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Featured Articles

Fighting Fair

boxing225It's inevitable that a married couple is going to fight at some point in their relationship. When I use the word fight, I'm talking about verbal arguments, not physical encounters. When I hear couples say they never argue, that's a red flag right there for me. I think realistically every couple gets a little irritated with each other on occasion. It's normal! The most important thing to remember when you do have disagreements is to fight fair.
One of the rules in fighting fair is to agree to resolve your issue instead of seeking victory. When your end goal in a disagreement is to declare triumph that means you want someone to lose. That's okay if you're watching your favorite football or baseball team, but it's not productive when your opponent is your husband or wife. In fact, you're not fighting an opponent but a member of your own team. Therefore your approach should be different.

Ted McGinley is Happy to be in Upcoming Christian Movie Filmed in West Michigan

tedActor Ted McGinley was formerly a regular cast member some years ago on Happy Days, and he now has made several Christian films. One of the films which he was reluctant to make was Redeemed, and it's a film in which he portrayed a man tempted to have an affair. Ted feared that the subject matter would not play well with viewers, especially the ladies. "It's a great movie," he thought, but "who's going to watch it?" Yet he loved the story and working with David A.R. White. White is a producer and actor that has made several Christian films. Ted's first Pure Flix movie, the same Christian film company that made God's Not Dead, was Christmas with a Capital C which he enthusiastically says he loved making. He recently worked in Manistee on Do You Believe? He was happy to talk about the experience of making the film, which currently is due to be released this coming March.

Ted embraced the script once he had read it. He was impressed with the cast too. "I said, 'Okay, you know, Brian Bosworth is in the movie, playing opposite Mira Sorvino, who's got an Oscar.' He added that he had grown up watching Lee Majors, also in the cast, as is Cybil Shepherd who, according to Ted, is a larger than life person that "carries a big stick" and had them all laughing. And Sean Astin is a part of it too, and he has "great energy" said Ted, and is a "veteran" of acting experience and "just a great guy."

Award-winning Music Artist Scheduled for Calvin College Visit

  Lecrae225   Grammy-nominated, faith-based hip-hop artist Lecrae is coming to West Michigan in March as part of the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Music.

     The reflective musician will give a keynote address at the conference, as well as perform in an open-to-the-public concert March 28 at VanNoord Arena.

     Securing the high-profile Lecrae, who only recently performed on “The Tonight Show” on NBC-TV, is a coup for the biennial festival. The visit was announced last week by coordinating committee member Ken Heffner.

Family Christian Stores Adds Filmmaking

familychristianThe idea that turned the nation's largest Christian retail chain into a giving engine to support widows and orphans now expands to movies. Family Christian Stores' new sister company, Family Christian Entertainment (FCE), announces the Atlanta shoot, starting Jan. 26, of 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, the 2004 New York Times best-selling book about Pastor Don Piper's near-death experience.

Youngest Known Survivor says Best Birthday Present to Her is Never Forget the Holocaust

tova225Survivor Tova Friedman said it’s vital to keep the Holocaust on the forefront of public thought.Tova Friedman considers Jan. 27 her birthday, even though it’s not the actual date she was born.

Jan. 27 is when 70 years ago Friedman was among 7,000 prisoners liberated by the Soviet Army from the Auschwitz death camp.

But, Friedman said, being liberated from the Third Reich’s atrocities has not emancipated her from the unsettling memories of the Nazi regime’s systematic mass murder of six million European Jews, known as the Holocaust.

One Night Movie Event Coming: Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus

PatternsEvidence-ExodusA big event is soon to arrive for Christians and for those simply interested in archaeological examinations and historical events of the past. A one night screening of Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus, a documentary, is being shown nationwide in select theaters Monday, January 19. It will be screened at Celebration Cinema North and River Town Crossings in Grand Rapids at 7 pm. And it will screen as well in Benton Harbor at the Celebration Cinema. It is directed by Timothy P. Mahoney.

“Did the Exodus really happen?” asks Mahoney in a short video on the website, FathomEvents.com. “That’s a question that led me on an incredible 12-year investigation.” We are not certain of Mahoney’s conclusions, but we do know that he wanted to examine the “physical evidence from a scientific perspective.” Referring to the audience of this film, he said, “We let them make up their own mind.” The documentary features a panel of experts sharing their point of view.

