Here is your weekly newsletter created for listeners and friends of
Paul Heil's "The Gospel Greats" syndicated radio program.
The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter
Published Tuesday, December 16, 2014
In This Edition...
Paul's Epistle... ("Remember When...")
Coming On the Next Broadcast...
Notes from Last Weekend's Broadcast...
Shelia Shares... ("Our Vows")
On The Lighter Side...
Forgive me a little Christmas reminiscing... In fact, perhaps you also remember...
When public school teachers would not hesitate to read the Christmas story directly from Luke 2 before the class recited the Pledge of Allegiance?
When Christmas pageants in public schools were much-anticipated events, especially at the grade-school level?
When church groups always went Christmas caroling for strangers, perhaps in poor neighborhoods, or, at least, at the homes of those who were called "shut-ins" from church?
When creche scenes including live portrayals were routinely offered in the public square during the Christmas season?
When churches throughout the city played Christmas carols from their steeples through carillons or, at least, over big loudspeakers? (When the neighbors actually liked it?)
When public officials, including school officials, actually referred to the holiday season as "Christmas?" (Pittsburgh, PA, this year refers to it officially as "sparkle day.")
When those big evergreen trees were actually called "Christmas trees" rather than "holiday trees?"
When giving Christmas gifts to those you love was a welcome opportunity, not an obligation?
When merchants weren't afraid to advertise "Christmas sales" and clerks actually said "Merry Christmas" without fear of "offending" anyone?
When shopping malls permitted roving choirs to sing Christmas carols for shoppers?
When banks would advertise "Christmas clubs?" (Do you even remember what those were?)
When "Christian" radio stations wouldn't even think of playing "Jingle Bells" or other secular Christmas songs, playing only Christ-centered Christmas songs?
When Christmas was universally recognized as a celebration of Christ's birth? (A recent Rasmussen poll found while 60 percent of Americans believe Christmas should be about the Lord's birth, 20 percent think it should be more about Santa and another 20 percent just aren't sure.)
When almost none of those things above caused outbursts of "outrage" or "offense" to even those who habitually took offense at almost anything, including the ACLU?
Are you old enough, and do you remember enough of the above (some are still around at places), to worry about what today's younger generations have lost at Christmastime? And are you heartsick about the fact that they don't even realize it? Or seem to care?
Franklin Graham, writing in December's Decision magazine, said that what's come to be called a war on Christmas is actually "a war on Christ." He noted that "stores, schools and communities across America continue to find new and intolerant reasons to remove any religious references to Christmas, stripping it of any holy or historical significance. Christian songs, prayers and other spiritually vital connections to the Lord Jesus Christ are deleted or dismissed."
Graham concluded that because it's actually a war against Christ and Christian beliefs, "We should not be taken aback, then, when a day that should be devoted to meditation upon the marvelous, virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is instead treated in a scandalously secular way that denies His deity and saving work."
You and I know what Christmas is all about the Lord's incarnation. (And although we happen to celebrate it on Dec. 25th, his actual birthday could have come at an entirely different time of the year. What does it matter as long as we celebrate it?)
And who is it that tries to destroy any such celebration? Who wants to rob the celebration of its joy? Satan, of course, and his minions. Scratch someone who objects to celebrating the Lord's birth and you'll find someone who thinks Christianity is a bunch of worthless fairytales, nothing more. No wonder they're "offended" by the attention Christ gets at Christmastime.
As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "the message of the cross" the Gospel "is foolishness to those who are perishing..." And this issue seems to bring out a lot of foolishness each year.
The good news is that perhaps the tide is turning, if ever so slowly. Some school districts that once canceled carol sings have reinstated them after legal counsel said there was no legal reason to prohibit them. Some merchants who once refused to allow "Merry Christmas" are now allowing it again, albeit on a limited response-only basis. As the late Paul Harvey used to say, "Excesses are inevitably their own undoing."
Go ahead celebrate Christ's birth! Celebrate His coming! Celebrate His reason for coming! Where would we be without it?
Comments on this? firstname.lastname@example.org
(To ensure that we get your comments, please use that address and do not simply hit "reply" on your email program.)
