July 10, 2013
For someone who derives their living from churches and pastors, writing blogs can be a DANGEROUS move...especially when you see many pitfalls and dangers in the prevailing church growth methodology of the day but sometimes it is important that we share a word...so today I am going to share a word.
I am going to address the "dresscode" of the church. If you know me, you know I am conservative. I am conservative at 48...but I was also conservative when I was 16. I might be the last person in the church to do it, but I wear a suit and tie when I am on the platform. On a regular basis, I have pastors greet me at the door and inform me that they I can take off my coat and tie. I very nicely inform them that I do not wear it for them...but I wear it for two reasons. First and foremost, I do it as a show of respect to God for Whom I sing and represent. Secondly I do it as a show of respect to the people I am singing to. I tell you this so I do not misrepresent myself or where I am coming from.
I want to throw out a few things for you to think about. I think the church world has gotten away from some good hearted debate. I have dear pastor friends who feel completely opposite on this subject and we love each other and know each other's hearts. The idea that we can't share differing ideas and still be brothers and sisters in Christ is absurd. It is also absurb pastors, to insinuate that anyone in your congregation that disagrees with you is somehow out of line or causing disunity. Don't even go there. So here are some thoughts.
The first thing I will directly mention is the absurd notion that somehow ME dressing in a suit in tie is going to cause someone to NOT come to visit the church because they don't have a suit and tie. This is the oldest and STUPIDEST argument I have ever heard and one that well meaning people have parroted for the past 30 years. I was recently in a VERY conservative church (much more conservative than me) and everyone on the platform was dressed up. BUT there were still people in the audience that had on shorts. Listen to me and listen to me carefully---there will not be one person in hell because we dressed up as a sign of respect to God!!!! Yes, you might have invited a friend to church in 1979 and gotten a response like "I don't have anything to wear" but I promise you that when you tell them the dresscode is casual, you will just get a different excuse. Don't be so gullible! This is pure stupidity.
Second, I want to throw something to think about it. Worship leaders today are constantly trying to tell us that we are entering the very holy of holies when we are listening to their worship leading. Apparently, they haven't read much of the Bible because God demanded an unbelievably high "dress code" for entering His presence. It was not only a difficult process and high standard, but failure to meet it met death. Oh but Brad, we live in New Testament times. The Old Testament showed us what our standards should be. The New Testament took away the penalty and the letter of the law, but it did not change the standard or the spirit of the law. We are to come into God's presence with respect and preparation both spiritually and physically. You might "say" you are leading us into the very presence of God, but when a young person looks at the sloppy clothes you are wearing, they don't believe it. They might be dressed as sloppy as you but they know full well that if you truly believed that Jesus Christ was going to make an appearance at your church today, you would be dressed differently. When a noted church pastor looks like a slob at his Sunday service, but dressed in suit and tie to pray at the inauguration of the President (true story), it doesn't matter what his mouth says. What his actions said was "Obama IMPORTANT---God not important." I am not saying you have to wear a suit and tie. Everyone "dresses up" differently...but it is doesn't take a nuclear scientist to realize when people put no effort into their appearance before God.
Third, I want to be honest about our appearance at church. Because we have lowered the bar so far, we have not only gone to sloppy but we have gone to worldly. I was at a church in Florida that had a very large worship choir. They all dressed in black shirts/blouses and jeans. Theoretically it could have looked very nice, except that the majority of the women seemed to be having a contest on who could fit into the tighest jeans. One more helping of communion bread and there would have been buttons flying off those jeans like bullets across the congregation. When they stood in front of the congregation with those jeans hugging every contour of their bodies, not even Paul the Apostle could have kept his mind on the sermon. Have we become so deceived that we cannot see this is wrong?? And in all honesty, that was tame compared to what many of you are seeing in your churches today. In the 80's, dresses were longer at nightclubs than young girls and woman are wearing to church. Many pastors are realizing the problem, but I contend it started with you. You said we no longer had to dress as a show of respect to God...and this is where it goes. I love you...but "duh!"
