Elaina Smith Music

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Easter Is Not Another Ordinary Day

Written by Staff on April 12, 2020 – 1:47 pm -

Jennifer Campbell. Easter Is Not Another Ordinary DayEaster Is Not Another Ordinary Day by Jennifer Campbell

 

Not too long ago, we were living ordinary lives, enjoying ordinary days, and doing ordinary things. Then, our lives literally started to change overnight when entire nations began ordering stay-at-home lockdowns. Today, over 180 countries have recorded COVID-19 cases. More than 1.8 million people have been infected, and tragically, over one hundred thousand people have lost their lives to this highly infectious respiratory disease. The coronavirus pandemic literally changed the world, and it all started on what seemed to be another ordinary day.

Jennifer Campbell. Easter Is Not Another Ordinary DayJust over two thousand years ago, men and women, boys and girls, awoke to another seemingly ordinary day. They got out of bed, dressed, combed their hair, ate breakfast, and started their daily routine. Only nothing about this particular day was business as usual. The night before, Jesus and His disciples sat down for their last meal together before Jesus would be crucified. Early the next morning, “all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed” (Matt. 27:2 NIV). A short time later, Jesus was lashed and beaten beyond recognition. Simon from Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross to the hill known as Golgotha (Matt. 27:32-33). Jesus was hung on this cross with nails piercing His hands and His feet.

Matthew 21:45-46 says, “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)” As Jesus took His final breath, a violent earthquake came upon the land, the temple curtain was torn in two, and many tombs were opened and people were raised from the dead (Matt. 27:51-53). Even the centurion and some of the soldiers who previously mocked Jesus, saw what happened and exclaimed, “‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” (Matt. 27:54 NIV). Jesus Christ did not stay on the cross, for He rose to life on the third day (Matt. 28:6 NIV). From the moment Jesus arose, the world would never be the same again.

Jennifer Campbell. Easter Is Not Another Ordinary DayThis year, Easter will be observed a little differently, which will hopefully give everyone additional time to reflect on what Christ did for us. As I look forward to worshiping the Lord on Resurrection Sunday, in the comfort of my own home, I am reminded of a dream I had a couple of months ago. I dreamed that I was going through some papers and found two Easter Sunday bulletins from two distinct years past. In the dream, I commented to my dad that it would be unusual for there to be no Easter Sunday services anywhere in the world. At the time, this dream seemed very unrealistic, so I thought little more about it. Two weeks ago, I was sorting through some papers, found two different Easter Sunday bulletins, and reminded my dad of the dream I had two months ago. I feel that God was preparing my heart for this unpredictable turn of events.

Although special religious services can encourage believers and even attract non-believers who come to church on religious holidays, I feel that the Spirit of God may be speaking to the churches through this pandemic. The entertainment and sporting venues have widely been shut down. Even churches are primarily closed, with the exception of online services. Perhaps God is using this “pause” to allow us time to listen to His leading. A.W. Tozer said, “Sometimes I think the church would be better off if we would call a moratorium on activity for about six weeks and just wait on God to see what He is wanting to do for us.” During these less-than-ordinary days, let us make it a point to listen to God’s voice. He has a master plan for each of our lives, if we are willing to listen to His sovereign guidance.

For many pastors and congregants, the absence of an Easter service seems like a major roadblock on the religious calendar. Yet, the church is not a building; it is a body of believers. Jesus did not tell us to build a sanctuary; He commissioned us to “‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’” (Mark 16:15 NIV). Even now, as the majority of regions are under shelter-in-place orders, we can still proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the Internet or through telephone calls, letters, and other forms of communication. Yet, the glorious message of salvation is too wonderful for us to only share on Resurrection Sunday. I once knew someone who only wanted to sing the song, “He Lives,” as an annual tradition on Easter Sunday. Jesus Christ did not give His life so we could be saved, celebrate the risen Savior one day a year, and then wait patiently for His return. He gave His life so we could worship Him forevermore, and so we could share the wondrous love of Jesus Christ, 365 days per year.

Jesus’ resurrection is something we should praise God for every single day of the year. God knew we needed a Savior, since we have all sinned (Rom. 3:23). He loved us so much that He gave His only Son to shed His blood and to die on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins (John 3:16). Jesus gave His life because of love (1 John 3:16). There is no other name by which we can receive salvation. The manmade holiday known as Easter cannot save anyone. Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost. When we confess our sins and put our faith in Him as our Lord and Savior, then we will become a new creation in Christ Jesus. Let us remember to thank Him for His mercy and grace every single day, always keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).

