Eli Fortner has been in need of prayers in the last few days due to the kidney problems he has been experiencing. Now Eli confirms what will be the next step. On his Facebook page, Fortner tells us:
“To all my friends. I love you. I’m overwhelmed with all the support and prayers. I simply can’t keep up. Now let me tell you what’s going on.. My kidney is failing, I’m in need of another transplant. My doctor gave me the option of going on dialysis now or waiting till the function gets to a certain point while in the meantime be looking for a kidney donor and getting testing done in prep for a transplant. I chose the latter so I can still have a life. I was on dialyses for two months before my first transplant and it’s awful. It literally sucks all the life out of you and is terrible on the body. I don’t want that AT ALL. My prayer is that they find a positive match and have the transplant before it gets worse. I desire all the prayers. My God is big and I’m in His hands. He will not fail me and I know that you, my friends won’t either with your prayers and support. I love you all. Let’s do this.”
SGNScoops joins with all of our readers in extending our thoughts and prayers to Eli, the Fortners, McKameys and all of their family and friends. We agree with all of you and Eli that we serve a big God. We know He saves and we know He heals. Let’s go to the throne today to petition our God for a new kidney that is a perfect match and a swift and successful transplant.
Eli Fortner is the son of Roger and Connie (McKamey) Forner. He is a vocalist and musician with The McKameys as well as being a freelance musician. Eli lives in Clinton, Tennessee.
Tags: Eli Fortner, gospel music, kidney transplant, new kidney, Prayer, The Mckameys
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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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Surrendered Song Written by Award Winning Songwriter, Dianne Wilkinson
Gadsden, Alabama (February 23, 2017) Fresh on the heels of their top 40 hit, “I’ve Been to the Well,” gospel trio, Surrendered, has released “You Don’t Know the Half of It,” to radio stations nationwide. The song was written by top songwriter, Dianne Wilkinson, and distributed by Jan Puryear Promotions.
“When we heard, “You Don’t Know the Half of It,” we knew this was a song that would resonate with listeners, just like it did all of us in the group,” said Russell Wise of Surrendered. “Dianne Wilkinson has been one of gospel’s top songwriters for years and we are all excited to share this song in concert, and on radio,” he concluded.
Dianne Wilkinson added, “Some time back, I heard an expression we have all used when we’re trying to convey something of great excitement or magnitude…”You don’t know the HALF of it”! As often happens, even with something I’ve heard all my life, this time I thought to myself, “that applies to the glory of our afterlife as children of God like it applies to nothing else”! I knew I wanted to write it.” She continues, “If we had even a glimpse of it now, we couldn’t stand it. We’ll have to be in our glorified bodies to see that marvelous “other half” that God has waiting for us in eternity! I’m delighted that Surrendered has recorded this song and sent it to radio. We hope it will bless the saints, and make the unsaved want to go!”
Having just been blessed with back to back months in the Singing News Top 40 Southern Gospel Charts, Surrendered is quick to give credit to God for his blessings. “There is no way to say thank you enough for the amazing support from our family, friends, DJ’s, promoters and our agent. All the credit goes to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. ITS ALL GOD!”
To learn more about Surrendered, click here. For booking information, contact Michael Davis at the Dominion Agency.
For more Gospel news click here.
Tags: Dianne Wilkinson, gospel music, Surrendered
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WLOSGMH: “You Should’ve Been There” Memories in the Making!
I first became acquainted with gospel music as a child. It has kind of been in the family since I can remember. Momma Doris (my grandmother), Aunt Dolly Shirley and my Mom (playing piano too) sang in the Morning Star Trio every Sunday morning for the Morning Star Hour radio program on WATA Radio in Boone, NC. Pastor Ross Greene delivered the fiery message back in the day. Then I saw the Harvesters Quartet with Bill Hefner, Mac Evans, Don Norman, Jack Clark and Bob Thacker at homecoming. Over the years they became friends. And the music love affair began.
I remember the first time I heard the Sego Brothers and Naomi. They were the feature group at the Singing at Grandfather Mountain hosted by Arthur Smith and the Crossroads Quartet. What a singing! What a crowd of artists and fans. I would stand and wonder what the groups were talking about behind their record tables.
Then we got a black and white TV. Sunday mornings on Charlotte’s WBTV we would see the legends of gospel music on the infamous Gospel Singing Jubilee hosted by the renowned Florida Boys. I remember sneaking into the living room and cutting the TV down really low and watching the Happy Goodmans, Dixie Echoes (loved me some Dale Shelnut), LeFevres, Segos, Rambos, Inspirations, Marksmen Qt, Hinsons and a host of other popular groups.
Tags: Administrator’s Quartet, Ann Downing, Charlie Griffin, Collector’s Quartet, Freedom Quartet, GOGR, gospel music, Hannah Kennedy, Harold Timmons, Jeff Stice, John Crenshaw, Jordan's Bridge, McCray Dove, The Sheltons, The Williamsons, WLOSGMH Convention
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Five Questions From SGN SCOOPS and Five Answers from THE CONNELLS……
Check it out below!
Question 1: For each member: What is your favorite song to perform live and why?
Karen: Probably “His Life for Mine.” First of all, I just absolutely love watching Hannah and Heather carry this song. It thrills me to no end that they sing with passion and KNOW who they are singing about. Secondly, the song has touched me on a very personal level since I first heard it. How in the world is it possible? Why in the world would He trade his life for mine? All I know is He did and I am grateful.
Hannah: “When God Has Another Plan,” is my favorite song to sing. I like to sing this song because it helps people going through a hard time. So many times we think we have life figured out, but many times God has a bigger and better plan for us. It reminds me to trust God with things going on in my life and it will work out better.
