All posts filed under: Arts

Watch Gospel music ring out at Hurricane Harvey rescue shelter

Gospel singer Victoria White and others entertained people taking shelter from Hurricane Harvey in the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston. The song was videoed by volunteer Joni Villemez-Commeaux. White works as an admission counselor at Sam Houston State University. She was ministering with Outreach Missions who was raising support for the victims of Harvey. White’s powerful voice emanated in the hall as others joined the singing. So far the video posted on Facebook has been viewed over 12 million times. The death toll for the storm is now nearing 40 and includes the rescue of 13,000 people trapped by the rapidly rising waters that hit Houston and area. Sources: Lifting spirits: Texas woman breaks out into incredible gospel performance inside Hurricane Harvey shelter: Daily Mail Watch: Spontaneous Gospel singing fills Harvey evacuation shelter: Breitbart Advertisements

Credit: Markku Sandberg/Flickr/Creative Commons

Temple Incense Spices

Incense and Intercession [by Helene Rudolph] Alongside the fragrant precious anointing oil was the Temple Incense.  Incense is associated with intercession in scripture. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; thee shall be an equal part of each.  And with it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure (and) holy.  And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I shall meet with you; it shall be most holy to you.  And the incense which you shall make, you shall not make in the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the LORD”. Whoever shall make (any) like it, to use as perfume, shall be cut off from his people”. (Exodus 30:34-38) Pleasant Smells Revive the Soul The priesthood of old burned incense daily as a fragrant offering unto the LORD.  The Jewish Talmud records that women, as far …

Credit: Ram Balmur/Flickr/Creative Commons

Skillful Musicians or Musicians of Snobbery?

While there has been much discussion that  musicians must excel to be part of a worship team, one wonders if Christian leaders often revert to snobbery rather than skilfulness when selecting musical players. Biblical Pattern In the first book of Chronicles we are shown the selection pattern used in David’s tabernacle to determine those who were to have a ministry in music. “And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.  And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then waited on their office according to their order.” (I Chronicles 6:31-32) The musicians selected were Levites, those separated to the work of the LORD. “And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethern to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.” (I Chronicles 15:16) …

Dennis Prager speaking at CPAC 2016 in National Harbor, Maryland Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia

Political left calls for a boycott of conservative music?

Dennis Prager is a conservative columnist, author, talk-show host (nationally syndicated) and speaker based in California. The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra (SMSO) recently invited Prager to be a guest conductor for a benefit program to be held August 16 at the Walt Disney Concert Halls, in Santa Monica California. Many consider it one of the premium venues in the country. Prager has studied classical music for decades and has been a guest conductor for several orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pasadena Lyric Opera. Prager, an orthodox Jew, will be conducting one composition —  Hayden’s Symphony No 51. During past performances, Prager liked to show how the music is put together and often breaks down the symphony section by section to let people see what instruments are playing. Now it is important to understand that Prager will not be speaking at the event, only conducting. Nevertheless three members of the SMSO were so appalled that a conservative person would be conducting the orchestra, that a month ago they wrote a letter calling for …

Credit: luke siemens/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Lost Art of Story Telling

For thousands of years, the Elders of a people have verbally passed true life stories down to their children.  This was a major way for history to be recorded before the time when individuals began to record events on writing materials. Today, with the invention of the printing press and the explosion of digital technology, communication is transferred, more often through electronic means than from the voice of a loving father. This makes one question, ‘Who’s voice are your children hearing?” Story Telling is an Elder’s Duty The Israelites understood it was their responsibility to pass true stories from one generation to another.  In fact, they recognized it was the way the Lord God would make His ways and acts known to the nations. Even within the Song of Moses, this reality was communicated to the congregation. “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations.  Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:” (Deuteronomy 32:7). Not only was the Song of Moses sung to the …

The Cassia plant source of one of the ingredients of the Holy anointing oil. Source: sylvan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Holy Anointing Oil

[by Helene Rudolph] Exodus 30:23-33 sets forth the instructions given by God to Moses concerning the making of the Holy Anointing Oil, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Vessels were set apart unto God for sacred purposes, by anointing them with oil. With the mixture mentioned in this passage, Priests, Prophets and Kings were also consecrated for service to God, during the Old Covenant days.  (See I Sam. 10: 1- 6). “Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.” (I Sam. 16:13) The Recipe There were four fragrant ingredients added to the extra virgin olive oil namely myrrh, cinnamon, sweet cane (calamus) and cassia, to compound this oil.  Each of these fragrances carries a unique symbolic. Put together this oil carries a powerful message in and of itself.  The Holy anointing oil’s message speaks of sacrificial living, about walking righteously and upright according to God’s righteous standards and about judgments in humility. A Warning “And you …

