Another Road Trip! {Claremore Guy Penrod Concert}

First...I know.  I haven't finished the series from the Minnesota Road Trip in MAY.  *blush*  It's coming, I promise.  Two of the last three posts on the series are partially completed in draft.  As is the post on the Gaither Vocal Band last month.  And the post on our first trip to Claremore in July for the Steve Ladd/Jonathan Martin/Michael English concert. *sigh*  Not to mention a whole bunch of non-concert-related posts that are either started in draft or on my "to write" list.  So many blog posts, so little time!

But as those who know me well know...I'm not a chronological person.   I recently saw a post where a blogger explained her (I think it was a female) blogging process.  I haven't read the post yet, but I think it would be interesting someday to write such a post of my own.  I'm guessing that mine would be pretty different. :)  What I post at any given time is influenced by a variety of factors...including inspiration at the moment and my current level of brain fog. Some posts are easier to write than others; some take more concentration and focus.  Photo editing is also a big issue...for instance, concert photos, in general, take a lot more post-processing time, which adds to the wait time. 

These particular concert photos, however, are the exception.  That would be because we arrived in Claremore Friday afternoon only to discover that while I'd been very careful to pack my camera, second lens, and extra memory cards, my battery was still at home in Fort Smith.  NEVER have I wished so much for a camera with standard off-the-shelf batteries!  More on that later. :)  Anyway, the up side to having to use my tablet for the photos on this trip is that they didn't take long to edit. :)  (And since they weren't high-quality pics to begin with, I had some fun with the editing on some of them.)

Downtown Claremore.  I'd love to spend more time exploring it!
This concert was an on-again, off-again plan for a long time.  Jodie was going, then she wasn't, then she was, and then she wasn't.  Adding me to the road trip didn't come up until much later in the process, and that was pretty on-again, off-again, too.   More on how "on-again, off-again" morphed into actually hitting the road in a minute. :)

As mentioned earlier, we'd been to a concert in Claremore in July.  We were amazed that this relatively small church has an amazing concert ministry...many of the "Gaither Friends" have been coming to Claremore Nazarene for years.  That night, someone pointed out to us the lady in charge of bringing these concerts to Claremore, and we were even more amazed.  She looked like someone's dear sweet grandmother (which we later discovered she is :)), not a concert promoter routinely hosting many of Gospel music's greatest (which we discovered she also is!)

While we were still in the on-again, off-again process (at least Jodie was...I don't think I was even in the process yet :)), Jodie and John received the news that John's young cousin had been killed in action in Afghanistan.  Jon Ross was from Claremore, and they began making plans to be there for his funeral, a week before the concert date.

In the meantime, Jodie had been in contact with the local concert promoter, Mrs. Shirley.  After she mentioned in a message that they were going to be in Claremore for the funeral of her husband's young cousin, she got a phone call from Mrs. Shirley.  In one of those neat "It's a small world God things", Jon Ross had actually attended Claremore Nazarene Church as a youth, and Mrs. Shirley's son-in-law, a former youth pastor there, was going to be speaking at the funeral.

The funeral was a whole story of its own.  Just hearing about it secondhand from Jodie moved me to tears more than once.  The honor this community showed their "hometown hero" was amazing, as was the testimony that he left behind. 

To make a long story not *quite* so long :), Jodie and Mrs. Shirley were talking about the upcoming concert and the fact that they were expecting an overflow crowd (the Claremore Naz concerts are by love offering only; no tickets are sold), and Jodie mentioned that she thought we should skip the Claremore concert to leave those seats for someone else, since we already had tickets for the next night's concert in Van Buren.  Mrs. Shirley replied not to worry about the seats and to go ahead and come, and that she would have seats reserved for us on the second row.

(The second row seats were one reason I was crushed to discover my camera battery was back in Fort Smith.  Probably my only chance EVER to take pictures of  Guy in concert from the second row, and no camera!  Of course, I was also very thankful that if I couldn't use my "real" camera, we were so close.  I was able to get some photos...albeit low-quality ones...with my tablet.  I wouldn't have been able to get ANYTHING if we'd been any farther away!)

 So...Friday afternoon found us headed toward Claremore.  We discovered they have a Boomerang Diner, so we decided we'd have our late lunch there.  Yum! :)

Next stop...Boarding House Books...a quaint little used bookstore.  Jodie and I can't pass up a good used bookstore. :)

This was in front of the bike shop next to the bookstore. :)

The Claremore City Hall sign...my first attempt at this photo was when I discovered my camera battery hadn't made the trip with us. 

My traveling companion...Jodie always has a well-organized "Road Trip Kit"ready for the navigator. This one even had a cute vintage car on it. :)

The flags were still at half-mast in Jon Ross's honor.  Words can't describe the emotions...

I just fell in love with this little town.  I can't wait to go back! 

Here we are!! (A couple of hours early...but none-too-soon, as the parking lot filled up fast!) 

The stage ready and waiting...

The "reserved" sign on our pew. :)  We met some of the neatest ladies who shared the pew with us.  That's one of our favorite things about these concerts...meeting others in the family of God and feeling an instant kinship...kind of a little tiny taste of what Heaven will be like! 

Finally...the concert itself!  These pictures are not in order.  This was during "Even When We Do".  The photo on the screen was one I hadn't seen before of Guy and Angie in their younger days.

"Will You Be The One?"  Always convicting.  Isn't little Lacey cute?!

