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honeyCharles Honey Charles Honey figures he wrote about 900 columns in his years as The Grand Rapids Press Religion editor. Between 1994 and 2009, when he left the Press, he covered religion wherever he found it whether in the high-steepled churches or on the corner stores of Grand Rapids.

            Now he’s gathered about 80 of the best of his columns into a new book titled “Faith On First: Thoughts On God, Nature and Sacrifice Bunts” (Freeze Frame Publishing, $14.95).

            “Over the years people would ask if I was collecting my columns,” said Honey. “Newspapers are so flimsy; the idea of some of the columns in one bound volume seems a little more permanent.”

            Honey’s baseball theme—chapters are innings—is one he’s tracked with for years and a game he enjoyed with his father. “Baseball is a spiritual game, very calming and centering, and slows life down for about three hours. There are long spells of ordinary time, then peaks of excitement.”

            Honey admits it took a long time to weed through the columns and decide which ones to include, with the book taking about three years to put together. His goal was to honor his parents, who died in 2011 and 2012, and to honor the people in the columns who he felt so privileged to write about.

            “From Ed Dobson to Charley Jones to Ken Miedema, and lots of everyday people who lived great lives that people didn’t know about—I grew to respect the different ways people put their faith in action,” said Honey. “I was never as concerned about what they believed as how they acted it out. I met a lot of people who did brave and remarkable things because of their faith.”

            Honey started at The Grand Rapids Press in 1985 as a general reporter, moving to Religion nine years later when Religion editor Ed Golder asked him about taking his place. “At first I asked why he thought I could do this. I felt really under-qualified, but there were two things I liked: the opportunity to write feature articles and the once-a-week column,” he said.

            “Religion gave me a format and venue to write about life. I got questions I’ve never gotten on any other beat,” said Honey.

            These days Honey is “just another former reporter putting together a new life,” he said with a laugh. He’s been an adjunct instructor at several area colleges and universities and is a reporter for School News Network (, among other places.

            “Faith on First” is available at Schuler Books & Music, Baker Book House, the Dominican Center at Marywood, Spirit Dreams gift shop, the Diocese bookstore, and Marge’s Donut Den. The bookstore at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s will feature it in July. The book was published by Lowell-based Freeze Frame Publishing and printed locally at Color House Graphics. To connect with Honey, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

hidingplace3At times pounding with gripping intensity yet underscored by an unyielding hope, the film “Return to The Hiding Place,” premiered Friday (May 23) at Knickerbocker Theatre in Holland.
     The story, based on events during the Dutch resistance against the Nazis in World War II, centers on Hans Poley (portrayed by David Thomas Jenkins) and Piet Hartog (Craig Robert Young), two young heroes of the underground movement in the Netherlands during Nazi occupation.
     Another central character is Corrie ten Boom (smartly played by Mimi Sagadin), a woman who led a family effort to provide safe-haven for Jews sought by Nazis for extermination.
    The movie includes many scenes filmed right here in Dutch-influenced West Michigan and appreciated by the local audience. Most prominent was nearby Windmill Island – the windmill turns out to be a secret meeting place for the underground members as they plan strategy to fight their Nazi overlords.
     “If not us, then who?” asks a determined Hartog as the group decides to foil the Nazi plan to “exterminate” a Jewish orphanage where ten Boom’s niece Aty (Rachel Spencer Hewitt) cares for children.

                          A FAITH CONNECTION

     The Christian faith provides the backbone and the justification for the actions of many of the young fighters. Forged and stolen documents, the hiding of Jews and resistance members and even violence all serve a higher purpose.
     “Christian truth is revolution against the kingdom of darkness,” advises one of the young fighters.
     “The most important thing is…..we’re saving lives.”
     Young Poley, who narrates the film, assumes the false identity of a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church and had some freedom of movement in connection with area churches while concealing his underground activities.
     There’s even a mention of theologian John Calvin during the film.
     One of the Jews hid by the ten Booms was a Rabbi (Eusi, played by
John Rhys-Davies) who comes to an understanding with the ten Booms about their faith and their commitment to rescuing Jews).

     The darkness in the film suggests the life of the underground resistance member, under constant danger of arrest. Their actions often come in the shadows, at night, hidden in small rooms or in the narrow pockets between the closely-spaced buildings of cities such as Haarlem, where the ten Booms lived.
     And who can you trust when even friends or family may share vital information with the authorities in an attempt to protect other loved ones?

