Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bringing Church to the University - Isaacs Concert Recap

If you’ve read my blog for any time, you have probably realized that if my schedule is free and a gospel group is close, I’ll be there. As a result, I’ve visited a lot of churches in the Central Arkansas area and even a few farther away. However, Friday night was a first. I got to see the Isaacs at the University of Central Arkansas.

The large college auditorium was pretty full when we got there. You could tell the audience was going to be a mix of those who had seen the Isaacs before and those who had not. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the popular bluegrass gospel group being at a public university. It was going to be a completely different setting than your typical church service. While it might not have been at a church, I was so impressed with how the Isaacs ministered to the audience, and they truly brought the church atmosphere with them.

The Isaacs - Becky Isaacs Bowman, Lily Isaacs, Sonya Isaacs Yeary
and Ben Isaacs
The Isaacs took the stage and started with “Walk On.” Then, they kept the uptempo pace going with “Four Men Walking Around.” Lily then was featured on “That Is Why I Sing.”

Sonya talked about how they liked all different style of music and had several different influences musically. They then sang a song from the 1940s, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.”

Becky then stepped up to sing one of their newer singles, “I Wanna Be There.” Becky, Sonya and Sonya’s husband Jimmy wrote the song. Such a beautiful song! Then they sang “The Lord’s Prayer” a cappella. The Isaacs are one of those groups that give you chills each time they sing something a cappella. As much as I love the fact that they have so many live instruments on stage, I love hearing them put the instruments down and enjoying the family harmonies. So incredible!!

Becky then gave her testimony and her battle with Crohn’s Disease before singing “Waiting in the Water.” This is a song she wrote as her testimony song. This is becoming one of my favorite Isaacs songs. We all have steps of faith to take in our Christian walks. And sometimes He’s just waiting on us to take that first step for our own miracle.

Sonya then introduced her mother and siblings. She talked a lot about Lily’s book. If you haven’t had a chance to get it, you should definitely check it out!

Ben then got to introduce Sonya and Ayden, Sonya and Jimmy’s 3-year-old son. He ran around the stage and told a joke and then got to play the drums. It was too cute!

They then picked up the tempo again with “Get on Board.” Lily read an excerpt from her book that had to do with her father. She talked about the regrets and things she wished she could have told him. She said that she didn’t get to know him the way she had wished she could have. She had a lot of unanswered questions. This set up “In the Living Years” perfectly. The first half ended with “I Will Praise Him” a cappella. Absolutely incredible and the highlight of the first half!!

After intermission, they kicked off the second half with “I’m Gonna Move,” always a favorite, and “Heroes.” Then, they sang the Dottie Rambo classic “Mama’s Teaching Angels How to Sing” for a lady in the audience whose mom had just passed away at 93.

Ben then sang the always crowd favorite “Three Bells.” The audience seriously always has such a huge reaction every time I’ve heard them sing this song. Then, Sonya was featured on “Grandpa Tell Me About the Good Ole Days.” Loved hearing this one too! They sang another Dottie Rambo song, “If That Isn’t Love.”

Then, Sonya gave her testimony of her and her husband Jimmy losing their baby girl in October. Sonya said they were beside themselves with this new baby so they would have one of each. She started having some complications and went to the ER. They couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. She was more than five months along. She said that she questioned God why this would happen, but through prayer God gave them strength. She said in that moment God gave her the peace that passes all understanding. She talked about how much more she loves God now and how much closer to God they are now because of what He brought them through. It was such a touching story and amazing testimony of how God used that situation in their lives. They then sang “It Is Well.” It was a beautiful moment and such an amazing way to share Jesus.

They closed the night with “He Ain’t Never Done Me Nothing But Good."

I’m not sure how many chances groups get to minister like this on a college campus. And I realize that a good many of those present weren’t students, but for those that were who might not have heard of the Isaacs before got a chance to hear the gospel. They got a chance to hear of God’s love and mercy and a peace that only comes from knowing Him. While it might not have been your typical church setting for a concert, I’m thankful the Isaacs brought the Spirit’s guidance and church with them Friday night!

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