Some Gospel Musicians to Check Out

Kirk Franklin fronted three groups—the Family, God’s Property, and the One Nation Crew—before going solo. In 1993, the group released its debut album, “Kirk Franklin & the Family,” which spent almost two years on the gospel music charts, charted on the R&B charts, and eventually earned platinum sales status. It remained at number one on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart for 42 weeks and was the first gospel music album to sell more than a million units (image: Kirk Franklin and the Family).

Last Updated: December 29, 2018

Today, access to music are unlimited. It’s so easy now to stream music anywhere….at work or home, in the car, bus, boat, train, or plane. Here are some list of Christian music performers in the gospel music genres with some amount of exposure for you to check out. Gospel music started back in the early 17th Century and encompasses traditional gospel music genres such as Southern gospel, traditional black gospel, progressive Southern gospel, urban contemporary gospel, gospel blues, Christian country music, Celtic gospel and British black gospel.

As we are all aware, singing and dancing is a way of worshiping just like prayers, Bible study and the likes. The music are listed alphabetically and you can find most of the music on your favorite music streaming platforms.

  1. Spotify – Spotify provides streaming quality of about 320 kbps, and it’s one of the most popular names in the music streaming service industry. Catalog of more than 20 million options.
  2. Google Play Music – Allows you to access their entire music catalog and not just the available streaming ones at a high streaming quality of 320kbps.
  3. Pandora – Good for free streaming of the radio stations instead of on-demand tracks at a streaming quality of 192 kbps. Catalog of more than 1.5 million options.
  4. iHeartRadio – There are absolutely no charges for access and has a whopping catalog of more than 18 million songs, 4,500 artists and 1,500 live radio stations.
  5. Mixclouds – Listen to length audios, radio shows, music mixes for free with their free App. Catalog of more than 3 million options.
  6. Grooveshark – Free with ads for users; expensive to take full advantage of the benefits like friends and family music sharing. The subscription streaming service has no ads.
  7. Deezer – Offers unlimited free music access to users for one month and then limits the access to two hours. Deezer is mature with over 30 million music options in its catalog.
  8. LAST.FM – One of the oldest and the streaming service is still free. Has a wide array of tracks, albums, artists and many more.
  9. Slacker Radio – With a streaming catalog of over 13 million, Slacker Radio provide free streaming service with ads. The subscription streaming service has no ads.
  10. Xbox Music – This is a Windows device based video and music streaming service from Microsoft. Catalog of more than 30 million options. It provides free music streaming with ads.

Here are the Gospel Artists to Check Out.
A

  • Lee Roy Abernathy
  • Jolly Abraham
  • Faye Adams
  • Kanvee Adams
  • Oleta Adams
  • Yolanda Adams
  • Mike Abdul
  • Mona Abel
  • Nii Addo
  • Uche Agu
  • Past. Kunle Ajayi
  • Doris Akers
  • Funke Akinokum
  • Alabama Sacred Harp Singers
  • Tope Alabi
  • Mary Alessi
  • Blessing Ali
  • Charles McCallon Alexander
  • The Rance Allen Group
  • Constance Aman
  • Evelyn Amo
  • Annisstar
  • The Anointed Pace Sisters
  • Inez Andrews
  • Aregopoleng Gospel Boyz
  • Vanessa Bell Armstrong

B

  • Annastasia Baker
  • Philip Bailey
  • Bonny B.
  • The Barrett Sisters
  • Elder Charles D. Beck
  • TY Bello
  • The Blackwood Brothers
  • The Blind Boys of Alabama
  • Jerry Bonsu
  • Jane Bossia
  • Irene Bridger
  • Anthony Brown & Group Therapy
  • Clint Brown
  • Nehemiah Hunter Brown
  • Anthony Burger
  • Kim Burrell
  • Myron Butler
  • Wanda Nero Butler

C

  • Shirley Caesar
  • Byron Cage
  • Erica Campbell
  • Warryn Campbell
  • The Caravans
  • Jekalyn Carr
  • Kurt Carr
  • Casey J
  • Johnny Cash
  • Alvin Chea
  • The Clark Sisters
  • Mattie Moss Clark
  • Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark
  • Rev. James Cleveland
  • Cheryl “Coko” Clemons
  • Tasha Cobbs Leonard
  • Dorothy Love Coates
  • Dorinda Clark-Cole
  • Marcus Cole
  • Daryl Coley
  • Commissioned
  • David L Cook
  • The Cook Family Singers
  • The Crabb Family
  • Beverly Crawford
  • Latice Crawford
  • Andraé Crouch
  • Sandra Crouch
  • Adlan Cruz

D

  • Daniel Dee Jones
  • Montrell Darrett
  • Afriy David
  • Carlene Davis
  • Reverend Gary Davis
  • The Davis Sisters
  • Rebekah Dawn
  • The Dixie Hummingbirds
  • Thomas A. Dorsey
  • Holly Dunn
  • Bob Dylan

E

  • Ebele the Flutist
  • Frank Edwards
  • Michael English
  • Ralna English
  • Mairo Ese
  • Anthony Evans, Jr.