He opened with a number of hymns off  of his latest cd.  He had the whole group singing with him, and it was an awesome time of worship.  As I've shared before, Guy's concerts are much more than entertainment...they are very much times of worship.  People attending for the first time are often heard to say, "We've just been to church!"  And it's true. 

Guy not only sings, he does a fair bit of "preaching", too.  For many who love Guy's ministry, that "preaching" is almost better than the singing itself.  I was ready this time with pen and paper for the notes I inevitably end up taking during Guy's concerts. :)  At the two previous concerts I'd attended, we were going through serious "storms of life", and God ministered to me tremendously through both the song and spoken word. I didn't feel like I "needed" the concert as much this time, going into it, but I think God spoke even more to me through this one than the previous ones!  Here are some of the highlights...

Regarding those who accuse Christians of using God as a "crutch":
 I don't need Him for a crutch...I'm way more needy than that!  I need Him for total and complete life support! "In Him we live, and move, and have our being..."

 Regarding church...

We don't "go to church", we ARE the church.  We are to be "on" for Him all the time. 

Regarding Satan...
Satan doesn't care about us.  Satan only cares about us as a way to "get to" God.  The best way for Satan to get to God is to hurt His children...just as the best way to hurt an earthly father is to hurt his children.  Think about the wrath of an earthly father against someone who hurts his children, and then imagine the wrath God has stored up for Satan!

Regarding using the gifts God give us (and the theory of evolution)...
 God gives us gifts, and then we hone them to use for him...(discussion of gifts and people such as blind pianist Gordon Mote who do extraordinary things with them)..."And to think that that just happened from some amoeba and it evolved into Gordon Mote - I'm a man of faith, but even I don't have THAT much faith!"
Regarding true Christianity...(This reminded me of Bro. Gary's saying, "If you is what you was, then you ain't!")...
If there's no change, then there's been no change.

Regarding Christian growth...(This one reminded me of a blog post I've been planning!)...
If you're going to flourish, you have to get with the Family of God and dig in and be discipled, because until then, you're just a convert.

Regarding our faith not being "part" of us, but everything we are...
 It weaves in and out of every decision we make...We're walking, talking letters, and people are reading us all of the time.
Regarding church programs...
It's people...just people!...not programs.  Programs are only to facilitate helping people.  At the moment the programs take precedence, they should go away.
 Regarding story...
 Your story is important.  It's a privilege to get to share with others the grace and mercy He's showered on us.   It is all about Him, but it's enough about us that He sent His only Son to die for us.

It's so funny, because Jodie and I have said often of our former and current pastors, "They say the same thing, just in a totally different way."  The same is true of Guy and the both of them.  He says so many things that remind me of things Bro. Kent or Bro. Gary have said...he just says them in different words. :)

I didn't take notes on anywhere near all of Guy's "preaching" Friday night...those were just the highlights I did write down.  I was amazed at how much he said this time about people vs. programs, and about our lives not being compartmentalized with "faith" being one of the segments, but rather the foundation of, as Ann Voskamp puts it, "a seamless one-piece life".  These have been themes God has been reinforcing in all kinds of ways in my life lately...and this concert was such an encouragement and challenge in those areas for me. 

I think one of the reasons I struggle with these concert posts is that it's difficult to put the experience into words.  As I've heard from more than one supporter of Guy's ministry, "You just have to experience it."  It's not about the hair, or the voice, or the man himself...and he'd be the first to say that.  It's all about the God He serves, and the message that He has given to Guy to share.  I tried to sum it up in my Facebook status when we got home Friday night...

Went on a little road trip adventure yesterday with the Road Trip Adventure Queen...there are not even words to express what a tremendous blessing it was (nor can I begin to describe how much we laughed along the way!) So thankful...for the gift of fellowship with friends with whom we can talk deep things of the Lord one minute and be laughing hysterically the next...for new friends who feel like
old friends because we are one in the Body of Christ...for a sweet little town where the flags are still at half-mast in honor of one who served his country and his Savior well. As far as the concert itself...local folks who are going tonight...prepare to have your socks blessed off! As much as I love Guy Penrod's music, his "preaching" is my favorite part of his concerts...and that was certainly true last night! I kept thinking, "He's been listening to Bro. Gary's sermons!" An incredible time of worship...looking forward to another one tonight (with my girls and a "few" friends! ;-))

(More on Saturday's concert in another post...stay tuned! :))

I've said before that Guy's guitar players/backup singers are the BEST.  Love hearing Jason Ahlbrandt and Jonathan Crone play!  This time he also had his keyboardist, Jason Tucker, along.  Really enjoyed hearing him, too!

Thanks for visiting Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Want to make sure you don't miss any of the upcoming concert posts?  Please take a minute to follow Ponderings of an Elect Exile on FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest.  Or subscribe by email via the box in the sidebar.  I'd also love to hear from you in the comments or via the email option on my profile page. 

Previous related posts:

MN Concert Posts: Part 1 ~ "Let's Start at the Very Beginning"

Part 2 ~ "We're Going on a Road Trip!"
Part 3 ~ "A Road Trip with Mrs. Jodie is Always an Adventure!"

Part 4 ~ "The Friends Who Live in Our Computers"

Part 5 ~ "At Long Last...The Concert!"

Part 6 ~ "Concert Quotes" 

Lavaca Concert:

Miscellaneous Guy, Etc.:


Edited to add...I had planned all along for this to be a focused on Glory post, and then finished it in such a hurry yesterday that I completely forgot to add that!  Anyway, focused on Glory is a collaborative blog series with Creative Confetti.  Be sure to hop over and see Tauna's latest! 

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