Credit: Amber Orenstein/Flickr/Creative Commons

Liberated Artisans

In a previous article on “Craftsmen in Captivity ” we discussed the many ways in which artists and musicians are taken into captivity. Today, we want to “declare liberty to those  who are bound”. By open acknowledgment and repentance from sin and idols of the heart, one can set forth on a path of freedom for their spirit, soul and body. The Psalmist recognized the one LORD God, Elohim, as the great deliverer who could literally cause the freed captives to dream and sing. “When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue within singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, Whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.” (Psalm 126:1- 4) When Jesus Christ read a scroll written by the prophet Isaiah, he recognized the anointing of the Spirit of the LORD. God gave …

Credit: schmuu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Craftsmen in Captivity

Coveting Works for Gain History records that craftsmen, artists and musicians have been consistently targeted by their enemies.  They are often taken into captivity since those who carry a Babylonian spirit desire to make merchandise of their creative gifts. Multiple stories of coveting works for gain are documented repeatedly throughout the Bible. “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high, That he may be delivered from the power of disaster!” (Habakkuk 2:9) They Only Want to Worship Moses was called to bring deliverance to his people the Israelites, who were slaves to Pharaoh (Exodus 5).  Pharaoh became furious when he discovered the Israelites wanted to go into the desert and sacrifice to the most High God.  Ever consider that it was a Jewish workforce who helped build the Egyptian Pyramids? Today that Egyptian spirit still runs rampant. Have you wondered why anointed musicians and artists who only want to exalt the most high God are targeted in our modern age?  It all has to do …

Jacob's sons show their father Joseph's cloak telling their father Joseph was killed by a wild animal Credit: Wikipedia Painting by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)

Coat of Many Colors

We live in a world that often obsesses about the latest fashion trend.  Models and actors display top designers’ latest creations in magazines, fashion shows, movies, television and other multi-media venues. A culture of image-making has emerged causing a mass identity crisis for youth and adults alike. How tragic it is when an individual is shunned because of the clothes they are wearing, yet this happens multiple times a day.

While most of our garments are bought on a rack at a local shop, the mass production of clothing is a more recent phenomena.  At one time, all clothing was made by hand and tailored to fit an individual’s frame. Sewing and designing clothes was a skill passed down from generation to generation. Mothers were concerned that their children wore garments suited to their local climate and lovingly designed clothes which fit the environment. Proverbs 31 gives a detailed description of a virtuous woman who is known by her many good deeds and creative works.  This includes making garments for her household and her community. Her …

Credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr/Creative Commons

It All Begins with a Story

The Bible is a collection of 66 Books containing hundreds of stories.  It starts with, “In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1), and ends with John’s vision of Jesus declaring, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). These biblical stories record the history of mankind from Adam to Abraham and the birth of the nation of Israel.  It gives a chronicle of Israel from generation to generation.  It tells us of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, unto the early years of the church age. The Bible contains prophesies, some fulfilled within the context of the entire Bible, some fulfilled the past 2,000 years since the New testament writings.  Still others of these Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled today and some will be fulfilled in the future. More copies of the Bible has been sold or freely distributed than any other book in the world.  It is recognized world-wise as the greatest Book ever written.  It …

Pop star Katy Perry reconciling with her Christian parents: Is God next?

Mega pop star Katy Perry, 33, made some interesting statements in her interview with Dr. Siri Singh, on Viceland’s program The Therapist that aired the weekend of June 10, 2017. According to the Christian Post (CP), in the interview Katy talked about the pressures involved with being the pop star Katy Perry instead of who she really was Katherine Hudson. She expressed a desire of being her “authentic self.” But what I also found interesting is Katy’s discussion about God and her parents. Katy’s parents, Maurice and Mary (née Perry) Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors. As a child Katy accepted Christ. She was even filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. As a teenager, she sang gospel music and initially tried to make a career singing gospel. But today as one of the world’s top pop stars, for the most part Katy has rejected her parent’s Christian faith. But I saw signs in the interview that there is potential for things to change. First Katy talked about having suicidal thoughts after breaking up with …

Blind leading the blind by Francesco Pieter Brueghel the elder (1525-1569) Credit: Choo Yut Shing/Flickr/Creative Commons

Insight into Riddles

Webster’s Dictionary defines riddle as,  “Something proposed to be solved by guessing or conjecture; a puzzling question; an ambiguous proposition; an enigma; hence, anything ambiguous or puzzling.”