Lastly, let's talk about worship. It's the buzzword of the church today. We put these kids up there as worship leaders and they "teach" people who have served the Lord for 50 years about true and higher worship. Let me tell you what true and higher worship ISN'T. It isn't singing a bunch of songs that you just love to sing. Worship demands a price. It doesn't cost you anything to sing songs that you love. You already enjoy that. That's praise...and obviously it is a form of worship. But truer and higher? Give me a break. I am talking about dress code here so let me pose something else for you to think about. If worship demands a price, just what about your Sunday worship cost? Well, it cost you something to come. You gave up your sleep or other Sunday activity to be there. In that, your very presence in the church building is more an act of worship than singing those songs. And you are condescending to tell the senior saints that they aren't worshiping well enough? You left your air conditioned house to get into your air conditioned car to go to your air conditioned church. That was your highest form of worship on Sunday while those people you condescend to pushed their feeble bodies to the limit just getting out of bed. And then they pushed their arthritic hands to get dressed to come to church. Walking to their cars at home and from their cars to the church is an effort many of us can't imagine. For many of them, sitting in a chair or pew causes them pain. But they did ALL of it as an act of WORSHIP. They need to be teaching us...not the other way around. It's amazing that the poor elderly man whose fingers are gnarled up can still manage to tie a tie but we can't even dress up beyond what we mow the yard in. The elderly lady who uses a walker and oxygen tank can still be there on Sunday night and Wednesday night, but the worship experts hardly make it to Sunday morning. Bottom line, if you don't particularly like to dress up but you do it because you love and respect God, it is more an act of worship than the songs we sing and call worship. My appearance before God is an act of worship and I will NOT change it...not for you and not for any pastor.
We have become so bogged down in the "marketing" of the gospel that we have forgotten that Jesus isn't looking for adherents. Our church growth experts keep saying to give them what they like. But Jesus called us to give them what they need!!!!! It won't always bring in a big crowd...Jesus lost so many of His flock that He asked the 12 if they too were going to abandon Him. I'm not saying you should encourage people to dress up---but neither should you ask me to stop dressing up. Perhaps it is time to realize that our attendance and our appearance are just as much or more an act of worship than the singing.
I hope all of you who disagree still love me.
January 13, 2011
As I look at church websites, it's all geared at the youth. You often hear it said that a church without youth is not a healthy church. Well, let me throw a couple thoughts at our pastors...First, a church without old people is also not a healthy church. Churches of all young people are like the blind leading the blind. The Bible teaches us to revere and to learn from the older Christians. Second, old people need Jesus too. There are millions of lost people older people that are going to hell...and probably going to arrive quicker and just might be thinking about eternity.
We have churches by the thousands who think that everything should be about the young people. The old people are just supposed to "go through the motions." They tell them to come to a service and sing songs they hate, listen to a message that contains little or no gospel and dress like a slob. They tell us we have to do this to reach the young people. Well, I have news for you. The church is supposed to be about FEEDING THE FLOCK. In fact, the real purpose of the church is not reaching the people on the outside....rather it's purpose is training and equipping those on the INSIDE so THEY go and reach the people on the outside. You do not TRAIN and EQUIP anyone if you are not feeding them! The goal of the church service should be to FEED EVERYONE...TRAIN EVERYONE and EQUIP EVERYONE in the congregation.
I go to churches week after week and look at older people who are dying on the vine...being forced to live on yesterday's spiritual meals. And it is a tragedy! These people need to be nourished and on the front line. They are founts of wisdom and faithfulness. We need to get to know them. We need to put our young people in contact with them. WE NEED EACH OTHER!
And one final thought. A lot of places I go, the pastors and music ministers are doing ALL the music for the few young people while the vast majority of their congregation stand there like rocks. Wake up! Young people don't want to come to a church full of rocks....even if the music is all about THEM. They are far more likely to come to the church of participants even if there is a blend of music.
