Jesus Music and Hot Dog Evangelism

Recently, I had the task to select special Jesus Music for the new Jesus Music Radio show, which will begin streaming Saturday nights on SnTRadio.com from 6 p.m. until Midnight all summer long in advance of launching 10710981_951480128202616_49497769441206796_nJesusMusicRadio.com in the of Fall 2016. Seeing classic Jesus Music album covers and hearing songs from groups like Prodigal and Fireworks caused me to remember The Harvest Rockfest which happened in June of 1982. It was held in outdoors on a Saturday in the parking lot of the Odeum in Villa Park, Il. The artists I remember being there wereProdigal, Marty McCall and Fireworks, Rick Cua, Denny Correll and DeGarmo & Key. I know there were one or two others that I forgot because I missed them when I left around Noon for Ohare Airport to pick up Denny Correll whom I had met on several other occasions and his band who flew in from Los Angeles. I was pretty psyched because I was finally going to meet a bass player from Love Song that I really admire1700317_origd, Jay Truax. He was playing with Denny Correll’s band.  Accompanying them was a drummer and lead guitarist who appeared to be LA session musicians.

The ride to the event was pretty uneventful with Denny chatting away as he caught me up on the going’s on in his life and was intrigued why a successful Christian retailer like me had left that for a risky career in Christian radio. I told him that “the Lord works in mysterious ways.” Once we arrived and unpacked, I finally had a chance to talk with Jay. The drummer pretty well kept to himself and attended to his prized drums… a snare and set of cymbals.

Midway through our conversation, the guitarist wandered over and joined in, telling us about the struggles of trying to make a living in the LA music scene. He spoke fondly of his young wife and brand new baby at home. There was a quiet desperation about him so I told Jay that I’d catch him later and concentrated on my attention on him. It was about 2 p.m. and the sun was bearing down on us so I asked if he wanted a bottle of water or something. He said, “No” but his body language told me otherwise. “It’s my treat. Have you eaten anything yet?”,  I asked. He shook his head from side-to-side. I pointed to the portable concession stand. “Come on, I’ll get you whatever you want to eat,” I said as we made our way from the side of the stage to the back of the enclosed audience area. “But you don’t know me,” he said incredulously. “I just want to share the love of Jesus with you. It is my honor to do this.”  So he ate his Chicago -style hot dog between sips of Coca-cola and he thanked me. Then we parted company as I went to visit with another friend backstage as Rick Cua was about to do his set. Together we marveled at the incredible slide guitar work of Dave Perkins.

At the end of Denny’s early evening set, as he gave an altar call, this guitarist laid down his guitar, leaped off the stage, and gave his life to the Lord in front of everyone without hesitation. I found out later that he had no money nor food for the day. The simple act of buying an obviously hungry musician something to eat was the tipping point where he had a personal experience with the Lord in the form of someone putting the gospel into action. I have never forgotten this lesson of hot dog evangelism.

The last time I spoke to Jay Truax a few years ago he reported that this man was a still a solid believer and serving the Lord in studio music industry on the West Coast. Amazing grace, indeed!

Glory to God, James

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Our Constitution Rocks and so does this election’s Presidential Choices: Mormon or Muslim?

It’s the Friday morning after the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C. I’ve waited until now to write this blog in the American spirit of fairness to both sides. But I cannot deny my inner urging as a former talk show host at a conservative radio station in Central Florida to speak my mind and exercise my right to free speech. But within the guidelines of keeping SnT Radio.com as politically neutral as possible and trying to give equal time as was the rule when I operated stations under FCC licenses. That being said, I have something relevant to say to the followers of Jesus who are participating in this election process. First, my hope is that these past ten days serve to positively affect the level of political debate in this great land of ours. That’s right, I said ours. Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, Libertarian or whatever, this land is our land… and God’s because the whole earth is His anyway. So let’s express ourselves with love and not hate as the ambassadors of the Kingdom that we are.

