This week, the LORD JESUS has blessed me beyond measure and my heart is full of HIS love and tender mercies. The LORD JESUS blessed me immeasurable with the privilege of going to North Carolina and being able to see Tony's dear family and share in his wonderful Celebration and Homegoing service on Monday night near Charlotte, North Carolina, and then attend his graveside service in Boone on Tuesday afternoon. What a dear blessing to my heart to see Tony's family during this time of their tremendous loss and be blessed through the LORD JESUS shining so strongly through through sorrow.
Before i share about the week though, i have an important announcement and prayer request to make-Hannah Beth is coming home today! This will be her first time home since going to the University of Mobile in August...wow. She has a midterm this morning, and then will be making the five hour trip this afternoon. Ya'll please remember her in your prayers special today as she has her midterm and driving home.
We can't wait to see her!!! She is on fall break this week so looking forward to getting to spend time with my Pumpkin.
Tonight in Cullman, at the Cullman Civic Center at 7:00p.m. Tony's sister Kim, Southern Gospel's favorite Female Singer this year, and for many years, will be singing with her family the Hoppers. It is a good possibility that Tim Greene may be joining his sister to sing for the first time in a very long time on stage. Tony, Kim, and Tim grew up singing with their Dad, and GOD blessed this dear family with the most wonderful harmony and sweet spirit of the LORD JESUS. We were hoping that Tony, Kim, and Tim would all be singing tonight for the first time in a long time on stage...but "GOD had another plan," and Tony was called up to sing in glory where we are looking forward to joining him, one day soon i hope. So, i just want to encourage you if you are thinking about coming...it is going to be a glorious night in our LORD JESUS. I had the privilige of hearing Tim, Kim, and Taranda sing at Tony's graveside earlier this week, and "It Sure Sounds Like the Angels to Me." As you know if you've been reading these emails, the LORD healed Tim Greene from his mold poisoning last year. Tim is able to preach and sing for the first time in years. You'd better plan to arrive early because it was a sellout last year. LORD, YOU are so wonderful...and i'm so excited about what YOU are going to do tonight to bring glory and honor to YOURself. Please pray for Kim and Tim as they sing through their sorrow tonight, the praises of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. If you can't attend please pray that JESUS CHRIST will be glorified, through the souls that will be saved, and lives encouraged in HIM...through all that is said and done. The proceeds from this concert will go to Tony Greene's medical fund.
Also, i wanted to ask you to please continue to remember my friend Shirley and her daughter Mishel and family in your prayers. Shirley had a biopsy on the tumors in her brain this week, and it confirmed the tumors are malignant and the cancer originated in other places in her body. There are many decisions to be made as Mishel lives out of state and plans to move here to care for her Mother. Thank you for remembering this dear family in your prayers.
Praise the LORD for the good report Jerry Todd got back on his CT scan this week...he had some "spots," on his lungs, and the report came back good. Jerry and Louise head up our dulcimer group here in Athens, and are so dear to my heart and all who know them.
My LORD has blessed me beyond measure as HE made the way through my dear husband and circumstances of attending Tony Greene's Celebration Service and graveside service earlier this week. What a dear blessing it was to my heart to be able to travel to near Charlotte, North Carolina to Indian Trails Baptist Church where Tony's Celebration service was held Monday evening. It was such a sweet time to get to share my sorrow with the dear Greene family and be a part of celebrating Tony's life. So many dear friends came to share their sorrow with the Greene family as many of them stood in line for nearly three hours and they had to finally end the visitation time in order to start the Celebration service.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of great singers there at the service, singing many of Tony's favorite songs that Taranda picked out to Celebrate his life. Tony's pastor Rev. Mike Whitson of First Baptist Indian Trail spoke of Tony's passion to win souls for CHRIST and his desire to not disappoint people that kept him so steadfast serving the LORD even when he struggled so with his body.
It was a funny service as many funny stories were told about Tony, and it was sorrowful and uplifting to the LORD JESUS in everything...well "El Vira," at the end may be debatable:).As Bill Gaither shared, most singers you have to introduce, Tony Greene you had to explain:). El Vira was one of Tony's favorite songs by the Oak Ridge Boys and they introduced it through video and the Triumphant Quartet did a great job of singing it.