New Year Brings Concert Variety

Third Day 225Third Day   The new year features a smorgasbord of faith-based musical expressions in churches and other venues around West Michigan.

     January started with a bang thanks to Winter Jam, the jam-packed Christian music tour featuring Skillet, Jeremy Camp and numerous other artists that filled Van Andel Arena back on Jan. 4. Read a review online.  You can see a repeat of Winter Jam at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Feb. 21).

     Other nationwide tours by well known artists such as Third Day, David Crowder and Matt Maher are coming through the area over the next several months.

God is Telling a New West Side Story through Bridge Street House of Prayer

bshop225BSHOP’s coffee shop, the Pavilion, serves free coffee with a purpose.Ryan Waalkes and his handful of staff members purposely live on the West Side of Grand Rapids. They do so with their eyes wide open.

It's an ethnically diverse area where salt-of-the-earth people live, where the marginalized poor can use a friend.

The West Side is where God has called Waalkes to live and minister to through the urban ministry he helped found in 2005 called Bridge Street House of Prayer (BSHOP). The name of the ministry is based on Isaiah 56:7, because BSHOP is where the hurting and outcast can experience the presence of God.

West Michigan Veritas Forum to Explore World Christianity

vertFocusing on the theme “Unity in Diversity: Learning from World Christianity,” speakers from around the globe highlight the 2015 West Michigan Veritas Forum, which will take place on Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 8-10, at Pillar Church in Holland.

The mix of keynote addresses and panel discussions, the Forum will explore the growth of Christianity around the world and its implications for a fresh understanding of the Gospel. The public is invited to attend any or all of the events, and admission is free.

ICCF Dares to Believe Housing Necessary for Life’s Success

jb225Jonathan Bradford will mark 34 years with ICCF in March 2015.Receiving Jesus' grace and acting as His ambassador to a harsh and indifferent world requires Christians to possess a clear-eyed understanding of why it's biblical to help the homeless find a better way of life, said Jonathan Bradford.

"God is indeed completely sovereign over all dimensions of human engagement and activity," said Bradford, president and CEO of Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF), a nonprofit affordable housing provider that serves more than 2,500 families annually through its programs and services. "Christ's earthly ministry was preferential to the poor, the sick and for the outcast."

Terry’s Picks: January 2015

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-based arts and entertainment events over the coming month. Here are three highlights for January:

Living Nativity Offers Glimpse into the First Christmas

Nativity joe and mary225Church youth assume the roles of Joseph and Mary at the manger.Several West Michigan churches offer live nativity scenes each Christmas season – depictions of Mary, Joseph and the baby in the manger on that first Christmas night. And the multi-church dramatic "Journey to Bethlehem" in Grand Haven is a supreme effort to tell the entire Christmas story.

But few individual churches put as much effort into such a display as Jenison Bible Church, on 14th Ave. at 44th St. in Hudsonville.

Partners Worldwide Leads Charge to End World Poverty Through Business People’s Expertise

Doug Seebeck225Doug Seebeck is president of Partners Worldwide.Doug Seebeck knows when Christians hear the word “ministry” many often think of pastors, evangelists and missionaries. Businesspeople usually are not in that mix.

“I’ve talked to businesspeople who feel their job is to plant their feet in pews, write a check and stay out of the way,” said Seebeck. “But business is a calling from God.”

Exodus: God and Kings Veers from Biblical Story

exodus225A lot of people were disappointed with the recent release of Noah, starring Russell Crowe. It strayed from the biblical text and featured unusual plotlines, such as Noah wanting his own grandchild dead and it included a stowaway on the ark, bent on killing Noah. Well, we have Exodud, sorry, I mean Exodus: Gods and Kings, to now contend with.

The movie is huge, featuring lavish costumes, and sphinxes. When the Hebrew people begin their exodus from Egypt it looks every bit like there are six thousand of them, thanks to CGI. Both Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton are sufficient in their roles as Moses and Ramses, but they don’t fill the long shadows of Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner.

