Listening In: Stanton Lanier

WARREN SMITH, HOST: Stanton Lanier, welcome to the program. And you know, I’ve known about your music for a couple of years now and we’re just now having this great opportunity to get together. So I really appreciate you taking the time for me.

As I was kind of looking into your background, you sometimes call yourself the pianist of peace and sometimes you say that you do scripture inspired piano to refresh the spirit. Talk more about that.

STANTON LANIER, GUEST: Yes. Well, Warren, thanks for having me on with you. And yeah, these are names that sort of developed in the early years of the ministry just as people describe what they experienced with the music in terms of the peacefulness being one aspect of it. We started sharing how it was God’s peace and rest in a hurried world. But then hope and healing kinda got added in with that. But the pianist of peace is just a way to have a—we don’t overuse it, but just to be something recognized and distinctive in terms of an instrumental artist. And then the scripture inspired piano is the main distinctive that we do put out. When I say we, I mean just through the ministry Music to Light the World and with my music because it is unique to take Bible verses and write instrumental music.

SMITH: Yeah. Write instrumental music that doesn’t then include the lyrics. I mean they’re inspired by scripture but the scriptures themselves and/or any other lyrics are gone. It’s, I guess, a product of the imagination at that point, right?

LANIER: Well, when I get to play for people, I’ll demonstrate how it happens because I learned as well over time people needed to see an example. Like how can the Bible become instrumental music? And about half the time it is lyrical where some of the words in the verse are helping me create a melody, like the syllables in the song if you will. But other times it’s a theme and the music is expressing the essence of a passage. And I don’t know how they’re going to happen when I start, but I know a passage sort of grabs me and God has used it in my life or it’s really powerful and gives me a music idea and then it might come from some of the words or it might be a theme.

SMITH: Well I was going to hold off you explaining that until later, but since you’ve introduced it, let’s go ahead and jump in because I am curious. Psalm 139 was the inspiration for one of your songs to Climb to the Sky. I know you’re not sitting in front of a piano and we’re not a live audience, but can you kind of explain how you get from Psalm 139 all the way to the song that you ended up writing, Climb to the Sky?

LANIER: Yes, I’m glad you chose as an example because it does have a lyrical piece and before I say this is a funny moment because our kids who are now like high school and college age in the early years would always say, “Dad, please don’t sing.” Like when I was doing a concert, because I like singing but I’m not a professional singer so I’m going to give an acapella go at “If I climb to the sky, you’re there. If I go underground, you’re there.” And if you heard the run up on the piano instrumentally, the piano is climbing and the notes are singing “If I climbed to the sky, you’re there.”

If someone were to go listen or look at that now they’ll hear it differently, which I have some caution because you don’t want to over frame the way people receive music because the Holy Spirit and God can really use it uniquely to their circumstance or their heart or their listening, you know, how they listen to music. But that kind of tells you how a part of one Psalm, Psalm 139, that was so deep about how God searches and knows us and knows us through and through and we can’t avoid his presence. There’s no place we can go. If I climb to the sky, you’re there. So the piano sings it in climbs.

SMITH: And yet you intentionally leave the lyrics out because you want the experience to be a collaborative experience with the listener. Is that part of it?

LANIER: Well, it’s a real clear calling of God. Like the Music to Light the World was to take scripture and write instrumental music to share his peace and rest and hope and healing like we’ve mentioned. But that’s the idea is early on the Lord was affirming that when people would say, well, here’s what happened for me. And so there’s, I use the word framing because it leaves a more open interpretation when they receive it. And with a prayerful, with it being God inspired and scripture inspired and prayerfully created that it would touch hearts, you know, more powerfully than they might think or know, the Lord has been faithful to sing to people through instrumental worship versus them singing to him through song. And it’s a different kind of worship that is from what I’ve seen in my own life. It’s very powerful how he wants to speak to us and even sing to us so we can hear an instruction, maybe, a next step to take to obey or just know his voice better, to be quiet and listen and then we can be more obedient. And then there’s fruit that comes from our obedience.

