The Mixed Blessing of Multiple Versions of the Bible

Written by Dr. Rex M. Rogers on . Posted in Local

bibleMultiple versions of the Bible are now a part of the landscape. Perhaps we're used to it, and perhaps not? In any event, it was not always so, and I'm not sure we've yet figured out how to navigate this ever-changing terrain.

I was raised in a Christian home—in the best sense of that phrase. I was regularly taken to church before I was born, and much more after that, so thanks to my parents I've been attending Bible-believing churches for over sixty years. This doesn't make me an expert on all things ecclesiastical, and certainly does not mean I always choose well and wisely. Far from it. But maybe like some of you it makes me "experienced," and thus reasonably adept at detecting changes over time.

Honor Brings More Opportunities for West Michigan Resident

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Sapp Henry 2019Henry Sapp has begun yet another journey. This month the Kentwood resident was named a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network fellow. And in March he embarks on an 18-month program of instruction, mentoring and practical experience in the foundation's efforts to create transformational change toward a more equitable society.

"This is an opportunity for some intense training and skill-building, said Sapp, 48, of the fellowship honor.

After some initial inquiries Sapp decided to apply for the program, which was in line with his current involvement with area non-profits – including the Better, Wiser, Stronger boys' mentoring organization.

Sapp was selected as one of 80 candidates from across the country, to help spur the foundation's goal of advancing racial equity and racial healing and creating sustainable solutions.

Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) partners with the Kellogg foundation. CCL President John Ryan was impressed with the high caliber of new fellows.

Local Author Offers Thriller Set in the Future

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

travisTravis Thrasher has written everything from children's books to suspense novels to cowriting with big stars; he's lived all over the United States as well as Munich and Australia. And now he's settled in West Michigan and written a novel set in the near-time future that pits Big Tech against the forces of God.

"My editor at WaterBrook sent an email to me and other authors asking for proposals for novels dealing with the persecuted church," said Thrasher, who lives with his family in the Grandville area. "I had tons of ideas; this one grew into something organic. It's a standalone, but there are storylines not tied up so there could be other novels."

Thrasher will talk about and sign copies of "American Omens: The Coming Fight for Faith" at 7 pm Thursday, Feb. 21, at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids.

Christian Healthcare Centers Fosters Biblical Approach to Medicine

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Christian Health Centers Cutline No. 1Christian Healthcare Centers president and CEO Mark Blocher: “It just struck me that the direction of our culture, the direction of our politics, and what was happening to medicine, was becoming increasingly secularized and frankly paganized.” Mark Blocher, president and CEO of Christian Healthcare Centers (CHC), remembers the feedback he received from people when he kicked around the idea of launching an insurance-free Christian primary care practice.

They thought it was encouraging that a Christian-based healthcare practice would operate without co-pays and deductibles, but instead, a monthly fee akin to paying a gym membership.

But, they added, could it really be done?

"People told us you couldn't do this," Blocher said in a recent interview at CHC, 3322 Beltline Ct. NE, in Grand Rapids. '"You guys are nuts. There's no way that you're going to do this.'"

Now they know better, said Blocher. CHC opened for patients in July 2017.

To understand what makes CHC unlike other primary care centers – both Christian and otherwise – stems in part from Blocher's concerns about the history and current condition of the U.S. healthcare system he says is both secular and pagan. This trend reaches back to when former President Bill Clinton charged his wife, Hillary, to launch in 1993 a Task Force on National Health Care Reform, referred to pejoratively as "Hillarycare."

Asking for Your Opinion

Written by WMCN Editor on . Posted in Local

God Is More Idea1We believe the internet is a gift for such a time as this.

Manna Media is working hard to create a series of short videos with a more evangelistic message. Along with that, we are about to launch a pilot digital media campaign combined with a bot strategy. Our goal is to engage with God seekers online by asking engaging questions beginning with phrase What If God Is ______?

God Is More Idea2We have created a web page to send God seekers, and those that really don't know they are seeking God, to a site where they will find a greeting, a gospel presentation(s) as well as a resource page. We are planning media campaigns In our media campaigns where we will target different audiences and will send them to different landing pages geared to individual interests, all within a given location. On the webpage, we will have a list of churches within that target area.

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
.
“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.

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