Thank You for the Songs
Born and raised in Marysville, a small town located across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg, PA., Jim grew up in some interesting times. As a small boy, Jim listened to a lot of Country music as well as gospel. He had a few opportunities to participate in, and enjoy the 'big tent' preaching of his day and was very interested in the way religion had been presented to him. 'In the beginning of my 'spiritual adventures' I never doubted anything that preachers had to say to me. I figured that if the preacher said it, it had to be true. I found out later, that my thinking was so far from the truth so I started delving more into spirituality; searching for any answers I could find in relation to God.' Jim continues, 'As I grew into adult-hood I started to realize, that some 'supposed' truth was not always meant for me to believe in. I studied the Bible more extensively, and with the help of God and the leading of his Spirit, I found some answers for myself. My conclusion is, that what you see as truth may not be truth to another person, because ones interpretation of the Bible will differ from anothers point of view. As for me, I am much happier and have rid myself of old doctrines. I live a normal life, believe and trust in God, and feel a sense of freedom, hope, and peace inside myself.' Jim explains how the Spirit of God entered his life as a small child. 'I was nine years old. It was raining heavily when the evangelist came to town. Despite the ugly weather, I arrived at the church on time to hear the preacher's short but enthusiastic message. As he continued to preach about the love, mercy, and forgiveness of Christ, I suddenly felt something beside me...close to me, and at the time...I had no idea it was the presence of God. Then suddenly the miracle happened. It was at this time, when the minister asked if anybody wanted to accept Christ as their personal savior. I wanted to walk to that altar so badly that night, but I was afraid to respond. But then the Holy Spirit came on the scene, and gave me that extra boost, literally, because he saw the desire of my heart. Suddenly...I felt God's power lifting my entire body from the pew I was sitting in. I don't know if it was visual to others around me because my eyes were closed, but I know that when I opened my eyes, I found myself standing in the aisle of the church and the Spirit of the Lord compelled me to walk to the altar. There, I kneeled before God and accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. This was the first experience with God I had ever encountered, and it was a remarkable night that will be etched into my memory for the rest of my life.' Many years later, when Jim was thirty-two, he believed that the Lord was calling him into the ministry. So after much prayer, Jim participated in a four-year 'minister training program' which was introduced by the Full Gospel Church of God. After his four years of extensive training, the church council wanted Jim to pray about being a pastor in one of the churches in West Virginia. Jim knew, at the time, that it wasn't God's will that he be a pastor in a church, located so far away from home. Jim also had a severely handicapped son with many health issues and was then facing some difficult challenges at home; so he reluctantly declined the pastoral position. Not long after his decision, a new opportunity arose, and Jim quickly took advantage of it. He was offered an opportunity to become the tenor singer for a well-established gospel quartet called The Brotherhood. His singing adventure lasted for only sixteen months, but within that time frame, the group traveled throughout the United States and abroad, spreading the word of God in song. The Brotherhood and another well-known group, The Couriers, sponsored a nine-day cruise to the West Indies. Both singing groups presented musical performances on the cruise ship, as well as the ship's destination, on the island of Barbados. Jim adds, 'You would think we were famous rock stars, the way all the people rose to their feet and applauded when we sang. The people of Barbados were so wonderful. During the church service they sang and worshipped God in such harmony together. I can truthfully say that this was my fifteen minutes of fame. That night, on the island of Barbados, was one of the most spiritually uplifting moments in my life.' During Jim's time with The Brotherhood, he had the opportunity of singing on the radio and performed, live, on a local television station in Lancaster, PA. He also recorded an album with The Brotherhood, 'Come On and Smile', and traveled to Nashville Tennessee where the group recorded another record album, 'We are Gathered'. Jim recorded an album of his own song material in 2004, 'There'll be a New Song'. He just released another CD in August of 2008, entitled, Thank You for the Songs', in which he also composed all the music. He will also be releasing another CD in 2009, entitled 'Just One More Time'. Jim's new music today follows in the Country and Southern Gospel tradition. Jim also writes praise and worship music. Currently, Jim is working at a local nursing home in Harrisburg, PA. He says, 'I definitely know where the Lord wants me to be right now. I thought my calling was to preach inside a church, but now I realize that God wanted me to minister at the very place I work at. I do have opportunities to preach at some of the church services, and I am thrilled to share what God gives to me for the people. I also sing and play my guitar at the nursing home, and sing karaoke. I take advantage of the many opportunities I have; to speak to residents who just need somebody to be there for them. I'm so thankful to God for using me as his instrument and for having me realize, after thirty years of serving him, that you have to 'hang up your halos' before he calls you to service. Too many of us feel that we have to be so righteous and become so holy, before God can send us into the world.'