Shane and Denise Jeter

MGM

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

September 11, 2001: Where were you on 9/11?

Written by Staff on September 11, 2018 – 8:33 am -

9/11

9/11

9/11. The day the twin towers fell and our world changed.

I remember that morning. My sisters and ii were walking into Cracker Barrel at the NQC in Louiseville, Kentucky, and wondered why everyone seemed agitated and all the TVs were focused on a city skyline.

We hadn’t had the TV on in our hotel room and didn’t know what was happening. We heard about it all inside  the restaurant and watched the TVs while we tried to eat breakfast…

It was scary and sobering and we felt isolated, since we were from Canada and the borders were closed. We had planned to leave early but ended up staying an extra night as we couldn’t go home.

Rob Patz asks: Are you free?It was a very strange atmosphere. Louisville was so quiet because all the planes were grounded. Traffic was reduced and people seemed to even walk more quietly.

The NQC exhibit hall that night was muffled and all TVs were tuned into the news. We heard many rumors about what was happening. The flights crashing into the Pentagon and in that field in Pennsylvania …everyone was speculating on where the next target was.

We were relieved when we were finally able to go home, but very sad at the events happening to our neighbors to the south. It was like it happened to us.

And it did. Many Canadians were also killed that day.

Whenever it comes around to 9-11 every year, I pray for our countries and for peace.

Where were you on 9/11?


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Just As I Am with Justin McLeod

Written by Staff on September 1, 2018 – 12:12 pm -

Altar Call at Creekside with David Ring. Just as I am with Justin McLeod

Altar Call at Creekside with David Ring.

Just As I Am: An Introspective by Justin McLeod

 

The words of a song can be a lot of things: A comfort when one is hurting, or a pick-me-up when one is sad. But even greater is the role that a song can play in the salvation experience.

 

While the bible, the infallible word of God, clearly lays out the path to salvation, many times a song can be heard along the sinner’s path to saving grace. Sometimes serving as the tool to prick the sinner’s heart, sometimes the fertilization of a gospel seed already sown, or the catalyst to the final harvest of a soul won to Christ: the power of a song cannot be underestimated.

 

“Just As I Am” is perhaps the most well-known invitational hymn in the Christian church. Made especially famous in the mid-1900’s as the altar call for many a Billy Graham crusade, this hymn is still sung across the nation and the world on a regular basis even today. An 1835 composition from the pen of Charlotte Elliott, the lyrics of this song are simple, yet incredibly profound.

 

The first verse of the hymn reads:

Just as I am – without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

The hymn begins with an incredible truth and a basic tenant of the Christian faith – to approach our heavenly Father for salvation, we don’t have to put on a facade or dress a certain way, either literally or figuratively. We are to come to him in whatever messy, rotten, downtrodden shape in which we find ourselves.

 

Just as I am with Justin McLeodImagine you are the defendant in a courtroom and the judge asks, “How do you plead?” This is, in essence, the situation in which a sinner finds himself. Yet, instead of answering “guilty,” the blood of Jesus that was shed is your plea bargain; the judge bangs his gavel and cries “innocent – set free!”

 

Not only can we cast appearances aside, but we can offer no defense, no plea. None but the crimson red blood that flowed from the cross.

 

The hymn’s second verse:

Just as I am – and waiting not

To rid my soul of one dark blot,

To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

Billy Graham in prayerOne thing that I personally love about this hymn is that each verse starts off with a reminder that no false appearance, no put-on airs are necessary to meet the Savior. In this verse, the author speaks of the dark blot of sin and its stain on the sinner’s soul. But praise the Lord for waiting not, rushing to the feet of Jesus to claim the sacrifice of that very blood, the blood of Jesus that was shed to cleanse every spot of sin from blackest night to be as white as snow.

 

Just as I am – though toss’d about

With many a conflict, many a doubt,

Fightings and fears within, without,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

It can be incredibly difficult at times, especially in the middle of a circumstance or heartache, to turn to Jesus. Though tossed about, in any and every circumstance, the path to him is as simple as ever. Through conflicts, doubts, even deepest, darkest fears, the path to Jesus never changes – it is simply our view of that path that can become skewed.

