Bev McCann

MGM

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

April 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on April 7, 2018 – 9:27 am -

April 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

April 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

This is the April 2018 edition of SGNScoops Magazine and we are thrilled to present the legendary Larnelle Harris as our cover feature. Craig Harris brings us this singer’s thoughts on his earliest influences, performing with the Gaither Vocal Band, and a life-changing time of crisis. This is a must-read.

 

Other unique features this month include Danielle Allen of the Allen Family, the Peyton Sisters from the Gaither series, teenage phenom Sam Cox, and a tribute to the late Hubert Cooke of the Singing Cookes by his friend, ReJeana Leethe. Don’t miss the Christian Country special on newcomer Taylon Hope by new writer, Jade Harrison.

 

All of this plus SGNScoops’ Top 100 and Christian Country Top 40, music and movie reviews, DJ Spotlight, special monthly articles and more.

 

Thanks so much for reading SGNScoops every month, making us one of the top-read magazines in Gospel music. If you want to read us in print form, you can subscribe to our monthly newspaper digest. Please ask for more information.

 

Happy Easter! Christ is risen. If He is not alive in your heart, write to me to find out more about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Write to lorraine@sgnscoops.com

 

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March 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on March 14, 2018 – 1:10 pm -

March 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

March 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

March 2018 has arrived and it is coming in like a lion. This issue of SGNScoops Magazine has something for everyone and it is roaring with great features. Zach Williams, writer of “Chain Breaker” is the cover artist, interviewed by Justin McLeod. Williams talks of how he came to write the song and what it means to him. It is an honor to have this singer/songwriter and Grammy Award winner on the cover of the March issue.

 

The world lost two influential Christians in the last month. SGNScoops pays tribute to both Tracy Stuffle, of the Perrys, and Dr. Billy Graham. Justin Gilmore shares memories and thoughts from artists about these two much-loved gentlemen.

 

Other features this month are young Eli Shaw of Children of the Promise, by Erin Stevens; the I Love America Tour by Richard Mabry; Promoter Paul Belcher by Charlie Griffin and CCX artist Jonathan Dale by Lorraine Walker. Randa Jordan of Jordan Family Band stops in to tell us her thoughts. Other ministries you will enjoy reading about include Patterson Promotions, the RIG Ministries and Pastor Dino Pedrone. Catch up on events across America with updates from the Great Western Fan Fair, Creekside Gospel Music Convention and the Christian Country Expo 2018.

 

All this and so much more. CD reviews, DJ Spotlight, your favorite monthly articles and our new feature, film reviews. Catch it all this month before March goes out like a lamb, at Easter. Rather fitting, don’t you think? So glad that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah, became a Lamb for us on the cross at Calvary. Celebrate His death and resurrection every day. Questions or comments, please email lorraine@sgnscoops.com

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The Jordan Family Band: Skyrockets in Southern Gospel

Written by Staff on February 13, 2018 – 1:55 pm -

Jordan Family Band

Jordan Family Band

In today’s society, social media can be used in a variety of ways. However, in the state of Georgia, you will find a humble and bold family who are using it to encourage, uplift, praise, and ultimately to see souls saved.

The Jordan Family Band is a family group with a country gospel feel. The group consists of Josh and Randa Jordan and their sons Hutch (17), Alex (12), Grant (10), and a friend of the family who is like an adopted son to them, Keenan Atkinson (20).

The family got a unique start in 2009. Randa says that they aren’t a family group who raised their family to sing and travel, but for them it just happened.

“It just wasn’t something I saw for my family,” Randa confesses. “Josh and I grew up singing in church and even started a small group with my brother. We had dreams to build the group and go full time, but we ended up building families.”

January 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Jordan Family Band on the cover of January 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

However, we all know that what’s in God’s plan, will always find a way. Randa recalls a time where her oldest son Hutch just picked up the guitar and began to play. He had never a lesson, he just played.

One of the main inspirations for the Jordan Family Band was Josh Jordan’s dad, Dr. Fain Jordan. He was a patriarch in their community and a true man of faith. He tragically passed away at the age of 64.

“It was so sudden for us, and for everyone. We had never dealt with such a sudden loss and it was such a rare feeling for our family,” Randa states.

After the death of Josh’s father, the family found themselves coping through music, together, around the piano. “Josh and I never pounded this into the kids, but we watched them be inspired by music,” exclaimes Randa.

