'Twas the night

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornIt's that time of year again. The period when we take a moment and reflect on the awesome Christmas story that many people first remember hearing as little children. I thought it would be good for us to take a moment and go back to that childhood and contemplate this beloved writing.

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring..." Wait, wait, wait. See, that's what most people think of when they remember the Christmas story. But that's not the authentic account of Christmas.

I hope that as you take a moment to ponder your life this Christmas season, you will remember the real story. The true story. The story that continues today and goes something more like this: "'Twas the night before nothing, back some 2000 years before, came the birth of a baby boy named Jesus, the blessed spirit, small and poor."

Area Christian Nonprofits Partner to Provide Homeless Men with Transitional Housing

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Mel Trotter ICCF Housing Rentals Cutline No. 1Adrienne Goodstal: “We are always looking to be good stewards of the resources God blesses us with.” Two Grand Rapids-based Christian nonprofits have partnered to provide transitional housing for men who previously had no place to live.

Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM) and Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) have opened two housing units at an undisclosed location on Grand Rapids' West side for men who are transitioning from the MTM shelter.

ICCF is the owner and property manager while leasing the two homes to MTM, which will continue to mentor the men in their new living surroundings. Combined, the two homes have a capacity of housing five men.

A Year Ending, A Year Beginning

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Toby Mac fedora and TshirtTobyMac As 2018 draws to a close it's a good time do a bit of reflecting. And add to that some looking ahead to 2019.

First, I'd like to mention a couple of holiday-related events coming up yet this month.

* This may be a bit different for the Christmas season... a live comedy sketch show, "Christmas Night Live (CNL)" is set for 7:45pm Fri. Dec. 14 at Grace For the Nations Church, 3333 Kraft Ave. SE Kentwood. Tickets and information at https://www.facebook.com/events/334162673821761/or call 616-974-9128.

For King & Country: Drumming into Christmas

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

For King  Country - Luke l. and Joel Smallbone2Luke (left) and Joel Smallbone of For King & Country Luke Smallbone recalls how it all started when he and his brother Joel began doing music.

"I thought, 'What do I know how to do?'" asked Smallbone, now 32.

"I knew how to play drums a little bit....and from then it was just getting some drums together and hitting on them as hard as you could."
Now the creative duo and accompanying band For King & Country have their own giant-sized Christmas tour titled "Little Drummer Boy" (with special guest Zach Williams, coming to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids Dec. 9).

Battling Alcoholism? Steve Agler Understands. ‘There is hope’

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Steve Agler Cutline No. 1Linda and Steve Agler There was a time in Steve Agler’s life where everything fell out of place.

A volcanic divorce, damaged wrist bones, drinking two fifths of vodka daily that made him too inebriated to treat his patients in a once successful chiropractic practice resulted in Agler’s downhill spiral. He eventually found himself homeless and eating out of dumpsters.

That was the former Steve Agler.

Ode to Empty Nesters

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornThat's me. A sort of empty nester. I now sometimes have my dad staying with me along with one of my adult daughters. Parents of younger children often dream about this time when they will be empty nesters. The kids will be out of the house and it will just be the two of them again.

For some parents that idea might be a frightening thought. Some couples have invested their entire life in the activities and lives of their children and they don't know what to talk about or how to act when it is just the two of them. I'm thankful that Jane and I have always built in time for ourselves throughout our marriage relationship so that we are comfortable spending time together without the kids.

Friendship CRC to Display Dozens of Nativity Sets from Around the World Dec. 7-8

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Friendship CRC cutline No. 1Bev Abma: “My journey started years ago when we were in language school in Costa Rica.” The public is invited to gaze at an assortment of Nativity sets from around the world at Friendship Christian Reformed Church, 190 100th St. SE, in Byron Center.

The Nativity sets will number more than 100 and will be displayed from 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 7 and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Dec. 8.

A free will offering will be equally divided to support Growing Hope Globally, formally Food Resource Bank, a Christian nonprofit organization that raises resources to support farmers in developing countries to stem food insecurity; and Enyuaata e Maa Development Organization, or EMADO, that works in to substitute Kenya's female genital mutilation for Maasai women with more positive rites of passage.

Products from Global Gifts also will be available for sale.

Local Author Offers New Look at Bible Characters

Written by Hannah Lemke on . Posted in Local

LessthanperfectAnn Spangler, known for her in-depth and unique studies of biblical stories, this time turns to the flawed characters in the Bible for spiritual insight in her new book "Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We can Learn from Them" (Zondervan).

"I like to say that every story in the Bible is about God; I thought it would be interesting to look at these stories and offer cultural and historical context to see what they reveal to us," said Spangler. "I looked at a range of people, from the despicable like Herod the Great to some who are more like us: a mix of light and darkness."

Christmas Music…Drama, to Celebrate the Season

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Hark Up  Geoff HansenGeoff Hansen’s vocals supported by dozens of musicians in last year’s “Hark Up” Since West Michigan has already experienced a taste of winter, area residents seem further drawn to the upcoming Christmas holiday. The list of  musical/drama holiday events begins this month.

One of the preeminent holiday musicals each season is "Hark Up": the multi-media extravaganza featuring hundreds of performers – choirs and instrumental ensembles and soloists. This is the 19th year for the ambitious production, which features five performances: 7:30pm Fri. Nov. 30 and Sat. Dec. 1, and matinee shows at 3pm Sat., and 1:30 and 5:30pm Sun. Dec. 2 at DeVos Center for Worship & the Arts, at Grand Rapids Christian High School, 2300 Plymouth Ave. SE.

Mark Schultz Combines Family, Music

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Schultz Mark performanceSinger-songwriter Mark Schultz "I just can't stay away," said singer-songwriter Mark Schultz about his frequent visits to West Michigan. "There's a real pull for me there and I just love it."

The veteran inspirational artist was in Grand Haven just last August, closing out the popular summertime Worship on the Waterfront (WOW) series. And now he returns to the area for a solo concert Sun. Nov. 11 in Hudsonville at Fairhaven Church.

He brings with him a new album ("Follow"), several new stories, and a forthcoming Christmas release.

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