Billy Blackwood and Friends

Episode 2

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: BBF

Program Code: BBF170002S

00:03 Hi, I'm Billy Blackwood.
00:05 Through my years in music ministry,
00:07 I've had the privilege of meeting many great people
00:09 and making a lot of great friends.
00:14 Some have been friends for literally decades
00:15 and some have been more recent.
00:19 It's my hope that
00:20 you will enjoy getting a glimpse behind the scenes
00:22 and into the real lives of my friends.
00:25 Sit back and enjoy
00:26 as you watch Billy Blackwood and Friends.
00:33 Hi, I'm Billy Blackwood.
00:34 Welcome to Billy Blackwood and Friends.
00:35 I'm so glad you've joined us today.
00:38 My guest today is my friend, Gene McDonald.
00:41 This guy, wait till you hear him.
00:43 If you're not familiar with Gene,
00:44 you're gonna love this guy.
00:46 He's just a tremendous guy and tremendous singer.
00:48 And I'm gonna ask him just to right out of the shoot,
00:50 sing one for you, a great song called
00:52 "Hallelujah for the Cross." Listen.
01:12 Up to the hill of Calvary
01:17 My Savior went courageously
01:21 And there He bled and died for me
01:26 Hallelujah for the cross
01:30 And on that day the world was changed
01:35 A final, perfect lamb was slain
01:40 Let earth and heaven now proclaim
01:44 Hallelujah for the cross
01:49 Hallelujah for the war
01:52 He fought Love has won, death has lost
01:58 Hallelujah for the souls He bought
02:02 Hallelujah for the cross
02:14 What good I've done could never save
02:19 My debt too great for deeds to pay
02:23 But God, my Savior, made a way
02:28 Hallelujah for the cross
02:33 A slave to sin, my life was bound
02:37 But all my chains fell to the ground
02:42 When Jesus' blood came flowing down
02:47 Hallelujah for the cross
02:52 Hallelujah for the war He fought
02:55 Love has won, death has lost
03:00 Hallelujah for the souls He bought
03:05 Hallelujah for the cross
03:13 Hallelujah
03:19 And when I breathe my final breath
03:23 I'll have no need to fear that rest
03:28 This hope will guide me into death
03:33 Hallelujah for the cross
03:37 Hallelujah for the war He fought
03:42 Love has won, death has lost
03:46 Hallelujah for the souls He bought
03:51 Hallelujah for the cross
03:56 Hallelujah for the war He fought
04:00 Love has won, death has lost
04:05 Hallelujah for the souls He bought
04:09 Hallelujah for the cross
04:14 Hallelujah for the cross
04:19 Hallelujah for the cross
04:36 I love that song,
04:37 "Hallelujah for the Cross."
04:39 You've got an amazing gift.
04:41 I'm excited for people
04:42 not only to hear you sing today,
04:43 but I'm excited for people to get to know your heart
04:45 because I've been around you enough to see it.
04:48 And I love who you are as a person.
04:51 And God's put you where He's put you
04:54 because not only because you're a great singer
04:57 because you've got a great heart
04:58 and that's what I want people to see today
05:01 'cause I know it's in there.
05:03 Well, thank you.
05:05 Well, tell us a little bit about career stuff.
05:07 I know you've been around,
05:08 you've sung with a lot of people?
05:10 Yeah, I started with mom and dad in '69.
05:14 We sang, we started in Southeast Missouri,
05:18 we traveled 250-mile radius Bragg City, Missouri.
05:22 And so we sang up in Illinois
05:26 and Missouri, Kentucky.
05:28 Did that for 15 years and then I sang with Jack Campbell,
05:32 guy who wrote "Jesus use me" and "I know a man who can."
05:35 Sang with him for a couple of years,
05:37 my voice changed.
05:39 Okay. Now wait a minute.
05:42 Pause right there.
05:43 Because I've found out something about you today
05:45 that I didn't know,
05:46 'cause I never heard you sing
05:48 until, you know, the last 20 years or so,
05:52 you know, this awesome bass singer.
05:54 So you were singing filling the blank.
05:57 Yeah, I sang tenor with mom and dad.
05:58 Tenor. Yeah.
06:00 And Jack Campbell until I was 16,
06:02 my voice changed.
06:03 And I heard today before the program,
06:05 I heard a recording of you singing some serious tenor.
06:09 Yeah.
06:10 I thought it was pretty good at that age,
06:13 you know, for a 15, 16 year old kid.
