Rest in Peace, George…

Legend, infamous legend, George Jones, leaves behind a musical legacy that holds a range of life lessons for the rest of us. Lessons not just in the songs themselves, but also in his voice, on his face, and from his life.

I’ve been listening to his music all day. It reminds my why I love country music; it’s real life put to song. And, if George’s voice is on a track, rest assured you’ll be drawn in and feel the real even more. You might laugh, you might cry, you might fall in love with country music, you’ll probably be more thankful for something in your life, you very well may see a need to apologize to someone for something, you’ll feel like you know George and, somehow, that George knows you, you will be glad you spent some time listening, and I think you’ll come back for more.

Now, if you’re talking country music, and if you’re talking George Jones, there’s going to be flawed people involved, there’s going to be some type of conflict and longing, there will be truth revealed, and there’s got to be some kind of hope and redemption before it’s all over. And, love. It could be love of the simple things in life; God, family, country. It may be love between people, love that’s been lost, found, or aged in a barrel. That’s all pretty serious stuff, but country music represents real life, so while a song might make you cry, it could just as easily make you sing along and chuckle all the way through too. And, that, is why I say, George Jones is quintessentially the king of country music.

As a sinner, saved by God’s Grace myself, I find this aspect of George’s life very compelling. If you’re like me, you might find the following of interest:

George Jones: Troubadour of the Christ-Haunted Bible Belt

George Jones has died, and I am afraid a lot of people will think he was a hypocrite. George Jones was no hypocrite. He was the troubadour of the Christ-haunted South. The raw emotion, and even whispers of torture, in his voice can teach American Christianity much about the nature of sin and the longing for repentance. – Russell Moore

Died: George Jones, Legendary Country and Gospel Singer

Jones was raised as a Christian, but in the early parts of his career kept a wild lifestyle which led him to become “infamous for ditching performances after drinking and drug binges.” At one point, Jones even wound up in a coma as a result of an alcohol-induced car accident.

But Jones told CBN that he awoke from that coma singing gospel songs: “I wanted some gospel music, and my whole life changed,” he said.

Although he said he felt that parts of his life had been wasted, Jones said God kept him alive for a purpose. His main goal in life became to “try to get closer and closer to Him.” He recorded an album of gospel songs, and said he was more proud of it than any other album. – Melissa Steffan

Two Things…

Two Things

John Newton
Reformed slave trader, minister, writer of hymns

“My memory is nearly gone,
but I remember two things:
That I am a great sinner
and that Christ is a great Savior.”
– John Newton, 1807

2013 marks the 240th anniversary of Newton writing the beloved hymn, Amazing Grace.

Powerful commentary on Newton and Amazing Grace from the video above which features Scottish bagpipe accompaniment of this blessed hymn:

John Newton was a slave trader. He trafficked thousands of men, women and children from Africa to the Auction blocks.

In 1748 a violent storm threatened to sink his ship and he fell to his knees and prayed to God for mercy. It was that night that John Newton sensed there is a God who hears and answers prayers… even for the worst of men.

Over time Newton repented as a preacher and writer of hymns. In 1772 he wrote a hymn called Faith’s Review and Expectation. A song that you know as Amazing Grace. It became perhaps the most popular song in history.

A song with a few notes lifts the heads of the hopeless, softens the hearts of the hardened.

Amazing Grace was sung by both sides of the civil war and used as a requiem by the Cherokee Indians on the Trail of Tears.

Civil rights protestors sang it defiantly during freedom marches and on that sweltering August day when Dr. King shared his dream.

Amazing Grace rang out when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison and when the Berlin Wall came crumbling down.

On September 11th, Amazing Grace was sung to comfort a mourning world.

It was sung when the Saints marched back into the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina reviving the spirit of a fallen city.

Grace has power to transform, to right wrongs, to turn a man who once traded slaves into one who fought for their freedom.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come
Twas grace that brought us safe thus far…
And Grace will Lead us home.
-John Newton

A short bio of his life can be found here. Further reading, images, and videos available here.

Place yourself in the hands of this loving God. Be a sinner saved by grace. He was prepared to save you an eternity ago. Allow His grace to lead you home.

Peace in Christ and a blessed Easter weekend to you all.

Sanctuary Sunday is a Sunday blog series focusing on matters of faith, spirituality, wisdom, and the Journey.

One Pair of Hands

Carroll Roberson is blessed with a beautiful voice and a familiar tone. Let’s just say he’s been mistaken for Elvis a time or two.

I hope One Pair of Hands blesses your heart. It is a song of encouragement with a message ideal for Holy Week.

One Pair of Hands
Performed by Carrol Roberson

One pair of hands formed the mountains,
One pair of hands formed the sea,
And one pair of hands made the sun and the moon,
Every bird, every flower, every tree

One pair of hands formed the valleys,
The ocean, the rivers and the sand
Those hands are so strong, so when life goes wrong,
Put your faith in the one pair of hands

One pair of hands, healed the sick,
One pair of hands raised the dead,
One pair of hands calmed the ragging storm,
And thousands of people were fed
One pair of hands said I love you
And those hands were nailed to a tree

Those hands are so strong, so when life goes wrong
Put your faith into one pair of hands

Romans 6:22-23 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

1 John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Sanctuary Sunday is a Sunday blog series focusing on matters of faith, spirituality, wisdom, and the Journey.