"Playing Saint"

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Zachery Bartels 225Zachery Bartels wrote a string of screenplays while a student at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary as a welcome diversion from reading a stack of theological treatise. Years later, one of those scripts was converted into a suspense novel with Grand Rapids as its geographical backdrop.

That rewrite resulted in the recent publication of his debut novel titled, “Playing Saint.” Published by Thomas Nelson, the narrative centers on Peter Saint, pastor of a mega church Bartels describes as a prima donna whose life takes an abrupt turn that lands him on the wrong side of the law.

To avoid a public scandal, Saint agrees to consult with the police on a series of brutal murders linked by strange religious symbols scrawled on each victim. He is clearly out of his element.

Growing Pains Will Stretch You

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

grandkids225A woman, who is also a developmental psychologist, recently wrote an article for the New York Times entitled, “When They’re Grown the Real Pain Begins.” She’s not talking about her muscles or bones; she’s referring to her children. The article talks about how she thought that once her children left the house, her job as mom would be complete. Then one of her adult sons experienced a very tough year filled with a broken relationship, a job loss, along with a devastating injury, and she realized she was wrong.

Once she heard about his challenges, she started formulating a plan that would help solve her son’s problems. She was respectfully told by him that he just wanted her sympathy, not her solutions. Through her article she simply wanted to share the pain she felt at seeing her son going through something so difficult and not be able to help him directly.

Kari Jobe Coming to Grand Rapids

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Jobe Kari w Cody Carnes2Kari Jobe with fiancé Cody Carnes on the Red Carpet at the Oct. 7 Dove AwardsKari Jobe is extra busy this fall.
    
Not only is the singer-songwriter currently on a nation-wide concert tour, but she’s also preparing for her wedding day in late November.
   
“Yea, I think when we’re in Grand Rapids, we’ll be about three weeks out,” said Jobe noting her Nov. 1 stop at Sunshine Community Church.
    
“Fortunately I think I’ve got pretty much everything done – just some last minute things with my mom, but those will be easy,” Jobe said during a phone interview from San Antonio, Tex.
    
It was just on Oct. 7 that the artist was at the annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards in Nashville, where she won an award for top Praise and Worship Album of the Year (“Majestic”), and performed her song “Forever.”

Tribes Church: The Fruition of a Dream

Written by on . Posted in Local

Damon and Newman 1Dawn Scott Damon is co-founder and co-pastor of Tribes Church and Julian Newman is its co-founder and lead pastor. The newly shampooed carpets and freshly painted hallways are conspicuous indicators Tribes Church in Rockford is crackling with a new mission that came about when the former St. Stephen Lutheran Church congregation opted to birth a legacy church.

Tribes Church’s first worship service was Oct. 12, which drew 253 adults and children.

“It is the fruition of a dream,” said Dawn Scott Damon, co-founder and co-pastor of Tribes Church. Tribes Church’s pastoral team includes co-founder and lead pastor, Julian Newman.

“God’s grace was on everything,” added Damon. “Nothing went wrong, which was just a miracle.”

The 13,627-square foot Tribes Church, at 6070 Kuttshill Ave. NE, is formerly St. Stephen Lutheran Church, which was later renamed three years ago Rockpointe Lutheran Church before it was repurposed as the Wesleyan affiliated Tribes Church.

Tribes Church is a multi-cultural church based in part on a dream Newman received from God 16 years ago to break the barriers of race, generation and class to redeem Greater Grand Rapids with Christ’s love.

Upbeat Results for ‘Praise in the Park’

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

praise in the park2     Richard Moll is bringing a good report Oct. 13 to the Rockford City Council about last summer’s “Praise in the Park” series in downtown Rockford.
   “There were 18 Sunday evening events put on by 12 churches, two Christian bands, and two individuals,” said Moll in a recent newsletter.
    This was the third summer for the Sunday evening series, which features inspirational/praise music at no charge provided by a variety of area artists – most of them worship teams from northern Kent County churches.

Step Up

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

kids2An estimated one-third of children will live in a stepparent home before the age of 18 and 50% will have a stepparent at some point in their lifetime. Approximately one-third of all weddings in America today form stepfamilies. An estimated 40% of women will live in a married or cohabiting stepfamily home at some point. There’s plenty of research and statistics that add up to a lot of families trying to assimilate but probably not blending.

Although some families do a great job mixing together, other families really struggle trying to relate. Part of the problem may stem from people trying to grow their new family too fast. They want instantaneous results having grown up in a click-here kind of world.