And while I am just being as blunt as I am, let's face it. The sum vision many pastors and music pastors have for young people is to change the name of the church and change the music style. Sorry to inform you that if that's all you've got, it might work today...but before long there will be another church down the street with more happening music and a more catchy name and all those people will head down there. You reach young people the same way you reached young people 50 years ago.... you train, you equip, you love and you invest in their lives.
We have churches today with thousands of people...drawn by music and fluff. They are lucky to come one time a week. Their morals are little different from the world. Their lives are little different from the world. They apparently think Jesus is like this fan page...just hit "like" and you are good to go. No cost, no change...equals no salvation. They tell us these are the things to attract the crowd...but I wonder how many thousands of these members will still be at church the Sunday after Jesus comes.
March 25, 2010---"I have a question"
I am going to venture today into very very dangerous territory. It is amazing that people can criticize your pastor and evoke very little response, but when they criticize your favorite TV preacher, people will go into a huff. This is very sad. But it is not the main goal of this blog.
We have some very prominent preachers today that seem stuck on "1 subject" ministries. Often it is a ministry of "healing" or "encouragement." It seems like they do not preach or teach on anything else. Some have publicly said they never preach on sin and one interviewed by Larry King would not even say whether "Jesus" is the only way to Heaven.
Whether you have been encouraged by them or not, these are legitimate concerns. If we do not believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven as He expressly claimed, then we have thrown out the entirety of the Great Commission. If we do not preach on sin, then we do not need a Savior....period! Jesus did not shed His precious blood to give you a prosperous life; He shed it to save you from SIN! The problem facing the world today is not depression or discouragement; it is SIN.
But even that is not what this blog is about. This blog is directed to all you preachers who are out there preaching AGAINST this very type of preaching. I have a question I want to pose to you. If you think that preaching should be more than 'feel good' encouragement and 'cliches about the positives of God', why is it that you have the very kind of music in your church that is exactly just that? You say our preaching must be full of teaching, and admonition. You say we have to preach on more than just encouragement or "God is good". Yet your music is full of contemporary worship songs that say NOTHING. It's all "God is good, good, good, good, good" and very little else.
Most of our good churches would throw out a preacher who didn't teach....and just "encouraged." Yet, that's what we tolerate as music.
If you want a good invitation song, you'll have to pick an old one---or sing a new worship song that has nothing to with invitation. We are writing very few missions songs, very few communion songs.....and very few songs about the Blood, the Cross or the Blessed Hope. I'm not saying there are not good teaching songs out there; but a precious small percentage.
Pastors, is it not hypocritical to condemn the preaching of others for this and then have worship music that is the same way?
Colossians 3:16 says "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." Our worship songs are supposed to TEACH...and ADMONISH! They are not just supposed to say "You're great, You're great....I love You I love You."
I'm sorry to tell you, pastor, but the retention level for the music is VASTLY higher than the retention level of your preaching. Sad to say, but 95% of your congregation can't remember what you preached about last Sunday. Our songs should serve as a complement to your preaching, and a reinforcement of your teaching.
If it is invalid to say you have to have shallow modern preaching to get people saved, then it is invalid to say you have to have shallow modern music to reach young people.
Think about it
March 24, 2010---"Holy Spirit Driven"
I was on the website of West End Baptist in Houston, TX today and noticed that throughout the site they said they were striving to be a "Holy Spirit Driven" church. I really like that. I'm not arguing with the motivation behind "Purpose Driven," but we have become cultic behind something that is not much different than anything taught at major corporations in America. We have plenty of churches driven by purpose; the purpose usually being to be the biggest church they can be. We seem, however, to have a shortage of churches desiring to be truly led by the Spirit of God.
If a "Purpose Driven" church can step up to becoming a "Holy Spirit Driven" church, they will not only be driven, but they will be empowered. If you are seeking to define purpose, let's not strive for numbers or relevancy, but let's purpose to be "Holy Spirit Driven."
January 25, 2010----"Relevant"
As I am working on scheduling this morning, I have read numerous church websites and keep seeing the word "relevant." One church is cancelling their Sunday night service for the Super Bowl and then everybody is to wear sports jerseys to church on Sunday morning. This, they say, is making the church relevant.
