Area Concert Forecast Heating Up

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Heller JJ stripesSinger-songwriter JJ Heller is one of the artists performing in West Michigan this summerWinter hung on for so long in West Michigan that it seemed presumptuous even to think about summer. But the weather has moderated and now it feels right to look ahead at the area’s summer concert scene.

Hudsonville Couple Launches One Saved International to Provide Aftercare to Children Rescued From Sex Trafficking

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

One Saved Cutline No. 1Sarah Hess: “God is just using the Protestant church to make His name great and set a fire for the people and really that’s our only hope of combating child sex trafficking.” They have been abused physically and sexually and a couple living in Hudsonville want to usher healing into the lives of Filipino children.

There are between 60,000 to 100,000 children in the Philippines involved in prostitution rings, according to the United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF). Worldwide, more than two million children are exploited in the sex trade.

Helping those children find hope and healing through the gospel are Jeremy and Sarah Hess who founded One Saved International, a nonprofit that provides aftercare and restoration to children rescued from sex trafficking.

Longtime Team Returns to Christian Radio

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Tommy  Brook studioBrook Taylor and Tommy Dylan of JQ-99
Tommy Dylan says he and on-air partner Brook Taylor have received all kinds of warm wishes over the last three months hosting the new "Tommy & Brook" morning show on Christian radio JQ-99 (WJQK-FM 99.3).

"There's been a lot of new listeners that have come over," said Dylan of fans who have followed them to their new radio home.

The veteran team spent more than nine years doing mornings at cross-town "Star 105.7", a mainstream adult contemporary outlet. Now they're in front of both old and new listeners. He said the broadcasting tandem has received positive feedback during remote broadcasts and from both listeners and advertisers. "And as we anticipated, the JQ listeners have been very welcoming," said Dylan.

The Testimony of Zach Williams

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Williams Zach rec. Grammy 1-28-18Zach Williams won a 2018 Grammy Award for his album “Chain Breaker” The story behind the faith – as well as the music – of singer-songwriter Zach Williams speaks of the power of prayer and perseverance.

Arguably the most-awarded artist in Christian music over the past year with one of the most successful debut albums in recent memory, Williams and his break-out song "Chain Breaker" have a story to tell about his life's journey. He comes to Zeeland April 22 for a concert.

"I grew up around music," recalled Williams, 37, during a recent phone interview. "My dad played (guitar) and led worship in church and I was there every Sunday and Wednesday."

"I knew all about Jesus and Scripture stories and had a head knowledge of him. I went forward at church camp and called myself a Christian but there was never a heart change."

Jesus and the Children Sculpture Welcomes Community, Affirms Children’s Dignity

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Jesus and the Children Sculpture No. 1Sophia Putz and Jack Walker served as the statue’s models. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14).

Monsignor R. Louis Stasker said his two-prong goals for the recently dedicated bronze statue, Jesus and the Children, at the Basilica of Saint Adalbert plaza is to affirm God's love for the world's most vulnerable — children.

The 1,500-pound sculpture is also way of saying to the community at large all are welcome.

Paul, Apostle for Christ is a Remarkable Movie

Written by Edwin L. Carpenter on . Posted in Local

Capture12Paul, Apostle for Christ features a striking performance by James Faulkner as Paul. Reverend, serious and focusing on the love of Christ, Faulkner nails the role. The use of scripture is well utilized throughout the film. Instead of reading the words of Paul, we hear him utter them. A few members of the underground church want to attack the blood-thirsty Romans. Paul tells Luke, played by Jim Caviezel (who played Jesus in Passion of the Christ), "We cannot overcome evil with evil. Only good overcomes evil." He also gives the almost identical quote which is taken from Romans 5:20, "Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds". Paul continues to emphasize the love of God, especially when dealing with those who seek vengeance.

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness makes a great point: God is Still Not Dead!

Written by Edwin L. Carpenter on . Posted in Local

Capture11This third film in the God's Not Dead series takes a different approach this time around. The first two in the series focused on fighting for one's religious beliefs and freedoms. This one is more about forgiveness and loving people, even when they don't agree with your view of God. God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness deals with a story about the struggles between today's liberal society and the church. Pastor David Hill (David A.R. White) has been at St. James church since he was a kid and his dad pastored the church. Now, he is the pastor. He is challenged by Hadleigh University and his friend, Thomas Ellsworth (Ted McGinley), who represents the college. Ellsworth and the college want to enforce an eminent domain policy and seize the land the church is built on in order to add on to their college buildings. Pastor Dave isn't ready to leave, and he refuses to back down—at first. Normally a mild mannered man, Pastor Dave winds up in jail.

Candace Cameron Bure events nearly sold out at Baker Book House

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

candacecameronburewebsiteCandace Cameron BureCandace Cameron Bure, actress and author of the new book "Kind is the New Classy: The Power of Living Graciously," will visit Grand Rapids and Baker Book House on April 25-26. The star of "Full House" and "Fuller House," as well as numerous Hallmark movies, will meet guests at several event at the bookstore.

"Response to the announcement of Candace's visit was huge," said Sue Smith, manager of Baker Book House. "It was so big that we scheduled several additional events."

Bure was originally scheduled for a Q&A/book-signing on Thursday, April 26. The 250 tickets sold out within four hours, according to Smith, with more than a thousand people indicating on bookstore social media their interest in attending.

Top Fiction Authors to Meet Readers at first Fiction Readers Summit

Written by Hannah Howe on . Posted in Local

conferenceFifteen top Christian authors gather on May 11-12 for the inaugural Fiction Readers Summit at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Baker Book House in Grand Rapids. Authors including Mesu Andrews, Dani Pettrey, Colleen Coble and others will participate in panel discussions and meet readers.

The event will feature Christian authors whose work covers a wide swath of genres including historical, contemporary, romance and mystery. Local authors participating in the event are Susie Finkbeiner, Sharon Garlough Brown, Tracy Groot, and Lynn Austin.

C.S. Lewis Portrayal Coming to Grand Rapids

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

mclean Max bwActor-author Max McLean A stage play probing the spiritual journey of famed author and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis is coming to DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids on Sat. June 16. Tickets for "C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert" went on sale Monday April 9.

The creative force behind the one-man production is actor Max McLean who wrote the play and assumes the title role. The script is gleaned from Lewis' books and essays throughout his academic and writing career in his native Great Britain. His best-known work is the popular "Chronicles of Narnia" series, but he has a rich catalog of theological volumes such as "Mere Christianity" and "Miracles." He died in 1963.

Celebration…Good News, Continuing Themes for Irish Band

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Rend CollectiveChris Llewellyn (middle) and Rend CollectiveA point to ponder: what did the Irish born-and-bred band Rend Collective do on St. Patrick's Day this year?

"We were actually playing a show that day, and we even taught some Irish dancing," said lead singer Chris Llewellyn during a late March phone interview. "We had to bring the party for St. Paddy...it's up to the Irish."

Celebration has always been high on the Rend Collective priority list. And a joyous thread winds throughout the faith-based group's latest album, "Good News."

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