 

Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

Just as I am. Justin McLeod. Billy Graham

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2018-02-21 19:14:15Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com

Another incredible reminder that any and all are welcome in the Savior’s arms. Regardless of financial status, social standing, or even a physical disability, anyone and everyone can come to Jesus. The new testament’s 10 lepers were considered social outcasts, and yet Jesus not only spoke to them, he healed them. No matter what ailment affects us – whether physical, social, or something other – the answer, the solution, the cure is only found in one place.

 

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;

Because Thy promise I believe,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

 

This is one of the most marvelous lyrics in post-biblical hymn-writing. It takes one simple decision, one belief, one ounce of faith in the Savior and he will receive us, welcome us, pardon us, cleanse us, and relieve us of every one of sin’s stains. He will receive us with no plea, without any line of defense but the blood of Jesus. Welcome us right this moment, without a single, solitary delay. Pardon us of the dark blots of sin. Cleanse us through that very same blood. Relieve us of conflicts and doubts, of fightings and fears, of ailments and wretchedness.

 

And all, simply, because Thy promise I believe.

 

By Justin McLeod

Justin McLeod is a regular writer for SGNScoops Magazine.

Read the full SGNScoops August  Magazine Here.
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Justin McLeod

Justin McLeod

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Rob Patz asks, “How do we know when we get THERE?”

Written by Staff on July 24, 2018 – 9:03 am -

Running to the finish line: How do we know when we get there?

Running to the finish line: Rob Patz asks, “How do we know when we get THERE?”

SGNScoops Magazine’s Publisher’s Point for July 2018 by Rob Patz

Last month, we talked about “You can’t get there from here,” and if you missed it, go back and read last month’s Publisher’s Point. This month, we’re going to talk about: “How do we know when we get there?”

So many people in life are striving for something. They want to be the best. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should do our best and give our best to God, but that doesn’t mean you are always going to be successful, that you’re always going to be first. Sometimes, we have to come to the conclusion that we’re here, but this is the point that God wants us. That for this moment in time, this is the exact place that God wants us to be.

I know for people like me, it’s never easy to stop and settle down for a minute. We’re always doing something.  

I had a friend of mine call me on a Saturday and he asked me what I was doing and I said I was working. He said, “It’s Saturday.” I said, “Well, it still has to get done.” So, I understand how hard it is sometimes to accept this place.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we can’t strive to the next location, or to the next promotion, but I think God – now, more than ever – expects us to be content in this current place. I’ve been dealing with that a lot lately.

The apostle Paul talks about running the race. My guess is that when he was describing this race in the timeframe of his reference, it was probably a marathon. If you’ve ever watched a marathon on TV, you know it’s not a short process. It’s over two hours, even if you’re an excellent runner, so you have to set your pace. It’s a decision you have to make, that even though it doesn’t seem like you’re going to finish right away, you are still going to finish.

 

Rob Patz running the race

Rob Patz running the race

A lot of people get discouraged around the mid part of the marathon, that’s why a lot of them drop out. But as Christians, we need to continue to strive, continue to press on toward the mark that God has set.

I was thinking of this today, that when I use the analogy about a marathon, even though I’ve never been a marathon runner, I can see myself in that last 200 yards, because that’s probably about as far as I could run without passing out. I could put myself in that 200 yards, where you see your family, you see the crowd around you, you hear them cheering for you and you know all the work that you’ve put in to the other 25-plus miles is now paying off.

You are just about where you need to be, just about home, but in that last 200 yards, rushing through your mind is everything that you worked on; all the training that has come to that point, all of the heartache, all of the sweat, all of the hard work, all of the discipline, to get you to that point. That’s what’s going through your head.

 

Now you see the finish line and you know that you have run as hard as you could, given it everything you have. I’d love in our scenario for you to be number one, but the reality is, there is not always that finish. Sometimes you’ll be 56th, but you still accomplish something great. You have stuck it through to the end.

Whether you’re a Christian or a Christian working in ministry, let me encourage you today. Continue on the race. It is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Believe that what God says is going to come true in your life, no matter if it’s this minute, or at the 13-mile mark, or the 25-mile mark.

 

July 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

July 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

God is with you. He is going to take care of you today and undergird you with his strength.

Until next month, this is the Publisher’s Point.

By Rob Patz. First published in SGNScoops Magazine in July 2018.

