Kirk Noonan (The Pentecostal Evangel)
Nicholas Jonas isn't impressed. Sure, steady paychecks, 401(k)s, his own nonprofit, performing for thousands of people each month and meetings with famous people are neat. But for Nicholas, who is 10 years old, there's more to life than success, money and fame. Instead, there is schoolwork to do, toys to collect and more importantly, people he needs to evangelize.
"It's the best way to get the Word out there," said Jonas, who plays Chip in Disney's Beauty and the Beast Broadway musical, of his biography in the show's playbill, which reads in part, "All thanks to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."
Talking about Jesus comes as easy for Nicholas as his perfect pitch and ability to carry a tune--both, of which, he says, are gifts from God.
"The Lord has blessed me so richly that every time I go on stage I feel this little tingling inside of me," he said. "That feeling comes from performing and using the gifts God gave me." Nicholas also shares the spotlight with his two older brothers Kevin, 14, and Joseph, 12. Both have appeared in national television commercials for the likes of Burger King, Clorox and LEGO.
Joseph was recently cast in the Broadway opera La Bohème. The key to making
it past an audition, Joseph says, is to be energetic and outgoing. But when things don't go his way he keeps it all in perspective.
"You just go on and forget about it," he advised, "and know the Lord wants
to give you something else."
Yet Kevin and Denise Jonas, the boys' parents and pastors of Wyckoff Assembly of God in New Jersey, want their sons to learn more than just resilience from performing.
"We have been thankful for their understanding of work ethic and the responsibility that goes with it," said Denise, 36. "The Lord does a lot for them and they also see the benefits of tithing, but this has given all of us many doors to share our faith.
"When we went into this other world [the theater world] we saw so many people, who are genuine and kind, but lost without Christ," she said. "Since we have been here I have watched people slowly come around as they ask questions about our faith."
Joseph invited an older cast member of Oliver, a play he was in, to Wyckoff A/G. Today, the cast member is an integral part of the church. Kevin, the 14-year-old, said conversations about Jesus flow freely because people always ask him what his parents do for a living. When he tells them they are pastors, conversations revolving around faith usually ensue.
The family's schedule is demanding. On some nights while Nicholas performs, Kevin, the dad, can be found at a nearby Internet café preparing his Sunday sermon. Denise spends many of her days shuttling her sons to and from New
York City for their acting jobs.
"We have made a family commitment to this," said Kevin. "Denise and I asked ourselves 'How can we not do this when God has given us the opportunity?'" Since venturing onto Broadway, Nicholas has shared the stage with Reba McEntire in Annie Get Your Gun and has met former president George Bush, actress Bette Midler, and members of the pop group NSYNC.
"All of our boys are very bold talking about the Lord," said Kevin. "For them it's very matter-of-fact."
Kevin and Denise also have a 20-month-old son and will emphasize to him, if he goes into acting, what they already emphasize to their older sons: to hold onto everything, but their faith, loosely. "We'll only do this as long as it works," said Denise. "If it all ended today we would be happy to lay it down."
Cindy Swanson (Notes in the Key of Life blog)
Recently, my colleague Charmel Jacobs of Radio 91 interviewed a remarkable young man. Nicholas Jonas is an 11-year-old boy who is using his voice as a ray of hope this Christmas season, with his song "Joy to the World/A Christmas Prayer."
Nicholas Jonas is a talented singer and actor who writes many of the songs he performs. He is also the founder of the Nicholas Jonas Change for the Children Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps needy, sick and homeless children.
This Christmas season, Nicholas' bright, strong voice is filling radio airwaves with the song "Joy to the World/A Christmas Prayer. " The lyrics include: "Every year at Christmas / All I can see / Are pictures of the things I want / Around the tree / But this year's a little different / I'm not thinking of myself / So my prayer for this Christmas / Is for somebody else / So I pray... / Joy...To the world / Peace...For every boy and girl / Hope...When life is hard / Light...When everything seems dark..."
When you hear Nicholas being interviewed, his love for Jesus bold heart for evangelism is unmistakable. With his clear testimony, Nicholas has been able to, in his words, "spread the Word" about Jesus in the New York theater community.
Recently, I included a comment about Nicholas in my blog. The next day, I got an e-mail from Nicholas' dad, Kevin: "Thank you for your kind words concerning my son, Nicholas. He truly does have a deep love for Jesus. I pray God will bless you today. IN His Service, Kevin Jonas"
Notes in the Key of Life blog
I mentioned this remarkable 11-year-old singer/actor in my blog recently, and got a nice e-mail from his dad, Kevin Jonas, who told me: "Nicholas truly does have a deep love for Jesus."
Nicholas' song "Joy to the World/A Christmas Prayer" is filling radio airwaves this Christmas season.
I've added more info about Nicholas on my website for those of you who are interested.
A positive story about a child, in a world where there are so many sad or negative ones. Good stuff.