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  • Leap

  • Relevant Docs: "Blessings"

  • Relevant Docs: "God Will Make a Way"

  • Psalm 1

  • Relevant Docs: "Cookies"

  • Psalm 23

  • Relevant Docs: "Art"

  • Relevant Docs: "Coffee"

  • Relevant Docs "Legacy"

  • The Thanksgiving Guest

  • Acting Like a Tourist?

  • Trust

  • What About Change?

  • The Last Presentation

  • Signs

  • He Is

Featured Articles

Billy Graham Was The Same in Public and Private, Says Cornerstone President. But Who’s Next in Line?

Joseph Stowell Billy Graham cutline No. 1Joseph Stowell: “Everything he was in public, he was in private and more in fact.” Evangelist Billy Graham, who held his first evangelist crusade in 1947 at the former Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids, was humble and genuine, said the president of Cornerstone University, who served on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association board for about 12 years.

Whether preaching to a throng of people at his evangelistic crusades or engaged in a private tête-à-tête, his character was consistent, Cornerstone's Joseph Stowell said of Graham who died Feb. 21.

Debut Novelist Pens Tale of Love and Mystery

Joanna Davidson PolitanoJoanna Davidson Politano, who lives near the Michigan/Indiana border, is drawing fans thanks to her debut novel Lady Jane Disappears. Aurelie Harcourt, whose father died in debtor's prison, takes over his serial novel writing under the pen name Nathaniel Droll. Droll is one of the most popular writers in Victorian England; but as Aurelie continues her father's story, she bases it on family with whom she is sent to live—but who have no idea it's their guest exposing their world.

Ann Byle: Tell us a little about your writing journey and your debut novel "Lady Jane Disappears."
Joanna Politano: The novel evolved as I wrote it over nine months or a year. It started out as a fun thing I did during my daughter's nap time, then became a more formal project. I had decided to set aside my publishing goals to raise a family but God said no. He said, "It's noble but not what I want you to do."

Imagining the Power of A Song

MM-Press-seated tableMercyMe, (from left) Barry Graul, Nathan Cochran, Bart Millard, Robbie Shaffer, Mike Scheuchzer "I Can Only Imagine," the award-winning, inspirational hit song, has been around for two decades.

Now re-popularized by a new movie of the same name, the uplifting ballad continues to be the trademark of singer Bart Millard and his band MercyMe.

"It's like the song that won't go away," smiled Nathan Cochran, bass guitar player of the band during an interview from Dallas, Tex. "But it's a song that is really special to us and we're not complaining about that at all." 

Third Day One More Time

Third Day - hier rez w 3Third Day (from l.) Mark Lee, Mac Powell, David CarrThird Day, the Christian music pop-rock band with a 25+ year history and numerous hit songs and awards, is saying farewell. The band has scheduled a final, 12-date concert tour this spring, which includes a June 22 stop at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids. But tickets, which went on sale Fri. March 9, are hard to come by
There was the usual ticket "pre-sale" period for a day or so prior to the "on sale" date. Pre-sale is limited to select fans or others who have a special ticket purchase code with only a small number available.

The general public went online fast and furious at 10am March 9 – but many soon saw the post on Ticketmaster.com: "Oh-no! These tickets went fast and we're unable to find more right now." More recent visitors to the ticketmaster website also saw prices above face value.

Hire for Hope Founder Grateful Safe Haven Ministries Helped Her Replace Distress for Courage

Hire for Hope cutline No.1Ashley Ward donates 10 percent of her revenue to Safe Haven Ministries because she wants to help abused women realize they can be more than they currently are. Ashley Ward has many reasons to smile.

In early 2017, the 28-year-old launched Hire for Hope LLC, her socially conscious recruiting firm that helps fill mid- to senior-level positions for West Michigan companies.

It's been so successful that she recently hired her first full-time employee, with an eye on adding one or two more staff members by the end of this year or early 2019.

To help accommodate her growth, Ward has plans to move her recruiting business out of her home office in Rockford and relocate it to downtown Grand Rapids.

Battered and Bruised

dan seabornDo you have days where your face feels swollen, your eyes are like slits from being half shut and your body aches all over? You feel beat up and yet no one has laid a hand on you? It's one of those days where either a group of negative issues has been piling up or you are emerging from a litany of several days where you've dealt with very difficult issues. Emotionally, you feel battered and bruised.