Read the full SGNScoops Magazine July 2018 HERE

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Pastor’s Ponderings: When it’s Hard to Forgive

Written by Staff on July 22, 2018 – 7:09 am -

When it is hard to forgive

When it is hard to forgive

Okay this one is the hardest for me,  because people have hurt me, and it’s natural to want revenge but that’s not what Jesus said for us to do.

Ephesians 4::32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” (NIV)
The word “forgive” or a form of it is mentioned 95 times in the Bible.
48 times in the Oid Testament.
47 in the New Testament.
With that kind of repetition, we know that it is important to God.
Question 1: What happens if I don’t forgive?
Answer: Heb. 12:15 tells us if we don’t forgive, then bitterness takes root inside us and defiles us, changes us.
Question 2: Have you heard this? “I’ll forgive but I won’t forget!”
Answer: I have heard it often. Jesus tells us in the model prayer, “The Lord’s Prayer” as we call it, ( Matt. 6:12-15; Mark 11:25-26; Luke 11:4) to forgive. If we don’t, then our prayers won’t get past the ceiling.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians to settle any issues we have with our brothers and sisters before we pray. It is called “reconciliation.” If we don’t, (Matt. 5:23-24) Jesus won’t hear us.
Forgiveness begins with you, on the inside. You have to be willing to forgive. Why? As I said, we are told in Hebrews 12:15, that bitterness takes root if we are unwilling to forgive. I’ve seen bitter people and the world is full of them. The churches are full of them too! Yes, I said it – because I’ve seen it.
And finally, forgiveness heals. Not only the one you forgive, but you, too. It starts on the inside and works its way out. Healing takes place and miracles can happen.
When Jesus healed someone in the gospels, (read them,) he forgave that person,  and they were made whole.
Think about it, then do it.
Forgive.
Stephen Widener: When it's hard to forgive

Stephen Widener

By Pastor Stephen Widener

 

Read the June 2018 SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

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Roger Barkley, Jr., asks, “Why wait to praise?”

Written by Staff on July 21, 2018 – 1:43 pm -

Praise him even in the dark hours

Praise him even in the dark hours

As a writer many times I pull from personal experiences to write about. One of the many things over this almost half-century I have found is that no matter what, we must continually praise God.

We praise him in the bad times as well as the good.

I have heard it said – and even said it myself: “I can’t wait to get to Heaven to praise Jesus for eternity!”

Praising Jesus for eternity is a great and awesome opportunity.

While I cannot wait to get there, and it seems to be any day now, I had a thought, during a sermon, that inspired yet another song.

Once we get to Heaven we will have a glorified body with no pain. We will have a clear mind with the understanding of why we went through the things here on Earth. We will be reunited with our loved ones and have our tears wiped away from our eyes by God himself.

Thus, it will be an easy opportunity to sit around God’s throne and give him all the praise he richly deserves, and worship with the great cloud of witnesses. It will be easy to raise our hands in praise with great musicians that have gone on before and who paved the way for us in music.

Roger Barkley Jr.

Roger Barkley Jr.

So, would it not, therefore, be more pleasing to God, if we gave him praise now in the things going on in our mundane lives, whether good or bad?

Wouldn’t it mean more to him if we showed our gratitude to him by giving our worship when we don’t have our glorified body and mind?

So why wait to praise him?

By Roger Barkley, Jr.

 

The award-winning trio, 11th Hour, urges us to praise in their charting song, Silence the Stones. We hope you enjoy it!

Roger Barkley, Jr., is a writer for SGNScoops Magazine.

Read the June 2018 SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

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Selena Day: What do you fear?

Written by Staff on July 8, 2018 – 1:03 pm -

Selena Day: What do you fear?

Selena Day: What do you fear?

Day by Day: Fear is…

I wrote these first two words when I was beginning this article and I stopped and just looked at them.  Fear is…

What is fear to you?  

Selena Day: What do you fear?

Selena Day

Many years ago, when the Internet was in its infancy, I remember those childlike quizzes that popped up from time to time.  There would always be one question asking what you were most afraid of.

I hated to sound super religious, but the scripture: “He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of might, power and a sound mind…(2 Tim.1:7)” would spring up to my mind. As believers, we are called to live differently. We need to preach to ourselves that we do not live a life controlled by fear, but by the love our God has for us.  

If I said that I am not afraid, I would be lying. I am like any other person; I have those things that freak me out or scare me, but I choose not to focus on fear.  

