I had the opportunity to go to the We Will Stand Concert Tour in Nitro, WV on March 28. The show was sponsored by WorldVision and featured headline performers Avalon and Michael English. Two new groups were the opening acts: Daniel Doss Band and Cadia. All the music was great. In fact, amazingly enough the Daniel Doss Band learned all the tour members' music and everyone performed to live music instead of accompaniment tracks.
As much as I enjoyed the music, the most impactful and inspirational point during the concert was Michael English's testimony. He sang a song and then shared briefly how God had brought him out of the disaster he had made of his own life through rebellion and drug use. He made the comment that his sins were made public on "Inside Edition" (a television equivalent to a check-out line gossip magazine, in my opinion!). Since I had not kept up on news in Christian music I had only vague memories of Michael's spectacular fall. I bought his book after the concert, had it signed and started reading as soon as I finished my morning devotions on Saturday.
I found it difficult to put the book down. In fact it went to the bowling alley with me for my oldest daughter's birthday celebration. I read while everyone else bowled. Michael is astonishingly honest throughout the book. He details not only the facts as revealed in newspapers and television shows, but shares his own thoughts and feelings about everything. He is very candid and open. He doesn't sugar-coat anything with excuses such as a difficult childhood or an inferiority complex. He fully faces his own responsibility and praises God for his graciousness in giving him repeated opportunities for repentance.
I love the way he sums up how good God is to redeem His own: "I want people to know that even though God doesn't always deliver the Damascus Road miracle, that even though the road back home can be winding and rough, our heavenly Father walks with us and welcomes us home with open arms."
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is or has been struggling with rebellion, or who loves someone who is struggling. Everyone in my house is lined up to take their turn to read it and I have friends who have asked for it next. I'm planning to buy a copy for the church library and submit a review in next month's church newsletter.
By the way, Michael finished his portion of the concert with the song "In Christ Alone." Here are the words to the chorus:
In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory
In the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone
That's the most important part of his message, isn't it?