The Healer in the Grave earns The Talleys a #1 spot on our December Southern Gospel Chart

David Ingram & Jeff Turner, Texas Gospel Volunteers

The powerful voice of Lauren Talley, an up-tempo sound and lyrics co-written by Lauren, Kenna West and Lee Black have brought The Healer in the Grave to the #1 spot on our top 20 list this month. The complete list is at the bottom of this page. The song ends 2020 on an upbeat for the Talleys in spite of COVID-19 and other issues that have made the year one of the most challenging.

The Talleys announced early in 2020 that they would retire as a touring group at the end of the year. This marks the close to a 24-year stretch of Gospel concerts. We’re hoping for some more studio releases from the Talleys and looking forward to new solo music from Lauren.

Here is the January 2021 Texas Gospel Canada Top 20:

1The healer in the graveThe TalleysHorizon/Crossroads
2Made rightKaren Peck and New RiverDaywind/New Day
3Better off thereThe BrownsStowTown/Provident-Sony
4Great God AlmightyThe SoundNew Day Records/New Day
5Leavin’The LittlesIndependent
6Your help is on the wayJason CrabbDaywind/New Day
7Look at all I lostThe Old PathsSonlite/Crossroads
8Mountain top for meThe Crabb FamilyDaywind/New Day
9Three men on a mountainErnie Haase & Signature SoundStowTown/Provident-Sony
10I know Him better nowJim Brady TrioDaywind/New Day
11Sing joy to the worldSacred HarmonyDream Big!
12The lambCollingsworth FamilyStowTown/Provident-Sony
13Hallelujah HomecomingWilburn and WilburnDaywind/New Day
14JordanNelonsDaywind/New Day
15A wretch like meLauren TalleyHorizon/Crossroads
16Just drink the waterThe Kingdom HeirsSonlite/Crossroads
17Never a timeThe PerrysStowTown/Provident-Sony
18Eye of the stormTriumphant QuartetStowTown/Provident-Sony
19Hope for the worldJordan Family BandSkyland/Crossroads
20This side of HeavenMichael BoothDaywind/New Day

No, religion isn’t the cause of war

Floyd Rogers

History is rife with leaders doing bad things in the name of God. Is this justification to say all religion is evil? This is an excellent question.  This is often brought up by opponents of our faith who make a common mistake: They assume a causal agent without justification. Let’s consider something other than religion and see if this way of thinking sounds like something our critics would accept if we were to apply their standard to something else.

There have been a lot of bad things done in the name of science.  There have been some pretty gruesome crimes committed in the name of advancing knowledge. If you Google Tuskegee Syphilis Study, you’ll see just one of the many kinds of torture men are willing to put other’s through in the name of science.  Notice I said, “in the name of science.” I did not say science caused them to take malicious actions. The Tuskegee study is just one example of how flawed men will justify their evil actions by shrouding them in something noble like science or faith. In reality, it is their lack of morality and lust for success that causes their wrongdoing.

It’s important to note that it is very possible the men and women who do evil in the name of religion, science or anything else may not be aware of their own motivation. It’s human nature to deceive ourselves to justify our actions.  Proverbs tells us, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.” The secular world may call this rationalizations or self-serving justifications. Isn’t it interesting that the number of atrocities committed in the world have not dwindled as the number of theocracies have decreased in world governments? Atrocities remain, the justifications change. The Second World War was not fought over religious differences.  Neither was the first.

The Bible tells us humans are flawed.  Science tells us we tend to justify our actions and even deceive ourselves into believing that we are doing good when we are doing quite the opposite. The next time someone brings this up as “proof” that faith causes evil, ask them how they ruled out other causes (lust for power, success in a theocracy in spite of a lack of faith, etc.) and put their answer in the comments below.  I’d like to see what they have to say.

Future of the Blackwood Brothers: Changes for Jonathan Mattingly

Pictured (left to right): Kasey Kemp, Jonathan Mattingly, Billy Blackwood

Blackwood Brothers – Special for Texas Gospel Canada

Nashville, TN (January 11th, 2021) – Few names are as synonymous with Gospel music as Blackwood. For nearly nine decades, generations of Blackwood Brothers have shared the Gospel around the globe, having recorded over 200 albums and toured in 47 countries, earned GRAMMY and Dove Awards, and appeared on countless stages and events.

While honoring the long-standing tradition of this legacy, the Blackwood Brothers have decided to scale back from touring full-time, continuing to play select concerts in 2021 and beyond.

In anticipation of the upcoming changes, lead singer Jonathan Mattingly has announced that he will be joining forces with the up and coming trio, Avenue. Mattingly was first introduced to Gospel music fans with his family, the Mattingly Family, before uniting with the Blackwood Brothers in 2017.

“Jon has been a tremendous blessing to the ministry of the Blackwood Brothers and will continue to be as we move forward. We look forward to working with Kasey and Avenue, coordinating our schedules to allow both groups to utilize the great gift that Jon brings to the platform and the ministry as a whole.

Kasey Kemp shares his excitement for welcoming Jonathan into the Avenue family, “Jon and his wife Sarah have been dear friends of our family for many years, so I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to sing together. We are excited about the future and what God has for us going forward!”

To stay up-to-date on current happenings, follow the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, as well as Avenue on social media, or visit blackwoodbrothers.com and avenuemusic.net.

Did Jesus tell us to recite a prayer in Matthew Chapter 6?

Floyd Rogers

Have you ever been to a church service where the congregation recited what we often call The Lord’s Prayer? I think it’s fine to memorize it as scripture. If the purpose of congregational recital is to learn the Word, there’s nothing wrong with reciting it in church. But I don’t think Jesus was telling us to repeat it verbatim as our prayer.  To understand why, let’s look at what Matthew Chapter 6 says immediately before the words, “Our Father in Heaven.”

Matthew records Jesus saying, “This, then, is how you should pray.”  Notice he said “how” you should pray, not “what” you should say.  I believe this is the important part. Isn’t Jesus giving us an example, a model prayer, in the following verses?

It seems clear to me Jesus is telling us to talk to the Father; to do so humbly; to ask for forgiveness; and to ask that we are able to avoid temptation rather than to recite scripture during prayer.  Consider, he just got through saying not to be like pagans who feel they will be heard because of many words.

What are your thoughts on The Lord’s Prayer?

Good News! Les Butler is back home after COVID-19 hospital stay

William Desjardins

We are very happy to share with you that Les Butler of the Old Time Preacher’s Quartet is back at his home after spending weeks at Stonecrest Medical Center in Smyrna, TN with COVID-19 and pneumonia. Les is a co-founder, baritone, pianist and manager of the quartet. He has been back at his house since Dec. 9.  Sorry about just now letting you know, we just found out ourselves.

Less spent some time on Facebook Live to share some time with Southern Gospel fans.

Less spent 44 days in the hospital. Throughout his stay he made occasional posts to social media to let family and fans know what was going on. 

We hope you have time to listen to Les’ entire Facebook live. He has some good things to say about the importance of prayer.

Five church buildings vandalized in same Texas community

William Desjardins

Police in Texas are looking for a man caught on video vandalizing a church building. Officers in the US say the individual may be responsible for five additional criminal acts at buildings belonging to other congregations.

Security cameras caught video of a man inside the Missionary Baptist Church of Hughes Springs, Texas, where offices were ransacked and money set aside for a congregation member’s funeral was stolen. Nearby Turkey Creek Baptist church and New Colony Baptist Church had damage to their buildings that appeared to have happened in a similar manner. Two other churches have been targeted since January.

Police have not said why the vandals targeted specifically church buildings.