SMITH: Yeah, well of course instrumental music is not a new thing. And piano instrumental music is not a new thing. Probably 30 years ago, you know, with the Wyndham Hill label and related you know, Will Ackerman and George Winston and others, this genre kind of came into its own and it was called new age, which is kind of unfortunate because the new age movement is a spiritual movement that doesn’t have much to do, in some cases, even with the music. For example, Will Ackerman, I’ve never met Will Ackerman but I’ve been told he’s a committed Christian and many people like John Tesh for example, they play what is sometimes called new age music are also committed Christians. But whenever someone describes your music as new age music, does that bother you? Because if I go looking for you on Spotify or on Pandora, that’s where you get lumped a lot of times.

LANIER: Right. This is a great point, Warren. I love that you’re asking this. It’s very strategic and by the way, Will is a dear friend. He produced six of my albums over a 10 year window and—

SMITH: So you can confirm a committed Christian?

LANIER: Well, he knows about God and he has an amazing spirit and love for life and people. I still feel like I’m—and if he were talking about this, he would say he admires my faith and admires what I have and I just keep trying to help him understand God’s love and grace. So it’s really interesting. George Winston in his December liner notes, which is really you could call a famous instrumental—

SMITH: Yeah, it’s probably a seminal album in that whole new age movement.

LANIER: He says inside the liner notes that the selections of the music are not a reflection of the beliefs of the artist. So, the hymns and the Christian instrumentals, he said, just because they’re on this album doesn’t mean I believe it, is basically what it said in the liner notes. When I read that it was in the midst of being called to this ministry and I’m like, that is just amazing and how God moved in my heart to claim him. So like this is instrumental music and God did inspire it. So, Will has watched that and I don’t know George and haven’t met him before. I’ve seen him in concert a few times, but when I was first putting my music in a genre, there’s no genre for what I do. And you sort of—we were earlier visiting before the show. We talked a little bit the—and God said, you know what? You’re going to touch a lot of people that love the piano and are searching for me. And if I called it Christian on iTunes or Spotify or these things, that’s what singing is. There’s really no Christian genre for original instrumental music of God. And it’s amazing in 2019 there’s still, I don’t think there’s a genre for that. It would be more instrumental gospel or instrumental hymns. So I strategically, when I go through a submission process, I have to choose a genre and there’s nothing that describes what I do. And so the best relationship for meditative kind of piano is new age. So it doesn’t mean that spiritually for me at all. And I actually learned from Will Ackerman, it was a marketing term that they had to figure out because Wyndham Hill was going crazy. It got so big fairly fast in the 80s and it didn’t have a genre either. It was so unconventional that they had to come up with a name. So, new age wasn’t all spiritual in the beginning. It was just a name for a kind of music that was new and different coming out of the 70s with like rock and roll and all that. So anyway, a very interesting process how instrumental can “speak” to people wherever they are in their life, whether they know God or whatever they believe. And so some Christians have asked me that question or I’ve had to have to deal with that a little bit, but it’s not been a major concern because there’s other Christian artists in that, you know. So anyway,

SMITH: Well I want to talk to you a little bit, if I could, stand in the back of your songwriting process, because we’ve already talked about Climb to the Sky and Psalm 139, but just more generally—A lot of times I interview a lot of songwriters and musicians on my program and I’ll ask them this question. I’ll say what comes first words or music? And I’ll get different answers depending upon who I’m interviewing. But you’re all instrumental. There is no music and yet the scripture does inspire what you’re doing and in some cases there is even an echo of the words and the rhythm of the words in your songs. So, how does that—and also you’re not only guitar, your songs are piano compositions. So, do you sit down at the piano with the Bible open and read and then try to find some? Or are you driving down the road and you hear a melody and then you go look for scripture to sort of support that? What does it look like for you?

LANIER: So, it’s pretty much all reading the scripture in my time with the Lord or just as I go through life and then some stuff jumps off the page and then some of that has to be sifted to where is there a title in there? And then if something’s really moving me and my spirit, I’ll look at different versions of scripture. So I’ve had the NIV and the ESV or the NASB or the Message Bible or different, I want to see how it says and dig deeper or the amplified or whatever else. I’ll do like almost like a verse or a passage study. That’s the basis. And then it is oftentimes with that open at a keyboard or at my piano or I have it in my head so much that I don’t have to keep opening it up, you know, it’s kind of locked in my mind. I could have it on a piece of paper or print something out, print a passage out with that in front of me I’m looking for the melody and the song. And so how the melody is born is what can be different.

SMITH: Yeah. So, do you then turn on a recorder and just play until something feels and sounds right. And then you kinda home in on that?