Their middle son, Alex, began singing the song, “Dealing with Gold,” and both Josh and Randa were amazed to hear what a voice their son had. They quickly realized as their sons sang what harmony they had together and knew they truly had a gift of song.

Jordan Family BandPeople quickly started asking them to sing at church and their music journey had begun. God had truly intervened through a family heartbreak. At this time someone gifted the family a conversion van and wherever God sent them, they went. Singing just became something the family loved and they began doing what called what using them to do to bring him glory.

Randa recalls using a social media forum called “social-cam” which was similar to Facebook at that time. She recorded herself singing a song for sheer fun and posted it. A few likes from viewers turned into a viral video.

At this time Randa was truly going through some dark times, however, she just kept singing and posting her videos. Her videos gradually went to around 100,000 views. It was at this time that Randa realized she had a ton of viewers listening to her sing, but while her voice was resounding through a social media connection, her heart just wasn’t where it needed to be. In her alone time with God, Randa let God speak to her and shake her. With the help of her Savior, Randa got her heart where it needed to be.

In October 2016, the Jordan Family was gearing up to go to a football game when the opportunity arose to go live on Facebook. They sang the song made famous by Karen Peck and New River, “Everybody’s Going Through Something.” The video reached 3 million views in just a couple of days.

Jordan Family BandBut aside from the views, aside from who the viewers were, this moment was where Randa realized how God could use her family through a tool like social media. As tears were streaming down her face, she began to pray that God would use this as a ministry and that God would send them people to minister to. God began answering their prayer through that one song. It began what would be known as their Wednesday night ritual of going live on Facebook to sing and minister.

You can now find the Jordan Family Band almost every Wednesday night on their group page. Its strictly organic, not rehearsed, and 100% real each time.

One amazing thing about this family is their authenticity. They are truly as real as they come. Just like any family, they face trials, hardships, arguments, and basic hiccups in life. Before every live feed they made an agreement to leave whatever happened in their day behind them and pray together, all before hitting the “Go Live” button on Facebook.

The Jordan family is an ultimate example of using social media to change the world for the cause of Christ, one live feed at a time. Randa Jordan alone has achieved 60,000 followers on her own personal page. Anyone can be a Christian, but it takes boldness and being real to show the world your heart and be the example God calls us to be.

“I realized that with so many people following me, I had to refrain from being negative, because of who I could effect,” says Randa. “I just can’t afford to lose the lost or hurting people.”

Jordan Family BandThe Jordan Family Band have a main goal of just wanting to help people. Of course they want the convenience of a bus, easier travel, and better accomodations for their ministry, but Randa has a different perspective.

“We would rather travel and sleep in a pickup truck to and from our scheduled singings, than to put our efforts into just having a bus to travel in. Our job is to sing and that’s what we are going to do.”

The Jordan Family Band has received many accolades such as charting in the Top 30 in the SGNScoops charts. They have most recently received a nomination for a Dove Award for “New Artist of the Year,” and have recently signed with Crossroads. The family’s song “My God is Faithful,” resounds in their ministry as it serves as their ministry motto.

The hearts of the Jordan family are wide open and by watching their newsfeed, you can hear their hearts and join their worship for the one true King. One of the most rewarding facts about their unique ministry is the people they have reached and the response from their audience.

Many times the messages they have received have said, “I was going to commit suicide tonight, but I saw your live video on my newsfeed and listened and decided not to,” or “I was about to abort my unborn child and heard you singing on Facebook and decided to stop what I was doing.”

Jordan Family BandThese are real people. Real issues. Real messages. This is a real ministry that has accepted the call to serve God’s people, and its working.

“People are finding hope in our live feeds. I even received a message one night that said, “I didn’t shoot myself like I had planned tonight because I heard your live feed.’ God is answering our prayer by sending the people we asked him to send.”

If you watch the live feed for even 60 seconds, you will see a multitude of prayer requests flood the comments section, including people who believe they can call out to a family who will help pray for them.

“God has lead us down this road and we don’t even know where we are going, we are just on the road for the ride. God is getting 100% of the glory of what we are doing. Our hearts are set on what God wants, and that’s it.”

The Jordan Family Band just wants to further the kingdom of Christ, and they want the world to know that “God is faithful through everything. It’s all about him. He answers prayer and he’s the end all, cure all.”

 

Jordan Family BandWhat are others saying about the Jordan Family Band?