Encyclopedia Britannica describes a riddle as a, “deliberately enigmatic or ambiguous question requiring a thoughtful and often witty answer. The riddle is a form of guessing game that has been a part of the folklore of most cultures from ancient times. Western scholars generally recognize two main kinds of riddle: the descriptive riddle and the shrewd or witty question.”

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary calls a riddle, “a mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed.” Hebrew Definition The Hebrew word ‘hdyx’ (chiyah) is the original word translated to ‘riddle’ in the Old Testament.  ‘Hdyx’ is also translated in some scriptures as, ‘dark sayings’ and ‘difficult questions’. The Hebrew word ‘hdyx’ is  translated into English as, “riddle, difficult question, parable, enigmatic saying or question, perplexing saying or question”. Form of Entertainment In today’s society it is common for family members to watch television and play video …

Credit: Justin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Come-back Singers

Michael Jackson was just 50 years old when he died June 25, 2009. While no one will deny the man’s God-given talent for song and dance which was displayed in his early years, there are many questions surrounding his bizarre behavior in the second half of his life. The day of Michael Jackson’s death, I attended a weekly worship and prayer meeting where one spirit-filled Believer stated that she had been thinking about all the ‘old’ singers who have started touring again. Since many things in life begin with the natural (I Cor. 15:46) and then the spiritual, she wondered what implications this resurfacing of old musicians might have in the spiritual realm. Michael Jackson, as so many legendary acts like “The Eagles” and “The Rolling Stones,” wanted to make a come-back into the entertainment world. But as a believer that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the only one to be worshiped, I have to wonder if any person who claims himself to be the King of the music world will be …

Credit: rachelakelso/Flickr/Creative Commons

God Sings Over Us

The Greatest Singer/Songwriter “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Like many of his prophetic counterparts, Zephaniah uncovered the great truth that our great LORD is a God who rejoices over His people. Not only is this a God who sings over His people but He is also a songwriter. Isaiah, the prophet who’s writings are literary wonders also recognized that our beloved Bridegroom has a song which He makes known to His bride. “Now will I sing to my beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard”(Isaiah 5:1a). “…and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee” (Isaiah 62:5b) In Psalm 42:8b, the Psalmist tells us, “…and in the night his song shall be with me…” Scripture based Songs In my early years as a Christian, most churches sang scripture songs which I discovered was an easy way …

Credit: pixlars/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sound – The prerequisite to Music

While music is a huge industry, very few singers and musicians take the time to learn about sound, the prerequisite to music.  While the term “sounds of heaven” is often quoted in Churches, most Christians are clueless as to the true meaning of that phrase. If music ministers don’t understand God’s purpose for sound, they will not be adequately prepared for the battle. As the Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the church at Corinth, when discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit: “Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?”(I Cor. 14:7-8) Sound and Light Vibrations In the beginning God spoke (sound) and said, “Let there be light and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). This sound and light was the release of the Creator’s Glory since it was another three days before He created the sun …

Eurasian Wren singing (you can hear their song at the end of the article) Credit: Pieter van Marion/Flickr/Creative Commons

Birds teach us about songs

Birds Sing at Certain Times It is recognized that there is a time for the singing of birds and their songs communicate different messages.  King Solomon recognized this truth and even sang about it. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come…” (Song of Solomon 2:12). It appears that the Psalmist realized the power in song when he wrote; “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 104:33) Singing at Dawn The best time to hear bird songs is at dawn when birds all over the world demonstrate their greatest amount of singing activity.  With little wind and less disturbances, sound travels the best in the early morning.  Songs which are broadcast at dawn can be twenty times as effective as those broadcast at midday. However, with so many variety of birds competing for the same audience, they have a remarkable knack of sharing the stage. Mankind also is encouraged to worship …

