Friday, February 19, 2016

The Inner Views of Kelly Bowling

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22, 23

More than once over the course of the past few years, I have mentioned or included the song,
"I'll Be Alright As Soon As I Touch Calvary" in my posts.
That song has come to mean so much to my family and me,
and last year, we were blessed to be able to hear it sung, in person,
by the group that first introduced the song to us.
(You can read about that special night, by clicking HERE.)

So, it was no surprise that while seeking God's face about His will concerning future Inner Views,
the dear lady you will read about today was brought to my mind.

I made contact, and she so graciously granted us an interview!
I am eternally grateful, and I know you will be very encouraged by meeting her.
Perhaps you are already familiar with her and her family's music.
If not, you are in for an extra special blessing!

of follower of Jesus, wife, mother, and soprano singer for The Bowling Family,
Kelly Bowling.

Cheryl:  First of all, I want to thank you, Kelly, for taking the time to grant us an interview. What an honor it is to be able to have you share with us today! To start off, can you tell us about yourself? 

Kelly:  I'm married to Mike. We have three daughters, ages 16, 12, and 9. We are on tour about 209 dates a year, so life is crazy at times, but we are blessed and together.  I sang for 17 years with my family, The Crabb Family, before Mike and I started The Bowling Family.

Cheryl:  We would love to hear about your Christian testimony. How old were you when you gave your heart to the Lord? What life events led up to that decision? How has following Jesus changed your life?

Kelly:  I was 14 when I got saved.  I was listening to music at home.  At first, secular music, but I had one gospel cassette (showing my age) to my name, and decided to listen to it.  Before I knew it, tears were falling, and I gave my heart to the Lord the summer before my freshman year of high school.  It set me on a totally different path, and I'm so thankful.  God has been so faithful to me.

Cheryl:  How long have you been singing? Can you recall any special memories of your first time singing in public? When did you first realize that God was calling you to sing full-time for Him?

Kelly:  I started singing at age 3.  I don't remember the first time I ever sang in public, but I remember the young years being up there, and I knew I loved it.  However, I got shy as I got older, and took some time away, but when I got saved, there was a new fire in me to sing again! I'm so glad I did! 

Cheryl:  How did you meet your husband, Mike, and how did you know he was “the one”? What is it like being on the road with him and your children, and being able to sing for the Lord together as a family? As a girl growing up, did you have any dreams or aspirations that this is what your life would one day look like?

Kelly:  I met Mike in Boaz, AL.  He was the lead singer for the Perry's.  My family was just getting started.  We had so much in common, it didn't take long to realize that he was the one. We dated about two years, and then he proposed.  I had always hoped to stay in ministry, and marry someone who had that same vision.  Our road life can be challenging, chaotic, and everything you can imagine life to be with three kids and raising them part time on a bus, but we're together, and that is the best part of it!

Cheryl:  Over the course of the past few years, my family and I have gone through some intense, fiery trials, and one of the songs that has gotten us through is “I’ll Be Alright As Soon As I Touch Calvary”. Last year, we were blessed to be able to attend Singin’ In the Sun in Myrtle Beach, and as we were standing in the part of the arena where the product tables were set up, we heard you and your family practicing that song next door. I can’t even begin to tell you the profound effect that moment had upon me, as I stood there, tears pouring down and thinking back over all of the many times we have turned to that song for comfort. Later, we got to see you all perform it live, and it was, without a doubt, my favorite moments of our entire time there. Can you please tell us the history behind your singing this song? Was there a particular reason you chose it, and what has the song meant to you, on a personal level? How has it affected others who have heard you sing it?

Kelly:  Mike has always loved this song, and he cut it as a solo artist years ago.  It is a Rusty Goodman song, and we have always loved his songwriting.  He was one of the greats!  I love to hear Mike sing this as well, it suits his voice, and the message never gets old.  It's wonderful to be reminded that at the foot of the Cross, is the only place we need to go! 

Cheryl:  Will you share with us about what happened on July 1, 2010? How has that event changed your life? What impact has it had upon your ministry? How was God’s love demonstrated to you throughout and in the aftermath of this ordeal?

Kelly:  On July 1st 2010, our family was in a bad bus wreck that left us with several injuries.  I suffered a broken back and Mike was airlifted with a brain injury.  Our daughter, Katelanne was airlifted as well.  It was my darkest day as a wife and mother, but God was with us, and brought us through.

It was life changing, we learned to trust God on a different level, and we learned that even if the enemy tries to destroy you, God has the final say.  There are not enough words for me to say how faithful God has been to us! 

(To read news article about the accident and to view pictures, click HERE.)

