Maybe I can share something...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Suwannee River Jubilee 2007

Suwannee River Jubilee
Celebrating 20 years!!

The Dixie Echoes will once again be your hosts for another Suwannee River Jubilee. The year 2007 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Jubilee. Over the last 20 years there has been alot of talent come across the stage at the Spirit of the Suwannee River Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. Such notable names as Gold City, The Perrys, The Cathedrals, Kingsmen, McKameys, Jeff and Sheri Easter, Isaacs, Booth Brothers, and many, many more. Just as in years past, this year promises to be jam packed with some of the best talent in gospel music.

Be sure and visit for complete ticket information as it becomes available. Ticket prices are changing a little this year to include camping and hotel packages.

The Suwanee River Jubilee takes place twice per year. Once in June, on Father's Day weekend and again the first weekend of October.

Summer Jubilee
June 13-16, 2007

Thursday: Chuck Wagon Gang, Florida Boys, and Dixie Echoes
Friday: Booth Brothers, and Dixie Echoes
Saturday: Dove Brothers, Kingsmen, and Dixie Echoes
Also appearing: Debbie Domer, Junior Combs and Southern Joy(2006 NQC Talent Contest winners), Sammy Glass Family, and many, many more!!

Danny Jones, emcee

The Dixie Echoes your hosts for SRJ

Chuck Wagon Gang

Florida Boys

Booth Brothers

Dove Brothers


Fall Jubilee
Ocotber 3-6, 2007

Thursday: Mark Trammell Trio, and Dixie Echoes
Friday: Squire Parsons Trio, and Dixie Echoes
Saturday: Dixie Melody Boys, and Dixie Echoes

Mark Trammell Trio

Squire Parsons Trio

Dixie Melody Boys

The Threat Of Clergy Burnout

Taken from

Wichita, Kansas
Friday, October 20, 2006

Editor’s Note: The following article from the Wichita Eagle is in honor of
Clergy Appreciation Month, which runs through October. (Click on “Clergy Appreciation Month” for ideas and information from Clergy Development.)

There are times when Elisha Verge is expected to be more than a religious leader. As pastor of North Ash Church of the Nazarene in northeast Wichita, Kansas, Verge is also asked to be a marriage counselor, help resolve conflicts, serve as a member of community boards and help people get food or clothing.

Not surprisingly, he works 60 to 75 hours a week and he's expected to do it all while also balancing his family responsibilities.

'As pastors, we have to do all of that and we try to maintain a level head, try to smile on the outside knowing you may be crying on the inside,' Verge said.

'It hurts me personally, at times, because I feel inadequate when I don't have all the answers.'
That feeling of inadequacy, and the demands of constantly being available to those in need, affects countless pastors and other religious leaders.

An estimated 1,500 pastors nationwide leave their assignments each month because of ministry-related stress and burnout, according to the evangelical organization Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs.

At least one local group, well aware of that statistic, holds a conference every year to try to help pastors deal with burnout-related issues.

Shepherds' Fold Ministries, a Wichita-based nonprofit organization that provides year-round support services to pastors, held the Day of Renewal VIII conference recently.

The conference encouraged pastors, along with their spouses and ministerial staff members, in their duties. Nearly 300 pastors and others from various denominations attended the conference last year.

Gene Williams, the organization's co-founder, said many clergy endure frustrations with their work in the same way other employees do.

Oftentimes, though, they have no one they can 'vent' to. As a result, he said, many feel alone. It's no surprise, he said, that so many members of the clergy are leaving the ministry.

'The expectations of pastors is that they should be able to fix everything,' said Williams, retired pastor of First Church of the Nazarene in Wichita. 'And as you know, that's totally unrealistic.

'The average church person does not realize how human pastors are and the pressures that they're under constantly.'

Biblical Wellness Ministries in Raleigh, N.C., which provides biblical counsel and teaching and encouragement to pastors, recently launched a program that 'coaches' leaders of new churches on how to handle any pressures they face.

Jerry Lankford, executive director of the organization, said members of the clergy are put in situations that can easily lead to personal problems that can spin out of control.

'The way we've built a church and positioned them is they're the leader of the church, and they're the man of God or the woman of God who's supposed to teach everybody else,' he said.
'And I think that's a setup to a large degree' for burnout.