                         LOCAL RESPONSE

     One of those in the audience at Friday’s premiere was Don Sinnema, 67, who was struck by the film’s historical depictions.
     “I saw the complexity of the resistance movement led by the students and the convictions they held,” noted the Holland resident.
     “I guess most important to me is to remember the sacrifice, the conviction and the bravery of those who were involved, because this sort of thing could happen again.”
     Friday’s audience broke out in applause at the film’s end. Most remained until the end of the credits during which the film updated the fate of the real life people behind the on-screen characters.
     Hans Poley, who was arrested and later released from a prison work camp, survived the war and went on to become a physicist. The film was based on a book of his wartime letters and journals. He died in 2003.

                               SCREEN NOTES

     Several actors in the film were also in attendance at the premiere. Keith Seccombe of Grand Rapids had the role of a prison camp doctor who struck up a relationship with Poley during his imprisonment.
     And 8 year old Reece Nesbitt of Grand Rapids, who played one of the children at the orphanage, came with his parents, Tim and Jodi Nesbitt.
     “The Return to The Hiding Place” was actually completed several years ago (local scenes were filmed in 2010) and has already been available in Europe. The U.S. version released this month is a bit different. The film will go for wider distribution in September and is expected to eventually be available on DVD.

To see the film:

“Return to The Hiding Place,” a film directed by Peter Spender and Josiah Spencer, in Knickerbocker Theatre, 86 E. 8th St. in Holland; 1:30 and 4 p.m. Sat. May 24; and 4 p.m. May 27 and 28. All tickets are $7. The Knickerbocker information line is 616-395-7890. Rated PG-13. Tickets can be purchased in advance online, or may be available at the door.

jelThis year, Tom and Micky Jelsema, of Jelsema Concrete, celebrate two major milestones: their fortieth wedding anniversary and forty years of being in business for themselves.

In high school, Tom Jelsema laid concrete with a neighbor, not realizing how God was already opening doors for his future. After a time of service in the military, he returned home and began a concrete apprenticeship. He and a fellow apprentice soon found a steady stream of work and formed a partnership doing flatwork concrete such as replacing driveways, porches and garage floors.

After two years, the partnership dissolved and Tom Jelsema went on his own to form Jelsema Concrete. “I figured we’d stay in residential work and then one call led to another and to a little bit bigger job to an even bigger job,” Tom Jelsema said. He learned from each job and word of mouth spread. “I didn’t realize it at the time how God had opened door after door. I was too naive even at that age to realize what He was doing.”

Jelsema Concrete progressed from the flatwork of floors and porches to include foundations, footings, walls, parking lots and building fronts. “We will form it, tie the reinforcing and bars, pour it and finish it. If it’s concrete, we do it,” Tom Jelsema explained.

Their work spread across Michigan. You’ve most likely seen some of their projects including: the two winged walls at the entrance to the Gerald R. Ford airport, the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, and the Heart of the City medical facility in Grand Rapids.

From the beginning, Tom and Micky worked the business as a team. While Tom Jelsema took care of bids, estimates, and managing the work on-site, Micky Jelsema handled payroll, office work, and picking up supplies. She recalled seasons of bundling up their four boys and loading them in a truck to pull a front end loader to locations. The couple’s partnership helped balance the business and family life and kept everything running smoothly on both fronts.

In the early days Tom Jelsema stayed up until 3 a.m. working on bids. The couple worried over having enough work, and in other seasons worried over having enough workers to handle the jobs. Through each season they experienced God’s provisions. One spring, two key employees left to start their own business. Jelsema Concrete had a number of open bids, and the concern was how they would handle the jobs if they came through. Many of those bids fell through, yet they still had enough work from the previous season to carry the business. Just when they needed work or employees, the right jobs and right people came to them. “That time taught us that God knows what we need, and we don’t need to worry, whether it’s work or workers. He has always provided, time after time, in the right season,” Micky Jelsema said.

In 1992, they built their current facility off East Paris, officially moving the business out of their home. Currently Jelsema Concrete employs about a dozen individuals.

