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Creekside Gospel Music Convention

James Payne: The Life of A Honky-Tonk Evangelist

Written by Staff on October 9, 2014 – 10:48 am -

jamesBy Dan Duncan

I met James Payne the week I moved to Nashville, Tennessee from Boise, Idaho. Driving into the community, I passed by a church, which caught my attention. I said to nobody in particular: “That’s where my family and I will be attending church.” Two days later we slipped through the doors of that church just as James Payne stepped behind the pulpit. What I heard in the next few minutes impacted my life to this day. At age 27, James Payne preached with a power, a passion and an anointing rarely heard. The man could preach!   After church, we had lunch together. That was the beginning of a lifetime friendship.

testnew1Through the years James and I have shared good times and bad times. I stood alone beside his hospital bed when he was given no chance of recovery and I saw God raise him up. I sat beside him in the listening room of a major Christian recording company in Nashville when he was told: “You have two choices; you can sign a contract now, or go home and pray about it, and come back and sign the contract tomorrow.” We’ve sat for hours in solitude with pens in hand, laboring over songs we were writing together. We’ve shared the stage in Gospel concerts. And we’ve been together on worldwide television broadcasts, as his message was beamed into 170 countries of the world.

That being said, I’d like to assure you of two things:

  1. James Payne is the Real Deal!
  2. He is a man driven by the pursuit of excellence.

It is a privilege to share with you today the life and ministry of James Payne as I know him.

James Payne is one of the finest Christian Country artists of our day. His voice moves the heart. His writing is powerful. His album production is incredible. He is a mighty force whose influence has helped shaped Country Gospel music today.

James PayneJames was not raised in a Christian home. His family never attended church. He had no religious background whatsoever. James was a drug addict and an alcoholic when Jesus found him. He was lying in a hospital bed from an overdose of drugs, given up by his doctors, and pronounced dead. But Jesus appeared to him in that hospital room. James relates the story as follows: “I had an out-of-body experience. I was suspended in the room looking down at myself lying in the bed. I was physically dead at that point. All the monitors on my body flat-lined. I did not see the face of Jesus, but I did see His robe, His sandals and the nail prints in His hands. He touched me on my right foot and told me He was going to raise me up, and that I would preach the Gospel around the world. No one in my family had ever been a Christian before that time. As I look back, it’s hard to believe that Jesus loved me enough that He would come to my room and change my life by saving me and delivering me from alcohol and drug addiction.”

James grew up in pool halls and honky-tonks, not in church. The music he listened to was on the jukebox. It included George Jones, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Waylon Jennings. Those were his honky-tonk heroes.

James Payne and Chuck Day

James Payne and Chuck Day

James was saved in a hospital room. Shortly after his release from the hospital, he began attending church. He felt the desire to do just what Jesus told him he would do: carry the Gospel around the world. He borrowed a Bible from his pastor and began reading it. He read the New Testament through 25 times the first year he was saved. The church needed a guitar player in their band, so James saved up $39.00 and bought his first guitar. He learned the chords and began playing in the band.

God rewards faithfulness. A few years after James was saved, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue his desire to preach and sing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   He began pastoring a church there. God sent many musicians and singers from the country and gospel music industry into his church. They became great friends and mentors in the area of songwriting. Among those were Gospel artists like Kenny Hinson, Ronny Hinson and Rusty Goodman.

The first song James wrote was a song called The Cloud He’s Coming Back On.” That song was recorded by the Happy Goodman Family and reached number two in the gospel charts. The song was recorded by a number of artists, and was later printed in the Church Of God hymnal. James comments: That made me feel I had reached immortality. I was in the hymnbooks.”

Throughout his 31 years of ministry, James has experienced some great successes and some devastating failures. He has written over 2200 songs, and has had over 700 different artists, choirs, and singers record the songs he has written. They include; Lee Greenwood, Terri Gibb, Tanya Goodman, White River, Ricky Van Shelton, Jimmy Swaggart, Del Way, the Florida Boys, Dixie Echoes, Betty Jean Robinson, Vern Jackson, Mike Purkey and hundreds of others.