F

  • Five Blind Boys of Mississippi
  • C. and Mamie Forehand
  • Forever Jones
  • James Fortune
  • Maxx Frank
  • Kirk Franklin (with The Family, God’s Property, and INC)
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Futrel

G

  • Pastor G
  • Bill Gaither
  • Cassietta George
  • Lara George
  • The Godfrey & the Xtreme Crew
  • Geoffrey Golden
  • The Golden Gate Quartet
  • God’s Property
  • Jade Trini Goring
  • Al Green
  • Travis Greene
  • Bessie Griffin
  • Greater Vision
  • Guy & Ralna
  • Guvna B
  • G4

H

  • Ernie Haase
  • Damita Haddon
  • Deitrick Haddon
  • Brother Will Hairston
  • Danniebelle Hall
  • Marshall Hall
  • MC Hammer song on every album including: Family Affair
  • Fred Hammond
  • Wes Hampton
  • Larnelle Harris
  • Harvest
  • Edwin Hawkins (and the Edwin Hawkins Singers)
  • Tramaine Hawkins
  • Walter Hawkins
  • Cory Henry
  • Jake Hess
  • The Hoppers
  • Israel Houghton
  • Cissy Houston
  • Whitney Houston album: The Preacher’s Wife: Original Soundtrack Album
  • Guy Hovis

I

  • The Imperials

J

  • Mahalia Jackson
  • The Rev. Andrew Jenkins
  • Blind Willie Johnson
  • Le’Andria Johnson
  • Canton Jones
  • Cheneta Jones
  • Mitchell Jones
  • Forever Jones
  • Joyful Way Inc

K

  • John P. Kee
  • Kelly one album: Happy People/U Saved Me
  • Ron Kenoly
  • Stephanie Keri
  • Joey Kibble
  • Karima Kibble
  • Kirk Franklin & the Family
  • Klaudt Indian Family
  • Gladys Knight
  • Rosny Kyibi

L

  • Patti LaBelle
  • Nikki Laoye
  • Last Days Fam
  • Donald Lawrence
  • Doyle Lawson
  • Lowell Lewis
  • Bishop Eddie Long
  • Dorothy Love Coates
  • Loretta Lynn
  • London Community Gospel Choir

M

  • Pasteur Moise Mbiye
  • Luther Magby
  • Mali Music
  • Mandisa
  • Tamela Mann
  • Kobby Mantey
  • Chris Marion
  • Roberta Martin
  • Mary Mary
  • Brother Joe May
  • Reverend Oris Mays
  • Donnie McClurkin
  • Liz McComb
  • Lisa McClendon
  • William McDowell
  • Jonathan McReynolds
  • Men of Standard
  • Mighty Clouds of Joy
  • Mississippi Mass Choir
  • Ericson Alexander Molano
  • Wess Morgan
  • Moss
  • Nicole C. Mullen
  • Martha Munizzi
  • Abel Chungu Musuka
  • Henrie Mutuku

N

  • Jonathan Nelson
  • Aaron Neville
  • Niiella
  • Smokie Norful
  • Dorothy Norwood
  • Nosa

O

  • Obiwon
  • Purist Ogboi
  • Muyiwa Olarewaju
  • One Nation Crew
  • Out of Eden

P

  • LaShun Pace
  • Sista Monica Parker
  • Dolly Parton
  • Gary S. Paxton
  • Guy Penrod
  • David Phelps
  • Washington Phillips
  • Wintley Phipps
  • Pooh and The Inspirations
  • Doobie Powell
  • Elvis Presley
  • Billy Preston
  • Charley Pride

Q

  • Qqu

R

  • Lynda Randle
  • Jessica Reedy
  • Karl Reid
  • Eric Reverence
  • Noel Robinson
  • Woody Rock
  • Thurman Ruth aka Thermon Ruth, T. Ruth
  • Little Richard

S

  • Samsong
  • SP Kofi Sarpong
  • Papa San
  • Ira D. Sankey
  • Marvin Sapp
  • Briana Scott
  • Guy Sebastian
  • Marilyn Sellars
  • Sensational Nightingales
  • Karen Clark Sheard
  • Kierra “Kiki” Sheard
  • Sinach
  • Ahavah Gospel Singers
  • Size 8
  • The Soul Stirrers
  • Sounds of Blackness
  • Richard Smallwood
  • Emmanuel Smith
  • William and Versey Smith
  • Sophy-Yah
  • Soweto Gospel Choir
  • The Statler Brothers
  • The Staple Singers
  • Pops Staples
  • Mavis Staples
  • Keith Staten
  • Candi Staton
  • Naomi Striemer
  • Ruben Studdard
  • The Swan Silvertones
  • Jimmy Swaggart

T

  • Tamela Mann
  • Take 6
  • Sarah Teibo
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe
  • Charles Davis Tillman
  • Tonéx
  • Shoggy Tosh
  • Trin-i-tee 5:7
  • Tye Tribbett

V

  • Yolanda Vadiz
  • Gary Valenciano
  • Virtue

W

  • The Wades
  • Hezekiah Walker
  • Albertina Walker
  • Clara Ward
  • Mervyn Warren
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Gillian Welch
  • Thomas Whitfield
  • Marva Whitney
  • We Will Worshp
  • Deniece Williams
  • Hank Williams
  • Marion Williams
  • Michelle Williams
  • Anita Wilson
  • Brian Courtney Wilson
  • Elder Roma Wilson
  • The Winans Family


Does Hell Play a Role in Evangelization?

by Deacon John Beagan | The crux of our problem, and the reason our Church is in such decline, is we have lost sight of the daily drama for eternal salvation. Without people’s need to be saved, the Church is just another feel-good club competing against all the others (images: William Booth preaching).
Does hell play a role in evangelization? If it does, then when and how? Catholics take many positions on this topic and they all impact the effectiveness of evangelization.

To begin, let me situate this analysis by raising three relevant points. First, discussing hell can be emotional and difficult to face for obvious reasons, such as hell’s forever state. Merely considering its possibility and reality causes anxiety. This affects people’s ability and desire to deal with it.

Second, most people leave the Church because they no longer believe its teaching. Similarly, the level of participation and enthusiasm among those who still consider themselves Catholic is reduced by various doubts and disbeliefs. The Church’s teaching on hell is one of these difficult beliefs because many people can’t reconcile it with a loving God. Thus, if we want to win them back to the Church and help strengthen their faith, we must address this subject, especially given the many references to hell and Satan in Scripture and other parts of the liturgy.

Third, it is extremely challenging to sell the Church to people who don’t need God. In this prosperous and relatively safe country, most people do not need the Lord in this life, except perhaps for an occasional funeral. Moreover, people do not need him to enter the next life either; in every eulogy I hear, the deceased has gone to a “better place.” It seems everyone believes there is a warm bright light at the end of the tunnel regardless of whether or not they ever knew Jesus.