1994 also marked another major milestone as they became involved in missions. After seeing a notice in the church bulletin about a trip to Costa Rica, Tom Jelsema felt a tug to begin giving back. He credits God’s work through Promise Keepers for helping keep his life aligned, his priorities in order, and prompting him to get involved in missions. That year he went to Costa Rica and helped Christian Schools International pour concrete. Tom Jelsema has continued in missions work each winter since then. This past January Tom and Micky Jelsema traveled to Brazil for a week and a half to help a local church and school with maintenance and painting. Missions has become such an obvious passion for the Jelsemas that their employees even took a collection at Christmastime to contribute to the next missions trip.

The Jelsemas recognize God’s blessings on their business. “He has blessed us not so we can take and say look at what I have, but so we can be a blessing to others, whether locally, nationally and globally,” Tom Jelsema said. In all areas, and into the future, they recognize the business is God’s and they will steward it for Him and to further His kingdom.

At a Glance:

Name: Tom and Micky Jelsema

Company: Jelsema Concrete

Title: Owners

Family: Married 40 years; 4 adult children; 7 grandchildren, 1 on the way
Phone: 616-698-7670

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

hidingplaceIt is not a sequel to the original 1975 feature film. Rather, “Return To The Hiding Place” is a re-telling of the true story of Corrie ten Boom with an expanded look at the Dutch resistance movement of World War II.

Many interested in the story have seen “The Hiding Place,” the decades-old film which featured the tale of ten Boom, known for hiding Jews in her family’s watchmaker shop in Haarlem, Netherlands during the Nazi occupation.

The new film, which opens Friday May 23 at Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland, includes the ten Boom character (portrayed by actress Mimi Sagadin). But the focus is on the younger activists in the resistance movement who fought against the Nazis in a variety of ways.

Keith Seccombe is a local actor who has a small part in the movie, which was filmed in several locations around West Michigan as well as in the Netherlands. Seccombe worked with several of the major actors.

“Hans Poley (actor David Thomas Jenkins) was probably the most well known member of the underground fighters with the Dutch resistance,” Seccombe said of Poley, the first of the Jews to be hidden by the ten Booms.

“He was eventually captured by the Nazis and sent to a prison work camp and scheduled to be executed,” he added.

Seccombe, 70, plays the camp doctor who secretly helps Poley escape.

“I won’t tell you how – you’ll have to see the movie,” he smiled.

                       A CAST OF CHARACTERS

The movie also stars Craig Robert Young as Piet Hartog a resistance fighter whose love interest is Aty van Worerden (Rachel Spencer Hewitt), who also happens to be Corrie ten Boom’s niece. Hartog helps them in the hiding of Jews.

Probably the best known actor in the film is John Rhys-Davies. He’s had roles in three of the “Harry Potter” films and in two of the “Indiana Jones” movies.

Rhys-Davies plays a Jewish rabbi – Eusi – who is one of the Jews hidden in the upstairs of the ten Boom watchmaker shop.

Seccombe has been in several independent films shot in Michigan. “This isn’t a huge production, but compared to some of the ‘indies’ this has a pretty decent size budget with some name actors,” he said.

                     LOCAL SPOTS ON THE SCREEN

Although some of the film was shot in the Netherlands, directors Peter and Josiah Spencer selected areas in Dutch-influenced West Michigan to film much of the action. In the city of Holland, parts of Windmill Island (a natural), Centennial Park and Hope College all show up on the big screen.


“The Nazis would attempt to recruit Dutch young people in college,” Seccombe noted of the use of the Hope campus.

"Although the ten Boom character is better known to most audiences, the film spends considerable time with the more youthful members of the resistance (ten Boom was well into her 40s when the war started).

The stately Felt Mansion in Holland, now often used for weddings, receptions and other special events, is also seen in the film.     

The Baert Baron Mansion on Church St. in Zeeland was used extensively in interior scenes.

But Seccombe’s film segments with Jenkins were shot at a winery near Manistee – in old barns which could be made to look like cabins in a prison work camp.

One grand tale left untold in the first Hiding Place film is an extra intense one. After the resistance gets wind of a Nazi plan for the “termination” of a Jewish orphanage, Poley and his cohorts hatch a plan to evacuate the children and lead them to safety.

                           FILM COMES TO FRUITION

Filming began on the project in 2010, and the completed movie debuted in England several years ago. But it is just this month being officially released in the U.S. It has won several film festival awards.    

The Dove Foundation granted the film its “faith-based” seal because of its strong Christian message, with a caution for violence (the film is rated PG-13).    