A printable version of the Epistle above can be found in our archives:
Coming on the broadcast the weekend of December 20th & 21st, 2014:
A GOSPEL CHRISTMAS 2014!
This broadcast will be our 2014 Christmas special, featuring joyous, beautiful Christmas music sung by many of your favorite Southern Gospel artists.
You'll also hear many of those same artists share their Christmas memories, wishes and thoughts about why Christmas is so special! Among them, you'll hear from Mark Bishop, Guy Penrod, Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet), Mike LeFevree (LeFevre Quartet), Mark Lowry, Joe Brinkley (Down East Boys), Jake Sammons (Declaration Trio), Phyllis Webb (Rick Webb Family), Susan Whisnant (Whisnants), Gordon Mote, Gary Casto and Josh Singletary (Tribute Quartet), Joyce (Martins), Brian Free (Brian Free & Assurance) and others.
Let this special program be a special musical part of your Christmas season!
Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?
From the broadcast the weekend of December 13th & 14th, 2014:
This was another of our all-Christmas music editions of The Gospel Greats.
Because there were so many outstanding new Christmas CDs this year, we did something unusual on this program. We had two Featured Artists one of the first hour and one on the second. That way we could feature two of the new albums. And, yes, you heard as many songs from each as you normally hear from our Featured Artists.
Our first-hour Featured Artists were the Tribute Quartet (sometimes now calling themselves, simply, "Tribute"). Their new, first-ever Christmas CD is called "The Thought of Christmas." I even like the title because just thinking about Christmas can be a blessing. Their CD is a combination of traditional carols (some in new medleys or arrangements) and newer Christmas songs, such as "A Cradle In Bethlehem." Tribute's CD was worth the wait (they've been wanting to do it for years). I liked Riley Harrison Clark's admonition to "chill" (my word, not his) this Christmas season and not let all the hectic activities distract us from what we really celebrate the birth of our Savior.
Tribute's CD featured on this program, "The Thought of Christmas," is available from our mailorder service, Springside. Just call 1-800-38-MUSIC to order. Call by Friday, December 19, 2014, ask for the "Featured Artist Discount," and get 20 percent off this item. You can order easily from our webstore by using this link to go directly to this item. While ordering online, when you get to the "Checkout" page, find the "Special Instructions" lines near the bottom, type in "Featured Artist Discount - 20 percent" to get the discount.
Our second-hour Featured Artists were the LeFevre Quartet with four songs from their new Christmas CD, "Christmas Time Is Here." How'd you like that unusual a capella setting for "Joy To The World?" The song Jordan LeFevre talked about, "In Your Care," is striking in both the simplicity and depth of its message.
The LeFevre Quartet CD featured on this program, "Christmas Time Is Here," is available from our mailorder service, Springside. Just call 1-800-38-MUSIC to order. Call by Friday, December 19, 2014, ask for the "Featured Artist Discount," and get 20 percent off this item. You can order easily from our webstore by using this link to go directly to this item. While ordering online, when you get to the "Checkout" page, find the "Special Instructions" lines near the bottom, type in "Featured Artist Discount - 20 percent" to get the discount. Note that the discounted price will not be reflected online or in your first confirmation e-mail, but it will be applied here when the order is processed and before it is charged or shipped.
The Rick Webb Family, our Artist Spotlight guests, are certainly gifted vocalists, as evidenced by the songs included from their new Christmas CD, "Joy To The World." They make countless appearances during the year in churches and concert settings nationwide. Their CD is also available from Springside.com.
For the song list from this broadcast, click here. (PDF viewer required.)
Hear last weekend's Headline Update report about your favorite artists by clicking here.
Since this December 19th is our 32nd anniversary, I decided to look back at the vows I wrote for our wedding. (If I remember correctly, I wrote my vows and Paul adapted them for his part!)
"Paul, I commit my love and my life to you before God and our family and friends. The love I bring is not only an emotion but a decision and a covenant. I realize there will be difficult times, as well as happy times. Through it all, I am committed to you, forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live. I am depending on God's help to make and keep ours a vital growing love and Christ-centered relationship.
