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, May 24, 2016

In This Edition

Paul's Epistle
"Southern Gospel: Impacting Lives"

Last week in this space I asked you to share your thoughts about what Southern Gospel music has meant to you over the years. This concise response is typical:

"I grew up listening to the Gospel Singing Jubilee on Sunday mornings while getting ready for church. I have been going through a rather rough few years. Singing Southern Gospel music and traditional hymns are my ‘go-to therapy' when I feel like giving up..." - Cynthia M.

There's no doubt that good Southern Gospel music encourages and lifts the spirits. But there's more. Here's a testimony from someone about how he "discovered" Southern Gospel music — and how it's changed his life:

"In 1994 my wife and I and our daughters visited Dollywood for the first time. Being from northeastern Indiana, we didn't know Southern Gospel from Southern fried chicken. As we walked past an open-air theater in Dollywood, a woman we did not know stepped in front of us and, pointing into the theater where four guys were singing, asked, ‘Have you heard these guys?' She said, ‘You need to go hear these guys.'

"So we went in, found seats near the front and, for the first time, heard the Kingdom Heirs. The music blew me away. I had never heard four-part Gospel music like this. I bought one of their cassettes (this was a long time ago) and listened to it for the rest of our trip.

"When I got home, I joined the church choir and began to be featured on solos. I still do special music at church and have sung at other churches and a community choir... The point here is not my singing ability, which is limited at best. The point is that God used Southern Gospel music and specifically the Kingdom Heirs to change my life. Since then He has used me and this music to bless, encourage, challenge and comfort others.

"So, what does Southern Gospel music mean to me? It provides a way for me to glorify the Father, and I find no higher purpose in life." – Joe Gottschalk, Columbia City, IN

Here's another testimony about what Southern Gospel music has meant as the writer went through potentially fatal health issues. (This was edited together and abbreviated from two separate emails from the writer.)

"It means everything to me. It is the very best music in the world. I do believe it is God-given. I have had cancer twice over the past eight years and, beside the Lord, it is one of the best things that kept me going. I truly believe the Lord spoke to me many ways during the cancer but one of the coolest ways He spoke to me was through Southern Gospel music. I can't really remember any sermons during that time but I remember every song the Lord gave during that time. The songs I would hear on the radio driving to the clinic or the two main songs the Lord gave me every time I went in for radiation...

"[Those two songs were] ‘His Name Is Wonderful' and ‘Only Believe.' Both songs I knew from the church as well as my love for Southern Gospel music. But just before my treatment was finished, the last verse of ‘Only Believe' was changed to, ‘Lord, I Believe.' Those two songs gave me such peace going through radiation. As you can only imagine, I was so scared when I was starting radiation, but the Lord used those two songs to give me peace that passes all understanding...

"I had the most radiation a man is allowed to have. You know, Paul, I was not sick even once thanks to the Lord. They called me a miracle there and I was able to say that I totally agree. And it was all thanks to the Lord. It's been a long eight years in some ways but it was only because of the Lord that I am here today — and the Southern Gospel music that kept me going and positive and sane throughout this whole trial, plus the many people praying.

"By the way, the Lord has healed me both times, even though [the doctors told me] there is no cure for my type of cancer. Praise the Lord!

"I owe my love of Southern Gospel music to my father. It was the only music we ever listened to. He has since passed on, but one of his highlights of the week was to listen to your radio program. He never missed it. All the way from Canada. Thank you for being faithful to the Lord..." - Bruce Stelter

I hope these testimonies are as inspiring and encouraging to you as they are to me. Southern Gospel music is the form of ministry that the Lord has opened for us – and for countless singers and others who work diligently behind the scenes to create and disseminate this great music. And there's no question that the Lord uses this music to touch lives — encouraging, healing and, yes, saving.

Southern Gospel music certainly does, as I always say, incorporate "the Greatest Songs about the Greatest Message, the Gospel!"

- Paul

PS:  Please help support the future of Southern Gospel music's ministry by partnering with the Southern Gospel Music Association and its work.   Please see my special letter here, which includes information about the easy but important ways you can help.

Comments on this?
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A printable version of the Epistle above is linked from our newsletter archive page, listed by date and title:
NOTE: That same page includes a link to the audio version of this "Epistle."

Coming on the broadcast the weekend of May 28th & 29th, 2016:

Countdown Edition:   This will be the official monthly Singing News Top 20 Countdown Edition, based on the chart of top radio songs appearing in the magazine's June issue. Find out what's so unusual about the group that has the new #1 song.

Featured Artists:   Our Featured Artists on this program will be the Isaacs. Paul will visit with Lily, Rebecca, Sonya and Ben, talking about songs from their current CD, "The Living Years." Although this CD's been featured before, we'll include some different (and very special) songs this time. Ben will talk about the importance for any artist of working with a good producer for their recordings, something he's been doing himself. Please join us for our visit with the Isaacs.

SGMA Partnerships:   You'll learn how you could help support the continuing work of the Southern Gospel Music Association as it preserves Southern Gospel music's rich heritage and promotes its bright future. More info is available here.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?
Click here to hear the audio announcement regarding this next program.
Click here to find a local station carrying The Gospel Greats program.