Credit: Jonathan Chen/Flickr/Creative Commons

Dance of the Two Armies

A Dance Company After years of sojourning in a strange land and acquiring a large family with many goods, the Jewish patriarch Jacob set out for his homeland. Scriptures tell us that when he was on the way, he encountered the Hosts of Heaven. “So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp. And he called the name of that place Mahanaim” (Genesis 32:1-2) The english word Mahanaim is taken from the Hebrew word ‘Machanayim’ which means ‘double camp’(#4266 – Strong’s Concordance) and refers to #4264 – Machaneh (Makh-aneh) which is translated: “An encampment (of travellers of troops, hence an army, whether lit. (of soldiers) or figurative (of dancers, angels, cattle, locusts, stars or even sacred courts) army; band, battle, camp, company, hosts, tent.” It has been suggested that this double camp of the angels of God were as a ‘dance company’. Antichoric Dance Alfred Sendrey in his book, “Music in Ancient Israel” interprets Genesis 32:1-3 as, “What Jacob saw in …

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega sharing on their devotional Vlog WOW (Words of Wisdom): Credit YouTube Capture

Hollywood celebrities Carlos and Alexa PenaVega talk about the power of prayer

Actress Alexa PenaVega (nee Vega) recently shared an Instagram post on how prayer raised her 93 year-old-grandmother from the deathbed. This past week has been a struggle for my family as our beautiful abuelita (grandma) was on life support. It has been a bitter sweet experience. Here is this woman who has had such a full and beautiful life… 93 years old…12 kids… more than 50 grand kids…10 great grand children… just the most incredible little Colombian woman inside and out. This week her lungs collapsed. Her heart started failing. Her stomach stopped working and she fell into a coma. As we all prepared ourselves to say goodbye my family’s local church members came to her side and prayed over her for over five hours. When I say the power of prayer can bring forth the most amazing miracles THIS WILL FLOOR YOU. Our abuelita Yeya woke up completely healed. The Dr.’s cannot find anything wrong with her. They can’t explain it. They keep running tests to try to make sense of it all. But …

Award Credit: Youtube capture/The Recording Academy

A grandmother’s prayer leads to Chance the Rapper’s worship service at the Grammys

At the 59th Grammy Awards held Sunday, February 12, 2017, Chance the Rapper won three Grammys. The Grammy Awards are put on by The Recording Academy to honor outstanding achievement in music recording primarily in the English-speaking world. Chance the Rapper who recently became a Christian received “Best New Artist,” Best Rap Album” and “Best Rap Performance” at this year’s awards. He was nominated for seven in total for his recent 14-song album The Coloring Book. Five of the album’s songs have a significant Christian theme that marked the remarkable spiritual transformation that has taken place in the life of Chance the Rapper. In a radio interview he shared what happened. His grandmother saw him while he was performing on his Acid Rap tour — the name reveals where he was at spiritually — and she began to pray for her grandson. Chance the Rapper said: “One day during my Acid Rap tour, my grandmther saw me and began to pray. She said ‘I break off anything in your life that is not God.’ After …

Denzel Washington Credit: GabboT/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

An old woman’s prophecy over actor Denzel Washington said he would speak to millions

Denzel Washington, 62, is a popular American Actor, playing major roles in such movies as Remembering the Titans, Training Day and one of my favorites — The Book of Eli. He has won two Academy awards and three Golden Globes. In an interview with Parade Magazine, Denzel spoke of his strong spiritual roots, including his father who was Pentecostal preacher for nearly five decades. Denzel added that he reads the Bible daily and has read it through completely three times. God had a call and a purpose for Denzel and he tells of a prophetic word given him by an older woman at their church who many considered a prophet. She told Denzel that one day he would speak to millions of people. Denzel was 21 years old and had just flunked out of college. He was sitting in his mother’s beauty shop, when the old woman approached him. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Denzel recounts what happened next: It was March 27, 1975. I started acting four months later. She said, “You know …

Reba McEntire in concert Credit: Alisha Morgan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Country superstar Reba McEntire produces first gospel album

After divorcing her husband of 25 years, Narvel Blackstock, in 2015, country singer Reba McEntire, 61, turned to God and her faith to keep her through this difficult time. Referred to as the “Queen of Country,” Reba is one of America’s great country singers. She is a member of the Country Hall of Fame. In a career that has spanned 42 years, she has released 32 albums and sold over 85 million records world-wide and has 35 chart-topping singles. After seeking God during this dark period of her life, Reba sensed that she needed to release what would be her first Gospel album. Entitled, “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith and Hope,” the two album set features 22 Gospel recordings. Reba wants this album to encourage people to return to God. During the recording of one of the songs, How Great Thou Art, Reba felt the Holy Spirit’s anointing on the music: “When I got through with singing the song, I would go in there with Doug Sisemore, my co-producer, and Todd Tidwell. We would …

Carrie Fisher being interviewed at 2013 Calgary Expo Credit: Steve Potter/Flickr/Creative Commons

You have heard of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but did you know Todd Fisher?