LANIER: Yes. The process has been—2000 was the very first melody. So we’re coming up on 19 years of writing. And in the beginning I would sort of find it and play it over and over and over and then start recording it. But in the last many years, I would do acoustic piano and get ideas on a recording. Now with technology, I’m using a really nice studio. And digitally capturing ideas, almost like journaling musically, like I’m meditating and I’m playing and I’m looking and I’m experimenting. And when I do capture it on a recording, then I can listen back and sort of find what I would call the the magic or the wonder and the mystery. There’s some really great melody in there somewhere and it just needs to be magnified and sort of shared creatively. There’s other processes, other levels of sorta learning, but I guess it’s a good moment to share Johann Sebastian Bach’s quote. He’s probably my great composer for that lived from 1685 to 1750 and we know him for Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, which is probably played it more weddings than any instrumental melody. But he has so many tunes that have been using advertising in just 300 years later. But he said the aim and final end of all music should be unto the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. I didn’t find that quote until about the first year of doing this full time as ministry back in like ’04 and ’05 and that’s so profound and so beautiful. And so that’s been my heart as well, that wow, instrumental music can glorify God and refresh the soul and really move people and invite people that don’t know him to draw nearer and to trust him. Like to maybe consider God like, Oh, this this guy’s a Christian? Well, maybe God’s not who I thought, you know, this is so beautiful. So the grace and the truth, which interesting was my very first melody, John 1:14 how Jesus came and was filled with grace and truth. I look back and it’s more profound the further it gets away. But my very first instrumental was out of John 1:14 and I didn’t sing it lyrically like we did with Climb to the Sky, it was grace was delicate and high and truth was bold and low, like chords and then single notes high for grace, bigger chords and low for truth. And it became my first song. The key of C, all white keys. But now I say, wow, God is showing me his grace for listeners like to love them well, not about what they believe right now, that he loves them and wants them to know him and trust him. So anyway. Yeah.

SMITH: Stanton, I want to back you up a little bit in your life and career because you mentioned that you started this about 19 years ago in the year 2000 or so. Let’s just stipulate for the record that you’re older than 19 years of age right now, which is—I won’t say how much older, but we’ll say considerably older. Which is to say that you had a career you had a life before you started doing this full time 20 years ago. Talk about that. Talk about coming to faith and the career that you had before your musical career.

LANIER: Okay. Well, just a quick growing up story was being born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and starting piano lessons in the first grade and playing basketball from kindergarten. And I was going to play for Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina.

SMITH: Well, I get that and also people can’t see you, but you’re pretty tall. You’re a lot taller than me. I don’t know. How tall are you? 

LANIER: 6’2″. I mean, but see, on a basketball court I would be like this small guard, but walking around maybe it seems a little taller, but there’s a lot of people taller than me is what it feels like to me with a basketball player. But, yeah, I played basketball and took piano lessons and liked to climb trees growing up, play outside, you know, riding bicycles and all.

And then in the middle school I wanted to quit piano because of sports. I told my mom and dad in seventh grade that I don’t have time for piano. And they said, well, we’re not gonna let you quit. And I really put on a show for a while, but they said we’re going to get through this school year and the summer before eighth grade going into that—I don’t know, there was a shift. So I started to enjoy the music. And that was actually interestingly—I haven’t put these two so close together, but in that seventh, eighth grade year is when I did profess my faith in Christ and put my trust in him. And in ninth grade, I wrote my first song at choir camp that summer before ninth grade.

So I had all this background, but I was a good student. I like math and was good with numbers. Good grades, you know. Today, I don’t know if I’d get into Georgia Tech with my SAT score, but I went to Georgia Tech and was going to be an engineer because everybody said, well, math and science is engineering. And that’s a quote, you know, from a lot of people’s well meant counsel, like a safer path. Like, you should go get a good job and do the right thing, but they’re kind of saying do the safe thing, like music or the arts is like too risky. And it wasn’t said so much, but nobody was really encouraging me around music. And I wasn’t at a point in my faith to that God’s voice was louder than a lot of other peoples.

So, I went to Georgia Tech to be an engineer and didn’t like it. And I was a sophomore and I changed to chemistry so I could get out in four years, which was a little bit naive, but a little bit let’s get it over, you know. And then I knew I might want to go to business school by that time. I worked for a year in a carpet plant, got an MBA at University of Georgia. And I got married the year after that—1990. And I started learning about financial planning, having a young wife and just the two of us, no kids yet. And I started feeling this is something I might have an interest to do, but it took until ’95, 1995 and then surrendering to God to hear his voice with my career and ask him what did he really, really want me to do?

