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Archive | Church Connection

Love when all seems lost

Pastor Mike Wittmer

Cedar Springs Baptist Church

233 S Main, Cedar Springs

Joseph of Arimathea performed a necessary though often overlooked role in the Easter story. And next to the suffering of our Lord, his task may have been the most difficult.

Joseph was a wealthy, prominent member of the Jewish council that voted to crucify Jesus (Mark 15:43). He disagreed with their verdict but kept his decision to himself (Luke 23:50-51). He “was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders” (John 19:38 NIV). 

There was nothing Joseph could do to stop the council’s trumped-up charges and false witnesses. Their mind was made up. Joseph cringed as his colleagues mocked Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah, spit in his face, struck him with their fists, and shouted that he must die (Matthew 26:65-67). He watched helplessly as they handed Jesus over to the Romans, who promptly crucified his Lord. The kingdom of God had been defeated again (Luke 23:51).

There was nothing left to do. Nothing that would make a difference. But Jesus’ death had freed Joseph from fear. The dream had died. He had nothing left to lose. Joseph’s hopes had been crucified, but he still had love. It was far too late to help Jesus now, but he might do something to express his devotion. Joseph took a deep breath and paid a visit to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who had condemned his Lord. He asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Pilate said yes.

Joseph took along Nicodemus, another secret disciple. They gingerly pulled the nails out of Jesus’ wrists and ankles and lowered his body to the ground. They wrapped his corpse in spices and strips of linen and laid him in Joseph’s personal tomb (Matthew 27:57-60; John 19:38-42). 

Joseph’s brave action is particularly praiseworthy because he had nothing left to gain. His heart had fallen to the floor, yet he picked himself up and did what he could for his Lord. Tomorrow would be a disaster, but today he would put one foot in front of the other and pay his respects. 

What if he hadn’t? What if Jesus’ body had been left on the cross, exposed to birds and jackals? Jesus’ body may have been eaten and God’s “holy one” may have “seen decay” (Acts 2:27). There may have been nothing left to rise from the dead. Joseph’s hopeless act turned out to be essential for our salvation.

Are you stuck in a hopeless situation? I’ve got a few. Joseph’s actions inspire me to take the first step, to do what is right, even when I can’t imagine an immediate reward. The empty tomb means it’s never hopeless. Believe in the One who rose from the dead, who promises to return and reward even a glass of water given in His name (Matthew 10:42). It’s never too late to love.

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MARLENE L. NEMECEK

Marlene L. Nemecek age 85 of Cedar Springs passed away Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021 at her home. Marlene was born January 30, 1936 in Belding, MI the daughter of Acie and Helen (Brooks) Loughin. She enjoyed sewing, embroidery, crocheting, puzzles and baking. There was not a baby within miles who hasn’t slept in one of her homemade blankets. She was very loving and understanding and always put others first. She was a loving mother who took care of her family. Surviving are her husband of 63 years Ivan; children Francis (Anne) Nemecek, Dennis (Angela) Nemecek, Theresa (James) Champion, Timothy Nemecek, Jennifer (Tim) August; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A private family service will be held at Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake at a later date. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Memorial contributions may be made to Helen DeVos Pediatric Cancer Research. 

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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PATRICIA L. GUILES

Patricia L. Guiles age 81 of Grand Rapids died Monday, April 5, 2021 at her home. She was born November 13, 1939 in Grand Rapids, MI the daughter of Howard and Jenny (Vandermullen) Tate. She met Floyd while roller skating which they loved to do. They were able to travel a lot in their motor home and also spent many wonderful times on their 20 acres at Hardy Dam. Pat is survived by her husband of 63 years, Floyd Guiles; sons, Terry Guiles, Todd (Elizabeth) Guiles; daughter, Tammy (Darin) Guiles; grandchildren, Brooke and Jake Hendrickson, Jared Guiles, Jessica Guiles, Jenelle Gonyon, Angela Gonyon; great-grandchildren, K’saan Barrington, Jailah Einig, Kavien Einig, Blake Hendrickson and Charlie Rose Hendrickson. Per her wishes cremation has taken place and a private family service was held. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Grace Hospice 3355 Eagle Park Dr. NE Ste 102 Grand Rapids, MI 49525 or St. Jude’s Hospital 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105. 

