Monthly Archives: June 2012

Harbaugh finds gratification helping others in Peru

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside the Pew

During the 2011 NFL season, San Francisco 49er fans saw miraculously how first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh turned an off track 49er team into a squad that was one step away from representing the NFC in Super Bowl XLVI.

But, on-the-field successes cannot compare to the work one can do in His name. According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), the former NFL quarterback was one of a several volunteers who traveled to Piura, Peru, on an eight-day mission trip to assist Most Blessed Sacrament Parish. The parish’s outreach, according to CNA, a women’s shelter, an orphanage, a drug rehabilitation center, a hospice facility and, most recently, tuition-free Catholic school for kindergarten through 11th graders.

According to Harbaugh, the Catholic school was opened in 2011, and has approximately 600 students in attendance.

“Every desk was full,” he said. “Three years ago when we came down here, the school was just an idea.”

The coach told news agency reporters volunteers helped build 20 homes and packaged and delivered rice and beans to supplement meals to 1,400 families.

Harbaugh, who recently completed his third trip to the impoverished town, said he learned about the trip through acquaintances at his parish in Menlo Park, Calif.

“It’s incredible the amount of work they do and they joy that they do it with,” the 48-year-old coach told the news agency.

An aspect of the trip that brought the reigning NFL Coach of the Year pride is the steady growth of the parish, headed by Father Joe Uhen since 1993. Harbaugh noted the abundance of individuals who participate in Mass.

“I’ve always been struck by the attendance and the joy they have for Mass,” Harbaugh said. “You can only describe that as the fruit of the Holy Spirit.”

Outreach to the residents of Piura doesn’t end with the trip. According to the report, Harbaugh said the Santisimo Sacramento helps American families and those in Peru connect through an “adoption.” The program – which Harbaugh is a participant – allows American families to supply scholarships, food, and basic housing items to needy Peruvian families.

Harbaugh said the mission trips are gratifying and allows him to put grow as a believer.

“The doors that God will open for you by the people you meet or by the circumstances you’re in (allow) your character to be shaped and your spirit to grow,” he said. “Those kinds of doors are opened for (me) here.

From anxious to powerful: Rest on your faith

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Editor’s note: The views expressed are those of the author and not of Inside The Pew staff.

By La Vonne Earl
Special to Inside The Pew

Dear La Vonne,

I was raised in an extremely physically and verbally abusive home. I am a grown woman now, 37 years old, and yet I revert to the frightened little girl whenever I am around my father. I need to see him because of family get-togethers. Now that Father’s Day is approaching I am filled with anxiety knowing I will see him. Why can’t I just grow up, forget the past and act like the woman I should be?

Dear Powerful Woman of God,

I am sorry that you were raised in a home that was not safe and was unloving. The consequences of our early beginnings can last a life time if we allow them to. Without knowing much of your story and the woman that you have become, I will seek to answer you assuming it is at least physically safe for you to be around your father. As I begin to answer your question let’s start with the first key being the truth of who you were created to be. God has created you to be a powerful woman of God. He has given you a sound mind with the ability to discern that which is good and helpful to you. He has given you rights and boundaries that should never be crossed, and should someone try you have the right to exercise your authority over that person, regardless of who they are. In fact when you exercise your authority for truth, you have the power to create change!

Anxiety and ear are nothing more than a lack of knowledge and faith. When you obtain the knowledge of who you are (truth) establish your purpose or goal, which sounds like you desire to have a peaceful relationship with your father, you can then create a plan of action in order to receive the peace you desire. Practice at home before you see him exactly what you will say with truth and love should there be a need for correction. I suggest meditating on God’s word, guard your mind and your heart with the love of God. Take a scripture to rely on to sustain you while you are in the presence of your father and enjoy the success which will be yours! Remember also to speak to yourself that which you wish to see, such as “I am a powerful woman of God.”

Suggested scripture: 2 Timothy 1:7”For God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Do you have a question for La Vonne? Send her an email at Lavonne@YourKingdomInheritance.com. Visit her website at www.yourkingdominheritance.com. Rich blessings!

