A new misnomer has tunneled into our vocabulary. What we once called the problem of crime has been renamed “The Incarceration Problem” by neo-reformers who seek reduce the prison population using early release, lighter sentences, or no sentence at all. Yet their nearsighted view focuses only on the effect, while failing to address the obvious cause: crime. Furthermore, the entire argument cannot withstand the test of reason, as it is built on three baseless assumptions: 1) convicts are unfairly incarcerated; 2) incarceration fails to make the public safer, and 3) incarceration should prioritize rehabilitation over justice.
“WOW Hits 2015” comes to stores on September 30 – two CDs full of recent/current hit songs by premier contemporary Christian music artists which will carry you into the new year.
Top songs by top artists is a winning combination and the annual “WOW” CDs (and their various spin offs) have sold tens of millions of copies since they debuted in 1995.
Here’s part of the latest WOW “big hit” list – “We Believe” by Newsboys, “Do Something” Matthew West, “Thrive” Casting Crowns, “Shake” MercyMe, “Speak Life” TobyMac; and the hits just keep on coming.
"These are the defining issues, but behind all of the topics is the church's belief in the authority of Scripture, and whether we believe what Scripture says is Truth or not," said Ingram, senior pastor of Venture Christian Church near San Jose, CA, and former president of Walk Through the Bible. "Our base issue is that we're not sticking with what Scripture truly says."
Ingram will be in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 16, to speak at Sunshine Community Church as part of a book tour to promote his new title "Culture Shock: A Biblical Response to Today's Most Divisive Issues," released by Grand Rapids-based Baker Books in August. The book is an effort to apply the Bible to the most pressing cultural issues of the day, and is rooted in biblical exposition and personal stories.
*Kathy Troccoli – The singer-songwriter/author co-hosts the “Hope’s Alive” conference Sept. 12-13 at Corinth Reformed Church, 129 100th St. SE, Byron Center. The conference designed for women has sessions from 7-9 p.m. Friday and 9a.m.-12:30p.m. Sat. Included are presentations, worship, and a “Heart to Heart” session as well as concert with Troccoli. Also at the conference are singer-worship leader Michelle Margiotta and several other special guests. General admission group rates for 10 or more tickets begin at $29. Individual tickets begin at $33. Premium seating is also available. To order and for more info, www.itickets.com, 615-478-0247.
“We just pretty much do exactly what we would do when we’re at church,” explained Ware, 28, of worship at the huge Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia.
“From the lighting we use, the graphics, the lyrics on-screen…everything so the people can engage and worship with us.”
Such fantastic plans I had for this summer. I had a pile of books I wanted to read to my children, topics such as our bodies, peer pressure, boys and dating, healthy eating, and the adventures of that dear fella—Winnie the Pooh. And then there were the camping trips filled with frogs and camp store licorice and ice cold lemon tea. And showing the children the delights of the garden—peonies and ants, lilies and slugs. Fantastic plans they were.
Tuesdays are big for Moses Mares of Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich.
“My whole day is wrapped up in planning for worship the following Sunday,” said Mares during a recent interview.
“I look at the scriptures and the teaching topic, I make sure I get proper music packets together, I research stories behind the songs and plan for our weekly rehearsal that we have that night.”
Lysa TerKeurst is author of the bestselling books “Made to Crave” and “Unglued,” and is founder and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She talks to West Michigan Christian News about her new book “The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands,” available in bookstores in August.
WMCN: What prompted you to write “The Best Yes?”
Lysa TerKeurst: For a couple of years I’ve been praying that God would “unrush” me. I had realized that either I was going to set and run my schedule, or it was going to run me. How I set my schedule determines how I run my life, and how I run my life determines how I spend my soul. I kept getting the sinking sense that I wasn’t spending my soul well.
