Harry D. Butler
Billy Joe Thomas, greater recognized as “B. J.” died from Stage 4 lung most cancers a several weeks in the past he was 78.
Born in Oklahoma, but reared in Texas, the 6-foot tall singer had a string of strike records —“Raindrops Continue to keep Falling on My Head,” “I Just Simply cannot Assist Believing,” “Hooked On A Feeling” and numerous other folks. It was claimed that his album “Home Where by I Belong” became one of the 1st gospel albums to be qualified platinum for sales of more than 1 million copies. He experienced eight No. 1 hits on quite a few charts and received five Grammy awards.
It was 44 years back (1977, y’all) at Gadsden’s Convention Hall when we read a “packed house” concert by Thomas — featuring a spiritual tune he devoted to “my Lord and Savior” — that is unforgettable mainly because of an job interview later that evening.
Following the concert ended, various users of the press gathered backstage with him for the regularly expected job interview, seeking to know about his just announced — “for the very first time ever” — 10-week reserving in Las Vegas. When the discussion about that developed into his Christian experience, all the other reporters drifted absent. I turned on my tape recorder my spouse and I then listened as the 35-calendar year old recording artist talked about currently being a Christian:
“I was saved on Jan. 28, 1976 and it improved my lifestyle wholly. I had been a drug addict for 12 yrs and was afraid about ‘withdrawals’ if I gave my daily life to Christ. I experienced been through that agony prior to and didn’t want to go by withdrawal from prescription drugs once again, but a wonder happened there ended up none. I’ve jumped for pleasure that that there have been no this kind of indicators. I commenced to slumber my outlook transformed I was a unique man or woman.
“If I can have any kind of ministry or testimony at all, it’s out right here on the highway. You know, quite a few occasions we’re out in golf equipment or unique situations exactly where probably you are likely to point out that you are heading to do a track for Jesus Christ, it’s not exactly the right detail to say or do — but we do it now at just about every present and I truly feel like somebody’s acquired to do it. Anyone has to be out here with these people. Any person has to speak about Jesus. I believe which is why I acquired saved I assume that’s the Lord’s reason for me.”
Dilemma: You’ve sold 20 million records, traveled almost everywhere notify us about chatting about Jesus when you are phase in entrance of countless numbers of individuals.
“I really don’t want to indicate that I am undertaking something that can take any far more courage than any individual else has. I know” Wolfman Jack, (the top DJ) and many some others in the amusement business who have designed this determination to adjust our life. … Everyday living is so a great deal much easier now I by no means did care for term ‘Jesus’ music and all those ‘Jesus’ freaks, but they did make me and many others believe about it. Maybe becoming on phase is not the area to give a testimony, but mentioning Jesus, even if people today listening are not believers, it presents you some respect.”
Question: B. J., you’ve been requested to take part in church revivals, evangelistic crusades and the kind why really do not you do that?
“There is a large amount of stress on me about what I really should do with my testimony. I have not sung a observe in my church. There is a great deal of stress on me from sure teams to do evangelical crusades. My pastor and I concur that somebody’s acquired to be out there, wherever these individuals are, and they require to listen to a testimony probably the only a single they’ll at any time listen to. … I have located out that right here is where by it’s most crucial.”
Dilemma: Have you had anything at all miraculous happen due to the fact you grew to become a Christian?
“I knowledgeable a miraculous adjust. There’s been (a) 1,000% improve in my outlook. Incredibly dramatic modify. I have been arrested several moments for doing crazy things (”maybe even in Gadsden,” he mentioned before) I had been a poor human being and had poor lungs, respiration challenges … I was stabbed the moment on Eighth Street in New York City — my lifetime altered when I acquired saved. I couldn’t end leaping up and down and laughing, I was so content! The decision modified my everyday living.”
Issue: If you had a concept to share with the youthful era, what would it be?
“I function with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Grapevine, Texas, talking to customers of sports activities teams, both youth and grownup, and figuring out that kids like to experiment with medicines, inform them what habit is like. I know how it is. But the Lord guarantees that if you encounter up to your temptation and resist It, He will strengthen you and build you.”
“But the most critical factor for me — in Ephesians it claims that your romantic relationship with your wife must be like your marriage with Christ it is actually worked in my lifestyle, it’s definitely served me. I have found that the much more I give my spouse, the much more she mirrors that back to me. My spouse, Gloria, has stood beside me, strengthened me, when I was doing terrible things.”
This writer is thankful he saved the tape of that meeting. A final observe: B. J. claimed that “Raindrops …” was specially written for a motion picture and Bob Dylan was slated to sing it” but he refused the provide and “as I was in the studio at the time, I was asked to history the tune.”