Lankford said church members need to understand that pastors have imperfections and need 'downtime.'

'And they need a system of support just as the congregation does.'

About 10 years ago, Benny Mevey and his wife wanted to do something to help pastors deal with their stress and frustrations.

They bought a rural Butler County house, called it Shepherd's Rest and made it a place where pastors can go for a retreat.

There are no televisions or telephones, and it's offered at no cost. Shepherd's Rest is not affiliated with Shepherds' Fold Ministries.

'It's a place for them to go and just talk to God,' said Mevey, a retired public school principal and member of University Friends Church in Wichita.

Some pastors are well aware of the possibility of burnout and have taken their own precautions to prevent it.

Philip Wood, pastor of Faith Community Church in Wichita, said he watched his father, also a pastor, go through burnout.

So when Wood started his church in 1982, he decided to train people in his congregation to handle certain responsibilities including finances and counseling services.

By sharing responsibilities, he said, 'I can bring more focus on the teaching ministry on Sunday morning.'

He also has made a point to take a day off each week and to take a vacation. 'That's very important, and the church recognizes that,' he said.

Verge, pastor at North Ash Church of the Nazarene, has found that attending the yearly Day of Renewal conference has helped him deal with the dangers of burnout.

'It convinces me that I'm not alone,' he said. 'It's been a blessing.'
--Wichita Eagle

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Neglected Muse: Why Music Is An Essential Liberal Art

I found this article in a magazine and then discovered it on their website. For me in the southern gospel music industry I think it helps explain why we have such a poor representation of new songs being presented to groups and also presents an explanation as to why our concert goers, in some part, are unable to tell the difference between a quality group and a sub-quality or even poor group. But at the same time I think it truly explains the power that music can have on a culture as a whole. Take a look at what music is being pushed so strongly on our airwaves. Take a look at what music the youth of our country are listening to. Music in itself is a very powerful thing and I believe it can direct an entire culture. Anyway, I may blog more about this later on but here's the link for you to read for yourself and draw your own conclusions. For those others of you who blog I'd be interested in your view of this as applied to your genre of music, but maybe more towards the southern gospel music industry.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Is God's Will My Will?

Taken from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers

"This is the will of God, your sanctification..." (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

Sanctification is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me--is it my will? Am I willing to let God do in me everything that has been made possible through the atonement of the Cross of Christ? Am I willing to let Jesus become sanctification to me, and to let His life be exhibited in my human flesh? (see 1 Corinthians 1:30). Beware of saying, "Oh, I am longing to be sanctified." No, you are not. Recognize your need, but stop longing and make it a matter of action. Receive Jesus Christ to become sanctification for you by absolute, unquestioning faith, and the great miracle of the atonement of Jesus will become real in you.

All that Jesus made possible becomes mine through the free and loving gift of God on the basis of what Christ accomplished on the cross. And my attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound, humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness). It is a holiness based on agonizing repentance, a sense of inexpressible shame and degradation, and also on the amazing realization that the love of God demonstrated itself to me while I cared nothing about Him (see Romans 5:8). He completed everything for my salvation and sanctification. No wonder Paul said that nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).

Sanctification makes me one with Jesus Christ, and in Him one with God, and it is accomplished only through the magnificent atonement of Christ. Never confuse the effect with the cause. The effect in me is obedience, service, and prayer, and is the outcome of inexpressible thanks and adoration for the miraculous sanctification that has been brought about in me because of the atonement through the Cross of Christ.

An Update In Pictures...The Dixie Echoes Summer and Fall 2006

I figured I'd give the two of you who actually read this blog an update in pictures of what the Dixie Echoes have been doing this summer and early fall. Our sincerest apologies for not updating the pictures on the website more often. My camera seems to never make it out of the drawer on the bus, Scoot usually brings his camera in, Stewart just purchased a new digital camera but still holds it backwards and can't figure out why all the pictures are close-ups of his nose! This past week we sang at a church where an old college friend of mine, Ryan Gage, is the minister of music. My camera had somehow found its way out of the drawer and to my house so I had to borrow Scoot's camera to grab a quick shot of me and Ryan. So I just took Scoot's camera home with me to download that picture and found a bunch of pictures that I guess we've forgotten about. So thanks to Scoot I'll share them with you!! Enjoy!!

