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.
Read more »
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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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 Justin McLeod
The Inspirations from Bryson City, North Carolina are one of the industry’s most storied groups. Southern Gospel legends from Archie Watkins to Mike Holcomb have begun and made their careers in the group’s traditional, four-part quartet style.
While not quite the College that the Dixie Melody Boys have, this group has also seen several groups spurn from its wake. Many on the group’s lengthy list of alumni can be seen in other quartets and mixed groups across the country, many of which have made a sustained impact on Southern Gospel music. One of the newest in this long line is the Georgia-based Saving Grace Trio.
Led by former Inspirations baritone Melton Campbell, this mixed trio has already gained fans thanks to their tight harmonies and, despite their recent beginnings, a sound reminiscent of a group that has been around for years.
The group is made up of Campbell, who sings a lead/baritone hybrid that could be comparable to Soul’d Out Quartet’s Matt Rankin; Blair Campbell, Melton’s 17-year-old daughter, sings the alto part, while Terri Cook sings the soprano line.
Melton Campbell spent an off-and-on 15-year time span on the road with the Inspirations, ultimately coming off the road in 2015 in order to spend more time with his family. During his time on the road with Martin Cook’s bunch, Melton helped make popular songs like the powerful ballad “I’m Not Ashamed.” “[During] the 15 years that I spent with the Inspirations, I enjoyed getting to sing with my lifelong heroes,” Melton shares. “… I made many friends and lifelong connections throughout the 15 years and got to see so many different places and let’s not forget all the wonderful fans that I got to meet, many of which turned into great friends.”
Saving Grace’s inception can be credited, in short, to “a dad and a dream”. When Melton left the full-time traveling schedule of the Inspirations to spend more time at home as a father, Blair gave her dad a “condition” — that they got to sing together, and thus the idea for Saving Grace Trio was born.
“The biggest compliment for a parent is for their children to do something that they [themselves] love to do,” Melton shares. “Blair has been listening to Southern Gospel music since she was a baby… her dream for many years has been to sing. When I came off the road in 2015, I was coming home to be a part of my kid’s life and be around more than I [had been]… At that time, Wilburn and Wilburn had a song out called “Shoulders.” It really ministered to me and let me know that I am right where I need to be. It’s time for me to take the back seat and be ‘shoulders’ for my daughter’s dream to come true.”
Blair, while still just the tender age of 17, has already drawn comparisons to some of the industry’s top young stars, including Lauren Talley, who she also coincidentally calls one of her own ‘inspirations’ in music. She shares, “It is such a blessing to be able to sing with my dad. It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to stand on stage and sing with him. I thank God everyday for giving me the ability to sing and to share His word [along] with people that I love.”
Though Melton shares that he, as a natural baritone, is singing significantly higher than during his days with the Inspirations, the group’s really high notes are anchored by Terri Cook, a family friend and a veteran vocalist. Terri and Melton had previously sung together, and when they needed a high-note-hitter to fill out the trio, she was the first call. “God’s timing is always perfect!” Terri shares. “Little did I know that the trials I was going to face was God preparing me for this ministry.”
Already becoming known for their vocal abilities as well as their tight, family-like harmonies, expect to hear much more from Saving Grace Trio, including from their new CD, which was just recorded and will be released soon.
By Justin McLeod
First published by SGNScoops Magazine, November 2016
For more on Saving Grace Trio click here.
For more Gospel music news click here.
Tags: Blair Campbell, Justin McLeod, Melton Campbell, Saving Grace Trio, SGNScoops Magazine, Terri Cook
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Mark Trammell is a legendary figure in this field and has one of the most recognizable baritone voices with a clear and smooth tone. Trammell, an artist many consider one of the greatest quartet men of his time, has graced the Southern Gospel stage for over forty years as of 2016 and shows no sign of slowing down.
Trammell has sung with many great groups including: The Senators, The Kingsmen, The Cathedrals, Greater Vision, Gold City, and now his own group, Mark Trammell Quartet. After leaving Gold City in 2002, Trammell decided to form his own group, The Mark Trammell Trio.
