Sheptock concert delights in M’ville
By Glynda Haldt
Madisonville Meteor 2012
Jon Sheptock had every reason not to believe in God’s love growing up. Sheptock was born without arms and placed in foster care after his parents left him in a hospital delivery room. He endured all manner of teenage cruelty growing up, but said that Jesus Christ answered his prayers, and today he shares the love he feels with people all around the country. Madisonville was his latest stop, in a concert Saturday night at the high school auditorium hosted by Madisonville Christian Fellowship. “I was fed up with life. Had no hope, no future, no life,” Sheptock told the audience, “Only God’s grace and mercy changed me.”
Jon Sheptock and the One Percenters performed Saturday night after a warm-up act by MCF Pastor Wade Phillips and several church members. Sheptock’s band got its name from Jesus’ parable where the shepherd left the 99 in search for that one lost sheep. Sheptock was born with no arms, and his right leg was shorter than the left, and although he has been singing since he was 3 years old, he has been singing all over the country for six years. He and the band started singing in a prison one-and-a-half years ago, when 40 inmates attended the first concert. The second concert at the prison was packed and has been since. “The warden has to ask people to not come because there isn’t enough room,” Sheptock said.
Powerful words became thought-provoking lyrics of classics as Sheptock and the band sang, “Give me your word Lord and free my soul, don’t wanna get lost in this old world and drift away.” The tune was, as you may have guessed, the Doobie Brothers “Drift Away.” The lyrics were powerful and the music reminiscent, but the voice of Sheptock was lifting up the Lord in all aspects. More came when Sheptock gave a short testimony about how he was born with no arms and one leg shorter than the other. His parents left him because they couldn't deal with his condition, so they told the doctor to place Jon in foster care. He was their first child and was going to be a junior, named after his father. He went into a home that had 33 other children; some with cerebral palsy, some with Down syndrome, and of varying races that Sheptock calls his brothers and sisters. But children were cruel. He was spit on and punched; they tried to take his clothes off. During his college years, he became suicidal and gave up.
Sheptock said he told God he didn’t want to hurt or hate anymore, and God changed him right there. Sheptock gives God the credit because God had faith in him and wouldn’t let him go. Eventually, Sheptock got married and now has three daughters. His oldest girl went up and wiped the sweat from his face with a handkerchief during the concert. “It’s not through money, sex, or drugs, but only through the blood of Jesus Christ,” Sheptock said.
His music portrays what he says, with songs like “My Jesus is Some Kinda Wonderful” and “Can’t you see what hard livin’s doing to me…”
“When I get to Heaven and he gives me a new set of arms and a new leg, the first thing I’m gonna do is run up to my Jesus and say, thank you for an awesome life,” Sheptock told the audience. Donn Seale, on electric guitar, Pastor C.F. Hazlewood, and Sheptock, lead singer, are the three main writers for the lyrics to the songs they sing for God. Other members of the band are Billy Seamans on keyboard, Jonathan Moon on bass, Brett Thompson on drums, and Chuck Miller on rhythm guitar. Miller came to the band about four to five months ago. Sheptock said the band members “just kind of trickled in.”
Madisonville Christian Fellowship Church offered the free concert for the community Saturday night at the Madisonville High School auditorium. Wade Phillips, pastor of Madisonville Christian Fellowship, performed the first hour with some of his congregation, introducing Sheptock and his band as the special guest for the evening.
Brother Lanier Stevens, who once sang in a gospel quartet, sang a song, “There Are No Words,” that God had given him while traveling. Hymns such as “The Old Rugged Cross,” “How Great Thou Art” and “I’ll Fly Away” were some of the old favorites sung by Phillips and his band, while contemporary worship songs such as “How Great is Our God” brought many to their feet.
Sheptock revised old classics to praise God. “I heard it through the grapevine” was changed to, “Jesus is the True Vine.” “Some Kind of Wonderful” was “My Jesus is Some Kind Of Wonderful,” and even ZZ Top became all about God When asked why, Phillips said, “We’re doing this to spread the gospel.” Pastor Wade, before he knew God, had a country band for seven to eight years. “I used to open for Toby Keith and Merle Haggard,” Phillips said, “but that was before Jesus saved me.” As Phillips and his band performed “Amazing Grace,” they put a twist to it, as Pastor Phillips said, “Amazing grace, my chains are gone….the earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forget to shine, but the God to me here below will be forever mine.”
Sheptock has a website, jonsheptock.com where you can go to get more of his testimony and listen to his music.