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First of All

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2023 3:35 pm

First of All

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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March 16, 2023 3:35 pm

Like all great things, this interview comes to you from a local BBQ Joint in NC listen as Stu interviews Dean Hopper of "The Hoppers", and Pastor Jacob Danieley who spent 4 years on the road with them.

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Hey, this is Mike Zwick from If Not For God Podcast, our show.

Stories of hopelessness turned into hope. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. accomplished Christian artist who you have seen. He's been in your living room for decades, but Dave, who are these people?

Tell everyone what's going on here, buddy. Well, they're two incredible friends of mine. First of all, Pastor Jacob Danley from West Side Fellowship in Elan, North Carolina, who has just signed on to be on the Truth Network, has a program for Sundays at 5.30 called First of All. And then this gentleman beside me here is my good friend, Dean Hopper of the Hoppers, a long time ago. In fact, I knew Dean when they were still the Hopper brothers in County. So you would think, Pastor Jacob, you would think that when we first met you and you mentioned that you were with the Hoppers, we just assumed that, well, you were this fire-breathing pastor back then, leading people to Christ and evangelists, and you just took a little, you know, side gig to be with this amazing southern gospel group, the Hoppers. But maybe that's not how it happened. Give us a little backstory, brother, on your testimony some too, and we'll get Dean Hopper himself to weigh in here too. Absolutely.

No, that's not at all the way it happened. You know, when I had the opportunity to go out on the road with the Hoppers, really, I was seeking fame and fortune, I was seeking money and glory, and I wanted to elevate myself far above everything. And really, that is where the title of the broadcast, First of All, comes from, is Colossians 1.18, right?

To keep Christ first of all things in our life, because I spent the first 26 years of my life putting me first of all, and that landed me in some really bad places. But praise the Lord that the gospel is what it is, and that someone as wickedly sinful as myself had the opportunity, even after coming off the road with the Hoppers, to come to trust the gospel. Can you believe I spent, oh, what is it, three and a half, four years on a bus with a southern gospel group, singing about the Lord, playing about the Lord, and didn't even know the Lord? And it is very, very cool that the Lord would be patient with me, to allow me to come to trust in the blood of Jesus Christ for my salvation, and have this opportunity to sit here with my brother, Dean, and share some barbecue.

Jesus dies so he could eat barbecue, you know what I mean? We got slaw, we got hush puppies, if y'all don't know what that is, you got a bigger problem. This is more of an Eastern-style, Dean, I mean, set the stage, I mean, tell everyone what we're having here. We're having Eastern-style barbecue with their own vinegar-based sauce, you've got the red peppers in there, I don't know what all you've got in there, but it's just good, I'm telling you. And while y'all were over here chit-chatting, I've eaten my barbecue, I've eaten my Brunswick stew, I've had some of my slaw, but I've gone over to order me a couple chicken wings, and some beans. So while you guys are through, I'm gonna continue eating.

You missed breakfast on purpose this morning, right, Dean? Look at those wings, look at those beans. Yeah, this is all for me, but you can have some if you'd like. You might have to get over there and some of that. What's it like to sit across from a guy who used to be on the road with y'all to hear this amazing testimony?

Well, his ability goes far beyond probably what you see on the surface. I mean, his college degree, we've had him in the studio where he's been an engineer, he has played guitar in our studio, played on some of our recordings, he went to Europe with us, and we were in Amsterdam, had an ensemble group there. He went back over and recorded them after we were there at once for a concert. And then one thing that takes that in my mind, when we were doing our first Christmas concert for the year, we're at Springboro, Ohio at the theater, packed house, sold out house, and we had to do a, I forget why, somebody was sick there that day, and so he put his acoustic guitar on, and we put a little four-part something together, and he started it out just strumming the, come on ring those bells, light the Christmas tree, something like that.

We're getting a mini concert right now from the Hoppers in the barbecue joint in North Carolina. So I'm very honored and proud to be sitting here at this table with you guys. Well, we're honored you're here, and you jump into those wings and those beans, and while we asked Jacob here, Pastor Jacob, I mean, how did you end up being, tell us a little bit about, you were with this group on the road, you wanted to be in the country western, you ended up doing some big things, I mean, playing on stages and being, engineering a lot of sound that went out all over the world, but now you're a pastor, so fill in the gaps for us here, will you?

Yeah, no, absolutely. So after my time with the Hoppers, I left, and I did pursue some stuff in country music, and you know, I had a few successful opportunities to be on some large stages with some country guys, but once again, you know, just the driving force behind everything that I was doing was about me. It was about self-glorious, about making money, it was about seeing my name become famous rather than really worshiping the Lord, and believe it or not, the Lord used a very difficult time in my marriage to bring us to Christ because of the way I had acted, you know, the things that I had done in my life. I have just the sweetest, most beautiful wife, and I just devalued that marriage and just ran around like crazy, as a lot of people do, unfortunately, but the Lord, being faithful in all things, he used even probably the greatest storm in my life to allow both of us to come to trust the gospel, and what has been awesome is to see how, you know, when someone receives Christ as Savior and the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of them, and your heart begins to be, well, your heart is made new, and your life begins to be transformed. It is amazing to see what the Lord has done in and through, you know, mine and Elizabeth's marriage, through then, since then, and now to be sitting here as a pastor, I would have never imagined I was going to be a pastor ever. In fact, in fact, the first time that I had a baby dedication, I dedicated one of the kids of a guy that I went to high school with, and his mama walked in the door, and as soon as she walked to the door, she looked at me, she said, Jacob Danley, I would have never thought you'd be dedicating my baby, my grandbaby, and I said, well, ma'am, I would have never thought that either, but that's the way the Lord works, is he takes idiots like myself, and he lets us tell the world about the grace of Jesus, and that's about the coolest thing I got.

