By: Fayth D. Lore
She is a woman full of personality, Jesus and talent. With her contagious smile and confident voice, she walks on stages all across the country with her parents right by her side. Kraft Macaroni and Fruity Pebbles pull the highest rankings in her favorite food category. And, her favorite fur baby is her cat, Alfie. This month’s featured artist is a keeper for sure. I’m pleased to get to share with you about Ms. Morgan Easter, as she shares with us what love looks like.
After six Dove Awards, two career GRAMMY nominations and multiple other accolades, I believe Jeff and Sheri Easter could say that: “Over and over, again and again, God has been faithful.” Both Jeff and Sheri came from a rich heritage of Gospel Music. Thankfully, for us, they have passed on their love for God and music to their three children.
Morgan is their middle child, and the eldest sister. Jeff and Sheri began their singing career in 1988, just a short time after their marriage. Morgan said that her first time on the road was at 10 days old. Morgan explains, “I’ve always traveled with them and don’t know anything different.” However, she didn’t begin traveling full time in the ministry until her teenage years.
“I did attend public school all 12 years. Our school system, where all of my family has graduated from, worked so well with us. They said as long as I kept my grades up I could travel. It was definitely challenging at times, especially the last few years, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It gave me a taste of a normal life and because of it I have many lifelong friends that I cherish deeply.
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Tags: bill gaither, Fayth Lore, jeff and sheri easter, Morgan Easter, SGNScoops Magazine, What Love Looks Like
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It is the month of March. Can you believe this year is flying by the way it is? I am excited about March. We have Southern Gospel Weekend coming up, March 23rd through the 25th. If you haven’t made plans already, we want you to be with us in Oxford, Alabama for three great days of Gospel music and over 30 great artists. It is going to be a time that you will not forget!
I want to thank each and everyone of you who have subscribed to my YouTube channel over the last month as we continue to see growth in our effort with One Minute Prayer. I am excited to see what God is going to do with One Minute Prayer.
I’ve been asked why I came up with this idea and I wanted to share a little bit with you right here. One Minute Prayer came out of a time in my life where I needed to meet with God more than just in my normal prayer time and I started asking Him in short increments about what was on my heart. That turned into me setting the timer on my phone for one minute and praying for what God knew was on my heart. To be honest, I continue to pray about that
need, but God has lit a fire in my soul to share the idea of One Minute Prayer. So many people that I come in contact with daily are hurting and need to be encouraged, so I know that this is a timely theme.
So that’s a little bit of a background. This month, I want to talk to you about your strength. You know that the Scripture says in Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” So many people feel so burdened by life, they feel so heavy with the circumstances that are around them, whether it is their family or their job or their church they feel like things are so overwhelming for them that they no longer have any joy. But Scripture says that the joy of the Lord is our strength which means when things seem overwhelming, when life seems bigger than we can handle, that if we rest in Jesus and in His strength we will find joy.
When I started to think about that, it changed my life. I started to realize that joy doesn’t come from this world. I know you understand that and I understand that. I grew up in church and I have heard that my whole life. But there are times where we need to be reminded that the joy of the Lord is our strength too. Not only is He the One to uplift us with His strength, He is the One that will bring us joy in the midst of whatever is weighing us down. So take a minute today and pray about the strength that God is going to give you. I will stand with you and pray this prayer.
Let’s pray this month together for people who need jobs and for people who need changes in their personal relationships with their family and friends. Let’s pray for a revival to come to those that we know. So many times we pray for revival in our churches, but I have really felt the burden lately to start praying that revival will happen in us. Not to the church but in His people.
I love each and everyone of you and I believe God has great things for you to do this month. So go out and do them because the Bible says, “When God is for us, who can be against us?”
And that is this month’s Publishers Point.
By Rob Patz, Publisher of SGNScoops Magazine.
First published by SGNScoops Magazine March 2017.
For more Gospel music news click here.
Tags: Christian life, God, gospel music, One Minute Prayer, Prayer, rob patz, SGNScoops Magazine, Southern Gospel Weekend
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January 2017 – Hope to the Hill
We are just a few days away from Inauguration Day. The world will have its eyes on the city of Washington, D.C. and we will be there trying to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with all those who are attending.
We have partnered with Seedline International to bring a special Inauguration Day John and Romans booklet to the city of Washington. God’s Word is powerful and can change the hearts and minds of people. No matter what side of the aisle one may be on, God loves you and we want to share this news.
We ask that you pray for this endeavor, that God would provide the funds needed and that He would bless the disbursement of His Word. We also ask that you pray for our leaders that God would protect them during this transition of power. Pray for their hearts to be softened by the Word of God. We need leaders who will make known our need for repentance and a Holy God. Our nation’s future depends on what God’s people would do in the coming days.