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Dean Richard Chapman

In Loving Memory of 

Dean Richard Chapman

October 24, 1966 to April 10, 1986

“Music speaks what cannot be expressed

soothes the mind and gives it rest

heals the heart and makes it whole

flows from heaven to the soul.”

It’s been 35 years since that tragic day, and we still remember all the good times and look forward to making music with you again in God’s Kingdom.

We all miss you!

Love Your Family

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Keep digging

Rev. Bobby Gray

Solid Rock Worship Center

11862 Shaner Ave NE, Cedar Springs


Years ago, I heard a pastor rehearse a unique story about an acquaintance. The man had been country-born, country-bred, and, as he said, “When I die, I will be country-dead.” The gentleman had a unique spin on life. He left the farm and pursued higher education and went on to become a very wealthy entrepreneur. Late in life he decided to go back and purchase the old home place. The house his father built many years before was now in disrepair. Weeds and debris covered the yard as well as the entire acreage that had once been the family farm. He hired the finest architects to design the restoration.

While they were busy with the renovation and restoration of the home place, he secured some local well-diggers to re-dig the old shallow well on the property. The man remembered when he was just a small boy that his father had dug this well himself. Through the years of his growing up, it had served the family. Yet, now, it had long since been filled with all kinds of rubbish and rubble. Many years had passed since it had been functional.

After several days away from the work himself, the gentleman revisited the site. The men informed him the well had successfully been re-dug. He went over and looked at the pile of debris tdhey had excavated. He turned to the foreman on the job and said, “Sir, I regret to inform you that the task is not yet completed. You have not actually dug to the bottom yet. Please keep digging.”

He went back to the city for several days and upon his return was again told the well had been re-dug, additional refuse had been removed from the old well. Again, he passed the foreman and said, “Keep digging. You still have not reached the bottom.”

On his third visit back to the home place, the foreman told him, “Sir, we have completely re-dug this well. We simply cannot dig any deeper.” Upon inspection of the dregs last hauled out with this last excavation, the owner nodded his head in agreement.

The foreman, almost in jest, said, “You never looked in the well. You only looked at the trash heap. How do you know we really completed the job this time?”

The old gentleman walked over to the top of the most recent pile of debris and picked up the old rusty and dilapidated remains of a teakettle. He said, “You see this teakettle? I was just a little boy the day my father completed this well and told us it was filling with water. For some mysterious and mischievous reason, I slipped out and threw this teakettle into the well to hear it splash at the bottom. Needless to say, I was in trouble with my mother when she discovered her teakettle was gone. When the digging began, I knew this simple fact: since that teapot was the first thing that fell into the well, it would be the last thing that came out.”

I wonder what the teapot is in our well that needs to be extracted.

Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Maybe we have dug several times trying to get “to the bottom of things.” Life has a way of sometimes stepping on you. It has its own rhythm of “catch and release.” Things can get in our spirits. God’s kids sometimes have a way of getting under our skin. If they stay there, they will fester, and then there is trouble. How do we clean out our well? There is nothing to do but keep digging until we get to the teapot. If it does not get in our spirit, it cannot control our destiny.

 The point of the story and verse: Keep digging!

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LINDA KAY VELTING

Linda Kay Velting 74 of Newaygo died Wednesday, March 24, 2021at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. She was born March 21, 1947 in Grand Rapids, the daughter of James & Jean (Curtiss) McGee. She loved her family and grandchildren and will be missed. Surviving are her husband, Carl whom she married May 11, 1963; children, Carl (Dana) Velting, Brien (Stacey) Velting, Alan Velting, Shane Velting; grandchildren, Carl Jr, Joshua (Tonya), Christopher, Levi (Emilie), Sean, Alexis (Ricky Mohnke), Bryar, Alanah Velting; 7 great-grandchildren; siblings, Ken (Melissa) McGee, Sharon (Rick) Leach, Jim (Sandy) McGee; brother-in-law, Don (Deb) Velting. She was preceded in death by son, David and grandson, Nathan. The family greeted friends Saturday, March 27 until the time of service at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. Interment Blythefield Memory Gardens. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Lung Association 1475 E. 12 Mile Rd. Madison Heights, MI 48071. 