Let's look at the Webster's definition of relevant....it is "having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand." I'm sorry to argue with you preachers of relevancy, but the Gospel has always been RELEVANT!!!!! It has always been the most relevant item on this earth. When I was a kid and the preacher preached on hell, it might not have had anything to do with the Super Bowl, but it was RELEVANT...because every human being on this earth is headed there without the gospel of Jesus Christ! I wonder how those poor people in churches years ago ever made it to heaven when they wore suits and ties and talked about salvation instead of wearing jerseys and talking about a football game?
I'm sorry to say but the church of today that thinks itself so relevant, is becoming more and more and more irrelevant. Perhaps today's church should be more aptly described as "RELEGATED". Websters definition of this is "to assign to a place of insignificance or of oblivion: put out of sight or mind." For all you Super Bowl lovers, Websters also lists a sport definition and it is "to transfer to a lower ranking division."
Wow does that ever describe the American church in the 21st century. In the days gone by, we went to church and worshiped God on the very Sunday night that the Super Bowl was being played. Many churches would tape the game and show it downstairs with popcorn after the service. This, my friends, was RELEVANT....because we showed that what was truly significant to the matter at hand was JESUS....not Peyton Manning (as great of a football player as he is). But, canceling service for the Super Bowl is RELEGATED because it says the Super Bowl is more important than our worship. In our quest for RELEVANCE, we have RELEGATED the King of Kings. There are many things on this earth of which I am a fan, but JESUS shouldn't take a back seat to any of them!
I'm sorry, but this is wrong.
"Am I missing something?"
October 19, 2009---It seems to me that the church today has gotten a little confused on how to reach the youth. I just finished reading a church website saying their goal was to minister to the family in a way that made the young people excited about coming to church. Although that sounds noble on the surface, it is just code to say that anyone over 40 will hate the music but that's what we have to do to reach the youth.
I respectfully disagree and would tell you that the stats show that the contemporary Christian music generation is failing miserably at 'passing the faith.' They might point to a few megachurch gatherings where there are many young people, but are we actually 'passing the faith.'? They won't go to a service other than Sunday...they won't go twice on Sunday...they don't go to Sunday School and they barely go on Sunday mornings. Sorry, Rick Warren, but that isn't 'passing the faith.' Their moral values are not much different than that of the world. I do not care if there are 20,000 in your contemporary service, that is NOT 'passing the faith. Churches are acting like the musical generation gap is new. Are we forgetting that the kids 30 years ago did not listen to 'hymns' on their record players? They listened to the Beattles and Elvis. We did not have Beattle style worship services, did we? Yet, amazingly many of us got saved. Even more amazing, is that many of that generation still LOVED church...even though the Sunday morning service did not feature our 'favorite' music. Part of the difference was we came to church more than once a week. The youth had plenty of OUR music because we met on Wednesday nights...and Friday nights, etc.
We live in a generation of LAZY ministers and ministries (of which I am a part). You will not reach a generation if your finite brain thinks that music is your main source of evangelizing the youth. They need friends and mentors and relationships....not music. They need more than just Sunday morning! These are much more difficult and time consuming than a simple music style change. I will also tell you that the next generation NEEDS the older generation. You will not effectively grow, disciple and mature young believers by putting them with a churchful of immature young believers. They need the older generation to do this. However, we keep running the older generation off because they are obstacles to our progress.
Well so far I see a lot of change....but after seeing churches in 50 states and 47 countries, I will tell you, I have not seen a lot of progress!
October 14, 2009---I recently sang in Ohio and as I was walking into the church I met a man named "Billy." Billy is probably well into his 50's and is learning impaired. He introduced himself quickly and I asked him how he was doing. With incredible enthusiasm he said he just "couldn't wait to see Jesus." He went on to say "I was just telling the Lord today....You've been so good to me, I just can't wait til I get to be with you." I was struck by the love and childlike faith. I was convicted that I hadn't had the same overriding feeling that day. This man had not been blessed with many of the things we have been given. He did not have much money and he had been struck with the limitations in life caused by his impairment. Yet he had been gripped by the goodness of God.