I wanted to share a little story with you from a month ago or so. I was at a pastors’ town hall event on the Hill where many members of Congress stopped by and shared what God is doing in their lives. It was a glorious time of prayer and singing that evening on the floor of the United States’ Senate!
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The Hyssongs have watched their latest album, Believe Me, be accepted and applauded by the Gospel music audience, taking three of their songs to the top 10 in the music charts. After 20 years, Dell, Susan and their son, Richard, say that hard work along with encouragement from Chapel Valley has boosted their sound up the charts.
“The real reason for our recent recognition and success is God’s hand of blessing upon us,” says Richard. “We are humbled and thankful for all the ways the Lord has led us step by step.
“Radio has really embraced our family and our sound. Whether it is the brass that we use, the live strings, or the sounds of fiddle and steel guitar, they have accepted it all.”
It has been a year since Believe Me was released and reviewed by Randall Hamm in SGNScoops January 2016 issue. Hamm wrote, “Believe me, if you do not have a CD of the Hyssongs in your collection, this is the one to start with. It includes 10 great songs of faith, hope, love and belief, from the upbeat, ‘I’ve Got A Love,’ from the pen of Steve Dunlap and Russell Balway, that will you will be humming and singing long after the track ends; to the last track, the classic ‘The King Is Coming,’ that will have you saying, ‘Come quickly Lord.’”
Tags: Dell Hyssong, Richard Hyssong, Susan Hyssong, The Hyssongs
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By Justin Gilmore
The Isaacs have been a mainstay in Gospel and Bluegrass music for years. This acclaimed family has captivated audiences with their harmony and musicianship. Most importantly their hearts for God are truly apparent. I recently had the pleasure to talk with matriarch Lily Isaacs about the group’s career and their recent Grammy-nominated album, Nature’s Symphony in 432: A Journey from Pain to Praise.
Gilmore: Tell me about the formation of the group, the early days.
Isaacs: Well, the Isaacs started with myself and my kids’ father Joe Isaacs, who’s my ex-husband. We started singing in 1971 after we got saved.We had a
band at the time and we performed just on weekends because we had full time jobs. And as time went on and we got busier, we went into full time ministry in 1986.
As our children were teenagers, they showed a lot more interest in music and so as one band member would leave, the kids would take their place. Sonya was the first one, taking up the position of the mandolin and then Ben went on bass, and then Becky went to the guitar. So it wasn’t really a plan, it just happened that way. So today we are an all-family band and we also have a drummer and my grandson Levi, who now plays guitar for us as well.
Tags: Becky Isaacs Bowman, Isaacs, Joe Isaacs, Lily Isaacs, Sonya Isaacs Yeary
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Amber Nelon Thompson faces a variety of lessons in life and film
Feature by Craig Harris
Amber Nelon Thompson is becoming comfortable in front of the camera. The Nelons’ soprano is making her big-screen debut in A Question of Faith, which is slated for a release this fall.
“I play Michelle Danielson,” Thompson says. “It’s about three different families who go through some very, very trying times. One family is struggling with losing a loved one. Another family is living with a loved one who makes a mistake, and they don’t know how to help. Another family is struggling with the possibility of losing a loved one. All three families are kind of woven together in the end.”
The faith-based film was the first that she had even auditioned for, and the cast includes C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders), Renee O’Conner (Xena: Warrior Princess), Kim Fields (Facts of Life), C.T. Stallings (War Room), Richard T. Jones (The Wood) and Christian recording artist Jaci Velasquez.
Tags: Amber Nelon Thompson, Craig Harris, faith focus film, gospel music, Kelly Nelon, Question of Faith, Say Yes To The Dress, the nelons
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2017 February – Rob Patz – Publisher’s Point – SGNScoops Magazine
Do you ever get scared of what is going to happen? Do you ever wonder if you are really going down the right path that God has selected for you? These are some of the things I’ve been thinking about this month as I am writing my Publisher’s Point.
There are times where I really wonder if where I am is exactly where God has selected for me to be, but I know in the end I have His hand on my life. If we pray, God is going to reassure us and give us peace. As for the first question, do I ever get scared? I would have to say almost on a weekly basis! Does that make me a less of a person? I don’t think so. I think it shows that I am mindful of what God has and what He is going to do.
I do worry a times that I will get headed in the wrong direction. I like to do things right away, I like things to be accomplished immediately so that I can move onto the next task. I’m goal driven. I like to say I can check that off my list of things to do today.
Unfortunately, we as Christians don’t always get clear answers right away. Sometimes, God asks us to wait, as He says, “Peace, be still.” Probably the hardest thing for me to do is to sit still.