Some of us do a good job of hiding it. We may cake on a little make up to brighten our face. We wear a bright colored shirt to try and offset the dark feeling in our soul. We laugh but it's just a sound not an expression of joy. Some people reading this article right now are dealing with a battered and bruised spirit. And sadly, in many situations, the source is a complex family situation. Even if the culprit is outside your family, the effect it has on you will affect your family. That's why I want to offer a few suggestions that may help encourage you through the process.

‘Plantation Jesus’ Spells Out How to Forgive, Walk Toward Unity

Plantation Jesus Cutline No. 1Skot Welch: “Christians need to understand when one part of the body suffers, we all suffer.” While Skot Welch's long-time friend, Rick Wilson, lay in a hospital bed fighting for his life, the two made a pact.

"When I met him in the hospital and he told me of the diagnosis, he said, 'If I go to heaven, you need to finish the book and if I stay, I'll finish it,'" recalled Welch.

Wilson died of lung cancer March 5, 2014. And while he had wrote the majority of the book titled "Plantation Jesus: Race, Faith, & A New Way Forward," Welch was left with the daunting task of completing it and thus fulfilling his promise.

Welch and his wife, Barbara, are lead pastors of the Kentwood campus of Stones Church. For eight years, Skot Welch co-hosted with Wilson the radio program, Radio in Black and White, which discussed multiracial, multicultural and multiethnic relationships and featured live callers.

New Music Review – Cameron Blake

Cameron Blake Fear Not CD higher resLocal church worship leader and singer-songwriter Cameron Blake's latest CD has been garnering attention in a variety of places.

"Fear Not" – his third solo effort – features numerous guest artists in its addressing the sticky topic of fear. It sends out a call to look to love as a solution.

Blake (his given name is Cameron Warne) leads worship and is serve team leader at River Rock Church, which meets at Rockford Christian School on Belding Rd. NE. But his probing, contemporary-folk tunes have touched ears throughout the area's mainstream music community.

Cold-war Espionage Offers Significant Takeaways for Christians Today

Greg Forster cutline No. 1JPGGreg Forster said Whittaker Chambers’ found his true purpose in life when he surrendered to the Lord. “By turning to God, he was discovering who he really was,” said Forster. Whittaker Chambers risked his career, reputation and family when he disavowed communism and walked away from working as a Soviet spy.

Nowadays, his conversion to Christianity exemplifies why the only way to live life is by God's principles and not humankind, a conservative scholar said recently as guest speaker at the Acton Institute's Lecture Series.

Chambers (1901-1961) was a senior editor for TIME Magazine who wrote the autobiography Witness, initially published in 1952 that has since been reprinted, which details his life as an agent in the Fourth Section of Soviet Military Intelligence from 1932 to 1938, where he coordinated espionage activities with high-ranking United States government officials. Witness explains Chambers' exodus from communism and his conversion to Christianity.

Terry’s Picks: March 2018

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-based arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming month.

Here are three highlights for March:

TobyMac Digs Into Hits Deep

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

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

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

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”

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

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

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."

Terry’s Picks: February 2018

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-based arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming month. Here are three highlights for February:

Concert Scene Shaping Up For New Year

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

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

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.

Pastor-Author Affirms Generosity is God’s Intended Super Power for Humankind

Laura Sumner Truax Cutline No. 1Rev. Laura Sumner Truax: “When we start to live generously, we start to uncover the truth.” Most pastors would perform a celebrative dance if their church received a $1.6 million windfall, but the bonanza initially proved to be a time of spiritual hand-wringing for Rev. Laura Sumner Truax, senior pastor of LaSalle Street Church, a 300-member nondenominational congregation in downtown Chicago.

"I remember feeling so apprehensive," said Sumner Truax, guest speaker Jan. 11 at Calvin College's annual January Series. "I wondered would we survive this blessing. We were facing some pretty big church challenges. We had a big hole in our budget that was growing in a neighborhood that was rapidly gentrifying. We always had bigger dreams than we could ever fill. There were lots of pressure points around us."