The Bill Gaither Homecoming Choir was there...and you talk about "Shouting Time," it was clapping, hand raising, and praising the LORD time as Jason Crabb, Karen Peck, Mark Trammell and many others sang out to lead us in songs such as "Farther Along,""In the Sweet By and By" and other songs...
But as wonderful as the singing was, as powerful as the preaching was...it was nothing compared to the "sacrifice of praise," that Taranda, Tony's wife sang to our LORD JESUS, "Wonderful to Me." I was amazed, as i am sure everyone was when i saw Taranda's name in the program that she was planning to sing. When i saw the name of the song, i thought, that's sweet, she will be singing "Wonderful to Me," about Tony. I had no idea that was Tony's favorite song Taranda sang with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and it is a glorious praise song to our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Some blest soul posted it on you tube, so you can watch Taranda sing it...be sure and listen to the words closely and watch her sing it to the very end where she prayes the sweetest prayer. For the first minute or so is pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. This dear church in New York City has "adopted" the Greenes and the Greenes frequently go up to New York to sing with the choir. If you don't read anything else...please take time to watch Taranda sing this "Wonderful to Me," and offer up such a beautiful "sacrifice of praise," to our LORD. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1cW94WER88
At the end of the message Tony's preacher, Mike Whitson preached, he gave an invitation and at least 14 people prayed to recieve JESUS as their LORD and SAVIOR at Tony's Celebration service...that is not counting the untold thousands who watched the service on internet around the world and may have come to know CHRIST. Tony Greene, I'm sure, was pleased that 14 people will be joining him in heaven one day. What a blessing to live your life for CHRIST in such a way that people continue to be added to the kingdom of LORD after you are with HIM, and people are encouraged in the LORD JESUS because of your life and death. What a legacy that Tony Greene has left behind and what an example for his little girls Belle, 6 and Josie 2 and for all of us to follow.
"Only one life, twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last, and when I am dying how happy I'llbe, if the lamp of my life has burned out for Thee.." - C.T. Studd, missionary to China, Africa, and India
The next day, the Greene family received friends at the Hampton Funeral Home in Boone, NC where the Greene family is from. Afterwards, a graveside service was held for Tony behind the church where he grew up on top of a hill that overlooks the beautiful mountains of Boone. What a sweet, sweet time in the LORD this was as Br. Jack Lassiter, one of Tony's best friends shared some more funny stories about Tony and serious words and the Primitive Quartet sang some of Tony's favorite songs. The sweetest time on top of the mountain was when Tim, Kim, and Taranda sang, "Go Rest High on that Mountain," about their brother and husband. They sang "Miracle in Me,", "It Sure Sounds Like the Angels to Me," and truthfully it did sound like the angels singing when these three dear heartbroken siblings and widow of Tony's sang. Then little Belle sang her Daddy's favorite song, "I Am a Promise," and it was so sweet.
In the pictures are the mountains overlooking where Tony is buried beside his beloved Daddy Everette Greene and the beatiful marker on top of Tony's casket that is the picture of the mountians, with "Hold On," engraved on top.
I can't tell you what the Greene's example to me in death means to me personally. I know their hearts are broken yet remain steadfast praising their SAVIOR and trusting HIM for HIS plan for their lives.
I didn't realize it til this week but the Greene's have a song that is number two right now in the Singing News Chart called, "When GOD Has Another Plan." When i first heard that song about three years ago from the "Far Down the Road,"CD, it gripped my heart and encouraged me so much. Little did any of us know, how very true those words would be to dear Taranda and her family as she sang them:
"When GOD has another plan, walk on and just say yes,
When GOD has another plan, be assured that HE knows best,
When all your dreams are shattered rest in HIS sufficient grace,
You don't have to understand, when GOD has another plan."
I know that ya'll will be faithful to remember dear Taranda, and her two little ones, Belle and Josie, and the whole Greene family in your prayers. They are such a dear precious family and GOD indeed has another plan for them...HE loves them and you and I so very much.
After the graveside service, i made my way back to Asheville slowly going down the Blue Ridge Parkway and the LORD encouraged me so very much as I listened to Taranda sing on CD "Redeemer," and HE reminded me of some of the mountains HE has moved for me in my life. Coming up to Boone 5 years ago for the Greene's Jubilee was one of them, and now 5 years later, HE had been faithful to bring me back to Boone to be with this dear family that i love so much and has ministered to me and so many others so very much. My heart was encouraged that just as HE has moved mountains in my past, HE will continue to "perfect that which concerneth me," and move mountains for me in my future.
