He Knew The Lord

Al Jaynes on 090612

Al Jaynes

On October 16th our long-time friend, Al Jaynes, made his journey home to heaven at the age of 81. All who knew and loved him will sorely miss his encouraging smile and his inspiring words he’d say each time we saw him.

47 Era

Era and Al Jaynes

Especially inspiring was his love and devotion to Era, his sweet wife, throughout their 60 plus years of marriage. As a victim of Alzheimer’s disease, Era was faithfully cared for by Al until she went home to be with the Lord only three months earlier.

Al was also the loving father of one daughter and son, Gini and Wade.

When Annie and I got married in 1975 we went to Al & Era and asked them, “If ever there is something we can’t work through as a married couple, can we come to you for guidance?” Being the loving servants they were to folks they quickly agreed to be our help in time of need.

A few years ago as we sat at a dinner table with Al and Era, he asked us, “Why did you never come to us for advice with the stuff you couldn’t work through.” Annie smiled and said, “Because we never had a problem we couldn’t work through!” I added, “But we hope the offer still holds!”  Al returned a satisfied smile and assured us the offer was still good.

As a husband, Al was indeed a worthy example of how to do marriage right. The way he tenderly tended to Era as she progressed through her struggle with Alzheimers was an illustration to all of us what it means to keep the “in sickness and health” part of the marriage vows. God knows our culture could sure use a lot more men like Al Jaynes.

Saying farewell to someone as dear as our brother brings a lot of sadness indeed. However, there is one thing that brings comfort to all of us when the waves of the reality of his absence washes over us. That source of comfort is mentioned in the song featured in this post.

In addition, the kind of life that Al Jaynes lived challenges us all to ask an extremely important question…Can we leave the same comfort in the hearts of those we love that Al left for us? May God help each one of us to be able to answer a confident, Yes!


“He Knew The Lord”

Today we told our brother goodbye

Sad are the tears that filled our eyes

But there is a comfort deep in our souls

When it comes to our brother one thing we know



He knew the Lord

He called Him friend

And we have no doubt

The Lord knew Him

They were not strangers

When they met on that shore

O what a comfort it is to know

He knew the Lord


Someday I know my turn will come

When I’ve gone my last mile and my race is run

When my family gathers Lord let it be

What we said ’bout our brother, let them say about me


(Steve Chapman/Times & Seasons Music, Inc/BMI)

“He Knew The Lord” is available only as a free download at this website.


  1. Steve Brumfield says

    Like many of you I have been thinking of Al and Era most of the day. I love the pictures that Brian has been posting. I remember meeting both of them back in ’67, I was a Senior at Lipscomb and Sue was in her first year of teaching school. We met at Una Church of Christ. A lot of students were drawn to Don Finto. The school’s administration was afraid of the following he had among the students at Una and the school. Una started getting hundreds of students from all over Nashville, including Lipscomb. Most members of Una dress in suits and ties, but most of the students dressed casual. The Una members were very accepting until Lipscomb fired Finto. Al was the catalyst for starting retreats at Montgomery Bell State Park. Those attending weren’t anti-Church of Christ, but pro “personal relationship with Jesus.” The repeated challenge was for us to study the Bible to get from the Bible what God wanted us to get and to put aside how we had been raised in whatever denomination you came out of. I remember it scared me, but Sue and I agreed that was what we should do. Over time, it got uncomfortable for all at Una. After Don was fired, the Una members were more uncomfortable. Eventually, a small group of couples including Don and Martha, Bob and Mamie Mason, Al and Era, Patsy and Bill Wilson, John and Carolyn Acuff (through their small group) committed to coverning Don’s salary to leave Una. I think Don was fired at Una. I think his salary was around $20,000 a year. . .that was a lot of money in those days. The retreats continued. Small Group Bible study were encouraged and this too was a threat to traditional Church of Christ leadership. I remember Ira North making fun of couples sitting around, the lights turned down low, holding hands, and praying and studying. Those Bible studies were very controverial. Eventually, we were talking about starting a new church with no name. At the same time in Nashville most of the white inner city churches of Christ were moving to the suburbs. The elders and members at the Belmont Church were committed to staying in the inner city. . .and over time, their membership declined to less than 50 per Sunday. So the supporters of Don Finto and the elders of Belmont Church got together. . .they needed members or they were going to have to close their doors and this group needed space. So that’s how Belmont Church started. Al and Bob were among the new elders, among others, to join the current Belmont eldership. Walter Wyckoff and Bob Kendrick were cornerstones of the old Belmont church leadership. Many stayed at Belmont for decades, slowly, a lot of us moved on to other churches for different reasons, I don’t recall many leaving because they were unhappy with Belmont. However, with instrumental music being allowed after many years, many of the traditional Church of Christ background members moved on. Al and Era, somewhere along the reason, became members of a church that met at the Franklin YMCA and later the Factory. For the past several years Al and Era have been members at St. Paul’s. Al’s attention over the last ten years or so was less institutional church centered. He got into collecting Bibles to send to third world countries. . .I mean hundreds of thoussand of used books. He, personally, rented a warehouse, had part time staff help and they shipped those Bibles to Third World countries. He told stories of these Bibles sometimes falling into hands of black marketeers who sold them for a premium. . .because few in these countries had a Bible. Which again causes me to pause and think of how many of us take for granted access to Holy Scripture. This afternoon I was talking with daughter #4, Catherine, who lives in Memphis, and telling her that I thought about Sue and Era being reunited with Al. . .and that my first thought was that I hoped Al and Era were telling her about how much I miss her still. Then, I said, I laughed and said, No, they aren’t talking about me, but Sue and Era were joining with Al to worship our God, our Lord and Savior. That all agreed that if a thousand years are like a second, Steve will be here in just a second. I look forward to joining in with them to worship our God. Good night friends of Al’s.