Darren Lore of The Lore Family: “Having a family ministry is filled with blessings and challenges. The family is together all the time. Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get everyone together to practice and hone their musical skills. But the JFB is growing as a Christian family ministry. And they are skyrocketing in Southern/Country gospel. Their family harmonies, songwriting and music abilities continue to show professional growth. And they have become fan favorites on social media. The JFB has wisely used social media to introduce their down-to-earth family. JFB is a mixed family group that is filled with potential. It is exciting to see Josh and Randa minister alongside Hutch, Alex and Grant. It’s inspirational to others to see families serving God together. The JFB is an artist to watch closely. Truly, God is showering this anointed family with favor. And I believe that He will continue to elevate them, nationally.”

Mickey Bell, Radio Show Host: “The songwriting of Josh Jordan is going to change this industry, as he will soon become one of the most recognized and most rewarded. His lyrics are pure and pertain to everyday life.”

Matthew Browder of the Browders: “The Jordan Family has what it takes. They have the heart for God and people. They have the anointing to accomplish the calling on their life. They have the talent. They have a signature sound. When you hear them they are unmistakably the Jordan Family Band.”

David Kiser of Heart 2 Heart: “The Jordan Family Band has quickly come on the scene as a fan favorite. They carry great talent as vocalist and musicians. They have the heart and vision to do great things for God.”

Rob Patz of SGNScoops: “I love the energy and joy that the Jordan Family Band brings to the stage, but the best part is, I know the family lives what they sing, and use everything in their power to bring the gospel to a lost world.”

 

By Sarah Murray

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in January 2018.

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February 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on February 7, 2018 – 8:42 am -

February 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

February 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

We are happy to present you with the February issue of SGNScoops Magazine. In honor of the month of love, we feature the story of Morgan Easter Smith and her husband, Landan. These best friends made their relationship “forever” last fall and tell us about that day.

Read all the great features like Poet Voices by Justin Gilmore, author Donna Sparks by Fayth Lore, Herb Henry Family by Derek Simonis, Amber Eppinette of 11th Hour by Erin Stevens, Mercy Rain by Rob Patz, and New Year wishes by Craig Harris.
Our Christian Country section features a look at Chuck Day’s anniversary, artist Shelly Wilson and the Top 40 chart.
Don’t miss the articles by David Staton, Dusty Wells, Selena Day, Roger Barkley, Jr., and Joan Walker. Randall Hamm reviews new projects, Vonda Easley shines the DJ Spotlight, and we also bring you event updates.
All this and more in this issue of SGNScoops Magazine. We also hope you will find the love and light of Jesus Christ within our pages. If you have any questions or comments please write me at lorraine@sgnscoops.com.
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Lorraine Walker asks: What are Your Spiritual Goals for 2018?

Written by Staff on February 6, 2018 – 8:36 am -

January 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Lorraine Walker, Editor of SGNScoops Magazine, asks about your spiritual goals for January 2018

SGNScoops Magazine: Editor’s Last Word by Lorraine Walker for January 2018

Happy New Year. I trust everyone had a good holiday season. For those whose December was a time of sorrow, I understand and pray that this new year will bring encouragement and joy from our Lord.

Here at SGNScoops, we like to highlight an up-and-coming gospel music artist every year on our January cover. The Jordan Family Band is a great new family group that everyone seems to be talking about.

I first became aware of them by catching videos on Facebook by Randa Jordan. It was just her and her piano, and it was so real and heartfelt, as well as being accomplished and skillfully presented, that I kept looking for her when I went online. Then, her family joined her, and I wondered what rock I’d been hiding under that I wasn’t aware of the Jordan Family Band until then. Seriously, if you haven’t heard them yet, find them on Facebook, and they will touch your heart. Be watching for them to climb the charts in 2018.

It is also nice to hear some new year’s resolutions by gospel artists and to think about our own goal-setting. As we consider the year ahead at SGNScoops, we would like to have your input. Who would you like us to feature? Is there a story or film or book you would like us to cover? Please send me an email with your suggestions at lorraine@sgnscoops.com.

Taking stock of your personal life is also good at any time, not just at the beginning of the year. Most people mention their physical goals, but what about your spiritual goals? It’s a good time to pray about God’s direction.

Editors Last Word by Lorraine Walker for January 2018

What are your spiritual goals for 2018?

Perhaps He is urging you to reach out to your neighbor this year, to find a missionary to support, or to dare to walk more closely to the light of His glory. I think we as a society are becoming more aware of religious persecution, but what some may not realize is that Christians are persecuted and martyred around the world. The tide against us is growing higher all the time, as is evidenced by daily news reports. The closer you walk with the Lord, the more this tide will grow, but a life with Jesus is worth it all.