In my lifetime, I have seen many things tried to make people feel good about coming to church, such as placing a resurrected Jesus on the large sanctuary cross, shaking hands at Mass, welcoming people at the church doors, hosting parish socials, appealing to people intellectually, adopting sound business practices, showing folks the beauty of the Church, and on and on. While all this has its place (except for removing the crucified corpus), it won’t work in a widespread sustained way until people begin to feel a need for God. In lieu of a national or global catastrophe, the only option left is to challenge people’s presumption about eternal life.

The position of preachers, teachers, and believers regarding the risk of hell varies considerably. For instance, Pew Research noted that 50 percent of college-educated Catholics do not believe hell exists.

Another popular position is that hell exists, but that it’s reasonable to hope that no one is in it. To the average listener in the pews, who is not used to theological musing and nuance, this is tantamount to saying it doesn’t exist.

A similar position refrains from discussing hell except as a topic for advanced Catholics. Within this position are two camps. The first, like the latter, believes very few people are in hell. This would explain, for instance, why sin and judgment are rarely discussed and why Confession is so infrequent. In other words, why arouse negative feelings in people and spend more time in the confessional, if everyone eventually goes to heaven?

What intrigues me most, however, is the second camp. They believe in the risk of hell, but somehow it still takes a back seat in their preaching and is reserved for advanced Catholics. This is a tactical mistake because few in the pews will take the time to consider Jesus and become advanced Catholics. To someone who believes in the existence of hell, all these positions will leave people ignorant of vital spiritual knowledge.

As a Church, we are competing against the world for people’s attention and time. Persevering in prayer cannot compete with the pleasures of the world, unless there is a compelling reason to do so. If all we do are the good and kind things mentioned above, like welcoming people and showing them the beauty of the Church, we will continue to lose Catholics at a rate of 6 or more for every 1 entering.

The crux of our problem, and the reason our Church is in such decline, is we have lost sight of the daily drama for eternal salvation. Without people’s need to be saved, the Church is just another feel-good club competing against all the others.

When I ponder how to guide my three young-adult sons, I choose to follow Jesus’s words and official Church teaching instead of accepting the complacency around me or the wishful imagining of a bishop or theologian, because the downside of ignoring God’s words is too dreadful. Furthermore, as a deacon who must preach and teach, I need to listen to my conscience and address the people as I do my own family.

Speaking the Truth Works
Several years ago, not long after my ordination, I attended my first funeral Mass as a deacon, and it was for my mother. Since much of my extended family probably didn’t attend Mass regularly, I prepared a challenging homily. As I walked down the center aisle to the front of the church, I was surprised to see my boss and Jewish colleague—two people I wasn’t expecting to preach to.

During the sermon, I emphasized the shortness of life using examples from my chaplaincy experience on a hospital cancer floor and how one particular patient was afraid to die. I finished by saying that we are on the conveyor belt of life, and that we won’t need to be scared when we reach the end, if we first get to know Jesus.

The next morning, I went to work and my boss immediately called me into her office. She started to tell me that she was Catholic, and hadn’t been to church much, but now that her children had finished youth sports, she could start going again. Smiling, I told her I hadn’t known she was Catholic until I gave her Communion.

Since then, I have become more direct in expressing concern for people’s salvation. At Baptism, for instance, families and their friends come to church expecting to celebrate the joy of a new baby. Statistically speaking, they probably don’t go to Mass regularly and yet expect to go to heaven. After acknowledging the joyful occasion, I try to pull them into the eternal drama of this Sacrament and explain how the Church anticipates the baby’s entire life by using symbols also used in a funeral Mass. At Baptism, I say, all the angels and saints are sitting on the edge of their seats wondering if the child will grow up to love God and neighbor.

Then I heighten the drama and pose a series of questions: Why did God the Father send his only beloved Son to us knowing full well he would be crucified? What could be so urgent and dire that a parent would do such a thing? From what and whom is Jesus saving us?

I mention how many no longer believe in Satan and hell, and ask: then where does the inspiration for man’s evil ingenuity come from? Can it all be explained by survival of the fittest or psychological problems?

Then I speak frankly about the fact that Catholic families have drifted away from practicing the faith and ask two more questions: If someone lives a life ignoring the crucifixion of Jesus, how is that face-to-face encounter with God his Father going to go? And how can we expect to jump into intimate union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit having never spent time getting to know members of our own parish?

Finally, I counsel them not to follow the crowd. I conclude my remarks by saying these are exciting times, a period when God is raising real Saints, and a time when, as Saint Paul says, “grace abounds all the more.”

Even though I do my best to meet them where they are then ramp up, I can see surprise and seriousness in their faces. But I cannot simply laugh, bless them and send them on their way. If I believe salvation is at stake, which I do, I must find a way to get their attention and alert them. Thus, instead of keeping hell in reserve as a topic for advanced Catholics, I bring it forward. At the climax of my Baptism homily, I lead with the crucifixion followed by speaking of the implicit risk of hell.

We live in a time when people must be convinced about Jesus and his Church. In a previous Crisis article, I discussed the need for a presentation that would promote all God’s words and invisible realities, reconcile them with a loving God, and address people’s doubts, confusion, and moral challenges. If we allow folks to believe unchallenged that the Church can be wrong about one teaching, then we clear a path for more doubts and disbelief regarding other doctrines.

Some time ago, I presented my case at my brother’s parish. It began with film clips from The Passion followed by interview clips with Exorcist director William Friedkin and an old Jesuit priest who had been featured in the docudrama, In the Grip of Evil, which tells the true story that inspired The Exorcist (as a young Jesuit, the priest had assisted at that exorcism). As with the Baptism homily, I led with the crucifixion followed by an implicit risk of hell.