I was in an airport recently and if you know about travel, there is a lot of downtime. For most people, they sit at the gate and wait. Unfortunately, that isn’t me. I walk up and down the main aisle because I don’t like to sit and I don’t like to wait.
I think this year that is one of the things that God is trying to teach me. He is teaching me that there are times where you have to wait, you have to sit still, you have to have the peace that comes from just being still. That is something I’m working on. I’m not sure I will ever be completely comfortable sitting and waiting, but I am starting to understand that God at times needs us to stay in one place to learn something!
I’ve started to pray almost daily that God will give me peace in the midst of my waiting. Are you at a point right now in your life where you are waiting? It’s God asking you to be still for a moment.
I would love to tell you that over this past time that I’ve been dealing with this, that it’s gotten easier, but that wouldn’t be the truth. While I sit here and wait, I learn to be thankful for the things that are around. Please don’t ever miss an opportunity to be thankful for that moment, even if God has you sitting at the gate, waiting to board your next adventure.
God is still in control. Until next month, this is the Publisher’s Point.
P.S. Don’t forget, I want to see you in Oxford, Alabama, March 23rd through the 25th. Over 30 great Southern Gospel artists in one location! More news inside SGNScoops.
For more Gospel music news click HERE.
Tags: Christian life, rob patz, Scared, SGNScoops Magazine
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By Jaquita Lindsey
Musical talent can often be captivating to an audience seeking to be entertained. More often than not, the admirer, or fan, leaves the performance blown away after an in-person experience. Although there is still a certain level of enjoyment to be had when it comes to artists who share the Gospel of Christ, the most important aspect of their music is songs that minister to hearts. I believe Sisters has both.
With astounding harmony and a heartfelt commitment to convey the love of Christ, Kim Ruppe Sheffield, Heather Ruppe Bennett, and Valerie Ruppe Medkiff create an impacting sound that is reaching the hearts of all ages and musical tastes.
Beginning of the Ruppe Dynasty
In 1974, Brenda Ruppe, alongside her husband Leo, began a music ministry under the name The Ruppes with Kim, then, age nine, and Heather, age eight. Valerie also contributed her part to the ministry at the young age of four. In 1975, the group recorded their first album, The Way, The Truth, The Life. From that point on, the family has experienced great success through the years.
Their most notable song as The Ruppes, and one that still remains a noteworthy favorite to all, is the stunningly beautiful “Under His Wings.” The Ruppes had many other top songs including their first number one, “Angels In The Room,” from the album Seasons. Their 2001 album release Born to Serve yielded a Grammy nomination.
Leo and Brenda Ruppe committed themselves as Godly parents to raising their daughters to serve the Lord, using their vocal talents. Years of ministry brought many changes for the Ruppe girls, as they have gone their separate ways at various times. Through it all, they continued to minister and they remained very close as a family. Now, God has opened the door for them to come full circle and sing together as Sisters. They love every minute of sharing the stage together.
Tags: Brooklyn Tabernacle, gospel music, Heather Ruppe Bennett, Kim Ruppe Sheffield, Simply Sisters, sisters, The Ruppes, Valerie Ruppe Medkiff
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By Fayth Lore
While Hope Bowling has not been singing very long with her family, The Bowling Family, she is no stranger to Southern Gospel music. Hope’s father, Mike Bowling, sang with various groups and eventually went into a solo career. Hope’s mom, Kelly, sang with one of Southern Gospel’s most loved families, The Crabb Family, for years. After the birth of their third child, Mike and Kelly began to tour as The Bowling Family. Hope began singing with her parents four years ago.
I love seeing other young women singing for the Lord. So, I was so encouraged to see Hope standing on stage singing with her parents. Every time Hope walks on the stage, audiences across the country can’t help but fall in love with her humble and sincere spirit. Her voice blends perfectly into that family harmony that is unbeatable.
On the Road
Hope shared with me that she had mixed emotions about joining the singing group. She was extremely excited to be sharing the stage with her parents, but it was also a bit scary for a 13 year old. Four years into road life, Hope says that her favorite part is getting to see the world and meet new people. Ironically, she says she is also a homebody, so there are moments when she really misses being home.
Hope has two younger sisters, Katelanne (13) and Gracie (10). The three sisters have begun to sing a song or two in Bowling Family Concerts across the country. When the three sisters take the stage, you can see their parent’s faces light up with joy and pride.
Siblings have a special bond and Hope certainly shares that bond with her younger sisters. Hope said that if she could describe Katelanne in three words she would say funny, talented and creative. Hope would describe her youngest sister, Gracie as being spunky, determined and smart.