TBN expands reach to Hispanic viewers with Enlace TV network

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Special to Inside The Pew

LOS ANGELES – With a population of more than 50.5 million, Hispanics make up the largest minority in the United States. What’s more, surveys show that faith in God plays a vital role in the lives of an increasing number of Hispanic individuals and families. It’s little wonder, then, that Trinity Broadcasting Network’s exclusive Spanish-language affiliate, Enlace, has taken its place as one of the fastest growing Christian television networks in North America.

In fact, Enlace president Jonas Gonzalez Jr. recently reported that in the first six months of 2012 alone, the Enlace network expanded its distribution to an astounding 14 million additional subscribers in the U.S. Add to that its recent launch on Mexico’s VETV direct-to-home satellite provider, with an estimated two million new subscribers, and the trend becomes clear. “The Hispanic community places a high priority on faith and values,” explained Gonzalez. “Latino families are drawn toward programming that not only entertains, but inspires and draws them closer to God and the family. That is why Enlace has enjoyed such popularity across Latin America and the U.S.”

TBN founder Dr. Paul Crouch recalled the first time he met Enlace’s founder, the late Jonas Gonzalez Sr., nearly 25 years ago at a converted spaghetti factory in Costa Rica where the elder Gonzalez had built a small television studio to broadcast Christian programming to local viewers. “I’ll never forget that day, because it reminded me so much of TBN’s own start,” recalled Dr. Crouch. “The sparse studio, the primitive equipment — the ten-watt transmitter that was so small I could hold it in my hands. Just like TBN, Enlace was a miracle in the making, poised to explode beyond its humble beginnings and take the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ to the Spanish-speaking world.”

And, indeed, Enlace’s global growth has been nothing short of miraculous. With TBN’s financial support, technical expertise, and unflagging guidance and encouragement, Enlace has grown into a 24/7 Christian television powerhouse, with 15 satellites and thousands of cable and television affiliates broadcasting faith and family programming to Spain, Mexico, Central and South America, and across the United States. And with the addition of Enlace Juvenil, its exclusive youth network, Enlace now reaches every Hispanic viewer demographic with programming that is relevant, entertaining, and uplifting.

U.S. cable and satellite providers have quickly recognized Enlace’s commitment to Hispanic viewers, with DirecTV, DISH Network, Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Cox, AT&T U-verse, and Verizon FiOS all including Enlace in their broadcast packages. Enlace is also one of the five multicast channels TBN provides in its full-power broadcast offerings in 35 cities across the nation — along with its TBN flagship channel, the JCTV youth network, the Church Channel, and the Smile of a Child kid’s network.

“It’s a privilege to include Enlace and Enlace Juvenil as distinct members of Trinity Broadcasting’s Family of Networks,” said Dr. Crouch. “They represent the commitment we have embraced at TBN over the past 40 years to use this miracle called television to take the good news of Jesus Christ to our neighborhoods and communities, and to the very ends of the earth.”

Building better relationships for stronger marriages

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By Donald Lee
Special to Inside The Pew

With the divorce rate – roughly 50 percent of marriages in the United States – continuing to threaten the family unit, we must do everything we can to reverse the abysmal pattern many homes are falling into.

The best way to combat this epidemic is to lay down the foundation for a wholesome home by sharing the biblically based, yet practical, principles that lead to changed attitudes toward self and relationships. And it is for this reason that I am teaming up with a fellow Christian author, Dr. Aimee (pronounced I-may) Colbert, to host the Christian Couples Conference in the Fort Worth area on July 7 at Grace Church, 4740 Western Center Blvd., in Haltom City. There’ll be two sessions, one from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the other from 5 to 8 p.m.

The conference is free.

“The purpose of the conference is to help each individual, married or not, to increase his or her emotional intelligence and self-awareness,” said Colbert, an evangelist, faith-based counselor and author of the upcoming book, “Reality Check: Relationships.”

