Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

            Vicki and I slipped off for a few days and enjoyed the Gospel Singing Picnic at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.  We really had a good time and heard lots of good groups.  It was truly an awesome time.

            There were so many things that happened during the time we were there, but I won’t share all of them.  I just want to say that having the opportunity to experience the Good News of Jesus Christ through so many talented singers gave us a glimpse of heaven!

            If you know me, you know that I am not a great singer, but that doesn’t keep me from enjoying the singing that others do.  We heard the Hoppers, the Talley’s, Brian Free and Assurance, Ivan Parker, Mark Bishop, Jim Brady Trio, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, the Nelons, Greater Vision and the Martin’s.  We even went out on the Branson Belle to hear the McKamey’s.

            Now you may not recognize all the names, but surely there is one or two that you have heard of at one time or another.  I will have to tell you that Vicki was so excited.  She loves to sing and was just bouncing around while we listened to the groups.

            There were literally hundreds of people there just for the Gospel Picnic.  Some were older and some were younger.  It didn’t seem to matter what age they were, everyone had a great time listening to the songs and sharing with the various artists.

            One thing seemed to captivate the hearts and lives of everyone – whether they were singing or listening – was the opportunity to praise the name of Jesus.  It didn’t seem to matter what situation they found their life in, praising Jesus was what they wanted to do.

            I saw two veterans who had lost a leg while serving our nation stand and lift their hands in praise.  I saw one man with only one arm clapping his hand against his shoulder in praise.  I saw a boy that was in a wheelchair smiling from ear to ear as the music played.  I saw hundreds of senior adults stand and lift their hands in praise.

            Yes, I realize that many of the songs that were sung were the ‘old hymns.’  I heard ‘Blessed Assurance’ (my personal favorite).  There was The Solid Rock, Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, A Mighty Fortress is Our God and many others.  Many times we were invited to sing along with them on one of the verses.

            There were songs they sang that were written especially for their groups.  Some were high and others low.  Some were filled with instrumental music and others were a cappella.  Some were slow and others were very upbeat.

            Regardless of the genre of music, each of the artists pointed out that they were there to praise and glorify the name of Jesus.  And that is exactly what took place!  There were times we would stand to our feet and shout.  At other times we would close our eyes and pray.

            I was reminded of what the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 100:4-5.  “4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise, Give thanks to Him; bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations.”  Believe me, we entered those gates with thanksgiving.

            Paul wrote in Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  I believe everyone was thankful for the opportunity to praise Jesus with thanks in their hearts.

            So the next time you hear that song you love, praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in your life and remember --------

JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, there IS something about that name!

Christ only, always,

Bro. Paul