One strong recommendation that I will make right now is before you vote in November,  get a copy of Our Constitution Rocks! written by 14 year old Juliette Turner and read it aloud with your spouse and family. It is one of the most clear renderings of the Constitution that I have ever read, even if the language is in the vernacular of today’s young adults and teens. Everyone needs to remind themselves of the “law of the land” and understand their rights as citizens of these United States of America. My hope is that after you read this book, a renewed sense of respect will enter into the nature of the current political debate. If you want to know more about Our Constitution Rocks! check out the SnT podcast interview.  Ms. Turner’s youthful exurberance will bring a smile to your face and give you hope for America’s future as you listen to her share. BTW, her mother is actress and talkshow host Janine Turner. To listen now, click on this link: http://www.sntradio.com/podcasts

Now it’s crunch time as next up will be the three Presidential Debates and seemingly endless TV and radio commercials thanks to the huge response to fundraising efforts on both sides. I expect to see a tightly coached effort by both candidates. There is just too much on the line during September and October to leave anything to chance Only Ronald Reagan was spontaneous because he knew the value of a great one-liner and hung out with some of the most creative talkers ever in Hollywood. I really don’t see that same quality in either Presidential candidate. So the choice will be made on your decision as to who will be the better leader based upon their ideas and future plans for America. Which is exactly what our Founding Fathers wanted to see happen.

Most of my life I confess to being an amateur political junkie. I absolutely loved the show, “The West Wing” in principle because while the writing espoused a certain agenda, it showed the process and the human elements of politics that many people don’t ever see. The root cause for this can be traced back to growing up in Chicago during the 1960’s. I can remember watching the Kennedy-Nixon debates as a 6 year old boy and asking a lot of questions. My Democrat leaning Mom would usually cancel out my Republican father’s vote in nearly every election I can remember. My older brother was a Political Science major in college and we had lots of animated conversations about politics. My uncle was a Humphrey Democrat who worked for the Democratic Party Cook County Illinois. So I grew up hearing both sides of the political spectrum during the Civil Rights and Viet Nam War era. Our holiday gatherings as a family were always punctuated with a vigorous exchange of ideas. Somehow, I managed to stay independent.

That leads me to say as gently and succintly as I can to my fellow followers of Jesus… my strong belief is that what is going to transpire on the earth during the next 25 to 30 years will not be affected nor avoided by this election because G-d’s plans for  America, all  the nations of the earth and all mankind are coming to a head. There will soon be a clear choice between G-d’s Son and Satan’s imposter. Are we in the beginning of the end of days? Will 2012 signal the end of times (but not be the “end of time”) ? Quite possibly because G-d’s prophetic clock is ticking very loudly and I believe we are on the verge of some unalterable and unavoidable events. These things must come upon the earth. The Book of  Daniel in Chapters 2,7,8,9, and 11  plus Revelation 13: 1 – 17 speaks about economic consolidation and  the establishment of a ten nation One World government is near. Are you aware the UN has the whole earth is divided into ten zones? Am I spouting crazy conspiracy theories, No! I am merely suggesting that God’s plan for the Ages is rapidly coming to a close and the Return of Jesus Christ as Ruler of the Earth is near. The Bible says that the time of Jacob’s Trouble must come. It’s not a pretty sight but even so, “Come Lord Jesus”. It’s all written down in the Holy Scriptures.

I believe that a man’s religious beliefs should never be a “trump card” that either qualifies or disqualifies a man to lead. America has never been a theocracy, only Israel can claim that. The Bible says the governments of the earth are ultimately established by G-D. So this year our choice ironically is between a Mormon and a Muslim. My advice is pray and ask your Heavenly Father whom you should vote for. The end of days will come but the good news is that when Jesus returns, He will be here for a thousand years. So yes, your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren do have a bright future as the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ approaches. But first comes an extreme and trying time upon the earth. Are you ready?