Chuck and I have traveled to over 37 countries. Most of those were Third World countries where we stood out as older, white, fluffy Americans, which to them equates to “Rich American.” I have been afraid only once or twice, and those few times were never life-threatening, just an unease that I heeded to.

People sometimes ask me, “Aren’t you afraid leaving the country with our world in the shape it is in?”  

I hope that I have a healthy amount of fear, we need this to survive in our world, but I choose not to focus on my fear but on the king of this world, my King.  

Who is the king of your world?  

I’ll never forget one of my first journeys overseas to Thailand. I had been out of the country before, but only to first-world, English-speaking countries. As the time drew near to go, I felt fear creeping into my heart, and with that fear came dread. I didn’t want to go, I couldn’t leave my children. So many doubts and fears.  

One day while chatting with God, or more accurately, one day while I was worrying during my prayers, God asked me a question: “Selena, am I not the God of the universe?”  

“Why yes, Lord. I know you are!”

“Do you ever worry this much when you are packing up to go on your trips across the U.S.A.? There are more car accidents per year than airplane crashes. Terrorism can hit you in the U.S.A. Something can happen to your children in your backyard. You trust me with these familiar things. Can you not trust me with the unfamiliar as well?”

Selena Day and Chuck Day

Selena and Chuck Day

That conversation with God changed my heart and I decided to focus more on Him and what He was saying to me than focusing on my fear and the ‘what if’s’ of traveling overseas. I wish I could say that peace came over me and, bam, I was magically cured, but it didn’t happen that way. It has been a faith walk.  

Our first few times overseas I never left Chuck’s side. I made him stand right beside me.  I never strayed from where I couldn’t reach out and touch him.

We discovered these wonderful night markets that we both loved to walk through, discovering so many beautiful handcrafted items. Though, like most couples, we liked to linger over different things; so those first few trips I enjoyed my time, though I never enjoyed them like I did when the fear finally left and I trusted God in the same way I trusted him in the good ole’ USA. I could then wander off and discover the items that I loved and Chuck could go and buy me a little treat without me knowing it.  

Leaving my comfort zone has taught me to really listen to the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit. It has taught me how to discern the difference between caution and fear. Traveling and overcoming my fears taught me who I am in this world and not just how my culture defines me. It has helped me see where and in whom my strength lies.

 

Learning to overcome fear is an ongoing process that we face in our lives and if we turn from our focus of the fear, towards the one that holds the very universe in his hands we will truly become ‘more than conquerors.’ We will become the kings and priests that he longs for us to be, ruling and reigning in this world instead of reacting to the circumstances that fall into our path.

Fear is…

What fear is holding you hostage today? I encourage you to turn towards our redeemer and ask him to redeem your heart and help you to have the courage to overcome, so that you can rise up as a conqueror and become all that God has designed you to be.  

By Selena Day. First published by SGNScoops Magazine in May 2018.

Selena Day is a motivational speaker and is available to speak at your conference or event. She can be contacted by e-mailing selenaday@me.com, by visiting www.queenliving.org, or at www.facebook.com/queenismsbyselenaday.  

Read the June 2018 SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

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Younger Perspective on Conner and Bailey Hayes by Erin Stevens

Written by Staff on July 6, 2018 – 4:03 pm -

The Hayes Family

The Mylon Hayes Family

A word from Erin Stevens…

What’s better than one “younger perspective,” you ask? How about two? It’s a twin takeover, featuring the sons of Mylon and Wendy Hayes. Conner and Bailey’s lights shine brightly for the Lord, as they travel and sing with their family. Today they share from their hearts as their individual personalities lead the way. Are you ready, guys? We’re all ears.

 

Erin Stevens: For those that aren’t a twin, are not related to a twin, or haven’t spent much time around twins, what are some insights and fun facts you can share about being your own, unique self while still having a look-a-like to enjoy life with?

 

Conner Hayes: It really is fun to be a twin and have a built in best friend. We are very similar in many ways, but our personalities are sometimes complete opposites. I can be a very quiet and reserved person, while Bailey is a little more talkative and outgoing; we balance each other out well.

 

Bailey Hayes: Even though we are so alike, we are different—our hair parts on opposite sides; our vocal ranges are opposite, in the fact that he sings bass and I sing tenor. Whenever we are shopping, everything I pick out is always more expensive than what he picks out. Even without looking at the price tag, his purchases come out cheaper. Conner tells me I have expensive taste, but I prefer to think I enjoy the finer things.

