Our Night With Bill Gaither and Friends


Cancer Survivor Janet Paschal, It Won’t Rain Always

Greetings Friends!

It’s a beautiful day in North Louisiana. The sun is out. Leaves are falling gently in the breeze. Cardinals and blue jays are gently flying in and out of their habitat. The squirrels are playing in the yard. The birds are chirping. The birds are chirping … a little too close. Got to check and see if they’re getting into the attic. Oh well…

Last night’s Homecoming Friends Concert was just fantastic in every way. We started off our night at the Chiniere Shack where I had a blackened catfish poboy and a gigantic piece of coconut cake! (I didn’t know it was going to be that big, but it was a challenge I was up to!)  I took a lot of pictures that can be seen at my Facebook albume HERE. Once again we were with Royce and Carol Ogle and two of their friends … that quickly became our friends too! So the company was great, and the concert was exceptional.  About four hours of music had our hearts and souls full of the message of God’s love and grace. We were disappointed that Guy Penrod was out on a break, but thrilled to find out that Mark Lowry was taking his place! It was a great treat – and a hilarious one at that.

On our way out I was at Janet Paschal’s booth and wondering which was her newest CD. A voice said, “can I help you?” and I didn’t even look up. I said, “I’m just wondering which is the newest CD” … then I looked up and it was Janet … so then I said, “I guess you’d know that wouldn’t you!” She is such a great talent and uses her triumphant fight against breast cancer to give honor to Jesus Christ. Her sister has also overcome breast cancer. We were saddened and amazed to hear last night that Sheri Easter is undergoing chemotherapy at this time … but to look at her and hear her, you would never know. She has a fantastic voice. This gave songs like “Praise His Name” deeper meaning.

My favorite moment was Karen Peck and New River’s signature song, Four Days Late, which chronicles the resurrection of Lazarus. That song resonates with us in new ways since we last heard it. We enjoyed also her song “Hold Me While I Cry“.

There were several others performing, and all of them were inspirational. I appreciate what Bill and Gloria Gaither have done with Southern Gospel music. From the first time I saw one of the “Homecoming” specials on television, I’ve been a fan. I’ve owned several of the CDs and DVDs over the years. A few reasons why I appreciate them…

*Preservation. Southern Gospel music has a long history in the United States. No doubt there were many fantastic groups who had given their lives to ministry in song … but were not able to take advantage of the technology available. Bill’s DVDs are a virtual history of this genre of music.

*Honor. I’ve always been thrilled to see some of the older (even elderly) singers have an opportunity to sing before large crowds. Vestal Goodman, Jake Hess and many others are gone now, but in their declining years they still had a passion and a joy for singing God’s praises. I appreciate the way Bill has honored these senior saints.

*Revival. Not only has Bill helped preserve and honor the past, he has planted the seeds of the future. A list of the singers that Bill has discovered and helped in their careers is amazing. He continues to push yhoung talent such as Ernie Haas and Signature Sound into the forefront. His Gaither Vocal Band has featured some of the greatest vocalists in Southern Gospel music today. The story of Southern Gospel is not over.

*Joy. I enjoy several kinds of “Christian” music. I might have Toby Mac blaring in my speakers, or Zoe Worship … and you know I’m crazy for Hillsong Worship. But there’s something comfortable, heart-reaching, and intrinsically joyous about this form of music.

*Creativity. I’m sure there’s a number somewhere of how many songs Bill and Gloria have written … hundreds of them. How many churches will sing He Touched Me, The King is Coming, or There’s Something About That Name this Sunday? The Southern Gospel Music Guild recently presented them with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Quartet Convention.

And not to just overpraise Bill Gaither, but if he had not done this, who would have? Anyway…those are my thoughts after a great night at the Homecoming Friends Concert. Special thanks to Dr. Chuck and Melissa Mayfield who made our night possible!

Thanks for reading,


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