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Featured Articles

New Music Review: Artist: Jake Down & The Midwest Mess

Jake Downs and Ghost ShipWest Michigan singer-songwriter Jake Down (aka Jacob Pauwels) and his band Midwest Mess have a new acoustic-based four-song collection – “Ghost Ship.”
    
It’s a follow up to their release of last year, “Shipwreck.”
    
In fact, one of the new songs is a thematic carry-over from the earlier project. “Shipwreck Pt. 3: Ghost Ship” is an occasionally haunting reminder that in a world of confusion, storms and tattered sails, “what should have sunk…spirit gives life.”

Faith-Based DVDs Are Doing Well

Son Of God2Fortunately for the Christian, there are a lot of wonderful DVDs which have been released or are soon to be. Son of God was released on June 3, 2014, and is still ranked number four in Amazon.com’s bestseller rankings among faith and spiritual movies. It is ranked number nineteen in the drama category. It grossed nearly $60 million at the domestic box office. This is the Roma Downey and Mark Burnett film starring Diogo Morgado as Jesus and is one of the more accurate portrayals of His life.

God’s Not Dead is to be released August 5, 2014. It stars Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain. It is a compelling story as Sorbo plays a philosophy professor who begins his class by demanding that his students sign a paper stating that God is dead. One brave young pupil named Josh refuses to sign and is told by the professor that he must debate the topic in front of class and give evidence that God is not dead. Josh agrees. He later learns why the professor is bitter toward God. A subplot involves Dean Cain’s character, named Mark, a self-absorbed man who ignores his girlfriend when she needs him the most and his elderly mother who is living in a nursing home and suffering from dementia. Yet the lesson is made clear in the film: one can’t outrun God. The movie has made over $60 million at the box office thus far.

Veteran Turns Heart and Hands to Helping Fellow Vets

habitat and FHHMichael Hyacinthe has a heart for veterans, especially our nation’s wounded warriors. A former Nave SeaBee himself, Hyacinthe knows what it’s like to come home after serving his country.

That heart for veterans and his Christian faith have guided him into two roles that have veterans at the center. First is the non-profit Fashion Has Heart, which utilizes the power of creativity to help wounded veterans rehabilitate and helps them reintegrate into the broader society.

Upcoming Exodus Movie Looks Promising

exodusThe upcoming movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale as Moses, looks promising according to The Dove Foundation’s CEO Dick Rolfe, The movie is scheduled to be released on December 14 this year. After he recently viewed a trailer for the picture that just hit the internet and movie screens, we spoke with Mr. Rolfe about the film.

When asked about his expectations and hopes regarding the movie, he replied, “I am looking forward to watching the re-telling of The Ten Commandments. From the just-released trailer, it appears to be a well-made epic-scale motion picture. The special effects are much more impressive than the 1956 version, benefitting from technological advances in filmmaking.

“I hope that 20th Century Fox learned something from Paramount’s epic debacle, Noah, which has not yet recovered its production costs in gross domestic box office. That’s what you get by turning a Bible story over to a director who’s an avowed atheist. Fox has a chance to redeem the studio system by making certain that Exodus: Gods and Kings accurately tells the story of Moses and the Hebrews’ escape from Egyptian tyranny. My guess is they will succeed.”

New Music: Shawn McDonald's "Brave"

shawn mc donaldSinger-songwriter Shawn McDonald has taken a bolder approach in his latest album.     

And one result: the title song, “We Are Brave,” became the veteran artist’s first No. 1 Christian radio hit.

Ever since his acoustic-driven break out hit “Gravity” nearly 10 years ago, the artist has occasionally surfaced with new material, mixed in with a couple of live projects.

“Brave” carries more “electronic” effects than his early work. Some of the songs were produced by David Garcia, providing a more pop-influenced sound for McDonald.

Pregnancy Care Center Has New Director, New Vision

collenFor Colleen Geisel, new executive director of Alpha Women’s Center of Grand Rapids, this is a revisioning time at the center. She and the staff are narrowing their vision to not duplicate services available at other organizations, adding services not being offered elsewhere, and discovering which things they do well.

“We’re in a position to grow exponentially thanks to our facility and our location,” said Geisel, who has been director for three months. She and her family returned to Grand Rapids after 12 years working and serving in Asia.

“I had no intention of taking the job, but I walked into the building and the Spirit of God was in this place. I could not leave,” she said. “God called me into ministry in 1991 at Calvary Church and he won’t let me do anything else.”

A Look Behind the Leader: Marie Elzinga of Pathway Community Church, Byron Center

Marie-Elzinga-worshipleader-introMarie Elzinga, music coordinator at Pathway Church, doesn’t have to go far to report to the church pastor.

Steve Elzinga, Pathway’s lead pastor, is also her husband.

“We communicate about what he has planned for the following week and I help make sure we gets things done,” said Marie about her worship responsibilities.

Among those are selecting and preparing music – transposing chords and writing lead sheets for worship team members – planning the weekly rehearsal and making sure everyone is “on the same page.”

Pathway has a single Sunday morning worship, in generally a blended style.     

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