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 August 25, 2015

In This Edition

Paul's Epistle

For my recent birthday, someone gave me a little plaque that gives my name, Paul, and its meaning: "humble." I'll leave it to others to decide if the name fits. But names do seem to mean things.

You have probably seen similar definitions over the years of your own name. Do those descriptive words fit you?

In the Bible, the word given as the name of the first man, "Adam," actually, in Hebrew, is spelled with the very same letters (consonants) as the more generic term for "man." That fits. And the first time a proper name is actually bestowed in the Bible is when Adam names his wife, Eve, which means "the mother of all living." (Genesis 3:20.) That fits, too.

Throughout the Bible you see case after case where an individual's name somehow reflects some attribute of that individual. Sometimes, names are even changed to "perfect" the meaning, such as when God changed Abram's name to Abraham. An arrogant Saul, "humbled" by God, became Paul.

Many names are given in the Bible, usually including some descriptive aspect of His nature or character. If God has always ascribed such significance to names, then it would be very interesting to consider what name God would give as His own name. What name do you think He'd choose?

In Exodus 3, God, speaking from a burning bush, tells Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him that God sent him, commanding Pharaoh to let His people go. But Moses says to God, "When I come to the children of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' What should I tell them?" Here's where God immediately gives the name He considers most representative of his nature: "God said to Moses, 'I Am Who I Am,' and he said, 'You shall tell the children of Israel this: 'I Am has sent me to you.'" (Genesis 3:13,14.)

In Hebrew, "I Am" comes from the term we often hear for God, "Yahweh," sometimes transliterated (not accurately, scholars say) as "Jehovah." However it is rendered, it means "the self-existent One" and is the most personal name given by the Living God for Himself. He is without beginning or ending.

Isn't "I Am" a rather unusual name? Yes it is. But it's a key to understanding God. It is, in fact, the simplest, most basic, most fundamental attribute of God: He IS. He exists. And because God is outside of time (having created it), it means that He always has been and always will be. He, simply... IS!

I ponder that often.  But I find that I totally lack the words adequately to express how profound this single thought is!

Jesus made an interesting use of "I Am" after suggesting that father Abraham rejoiced to see "my day." When critics countered that Jesus simply wasn't that old, he countered, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:58.) What a strange use of verb tense! But His critics knew what he meant (identifying Himself with the ever-existing God) because they immediately tried to stone Him for blasphemy.

Also when the soldiers came to find Jesus in the garden on the night He was betrayed, they asked for Jesus of Nazareth, and He replied, "I Am." (The word "he" has been added to many translations for clarity, but was only implied in the original.) In this case, Jesus said "I Am" with such authority that merely speaking the Name caused the soldiers to fall backward to the ground! They didn't even know what hit them!

Another thing - ever wonder why so much prophecy in the Bible is written in past tense, even for things that haven't happened yet? It's because to God, they have already happened! They are that certain.

For God, everything from before the worlds were created until beyond the end of time - everything! - is right now. That's why God is described as the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8.) He's always the same because He is always right now, and it is logically impossible to be essentially different things simultaneously.

Is this making any sense?

Think about it this way:  Right now, in the mind of God, He is...

In fact, if you are a born again Christian, God right now sees the welcome you will receive when you reach heaven. It's that certain. It's as good as done. Because it IS done!

Isn't it great to serve a God who eternally IS? He always has been and always will be. He knows everything — from how the universe was created to the very thoughts in your mind at this instant. He know what's best for us now and far into the future (because He's already there).

Mark Lanier and Phil Cross wrote a song (recorded by the Kingdom Heirs) called "He's Already In Your Tomorrow" which refers to the Father as "the master of time." Look at the promise given in the chorus:

     "He's already in your tomorrow
     He's walking one step ahead
     Whether it's joy or it's sorrow
     He'll do just what He said.
     He'll never leave you lonely in the land of the great unknown.
     He's already in your tomorrow
     Don't be afraid, keep pressing on."*

Remember, Jesus said, "...I AM with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20.)

He always has been, is, and always will be "the Great I Am." What a comfort!

- Paul

*"He's Already In Your Tomorrow," written by Mark Lanier (Mark Lanier Music) and Phil Cross (Cameron Hill Music). Lyrics excerpted by permission.

