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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Prayers Needed for a Good Friend (Cross-posted from The Liberty Sphere)

I just found out today that a good friend of mine, a famed Gospel singer whom I have known since I was eight years old, had open heart surgery in Pensacola, Florida. I ask that you join me in praying for him.

Glen Allred was the famed baritone singer/guitarist for the legendary Florida Boys Quartet from 1952 to 2007, when the group retired and left the road. Glen is a true-blue icon in Gospel Music, having started his career on the Grand Ole Opry with the Oak Ridge Boys back in 1950. He played the guitar for the quartet, and then one night when the group's baritone was sick, Glen was tapped by the group's manager to fill in. It was then discovered that not only could the Oaks' guitarist sing, but he could sing exceptionally!

But in time the group's regular baritone returned, and Glen wanted to do more than just play the guitar. So, in 1952, he accepted the offer from Pensacola business magnate and Gospel promoter J.G. Whitfield to join The Florida Boys, a group that Whitfield started in 1948 under the name "Gospel Melody Quartet."

Allred's voice became THE anchor for the Florida Boys' sound, and there he stayed for 55 years. Quartet aficionados will tell you readily that it is the baritone that is most essential to the harmony of a four-part ensemble. Without a good baritone, the quartet's harmony falls apart, although not many listeners are aware of the part when they hear a quartet. It is not meant to be a major noticeable sound in a quartet but a carefully nuanced quieter part that is known for its flats, sharps, and naturals that set quartet music apart from other musical genres.

Very, VERY few people who have followed the gospel quartets for the past 50 years would disagree that Glen Allred is perhaps the best and greatest baritone to ever perform on a stage. Or at least they will say he ranks in the top three, along with Doy Ott of the Statesmen, and Mark Trammell of the Cathedrals and the Mark Trammell Quartet.

I happen to think Glen takes the top honors, although the other two were/are wonderful.

Glen befriended me when I was but a little boy attending a gospel concert in my hometown. Somehow I was able to get backstage to meet my favorite group at the time, the Florida Boys. I met Les Beasley, Billy Todd, Derrell Stewart, and my hero I had idolized by watching him on TV, Glen Allred. Glen was even nicer in person than he seemed on TV.

In those days the Florida Boys hosted a TV show on Sunday mornings that from 1963 to 1980 or so was shown in every major TV market in America, The Gospel Singing Jubilee. I got up early every Sunday morning just so I could see The Florida Boys and Glen Allred.

I never forgot how kind Glen was to a little boy with stars in his eyes that night back stage. And in time I was able to become friends with Glen and the rest of the Florida Boys through tracking them down at concerts, later starting and singing in my own group, and then doing some concert promoting along the way.

Glen is a Christian gentleman that I am proud to have gotten to know. I miss him and "the boys" out on the concert trail, but they deserved perhaps more than any other to park that bus and spend time resting at home in a comfortable bed.

Join me in praying for Glen Allred as he recovers from surgery. I'm sure his wife Shirley, and son Randy, and the other family members, will deeply appreciate it.

Here is Glen at his very best, even at 70 years of age, and the Florida Boys never  sounded better!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Thanksgiving Message

Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day in the United States. This is the day we have set aside as a nation to give thanks to God for His blessings during the past year -- a tradition that dates back to the Pilgrims who first settled here in New England in the early 1600s.

After their first harsh winter in the Plymouth Colony during which half of them died, they gathered together with their Indian friends to give thanks to God for sparing their lives, allowing them to make friends with the natives who already lived here and helped them survive, and for giving them enough of a bounty of crops to survive much more heartily during their upcoming second winter.

Americans have traditionally been a very deeply religious people. Those who claim otherwise are either sadly misinformed or they make these false claims purely for ulterior motives. One CANNOT read the writings of the Pilgrims and later the Founders and come away from it thinking that they were not deeply religious. To a person, each of them referred to the blessing of God and appealed to God to grant them the strength and perseverance to forge a new nation based upon the concept of personal and religious freedom -- something they had to get away from Europe in order to have.

Even Jefferson, whom some detractors claim was a Deist who denied the divinity of Christ, was deeply religious and often used the imagery and words of the Bible to back up his political philosophy, and penned in the Declaration of Independence that THE CREATOR had endowed each human being with certain UNALIENABLE RIGHTS that CANNOT be negated by a "majority vote."

Again, Benjamin Franklin, whom many detractors claim was hostile to Christianity, in fact exhibited no such sentiments in practice. He was personal friends with the great central figure of the Great Awakening, the Reverend George Whitfield, an evangelist who drew multithousands to outdoor venues in fields and town squares. Whitfield had been an Anglican priest who became part of the nonconformist, congregational movement in opposition to the Anglican Church of England.

Whitfield often referred to Franklin as a personal friend from whom he drew much encouragement, and Franklin was known to attend many of the evangelists' outdoor meetings, emptying his pockets of all of the money he had when Whitfield passed the offering hat around. One can readily find letters exchanged between Franklin and Whitfield in historical libraries and archives.

