Debut Novelist Pens Tale of Love and Mystery

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

Joanna Davidson PolitanoJoanna Davidson Politano, who lives near the Michigan/Indiana border, is drawing fans thanks to her debut novel Lady Jane Disappears. Aurelie Harcourt, whose father died in debtor's prison, takes over his serial novel writing under the pen name Nathaniel Droll. Droll is one of the most popular writers in Victorian England; but as Aurelie continues her father's story, she bases it on family with whom she is sent to live—but who have no idea it's their guest exposing their world.

Ann Byle: Tell us a little about your writing journey and your debut novel "Lady Jane Disappears."
Joanna Politano: The novel evolved as I wrote it over nine months or a year. It started out as a fun thing I did during my daughter's nap time, then became a more formal project. I had decided to set aside my publishing goals to raise a family but God said no. He said, "It's noble but not what I want you to do."

Imagining the Power of A Song

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

MercyMe stand w bckgrndMercyMe (from l.) Robbie Shaffer, Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Nathan Cochran, Mike Scheuchzer "I Can Only Imagine," the award-winning, inspirational hit song, has been around for two decades.

Now re-popularized by a new movie of the same name, the uplifting ballad continues to be the trademark of singer Bart Millard and his band MercyMe.

"It's like the song that won't go away," smiled Nathan Cochran, bass guitar player of the band during an interview from Dallas, Tex. "But it's a song that is really special to us and we're not complaining about that at all." 

Third Day One More Time

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Third Day - hier rez w 3Third Day (from l.) Mark Lee, Mac Powell, David CarrThird Day, the Christian music pop-rock band with a 25+ year history and numerous hit songs and awards, is saying farewell. The band has scheduled a final, 12-date concert tour this spring, which includes a June 22 stop at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids. But tickets, which went on sale Fri. March 9, are hard to come by
There was the usual ticket "pre-sale" period for a day or so prior to the "on sale" date. Pre-sale is limited to select fans or others who have a special ticket purchase code with only a small number available.

The general public went online fast and furious at 10am March 9 – but many soon saw the post on "Oh-no! These tickets went fast and we're unable to find more right now." More recent visitors to the ticketmaster website also saw prices above face value.

Hire for Hope Founder Grateful Safe Haven Ministries Helped Her Replace Distress for Courage

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Hire for Hope cutline No.1Ashley Ward donates 10 percent of her revenue to Safe Haven Ministries because she wants to help abused women realize they can be more than they currently are. Ashley Ward has many reasons to smile.

In early 2017, the 28-year-old launched Hire for Hope LLC, her socially conscious recruiting firm that helps fill mid- to senior-level positions for West Michigan companies.

It's been so successful that she recently hired her first full-time employee, with an eye on adding one or two more staff members by the end of this year or early 2019.

To help accommodate her growth, Ward has plans to move her recruiting business out of her home office in Rockford and relocate it to downtown Grand Rapids.

Battered and Bruised

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornDo you have days where your face feels swollen, your eyes are like slits from being half shut and your body aches all over? You feel beat up and yet no one has laid a hand on you? It's one of those days where either a group of negative issues has been piling up or you are emerging from a litany of several days where you've dealt with very difficult issues. Emotionally, you feel battered and bruised.

Some of us do a good job of hiding it. We may cake on a little make up to brighten our face. We wear a bright colored shirt to try and offset the dark feeling in our soul. We laugh but it's just a sound not an expression of joy. Some people reading this article right now are dealing with a battered and bruised spirit. And sadly, in many situations, the source is a complex family situation. Even if the culprit is outside your family, the effect it has on you will affect your family. That's why I want to offer a few suggestions that may help encourage you through the process.

‘Plantation Jesus’ Spells Out How to Forgive, Walk Toward Unity

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Plantation Jesus Cutline No. 1Skot Welch: “Christians need to understand when one part of the body suffers, we all suffer.” While Skot Welch's long-time friend, Rick Wilson, lay in a hospital bed fighting for his life, the two made a pact.

