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.
You 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.
*“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.
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).
“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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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!”
“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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
*“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.
"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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.”Kari Jobe is extra busy this fall.
Tribes Church’s first worship service was Oct. 12, which drew 253 adults and children.
“It is the fruition of a dream,” said Dawn Scott Damon, co-founder and co-pastor of Tribes Church. Tribes Church’s pastoral team includes co-founder and lead pastor, Julian Newman.
“God’s grace was on everything,” added Damon. “Nothing went wrong, which was just a miracle.”
The 13,627-square foot Tribes Church, at 6070 Kuttshill Ave. NE, is formerly St. Stephen Lutheran Church, which was later renamed three years ago Rockpointe Lutheran Church before it was repurposed as the Wesleyan affiliated Tribes Church.
Tribes Church is a multi-cultural church based in part on a dream Newman received from God 16 years ago to break the barriers of race, generation and class to redeem Greater Grand Rapids with Christ’s love.
“There were 18 Sunday evening events put on by 12 churches, two Christian bands, and two individuals,” said Moll in a recent newsletter.
This was the third summer for the Sunday evening series, which features inspirational/praise music at no charge provided by a variety of area artists – most of them worship teams from northern Kent County churches.
Although some families do a great job mixing together, other families really struggle trying to relate. Part of the problem may stem from people trying to grow their new family too fast. They want instantaneous results having grown up in a click-here kind of world.
“I was born in southern Michigan but we moved to Nashville where I spent the majority of my growing up years,” said Ferrell, 24, during a recent interview.
But the worship leader returned to Michigan just last summer and began work at Christ Community in August.
“It’s been an interesting journey with relocating and getting plugged in here,” he said.
The “NIV First-Century Study Bible” released in September and is published by Zondervan. Mars Hill Bible Church will host a book launch party on Sunday, Oct. 5, following the 11 am church service, and Dobson will speak at the Kregel Parable Christian Stores/Cornerstone University 2014 Pastors Breakfast on Oct. 7. He will speak on “Millennials and Bible Engagement” followed by a Q&A.
*Sara Groves – The inspirational singer-songwriter performs at 7 p.m. Thurs. Oct. 16 in Grace Community Church, 3500 New Holland St. Hudsonville. Through 10 studio albums and several special projects, Groves has woven thoughtful insights and introspection through her eyes of faith and into her music and life. Among her song collections are “Conversations,” “All Right Here,” and “Fireflies and Songs.” She burst onto the Christian music scene more than a dozen years ago, claiming a Dove Award nomination as New Artist of the Year. General admission tickets are $12, and can be ordered by pone at 800-965-9324 or at www.itickets.com. For more information contact the church at 616-669-6507 or www.solagrace.org.
The synopsis states: The most important event in the history of mankind is happening right now. In the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant terror and chaos spread around the world. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn. Planes fall from the sky. Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. There is no one to help or provide answers. In a moment, the entire planet is plunged into darkness.
Mike Baumann, of Baumann Building, started out as a farmer. He had a love for being outside, but didn’t want to farm the rest of his life, so Baumann attended a tech center to learn the trade of framing and building. He began his building career working for another builder and ended up running a crew. Soon after marrying his wife, Marci, in 1997, Baumann told his boss that in a few years he’d like to go on his own and start an excavating or building company. The next day, Baumann showed up for work and was informed this would be his last week on the job. After just two weeks of marriage, Baumann found himself unemployed.
“God was good, and the next day I went to work. I’ve worked every day since then that I wanted to work,” Baumann recalled. The day he lost his job, Baumann started making phone calls to friends in the industry. A man he knew had work for him, and Baumann started framing the very next day.
“Our church art gallery is also our sanctuary, so the Art Prize exhibits surround us as we worship on Sundays,” note Steve Fridsma, one of several church members on an art selection panel.
Art Prize is an open, international art competition featuring more than 1,500 works of art exhibited at more than 170 locations around the Grand Rapids area. Voters have a say in who wins the hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.
Monroe Community has been an official Art Prize venue in all six years of the event.
“I believe that Art Prize is consistent with our church mission statement: Connecting our downtown community with our life-changing God,” said Fridsma, who is the church’s official Art Prize liaison.