“I hope that attendees come to a better understanding of themselves, get answers and go forward with a passion to change and a new perspective on love,” Colbert said. “It’s not only for couples. It’s for couples and anyone seeking to be married some day.”

The idea is to reinforce the need for individuals to understand themselves, to have a healthy appreciation of their own self-worth and discern whether someone else has the wholesome spirit that is needed to best complement them. Strong relationships are built on wisdom and humility. And they thrive when those entering into them have genuine, sincere hearts rooted in the spirit of giving.

When someone approaches a relationship with the mindset of seeing what they can add to that relationship to help make the other person’s life easier, better, that produces a powerful connection, one that reflects the attributes of God. But when someone enters into relationships with a “gimme” attitude, always seeking to make withdrawals from the other person’s heart and rarely (if ever) making deposits, then that not only strains the relationship, but it gradually tears down the other person.

So, we want to stress that people have a health attitude toward themselves. A person can’t be sufficiently good to someone else if he (or she) has a negative view of himself (or herself).

Topics Colbert and I will cover at the conference include: “Twenty Questions You Must Ask Your Mate Before You Get Married”; “Twenty Signs That He/She is Not the One”; “Are You Addicted to Bad Relationships?”; and “Evaluating Your Expectations in Your Relationship,” just to name a few.

The conference will be recorded on CD and some video. The content will be available following the conference.

“The conference will be very eye-opening,” Colbert says. “Couples and singles should come prepared to learn. They should invite as many people as they possibly can, as we will be sharing information that they will probably never hear anywhere else. This will be a life-changing event in their lives.”

For more information about the free conference, including registration, visit http://www.christiancouplesconference.com.

Donald Lee is founder-pastor of Kingdom Living Christian Center in Dallas and co-author of “Married to Commitment,” the powerful Xulon Press-published book on relationships. To order “Married to Commitment” online, visit http://www.xulonpress.com. Follow Lee on Twitter at @donaldj_lee. Dr. Aimee Colbert also is on Twitter at @aimeetweets4u. The first chapter of Dr. Colbert’s book, “Reality Check,” already is available for download from the conference’s Web site. Also, call in to their Blogtalk radio show at 1 p.m. (Central Standard Time) every Saturday by calling (646) 652-4405. Lee’s and Colbert’s e-mail addresses are pastordonjlee@yahoo.com and aimee­_colbert@yahoo.com, respectively.

Wallenda prayed non-stop in walk over Niagara Falls

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By Mark Ellis
ASSIST News Service

NEW YORK (ANS) — Swirling winds and heavy mists from the falls below completely soaked famous aerialist Nik Wallenda as he gingerly balanced on a steel cable 200 feet above the raging torrent.

“I prayed non-stop,” says Wallenda, 33, a born-again Christian. “The Bible says to pray without ceasing and I’m always praying,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America on June 18.

Wallenda made history Friday night when he became the first man to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope in a 25-minute spectacle televised live on ABC News.

Before he began the audacious attempt, he fasted for eight hours. Then his wife, Erindera, and three children joined hands in a small circle and prayed along the riverside before he set out, just after 10 p.m. The mist was so thick it obscured him from the Canadian side for the first 10 minutes.

Wallenda wore a waterproof outfit and leather shoes specially designed by his mother. Powerful TV lights focused on him the entire journey, as 10 million people around the world followed the event on television.

The acrobat had a two-way radio and a small earpiece, and was able to communicate with his father. His microphone allowed TV viewers to hear him praising God throughout the journey as he traversed the cable from New York to Canada.

“My God, it’s incredible, it’s breathtaking,” Wallenda said when he first started over the horseshoe-shaped falls.

“Oh Lord, you’re my Savior, you’re my King,” he exclaimed, as he balanced over the most dangerous part of the falls.

“You’re my Jesus, my Counselor. You’re my Wisdom. I praise you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord. I praise you my Father.”

At one critical moment, his forearm began to cramp and his hand went numb.