Trammell’s son Nick has a unique perspective of the early days of the group. “I could write a book on the formation of this ministry from my perspective,” Nick explains. “To keep it short, every single detail that needed to be in place, every door that needed to be opened, and every sign that needed to be given, took place with only the willingness of my father to take the step of faith away from what was comfortable, into what he felt like God was calling him to do.
“I can remember standing in our driveway the week after he left Gold City. He said look around you and remember this moment. There was literally nothing there to start a group with. No other singers, no sound system, no mode of transportation, not even a microphone. Within three months, most of that was provided with little more than prayer and patience. I still to this day stand in the driveway and look around every once in a while to remind myself of what we have seen God orchestrate.”
Tags: Blake Buffin, gospel music, Justin Gilmore, mark trammell, mark trammell quartet, Nick Trammell, Randy Byrd, SGNScoops Magazine
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Nathan Kistler of Hope To The Hill posted the following on Facebook today:
Our Faith and Action’s Ministry Team conducted a prayer service held at the interior threshold of the door President-Elect Donald Trump will pass through on his way out of the U.S. Capitol and onto the Inaugural stage where he will swear the Oath of Office on January 20th. Joining Peggy Nienaber in prayer was Nathan Kistler (Hope To The Hill) and Rev. Patrick Mahoney (Christian Defense Coalition).
Faith and Action is a Christian outreach to top-level government officials located in Washington, DC, throughout the United States and around the world. Their purpose is to challenge the minds and consciences of public policy makers with the mandate given by Christ in the two Great Commandments, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” See more here and on their website here: www.faithandaction.org
Tags: Donald Trump, Faith and Action, Hope To The Hill, Inauguration Day, Nathan Kistler, President Elect
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The Power of Being Thankful
I read an article recently about a mother who stopped to get her kids some ice cream cones. She watched her kids take the ice cream and as they took their tasty treat from the lady behind the counter, the mom noticed that not one of them offered a simple thank you. As soon as they walked out of the ice cream shop, the mother took every single ice cream cone and threw them in the trash.
The kids, obviously upset, asked why she would do such a thing. The mom explained the importance of being thankful. This may seem extreme, but that mother probably made a lasting impression on her kids about how important it is to be thankful.
We live in a self-serving, entitled, what’s in it for me society. It’s hard to find people who are truly thankful for anything. My wife and I try our best to instill thankfulness in our kids. We do our best to make sure that “Thank You” is part of their regular vocabulary.
A great example of the power of thankfulness can be found in Luke 17: 11-19 when Jesus heals 10 people plagued with the most horrible disease of that day, leprosy. They all walked away, enjoying the healing, restoration and freedom they thought they would never see again, yet only one of them turns around to thank Jesus, who so graciously had just made them whole again.
Not long ago, someone asked me a question that I think every Christian should answer. The question was, “If you could be any kind of Christian, what kind of person would you be?” I had never been asked that before, but after thinking about it, I answered. I would want to be the kind of Christian, that should scripture continue to be written for future generations, my name would be mentioned.
I would want my faith to be so strong, that demons tremble when I walk into a room, and I would allow God to use me in such a way that I would not just be a footnote, or lumped into a generalized context.
What kind of monumental thing would you have to do to be mentioned in scripture? This one leper was worth being mentioned simply because he was thankful! Wow! Let that sink in for a minute. A simple “Thank You” was enough to get you mentioned in scripture. There was enough power in a simple thank you, to have the Son of God point you out of a crowd.
Think about the people in your life that give you so much. Think about your kids who love you unconditionally, or your wife who supports you and pours so much into you and your kids. Think about the employer that believes in you enough to continually give you a salary to provide for your family. Think about your pastor who spiritually feeds and equips you spiritually.
Now do something that has so much power and go to each of them and thank them for what they mean to you Then think of a God who created you and gave you everything and more than I just mentioned.
Thankfulness! It’s a powerful thing!
By David Staton
First published in SGNScoops Magazine in the November 2016 issue.
For Gospel music news click here.
Tags: Christian living, David Staton, sgnscoops, thankfulness
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By Paige Givens
In 1980, Gold City Quartet came together for the first time and added a new blend of voices that would change gospel music. Even though the group has undergone many changes in the past 36 years, with new voices coming and going, one thing has remained the same with this celebrated group: They still sing for the same One who brought them together in the first place! Their harmony on stage is only made sweeter by their harmony off stage.