But the number of times the film veers from the biblical account is staggering. Here are just a few examples: there is no voice that comes from the burning bush. We see a young boy show up, begin talking to Moses, and he declares, “I Am.” This may be representative of God telling His people to come as a little child, but this scene is definitely not to be found in the Bible. Also, we do not see Moses kill the Egyptian that was beating a Hebrew slave. Instead, Moses kills several people in unaccounted for slayings. He does not demand, “Let my people go,” either. The plagues just start up, the first one being the water turning to blood. The way it is depicted happening? Crocodiles eat several men and their blood apparently infects the water and soon there is blood everywhere.

Unbroken is a Powerful Movie Based on a True Story

unbroken225Angelina Jolie takes a stab at directing a film about a Christian Olympian that was taken by the Japanese as a P.O.W. and she does a pretty good job with it. Unbroken is the name of the movie and it is based on the true story of Louis Zamperini. The movie portrays him as a rebellious youth that drank and smoked but we are shown his praying mother and her prayers work! Following the Olympics Louis is stranded at sea on a raft with two others after their plane went down during the war. Louis (portrayed very strongly by Jack O’ Connell) prays to God and promises that he will follow God if he is spared from a terrible storm. There is a torrential downpour that endangers the small raft and the little group, but the prayer works and Louis is spared. He spends some 45 days on the raft and he and Phil suffer dried, cracked lips, hunger and thirst, in addition to the loss of their third companion. Oh, they have to deal with sharks too as well as a plane that shoots at their raft from the sky.

I Need a Savior

christmasnativity225As I sit in my office on a cold, snowy day, I find myself staring vacantly into the computer screen. It is full of images, scrolling messages, blinking signs, and ads flashing continuously tempting me to click on an icon for the chance to win some fabulous prize. In addition, my cell phone is vibrating, indicating that I have a call or message waiting and my IPod is playing my favorite tunes. Every few minutes I receive text messages from my family and friends.

Advances in technology have allowed us to be bombarded with continuous messages nearly every second of the day. Many of them are positive but there are a fair number that are negative. During this politically-charged and economically-challenged year I feel as though because of the things coming into my life, my ears, and my mind I have been reminded that more than ever, I need a Savior.

PastorCare West Michigan provides listening ear, confidential coaching to wounded ministers

smith225John W. Smith is the executive director of PastorCare West Michigan.It’s rare to meet the leader of a ministry who wishes his services weren’t needed. John W. Smith is one of them.

“I wish my ministry wasn’t needed,” said Smith, executive director of PastorCare West Michigan (PCWM). “But I know it is.”

PCWM is intended for pastors, their spouses, and full-time ministry leaders such as youth and Christian education directors who need someone like Smith to come alongside them to help them through their ministerial rough patches. Smith accomplishes this through what he calls “confidential coaching.”

Area Christmas Concerts Celebrate The Season

   CollingsworthFamily225The Collingsworth Family sings at Calvin College on Dec. 11  It seems like we’re barely into the month of December and already some of the area’s Christmas concerts are in the rearview mirror.

     But there are still plenty of opportunities to join a musical celebration of the season at a number of different West Michigan events.

     For an arena-sized experience, gospel music maven Bill Gaither and his Homecoming artists mark the Christmas spirit in a big way at 6 p.m. Sat. Dec. 13 at Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids.

     Not only will Gaither sing with his Grammy-winning Vocal Band (featuring tenor David Phelps), but he’s brought along fan favorites such as The Isaacs, The Martins, soloist Charlotte Ritchie, funny-man (and former Vocal Band member) Mark Lowry, among others.

     A local choir, coordinated by Chris Hansen of Hark Up Ministries, will sing background on many of the songs.

Finding a New Perspective on God’s World; Ruined for the Ordinary

perspectivesnew225Are you ready to be “ruined for the ordinary”? That’s what one man said will happen when you take Perspectives!

“Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” is a powerful, in-depth course on God’s heart for all nations and His Kingdom purpose for all Christians. In fourteen sessions with fourteen passionate, experienced instructors you will gain a fresh perspective on the biblical, historical, cultural, and strategic aspects of God’s global cause.