“Role model”, GMC TV “Raising Izzie” Actress Victoria Staley

Today is Friday August 3, 2012 and tonight on GMC TV there’s a wonderful movie to watch, “Raising Izzie”. The delightful young actress and singer, Victoria Staley, plays a pivotal role as big sister to Izzie. She recently had a conversation with me about the movie and her take on life as a contemporary teen. Born in 1996, Victoria has been getting vocal training since age 5 and began acting at age 8. She’s currently working on an Urban Pop music project, and has a real passion for musical theatre. No doubt Broadway is on her mind.

What struck me as most significant during our conversation was her complete and total trust in God for her future. This was refreshing. Throughout history, many whose impact for the Kingdom has been great have demonstrated a similar trust at a tender age… from shepherd boy David, and Joan of Arc to moderns like Jim Elliot.  In the movie, her little sister character Izzie demonstrates a similar childlike faith of trusting God in critical life situations that affect her future in stark contrast to the older children and adults around her.

From her responses, she’s been working very diligently on her craft and it definitely shows on screen. She is very believeable and her range of emotions is well beyond sixteen years. Victoria also shared a very touching backstory about her Grandfather which helped her performance in what she considers to be her biggest scene in “Raising Izzie”. Victoria’s parents wisely make academics a top priority in her life. She made the point that “her role in “Raising Izzie” was a real stretch because she has such awesome parents.” How many parents would like their children to speak so highly of them publicly?  I don’t want to give away the entire movie plot but Victoria’s character, Junior High student Gertie, finds herself in the unenviable position of raising her little sister Izzie on her own and without trust in God.

When asked what do you hope to accomplish with her music, Victoria said she wanted to be a positive role model. In an era when popular professional athletes want no part of being a “role model”, someone in the public eye who does genuinely deserves to be celebrated! My humble observation based on our interview is: Victoria, you don’t have to wait to be a role model… you already are!

As mentioned above, GMC TV will air “Raising Izzie” tonight. Another is scheduled for Saturday August 11th. Please check your listings for broadcast times. You can hear the complete Victoria Staley Podcast Interview anytime at: http://www.sntradio.com/podcasts or click on the Podcasts tab on the SnT Radio.com homepage. Blessings to you –  James Burkhardt.

Back in the Saddle Again… after many God Moments

Back in the Saddle Again… after many God Moments

I’ve been asked why haven’t I written a blog in many months. The answer is simple. I’ve been caring for mywife who has been in the hospital over 80 days from December 1, 2011 until July 8, 2012. It all began with a brown recluse spider bite right around Thanksgiving. That bite resulted in a massive infection and ultimately she lost her big right toe on December 7, 2011. There have been several complications with her toe and foot since. As a result, I have learned to mix and infuse antibiotics as part of her care in addition to helping her walk and being her emotional support. She needs round the clock attention being restricted to bed and the bathroom. Outside assistance from home health care only comes for an hour 2 to 3 times per week to check on her foot wound and dress it so the rest is up to me. She is allowed a leased wound-vac to enable healing. It is a struggle to juggle everything that needs to be done. But we persevere.

Chest pain seems to persist and the big one is avoided in mid-March when she had open heart surgery after the cardiologist is convinced that it is not a gastro intestinal problem. No, it was not. Triple bypass to be exact. Most of you do not know that 4 days after we launched SnT Radio.com in May of 2009, she had a massive heart attack. It was so bad, she was flown by medical helicopter to the heart cautherization lab because the ER doctor was convinced that she had minutes to live. That was my first instance where I just had to humbly tell the Lord, “I trust you for her well-being. Let your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”  This was out of my hands. In the end, her blood sugar and blood pressure was too high to operate. The surgeon on call waited 24 hours for it to drop into safer levels. During that same 24 hours we called evryone we knew to organize a massive prayer chain. And God heard our prayers and she was released a few days later with a strict medication regime.