I had a great time enjoying GOD's creation as i traveled along the Parkway and looked at mountain, after mountain...oh my goodness it's beautiful up there.
I got out and hiked a little at Linville Falls, and then continued on my journey. When i realized i still had 70 miles to go before i got back to Asheville where i was staying, i decided to cut off to the main road and got a little lost and going down a curvy mountain road on the side of the mountain. Well...if you know me very well, you know i don't do curvy mountain roads well on the edge of the moutain very well...i have this little phobia called "fear of heights." By this time, i was overloaded with "trees," that i'm allergic too, and everything else i was around, and i was getting panicky. I hate that feeling, but it was there, and the LORD JESUS helped me make it down that mountain, as HE does every mountain in my life, and i went straight to the Chelshire Racquet and Fitness Club where HE blessed me with a free pass the first night, and sauned. That helped calm me down, and thankfully i made it back to the Motel 6 i was staying at near Asheville and the rest of the evening was uneventful.
I stayed an extra day up there in Asheville, because our floors at home were being "regrouted," from where the grout cracked from this spring. That really turned out to be a blessing in disguise, one i love the color of the new grout (the other grout had changed colors when they mixed it and looked a little should i say, orange:). Two my washer and dryer that had been reversed in my utility room when they put the floors down in the spring are put back in the original way now...GOD is so wonderful to me. That extra day i stayed in Asheville, i had planned on going downtown and looking around, but GOD had another plan, and i ended up staying in the back of my car most of the day, and spending some sweet time with the LORD.I had taken some allergy medicine that didn't agree with me too well, so GOD used that to keep me in spending time with my LORD. Later on that evening, i ventured out to workout and sauna, and ate supper at Earthfare there in Asheville.
Yesterday morning, GOD had another wonderful blessing in store for me as i went to Billy Graham's Training Center, "The Cove," which was right across the interstate from where i was staying at Exit 55. I cannot begin to tell you what an inspiration that short tour of the chapel was to me...of how GOD can use us ordinary people so mightily through the power of HIS HOLY SPIRIT. Billy Graham gives all the glory to the LORD JESUS for what HE has done through his life to lead millions of people to CHRIST. If you ever are in the Asheville area make sure you make time to visit there, and you can go on line and learn about the many conferences they offer at "The Cove." http://www.thecove.org/. This weekend, Franklin Graham, Billy's son, was leading a Medical Mission's Conference, and i would have loved to attended that...maybe next year. I didn't realize it when i was in Charlotte, but Billy Graham's library is in Charlotte, North Carolina where his wife, Ruth Bell Graham is buried. Next time i go back that way, i definitely want to go there.
Where i sauned was the same exit as Montreat where Billy Graham's home is.
LORD, YOU are so wonderful to me...and i thank YOU for the blessing of being able to travel so this week and be with my dear friends and meet new special friends. I thank you for the beauty of YOUR creation YOU allowed me to enjoy, and i thank YOU for safe traveling mercies and the plans that YOU have for each and every one of us..."plans for good and not for evil to give us a future and a hope." Because YOU live, and YOU died for us, LORD JESUS we can face tomorrow with joy, though our hearts are sorrowful. Please wrap your love around the entire Greene family and help them to know how very much YOU love them. Thank you, LORD JESUS for being so wonderful to me.
When i returned home, our housekeeper had cleaned up much of the dust that was all over the house from the old grout being removed and had returned much of the food to the pantry. I cannot not tell you what a tremendous blessing that was to me for the LORD to provide through my dear husband someone to do all of that cleaning for me that i can't do with my allergies. Dear Mrs. Kelley is back today continuing to clean up the dust...and i am so thankful, and so thankful for my dear brother having my floors redone...they look beautiful!
Thank you for letting me share the wonderful blessings that my LORD has lavished me with this week. I love you and I hope to see some of you tonight in Cullman for a wonderful night of worship with the Greene family, the Hoppers, and Gold City. GOD bless you and thank you for your prayers for them and my loved ones.