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What Does Easter Mean to You?

Written by Staff on April 19, 2019 – 5:22 pm -

What Does Easter Mean to You?

What Does Easter Mean to You

By Jennifer Campbell

This Sunday, millions of people will celebrate a holiday known as Easter. There are nearly as many Easter traditions around the world as there are candy-filled plastic eggs. But with all of the popularity surrounding this annual celebration, I have but one question to ask. What does Easter mean to you?

Many people enjoy participating in egg extravaganzas, ranging from simple Easter egg hunts to elaborate egg drops. Others savor the opportunity to shop for a new spring outfit, hoping to receive a lot of compliments on Easter Sunday. Of course, there are also individuals whose take on Easter is strictly ruled by their taste buds, considering the colorful hard-boiled eggs, baskets filled with chocolate, and special dinner menus at many restaurants. Unfortunately, some people even look forward to Easter because it is one of the two times a year they actually attend church services.

From greeting cards to holiday decorations, Easter has sadly become an overly commercialized holiday much like Christmas. Although the fanfare may seem innocent, it often overshadows the true reason for the holiday. This weekend is a time to reflect on the gift God gave to all mankind. He gave His only Son. Instead of looking at the Easter bunny, our focus should be on Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, the name Easter has pagan roots, coming from the name Ishtar. Some traditions, such as the Easter egg, symbolize fertility, paying homage to this ancient goddess of fertility. Personally, I like to refer to this special day as Resurrection Sunday instead of Easter. Why? Because I do not honor a pagan goddess, I serve the one true living God. He is the only One who has the power to create, to heal, or to save.

Resurrection Sunday is a day to worship God and thank Him for the gift of salvation. John 3:16 (NIV) says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God gave His Son to die for us because He loved us. The love God has for us is greater than any love on the face of the earth. God’s Word says we have all sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard (Rom. 3:23). Yet, God gave His only Son to die for the forgiveness of our sins, knowing that many would still reject this most wondrous act of love.

On Good Friday, we remember the sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary. Our Lord was beaten until He was almost unrecognizable. He was spit upon and mocked. A crown of thorns was pressed into His skull. Nails were driven into His hands and His feet. A spear was thrust into His side. As He hung on the cross, He cried out, “’My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matt. 27:46). He could have called thousands of angels, but He stayed on the cross so you and I could receive redemption.

 

You may be wondering why Jesus obeyed His Father, enduring such agony on the cross. Jesus did not give His life to gain fame and fortune. He was not striving to garner notoriety among the people of His day. He gave His life because of love (I John 3:16). His sacrifice was rare. Christ died for people who didn’t even love Him in return. Romans 5:8 (NIV) says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” As the Bible mentions, some people might be willing to give their life for a good man, but most people would not be willing to sacrifice their life for an evil person. Yet that is exactly what God did for us.

Of course, the story doesn’t end there. As Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross, He was placed in a borrowed tomb. Three days later, Jesus rose up from the grave. He conquered death forevermore. Right this moment, He is sitting at the right hand of His Father, in Heaven, interceding on our behalf. Romans 8:34 (NIV) says, “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Jesus loves us so much that He acts as a mediator on our behalf, pleading for us that we should not perish, but accept the gift of eternal life.

Jennifer Campbell

One day very soon, Jesus Christ will return to this earth. But when He comes back to earth, He is not coming back to be rejected and spit upon. Instead, He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords, to take His children home to be with Him for all eternity.

Have you made preparations for Christ’s return? If you confess your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ, then you can receive the priceless gift of salvation that only comes from knowing Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Jesus said, “‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6 NLT). When it is all said and done, a relationship with Christ is the only thing that can provide true redemption and lasting hope. For hope is not found in a bunny, an egg, or even a church service. Eternal hope is only found through Jesus Christ.

By Jennifer Campbell

Jennifer Campbell is a regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine.

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The Diplomats: Singing for the Savior

Written by Staff on May 28, 2015 – 2:25 pm -

diplomats3

The Diplomats

By Jennifer Campbell

 

Hailing from the southern town of Carrollton, Georgia, the Diplomats Quartet has been sharing the love of Jesus Christ through song for over 30 years. diplomats5Jimmy Pearson, leader of the group, has literally grown up with music running through his veins. His first memory of Southern Gospel music was when he was four years old, hearing this Heaven-sent music at church. Jimmy’s wife Rita Pearson says her first recollection of hearing this music genre was at the Atlanta All Night diplomats2Sing at the Atlanta City Auditorium. As you will see, The Diplomats know the value of faith and family. Their heartfelt passion for ministry is crystal clear, coming across through every note they sing and every word they speak. The Diplomats Quartet sings for the Savior.

Jimmy says that his greatest life achievement so far is to have been able to stay diplomats4in the ministry for 51 years. Additionally, he and Rita both agree that being compared to the Happy Goodman Family, a ministry that reached a large number of people, is a distinct honor. When Rita sings, “God Walks the Dark Hills” in her powerful diplomats1alto voice, it is easy to see why this family group has often been compared to the Happy Goodman Family. Corey Pearson says it’s a great honor, but they also have their own special sound. Joe Brown agrees that their influences come from a variety of musical sources. Whether they are singing a Goodman classic or a Diplomats original, they hope to continue serving the Lord and diplomats6spreading the Gospel through their music ministry for as long as God will allow.

