TobyMac Digs Into Hits Deep

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

TobyMacSinger-songwriter TobyMac suggests that the name of his "Hits Deep" tour has a double meaning.

"It's supposed to be 'hits' all night long," he said of his long catalog of top-charting Christian radio tunes. "But it's also songs that have hit listeners in a deep way – that's always the hope for my songs," he added during a recent phone interview.

At age 53, Toby McKeehan (his given name) has the luxury of a rich musical history, with seven solo studio albums to his credit. The latest is the Grammy-winning "This Is Not A Test," which offers a half dozen hits for his current concert set list.

Concerts a Key For Faithful Fan

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Cooper John and VanderMayRob VanderMay (right) and John Cooper Rob VanderMay can tell you that ten times is not enough.

For the tenth time the Kentwood resident saw the Christian rock band Skillet when they headlined the Winter Jam tour last month at Van Andel Arena.

Now he'd like to see them for Number 11 - when the band performs in Muskegon April 28 along with For King & Country.

"Yeah, I'd say Skillet is my favorite artist," said VanderMay, 29, as he recalled the band's booming, pyrotechnic-flavored Jan. 7 set that filled Van Andel to the rafters. Featured were classic tunes such as "Whispers in the Dark" as well as their very latest, "Feel Invincible."

Love Me or Love Me Not

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornIt's summer and flowers are in full bloom! As a young boy I remember picking flowers for a particular girl I liked. I would sit on the grass, check to be sure none of the guys were around and begin to pull off the petals one by one. As I plucked, I would repeat a series of phrases in a sing-song voice, "she loves me, she loves me not, she loves me, she loves me not," until all the petals were gone. The very last petal would tell me whether she loves me or she loves me not.

Summer-time Awakening Institute Stimulates Teens’ Worship Gifts

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Awakening Institute Cutline No. 1This year’s Awakening Institute is June 10-15.Holland-based Hope College adjunct associate professor in the music department Jim DeBoer is the founder and director of Awakening, a weeklong focus for students entering grades 10th through 12th in the fall who want to hone their worship gifts to use in the church.

This year's Awakening is June 10-15 and costs $500 per student. Scholarships are available. Tuition includes lodging at Hope College, food, a T-shirt, water bottle, backpack and busing students to different locations.

New Music Review: “The Second City – Part 1”

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Malcolm Steven cd cvr - second city pt 1The busy West Michigan native Steven Malcolm has released "The Second City – Part 1," the first of four extended-play projects scheduled for 2018.

Calling the four new songs "an ode to my past," Malcolm says these selections are his most biographical to date.

His father was a Jamaican immigrant who was deported when young Steven was just 10 years old. The elder Malcolm had been born in Montego Bay, also known as "The Second City." But the title also refers to the transformed new life found in Christ (a brief video testimony is available online.

Baker Book House Sells Eerdmans Inventory at Discount Prices

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

booksReaders looking for bargain prices on unique books will find shelves of surprises at a sale running Feb. 12-17 at Baker Book House.

Baker Book House purchased thousands of titles left over after Eerdmans Bookstore closed in late 2017. Now Baker is offering those books at 50 percent discount during the week-long event. Students can get an additional 10 percent discount with a student ID, and all sale guests can register to win a $100 shopping spree at the store.

"We're excited that we were able to purchase the Eerdmans volumes, and to offer them at discount prices to our customers, " said Sue Smith, manager at Baker Book House. "There is a rich mix of inventory that will be of interest to a wide range of readers."

Economist: Children Need Two-Parents, Not ‘Irrational’ Sexual Revolution

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Jennifer Roback Morse cutline No. 1Jennifer Roback Morse: “The conscience is developed inside the family and this is completely compatible with Christian teaching.” The sexual revolution touted unbridled freedom and pleasure, minus the consequences.

But economist Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Lake Charles, La.-based Ruth Institute, a nonprofit to end family breakdown by energizing survivors of the sexual revolution, sees sexual "liberation" that became widespread in the 1960s to 1980s in a far different light.

"The sexual revolution is irrational, it is impossible and it cannot stand on its own," Roback Morse said recently at the conservative think-tank, the Acton Institute. "It requires force and a lot of propaganda. Just because it's ridiculous doesn't mean it's harmless. It's a totalitarian movement that no Christian should have anything to do with."

Concert Scene Shaping Up For New Year

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Heath Brandon Brandon Heath performs Mar. 16 in HudsonvilleLet's not let the 2018 get too far along before we scope out the West Michigan Christian concert scene through this winter into the spring. And maybe we can get a hint of some summer concert action as well.

There are a couple of arena-sized events – literally.

Local Author Releases New Book for Writers

Written by Hannah VanKampen on . Posted in Local

PBK15RenderAnn Byle has interviewed close to a thousand people throughout her career as a freelance writer for local and national publications.

Now she's used that interview experience to fashion a practical book for Christian writers. "Christian Publishing 101: The comprehensive guide to writing well and publishing successfully—for new authors, editors, and students" is based on interviews with publishing professionals and book authors who provide advice in what could be called a "writer's conference in a book."

When writers go to a conference, often they cannot attend every session due to scheduling overlaps. With this book, that's not a problem. "I don't expect people to be interested in every single chapter," Byle said. "I tried to come up with a wide range of topics to apply to many different genres."

New Music Review: Debra Perry & Majestic Praise

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Debra Perry  CD CoverWest Michigan's multi-talented Debra L. Perry and her ensemble Majestic Praise have a new, praise-filled recording showcasing a mixture of styles.

"Conqueror" takes hold with its ear-grabbing title track featuring syncopated percussion and lyrical phrasing right from the scriptures.
Perry includes numerous Grand Rapids area musicians whom she has worked with through the years. The Bethel Seventh Day Adventist Choir contributes on "You Are God." A GRPS music teacher, Perry singles out the Coit Creative Arts Academy Honors Choir in "Look At Me Now" with a danceable sound and a bit of hip-hop style lyric.

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