When James began recording Christian Country music, very few others were doing it. It was all Southern Gospel. Very few Gospel soloists were heard on the radio. Quartets and trios were the order of the day. Southern Gospel artists have recorded many of the songs written by James, but when James sang them, they came out Country Gospel. He was country before country was cool.

honky-tonkJames has won numerous awards. Songs that he recorded have reached number one in the music charts. His awards include: Male Vocalist of The Year; Songwriter of The Year; Song of the Year; Album of The Year; Living Legend Award, and Evangelist of The Year. He was inducted into the International Country Gospel Music Association’s Hall Of Fame and was recently was honored by the I.C.G.M.A. for achieving 50 number-one songs which he has written or recorded.

James was on a flight to Florida when he wrote what would become his signature song, The Night Jack Daniels Met John 3:16“. He recalls: “I was reading my Bible. The man in the next seat ordered two small bottles of Jack Daniels whiskey. I looked down at my Bible. It was opened to John 3:16. It took only about ten minutes to complete the song. It almost wrote itself.”

At first, Christian radio refused to play the song. It was unheard of for the word “whiskey” to be written into a gospel song. Had it not been for Jan Crouch and TBN, the song would have died in obscurity. But they produced a television video of the song and began playing it on TBN. Nearly every time it played, people would call in and get saved. Whatever the song has accomplished, it is because Paul and Jan Crouch believed in it and played it almost every day for nearly a year. Because of its popularity, Christian radio decided to play it. This was a song God wanted the world to hear. He made a way and the song went to number one.

Looking back over the years of his music ministry, James feels the one thing that kept him going was his songwriting. There is a sticker on the back of his truck, which says: “It all begins with a song.” A great song can make an average singer successful. An average song can make a great singer average. James believes every song should speak to the listener and it should be so graphic that it will move the heart of the singer.

paynejames3James is quick to credit those good people who have helped him along the way.   Ronny Hinson took time to help with his writing. His brother Kenny helped James with his singing and recording arrangements, as well as overall performing. Jimmy Gateley taught him to deal with criticism, and be true to himself.

James concludes with these comments: “I know that soon I will be too old to have my picture on the cover of my CD’s,” he laughs. “At that time I would like to see some young gun writing and recording music that has my fingerprints on it. I know there is a generation in the wings that can take this music to a larger market. With that in mind, I can sleep well at night.”

By Dan Duncan

First published by SGN Scoops July 2014

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Written by SGN Scoops on April 7, 2014 – 10:30 am -

