(highlight video at the bottom, pictures from the tour inserted throughout)
We recently turned The Virge back towards home, westbound this time! Leaving Marion NC calls for a six-mile uphill climb towards Asheville and then on into the Smokey Mountains. This is a drive that never disappoints! Funny though, we left cool mornings and rainy afternoons headed for sunshine and temperatures in the 90’s… and we are supposed to be heading into Fall. Sounds more like we are heading back into summer, and four of the busiest, most challenging months we have ever seen.
We start out September (6&7) with some of our favorite folks from New Beginnings Fellowship for a weekend “campmeeting” south of Fort Worth where I’ll be speaking and leading worship. We’ll be driving home late that Saturday to be with Prairie Valley Church for their one day revival on the following day (8). We will be back at PV on Sunday night with a big evening of Southern Gospel music. Several of my great friends will be joining us, singing and playing in a live band. This special event even includes a reunion appearance of the Heartsong Quartet! Then we get to tell Matt’s story in Lone Oak, TX (15), near Greenville, a Saturday in Cleburne, TX (21) and then on to western Oklahoma. Here I will speak and sing on Sunday morning (22), and present a live worship event on Sunday night. This pastor is very special to us. He hosted our very first Live Worship Event after we set out on this Journey some three and one half years ago. We are thrilled to close out the month by flying to the east coast for another opportunity to share in an Umbrella Conference (27, 28, 29). Here I’ll be telling Matt’s story, leading worship and Shaunda and I will be doing a breakout. I will also be giving the closing message… I really need your prayers here. And that’s just September!
In October, in addition to the weekends, MissionVideo is currently working on three sound system installs and I plan to mix and master the recording project we began in Statesboro. I plan to also record CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT, a brand new Holiday CD/DVD for release around Thanksgiving. October also holds the release of the Second Edition of TEARS IN A BOTTLE. You can count on much more about that very soon. Then November includes yet another Umbrella Conference, this time near Austin TX on the weekend before Thanksgiving. December holds at least 9 Christmas concerts in three different states, Texas, Arkansas and Ohio. Whew!
Al that said, I’ll bet you won’t see this coming. Fall is certainly a time of transition, and I truly feel that this Fall holds yet another time of transition for KNIGHTSONG Ministries. I sense a major paradigm shift on the horizon. Want to know what that means? Well… so do I. I’m back at that whole “lamp unto my feet, light unto my path” thing. Remember that? Where God gives us light for only one more step. You can count on two things though. First, I will let you know when I do, and second, I’m going to be asking for your help and prayers yet again.
This tour, Georgia On My Mind. was really, well, amazing. I have seen Matt’s story impact lives, but I have never seen such a response. I am not a “bean counter”, but I can tell you that we had more people at the altars, saw more tears and experienced the most amazing worship you can imagine over and over. There were more changed lives and first time decisions to accept Christ than we have ever seen. And this is to say nothing of our one on one opportunities that we had to minister to people. Please understand when I say this, it was not me. I did nothing much different. It’s just that the power of the Holy Spirit was nearly tangible, night after night. I don’t think I will ever forget standing in the parking lot in Nebo NC last Sunday evening after our closing concert and gazing at the Blue Ridge Mountains. Part of me couldn’t wait to start towards home. Another part just wanted to relive the final moments of the powerful worship I had just experienced.
So to all of you in North Carolina, thank you for breathing a dose of revival into us. Thanks for the boat ride Dean and Mott, and for the burgers… and especially for the kind words of encouragement. Doug, Paul. Dennis and Jeff, thanks for trusting me with your pulpits and allowing us tell Matt’s story to your people for the first time. And before North Carolina, how about our Georgia friends? Thanks Dave and Dawn, and Joe, Katie and the twins… and all your amazing worship team. (Not me, didn’t you know that all great worship leaders are named “Joe”?) Thank you for sharing your platform Lance, and I still don’t have a tonneau cover like yours. Scott and Janet, thank you for the wonderful fellowship (especially the seafood supper and coffee), and for positioning your awesome church in support of our journey.
And to one of my heroes: It was indescribable, Pastor Glenn Stockton, to hear you speak once again. It is even more incredible to see you still serving God in spite of your painful journey of late. Maybe one day you, me, Shaunda, Matt…and Sarah can all spend some time together. When we do, I’ll still be grateful for your Godly example and the impact you made on me… when I was just a young preacher.
Speaking of young, many years ago a small, barely thirteen year old boy showed up at my door for piano lessons. I was in Bible College, so the money came in handy. It took me only a few minutes however, to realize that this youngster had an enormous talent and an equally enormous heart for God. That “little boy” now Pastors a church in Marion North Carolina. It is because of his desire to help this ministry that all of this took place. He was willing to contact his friends and open up many North Carolina doors. So to Paul and Marion, thank you for the hours we spent together, I cherish every one…well, most of them.
One of the highlights of this trip is when Paul and I drove to Charlotte NC to visit the Billy Graham Library and Museum. Trust me friends, if you can, make the opportunity to visit this unexpectedly spiritual place. Comparable to any presidential library, yet Christ honoring at every turn. One particular display caught my attention a bit more than the others. Large letters adorning an entire wall said something like this: “The three most important things for a successful crusade”. Underneath these words was a large photograph of the three principle members of the crusade team: the preacher, the music director and the soloist. The misdirection worked beautifully. So many times we believe that what goes on on the platform is of the utmost importance. A closer examination of the photograph revealed a much different story.
All three men you see, Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows and George Beverly Shea, had their heads bowed and eyes closed as they sat in intense prayer. The large sign posed the question. A smaller sign offered the answer. “The three most important things for a successful crusade? pray, pray pray. And it is at this juncture that I once again ask for your help. I have no idea what 2020 holds for this ministry, but I do sense that big changes of some description are just ahead. Would you join with us and… pray, pray pray?
Oh yeah, Matt. your ministry still continues. Your life…and death are still making an impact today. I guess that’s why God is waiting until the end of time for the final reckoning. There are still people coming to know Christ because of your great story. How great is our God!
Here’s some highlights from this tour…