Even though the other members of the group are not blood related, Jimmy says he especially loves the fellowship with the group members. Rita notes the group is like one big family and she enjoys the fellowship on the bus. Along with Jimmy, Rita and their son Corey, vocalist and bandleader for the group, they are joined by bass singer Joe Brown, drummer Zach Flowers, and Jordan Hamby, who plays the guitar, mandolin, and banjo. Corey says he loves making music and being with great friends.

Everyone has role models and mentors who influence them in some way. Rita says her biggest diplomats7influence musically was her mom. For Jimmy, Les Beasley has been one of his greatest influencers. Their son Corey has been around Gospel music all of his life, thanks to the influence of his parents and many other Gospel greats. He remembers, “The Florida Boys would come to our house before a concert and Les Beasley treated me like a grand kid. He always took time with me as a kid.” His parents encouraged Corey’s love of music. He says, “Somehow they always found a way to buy me whatever instrument I wanted to learn how to play.” These influences on his life have definitely left a lasting impression considering this is his 27th year of ministry. Joe is also a veteran of Gospel Music, with 17 years of ministry under his belt. Like Corey, Joe and Jordan both were influenced by their parents.

diplomats8            Although Jimmy has the opportunity to travel with his immediate family, he notes that ministry is a 24/7 job. “I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can spend with family,” he says.   Rita agrees that she also likes to make the most of the time spent at home with family and friends.

Corey could not do what he does if it was not for the support from home. He says, “My wife Heather and I have been married for 16 years now and we have a precious girl named Audree. She is seven years old now. Her mom and I were able to lead her to the Lord last year. Heather is an amazing, strong woman.”

diplomats10            Joe has been traveling with the group for nine years. He said his greatest achievement is his family. “I have been married for 38 years to my beautiful wife Debbie. We have three girls, Jamie, Jennifer and Jessica. I have six grandkids, four boys and two girls. They all understand my ministry and the amount of time it requires. We all make a special effort to enjoy the time spent at home.”

Zach’s first memory of Southern Gospel music is listening to Charles Johnson and the Revivers on the way to preschool every morning. His dad Stan and mom Sherry ensured that he and his sister Leah Flowers Brown grew up in a loving supportive home. He started playing the drums before his feet would even reach the pedals. diplomats11When he is not in his hometown of Villa Rica, Georgia, he plays drums on stage with the Diplomats and even sings a song or two.

Jordan lives in Helenwood, Tennessee. He started traveling on the road with his family, The Singing Hambys, when he was only six days old. The first concert of any kind he can remember was seeing Gold City when he was approximately seven years old. Jordan traveled with the bluegrass group, Lakeside Quartet, before he felt called to travel with the Diplomats. He began playing the guitar when he was 14 years old. Even at his young age, his experience shows. Above all, his heart for Christ is evident in everything he does.

When families travel together on the road the majority of the time, there are bound to be diplomats9 (1)humorous moments. Jimmy comments that the funniest thing he has ever done is pulling up to and setting up inside the wrong church. If you want to see some of the funny moments that occur throughout their travels, check out their comedy show named “On the Bus with Gus,” available on the Diplomats’ Facebook page.

While the Diplomats have had their share of joys and successes, they have also endured many trials. Rita thanks the Lord for His hand upon her as she went through cancer and chemo treatments. Joe has spent time at the hospital bedside of a loved one. But through it all, they all trust in the blessed assurance that we have in Jesus Christ. The Diplomats know that God is faithful and He will always be forever close, watching over them through the good times and the difficult moments as well. They know that God will work all things together for His good. As one of their songs says, there’s a “Blessing Somewhere in This Trial.”

Jimmy says he would impart the following wisdom for anyone who is just starting out in the Gospel Music industry: “Always remember Whom you are singing for and that this is a ministry before anything else.”   Rita added to his advice by reminding young artists to never give up. She says, “Trust in the Lord to lead your path.” Joe kept the pearls of wisdom coming by saying, “Learn your craft from the best examples you can find.” Even at his young age, Zach summed up this advice quite well by stating, “Be persistent and let Jesus be seen through your life.”

Rita said that her greatest life achievement so far was singing at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Jordan said he is most proud of getting to the point where he’s able to play music full time. For Corey, he believes seeing people come to know Jesus as Lord and being blessed by a song is at the top of the list of his life achievements. Zach said the best part of traveling and singing is seeing souls saved and people’s lives changed. Showing the like-mindedness of the group, Jordan stated, “The best part of traveling and singing with the Diplomats is being a part of a ministry and seeing people give their lives to the Lord.”

When you look at a group like the Diplomats, you know that Southern Gospel music is in good hands. They stay true to the traditional roots of Southern Gospel music, while putting their own spin on the classics. Their love for music and for Jesus Christ shines forth in all they do. Sit down with any of the Diplomats and you will quickly realize that they are singing for the Savior.