If the new year appears to be filled with the same difficulties that you have faced in the past, remember that the Lord knows and wants to help you along the road you have to walk. Remember that He is building character in you. Romans 5:1-5 (NIVUK) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Editor's Last Word for January 2018 by Lorraine Walker

Be courageous in 2018

Trust God to be your source of peace and hope in 2018. Happy New Year.

Questions? Comments? Email me at lorraine@sgnscoops.com

By Lorraine Walker

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in January 2018.

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Lorraine Walker


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Dusty Wells shares his New Year’s Prayer

Written by Staff on January 12, 2018 – 11:33 am -

Dusty Wells

Dusty Wells

Adapted from Dusty Wells: Wisdom from Wells, SGNScoops Magazine, February 2017

Oh, how the years seem to fly by as I get older. Well my friends, I like to pretend that I am just staying endlessly young and not getting any older. But in reality, I’m fairly certain that we would all agree, the years really do pass so quickly once we hit a certain age. And I’ve learned it’s okay; it really is. For me, aging is just a part of the journey, and I finally came to that place of embracing it and walking in it. So away we go into a fresh new year of endless opportunities for us.

 

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, just due to the fact that I constantly made myself a list, and then after two or three weeks I found myself not following through with them. This pattern of starting them and then giving up and falling back into old habits and such just seemed so discouraging.  

 

So about 10 years ago, I decided that I would do away with my resolutions and instead just write myself a prayer that I can pray and apply to my own personal life with areas that I needed to work and focus on. No more detailed lists that included such broken promises of losing 20 pounds, going to the gym three or four times a week, saving $100.00 a month by taking it out of each paycheck, praying for an hour each day, reading my Bible all the way through in a year…and the list went on and on and on and on for me.  

 

Think about it for you, how many of those resolutions have you chosen, and then not followed through with. Now I know there are some of you who are so much more disciplined than me and most likely have achieved so much with your own individual New Year’s resolutions. I so applaud you and I will buy you a cup of coffee someday down the road. I want to hear your stories of victory.

 

Kelly Nelon Clark, Dusty Wells, Karen Peck Gooch

Kelly Nelon Clark, Dusty Wells, Karen Peck Gooch

A few days ago I came across my prayer, and even though it’s only a week or so into the New Year, I would love to share with you my personal prayer and what I’m working on as we walk into this brand New Year. Then a year from now, you can all ask me, “How did you do with your New Year’s prayer?”  So here you go:

 

“Jesus, I just thank You for bringing me through (2017). I sure don’t understand so much that took place but what I do understand is that You know it all. You care, You have been with me, You are not going to leave me nor forsake me and You are absolutely crazy in love with me;  I sure do believe that.  

 

“So Lord, as I go into this New Year and begin a new chapter, I just want You to know the areas that I want to work on and grow in are so many, and I know You will be right with me. I ask You to help me be more sensitive, kind, honest, loving, caring, encouraging. Bring me closer to You and guide me in the ways You want me to go. Push me in new areas. Challenge me to listen more closely and obey a lot more.  

 

“Help me to live boldly and stay strong and true to the convictions of my heart that You have given me. Show me those areas in my life that I need to be more disciplined in. Give me words that will help others since there are so many hurting and struggling in so many area out there.

 

“Let me stay focused in what Your call is on my life. Let me pursue even more with persistent passion. Hold me so close, show me Your love, show me my heart condition daily, convict me in those areas that I need to do better in, help me love like You, let forgiveness flow to and from me and let my words speak life and not death to those I come in contact with. Use me as You want.”

 

Dusty Wells

Dusty Wells

And even as I read and share my prayer now, I’m even more challenged to make it my priority to read and apply it to my life daily. Now, you take a few minutes and write your own prayer. See what happens.

 

You are loved, you are valuable and this very well could be your best year yet. Praying for you.  He’s got us wrapped in His arms and He is with us.

By Dusty Wells

Wells is a regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine.

More Gospel music news here.

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January 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on January 5, 2018 – 12:24 pm -

January 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

January 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Happy New Year from all of us at SGNScoops Magazine. We are pleased to join you in anticipation of a great year in Gospel Music.

