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The last morning of Praisefest fell on Saint Patrick’s Day…well, I couldn’t let that opportunity pass by, eh? So, I dressed up like a Leprechaun! Green skirt, tights, shirt, hat and hair! Definitely different from my normal concert attire! LOL! As you can imagine, there were some curious looks cast my way and more than a few comments on my outfit, and Glenn Dustin of Legacy Five was even kind enough (or should I say brave enough?) to get a picture with me for the site! (Thanks Glenn!) I definitely surprised some of my neighbors who were sitting in my row! As I waited for the last session to begin, my friend sitting next to me and I exchanged stories on dressing up for holidays, while Trey played the piano softly in the background. Soon, Scott Fowler came on stage and opened the morning in prayer.

Howie singing Destination Known as Scott looks on...

Legacy Five was the first group on stage the last day of Praisefest, and opened with a medium tempo number called, I’d Like To Say It Again, followed by Strike Up the Band. Well, it was St. Patty’s day, but Glenn was the only one wearing green! LOL Scott pointed out a lady on the front row by the name of Mildred, who is 97 years old! He also mentioned meeting an 8 week old baby yesterday and brought up the fact that there was a good variety of ages represented at Praisefest. Then he walked over to the end of the stage and spoke to Mildred. He said that he wanted her to tell the audience what her doctor said when she went for her last visit. Her doctor wanted to know the secret to her long life and requested that she write it down for him. She said, “Okay, I’ll do that.” So, when she went in for her check-up she had a list. Number one, right at the top was SGM! She said, “Well, it takes an awful lot of Gospel Music.” Everyone chuckled at that, and Scott almost went to get up but she said that there were actually four things to her list! So Scott let her have the mic again and she shared what all four points were, “Gospel Music, Bible Study every day, a ministry and a dish of ice cream daily.” Now that caused some good natured laughter! Howie jumped right in with the fun, “Well, I must be feeling really good because I had two bowls of ice cream already!” Scott repeated the ingredients one more time, then introduced Howie, “I can’t imagine a Legacy Five without this man, Scott Howard.” As Howie began his solo, Destination Known, he added a special line to the part that said, “There really is no secret to what keeps me going on…” adding, “a bowl of ice cream,” to the end! LOL Holy Is Thy Name followed and received a standing ovation. Before they went into their final song, Scott recounted the incident that happened a few years ago when they were booked for a concert in Florida. If you’re not familiar with this story it went something like this: one week before L5 was scheduled to go to the church, one of the pastors called the office and let them know about some of the policies at their church. #1 – Personal testimonies were not allowed#2. Not allowed to read the Bible from the stage#3. Not allowed to pray unless you don’t use the name Jesus. “I’ve never been disrespectful to a pastor,” Scott assured everyone after giving those points, “but it was one of those times when you have to make a stand on principle – if we can’t talk about Jesus, there ain’t nothing to talk about! Jesus is right for what’s wrong in your life! There is a 12 year old girl back there sitting with my wife and kids, her daddy is a Muslin, but she found Jesus at one of our concerts because we’re not afraid to talk about Jesus! And in case you weren’t in church on Easter Sunday, let me remind you on how extraordinary this Man is.” Then he read Luke’s account on the resurrection and sang Truth Is Marching On. Everyone was on their feet by the bridge! Standing ovation!

Greater Vision

When L5 left the stage, Scott introduced the next group, “Welcome back our buddies – Greater Vision!” Taking his mic in hand, Gerald asked the crowd, “Did you enjoy L5? Scott could be a preacher, couldn’t he?” Then they kicked off their set with a song called Just One More Soul. The next song was an upbeat “quartet” sounding song that is quickly becoming one of my favorites, There’s Only One Way. “I love that song,” Gerald mused, getting ready to go into a story. “I remember the first time we sang that song; it was on the Alaska cruise and my pastor and his wife were there. Well, his wife didn’t understand the words to the song and after the singing, she came up to me and said. “What do you mean that Jesus is not a good way to get to heaven?” I replied, “Well, He’s not.” “Where did you read that?” she pressed. “In my Bible.” Gerald answered. “Well,” she continued, “you must be reading a different version than me.” Then Gerald said, “Well, I’m just reading the red letters – ‘I am the way, truth and the life.’ That means that Jesus Christ is the only way to get to heaven.” Then he talked about the great time we all had in Branson and how encouraged they’d been and that many came up to them and said that they had been encouraged too. “This next song is the how we feel about being here.” Gerald said – We Are So Blessed was the ballad. After that soft reminder of how blessed we truly are, Gerald shared that a lady in the lobby went up to Chris last night, and told him about her son that’s been a prodigal. “There are some songs,” Gerald informed us, “that you don’t just throw out there because they’re so personal.” Then he told of how they have only sung this next song about four times, because it’s that kind of song – Another Childs Coming Home. (Very touching! I feel very privileged to be in an audience that’s witnessed it live.) Gerald talked some more about the theme of that song after they sang it, “There are some things that happen in the Christian life that we cannot explain. My older brother was a prodigal – he dropped out of school, got in trouble with the law and left home.” He explained that the house he grew up in was so small that the kids shared a closet with their parents and the only thing separating the two bedrooms was the closet. “I remember many time’s, late at night, hearing my mom crying, praying and begging God to do something. She would say things like: ‘What did I do wrong?’ I took him to church.’ ‘I taught him about You…’” Gerald went on, “It’s a choice. When those things happen the only thing we can do is pray to God- most of you are about giving up on praying for that prodigal in your life – I know we sang this song the other night, but I want to do it again.” The message was a perfect follow up to Another Child, it was I Know A Man Who Can. Hearing those lyrics really hit home among the audience and everyone began standing. Lightening things up a bit, at the end Gerald exclaimed, “Now that old man can still sing!” Taking a moment to reflect, Gerald began reminiscing about growing up in his home church. He reminded the audience that every church has a “character,” and if you couldn’t think of one you were probably it! At his home church he remembered watching a lady sing in the choir. “Nell Cox,” he said, “I don’t know if she could sing or not, but she acted like it.” Another man would sing Brethren We Have Met To Worship every Christmas! Then there was Merl Haun – a farmer. He wore bib-overalls to church, couldn’t read or write, didn’t sing in the choir or teach Sunday school…but, he always carried Brock peppermint candies in his left pocket. “After Sunday School,” Gerald shared, “he would find me and say, ‘Jesus loves you this morning – and so do I,’” then hand Gerald a peppermint. He continued to share that to this very day when he sees a Brock Peppermint he thinks of Merl Haun. “You don’t have to be famous to be effective,” Gerald summed it up, “all you have to do is be faithful. When you stand before God and think that your life didn’t count, God’s going to show you the faces because you were faithful.” This lead into Faces, but GV’s last song was none other than My Name Is Lazarus.

After intermission, Gerald shared with everyone that their biggest hope was to have 1000 attendees at Praisefest Branson. Well, they had close to 1600! The second half was fully devoted to Dr. Charles Stanley who spoke on how the Lord wants to continue to use people no matter what their age, and afterward, both L5 and GV appeared on stage one more time together singing Jubilee!

Conclusion: Out of all four sessions of Praisefest, this final one impacted me the most spiritually. The things that were shared by Gerald, Scott and Dr. Stanley were very thought provoking, challenging and encouraging. What a weekend!

Author: lynnschronicles

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