And that’s when my life really changed at age 30 to surrender my career life to the Lord. And he called me into the financial planning space and I thought I would do that throughout my life. He used it to prepare me spiritually working at Ronald Blue and Company—

SMITH: Which is a Christian financial planning national company.

LANIER: Yeah, it’s a biblically based—And that was huge. The coworkers and the clients and the growth and the knowledge of the story of scripture during that decade was huge. But I didn’t know, I didn’t know till God started whispering in like 1999 and 2000 that he might want me to do something with my music, but just to enjoy it at first. It wasn’t to like to do something full time, but when I started enjoying it and creating, people started giving testimony to how meaningful it was, and I wrote 30 songs while I was at Ron Blue and released three albums and we laughed about it cause I was like, you can’t sell your piano album. I’m a financial planner. Do you want to buy my new piano album? So we would give it to everybody. But then some unusual things started to happen. And maybe I can tell you how the music started to spread. And God started to nudge my wife and I like, she didn’t marry me to be a composer. She married an MBA consultant at the time. And we were going to be career people and have a family one day and all that. But anyway, God was using every moment, you know, to prepare me.

SMITH: Part of the reason, Stanton, that I wanted you to tell that story is because for the last 20 years almost, you have been what I sometimes call an artistic entrepreneur. In other words, I think there is this sense among a lot of folks, especially young people that want to a career in the arts, that they pursue their art, but that these other aspects of their life either don’t matter or you don’t have to pay attention to them on the one hand or they think they’ve got to be a big star. They think you gotta go to Hollywood or you’ve got to go to New York or you’ve got to go to Nashville or wherever it might be. But you have figured out a way in part by using your entrepreneurial skills and your business experience to kind of craft a life as a, not a big star, but somebody that can, you know, make a decent living as an artist.

LANIER: Yeah. It’s an amazing story and God is so incredible this way. I do have some encouragement that people maybe considering or that have a gift, an avocational or a hobby that they love that could become vocational for them. It’s interesting. I was a couple of ways I describe it, I was striving to be an entrepreneur in the early nineties. I was striving to achieve and what God started to change about 10 years later was abiding to receive.

And it’s not a prosperity thing. It’s just about surrendering to God and obeying him and wanting to hear his voice, which I really had a desire. I just want to know, Lord, what do you want me to do? Would you please speak to me? And he speaks, as Henry Blackaby would say, through that Experiencing God workbook, which is really was profound in the process for me was just God speaks through prayer and the Bible and other godly people and our circumstances. There’s a lot of ways he can speak to us. He’s not always speaking to us through our good friends that say, Hey, you should keep your day job and don’t do your hobby. You know. That may not be God speaking. He might be inviting us to something that’s going to take faith and dependence on him. But the abiding to receive instead of striving to achieve is huge.

And then the other big point for me is God gives an inner affirmation when he calls us towards something. If we’re being still and listening and he’s nudging us or whispering to us or speaking, inviting us to take a step, a little baby step. For me it was like buy a keyboard and then a few months later buy a computer and then have fun. And then I would take this verse and write an instrumental. That took about six months. I didn’t know all those steps and the financial player in me loves knowing all the steps. But if people will listen for the inner affirmation of God, sort of this inner calling, then what’s so vital and what can really be tough and challenging is the outer affirmation of God. How do people have to respond? And God has to provide for your quote and dream or your calling. And it might not be our timing. And that’s what’s tough. Like, well, why did God do for Warren and give that outer affirmation when I’m as good as him and you know, he could outer affirm me, but he hasn’t yet. That’s tough. And we don’t know the mystery. That’s a mystery of God and how we have to trust him in our circumstance one day at a time.

SMITH: Well, and also, too, when you’re young maybe you’re not very good. You know, God might be calling a young person to a career as a musician or a filmmaker or whatever it might be, but they got a lot of years of growth and maturity and mastery of the craft still ahead of them. That’s also hard is figuring out how to get your encouragement, take your encouragement, find encouragement whenever you’re really, maybe not to the place where a lot of people are going to respond to it because it’s just not that good yet.

