Family Notes 16/12/2015



Picture your most comfy chair, your favorite beverage, and a private concert of standards like “Moonglow,” “The Very Thought of You,” and “The Way You Look Tonight.” This musical treat awaits you on the latest CD from singer and gracEmail subscriber Curtis Shelburne titled “For Sentimental Reasons.” On it, Shelburne faithfully delivers a dozen such classics, wrapped in pure, mellow tones reminiscent of Nat King Cole with a touch of Sinatra-style light jazz. And that is no exaggeration.

When the time came to produce the CD, Shelburne left his hometown of Muleshoe, Texas (take that, any haughty sophisticats who might be listening in–or any lurking city snobs), travelling eastward to Nashville, Tennessee, that magical dreamworld of all things musical. There the singer surveyed his options of studios and entrusted to his choice the full circle of tasks required for recording, mixing and producing the dozen favorites Shelburne had chosen for this CD.

An added benefit of being in Nashville was the availability of expert, experienced musicians and engineers, whose credits in many cases already included Grammy award-winning albums. It was only appropriate to bring such complementary talent onto the team–in terms of both substance and symbol. Shelburne’s own talent deserves as much, as the finished sound on this CD amply demonstrates.

In short, “For Sentimental Reasons” by Curtis Shelburne makes a wonderful stocking-stuffer or a featured gift for any occasion. You simply must go to: and enjoy a sample track. While there, don’t miss the bio, photos, details about scheduling a live concert, and information about ordering. As for Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, they might always outdistance Curtis Shelburne in sales and other revenues, but that is quite okay. They did not get to read gracEmail, edit a monthly magazine called The Christian Appeal, or list Muleshoe, Texas as their return address.


Dave Wickus is one of thousands of thoughtful gracEmail subscribers who from time to time gives feedback regarding what he reads here. Following are Dave’s reflections concerning his own experience with the traditional evangelical “Sinner’s Prayer” when a new convert himself, and later as an evangelist leading others to the Savior. Whatever words one uses to “call on the name of the Lord,” says Dave, no prayer ascends higher than the roof-top unless it flows from a pure and sincere heart.

Dave’s feedback —

“Thank you so much and I couldn’t agree more that far too often we make the sinner’s prayer part of the condition of our being saved and that is definitely wrong. It’s a heart issue not a head issue. I myself did say a “sinner’s prayer” at the advice of a Sunday School teacher and I will say that I believed at that very moment that Jesus had saved me (before I was even born).

The prayer my teacher taught me was basically this: ‘Jesus, I open the doors of my heart and invite you to come in. I give you complete control of my life. Help me to follow you all the days of my life.’ As I said these words in the quiet of my bedroom by myself I was filled with such joy that I laughed out loud. I really do like this prayer because in saying it there has to be a heart of repentance and humility.

“When I share this prayer with unbelievers I tell them they must believe it with all their heart. In fact the gospel must be presented to the unbelieving person before such a prayer can ever be prayed. I do also like your comments on how in the book of Acts they say ‘believe and be baptized.’ But even when we say, ‘Yes, I believe,’ that is a short prayer to God and must be from the heart. If one truly does believe then repentance will take place and baptism will follow as an outward sign of an inward belief. Of course all this can be done in the flesh and only God will know what each person truly believes in their heart. We can say a “sinner’s prayer” or we can say “I believe” but if the heart isn’t in it we are still lost in our sins. Again thanks for sharing and inspiring me.”