As we look ahead and wonder about the artists and songs that God will use to make a mark on our lives, one group stands out in particular.  It is our cover feature, the Jordan Family Band. One listen to their live Facebook presentation every Wednesday night and you will see the joy, enthusiasm, compassion and faith that radiates from this lovely family. Sarah Murray introduces us to the members of the JFB and helps us discover why they are skyrockets in Southern Gospel Music.
This month we also treat you to a large sampling from the camera of Craig Harris. Charlie Griffin talks about the major concerts coming up across the States this winter. Erin Stevens interviews Chris Taylor, a young gentleman that had a close brush with death. Randall Hamm reviews new music and Vonda Easley talks to DJ Ron Foster.
All this plus our radio charts, an update on the Southern Gospel Weekend coming up soon and a brief look at Creekside. Don’t miss special thoughts by Selena Day, Rob Patz and myself as we consider the impact of a new year and a new season.
Are you ready for 2018? Let us help you get in the groove. Read the January issue of SGNScoops Magazine and let the love of God expressed in its pages  bring you encouragement and inspiration. Don’t forget to share it with a friend.
Thoughts or questions? Please email me at lorraine@sgnscoops.com today. We look forward to hearing from you.
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Charlie Griffin shares: A NEW YEAR, A NEW OUTLOOK

Written by Staff on January 1, 2018 – 8:24 am -

Charlie Griffin, new year 2018

    Charlie Griffin

The New Year is off and running. I stand amazed at how fast time flies anymore. Seems we run one day into a month, then half a year is gone at the blink of an eye. James 4:14 shares that life is here for a time, then it vanishes. I think that really applies to time and our lives.

Time is a valuable commodity. You can’t touch, smell, taste, hear or see time. Yet, it is the barometer of measuring our life.  

How we measure our lives is a funny thing. To most people that measure their lives, it is summed up in one word: Success.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 provides a clear perspective on many things about our lives. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …”

New Year 2018 GoalsIn time, we apply benchmarks of productivity to be fulfilled. This measures our successes in life. Some goals are part of our life expectancy in our upbringing. We live our lives according to the expectations of those who came before us, e.g. job, marriage, house, children, etc.

So you ask why time is important to you and me, today, right now as we start the new year of 2018. That is a simple thing yet so hard to understand.

We are only promised this day to live. Therefore it is important to live fully in the now and make the most of today.

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Are you willing to be interrupted by God this Christmas?

Written by Staff on December 23, 2017 – 5:16 am -

Merry Christmas from SGNScoops

Merry Christmas from SGNScoops

SGNScoops’ Editor’s Last Word for Christmas,  December 2017

By Lorraine Walker

 

The season of Christmas is upon us. I am one of those people who brings out the Christmas music and movies at the beginning of November. Before you roll your eyes, I will say that the tree doesn’t go up until the end of the month. So, it could be worse. But I love this time of year, and so do our writers here at SGNScoops. I hope you have enjoyed all of the encouraging, enlightening and seasonal features this month.

 

December 2017 SGNScoops Magazine

December 2017 SGNScoops Magazine

We are proud to have 11th Hour on our cover once more. Since they last appeared in our magazine, they have had several charting songs and have grown in popularity. I so enjoy their music, as well as their antics on Facebook. I hope that if you aren’t following them yet, you will. Jaquita Lindsey was a writer for us for some time before the schedule of the trio began to take up much more of her time. We miss her writing, but we are glad to fill you in a bit on the group.

 

I admit that this month’s publication was delayed slightly because of my schedule. Between health issues and doctor’s appointments, it is not always possible for me to find my way through the wonderful SGNScoops’ articles in a timely manner. Sometimes, I get frustrated that things don’t always go as I’ve planned, and I feel like issues in my life are out of my control. Many of you likely feel that way at this busy time of year. Just when you think you have everything on your calendar, something new pops up out of the blue. Inconvenient but unavoidable, you add it to your list of things to do.

 

It struck me that most of the events in the Christmas story happened at inopportune times for those involved. Zechariah was fulfilling his priestly duties – an older man, probably set in his ways and accustomed to life without children – when suddenly an angel tells him that his wife is expecting. Elizabeth, an older woman, was also probably complacent with her life as a priest’s wife, but she still had a prayer in her heart for a child. Suddenly, her life is spun 180 degrees as she is with child.

 

There was Joseph, a hard worker, trying to put money aside for the day he would be married, told by the government that he has to make an expensive trip to Bethlehem with his fiancee, Mary. Young Mary, living as an engaged girl, not only has to prepare for a difficult journey, but suddenly, told she will also have a child. Everything she had thought her life would be as a married woman is turned upside down.