Ray Dean Reese, Billy Todd, and Scoot Shelnut in Waycross, GA. Billy graciously filled in one weekend so I could get married!!

Scoot Shelnut and Phillip Hughes of the Kingsmen

We had the opportunity to sing at the Cowboy Church in Lafayette, Georgia where Scoot had the honor of meeting the gentleman who built his guitar. When Scoot gives me the name of this guy I'll enter it here.

Scoot Shelnut and Living Legend Naomi Sego at a recent concert in Valdosta, GA

NQC Jam Session. Stewart Varnado at the piano, Randy Shelnut on guitar(behind piano), and Scoot Shelnut on bass guitar standing behind Zane King on the steel.

Scoot Shelnut with Jessica Brown of The Browns

The Dixie Echoes spent 3 wonderful days at Dollywood. We performed 3 shows each day in the Kingdom Heirs theatre , the Showstreet Palace.

Stewart Varnado, always a crowd pleaser at Dollywood

Be sure and let the folks at Dollywood know that you appreciate them supporting southern gospel music!

The Dixie Echoes singing, "The Last Mile of the Way"

I think Scoot ate too many of those giant cinnamon rolls at Dollywood. Actually this is just a fake outhouse at a putt-putt course in Pigeon Forge.

Its amazing what one can win in at an arcade! (L-R) Tracy Crouch, Scoot Shelnut, and Dallas Rogers

We recently had the opportunity to sing with former Dixie Echoes tenor, and more recently Gaither Homecoming favorite, Larry Ford. (L-R) Scoot Shelnut, Larry Ford, and Randy Shelnut.

Yours truly with Larry Ford. That night Larry graciously performed with us the song he made famous while with the Dixie Echoes, "Walk With Me". I'd say that Larry is one of, if not the most amazing voice in gospel music.

My ole' college friend, Ryan Gage. He is now minister of music at Venice Church of the Nazarene in Venice, Florida.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Congress, Charity, and the Consitution

Here's a great blog I found over at the Creation Science Evangelism blog site. It's very interesting, and something that should be circulated through our Congress. Although I'm sure most of them wouldn't get it...

The following story, written by a newspaper reporter, is taken from

The Life of Colonel David Crockett.

Crockett was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.

I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer… The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected of course, that he was going to make one of characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:

“Mr. Speaker- I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living… Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that government was in arrears to him… We cannot, without grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day…
I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what… had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday…

I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:

“SEVERAL YEARS AGO I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of the Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire… When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

“The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done… So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

“The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

“So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road… As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: ’Don’t be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted…’

“I began: ‘Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and-‘

“‘Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.’

“This was a sockdolager… I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

“’Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness or to be guided by it… I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.’

“’ I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.’

“’ No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Thought I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?’

“’ Certainly it is, and I though that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with.’

“’ Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?’

“Here is another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:“’ Well, my friend; I may as well own up… But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.’

“’ It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle… If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper… No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose… The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution…

“’ So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, as you see that I cannot vote for you.’

“I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

“’ Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it then all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.’

“He laughingly replied:

“’ Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your voice was wrong. Your acknowledgement of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.’

“We shook hands and parted…

“NOW, SIR,” concluded Crockett, “you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and directing them to my constituents when you came in.

“There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week’s pay. There are in that House many wealthy men- men who think nothing of spending a week’s pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased- a debt which could not be paid in money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Former SNU Athletes In The News

When I checked my email tonight I had one from the Alumni Relations Dept. at Southern Nazarene University my alma mater. The were promoting the upcoming Homecoming events that will be taking place next month. One of the big events during the Homecoming activities is the basketball games. So I went and checked out the SNU Crimson Storm Athletics website and found a couple of interesting articles that I thought I'd share with you!

Astou Ndiaye-Diatta is quiet though eloquent, good-natured but no pushover and astute enough to know how to work free from any sticky situation.

She's in one of those situations now as a member of the Comets but too busy accepting accolades for bailing out her teammates on Sunday to worry about it.