Cheryl:  As a woman who is involved in full-time ministry and who is also a wife and mother, how do you find balance and maintain Biblical priorities?

Kelly:  As, a mom, I just try to look to the Lord to lead me.  I'm sure I fail daily, but I feel the key is to keep God first, to live what you sing, to let your kids know that it's more than when you're on stage, and that you're a Christian first with or without a platform.

Cheryl:  There is an element of sincerity and genuineness in your stage presence that is so evident and refreshing. In moments of success and public affirmation, what is the one thing that you would say most keeps you humble and grounded in your walk with God and His purpose in having you do what you do?

Kelly:  What keeps me grounded is knowing who I am.  I don't deserve this wonderful life I've been blessed with, I know that.  I know that every good gift is from God. 

Cheryl:  We are, undoubtedly, living in the last and perilous times that were prophesied of in God’s Word. It is easy, in these troubled times, to become discouraged and lose hope. Are there any words of encouragement God is laying upon your heart to share with us here?

Kelly:  I would just say keep your faith in God, no matter what.  I often say, the enemy wants your faith, more than anything.  He attacks different areas of our life to ultimately steal our faith.  But God says we walk by faith and not by sight.  Trust Him even when life is crazy, trust Him when the rain is falling.  He is faithful, and I believe he'll prove that to you if you trust Him!

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you? Are there specific needs the Bowling Family would like us to know about? How can we support your ministry and purchase your products?

Kelly:  I appreciate all prayers, especially as we travel!  You can get our music at

Bless their dear hearts!
This family has truly been brought through the fire,
and God has allowed them to live to proclaim His glory and praise.
With permission, I am including several videos concerning their bus accident.
As you watch, you will see the amazing power of God and how His mighty hand has been upon
this dear family through it all.
What a blessing it is to watch how God turned such a horrible test into such an amazing testimony!
As you watch, you will be abundantly reminded of the miraculous power of God.

If video doesn't load, click here.

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A BIG thank you to Kelly Bowling for granting us this interview.
To GOD be the glory!
Great things He has done.

It is my hope that by reading Kelly's story and watching the videos that reveal the trials and ordeals
she and her family have been through, you will be reminded that there is always hope in God.
No matter what you are going through, 
He is bigger than your problem.
He is greater than your situation.
He loves you so much!
You can trust Him.
Even though He allows us to walk through hard places, He is ever present in our lives.
The 4th man is always in the fire.  (Daniel 3:25)
He doesn't walk out a moment ahead of us.
He is always faithful!
Don't give up, my friend, no matter what you are facing.
Keep looking unto Jesus!
He will see you through.
As Kelly mentioned in her testimony above, Jesus made a promise to us.
"...lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Matthew 28:20

I hope you will stop by The Bowling Family's Website to learn more about this sweet family,
their music, and their ministry,
and please keep them always in your prayers.

God bless you and your family, Kelly!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Inner Views of Bob Sellers

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:9

If you have been reading Homespun Devotions for very long, you will know that my family and I are huge fans of the Southern Gospel group, The Kingsmen.
They have been such a dear blessing to us throughout the struggles and trials of the past few years.
You can read previous posts I have written about them by clicking the following links:

My family's correspondence with The Kingsmen has been mainly through emails
to and from the gentleman who is being featured in today's Inner Views.
When God first began dealing with me about beginning to conduct interviews to post here,
he is one of the first people He brought to my mind.
We were so thankful that when we asked, he was willing to grant us an interview!
What a blessing!

I know you are going to love reading this, and you will be abundantly blessed!

We gratefully present to you....
 sinner saved by grace
and lead singer of the Grammy-nominated and Dove award-winning Kingsmen Quartet,
Bob Sellers.

Bob Sellers.

Cheryl:  Could you please give us an introduction as to who you are, personally, and what you do, professionally?

Bob:  I'm a native and lifelong resident of Pickens County, AL. My hometown of Gordo is about 30 minutes from downtown Tuscaloosa. I graduated from The University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) in 1998 with a degree in Finance with a concentration in banking and financial services. I spent 17 years in banking, working the last ten years of my banking career as a commercial loan officer. I left that career in 2011 to join The Kingsmen full-time filling the position of lead vocals. Prior to joining The Kingsmen, I also had my own group (Capstone Quartet) that traveled part-time mostly on the weekends. I have been married to my high school sweetheart and the absolute love of my life, Kansas, since 1998, and we've been blessed with three children. Our oldest girl, Corley, is fifteen, Ellie is 12, and our son, Will, is 10. My wife is a sixth grade teacher here in our hometown. We live a simple life out in the country with one inside spoiled rotten fur baby ("Bella", a Malti-szu), three outside dogs and a cat. When not on the road with The Kingsmen (which I am 200+ days each year) I do some handyman-type work on the side such as painting and light remodeling, wood and tile floors, etc. I find it's a good way to stay somewhat in shape physically and mentally while not on the road and spend my time making a little extra money when Kansas and the kids are at school versus laying around being lazy. If and when there is any time left, my hobbies include anything going on outdoors such as camping, hunting, hiking, etc. and of course, obsessing over Alabama Crimson Tide sports, especially football. Roll Tide!

