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Archive | August, 2012

Picking up the pieces

Pastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs


Sometimes life has a way of taking our breath away and it hurts so bad, we’re sure there must be blisters on our hearts. These last few weeks have been extremely hard on our community, with tragedy affecting so many of our young people. Sometimes it seems like more than one can bear.

We cry out to God and ask WHY Lord? Why is this happening? When will the hurting stop? Please stop the pain.

The good news is that God knows how bad things are, but He promises they won’t stay that way. Soon we’ll trade all this suffering for something much better. In Isa. 41:10 (NIV), God promises us that He Himself will be right there with us and will not leave us to face tragedy alone. He said, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand!” God never said life wouldn’t be hard but the promise is that we would be held by Him when it is.

One thing that I have noticed that has been a beautiful thing, is witnessing the community coming together in a time of great tragedy. God tells us to mourn with those who mourn. I see countless people coming to the aid of those hurting, wanting to help in any way possible. Prayers are actually reaching all around the world as word spreads of the need. Isa. 61:1-3 expresses beautifully how the Spirit of God is sent to comfort the brokenhearted and that He also will make something beautiful out of the ashes and broken pieces. It reminds me of a beautiful piece of mosaic art.

The mosaic is made from broken pieces of this and that, some leftovers and other damaged pieces. At first glance, those broken pieces don’t seem to be related to each other. The sharp edges had the ability to cut and damage. But when the pieces were placed together and the light shines, the broken pieces are transformed into something beautiful.

As we look over the course of our lives, often broken pieces seem to stick out. Many of those pieces have sharp edges: difficult memories that continue to jag and cut into our hearts. Other pieces have been rubbed smooth and shiny; we recognize them as things of beauty. Up close, we may not see the pattern. But, when we look from the right distance, the pieces come together and, even though it may be difficult to admit, something of beauty is created. Indeed, our lives are mosaics: God takes our shattered pieces and creates something beautiful.

Perhaps as you look over the broken pieces of your life that are still sharp enough to cut and wound your spirit, you will in time, be able to look back at them and find that a beautiful mosaic is emerging.

When God answers our prayers we say, “Oh God is SO good”(as we should). We must also remember that when God doesn’t answer exactly how we were expecting, or how we wanted, that God is still just as good!

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Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

I took my sons to the park a few days ago to enjoy a new playground installed by the city fathers, apparently with the help of a team of safety experts and a host of litigation-preventing-attorneys. There was no dirt, mud, or gravel. Gone was the sharp-edged chain link fence, traded in for a short polymer-slotted wall. Even the equipment had changed. There were no monkey bars; no metal slides; no rocket-shaped-climby-thing, not even a seesaw.

There was one piece of missing playground equipment that, for all my nostalgia, I’m glad was removed: The merry-go-round, or as some call them, the round-a-bout. I haven’t been on one of these things since I was ten-years-old and with good reason. The game we played was simple. About a thousand pounds of elementary-aged children would climb aboard while someone’s older brother started spinning the thing with the G-force of a fighter jet. This resulted in half the kids immediately flying off or getting sucked beneath the thing, breaking arms and noses.

Those who remained stuck to the handlebars usually began to spew their lunches like shaken cola cans, and the one who didn’t get sick, suffer a compound fracture, or could walk the straightest line when the spinning stopped was naturally the winner.

The truth is no one ever wins on the round-a-bout. The round-a-bout I am speaking of is the always spinning cycle of human anger. The eye-for-an-eye, tit-for-tat rotation that leaves everyone flattened on the ground, barely holding on, or staggering about, dazed and broken. Is there a way to stay safe and “win” this dangerous game?

Jesus says there is: Don’t play the game at all. He said, “If you remember that someone has something against you, go settle your differences quickly.” The solution, according to Jesus, was not to assault your enemies with a preemptive strike or to dig in further by strengthening your grip on the rails. The solution is early intervention by defusing anger and retaliation before it even gets started.

You see, before the first blow is ever struck, before a trigger is ever pulled, or before the revenge scheme is ever hatched, emotions have already been weaponized and the round-a-bout is already on its not-so-merry-go-round way. Jesus understood that the only way to stop accelerating anger was to graciously neutralize it as soon as possible. That’s the only real way to stay in the game.


Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me


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Wyatt Phillips

Wyatt Nathaniel Phillips, 16, of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, August 23, 2012 due to an auto accident. Wyatt was born September 19, 1995 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Scott and Danielle (Kruse) Phillips. He was going to be starting his Junior year at Cedar Springs High School this fall. Wyatt was a funny, quirky, talented, athletic young man. He was a joyful person and a friend to many. Surviving are his parents, Scott & Danielle Phillips; brother, Zachary; godfather, Bruce Damm; aunts and uncles, Tim & Char Kruse, Rebecca Kruse, Russ & Imelda Phillips, Jill Phillips, Mark & Kathy Phillips, David & Carla Phillips, Sue Phillips; many cousins. The family greeted friends Sunday, August 26 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was held Monday at the Cedar Springs High School Auditorium. Pastor Mary Ivanov officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs Public Schools for the Theater Group or Boys Soccer. Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Jude Alan Gorby

Nate and Lynn Gorby of Cedar Springs are thrilled to announce the birth of their third son, Jude Alan, born on April 18, 2012. He is pictured here with his brothers Noah, age 3, and Kyam, age 2. Happy grandparents are Dave and Jan Malmo, Alan Gorby and Scott and Jan Urbon.

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Doug & Val Bickle


Community Service Recognition Award


Doug & Val Bickle has received Gleaner Life Insurance Society’s Community Service Recognition Award. This award is presented to individuals who work at the local or grass-roots level and live by the true spirit of volunteerism, which is the cornerstone of the fraternal benefit system. Doug & Val Bickle were honored by Gleaner’s Grand Arbor. The award was presented on July 28, 2012 at Gary & Rosemary Mills’ home. They were selected because of  their volunteer efforts with “Meals on Wheels” and delivering food to food pantries.

Congratulations Doug & Val Bickle!

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Thank You

I would like to thank the Solon Township voters who cast their ballots for me in the recent Primary Election. I am grateful for your support and will continue to keep the best interests of the Solon Township people first and foremost in mind in all deliberations of the Township Board and the Planning Commission.

V. Fred Gunnell

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Main Street with Roger Allen

roger on main streetJobs for all

I know some ways we can improve the employment picture. On TV every day I see cartoon characters involved in all kinds of entertaining activities. Every one of those little cartoonies replaces a human. Out there, for every one of them, some actor didn’t get a job because of a comic book character.

Even more wasteful of jobs is the telephone system. I’m talking not just the phone numbers answered by somebody in the Philippines, but also companies with automated answering systems. After you drag their phone numbers and their business hours out of their websites, you get a tinny electronic voice saying, “All of our representatives are busy with other callers. Your call will be answered in the order received.”

The wait can be 30 minutes. It can be even longer! They’re wasting our time for a few more bucks of profit! We could cut the unemployment rate if they would just answer their phones! (And we wouldn’t feel so grouchy once we finally got a human being on the line.)

Marriage #1

Three guys are talking in the bar. Two of them remark about the amount of control they have over their wives while the third guy stays quiet.

After a while one of them says to the third, “Well, what about you? What sort of control do you have over your wife?”

“Well,” says the third guy, “I’ll tell you. Just the other night my wife came to me on her hands and knees.”

The first two were amazed. “Gee, what happened then?” they asked.

She said, “Get out from under the bed and fight like a man!”

Marriage #2

Marty was in his usual place in the morning, sitting at the table reading the paper after breakfast. He came across an article about a beautiful actress who was about to marry a football player known primarily for his dumb comments and lack of common knowledge. He turned to his wife with a puzzled look on his face. “I’ll never understand why the biggest jerks get the most attractive wives.”

His wife replied, “Why, thank you, dear!”

Yup, it’s not for sissies

Old age is when you go to the doctor and realize you now have to pay someone to look at you naked. Some things are okay: the glass is still half full. But, of course, the bad news is that it won’t be long before your teeth are floating in it.

Old age brings the wisdom that life throws you curves—and that you may be sitting on your biggest ones. You become more reflective in old age. You start pondering the big questions, such as what is life, why am I here, and how much Healthy Choice ice cream can I eat before it’s no longer a healthy choice?

In old age, you start to repeat yourself. In old age you start to repeat yourself.


My name is Roger Allen and I approve this message.

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Amazing community gatherings

Our community recently received encouragement, inspiration, and acts of love while facing some serious challenges and saddened hearts. Some awesome people stepped up to remind us that we are surrounded by some of the most wonderful, united, and compassionate human beings found on earth.

In the last week, we’ve had a peaceful compromise on use of the Red Flannel logo, gathered at Morley Park in a united celebration of faith, and celebrated the life of Wyatt Phillips.

In my 45 years in this community, these few days have been the most amazing community gatherings of God’s faithful servants. It has been overwhelming and almost too much for me to absorb in a short period. We are fortunate to have some of the best Christian and educational leaders and followers living here among us.

