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Jesus Calling Wraps CMA Fest 2019 with Randy Travis, Crystal Gayle, and more!

Jesus Calling on Close Up Stage at CMA with Randy Travis and Mary Travis

It was another pinnacle year for Jesus Calling® at CMA Fest last week in Nashville, Tennessee. The best-selling devotional that has sold more than 25 million copies set up shop at Fan Fair X and hosted a variety of guest artists that included Randy Travis, Crystal Gayle, T. Graham Brown, Crowder, Aaron Watson, and others.

One of the biggest highlights from this year’s lineup was the CMA Close-Up Stage event:  Jesus Calling Presents a Conversation with Randy and Mary Travis—covered by the Tennessean. Mary sat at Randy’s side to speak for Randy as he is currently not able to perform and only partially able to speak since his 2013 stroke. Mary read from the Jesus Calling and went on to say, “Sometimes people ask me if we are bitter or angry? This man sitting beside me was never bitter, never angry, never sad, or saying ‘Why me?’ Instead, he said ‘Why not me? I’m like everybody else. I happen to be someone with a wonderful voice and spread a great message through the land. But I’m still the same man. I’m still like everybody. I have my disappointments, my uphill battles, my challenges, but he chose to face all it with joy.’”

Co-author Ken Abraham also shared stories from the new auto-biographical memoir, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life.

It’s been more than two decades since Travis has made it to CMA Fest. Prior to that, it was a family tradition. The book release was also accompanied by new music from Travis, with One In a Row his first music release since 2013. It was recorded before his stroke occurred, but not released widely. The interview was followed by a meet-and- greet at the Jesus Calling booth.

Other artists that visited the Jesus Calling booth talked about their love for the tradition of CMA Fest, their passion for the work, and how they stay grounded in the midst of their daily busy schedules. Here are some of the things they had to share:

Crystal Gayle

Crystal Gayle and Harper Grace meet at the Jesus Calling booth at CMA Fest 2019
Crystal Gayle and Harper Grace at CMA Fest 2019

“CMA Fest is a big family. People come to have fun. That’s the best part about fans of country music. I look at all my friends and I think it’s incredible that I was in their lives a little bit. My new album is co-produced with my son and features my sisters Peggy and Loretta Lynn. It is called Put it Off Till Tomorrow.

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Aaron Watson

“God’s amazing. You see sunrises and sunsets. Everyone looks different. We’re all unique and have our own unique talents. But life can be a rollercoaster ride. I have moments where I feel like I’m in control. And then I have moments where I’m like, ‘I’m a mess!’ Whatever your flaws or imperfections are, they can really start to overwhelm you. I’ve got those. But one of the most important things for me and for my fans, is to be honest. I’m not the perfect husband. I’m not the perfect Dad. I struggle as much as anybody. I struggle so much that I tell people that I need Jesus more than you…probably. But the truth is that we all need Jesus. We’re all flawed. When you hit rock bottom Jesus is there to lift off your burdens. Doing this with Jesus Calling is a reminder that I might need to hit the reset button, so thank you for that.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Deborah Allen

“I have a prayer call with a group of people (including my mother) every morning at 8 am. We’ve got UPS drivers, a lady in Texas, people in California and Florida. Some of these people I’ve never met in person, but we come together and pray for each other. If someone is in need we text each other. It’s really a beautiful thing. It’s the body of Christ. When we all get together we become one…and that’s when the miracles really happen. And that’s the way it is in prayer too. God hears our individual prayers, but when we come together it’s even more powerful.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

T. Graham Brown

“As long as people want to see me, I’m coming back to CMA Fest. I owe these T. Graham Brown visits the Jesus Calling booth at CMA Fest 2019 people my living! I had a bad problem with drugs and alcohol in the past, but even then I said my prayers every day. I was always a believer, even though I was my own worst enemy. I’m trying to do what I think God wants me to do…I’ve got the best job in the world. I get to make people happy for a living. And I’m thankful for that.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Ashton Shepherd

“I set my daily inspirations and Bible quotes daily through my Bible app. I read my Bible at night. I use my keyword search for different words that I may be feeling like the word ‘doubt’ and then I read all the verses related to that word. That’s my ritual and it keeps me grounded. It’s kinda like my own church.” 

