Tim Sheppard Biography by last.fm with Intro by Philip Mayabb
Introduction By Philip Mayabb:
One of the things I love the most about being involved with CCM Classic, and playing classic contemporary Christian music is the memories that the music invokes. Sure, all old music does that to a certain extent, but if you're like me, and you grew up during your teenage years listening to these songs, there are certain songs, albums, and artists that bring back fond memories of the time when these albums were new, we were all younger, and life was much easier. Another thing I like is when we feature an album on Vinyl Revival by an artist that some listeners haven't heard for a while, and the comments we get on our Facebook page...those comments let me know that I am not the only person who appreciates the music we feature on VR. This week's album is by a singer/songwriter who was at the height of his popularity in the late 70s and very early 80s, when the music and the message took center stage, and the artists hadn't started becoming superstars in their own right. Our album this week is titled Forever, and it is by the one and only Tim Sheppard.
Biography written by last.fm https://www.last.fm/
Tim Sheppard has long been regarded by many as one of the premier contemporary Christian singer/songwriters in America. His name is synonymous with spiritual integrity and artistic excellence. Lyrical depth, singable melodies, and a straightforward message are this veteran song craftsman's trademark.
In addition to his songwriting, Tim reaches thousands of people each year in live concerts and worship gatherings, sharing his unique gifts with an unusual sensitivity that is both refreshing and disarming. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and many other parts of the world. Tim has performed on nationwide television, at music festivals, amusement parks, state, national and international conventions and gatherings, in churches, concert halls, college and university settings, prisons, orphanages and detention homes.
SONGWRITINGAs a young songwriter, Tim entered an international secular songwriting competition called The American Song Festival, and won the Amateur Gospel/Religious division. His song, Sweet Lovin' Grace, was chosen out of over 50,000 other songs as best song in its category. (Judges for the final competition included Clive Davis, Henry Mancini, Marvin Hamlisch, and Al Kasha.) Tim was flown to Hollywood, California, to accept the award and to film his performance of the song with the Melissa Manchester Band for a network television special. He used the $5,500 in prize money to purchase music equipment for the ministry.
Since then, Tim has written and recorded songs that many consider to be time-honored classics in Christian music, including I Am Determined, Before the Rocks Cry Out, It's So Nice to Get to Know You, This Is My Offering, He Will Carry You, Me and My House, The Fiddler, Inside My Room, The Serf and the King, Hosanna, Joy in the Morning, and Would You Believe in Me?, to name a few. Tim's songwriting has been featured on his own solo albums. Many other artists have recorded his HOLM SHEPPARD JOHNSONIn addition to his solo artistry, Tim also joined forces with friends Dallas Holm and Phil Johnson to form the group Holm Sheppard Johnson. Their two albums, Holm Sheppard Johnson and Soldiers Again, went on to become Christian music classics.
NEW DIRECTIONIn December of 1993, an intensely personal encounter with God changed the focus of Tim's songwriting and the course of his public ministry:
Early one morning, while I sat at the piano to write a song, God completely overwhelmed me. I began to weep as the Lord ministered to me in a deeply personal way. As I waited in His presence, the Lord spoke to my heart: 'Just sing to Me.' I sensed He was inviting me to a place of worship I had never known before, and to hear sounds I had never heard before.
The door God opened to me that morning is utterly indescribable. As I offered praise to Him in a new place of worship, everything changed. God wooed my heart and stirred this longing in me to go deeper in Him.
Over the next several weeks, God continued ministering to me in an intensely personal way, and the reality of His presence grew stronger. To this day, I can't find the words to adequately convey what I've experienced.
The words He spoke, 'Just sing to Me,' have become my passion. I long to live in that pure place of bowing before Jesus, loving Him and offering songs that will mix with my tears to wash His feet in authentic praise and unwavering devotion.
Tim now prefers to be regarded more as a worship artist than a concert artist. His mission is to restore worship as the church's central theme, its primary activity, and its supreme motivating force:
I have been writing worship music ever since. My public ministry has transitioned from artist presentation 'concerts' to audience participation worship and worship evangelism events. I want to inspire the full age spectrum of the church to answer its foremost call to be worshipers.
FAMILY OR MINISTRY?In 1998, Tim began to notice a dramatic decline in his parents' physical health, and realized they were no longer capable of living independently. He had begun to lay plans for a new worship album, but knew that his mom and dad needed him. Kelly and he placed all of their personal and ministry plans on hold to move close to his parents and oversee their daily care. Tim limited his travels to short-distance, weekend trips whenever possible so that he could be available to them:
That entire season was a very deep testing of my faith, because from a 'music career' standpoint, I was missing some of the prime years of my life. A few 'friends' told me I had lost my focus, and my public ministry lost momentum because I was not releasing any albums. It was almost as though we fell off the radar screen, out of view of the Christian community, but I knew that if I didn't honor my parents, I would not be able to lead an audience in worship with a pure conscience.
Throughout this time, Tim continued to write. After his parents passed away, the Lord made it clear that he was to work on a new album. Tim's encounter with the Lord in 1993 and the years spent caring for his parents had initiated a shift in his life that would change his message and prepare him for a new season.
PERSONALTim, Kelly, and their daughter Jessica travel together, with Kelly and Jessica playing vital roles in the ministry. They are active members of Gateway Church, Southlake, Texas, which also serves as a spiritual covering for their ministry.
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