My brother attended both sessions, parts one and two, over two nights. I had to twist his arm, though, because he rarely went to Mass and his children had not received all the sacraments. The following weekend, while on a ski trip with his family, he sent me this text:

So here’s the funny thing. I was thinking about going to Mass the night before but I forgot to set my alarm. I ended up waking up early and checked to see the Mass times and location. I was still laying in bed listening to Spotify off the iPad and what literally comes on is… “Take Me to Church.” I figured that was a pretty good sign to get my butt out of bed. 🙂

Then he sent me pictures of himself in front of the church.

Broaching the Topic of Hell
You might wonder why I “imply” the risk of hell instead of directly threatening people with it (another common tactic). We live in a free world where people will not tolerate being threatened; it will push them away. Moreover, if we were to succeed at terrorizing people, how could they ever freely come to know God as their loving Father, as in the story of the Prodigal Son? That said, on occasion, its shock value might be warranted.

I am under no illusion about being a talented homilist or possessing the secret sauce for evangelization. But I am very clear about two things.

First, if we want to get people’s attention and loosen their soil to be able to receive Christ’s words, we must undermine their presumption of eternal life. That is, we must appeal to self-preservation and their desire to save loved ones, and not to guilt.

Second, we need to address people’s doubts and lack of faith in a systematic way. We cannot let our brothers and sisters live burdened with disbelief without providing help.

If Catholic priests, teachers, and believers in our country rallied around the need to save souls and taught all God’s words, then the Devil would be in for a true fight. Until then, it’s up to the often-isolated faithful to help others believe and appreciate the daily drama for eternal salvation—an extra difficult challenge for those who rarely get this message.

Deacon John Beagan is an information systems developer. He lives in Watertown, MA, with his wife, Marita, a hospital floor nurse, and serves his local parishes of Sacred Heart and Saint Patrick in the Archdiocese of Boston. He can be reached at DeaconJohnBeagan@gmail.com.



The Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God

The theme, or contents, or the purpose of the whole Gospel, is to set forth and make manifest to men the Glory of God (Bible Study Tools)

Two remarks of an expository character will prepare the way for our consideration of this text. The first is that the proper rendering is that which is given in the Revised Version,—” the gospel of the glory,” not the “glorious gospel.” The Apostle is not telling us what kind of thing the Gospel is, but what it is about. He is dealing not with its quality but with its contents. It is a Gospel which reveals, has to do with, is the manifestation of, the glory of God.

Then the other remark is with reference to the meaning of the word “blessed.” There are two Greek words which are both translated “blessed” in the New Testament. One of them, the more common, literally means “well spoken of“, and points to the action of praise or benediction; describes what a man is when men speak well of him, or what God is when men praise and magnify His name. But the other word, which is used here, and is only applied to God once more in Scripture, has no reference to the human attribution of blessing and praise to Him, but describes Him altogether apart from what men say of him but what He is in Himself, the “blessed,” or, as we might almost say, the “happy” God. If the word happy seems too trivial, suggesting ideas of levity, of turbulence, of possible change, then I do not know that we can find any better word than that which is already employed in my text, if only we remember that it means the solemn, calm, restful, perpetual gladness that fills the heart of God.

So much, then, being premised, there are three points that seem to me to come out of this remarkable expression of my text. First, the revelation of God in Christ of which the Gospel is the record, is the glory of God. Second, that revelation is, in a very profound sense, the blessedness of God. And, lastly, that revelation is the good news for men. Let us look at these three points, then, in succession.

I. Take, first, that striking thought that the revelation of God in Jesus Christ is the glory of God.

The theme, or contents, or the purpose of the whole Gospel, is to set forth and make manifest to men the Glory of God.

Now what do we mean by “the glory“? I think, perhaps, that question may be most simply answered by remembering the definite meaning of the word in the Old Testament. There it designates, usually, that supernatural and lustrous light which dwelt between the cherubim, the symbol of the presence and of the self-manifestation of God. So that we may say, in brief, that the glory of God is the sum-total of the light that streams from His self-revelation, considered as being the object of adoration and praise by a world that gazes upon Him.

And if this be the notion of the glory of God, is it not a startling contrast which is suggested between the apparent contents and the real substance of that Gospel? Suppose a man, for instance, who had no previous knowledge of Christianity, being told that in it he would find the highest revelation of the glory of God. He comes to the Book, and finds that the very heart of it is not about God, but about a man; that this revelation of the glory of God Is the biography of a man; and more than that, that the larger portion of that biography is the story of the humiliations, and the sufferings, and the death of the man. Would it not strike him as a strange paradox that the history of a man’s life was the shining apex of all revelations of the glory of God? And yet so it is, and the Apostle, just because to him the Gospel was the story of the Christ Who lived and died, declares that in this story of a human life, patient, meek, limited, despised, rejected, and at last crucified, lies, brighter than all other flashings of the Divine light, the very heart of the lustre and palpitating center and remarkable source of all the radiance with which God has flooded the world. The history of Jesus Christ is the glory of God. And that involves two or three considerations on which I dwell briefly.

One of them is this: Christ, then, is the self-revelation of God. If, when we deal with the story of His life and death, we are dealing simply with the biography of a man, however pure, lofty, inspired he may be, then I ask what sort of connection there is between that biography which the four Gospels gives us, and what my text says is the substance of the Gospel? What force of logic is there in the Apostle’s words: “God commendeth His love toward us in that whilst we were yet sinners Christ died for us,” unless there is some altogether different connection between the God Who commends His love and the Christ who dies to commend it, than exists between a mere man and God? Brethren! to deliver my text and a hundred other passages of Scripture from the charge of being extravagant nonsense and clear, illogical non sequiturs, you must believe that in that Man Christ Jesus ” we behold His glory—the glory of the only begotten of the Father“; and that when we look—haply not without some touch of tenderness and awed admiration in our hearts—upon His gentleness we have to say, “the patient God” ; when we look upon His tears we have to say, “the pitying God“; when we look upon His cross we have to say, “the redeeming God“; and gazing upon the Man, see in Him the manifest Divinity. Oh! listen to that voice, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,” and bow before the story of the human life as being the revelation of the indwelling God.

