Wednesday, April 17, 2024


1st Annual Jessica Johnson Memorial Singing - Joseph Habedank & The Director's Trio

Sunday, 4/14/2024

Lakeview Community Church - Burlington, NC

When I saw Burlington, NC listed as a stop on Joseph Habedank's current Spring 2024 Tour, I knew this was a performance I could not miss. Little did I know how true that would be, even more so than I could have imagined. His music always changes me in little ways every time I hear it but this night would turn out to be something different and would change me in more ways than even I thought possible.

My best friend and I got in the car Sunday to make the drive to Burlington, looking forward to just a much needed night of worship, praise. music and time spent with good people. We got to Lakeview Community Church, walked in and took our seats completely unprepared for what was about to happen.

Tonight wasn't just another "show" though. This night was a memorial for a local young woman named Jessica Johnson, a 29 year old woman who obviously made a huge impact on the lives of everyone in the room. The service began with some heartfelt, emotional words from Jessica's dad. He spoke of how much she loved the Lord and how much she loved Joseph's music. Her dad handled entertainment bookings for the church and mentioned how he got an email from Joseph's publicist reaching out about possibly bringing his testimony and music to the church. He of course said yes and booked him. Right around the time Joseph was scheduled to perform last year, Jessica found out she had cancer. The day of the show, Joseph spent time with her, prayed with her and made one of her last days one that left her with a full heart and a smile. Jessica passed shortly after. 

The Director's Trio, a local soulful Southern gospel group, opened the service with some great harmonies. They had us smiling, clappin' and tappin' to some fantastic music. What a great way to kick off a night!

Joseph walked on stage and with Jessica's picture behind him on the screen, opened his set with her favorite song, "Big Enough". This brought tears to many eyes in the room. He talked for a bit about the connection with Jessica and her family. It made me think .. how many artists, especially globally known award winners, take the time to do that? How many artists actually choose to make personal connections like that, at least connections that don't "benefit" them in some way? Not many. This is one of the things that makes Joseph a stand out, his giving heart, his authenticity, and his spirit. He sings his heart and he sings his experience. He's someone who will stand at the merch table long after the show is over, talk to each and every person as long as they want to talk, and take all the pictures they want. He doesn't do the typical "flash and dash". It's not who he is, it's not something he has to do, it's something he wants to do. He is genuinely appreciative of each person in that room and it shows. He performed several of his songs like "Here He Comes", "The Beauty of the Blood", "Jailbreak", "Jericho" (now known as "Cherry Coke" or "Geritol" - you had to be there, trust me. LOL), "Religion Isn't Working" and "None of That Here". He told his emotional testimony of breaking the chains of addiction and turning his life around for the positive and starting his ministry to help others turn their own lives around. He has a new album coming out this Friday, April 19 called "Autobiography", the most personal songs he's ever written that tell his story of rising from the ashes to personal redemption through Christ. He sang 3 of the songs from the album, "The Basement" (this is the song that first grabbed my attention when it was released last year and kept me coming back to hear more), "The Church" (LOVE this one) and "Worthy". The album is available for pre-save now, trust me, go get it! Here's the link -

The night came to an end with an altar call, benediction and a final song from The Director's Trio and Joseph. Jessica's final wishes weren't for herself, they were for others. She asked her dad to make sure people laughed, that they came to know Jesus and she didn't want to just leave a legacy behind FOR others, but IN others. That hit me right where it should. I don't know Jessica but her words were needed in my own life right now and it only reinforced my own determination to be a light in the dark, to show kindness and love and to help when needed. The church was full of people and music, but the presence felt the most were those of Jessica and the Lord. 

Thank you, Jessica, for leaving that legacy in me and many others in that room. Thank you Joseph and his wife Lindsay, The Director's Trio and Lakeview Community Church for a wonderful evening with an uplifting, positive, lasting message. 

Pre-save "Autobiography"

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