Singer Doesn’t Mind Role as “Opener”

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Feliz JordanJordan Feliz Since his childhood days, singer songwriter Jordan Feliz was aware of million-selling Christian music artist Michael W. Smith.

"My parents own every record he ever made," said Feliz, 28, of the veteran Smith. "I never thought I'd ever be able to share the stage with him."

The relative newcomer Feliz is an opening artist on Smith's current tour, coming to downtown Grand Rapids at 20 Monroe Live on Sat. April 29.

"I feel like my childhood experience of listening to CDs in my parents' car is being lived out right now," he smiled.

Smith, 59, needs no introduction to Christian music fans. More than two dozen albums, nearly three dozen No. 1 songs, and various collaboration projects have left an indelible mark for the Gospel Music Hall of Fame member.

Authors Record Year-long Experiment in Radical Change

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

year of small thingsThe Arthur and Wasinger families spent a year changing their lives a bit at a time; and together they recorded that year in the new book "The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us" by Sarah Arthur and Erin F. Wasinger. The authors will speak and sign books at Baker Book House at 7 pm Thursday, April 27.

Arthur, author of several other books, originally pitched the book as one family's year-long practice of new monasticism in suburbia. Then Tom and Sarah Arthur met Erin and Dave Wasinger and asked them to be part of the journey.

"We formed a covenantal relationship with the Wasingers," said Sarah Arthur. "It's a whole different thing when close friends know what you're doing and challenge you, asking you the hard questions."

The goal was to engage in the 12 marks of new monasticism, a lifestyle espoused by the likes of Shane Claiborne and others.

Vander Kolks Leave for Lebanon to Alleviate Pain, Serve Local Church

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

vanderkolk8Rosa and John Vander Kolk are making their third trip to Lebanon. Dr. John and Rosa Vander Kolk will soon make the 24-hour flight to Beqaa Valley, Lebanon where they intend to alleviate the physical pain of refugees who've fled their war-torn homeland of Syria.

This will mark the Grand Rapids couple's third medical mission trip to the Middle East country when they leave April 28 and return May 6. John will head up the dental aspect of the medical Christian humanitarian trip, with Rosa serving as his dental assistant. Joining them will be two dentists, a nurse, two assistants, an emergency room doctor, an obstetrician, a physician's assistant, an epidemiologist and two interpreters.

Summit Addresses Needs of Single Parents

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

mattMatt HavilandMatt Haviland knows all about being a single parent. He's one himself, non-custodial parent to his 10-year-old daughter. He also knows parents like him have struggles that other parents don't.

Now single parents can find help and encouragement at the inaugural Midwest Single Parenting Summit, created by Haviland, founder of A Father's Walk, and Dawn Blocker VanderWerf, founder of Single Parent Missions. The summit takes place at EverGreen Ministries on May 12-13.

"We want single parents to know how loved and cherished they are by God, and that God hasn't forsaken them," said Haviland. "We want them to find encouragement in the sessions and through the people there and the teaching."

Heartside Ministry’s New Executive Director Knows Homelessness Firsthand

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

heartsideTendai Masiriri: “We subscribe to radical hospitality. In other words, we meet people where they are and try to improve their lives.” Tendai Masiriri personally knows what it's like to live on the streets, fending for himself day in and out in his homeland of Zimbabwe. His unsettling days of survival serves as a motivating reason for becoming Heartside Ministry's new executive director.

Masiriri was 15 years old when his father died in 1985, leaving him no other choice but to try to care for himself, he said.

"I didn't have anything," said Masiriri. "I know what it means when people are struggling and want to get out of it. They have the same desires as anybody else. They hope like anybody else.

Outcry of Worship Voices Comes to West Michigan

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

outcry2Kim Walker-Smith (3rd from l.) and Jesus Culture It may be hard to believe, but Jesus Culture singer-songwriter/worship leader and recording artist Kim Walker-Smith was kicked out of her high school choir.

"My teacher thought I was really rebellious and would not let me re-join again at any point in high school," said the singer of the incident during 9th grade. "So all the musical things I did was with stuff outside of school," she recalled.

In college when the hopeful singer first auditioned for the school worship team...she was turned down.

Easter and the Southern Cemetery

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornWhen I was growing up as a boy in the South, there was a cemetery on a little hill beside the country church my family attended. It was an old cemetery, with sunken squares of grass and crooked headstones popping out of the ground, creating a scene you'd expect to find in a Frontier novel or something.

To me and most of the kids I knew, that cemetery had an eerie mystery about it—the kind only a graveyard can offer. It was exciting in a spooky sort of way.
Still, my friends and I taunted our fears in that place. We played games there because it always made the hairs on the back of our necks stand up a little. And every time we were in that cemetery, we were constantly aware that death was just beneath our feet.

Every time, that is, except for one day each year, when we all lost sight of the graveyard's creepiness for a few minutes.

President of Colson Center for Christian Worldview Warns Against Tsunami of Social Change

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

stonestreet1John Stonestreet: “Without the image of God you have no grounding for anything approaching universal dignity.” Pop quiz: What does it mean to be created in God's image and likeness?

The average churchgoer might reply people resemble God because of their abilities, including the knack to be rational and to communicate. This is known as the functional viewpoint.

Others might says that we don't resemble animals' behavior and thus must be a reflection of the Almighty, also called the relational perspective.

Original Video Leads Easter Worship

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

nortonLucas Visscher appears in the special Easter video Bridge Bible Church in Norton Shores created its own video to introduce worship on Easter Sunday morning.

"The theme is 'Alive and Well,'" said worship pastor Brad Spead of the morning's message.

Using a poetic, spoken word approach, the video encapsulates the salvation story from creation to redemption all in 3 minutes and 20 seconds.

"My goal is to put truth, theology and Scripture in front of the congregation in unique ways," said Spead, 28, of his larger-than-life video script. "I wanted to emphases certain phrases and passages people would recognize, but presented in a different way."

Suspense Novelist Shares Her Love of Story

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

Pursued-Book CoverLisa Harris is more than a writer of suspense; she likes to add a little romance to her action-packed plots. Her newest novel "Pursued" released April 4 and is third in The Nikki Boyd Files series published by Revell, a division of Grand Rapids-based Baker Publishing Group.

"All the Nikki Boyd plots take place within 48 hours, because the first 48 hours are the most important in solving a crime," said Harris. "There is more suspense than romance in these books because how much romance can you have in 48 hours?"

Retired Army Chaplain Urges Restorative Help for Veterans’ Moral Injury

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Herman Keizer Chaplain (Col.) Herman Keizer, Jr.: “As long as it stays isolated and compartmentalized, it will remain unresolved.” Herman Keizer, Jr. still remembers the intense pain coursing through him after falling out of the open door of a Huey helicopter nearly 47 years ago while he was serving as a U.S. Army chaplain in An Khe, Vietnam. The aircraft had lost its tail rotor, forcing Keizer to tumble 150 feet to the ground, breaking both arms.

Despite the bad breaks, he eventually he healed and regained the use of his limbs.

But healing isn't as obvious for active duty soldiers and veterans grappling with the destructive consequences of moral injury, a term that's not as well trod as post traumatic stress disorder but just as problematic.

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