Andre Crouch Died This Week

By Pastor Jim Jenkins

Many may ask, "Who was Andre Crouch?" He would be no stranger to the Christians, though. He was one of the most prolific, creative, influential Christian recording artists of our generation. It would not be an unfair comparison to mention his name in the same sentence with the great Hymn writer Fanny Crosby, or Charles Wesley.

During the period that will be known in history as the Jesus Movement, Andre Crouch, Larry Norman, The Second Chapter of Acts, Barry McGuire and others pioneered a whole new era in Christian music. Andre, however, also topped the secular charts and won Grammy Awards.

How the Lord used this man in my life, however, was a very private moment that took place in a hospital parking lot in Orange County California in the late 1970s. It was at the height of Andre's popularity and he was putting a concert at the Anaheim Convention Center. His special guest that night was going to be Natalie Cole, who also was at the peak of her success.

I was seminary student at the time at The Melodyland School of Theology, which was just down the street from the Convention Center. All the students were hyped at this rare opportunity to hear a truly great Christian artist and his guest the daughter of Nat King Cole and almost everyone I knew planned to attend; everyone, that is, except me. I had to work. I was a nursing assistant at the Orange County Hospital (now called the UCI Medical Center).

I was so mad that I couldn't go. I was feeling sorry for myself big time.

By the time I pulled into the parking lot I was fuming. How come I have to work? I'll just call in and concoct some kind of story to account for my absence. I just sat there and stewed for quite a while and then finally I got sick of my attitude. You know you have gone too far when you get sick of your own whining. I prayed:

"Lord I am so sorry. You got me this job in answer to prayer. I have been able to pay my bills and stay in seminary because of this job. I repent of my attitude. Please forgive me for my petty spirit. I want to do your will. Whatever you have for me to do tonight I am glad to do it. Amen."

As I sat in my 1960 Peugeot (think detective Columbo's car) with a crank operated sunroof, I looked at the big hospital building and had what I can only describe as a vision. I saw two things that revolutionized how I viewed my job and my ministry from that day to this.

As I looked above the hospital, I saw what resembled the northern lights. (If you have ever seen them you know what it must have looked like.) I saw single shafts of light come down to the roof of the hospital, then I would see two such shafts of light go back shooting heavenward into the night sky.

As I waited, the understanding came that the Lord meant for me to understand I was working in an environment where that very night some people would die and their spirits would be escorted into the presence of God by His Angel. (One came down, two went back.)

As soon as I understood what I had seen, I "saw" something else. I was weeping by this point.

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