Lincoln to receive a little bit of Nashville

By: Pastor Edward Black, Jr. Special to the News Messenger
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It was as if Nashville invaded the Lincoln area by storm this week as Grammy nominated Dove Award winning artists Russ Taff and Margaret Becker, both pioneers in contemporary Christian music, were set to perform a rare, double headlining show at William Jessup University after Wednesday’s press time. Sponsored by my Imagination Harbor Media Group and the Arena Christian Church, Taff performed Tuesday night at Arco Arena in front of 37,000 fans. The night began with explosive energy as Taff and friends took the stage. Having a career in gospel music that has spanned over two decades, Taff’s set included plenty of crowd favorites, bringing the audience to their feet in thunderous applause more than once, especially during his signature songs, “Not Gonna Bow” and “Winds of Change.” Having overcome a family history of alcoholism, he shared how the power of Christ delivered his family from its unforgiving grip. Becker has released 17 albums and received multiple Grammy and Dove award nods. Her vocals are often compared to Ann and Nancy Wilson, the MTV giants from the rock band Heart. It’s certainly clear why these two artists are worth the several thousand-dollar performance fees they usually command. Except for last night… Both Nashville artists, while often touring in front of thousands, graciously agreed to visit Lincoln, stayed in our hotels (Holiday Inn Express), ate in our restaurants (Panera Bread) and enjoyed gift baskets crafted by My Chocolate Affair for a single purpose: to partner with the Arena Christian and a handful of other local churches and businesses to fund the building of a new orphanage. After their respective benefit sets, I, as the Arena Christian Church pastor and Imagination Harbor Media Group owner reminded the audience, that we are gathered here tonight for a single purpose… a purpose which brought Russ, Margaret and all of us together to celebrate the gift of music. There are a handful of kids in Guatemala, with no family, no home and no bed to sleep in. They have no idea that tonight begins a miracle. We’re gonna band together, give generously, and get these kids off the street and into a bed and into a family. We’ve banded together over the past 10 years, building five orphanages… It’s time to begin building number six. Through Houses of Hope, the Arena Church has helped either begin or continued the construction of five orphanages and a community center in Zacapa, Guatemala. These Houses of Hope are all built by volunteers, who travel to Guatemala, India, Uganda and Thailand, at there own expense, to work for up to two weeks to provide the labor and materials to build these orphanages. Tax-deductible donations to help the construction of the orphanage may be made to the Arena Christian Church, and mailed to PO Box 490, Lincoln, CA 95648. Funds will be received through Jan. 1. For more information, contact the Arena Church at 434-5634. Edward Black, Jr. is the Imagination Harbor Media Group owner and pastor of Arena Christian Church.