I was picking up a coke at the fast food place I regularly go to for lunch. It is where I write many of my articles. I briefly asked the waitress how her Christmas went. Her first comment — “it was full of death.” She was of the age where the recent deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mom Debbie Reynolds impacted her. Carrie, 60, is perhaps most famous for playing Leia in the Star Wars saga. She had a heart attack on the plane while flying from England to Los Angeles and died a few days later (December 27, 2016). She was very close to her mother, famed actress Debbie Reynolds, 84, who died a day later (December 28, 2016) from a stroke. Debbie was a major movie actress in the 50s and 60s starring in such hits as Dancing in the Rain and How the West was Won. She had married actor Eddie Fisher, who she divorced in 1959. But there is one member of this famous family you probably haven’t heard of …

10-year-old autistic girl sings Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ with a Christmas twist

A 10-year-old autistic girl from Northern Ireland is wowing social media with her Youtube version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Leonard Cohen, a Canadian song writer and singer, died on November 7, 2016 at age 82. Kayleigh Rogers attends Killard House school in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. The school has 200 students from ages three to 16. In the song, that has since gone viral on Facebook with over 1 million views, Kayleigh leads the school’s choir in a moving rendition of the international hit. Since it was part of the Killard House’s Christmas program, the school changed the words to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Kayleigh started school at age 7 and not only struggles with autism but ADHD as well. Though of moderate severity, they have resulted in “learning delays” for Kayleigh. In an interview with BBC, the school’s principal Colin Miller said Kaylee is normally a very shy girl, but when she begins to sing, she shines. Miller told Belfast Live: “She may only be a child but she has an amazing tone …

Justin Bieber in concert at the Chateau Neuf in Oslo, Norway Credit: NRK P3/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is pop star Justin Bieber preaching the gospel back stage at his concerts?

According to a report in the English newspaper, The Sun, Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber is preaching the gospel as part of his “Purpose” concert tour. Sources told the paper, that Justin is holding Bible studies back stage and encouraging those in his entourage, including opening acts, to become Christians. The unnamed source said: “Backstage on his Purpose tour, Justin has been sitting down with his opening acts and encouraging them to put Christ before anything. His aim is to convert the people he loves and warn others against the evils of the industry.” The source added that since Justin became a born-again believer, his life has changed for the better and he is making “better decisions.” I previously reported on how Justin sang a popular worship song — “I could sing of your love forever” — at a concert in Paris on September 20, 2016 as part of this tour. Overall the Purpose tour has received favorable reviews. The tour started in Seattle on March 9, 2016 and Seattle Times reviewer Owen Smith wrote, …

The Singing Contractors: Facebook

‘The Singing Contractors’ unexpected climb to fame

Two general contractors working in and around Indianapolis, Indiana have taken social media by storm, not by displaying teaching videos on contracting techniques, but by singing. Aaron Gray, 39 and Josh Arnett, 40, have been friends since childhood. Today, they work as contractors — pounding a hammer. Living about an hour apart outside Indianapolis, they often work together on projects. Initially they started out singing together while they worked, but at one point they decided to record the songs on their phones. All their songs are ‘a cappella’ but often have a cathedral type sound as they sing in empty homes. Both Arnett and Gray come from Christian homes, but neither of them had sang professionally. The turning point came last year when pastor Paul Biggar joined them in singing “How Great Thou Art.” They sang it in three-part harmony in the basement of a home they were working on. They shared it on Facebook and within a few weeks the video was viewed 19 million times. Because of their almost instantaneous climb to fame, …

Credit: Jonathan Chen/Flickr/Creative Commons

Intercessors: Engaging the enemy

I consider myself an intercessor and it has taken the full length and breadth of 30 years to understand what intercession is and who I am in this gifting and calling. Intercessors, in their various roles, stand in the gap for people in prayer and worship to enhance God’s presence, draw people in and bring them into a more intimate experience and connection with God. Not everyone is called to intercede in this way.  There are many roles that intercessors play and one person does not do it all. I am a dancer and along with other women, I dance in church during worship with ribbons, scarves and flags. As intercessors we need to be sensitive to shifts in the spiritual realm.  We often find ourselves pressing into these shifts to enhance the worship and/or step into warfare to exercise authority over the enemy and his strongholds. There are moments in worship on Sunday mornings when I grab a flag and begin to intercede with the flag during the height of worship. At other times, …