Wallenda made history Friday night when he became the first man to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope in a 25-minute spectacle televised live on ABC News.

Before he began the audacious attempt, he fasted for eight hours. Then his wife, Erindera, and three children joined hands in a small circle and prayed along the riverside before he set out, just after 10:00 p.m. The mist was so thick it obscured him from the Canadian side for the first 10 minutes.

Wallenda wore a waterproof outfit and leather shoes specially designed by his mother. Powerful TV lights focused on him the entire journey, as 10 million people around the world followed the event on television.

The acrobat had a two-way radio and a small earpiece, and was able to communicate with his father. His microphone allowed TV viewers to hear him praising God throughout the journey as he traversed the cable from New York to Canada.

“My God, it’s incredible, it’s breathtaking,” Wallenda said when he first started over the horseshoe-shaped falls.

“Oh Lord, you’re my Savior, you’re my King,” he exclaimed, as he balanced over the most dangerous part of the falls.

“You’re my Jesus, my Counselor. You’re my Wisdom. I praise you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord. I praise you my Father.”

At one critical moment, his forearm began to cramp and his hand went numb.

“When I’m walking a wire like that, the balancing pole is almost 40 pounds,” he told GMA. “It takes a lot of forearm work and my forearm started to cramp worse than it ever has before.”

But his training, extraordinary focus and fervent prayers made the difference.  “It went away, so I was good to go.”

The acrobat’s astonishing feat adds to the legend of the renowned Wallenda family, famous for thrilling audiences and the subject of a 1978 TV movie, “The Great Wallendas.” Nik is a seventh-generation circus performer within the famous family.

He grew up in a “Bible-believing, God-fearing family,” which he says provides stability and peace.

His faith is a vital component of his daily life. “It’s the most important part of my life,” he says. “I believe in a thing called unmerited favor. It’s undeserved, but God’s involvement in my life has gotten me to where I am in my career.”

Bible explains how sin passed down from one man

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Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Inside The Pew staff.

By Donald Lee
Special to Inside The Pew

Question: I was recently asked, Why is everybody (including babies) paying for the sin of one man (Adam)?

Answer: Because when the one man, Adam, sinned by disobeying God and eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree, he passed the sin nature (or the state of sin) on to every other person born from him and his wife, Eve. So, what this means, is that even though a newborn baby isn’t old enough to perform the act of sin, the sin nature still is passed down to him by his parents (or lineage).

Take, for instance, a baby who is born addicted to crack cocaine because his mother smoked crack while he was in her womb. Just as the “addiction” is passed through the mother’s blood, so it is that the sin nature [or the state of sin] is passed down the lineage of man.

So because of this fact, God’s plan for redemption of mankind (restoring “man” back to his original state of “innocence” and uprightness and fellowship with God) meant that God had to send His Son, Jesus Christ, down here to the earth to suffer the punishment that we all “inherited” from Adam.

Remember what God told Adam in the beginning: The day you eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall SURELY die.

What happened? Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, or forbidden tree. So, what was his punishment? He was banned from paradise and he was sentenced to die (even though God’s perfect plan was for Adam and Eve to live forever in paradise).

God’s judgment handed down to the serpent (through whom the devil spoke) was that he’d (the serpent) crawl on his belly and eat of the dust of the ground; God tells the serpent that He’d create “enmity” (which is a natural hatred) between the woman’s “seed” and the serpent’s .

God goes on to tell the serpent that the seed of the woman (He was speaking prophetically about Jesus Christ, God’s sacrificial Lamb, sent here to die for the sins of the world) would bruise his head (the “seed” of the serpent) and the “seed” of the serpent would bruise his heel.

God is speaking prophecy. He’s letting the devil know (through these scriptures) that even though the devil “beguiled”, or tricked, the woman into eating of the forbidden tree, and she in turn gave some of the fruit to her husband, and he disobeyed God and ate it because his wife suggested he eat it, God already has a plan to redeem the “fallen” man (or mankind) back to him.

