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 May 19, 2015

In This Edition

Paul's Epistle
("Passion Checkup - Part 1")

Each year when Holy Week rolls around, we hear the term "passion" in a unique context. Holy Week – the week from Palm Sunday until Easter – is sometimes referred to as "the passion of Christ." The term originated with the Latin word "passio," which means "suffering." And that was, indeed, a week of suffering for the Lord – as is clear from the Biblical accounts.

That got me thinking, though, about that term, because that's not the way we usually use the word "passion." In a much broader context, the term is used today to denote anything for which we have a great deal of enthusiasm. A high school guidance counselor, trying to help a student with career choices, might ask, "What's your passion? What kind of work would you really enjoy doing?" Someone might say, "I have a passion for great art." Or music. Or sports.

So, what's your "passion?"

Do you have a "passion" for Christ?  I 'm afraid a lack of passion for Christ is a major problem for the church today. Many Christians have lost their passion, if they ever had it. It's evident by how many Christians, how many churches, how many denominations are getting away from Christ and His principles. They are, instead, elevating man's desires above those of Christ.

So, how's your passion for Christ, His church and His work?

I hear commercials on local radio about auto repair shops that promise a "21-point checkup" to evaluate the condition of your car. So let's begin a eight-point "passion checkup" to evaluate your level of passion for Christ. As we go through this, consider how it applies to you, personally.

Checkup point #1:  Do you know the Lord?

Have you accepted Him as your Savior? Have you asked Him to forgive your sins? Have you asked Him to become the Lord of your life? Have you turned your life over to Him? Without that as a starting point, nothing else matters. If you haven't – or if you're not sure – today would be an excellent day to settle that supremely important matter. If that is, indeed, settled, then we can move on to the next checkup point...

Checkup point #2:  How well do you know Christ?

Notice the question is not, "Do you know Who Christ is?" Even the demons could answer that correctly (James 2:19). The question is, "How well do you know Christ?" A Christian is a follower of Christ – someone who tries to live like Christ, doing the kinds of things Jesus did. But we need to know more about Christ to be able to do that.

The Christian life is all about growth. In Ephesians 4:15, Paul tells us we need constantly to "grow up in all things into Him who is ... Christ." And 1st Peter 2:2 tells us to "desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby..."

Medical science tells us our bodies are constantly growing – not taller, but growing new cells. Our "spiritual selves" need to grow, too. We need to know the Lord better so that we might be more like Him.

There's an old hymn that puts it this way:

     More like the Master I would live and grow;
     More of His love to others I would show;
     More self-denial, like His in Galilee,
     More like the Master I long to ever be.

Is that your desire, to be more like Christ? As a Christian, it should be. 2nd Peter 3:18 tells us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." Our spiritual growth in the knowledge of Christ never ends! But that growth in the knowledge of Christ isn't automatic. We must work at it. And we must rely on the Holy Spirit as our "tutor" to help guide us into all truth.

So how do we do that?  That'll be our next "checkup point" – when we continue our checkup next week.

- Paul

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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."

Note from Paul

If you haven't visited our website lately ( please do so. I've spent a lot of time recently freshening it up and, I hope, making it easier to use. One thing added in the past week was a new search function that easily allows you to search for anything in particular on the entire site, including key words in former columns. It's located among the links in the left column on each primary page. Let me know how you like it. (We previously had a search tool from a company that apparently went out of business without telling us and it just stopped working.)

Note that some older pages which had been linked from each page are no longer linked, but some with lasting interest may reappear someday (when I get to it) in an "archive" section.

Coming on the broadcast the weekend of May 23rd & 24th, 2015:

Featured Artists:  Our Featured Artists on this program will be the Skyline Boys, a gifted quartet from Virginia, this year celebrating their 20th anniversary. We'll visit with Dennis Powers, Jodi Hosterman, Bob Nitz and Nathan Potts and hear songs from two of their most recent recordings — "Love Came Through" and "Favorite Hymns & Classics Vol. 3." Find out why some of these songs especially touch the singers. Please join us for our visit with the Skyline Boys.

Artist Spotlight:   This will be a Songwriter Spotlight, visiting songwriter Karen Gillespie. She's been writing songs for many years, but has really intensified her efforts in recent years — and it's paid off. You'll hear three of her songs recently recorded by top groups. And you'll find out what event made all the difference in her songwriting. Get to know Karen Gillespie on this Songwriter Spotlight.

NQC Giveaway:   This program will be your final reminder about how to enter to win a deluxe three-day vacation package at this September's National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Tickets and hotel room are among the prizes in this package.

Other Guests:   Matthew Browder (Browders); Brandon Berry (LeFevre Qt.); more.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?

From the broadcast the weekend of May 16th & 17th, 2015:

I always enjoy visiting with the Triumphant Quartet (they go by either "Triumphant" or "Triumphant Quartet" these days). As you heard, these same guys — Clayton Inman, Scott Inman (Clayton's son), David Sutton and Eric Bennett have been together since this quartet started a dozen years ago. Songs on this program were from their new "Living In Harmony" CD. "Has There Ever Been" has to be one of the most challenging songs you've heard for a while. It's a good illustration of Eric's comment that this collection of songs is "lyrically deep and theologically strong." I enjoyed hearing the remake of the Singing Americans' 1980s song, "Black And White."