Critter Barn a Gem that Teaches Public ‘Miracles’ of the Farm

Critter Barn Cutline No. 1(from left): The late Florence Henderson and Critter Barn executive director Mary Rottschafer with the Christmas Bunny. Mary Rottschafer compares her three-acre farm to a precious stone that offers the public year-round lessons in agriculture, compassion, life and death and yes, even a front-row seat to miracles.

Just don't make the mistake of calling Rottschafer's Critter Barn, 9275 Adams Street in Zeeland, a petting zoo.

"I feel there's a gem here that unfortunately society doesn't have much access to," said Rottschafer, the Critter Barn's founder and executive director.

"The Critter Barn is a educational farm that teaches children agriculture, how our food is raised and how creation sustains us because that was the plan from the Garden of Eden," continued Rottschafer. "We minister to a lot of children who are less fortunate or are challenged. We give God the glory for the farming community and help kids experience the miracles of the farm, which are unlimited in number throughout the year."

Terry’s Picks: January 2018

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

Winter Jam Veterans Return for 2018

Jason Roy 2nd from right and Building 429Jason Roy (2nd from right) and Building 429Jason Roy and his band Building 429 know the rhythms of the road on the giant Christian music tour called Winter Jam.

"We've done this tour five or six times," recalled Roy during a recent phone interview. "And every time it has felt like the fans are a great big family and are really fired up."

Since the late 1990s Winter Jam has played large venues across the country, including more than a decade's worth of shows at Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena. With 10 music artists, an inspirational speaker and a modest at-the-door admission charge, the tour has played to as many at 700,000 persons annually.

The (Real) Christmas Story

dan seabornDon't let the title fool you. This article isn't about BB guns, Chinese food, or someone's tongue getting stuck on a metal pole. I'd like to talk about the real Christmas story. The one about Jesus.

The story of Mary and Joseph is incredible for a number of reasons. For example, consider how Mary finds out that she is going to have a baby. She's visited by an angel of the Lord who reveals that she will become pregnant through a divine action. She's only about 13 years old and is engaged to Joseph who is probably in his late teens. Joseph learns about the pregnancy but initially he doesn't know about the spiritual intervention.

Therefore, he thinks Mary's been unfaithful to him because he knows he's not been with her. He's left with a tough decision to make. If he accepts Mary's pregnancy, the community will say that he's broken the law by sleeping with her prior to marriage. If he publicly divorces her, he runs the risk that she'll be stoned to death for adultery. Out of compassion, he considers divorcing her privately and not making it a public issue. While he is contemplating his decision, he is also visited by an angel of the Lord who tells Joseph he should go through with the wedding and not be afraid.

Bout With Brain Cancer Kindles New Mission: ‘I Shall Not Die But Declare the Works of the Lord’

Donna Hill Cutline No. 1-1“There’s power when people are connected by similar circumstances. We give Scripture and encouraging words to each other.” There was a time when Donna Hill was tentative talking to strangers about Christ. A bout with brain cancer that kindled a deeper move of the Holy Spirit has engendered her with a new mission.

"I have a testimony now that's great and I'm not ashamed to share it with people who will listen," said Hill, 68. "If I see someone who doesn't have hair (because of chemotherapy treatments), I'm not intimated to go up to them. I just share how God got me through my battle and He can get them through it too, and one of these days they'll have hair again just like me."

Hill initially assumed she had suffered a stroke in March 2015 when her husband of 48 years, Ron, drove her to Mercy Health Southwest Campus (formerly St. Mary's) in Byron Center.

Instead, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that resulted in a malignant tumor confined only in her brain.

New Music Review: "Give It Up"

Jeremy Hoekstra Give it Up EP CoverJeremy Hoekstra has a new seven-song collection centered on a theme of finding God's grace anew by letting go and looking beyond temporal circumstances. The collection is aptly titled "Give It Up."

Hoekstra, contemporary worship director at First Evangelical Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, features pop-rock settings for his inspirational lyrics. Some of the words are directly addressed to God, carrying Psalm-like strains of worship.

The highlight there is "Your Love." Beginning at a slower tempo, the song builds to an anthem-esque climax before offering its final, simple prayer, "Lead me out of darkness into your great light."