harmony honorsNASHVILLE (April 7, 2014) — Southern Gospel Music will be front and center on TBN as Grammy Award winning Christian music artist Jason Crabb hosts the Southern Gospel Music Guild’s 2014 Harmony Honors broadcast on TBN tonight Monday, April 7, 2014 at 10 PM EST / 9 PM EST.
The annual Harmony Honors recognize the best and brightest singers, songwriters, quartets, groups, and innovators in this unique American musical genre that has comforted, inspired, and entertained generations of fans.
This year the Harmony Honors will recognize two of Southern Gospel Music’s most storied publishing resources: Pathway Press and Stamps-Baxter Music. Southern Gospel aficionados will recognize Pathway Press as publisher of the classic “Red Back”Church Hymnal, used by thousands of churches across the South for over sixty years. Generations of gospel groups have dipped into the depths of the old “Red Back” hymnal for classic quartet and convention songs by such legendary songwriters as Albert Brumley, Vep Ellis, Luther Presley, Lee Roy Abernathy, and many others.
As for Stamps-Baxter Music, its classic “shaped-note” song books — with titles like Super SpecialsCrystal RaysSilver Tones, and Pearls of Paradise — have been used and cherished by Southern Gospel artists for over 75 years.
“I’m excited to be a part of this evening honoring the musical heritage that is so closely tied to gospel music,” said Harmony Honors host Jason Crabb. “The songs in the ‘Red Back’ hymnal and the Stamps-Baxter songbooks are the foundation for this music that is so loved. This is a well-deserved honor for both publishers and it’s going to be a great night!”
Among the musical guests for this year’s Harmony Honors will be some of the most beloved and popular names in Southern Gospel Music, including the LeFevre Quartet, the Perrys, the Tribute Quartet, Legacy Five, Three Bridges, the Nelons, Gerald Wolfe from Greater Vision, Karen Peck and New River, Jeff & Sheri Easter, the Bowling Family, Gold City, the Mark Trammell Quartet, the Whisnants, Stan Whitmire and the Mylon Hayes Family.
Also scheduled for a special guest appearance is former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, himself an accomplished musician and long-time fan of Southern Gospel Music.
TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch noted that Southern Gospel Music has been a regular part of TBN’s history over the past 40-plus years. “We’ve welcomed many Southern Gospel greats over the years,” he said. “The rich harmonies and inspirational message of this sacred music have been a blessing to generations of TBN viewers. We’re privileged once again to host the Harmony Honors.”
For more information on where to view TBN in your area, visit
About the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks
With 26 networks and growing worldwide, the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks is the world’s largest faith-and-family television group, airing a broad range of church and ministry programming, Christian music, family friendly movies, children’s programming, and shows for teens and young adults 24 hours a day to every inhabited continent via 87 satellites and 20,000 television and cable affiliates. In addition, TBN’s most popular global networks are available on computers, smart phones, and other mobile devices, and over 22,000 hours of entertaining and inspiring On-Demand programming is accessible via TBN’s innovative online network, To find out more about the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks, log on to
About the Southern Gospel Music Guild
The Southern Gospel Music Guild is a fraternity of industry professionals who combine their resources and work together for the expansion of the Southern Gospel Music industry. The overall mission of the organization is to create a cooperative environment that will encourage excellence, education, awareness, and growth, while preserving the essence of Southern Gospel Music.

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ERNIE HAASE & SIGNATURE SOUND Top Sales Chart with All-New Releases

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on February 13, 2014 – 3:24 pm -

EHSSNASHVILLE, TennFebruary 13, 2014The all-new release, Oh What a Savior, from award-winning and GRAMMY®–nominated quartet Ernie Haase & Signature Sound hit the street last Tuesday, debuting this week at #1 on the Southern Gospel Album chart, #15 on the CCM chart and #181 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.  The companion DVD landed at #1 on the Christian Music Video chart and at #3 on the Billboard Music Video chart, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

“These numbers tell us as a group to keep on doing what we are doing!” said Haase. “The emails, Facebook posts and Twitter feed surrounding this release have been an encouragement; and we appreciate the support of this release from our fans and loved ones.”  
The LIVE CD and DVD, recorded at the Carson Center in Paducah, Ky., has been airing on national tv networks including RFD, DISH TV, DIRECTV, TBN, Family Net, FFE, RURAL TV, TNN, Airtime, CTN, The Walk TV (formerly Legacy), TCT and TLN and also in Canada on Vision TV, CTS, Grace TV and the Miracle Channel. The DVD is also featured on Gaither TV (available on Roku, Google TV and the Internet). The group has discussed the new release in-depth on “Daniel Britt & Friends,” (SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio), on the Solid Gospel Radio Network, in HOMECOMING Magazine and in The Singing News Magazine.   They recently participated in a Google chat with Family Christian Stores and performed for The Munce Group at their bi-annual buyers convention.
Group members Ernie Haase, Doug Anderson, Devin McGlamery and Paul Harkey gave their “signature” renditions of Gospel standards such as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Heavenly Parade,” “Up Above My Head (I Hear Music in the Air),” “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord” and “Scars in the Hands of Jesus” as well as a new, crowd-stirring arrangement of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
In addition to popular favorites, the group recorded several brand new songs on the release and were joined throughout the evening by special guests including the trio Beyond the Ashes, Gaither HOMECOMING favorite Wesley Pritchard and Broadway sensation J.Mark McVey (Les Miserables) who joined the quartet for a chilling rendition of The Sound of Music standard “Climb Every Mountain.”
The new CD, produced by GMA DOVE Award-winning producer and songwriter Wayne Haun, and the new DVD are exclusively distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution and are available throughout general market stores and the Christian marketplace in addition to online retailers including iTunes, Amazon and
For further information visit or connect at haase or on Twitter: @ErnieHaase.       