Master Arts Theatre Remembers World War II

sanders225Master Arts Theatre, located at 75 77th St SW in Grand Rapids, is initiating a six season tribute to World War II and to thank all veterans who have fought for our nation. The tribute began on November 21 with the musical, “Sanders Family Christmas”.

The story takes place on Christmas Eve, 1941, just eighteen days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.   The Sanders family is performing at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in North Carolina, just as they had done for the past several years. This year, however, is a little different. The country is in the midst of World War II and the family’s son, Dennis, will be leaving home to join the Marines in just a few days. The play is filled with laughter and song, but yet effectively expresses the deep emotions involved when a loved one goes off to war. The story also shows the concern the average citizen had knowing that the rationing of many items was imminent. But, as the playbill states, this musical is designed to “get your toes tapping, your voice singing, and your heart soaring in reminiscence and old-fashioned joy in the Lord.” The cast certainly accomplishes this goal with their talents and enthusiasm.

New Music Review: Deeper by Tommee Profitt

  ProffitTommy 225You had to wonder: after local singer-songwriter and worship leader Tommee Profitt signed deal as a major record label producer/songwriter, would he have any time to complete a collection of his own music for a new release?

     But his (and fans’) patience have been rewarded with “Deeper,” a two-years-in-the-making combination of worship themes and heartfelt lyrics set very much in pop arrangements – some on a grand scale.

Terry’s Picks: December 2014

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area’s faith-based arts and entertainment events over the coming month. Here are a few December highlights:

*“Women's Christmas Tea” – Susan Sorensen is the special guest at 3 p.m. Sun. Dec. 7 at Maranatha Bible Conference, 4759 Lake Harbor Road, Muskegon. Sorensen is women’s ministry coordinator at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids and co-author of the 90-day devotional “Praying Through Cancer: Set Your Heart Free From Fear” (Harper Collins). Her holiday message parallels a familiar Christmas carol. Worship leader is Sarah Whaley, chapel coordinator at Cornerstone University. There will also be a special presentation by the Muskegon Rescue Mission. Tickets are $20 general ($15 for Maranatha members) and available at www.vacationwithpurpose.org. (231)-798-2161.

Family Promise of Grand Rapids Inspires Homeless Families with Hope, New Path in Life

Cheryl Schuch225Cheryl Schuch is the executive director of Family Promise of Grand Rapids.For many people living in the Grand Rapids area, the Great Recession has become a distant, unpleasant memory. Others, however, remain gripped in the economic downturn's tentacles.

Financial hardship is an especially thorny problem for homeless parents who fear loosing custody of their children because they have no fixed address, according to Cheryl Schuch, executive director of the nonprofit interfaith ministry, Family Promise of Grand Rapids (FPGR).


TobyMac gray stocking cap225     This tour is different for multiple Grammy-winner TobyMac.

     “The idea is like a more intimate setting rather than in an arena,” said the inspirational artist by phone while on a tour bus traveling to Louisville, Ky.

     It’s really about having things a little more broken down and allowing yourself the time to tell the stories behind these songs,” he said.

     Toby will still have his full band complement with him when he visits DeVos Performance Hall on Nov. 23. Even his turn table DJ. But with a smaller drum kit, scaled down lighting and stage sets and a simpler approach, the artist will have a little more space and time to spill out the origins of many of his chart-topping songs.

It’s Not Where You Lived, But How You Lived

houseDuring the holidays, many of you may visit the home where you grew up. Sometimes it’s fun to reflect back on what you’ve done or where you’ve lived. Recently, I was thinking about all the different houses where my family has resided in the Holland area.

I remember the first time my boys threw a ball and our daughter played with her baby doll at our home on West 20th Street. It was wide-bodied and flat as though a giant, from on top of a beanstalk, had stepped on it. Yet, despite how widespread it was, it is the warmth and coziness that are my fondest memories.

Pregnancy Resource Center Wraps Arms of Love Around Women Facing Crisis Pregnancies

prc225 Brittany Christopher keeps a number of photos of her daughter, Sola, in her smart phone. Sola is a spunky, wide-eyed, blond-hair cutie who quickly steals the hearts of the people she encounters. It’s understandable why the two-and-a-half year old is the pride and joy of her mother, Brittany Christopher.