This meeting is to help us to know each other better and strengthen the unity of our network of prayer people. We will discuss calling and gifting and share our unique passion and desires. This will include a time of prayer to bless and encourage one another. Personal prayer Ministry will be offered at the end of the evening for specific needs.
“I guess it’s a percussion instrument,” surmised lead singer Chris The inspirational-worship band Rend Collective has introduced many of its fans to a musical oddity called a “jingling johnny.”Llewellyn during a recent phone interview.
“But it has a string attached, a bicycle horn and other noisy things,” he added of the strange looking contraption – just one of many traditional instruments used by the Irish born-and-bred music group.
“During the walk itself we’ll be praying for victims of trafficking, the people who walk alongside them in healing, first responders, and for the community to become more aware of the issue,” said Mary Monsma, one of the coordinators. “We’re hoping for 100 to 200 people. We’ll carry blue candles during the walk and have a lighting ceremony at the end.”
A new misnomer has tunneled into our vocabulary. What we once called the problem of crime has been renamed “The Incarceration Problem” by neo-reformers who seek reduce the prison population using early release, lighter sentences, or no sentence at all. Yet their nearsighted view focuses only on the effect, while failing to address the obvious cause: crime. Furthermore, the entire argument cannot withstand the test of reason, as it is built on three baseless assumptions: 1) convicts are unfairly incarcerated; 2) incarceration fails to make the public safer, and 3) incarceration should prioritize rehabilitation over justice.
“WOW Hits 2015” comes to stores on September 30 – two CDs full of recent/current hit songs by premier contemporary Christian music artists which will carry you into the new year.
Top songs by top artists is a winning combination and the annual “WOW” CDs (and their various spin offs) have sold tens of millions of copies since they debuted in 1995.
Here’s part of the latest WOW “big hit” list – “We Believe” by Newsboys, “Do Something” Matthew West, “Thrive” Casting Crowns, “Shake” MercyMe, “Speak Life” TobyMac; and the hits just keep on coming.
"These are the defining issues, but behind all of the topics is the church's belief in the authority of Scripture, and whether we believe what Scripture says is Truth or not," said Ingram, senior pastor of Venture Christian Church near San Jose, CA, and former president of Walk Through the Bible. "Our base issue is that we're not sticking with what Scripture truly says."
Ingram will be in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 16, to speak at Sunshine Community Church as part of a book tour to promote his new title "Culture Shock: A Biblical Response to Today's Most Divisive Issues," released by Grand Rapids-based Baker Books in August. The book is an effort to apply the Bible to the most pressing cultural issues of the day, and is rooted in biblical exposition and personal stories.
*Kathy Troccoli – The singer-songwriter/author co-hosts the “Hope’s Alive” conference Sept. 12-13 at Corinth Reformed Church, 129 100th St. SE, Byron Center. The conference designed for women has sessions from 7-9 p.m. Friday and 9a.m.-12:30p.m. Sat. Included are presentations, worship, and a “Heart to Heart” session as well as concert with Troccoli. Also at the conference are singer-worship leader Michelle Margiotta and several other special guests. General admission group rates for 10 or more tickets begin at $29. Individual tickets begin at $33. Premium seating is also available. To order and for more info, www.itickets.com, 615-478-0247.
“We just pretty much do exactly what we would do when we’re at church,” explained Ware, 28, of worship at the huge Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia.
“From the lighting we use, the graphics, the lyrics on-screen…everything so the people can engage and worship with us.”
Such fantastic plans I had for this summer. I had a pile of books I wanted to read to my children, topics such as our bodies, peer pressure, boys and dating, healthy eating, and the adventures of that dear fella—Winnie the Pooh. And then there were the camping trips filled with frogs and camp store licorice and ice cold lemon tea. And showing the children the delights of the garden—peonies and ants, lilies and slugs. Fantastic plans they were.
Tuesdays are big for Moses Mares of Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich.
“My whole day is wrapped up in planning for worship the following Sunday,” said Mares during a recent interview.
“I look at the scriptures and the teaching topic, I make sure I get proper music packets together, I research stories behind the songs and plan for our weekly rehearsal that we have that night.”
- Author Lysa TerKeurst talks about new book “The Best Yes”
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- A Look Behind the Leader: Marie Elzinga of Pathway Community Church, Byron Center