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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Some news to report

Hello, my Christian friends, and welcome.

Just a quick update on some news involving Martin Christian Ministries.

As you may have read here a couple of months back, the singing part of this ministry was placed on hold indefinitely due to the fact that for the first five months of this year I had an extended illness that prevented me from accepting invitations to sing. I did not want to risk having to cancel engagements due to the uncertainty as to how the course of that illness would progress.

Since the summer things have improved significantly, and I have been invited to several preaching engagements of late. This has started to spill over into the musical realm as well.

So, I am back on the road ready to come to your church, club, or gathering to do programs of Christian music and/or preach as well.

I recently did a program that involved both preaching and singing, and I felt very good about it. My voice did not cause any problem at all.

Thus, I wanted to share this good news with you and to thank all of those who remembered me in prayer during this time. I also thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to serve Him through music and the spoken word.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Word About the Study Bibles I Offered

Hello, my friends, and welcome.

Just a quick word to some of you who may have gotten some wrong information about the study Bibles I offered last year as part of a fund raising effort here.

The Bibles were a one-time deal only. That is, they are no longer available. That whole thing was part of the special "Ten Days Ablaze" in October of last year. Once those ten days had passed, the offer was over because the deal I had with publishers was for the specific purpose of helping to raise funds for this ministry during a specific time-frame.

I am not having the Ten Days Ablaze this year.

Sorry to disappoint those of you who have asked about the Bibles. If I ever have the opportunity to make such an offer again in the future, I will certainly let you know.

Thanks for keeping this ministry in your prayers.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sometimes A Song Says What Words Can't

Evening, my Christian friends.

Sometimes a song says what words can't. Songs touch the heart and pull from us emotions and feelings that we often can't express in words.

Such is the case with this song.

I've talked about my many friends in Southern Gospel Music before, and the Cathedral Quartet was one of them, especially Glenn Payne (lead) and George Younce (bass). Here Glenn sings one of his best, and if I had to pick one that means the most to me outside of the obvious ones (We Shall See Jesus, and Somebody Touched Me, for example), it would have to be this one, In The Depths of the Sea.

The song has everything a good quartet song should have, all the elements that make a Southern Gospel song a Southern Gospel song, unique to that particular genre. It has pathos. It has classic four-part harmony. It has the clean, crisp, clear lead voice of Glenn Payne. It has the high tenor voice of Danny Funderburk and the perfect baritone harmony of Mark Trammell. And it has the incomparable George Younce on bass, who shows us here what a quartet bass should be, especially when he slides down at the ending and nails a mega-low note that most singers only dream about being able to do.

And of course, there is that dramatic ending...the final chord where quartet harmony is displayed in all of its perfection, the high tenor, the low bass, and everything in between.

Then we cannot forget the piano work of the late, great Roger Bennett.

In this rendition, the quartet is on stage live and their only instrumentation is the bass guitar and Roger's impeccable piano wizardry.  This allows the voices to shine unadorned and unfiltered so that we can enjoy raw talent.

But the other reason I love this song so much is a personal matter. The song talks about the fact that in Christ, God has taken all of our sins and mistakes and failures and cast them into the depths of the sea where He remembers them no more. It is as if we never sinned at all. All of the guilt and shame are removed from us and buried for good, and we stand clean before God, perfect as He made us. Thus, we are forgiven, accepted, bought, redeemed, cleansed, and loved.

To me this is the reason that the Christian message is the greatest love story ever told. And the boys sing it as no other.

I hope you enjoy this song. But more importantly, I hope that you will come to appreciate and value the message of it as I do.

Here is the great Cathedral Quartet, featuring Glenn Payne, singing, "In the Depths of the Sea." Click on the link at the top of the video to view full screen on YouTube.