“She’s rocking it out,” a beaming Christopher said of her daughter. “She’s so smart.”

Smart and very much alive.

There was a time during Christopher’s pregnancy when she was a hair’s breadth away from having an abortion. All her reasons seemed valid, she told herself. She was only 20 and single, with no clue what the demands of motherhood entailed.

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas is a Winner!

christmas225Kirk boldly states, "I love Christmas!" from the start. He begins by saying that some people want Christmas toned down, while others think that looking at a Christmas tree, and enjoying Santa, and buying presents are not worthwhile experiences. He disagrees and argues, convincingly so, that they all add to the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. His brother-in-law in the film, Christian, is a killjoy Christian. Christian doesn't share the love for Christmas like his wife, Kirk's sister.

Join The Choir For “Homecoming”

TheIssacs225The Isaacs are one of the groups featured at the Gaither Homecoming concertYes, you can sing with a local choir at the Gaither Homecoming Christmas concert at Van Andel Arena. .
“Any number of singers can join,” said Chris Hansen, the Grand Rapids music director who is heading up the local choir effort.

“We’re hoping for about 70 or 80, but we can have as many as possible.”

The Dec. 13 concert features stellar artists such as the Grammy-winning Bill Gaither and his Gaither Vocal Band, sibling trio The Martins, the bluegrass-inspired Isaacs and funnyman Mark Lowry among others.

Christians in Business: Tim Roersma, Carlisle Auto Body

Tim Roersma225Tim Roersma, owner of Carlisle Auto Body, never planned to work in the auto body industry or start his own business, but God had other plans. While in high school, Roersma attempted to sign up for an auto mechanics class, but the class was full. The school counselor suggested he try an auto body class since it still involved working on cars. Roersma loved the class and never looked back. After studying at a tech center the last two years of high school, Roersma attended community college, and then graduated with a degree in automotive body from Ferris State University.

Roersma worked for a few local shops before his wife’s uncle approached him about starting his own company. “I had planned to work for someone else the rest of my life,” he recalled. The uncle had finances and passion to fund the startup, but no practical auto body work experience. Another partner provided a building. Roersma supplied the experience, and the three drew up papers and started Carlisle Auto Body thirty years ago.

Guiding Light’s Stuart Ray Infuses Homeless Men with the Gospel

Stuart Ray Guilding Light sign225Stuart Ray has been Guiding Light Mission’s executive director since 2009.Etched in Stuart Ray’s memory is the first time he gave a panhandler money. The man asked for 75 cents and Ray consented to his request. A few days later, he found the same man stumbling in the street, drunk.

Lesson learned: Ray’s intentions were good but the results were anything but.

Looking back on that day in the summer of 2009 — the same year he became Guiding Light Mission’s executive director — Ray says he received a sobering lesson in what’s really required needed to help homeless men discover a better way of life.

Lee Majors in Grand Rapids to Promote New Christian Film

leemajors225Actor Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man) along with Cybil Shepherd and Ted McGinley recently stopped by Grand Rapids on their way to Manistee to talk about a movie they were making: Do You Believe? The movieis due to be released in March 2015 and comes from Pure Flix, the same filmmakers that made the successful God’s Not Dead.

Majors stated he was the old man of the group. “I’m 57 now,” he joked, then added, “Actually, you need to invert those numbers.” The 75-year-old Majors thrilled audiences in the seventies with his portrayal of astronaut Steve Austin, who was critically injured in a test flight and became a cyborg, given replacement parts by the government including two bionic legs, a right arm, and a bionic eye which could zoom in on far away objects. “I’m not doing any more shows with the word ‘The’ in front of it,” he joked. “No more ‘The Big Valley’, ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ or ‘The Fall Guy.’ I used to run my butt off. Now, I move in slow motion!”

Michael W. Smith Brings Music to Zeeland

Smith MW225    Inspirational singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith still wasn’t sure exactly what songs he would include at his Nov. 8 sold out concert at Community Reformed Church in Zeeland.