I went inside the church and Billy was standing in the lobby. Some people from the church began coming in and they started to share their condolences. It was now that I learned that Billy's mother had just died a few days before. This is a dreaded event for all of us, but because of Billy's impairment, his attachment to his mother was much greater. And on top of losing the closest person to him, he had lost the person on which he was most dependent.
Yet it is only days after perhaps the greatest tragedy in his life, Billy is expressing with incredible confidence...."Lord, You've been so good to me, I just can't wait til I get to be with You." O God, give me the same realization and desire, for if you've been so good to Billy, you have been 20 times as good to me. I pray that we can somehow forget the urgent cares of this life and fall in love with Jesus all over again...being overwhelmed by His goodness to us...and longing for the day we can be with Him.
My thanks to this precious learning impaired man who taught me again what's really important in this life.
Brad appears with the Blackwood Brothers on the new Gaither homecoming video "Rock of Ages" which came out on April 15, 2008. They sing Brad's arrangement of "More about Jesus."
Brad makes a solo tour in Norway in June....he will be appearing with the Focus Quartet comprised of some of Brad's friends in Norway. He also has special solo dates in Aruba and the United Arab Emirates later in 2008.
I doubt many of you even look at this page since it seems like I am SO slack in keeping it up to date. I'm presently just outside of Portland, OR thinking about the fact that "I WANT TO GO HOME!!!!"
It has been such a LONG year already...and it's just May. By the time May ends in a few days, I will already have done 90 dates this year between solo and appearances with the Blackwood Brothers. That's a lot of concerts but represents a lot more days on the road. The few days at home are spent frantically trying to get everything ready for the next trip. If you ever think this is glamorous, YOU ARE NUTS!!!!
I miss my beautiful wife....I miss my beautiful daughters. But I'm reminded of the poem my pastor shared on one of the pivotals days of my life...."If being a messenger for an earthly king is an honor; how can being a messenger for the Heavenly King ever be called a sacrifice?" After 20 years in full time service for Jesus Christ, I am going to tell you that it is still the greatest honor and joy I have ever known!
SO....forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.(Phil 3:14)
Greetings from Frankfurt, Germany.
I thought I'd take a moment today to talk about the goodness of God. You say, "you've done that before." Well, let me tell you, I'm gonna do it again!!!! He is so good!
In September, Karen and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. We decided to go to Aruba. Karen loves the Caribbean...I mean she REALLY loves the Caribbean. What an incredible treasure this woman is! 20 years of putting up with me; 20 years of cleaning up after me; and 20 years of keeping up with me. She has already had 3 lifetime's of wear...and yet she still is the most beautiful girl in the world. Where have these years gone?
All I can say is that God has been good to me. I'll never understand it...but I'm so so grateful. Let me tell you about the goodness of God!!!!
For those who faithfully read my website, you know that I am not the best at keeping it up to date. I am much more interested in ministering than I am in promotion, although promotion is absolutely necessary to have a place to keep ministering.
Since it has been several months since I put an entry in the news section, I'll just put a few tidbits in here today. Last week, my parents celebrated their 50th anniversary. Wow! It can't be possible that my mom and dad are old enough for that. What a heritage I have! I thank God for parents who loved God with all their hearts, loved each other with all their hearts, and loved me. I am so blessed!
We had a quartet tour in July that did not materialize leaving us with more time off than I had had in 18 years. It all fell through so late that it was impossible to schedule solo dates in the gap...so we took advantage of it. We bought a motorhome and after my service in Jacksonville, IL, the girls and I headed on a road trip. We went to Niagara Falls and spent a couple days on the Canadian side...then spent time touring New York City....then spent time touring Philadelphia...and so on. In all, we put on 3000 miles. So, if you wonder what I do when I'm not traveling and singing.....well, I keep traveling.
