Christmas Day, 2015

This has been a MERRY CHRISTMAS!  For Dorothy had me, it has been what has become a “normal” Christmas with her baking and me doing things around the house; today was working in the garage.  Mid afternoon we went to our Christmas Banquet at the Waffle House.  No, we haven’t been abandoned by our fWaffle Houseamily.  Christmas Eve we spent with our son-in-law, Troy’s, family and tomorrow we will be with our children and grandchildren at our son, Bob and daughter-in-law, Krissy’s home in South Metro Atlanta.  Bill Jr. and his wife Cheryl will be there as will as some of our grandchildren, Trevor, Emily, and Jena.  We saw Will and his family and Morgan  last month.

Today follows a wonderful Christmastime that I have mentioned in a previous post.  Added to the festivities,  this week I had the opportunity to sing with a group from the Jubal Chorus as the choir for Keith and Kristyn Getty’s JOY…An Irish ChristmasGetty Concert 15 With special guests, Ricky Skaggs and Buddy Greene, it was an amazing evening at the “Fabulous Fox” in downtown Atlanta.

As much as I have enjoyed 2015, I look forward, with great anticipation, to 2016.  I celebrate the past and thoroughly enjoy remembering all the years and events that have brought me to this day, but i don’t live in the past.  There is always a new day, another opportunity, for me, a another new song.

I pray you have a wonderful New Year.  As messed up as the world is this Christmas evening, God is still in charge, He’s not caught off guard.  As my friend, David Ring, often says, “God never says, ‘Oops.'”

Return to The Holy Land

JerusalemSea of GalileeDorothy and I will return to Israel/Palestine, The Holy Land, October 24-November 2, 2016.  We where in Israel this past October on a concert tour with the Sons of Jubal. We began traveling to The Holy Land back in the mid 70’s.  We love this land.

WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US.  This is a life-changing place.  God’s Word becomes vividly alive and you’ll never study the Bible the same again.  The cost of the trip came in considerably lower than I had anticipated when I contracted with Travelink for the trip.  If you would like to consider going with us, just email,  I’ll email a brochure with the details or I’ll drop one in snail-mail.  The sooner the registration, the more apt we will be able to get the best flights.

Though I have been to Israel a number of times, this past October we traveled with Georgia Baptist’s SONS OF JUBAL for my very first concert tour of the Holy Land. It was amazing as we present the gospel in concerts from Nazareth, Bethlehem, and in Jerusalem.  I believe there were eight “official” concerts and a number of impromptu opportunities to lift up Jesus in song.

Though all were wonderful concerts, there are two favorites.

1.  The Christians Schools in Nazareth. I was blown away with the response of high schoolers.  These kids were amazing. I fell in love with each one of them.  These teenagers loved the music of a bunch of American men, about half of us, “geezers.”   We didn’t sing “pop or rock.” We sang some really fun songs, but also sang some “classical style” sacred music and even rang hand bells.  The  kids consumed the music.  Sadly, most American students wouldn’t give us the time of day.  I still love our American students, but I wish they would stop and listen to us sometime.  Students in Nazareth20151006_055743









2.  My second “favorite” was the concert at David’s Citadel.  I have attended concerts in this ancient theater, but never dreamed I would be singing here.  This is a portion of an ancient tower that was not distroyed by Titus in  70 A. D.  It is believe to be the place where Jesus was tried.   The amphitheater was full, the night was beautiful, and God got all over us.SoJ at David's CitadelSoJ at David's Citadel 2

A mid December evening

December 12, 2015    This has been a week…uh, make that a year.  The following is not a recap of the entire year or The Annual Coen Christmas Letter; actually, I don’t ever remember writing one of those.  This is, however, reflections of what is on my heart this evening.  We just completed Christmas Celebration 2015, To North Georgia, with Love froLevel Grove Choir and Children CC15m The Level Grove Baptist Church in Cornelia, Georgia.  This was my thirty-fifth Christmas musical of this type.  I led Christmas Cantatas the previous fifteen or so years of my ministry, but in ’81, with the help of Dave and Karen Boyd and FBC Bartlesville, Oklahoma, I changed direction.  We began to add drama, not just a narrator, we added  contemporary and even popular music, and comedy, yet always with a vivid thread of and bold presentation of the Gospel of Jesus.  The stories written were about life, they always contain a crisis of belief, and are resolved with the Gospel, the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

This year a Level Grove was no different, and yet it was. The total joy and complete abandon of lifting up Jesus had a freshness to it.  Don’t get me wrong, we have had glorious celebrations in each church I have had the opportunity to serve.  I have served very large churches as weBill and Children CC15ll as smaller        congregations and have had to adjust to the size of the platforms. (I really miss many of those wonderful folks who partnered with me over the past fifty years.  What is really cool is that I get to keep up with many of them through email and Face Book and through this site.)   Yet,  in my “old age,” seeing these North Georgia young adults and children being supported and encouraged by a group of us geezers in such an uncomfortable time in our world, simply energized me way  beyond my actual ability to lead.  I am so humbled and  honored that in my “retirement” God has seen fit to not  just keep an old guy busy, but to allow me to still serve.

This world is really in a turmoil.   Being a baby-boomer who came along just after World War II and remembering Korea, as horrific as those wars were, there is a nostalgia from the stories from The Greatest Generation.  It was clear who the enemy was and we fought to win. Today, the enemy is far more elusive and it certainly seems there is no plan to win.

My point is not to be political, though anyone who knows me is certain I am a Right-Winged Conservative Christian. My point is that people in virtually all walks of life are like “a fiddler on the roof;” the are balancing and could easily fall. Folks go about their business attempting to ignore the big picture so they can keep their sanity and live life, but when they stop and consider all that is around them, they become so vulnerable to the enemy, the political enemy and Satan himself.    God hasn’t called me to save the world,  but He does expect me to use the gifts He has given me to show  His love and grace to the world He has put me in.  One of the ways I can do that is through the music He has planted in me.  He has called me to remind folks that those who trust in Christ Jesus WIN.  What I do is no doubt trivial to  many, but if God can use me to lead someone to find Christ or encourage a believer to find a fresh relationship with Him, I figure that is a pretty good job.


How can I say thanks?

I am melancholy  this evening in the fact that a dear dear  friend went to be with Christ this week.  I met Don Beard in  1971.  Don was a member of the CalThe Beard Familyvary Baptist Church in St. Louis where I was called to serve as music man.  I learned quickly that Don was one of those very rare men who was a true friend of  preachers and even ministerial staff members.  He poured himself in to ministry and literally came along side me to hold me up.   Don became a confidant, a mentor, an encourager, a dad, a supporter, a teacher, chauffeur, an example, a shelter, and a dear dear friend.

His wife, Helen, his partner for sixty-eight years, was equally a joy and together they took me, and my family as well, and love us.  We stayed in their home countless times and when I was on the road, the Beard home was my home away from home.  No one would have the time to read all the things I  could write on how the Beards helped us, but the fact is they kept us above water physically and spiritually during those early days of ministry.

Their children were equally family, they were…siblings.  Karen and I were in college together, Donna played the piano for me at Calvary. Charlie was just…there and was especially kind to our children.  Denny was always hot-rodding around and my boys sure looked up to  him.

What is most amazing about Don Beard is that my story is the story of many men in ministry.  If there is a line in heaven, Don will be so far ahead of me and probably all the men he came along side, that we won’t be able to see him.  I know that  Wednesday morning, WELL DONE, MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT rang throughout GLORY.  Thanks, Don, how can I say thanks?