Left to Right:
Kansas, Bob, Corley,
Will, and Ellie Sellers

The Kingsmen
Left to Right:
Randy Crawford, Brandon Reese, Ray Dean Reese, Bob Sellers, and Chris Jenkins

Cheryl:  How long have you been a member of the Kingsmen, and how did you become a part of this ministry?

Bob:  I had gotten to know a couple of guys in the group pretty well over the years and in early 2011 I had a chance to fill in for one of them one night down in south Alabama. I guess owners Ray and Brandon Reese thought it was a pretty good fit, because a few months later they would have an opening at the lead position and offered me the job. I've been here ever since and haven't once regretted the career change. My wife is so supportive of what I do. I could never do it without her support and can't imagine trying to! She believes just as I do that this is God's purpose for my life right now, so we are totally committed to fulfilling that calling together. 

Bob and Kansas Sellers

Cheryl:  How did you come to be a Christian, and when did you feel God calling you to full-time ministry?

Bob:  I accepted Christ as my Lord and personal savior on June 6, 1984 during a week long summer revival at the church my grandfather Paul Sellers founded back in 1978. Granddaddy has gone to be with the Lord, but I am still a member of that church and I actually live about 200 yards from the back door. Although I rarely get the privilege to attend, it is a very special place to me, and all my family are active members there. I felt for several months at my last banking stint that God had other plans for my life. I was miserable at the time and having tried for a long time to make the best of a bad situation, I had begun to pray for a way out, and I really felt deeply within my heart that God had a career change in my future. I had no idea that it would be in full-time ministry, but as soon as Ray called it was as if a light bulb came on and God said, "Here's your answer!". 

Cheryl:  Your song, “Battle Cry”, has so deeply stirred our hearts and the hearts of many others, as it is so spiritually fitting to our times. Can you tell us how the song came to you and what your initial reaction was when you, as the Kingsmen, first heard it? Did you immediately discern the power of the song or have any idea how much of an impact it would make?
If you could sum up the current “battle cry” that is going forth from the heart of God, how would you describe it, and what do you think we, as the Body of Christ, should be doing in response to that battle cry?

Bob:  "Battle Cry" was one of dozens of songs (probably well over a hundred, actually) that we were blessed to have pitched to us by songwriters from all over the world. We listened for more than two years trying to find our favorite ten songs for this project and actually ended up with eleven, because we just couldn't bring ourselves to culling that last favorite. I was actually the first to hear the demo for "Battle Cry". I immediately liked the song. For me, I know by the time I hear a couple of measures of music and some of the lyrics of a song whether or not I like it, and it was just one that grabbed me immediately and got stuck in my head. I think the song resonates as it does because of the things happening in the world around us. God certainly wants us to pray, but I also think He desires to see His church put action behind our prayers. The days of Christian people sitting on the sidelines only hoping and praying for change have passed us by. We’ve got to take up arms against Satan. The mindset of staying quiet on the sidelines has allowed things such as gay marriage and abortion to be accepted in our country and what got God escorted out our schools. It's time Christians get busy spreading the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth, just like the Word of God compels us to such as in Luke 14:23 and Acts 1:8, reaching as many as we can while there is still time. Also, we need to stand for what is right and stand against what is wrong and practice what we preach. My favorite line in the song says, "Let us not grow weary as we carry the gospel to the lost, let us lay our lives down in the service of our captain and His cross; for evil rages, so hearts courageous, we must soldier on!". That truly is the Christian battle cry!

Cheryl:  As you travel from place to place and sing to different audiences in various venues, how do you compare the current level of spiritual fervency, dedication, and support with levels of the past?

Bob:  I think the biggest difference over the past generation or so in this industry is that more of us out here on the road have as much of an evangelical drive as we do an entertainment drive. I certainly believe that you can present the gospel in song in an entertaining way. After all, it's a dark, hard world sometimes, so if people can leave all that behind, come and sit through 90 minutes or a couple hours of a concert with us and have a smile put on their face, we're not going to apologize for that. Part of The Kingsmen's legacy is taking the audience on a roller coaster of emotions, whether it's laughing hysterically one minute to crying the next. We want a concert with us to be more than an emotional experience, however, and for people to leave having enjoyed a true worship experience. The best pay we ever receive is seeing someone in a service we've led come to the saving knowledge of Christ. The best compliment we get is when someone tells us they received a blessing.