And then, still further, my text suggests that this self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ is the very climax and highest point of all God’s revelations to men. I believe that the loftiest exhibition and conception of the Divine character which is possible to us must be made to us in the form of a man. I believe that the law of humanity, for ever, in Heaven as on earth, is this, that the Son is the Revealer of God ; and that no loftier—yea, at bottom, no other—communication of the Divine nature can be made to man than is made in Jesus Christ.

But be that as it may, let me urge upon you this thought, that in that wondrous story of the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ the very high-water mark of Divine self-communication has been touched and reached. All the energies of the Divine nature are embodied there. The “riches, both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God,” are in the Cross and Passion of our Savior. “To declare at this time his righteousness” Jesus Christ came to die. The Cross is “the power of God unto salvation.” Or, to put it into other words, and avail oneself of an illustration, we know the old story of the queen who, for the love of an unworthy human heart, dissolved pearls in the cup and gave them to him to drink. We may say that God comes to us, and for the love of us, reprobate and unworthy, has melted all the jewels of His nature into that cup of blessing which He demonstrated to us, saying : ” Drink ye all of it.” The whole God-head, so to speak, is smelted down to make that rushing river of molten love which flows from the Cross of Christ into the hearts of men. Here is the highest point of God’s revelation of Himself.

And my text implies, still further, that the true living, flashing center of the glory of God is the love of God. Christendom is more than half heathen yet, and it betrays its heathenism not least in its vulgar conceptions of the Divine nature and its glory. The majestic attributes which separate God from man, and make Him unlike His creatures, are the ones which people too often fancy belong to the glorious side of His character. They draw distinctions between “grace” and “glory,” and think that the latter applies mainly to what I might call the physical and the metaphysical, and less to the moral, attributes of the Divine nature. We adore power, and when it is expanded to infinity we think that it is the glory of God. But my text delivers us from all such misconceptions. If we rightly understand it, then we learn this, that the true heart of the glory is tenderness and love. Of power that weak Man hanging on the cross is a strange embodiment; but if we learn that there is something more godlike in God than power, then we can say, as we look upon Jesus Christ: “Lo ! this is our God. We have waited for Him, and He will save us.” Not in the wisdom that knows no growth, not in the knowledge which has no border-land of ignorance ringing it round about, not in the unwearied might of His arm, not in that awful Presence wheresoever creatures are, not in any or in all of these lies the glory of God, but in His love. These are the fringes of the brightness ; this is the central blaze. The Gospel is the Gospel of the glory of God, because it is all summed up in the one word,—” God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

II. Now, in the next place, the revelation of God in Christ is the blessedness of God.

We are come here into places where we see but very dimly, and it becomes us to speak very cautiously. Only as we are led by the Divine teaching may we affirm at all. But it cannot be unwise to accept in simple literality utterances of Scripture, however they may seem to strike us as strange. And so I would say—the philosopher’s God may be all-sufficient and unemotional, the Bible’s God ” delighteth in mercy,” rejoiceth in His gifts, and is glad when men accept them. It is something, surely, amid all the griefs and sorrows of this sorrow-haunted and devil-hunted world, to rise to this lofty region and to feel that there is a living personal Joy at the heart of the universe. If we went no further, to me there is infinite beauty and mighty consolation and strength in that one thought—the happy God. He is not, as some ways of representing Him figure Him to be, what the older astronomers thought the sun was, a great cold orb, black and frigid at the heart, though the source and centre of light and warmth to the system. But He Himself is Joy, or if we dare not venture on that word, which brings with it earthly associations, and suggests the possibility of alteration—He is the blessed God. And the Psalmist saw deeply into the Divine nature, who, not contented with hymning His praise as the Possessor of the fountain of life, and the Light whereby we see light, exclaimed in an ecstasy of anticipation, “Thou makest us to drink of the rivers of Thy pleasures.

there is a great deal more than that here, if not in the word itself, at least in its connection, which connection seems to suggest that howsoever the Divine nature must be supposed to be blessed in its own absolute and boundless perfectness, an element in the blessedness of God Himself arises from His self-communication through the Gospel to the world. All love delights in imparting. Why should not God’s? On the lower level of human affection we know that it is so, and on the highest level we may with all reverence venture to say, The quality of that mercy …. “is twice blest,” and that Divine love “blesseth Him that gives and them that take.

He created a universe because He delights in His works and in having creatures on whom He can lavish Himself. He “rests in His love, and rejoices over us with singing” when we open our hearts to the reception of His light, and learn to know Him as He has declared Himself in His Christ. The blessed God is blessed because He is God. But He is blessed too because He is the loving and therefore the giving God.

What a rock-firmness such a thought as this gives to the mercy and the love that He pours out upon us! If they were evoked by our worthiness we might well tremble, but when we know, according to the grand words familiar to many of us, that it is His nature and property to be merciful, and that He is far gladder in giving than we can be in receiving, then we may be sure that His mercy endureth for ever, and that it is the very necessity of His being—and He cannot turn His back upon Himself—to love, to pity, to succor, and to bless.

III. And so, lastly, the revelation of God in Christ is good news for us all.

The Gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” How that word “gospel” has got tarnished and enfeebled by constant use and unreflective use, so that it slips glibly off my tongue and falls without producing any effect upon your hearts. It needs to be freshened up by considering what really it means. It means this: here are we like men shut up in a beleaguered city, hopeless, helpless, with no power to break out or to raise the siege; provisions failing, death certain. Some of you older men and women remember how that was the case in that awful siege of Paris, in the Franco-German War, and what expedients were adopted in order to get some communication from without. And here to us, imprisoned, comes, as it did to them, a dispatch borne under a Dove’s wing, and the message is this: God is love; and that you may know that He is, He has sent you His Son Who died on the Cross, the sacrifice for a world’s sin. Believe it and trust it, and all your transgressions will pass away.