This "Epistle" first appeared here June 24, 2003.

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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 August 29th & 30th, 2015:

Countdown Edition:   This will be our official monthly Singing News Top 20 Countdown edition, based this time on the chart of radio favorites appearing in the magazine's September issue. This is the monthly chart used by The Gospel Greats since the program's inception in 1980.

Featured Artists:   Our Featured Artists on this edition will be one of today's best-loved and most popular quartets, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. They'll share some songs from their current "Happy People" CD. And you'll get to meet their newest member, Dustin Doyle.

Other Guests:  We'll have brief visits with Joseph Habedank, Matthew Browder (Browders), Troy Peach (Perrys), Ethan Whisnant (Austin & Ethan), Matt Hagee (Canton Junction) and songwriter Dianne Wilkinson.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?

Click here to hear the audio announcement regarding this next program.

From the broadcast the weekend of August 22nd & 23rd, 2015:

This was one of our occasional All Listener Favorites editions, with every song, other than our Featured Artist selections, introduced by listeners who called in on August 9th when our lines were open. We really do appreciate those of you who called. I'm always grateful to those who share, in their song introductions, what special meaning the songs have for them. Each of the callers whose introductions were used on the air — as is always the case — is receiving a $10 gift certificate usable toward Southern Gospel music items from The one exception, as is always the case on an All Listener Favorites edition, is that one caller was selected at random for a $50 gift certificate. Congratulations to Donna Brookmyer for being the big winner this time.

By the way, if you called and your introduction didn't get on the air yet, be patient. We'll be using more intros from this Call-In for the next several months. We do attempt to notify callers by email in advance when they'll be on the program.

Our Featured Artists on this program were Three Bridges — the trio comprised of Elliott McCoy, Shannon Smith and Jeremie Hudson. Songs were from their current CD entitled "Jesus Saves." These guys are very ministry-minded and they've taken advantage of doors which have been opened to take their music into unusual places which aren't part of the usual Southern Gospel concert circuit, such as schools and business conventions. Please remember them in your prayers that their ministry will be allowed to grow even more.

Three Bridges' CD featured on this program, "Jesus Saves," is available from our mailorder service, Springside. Just call 1-800-38-MUSIC to order. Call by Friday, August 28, 2015, 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.

By the way, I mentioned on the air that Three Bridges has launched a special talent contest for a group and a soloist to help open their West Birmingham Homecoming on September 12th. Here's how they say you could enter: Go to and post a video of you or your group singing a song. Then send an email with your contact info to Each "like," "comment" and "share" on the facebook post will be a vote.

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

  • Austin & Ethan (Whisnant) - Live For You Today    (CD)

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
"When God Intervenes"

Arriving at church, after a hectic morning at home, I was thinking of what I needed to do before services began. The hot water and coffee carafes were in the car and needed to be set on the snack table in the lobby. We had prepared them at home. I needed to find a light snack in the kitchen. Which devotional should I use this morning before Sunday School? There were several papers I had brought to church that needed to be distributed to church mailboxes. And, of course, I wanted to talk to people. That was the most important part.

I was not prepared to be met outside the building by one of our regular church attenders and an unfamiliar lady in a cycling outfit. The lady's bicycle stood beside the building loaded with various bundles. She spoke with a heavy Eastern European accent and directed a question to Paul, asking if he was the pastor.

Paul hesitated in his answer, so I asked the lady if we could help her. She looked at me and in dismay said, "A woman pastor?!" I chuckled and Paul finally said, "Well, I am preaching today."

The lady, Patricia, started telling her story. She was traveling from Ohio to Upper New York. She needed money for food. We listened carefully and understood most of what she said. She told us she could not come in to the service, since she hadn't had any where to clean up and had an odor from her bike riding. I assured her she would be welcomed and we told her we would help her.

My policy is to not give money to strangers. I would buy a meal for someone, but I don't give cash. Patricia agreed to come in to the church and wanted to bring her bike along so no one would take it. I found her a place for the bike. Members began to talk to Patricia and make her feel welcomed.

I suggested to Paul that we get McDonald's gift certificates to help Patricia with her food needs. Although I had many jobs to do, we agreed I should take his car and get the certificates, getting back in time to begin the church services.