06:17 And that was my dream was to sing tenor in a quartet
06:20 for the rest of my life.
06:22 And then your voice changed.
06:23 And then my voice changed
06:24 and changed a lot of things spiritually
06:29 and really thought that
06:33 the Lord didn't want me.
06:35 And so it changed my thought process
06:41 and didn't think I'd ever be able to sing bass
06:45 in a quartet
06:46 or didn't think I'd be high enough
06:48 to sing baritone.
06:49 And so changed my direction
06:52 of being in gospel music
06:55 and decided to go to college
06:57 and want to sing opera
06:59 and went in and taught outside Jonesboro
07:02 and took a music-ed in opera.
07:08 And that's what I wanted to do.
07:10 And your next step was to East?
07:13 Yeah, that was my plan.
07:17 Everything changed in about 1988.
07:21 I was working on tug boats
07:24 during the summers to pay for school
07:25 and fell 29 feet into an empty green barge
07:29 and walked out of it
07:33 with one arm and one leg hurt
07:37 and went to Elvis Presley Trauma Center there in Memphis.
07:41 The doctor, the next morning said,
07:45 "You can go home."
07:47 I said, "What's wrong with me?"
07:49 He said, "There's nothing wrong with you."
07:51 He said,
07:52 "You got a quarter inch cut over you left ear."
07:55 And he said, "You're gonna to be sore."
07:57 And he said,
07:59 "But I want you to know right now that
08:01 God's got a plan for you."
08:04 And he said that
08:07 there's a guy
08:09 that this happened to six months ago
08:11 and his mother and father are afraid
08:12 they will feed him through too for the rest of his life.
08:17 And he said, don't know why he said,
08:20 but if you don't know why, you need to find out why.
08:25 And so, that was in '88, December of '88.
08:29 And I went to Stamps School.
08:34 Decided, I asked the Lord
08:36 to take a lot of my problems away from me
08:38 and went to the Stamps School
08:42 and sang and Ben Speer
08:45 asked me why I was there.
08:47 And I told him that I was there for him
08:48 to find me a job.
08:50 And that's where it all started was in '88, so.
08:54 And interestingly to me, you know,
08:56 you have a degree in music
08:59 and were really pursuing opera as a vocation
09:02 thinking that's where you were headed
09:04 and God changed your direction.
09:06 Change your paths quick.
09:08 If, you know, I mean,
09:11 I think that it took a rude awakening
09:15 for me to realize that
09:21 I wasn't in control.
09:23 You know, I think sometimes
09:25 we try to direct our own futures
09:27 and our own paths
09:29 and when it comes down to it,
09:32 we're just following the path that He is drawing out.
09:36 And it's been a wonderful journey.
09:41 There've been a lot of hills and a lot of valleys,
09:46 but it's been a good ride.
09:47 I mean, it's been fun.
09:48 And once you realized that He is in control,
09:55 and once you give up control,
09:58 you know, every morning I thank Him for everything
10:02 that He's gonna do.
10:03 And I give all my problems to Him.
10:06 And then every night I pray,
10:07 Lord, please forgive me
10:09 for taking all my problems back,
10:10 you know, because everyone say, well, I can do this.
10:14 I can do this one.
10:16 I'll give you the big things.
10:17 But when it's all said and done,
10:20 I think we all try to,
10:23 you know, just make messes of our own selves, so.
10:27 Yeah.
10:28 This next song
10:30 kind of changed the landscape.
10:36 When it first came out,
10:38 it was actually on a record by Cheryl Prewitt
10:41 who was Miss America in 1980.
10:43 Right.
10:47 And Jaron Davis wrote this.
10:51 And it just, it really did.
10:56 It took music to another place,
11:00 kind of like the old,
11:02 I don't know how many folks would remember
11:03 the old Hallelujah project by the Gaithers.
11:05 It went places that gospel music had not gone
11:08 at least in our lifetimes before then.
11:12 And this song was one of those.
11:14 And you were telling me a little bit about,
11:16 there's a neat story, kind of surrounding this song,
11:19 share with our viewers?
11:21 It was in '88 and I had wanted to,
11:26 felt like God was dealing with me
11:29 about singing again,
11:30 singing in the quartet.
11:32 And so I went
11:35 to the Stamps-Baxter School of Music.
11:38 They had open mic night every night.
11:41 You know, if you wanted to sing,
11:42 they'd let you sing.