Although it is possible that neither Jefferson nor Franklin were "Christian" in the traditional sense, they were not hostile to Christianity nor did they object to its influence in the public square.

To this day, like it or not, America's soul, it's persona, it's identity is heavily influenced by evangelical Christianity that thundered across New England and into the frontier by preachers who preached with a "holy boldness" that one is pressed to find anywhere today.

Today's preachers by and large are timid -- "nice" -- lacking in holy boldness, directness, and even righteous anger toward sin. This is a travesty of Christianity. While the hallmark of Christ's message is God's love toward all of us, in wicked times preachers are expected to scream the harsh truths of a righteous God to an evil, unbelieving generation. To fail to include this in one's preaching is to fail at our calling to deliver "the WHOLE counsel of God."

America's collective unconscious, as famed pioneering psychiatrist Carl Jung put it, is heavily steeped in this whole counsel of God as preached by ministers who showed no fear of speaking in holy boldness. This is one of the reasons America is great.

But we today are dangerously close to so thoroughly rejecting our roots that God will turn his face from America, withdraw His blessing from it, and allow it's wickedness to continue unabated. We may have already passed that threshold and crossed that line.

Still, America has lots to be thankful for. Food on the table. A roof over our heads. Shoes on our feet. Transportation to get to and from work. Friends and family who love us.

It is important to stop and give thanks to God for these blessings, and to humbly ask that He will bring us back to Him and save our land from the scourge that presently has it by the throat.

And let us this Thanksgiving recommit ourselves to that which is right, good, honorable, and spiritual. Let us work day and night to attempt to bring America back to her roots.

May God richly bless you this Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Turning them over to a reprobate mind


Romans 1: 27-29
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers...

The Bible teaches that sometimes men and women become so vile and wicked that God "gives them over to a reprobate mind" to essentially do whatever they will without any divine or moral restraint.

God said, "My spirit shall not always strive with man."

There comes a time when man rejects the interventions of God so often, so consistently, and for so long a period of time that he can no longer hear the voice of God calling him back to sanity, to goodness, to rightness, to honor.

It is then that the dire consequences of man's sin are reaped in much weeping and sorrow. It has happened throughout history, with the Great Flood, with Sodom and Gomorrah, with the invasion of Israel by a pagan Babylonian King who took them as slaves into exile.

Shall America escape?

We are as bad, if not worse, than Sodom and Gomorrah. It is not enough for society to grant the right to homosexuals to live together in whatever arrangement they wish. In free societies, this is only proper. We are not a theocracy but a Constitutional Republic that guards the rights of minorities. Even those who comprise only a fraction of the population have the right to live as they please, to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

But we are now being forced to change the definition of marriage dating back into antiquity just to suit such minorities. Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman, and it is has been such for eons of time. Why should we at this juncture in history be forced to change it just to accommodate those who already have the right to live together as they please, with the legal protection from the state?

Marriage is not just any arrangement between anybody, no more than having sex with a cat is to be considered "marriage."

Let's get real here.

But make no mistake, this is not the only manifestation of man's reprobate mind presently. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Lying is a way of life in government and business. That makes it a sham, especially in government. When we cannot trust elected officials, what good are they?

This administration has lied, cheated, implemented policies that have resulted in multiple murders in Mexico and Libya. It has supported the reprobates who wish to change the definition of marriage to include that which involves "men lying with men," which the Bible in the passage quoted above specifically condemns. The administration supports abortion on demand. It punishes businesses by forcing them to implement policies that make it impossible to make a profit and stay in business. It's policies on taxation are tantamount to abject theft.

Yet Americans not only send the same crowd right back to the White House and Congress, but approval ratings in the polls say that citizens affirm the reprobates in this administration by a 54% margin after the election.

I'm sorry, my Christian friend, but if you say your Christianity does not influence how you vote, you are dangerously close to being turned over to a reprobate mind yourself. When right becomes wrong, and wrong is right, then you are spiritually bereft and may not even be a Christian at all.

Mark it down, America's chickens WILL come home to roost. We will not escape the notice of God as we go down this wicked path. It is a path that leads straight to destruction.

I beg you to repent immediately. Turn from this wickedness before it is too late. Confess your sins, your evil to God. Ask Him to forgive you. Commit yourself to Him and to what is good, right, honorable. This is your only hope as a human being. And it is our only hope as a country.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Christmas Concerts

Evening my Christian friends! Just a quick note to update you on my activities here at Martin Christian Ministries and to alert you about opportunities for Christmas.

I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing many of you around and about the past two months as I have gradually eased back into doing programs of Christian music for churches. The experience is always gratifying for me, and I hope those of you who have attended have been blessed.

I am now accepting invitations for 2013. Drop me an email at anthonygmartin1@gmail.com if you want me to come to your church, organization, or civic group to sing.  As always these events are free, love-offering styled events.

I would also like to announce that I will be doing Christmas concerts in the month of December. If you would like to have a guest singer to do a program of Christmas music for your church or organization, I am most happy to do that no matter how small the church or group.

As always, thank you for visiting these pages and for your support out on the concert trail. Until next time, God bless!