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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

2004 Conversations

Alicia Chole: The truth about joy (12/28/03)

Cookies and Christmas: A roundtable discussion (12/21/03)

John Tesh: In pursuit of passion (12/14/03)

AGWM's L. John Bueno: Bread of life (11/23/03)

Teen Challenge's John Castellani: Christ breaks addictions (11/16/03)

Christian humorist Justin Fennell: Justifiably funny (10/19/03)

Representative Marilyn Musgrave: The role of Christians in government (10/12/03)

Dennis Gaylor: Fifty more campuses (9/28/03)

Kathy Troccoli: A message of hope (9/21/03)

Kristy Starling: Dreams come true (9/14/03)

CeCe Winans Love: Of Gospel and Grammies (8/31/03)

Gary Heavin: Faith and fitness (8/24/03)

Gracia Burnham: Grace in the jungle (8/17/03)

Seattle Mariner John Olerud: Hope when your health fails (8/10/03)

Chris Maxwell: Pastor recovering from memory loss (7/27/03)

Wayne Warner: Today’s Pentecostal Evangel: a historical view (7/20/03)

Paul Drost: Every church a parent or a partner (7/13/03)

Dr. J. Calvin Holsinger: What can be learned from history? (6/29/03)

Ron Drye: Ministering to the whole person (6/22/03)

Matt McPherson: Doing business by the Golden Rule (6/15/03)

The difference (6/8/03)

Fory VandenEinde: Fulfilling the Great Commission (5/25/03)

Tom Greene: The church's new generation (5/18/03)

Lisa Whelchel: Former sitcom star now an advocate for moms (5/11/03)

Tony Lamarque: Warden speaks about unconditional love (4/27/03)

Ann Graham Lotz: Just give her more of Jesus (4/20/03)

Lee Strobel: The case for Christ (4/13/03)

Randall K. Barton: Extravagant stewardship (3/30/03)

Bishop Gilbert Patterson: Bringing people together under Christ (3/23/03)

Pat Boone: A unique celebrity speaks out (3/16/03)

St. Clair Mitchell: God in Washington, D.C. (3/9/03)

Kay Gross: Ministry by women, ministry to women (2/23/03)

Thomas E. Trask: A historic General Council (2/16/03)

Denise Jones: Girls of Grace (2/9/03)

Doug Greengard: Beyond the NFL (1/26/03)

Three pro-life advocates call the church to action (1/19/03)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: The gospel in uniform (1/12/03)

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations


Of Gospel and Grammies

Even as a child CeCe Winans was a natural on stage. She had the voice, the look and the presence that seemed to move and touch people. The only problem was that she was a less-than-willing participant. If she had had it her way she would have been back in the choir singing along with her friends far from the spotlight. But one Sunday morning, after being forced by her parents to perform, she realized she was not just singing a song, she was leading people into the presence of God. That changed everything. Suddenly, the girl with the amazing voice not only had dreams for her future, she had a calling.

CeCe is the eighth of 10 children and was the first-born girl. She grew up in Detroit, but now lives in Nashville with her husband, Alvin Love, and their two teenage children. Recently, CeCe spoke with Associate Editor Kirk Noonan about her musical heritage, where it has led her and life lessons she has learned about being a wife and mother.

PE: Your parents had seven boys and then you. Were you the princess of the family?

LOVE: I am sure if you asked my brothers they’d say, “Yes.” But what can I say? I guess I was a pleasant surprise for my mom.

PE: With nine siblings, did you ever feel as though you didn’t get enough attention from your parents?

LOVE: During my childhood there was never a dull moment — or even a quiet one for that matter. My parents did a great job of giving everyone attention. They didn’t have any favorites and they laid down the law. What went for one went for the other. That made it pretty simple. All I can say is that God worked it out for them. With that many kids it had to be God.

PE: Tell me about your parents.

LOVE: My father did a lot of everything. He was a barber by trade, but he worked in a factory as well. He also sold cars, was a minister and somehow found enough time to coach athletic teams in the community. He was always very busy. My mom was a medical transcriptionist between cleaning, cooking and all the other stuff mothers do.

PE: How did you become a believer?

LOVE: We were raised in church. My mom and dad were strong believers, always involved in church and they demanded that we were too. Going to church was not a choice for us; we had to go. But because of that we all fell in love with God.

I fell in love with the Lord when I was 12. That was when I started to make decisions that told others I stood for the Lord. I had accepted Him years earlier, but at 12 is when I decided to follow Him, stand up to others who criticized me for it and walk in the faith.

PE: When did you know you had a talent for singing?

LOVE: Singing was something everybody did in our family. At church a lot of my friends sang too and I heard better voices all the time. I knew I could sing, but I never thought I was anything special. When I started doing solos at the age of 8 while in church I discovered I could sing. I didn’t want to sing, but I was made to sing by my parents. When I was 14 I realized it was more than just a gift of singing, it was a God-given gift of ministry. As I sang a solo one Sunday I saw the reaction of the people and I realized there was something to this that was bigger than I was. It was a ministry.

PE: Did you battle stage fright?

LOVE: Somewhat. I was always much more comfortable being in the background. I have a family where half of us love being out front and half of us hate it. I am one who would have been happy to be in the choir or singing in the studio where no one could see me. But God had other plans.

PE: What was your professional debut?