Heather: “Did I Mention,” because it’s a song of thankfulness to God for remaining faithful to His children. It has become my anthem of praise to God because I have seen His faithfulness time and time again.
Question 2: For each member: What is your favorite activity when you are off the road?
Karen: Reading, Facebook (keeping in touch with family and friends old and new.) I enjoy watching the Food Network, but it hasn’t helped my efforts in the kitchen yet; some sketching, and I’d like to learn more about photography.
Hannah: I like to read, shop, and go on adventures with my family.
Heather: I love to watch old Hollywood movies.
Question 3: For each of you: Please tell us one personal and spiritual goal you have for this year!
Chris: My personal and spiritual goals are one goal. I have been trying to keep a spiritual journal of the time God speaks and what He shares with me during my prayer time and bible study. This helps me to know His direction and to reflect on the blessings He has so richly provided.
Karen: While recovering from my recent transplant, I feel like I learned a lot things and benefitted from it for more than just a new liver. I gained a whole new appreciation for those around me from family to the medical experts including all those in between. I learned that God is always speaking to us if we’ll just listen and realize that He can use an older hospital janitor to deliver a message to you (true story!) as well as He can use a mega church pastor. Sometimes not even a “body” at all. You just KNOW if you’re listening for him. Another thing I learned is compassion. I always thought I was compassionate before, but beyond the “I’ll be praying,” to “God be with Joe;” that was about it. Throughout my illness, surgery, and recovery so many people have reached out to us, putting feet on their prayers. I’ve been humbled at the generosity and sincerity of so many. My prayer is that I would be SINCERELY compassionate and do more than recite a small prayer out of duty. My personal goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, take the best care possible of my liver, to be able to actually enjoy being active with my family, to cherish these remaining years my girls are at home, and to eventually see sons-in-law, grandbabies, and Disney World a few more times.
Hannah: This year my goal is to get even closer to God and have the boldness to share my family’s testimony of God’s faithfulness to us.
Heather: To have continual encounters with God and to share our testimony.
Question 4: Can each of you tell us who your favorite artists are currently and whose music has been the greatest influence on your singing?
Chris: I enjoy the solid quartet sound of the Kingdom Heirs, Mark Trammell Quartet and Triumphant. The greatest musical influence in my life has been Leroy Abernathy. I was blessed to be a vocal student of Leroy’s for three and a half years. He taught this shy and backwards young man the importance of being more than you think you can be. He taught me to give all that I have to every note, remember to keep the tone placement, and knowing the importance of every lyric you sing.
Karen: There are really too many to name, but I seem to be drawn to the songs of Brian Free and Assurance. I will always love the Cathedrals. Most influential would have to be the Nelons. Growing up our family would always listen to them. I would always listen for Kelly’s voice learning to sing harmony somewhere along the way. Now my girls are enjoying her influence with their own vocal pursuits.
Hannah: Some of my favorite singers are Melissa Brady, Karen Peck, and Kelly Nelon. There have been many groups out there that have influenced my singing. I have always wanted to sing, and have wanted to sing Southern Gospel, my whole life. The Hoppers were probably my first influence because when I was little I would sing along with their music putting on a little concert for my parents. Some of my favorites Heather and I would always do was “Shoutin’ Time,” and “Yes I Am.”
Heather: My favorite singers are Karen Peck, Karen Wheaton, George Younce, and Vestal Goodman. Kelly Nelon has been one of the biggest influences in my life whether it has been with words of encouragement or through her music. Being her vocal student, I have learned so much from her and found confidence in my singing because of her. I will always be thankful for the influence she has on my life.
Question 5: For each member: What is a song that you wish you had written?
Chris: Many times, I have found myself singing the lyrics to Leroy Abernathy’s classic song “Prayer Is the Key To Heaven.” This is one of those songs that drives home the simple but profound truth that prayer must be coupled with faith if the doors of Heaven are to be opened. I have long admired those who can help us to see the simplicity of faith in a profound way.
Karen: Oh my! Where to start? I’m not sure there’s any that I wish I had written, but there are several that are very meaningful to me. Most recently: “Say Amen,” by Brian Free and Assurance and “God’s Been Good,” by Legacy Five. I LOVE both of those as they fit me and my story. One other that truly speaks to me and has for years is Don Moens’ “I Will Sing.” Many times this song has spoken to my heart.
Hannah: I wish I would have written “Four Days Late,” because it is such a powerful and touching song.
Heather: I wish I had written “It Is Well.”
The Connells will be appearing at Southern Gospel Weekend.
Find out more about the Connells HERE.
For more Gospel music news click HERE.
Tags: Fast Five, gospel music, sgnscoops, The Connell's
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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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Franklin, TN (February 18, 2017) – Tony and Julie Griffith have recently welcomed vocalist and pianist Joseph “Bryce” Lee, as the newest member of The Griffith Family. Bryce has made the move from Dallas, GA to tour full time with the duo.
Since The Griffith Family stepped out in 2015 and made the move to Nashville and into full time schedule, the group has not only grown and expanded what they do musically, their focus on ministry has expanded into evangelistic events where Tony preaches and both Tony and Julie share their personal testimonies.
The past two years have seen this Family cover a lot of ground, literally, with a touring schedule that has taken them from the deep southern United States and beyond the northern border into Canada. During that time they’ve performed annually at popular events such as Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration, The National Quartet Convention along with television appearances on networks, including TBN. In addition to those highlights, the group has garnered multiple charting songs from their first two albums, ‘The Griffith Family’ and ‘Give His Love Away’, released on Mansion Records.
For more information, visit The Griffith Family here.
For more Gospel music news click HERE.
Tags: gospel music, Mansions Records, The Griffith Family
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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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