Jennifer Campbell: Hope in times of Misgivings and DoubtJesus is the One we should be listening to above all others. Do not let the sounds of the world surpass the sound of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. During this pandemic, be careful not to be drawn in by the news headlines, the inconveniences of getting groceries, or the concerns you have for your family and friends. Instead, take time to read God’s Word. Take time to pray. Take time to listen to His voice. Focus on the risen Savior. May we all tune our hearts to Him, as we worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24)! For there will come another seemingly ordinary day when Christ will return to this earth, and that is the moment that will truly change the world for all eternity.

By Jennifer Campbell

More about Jennifer:

Jennifer knows that God has a dream for her life. Whether she is on stage singing solo, singing with her dad as a duet, speaking at churches and other locations around the globe, or teaching English Language Arts at Suwannee Middle School, she knows God will always guide her footsteps in everything she does. She is grateful for the talents God has given her and she strives to use them for His glory every single day. God has blessed her with the ability to play the piano and drums. She has served as a Group Leader for Women of Faith as well.

Jennifer is a prolific writer, penning songs, writing an inspirational blog, and serving as a Feature Writer for SGN Scoops Digital Magazine, the first all digital Southern Gospel music magazine. She has written for SGN Scoops for over 20 years, including features on The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Bill Gaither, Janet Paschal, Goodman Revival, Karen Peck and New River, The Whisnants, Canton Junction, The Hoppers, and many others. She was also honored to be able to write special tributes to Lari Goss and LaBreeska Hemphill.

Jennifer recently published her first book, an inspirational autobiography titled, When You’re in the Sunset, There’s Sunshine Awaiting You, which she hopes will inspire others through its message of hope. You can read a complimentary chapter by clicking this link, and you can also purchase a copy on Amazon. Already working on her second book, it is her prayer that God will give her the opportunity to publish many more books in His timing.

In addition, she has a food and travel blog at www.jennifersjourneys.net, where she featured William Jack Degel of Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse and the Food Network show Restaurant Stakeout. Jennifer would love to have her own food and travel show one day.

(Excerpt from Jennifer Campbell’s biography: http://www.jennifercampbell.net/biography.htm )

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Easter: The Greatest Event for Mankind by David Staton

Written by Staff on March 31, 2018 – 1:22 pm -

Celebrate the Risen Savior

Good Friday. Celebrate the Risen Savior with David Staton

Can You Handle It? by David Staton

Easter: The Greatest Event for Mankind

There are key events that happened in scripture that are staples for those who follow Christ. Christmas is a big one. Scripture says that Jesus was conceived supernaturally and born through a virgin girl. While most Christ followers believe this, it is still debated and argued by those who refuse to believe that Jesus was God in the flesh.

 

The many miracles that Jesus performed were witnessed by hundreds of people, many of which wrote about what they saw. Despite the strong historical evidence of these events, many dismiss, deny, or try to explain them away.

 

The deity of Christ has always been disputed and attempted to be disproven. Ask any politician or public figure who has ever made a false claim, and they will tell you that you are asking for a huge magnifying glass to be placed over your life by those who want to prove you wrong.

 

Before Jesus was ever born, it had been prophesied and Mary let it be known that her firstborn Son would be the long-awaited Messiah. With such a claim, you know that every day in the life of Jesus was scrutinized and examined by those who were just waiting to prove that Mary’s story was a lie.

    

Then after He predicted His own death, Jesus faced the cross. If you are the harshest skeptic, you could say that Jesus was not the first and certainly not the last religious leader to lay down their life for their cause. If you want to ignore the earth becoming dark in the middle of the day, the earthquake, the veil in the temple being torn from top to bottom, and dead people walking out of their tombs, then I guess you can debate the purpose and the epic battle that took place at Calvary.

 

Empty Tomb. Easter. David StatonYou can ignore, argue, debate, dismiss and deny all of these things, but there is one thing that forces each one of us to face the glorious reality of who Jesus is, and that is the empty tomb.

 

Because Jesus had said that He would rise from the dead, all eyes were on that tomb. The Romans sealed it and guarded it with their lives. On that Sunday morning, when the immovable stone was rolled away, and what seemed impossible became possible, it had to have set off the greatest search for a body that the world has ever known. Finding the body of Jesus would have done what they thought they had accomplished with the cross. It would have killed any thought that Jesus was the Son of God.