At the very heart of their ministry is a love for the One who loves each and every one of us unconditionally. What better way to minister to others than to share the greatest love in the world through the greatest music in the world. That is why Southern Gospel Music exists: to glorify the name of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Diplomats Quartet does this in a way that most assuredly makes the Lord look down and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servants.” Visit the Diplomats Quartet website: www.diplomatsqt.com

Written by Jennifer Campbell

First published by SGN Scoops digital magazine in April 2015. For current issues of SGN Scoops, click onto the SGN Scoops mainpage.

 


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Saturday SGN Scoops Prayer Focus: Pray Continually

Written by Staff on May 9, 2015 – 1:27 pm -

893641571-630x420On this last day of our week of Prayer focus, we take another look at what it means to pray continually. We hope that your prayer life has been energized with these comments from our friends. Perhaps you have decided to add a little more prayer time to your daily schedule. Any time spent in communication with your loved one will strengthen your relationship, and it is the same with the Lord! Talk to Him right now!

Verse for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 [NKJ] “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

We hope you enjoy this devotional by Jennifer Campbell, singer, author and writer for SGN Scoops.

Jennifer Campbell

Jennifer Campbell

Pray Continually – By Jennifer Campbell

“God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food…” As a child, I have fond memories of reciting this mealtime prayer with my Grandparents. I am so thankful that I had parents and grandparents who always prayed over our meals and parents who always prayed with me before I went to bed. Even to this day, my dad and I thank God for the delicious food that He provides and we pray together before we turn in for the evening. But as an adult, I have found that prayer is an even greater necessity than ever before.

Some days, prayer is the only thing that gets me through challenging circumstances or life’s tragic disappointments.   Whether I am having an awesome day or a not-so-perfect day, I have come to realize that each day only gets better the more I pray. Because the more I talk to Jesus, the more my mind is focused on things above as opposed to things on this earth.   The Bible says to set our sights on Heavenly things. When I pray, my mind is fixed on Jesus, our Lord and Savior.   When I am not praying, my mind is scattered among the many tasks that must be completed each day. This is the reason why we need to not only pray before we sit down to eat, or before we go to bed at night, but throughout every minute of every day. I want to challenge you today to make it a daily priority to pray continually!

Paul gives sound advice when he writes to the church at Thessalonica. He writes, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV). Paul doesn’t say that we should pray once in a while. He doesn’t say we should pray when we get up or before we go to bed.   He says that we should pray continually. Once again, he writes, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2 NIV). Paul is encouraging us to pray throughout our day, without stopping.

If you’re like me, your mind is suddenly aflutter with all of the things you have to get done. You’re thinking, how in the world can I possibly pray continually if I have to go to work, make dinner, wash the dishes, do the laundry, take your son or daughter to soccer practice, visit someone in the hospital, make cookies for your child’s class party tomorrow, take the cat to the vet, and shop for groceries. Not to mention the dentist appointment you forgot to reschedule because of the conflict with your other appointment to have your tires balanced and rotated on your new car, compounded by the fact that you desperately needed a haircut over a month ago. Needless to say, life is hectic and schedules are inevitably going to be busy.

Nonetheless, we can still pray continually. While it is wonderful to have time to kneel at the altar at church and cry out to God, or to spend time alone with God at home, we can still talk to Him throughout our day. I often find myself praying while washing dishes, driving down the road, or taking a shower. That’s the beauty of prayer.   There is no set way to pray.   Jesus gives us the Lord’s Prayer as a guideline, but we can talk to Him just like we would talk to our best friend.   You know why? Because Jesus Christ is the best friend you will ever have.   He loves you with a love that is unchanging, unconditional, and everlasting. He wants to hear your voice, whether you are asking Him to intervene in a particular situation or if you are praising Him for the good things He has done in your life. He longs to hear from you.

I want to introduce you to a man named Epaphras. Paul vouched for Epaphras, saying that he was a hard worker.   But the most important thing Paul said about this man is that he knew how to pray. He writes, “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Colossians 4:12 NIV).   Epaphras didn’t just pray. He wrestled in prayer. And he didn’t just do it whenever it struck his fancy. He did it always. Epaphras knew the value in praying continually and he was faithful in prayer, despite his busy work schedule and in spite of those who may have persecuted him for the time he spent in prayer. Why? Because he knew that prayer was the key to living a life in God’s perfect and divine will. Epaphras knew that the only way to be truly happy and content with his life was to be in tune with what God had called him to do.

What about you? Is there something in your life that is preventing you from praying continually?   Perhaps you are facing a difficult time in your life with the loss of a loved one, a diagnosis of cancer in your family, or a son or daughter who has gone astray. I want to encourage you today. Jesus cares about you. Tell Him all of your cares. Pour out to Him all of your fears. Jesus told His disciples that they should always pray and never give up (Luke 18:1 NIV). He is telling you the same thing today. Do not give up. No matter what is going on in your life, there is hope in Christ. Take hold of Jesus’ hand and never let go. Talk to Him today, whether out loud or silently. Every day will seem brighter if you give your burdens to Jesus. So be sure to cast your worries aside, talk to Jesus daily, and stand amazed as He transforms your life!   From sunrise to sunset, don’t let a minute slip by without praying continually!