LANIER: Yeah. There’s a patience there, but there’s also in our culture today, there’s a lot of talk about the putting in the 10,000 hours. So if I had known as a young boy, if I really, I wanted to play college basketball at a high level, I needed like thousands of more hours. I put in a few thousand hours, but I needed thousands more. Nobody was there to teach me that if you really, really love this, but in the music, and I think we all have a one or two giftings where we do have a passion level that a thousand hours is not a problem. Like, we could do that and I might be on the side, it might be on that throughout our life, but it might also open up opportunity to be something full time. But if you do invest your heart into being, another phrase for me, and this is kind of was a Rick Warren saying with Purpose Driven Life and sort of to be more creative than consumptive. And we’ve sort of raised our kids that way, or just what does it look like, you know, help us Lord, you know, show us this. But if people will take that heart before the Lord too, he’s the great creator with the big C and he does want to create through each one of us. And there will be people to consume what he creates through us. And if we trust him and we’re trying to glorify him, they will receive something of him in our creation, you know, from the creator. So that’s a little bit of the nuance too. It’s, I guess, my main point to circle back is to invest the time. And so now I’ve had the 10,000 plus, I’ve been at this thousands of hours. Every album takes hundreds of hours. And I’ve played thousands of hours for people or just all the workings of this where you do grow into—but you keep maturing. I’m actually still learning new things and trying to grow as a composer and as an artist. So anyway, hopefully that encouraged somebody.

SMITH: Stanton, I just kinda in closing here, just kind of move around a little bit in our conversation. One is I want you to talk about another one of your songs—Walking on Air. Can you say where that song came from?

LANIER: Yeah. I came on a passage about Hannah when she was expecting Samuel as it like to be her little boy and she was so joyful. And this one led me to the Message scripture. I mentioned how I look at different versions of the Bible and the Message said that it was like she was walking on air. I feel like I’m walking on air when she found out she was pregnant with Samuel and then I did a word search on walking on air and found it only two more places in the Message. And one was in the Psalms talking about God’s goodness and how gracious, amazing God is. And I think of Psalm 89 like that we’re walking on air. And then the other one was in Thessalonians when at the second coming of Christ when the dead and Christ will rise first and meet him in the air, which is how most versions say the Message says we’ll be walking on air. And like that’s unbelievable.

So this one is thematic. I sat down and was looking for the piano to sing to me and sing to the hearts of others and I found this melodic part to open. And then it just goes into a chorus that musically you could call the hook and it just was took over and it has this light of step, you know, like, don’t we all want to sort of walk on air sometimes instead of dragged through the mud, you know, because life has drudgery and struggle and pain and hurt and hard, difficult times, but it also does have moments of sanctuary and fulfillment and hope and walking on air, you know, some joy. So, in my testimony of being sort of perfectionist wired and analytical side of me, the financial planner, the chemistry major, it’s a really redemptive work of God that I would have more joy and he’s still developing this. But so a song like this for me is like God saying, Hey, you know, you need to trust me and we’ll be like walking on air together and have more joy. So that’s a little bit behind that one.

SMITH: You know, it’s interesting to me Stanton, that your songs, you know, nowwell over a hundred of them you said 140 or so compositions, none of them have words, right. And yet they’re all inspired by the word—scripture. And then now, lately you’ve turned to words. You’ve published a book.

SMITH: Well, I did a devotion. I did an advent devotional called 31 days of December Peace, which was my first Christmas album. And I’m working on a second one, a 10th anniversary Christmas album, December Peace too. That’s a big project this year. But yeah, there are all these little snippets and stories that in my journal, years ago I started putting song titles and then sort of a life story like Daddy L—my dad’s father or Daddy B my mom’s father. So my grandfather’s—Daddy L—reminded me of silence, a piece about the earth is silent before God and Habakkuk. So Daddy-L was silent, he was a quiet man. But Daddy B was more joyful and childlike and taught me how to throw a curve ball and throw baseball with me as my granddad. And Thanksgiving, like do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving, present your request to God. That sorta was a Daddy B connection.

So I have these life stories and memories and you can almost apply them to each verse and song title. So I have blogged about that. I have a blog and and on the recent albums, I’ll tell like a lot of the backstory about a song. So if you read about Walking on Air, you could see some of the life and scripture and musical depth behind it. There’s a lot of thought behind instrumental music, which would bore people to hear it, all of it or sit there and watch you work on a passage of instrumental music like for hours and watching. It wouldn’t seem fun to most people, but the stories of God are really beautiful how they’re integrated in.