Fortunately for the Christian, there are a lot of wonderful DVDs which have been released or are soon to be. Son of God was released on June 3, 2014, and is still ranked number four in Amazon.com’s bestseller rankings among faith and spiritual movies. It is ranked number nineteen in the drama category. It grossed nearly $60 million at the domestic box office. This is the Roma Downey and Mark Burnett film starring Diogo Morgado as Jesus and is one of the more accurate portrayals of His life.
God’s Not Dead is to be released August 5, 2014. It stars Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain. It is a compelling story as Sorbo plays a philosophy professor who begins his class by demanding that his students sign a paper stating that God is dead. One brave young pupil named Josh refuses to sign and is told by the professor that he must debate the topic in front of class and give evidence that God is not dead. Josh agrees. He later learns why the professor is bitter toward God. A subplot involves Dean Cain’s character, named Mark, a self-absorbed man who ignores his girlfriend when she needs him the most and his elderly mother who is living in a nursing home and suffering from dementia. Yet the lesson is made clear in the film: one can’t outrun God. The movie has made over $60 million at the box office thus far.
Michael Hyacinthe has a heart for veterans, especially our nation’s wounded warriors. A former Nave SeaBee himself, Hyacinthe knows what it’s like to come home after serving his country.
That heart for veterans and his Christian faith have guided him into two roles that have veterans at the center. First is the non-profit Fashion Has Heart, which utilizes the power of creativity to help wounded veterans rehabilitate and helps them reintegrate into the broader society.
The upcoming movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale as Moses, looks promising according to The Dove Foundation’s CEO Dick Rolfe, The movie is scheduled to be released on December 14 this year. After he recently viewed a trailer for the picture that just hit the internet and movie screens, we spoke with Mr. Rolfe about the film.
When asked about his expectations and hopes regarding the movie, he replied, “I am looking forward to watching the re-telling of The Ten Commandments. From the just-released trailer, it appears to be a well-made epic-scale motion picture. The special effects are much more impressive than the 1956 version, benefitting from technological advances in filmmaking.
“I hope that 20th Century Fox learned something from Paramount’s epic debacle, Noah, which has not yet recovered its production costs in gross domestic box office. That’s what you get by turning a Bible story over to a director who’s an avowed atheist. Fox has a chance to redeem the studio system by making certain that Exodus: Gods and Kings accurately tells the story of Moses and the Hebrews’ escape from Egyptian tyranny. My guess is they will succeed.”
Singer-songwriter Shawn McDonald has taken a bolder approach in his latest album.
And one result: the title song, “We Are Brave,” became the veteran artist’s first No. 1 Christian radio hit.
Ever since his acoustic-driven break out hit “Gravity” nearly 10 years ago, the artist has occasionally surfaced with new material, mixed in with a couple of live projects.
“Brave” carries more “electronic” effects than his early work. Some of the songs were produced by David Garcia, providing a more pop-influenced sound for McDonald.
For Colleen Geisel, new executive director of Alpha Women’s Center of Grand Rapids, this is a revisioning time at the center. She and the staff are narrowing their vision to not duplicate services available at other organizations, adding services not being offered elsewhere, and discovering which things they do well.
“We’re in a position to grow exponentially thanks to our facility and our location,” said Geisel, who has been director for three months. She and her family returned to Grand Rapids after 12 years working and serving in Asia.
“I had no intention of taking the job, but I walked into the building and the Spirit of God was in this place. I could not leave,” she said. “God called me into ministry in 1991 at Calvary Church and he won’t let me do anything else.”
Marie Elzinga, music coordinator at Pathway Church, doesn’t have to go far to report to the church pastor.
Steve Elzinga, Pathway’s lead pastor, is also her husband.
“We communicate about what he has planned for the following week and I help make sure we gets things done,” said Marie about her worship responsibilities.
Among those are selecting and preparing music – transposing chords and writing lead sheets for worship team members – planning the weekly rehearsal and making sure everyone is “on the same page.”
Pathway has a single Sunday morning worship, in generally a blended style.