11:44 So I was the very first person to sing on the very first night
11:49 of the two weeks school.
11:52 And I sang, we are standing on holy ground.
11:56 And so when I got done, Ben Speer said,
12:02 "Why are you here?"
12:05 And I told him, I said,
12:06 "My dad had always told me that
12:09 if you want to sing gospel music,
12:11 you need to go
12:12 to the Stamps-Baxter School of Music.
12:13 And you'd already been to college
12:15 to have a degree in music.
12:16 I'd already been to college and done everything.
12:18 And so I decided that
12:23 this was what I wanted to do,
12:24 that God, this was what God wanted me to do.
12:28 And I told him, so I told him, I said,
12:31 "My dad said,
12:32 if I wanted to sing that I need to come here
12:34 and I'm here for you to find me a job."
12:38 And so that started a friendship
12:42 between me and him
12:43 that was inseparable.
12:46 I mean, me and him,
12:49 I actually stayed in the recording studio
12:53 behind the Speer building.
12:54 I did so many demo sessions back there.
12:56 Dave Clark, a good friend
12:59 and a friend of yours is a great writer.
13:01 Dave has been one of my guests,
13:03 and he and I were sitting here
13:06 talking about the years
13:09 that we were both, you know, writing our first songs.
13:12 And many of the demos we cut
13:14 were in that little metal building
13:16 behind the Speer building there on music row in Nashville.
13:18 And Mark played the drum.
13:21 Mark played bass or drums or something.
13:22 Gary Preem and all.
13:24 Gary Preem, and all those guys
13:26 and cutting our little demos.
13:27 John Mays would play bass on,
13:30 and we'd cut our little demo songs
13:31 in that little metal building back there.
13:33 And you lived there for six months.
13:34 I lived there for six months
13:36 until I got enough money to get me an apartment.
13:39 And the rest is history. And the rest is history.
13:42 And you know, I mean, it's,
13:44 Ben didn't know me from atom.
13:47 I mean, he knew of me from family,
13:51 but again, it'd been 20 years
13:52 since anybody had heard me sing.
13:55 So, you know, I was five, eight and 16 years old
13:59 last time he had saw me
14:01 and here I am a bass singer
14:03 and six, four,
14:06 and to know that he trusted me.
14:10 I mean, within, I'm talking about,
14:12 after the singing school,
14:15 he gave me a set of keys.
14:18 I knew all the security codes to every lock
14:25 had all the keys to everything.
14:27 And he was just open-armed with me.
14:33 And I esteemed probably 10 years ago,
14:36 I said "Why did you trust me?
14:38 You know, all these years that we've run around
14:42 and hung together and all that,
14:44 why did you trust me?"
14:45 And he said, "I knew he was a good kid."
14:47 That day I knew he was a good kid.
14:49 So I mean,
14:52 Ben was just, I mean,
14:54 he was my hero
14:56 and I had a lot of good times with him.
14:59 Got a chance to spend some great time with him
15:02 and got to love him until the end.
15:06 Yeah.
15:07 I want you to sing this song.
15:10 One of the greatest songs
15:11 that's been written in the last,
15:13 I don't know how many years, 50 years.
15:15 And I can't say enough good things about it.
15:17 Geron Davis wrote this song.
15:20 It's been recorded by Barbara Streisand.
15:22 It's been recorded by tons of people.
15:24 Great song
15:25 and wait till you hear Gene McDonald sing
15:27 this powerful song,
15:30 "We Are Standing On Holy Ground."
15:47 As I walked
15:52 through the door
15:56 I sensed His presence
16:03 And I knew
16:07 This was a place
16:12 Where love abounds
16:19 For this is the temple
16:25 Jehovah God abides in
16:35 We are standing
16:39 In His presence
16:43 On holy ground
16:51 We are standing
16:58 On holy ground
17:05 And I know that
17:09 There are angels
17:12 All around
17:19 Let us praise
17:26 Jesus now
17:33 We are standing in His presence
17:40 On holy ground
17:48 In His presence
17:52 There is joy
17:55 Beyond measure
18:01 And at His feet
18:05 Peace of mind
18:10 Can still be found
18:16 If you have a need
18:21 I know He has the answer
18:28 Oh, just reach out and claim it
18:33 For we are standing
18:36 On holy ground
18:43 We are standing
18:50 On holy ground
18:58 And I know that
19:01 There are angels
19:05 All around
19:12 Let us praise
19:19 Jesus now
19:26 We are standing in His presence
19:32 On holy ground
19:40 Let us praise
19:47 Jesus now
19:55 We are standing in His presence
20:02 We are standing
20:06 In His presence
20:09 We are standing
20:12 In His presence
20:23 On holy ground
20:41 Gene, thank you so much for coming today and,
20:45 just for sharing your heart.