SMITH: Yeah. Well, part of the reason I wanted you to say a little bit about your book was just to say, I mean, do you ever see a time in your future where you’re writing music that actually has lyrics, whether that you might sing or someone else might sing?

LANIER: Well, God would have to invite me to it, or he’d have to affirm it so clearly. Like he’s really made it clear to help people hear his voice and slow down in the busiest pace we have with technology and the world’s pace, the velocity of life. I mean, just really globally. And there is a global listener base now because it’s instrumental too, which is really beautiful. And a work of God that he can “speak to people” and sing to people through my music in any country, in any continent, you know, any language. As Music to Light the World was the name he gave us for the ministry. So he’s really affirmed that. So I don’t foresee writing songs with lyrics, but God could have me do that. What does happen with the words and is happening is capturing the stories. I think I’m always going to be a composer and musician and artist first that way. But growing as a writer and author and light telling the stories, cause I do it from the piano and like on the stage, if I’m doing a concert or doing a house concert or I’m in a church, if I’m with an audience or a group of people, there’s things to be said. This is unusual—not unusual, but you know, this is all words versus me playing, although you’re going to share a little bit of my music on your program. But if I’m playing in singing, the leaning is to play more than I say, but it helps to set up things with words. So words are powerful. I just, I don’t know if they’re going to be lyrical, but if—I’m never going to put God at past what he might do.

SMITH: Well, Stanton, as I was preparing for this conversation today with you, you know, obviously I was listening to some of your music and, you know, finding out how people use your music. And of course I live in Charlotte, you live here in the Atlanta area. And we’re at a place called Perimeter Church, which has a Celebrate Recovery program. And a friend of mine is on the staff and runs that program here at Kipper Tabb. And so I called Kipper whenever I was looking for a place and he said, Oh yeah, Stanton Lanier, I’ve got one of his CDs playin right now. And then he said, and we’ve had Stanton come to one of our recovery programs. I know, for example, you were recently in Charlotte, my hometown, and you performed for the Charlotte Rescue Mission. They were doing a fundraiser there. And in both cases, the folks that you were playing for a part of your ministry in those settings was to get them to be quiet and to be still and to listen to God’s voice. That seems to be in the center of the bullseye of what you were hoping you were going to get to do 20 years ago.

LANIER: It’s a beautiful testimony of God, yeah, that that outer affirmation we touched on earlier, of just got inviting me into spaces that he could bless people. We call it sort of the generosity part of the ministry now to be generous—giving music away or even performances strategically when there’s a place to do that. A little girl of a coworker that died of leukemia in December of 2004, I couldn’t sleep the night I got the phone call she had passed away and I began writing a song called Peace from John 14:27 about how Jesus gives us his peace and he’s overcome the world. Anyway, this little girl would want us to know the peace that she knew is what God was kind of showing me.

That song and playing at her funeral and the nurses and doctors that had heard my music in her room led to 70,000 CDs being given to cancer patients. So I didn’t come up with the idea that evolved over a period of years, but children with cancer and families and this fall for the fifth time—it would be six years in a row, but I had a family conflict last year, but I’m going to the St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee to play for families that have lost children there, that their children were served by St. Jude, but they didn’t come through. They were healed maybe temporarily, but they ended up passing away. And these families come together for kind of a grief counseling and ministering to one another. And they haven’t found music more special or strategic than my music for me to be playing live underneath that and a special service they have to celebrate the lives of the kids and then a celebration moment where one of my uplifting, like Climb to the Sky, can play as they rejoice in the lives of these kids. So being generous has manifest in forms that God has invited us into, you know, to give the hope and healing that. I mean, we all really need that. Some of us, if we ever think we’re okay, you know, we’re have it together. We all have a brokenness and in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness and grace, you know, and to  find hope in him. It’s just sort of available and we see where the God’s gonna keep going with that. 

SMITH: Well, Stanton Lanier, thank you so much for being on the program. It’s been a real blessing to talk with you and also your music has been a blessing as well, and I just pray that the Lord continues to cause your ministry to flourish in the years ahead.

LANIER: Thank you, Warren. God bless you.

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