Grace, How Amazing
One Saturday, after we had an all day singing in Kentucky, a couple of the groups decided to go to Shoney’s and have dinner. When we entered the restaurant, the hostess asked the ordinary question, "how many?". I said to wait, hold on a minute, before we are seated, I want to sing a song. All of us just gathered around and the hostess just looked at us and said, "well, ok, I guess, whatever". We sang the song, This Little Light of Mine, and the hostess took us to the very back of the restaurant, but on our way back, several people stopped us and said we couldn’t hardly hear you. Will you sing another song? To make a long story short, before that evening was over, we had spent four hours there at that Shoney’s restaurant and had sang at least eight songs or more during the course of our dinner. The last song that we sang was Amazing Grace. We sang the first and last verse, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked if we would sing the verse that says "through many dangers, toils and snares". As we began to sing that verse, a little girl probably 13 years old or so, bowed her head on the table and began to cry. Right there in the middle of Shoney’s, she gave her life to JESUS. I was so excited. I looked around and there were several people in the restaurant that were singing. And I said, "let’s finish the song with just the verse, Praise GOD!". As we left that night, I could feel a pat on the back from GOD, knowing that He was pleased with His servants. I want to remind you of Psalms 27:23. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in His ways. And today, wherever you go, just remember, your steps have been ordered. Give Him thanks today.
Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice
While we were at Shoney’s there in Kentucky, a man came to me and said his wife had just passed away. They came to the Shoney’s just to get away from the crowd. Just to be alone, it was a good way away from their home. He said that they were preparing for the funeral and they didn’t have anyone there to sing at the time and he asked if I would be willing to come back up and sing at the funeral. I told him that would be great and we would be honored to do that. Tuesday, the day of the funeral, we went back to the church and as we got there a lady come to me and she said, "I don’t know who you are, but the Lord spoke to me and told me to tell you to be obedient to Him." I just said thank you and asked her just to keep me in prayer during the service. I sat down at the piano and began to prepare for a song. They had not picked out any songs for the funeral, they actually told me to pick them out. When I sat down on the stool, the Lord began to speak to me. He dealt with me about singing, Consolation On Your Knees. The words to this song say, "whatever brings you to your knees is good for you". As He began to speak to me with that, I started thinking of the circumstances and thought that is really not a song you would sing at a funeral. That would be mean. But He reminded me that He sent a servant to come and tell me to be obedient to Him because He knew I would be weak at this time. I started playing the song and as I began to sing the song, the altar began to fill up. There were 72 people that came and gave their life to JESUS there at the funeral. I was truly amazed at this. All it goes to show you is that obedience is better than sacrifice. No matter how off the wall or unusual it may seem, GOD has a plan and reason for everything. So, always listen and be obedient to His WORD.
Power In HIS Name
We received a phone call from a lady in Alabama. She asked that we go and see a little boy, Trevor Smith, who was diagnosed with cancer. He was at the St. Jude hospital and they didn’t expect him to ever leave the hospital. I went to visit Trevor and his parents, there in Memphis and talked to Trevor about Jesus and what it meant to be saved. I asked him if he would like to be saved and he said yes. Trevor, I think, was probably six years old at the time. We prayed together and I asked Trevor how did he know he was saved and he said so simply, because I asked. Then I asked Trevor, "would you like to be healed?" And of course he said yes, so we prayed again. A couple of weeks later I received another phone call from the same lady asking us to come to Alabama to do an outside benefit singing for Trevor to raise money for the medical expenses. There were several other groups there participating. The weather had been beautiful, but as one of the groups began to sing "What A Mighty God We Serve", it began to rain. People everywhere began rushing and putting up equipment and trying to find shelter so that none of the sound system would be ruined. I just started thinking and I looked around and their singing the song "What A Mighty God We Serve", yet we are running from the rain. I went to the stage and picked up the microphone and said, "wait a minute. Here we are singing about what a mighty GOD we serve, and yet we are running for shelter from the rain. GOD created the rain, and GOD can stop the rain. Anyone here that believes, come down and let’s make a circle, join in prayer, and ask GOD to stop this rain." There were about 25 people that came and we joined together and after we prayed, we began to sing the song "Alleluia". As we looked around the rain had completely stopped, except you could see it raining in a 500 ft. radius all the way around the park. We weren’t getting wet and it wasn’t raining on us, but 500 feet from us all the way around, it was raining. I thought that was so cool. Ginger said, "now look, if GOD can stop the rain, why don’t we join together and ask Him to heal little Trevor’s body." We did that and approximately a week later the lady who had called me about the benefit and also about going to see Trevor in the hospital, she called and said, "Johnathan, you need to sit down. I just got a call today and Trevor’s coming home. He is completely healed." This just goes to show you, there is power in the name of JESUS. There truly is power in HIS name!