 

For more by Jennifer Campbell, read the latest issue of SGN Scoops on the main website HERE.


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After-Christmas Sales

Written by Staff on December 23, 2014 – 1:17 pm -

Santa hat edited

By Jennifer Campbell

If you’re like me, your e-mail inbox is likely already inundated with an endless flood of after-Christmas sales. Take 50% off of this pair of shoes or save $20 on that new smartphone. Millions of people celebrate Christmas and many of them open gifts on Christmas morning. Yet, the moment after we receive these gifts especially chosen for us by our loved ones, we often rush out to get the latest and greatest items we can afford. While I certainly enjoy shopping, I do find it disappointing that Christmas has become so commercialized. Since when has a holiday meant to celebrate the birthday of a King turned into a holiday filled with questions of “what did you get?” Why should we focus on what we received instead of realizing the overwhelming need to give to others? Giving goes beyond a present tied with a fancy little bow, tucked beneath the tree. We can give love, joy, happiness, and so much more. The very heart of Christmas has nothing to do with something purchased at a store. The very heart of Christmas centers on the One I’m living for, Jesus Christ.

Hamilton 2-20140101-00346Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. I love every part of this glorious holiday, from the cookies that tame my sweet tooth to the trees that are so beautifully adorned. I also like the fact that I can walk into a store, be greeted with Christmas music and receive a friendly, “Merry Christmas!” from the store clerk. But the greatest part of Christmas is not the twinkling lights or the neatly wrapped gifts under the tree. It’s not even the time I am able to spend in New York City with my dad. Without question, the most impressive aspect of this holiday season is the fact that God sent His Son to be born in a manger. This gift didn’t need to be wrapped or sent via UPS. It was a gift filled with love. It was the gift of eternal life.

baby JesusWhen God thought about what to give us for Christmas, He didn’t send us the latest technological gadget or fashion forward outfit for Christmas. Instead, He sent us a gift that had eternal value. God gave us the best Christmas gift ever: Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He knew that we didn’t need another pair of socks in our drawer or another dust catcher on our shelf. And while this gift had the greatest price tag of all, His Son’s life, this gift was freely given to the world. God has granted eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ, to all who confess their sins and believe. This gift is offered not just on Christmas, but 365 days a year.   A relationship with Jesus Christ will change your life. I encourage you to put your trust in Jesus Christ today. For tomorrow may be too late.

Just like those limited-time, after-Christmas bargains, our lives will not last forever. James 4:14 clearly states, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14 NIV)   Life is the greatest gift that we have ever been given. We need to use each and every moment to our best ability, ensuring that we do not waste even one millisecond of it. Having lost many people close to me, including my mom, I can tell you that life truly is a vapor that only remains for a short time. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. So embrace today. Don’t worry about whether or not that new gadget needs new batteries. And that sweater that’s too big can be exchanged another day. Instead, spend time with your family and friends, not knowing how many more dinners you’ll enjoy together or how many more meaningful conversations you’ll have.

presents under tree editCherish each moment you have with your loved ones, especially in the New Year. Give them something more than a gift, wrapped in a box or bag. Give them more than a once-a-year present at Christmastime. Give them time with you, give them a listening ear, and give them the one thing we all need: love. Even on that first Christmas night, God Himself knew that we needed love. God knew what the world needed most of all. He knew that we needed a gift that would carry us through every day of the year, not just in the month of December. And despite the commercialization of Christmas, not one single thing has changed. We still need unconditional love. We still need a Savior. We still need Jesus Christ.

By Jennifer Campbell

December 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

December 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

For more articles by Jennifer Campbell and other monthly SGN Scoops columnists, read the latest SGN Scoops digital magazine found at http://www.sgnscoops.com

 


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November 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on November 15, 2014 – 7:14 am -

November 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

November 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

It’s November and we are thrilled to present the latest edition of SGNScoops for you to read and enjoy. Creekside Gospel Music Convention was a blast and we have lots of pictorial coverage in these pages, as well as on the fabulous front cover. Inside we have an update on the event with a list of the Diamond Award winners and so much more. We say an extra thank you to all of those who went above and beyond to help make Creekside the best ever. If we were to make a list, we might leave someone out, so to each and every one of you: we are so grateful to have you as part of our team.

Thanks to our artists for brightening our pages this month! Featured guests for November are: Soul’d Out, Tim Parton, Melanie Walker, the LeFevre Quartet, Triumphant, Hannah Webb, Canaan’s Crossing, Sherry Anne, the Jordan Family, Quinton Mills and DJ Ron Foster.