 

Conner Hayes

Conner Hayes

Stevens: Who is older and by how many minutes?

 

Conner: I am the oldest, but only by one minute. I try to tell Bailey to respect his elder, but he doesn’t seem to like that very much. 

 

Stevens: From school subjects, to hobbies, musical interests, and even favorite foods, where are you different in these areas?

 

Bailey: In school, we had the same strengths and weaknesses. In our hobbies, we are really the same, so we’re identical twins in those areas. But we are a little different in music; Conner is a drummer and I don’t have enough coordination to drum, but I do play the bass guitar. My brother has no clue how to play a stringed instrument. When it comes to food, he hates cheese and I love cheese, he likes green beans and I don’t necessarily care for them, but in almost all other foods, we like and dislike the same things.

 

Stevens: What are the most entertaining (and comical) comments fans have made to you two over the years? 

 

Conner: It’s a head scratcher when people come up and ask if we’re twins. When Dad introduces us from stage, he mentions the fact that we are twins, but we still get that question every night. 

 

Bailey: When fans come up and ask if we are brothers, I still have to laugh. We do get a lot of people asking which one is the smartest, to which I answer, “I am,” and which one is the meanest, which I answer, “He is,”…problem is, he says the same thing.

 

Bailey Hayes

Bailey Hayes

Stevens: Golf or baseball? Being at home or on the road? Neck ties or bow ties? Salty or sweet tooth? Biking or hiking?

 

Conner: Definitely baseball. I’m terrible at golf.

I love being on the road. I get excited to pack up and go somewhere new.

Neckties are my go-to. 

I have a bad sweet tooth. Candy and chocolate are my weaknesses.

I absolutely love to hike, especially with friends.

 

Bailey: I am a huge baseball fan.

I have to go with the road. I love traveling to new places and meeting new people. Living out of a suitcase is the best.

I love a good neck tie. I like to shop for unique patterns and colors in my ties.

Sweets. Kit Kats and Milky Ways are a bad weakness of mine.

I enjoy hiking. Hiking up a mountain or by a river are some of my favorite outdoor pastimes.

 

The Hayes Family performs at NQC 2017

The Mylon Hayes Family performs at NQC 2017

Stevens: Is there a song off your latest album that speaks to you personally? If so, why does its message specifically impact your heart when you sing it?

 

Connor: I love the song “God, Give Us Christian Homes” off our “Hymns And Classics Vol. 2” record. I was very blessed to grow up in a Christian home, with parents who loved the Lord and strived to teach us kids to live for Jesus. I hope to one day follow in the footsteps of my father, raise a Christian family, and be the kind of man that God wants me to be.

 

Stevens: How would you encourage other teenage boys as they try to fit in, while still upholding a godly example to their peers?

 

Bailey: My encouragement to other teen guys would be: Don’t compromise your faith or your convictions just to be cool. God has placed you where you are to be an example to others and shine a light for him. People may ridicule you for your faith, but you will make a larger impact on those people by walking the walk in front of them.

 

Erin Stevens

Erin Stevens

Closing thoughts from Erin Stevens…

We live in troubled times. Our faith is tested on every side. The temptation to give in to the ways of the world can be strong at times, but that is why we put our trust in the one who made the way straight for us to follow. Just as Bailey said, we may be ridiculed for our beliefs, yes, but we are striving to one day experience that great, eternal reward. Press on, friends. It will be worth it in the end.

And that’s my take on it.

Until next month, Scoops fans.

Connect with Erin:

Twitter: @photosforkeeps

Instagram: @photos_for_keeps

 

By Erin Stevens. First published by SGN Scoops in May 2018

Read the June 2018 SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

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Creekside major splash for fall concert goers

Written by Staff on July 3, 2018 – 12:22 pm -

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Creekside Gospel Music Convention is set for October 28th through November 1st. in beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tenn., at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center. This large family-friendly event offers free evening concerts with exciting music the whole family will enjoy.

Creekside 2018

Creekside 2018

The Smoky Mountains are spectacular during the height of the fall season. Cool mountain trails, shy wildlife and migrating birds greet visitors at this time of year. For the more urban tourist, the area features shopping, restaurants and fun stops for all ages. End your day with a free gospel concert and your retreat will be complete.