My brother, is not that good news? Is it not the good news that you need—the news of a Father, of pardon, of hope, of love, of strength, of purity, of Heaven? Does it not meet our fears, our forebodings, oar wants at every point? It comes to you. What do you do with it? Do you welcome it eagerly, do you clutch it to your hearts, do you say,” This is my Gospel“? Oh ! let me beseech you, welcome the message ; do not turn away from the Word from Heaven, which will bring life and blessedness to all your hearts 1 Some of you have turned away long enough, some of you, perhaps, are fighting with the temptation to do so again even now. Let me press that ancient Gospel upon your acceptance, that Christ the Son of God has died for you, and lives to bless and help you. Take it and live! So shall you find that “as cold water to a thirsty soul, so is this best of all news from the far country.”



Sharing the Gospel with Family During Christmas

by Tim Brister | If you haven’t already done so, “come out of the closet” as a Christian to your family.

I’ve been browsing through Randy Newman’s book, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Your Family Members, Your Close Friends, and Others You Know Well. This is an incredibly important topic as I have come to find it harder to share the gospel with family members as it is with an unknown person in my community. I imagine this is true for most if not all Christians.

In the conclusion of his introductory chapter, Newman provides four steps for sharing the gospel with your family. I thought they were very thoughtful and practical. Check them out.

1.  If you don’t already have one, develop a system for prayer for your family. Perhaps you can set aside a section in a prayer journal.

2.  Begin your prayers for your family with thanksgiving. This may be more difficult for some people than others. Regardless of your family’s well-being, thank God for the family you have and all the accompanying benefits you can identify.

3.  You may need to include prayers of confession as well–confession of your lack of love for your family, your idolatry of control in trying to change them, your reliance on your ability to convict them of their sin instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to do that, your coldheartedness, haughtiness, and self-righteousness, etc. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine his light of truth on your darkness of sin.

4.  If you haven’t already done so, “come out of the closet” as a Christian to your family. Pray for gentle words and a gracious demeanor mixed with bold confidence. . . . Aim for your announcement to be informational rather than evangelistic. You can trust God to open evangelistic doors later.

#3 nailed me.

One thing I might add, especially if you have a large family: look for opportunities in the course of the day when it is not so hectic where you might be able to enjoy a sustained conversation with a family member who is not a Christian. In a large group setting, conversations tend to stay on a superficial level, but if you can get alone with one or two family members for 10-15 minutes or longer, you will have a greater opportunity of magnetizing the conversation to the gospel and how Jesus has changed, and is changing your life.

Tim Brister is a pastor and elder at Grace Baptist Church. Find out more on his blog: Provocations and Pantings.



How to Share the Gospel with Your Kids

by Kelly Mikhailiuk | As a child of God, each one of us is dearly loved and cherished by our perfect Father. Once He adopts us as His own, no one can take us away from Him and nothing could ever separate us from His love.

Our children begin to define themselves at a very young age, and the search for identity intensifies as they approach adolescence. 

Like all of us, our children will default to finding their identity in what others think or expect—defining themselves by performance or status—or in their own passions, desires, dreams or goals. But what if they defined themselves by what the Bible says? 

What our children (and ourselves) need most is to know and believe the truth about who we are in Christ. Below you will find a few tips on how to share the gospel with your child along with a few follow-up questions. Whether this is your first talk or your hundredth, it is our prayer that God will guide your words and actions every step of the way.

1. Say this: "You are created in God’s image."

So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. —Genesis 1:27

For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. —Psalm 139:13-14

God created everything, but only human beings are made in His own image—we’re made to be like God and live in relationship with Him. God knows us best because He carefully formed every tiny detail of our bodies and minds. He made each of us just the way He wanted—we are all “remarkably and wonderfully made”—and He planned out all our days before we were even born. 

Ask These Questions:

  • Look at yourself in a mirror. What do you see? What do you think God sees? 
  • Think about the people in your life—in your family, church, community, school. What difference does it make when you think of them as individuals wonderfully made by God in His image? 

2. Say this: "Jesus Loves You." 

Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. —1 John 4:10-11

Everyone wants to be loved. 

We do all sorts of things to try to make ourselves lovable—to be smart enough or funny enough or pretty enough or good enough to earn the love of other people. God proved His love for us when He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross and take the punishment for our sin. He loved us when we were His enemies. We couldn’t possibly earn God’s love, but He gave it to us freely, and He keeps on loving us no matter what. We are lovable because the great God of the universe loves us, and His great love never ends. Because God fills us up with His love in this way, we can love other people—even the people who don’t love us. 

Ask These Questions:

  • Do you think you are a lovable person? Why or why not? Why does God love you? 
  • Think of one person you struggle to love. How can God’s love for you enable you to love that person? 

3. Say this: "God forgives us and makes us new."

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgives us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. —Colossians 3:12-13

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. —2 Corinthians 5:17

When Jesus died on the cross, He took all our sin, guilt, and condemnation on Himself—and when we put our faith in Him, He gives us His perfect, clean righteousness instead. 

Because of what Jesus did—this great exchange—the Bible says God is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess our sins to Him. When God looks at you, He sees not a dirty, guilty sinner but the likeness of His own perfect Son. You have been made new—your heart is changed, and God is continually working to make you more like Jesus. When you trust in Jesus, you can confess your sins to God and to others without fear because you are forgiven. 

Ask These Questions:

  • How does the truth of what Jesus did for us keep us humble? How does the truth keep us from wallowing in guilt? 
  • The Bible tells us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Knowing how much God has forgiven us, how should we treat other people? 

4. Say this: "Nothing can separate you from God."

All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children. —Romans 8:14-16

For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! —Romans 8:38-39

My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish — ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. —John 10:27

When you receive Jesus as your Savior, God adopts you into His family. 