I am sitting in our hotel room in Rio De Janeiro. It is a beautiful room with some of the best views I have ever had from a hotel bed. As I wake in the morning, there is a triple wide window on my right with a sweeping view of Ipanema Beach. Straight ahead there is another triple wide window with a view of the Corcovado....the Christ the Redeemer statue located way up on a mountain for which Rio De Janeiro is famous.
Yesterday was Good Friday and tomorrow is Easter 2007. We decided this was going to be a different Easter for my family. I wanted to start a special tradition that would make spiritual memories. Last night, we read the several chapters together of the final days of Jesus, the Last Supper, the Garden and then the Cruxificion.
Even though we have heard the story countless times in our lives, it is still so moving. The pain and suffering was so intense. The nails, the thorns, the beatings....some of the worst physical pain ever known. And then to think, the emotional pain was even more acute. He prayed in the garden to the point he sweat drops of blood. He was humiliated by the guards, the religious leaders, and the people. He was spit upon and given vinegar to drink. He Who was the spotless Lamb....God Himself....suddenly took upon Himself the entire sin of this world. Can you imagine the emotional weight? And He did not HAVE to do it. And then on top of everything else, there was an even greater hurt to come. His very Father would look away from Him.
My friend, as I look at this gorgeous sunrise coming up above the southern Atlantic ocean, I rejoice in the price that Jesus paid. I marvel at pain He bore...I hurt for the stress He endured. Yet, I rejoice in the greatest part of this entire story. He loved me so much that He would have done it just for me.
It was a horrific Friday....but there was more Good expressed and revealed on that day that any other day in the history of mankind. God gave Himself for man....He gave Himself for me...He gave Himself for you.
That is why we can sing In the old rugged cross stained with blood so divine...a wondrous beauty I see....for it was on that old cross Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me
October 2005 - Since this page has always shown news from oldest to newest...and since I hardly ever add anything to it, I thought it was time to put the NEW news at the start.
We have just returned from Norway..."we" being the Blackwood Brothers Reunion Quartet. There actually are two configurations of Blackwood Reunion Quartets....one being with Bill Shaw and John Hall...the other being with Larry Ford and Ken Turner. The group that appeared in Norway was Larry Ford, Jimmy Blackwood, Ken Turner and yours truly.
We had an AWESOME trip. The crowds were great...the people were incredible...and the scenery was breathtaking. It was great to sing and fellowship again with Ken and Larry. We all spent a lot of hours on the bus together during the James Blackwood Quartet days (90-98).
Nikki got to go along on this trip which was a highlight for both her and me. She sang a number on the final concert in Kristiansand. She is her daddy's daughter. Hopefully, I'll get some pictures on the site shortly.
Since it has been a good while since I put an entry here, let me just say that it has been a terrific year. There have been some great solo trips to Hawaii, Florida and more....the awesome development of the new Blackwood Brothers with Jimmy, Wayne Little, Randy Byrd and me....and great trips like this one to Norway.
GOD IS GOOD!!!
It is July 2003...and I am sitting at the hospital where Karen is in surgery. For the past quite a few years, she has suffered from back pain. In the last month, her leg and foot have been in great pain and in the last few weeks, the foot is losing movement. The doctor prescribed medicine and a therapy center but said surgery was all but inevitable. Well this morning, she had an appointment and the medicine and therapy had not worked and she was in surgery just a few hours later. She didn't think twice, as she was tired of the pain.
As she was being sent to surgery, I thanked the Lord for the great health we have been blessed with. We still may be relatively young (38) but we've got a lot of wear and tear. I've traveled over 1.5 million miles in the past decade. Karen traveled with me everywhere until the children came...and the children more than equal the other miles she missed. I think of all the pain and surgeries that many of you face and I thank God for His goodness to us.
My new tour is going to be called "Let's talk about the goodness of God" because my friend, He has been good to us. And I want the world to know that goodness!!!