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and you will find several articles with different views on this holiday. We appreciate all of our artists for contributing what they are thankful for and also their favorite holiday food!
Our monthly devotional writers are back with more insights, as well as a new column entitled “Pastor’s Corner”. This month we welcome Music Pastor, Terry Snyder.
Since this is the month of giving thanks, we would like to thank all of our current authors that spend so much of their time and talents on SGN Scoops. Special thanks to Candi Combs, Chris Clay, Craig Harris, Dan Duncan, Dean Adkins, Dixie Phillips, Erin Stevens, Hannah Webb, Jennifer Campbell, Laura Kennedy, Lynn Mills, Marcie Gray, Paige Givens, Scott Rhoades, Tina Wakefield, Robert York, Sandi Duncan Clark and Vonda Easley. There are others who contribute in other ways and we are thankful to you as well: Vivian Belknap, Michelle Drummond and Bev Byrd.
We so appreciate all of our columnists, including Lou Wills Hildreth, David Staton, Laurette Willis, Jeff Steele, Kelly Nelon Clark and Sherry Anne.
SGN Scoops would look really dull without the artistic team of Stephanie Kelley and Staci and Pete Schwager. Joan Walker makes sure all of our i’s are dotted and our t’s are crossed. Lorraine Walker as acting editor pulls it all together. And of course, SGN Scoops’ Publisher Rob Patz keeps us all focused and enthusiastic about the future of the magazine. And SGN Scoops would not exist without our founder, Dr. Allen Smith.
Above all we give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, for Whom we give our gifts and to Whom we give all praise and thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving!


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Peace Beyond Our Understanding

Written by Staff on August 29, 2014 – 12:31 pm -

Windy SkyBy Jennifer Campbell

Have you ever experienced something in life that tried to rob you of your peace? There are minor instances where our peace is suppressed only momentarily, such as when we have a flat tire on the way to work. Sometimes in life, though, we endure hardships that seem too difficult to bear. I know firsthand what the latter feels like. Six years ago, on August 2, 2008, my mom went to be with the Lord.

That night, my world was shattered. But even in the midst of the most horrific night of my life, Jesus Christ wrapped His loving arms around me and my dad. Although our human eyes saw what looked like a devastating storm raging in our lives, He showered our hearts and minds with peace beyond our understanding.

All of my life, I have read Philippians chapter four and it is still one of my favorite passages of scripture. But it wasn’t until I went through the tragedy of losing my mom that I truly began to understand the meaning of verse 7. Here is the verse in context: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV). The Apostle Paul tells us that we should not be anxious. That means we should not worry about anything. Instead, he tells us to pray in every situation.

Mountains and snowYou might be thinking, how could I possibly pray when I am upset, stressed, or grieving? I know, it sounds nearly impossible. But I can tell you that a life with constant anxiety is much more difficult than a life with prayer at the center. That night, as we called loved ones to give them the devastating news, Psalm 121:1-2 ran through my mind repeatedly. It says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” I looked up at the silhouette of the mountains under the moonlit sky and prayed that God would give us strength in the coming hours, days, months, and years.

You see, even as I stood outside our camper with a broken heart, I knew that Jesus Christ was not only standing beside us, but He was holding our hands, to keep us from falling. He is the Prince of Peace. Although the circumstances were anything but peaceful, Jesus brought peace to our troubled hearts. My dad and I sat beside my mom and sang, “Living by Faith.” Our faith was the only thing that kept us going in that heartbreaking moment. We prayed that God would send the Comforter to us. Through our faith in God, we were showered with the peace that Paul wrote about. We had peace in a situation where it doesn’t even seem to belong, according to our human perspective. This kind of peace is a peace that exceeds all understanding.

One day my parents and I were enjoying a family vacation in the mountains and the next day, my dad and I were going to the local funeral home. My dad and I were exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But we still had peace. It wasn’t the peace like one feels while lying in the sun at the beach or listening to the raindrops go pitter patter on a metal roof. This was the kind of Heavenly peace that I cannot understand nor fully explain. Inexplicable peace that comes from Heaven above when the current circumstances seem like peace should not be found. That is the kind of peace Paul writes about and the kind of peace that we experienced that night.

joans water and lightSix years later, I still miss my mom daily. But my dad and I have found a new normal and a new purpose. The same God who gave us peace in the midst of a tumultuous storm six years ago is the same God who gives us peace now, whether we are on the mountain top or in the valley. Life without my mom is not easy, especially on days like her birthday, Mother’s Day, or on August 2nd. But our lives are made glorious by the peace and joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ! He is the reason we live, the reason we laugh, and the reason we love! I thank Him every day for His countless blessings and His peace that passes all understanding.

joan sunrise smallI want to encourage you today. Whatever it is you are going through put your unwavering trust in Jesus Christ. He will never fail you. The peace that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior is unlike any other you will ever encounter on this earth. With Jesus Christ living in your heart, you will experience a truly abundant life. Through the good times and the bad times, He will guard your heart with peace like no other. He will fill your heart with joy unspeakable! You will be able to face each and every day with the calm assurance that God will give you peace beyond your understanding!

Jennifer Campbell writes monthly features for SGN Scoops digital magazine.

For more devotionals as well as artist features, see the latest edition of SGN Scoops digital magazine at http://www.sgnscoops.com/


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The Whisnants: All Is Well

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on July 15, 2014 – 9:03 am -

Whis_Window_croppedBy Jennifer Campbell

Forty three years ago, God sought out a few individuals from Morganton, North Carolina for a special purpose. He knew they had a heart to minister to others. He knew they would tell others about Jesus. He knew they were up to the task, despite the long drives, the sleepless nights, and the struggles along the way. For more than four decades, these individuals have stayed true to the calling that God has placed on their lives. Through every bump in the road, The Whisnants know that God is in control and they can say with confidence, all is well.