For the seventh year, Creekside will host keynote speakers including  C.T. Townsend, more than 50 musical guests, unique events and a large exhibit hall. Special rates for large groups and church buses can be obtained through the contact information below.

Jordan Family Band to appear at Creekside

Jordan Family Band

Some of the gospel music artists appearing include the Jordan Family Band, the Williamsons, the Pine Ridge Boys, Mark209, Hope’s Journey, Children of the Promise, Eagle’s Wings, the Chandlers, the McKay Project, and many more.

Creekside features musical showcases, evening concerts, the Jerry Goff Honors, the 2018 Diamond Awards and the Red Back Hymnal Choir. Midnight prayer is also planned for each evening.

For more information on Creekside 2018, visit www.sgnscoops.com or www.facebook.com/Creeksidegospelmusicconvention. VIP tickets can still be obtained by calling Rob Patz at 360.933.0741 or emailing rob@sgnscoops.com

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A Younger Perspective on Danielle Allen of the Allen Family

Written by Staff on June 18, 2018 – 1:32 pm -

Danielle Allen with the entire Allen Family

Danielle Allen with the entire Allen Family

A word from author Erin Stevens about Danielle Allen of the Allen Family …

I am delighted to introduce a face you may recognize and a humble heart that deserves a spotlight all her own. My friend and roommate – while serving in Uganda, Africa – Danielle Allen of the Allen Family is my special guest this month. Traveling on a bus with seven other people is not for the faint of heart, but this is a special girl with a profound call of ministry on her life. Now it’s her turn to take a solo. Let’s listen in …

 

Erin Stevens: Beginning with some Allen history 101 – for those that may not know the story of the early days, share with the readers where and when your parents met and how they began their ministry.

 

Danielle Allen: My parents met in Hattiesburg, Miss., at William Carey College. When they first met, they didn’t like each other at all. My dad was a country boy from Louisiana, and my mom was a city girl from Florida. They were both in the music department. With some clever matchmaking, they were thrown together with a trumpet and soprano duet. The rest is history. They were married seven years before they began this ministry. My dad was the pastor at a church in Michigan when he began to sense God was calling them into full-time evangelistic ministry. He was afraid to tell this to my mom. When he finally told her what he believed God was calling them to, she admitted she had been sensing the same thing and had been afraid to tell him. They sold their house, bought a motorhome, and hit the road with my four older siblings. I joined the scene a year later. 

 

Danielle Allen of the Allen Family

Danielle Allen of the Allen Family

Stevens: Is there a place of ministry that you go to on a regular basis that is memorable to you personally? If so, what is the story behind it?

 

Allen: One of my favorite places to minister is Freedom Mission in Louisiana. We have been a part of their yearly bible conference for as long as I can remember. Freedom Mission is a ministry for recovering addicts. Throughout the years of being there, I have witnessed the power of God transform lives, I have been inspired by those who have given their lives to His service, and every year, I leave encouraged and strengthened to continue my own ministry.  

 

Stevens: Is there a hobby outside of your music ministry you enjoy that the readers might find intriguing? 

 

Allen: I love to sew. My interest in sewing began a few years ago when I had an idea for a cosmetic bag that was white on the outside and bright and colorful on the inside. It carries the message that real beauty comes from within. I have sold these bags across the country. My sewing skills are still young, but I would like to eventually design unique, modest clothing. I believe we can point people to God even with the type of clothing we choose to wear. I would love to demonstrate that belief with clothing specifically designed to honor God. 

 

Stevens: Is there a book you are currently reading or recently have read that has impacted your life?

 

Allen: I recently finished reading, “If I Perish,” an autobiography on the life of Esther Ahn Kim. She was a Korean Christian who spent six years in a Japanese prison during World War II because of her faith. As an American, I am protected from the type of persecution she suffered. While this is a great blessing, it also comes with its disadvantages. I have never experienced the power and grace of God the way Esther Ahn Kim did. Though her trials were great, her God was greater. 

 

Stevens: Is there a scripture you consider to be your life verse?

 

Allen: One of my favorites is Psalm 61:2 … “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” A life of ministry can be crazy and stressful. I love this verse, because it reminds me that when I am overwhelmed with the pressures of life, God is my Solid Rock. I can cry out to Him no matter where I am, and He will lead me to Himself.  

