclusion: This was the first time I saw Jonathan sing with his son Jordan since they’ve been on the road. All I can say is this: WOW! Everything they did was very professional and with class. This duo brought an enormous amount of energy to the stage. It is very evident that ministry is at the forefront of what these two are doing. I know that there are some who would rather hear more singing than hear an artist “preach,” but every time Jonathan “preached,” you couldn’t help but see his passion for getting across the importance of the message. He had something encouraging to say about every song, and I feel that it added to the impression that the lyrics made on the audience. I know that for me personally, that was the case. There wasn’t a moment in the evening where Jonathan didn’t have a huge smile on his face, and Jordan too, was smiling the whole time! If there is one thing that can be said about this father and son team, it’s this – they’re happy!