Hudsonville Christian School Marks 100th Year With Bright Future

Hudsonville Christian School Cutline No. 1Superintendent Dan Pott stands among artifacts collected in Hudsonville Christian School’s 10-decade history. Hudsonville Christian School (HCS) is in the throes of celebrating its 100th year of educating students from a Reformed perspective. Enrollment numbers and parents' comments indicate the preschool through 8th school's future will continue to shine brightly, said Superintendent Dan Pott.

"There's a real resurgence in people wanting a Christian education," said Pott. "We want to be an academic school and we want to be a school that does best practices, but we also want to make sure this is distinctively Christian."

Grant and Smith Together Again for Holiday Season

Michael W Smith-Amy Grant Christmas 20172Michael W Smith and Amy Grant team up for a Christmas tour. Singer-songwriter Amy Grant says her Christmas tour with fellow artist Michael W. Smith is a combination of numerous elements that bring the holiday season together.

"It's not artist-focused, it's message-focused," said Grant during a phone interview before a tour performance in Kennewick, Wash. "There's something about these Christmas concerts that is very galvanizing as the audience connects with each other and with the people on stage."

Local Author Addresses Social Issues Through Animals in Her New Books

Dawn-34Dawn M. Thompson, author of Barnyard Bully, Double Trouble, and the upcoming Sedwick the Seagull—scheduled for release in early 2018—has been writing since she was young. "I began writing as a child," Thompson said. "It was something I loved, and something I felt God wanted me to do."

Even though she had been writing for so long, Thompson didn't publish anything until Barnyard Bully in 2016. Thompson said she would get 90 percent of the way through a project and then move on to something new. After attending writers conferences she decided to begin looking into marketing and self publishing. She learned a lot from the internet—and from self-published author friends who made mistakes for Thompson to learn from—and published Barnyard Bully.

Model and Local Author Create New Book that Addresses Core Issues Women Face

Reitz YouAreBeautiful HCAshley Reitz seemed to have it all: an active modeling career, traveling all over the world, and starring on FOX's reality television show Coupled. But for this "curve model," it wasn't enough.

Now Reitz reveals her life-long struggle with body image, self doubt and insecurity in her new book "You Are Beautiful: A Model Makeover from Insecure to Confident in Christ," recently released by FaithWords.

"When I was in high school, there were certain themes that kept popping up in my life, things I struggled with. I felt God tugging on my heart and felt I'd go into women's ministry at some point in my life," said Reitz, who is moving from Florida back to Michigan, where she grew up, this month.

Lakeshore Author Pens, Illustrates Christmas Picture Book

snowglobeCatie Cordero is many things: chicken owner, blogger, fiction writer, mom, wife, actress. With the release of her new book comes another title: children's book author. The Magic Snow Globe is a children's picture book about Willow and Wendell Potter and their journey of discovery of what Christmas is really about.

Cordero was inspired to write The Magic Snow Globe by the rise of the internet and smartphones, and the effect of both on kids' imaginations.

"I see a trend happening where young children are on their phones or tablets and are constantly bombarded by technology. Whatever happened to people just reading?" Cordero said. She made this observation many times, to which her husband responded, "What are you going to do about it?" Thus, The Magic Snow Globe was born.

Terry’s Picks: December 2017

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-based arts and entertainment events over the coming month. Here are three highlights for December's Christmas season. Others are mentioned in his earlier article.

A Time to Say Thanks

dan seabornA few years ago many retailers started the tradition of opening their doors on Thanksgiving. Black Friday was no longer enough of a jump start on holiday profits. These stores offer such magnificent deals that even the most loyal Thanksgiving proponents consider sneaking away for a chance to buy that big screen TV at a ridiculously low price. Every year it seems a petition goes around on Facebook to stop these retailers, but so far that has not been successful.

I'm not writing this article to settle any debates, but rather my goal is to talk about the meaning of this day for you and your family. Maybe it will help you decide whether you should shop till you drop or give in to a tryptophan-induced nap on Thanksgiving Day.

“It’s Beginning to Sound A Lot Like…….”

Hark Up Horns Big BandThe Hark Up Horns Big Band It's time again for our annual Christmas concert preview. And as usual there are plenty of seasonal events to choose from.