As a child of God, each one of us is dearly loved and cherished by our perfect Father. Once He adopts us as His own, no one can take us away from Him and nothing could ever separate us from His love. We also share a special family bond with other Christians, because every Christian everywhere who has ever lived belongs to God’s family—that’s a lot of brothers and sisters! As children of God, we are heirs to a wonderful inheritance. One day we will live forever—together with all of God’s family—in the heavenly home He has prepared for us. 

Ask These Questions:

  • How does it make you feel to know God chose you to be His child and adopted you into His family? 
  • Think about the other Christians you know. How can you be a loving brother or sister to them? What about all the Christians you don’t know? 

As your children grow and develop their sense of identity, guide them to God’s Word and the truth of who they are in Christ. If you'd like more information on how to share the gospel, check out the links below.

Article courtesy of LifeWay | ParentLife magazine.



Why Gospel for Asia Got Kicked Out of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

Gospel for Asia founder K.P. Yohannan in 2005. Donna McWilliam / Associated Press

Leaders from Gospel for Asia (GFA), one of the largest missions agencies in the United States, says they may have been “unintentionally negligent” in their financial and management practices. But they deny any wrongdoing after being ousted by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

In a rare move last week, ECFA terminated the membership of Gospel for Asia (GFA), one of its charter members.

ECFA believes that GFA misled donors, mismanaged resources, has an ineffective board, and failed to live up to its promises as an ECFA member. It had been investigating GFA since June.

All told, ECFA found that GFA violated five of the accountability group’s seven core standards. As a result, the ECFA board voted on October 2 to cut ties with GFA. The board said its decision is final.

“This ends Gospel for Asia’s 36-year-long status as an ECFA member,” the council said in a statement.

The move caught GFA by surprise. In a statement provided to CT, GFA said that no money “was found to be missing” in ECFA’s extensive review of the ministry’s finances. But the review did reveal conflicts between GFA procedures and ECFA standards. Leaders at GFA said they were working to make changes recommended by ECFA, and had expected to remain in good standing.

“Although this is disappointing, Gospel for Asia accepts the decision with regret and sadness,” GFA said in a statement.

David Carroll, GFA’s chief financial officer, told CT that the termination letter from ECFA and the report of its GFA review have not been released to the public. Founder K.P. Yohannan was not available for comment.

Losing ECFA membership is the latest setback for GFA, which has been under scrutiny since the summer of 2014. In a letter to the GFA board of directors, a group of former staff calling itself the GFA Diaspora accused the group’s leaders, including Yohannan, of mistreating staff and lying to donors.

In response, GFA’s board of directors launched a formal investigation. The board said the investigation found no merit to the complaints.

“While the board investigation concluded that there was no wrongdoing on the part of leadership, we recognize that, as humans, our leadership is not always going to be perfect,” Carroll told blogger Warren Throckmorton in a statement earlier this year.

Cody Carnine said he originally dismissed the critics’ claims as untrue when he worked as volunteer manager for GFA.

“When the letter from the Diaspora first came out, I thought they were crazy,” said Carnine, who left GFA in June 2015 after 10 years on staff.

Carnine said that as he looked further into the complaints made by former staff, he began to agree with them. He felt that too much deference was being paid to Yohannan.

And he worried that GFA has too much control over the lives of its staff members. Most live in GFA-owned housing at the group’s campus in Wills Point, Texas. Yohannan, he said, discouraged staffers from attending a local church. Instead, they were told to turn to him and other GFA leaders for spiritual guidance. Staff members were also told that their work was more important than anything, including their families—a charge also made by the GFA Diaspora.

Carnine also worried about the work GFA was doing overseas.

American staffers were allowed to visit India on so-called “vision tours,” said Carnine. But they weren’t privy to any of the finances of the overseas work. And they were discouraged from even being Facebook friends with overseas staff.

www.gospelproject.com?CID=clandes-mzc-cti-apr-home-leather

“When it comes to the field, we were totally kept out of that ministry,” he said.

Yohannan is best known for his sometimes controversial approach to missions, said Greg Parsons, director of global connections for Frontier Ventures. He said Yohannan argues that sending out Western missionaries is old-fashioned and ineffective, and that churches in Western nations should instead send money to support national ministries.

It’s an extremely effective message for recruiting church support, said Parsons.

“They have done a really good job in getting a bunch of churches on board [to get] missions done,” he said.

To fulfill Yohannan’s vision, GFA raises funds to support missionaries and a child sponsorship program. Those funds are then sent to GFA’s overseas offices—in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh—and to Believers Church, a denomination in India run by Yohannan.

In 2013, GFA brought in $93.8 million, according to its audited financials. Patrick Johnstone, author of the first six editions of the widespread missions handbook Operation World, ranked GFA second among the “world’s largest mission agencies in 2010” in his book The Future of the Global Church. GFA is listed below Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ International) and above 3 Operation Mobilisation, the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Missions Board, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Youth with a Mission.

Critics of GFA say the US-based GFA board has little oversight over the work in India.

One of those critics is Tom Sluberski, who resigned earlier this year after 12 years at GFA. When he first arrived, Sluberski said, GFA was focused on reaching unreached people with the gospel. Now, he said, GFA exists mostly to raise money to build infrastructure for the 2-million-member Believers Church. That’s a worthy goal, he said. But it’s not what he or donors signed up for.

Sluberski doesn’t think that Yohannan can tell the difference anymore between the two organizations. There’s too much crossover in Yohannan’s two roles, he said. And a great deal of money passes between the organizations.

In 2013, Believers Church gave $19.8 million to GFA. The money was used to help complete construction on GFA’s $40 million headquarters.

On its 2013 audited statement, GFA reported the $19.8 million as a “temporarily restricted contribution from an anonymous donor.” But in May 2015, Carroll told the GFA staff that a “board that is under Believers Church umbrella” had taken out a loan in Asia for the $19.8 million and sent money to the GFA in the US. (Throckmorton posted a recording of that staff meeting.)

“There really is no difference anymore between Believers Church and GFA,” Sluberski said. “They are one and the same.”

