Bon Appetit

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornWould you sit at a table with 21 other people and then have a crane hoist that table l65 feet in the air so you could enjoy a unique dining experience? Many people have done just that and paid over $10,000 for the chance. It's called Dinner in the Sky and it's available to rent in most countries.

If that's not your cup of tea, how much would you be willing to pay for a great meal on the ground? Some of you may say $1,000 while others would go even higher. Still some people wouldn't go beyond $20 for a decent meal.

Recently I was talking with a gentleman who told me he was one of the top chefs at one of the most elite restaurants in all of the United States and perhaps the world. I joked with him that maybe my wife and I would go there and drop a couple hundred bucks.
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Covenant House Michigan, Grand Rapids Campus to Provide at Risk, Runaway, Homeless Youth with Faith-based Residential Services

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Covenant House Cutline No. 1A rendering of the three-story Covenant House Michigan, Grand Rapids campus. A first-of-its-kind faith-based residential program in Grand Rapids for at risk, runaway or homeless youth will soon be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Covenant House Michigan, Grand Rapids campus (CHMGR) is in the final stages of constructing a $3.5 million three-story building at 26 Antoine St. SW, near the intersection of S. Division Avenue and Franklin Street. It is slated to open in late November, and will have a staff of 20 with an annual operating budget of just under $1 million.

It's the second Covenant House in Michigan; the first is in Detroit, established 20 years ago.

Dove Awards Shower Christian Music Artists

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

WilliamsZach perf at 2018 DovesZach Williams performs at the 2018 Dove Awards. The recent Gospel Music Association Dove Awards ceremonies in Nashville, Tenn. saw dozens of Christian music artists honored by their industry and artistic colleagues.

And many of them have ties to West Michigan or are coming to the area for concerts over the next several months.

The inspirational pop-rock band For King & Country, performing in Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena Dec. 9 , won a Dove Award for its holiday album "Christmas: Live in Phoenix."

"We were kind of shocked by that," said singer-songwriter Luke Smallbone the day after the Oct. 16 award ceremonies. "(The album) really had the band guys' fingerprints all over it, and it was great playing those Christmas songs."

Jesus Culture Brings More Worship Songs

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Walker-Smith KIm  studio shotKim Walker-Smith of Jesus CultureSinger-songwriter Kim Walker-Smith had a few minutes to spare for a phone interview. "I'm taking advantage of some respite time while my children are sleeping," said the mother of three from her Sacramento, Calif. home.

Walker-Smith is part of Jesus Culture, a worship band firmly connected to a church of the same name. The band members were about to embark on a new tour coinciding with the release of their latest album, "Living With A Fire." (The tour comes to West Michigan on Oct. 16....see details below).

New Music Review: Jeremy Hoekstra

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Learning the Hard Way - Cover ArtWest Michigan singer-songwriter and worship leader Jeremy Hoekstra has released a new song that provides commentary on his recent life experience.

"Learning the Hard Way," is actually a cover version of a song by the band Gin Blossoms. But the lyrics resonated with Hoekstra in light of his family's struggle with his wife Lindsay's persistent health issues.

The couple has walked a protracted trail of doctor visits, tests and insurance squabbles.

The keyboard and acoustic guitar-based anthem has fairly bouyant pop rhythms. Yet the words tell of an uncertain journey in which "we're just too close to quit."

Basking in CityFest’s Afterglow: What’s Next?

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

CityFest Cutline No. 1-1A combined 33,000 people attended the Sept. 8-9 CityFest to Ah-Nab-Awen Park. The recent two-day CityFest West Michigan drew a collective 33,000 people to Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids that resulted in more than 2,000 making commitments for Christ. But now that the evangelistic outreach is finished, the larger question remains: what happens next?

Cornerstone University president Joseph Stowell, who served as the CityFest's co-chair, said the evangelistic outreach, produced by Portland, Oregon-based Luis Palau Association, succeeded in crossing denominational lines by bringing 435 Grand Rapids-area churches and nonprofit ministry organizations to work in unison toward one goal.

New Music Review: Tiffany Coverly

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Tiffany Coverly EP coverSinger-songwriter Tiffany Coverly has issued the lead single/video from her forthcoming extended play (EP) recording. The song she selected to front the self-titled project is a version of the For King & Country song "Joy."

Initially the song was proposed by her vocal coach, Anthem Lights singer Spencer Kane. "The more I listened to the lyrics, the more I realized how much it resonates with us as Christians," she said. "It's about choosing joy above our feelings." (See and hear the rhythmic track online.)

Tiffany is the wife of Christian illusionist Tom Coverly. And she officially released her music video just before the end of August when the couple re-located from the Grand Rapids area to Gulf Shores, Ala.

“Unbroken: Path to Redemption” is well worth seeing

Written by Edwin L. Carpenter on . Posted in Local

Unbroken image from imdb"Unbroken: Path to Redemption" is a stirring film, which touches the emotions and offers hope at the same time. Based on the best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand, and the true story of Louis Zamperini, the film powerfully tells the story of the former Olympian who lands back in America after he is freed from being a P.O.W. This sequel to "Unbroken" picks up where that film left off, with this one focusing on Zamperini's salvation, following his battle with alcohol and his bitterness toward the Japanese prison guard who beat him while he was incarcerated. This faith-based film definitely focuses on the spiritual life of Zamperini, much more so than the first film. And it features Billy Graham's grandson, Will Graham, as the world renowned evangelist, Billy. Zamperini's life changes when he attends an L.A. tent meeting held by Graham. His wife, Cynthia, a Christian, keeps at Zamperini to attend. His drinking is destroying his family life, including putting a damper on the birth of his first child. So, after Cynthia's unflagging perseverance in urging Louis to attend, he finally caves in and does. In a dramatic moment in the film Zamperini is literally walking out of the meeting when Dr. Graham himself tells him there is no running from God.

Art Prize A Connection for Churches

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Blessed“Blessed are” – The expressive painting is an ArtPrize entry displayed at First (Park) Congregational Church Sally Lundquist is happy to see this year's ArtPrize entries going up on display at her First (Park) Congregational Church in downtown Grand Rapids.

A year ago, the congregation wasn't sure it would be a venue for the 2018 art competition.

"We were all concerned about our sanctuary repair project, and weren't sure it would be completed," said Lundquist, Art Prize committee chair for the historic downtown church at 10 E. Park Pl. NE.

The church's large social hall, usually filled with temporary gallery walls for ArtPrize displays, was still being used for worship during the first part of September as sanctuary repairs were completed.

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