 

Danielle Allen and the Allen Family

The Allen Family in concert

Stevens: Since I’ve had the privilege to travel to Uganda with your family and share your heart for this country, I’d love for the readers to better understand what your role is behind the scenes in this missions outreach. Also, describe what this ministry means to you personally.

 

Allen: The mission work in Uganda is literally at the heart of everything we do. I am deeply passionate about ministering to teenagers and young adults. Last summer, while in Uganda, I was privileged to lead, with my brother, a leadership conference for young adults where I taught several young women how to be leaders in their generation. I am also very involved in a program we started called the Straightway Education Project to protect girls from trafficking. Ugandan girls are very much at risk for trafficking. By enabling teenage girls to stay in school, the Straightway Education Project protects them from that risk. Additionally, I am the accountant for our ministry. I know that sounds boring, but it is essential to the efficiency and integrity of the ministry. I am blessed that God has given me the opportunity to be involved in His work. He truly is an awesome God.

 

April 2017 SGNScoops Magazine

April 2017 SGNScoops Magazine

Closing thoughts from Erin Stevens…

I told you that reaching people and shining the light of Christ is at the center of everything she does. You never know what corner of the world you were meant to reach. Wherever God has called you, I urge you to live the life He gave you as vivaciously and passionately as Danielle Allen endeavors to live hers. May we be challenged to answer the call. “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

 

And that’s my take on it.

Until next month, Scoops fans.

Connect with Erin on Twitter at @photosforkeeps and on Instagram at @photos_for_keeps.

By Erin Stevens. First published in April 2018 by SGNScoops Magazine. Erin Stevens is a regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine.

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Pastor Stephen Widener responds to Selena Day’s Open Letter about Musicians in Church

Written by Staff on June 1, 2018 – 10:07 am -

Selena Day

Selena Day

Several weeks ago, author Selena Day, a regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine and wife of Chuck Day, Christian Country vocalist, wrote an open letter to pastors regarding outside Gospel artists being invited to sing at churches. To read it in its entirety, click here. Selena gives pastors valid reasons for inviting musicians to their services, including drawing new people into that assembly.

Pastor Stephen Widener, from Lenoir, North Carolina, who also writes for SGNScoops and SGMRadio in the column “Pastor’s Ponderings,” responded to Selena Day’s open letter. He writes,

The open letter that was in Scoops had me thinking because I have been on almost all ends of that situation.

As you know that as a singer/musician (with the Gospel group Faithful,) I don’t charge churches to sing and most of them give us a love offering. Now if we do travel more than, say, two hours, we may ask for enough to take care of expenses but that’s it.

As a minister of a small country church, I have been asked to bring artists in and I am glad to do this, but my dad (senior pastor) has final say about who comes because they are an extension of the ministry we (the church and its leaders) have. Plus, I have had a lot of groups ask how many people might attend their concert. I may say I don’t know because there are less than 300 people who live in that part of the world!  Yes, this has happened on more than one occasion.

Pastor Stephen Widener responds to Selena Day's Open Letter about Musicians in Church

Stephen Widener

Then there are people like Mylon Hayes, who don’t have a problem coming to where I am for a love offering and I love people like him. I have packed places out when that happens.

But then there is also the concert promotion side, of which I am also familiar, because of my work with Tony Greene for years. Last year, I was working on bringing the Talleys to a local church. This country church is losing members left and right, due to age and other issues. So, to try to bring people in, they asked me to speak to the Talleys, a group who would certainly fill the church. I spoke with them and Harper Agency (talent representative) to bring them in, but when the current leaders talked to them, they only promised the group a very low love offering. Now, I knew the Talleys would have gotten a much larger offering easy with a full house of 500 people. I even went to Lauren and had her waive the fee for the gas expense for the bus, but the promise of the low amount, which was insufficient for the Talleys to make the trip, ended the whole thing. I was saddened because they don’t even get 50 people on a regular Sunday night. The concert would have brought new people in, had the leaders been more farsighted.

I have been praying for an opportunity to have a summer sing here so we can bring other groups in, as Tony Greene did for years in Boone.

So I feel for her and know what she is experiencing.

God bless,

Stephen Widener

For more by Stephen Widener, click HERE.

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