    • Steve and Annie says

      Thanks for filling in some details about Al & Era. We’re with you…it’ll be good to see them again!

  2. Greg Seneff Sr says

    Steve & Annie, What a great tribute to our brother Al. He was a tremendous influence on so many. Through his Times of Refreshing Ministries he distributed hundreds of thousands of new and used Bibles in the US and overseas. Through his involvement in several ministries, including Koinonia Bookstore, he ministered to untold youth and young adults in the turbulent 70’s and beyond. Through his membership on the Board of Elders at Belmont Church he helped lead a congregation closer to Jesus. Through his friendships he was a constant reminder of what was most important – living a life that honors Jesus. I will miss Al and his dear Era terribly, but I know our separation is only temporary. Greg Seneff

    • Steve and Annie says

      Our thanks to you as well for adding some information about Al’s very full life. He was indeed a good steward of all the days God gave him. May the rest of us follow his example!
      Blessings to you,
      PS… Our prayers have been with you and your family in the past several weeks as you have walked through the grief that came with the loss of your son. May God continue to sustain you by His tender grace.

  3. Al was more like a brother to me than a friend. We worked together, eldered together, played together, vacationed together. I will try to do as he always said “Press ON”
    Bob Mason

    • Steve and Annie says

      You were one of the first of those who came to mind when we heard about Al’s homegoing because we know you were close to him. May the Lord bless you indeed as you “Press on!”

  4. I was only a kid at about 13 years old when I knew Al and Era. Wade and Gini were a few years old, my brothers age.
    But as Steve said, the one thing I remember about them both was they always had a smile…even for just a kid.

  5. John Brewer says

    I came in the very early years of Belmont. On my first visit I was seated on the front row and listened as Bob Mason explained that those who met here at Belmont believed that the Word provided the direction for our lives. After church Bob introduced me to Al and of course he look straight at me with with his blunted social personality and said, “are you saved?” I hesitated, no one had ever asked such a question. He expanded his question with another, “brother how old were you when Jesus died for your sins?”. I replied, “I wasn’t born.” “Well then if you believe he died for all of them then either all are forgiven or none of them are?” I would never been the same. “So brother now that you know your saved go start a fire for Jesus.” Thank you Al for your faith and boldness for the Lord and your impact on my life and so many more. Johnny B.

  6. Karen Themmen says

    For almost a year before Era went to Heaven, I had the honor of staying with Era when Al had errands to run or on Tuesday nights when he went to the Bridge Ministry. I saw a side of Al that I had never seen. They would make silly faces at each other and tease each other, but as soon as Al was out the door Era would say, “He’s a good man. He’s such a good man.”
    Al would leave me a list of the channels carrying baseball games that Era liked to watch, but after he left we would switch to something funny. We switched it back to the baseball game just before he came home and made sure we knew who was winning. Often when Al came home Era would be asleep on the couch. When he came in he would give a boisterous greeting, then he would kneel on the floor next to Era and kiss her over and over and tell her how much he loved her.
    What an honor and blessing it was to spend those times with them. I miss them and am so thankful for both of the songs you wrote honoring them and blessing us. Thank you and God bless you. Karen

  7. For over forty years he was my mentor and we made a decision that if we heard of God doing something we would check it out and go meet the people involved and watch the Lord move. Many trips and so much fellowship with new to us Believers. And Era was such a joy. I miss them and am excited about seeing them again in a little while. Thanks Steve and Annie for posting this and for all who added to it

    • Steve and Annie says

      We too appreciate Al’s investment in our lives…and we must say, yours as well. Thanks for your comment!
      S&A Chapman

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