Travis Helm, former director of development at GFA, agrees.

By the time he left the ministry this past summer, after 10 years on staff, he’d lost faith in Yohannan and the organization. He worries that donors are being misled about GFA’s work.

He said that GFA’s leaders did not reveal the loan from India to staff or donors. Yohannan also downplayed some of the details about Believers Church.

In its ordination services, for example, new priests are asked to kiss Yohannan’s rings as an act of obedience. Helm said that Yohannan, whose title as head of Believers Church is metropolitan, denied that the ring-kissing ceremonies have taken place for fear of offending evangelical donors.

For years, Helm said, GFA told donors that building a new church in India cost $10,000. Then he was told to increase this amount to $40,000 in GFA promotional materials. He said that there was no indication that the cost of churches had actually increased.

Helm doesn’t believe that GFA has mismanaged money. Instead, he thinks it is less than truthful with donors, which caused him to lose faith in the organization.

“If I can’t trust them with the small things, why would I trust them with money?” he said.

In its statement, GFA acknowledged it had experienced growing pains and may have been “unintentionally negligent at times.”

“While we will be working to improve our reporting of financial matters to donors, we will always be cautious about disclosing anything that may jeopardize the safety of ministry partners working in areas hostile to the gospel,” GFA said in a statement to CT. “We continually look to the Lord for his wisdom and guidance in often complicated international financial and political environments.”

Potential Fallout

Helm, the former development director, believes ECFA’s decision will cost GFA money. The ECFA seal of approval appears on all of GFA’s literature, he said, and is used to promote the trustworthiness of GFA.

“They live and die by ECFA,” he said.

David Cooke, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Riverhead, New York, said that he was disturbed by the loss of ECFA membership. Cooke has endorsed GFA in the past, but that may change.

“I find the reported issues at GFA to be very concerning, and I will likely be asking to have my endorsement removed,” he told CT in an email. “I pray that they will repent of all wrongdoing and make things right.”

In contrast, Jimmy Morales, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Lone Mountain in Las Vegas and another GFA supporter, said it was “heartbreaking to see these things happening” but that GFA leaders had “historically been exceedingly meticulous regarding their financial accountability.”

“Knowing the leadership of [GFA] intimately, I am certain that none of these things were done out of wickedness or greed, but apparently some amount of carelessness has crept in regarding finances that needs to be addressed,” he told CT in an email. “I am looking forward to seeing GFA resolve these matters, and I hope that they do it before they lose very much of their support base.”

The ECFA decision was troubling to pastor and author Francis Chan.

Chan joined GFA’s board earlier this year. He’d only been to one meeting before the ECFA decision was announced.

“I was surprised and concerned when I read the report from ECFA,” he told CT in an email. “It has been weighing heavy on my heart. It’s not often that I make a decision that impacts millions of people.”

Chan told CT he’s still learning about the size and scope of GFA’s ministry. That will help him make better decisions as a board member.

“I know too little about the culture in India to make judgments about their decisions,” he said. “I have never run a ministry of this magnitude. I have experience with leading thousands, but not millions. I have experience with budgets of millions, not hundreds of millions. I am going to spend time listening and researching.”

Chan said he wasn’t sure if he should stay on the GFA board. But he plans to stick by Yohannan.

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“While there remains uncertainty, I do know that I love K.P. and pray for him,” he said. “I see him as a brother and a friend, and I want to be the godliest friend I can be to him during this time.”

Carrying Cash

For several former staffers, a breaking point came in 2013, when GFA began sending cash money overseas in unmarked envelopes.

At the time, the ministry was concerned about increased scrutiny from the Indian government. So it began asking staff, students, and pastors on vision tours to carry cash for the ministry without declaring it to US officials, according to former staff members.

US regulations stipulate that travelers must declare any amount over $10,000 when leaving the country. Former staff members and students in GFA’s school of discipleship told CT that GFA attempted get around that rule by having a number of group members carry smaller amounts—as much as $4,500 each.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warns that such “bulk cash smuggling” is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Helm said he carried $4,500 in cash on one occasion and that Yohannan asked him to give similar envelopes to the group of pastors he was leading. The total amount of cash exceeded the $10,000 limit, he said. Helm refused to hand the cash to the pastors.

Upon arrival in India, Helm said he turned over the cash to GFA staff but did not receive a receipt. Some cash was also carried by students in GFA’s School of Discipleship.

“We’ve taken more than a half million through these students to India—and never got a receipt,” Helm said.

Several former School of Discipleship students and one other former staff member confirmed to CT that they had carried cash for the ministry. They requested anonymity, saying they had been contacted by DHS as part of an investigation into GFA’s actions.

In a May staff meeting, Carroll said the practice of carrying undeclared cash was legal. He also said that GFA had decided to stop the practice.

“We would never endanger students or anyone else,” Carroll said in a recording of the meeting, posted online by Throckmorton. “We’ve had pastors carry money, we’ve had staff carry money, we’re always looking for ways to get money into India because the reality is that it’s getting more difficult to do that, and we are looking for other ways that we’re able to do that.”

Carroll told CT that GFA contacted DHS earlier this year, after becoming aware that it should have filed declarations. He said that GFA’s attorneys have now filed all the necessary paperwork, but said that he did not have copies of the paperwork.

“If we are being investigated, we have not heard anything about it,” he said.

A spokesperson for DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement told CT the agency “does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation unless the matter is publicly available through court documents.”

Although they aren’t happy with the outcome, GFA leaders say they’ve learned from the ECFA’s review.

“We believe that much of the conversation we have had with ECFA has indeed been part of the Lord showing us the way and how to walk in it,” GFA said in its statement. “We are truly grateful for this part of our journey in learning how to better serve our Lord Jesus, our donors and sponsors, and our field partners as we go forward.”

By Bob Smietana, One of the world’s largest missions agencies denies wrongdoing and vows to improve.
Check out the original article here  Morgan Lee and Ruth Moon contributed to this report.