Seccombe recently learned anew that the film’s story still resonates today. He met Diet Eman, a member of the Dutch resistance now living in Grand Rapids. Eman’s story was depicted as part of a stage musical in April at Blythefield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford. (see our earlier article online)

“She is so bright and active, and now in her 90s,” he said of Eman, who did meet ten Boom (who died in 1983).

You can watch the trailer for the film online.

Showtimes at Knickerbocker Theatre, 86 E. 8th St. in Holland, are 1:30 and 4 p.m. May 23 and 24, with subsequent showings on May 27 and 28, at 4:00 p.m. only. All tickets are $7. The Knickerbocker information line is 616-395-7890. Tickets can be purchased in advance online, or may be available at the door.

Edwin Carpenter (WMCN) recently spoke with Dean Vander Mey of Set Free Ministries regarding an upcoming fund-raiser for SFM.

1.     What is your background Dean?

“I am the executive Director of Set Free Ministries and have been since 2002. I was a business owner for 23 years before that, owning Action Packaging.  I have a wife Share, 7 daughters, 4 son-in-laws & 6 grandchildren.”


2.     What can you tell us about the upcoming event with Luke Cyrus?

“Luke Cyrus is a young musician from Nashville, Tennessee.  His band features 5 members.  Luke wrote a song called “Storming the Walls” after witnessing the positive changes and amazing impact on his father and brother who came to Set Free Ministries. Their goal was to go through a freedom appointment and get right with God. He said the changes in his family members were so profound, that he knew only God could do that, so he wrote a song of thanks and encouragement in response to what God did in setting his father and brother free in Christ.”

3.     What are specific details about your goals for the banquet, and is a concert a part of it?

“Luke is not doing a concert. He and his band have agreed to attend our SFM fund-raiser banquet and to play two songs for us. 

 4.     How can people get tickets, and where and when does it take place?

SFM Banquet

Calvary CRC

3500 Byron Center Ave

Wyoming, Mi 49519

Punch Bowl 6:30 pm 

Dinner starts at 7:00 pm.

For more information contact Set Free Ministries at 616-726-5400  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

5.      What are your future plans Dean?

“I don’t have any at the moment but thanks for asking.”

questionAs reported recently by Mlive, the federal government is now required to help food pantries supply specialty foods to the less fortunate and homeless. Of special note was the requirement for food pantries and shelters to provide meals to Muslims prepared according to Halal standards.

According to Wikipedia, Halal foods are foods that Muslims are allowed to eat or drink under Islamic Shariʻah. The criteria specifies both what foods are allowed, and how the food must be prepared. The foods addressed are mostly types of meat and animal tissue.

According to the Complete Standards of Halal Advocates of America, essential standards are set for the slaughter of the animals. The slaughterer should verbally utter the Arabic benediction of “Bismillah, Allahu Akbar,” or minimally “Bismillah,” if necessary while performing the cut on each animal slaughtered.

Today many restaurants specialize in serving meals prepared according to Halal standards, while others give options. Some, such as McDonalds, have quit offering the option. A beginning list of Halal restaurants found in Michigan can be found online.

The question is twofold; do you think should our government be involved in providing specialty foods base on religion? Secondly, should Christians eat food prepared according to Halal standards?

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian web writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for area arts and entertainment events of special interest to the West Michigan faith community. Here are three highlights for May.
*Carpenter’s Cross – The area Christian classic rock-pop band performs at 7 p.m. Fri. May 16 at the Essential Bean, 8980 N. Rogers Ct., Caledonia, and at 7 p.m. Sat. May 17 at Baker Book House, 2768 E. Paris St. SE. There is no admission charge for either of the performances. The band, which includes founder and rhythm guitarist Dave Nelson, has a new self-titled CD of original songs. The project is now available at their concerts as well as online outlets such as iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, and Google Play. For more information visit the band’s website at
*Christine Wyrtzen – The veteran inspirational singer-songwriter is the special guest at the Maranatha Spring Women’s Breakaway, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tues. May 20 at Maranatha Bible Conference, 4759 Lake Harbor Rd. Muskegon. Not only is Wyrtzen a Dove Award-nominated singer and recording artist (14 albums), but is also an author of four books, speaker and host of the nationally syndicated radio program “Daughters of Promise,” heard on hundreds of stations across the country. The cost for the event is $30, which includes lunch. Group rate available for 10 or more. For ticket information visit or phone 888-982-5253.
*The Heralders Quartet – The long-time area gospel group kicks off the summer concert season at 7 p.m. Mon. May 26 (Memorial Day) at the Christian Reformed Conference Grounds, 12253 Lakeshore Dr. Grand Haven. After the snowpack-induced collapse of their rustic auditorium in February, most of the Conference Grounds weekly concerts this summer will be held under a huge on-site tent, with the larger ones set for Grand Haven High School. Following the Memorial Day weekend, the Saturday night concert schedule begins on June 21. There is no admission charge, a free-will offering will be received. For more info, visit or phone 616-842-4478