"I choose you, Paul, to be my husband as my friend, my love, and father of our children. I will be yours in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, in failure and in triumph. I will respect you as head of our home and obey you under God's authority. I will comfort and encourage you, be open with you and stay with you as long as we shall live, freed and bound by our love."
Thirty-plus years later, it still holds true. I still choose you, Paul. Your love is a blessing to me. Happy anniversary!
NOTE: Please join us this Sunday, December 21, when Paul will be speaking on "He Came, He's Coming" at Rohrerstown Mennonite Church (601 Rohrerstown Road, Lancaster PA). Sunday School is at 9 a.m. and the worship service is at 10 a.m.
Comments on this? email@example.com.
(To ensure that we get your comments, please use that address and do not simply hit "reply" on your email program.)
A printable version of Shelia's column above can be found in our archives:
On the Lighter Side...
True Story from Matt Felts (of the Lesters):
"So here's one for the book. We were in Iowa last night and after the concert nothing was open to eat so we stopped at a gas station to grange. While looking at my microwaveable options the young girl behind the counter asked me (in a frantic voice) to come in the back room to help her. I went back and had to help load the syrup for the fountain drinks. I went back out to hear her once again ask for help. OK, this time it wasn't really asking. I was ordered. Once in the back room she left "to ring up customers" since she felt I "had this." Suddenly I'm working for the quick mart. LOL! The up-side was that when I "went on break" and finally checked out, she gave me the employee discount on my drink. No joke! LOL!"
Scott Fowler on something his son, Preston, said:
"While looking at our new hand-carved Nativity from Israel, Preston asked aloud, 'If Mary said to Jesus, "Hey Jesus...close that door! Were you born in a barn?"... would Jesus have answered, "yes?"' Preston certainly has his grandpa Ken's blood flowing through his veins!"
Every year Christmas becomes less a birthday and more a Clearance Sale.
A Christmas Version of 1 Corinthians 13
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.
Are You Ready?
1 Thess. 5:2-10; Matt. 24:44; Luke 21:34,36
Pray for the President!
Until next Week...Keep Looking Up!
- Newsletter copyright © 2014 Heil Enterprises.
- "The Gospel Greats"® is a registered trademark of Heil Enterprises.
- On the web: www.thegospelgreats.com .
- Snail Mail: PO Box 1372, Lancaster PA 17608-1372.
- All Scripture quotations are KJV or NKJV unless otherwise indicated.
- Recent "Paul's Epistle" and "Shelia Shares" columns are archived online at this page.
- This newsletter is formatted for HTML viewing. It might occasionally be difficult to read portions of it in mail clients which are set to view "text only." Also, links not shown in the plain text might not work. You can always read the newsletter online in its original HTML format by going to http://www.thegospelgreats.com/ggnlarchive/tggnlcurrent.htm.
- Although we copyright our newsletter, you are encouraged to forward to individual friends anything you find in our newsletter that you feel is worthwhile. (Please encourage your friends to sign up for their own subscription, too.) Letting us know how you have found it useful would be an encouragement to us. Please ask if you'd like to use something from our newsletter for wide distribution: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter subscription maintenance information
- We trust that you enjoy these weekly Tuesday morning newsletter that you requested. But if you need to make a change, here's how to do it. To REMOVE your name from the list or to CHANGE your address, simply send us an e-mail and tell us what you want done (telling us why would be helpful). We attempt to make all requested changes prior to the next mailing, but, depending on when requests are received, there may be a delay of up to a week. If unsubscribing, please tell us (as a courtesy) what we could do to improve the newsletter.
NOTE: If you are unsubscribing simply because you no longer hear the program locally, please first check the "Station Finder" on our website to be sure the program hasn't simply moved to another station in your area. Also please remember that the program is available online. And you are most welcome to continue reading the newsletter's devotional columns, which usually are not really directly related to the program.
- You may also request any of the above changes in writing by postal mail to our physical postal address: The Gospel Greats program, PO Box 1372, Lancaster PA 17608-1372.