20:46 I thank you for giving me the opportunity.
20:49 I love the family reunion.
20:52 It's good.
20:53 Let's pray for folks that are watching.
20:56 Father, thank You for everyone
20:58 who's sitting watching right now.
21:00 And God, Your Word says that
21:03 no man comes unless Your Spirit draws them.
21:05 And so we know that if anyone is coming to faith right now,
21:09 it's because Your Holy Spirit is drawing them in.
21:11 And so, Gene and I joined together
21:13 with other believers that are praying right now,
21:16 for those who are watching.
21:17 And I just want to encourage them to just pray,
21:19 Father, I'm a sinner and I'm lost without You.
21:23 I confess that. I admit it.
21:25 I agree with you.
21:27 Father, I thank You that You made provision for my sin
21:31 when You sent Jesus to die on the cross.
21:33 In 2 Corinthians 5:21 says,
21:35 "God made Him who knew no sin
21:36 to be sin for me,
21:37 that I might become
21:39 the righteousness of God in Him."
21:40 And, Father, at the cross
21:41 the great exchange that takes place
21:43 is He becomes my sin
21:45 and I become His righteousness.
21:48 Not because I deserve it,
21:49 not because I've been good enough,
21:51 but because of Your great love.
21:53 And, Lord, by faith, I receive Your free gift of salvation.
21:57 And I thank You for accepting me
21:59 into Your family.
22:00 And just like the father in the story
22:01 of the prodigal son,
22:03 You welcome us home.
22:04 You lay out the feast for us.
22:05 You killed the fatted calf
22:07 and You celebrate
22:09 because those, that son that was lost has come home.
22:12 And there are sons and there are daughters
22:13 right now that are responding and coming home.
22:18 And we welcome them as just as you do.
22:20 Thank You, Father, for Your great love
22:21 in Jesus' name.
22:23 Amen.
22:25 If you've just prayed that prayer
22:26 and you've come to faith in Christ,
22:28 would you please call the number on your screen?
22:30 Let us pray with you.
22:32 Let us send you some information
22:33 to help you in your new walk with the Lord.
22:36 Thank you for watching today.
22:37 I'm Billy Blackwood,
22:38 my dear friend, Gene McDonald here.
22:40 And we thank you for spending this time with us.
22:43 We hope you have been encouraged
22:46 in your walk with the Lord.
22:48 And those of you who've come to faith in Christ that,
22:50 you've given us the privilege of being a part
22:53 of that journey with you.
22:55 God bless you.
23:13 My faithful Father,
23:20 Enduring Friend
23:25 Your tender mercy's
23:28 Like a river with no end
23:35 It overwhelms me,
23:43 Covers my sin
23:47 Each time I come
23:50 Into Your presence
23:55 I stand in wonder once again
24:03 Your grace
24:07 Still amazes me
24:11 Your love
24:14 Is still a mystery
24:18 Each day
24:22 I fall on my knees
24:28 Your grace
24:30 Still amazes me
24:35 Your grace
24:37 Still amazes me
24:56 Oh, patient Savior
25:04 You make me whole
25:09 You are the Author
25:12 And the Healer
25:16 Of my soul
25:19 What can I give You
25:27 What can I say
25:31 I know there's no way
25:35 To repay You
25:38 Only to offer
25:42 You my praise
25:47 Your grace
25:51 Still amazes me
25:54 Your love
25:58 Is still a mystery
26:02 Each day
26:05 I fall on my knees
26:11 Your grace
26:13 Still amazes me
26:18 Your grace
26:21 Still amazes me
26:25 It's deeper,
26:28 It's wider
26:32 It's stronger,
26:35 It's higher
26:39 It's deeper,
26:43 It's wider
26:46 It's stronger,
26:50 It's higher
26:52 Than anything
26:56 My eyes can see
26:59 Your grace
27:03 Still amazes me
27:07 Your love
27:10 Is still a mystery
27:14 Each day
27:17 I fall on my knees
27:23 Your grace
27:25 Still amazes me
27:30 Your grace
27:33 Still amazes me.


Revised 2021-04-29