"When I met him in the hospital and he told me of the diagnosis, he said, 'If I go to heaven, you need to finish the book and if I stay, I'll finish it,'" recalled Welch.

Wilson died of lung cancer March 5, 2014. And while he had wrote the majority of the book titled "Plantation Jesus: Race, Faith, & A New Way Forward," Welch was left with the daunting task of completing it and thus fulfilling his promise.

Welch and his wife, Barbara, are lead pastors of the Kentwood campus of Stones Church. For eight years, Skot Welch co-hosted with Wilson the radio program, Radio in Black and White, which discussed multiracial, multicultural and multiethnic relationships and featured live callers.

New Music Review – Cameron Blake

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Cameron Blake Fear Not CD higher resLocal church worship leader and singer-songwriter Cameron Blake's latest CD has been garnering attention in a variety of places.

"Fear Not" – his third solo effort – features numerous guest artists in its addressing the sticky topic of fear. It sends out a call to look to love as a solution.

Blake (his given name is Cameron Warne) leads worship and is serve team leader at River Rock Church, which meets at Rockford Christian School on Belding Rd. NE. But his probing, contemporary-folk tunes have touched ears throughout the area's mainstream music community.

Cold-war Espionage Offers Significant Takeaways for Christians Today

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Greg Forster cutline No. 1JPGGreg Forster said Whittaker Chambers’ found his true purpose in life when he surrendered to the Lord. “By turning to God, he was discovering who he really was,” said Forster. Whittaker Chambers risked his career, reputation and family when he disavowed communism and walked away from working as a Soviet spy.

Nowadays, his conversion to Christianity exemplifies why the only way to live life is by God's principles and not humankind, a conservative scholar said recently as guest speaker at the Acton Institute's Lecture Series.

Chambers (1901-1961) was a senior editor for TIME Magazine who wrote the autobiography Witness, initially published in 1952 that has since been reprinted, which details his life as an agent in the Fourth Section of Soviet Military Intelligence from 1932 to 1938, where he coordinated espionage activities with high-ranking United States government officials. Witness explains Chambers' exodus from communism and his conversion to Christianity.

TobyMac Digs Into Hits Deep

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

TobyMacSinger-songwriter TobyMac suggests that the name of his "Hits Deep" tour has a double meaning.

"It's supposed to be 'hits' all night long," he said of his long catalog of top-charting Christian radio tunes. "But it's also songs that have hit listeners in a deep way – that's always the hope for my songs," he added during a recent phone interview.

At age 53, Toby McKeehan (his given name) has the luxury of a rich musical history, with seven solo studio albums to his credit. The latest is the Grammy-winning "This Is Not A Test," which offers a half dozen hits for his current concert set list.

Concerts a Key For Faithful Fan

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Cooper John and VanderMayRob VanderMay (right) and John Cooper Rob VanderMay can tell you that ten times is not enough.

For the tenth time the Kentwood resident saw the Christian rock band Skillet when they headlined the Winter Jam tour last month at Van Andel Arena.

Now he'd like to see them for Number 11 - when the band performs in Muskegon April 28 along with For King & Country.

"Yeah, I'd say Skillet is my favorite artist," said VanderMay, 29, as he recalled the band's booming, pyrotechnic-flavored Jan. 7 set that filled Van Andel to the rafters. Featured were classic tunes such as "Whispers in the Dark" as well as their very latest, "Feel Invincible."

Love Me or Love Me Not

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornIt's summer and flowers are in full bloom! As a young boy I remember picking flowers for a particular girl I liked. I would sit on the grass, check to be sure none of the guys were around and begin to pull off the petals one by one. As I plucked, I would repeat a series of phrases in a sing-song voice, "she loves me, she loves me not, she loves me, she loves me not," until all the petals were gone. The very last petal would tell me whether she loves me or she loves me not.

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