A Look Behind the Leader: Zack Ferrell of Christ Community Church

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

ferrell Zack2    Zack Ferrell took the road through Nashville en route to his new position as worship leader at Christ Community Church on Forest Hills Ave. SE.

     “I was born in southern Michigan but we moved to Nashville where I spent the majority of my growing up years,” said Ferrell, 24, during a recent interview.

     But the worship leader returned to Michigan just last summer and began work at Christ Community in August.

     “It’s been an interesting journey with relocating and getting plugged in here,” he said.

Local Pastor, Historian Adds Depth to New Study Bible

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

kentdobson225For Pastor Kent Dobson, finding ways to engage readers with Scripture is part of his job. As a writer and former schoolteacher, he found an outlet for his love of the Bible, teaching and history thanks to his work on the new “NIV First-Century Study Bible.”

The “NIV First-Century Study Bible” released in September and is published by Zondervan. Mars Hill Bible Church will host a book launch party on Sunday, Oct. 5, following the 11 am church service, and Dobson will speak at the Kregel Parable Christian Stores/Cornerstone University 2014 Pastors Breakfast on Oct. 7. He will speak on “Millennials and Bible Engagement” followed by a Q&A.

Terry’s Picks: October 2014

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian web writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area’s faith-based arts and entertainment events over the coming month. Here are three October highlights:

*Sara Groves – The inspirational singer-songwriter performs at 7 p.m. Thurs. Oct. 16 in Grace Community Church, 3500 New Holland St. Hudsonville. Through 10 studio albums and several special projects, Groves has woven thoughtful insights and introspection through her eyes of faith and into her music and life. Among her song collections are “Conversations,” “All Right Here,” and “Fireflies and Songs.” She burst onto the Christian music scene more than a dozen years ago, claiming a Dove Award nomination as New Artist of the Year. General admission tickets are $12, and can be ordered by pone at 800-965-9324 or at www.itickets.com. For more information contact the church at 616-669-6507 or www.solagrace.org.

Don’t Be Left Behind in Seeing 'Left Behind'

Written by Edwin L. Carpenter on . Posted in Local

leftbehind"Left Behind" (2014) is a gripping and dramatic apocalyptic movie that is a must-see film! It is crisply directed by Vic Armstrong, featuring a strong script based on the book by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. A previous film based on the book starring Kirk Cameron appeared in theaters in 2001. The excellent actors in this movie all hit the right note. The new movie stars Nicolas Cage and Chad Michael Murray, in addition to Cassi Thomson, Nicky Whelan and Lea Thompson.

The synopsis states: The most important event in the history of mankind is happening right now. In the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant terror and chaos spread around the world. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn. Planes fall from the sky. Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. There is no one to help or provide answers. In a moment, the entire planet is plunged into darkness.

Christians in Business: Baumann Building

Written by Amelia Rhodes on . Posted in Local


baumannBack row from left to right Jordan Venard, Chelsea Schipper, Nick Wesseldyke, Chris Barense, Mary Wilson, Ammie Bouwman Front row from left to right Brad VanderZwaag, Marci Baumann, Mike Baumann, Eric NykampMike Baumann, of Baumann Building, started out as a farmer. He had a love for being outside, but didn’t want to farm the rest of his life, so Baumann attended a tech center to learn the trade of framing and building. He began his building career working for another builder and ended up running a crew. Soon after marrying his wife, Marci, in 1997, Baumann told his boss that in a few years he’d like to go on his own and start an excavating or building company. The next day, Baumann showed up for work and was informed this would be his last week on the job. After just two weeks of marriage, Baumann found himself unemployed.

“God was good, and the next day I went to work. I’ve worked every day since then that I wanted to work,” Baumann recalled. The day he lost his job, Baumann started making phone calls to friends in the industry. A man he knew had work for him, and Baumann started framing the very next day.

Grand Rapids Church More Than Ready for “Art Prize”

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

MurmurationThere’s likely no church in West Michigan more involved in Art Prize than Monroe Community Church, on Monroe Ave. NW just north of downtown Grand Rapids. 

“Our church art gallery is also our sanctuary, so the Art Prize exhibits surround us as we worship on Sundays,” note Steve Fridsma, one of several church members on an art selection panel.

Art Prize is an open, international art competition featuring more than 1,500 works of art exhibited at more than 170 locations around the Grand Rapids area. Voters have a say in who wins the hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.

Monroe Community has been an official Art Prize venue in all six years of the event.
    
“I believe that Art Prize is consistent with our church mission statement: Connecting our downtown community with our life-changing God,” said Fridsma, who is the church’s official Art Prize liaison.

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