Daniel Riley, baritone and owner of Gold City, explains the group’s current lineup. “This is not a brand new group with four parts who just got together at once. Group members have come aboard to this already established group at various times. So, each member had a different start date. Joining me on stage now are tenor Thomas Nalley, lead Scott Brand, bass Chris West, and pianist Bryan Elliott.
“Scott is our newest member. He had filled in a few weeks for us and auditioned in the process, but his first official date was at the Memphis Quartet Show on June 18, 2016. I think when we brought Scott on, we all knew there was something special happening, and it still feels like that now, on stage and in the studio as we’re working on our next recording. I’m excited about this current lineup and what I’m hearing each night. If the feedback from fans and our peers is any indication, they are excited too.”
Since its inception in 1980, this Gadsden, Alabama, group has won numerous awards from fans and the Southern Gospel music industry, has sung and recorded many number one songs, and has received prestigious honors. Yet Gold City Quartet continues to remain grounded and points all success to the Lord.
Tags: Bryan Elliott, Chris West, Daniel Riley, gold city, gospel music, Scott Brand, Thomas Nalley
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By Lorraine Walker
On December 31, 2016, SGNScoops was in the audience to participate in a New Year’s Eve concert with the Nelons and Jeff Stice. It was a tremendous evening of music as each artist opened up and delivered the best of their skills and talents to an appreciative audience.
Afterward, we were able to talk to the artists and quiz them with an SGNScoops’ Fast Five:
Lorraine: What is your main goal for 2017?
Jeff Stice: As I get older, I really truly do just want to finish well; whatever I can do, to do improve
myself as a person. I’m not into the whole performance thing. Jesus died on a cross for me and said, “It is finished!” I don’t have to earn my way into anything anymore but why would I not want to try and live a better life. I want to keep working on my music and enjoying my family. I’m just waiting to see what He has open for me next! He overwhelms me everyday.
Kelly Nelon Clark: My main goal is to spend time with my family and do things that are important to us as a family, not always the business. I wrote about this on Facebook the other day. I want to spend time thinking about our accomplishments, being thankful for what the Lord has allowed me to do; and to take more time with our family.
Amber Nelon Thompson: My main goal is to drink more water. I drink too many sodas.
Autumn Nelon Clark: I really want to get in shape. I say that every year but this year I really want to do it. When I go to the gym and I leave out of breath, I know that I’m not in shape.
Jason Clark: I want to rest in God’s provision. I’ve asked God to take me to new places. We’ve been blessed with a wonderful platform that has sustained itself for 40 years. I’ve asked God to do new things in our ministry. He has already begun to start some works that are brand new, whether it’s the film industry or the documentary industry, where we are doing some things, telling some stories. We are doing an Americana Tour. Forty-something cities have already booked us. It’s basically a non-Christian crowd. So God is already answering that prayer: “Lord, I’m an open door right now, I want you to just use me. If it means in a nursing home on a Saturday afternoon, or if it means into a brand new audience that’s never heard the Gospel story, I’m ready.” So we’re just open. It’s exciting.
Lorraine: What is your favorite City?
Kelly: My favorite city is Honolulu!
Amber: My favorite city is Atlanta, where I’m from. My other favorite city would be New York. I love New York City, especially at Christmas time.
Autumn: New York. Love it so much!
Jason: New York City is amazing, but if I want to relax, I have to go to Hawaii. We just had two weeks in Oahu and I have to say that is the most relaxed I have ever been. It was like I was in another world.
Jeff: I love Toronto/Hamilton area, I love New York, I love Orlando; I don’t know if I have a favorite. And then I like little towns like Shipshewana IN. My favorite vacation destination would probably be Florida. I’ve got kids, so they like Disney, Universal, the beach, etc.
Lorraine: What is your favorite way to exercise?
Amber: I love basketball. Very fast-paced, fast-moving. We won the State Championship in my senior year (of high school) and then I got offered a full scholarship to play for the State of Georgia but I turned it down because I wanted to sing more than I wanted to play basketball. Go Kentucky Wildcats!
Autumn: I run. Yes, I am one of those.