So fast forward to March of this year. Another massive prayer chain has been praying for her for months then they get news about the heart surgery. We have no medical insurance but she is at Florida Hospital South Orlando (Seventh Day Adventist) whose mission is to care and heal people as Christ did and she is assigned the number 2 heart surgeon in one of the best Cardiology departments in the USA only because the number 1 surgeon is booked and they can’t wait for him. The hospital assigns a person to her case who will interface with State and Federal medical assistance programs on our behalf. They should because they have hundreds of thousands of potential costs to cover in this procedure. She comes through. We praise God, her heart is strong and everything looks good.

Then she develops cellulitis in her right leg in April which threatens her foot because it still has not healed despite massive antibiotic treatments. So it’s back to Florida Hospital where staff are beginning to know her by sight and address her by her firstname. They pump another round of antibiotics into her via an IV. Once the cellulitis is gone her podiatrist and foot surgeon determines that another section of bone must come out of the foot. It was tainted by the cellulitis. This will make her walking even more difficult without assistance or a prosthetic. After foot surgery the attending Infectious Diseases doc orders to install a third picc line. We get her home on Friday night and the home care nurse has trouble Monday afternoon just like I did flushing the line on Sunday.  We compare notes and agree it is the picc line and not either of us so we rush off to the ER again.

This time we discover, as a parting gift, she has blood clots caused by the picc line which travel from her right arm into her left lung. A pulmonary embolism… another serious reason to pray fervently. So back to Florida Hospital and the picc line is pulled. Now the only way to administer antibiotics is through an IV. Her veins start collapsing from over use in the left arm because you can’t take fluids out of the side where blood clots are detected. But the doctors are very good and as chest pains return her stay extends into two weeks until they are sure she is stable. Then home again, finally. But not for long.

The new week takes us to a new place, the coumodon clinic where her blood thiness is checked.  More complications show up with chest pains and shortness of breath. Her vibrancy after the heart surgery has disappeared. She is in pain and tired. No one seems to know why. So she is admitted from the ER into the hospital after flat lining twice in the ER. Her cardiologist is called in again. She is stabilized and sent home again because he does not want to stop the coumodin treatments because the blood clots are still much too dangerous. Still more fervent prayer. We go to the store and she breaks her second toe on the right foot when she shifts her weight. She sees the podiatrist within 24 hours and he puts her into a protective boot that goes up to her knee with the strictest stay off your feet order I have ever heard. A week passes then the painkillers won’t touch the chest pain. Something else is definitely wrong.

Then, I recognize the same look on her face as I did in May of 2009.Its a bright sunny Monday morning in late June. Her rosy color is not so rosy. I say we are going to thre ER. She mumbles and nods her head. We arrive. The computers are down and they do not realize that she is categorized as urgent when her computer file comes up. I keep her awake as best I can by telling her funny stories followed by “I love you very much. Its great to hear you laugh.” There is a shift change. More waiting as the hours pass by. Then the annoucement that the computers have come back up. A brief time passes then her name is called. Off to get an immediate EKG. It is bad. I’ve watched enough to know an irregular heartbeat when I see one. She is taken right away to a room and hooked up to a monitor. Within minutes she flatlines again for an instant. The ER doc comes in and begins to address us. Right in front of him she flatlines again. He tried but couldn’t hide the look of concern on his face. He orders more tests and bloodwork. The techs have a hard time getting blood from her veins and gives up. He must call in another tech. Off to X ray. Then the ER doc admits her and she is shown to her room. She doesn’t leave for another 14 days and has one more visit to the heart cautherization lab in the middle of it. The cardiologist takes a good look at her heart and determines that there is a minute blockage but elects not to do a procedure. He thinks the chest pain is not cardiac related but clot and orders her back on the blood thinners, stat. It takes 5 long days for her to get the levels into a stable range before she can be released. It is Sunday, July 8th.

Around May 25,2012, the start of SnT Radio.com’s fourth year of 24/7/365 streaming, I received an email from friend and author Chuck Graham telling me that a quote I had submitted endorsing his new book, “THE COMPANY” was chosen by his publisher to be used on a bookmark to be distributed at the upcoming International Christian Retailing Show in Orlando, FL from July 15 -18. He send me a digital copy. There it was attributed to James Burkhardt, Founder – SnT Radio.com. What a blessing of an opportunity. That convention attracts about 5,000 attendees from all over the world.