 Point of GracePoint of Grace: Denise Jones, Shelley Breen, Leigh Cappillino    Singer Leigh Cappillino is proud to carry on the tradition of her group Point of Grace in hosting “Girls of Grace” conferences aimed at teenage girls and their mothers.
     “It’s one of those events where mothers and daughters have the opportunity to go deeper in their relationship,” said Cappillino, 45, by phone near Nashville, Tenn.
     The one-day events, which feature speaker sessions and music performances, focus on issues facing teen girls – self image, communication, eating disorders and other destructive behavior, peer pressure and other topics.
     Point of Grace has been singing for more than 20 years, racking up dozens of No.1 Christian radio hits and numerous awards. But noting the numbers of questions and concerns they were receiving from young women, they began the conferences 12 years ago.
     “It’s interesting, but over the years the issues are still the same,” said the singer. “We put so much pressure on our kids, because we as parents have allowed so much pressure on us. We want to break that habit.”

                     UNPACKING ADVICE

     At the Grand Rapids conference – Saturday May 3 at Grand Rapids First Church in Wyoming – inspirational author Annie Downs and speaker Chris Wheeler have presentations. Point of Grace also leads a session for just the mothers and youth leaders in attendance.
     “Annie helps the girls understand that even at a young age, they can be leaders wherever they are,” Cappillino said. “You don’t wait ‘til you’re an adult to have a purpose – you have one now.”
     Wheeler, a student ministry leader at a Nashville church, has a gift for humorously communicating the nature of God’s grace – a key component of the conference.
     “He’s strong in the word, thinks in their language and on their playing field,” Capillino said of his style in front of youthful audiences.
     The theme of this year’s Girls of Grace sessions is “Love, Live and Lead.”
     “All of us involved – the singers and the speakers – are very aware of the message and staying connected with what grace means in the life of believers,” she added.
     “Many of us were adults before we grabbed hold of what it really meant, so we want to encourage this generation not to miss out.”

                     GETTING DOWN TO BASICS

     Some of Cappillino’s favorite moments come during their session with mothers and youth leaders.
     “We have found that they want help in how to communicate with their daughters,” said the singer. Cappillino and fellow Point of Grace singer Shelley Breen each have 11-year old girls, and issues of teen daughters are beginning to hit home for them.

     “We want our children to respect and listen to us,” she said. “But one of the comments we get most from the teens is ‘My Mom doesn’t listen to me – she’s always ready to interrupt or storm out of the room.’”
     Constant mother “multi-tasking” may not always be in our best interests when communicating with daughters – or sons for that matter.
     “You have to tell them I love you unconditionally and that you’re more important than unloading the dishwasher or folding the clothes,” Cappillino offered.
     The sticky subject of social media is also explored.
     The third Point of Grace member, Denise Jones, has two teenage boys, and desires that godly girls will be the ones to influence them in their dating lives and beyond.

                 INTERWOVEN WITH MUSIC

     Among the musical guests are the pop vocal band Royal Tailor, singer-songwriter Chris August (with his signature song “Starry Night), and Dara Maclean, whose 2011 debut album included the hit “Free.”
     But Point of Grace also shares some of their music, albeit with many more fans among the moms rather than teens.
     “They’re gonna get some of us whether they want to or not,” Cappillino smiled.
     She said they’ll mix some of their older tunes (“Gather At The River”) with newer material from their most recent CD “A Thousand Little Things.”
     “Actually, during our songs is when some of the moms let their hair down, and it’s fun for the daughters to see that and it brings in an element of relaxation,” she said.
     But her greater wish is for the teens and moms is to put into practice some of the insights and suggestions offered at “Girls of Grace.”
     “To say you’re a cook is one thing, but to be in the kitchen and know what you’re doing is another.”

