“These stones shall be a memorial to the sons of Israel forever” (Josh. 4:7)
This past weekend we celebrated “Memorial Day” as a Nation. It is a time that we pause to remember and give thanks to all of our military people serving in America and around the world. It is especially a time to remember those who “fell in battle” securing the freedoms we enjoy in America today.
To graphically remind us of the high cost of freedom, many Memorial Day services are held in cemeteries where our fallen soldiers are buried. And generally our President and Joint Chiefs of Staff lead our nation in special services at Arlington National Cemetery where a wreath is laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is always a sober experience for every patriotic American. This annual Memorial Day is a somber “Celebration of Remembrance” so we and our children will never forget the bloody price that has been paid for the freedoms we so greatly enjoy – but so easily take for granted.
The Bible teaches that is a “God of Remembrance.” Since He knows how prone we are to forget all He has done for us, He gives us signposts as memorials to remind us of His love, mercy and grace. So, He put the rainbow in the sky to remind us that He will never again judge the world through a flood. He gave Abraham the sign of circumcision as a reminder of His sovereign grace to him and all of his descendents after him. To keep the children of Israel from forgetting His miraculous deliverance of them from Egypt, followed by His protection and care of them in the wilderness for 40 years – and their final crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land, He instructed them to make a monument of stones as a “…memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”
Likewise, Jesus gave the broken bread and cup of wine of communion as a reminder of the price that He paid on the cross for us – and as a reminder of His certain coming again to receive us unto Himself.
How often we forget God’s goodness to us and His great sacrifice for us through the Lord Jesus that made it possible for us to be citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. And how often we also forget the sacrifice others have made for us so that we can be free citizens of the United States of America. So, we need regular “Memorial Days” spiritually and nationally to keep us from forgetting and taking for granted – which is so natural for all of us!
When I was in church this past Memorial Day weekend, I also reflected over those ND Alumni who have already died before us. And I rejoiced over their lives of service to the Lord Jesus – especially through the ND’s. So I am sharing the following pictures of our “fallen comrades” who are now with the Lord. If there are others I am not aware of who have died, I hope you will let me know. Their pictures in order of their deaths are:
•Delbert Spruill (no picture available at time of posting)
Finally, I also want to give thanks to the ND Alumni who have served, or are serving in the military – along with their children. Some, like Chaplain David Morrow, have chosen a career in the military as their place of service for their God and country. Some of the children are Mike and (soon) Jon Rogers (Sarah Lea), Jonathan Lamm (Woody and Nancy) and (soon) David Fraser (John and Jane).
So, as you look at the pictures of those who are already with the Lord, let’s not forget them. Let’s remember them and the lives they lived among us. And as we do, may each of our lives be a memorial of faith and fidelity to both God and Country…
In His Love,
It’s always fun when some of our ND Alumni come back to Burlington for a visit…for ministry…for preaching…for singing. Recently, Shaunna Atkinson Bolton was in town to sing at Burlington Christian Academy’s Spring Auction.
I was one of the founding Board Members of BCA almost 25 years ago. Now my daughter April, teaches third grade there and three of my grandchildren attend BCA. ND Alumnae, Jane Fraser, teaches K-4 there also. So it was special to have Shaunna come do a fund-raising concert there. While she was in the area, Jane and John lined up some gigs for her in the area. Patt and I got to attend one at a local restaurant where she was accompanied by “Frase-Man” on bass and Danny Burnett on guitar – son of ND Alumni Sam and Alesia. Several other ND’s were in the audience enjoying the concert and camaraderie.
For those of you who might not have been in the ND’s when she was, let me give you a sketch of her history with us. She was the youngest member ever to travel with the New Directions in the summer of her 13th birthday. She met the group while we were singing at her father’s church in Rittman, Ohio. He father, Rev. David Atkinson, and mother, Sue, became great friends and followers of the New Directions. Her sister, Cynthia followed her as a summer member of the ND’s. So we are thankful for the long friendship we have had with the Atkinson family.
Shaunna is married and has two children. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is a professional musician and works as a singer and songwriter. She has recorded several albums.
Finally, Shaunna will be with us at our “40th Anniversary” Aug. 1 – 2 and share some of her music. I hope you will join her and us for that special time of reunion. Until then, enjoy the following pictures from one of her local gigs.
In His Faithful Love,
Shaunna Bolton, John Fraser on left, Danny Burnette on right
Patt Williams and Rhonda Truitt having fun at the concert
Shaunna, J.L. and Patt
Talking with Shaunna at the break
Sam Burnette, as happy as ever!
Mary Hatley and Marie Alston enjoying supper and the music
Marie and Patt getting caught up, with Danny and Alesia Burnette in the background
“And the Master said…‘Go out into the highways and hedges and compell them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23)
Dear ND Alumni & Friends,
One of the uniquenesses of the ND’s was our ability to go out into the “highways and hedges” of life and use music to compell people to “come in” to the Kingdom of God. That’s why one of our signature songs was: “Takin’ It To The Streets.” When we started doing that, there were few other groups going into the places we went to. Or in the famous words of Star Trek, we were “…going where no one else dared to go!”
Obviously, it was not our musical expertise, equipment or looks that made us successful! It was a combination of faith, love, youthful zeal, contemporary music, interracial complexion and joy in the Lord that God so wonderfully used to bring thousands into the Kingdom of God. While we were usually in a church service every Sunday morning and evening, the rest of the time we were “in the streets.” And oftentimes the Sunday morning church services were just a means to the end of getting out into the market place with the Gospel. It mattered not whether it was a street corner…shopping center…city park…prison…beach…parking lot…race track…high school auditorium or college quad – we went there with the love of Jesus! And through the years our “uniforms” and “hair styles” changed – but not our passion!
Quite frankly, we should not have survived some of the places we went to! Places where an interracial Christian group had never been before. But God was gracious and always brought us back with “fruit for our labors.” However, most of those “street ministries” were just times of seed sowing that we will only know the full results of when we get to heaven. But God showed us enough tangible fruit to know that “His Word never returns void” (Isa. 55:10-11).
So, I hope the following pictures that I have picked from hundreds in our files will bring back some wonderful memories. I also hope they will remind you to continue to be “radical for Jesus” – regardless of your age or sphere of influence!
Finally,please send this on to any ND Alumni that you have contact with
– along with other family and friends who might enjoy this “walk down memory lane” with us…
In His Faithful Love,
JL & Patt
PS: Don’t forget tomark off the first weekend of August
to be with us for our exciting “40th Anniversary Celebration.” It will be Friday evening through Saturday evening with some free time in between to visit local family and friends. So PLEASE be with us for this wonderful time of meeting old ND friends, singing, sharing, eating, laughing, crying and rejoicing over all God has done in and through our lives! And bring your children and grandchildren!