That plan is by sending Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb and Savior to the world, to earth to fulfill prophecy. In other words, God’s plan was to kill Jesus, the Lamb, and shed His blood (which holds in it the power to wash away ALL sins) so that through Jesus’, the Lamb’s, death, mankind (those who accept Jesus’ sacrifice of His blood to pay the cost of their sins) can live throughout eternity with God.

Man, still must die a literal death (as you know). But instead of going to hell and eternal torment after dying, everybody who confessed Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior before they died (or die) will be (or will have been) “SAVED” from eternity in torment and saved into everlasting life in the presence of God (or BACK in the presence of God, rather).

In other words, everybody who accepts that Jesus sacrificed His life so that they can be “saved” (or “born again”) will have eternal life. And everybody who rejects God’s plan for salvation and who rejects Jesus’ sacrifice will be banished into outter darkness (eternal torment in the lake of fire).

So, from this lesson, you see that God is “fair” and He is “just.” Just like the state of sin [or the very nature of sin] was passed down through the disobedience of one man (Adam), salvation also is passed down through the obedience (or sacrifice) of one Man, (Jesus, who also is referred to as the “Son of Man” or “the Last Adam”).

In other words, just like the only thing we had to do to be guilty of sin is to just be born, the only thing we have to do in order to be made righteous (in Christ) is to just be “born again.” So, by one man (Adam), death passed to ALL men (good men and bad men).

So is it that by one Man (Jesus Christ), eternal life has been made available to ALL men (meaning all of mankind). But in order to be “saved,” or “born again,” a person MUST confess Jesus Christ as his (or her) Lord and Savior.

Romans 10:9-10 (in the Amplified Bible) says Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 5:15 says But God’s free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man’s falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God’s grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.

Verses 16 through 19 continue to explain how Adam’s sin brought death on everybody, but Jesus’ sacrifice of His life has made it possible that all can be saved and be made righteous.

You very well know that not everybody will accept Jesus’ sacrifice. Those who don’t accept what Jesus did for us will have to pay the price for Adam’s fall. That price, again, is eternity in torment.

So, if you haven’t made Jesus your Lord and Savior, I encourage you to do so. It’s the greatest, most profound, decision you’ll ever make in your life. Accept His gift of eternal life.

 Donald Lee is founder-pastor of Kingdom Living Christian Center in Dallas. He can be contacted at pastordonjlee@yahoo.com or (225) 773-2248. To get a copy of “Married to Commitment,” the profound book on relationships he co-authored, call Xulon Press toll-free (866) 909-2665 or visit http://www.xulonpress.com. Follow Lee on Twitter at @donaldj_lee. Listen to him “live” via teleconference toll-free (760) 466-8123 (code 279498#) for the 10 a.m. (CST) Sowing of the Word on Sundays and 7 p.m. Bible study on Thursdays.

Suicide bombing hits another church in Jos, Nigeria

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By Dan Wooding, who was born in Nigeria
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

JOS, NIGERIA (ANS) — Compass Direct News (CDN) is reporting that an Islamic extremist ran a car full of explosives at a Pentecostal church in this Plateau state city Sunday, killing at least two Christians and injuring more than 40 others, military and police officials said.

CDN said that in Borno state also Sunday, gunmen reportedly killed at least two Christians during church worship.

“The Boko Haram Islamic sect reportedly took responsibility for both assaults,” said the CDN story. “The attack in Jos on Christ’s Chosen Church of God was the second suicide bombing of a church in two Sundays and the third church bombing in Jos in six months.

“The explosion, which hit after a service had ended and church leaders and some children remained in the building, collapsed the roof of the sanctuary, witnesses said.”

CDN went on to say that the death toll was expected to increase as injuries were severe. It marked the second consecutive Sunday that an extremist from the Boko Haram Islamist sect has been able to get through check-points to bomb a church, and reports followed of rioting by aggrieved youths that left further casualties.

Esther Solomon, a 31-year-old university student whose family’s house sits directly opposite the church building, told Compass that a pastor, church elders and some children remained in the sanctuary at the time moment the bomb was detonated. She said she was in her family living room at the time.