Ndiaye- Diatta's rebound basket with three seconds remaining gave the Comets an 82-80 comeback victory over the Phoenix Mercury at US Airways Center.

In her best game as a temporary member of the Comets — and her best WNBA game in three years — Ndiaye-Diatta instilled renewed confidence to an injury-riddled squad that's limping toward a potential playoff spot.

Watching the DL

In the back of her mind is the notion that when the Comets get Tina Thompson (strained right calf) and Dominique Canty (broken hand) back, she has an automatic ticket out of Houston. Again.

"I know what I was getting myself into," Ndiaye-Diatta said Monday, shortly after the Comets arrived in Sacramento where they'll face the Monarchs tonight at Arco Arena.

"So that is that. I was (brought) here to replace (injured players), and when they come back, they have been doing their thing. So it doesn't bother me."

Ndiaye-Diatta is in her second stint with the Comets. She signed as a free agent on April 14. But she was late arriving to training camp because of a basketball commitment overseas and was cut after playing in just one preseason game.

Because the injuries to Thompson and Canty left the Comets with just nine healthy players, the organization was able to re-sign a replacement under the WNBA's "injury-exception" rule.

Fighting her way back

Ndiaye-Diatta is used to nettlesome situations. She played two seasons for Seattle of the American Basketball League. When the bankrupt league folded in 1998, she landed on her feet with the WNBA's Detroit Shock.

She played most of four seasons in the Palace at Auburn Hills, then was sent to Indiana in 2004.
Ndiaye-Diatta missed all but 10 games that year while recovering from knee surgery that also resulted in her missing all of 2005 and being waived by the Fever.

Although the past three seasons have at times been hard to cope with, the graduate of Southern Nazarene — the most successful NAIA women's basketball program in America — has found a way to survive with a smile. Never did she doubt whether there was a place for her in the WNBA.

Quite a save

On Sunday, Ndiaye-Diatta (whose full name is pronounced ah-STOO EN-jy JAW-tah) gave the Comets boost. Her 13 points off the bench helped the reserves outscore the Mercury backups 26-16.

During a 98-95 victory over the Mercury at Toyota Center last Thursday night, the Comets didn't get an offensive rebound.

Six of Michelle Snow's game-high 13 boards were off the offensive glass at US Airways Center. The Comets had 14 offensive rebounds overall to just nine for the Mercury.

None was bigger than Ndiaye-Diatta's final one, putting the crowning touch on a victory. It was just an indication, she said, of what she's capable of when given the opportunity.

"I know if I'm not injured," she said, "for me being confident and having the confidence of my teammates and my coach, the sky is the limit.

"I learned this game, the fundamentals, and I know what this game is all about. And the bottom line is winning. And when you win, things roll. There's a chemistry. It always feels good."

(BETHANY,OKLA.)---Former Southern Nazarene University men’s basketball standout, Tyrone Ellis, is making ways throughout the world in the sport of basketball. This summer, Ellis has played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Ellis appeared is currently averaging 8.8 points per game and 24.6 minutes for the T’Wolves.

Tyrone has also recently joined the Federation of Georgia’s national team and will compete for the nation of Georgia.

Ellis, a 2001 graduate of SNU, left the Crimson Storm program as the school’s fourth all-time leading scorer, posting 1,822 points in his four year career. Ellis averaged 14.1 points per game in 129 games played. As a senior in 2001, Ellis posted the schools third best scoring season, netting 676 points, averaging 22.5 points per game. During that season, Ellis became SNU’s second First Team NAIA All-American.

Ellis also currently holds an SNU record in career three pointers made (248).

During his professional career, Ellis has traveled throughout Europe. Last season, Ellis played for Besiktas in Turkey, where he averaged 10.9 points per game in 36 games.

Before playing at Besiktas, Ellis averaged 21.5 points and 4.7 rebounds with the Skyliners in 7 Euroleague games. He won the 2003-04 German League with the team of Frankfurt, but last season he suffered a severe injury that kept him away from the courts for several months. Before his two years in Germany, Ellis had played in Girona of the Spanish League. He played college ball in Carter HS from 1997 to 2001 and the following year he landed in the NBDL with the Huntsville Flight.

To follow Tyrone’s progress during the Vegas Summer League, click on the following link.