Christian Concert/Arts Events on the Way

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Battistelli F  red largerFrancesca Battistelli performs March 24 in Holland West Michigan entered February after a cold and snowy end of January. What more motivation do we need to look ahead to a Christian concert/arts schedule that is definitely warming up?

February has a couple of already sold-out shows – Drew & Ellie Holcomb Feb 11 and NeedToBreathe's acoustic show Feb. 23. But there's more to fill up the calendar.

First let's hit the big stage at Van Andel Arena:

Volunteers for Bed-making Nonprofit, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Serve as Jesus’ Hands and Feet

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

shp From left: Sid Sinnema, Sue Thompson and Aurene Sinnema display the SHP brand and a small version of a bunk bed Sid built. When it's time to call it a day, Jim and Sue Thompson do what many take for granted: They sleep in a bed.

But as Sue discovered early last year, not every child has a bed of their own to sleep in, a fact that motivated her into action when she became the Cedar Springs chapter president for the Twin Falls, Idaho-based, Sleep In Heavenly Peace (SHP).

With 115 chapters in 39 states, the nonprofit rallies volunteers like Jim and Sue to hand-make bunk beds for children ages 3 to 17 who have one of their own. Requests for beds are made through SHP's website, shpbeds.org.

Worship-Music and Culture: A Delicate Intersection

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Dr. Monique IngallsDr. Monique Ingalls following a panel discussion at the Calvin Symposium on Worship A major challenge for Christian worship leaders in a shrinking world is to allow room for other cultures and styles in their music and liturgies.

That was one of several points made at a "Worship and Culture" seminar during the recent Calvin Symposium on Worship, Jan. 24-26 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids.

One of the panelists at the session was Dr. Monique Ingalls, assistant professor of Church Music at Baylor University in Waco, Tex.

"I study evangelical worship music in North America that has – for better or worse – become globalized," she told an audience in the Prince Conference Center. "We have a lot to learn from our brothers and sisters around the world."

The annual conference includes artists, musicians, pastors, academics, students and worship leaders/pastors from around the world for a time of learning, encouragement and worship.

January Series Speaker: How Churches can be Portraits of Belonging for People with Disabilities

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

calvin1“If you think about it as a journey, I don’t think we’ve yet arrived at our destination.” Progress to integrate people with intellectual and physical disabilities has incrementally been reached through the years. But the same can't be said for the 335,000 churches in the United States, according to Erik W. Cater, a Cornelius Vanderbilt professor of special education at Vanderbilt University.

While society has largely moved forward from outright exclusion to mainstream integration, congregations that profess Christ's love for all can use a few pointers on what inclusion looks like in the light of the gospel, Carter said Jan. 17 during Calvin College's annual January Series.

Jamming on the Solo Side of (the) Ledger

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Ledger JenJen Ledger Singer Jen Ledger is best known as the singing drummer of the hard rock band Skillet.

But now she’s stepping out in front of the stage serving as lead vocalist for her own band on its first ever tour.

Ledger and numerous other Christian music artists come to Grand Rapids Jan. 18 for the Winter Jam Tour at Van Andel Arena
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“This is the first tour I won’t be on the bus with Skillet,” remarked Ledger, 29, by phone from her home in Kenosha, WI.

Ledger (also the name of her band), released a six-song collecting of new music last year. On the Winter Jam tour she’ll be performing several of them – including her No. 1 Christian rock hit “Not Dead Yet.” The lyrics reveal a personal challenge for the artist.

Nearly 8 Years Later, What’s Happened Since the Historical Joint Synod Between RCA and CRC?

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

joel boot squareRev. Joel Boot: “It is my hope and prayer that it does continue to grow.” Nearly eight years ago, the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) denominations held a historic joint synod at Calvin College.

June 2011 was the first time delegates from the two synods assembled to chart new evangelistic waters since the two denominations split in 1857.

Among the agreements reached were symbolically adopting a resolution their respective synods approved earlier of a more gender-inclusive translation of three Reformed confessions.

Another was on a larger scale that the late Amway co-founder Richard DeVos helped to engender: Launched was a joint church planting project in four "test areas" in the nation, including West Michigan, dubbed Kingdom Enterprise Zones.

Don’t Lose It, Diffuse It!

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornI remember one night when my wife and I were driving and she shared with me something that was going on at the time with our teenage daughter. As I listened to the story, I could feel my blood pressure, which had just been checked during my annual physical, shoot through the roof. I could hear my heartbeat echoing in my head, and I could feel it pulsating in my neck.

I walked in the house with my fuse lit. I proceeded to make my way to the place where I thought I would find my daughter. Upon seeing her, I immediately starting sharing my thoughts and concerns about this incident, speaking to her in a volume that was way too high, with my words coming so quickly there was barely time to take a breath.

Debut Novel has Readers Considering Race, History

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

We Hope for Better Things-Book CoverErin Bartels didn't start out writing a novel that focused on race and generations of women who faced down the expectations of their times. She thought her story would based on an old woman who gets a box of photos taken during World War II.

"I'm not sure where, when, or why it changed. But the story got bigger and bigger, more and more complex and needing more research," said Bartels, who lives in Lansing and is Trade Catalog Manager and copywriter for Baker Publishing Group.

Now "We Hope for Better Things" is a time-slip novel that moves between three time periods: 1861 Lapeer County, 1963 Detroit, and current-day Detroit. All the story lines are linked to one farmhouse in Lapeer County north of Detroit.

Frontline Apologetics Open-air Preacher Proclaims Gospel to the Glory of God

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Frontline Cutline No. 1 Stephen Nylen: "(Open air preaching) appealing to God to save His people and an appeal to all people to turn back to their God.” Stephen Nylen is a talker.

He can shoot the breeze with the best of them, whether it's chatting about his wife of six years, Jessica, their three daughters, the pink sock tucked in his Bible he uses as a bookmark, or the dual need for Christ and coffee represented in John Waller's song, "Awakening." (I need Jesus and a little caffeine.")

When Nylen laughs, it is easy and genuine.

Then there's another facet to this Michigan Army National Guard veteran who served as a 19D Calvary Scout in Iraq from 2007-2009, in what is known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, or simply, the Iraq War.

'Twas the night

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornIt's that time of year again. The period when we take a moment and reflect on the awesome Christmas story that many people first remember hearing as little children. I thought it would be good for us to take a moment and go back to that childhood and contemplate this beloved writing.

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring..." Wait, wait, wait. See, that's what most people think of when they remember the Christmas story. But that's not the authentic account of Christmas.

I hope that as you take a moment to ponder your life this Christmas season, you will remember the real story. The true story. The story that continues today and goes something more like this: "'Twas the night before nothing, back some 2000 years before, came the birth of a baby boy named Jesus, the blessed spirit, small and poor."

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