Christian Writer’s Group Offers Skill-Building, Encouragement

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

wordwA Word Weavers writers group at a recent meeting Writing is often a lonely pursuit.

Sitting by a desk or on a couch with a laptop, tablet, or legal pad waiting for inspiration. Perhaps struggling with a string of phrases or sentences. And then wondering what interruption will pop-up next to divert the attention from the task at-hand.

Here's a possible solution: Search out others who share your passion for writing and face similar writing challenges...join a writers' group!
"I believe that every writer needs to be in a group of their peers who understand the writing process," said Kathy Bruins, president of the faith-based Word Weavers of West Michigan. "That's where real feedback will be given with a goal of making their writing better."

John 10:10 Guides The Hope Project’s Battle Against Sex Trafficking

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

hope1THP’s Julia Koch: “People won’t support a mission or project if they don’t believe the problem exists.” They are lonely, afraid and abused, a modern day version of slavery that operates under a veil of darkness. But there's hope.

The Muskegon-based outreach and education ministry, The Hope Project (THP), 185 W. Laketon Ave., makes possible hope and healing for the women and girls ravaged from sex trafficking, while spreading awareness and prevention within the West Michigan community.

John 10:10 is its guiding principle: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Outcry Returns to West Michigan

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Daigle Lauren2 Lauren DaigleThe worship music-based Outcry Tour, the largest "worshipping tour" in Christian music, visits
Resurrection Life Church in Grandville on Mon. April 24.

This year's Outcry line-up is somewhat scaled back from the 2016 version which played in Van Andel
Arena. But the Elevation Worship Band and Jesus Culture are back, along with award-winning singer-
songwriter Lauren Daigle. Pastor-authors Steven Furtick and Levi Lusko are also on the bill.

Daigle, 25, is one of the hottest names in Christian music. The title song from her debut album ("How
Can It Be?) won a 2015 Dove Award as Song of the Year – the same year she won a Dove as top artist.
Last year the album was nominated for a Grammy Award and the Louisiana native won Doves for top
songwriter and artist of the year.

New Paradigm Needed to Make Senior Adults’ Years Their Best, Say Encore Alliance Leaders

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

tomcEncore Alliance vice president Rev. Tom Couch said senior adults’ problems are not going away any time soon.Older adults face a growing number of trials. The nonprofit ministry, Encore Alliance of Greater Grand Rapids (EAGGR), has an ambitious program intended to make their later years rewarding.

But it requires helping seniors clear some challenging hurdles.

Rising healthcare costs, isolation, obesity, binge drinking and an increasing rate of sexually transmitted diseases are a handful of issues that promise to tarnish senior adults' golden years, according to a EAGGR-sponsored seminar that was attended by 45 community leaders at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corp Community Center.

Painter Tom VanDerKolk operates business with integrity

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

vdk Tom VanDerKolk: “The biggest key is putting others first.”Tom VanDerKolk is no stranger to humble beginnings. Nearly 26 years ago, the energetic VanDerKolk grabbed a bucket, brush and a four-foot stepladder and painted a home in Wyoming for $400.

Fast forward to today: VanDerKolk is president of Grand Rapids-based VanDerKolk Painting Inc., an industrial, commercial and residential operation that has a staff of 30 employees. Twenty-four of them are painters, rounded out with estimators, an office manager, and a field supervisor and shop manager. Sales this year is projected at $4 million.

Part of the revenue outlook is because VanDerKolk recently acquired Kooi Industrial Painting, a Grand Rapids industrial sand blasting and painting services company founded in 1927, whose notable projects include the Calder in downtown Grand Rapids, the Sixth Street Bridge, and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Bridge Street Mission School Strengthens, Deepens Faith

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

BSHOP Mission School cutline No. 1Ryan Waalkes is Bridge Street House of Prayer’s director.Bridge Street House of Prayer's Mission School is not intended for young people who prefer to chill in a coffee shop with their friends or check out the latest Facebook posts. It's deeper and more satisfying than all of that.

Rather, BSHP's Mission School is an eight-month discipleship program that immerses students ages 18 to 29 people into a life of mission. They learn what it truly means to hunger for Jesus, affirms BSHP director Ryan Waalkes.

Concerts Taking Shape in 2017

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

429 Building 429 performs Jan. 28 in ZeelandOnce again West Michigan's Christian concert scene began January with a winter blast – a Winter Jam blast, that is. The annual 10-band concert tour hit Van Andel Arena on Jan. 8 headlined by David Crowder.

The tour also marked the Van Andel debut of young faith-based rapper Steven Malcolm, a Wyoming Park H.S. grad whose new album debuts Feb. 17. (see previous article)
 
Let's check the post-Winter Jam list and see what's ahead.

Faith-based Blues Gym Mentors Kids through Kickboxing, Living out God’s Word

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

dino1 (left to right): Artist Paul Collins and Dino Newville are the Blues Gym co-founders.Step inside the Blues Gym at 4248 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Kentwood, and you’ll immediately see equipment associated with a physical fitness: a boxing ring, punching bags and gymnastic mats. But its co-founders, Dean “Dino” Newville and Paul Collins, see something beyond a room dedicated to training kids boxing, kickboxing and martial arts.

They see a place where at-risk youth learn from nonjudgmental instructors a better route to take that doesn’t involve drugs, where they learn morals and respect for police officers and themselves and realize the Word of God through deeds and actions.

New Service to Connect Churches, Worship Players

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

acesion An Ascension Worship audition at Santos Guitar USAA network to help area churches fill temporary openings for worship players is on the way to West Michigan.

Ascension Worship is an international organization with individual networks in more than a dozen U.S. cities. Now it's coming to Grand Rapids and already local worship artists are getting involved.

"We've been holding auditions every Tuesday and Thursday," said local Ascension network manager Ace McKay. "We're trying to get as many completed as we can, so we can start making (the artists) available to churches that need them." Instrumentalists, vocalists – even sound technicians – have all stepped up to be part of the emerging network.

SOWERS Plants Retirees Where Help is Needed; ‘Anyone Interested Should Look into it’

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

SOWERS 1Retired and still making a difference, left to right: Jim and Marilyn Proudfit and Marilyn and Sidney Postma.Before he retired in 2010 from Dermody Trucking's maintenance department, Caledonia resident Sidney Postma faced a sobering decision. Should he relax and while away his time or do something to make a difference in others' lives?

"If you just retire and sit home and rot, that's what would happen, Postma said of the post-work choice he did not go with.

Instead, Postma said he made the right decision — on behalf of the Lord and His people as a volunteer member of an interdenominational ministry that enlists the help of couples who travel the nation to work on a plethora of projects for Christian ministries.

And "Christian ministries" is an expansive term. It includes churches, conference centers, campgrounds, orphanages, schools, missionary retreats and training facilities, homes for abused children and recovery homes for adults.

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