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Ernie Haase & Signature Sound Release All-new CD and DVD, Oh What a Savior

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on February 4, 2014 – 10:29 am -

EHSSFebruary 4th, 2014—NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Award-winning and GRAMMY® –nominated quartet Ernie Haase & Signature Sound are releasing an all-new CD and DVD today.  Oh What a Savior, a LIVE project recorded at the Carson Center in Paducah, Ky., was produced by GMA DOVE Award-winning producer and songwriter Wayne Haun.
The group, which features Ernie Haase, Doug Anderson, Devin McGlamery and Paul Harkey, brought their hallmark energy to the stage to perform Gospel standards such as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Heavenly Parade,” “Up Above My Head (I Hear Music in the Air),” “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord” and “Scars in the Hands of Jesus” as well as a new, crowd-stirring arrangement of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
“We sang ‘This Ol’ House’ while in Chennai, India, a couple of years ago; and we included a bridge of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ as part of that arrangement,” recalls Haase.  “When we began to sing the bridge the crowd exploded.  We decided right then we needed to do our own arrangement of this Gospel standard.”
One of the group’s most requested Gospel standards ongoing is Haase’s now signature rendition of the title cut, “Oh What a Savior.”
“I never tire of singing this song,” Haase describes.  “To have a song people demand you sing is a career maker to say the least. However, to have audiences sing along with you and take the song away from you takes things to another level. Dare I say a ‘heavenly level.’  That’s worship!”  
In addition to popular favorites, the group recorded several brand new songs on the release including the intimate “Shh, Be Still,” sung around the piano; the first radio single “That’s Why (I Love Him So)”; and “Sometimes I Wonder.”  The group was joined throughout the evening by special guests including the trio Beyond the Ashes, Gaither HOMECOMING favorite Wesley Pritchard and Broadway sensation J.Mark McVey (Les Miserables) who joined the quartet for a chilling rendition of The Sound of Music standard “Climb Every Mountain.”
 “We hope listeners and viewers of the new release will experience joy, hope and encouragement,” stated Haase.  “These are tough times that we are living in, and I believe God placed Signature Sound here for a time such as this to be a bright light.”
Oh What a Savior has been airing on national tv networks includingRFD, DISH TV, DIRECTV, TBN, Family Net, FFE, RURAL TV, TNN, Airtime, CTN, The Walk TV (formerly Legacy), TCT and TLN and also in Canada on Vision TV, CTS, Grace TV and the Miracle Channel. The DVD is also featured on Gaither TV (available on Roku, Google TV and the Internet).
The group will be featured on the next two broadcasts of “Daniel Britt & Friends,” a Gospel radio show on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio’s enLighten channel (Sirius XM Channel 65).  The guys share stories from the road, describe the making of the Oh What a Savior recording and preview songs from the new release.  The one-hour shows will air as follows:  Monday, February 3rd, at 7PM EST; Thursday, February 6th at 10PM EST; and Saturday, February 8th, at 12PM/NOON EST.
The new CD and DVD, available on February 4th, are exclusively distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution and are available throughout general market stores and the Christian marketplace in addition to online retailers including iTunes, Amazon and G
For further information visit or connect at haase or on Twitter: @ErnieHaase. 

