Saturday, May 24, 2008

Michael English In Concert

It was exactly one year ago in this very merry month of May that I was able to see Michael English perform. Tonight was a treat just as before as Michael returned to the Richmond Indiana area. My date Julie and I had a very good time that evening. Michael performed some of his old classics and a couple of the new tunes from "The Prodigal Comes Home." His voice to this day, I think, is one of the very best ever. He wrapped up the evening with his signature song, "In Christ Alone."

During the concert he mentioned at some point recently he was doubting that his voice was holding up. I don't think he has anything to be concerned about. He was just as good as ever. And, as always, he was as kind after the concert to greet and meet everyone. It was over a two hour drive each way, but well worth it. Michael is one of my all time favorites. If you haven't heard Michael's new release, do yourself a favor and pick it up. I think you'll be more than pleased with his new offering. May the peace of Christ be with you all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Keeping It Simple

I just finished watching Sandy Patty's rendition of "We Shall Behold Him." There was Dottie Rambo in the background. I admit, feelings of awe overcame me. I remember Sandy singing that song so many years ago. The song itself is wonderful but simply profound. It got me to thinking about simpler days in my life. I just wonder sometimes if things are just moving way too quickly? I know many have already spoken or written on such topics. I'm just one of the myriads who has as well.

Last Saturday was a fun day. Rosemary and I went for a drive through the country. Then we then stopped at the all-too-famous hot dog stand in the town where she lives. Curb side service. Hot dogs, fries and a mug of root beer. The weather cooperated with a sunny sky albeit a slight breezy wind. However, I was content. Later, we drove down by the park. We sat on a bench overlooking the river. We conversed about things in life, current events and about faith in God. She said, "Isn't this peaceful?" I couldn't have agreed more.

These days we have microwave in a minute meals, Direct TV, cellphones that not only take calls but will play music, instant news and weather from the internet and a host of other things. But, I just wonder, are we really better? We get out monthly cellular bill and find an error and spend an hour waiting for a rep from the Phillipines to figure it all out. We get bombarded by ads saying we'll have a better life if we buy their products. And so it goes.

I'm not saying that I'd give up modern conveniences as an example. But, how much is enough? When I was a boy growing up in the country I had trees to climb, fields to run in, baseball to play and a lawn to lie on and stare at the clouds. I had a hymnal that I would carry behind the house and sing out of, a dime store bible to read and with all of that, a very big God who loved me. And still does!

I'm finding more and more that I'm compelled to spend time at the park at the end of town. I sat and watched the ducks on the river, looked at the geese and glanced at the birds flying overhead. I heard the rustling of the water as it moved southward past my little nook on the edge of the roadside. Funny me and the things I think about. I thought the other day, "I'll plant a garden." Now, for those of you who "really" know me, that isn't my cup of tea, so to speak.

Am I growing old before my time? Yes and no. Maybe I'm just at a place to where God is slowing me down a bit to enjoy the simple things in life again. You could almost call it coming full circle. I've traveled so much in my life and enjoyed so many things I never dreamed possible. All in all, God has been good to me. Yes, even in the times I didn't think that he was. I just now thought of the old Twila Paris song, "Lord, You Have Been Good." He sure has.

Here's a statement that just makes so much sense. We think when we get older and we're not as hastily busy as before that we are not as useful! But, I must remember that all of this life is just preparation for the next. Our life here is just a shadow of things to come. I can't take credit for the statement. It was made by someone a lot wiser than me.

I hope that I won't ever forget the simple things in life that are far more important that all the baubles that surround us. Our real treasure is in heaven. And...most importantly, the greatest treasure resides in our hearts...and that my friends is the Lord himself. Be well and I hope all of you have a good week.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Remembering Dottie Rambo

Dottie Rambo was one of my earliest influences in gospel music. I remember playing her music at my very first radio station in Toledo in the late seventies. I just loved "I Go To The Rock." She has penned so many songs through the years. Dottie passed away on May 11th in a bus wreck in Missouri. She was seventy-four. Obviously, I am saddened by this.

One of my favorite songs she recorded was to the tune of Londonderry Air called, "He Looked Beyond My Faults." Next to that one, my other favorite has to be "For What Earthly Reason." However, it's difficult to narrow down just a couple of tunes. She has written so many wonderful favorites throughout the years.

Dottie is now with the Lord. Even though she will not be singing anymore on this earth, her songs will live on to those of us still here. She is now with the Lord that she had sung about for so many years. She will be missed. Below is a sample of her song, "For What Earthly Reason." I don't have Dottie's version, but I've included Janet Paschal's wonderful version of this song. May the peace of Christ be with you all.

For What Earthly Reason

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In All Things

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:12-13)

Those are wise words written by the apostle Paul. Philippians is my favorite New Testament book. I have read these words over and over for years. In this day and age I notice that people are more discontented than ever. Maybe it is more here in the U.S. than anywhere else. Even the poorest among us have more than most of the world has.

I guess having things isn't bad as long as we remember that Christ is number one in our lives. Plus, there are those who are serving God across the seas for the gospel. I really feel that these are the true heroes of the faith. They see the bigger picture. The eternal one. I know we can serve God right where we are. I just can't help but think that those who serve as missionaries have a strength that I don't have. That strength ultimately comes from Christ himself.

I also believe that darker days could be ahead for us as a country. I don't mean to sound like an alarmist, but things could grow worse. Maybe we just all need to live like the apostle Paul did: learning to be content in every situation. Be thankful daily for what the Lord provides. He does love us. Our rewards should be eternal ones. For the things of this world will pass away. No, it's not wrong to enjoy the things that God blesses us with, as long as we keep him first.

The older I get I realize that things in and of themselves do not satisfy. I am always reminded of the old song, "Only Jesus Can Satisfy Your Soul." It's true. There are people clamoring all the time for more and more. We'll leave it all behind anyway. May all of us be found faithful at his coming. Be well all.