The Feast Of A Lifetime
We were called and asked to sing at a revival and it was just about an hour and a half or so from our house. We were truly wanting a spirit filled service, so we fasted. I will go ahead and tell you, we don’t fast for anybody, except for GOD. I don’t miss a meal for anyone except Him. We fasted the whole day and here was the plan: After church, as soon as that service was over, we were headed to Burger King. We were going to get a whopper with cheese. As the service was nearing the end, the pastor stood up and said that they were going to take up a love offering for the evangelist that had come from Florida. He said before we take the love offering up, ask GOD what you should give. Well, I had in my pocket $18. A ten, a five and three ones. So what I was going to do was put three ones in the offering and then eat with the other $15 at Burger King. But, GOD spoke to me and told me to give the $18. I was starving! So what I was going to do is give $8 and let her eat later (just kidding). Actually, I gave the entire $18, because that was what GOD had told me to give. When we left the church and were on our way home, I told her, "I don’t have any cash. It’s about an hour and a half home, we can make it surely." My stomach was just growling. So I got on the interstate and was heading home, about three exits later, I turned my blinker on and she said, "where are you going?" I said, "we are going to Burger King." She said, "but, we don’t have any money". I said, "I know, but the Lord told me to go to Burger King". On the way there she said, "Oh, great". She began to pray. As we pulled in the drive through live, there were three cars ahead of us and I asked her what she wanted and she said nothing at all! A sudden diet had started. I sort of laughed and when I got the speaker I ordered two whopper with cheese combo meals, one super sized, one with diet coke and one with sweet tea. That was what we always ordered. She said, "Johnathan, what are you going to tell them when they ask for your money?" I said, "all I can say really is ‘hold on’." The Lord sent me, I didn’t know what else to say. We pulled up to the window. The lady opened the window, she handed out our drinks and she said, as she had the bag of our food in her hand, "the lady in front of you paid for your meal. Have a good evening and come back". We feasted that night! It was so cool to know that GOD cares about every aspect of your life. You should ask Him and then trust Him, you will see!
An Awesome Homecoming
Traveling and singing, you never seem to find time to get in bed early. One Tuesday night we got in bed early and right when I got to sleep, the Lord woke me up and said to go to Nashville. I didn’t know why that He told me to go, I knew it was late. I got up, got dressed and headed to Nashville. I didn’t have a clue where I was going, but I just drove and prayed all the way there. I told GOD I had to have His help because I had never done this before. He told me exactly where to exit and told me when to turn and then He told me to stop. I did and when I looked around, right across the street from where I was, there was a nude bar. Not a brand new bar, a nude bar! I just told GOD that I wasn’t raised like this, what was going on? He began to speak to me in a way I had never heard Him speak before. He told me to go and ask for a girl named Angie. I walked across the street, knocked on the door and two people came to the door. One was a big guy and one was a girl. The guy said, "could I help you"? I said, "I need to see a girl named Angie." The girl looked at him, then she looked at me, then she looked back at him and back at me and said, "I’m Angie". She was really amazed because it was her real name, not her stage name. She walked out on the sidewalk with me. I told her the Lord told me to tell you, "He was there for you when you were 7, 14 and when you were 20. Now is the time for you to be there for Him. He has a great work for you to do". He told me what that was and I told her. The last thing that the Lord told me to tell her is, "this is your last warning". When I said that I turned and walked halfway across the road to get to my car. She grabbed me on the shoulder and said, "wait a minute. Who are you?". I gave her a card that said Young Harmony and told her that I was a preacher from Chattanooga and knew that this was weird, but GOD sent me all the way there just for her and that I was on my way back home now. She started crying and said, "this is not weird to me. My Dad is a preacher and he told me the exact same thing two nights ago, except he said GOD is going to send you one more warning. Would you give me a ride home?" I was in complete amazement. She got in the car and we left and went approximately 30 miles from where we were and drove down this long driveway. It was 2:30AM at this time, and every light in the house was on. The entire front of the house was lit up. There was a man standing out on the front porch. She opened the car door and she ran and said, "Daddy! Daddy!". He said, "your Mother is inside on her knees. The Lord woke us up and said our little girl was on her way home". I was in complete amazement again. I sat there in their driveway and I just began to realize how strong of a GOD we serve and how caring of a GOD we serve. I realized that night that the GOD I serve is bigger than the gay bars, the nude bars, the biggest bottle of alcohol you can find and the largest dose of drugs. All we have to do is just like that mother and dad did, they asked, they believed and they stood on faith. I want to encourage you, if you have family out there that you have been praying for, just ask and believe and they WILL be home!