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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ROBERT J. SNOW

Robert J. Snow, age 86 of Ensley Township, Sand Lake, passed away Monday, March 29, 2021 Bob was born to Robert and Marie (Verburg) Snow on July 7, 1934 in Sand Lake. He graduated from Howard City High School in 1952 and married his high school sweetheart February 13, 1954. Bob enjoyed his family, fishing, deer hunting trips, snowmobiling, antique tractor rides and restoration, gardening, bicycling and playing euchre. Surviving are his wife, Jean (Kinney) Snow; children, Donald (Deb) Snow of Belmont and Baptist Lake, Denise Snow of Cedar Springs, James Snow of Grand Ledge, Brian (Gail) Snow of Ensley Center, Diane (Dana) Spence of East Lansing; grandchildren, Jaclyn (Jeremy) DenOuden, Andrew and Hannah Snow, Michele (Anton) Dimovski, Jeffrey Heiss, Patrick and Adam Snow, Claudia, Noel, Owen and Allison Spence; step grandson, Sean O’Dell; great grandchildren, Ramona, Henry and Calvin DenOuden, Landon Dimovski; step-great grandchildren, Bryson and Kaden O’Dell; sisters-in-law, Joan (Kinney) Timmer, Mary Ann (Kinney) Douglass and Garnet (Jerry) (Kinney) Kaiser. Preceded by sister, Carolyn Hartway; sister-in-law, Donna (Kinney) Adams and grandson, Kyle Snow. The family will greet friends Monday, April 5 from 5-8 p.m. at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home in Cedar Springs Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, April 6 at St. Bartholomew Church, Newaygo at 11:00 a.m. with one hour visitation prior to Mass. Interment St. John’s Cemetery in Ensley Township. Memorial contributions to Love INC of Newaygo County.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Thank you

I would like to thank everyone for all the love. I have received so many cards and gifts that I will treasure everyday. I had two suprise birthday parties, one from my family and the other by Lake Side Restaurant. Turning 100 was a blessing. Thank you so much.

Love,

Virginia Fisher

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VIRGINIA P. ASHLEY

Virginia P. Ashley age 84 of Cedar Springs died Saturday, March 20, 2021 at Spectrum Health Blodgett Campus. She was born January 28, 1937 to Clarence and Helen (Hines) Hathaway. Virginia retired from General Motors. She loved her flowers and yard. Her family enjoyed her wonderful sense of humor. Virginia loved her family, had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed playing games. She is survived by her children, Dan (Teressa) Taylor, Dave Taylor, Mary Schneider, Joe (Dana) Taylor, Steve (Susan) Taylor, Mike (Edna) Curtice, Robert (Melissa) Ashley; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; numerous siblings; her cat Lilly. She was preceded in death by her son, Fred Taylor and sister, Mary Hathaway. The family greeted friends Wednesday, March 24 until the time of service at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Rick Miller of Red Pine Bible Church, officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. 

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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DONNA M. ELLICK

Donna M. Ellick age 87 of Ensley Township, Sand Lake died Thursday, March 18, 2021 at Faith Hospice Trillium Woods. Mrs. Ellick was born November 16, 1933 in Solon Township, MI the daughter of Roger and Helen (Hanna) Fisk Sr. She was a hard worker who enjoyed her flowers, gardening and crafting. She loved going to mule and horse pulls and had attended Red Pine Bible Church. Surviving are her son, Robert (Annette) Ellick; grandsons, Rodney (Kelly) Ellick, Jason (Chani) Ellick, Nolan (Molly) Ellick; 14 great-grandchildren; siblings, Roger (Joyce) Fisk Jr., Jim (Shirley) Fisk, Mary Lou Welch, Patty Anderson, Jerry (Diane) Fisk; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Mahlon “Sonny” Ellick; siblings, Jack Fisk, Barbara Helsel and Dixie Fisk. Visitation and service was held Tuesday, March 23 at Pierson Bible Church, 101 Grand St., Pierson. Pastor Rick Miller officiating. Interment North Ensley Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Pierson Bible Church Building Fund. 

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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