“The impacts of the explosion forcefully opened the front door of our house and threw me into one of the bedrooms,” Solomon said. “I just found myself in the bedroom, and when I rushed out, I found out that a suicide bomber had crashed into the church across the road.”

For more information, please go to: www.compassdirect.org

The old man is gone. A new man appears.

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By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

Going to church on Sunday as a kid was always interesting. My family and I used to attend an old wooden church which sat on the hill in Amite, La. We did not have central air to keep us cool, only a box fan. Service got going at 11 a.m. and the time we shared with the Lord and in fellowship with each other was priceless. The only heat that went on at our church was the fire the congregation showed for the Lord.

The old saints would rejoice and all we had was one big drum and a few tambourines to work with. We clapped our hands and sang praises to the Lord such as Payday is Coming After While and It’s Gonna Rain. Then, the spirit of God encompassed us. The young people had to get up and testify as well. We were so happy to do so and tell how good God had been to us that week. I could feel the power moving all around me and others in the room. As a teenager, I didn’t understand everything that was going on, but I knew it was the anointing that destroyed the yoke, and, at that time, the anointing had broken down the strong holds of the enemy. We were so enthralled with the spirit the physical conditions of the church were no longer a concern.

Now I can appreciate what was happening within my congregation. The Bible says we all were born into sin. The experience of falling in love with Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost and being born again in the spirit separates us from sin. Once we allow the Holy Spirit to enter our minds and heart, we can live the life Jesus lived. At this point we are free, and we graciously allow the Holy Ghost to come into our lives. This is why you see adults and teenagers crying like babies because there is no more sin in their lives; they are new creatures in Jesus Christ. We are babes in God’s sight (1 Corinthians 3:1, KJV).

My experience reminds me of the story in Acts 2:1-4 when the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (KJV).

The old man is gone, and a new man is here. The scripture shows the importance of letting the new spirit come in. I can see God working even as I write this column. I encourage those who have allowed the eternal flame to fizzle out to rekindle it. I pray the Holy Ghost will move in your life once again and bring you closer to the One who loves dearly loves you.

Grelan Muse Sr. is founder of Inside The Pew (@pewnews) and Emanuel and The Mainline Ministries . Email responses to this column to pewnews@aol.com. Follow Pastor Muse on Twitter @gremuse.

 

Catholic music icons unite for special concert in Dallas

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Special to Inside The Pew

Catholic music’s most celebrated composers – Steve Angrisano, Curtis Stephan, and Dan Schutte –  will take the stage at 7 p.m. on June 15 in Dallas for the first concert of the Age to Age: Generations of Faith Tour.

Leaving labels of youth, contemporary and liturgical behind, the tour aims to unite Catholics across generations to praise God and express a shared faith.

“Curtis, Dan and Steve, have been formed by the church at different seasons of her history; however, they share something in common – the faith that has been passed down to them,” said Laure Krupp, OCP’s manager of events. “That same story is true of Catholic communities everywhere. Though tastes in musical styles might vary, we are share in the same baptism and love for our God. That’s what we’re celebrating. That’s idea behind the Age to Age Tour.”

All three composers, men of deep faith, share a mutual respect and admiration for their craft.

Having grown up singing Schutte’s music, Texas native and OCP composer Curtis Stephan explains, “Dan writes the kind of music I want to write. Every time I sing something like ‘City of God’ or ‘Here I Am, Lord,’ I think how relevant and powerful it is, from the day it was written to today. When music is relevant, it’s timeless.”

“You can see in people’s faces that Steve’s music really touches them. He truly ministers to people,” said composer Dan Schutte.

The first concert of the Age to Age: Generations of Faith Tour will take place at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 180 Samuel Blvd., in Coppell, Texas. Tickets are $10 and are available at www.ocp.org/agetoagetour or at the event. Additional tour dates are slated for July 25 in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Oct. 20 and Portland, Ore.