From the broadcast the weekend of May 21st & 22nd, 2016:

Our Featured Artists on this edition were the Hyssongs, who shared with us some of the songs on their brand new CD, "Faith & Family." Great title. The Hyssongs (yes, that's their family name) are Dell and Susan Hyssong and their son, Richard. As anyone who's heard them in concert can verify, not only can they sing but they're accomplished on various instruments as well. Their new radio song, "Prepare To Be Amazed," is an outstanding reminder that God is a God who loves to amaze us with His kindness and the depths of His love. I also especially appreciated the song you heard called "I Will Stand." We're often reminded these days that we as Christians should take a stand about the craziness happening in the world, but Richard made an excellent point on the broadcast: not only should we stand against such things but we must stand on the Word of God and for His precepts.

The Hyssongs' CD featured on this program, "Faith & Family," is available from our mailorder service, Springside. Just call 1-800-38-MUSIC to order. Call by Friday, May 27, 2016, 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. Note, too, that our "Featured Artist Discount" applies to any other currently in-stock recordings by this artist. 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.

I really would appreciate your help in supporting the work of the Southern Gospel Music Association, through either a partnership ($20/year) or an outright donation. The SGMA operates the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum at Pigeon Forge, TN. Please read my special letter about all of this on this page.

More info about the Gospel Music Trust Fund, mentioned on the Headline Update, can be found at their website: Note that this fund is designed to help members of the Gospel music community regardless of specific musical genre.

For the song list from this broadcast, click on the link below.   (PDF viewer required.)

Hear last weekend's Headline Update report about your favorite artists by clicking on this link:

New items available this week from
  • Cathedrals A Reunion (first time here on DVD)
  • Mark LowryDogs Go To Heaven (CD or DVD)
  • Dell HyssongJoy For The Journey (Book)

Click here to view those Southern Gospel music items in this week's Springside Music Update newsletter — including 20 percent discounts on this week's new releases. Or get the Springside Music Update newsletter by email each Monday. Details can be found here. Or call 800 38 MUSIC during weekday office hours to ask about this week's specials or to order. Your purchases from Springside help support The Gospel Greats program.

Shelia Shares
"Me — Or Thee?"

Our focus says a lot about our heart. Where we focus and put our emphasis in life indicates what is important to us.

For our business, we use an answering service when we can't be at the office evenings and weekends. Because the operators there aren't really familiar with Gospel music, sometimes the orders they take require a little "interpretation."

Recently someone ordered an accompaniment track of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee." The printed order we received said the person ordered "Just To Go For A Walk With Me." I had to chuckle when I read the order.

But do you see the difference in the titles? Do you see the shift in the focus? Who is important – God or me?

The Bible tells us to put no one before God. That includes ourselves. "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" focuses on God. "Help me grow closer to You." "Help me to walk with You, so I can go the right direction and do the right things." God is the center of where I go and what I do.

James 4:7-8 tells us, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

In contrast, the answering service's mistaken title, "Just To Go For A Walk With Me," is, obviously, focused on me. I am doing this. God is welcome to join me. God bless my work. It isn't that I am leaving God out. I am just inviting Him to make better what I decide to do. I am the focus and God is my sidekick. No, that should not be our way of looking at things.

So, what position does God hold in your life? Who makes the decisions in your life? Is God in control of your "GPS?" Whose will is determining your direction?

2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

Am I in control of my life until I need someone to get me out of a bad situation? Or do I follow God's direction without regard to what I would choose to do? I need to decide who has authority. God is gracious and waits to be invited to lead. He really does know the direction for me and is a better leader than I will ever be.

I am weak, but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I'll be satisfied as long as I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Through this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

When my feeble life is o'er, Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o'er, To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.*

- Shelia

*Hymn author unknown, P.D.

Comments on this?
(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 is linked from our newsletter archive page, listed by date and title:
NOTE: That same page includes a link to the audio version of this "Shelia Shares."

On the Lighter Side

Looking Back

The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Little Johnny interrupted, "My dad looked back once, while he was driving, and he turned into a telephone pole!"

Quoth The Bard

A literature buff, my friend Larry installed an answering machine on his telephone. Instead of the usual instructions about leaving a message, Larry recorded a parody of Hamlet's famous soliloquy: "To speak, or not to speak, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to leave a message after the beep, or to take arms against a sea of answering machines, and by opposing, end them. To dial, to speak, no more. Thus answering machines do make cowards of us all."


I started reading a book about anti-gravity and now I can't put it down.

Children's Church

(From a post by Rebecca Peck.)  Ethan and Rachel have started a church in the family room. The sermons and the music have been very interesting, to say the least. They have separated off Sunday school rooms, and this morning, Ethan was teaching the children's class. His synopsis of the Last Supper through the Ascension went like this: "Jesus had suppah wif His disciples. They wuh stahvin' to deaf! Then they went to the gahden and pwayed, except they fell asweep. Then.....dwum woll...the soldiuhs came! Then Petuh cut off the guy's eauh, but Jesus cwipped it back on. Then they awested Him, and He died on the cwoss. Then the resuwection, and He came back up to Heaven. Hab a good day, kids."

Are You Ready?
1 Thess. 5:2-10; Matt. 24:44; Luke 21:34,36
Free Gift
Pray for the President!
Until next Week...Keep Looking Up!

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