Monday, September 12, 2005

Bravo God

Sarah&jamiBravo God is the is name of Jami Smith’s newest CD and last night was her CD release concert in Oklahoma City. 

Before I share about the concert, let me explain the importance of Jami Smith to my family.  Renee and Sarah went to a mother/daughter conference a few years back, and Jami Smith was the worship leader.  Sarah came back bubbling about Jami, and started into her guitar practicing with a renewed passion.  Sarah quickly collected all the CDs produced by Jami Smith she could find.  Several months later, Jami Smith filled in as worship leader where we were attending, and I arraigned for Sarah to get to talk to Jami for just a few minutes prior to one of the worship services.  Once Sarah got over her nervousness of talking to Jami Smith, all went well.  As Sarah walked away, it was as if she was floating on air.  Needless to say, Jami Smith is someone Sarah looks up to (and, as a father, I couldn’t think of a better role model). I don't travel much for my job, but when I am am on the road, my "travel CD" is about 40% Jami Smith ... without a doubt, Jami rocks!

For Sarah’s birthday a few months ago, I had arraigned for her to have lunch with Jami Smith in Oklahoma City.  At the last minute, Jami got sick and had to postpone the meeting.  Renee and I were heartbroken, but a few weeks later the plans were completed for a new date/time.  We tricked Sarah into a trip to OKC, saying that I was going to an Amputee Support Group meeting, and that we might go to Target afterward.  We got to Hideaway Pizza a few minutes before Jami was to arrive.  When I saw Jami about to enter, I walked over to the door and greeted her.  Sarah saw Jami Smith come in and wondered why I would go over to her.  I called Sarah over and said “Happy Birthday, you are having lunch with Jami Smith”.  I have never seen an expression like that in my entire life … one of combined suprise and excitement!  Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say we (Renee and I) have heard a lot about Jami Smith since then.

Back to last night: We got to Crossings Community Church a few minutes after the doors were scheduled to open, and the place was already quite full.  Sarah and I found some good seats in the middle section and waited for the concert to start.  When Jami Smith came into the sanctuary, and sat in the front row of the left section, the crowd hushed for a few seconds, then started buzzing with private conversations.  Finally, the pastor of CCC walked up on the stage and introduced Jami.  In her ever-humble manner, Jami took the stage, thanked everyone, and started her concert rocking as only she can.  She shared how she wasn’t there to sell CDs, or even perform for us, she was there to glorify God and share with us what He wanted.  Without a doubt, the Holy Spirit was in that room.  (I didn’t take notes as to the set of songs she played, but there was a mixture of her ‘old-school stuff’, as well as her new songs).

She stopped for a moment about a third through the concert to talk about her new CD, not in an effort to promote it, but to explain small pieces of it.  Take for example, the title “Bravo God”.  She shared how her lead guitar player was playing around one day and she opened her bible (version: The Message, by Eugene H Peterson) to Psalm 29, which starts out:  A David psalm. Bravo, GOD, bravo! Gods and all angels shout, "Encore!" (read entire chapter).  Then she shared the song with us (here is a 30 second mp3 clip from her website: listen).

The concert, only about 90 minutes long, could have been twice or three times as long for both Sarah and I.  Afterwards, Sarah went and bought Jami’s two newest CDs, Bravo God and Hope of All the Earth and got in line for the autographs.  I was hoping that Jami would have a sharpie marker (I’ll explain later), but she didn’t.  As soon as Sarah got to the front of the line, Jami recognized her and asked how she was doing.  Sarah handed her a card that Renee had sent (thanking her for taking the time to have lunch with Sarah), and Jami asked about the family.  After signing Sarah’s CD insert, she posed for the picture above with Sarah.  As we left, Sarah was cloud nine again, not only because she had the newest Jami Smith CD, but because, as she put it, “Jami Smith remembered me!”.  I told Sarah that if Jami Smith had a sharpie pen, I would have had her autograph the socket of my prosthetic leg, right below my Tis Gar Plen logo.  She told me we had one in the car and off she ran to go get it. 

AutographAfter standing in line again, when we got to Jami, she was suprised we were still there and I said I had a weird autograph request.  I explained about my Tis Gar Plen logo, and how I have used it in ministry ways, and asked for her autograph below the logo.  At first she didn’t want to, saying “these things are expensive”, but I assured her it was alright.  After she signed it, she admitted that this was a first (she had never autographed a fake leg).  We said our good-byes again and headed back to Stillwater.

Side note: Sarah told me that one of the security guards near Jami Smith went bug-eyed when I removed my prosthetic leg.  What a hoot!

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