On Sunday, I heard several profound messages and challenges at the United worship service. The pastors, the music ministry, and the members of various churches who provided us with lunch, showed us the message of God’s true love for us. People of all ages and faiths gathered, free of traditional symbols from their particular denomination, yet sharing in the bigger picture of following, serving, and celebrating Jesus Christ. Strangers held hands to pray for peace, guidance, and love within our community and the world as a whole.

On Monday, I walked away from the funeral service feeling blessed to have known Wyatt and to have the Phillips family living within our community. The messages of this celebration were life-changing experiences. Zack Phillips challenged us to live with passion, and at the close of each day to ask ourselves if we had followed our passion and lived it to the fullest. The closing song, “Surrender,” challenged us to surrender our lives to God and reminded us we are not in charge, but God is, with the perfect plan for each of us.

Celebrations in both the park and the auditorium were filled with family, friends, and neighbors. It was a united display of this community’s concern and love for each other. God has placed the perfect people in our lives here in Cedar Springs. I am thankful to our Lord and Savior for placing such awesome people in our community. Thank you to those of you who are following your passion and surrendering your lives as servants to God, and who give so much only because you want to. You are making a positive difference.

Sue Wolfe

Cedar Springs

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Hometown Idol comes to Howard City Harvest Festival

Singers of all ages are invited to compete in America’s favorite singing talent showcase, Hometown Idol, when it comes to the Howard City Harvest Festival  at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15,  2012, at Ensley Park.

Singers will compete in three age divisions: Juniors (age 12 and under), Teens (ages 13-19) and Adults (age 20+). Music must be age-appropriate and family friendly, however, any style of music is welcome.

Contestants may sing a cappella or bring a karaoke-style music track (no lead vocals) on CD or one instrument for accompaniment.

Singers will be judged on vocal performance, stage presence, execution (four-minute time limit), song choice, technique and appearance. An impartial panel will judge the event. The top three singers in each age division will receive a cash prize, sponsor prize pack, trophy and an invitation to perform in the Hometown Idol statewide finals to compete against the other Hometown Idol finalists for 2011 and 2012. Grand prizes will be worth up to $10,000. The judges’ decision is final.

Registration begins at 1 p.m. There is a $20 registration fee per contestant. Contestants can register online at www.yourhometownidol.com or at the event.

For complete rules and further information, contact Event Producer Robin Wojta at robin@yourhometownidol.com.

For a calendar of future Hometown Idol competitions, please visit www.yourhometownidol.com.

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Hometown Happenings

Paper Drive for CS Cub Scouts Pack 3222

Aug. 30: The Cedar Springs Cub Scouts Pack 3222 is currently having a paper drive. We will have a semi trailer in the parking lot just to the south of KC’s Kones, on Main St., until the beginning of December. We will gladly accept all of your newspapers and phoone books. We are unable to accept magazines, cardboard or trash.  This event has been organized by Scott DiPiazza, our Webelo I leader.  A pickup day is scheduled in October. Look for more information later. If you have any questions about the paper drive please call Scott at 616-240-0279.  #35


Volunteer Tutors Needed

Sept. 4: The Literacy Center of West Michigan, has scheduled an information session on Tuesday Sept.. 4 for prospective volunteer tutors. This session is held at 6:30 pm and lasts one hour. It allows persons interested in becoming volunteer tutors to find out more about the Center and its literacy programs. At the end of the session, there will be an opportunity to sign up for tutor traing. The Literacy Center of W. Michigan, 1120 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite 240, Grand Rapids, is a non-profit, United Way agency devoted to reducing illeracy in our community. Please call 616-459-5151 (ext.10) to register. #35


Red Flannel Day Talent Show Tryouts

Sept. 12: Looking for talented kids of all ages. The Red Flannel Talent Show is searching for singers, vocal groups, dancers, instrumentalists and variety acts for the Red Flannel Day Talent Show on October 6th. Come in and show us what you’ve got. Tryouts on Wed. Sept 12 at 7:00 pm at the Kent Theatre, 8 N. Main St. Cedar Springs. So, get together with friends and family and plan your act now. If you have any questions, please contact Len by email, len@laphoto.com or 231-750-2337. #35,36p


One Day Bike Benefit at HCNC

Sept. 12: One day only, Howard Christensen Nature Center will allow bikes as a special tribute to a dear friend/ neighbor who was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike on 18 Mile Rd. in Rockford. The Bike Benefit will be on Wednesday, Sept. 12 from 10 am to 3 pm for a donation of $5. Funds will go to his rehabilitation needs. Must wear a helmet – meeting at 520 – 20 Mile Rd., Kent City. Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City. 616-675-3158.  #35



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