Jeff Whisnant is the only original member of the group.   As owner and manager for the group, Jeff sings baritone and runs sound on stage. He said, “We placed our ministry in God’s hands 43 years ago and have watched Him do miraculous things.  There is no doubt in my mind that God has His hand on this ministry.”

Jeff’s parents influenced his decision to enter into the Southern Gospel Music industry, along with Eldridge Fox, former owner of the Kingsmen. Jeff’s wife, Susan says herdad is the one whom she says has been the greatest musical influence on her life. She said he taught her to love to sing. In fact, she sang with her dad up until she met Jeff.   She fell in love with this genre of music when the Singing Americans came to her church years ago. She said the Nelons also inspired her, including songs such as “Oh, For a Thousand Tongues” and “Come Morning.” Susan stated, “That’s when I fell in love with Southern Gospel Music.”

Susan continued to say, her greatest life achievement so far has been raising their sons, Austin and Ethan.

“Being a mother is the greatest gift God ever gave me,” Susan said.   “I’d do it again. I’ve got two of the finest boys that I could ever pray for.   And I love my mom. My mom is probably is my best friend. Being able to be a mom and watch these boys grow and become men of God is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever been able to do.   On this Mother’s Day, I’m thankful for being able to be their mom and being able to be an example for them.”

The+Whisnants+WhisnantsWhen asked how she balances time between family and ministry, Susan said it was about the same. “The boys love being home,” Susan said. “When they were little, we’d just say that home is wherever mom and dad is, and if it’s on the bus, then that’s home, and if we’re in Morganton, that’s home.   Wherever we are is where home is.   It’s tough balancing it out sometimes.   I missed my grandfather’s funeral about two months ago. That was tough, because we were booked. I was going to cancel and my dad said, absolutely not. You go do what you’ve got to do. It’s tough to balance, but at the same time, I could not imagine not doing it with my family. That has been a blessing.”

For the Whisnants, the best part of traveling on the road together is just that: being together. Susan said her favorite part of singing with the Whisnants is being with her family.

“We watch movies together and just spend time together,” Susan said. “I love it. We eat together. We do it all. I love it all. That’s the best part, just being with my family. I couldn’t do it if I had to dread getting on that bus, and I’m thankful I don’t dread it.”

Jeff added, “The Southern Gospel life is not an easy life, but it is an extremely rewarding life. As for traveling and singing, I am having the time of my life.  Getting to travel with our family and the guys who work with us, I consider myself a VERY blessed man.”

Jeff and Susan will celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary on May 28. Their relationship with each other is evidence that they each have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Whisnants have had 13 number one songs, several Top 40 songs, and Singing News Song of the Year titles, including their latest nomination in 2013 for “All Is Well.” They have been nominated for Trio of the Year nine times and have received multiple individual nominations. Their list of appearances is extensive, including 18 appearances at the annual National Quartet Convention, as well as appearances on the Gospel Music Southern Style Program (INSP Network) and at the Gaither Video Taping in Nashville in 2007. By earthly standards, they have achieved success in this industry. But the greatest success is the fact that none of this matters to them.

“We’ve always said if we never had a charting song, if the radio never played our music, or if we never sang at a big venue, we would still sing, because that is what God has called us to do,” Susan commented. “Even if we were working full time jobs and singing on the weekends, we would do it because we love it that much. Back in 1988, we were interviewed and that was the one thing we said is that we want to be consistent and stay within the calling, being content with where we are.”

Susan also gives the following advice to young artists just starting out: “Stay within your calling. There are a lot of people that want to sing, but they can’t. If God’s called you to do it, He’s going to make a way. If that means singing in your church or wherever, stay within your calling. To a young group that is starting out, be consistent. Be content with where you are. Pray diligently that God will open the doors.”

Having traveled with the group most of his life, Austin Whisnant is no stranger to life on the road. In 2009, he felt called to step onto the stage with his family as the group’s bass player. At the young age of 19 years old, he loves traveling with his family. He gives the following advice to young artists just starting out: “Make sure you like traveling on a bus!”

Jeff and Susan’s youngest song, Ethan, is 16 years old. He says that he is destined to be a gospel singer as he gets older.

Austin and Ethan are currently working on a new project and there are plans for a new Christmas project by the group, which is tentatively scheduled to be released before the National Quartet Convention.

The final member of the group has been singing lead with the Whisnants since 2001. Aaron Hise was saved at the young age of six years old. He says the best part of traveling with the group is seeing the country, being on the bus with people he loves, eating different foods, and seeing people encouraged by their music and hopefully coming to know the Lord.

SN_bench_croppedIn 10 years, Susan said she hopes to be doing the same thing she is doing now.   She added, “Austin would be 30, so hopefully he is going to be married and maybe have a kid, maybe I’ll be a grandparent. But I want to be doing the same thing I’m doing and loving every minute of it!”