I am sitting this afternoon on the lanai at the Sheraton Waikiki overlooking the ocean, beautiful Waikiki Beach and Diamondhead. I can't help but pause and say "thank You, Lord." This is one perk of modern day evangelistic life. First of all, I have been working most of the day right here in this beautiful location. Karen and I both have our portable computers and have been working on them. I am connected to the internet, so I have been sending and receiving emails throughout the day as well as logging on to church websites to update our records. My cellphone sits beside me and our calls have been forwarded here so pastors have called thinking they are talking to me in Memphis while instead I work overlooking the world's most famous beach.
Now before you think this is normal life and that evangelist's just live "high on the hog," let me throw out a few things. No one pays for our health insurance....averaging $400 a month with limited coverage. No one ever takes up a special offering when we have special needs...like the $4000 we have spent this year for medical expenses that insurance didn't cover (i.e. Karen had back surgery). When church finances drop, they often cut out the special music guests...and often do it with little notice apparently thinking that we're supposed to help them get out of their financial crunch (how many of them offered to give up a paycheck?). We spent $12,000 this year for airline tickets...$2000 for hotels...etc. etc. This lousy trip to Hawaii is about the only frill we've gotten out of the thousands spent this year (we're here for services)....so why do we do it?
Because I love to tell the story of Jesus and His love.
It has been some time since I shared thoughts onto the webpage. For one reason, the website has been down most of the year because of some "unexpecteds." First of all, on Wednesday evening, Feb. 25, I was preparing for a trip and made a last minute trip to Home Depot. On the way back, the back of my van was hit and my collar bone was crushed (4 inches of it was broken into little pieces). The ambulance ride provided the most horrific pain I remember and we spent the next hours at the E.R. All they can do is X-Ray and put you in a brace and send you to the doctor the next day. We arrived home at 10pm and I was to fly to Phoenix at 6am the next morning.
I was scheduled to be in Apache Junction, AZ on Thursday night and I DO not miss dates! But it was impossible to think I could travel by myself. So between 10pm and 6am, we found some friends to watch our girls (for the next 5 days), got Karen an airline ticket and lined up a doctor's appt. in Phoenix. We were at the doctor the next day and he said I needed surgery and the longer I waited the worse it would be. He wanted to put in a plate between the two remaining parts of the collar bone. He said the plate would create a large scar, probably cause me pain for years and set off metal detectors at airports. We said we needed to think about it. I called our good friend Wanda Blande in Memphis and she said if I could make it until returning on Monday, that she would get Dr. Dawoud to take care of it...and it would be worth it.
We went through very difficult concerts on Thursday night and Friday night. We drove up to Prescott, AZ on Saturday and I sang again on Sunday morning and then drove back to Phoenix area on Sunday night where I sang again. We flew home Monday and went to the doctor. He was the only person in Memphis to try a new surgery where they get a 10 inch screw and gather all the pieces of bone and make a shishkabob from neck to shoulder. It was a small scar and would be taken out later thus causing no ongoing pain and for me, more importantly, not setting off metal detectors at airports. He did surgery on Thursday of that week and I flew out Saturday morning to Pennsylvania (with Karen), did two concerts on Sunday, flew home early Monday and then flew Monday afternoon from Memphis to Frankfurt, Germany. The doctor did not believe I would go and I'm not sure he believes to this day that I went....but I did. It was a very difficult time and three months later they did surgery to take the screw out. But in all of this, I did not miss one concert. God is good!!!!
We have lost many dear friends this year...more than I ever remember losing in one year. One of them was Grandpa Carl Watson. A gift from him originally made this website possible. His wife, Gramma Rose, works in our office 3 days a week and is family to us. Another great loss was Linda Simmons...another of our adopted families. She and husband Ron did the flowers for our wedding 17 years ago. They owned a floral shop and drove all the flowers 125 miles to our wedding (and we had more flowers than you could ever imagine). They did all that work and GAVE us all the flowers all because they appreciated that I would sing at their little church in Pekin, IL. My friends we have been recipients of not only the goodness of God, but the goodness of God's people. How we cherish these memories!