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Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Just As I Am with Justin McLeod

Written by Staff on September 1, 2018 – 12:12 pm -

Altar Call at Creekside with David Ring. Just as I am with Justin McLeod

Altar Call at Creekside with David Ring.

Just As I Am: An Introspective by Justin McLeod

 

The words of a song can be a lot of things: A comfort when one is hurting, or a pick-me-up when one is sad. But even greater is the role that a song can play in the salvation experience.

 

While the bible, the infallible word of God, clearly lays out the path to salvation, many times a song can be heard along the sinner’s path to saving grace. Sometimes serving as the tool to prick the sinner’s heart, sometimes the fertilization of a gospel seed already sown, or the catalyst to the final harvest of a soul won to Christ: the power of a song cannot be underestimated.

 

“Just As I Am” is perhaps the most well-known invitational hymn in the Christian church. Made especially famous in the mid-1900’s as the altar call for many a Billy Graham crusade, this hymn is still sung across the nation and the world on a regular basis even today. An 1835 composition from the pen of Charlotte Elliott, the lyrics of this song are simple, yet incredibly profound.

 

The first verse of the hymn reads:

Just as I am – without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

The hymn begins with an incredible truth and a basic tenant of the Christian faith – to approach our heavenly Father for salvation, we don’t have to put on a facade or dress a certain way, either literally or figuratively. We are to come to him in whatever messy, rotten, downtrodden shape in which we find ourselves.

 

Just as I am with Justin McLeodImagine you are the defendant in a courtroom and the judge asks, “How do you plead?” This is, in essence, the situation in which a sinner finds himself. Yet, instead of answering “guilty,” the blood of Jesus that was shed is your plea bargain; the judge bangs his gavel and cries “innocent – set free!”

 

Not only can we cast appearances aside, but we can offer no defense, no plea. None but the crimson red blood that flowed from the cross.

 

The hymn’s second verse:

Just as I am – and waiting not

To rid my soul of one dark blot,

To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

Billy Graham in prayerOne thing that I personally love about this hymn is that each verse starts off with a reminder that no false appearance, no put-on airs are necessary to meet the Savior. In this verse, the author speaks of the dark blot of sin and its stain on the sinner’s soul. But praise the Lord for waiting not, rushing to the feet of Jesus to claim the sacrifice of that very blood, the blood of Jesus that was shed to cleanse every spot of sin from blackest night to be as white as snow.

 

Just as I am – though toss’d about

With many a conflict, many a doubt,

Fightings and fears within, without,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

It can be incredibly difficult at times, especially in the middle of a circumstance or heartache, to turn to Jesus. Though tossed about, in any and every circumstance, the path to him is as simple as ever. Through conflicts, doubts, even deepest, darkest fears, the path to Jesus never changes – it is simply our view of that path that can become skewed.

 

Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

Just as I am. Justin McLeod. Billy Graham

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2018-02-21 19:14:15Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com

Another incredible reminder that any and all are welcome in the Savior’s arms. Regardless of financial status, social standing, or even a physical disability, anyone and everyone can come to Jesus. The new testament’s 10 lepers were considered social outcasts, and yet Jesus not only spoke to them, he healed them. No matter what ailment affects us – whether physical, social, or something other – the answer, the solution, the cure is only found in one place.

 

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;

Because Thy promise I believe,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

This is one of the most marvelous lyrics in post-biblical hymn-writing. It takes one simple decision, one belief, one ounce of faith in the Savior and he will receive us, welcome us, pardon us, cleanse us, and relieve us of every one of sin’s stains. He will receive us with no plea, without any line of defense but the blood of Jesus. Welcome us right this moment, without a single, solitary delay. Pardon us of the dark blots of sin. Cleanse us through that very same blood. Relieve us of conflicts and doubts, of fightings and fears, of ailments and wretchedness.

 

And all, simply, because Thy promise I believe.

 

By Justin McLeod

Justin McLeod is a regular writer for SGNScoops Magazine.

Read the full SGNScoops August  Magazine Here.
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Justin McLeod

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Saving Grace: Former Inspiration Leads New Mixed Trio

Written by Staff on February 1, 2017 – 10:16 am -

Saving Grace Trio

Saving Grace Trio

By Justin McLeod

The Inspirations from Bryson City, North Carolina are one of the industry’s most storied groups. Southern Gospel legends from Archie Watkins to Mike Holcomb have begun and made their careers in the group’s traditional, four-part quartet style.

While not quite the College that the Dixie Melody Boys have, this group has also seen several groups spurn from its wake. Many on the group’s lengthy list of alumni can be seen in other quartets and mixed groups across the country, many of which have made a sustained impact on Southern Gospel music. One of the newest in this long line is the Georgia-based Saving Grace Trio.

Saving Grace TrioLed by former Inspirations baritone Melton Campbell, this mixed trio has already gained fans thanks to their tight harmonies and, despite their recent beginnings, a sound reminiscent of a group that has been around for years.

The group is made up of Campbell, who sings a lead/baritone hybrid that could be comparable to Soul’d Out Quartet’s Matt Rankin; Blair Campbell, Melton’s 17-year-old daughter, sings the alto part, while Terri Cook sings the soprano line.

Melton Campbell spent an off-and-on 15-year time span on the road with the Inspirations, ultimately coming off the road in 2015 in order to spend more time with his family. During his time on the road with Martin Cook’s bunch, Melton helped make popular songs like the powerful ballad “I’m Not Ashamed. “[During] the 15 years that I spent with the Inspirations, I enjoyed getting to sing with my lifelong heroes,” Melton shares. “… I made many friends and lifelong connections throughout the 15 years and got to see so many different places and let’s not forget all the wonderful fans that I got to meet, many of which turned into great friends.”

Saving Grace TrioSaving Grace’s inception can be credited, in short, to “a dad and a dream”. When Melton left the full-time traveling schedule of the Inspirations to spend more time at home as a father, Blair gave her dad a “condition” — that they got to sing together, and thus the idea for Saving Grace Trio was born.

“The biggest compliment for a parent is for their children to do something that they [themselves] love to do,” Melton shares. “Blair has been listening to Southern Gospel music since she was a baby… her dream for many years has been to sing. When I came off the road in 2015, I was coming home to be a part of my kid’s life and be around more than I [had been]… At that time, Wilburn and Wilburn had a song out called “Shoulders.” It really ministered to me and let me know that I am Saving Grace Trioright where I need to be. It’s time for me to take the back seat and be ‘shoulders’ for my daughter’s dream to come true.”

Blair, while still just the tender age of 17, has already drawn comparisons to some of the industry’s top young stars, including Lauren Talley, who she also coincidentally calls one of her own ‘inspirations’ in music. She shares, “It is such a blessing to be able to sing with my dad. It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to stand on stage and sing with him. I thank God everyday for giving me the ability to sing and to share His word [along] with people that I love.”

Saving Grace TrioThough Melton shares that he, as a natural baritone, is singing significantly higher than during his days with the Inspirations, the group’s really high notes are anchored by Terri Cook, a family friend and a veteran vocalist. Terri and Melton had previously sung together, and when they needed a high-note-hitter to fill out the trio, she was the first call. “God’s timing is always perfect!” Terri shares. “Little did I know that the trials I was going to face was God preparing me for this ministry.”

Already becoming known for their vocal abilities as well as their tight, family-like Saving Grace Trioharmonies, expect to hear much more from Saving Grace Trio, including from their new CD, which was just recorded and will be released soon.

By Justin McLeod

First published by SGNScoops Magazine, November 2016

 

For more on Saving Grace Trio click here.

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