The group sees a lot of things in their travels, but two things rank as the funniest incidents thus far. Susan said a woman came to them, asking for pray for her feet because they were hurting.   They looked down and the woman had her shoes on the wrong feet. Susan recalls another humorous encounter: “Another lady asked us if she could pray for our hearing because we all, she thought, wear hearing aids, but we all wear ear monitors. She was praying that God would touch our hearing. That was pretty funny.”

So many wonderful songs have been written, but Susan would like to write a song titled, “Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Your Heart Be Also.” She said, “I wish I could write a song about that.   I’ve always thought, there are so many people, their treasure is in the wrong place and if they only knew that that is where their heart is, there’s no denying it. It’s just simple, where your treasure is, there will your heart be.   And if our treasure is in the Lord, I want my heart to be there. I want to live daily like it’s my last day. Jesus is my hope, my salvation, my whole world.”

Susan’s favorite scripture is Psalm 28:7: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” She commented, “I think I’ve always loved that scripture.”

During the interview, I asked Susan what she would say to God if she could talk to him face to face. She said she would thank Him for loving her unconditionally. She added, “I would thank Him for dying for me. If I’d have been the only one, He would still have loved me that much. And I want to thank Him for that. Also, I was thinking about this yesterday: ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart’. I really want to thank Him for doing that for me, because every desire I’ve ever had. I’ve tried to delight in Him and He has proven His word is true.   It may not always be what I want, but He’s given me the desires of my heart and I want to thank Him for that. Thank Him for my family, my parents, and my upbringing. For every aspect of my life, I want to thank Him. So if I could talk to Him face to face, I would thank Him for every blessing and every detail of my life.”

The Whisnants would like to invite everyone to join them at the Gatlinburg Gathering in Tennessee this July. Mark your calendars now for the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge for the first time this fall, and of course, don’t miss Singing in the Sun in April 2015.

“We were recently part of an entire week of Singing In the Sun in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,” stated Jeff. “Eight-three people were saved.  There is no way to put a price on that type of reward.  Every once in a while God just blesses in such a way that there is no explanation except to say, that’s God.  Those times keep us going.”

It is in the difficult times of our lives that we need to remember that all is well. Susan said, “The song ‘All is Well’ is something I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that I want to say that. I want to try and fix everything, so when I can’t fix it, I get frustrated. I don’t care what problem it is or whose problem it is, I want to try to fix it. To stand and be able to say, even if the world’s crashing in on me, that God’s still God and all is well. I’ve had to really think through the words of that song and say, God help me to not only sing it, but to live it. I want to be able trust in Him in all things and even if it’s coming unraveled, I can still put my trust in Him and know that all is well.”

D1003Without doubt, the Whisnants live their lives in an effort to spread the Good News of the Gospel through song. Susan, Jeff, Austin, Ethan, and Aaron realize that the days are short and that Jesus is coming soon. Susan said, “In these last days, it is imperative that we as Christians get a backbone about us and to realize that there’s a lost and dying world out there. We think that we’re infringing on their privacy when we share Christ with them, when the truth is they are longing for someone to share with them the Good News of Christ. It is time for us to tell the lady at Wal-Mart she needs Jesus.   We have a job to do, and we only have a little bit of time to do it. We need to encourage each other and to be bold and be strong.”

No matter what is going on in your life, stand up for Jesus, even if you have to stand alone. Follow the lead of the Whisnants and share the message of Jesus Christ with everyone you meet. Tomorrow may be too late.   Put your trust in Jesus, lean on Him, and remember all is well.

For more information about the Whisnants, visit http://www.whisnants.com/.

Written by Jennifer Campbell.

First published by SGN Scoops digital magazine in the May 2014 edition.

For current issues of SGN Scoops, log on to http://www.sgnscoops.com/

 

 

 

 

 


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The Nelons “Living a Legacy of Love”

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on June 9, 2013 – 4:09 pm -

Nelons 1The Nelons

“Living a Legacy of Love”

By Jennifer Campbell

Southern Gospel Music is rooted in family, faith, and the mindset that musical talent should be handed down from generation to generation. The Nelons are the prime example of a family who lives this tradition every single day of their lives. Kelly Nelon Clark carries on the tradition started by her father Rex Nelon, just as her children are now a part of the legacy left by their grandfather. Kelly, Jason, Amber, and Autumn understand the value of Southern Gospel Music.

They also know that a close-knit family is priceless. Above all, they place Jesus Christ at the center of it all. Through their love for music, love for family, and love for Jesus Christ, The Nelons are living a legacy of love!

For Kelly Nelon Clark, Southern Gospel Music is a way of life. She spoke of her first recollection of Southern Gospel Music, “I’m sure I was at a concert where my father was singing with The LeFevres and if I remember correctly it was at the city auditorium in Atlanta, GA. I was probably three years old.”

Rex Nelon left a legacy that will always be remembered, both by his family and the countless individuals he influenced throughout his life. “My father would be the greatest influence in my life,” Kelly stated. “I watched how he handled adversities, the bus break downs, the constant staying on the phone to make sure the dates were on the books so that we could make a living. He handled so many things and he handled them well. He was such a good man and a man of great integrity. I don’t think he realized how many people loved him.”