                       NOTING RESPONSE

     In the fall of 2012, a Girls of Grace conference filled Sunshine Church in Grand Rapids Township with its mix of speakers and music artists. This time around the event is in the more spacious facility at Grand Rapids First Church.
     The Christian publisher Zondervan is one of the sponsors of the conference.
     “We always love coming to Michigan, they always treat us so nice,” said Cappillino, who says the group returns to the area June 21 to sing at Maranatha Bible Conference in Muskegon.

If You Go:

     GIRLS OF GRACE: A conference for teen girls, their mothers, and teen group leaders, hosted by the music trio Point of Grace
Featuring speakers Chris Wheeler and Annie Downs, and music artists Royal Tailor, Dara Maclean and Chris August.
When: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sat. May 3 at Grand Rapids First Church, 2100 44th St SW.
Tickets: General admission $59, gold circle $69; group rate $45 (call to arrange group tickets 888-483-0018). Other tickets available online
– lunch available on site for extra fee.

lifeLife Scripts come in all descriptions: The self-conscious man who can never relax, the worrier who is only one mistake from depression, the woman repetitively attracted to abusers, the addict who can’t quite kick the habit, the man or woman who sabotages their own prosperity, those who always manage to sabotage themselves with anger. These are just a sample of the “script characters” people tend to play their whole lifetimes.

Think of a Life Script as a blueprint of your life. Some are constructive, some aren’t, and some are just plain going nowhere. And all of us have one.

In Scripts People Live, psychologist Claude Steiner says, “We cannot consistently behave in ways that are different from the core beliefs we have about ourselves.” These core beliefs determine the roles we play throughout lives. Unless they are edifying, these beliefs can destroy our autonomy to live authentically, and give us difficulty finding our True Selves.

Transactional Analysis, a school of psychology which pioneered Script Analysis decades ago, tells that our life scripts tend to begin in our original family situation. There a child assumes, or is thrust into, a particular role to which he clings for his place (think survival) in the family unit.

Most psychologists agree that the script is firmly in place by age six, some would say as early as three. Later, the person adjusts this role to adolescence and then adult life, but the plot remains generally the same. Love, hate, jealousy, and revenge are common themes, as are loneliness, joylessness, and mindlessness. Scripts also show up in repetitive, compulsive games like winner or loser; happy or sad; achiever or slacker; lover or fighter; accepted or rejected, giver or taker, one-up or one-down, success or failure, among many idiosyncratic script themes. More, we’re not just the actors in the play. We’re also the director, stage manager, and casting director.

Some people spend their whole lives keeping their show on the road. This is fine so long as the script is a healthy one. But often our carnal nature designs a lousy one.

Of course, all bets are off when a person accepts the Lord as his Savior, but even then stubborn life script demands can interfere with our new life plans. Those stubborn child-to-adult life scripts can be so demanding that a person going for a new life gets bogged down, feeling “type cast” in the familiar role. If this is stopping you, these questions may help you determine if you’re in a compromising life script:

What keeps happening over and over that leaves me feeling bad?

What makes my relationships end the same way time after time?

Why am I always afraid of the outcome?

What keeps giving me the feeling that I’m not OK?

How do I keep getting myself in the same situations?

Why do the same feelings come over me again and again?

Do I like myself? Why not?

These cyclical disappointments can usually be traced to a pattern of: childhood experience > childhood decisions > psychological positions > story selected for script > rehearsal in adolescence > adult script in action > final curtain (Murial James). James says, “Scripts are chosen in childhood and are designed to last a lifetime.”

Make no mistake, the Holy Spirit is greater than anyone’s life script. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t required to do plenty of ground work to come into the life Christ has promised. Faulty life scripts can be corrected by bringing to awareness the negative script, recognizing the error, and revising the script. (Which might be a pretty good definition of conviction!) This makes way for a cleaner, more successful “role” so that no barrier exists for the good the Lord has for you.

At Marketplace Counseling Ministry, we do Life Script Analysis. The core of it is a 48-item questionnaire that uncovers your script origination as well as the script adaptations made in adolescence and adulthood. Once the title, main characters, and plot become apparent, the client is free to make decisions about shutting down the marquee and opening a new production more in tune with their True Self and their Savior. Once the client acknowledges the faulty blueprint, work is done with a thorough application of 2 Corinthians 5:10 as well as the Book of Proverbs. And, to change the script, you’ll need the Lord’s help in changing your thinking about yourself from “Not OK” to “Yes, OK”.