Angel Of Light
On Friday, Ginger and I, along with a couple of our friends, went walking in Chattanooga at the Market Street bridge. It is a beautiful sight. They took an old bridge and they refurbished it and made it into a walking bridge. We walked all the way across the bridge and on the other side there was a Subway so we stopped to get something to drink. When we were leaving the Subway, we were walking back across the bridge and I had some water and was going to throw the cup away. There was a guy sitting on the bench and he asked if Subway was still open. I told him that they had just closed. He asked if I had anything left to drink and I told him it was just water. He asked if he could have it. I asked him if he had eaten and he said that he had not, but that he was fine. I asked him to go with us and we would get him something to eat. He said that we didn’t have to do that, but I told him to come on, we would be happy to. We started walking and talking and I asked him how old he was. He said he was 19 years old. I asked him where he lived and he said, "you know that park bench you met me on, that’s my home". It just broke my heart because he was such a young boy and had no reason to be homeless. I told him to come home with us, we just lived about 14 miles from there, and he could just go home with us. He stopped and looked at me and Ginger and the couple that was with us and asked if we were Christians. I told him we were, and asked why he was asking. He said that he had a lot of people invite him to church, but no one had ever invited him home with them. That sounded pretty sad to me from where I was standing that night. He came home with us and I told Ginger on the way home, I said, "this time is different". We have had many people in our home, whether it be hitch hickers or homeless people, but this time was really different. The verse kept coming to my mind over and over, about to be careful when you entertain strangers, you may be entertaining an angel unaware. We went home and that verse kept coming to my mind over and over. I told Ginger about it a couple of times and she said she had thought of the same verse. The next morning we woke up and had to be in Nashville for a concert and I woke the guy up and told him we had to leave that we were singing in Nashville. I told him that he could stay there and we would be back later, or he could go with us. He said he really needed to get back to the bridge that they all watch out for each other. So on our way out of town, we stopped at the bridge to let him out and as he got out of the car, I went to give him a business card. I said, "I would really like to see you again". His words were, "oh, you will, but you won’t know me then." He shut the door. I couldn’t say anything. My entire body was chilled from head to toe. After I finally came back to reality, I said, "I knew it! I knew it!". I knew something was up. We went on to Nashville and set up our sound equipment and we were working on doing our sound checks. A lady stopped, came in the church, and said she did not come for the concert, she didn’t know us, but the Lord stopped her and told her to come in the church. She said the Lord said to tell you that He was pleased with us as His servants, that we had an angel in our home last night and He was pleased with the way we had treated him. She said, "I really don’t know that that means". I told, "I know what that means". I realized right then the good samaritan story was not just put in the Bible for us to look at and read, it was put in there for us to learn from. I ask you today, how many times have you been the Pharisee, and how many times have you done what GOD has wanted you to do?
Gift Of Love
It was a real cold morning in October, I was driving down the road and I saw this man, probably in his early 60′s, he was walking and had on short sleeves. It was really cold outside, so I pulled up beside him and asked if he needed a ride. He told me he was just going down the road so I told him I would give him a ride. He got in the van and he was just shivering. I asked him where his coat was and he told me he didn’t have one. He said he lives under a bridge up the road, that he was homeless and had just a blanket. I had my coat on and the heat was on in the van, so I took my coat off and gave it to the guy. I told him he could have it. It was a new coat, but it was freezing outside and I couldn’t just let him go without a coat. I ran my errands for the day and went back home and called Ginger and told her that I had picked up a guy that was walking, it was really cold and he didn’t have a coat and that I had given him mine. She reminded me that we were leaving for Ohio in three days and you don’t have another coat. I told her that it was alright and that I wanted to do something. I told her not to call my mother or her mother, not to tell anyone that I had given my coat away. I was asking GOD for a coat, for him to send me one. Whoever he chooses or whatever he chooses to do, I am asking Him to send me a coat. I told Ginger that I was even asking for a specific color that she didn’t even know about. I wanted this to be a testimony of what GOD is still able to do. Well, the day that we were leaving, Ginger had to run to work to get some things to work on, on our way to Ohio and I had to run to get the car cleaned up. I was gone exactly an hour. I came home and it was about 9:30 AM. When I had the car cleaned up, I also had gone to the Post Office to get the mail. I am a real mail-aholic, so I was anxious to get home and get to the office to read the mail. When I pulled into the garage, there was a bag hanging on the garage door frame. I picked up the bag and laid it over the banister and went on to the office to read the mail. As I was going through the mail, I heard a voice speak to me so clearly. He said, "the coat that you asked for is in your living room". I laid my mail down and thought, "oh, my goodness". It was real hot that day and I wasn’t thinking about a coat. He said it again, "the coat that you asked for is in your living room". I got up from my desk and went into the living room, removed the bag and sure enough there was a coat and it was green. The color I had asked for and everything. I had to sit down on the couch and I got the phone and called Ginger. I asked her if she had called her mother and told her about me not having a coat. She told me she had not and asked why I was asking. I asked her if she had called my mother and she said, "no,why?". I said, "well, I have a coat". I told her it was hanging up in the garage and the whole story. I called my mother and told her what had happened. When GOD does something, I feel like I have to tell everyone! I was so excited! When I called my mother she asked me if there was a receipt in it or anything. I looked and there was a receipt in the pocket of the coat. My mother asked if it was paid for by cash or check. I told her it was paid for by cash. She asked me what the date on the receipt was. I looked and the date was that very day, that morning at 8:30AM. It was bought from Parisian’s at Hamilton Place mall. The funniest thing in the world is that Parisian’s doesn’t even open until 10:00AM!! It was 9:30AM at the time, and I was holding a coat that had been purchased from Parisian’s that morning. I kept the receipt just because I know a lot of people will say, "yeah, yeah, right!". So I kept the receipt for proof. I put the coat on and I went to Ginger’s work and it was real hot outside and I was sweating, but I felt so good in that coat! It is so neat just to think, all you have to do is ask and believe and GOD will send you whatever you ask for. Just for a side note, when we got to Ohio, it was snowing and it was cold, but I was warm! I just think that is the coolest thing in the whole world!