The "season" actually backs up into November, but this listing will concentrate on those which actually occur in December.

The month starts up with a blast from "Hark Up" with four performances Fri-Sun Dec. 1-3 at DeVos Center for Arts and Worship at Grand Rapids Christian High School.

Safe Haven Ministries Expands Role in Battling Domestic Abuse

Executive Director Megan HopkinsExecutive director Megan Hopkins displays a rendering of Safe Haven Ministries’ future facility. Safe Haven Ministries (SHM) has provided a refuge for women and children who've fallen prey to domestic abuse for nearly 30 years.

Building on its wide-ranging approach to solving emotional, spiritual, physical and financial abuse and sexual assault are new initiatives intended to amplify its capacity to provide hope and healing to those maltreated.

New executive director

Megan Hopkins was tapped as SHM's new executive director, a role she's held as interim executive director since May.

College Choir Spreading Music of the Gospel

Gospel Choir led by Nate GlasperNate Glasper directs the Calvin College Gospel ChoirNate Glasper Jr. has watched the Calvin College Gospel Choir blossom in new ways in first year as leader of the ensemble.

"When I started as director (in July of last year) there were 38 members," recalled Glasper during a recent interview. "And this year that has grown to 67." (The Calvin group presents its annual fall concert at 3 p.m. Sun. Nov. 19 - see details below).

“The Garden” A Focus For Singer Kari Jobe

Jobe Kari singing at the 2017 Dove AwardsKari Jobe performs at the 2017 Dove Awards The inspirational theme for Kari Jobe's latest album points to the view outside her home's back window.

"The Garden," centered by its vulnerable yet hopeful title song, captures an emotional journey which culminates in the realization of God's healing of the soul. (Jobe brings her musical tour featuring "The Garden" to 20 Monroe Live on Sun. Nov. 12 – see details below).

"My sister and I were pregnant at the same time – she was a few months ahead of me," recalled Jobe, 36, from her Nashville area home.

Terry's Picks: November 2017

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer offers some suggestions for faith-based arts/entertainment and enrichment events over the coming month. Here are his three picks for November:

Smashburger Manager Credits Mel Trotter, God’s Peace for Straight and Narrow Life

Tony Johnson No. 1Tony Johnson: “I made it because I surrendered.” Tony Johnson represents a "first" for Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM). He is the first former resident of this multifaceted ministry to the homeless who serves as a trustee on its Board of Directors.

"I made it because I surrendered; God changed my life," said Johnson. "I'm blessed. To surrender your will means taking yourself out. There's no pride, no arrogance. I serve the King."

Then, without hesitation, Johnson recites Proverbs 3 5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

Avoid the Mulligan Mentality

dan seabornIn the game of golf, if a player hits a shot poorly, at times he or she is allowed to take a gimme. Officially, it's called a Mulligan—the first shot is disregarded completely, like it never happened in the first place.

I worked with teens for many years, and in that time, one of the most frustrating aspects of my job was dealing with parents who had a Mulligan mentality, moms and dads who were using their kids' lives to make up for the past. It was as if the sons and daughters were do-over's—I really sliced that first one, but I'll aim better this time around.

Doves a New Spotlight for West Michigan Artist

Malcolm S perf at 2017 Doves w HollynSteve Malcolm (center) performs at the Oct. 17 Dove Awards in Nashville Grand Rapids native and hip-hop/rap artist Steven Malcolm didn't win any of the three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards for which he was nominated.

But the experience of the Oct. 17 award ceremonies and surrounding activity left a strong impression.

"Last night was like a dream," he posted to Facebook followers the day after the Dove festivities.

Panel Reviews Lessons Learned From Segregated Christian School

Panel 1From left: Johnathan Bradford, Chris Meehan, Rev. Duane VanderBrug and Rev. Reggie Smith. Denominational mores and entrenched racism yielded to scriptural inclusiveness following black parents' struggle during the turbulent 1960s to enroll their children in a segregated Christian school in Cicero, Ill, a suburb of Chicago.

The effort to unsuccessfully integrate Timothy Christian School — and the scriptural lessons learned from the fracas — was recounted at a recent panel discussion held at Calvin College's Chapel.

The 1960s dust up eventually birthed the CRC's Office of Race Relations.
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