Accepting Christ is a change of life script. Often, it competes with an entrenched life script directed by the carnal part of us. That part must lose its executive power and give way to a New Director. In this way, psychology and Christianity can join forces to direct a new life with a new purpose.

Robert Ellis is a counselor at Marketplace Counseling Ministry, a low-cost Christian counseling center in Grand Rapids. For contact, visit Marketplace Counseling Ministry online or 616-949-4911.

Vander Ploeg2Mark and Dave Vander PloegBrothers Mark and Dave Vander Ploeg, of B&L Bolt, searched over a decade for a business to purchase. Both men had the drive and enthusiasm to build a business and create an environment to nurture employees and help them grow. After looking at nearly sixty companies and having multiple doors close, the brothers set aside the dream of business ownership.

Mark Vander Ploeg took a job with a Fortune 100 company in Pennsylvania. Dave Vander Ploeg continued his work as a civil engineer in West Michigan. The brothers followed these paths, until God began to reignite their dream.

Four years after setting aside the dream of business ownership, the men both landed in unexpected and uncomfortable situations. Mark Vander Ploeg’s employer lost forty-percent of its revenue, and he lost his job. Dave Vander Ploeg’s company sent him across the globe doing sales, a position he wasn’t fond of.

After losing his job, Mark Vander Ploeg decided to start looking at businesses again. Even though it was now 2009 and the Michigan economy was in tough shape, the first business the brothers inspected was B&L Bolt, and it turned out to be a perfect fit. In an economy where banks were rarely financing new business ventures, two banks offered the Vander Ploeg brothers financing. “Every barrier fell down and it was obvious it was God’s hand working,” Mark Vander Ploeg recalled.

B&L Bolt started in 1986 and is a commercial construction supply company. Sixty-five percent of the business is distribution for electrical and mechanical contractors for items such as power tools, safety supplies, fasteners and supplies for hanging pipe and conduit. Despite the downturn in economy, when the Vander Ploegs purchased the company in 2009, B&L Bolt was still profitable.

Looking back at the four-year gap when the Vander Ploegs thought the business ownership door was closed, they see how God prepared them for this business. During that time, at the urging of his employer, Mark Vander Ploeg sat for the CPA exam and gained experience as a CFO. He now puts his finance experience to work for B&L Bolt.

Although Dave Vander Ploeg felt out of his element in sales, the contacts and experience he gained during that season play a large role in the new business. After a challenging first year with B&L Bolt, he reached out to a few of his previous clients. Those clients now represent 1/6 of B&L Bolt’s sales. “I can look back and see how God had his hand even in the places [I] didn’t care to be. We don’t always understand what God’s up to. We may have a short vision, but God has the long-term,” Dave Vander Ploeg said.

Mark and Dave Vander Ploeg’s mission with the business is to create environments where people can grow and feel like they are contributing to a larger picture. Between the two locations in Portage and Grand Rapids, B&L Bolt has thirty-two employees.

The Vander Ploegs’ vision for the company is to continue to grow and impact lives positively for Christ. “We’ve been able to make contributions toward non profit organizations, and we’ve offered early morning Bible studies with the staff,” Mark said.

B&L Bolt has partnered with two non-profit organizations for various projects. Kids Alive tears down older playgrounds in the U.S., refurbishes the equipment and moves it to third world countries. B&L Bolt has supplied hardware for the refurbished playgrounds. In partnership with Living Water, the business sponsored a well in Africa.

Over the past five years, B&L Bolt has added product, employees and seen about a fifty-five percent increase in sales. Most importantly to the brothers, they’ve maintained their integrity and honesty and are viewed positively by their customers. The company once realized items sent to a waste water plant were the wrong grade of steel. No one at the water plant would have realized the error. Despite the potential cost of uninstallation and replacement, the Vander Ploegs called to admit the mistake and fix it.

As the Vander Ploeg brothers look to the future, their goal is to not only grow the business, but to see their employees continue to grow and mature in their own lives and skills. They will continue to provide opportunities for development and growth, and recognize that any success they achieve in the business comes from the Lord.

At a Glance:

Who: Mark and Dave Vander Ploeg

Company: B&L Bolt

Title: Owners


Mark: Wife: Sue, married 35 years; 2 adult daughters; 1 grandchild, 2 on the way

Dave: Wife: Barb, married 25 years; 5 kids ages 22, 21, 18, 16 and 8.

Phone: Kalamazoo: 800-875-9308; Grand Rapids: 800-853-8388


E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it