Triumphant Quartet's CD featured on this program, "Living In Harmony," is available from our mailorder service, Springside. Just call 1-800-38-MUSIC to order. Call by Friday, May 22, 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. 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.

This program included first word of a special National Quartet Convention giveaway. To enter, simply fill out and submit the online entry form.

On the Headline Update I mentioned that Mercy's Well is looking for a new lead/tenor singer. Anyone interested can send a demo to Brad Strider at

Also on the Headline Update I mentioned that the new "Pray Now" song video by Karen Peck & New River has been completed. Here's the link to view it online:

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

  • Hyssongs - Makayla's Heart   (Book)

Click here to view that Southern Gospel music-related 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....
"Encouragement Given & Received"

With the warmer weather, once again Paul and I can take our walks through the downtown streets. It feels good to be walking outside instead of in the mall. It is certainly more interesting.

On a walk last week, we met a lady pushing a stroller containing two small but lively children. She stopped us by saying, "I don't usually do this, but you look like good people."

We stopped and began to chat. She was in a tough situation. She was being kicked out of a Christian homeless shelter because she missed their required chapel service. (I had to empathize with her since she was holding down a full time job, caring for two small children and the services were at an hour when she was working. I did silently wonder where the Christian "grace" was at that shelter rather than the "legalism.")

She had an appointment scheduled for the next day with another organization that helps the homeless. She had missed the free meal that evening since she got off work too late and couldn't get there before they closed. I could see she was feeling defeated and overwhelmed.

One of her friends came by and as they chatted, I looked at Paul. I thought about the bill that would be coming to us for $3,300 to pay for window frames and gutters at the house, replacing ours that were rotted and full of holes. Then, I quietly asked Paul if he had any money. I knew he didn't carry much with him, but he pulled out $15.00, leaving just two dollars in his wallet.

Now, I am generally the one that hesitates to give money because often people take advantage. But, this time, I really felt we were to give something. It wouldn't be a lot, but it could help give encouragement.

When I handed over the money, she was appreciative and gave us both hugs. Paul quietly whispered to me, "pray with her." So, I asked if I could pray for her. She agreed right away.

This lady and her friend joined us in a circle, right there on the street corner, and with arms around each other, I prayed. I asked for God to meet her needs. I asked that she would be able to meet the right people who could offer assistance and wise guidance. I asked for Him to give her hope and encouragement. And, I thanked God for loving us more than we can love ourselves and more than we can even imagine.

It wasn't a long prayer, but it was necessary and it finished in Jesus' name. I didn't want her to remember us as good people, I wanted her to remember God as a good God.

We left her and continued on our four-mile walk. The encounter was an encouragement to us.

Several blocks farther on I noticed a cardboard box sitting beside the sidewalk. It was a box of CD cases and trays. The sign read, "Free. They are empty." Someone apparently had removed all of their CDs to store otherwise and only the cases were left. I looked at Paul and asked if we should take them. We use just that kind of cases to store CDs in our library. He asked if I was willing to carry them and I agreed.

We picked up the box and I made it to the corner. It was heavy. From there, Paul took the box and carried it for a while. When we came into the parking lot of a convenience store, he pointed out the cardboard dumpster. I held the lid while he reached in for a small cardboard box just the right size for 28 of the CD cases. We took turns carrying the smaller, lighter box and the heavier, bulkier box. Another two miles and we were back at the car.

As we later thought about it, we realized that the 72 CDs with trays were valued at about $30.00. That was double the amount we had given the lady earlier that evening. God had returned our money in kind — even better.

For me, it wasn't so much the money as it was the assurance that God had seen our actions and wanted us to know that He knew our circumstances. He was the one that placed that box in our path at just the right time. He would take care of our needs, as well as the needs of this young lady we had met.

Isn't God good!  He owns it all and He supplies in His time and in His way.

In whatever circumstances you find yourself, trust God. Tell Him your needs and then leave the problem with Him. Understand that He will provide and sometimes He will use others to do that for Him. Next time, as you are able, be the "hands" that give — and see God's work of encouragement through you.


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:

On the Lighter Side

Young Entrepreneur

Hailey wants to open up a sort of "lemonade stand" on our street, except that it will be selling "Happiness" for 10 cents. "What do they get for their 10 cents?" "I get to throw a water balloon at them." "And that will make them happy?" "Maybe, maybe not. But it will make me happy! And I get their money."

The Metamorphosis

I was looking through my closet for something to wear, but nothing was calling out to me. So I sought my three-year-old's opinion. "What do you think I should change into?" I asked. He thought awhile before replying, "A butterfly."

The Building Fund

A pastor got up one Sunday to preach and announced to his congregation: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program." The pastor continued, "The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."

Random Thoughts As We Age

Words of Wis-Dumb

Noledge is power.  (Just saw this and thot I'd share.)

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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