 

The body of Christ was in fact found, but not by those who were looking for a corpse. The body of Christ was found by over 500 people, but they found that body very much alive. That is why we celebrate Easter. That is what proves every word that Jesus ever said, explains every miracle He ever performed, and opens our eyes to the meaning of the cross. That empty tomb is what drives us to our knees and brings us to our feet when we hear the name above all names, Jesus.  

 

He is alive.

 

Photographs courtesy of David Staton.

David Staton

David Staton

By David Staton

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in April 2017

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GAITHER VOCAL BAND Release All-new Recording

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on October 10, 2014 – 12:47 pm -

Gaither Vocal Band

Gaither Vocal Band

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—October 10th, 2014GRAMMY® Award-winning, Gospel Music Association (GMA) Hall of Fame-honored quintet the Gaither Vocal Band is scheduled to release an all-new recording, available everywhere on October 14th.  Sometimes It Takes a Mountain (Gaither Music Group), produced by award-winning group members Bill Gaither and David Phelps along with Ben Isaacs (Oak Ridge Boys, The Isaacs), is the debut release from the quintet’s recently updated line-up which features Bill Gaither, David Phelps, Wes Hampton, Adam Crabb and Todd Suttles.
According to Gaither, Adam Crabb and Todd Suttles, the group’s newest members, are not only fitting right into this classic group but adding their own vocal styles, giving the Gaither Vocal Band a fresh sound unlike any it has previously offered.
“This recording is very special to me for a number of reasons,” describes Gaither.  “There is a mixture of vocal textures in this current group that the Vocal Band has never known before:  the classical sound David Phelps brings to the group; the rich, new bass/baritone tones in Todd Suttles’ voice; those smooth, golden tones Wes Hampton brings to the mix; and the passionate, soulful sounds of Adam Crabb…then throw me in there, whatever that is!  What can I say? I’m blessed. I feel fortunate to be on the same bus as these great singers.”
These great singers are showcased on a recording written by some of gospel music’s most respected songwriters including Bill and Gloria Gaither, Mosie Lister, Michael W. Smith, Gerald Crabb, Thomas A. Dorsey and Reba Rambo-McGuire and Dony McGuire, among others.
“There have been a lot of treatments of Mosie Lister’s great old tune ‘Happy Rhythm,’ but I am very partial to our 1950s ‘Jerry Lee Lewis-style’ treatment,” explains Gaither.
That arrangement finds these vocal powerhouses combining traditional quartet harmonies with hints of “doo-wop.” Gordon Mote, one of Music Row’s award-winning musicians, added some catchy, ivory-tickling to round out this “sing-along” number.
As Gaither Vocal Band listeners have come to expect, Sometimes It Takes a Mountain contains epic tunes including the bellowing “Resurrection,” “The Night Before Easter,” “Written in Red” and “We Are Coming Home at Last,” which contains a Civil War-styled treatment that “make it the new ‘I Surrender All,’” according to Gaither.
Crabb’s acclaimed vocals are highlighted on the recording’s first radio single, “Sometimes It Takes a Mountain.” “[This song] shakes the very foundation of all of us controlling types who think we have everything under control,” explains Gaither.  “I believe this song has an important message to which many folks out there can relate.”
The guys have some fun with songs like “Jesus Gave Me Water,” “That’s When the Angels Rejoice” and “When Fear Comes Knocking,” all of which offer that signature blend and approach that has for years given this legendary group a “sound all their own.”
That sound will be featured on a TV campaign which will air on PBS, Dish TV, DirecTV, AT&T Uverse, GaitherTV, TBN, RFD, FamilyNet, CTN, GMTN, Guardian, Liberty, TCT and TLN.  It will air in Canada on Vision TV, CTS, The Miracle Channel and Hope TV.
Sometimes It Takes a Mountain, exclusively distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution, will be available throughout general market stores and the Christian marketplace in addition to online retailers including iTunes, Amazon and www.gaither.com, where it is available now.
The Gaither Vocal Band will be on tour from now through the end of the year and will be a highlight of the Gaither Homecoming Christmas Tour.  A list of tour dates can be found at www.gaither.com.
For further information regarding the Gaither Vocal Band and/or Sometimes It Takes a Mountain, including a video preview with a sampling of music from the CD, visit www.gaither.com or connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gaithermusic or on Twitter: @gaithermusic.
To hear some of the music from Sometimes It Takes a Mountain, visit:

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