So I sought the Lord about it and was told to plan on working hard there and that my wife would be my photographer. I would have everything I needed to make the most of it. OK. I needed to register as media and secure a space to record interviews. Registration was no problem but all the media rooms suitable for recording had already been reserved months ago. I could have a in the hallway outside the convention floor. OK… are you sure there isn’t other space more suitable for recording author/recording artist interviews? We’ll try was all I was told. Hmmm… portable recording gear. None on hand. Plus our laptop had died after the bypass operation which could’ve worked. I kept trusting as I began to book interviews with several authors. Then more and more until I was conducting interviews on Sunday the 15th through Tuesday the 17 without a break. Nearly 2 dozen we set in stone secured. No room. No suitablable equipment. And my wife was in the hospital with no guarantee that she’d be out to serve as timekeeper and photographer.

She was still in the hospital as books, DVD’s and CD’s began arriving for review prior to interviews  Neither the equipment and money I thought we might receive to purchase it never came into my hand. Just enough to cover parking for five days @ $13 a day and a little extra for some signage, printied materials, bottled water for our guests and some protein snacks to sustain us during the 9 – 10 hour days on Monday and Tuesday.  After securing my wife’s permanent handicapped parking placard on Tuesday July 10th, with less than a week to go, I called my former 660AM WORL talkshow producer and friend, Joe Ferraro and asked if he had any portable recording devices I might borrow for the week. He said yes and that I would love what he had — and no laptop necessary. He would swing by on Sunday about 2 in the afternoon to my space and get me operational. My first interview scheduled was at 3pm with Michael Card. When you have friends that you know you can trust, details like that do not make me sweat. I also contacted the Media contacts and was told something better was in the works but I needed to wait until Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning before it would be resolved.

So we spent the rest of my wife’s first week home reading and watching and listening so I would be prepared.  On Saturday, the parking attendant let us park for free to pick up our Media credentials and ID badge around 1pm. We stopped in the media room and met the person coordinating all the media relations inclusing our space. She said she was waiting for the room set up people to arrive before she could commit to anything. But it would definitely be resolved by Sunday morning. I could stop by before 5pm that afternoon, she would be in a better position to know.

That was fine with us because we had to be back to help out taking tickets for the Champions of the Faith Concert at 5:00pm. Apparently someone backed out at the last minute and my friend Kenworth Reeves texted me and asked us to help out. As long as my wife can accomplish her volunteer task sitting down, we can do it, I texted back. She absolutely should not be on her feet very much. I must admit it was fun taking tickets from people that I would be interviewing later in the week. Well the printing was done and ready to be picked up at 3pm. I had justr come in from feeding and cleaning up after our eleven cats when I had to leave to meet Tony Metcalf from Salt 1 to 1 in Orlando. I got back just in time to shower and get back over to the convention center. On the visit earlier in the afternoon we discovered how to drop my wife off close to Media area where we would be so she did not have to walk long distances. It was about 4:50pm when I let her out and she went directly to the media room. I asked her to call me with the room information and I would meet up with her there before making our way to the theatre for the evening’s event.

I parked the car… free again because the lot was unattended at that moment — or should I say God moment and was almost to the Media wing when my phone rang. It was my wife. We had several options but come quickly because it was 4:59 and the Media Relations folks had to go. Thankfully, they were gracious to wait an extra minute for me to arrive and they took me to a cavernous meeting room that could be shared by three media outlets seperated by curtains. It was perfect for our needs. I knew that a couple of prominent interviewees had entourages so the two extra tables and chairs would handle this very nicely. I was very grateful. And now we have 28 interviews done and I will be sharing all of them with you as podcasts at www.sntradio.com and here in the sntradioblog. God willing — next weekend, Chuck Graham and THE COMPANY.