Michael Buble in concert Credit: jeaneeem/Flickr/Creative Commons

Michael Bublé’s family share a statement of faith about son Noah

I have a confession to make. One of my favorite performers is Canadian Jazz singer Michael Bublé, 41. I haven’t got a bucket list, but if I did — attending a Bublé concert would be on it. So, like many, I was shocked to hear Michael’s sad announcement that doctors diagnosed his son Noah, 3, with cancer. Michael and his wife, who also have a son Elias born earlier this year, initially thought Noah had the mumps. However, a visit to a doctor in Buenos Aires — later confirmed by a doctor in Los Angeles — presented the grim diagnosis of cancer. On his Facebook page, Michael and his wife Luisana Lopilato asked for prayers. “Luisana and I have put our careers on hold in order to devote all our time and attention to helping Noah get well. At this difficult time, we ask only for your prayers and respect for our privacy. We have a long journey in front of us and hope that with the support of family, friends and fans around the …

How ‘Back to the Future’ actress Claudia Wells became a Christian

I was recently reading an article on Claudia Wells, 50, at News.com.au. For those not familiar with Claudia, she played the role of Jennifer Parker, Marty McFly’s girlfriend, in one of my favorite movies — Back to the Future. Starring Michael J. Fox, it was a blockbuster release in 1985. Fox played the role of Marty McFly who traveled back to his family’s past in a time machine cleverly disguised as a DeLorean sports car. Towards the end of the article, Claudia answered the question on what she would do if she could really travel back in time in a DeLorean. Claudia said: “I would go back in time to hangout with Jesus. I’d just hold his hand, look  in His eyes and just take Him in and have a good chat.” Claudia Wells is a Christian and if you go to her Facebook page you will see her feed filled with inspirational Biblical quotes. It took a bit of digging but I discovered an interview with Smashing Interviews Magazine on how Claudia became a Christian. She …

Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Credit: Youtube capture

Birthed in suffering: The enchanting music of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

A friend recently attended a performance by the Christian group Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus that is currently touring Canada. She described it was one of the most incredible events she has ever attended, Christian or secular. Oddly this group from the Ukraine, now working under Music Mission Kyiv, was not always Christian. A year after the fall of Soviet Union in December 1991, an Episcopalian church in Kiev, Ukraine invited American Christian choral director Roger McMurrin to present Handel’s Messiah. The atheistic communist government had forbid sacred music and Handel’s Messiah had not been played in the Ukraine for an estimated 70 years. After his arrival in 1992, McMurrin who had served as choral director for several churches in the US, hired a local symphony and 37 singers to put on the Christian classic. The performance had a profound impact on the people, the media and the choral group. McMurrin described the presentation as an “explosion of light.” On his flight home to America, God asked McMurrin to move back to the Ukraine, to …

Crosses near Budapest, Hungary Credit: Gyorgy Soponyai/Flickr/Creative Commons

Acts of faith in a foreign land — Naaman, Bieber and Pratt

There is a story in 2 Kings about Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-19), a general in the Aramean army. The Bible describes him as “a great man” (v 1) suggesting he was a national hero in Aram. But though a celebrity, he also had leprosy — a dreaded, disfiguring disease in that culture. Since leprosy was incurable, people were considered the living dead. But one day his servant girl, an Israelite captured during one of Naaman’s many raids, told her master about an Israeli prophet capable of curing a person of leprosy. When he tracked down the prophet, Elisha told Naaman he would be healed if he dunked himself seven times in the Jordan River. After kicking up a bit of a fuss, Naaman did as he was told and was instantly healed. Naaman offered Elisha gold and wealth for the healing, but the the prophet refused the generous gift. So instead Naaman asked Elisha for a gift. He wanted two mule loads of Israeli dirt so he could build an altar to the Lord back …

