Sunday Golden Text: Pray

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

– Matthew 6:5-13

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

– James 5:16

Rejoice evermore.

Pray without ceasing.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today’s Thought: The Mouth

Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.

– Job 13:15

And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

– Job 1:21-22

And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

– Matthew 15:16-20

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

– James 3:5-12

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

– Romans 10:9-10

Sunday Gospel – Amazing Grace

Once a slave trader, a deserter, contemplated murder and suicide, a drunkard, yet John Newton penned the words which have come to be what is considered the anthem of the Christian faith – Amazing Grace.

One night while at sea in the midst of a storm, when all hope was lost, Newton came face-to-face with unconditional love and was bathed in that amazing grace, God’s unmerited favor.

Newton knew what he was writing about when he wrote about “a wretch like me.

Newton knew about going “through many dangerous toils and snares.

Newton had been lost, but he was found, swathed in God’s amazing grace which turned the slaver into an abolitionist and firebrand minister of the Gospel.

From The Crystal Valley Quartet album, Alive & Well, enjoy Amazing Grace.

Sunday Gospel: Suddenly!

Return with me to Sunday School. Samuel was taken by his mother as a young boy to grow up and learn in the temple under the tutelage of the High Priest Eli.

One night, Samuel was waken by a voice calling his name. More than once, Samuel sprang from his bed and ran to Eli’s room to ask what the old man wanted. Eli finally realized God was suddenly calling to the boy. Eli sent him back to his room with instructions on what to do next time Samuel heard the voice calling his name.

God once more called out, “Samuel.” This time, the boy answered, “I am hear and listening, speak, Lord.”

Then there was the time Elijah wanted to see and talk to God. Out in the wilderness in the cleft of a mountain, Elijah waited as a raging fire spread, then a whirlwind, but God was not in the fire or the whirlwind. Then came a still, small voice. The voice was God.

Today’s song is an original written and performed by Mom (Sharon Hollifield) from her album, Gospel Originals.

The song captivates these stories from Sunday School.

Enjoy, Suddenly!

Sunday Gospel: I Saw the Light

His life was marked with tragedy. The demons he fought eventually led to taking his own life when he was at the top of his career.

Yet, this Lord’s Day the Southern Gospel favorite has become a standard and one of the most recorded ever. Hank Williams penned the words and music to “I Saw the Light.”

The song became an instant classic and played in churches throughout the South, though his own life did not mirror the words he wrote. The song is still a most-requested at conventions, revivals and Gospel Sings.

Hopefully Hank has at last found peace, wrapped in the Light that gives hope to the world.


Sunday Gospel: The Haven of Rest

We live in a time of trouble. All around us the sea of life seems to be in a cataclysmic upheaval.

Jesus warned us that as we near the end of time that there would wars and rumors of war. Jesus said hearts would fail for fear and earthquakes would become more abundant.

This appears a true reflection of the time in which we live.

Jesus went on to say that this was “but the beginning of sorrows.

But when all seemed lost, Jesus had these words of comfort:

Left up heads…your redemption draws near.” How more fitting can this Gospel classic be with terror seeking to kill our spirit?

Divisiveness attempts to cause our fall from grace.

Hatred is trying to squelch the flames of love.

Like the disciples on the Sea of Galilee at night in a fishing boat being tossed and pounded by angry waves around them, as the lightning flashed and the thunder roared, they saw Jesus walking on top of the water.

After Peter walked to Jesus on the water, he took his eye off his anchor allowing the rolling waves to place fear in his heart. Peter began to sink. He did have the wisdom to look back and cry out to the Master of the Waves.

We are told as Jesus and Peter came on board the tiny ship it was immediately in port, a haven of rest and security. Enjoy this live recording while I was with The Crystal Valley Quartet: The Haven of Rest.

Sunday Gospel: I Have Power in the Name of Jesus

Today’s offering of Southern Gospel music comes from Mom’s (Sharon Hollifield) album, Gospel Originals. This was recorded at the studio of the late Woody Power in Farmersburg, IN around 1990. Over the years this has become her most requested song.

Enjoy this original Gospel song, I Have Power in the Name of Jesus.

Sunday Gospel: Just a Little While

For your Lord’s Day listening comes a recording from circa 1988 from The Lighthouse Chapel of Dugger, Indiana Rays of Hope radio broadcast on WNDI Sullivan, Indiana.

The intro is provided by my late step-father, the Reverend Jack L. Hollifield. On the organ you can hear Mom, Sharon Hollifield. The drummer was Jamie Cox. The piano and vocals are by yours truly, Mark Ivy.

The recording is a bit rough as I did a voice recorder on my cell phone to transfer from a cassette to upload and incorporate into today’s video.

Clap your hands and tap your feet to “Just a Little While“.

Sunday Gospel: I’m Saved & I Know that I Am

Happy Father’s Day to all out there being honored by your children. There is no greater job in the world being a Dad.

Today’s offering is a foot tapping, hand clapping tune that can’t help, but make you feel happy – I’m Saved and I Know that I Am.

The performance by The Crystal Valley Quartet was recorded live at the Mt. Olivet Christian Church east of Spencer, Indiana on the way to Bloomington.

I remember back as a boy at youth camp in Brown County, Indiana just outside of Fruitdale on the other side of Bean Blossom, singing this song. It was one of the popular songs among both campers and counselors.


Sunday Gospel: ‘Til the Storm Passes By

Americans this Sunday morning woke to the tragic news of the worst mass shooting in US history.

Over 100 people were victims of a terrorist attack by a lone gunman, who pledge allegiance to the Islamic State on a 911 call while he was killing Americans out on a Saturday night at a dance club in Orlando, Florida.

Of that number 50 were killed. Another 53 were critically wounded, prognosis not yet known.

It happened that those victims were gay, but they were still our sons, our daughters, our brothers, our sisters, our cousins, our mothers, our fathers. They were still Americans struck down by a jihadist.

I recalled listening to my father in sermon after sermon as a child growing up in the parsonage talk of how his father would gather him, his sister and wife together in the storm cellar in Arkansas to wait out a storm, a tornado passing by. Grandpa would pull them all into his arms and hold them until it was once more safe to rise and meet a new day.

On this Sunday when Americans are dealing with the aftermath of a storm of terrorism, it only seemed appropriate to post this gem of hope written by the late, great Mosie Lister as performed while I was with The Crystal Valley Quartet. Take hope and have faith as you listen to‘Til the Storm Passes By.