LOVE: My first recording session was with Andrae Crouch. My family had met him and we went to Los Angeles to record some songs with him. I made a little money, so I guess I became a professional then. But I really became a professional when my brother BeBe and I began performing on the Praise the Lord television program.

PE: Did the reception and ensuing success of your first album catch you off guard?

LOVE: I was very surprised. When you go into the studio to do something you love to do and you’re a young kid, you’re not really expecting much. We were just excited about giving listeners the message of Jesus Christ through our songs. And we were just happy we were getting a chance to do it. But when people began opening their hearts and listening to what we were saying through our music it really hit us.

PE: When you started becoming famous and making money did it have an adverse effect on you?

LOVE: No. God has always blessed me by surrounding me with great people and by letting me be a part of a wonderful church. Those two elements have kept me on track. My family has too. We’re each other’s greatest fans, but we’ll let you know in a minute if your head has gotten too big.

PE: What obstacles have accompanied your success?

LOVE: Some people say I’ve sold out because I’ve had mainstream success. Other people have said things about me because of the money I’ve made. There will always be critics, but being misunderstood is the worst thing because I can’t explain everything to everyone. I just have to trust that God is going to take care of me.

PE: Let’s talk about your mainstream success — have you ever regretted not concentrating all your efforts that way?

LOVE: I don’t regret it at all. First of all I wasn’t called to do that. But God has proven that He can take whatever He wants and allow it to cross barriers and spill over into the mainstream even when I don’t plan it. The success BeBe and I have had in the mainstream has been exciting because we have had a chance to share the good news with a lot of people who need it. My calling is to bring light to a dark world, not add more darkness.

PE: Would you do an album for the mainstream?

LOVE: I am about to go into the studio for Sony to do an album that they want to push as a pop record. I am excited about that, but they know who I am and what I stand for so they know who I am going to sing about. If they can take that and spread it over the world, then praise God.

PE: In 1995 you and BeBe decided to pursue solo careers. Why?

LOVE: It was the best move for both of us because it was God’s will. That’s the only way I can describe it because I hated the idea of performing by myself. But again, God had another place for me. He wanted to teach me more about himself. I know now that BeBe and I have both grown separately in different ways. But I really do long for the day when we can get back together.

PE: Tell us about your new project that is coming out in September.

LOVE: It’s called Throne Room. The Lord dropped in my heart the idea of a CD that would encourage people to worship without interruption. I’ve always done a variety of songs on my albums, but this CD is mostly comprised of worship songs.

A lot of Christians don’t know how to worship. Worship is about Him; it’s not about us. Worship isn’t about our requests, needs or what we want or think. It’s just about Him and who He is. My goal with this album is to get people to the throne room so that they not only worship there, but they live there.

PE: Let’s talk about your family. How many children do you have?

LOVE: Only two. I come from a family with 10 children so I feel like I cheated. But we had a boy and a girl and it was like, “Hey, we’re done.”

PE: What’s a lesson you learned from your parents that you hope to pass on to your children?

LOVE: By far it is to live the Christian life at all times. My mom and dad did not just teach us about the Lord, they lived a holy life in front of us. That is the biggest and best example I’ve ever had.

Now I strive to do that daily with my children. I try to teach them God’s way and stress the importance of having God first in their lives because that is guaranteed success. No matter where you are or what you do, if you love the Lord then you’re successful.

PE: What have your kids taught you about faith and parenting?

LOVE: To stay on my knees. Don’t get me wrong, we have two great kids. But my main prayer for them has always been that they would both love the Lord. And they do.

PE: What have you and your husband discovered to be the key to a strong marriage?

LOVE: Alvin and I know what it takes to make a marriage work and to live a fulfilled life: Jesus. We know we’re going to have rough times, but Jesus is always ready to help fix things as long as we keep Him at the center of our marriage.

We’ve been married for 19 years. We’ve had a few rough times, but when you both love the Lord you consult Him on what you’re going through. And when you listen to the Lord you stay together. People try to make it difficult, but it’s not. Flesh has to die. We have to take up our cross.

Alvin and I haven’t had a lot of rough times because we really enjoy each other’s company. We believe in spending time together and we love going to church and having God at the center of our marriage. But when problems do arise we handle them the way the Word tells us to.

PE: Dispel a couple myths about the “glamorous” life you live.

LOVE: As far as everything being picture-perfect, it isn’t. Look at my album covers. I’ve heard people say, “You look so cute,” and I just laugh. I look good on those things because they have worked on my makeup and hair all day.

PE: So what is reality for you?

LOVE: My life is not perfect. Not at all. But God is always perfect. He is my source and my life. Without Him I would be crazy. If He told me to stop singing tomorrow I know I would be OK because I have Him in my heart.

PE: How do you keep your relationship with the Lord fresh and new?

LOVE: I spend time with Him. For me it’s not an option. I have to put Him first. It’s so important to be rooted in His presence by studying His Word and praying without ceasing and fasting. You have to do everything He tells you to do because that’s the only way to become a strong disciple.

Doing so helps me stay focused on who I really am and on what my purpose is. Without Him I am nothing. Without Him I will die. He is my Source, my Life, my Joy and my Peace.

PE: When you get to the end of your life what do you hope people remember the most about you?

LOVE: I hope they say, “She was just like Jesus.” That’s what I strive for. But I don’t strive to be like that for people — I strive to be like that for Him.


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