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Sunday, March 16, 2014

A moving personal testimony

Hello. Sorry it has been so long since I have posted here. No, I have not given up on it, the ministry still goes on, and I am still singing/teaching/preaching. The time element is the holdup, I suppose.

But I don't want this site to go belly up due to neglect. Perhaps I can find a way to tend to it more regularly.

Tonight I present a moving personal testimony which you can view at the end of this introduction.

J.D. Sumner was known around the world as the holder of the Guinness World Record as the lowest bass vocalist in the world. He lost that designation only when he became older. His claim to fame was his years with the Blackwood Brothers Quartet back in their heyday, his revival of the Stamps Quartet in the 1960s, which he continued until his death in the late 1990s, and his much noted friendship with Elvis Pressley.

Elvis had grown up in Memphis, the home base of the Blackwood Brothers. And Elvis loved Gospel quartet music. But being poor as he was back then, he didn't have the money for a ticket. J.D. once told Elvis, "If you will just meet me at the back door of the auditorium at such and such a time, I will let you in for free anytime you want to come to one of our singings. And if anybody gives you a hard time because you don't have a ticket, you tell them to go directly to J.D. Sumner about it. That should take care of it."

Elvis was but a little boy at the time. But he never forgot J.D.'s kindness. And when Elvis was a superstar, he made J.D.'s quartet, the Stamps, a permanent part of his shows. The Stamps would come out and sing three or four gospel songs, and then sing backup for Elvis.

J.D. was not always a devout Christian, and he would tell you so. He was a hard shelled, old style Pentecostal who believed that if you fell into sin you were no longer saved. During those times he would tell you honestly and upfront, "I am not saved. I am not living right. I sing Gospel music because I like it. Pray for me." And then later you may see him at another concert, and he would tell you he had been saved recently and was living for the Lord. This would go on, back and forth, for years. And during those periods when he was "not saved" J.D. was known to do all sorts of things he would later regret -- things that Gospel music fans would frown upon.

But several years before he died, J.D. had a very moving experience of spiritual renewal that I believe was the defining event of his life. I had never seen J.D. cry in public. But when he gave the following testimony during a Gather Homecoming Video event, the tears flowed freely. And, as always, there was the infamous (and humorous) J.D. honesty. He simply told it like it was.

I hope this video will be a blessing to you. Click here to view directly on YouTube.

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