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Popular Southern Gospel Favorite Guy Penrod to Perform at TBN’s Holy Land Experience January 18th

Written by SGN Scoops on January 14, 2014 – 6:04 am -

GuyPenrodcloseupSMALLORLANDO, Jan. 13, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Holy Land Experience family vacation destination in Orlando, Florida will host Southern Gospel Music favorite Guy Penrod in a free praise and worship concert at the park’s 2,000-seat Church of All Nations, Saturday, January 18th, at 6:30 p.m. Admission is on a first come, first served basis.

One of the most popular artists in today’s Southern- and Country Gospel venues, Guy Penrod exploded onto the inspirational music scene in 1994 as one of the featured vocalists with the award-winning Gaither Vocal Band, appearing on several Gaither Homecoming videos. In 2009 Mr. Penrod launched his successful solo career, and since then has been one of Gospel music’s most in-demand vocalists, known for his sensitive artistry, along with a warmth that gives him a unique ability to connect with audiences all over the world.

Joining Guy Penrod for this very special praise and worship experience at Orlando’s Holy Land Experience will be Pastor Jonathan Miller, along with the exciting and talented Holy Land Experience Singers and Dancers.

Admission to the January 18th concert with Guy Penrod at Holy Land Experience is free to the public, with 2,000 seats available. Doors open at 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) and the program begins at 6:30 p.m. (Scheduled guests subject to change without notice.)

Located in the heart of America’s most popular vacation spot, Orlando, Florida’s Holy Land Experience is an unforgettable vacation destination that transports guests back thousands of years to experience the sights, sounds, historical time frames – and impacting truths – of the Bible. With its colorful and realistic recreations of ancient Israel, exciting depictions of favorite Bible stories, and awe-inspiring dramatic and musical productions, TBN’s Holy Land Experience has become a must-see attraction for individuals, families, and groups from all over the world. Visit us online at

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Trinity Broadcasting Network Statement on the Passing of TBN Founder Dr. Paul Crouch

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on November 30, 2013 – 10:44 pm -

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Trinity Broadcasting Network issued the following Paulstatement on the passing of TBN founder and President Dr. Paul Crouch:

Dr. Paul Crouch, founder and President of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the world’s largest Christian television network, died November 30th at the age 79. His passing followed a decade-long battle with degenerative heart disease.

Dr. Crouch’s passion throughout life was to spread the gospel, a passion that in 1973 led him and his wife Jan to found TBN with one small low-power station in Southern California. Under Dr. Crouch’s leadership of over forty years, TBN has grown into 26 distinct global networks and affiliates, reaching every inhabited continent with life-changing Christian programming.

During that time Dr. Crouch also empowered scores of ministries to expand their reach and influence through television, and through those partnerships Dr. Crouch and TBN took an active role in helping to lead tens of millions of individuals to faith in Christ. Throughout his life Dr. Crouch pointed to that eternal harvest as his most important legacy.

While acknowledged throughout the broadcast industry as the foremost leader in Christian television, Dr. Crouch maintained a characteristic modesty concerning his role, preferring to emphasize the countless friends and partners who stepped alongside him and Mrs. Crouch to make TBN a successful outreach. Above all, in reflecting on his crucial role in TBN’s continued impact, Dr. Crouch inevitably pointed to the importance of an undying faith in God, which he characterized as “walking to the edge of all the light you have … and taking one more step.”

While we mourn Dr. Crouch’s passing, we are comforted with the knowledge that his influence and legacy will be felt for many decades to come as the Trinity Broadcasting Network continues to broadcast the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

For more information, please visit

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Legendary Daywind Songwriters Dianne Wilkinson And Ronny Hinson Honored At 2013 Harmony Honors Ceremony

Written by SGN Scoops on January 31, 2013 – 11:29 am -

DianneRonny662x435Hendersonville, TN (January 31, 2013) — The Southern Gospel Music Guild held its annual Harmony Honors program, hosted by Jason Crabb, on Tuesday evening, January 29th, 2013, at Trinity Music City in Hendersonville, TN.  Daywind songwriters Ronny Hinson and Dianne Wilkinson were both honored with lifetime achievement awards for their contribution to gospel music.Along with Dianne Wilkinson and Ronny Hinson, Daywind recording artist, Rodney Griffin (Greater Vision), songwriters Mosie Lister, Squire Parsons, and Phil Cross received acclamations for their success in songwriting.  Each of these songwriters have penned several hits that are classics in Southern Gospel music.

