Champions Of Change From Cedar Springs

The Cedar Springs Post has a nice article about the ArtPrize exhibit featuring some of us from Cedar Springs. And, for the record, I don’t feel like an “unsung hero,” as the gracious folks in Cedar Springs are always very kind!

Three Cedar Springs area residents are being recognized for their role in the community as “Champions of Change.”

Photographs of Brian Rosenberger and Amy Outwin, who founded the non-profit “Bless the Children,” and Craig Owens, who is pastor at Calvary Assembly of God, and executive director of the En Gedi youth center, are part of an exhibit by photographer Adam Bird titled “People helping people.” The exhibit is located at 118 Commerce Avenue at the United Way Center.

*N-Cedar1 residents featured Artprize Amy and Brian“These photographs are of a few of the people who are united in the common cause of improving our community. Each person is different, with their own story, their own reasons for why they do what they do,” explained Bird. “The photographs and stories are meant to remind all of us that there is no one type of person, no age group, no chosen few who control the evolution of our community; it is the concerted actions of everybody, through their investment of time and money that our community changes. We are all different, we can all work together, and that is what makes us strong.”

*N-Cedar2 residents featured artprize Craig OwensAmy and Brian founded Bless the Children to encourage and build the self-esteem and confidence of children by supplying new clothing items to those in need. Amy and Brian work from individual requests from teachers, and partner with Cedar Springs Public Schools and Kent School Services Network – KSSN. When a request is made, they deliver bags of jeans, shirts, shoes, coats, boots, hats, socks or underwear to the school, sometimes sneaking in and out without even being noticed.

Craig is Senior Pastor of Calvary Assembly of God Church and Executive Director of En Gedi Youth Center, which provides innovative afterschool programming for middle school students in Cedar Springs. Craig has a passion for the Cedar Springs area and also serves as a member of the Cedar Springs Planning Commission. 

*N-Cedar3 residents featured artprize quilt“The people that are featured in this ArtPrize exhibit have found a way to use their talents and skills to make the community a better place. It is our hope that others will be inspired and reach out to United Way to be connected to the needs in the community,” says Maureen Noe, President and CEO of Heart of West Michigan United Way. “The needs in Kent County are complex, but helping people is not. Supporting your community through financial gifts, speaking out on important issues, and lending your time and talent are simple, yet powerful, ways to help better our community.” 

ArtPrize attendees can visit the United Way Center at 118 Commerce Ave during ArtPrize to meet these Champions of Change—portraits and narratives will line the front windows along the United Way Center.

On The Move!

I heart my churchJust about a year ago, I shared a message at Calvary Assembly of God called “The Church On The Move” (you can read a recap of that message here).

In this message I challenged our church that we needed to resemble the ministry of Jesus. Christ’s ministry was (1) mobile, (2) messy, and (3) meaningful. I said that in order for us to fulfill this, we couldn’t be tied to one piece of property that was six miles outside of town.

As the church prayed and sought God’s direction for this, He brought along a perfect buyer for our property on 17 Mile Road—2nd Chance School. It was a true win-win for both us and the school, and we praise God for bringing this all together!

Sunday, August 30, is our first week of being mobile. We will be meeting in Red Hawk Elementary school (you can access a map here) for our Sunday morning service.

This change of venue will allow us to be more accessible for ministry throughout the week, it will put us closer to the city we love, and it will free up finances to be able to go toward front-line ministries.

Please join us on August 30 at 10:30am as we move into our new meeting place. We are excited about the new ministry opportunities that God is going to bring our way!

If you would like to read more, please check out the Calvary Assembly of God press release we sent to the local newspapers.

Links & Quotes

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“There is only one basic reason why we disobey the commands of Jesus: it’s because we don’t have confidence that obeying will bring more blessing than disobeying. We do not hope fully in God’s promise.” —John Piper

“The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude’, you will probably be disappointed.” —C.S. Lewis

Cedar Springs has annual worship service for all of the churches in the area to come together. We call it UNITED. Check out this post on loving as Christians.

“Hitler was successful not because of the righteousness of his cause, but because of the way it was packaged and sold to the public. Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry are successful for very similar reasons.” Read more about Planned Parenthood’s Big Lie.

Links & Quotes

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“‘And Enoch walked with God’ [Genesis 5:24]. If so much as this can be truly said of you and me after our decease, we shall not have any reason to complain that we have lived in vain.” —George Whitefield

“A neglect of secret prayer has been frequently an inlet to many spiritual diseases, and has been attended with fatal consequences.” —George Whitefield

“You have heard many men’s dying words, and these are mine: A life spent in communion with God is the pleasantest life in the world.” —Matthew Henry, to a friend when near his death

Sgt. Jason Kelley is a wonderful asset to my hometown, and our surrounding area. So I couldn’t be happier that he has been named Kent County Deputy of the Year!

We are losing a pastor who has been so involved in our city. Pastor Tom Holloway is moving to South Carolina, and I am going to miss him.

A U.S. Army chaplain has found an innovative way to water baptize soldiers. Love it!

Eric Metaxas asks, “How can anyone defend Planned Parenthood after the sickening video came to light this week?” Check out his insightful answer.

[VIDEO] Here is the video from another Periscope broadcast I did about handling fear—

Links & Quotes

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“Sing, O heavens! and rejoice, O earth! Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” —George Whitefield

“Health for sick humanity! Medicine for a diseased world! A Physician for a dying race! Such are the messages which we bring. All of them overflowing with God’s great love to sinners.” —Horatius Bonar

TAKE ACTION: House Democrats have introduced a bill to force American taxpayers to pay for the murder of children! Contact your House representative to encourage them to vote NO.

This is very clever: Gregg Farah summarized every chapter of the Bible in two words or less.

So excited for our local high school teacher Dave Stuart, who is a finalist for Teacher of the Year!

Patrick Morley has a great suggestion for making deposits in your spouse’s emotional bank account.

Links & Quotes

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“Don’t hold onto anything so tightly that Jesus can’t take it from you.” —Corrie ten Boom

“Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice; it just entrusts it to God. He guarantees the right retribution.” —Max Lucado

“History is a vast early warning system.” —Norman Cousins

“How do we develop such trust? We seek the Lord in prayer, meditate on His Word, and walk in obedience. You may object, ‘But those things are all works.’ I disagree. They are all acts of faith. As we observe these disciplines, we are trusting that the Holy Spirit is at work in us, building up a reservoir of strength for our time of need.” Read more of David Wilkerson’s post Entering God’s Rest.

A couple of thousand years ago Socrates called the youth generation lazy, disrespectful, and lacking responsibility. Tim Elmore points out that there are 7 changes that affect every generation. Parents, teachers, coaches, and others that work with youth need to check this out.

Every summer in Cedar Springs all of the churches combine together for a huge worship service called UNITED. This year we have a special project: united to change the world.

[VIDEO] This morning I launched my first live broadcast on Periscope. You can find me there at username @craigtowens. Here is the video from my live feed—

Lifewalk 2015

We are so blessed to have such an outstanding pregnancy resource center like Alpha Family Center in Cedar Springs! Yesterday was the annual Lifewalk / Liferun to raise funds for Alpha. It was another great day! Over 160 people participated in the 5k run and in Lifewalk, and raised over $14,000. Thank you!

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