I headed for his car and started it. I adjusted the seat, but couldn't reach the brake and gas pedals. The seat seemed stuck. I turned off the motor and restarted the car. When I tried to move the seat, it was still stuck. I could only adjust it so far and it was not sufficient for me to drive. (Only later did I find out why.)

A hectic morning had turned into an unbelievable morning.

I went back into the church, knowing I now did not have time to run to McDonald's. I told Paul my problem and we decided we would figure out what to do after I did the opening. Two men of the church realized what I was attempting to do for Patricia and each offered some money. (We have a "helping" church, which is one of the things I love.)

I did a morning devotional including the fact that Jesus died for us, wants to forgive us and loves us. I was well aware of the fact that we had a visitor and I didn't know her spiritual condition and needs.

As everyone went to their Sunday School classes, I made sure Patricia knew where to go and then consulted with Paul as to what we should do to help her. We decided to give her cash and by then, after talking with her a bit more, I was comfortable with that.

Patricia stayed for Sunday School, as well as staying for the corporate worship service. During our sharing time, someone suggested we pray for our visitor. I was happy to include that in the pastoral prayer and she seemed to appreciate the thought. Paul's message was about when God seems silent. I prayed that it touched her, as it did me.

When Paul and I greeted people as they left church, Patricia was one of the first through the door. She came to me and reached to give me a big hug. I returned the gesture and thanked her for worshiping with us.

As I thought about the morning and all that happened, I saw God's leading.

You know that car seat I couldn't adjust in Paul's car? It is our "new" car, although we've had it for 11 years. Over those years, I have driven that car many times. I have adjusted that seat. I've been able to reach the pedals just fine.

Since Sunday, I haven't sat in the car and adjusted the seat, but I would guess I would have no problem adjusting the seat.

My plan on Sunday was to drive to McDonald's to get gift certificates for Patricia. As Paul spoke several times with our visitor, he learned that she did not eat fast food or drink sodas or coffee. She shopped at grocery stores for fruits and vegetables. Getting McDonald's gift certificates would not have helped her at all.

I didn't know that, but God did.

So, have you had any frustrations where something didn't work like you thought it should? Perhaps God has a plan which isn't your plan. He knows what is needed better than you do. Perhaps what you are trying to do – even with all your good intentions – isn't what is best.

Trust God to give wisdom through your days. Seek His guidance. And, when things don't work according to your plan, know God has a better plan – and relax in Him.


P.S. I would ask for your prayers, as I do the prep on Thursday and have a colonoscopy procedure on Friday, August 28.

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

Errors Great & Small

A minister and lawyer were chatting at a party. "What do you do if you make a mistake on a case?" the minister asked. "Try to fix it if it's big; ignore it if it's insignificant," replied the lawyer. "What do you do?" The minister replied, "Oh, more or less the same. Let me give you an example. The other day I meant to say 'the devil is the father of liars,' but instead I said 'the devil is the father of lawyers,' so I let it go."

Gone Missing

I sold an item through eBay but it got lost in the mail. So I stopped by my local post office and asked them to track it down. "It's not that simple," the clerk scolded. "You have to fill out a mail-loss form before we can initiate a search." "Okay," I said. "I'll take one." He rummaged under his counter, then went to ask some other clerks, who did the same — only to return and confess, "You'll have to come back later. We can't find the forms."

Bad Call

As two major league baseball umpires walked through the countryside, they noticed some tracks. The first said, "Deer tracks?" The second said, "No, bear tracks." However, the conversation ended abruptly when they were hit by a train.

Cowboy Church

Cowboy Joe was telling his fellow cowboys back on the ranch about his first visit to a big-city church. "When I got there, they had me park my old truck in the corral," Joe began. "You mean the parking lot," interrupted Charlie, a more worldly fellow. "I walked up the trail to the door," Joe continued. "The sidewalk to the door," Charlie corrected him. "Inside the door, I was met by this dude," Joe went on. "That would be the usher," Charlie explained. "Well, the usher led me down the chute," Joe said. "You mean the aisle," Charlie said. "Then, he led me to a stall and told me to sit there," Joe continued. "Pew," Charlie retorted. "Yeah," recalled Joe. "That's what that pretty lady said when I sat down beside her."


"A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

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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