The songwriters told stories about their career, influences, and inspirations.  Ronny Hinson told a story about penning his hit song “The Lighthouse” saying, “I scribbled it in a bathroom, during rehearsal, on a piece of toilet paper, in 7 minutes.” To honor each songwriter, a few of their popular songs were performed by well-known artists to the capacity crowd. Featured artists included Daywind’s Greater Vision, the Nelons and Scott Fowler (Legacy Five).  Also taking the stage were g Jeff & Sheri Easter, Kingdom Heirs, Tribute Quartet, Palmetto State Quartet, LeFevre Quartet, the Bowling Family, Booth Brothers, Gold City, Three Bridges, and country music great, Wynonna Judd.

Selected performances from the evening will air as part of TBN’s “Praise the Lord” programming. Visit for more information on dates and airtimes.

Daywind Music Group is based in Hendersonville, TN and is distributed worldwide through New Day Christian Distribution.  In addition to those mentioned above, Daywind is also home to writers such as Kyla Rowland, Sue Smith and Kenna West, as well as artists such as The Perrys and Karen Peck & New River.  For more information on Daywind, visit  For more information about Daywind Publishing, contact Rick Shelton at

For more information regarding this press release, please contact:

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TV Alert The Collingsworth Family On TBN

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on December 13, 2012 – 12:43 pm -

FLC-DVDThe Trinity Broadcasting Network has announced it will feature The Collingsworth Family’s new StowTown Records Video Release FEELS LIKE CHRISTMAS as a Television Special next week at 3 different times. Broadcast schedule is as follows :

TUES 12/18 : 12:30 PM Eastern / 9:30 AM Pacific

THUR 12/20 : 3:30 AM Eastern / 12:30 AM Pacific

SAT 12/22 : 12:30 AM Eastern / which translates as FRI 12/21 : 9:30 PM Pacific

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Join TBN for a Special Birthday Tribute to Dr. Billy Graham

Written by SGN Scoops on November 3, 2012 – 5:39 am -

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 2, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — On November 7 Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network’s signature music, talk, and ministry program, will host a very special two-hour tribute in honor of Dr. Billy Graham as he celebrates his 94th birthday.

“Perhaps no other individual alive today has done more to deliver the simple, powerful message of the gospel around the world than Billy Graham,” said TBN’s founder and president Dr. Paul Crouch. “For all of us here at TBN, Dr. Graham has been a constant source of encouragement and a solid example of godly character. We are looking forward to highlighting his many decades of selfless service to God’s kingdom and the body of Christ.”

TBN’s special tribute will include historic and moving video clips from many of Dr. Graham’s crusades around the world, along with personal recollections and birthday greetings from dozens of Christian leaders, celebrities, and public figures.

In addition, TBN is inviting viewers to post their own brief birthday greetings and encouraging recollections about Dr. Graham and his impact on their lives via TBN’s Facebook page (Click Here).

“For 40 years TBN has been committed to broadcasting the message of the gospel through the medium of television,” said Dr. Crouch. “And throughout our entire history no one has been a greater example and encouragement to us than our dear friend Billy Graham. Please join us on his birthday in thanking this great man of God for his service and sacrifice.”

TBN’s special tribute to Dr. Billy Graham airs November 7 at 7 p.m. (Pacific Time). For those who miss it, the program will be rebroadcast November 8 at 2 p.m. (Pacific Time).

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Tune-In Alert: Watch Wilburn & Wilburn Tonight on TBN

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on October 12, 2012 – 12:57 pm -






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