     “It’s a good question,” he told a reporter by phone during a late October interview. “We’re doing a mix of songs as we figure out a way to showcase a bunch of stuff and I think we’ll come up with a pretty cool evening.”

     Smith, who turned 57 last month, said he plans to do several songs from his “Sovereign” album - a “pop” worship project released early this year.

     “I think the song ‘Sky Spills Over’ is one of the highlights,” said the artist. “It gets one of the bigger responses of the night. But probably the best song on the record is one called ‘Sovereign Over Us’ based on the fact that what it says is so powerful.”

WTS and IBE Holland Reach Historical Partnership

wts225More than 60 students, spouses and faculty gathered for WTS and IBE Holland’s first night of its collaborative partnershipThere was a time when Pentecostal and Reformed Christians didn’t associate with one another very often. It’s a new day, say students and faculty of the Western Theological Seminary (WTS) in Holland and the Instituto Biblico Ebenezer Holland who say their collaborative partnership is historical.

About 30 Latino pastors and lay students associated with Instituto Biblico Ebenezer in Holland (Bible Institute Ebenezer) will gather Monday nights at the Reformed Church in America affiliated Western Theological Seminary to study classes in Bible, evangelism, pastoral care, Christian education and the Bible.

Wedgwood honors Van Andels with Nagel Leadership Award

wedgewood225Wedgwood Christian Services honored David and Carol Van Andel with its prestigious Doug and Lois Nagel Leadership Award, which was presented at Wedgwood’s 54th Anniversary Celebration Dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 28.

Wedgwood provides a wide range of social services here in West Michigan in areas of abuse and neglect, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, learning difficulties, sexual abuse, school expulsions and other areas involving hurting children, youth and families.

CS Lewis Celebrated in Stage Presentation

Payne David actor as C.S. Lewis225Actor David Payne as CS LewisScholar, author and theologian C.S. Lewis comes to life in a stage production coming to Muskegon’s Beardsley Theater on Sunday December 14.

Tickets are now on sale for “A Christmas With C.S. Lewis” featuring actor and Lewis impersonator David Payne. (Details below).

Payne captures the spirit of Lewis in this one-man show, drawing from the author’s extensive books, journals and memoirs to humorously yet profoundly share his insights.

America’s Foundation of Freedom

martin lutherAs we come to celebrate and remember Reformation Day this week, we have come a long way from the days when a German monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. Luther complained that salvation was a free gift of a gracious God and not something that could be controlled, bought or sold by corrupt officials. Most Christians have long forgotten Luther and Reformation Day. It has been replaced with Halloween, now the second biggest holiday after Christmas. Some churches are trying to do something spiritual during Halloween, like having a Gospel party or giving out tracts, but the real theology and the reasons for the Reformation are slipping away from America as you read this article. In the end, every society ends up moving toward freedom or slavery as their history unfolds.  This journey to slavery or freedom is at the center of the Bible’s story line, the people of Israel’s history and the destiny of all the nations on earth. When you forget what freedom is and why you have it, it is only a matter of time until you have lost it. That surely could be said for America today. Our nation is surely fighting for its’ future under the power of increasing government control, massive debt, politically correct speech and an anti-Christian understanding of the relationship between Church and State.

Despite Jarring Accident, Kelly Ellis is Better, Not Bitter

Kelly recumbent bike225The recumbent bike Kelly Ellis rides represents a new chapter in her life.Kelly Ellis gingerly gets on her recumbent trike’s seat, slips her feet into the pedal stirrups and, with the grace of a gazelle, effortlessly sets the three-wheel bike in motion down a nearby sidewalk.

In a real sense, Ellis’ self-propelled jaunt represents a victory lap for what the Lord has accomplished in the valley of her life.

“I live by the promise of Jeremiah 29:11,” said Ellis, referring to the Old Testament Scripture which affirms God’s plans to prosper His people with a hope and a future.