I don't have anything. That's pretty cool. That's the theme of all of redemption, you know, Dean Hopper, you hear that, and I think about the songs by the Hoppers. I mean, this is why you sing. You have, you fill up concert halls, you've been all over the world singing in front of hundreds of thousands of people on TV, millions, but yeah, the small crowds, but talk about how that resonates with your heart, your vision, your dream, your prayer, that someone, even a member of your own group, could be transformed by the grace of Christ, how we all need it so bad. My testimony would be traveling on a bus with my family, hearing the gospel every night, laying in the top bunk of my bedroom on the bus, God, if I'm not saved, please save me, but not until the youth revival at our home church did the Lord call me out. I was supposed to be playing the game at school. I was really torn. I went to the youth revival. My buddy, Phil Hoskins, was preaching, and that's when I gave my heart to the Lord. Now, my name has never been written in school, but it was written in Lamb's Look of Life that night, okay, and so that's when things really started changing for me. I knew I didn't have to question it anymore, even though the devil tried to make me doubt my salvation. Just because you sing the gospel, just because you do this, just because you're a family, you know, you don't go to heaven as a team. You go to as an individual.

We'll all be with our families prayerfully and hopefully, and hopefully, but everybody has to make that independent decision to allow Christ to come into their heart. So that's where I was at a young age, but he's taken me through a lot of stages. Even though I've been on the road, you still, you think, and I never was really, not the same testimony. I supported, you know, my wife, my mom and dad. They were just personalities bigger than life, and after mom had cancer, her mission was to pour life into souls that have had the same thing that she did, okay, but the change in my life really started happening later in the years, and then when I had those strokes in 2016 and 17, when you think, you're not going to go anywhere else.

This is it. God has really done some stuff in me just in the last three or four years to where I'm able to really convey, and it gave me a certain boldness, you know, to speak to people. So, well, Dave Compton, you're hearing Dean Hopper of the Hoppers speak.

These folks really do sing their hearts out. They really do invite people to Christ, just like Pastor Jacob does from the pulpit. How important is it that we have these kind of messengers of God and how important that we listen to them and make sure we respond because you never know you have another day, right, Dave? Well, that's exactly right, and Jacob and Dean, see, they're mentors to so many that are looking up to both of these gentlemen, and I appreciate their testimony and what they said because that's all of our story when we come to the Lord. So, you know, I found the Lord in a Grady Wilson crusade with the Boy Scouts. Instead of going to a Scout meeting, we went to a Bible meeting, and it changed my life steer. Jacob, your final word. Pastor Jacob, Westside Fellowship, love the hat.

Got a big shirt that says Choose Joy here in this barbecue joint. Dean Hopper, Dave Compton, Pastor Jacob, a lot of folks are playing church. A lot of folks are around it. Maybe they're listening to this radio network. We got 200 affiliates that are brave enough to carry Truth Talk. We love them all. Our friends at AFR, Wilkins, some of the Salem stations, Truth Network, we're so grateful for everyone that carries this show, but maybe like we talked about, Elvis Presley, they're around it all.

They're around. He was around some godly people, but we saw that his life ended with tragedy because it never made it from the head to the heart. Your word out there, Pastor Jacob, everyone listening that maybe haven't made that connection with Jesus. They know all about him, but they don't know him.

Absolutely. I call that country boy religion, right? You good old country boy. You party on Saturday church on Sunday, work on Monday. Hold the door open for ladies, kiss your mama, all that good stuff, and you think that's good enough, but the reality is that there's nothing that we can ever do to earn our way into a right relationship with God, but the only thing that was ever sufficient, that could ever be sufficient, is something that Jesus did on our behalf when he went to the cross and as Jesus hung on the cross, you know, God put the wrath toward my sin, the punishment that I deserve on Jesus, and Jesus died as a substitute in my place, and likewise, the key word to anybody listening who's never actually received Christ as Savior, it's the word trust. You can know all about Jesus. You can know all about the Bible. You can be a PhD in the Bible, but if you do not trust that what Jesus did on the cross was enough for you, then you are falling short of what God desires for your life, and that is to be one of his children, and so I just would love to see any and everybody come to trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.

He's given it to you as simple as it can be said, okay? You don't have to have a PhD, and I think sometimes with all the degrees and everything, they get confused, and I hate to say that, but Jesus made it so simple, and I like the country board religion. That's funny. There was a song by a group years ago called Good Old Boys. Good old boys won't make it into heaven. Good old boys won't wear a crown. Good old boys won't live forever where the saints of God are found, so don't you be misled. I used to be a good old boy. The good old boys have got to know the Lord. Amen. I can hear that right now, and I tell you what, I'm almost, we better close this out or a concert's going to break out here in this Smithfield barbecue.

We are in Greensboro, North Carolina. Amazing to visit with you guys. Jesus Christ, friends, salvation is one prayer away. Will you call upon Him today? Will you join that rough, brutal Philippian jailer who called upon the name of the Lord? He was about to kill himself, take his own life, and he received the life of Christ, and that night his whole family was baptized by the apostle Paul, who he had just beaten.

The guy that he just beat nearly to death, the apostle Paul, was dunking him underwater just hours later after that earthquake, and you can be like him. You can be like Pastor Jacob, like Dean Hopper, like Stu, like Dave Compton, by calling on the name of the Lord, and so great, great to visit. Thank you guys. Friends, we have a podcast. Please download this podcast, share it with your friends, learn more about our Truth Podcast network, and find a truth station wherever you are, and share the truth of Christ while you still have time. Tell someone before your head hits the pillow tonight about the beautiful, miraculous, saving grace of Jesus that saved a wretch like me. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-16 17:55:25 / 2023-03-16 18:01:49 / 6

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