GOD is Still GOD, (the story behind the song)
We brought a guy into our home and he was with a gang from Chattanooga, TN. He came and stayed with us for a little while. I took him everywhere that I went because I wanted him to see what GOD was truly all about in your daily life. We were on our way to the post office and we got the mail there was a magazine that had porcelain dolls in it. He looked through it and said, "look, here is one with your friend". It was a porcelain doll of JESUS. I looked at it and said that is was awesome and I would like to have one of those. He said that is was $200, and I said, "well, forget it. That’s too much money". I sort of laughed it off. It was three days later, I received a phone call. It was real early in the morning, around 2:00AM. A lady from Knoxville called and told me her son had been shot and was in the hospital. She asked if I would come and talk to him and pray with him. I woke the guy up and we went to Knoxville. While we were there, she came in and brought a gift and told me that the neatest thing had happened to her. She said the Lord spoke to her and told her to bring me this gift. She had this big box in her hands. She had the morning hairdo, you know, where she didn’t have time to fix herself up because GOD had just spoke to her and she was looking all morning fresh. So, she handed me this gift and told me to open it. When I did, it was the very porcelain doll that we saw in the magazine. It was JESUS turning the water into wine, His first miracle. The guy that was with me that really didn’t believe much in GOD, he said he couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe it was the very doll that we had picked out in the magazine. It was really funny. The next month, we got a magazine in and Ginger grabbed it from me and she said, "look, you always get to do this kind of stuff. I want to pick out one of these dolls". She picked out the one of JESUS when he fed the multitudes with fish and loaves. She said, "I would like to have this doll". And believe it or not, three days later there was a box on the front porch with the doll she had picked out in it! It was so awesome. The amazing thing is the delivery time in the magazine stated 6-8 weeks, but in GOD’s time, it was three days. I would encourage you to put your trust in HIM!
Lifting Up The Name
Do you believe in visions? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter, they happen anyway! I want to share a vision with you that happened to me. I was sitting at my desk working and I wasn’t meaning to write a song. I was just simply doing my everyday tasks. I felt like someone was standing behind me. I turned around to look and when I did I saw the prettiest sight I had ever seen in my life. I saw hills, mansions on the hills. There was a river that went in and around this city, all the way around the hills that were there. On both sides of the river there were angels all in white. They had their hands up and were giving praise to JESUS. It was beautiful. The prettiest sight I had ever seen in my whole life. I turned back around because I was in complete amazement. I actually thought about the song, "This Could Be The Day". This could be the day I go home. I turned around to look again because I had never seen anything quite like this. This time I saw another city. It was real dark, real dirty. It was our church world today. A lot of people were doing things that they thought nobody had a clue they were doing. But then all of a sudden I heard a great roar of thunder, there was lightning that went all the way across the sky. Everybody in this vision had fallen to their knees, except for the true Church. They had their hands up, there were shouting and dancing and saying, "It’s JESUS! It’s JESUS!". I am telling you I had chills head to toe. I was so excited. The presence of GOD was there that day! I got up from my desk and went into the living room and sat down on the couch and began to say thanks to GOD because He spent that time to show me about these visions. I began to pray and He showed me two things. One, is that HE is coming back for a church that is preparing for His return, somebody that is watching for His returning. Are you ready, are you watching for Him? Then, He showed me one other thing. He showed me that a lot of people have a misconception in their mind thinking they have a choice of whether or not they bow. Friend, I want to tell you today. You, your family, your friends, your pastor, your choir director, your church, no one has that choice of whether or not they bow. The only choice you have is WHEN. Will it be now or will it be then? When you hear the song, "Lifting Up The Name", you now know what was happening just moments before it was written.