If you have any questions about what John's priorities are in life, then you probably haven't spent much time with him. It's a pretty simple answer - God and Family!
"I believe that we are where we are as a nation today because just like the Church of Ephesus, we - the Christian Church of today - have lost our first love," John says. "We are so focused on our own comfort; our own priorities; our own wants, needs and desires, that we have placed everyone else - even our own families - on a back burner. Until we begin to restore the foundation of the family, we will never change the foundation of our nation."
This is what is at the heart of one of Inspirational Country Music's loudest voices - and it's also what is at the heart of John's newest project, Only Room For Love.
As he enters a new season of life, John explains what it is that keeps his passion ignited for the music he does.
"Cindy and I have traveled a road with a lot of ups and downs the last couple of years. We're now empty-nesters as our oldest daughter got married, we welcomed a new son-in-law and a year later they gave us our first granddaughter. We sent our youngest daughter off to school in Abilene to start college and during all of this, we said goodbye to my mom and dad and Cindy's dad all within eight months of each other," John says explaining some of the highs and lows. "Through all of this though, we have held to Christ as The Rock that provides a safe harbor in the storm. He's the glue that has held us together. I don't see how people get through the "stuff" of life without that foundation."
"The trials and celebrations that our family has endured over the last couple of years have provided a lot of the backdrop for the songs on this new project. My prayer is that God will use the words and the songs to help turn our hearts as dads and moms and husbands and wives back to Him," John continued. "We have to get back to a place where we are willing to fight for our marriages; where we are more concerned about our children's eternal destination than we are about where they'll spend four years of college. One of the best ways we can do this is by modeling sacrificial love in our houses."
Songs like Last and Lord of the Rings or the title track Only Room For Love speak specifically to that point. From the perspective of a dad giving marital advice to his soon-to-be married son, the song Last has a chorus that says:
To make love last, longer
And grow stronger
To make your hopes and your dreams come true
To make your way by making do
With the little bit you'll have
Just put each other first
To make love LAST
From the song Lord of the Rings, sound advice for a God-centered marriage:
When times got tough, we knew we'd make it through
So deep in love, we knew that we could turn to
The Lord of the rings, the Lord of my life
The Lord of my children and the Lord of my wife
Hand in hand, we can do anything
With these wedding bands, and the Lord of the Rings.
And the title track that uses the metaphor of the world being a house and there's Only Room For Love:
Till there is no more room for fear
No more revenge or violence here
No more anger, no more doubt
As if this whole world was a house
Big enough for all of us
And there was only room, only room for love!
"From the first time I heard that song, it really hit home for me," John said referring to the title track."We moved from Plano to East Texas in 2005 and went from a 2500 square foot home to just over 1700 square feet and it was probably one of the best things we ever did for our family. Living in a small house, you can't really hide from anyone when you're mad at them. You're forced to confront situations and deal with them head on; you're forced to have to listen to other's opinions and respect them for those thoughts. You're forced to understand that even when you're right, it doesn't mean you're right! We need more of that in this world!"
For anyone that has spent time with John at his house, his back porch, his place of business, riding in a car or sharing a cup of coffee, there is one thing that all will agree on – John has an undying passion to minister to families, parents, children, husbands and wives. "I believe that we've lost a lot of ground in our nation today because we as parents have failed to stand up and take hold of the reigns of responsibility that God has called us too in raising our children," John explains. "God is very clear in His word on what we as parents - especially dads - are called to do in raising up today's and tomorrow's generation and we have dropped the ball. Until we as Christian fathers are willing to do our jobs, our nation will continue to slide backwards. I believe that one of the messages that God has put on my heart to spread is just that - it's time to be all He has called us to be and it all starts down on our knees crying out to God for forgiveness and turning our hearts back to Him."
With that in mind, a large part of John's focus moving into a new year is seeking ministry opportunities in and outside of churches where he can share this message that God has placed on his heart. "We'll be looking at a lot of Men's Ministry event opportunities as well as Couple's events and other venues where we can reach out to those parents, aunts, uncles, grand parents, moms and dads that God is calling back to His flock."
John’s smooth voice and sound has been compared to country music icons Larry Gatlin, Glen Campbell and Billy Dean. “Just to be mentioned in the same breath as some unbelievably talented guys is so humbling,” says John. “Those are some of the guys that I grew up listening too and inspired me from a style and sound perspective. The way they connected your heart and emotion to the message in their songs has always been amazing. That’s my desire each night - that God would give me the chance to minster through music; to connect people’s hearts to Him through sharing my testimony and the Gospel through His music.”
While John is the person that stands on the stage, the ministry is definitely a family-oriented ministry. Married for 21 years, it’s the rare occurrence when those in attendance won’t see him with his wife Cindy by his side. “She's my rock, my support,” he said. “There is no way that I could do what God has given me to do if she wasn't there to cheer me on, hold me accountable, let me know what I’m doing that works and what I’m doing that doesn't work. She is my biggest fans, but also my most honest critics. And sometimes, you need the critic more than the cheerleader!”
As he looks forward to what 2018 has in store and looks back at the whirlwind behind him, John marvels at the possibilities of the future. “You know all the ways that I’d describe these last few years have to do with storms; but the wonderful thing about a storm is that it has a way of clearing out the junk and leaving things more refreshed and ready to grow some more. That’s how I’m looking ahead to this year – as another year we get to grow and find that place of peace in His arms!”
To contact John about his music or bookings click the link here, or send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a personal pastoral reference, you can contact John’s full-time pastor, Jim Leach of Canton Community Bible Church, via email at email@example.com.