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The Latest

The Cross Left A Mark On Me – Truthseekers Homecoming

Categories: Concert Reviews,The Latest

When I turn the calendar over to the month of March, there is one thing I always look forward to…and it’s not the erratic Missouri weather!  It’s the Truthseekers Homecoming in Marion, Illinois!  This three day event in Southern Illinois has been a favorite of mine for six years now.  Whether Mother Nature sends us snow, ice, tornadoes or warm rays of sunshine, the Truthseekers Homecoming is a consistent, family-like gathering that is centered on Jesus.

Thursday Morning…


What I love about this Gospel Sing that makes it unique, is that you don’t have to wait until Thursday evening to begin fellowship and worship.  Just head over to the Truthseekers home church (Lone Oak Baptist) on Thursday morning for the Prayer Breakfast and you’ll experience the same warmth and music you do in the evenings.  There are two aspects to the Prayer Breakfast – the fellowship time that begins at eight o’clock (yes, that’s in the morning) with a hot pot of coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts, fresh fruit and other breakfast beverages like orange juice, apple juice and chocolate milk.  At 9:30 am, everyone congregates in the sanctuary where the Truthseekers lead us in worship and/or classic Gospel songs that feature Mary, Jim or Jane.  Then, a pastor from a local church is invited to bring a short devotional message for the day.  On Thursday morning, the Truthseekers began the time of worship with songs like “Everybody Ought To Know,” “Come On Ring Those Bells” and “What Will You Do For Jesus?”  As they17309316_1413714465340421_2022013442669977948_n effortlessly transitioned from song to song, sometimes the audience would join them in singing and sometimes they just sat and enjoyed the sweet presence accompanying the music.  The highlight of the morning was when Jim sang Rusty Goodman’s “Leaving On My Mind.”  When the Truthseekers finished leading us in worship, they called up Pastor Steve Shea, who preached on the subject, “Thank God For the Things I Don’t Have.”  He had five points; reminding us that we follow a risen Savior and not a dead religion, we have a Bible that is relevant to modern day issues, we have men of God who can lead us in the right way, we have a church body that is alive, and most importantly, a salvation that is all-encompassing.  If you think about what life would be like without those things, you’ll have an idea of what things we can thank God we don’t have…amen?

Thursday Evening…


One of my favorite parts of the Truthseekers Homecoming is the stage.  I know it sounds strange, but the folks at Lone Oak Baptist create their own props that make the stage look amazing.  Maybe you remember the big Bible with 2 Chronicles 7:14 written on it from 2016, or the church with the stain glass windows from last year that hung suspended from the ceiling?  Well, this year, when you walked into the auditorium your eyes would have rested on shiny blue drapes framed around the most important symbol in Christianity…the cross.  This cross was five feet tall and hung suspended from the ceiling.  The dark colored wood contrasting with the light blue drapes gave the stage an elegance that you won’t find at any other Gospel Sing in 2017.  To me, the staging has always been a hallmark of the Truthseeker’s Homecoming, and this year, it certainly left its mark on Ruben Bean of the McKameys…


The McKameys and Brian Free & Assurance were headlining on Thursday night.  The Truthseekers welcomed everyone and opened the evening by leading the congregation in a few hymns and choruses and then the McKameys came on stage.  To bring in a little history of the Homecoming, the Truthseekers had the McKameys the first 13 years of the sings’ 33 year history.  This was the McKameys first time back!  They began their set with songs from their “What If” project.  Though it was still early in the program to sing “What If” itself, they did, and you could feel the lyrics seep into those listening to the stirring message.  Picking up the Bible that was by the soundboard on stage, Peg sang “I’ve Been In The Book.”  When she went right into “God On The Mountain,” the audience got excited and then Roger’s solo, “Unspoken Request,” followed.  Now don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of excitement when they sang “God On The Mountain;” but to me, the moment of the evening came with their next song.  With a five foot cross hanging from the ceiling, Sheryl went into the ballad “That’s Why There’s A Cross.”  If 17361694_1414751228570078_1186327297950542914_nyou know Peg, you know that she is very expressive…even when others are singing.  So picture this, Sheryl is standing in the center of the stage and Peg is off to the right, she’s grinning from ear to ear and her hands are uplifted…pointed towards the cross hanging behind them.  Seeing that kind of joy mingled with those lyrics really impressed me with the image of how your life is changed when you meet Jesus, and that’s a moment I’ll never forget, no matter how many concerts I attend.  After that powerful ballad, Ruben followed with a solo of his own – “Something Worth Saving.”  When he finished singing, he added, “It’s good to know the Lord in these days and times.”  Their next song featured Sheryl and was an upbeat tune called “I’m Gonna Give It Away” and then Connie sang “Your Prayers Have Been Heard.”  Before going into what would be the closing song, Peg said a few words about how she has tried to minister to people over the years.  “What everybody needs is Jesus,” she simply said.  Their closing song was “There Is Jesus” and it didn’t take long for a sweet presence to blanket the auditorium.  As the ballad ended, the people stood, the McKameys encored it, and Peg’s shoes went flying…

Brian Free & Assurance were second on stage Thursday evening and Ruben introduced17342728_1414751291903405_2951093920423155777_n them.  “These guys here,” he began, “we do two or three dates a year with them…that’s not our fault, it’s how the booking goes.”  The audience laughed at the joke as Bill Shivers (who was setting up BFA’s microphones) turned toward the crowd and made a face.  “Awe, they’re fine people,” Ruben added.  Then, “Welcome Brian Free & Assurance.”  Now, while all this was going on, Ruben was standing behind the soundboard on stage, putting him between it and the cross.  He set his mic back in its place and went to stand upright…smacking his forehead right into the bottom of the cross.  Poor Ruben’s hand went to his head and the cross began swaying back and forth.  Though he ended up being okay, it left a mark on Ruben’s forehead and Gilbert, the gentleman who made the cross, told Jim, “Someone could turn that into a song – ‘the cross left a mark on me.’”  LOL

Anyway…BFA kicked off their set with “What A Beautiful Day.”  Brian was having some issues with allergies, so he didn’t do much talking but that was fine with me because we heard a lot of singing!  “When We All Get To Heaven,” “You Could Be The Difference,” “I Keep Looking Up” and “Tell It Like It Was” followed in rapid succession.  They pulled up three stools and sat while Brian briefly explained why the next song was especially meaningful to them.  After he shared how each of them had lost loved ones they sang “Forever Home,” a soothing ballad featuring Bill.  Something that I’ve loved seeing in BFA concerts is how they sing “He Will Carry You” back to back with “Forever Home,” and that’s exactly what they did in Marion.  Brian encouraged the crowd to … “Just crawl up in the lap of God and give it all to Him and trust Him to carry it.”  Bill’s song, “Somebody’s Miracle,” came next and then they closed their program with “I Feel Like Traveling On” and “Say Amen.”

Conclusion:  I wouldn’t have thought to book the McKameys with Brian Free & Assurance, but after Thursday night, I wish more promoters would.  We all know that the McKameys lean toward an Appalachian Mountain sound while BFA tends to be more progressive, but I’m here to tell you this, when the Holy Spirit takes over, the style doesn’t matter.  It’s all about being receptive to the message behind the lyrics and that’s what happened in Marion, Illinois.  The building was sold out and I hope this review gives you a glimpse into what the evening was like, because what you read just scratches the surface.  To look at a photo album from the evening concert, click here: Thursday Evening Photos

The dates for the 2018 Truthseekers Homecoming are already scheduled and ready to go; to start planning you’re experience in Marion, please visit this link: Truthseekers 2018


Author: lynnschronicles

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