A scene from Jesus VR: The story of Christ. Photo: Autumnvr.com

World’s first full-length ‘virtual reality’ movie is about the life of Jesus

David Hansen is a movie director and producer from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He has just produced the world’s first full-length virtual reality (VR) movie and it is about the life of Christ. In the movie entitled Jesus VR: The Story of Christ, Tim Fellingham plays Jesus and Mish Boyko the role of Peter. It was featured at the prestigious Venice Film Festival this past week where they presented a 40-minute cut of the 90-minute movie.  In an interview with the Regina Leader Post, Hansen described their invite to the festival as “unbelievable.” Virtual reality allows a person to be immersed in the environment. You literally become part of the story as it is happening. In computer generated environments you are even able to manipulate objects or perform certain activities. However, they are not quite there for VR movies made up of real people and movie sets. Nevertheless you are standing with the disciples as the events take place. In a news release, Hansen described Christ’s story as the most powerful story of all time adding  “The …

Do you have Desmond T. Doss’ spiritual gift?

Mel Gibson’s most recent movie Hacksaw Ridge received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. Standing ovations are not common occurrences at this festival, much less for movies with a Christian faith theme. Gibson’s movie, which will be released in theaters in November, is based on the life of a heroic soldier from World War II — Desmond T. Doss. As a Seventh Day Adventist, Doss was a conscientious objector and was unwilling to become involved in the actual fighting. The Seventh Day Adventists denomination officially holds to the position of pacifism. Like most people, it is easy to consider conscientious objectors as little more than cowards. But that could not be said about Doss, who died in March 2006 at the age of 87. According to an article in the New York Times, while growing up his dad put a poster over Desmond’s bed. It had the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s prayer emblazoned on an image of Cain standing with a club over the dead body of his brother Able – …

Lee University choral group wows Delta flight with an impromptu hymn

A choral group from Lee University were recently on a Delta flight and entertained the people with an amazing rendition of “I Love you Lord.” As the jet waited on the tarmac, hearing they were a choir, a flight attendant asked them to sing a song. The group that was heading on a mission trip to the British Virgin Islands gladly agreed. A person captured the song on video and posted to a Facebook page for the university’s choirs. Lee University started in 1918 as a Bible school with 12 students and one teacher. Today, it is a liberal arts college with nearly 5,000 students and a 120 acre campus. Based in Cleveland, TN, it is operated by the Church of God and is famous for its music program that includes a number of singing groups. The video that is now going viral has sparked many comments. One of my favorites speaks of the storied history of the school. It was written by a man who now pastors a Church of God  in Chesapeake, Virginia: Rodney Vickers: That’s my old choir. To think, I’m old enough to …

Laura Bretan (America's Got Talent TouTube Capture)

Romanian Pentecostal girl wows judges at ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition

Last week, Laura Bretan, 13, wowed the judges on America’s Got Talent with her rendition of Nessum Dorma (None Shall Sleep) from the opera Turandot. Laura along with her Romanian-American parents attend Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Chicago, Illinois. Charisma News reports her singing talent was first noticed by her mother when Laura sang along with songs in the show Snow White. By 8, Laura was singing in her church and would go on to win talent shows including the Apollo Theater amateur show. She has even sung at the annual conventions of the Romanian Pentecostal Assembly Church. During her amazing audition at America’s Got talent, she was sent through to the next round by former Spice Girl Mel B. (Melanie Janine Brown) who jumped up to push the Golden Buzzer. Each judge is allowed to put a performer through without having them go to a vote. However, that may have not been necessary as even the usually critical Simon Cowell was overwhelmed by Laura’s talent stating: “I have never heard anything like that in …

Kendall Jenner Photo: Disney | ABC Television/Flickr/Creative Commons

Super model and reality star Kendall Jenner identifies herself as Christian

Kendall Jenner, 19, model and reality show star, recently came out as Christian on her website (subscription required). Kendall is the daughter of Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender activist formerly known as Bruce Jenner and Kris Kardashian. She is part of a blended Kardashian/Jenner family that includes sister Kylie and eight half-siblings. Kendall stars on the popular reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The show, which started in 2007, is produced by E!’s cable network and is the longest running reality show in America. The program focuses primarily on the three Kardashian sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloé  and their half sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner. There have also been spinoffs including Kourteny and Kloe Take the Hamptons. In a recent post on her website, Kendall says though she wasn’t raised in a Christian home, she was “definitely taught — even by my sisters — to believe in God.” She says that the family’s actual church attendance was limited to Easter and Christmas. Referring to her faith as more spiritual than religious, Kendall says “I pray …