Answering the Hard Questions
If you have followed Southern Gospel Music for any time, you will remember about a tragedy that shook the lives of The Bowlings forever. It impacted the entire Southern Gospel industry, and sparked a national call to prayer. Recovery from their tragedy would have to be nothing short of a miracle. In 2010, The Bowling Family was heading down the highway in Belmont, NC, when all of a sudden their bus was hit head-on by a semi-truck going 60 miles per hour. This accident took a toll on the entire family, but Mike, Kelly and Katelanne suffered the most severe injuries. Hope was only 10 years old when everything happened, but she remembers that “It was a rough time.”
Some people ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people”? That question could be asked under the circumstances of what The Bowling Family lived through. I asked Hope how the accident affected her spiritually and mentally.
“I didn’t question, because I was a kid. I’ve been taught that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. I have seen this first hand through our accident. I believe we are changed for the better.” Romans 8:28 has been a scripture that many Christians turn to in their time of suffering. As Christians, we understand that while not everything in life is good, God is working it all together for good. This biblical truth and promise of God is something to rejoice over.
Showing What Love Looks Like
First Corinthians 13:6 says: ‘Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth. Jesus has told us through the Bible that He is the way, the TRUTH and the life. In Him, we can find life and life more abundant. Even in the dark times of life, we can have a joy in knowing the truth. It seems like so many people in our world are desperate to find hope and fulfillment in their life. I asked Hope how she felt that Christians could help spread the Gospel to unbelievers.
“I think showing the love of Jesus is really important, and something we as Christians can forget. I’m always reminded that actions speak louder than words.”
I have heard those words many times in my life too. Even Jesus spoke that faith without works is dead. It is obvious that in order to show the world what love looks like, it’s important that we live out our faith and rejoice in the truth. This Christmas season, enjoy the warmth of family traditions. But, don’t forget to spread the love of Jesus to a world in need of hope.
Pop Quiz for Hope Bowling
I love getting to know some of my most favorite Southern Gospel artists personally, and I’m sure you do too. So, I asked Hope some fun questions…
Fayth: Do you have any unknown talents or hobbies?
Hope: I play guitar. I love photography and playing around with makeup.
Fayth: Would you rather scroll through Instagram or check out the latest snapchat stories?
Hope: Scroll through Instagram.
Fayth: Would you rather eat your meal first or dessert?
Hope: Meal first.
Fayth: Would you rather ride the merry-go-round or the Fire-Hawk at King’s Island?
Hope: I’ve never been on the Fire-Hawk, but I love roller coasters, so Fire-Hawk!
Fayth: Would you rather watch Pride and Prejudice or Tangled?
Hope: Pride and Prejudice.
Fayth: Would you rather DIY or just order from Etsy?
Hope: Order from Etsy. I’m a bit of an Etsy junky!
It is always a joy to chat with the young ladies in Southern Gospel music. If you enjoy reading words of spiritual inspiration and getting to know these girls more, be watching for the next issue of What Love Looks Like.
Photo Credits: Candi Combs and Hope Bowling
By Fayth Lore
First published by SGNScoops magazine in December 2016. Feature has been edited.
For more information on The Bowling Family click here.
For the newest issue of the SGNScoops magazine click here.
For more Gospel music news click here.
Tags: Fayth Lore, gospel music, Hope Bowling, The Bowling Family, The Bowling Sisters, What Love Looks Like
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By Erin Stevens [From the December 2016 issue of SGNScoops magazine]
A word from the writer…
Tis the season for yuletide cheer, fa la la la’s and Grandma’s famous cookies. But it’s also time to give a little more and be a little sweeter. There’s a young fellow I thought of when I was preparing for this Christmas edition. Not a kinder, sweeter, more down-to-earth guy came to mind than Logan Smith. You may already be a fan of his pipes, but perhaps there are some things you don’t know about him…quite yet. With that said, let’s jump right in!
Erin: For those that might not know your backstory, when did your love for music begin?
Logan: My parents and grandparents raised me on classic Southern Gospel groups such as The Happy Goodmans, The Hinsons, The Rambos and The Speers. I admired them all, but the Goodmans brought an excitement to the stage like I’d never seen before. They inspired me to start singing this incredible music that lifts and encourages. I’ve been hooked ever since!
Erin: It appears you have successfully bridged the gap from being “the boy who sings like Vestal” to the talented young man you are now who has come into his own. How have you accomplished this and was it a smooth transition?
Logan: It’s been very smooth. It’s an honor to carry on the legacy of such a dynamic vocalist. I’m enjoying mixing in new songs from such talented writers of our time today, and still throwing it back and singing Goodman classics every night! The music never gets old. The singers fade, but the message in these songs is timeless.
Tags: Erin Stevens, gospel music, Hinson Family, Logan Smith, The Stevens Family, Vestal Goodman
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