Ten-year-old Danny Von Kanel stood by the grapes in the produce department while his mother made selections. The plump juicy orbs beckoned him. He popped a couple of grapes into his mouth.
A voice thundered. “You’re not supposed to do that.”
Danny looked up at the frowning store clerk. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” rang in his ears (Romans 3:23). Danny quickly strode to his mother’s side ashamed of his unwitting theft.
“I grew up in a Christian family, my father a deacon in a Southern Baptist church and my mother the church secretary,” said Danny. “We were always in church, but I didn’t realize I was a sinner in need of a savior until I stole those grapes.”
The following month, the Pastor of Danny’s church visited Danny’s Royal Ambassadors, (a Bible based program teaching elementary age boys about missions) meeting to encourage the boys to bring a lost friend to an upcoming revival meeting. Barry, Danny’s friend, invited him to attend the meeting. Already under conviction for stealing grapes, Danny accepted his friend’s invitation. During the revival meeting, Danny asked Christ to forgive him of sin and come into his heart.
Danny’s commitment to Christ quickly surpassed Barry’s. Both of the boys belonged on the same baseball team. When some of the team members used foul language and told dirty jokes, Danny refused to participate thinking Barry would support his decision. He didn’t and Danny soon found himself ostracized.
“I learned young that we can’t put our faith in people,” said Danny. “We all have feet of clay.”
By age 16 Danny sensed God had a place for him in ministry. During a revival service at Eastlawn Baptist Church in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Danny surrendered his life to full time Christian service. He found the fulfillment of that service as a minister of music in Southern Baptist churches in Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, and Louisiana.
Not content to hide the light of the gospel within a church building Danny and his choir participated in back yard Bible Clubs and went on tours. A visit to the Cayman Islands bore a touch of heaven. They performed for a multi-ethnic congregation who had transcended racial divides. Appearances on local TV stations preceded a trip to Washington and New York City where they performed in Central Park and a Jamaican church in the Bronx. The tour that had the greatest impact on Danny’s young choir members took place in a maximum security prison. The packed house of inmates rewarded the choir’s yearlong preparation with hearty “Amens” and a standing ovation. “After performing for the prisoners, the kids didn’t want to sing in churches anymore,” said Danny.
While Danny pursued his calling in music, writing pursued him. In 1979, he filled out a survey in Outreach, a Southern Baptist Magazine (no longer in print). The editor of the magazine asked Danny to write a feature article. He liked seeing his name in print and continued submitting articles to other Southern Baptist Magazines. Danny currently has hundreds of published articles in more than 45 magazines including Focus on the Family (under a pen name), Mature Living, Ministries Today, Let’s Worship, The Deacon, Parent Life, Group, Clergy Journal, Enrichment Journal, Priority, The Sunday School Leader, Creator, and The Journal for the American Society of Church Growth. Danny also has two books published by CSS Publishing Built by the Owner’s Design (2003) and Building Sunday School by the Owners Design (2005). He recently signed a contract with 4RV publishing for is third book, Building Your Life by the Owner’s Design, scheduled to release in 2013.
Even though Danny is approaching an age some men think about retirement, Danny shows no signs of slowing down. Instead, he prayed the prayer of Jabez made popular by Bruce Wilkinson’s The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life, Multnomah Books (2000). The prayer is based on the Old Testament passage 1 Chronicles 4:9-10: “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that You would bless me indeed, and make my border larger, and that Your hand might be with me…” The borders of Danny’s influence have enlarged to include teaching music in public schools and popular “Get Published’ seminars.
He held his first “Get Published” seminar in 2009 to a packed house. Encouraged by the results he scheduled another seminar at the Ponchatoula Parish Library. Two women were so inspired by Danny’s presentation they started the Berries, Bridges, and Books Writer’s Conference. He continues to hold the popular seminars throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.
Danny resides in Franklinton, Louisiana with his wife of 32 years Beverly Gay Allen Von Kanel. They have two grown sons and five grandchildren. Many of his works are posted at www.authorsden.com/dannyrvonkanel. He also has a personal site at www.amazon.com and www.facebook.com.