Terry's Picks: November 2014

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area’s faith-based arts and entertainment events over the coming month. Here are a few November highlights:

*“The Discredibles” – That’s the title of the dinner-theatre production at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7 and 8 and 5:30 p.m. Nov. 9 (drama only) at Blythefield Hills Baptist Church, 6727 Kuttshill Dr NE, Rockford. This original play (the title is a spoof on “The Incredibles”) features an unlikely band of underworld villains who plan “comic capers” of crime while dodging the authorities and creating all sorts of international chaos. The comedy is directed by Blythefield director of worship ministries Vicki Modert. Dinner theater tickets are $15, theater-only on Nov. 9 are $3 and $2. More information at http://www.bhbconline.org/dinnertheatre or call Christy at 866-9597 x134.

New Music Review: “Cynic Heart”

Hopkins Rick song cvr Cynic HeartLocal singer-songwriter Rick Hopkins tells his story of overcoming cynicism with his new song "Cynic Heart."

"I wrote this song on the back end of a period of deep cynicism and anger," said Hopkins from his home in Saranac east of Lowell.

"Thinking that the Church might not be worth being a part of, I was deciding whether I wanted to stick with it or not," admitted the father of four.

But his new church in his local community lifted the veil on the "bride of Christ" and put him back on the mend – on the way to beating back the forces of cynicism.

What It’s All About: "A Matter of Faith"

FaithA new Christian film is now in theaters, in a limited release. It is a powerful story, filmed at Aquinas College and locally in Grand Rapids. Here is the synopsis for "A Matter of Faith":
- A Christian girl goes off to college for her freshman year and begins to be influenced by a popular Biology professor who teaches that evolution is the answer to the origins of life. When her father suspects something happening, he begins to examine the situation and what he discovers completely catches him off guard. Now very concerned about his daughter drifting away from the faith, he tries to do something about it.

This is a bold movie that unashamedly stands for creationism. The film features veteran actors such as Harry Anderson ("Night Court") and Clarence Gilyard ("Walker Texas Ranger"). It introduces a new talent as well, Jordan Trovillion, playing one of the main characters, Rachel Whitaker. This is a topic that most people are interested in and have strong feelings about, creationism vs. evolution. It is also about not being steered away from one's faith in God.

"Playing Saint"

Zachery Bartels 225Zachery Bartels wrote a string of screenplays while a student at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary as a welcome diversion from reading a stack of theological treatise. Years later, one of those scripts was converted into a suspense novel with Grand Rapids as its geographical backdrop.

That rewrite resulted in the recent publication of his debut novel titled, “Playing Saint.” Published by Thomas Nelson, the narrative centers on Peter Saint, pastor of a mega church Bartels describes as a prima donna whose life takes an abrupt turn that lands him on the wrong side of the law.

To avoid a public scandal, Saint agrees to consult with the police on a series of brutal murders linked by strange religious symbols scrawled on each victim. He is clearly out of his element.

Growing Pains Will Stretch You

grandkids225A woman, who is also a developmental psychologist, recently wrote an article for the New York Times entitled, “When They’re Grown the Real Pain Begins.” She’s not talking about her muscles or bones; she’s referring to her children. The article talks about how she thought that once her children left the house, her job as mom would be complete. Then one of her adult sons experienced a very tough year filled with a broken relationship, a job loss, along with a devastating injury, and she realized she was wrong.

Once she heard about his challenges, she started formulating a plan that would help solve her son’s problems. She was respectfully told by him that he just wanted her sympathy, not her solutions. Through her article she simply wanted to share the pain she felt at seeing her son going through something so difficult and not be able to help him directly.

Kari Jobe Coming to Grand Rapids

Jobe Kari w Cody Carnes2Kari Jobe with fiancé Cody Carnes on the Red Carpet at the Oct. 7 Dove AwardsKari Jobe is extra busy this fall.
Not only is the singer-songwriter currently on a nation-wide concert tour, but she’s also preparing for her wedding day in late November.
“Yea, I think when we’re in Grand Rapids, we’ll be about three weeks out,” said Jobe noting her Nov. 1 stop at Sunshine Community Church.
“Fortunately I think I’ve got pretty much everything done – just some last minute things with my mom, but those will be easy,” Jobe said during a phone interview from San Antonio, Tex.
It was just on Oct. 7 that the artist was at the annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards in Nashville, where she won an award for top Praise and Worship Album of the Year (“Majestic”), and performed her song “Forever.”
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