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

David Crowder

“To follow Jesus, you’re gonna have to get outside of your own little space. To love your neighbor, you’re gonna have to walk across the street. I think we’re closer together than we think we are. I love doing that with music. Like, hey man, these probably shouldn’t be together at the same time, but it’s in me. I love being able to see people respond authentically to what you’re putting out in front of them. I like expressing the diversity and beauty of the body of Christ and help us see it in a physical way. We’re all in the same boat. There’s only one line out there and that’s life and death.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Darryl Worley

“We moved back to the farm and it’s been easier there. Darryl Worley signing the Jesus Calling guitar at CMA Fest 2019 I get up much earlier than the rest of the family. And that time before daylight and before the suns poppin’ up…that’s my time. I want to get them all prayed up before their feet hit the floor.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Glen Templeton

“I think it’s very important to make it part of your daily structure…to set aside time in the morning for God. It’s part of his plan. He knows far better than I do what it is that I need. Many times, I’ve thought that I’ve known what I needed for myself, but it was just selfish wants and things that I wanted for myself, not necessarily what I needed. And many times in my life have not turned out how I thought they were going to. In the mornings I pray for God to give me the strength to help somebody else and be a little bit of a voice of inspiration. I pray to get to know what His will is for me. It sets my day up and provides a path for me.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Shane Owens

“I pray on a daily basis. I pray not only for me, but I pray for everybody. This world has changed. We need to lean on each other more than ever. I was raised old school by my grandmother and grandfather and taught to be a good ole’ southern country boy. Without the good Lord in our everyday path, there’s no way any of us would survive. He tests us all the time…he tests us daily. Treat people the way you want to be treated and put it in the good Lord’s hands and everything will work out.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Sandra Lynn

“I’ve had a relationship with Jesus from a really young age and that has helped me. This business is a roller coaster ride and my faith has really helped me stay focused on the fact that God has a plan and everything happens for a reason. Ultimately all that I accomplish and all of the struggles that I go through as an independent artist makes me really appreciate that it is a blessing to be able to make music for a living.” 

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

JD Shelburne

“I pray a lot and I’m grateful for everything God has done for me. I grew up in a Baptist Church with my family and my family is still involved in the church back home. We were always taught that you give everything to the Lord. And that’s what my wife and I have done. I’m just so grateful. I mean he’s the reason I’m here and found the guitar. That was the first stage I ever played on was a church stage … and I tell people that. When I’m touring, I try to find a local Baptist church or go to my church back home. And that helps keep me ground as a Christian.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Kaylee Rutland

“I love that country music is so varied and there are so many sub-genres within country. Country music at its core is a little bit of twang and a whole lot of storytelling. That’s always an element that I want to incorporate into my music…no matter how modern it gets…that’s always an element that I want to incorporate into my music. I’m always a little bit of a sucker for a banjo, a fiddle, or a steel guitar. I love having those elements in my music. It’s so easy for people to go into CMA Fest stressed. I was reading my Jesus Calling this morning with my coffee and it kind of let me have a moment where I told myself I’m gonna go through this day and enjoy it. God made this day. Instead of getting stressed out worrying about running late to an event…I going to find the joy in getting to meet a ton of people, getting to sing, and do what I love.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Kelsey Lamb

“Quiet time is important. I usually do mine at night. It’s a time to decompress, be thankful, and remind myself that I’m in a good place…sometimes it can get hard but I remind myself to remember all the things I should be thankful for.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Hannah Anders

Hannah Anders visits the Jesus Calling booth at CMA Fest 2019“I love CMA Fest. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see your fans, talk with them, and take pictures. It’s amazing. For me, I have to remember to not magnify a problem. You know the saying ‘Where our mind goes, our energy flows.’ I shift the focus; I shift the energy. There are days when I don’t hold to this, but it’s a practice to come back to this idea. The thought is that it doesn’t happen to you, it happens FOR you. You have to trust that things don’t always work out the way they’re supposed to…trust me there’s always a reason. I really believe that. You aren’t just floating through life. You have free will, choice, and determination, but you also have to trust that you hit walls for a reason. You are redirected for a reason. When you’re in that flow and in tune, life can really be fairly simple. The direction you’re supposed to go can actually be quite clear if you just get quiet for a moment. I wear a bracelet often that says, ‘Perhaps THIS is the moment for which you were created.’ I try to hold fast to that and let God stay in charge.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

Tim Atwood

“Everything’s on God’s time table. You can want something, but it won’t happen until it’s time. And my time has come to be able to entertain and testify, so that’s what I do. I put my faith out there. There are times when it does get depressing or discouraging, but I always know that it’s going to come out the way it’s supposed to come out. It’s amazing how much my faith has grown over the years.”

Click here to view the artist’s full Facebook Live interview.

CMA Festival in Nashville TennesseeCMA Fest is an annual tradition for Nashville, Tennessee, country music fans and performers. The 2019 festival included more than 300 performances on 11 official stages, plus other unofficial events held around the city. City officials touted more than 50,000 attendees attended the various events daily.

CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern said, “It’s a great event for fans to see their favorites and discover new artists. The feedback I received from artists is how much they enjoy the more intimate interactions with fans that CMA Fest offers.”

The three-hour primetime television special, “CMA Fest,” is a special hosted by Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini with special guest host Bobby Bones. It will air Sunday, August 4th at 8/7c on the ABC Television Network.

The 2020 CMA Fest dates have already been announced for Thursday, June 4 through Sunday, June 7. Tickets will be on sale to the public beginning Friday, August 2nd at CMAfest.com/tickets.

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