Of course, Jason Clark is no stranger to Gospel Music either, having been raised alongside his bass singing father Dan Clark. Jason says, “I remember hanging out at their concerts, riding the bus occasionally, going to their rehearsals, then coming home and giving my very own pretend concerts for the audience of Mammaw & Papaw Clark in their living room. They have a picture of me in diapers, holding my microphone and giving the performance of a lifetime at the early age of two.”

Amber and Autumn also grew up with Gospel Music running through their blood. Amber said that music has always been a part of her life and that she has always wanted to sing Southern Gospel Music. Autumn echoed Amber’s response saying, “That’s all I have ever really known.”

The Nelons are comprised of husband and wife duo Jason Clark and Kelly Nelon Clark, along with their daughters Autumn and Amber. Throughout their musical career, they have garnered three Grammy nominations, six Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, and many other accolades. They have traveled from sea to shining sea and they have even journeyed “across the pond” on a Scandinavian tour.

“I love to travel because it has afforded us the privilege of seeing the world over, and experiencing so many diverse cultures,” commented Jason. “The ministry is more fulfilling than I could ever explain when I think about the marvelous love of Jesus and that I get to tell others about that through the medium of music is extremely humbling, gratifying, and sometimes overwhelming.”

Kelly added, “We have traveled here and abroad and the greatest thing are the friendships and relationships we have made and kept down through the years. We love and cherish our friends. Also to see a life that has been affected by something we have sung or said is worth all the miles we travel.” Whether they are at home or abroad, one thing is certain: Kelly, Jason, Amber, and Autumn love what they do because they are doing what they love.
Kelly said that singing has always been her dream. She commented, “From the first day of kindergarten it was just a part of me that I would sometime sing with my father. It was my dream and my desire and thankfully God granted the desires of my heart. I spent many days on the road with my father Rex Nelon, and I can honestly say it was always a joy. We were very close and we talked every day and I could tell him anything. I really miss that.” Read more »


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April 2013 Editon Of SGNScoops Magazine

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on May 2, 2013 – 5:35 pm -

We are stoked about the April edition of SGNScoops Magazine! The beloved, ever popular Triumphant Quartet is gracing the cover this month! Also in this issue, get the inside scoop on Ann Downing’s latest recording experience and enjoy part 2 of Lorraine Walker’s series on John Lanier. Our focus on Christian Country Music shines the spotlight on Barbara Lowman, and we’re highlighting 2 special young folks this month-Zach Flowers and Olivia Collingsworth. In addition to the latest gospel music happenings, April’s issue includes several articles of Christian interest. Sandi Duncan Clark reviews a book titled “Question Everything” and Dixie reviews “The Grasshopper Effect,” a book about small churches. John Mathis Jr. and Jennifer Campbell encourage our hearts with articles of inspiration and don’t miss a special word of encouragement by our new staff writer, Dr. Jeff Steele. This month offers music reviews, an honor to Mark Lowry, a concert review of The Easters and special coverage of the Tracy Stuffle Benefit Concert. Rhonda Frye encourages West Coast Southern Gospel fans to attend the Great Western Fan Festival later this month, and Lorraine Walker tells our readers about the tourist hot-spots in Pigeon Forge, home of the Creekside Gospel Music Convention. Thank you to our talented staff of writers and design team for another beautiful issue of SGNScoops Magazine. Remember…we’re always free, and always good! By all means… Please share with your friends, fans and family on your websites and social media outlets!


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April 2013 Editon Of SGNScoops Magazine

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on April 10, 2013 – 6:33 pm -

sgnscoops0413_smWe are stoked about the April edition of SGNScoops Magazine! The beloved, ever popular Triumphant Quartet is gracing the cover this month! Also in this issue, get the inside scoop on Ann Downing’s latest recording experience and enjoy part 2 of Lorraine Walker’s series on John Lanier. Our focus on Christian Country Music shines the spotlight on Barbara Lowman, and we’re highlighting 2 special young folks this month-Zach Flowers and Olivia Collingsworth. In addition to the latest gospel music happenings, April’s issue includes several articles of Christian interest. Sandi Duncan Clark reviews a book titled “Question Everything” and Dixie reviews “The Grasshopper Effect,” a book about small churches. John Mathis Jr. and Jennifer Campbell encourage our hearts with articles of inspiration and don’t miss a special word of encouragement by our new staff writer, Dr. Jeff Steele. This month offers music reviews, an honor to Mark Lowry, a concert review of The Easters and special coverage of the Tracy Stuffle Benefit Concert. Rhonda Frye encourages West Coast Southern Gospel fans to attend the Great Western Fan Festival later this month, and Lorraine Walker tells our readers about the tourist hot-spots in Pigeon Forge, home of the Creekside Gospel Music Convention. Thank you to our talented staff of writers and design team for another beautiful issue of SGNScoops Magazine. Remember…we’re always free, and always good! By all means… Please share with your friends, fans and family on your websites and social media outlets!

Download This Months Magazine Here


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