Can We Help You Sing?

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I recently watched a video that brought tears to my eyes. Can I tell you the story?

Natalie Gilbert was a 13 year-old young lady who had a gift from God – she could sing. She had been highly trained, had won numerous awards, and had been invited to sing on some impressive venues. It was April 25, 2003 and she had won yet another contest. Natalie was set to sing the National Anthem for the NBA game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Dallas Mavericks.

However, on this night, she stumbled a bit. Call it stage-fright or something else, but she couldn’t get the words out. And there she was, standing before tens of thousands of fans in the coliseum, hundreds of thousands watching on television, with a microphone in her hand, music in her ears, but nothing coming to mind.

She tried and failed.

She tried again and failed.

She hummed, and then she began crying.

It was brutal for all. She was gifted for this. She was called for this. This was her time, and she was going down hard.

Then it happened. Maurice Cheeks, the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, walked over, stood beside her, put his hand appropriately on her shoulder, whispered, “It’s all right.” He then began to sing with her. His voice was not that strong, but he was so incredibly helpful to the young girl. Slowly, she found the rhythm, key, melody, and words. In addition, the entire crowd began to sing along with great gusto. And as she got stronger and stronger, Cheeks slowly receded into the background. He had accomplished his mission.

His job was not to correct her. His job was not to take over or take the focus. His job was merely to help a struggling friend accomplish the task at hand. He found his joy encouraging a struggling sister to use her gift, utilize her platform, and finish her song well. Maurice Cheeks, who ranks eleventh all-time in NBA assists, passed the ball to the young girl, and in the end — she scored.

In an interview following the game, Natalie said, “It was like a guardian angel had come and put his arm around my shoulder and helped me get through one of the most difficult experiences I’ve ever had.”

To view video click this link —

Mo Cheeks

Friends, can we help you sing? Have you been trained? Have you some skills given you by the Lord? Have you experienced some sweet success in days gone by? Have you a platform? Have you a calling? Have you been charged with following Jesus, assembling the saints, worshiping well, making disciples, fishing for men, and building a church? And now … are you off-beat, off-key, out of words, and feeling the stress of the situation?

Struggling brothers and sisters, this is what we exist to do. For almost twenty years, Embers to a Flame has been coming alongside pastors, elders, deacons, and other church leaders, helping them accomplish their God-given calling, and then stepping back into the background. Yes, we have found great joy helping friends finish their song.

Our ministry has numerous ways to help you — from literature, to conferences, to guest speakers, to team coaching, and pastoral leadership development. That being said, where might we suggest you begin?

How about attending our January conference in Birmingham, Alabama – January 18-21. The fellowship is fantastic, the teaching is superb, the city is grand, the cost is reasonable, and the benefits are huge. Thousands of church leaders have attended our conferences and have gone back home – equipped to finish well their song.

There is no need to hesitate. Please do not put it off, for Christmas and New Year’s is right around the corner. Go to the Embers to a Flame website (, do your research, and register right now. And if you do so prior to December 23, we will send you a complimentary copy of Dr. Reeder’s book, The Leadership Dynamic. Simply request the book in the “comments” section on our registration page.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Send a note to, or call us at (205) 776-5399.

We look forward to singing alongside you and helping you finish your song.


Joseph Franks

Embers to a Flame









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