 

The Christmas story is full of people whose lives are interrupted by God. Have you ever wondered what might have happened if they were not obedient, or if they railed against the plans of God? What if Elizabeth decided that having a child at her age was too risky for her health? What if Zechariah had refused to name the child John? Would we be reading about Bob the Baptist?

 

What if Joseph decided not to marry Mary? What if Mary couldn’t handle the sideways glances and whispers of derision, and ran away from it all, to have the child in a far-off place, perhaps to be given to another couple? What if the shepherds had listened to the angels and then just shrugged it off as an advertising gimmick?

 

God likes to interrupt our lives still today. He knows if you are playing church, comfortable with showing up at your pew at Christmas and Easter, pretending you believe in Him when He knows you don’t. He will interrupt you again and again, trying to get your attention. Maybe He will draw your attention by reducing your finances, dissolving a relationship, or by the actions of that pesky neighbor who always mentions His name.

 

Lorraine Walker, Editor of SGNScoops

Lorraine Walker, Editor of SGNScoops

Whoever you are, whatever you believe, now is the time to listen and respond to God’s interruption of your life. The interruption may change your life 180 degrees. Are you brave enough or open to His challenge? He wants you to grow closer to Him. Each step towards the Christ child will change you in ways you never imagined. Each time you respond to God’s interruption, the life of the resurrected Lord Jesus will be even more manifest in your life. Are you prepared to be interrupted by the Almighty?

Merry Christmas to you and your family from all of us at SGNScoops Magazine. From my heart and from my family, I wish you a blessed holiday season. As always, I can be reached by e-mailing lorraine@sgnscoops.com.

More Gospel music news here.

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Christmas Challenge by Rob Patz

Written by Staff on December 17, 2017 – 5:34 am -

Christmas Challenge by Rob PatzPublisher’s Point for Christmas and December 2017 by Rob Patz

 

‘Tis the season. I wonder how many times this year I will actually say that, and I wonder how many people really understand what we celebrate during the season. As Christians, we celebrate the fact that God saw such a need that He would send His only son, knowing full well that His son would die on a cross.

 

I have to say that there are times where I forget to take in the full impact of what Christmas really means. We all get so busy sharing the holiday with family and friends that we forget the impact of a baby being born in a manger. No, we as modern-day humans don’t understand what a manger really is. A manger wasn’t a softly made bed like the paintings that we see. They say it was hewn out of stone and probably was very rustic. It’s difficult to think that the savior of the world was born under such conditions.

 

That should make us all reevaluate how we look at the holidays. I’m not saying you should take down your tree, and I’m not saying you should stop buying gifts, I’m just saying that maybe this year, during the holiday, you should sit down and read the Christmas story and reflect on the magnitude of this perfect gift, which we truly celebrate.

 

‘During the holiday season …’ – that way I can work Thanksgiving in as well, since I’m writing to you before Thanksgiving – I spend a lot of time reflecting on life. I think we all do. Like everyone, I miss family during this time of year. There are those that have gone on before us, those who we don’t have the opportunity to call or see during the holidays, and then we have those who have – with time – drifted out of our lives. This includes my family as much as those that are close friends. During this time of year, I often wonder what they’re doing, or how they are. I usually take a few minutes, especially on Thanksgiving, to pray for them.

 

Christmas 2017As you read this, for most of you, Christmas is in full swing. My family and I enjoy this time of year immensely. It’s an opportunity to not only look forward, but to look back at the past year.

 

This was a year full of changes and challenges. As someone who embraces change, some of the changes were good … some of them, not so much. As far as challenges, like everyone, I had different sets of challenges, but with challenges, we know we are moving forward. As much as we embrace change, we should also learn to embrace challenges.

 

What challenges are laid before you, and what does God have for you to do within that challenge? I learned that over this past year that sometimes God is creating the challenge to strengthen us. I recently heard a pastor say that without challenges we will see no growth, for in the challenge God creates in us the wisdom to move forward. I believe this year I have learned and gained new wisdom.

 

Rob Patz

Rob Patz

I’m going close this year’s Publishers Point by challenging you to pray not only for our magazine, but for your church, your neighbors, and your family. I pray that this year you take time to specifically pray for each. I believe that 2018 is going to be full of new blessings.

 

God has amazing things for you and for me. It’s time to stop looking at the negative. I’m going to preach this throughout 2018 … stop dwelling on the bad things and start praising God for the good things.

 

As I close this, I want to wish you all the best during the holidays, from my family to yours. I love you all.

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