Jason: I’m a walker. Every day I walk. When I began to have those (chest pains), the doctor said, “You need to start walking.” I was trying to run and it was hurting my knees. You know who else is a walker? Bill Gaither, who has really encouraged me. When we are out on the road (together), we walk. I can’t hardly keep up with the guy! It’s unbelievable the pace that he keeps. It has truly inspired me because I see the enthusiasm and energy he has at 81, so I want to have that. Diet and walking is a big part of that, so he tells me, and I want to have that.
Jeff: I run. I love running. I’m 56 and I’m trying my best to outrun Old Age but ‘he’s’ so fast!
Lorraine: What is your favorite book, or what book are you reading now?
Autumn: A book called “Uninvited.” (Christian non-fiction by Lysa TerKeurst).
Jason: I just started reading a book I read every January first. It’s called “The Adventures of Spirit-filled Giving,” by Bill Stafford. It’s basically teaching us that if we are just merely tithing, we are only paying a debt. God wants us to give without expecting anything in return. When you begin to open up your heart and give in this way what the Lord has already given to us, he says it unleashes a lifetime of adventure and the flow of the Holy Spirit through us. When God can trust us with more resources than we need… Sometimes we know what we need and we hang on to it. God says the righteous will never be begging for bread. We are always going to have what we need if we hang on to God. God wants to give us more than we need, if He can trust that we will be a conduit and allow that to flow through us to others. That’s basically the teaching of that book. It’s a small book but I like to be reminded of that concept. I want to be generous in my time, generous in my spirit and in my compassion for others, especially for those who can’t give anything in return. That book really challenges me so I’m reading it again.
Jeff: “Abba’s Child,” by Brennan Manning.
Kelly: “Grace Awakening.”(Charles Swindoll).
Amber: Right now I’m reading a book called, “Hurting People Hurt People.” (Joyce Meyers). I’m getting my Masters degree in Counseling, and that book is required. I’ve been reading it and it is SO good. I encourage everyone to read it.
Lorraine: What is your favorite Parable or Scripture verse?
Jason: I’m really intrigued by the Parable of the Sower. I was just reading that a couple of days ago. The seeds that we plant and the different ground that Jesus was teaching about. He said we are going to cast that seed, just throw it out there. But sometimes, it will be discouraging because we won’t see the fruit, or anything tangible. That is just how we are wired. We want to see the blessing now; we want to see the provision now. To see whatever that is, right before us. Even with the Children of Israel. They wanted a King, and God said, “No, I’m your King!” But they said, “No we want to see someone on the throne!” He said, “Well, I will give him to you, but he is going to tax you and you are going to work in his barns, filling his coffers.” They had to endure a lot of hardship because they couldn’t trust the unseen hand of God. So the Parable of the Sower helps us to trust. Just cast your seed out there and let God do what He’s going to do. There are going to be times when we aren’t going to see the return. But then there are times that seed lands on fertile soil and it begins to take root, bloom and blossom, blessing others. That’s a great way to live. We can’t be discouraged when we don’t see it. So many seeds were planted in that parable and only one type of soil was fertile.
Jeff: My favorite Scripture is Psalm 130, verse 7. “Hope in the Lord, for in the Lord there is mercy and with Him there is abundant redemption.” I hang my hat on that every day.
Kelly: I love the parable of the Prodigal Son. My favorite Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We have hope!
Amber: I love the Good Samaritan because I think we need more of that in today’s time; people who show kindness. We need more kindness right now.
Autumn: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3) There are times in my life when I feel brokenhearted; you’ve been through a breakup or one of your family members dies. I can always open up my Bible and know that God is always there. He will heal my broken heart.
Thanks to all of The Nelons and to Jeff Stice for participating in a NYE Fast Five for SGNScoops! It was great to hear your hearts on the last day of 2016.
For more on Jeff Stice, click here.
For more on The Nelons, click here.
For more Gospel music news, click here.
Amber Nelon Thompson is featured in the January issue of SGNScoops. Available soon on SGNScoops.
Tags: Amber Nelon Thompson, Autumn Nelon Clark, gospel music, jason clark, Jeff Stice, Kelly Nelon, Kelly Nelon Clark, nelons
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