Cheryl:  How many times do you perform throughout the year, and how do you find balance in maintaining family life along with being on the road?

Bob:  We perform anywhere between 180 and 200 dates a year. For me, it's a 450-mile drive to Asheville, NC, where the group is headquartered and where the bus leaves out of. I don't always have to drive that far, but I end up being away from home upward of 220-230 days each year. That is incomprehensible to some people, however, what I’ve learned to do is make the absolute best out of the time I do get at home. My wife's and my relationship has never been stronger. There really is a lot of truth to the old adage "absence makes the heart grow fonder". When I'm on the road, sometimes my heart absolutely aches for home, so when I am home, each and every moment, whether it's time with my wife and kids, some time spent on a hobby, spending time with my parents and other family I don't get to see as often as I'd like or just whatever I'm doing feels like a real privilege. Of course, the chores and other obligations of home still have to be met as well. Missing ballgames, recitals, “firsts”, etc. of my kids is the worst, or when someone at home is ill or injured. I prayed when I started with the group that I'd never have any regrets and that my children would never wish I'd have been there more. Obviously, we'd always like to be together more, but we've all learned to adapt to the point that it's just normal life for us, at least. 

Bob, Ellie, Corley, Kansas, and Will Sellers

Bob, with his parents, Helen and Robert Sellers

Cheryl:  What are some of the most humorous things that have happened during your concerts?

Bob:  Oh my goodness! You can’t imagine some of the hilarious things that happen on the road. They usually involve our bass singer and owner, Ray Dean Reese. He may be 76 years old, but he can be a big kid at heart. He does things to crack us up all the time. He’s been with The Kingsmen for 50 years and one of the funny things he's known for is if he ever forgets the lyrics to a song he will just sing “watermelon, watermelon, watermelon”. He says no one ever knows the difference as long as it blends in with what the rest of us are singing. As you can imagine, it never really blends in that well. Some of the funniest things also happen at the product table. For example, I had a man in Indianapolis actually argue with me over whether or not we were the same “Kingsmen” who sang the song “Louie, Louie”. I tried to explain that they were a rock and roll group from the northwest who came along a few years after us and that we’d never done “Louie, Louie”, but he said, “No, it was you. I saw you do it right here in 1968!”. At that point I just gave up and agreed with everything he said. We love them all, but people can say some of the wildest things at the table! It’s always entertaining.

Cheryl:  We are living in the perilous end times prophesied about in God’s Word, and it is easy to become discouraged in these dark days. In closing, what words of encouragement would you like to share with our readers?

Bob:  Yes, we are indeed. I'd just say just what the Bible says, “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.  My life verses are Proverbs 3:5-6, which say, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

A BIG thanks to Bob for his time and for sharing his amazing story and testimony with us!
We are just so honored and humbled to have been able to interview such an inspiring man of God.

A few months ago, God blessed us to get to meet Bob in person and see The Kingsmen in concert!
That special evening was a night we will never forget and a tremendous blessing to our souls.
You may read more about it by clicking here.

Chris Jenkins, Zach, and Bob Sellers

And, guess what?????
Battle Cry, written by Joel Lindsey, Sue C. Smith, and Lee Black, 
and recorded by the Kingsmen, was the #2 Radio Song for 2015, 

The words to this song stir a deep longing within me to arise out of spiritual lethargy,
to shake off complacency,
and to do my personal part to defend God's truth in this evil age.
I never listen to this song without being profoundly moved,
and seldom do I hear it without shedding tears.

If video doesn't load, click here.

Another recent release from The Kingsmen's Battle Cry CD is "Cross of Grace".

I hope you will take the time to listen to it here.

If video doesn't load, click here.

God bless Bob Sellers, and God bless The Kingsmen, as they travel and do their utmost
to bring glory and honor to our dear Lord in these perilous, last days of time.

If you would like to support the ministry of The Kingsmen and/or order any of their products,
please click HERE!

To read previous
 click the links below.

The Inner Views of Joshua Becker
 The Inner Views of Lisa Newton
The Inner Views of Dr. Alveda King
The Inner Views of Jen Avellaneda
The Inner Views of Tonya Shellnutt
The Inner Views of Karen Del Tatto
The Inner Views of Evelyn Rennich