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Archive | Church Connection

Life’s not fair and that’s okay

Hillcrest-Church-picPastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. 

Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

 

 

Life’s not fair. No big surprise right? When children are formed in the womb, a DNA chip appears in their brains. Not many scientists recognize it, but every parent knows it’s there. It’s called the “life should be fair” chip. Every child is born with it—without exception. Every parent has heard their children utter the same phrase, “That’s not fair!” It happens with birthday cake (his is bigger). It happens at bedtime (he gets to stay up later). And so on. And it doesn’t get better as they get older. The life should be fair chip doesn’t disintegrate naturally.

I’ve done it, too. How about the stockings at Christmas? We put the exact same things in each stocking, right down to counting the miniature candy bars trying to be fair. Was that fair? No! It was equal. What about the child that doesn’t like Mounds candy bars?

We want life to be fair. We think life should be fair. When someone else gets called into the doctor’s office first, that’s not fair. When life doesn’t provide us with the abilities, possessions, talents, or opportunities others have, we cry it’s not fair. But no one ever promised life was fair, nor should it be. Herb Shaffer says in his book, “From Where God Sits,” That’s okay! Life’s not fair—never will be, wasn’t created to be, and that’s okay! God’s in charge, we’re His kids, He loves us all the same, but He does not promise that life will be fair. In fact, Jesus promised just the opposite in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If we insist on fairness and strive to get it on our own, we often short-circuit God’s better plan. What the enemy plans for evil, God will use for good. Don’t curse the bumps. They are what we climb on.

We need to stop complaining about our trouble. Happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and say thanks to God for the troubles we don’t have.

Being thankful is a state of mind. Use what God has blessed you with to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Life’s not fair, and that’s okay. When we accept that truth about life, it gets much easier to handle. We will accept the difficulties we are handed as a normal part of life instead of believing something is wrong when unfairness comes. Sometimes those who don’t deserve it are going to get things we never do. But by tossing out the lie that life should be fair, we give God the opportunity to make us grow from the unfairness into better people instead of bitter people. That’s when the life should be fair chip begins to disintegrate—and we can get on with doing life the way God designed us to do it.

 

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Will Practice Make Perfect?

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

In the coming week, the nation will gather at Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania for a uniquely American observance. The event is Groundhog Day, of course, as with bated breath we watch Punxsutawney Phil materialize from his cozy burrow.

Groundhog Day makes me think, not of plump rodents, but Bill Murray. It was more than 20 years ago that he starred in the now classic comedy film, “Groundhog Day.” He plays weatherman Phil Connors, given the assignment of covering the Gobbler’s Knob festivities. Somehow he gets caught in a time warp and must relive Groundhog Day over and over again in an agonizing time loop.

Internet nerds have watched this movie thousands of times, and painfully parsing all the events and dialogue have calculated that weatherman Phil Connors stays trapped on Groundhog Day for almost 40 years. Why? The point seems to be personal transformation. Connors must remain where he is until he is a changed man. There is no going forward until that work is done.

Forty years seems to be the magic number, for that is exactly the amount of time spent by the children of Israel in the wilderness. You may know the story: Moses is commissioned by God to save his people from Pharaoh’s slavery. Plagues commence. Miracles ensue. Deliverance arrives (this would make a great movie).

But the former slaves don’t know how to live as a free people. They complain, revolt, commit mutiny, and foolishly long for the false security of their chains over the constant vigilance of their freedom. They are trapped and remain as such, for forty years until the “stiff-necked,” stubborn, generation had been replaced by those ready to be free.

If we review the trajectory of our lives, we are likely to find a few common denominators in all we have experienced. That’s because there’s probably a few major lessons that God is trying to teach us, a couple of persistent chains he is attempting to break. God allows life to repeat itself, over and over, until we do the hard, inner work of the soul.

Wandering the desert is a necessity and repeating difficult lessons is required, as some things can only be learned in the hard places. But how long we replay and relive those lessons is more or less up to us. There comes a time to “get it,” and to get on with it.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

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Ellen June Middleton

Mrs. Ellen June Middleton of Cedar Springs, age 87 passed away Tuesday, January 27, 2015.  She was born in Millbrook, Michigan to Herbert and Elsie (Oberlin) Decker. She enjoyed dancing, traveling, winters in Florida and the challenge of putting puzzles together.  However, her greatest joy was spending time with her family. Ellen is survived by her loving husband Harold “Buck”; sons, Alan (Betty) Palmer, Rob (Ethel) Palmer; step-children, Steve Middleton, Jerry (Laurie) Middleton, Mary Jo (Bill) Weidenfeller, Karen (Kevin) Grattan; 12 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; and brother, Cecil Decker. She was preceded in death by her parents; 10 brothers and sisters; and step-son, Ronald Middleton. There will be a memorial visitation for Ellen from 1 – 4 p.m. Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe St., Rockford, MI 49341. In lieu of flowers please make memorial contributions to Heartland Hospice, 3230 Eagle Park Drive NE, Suite 200, Grand Rapids, MI 49525. There will be a graveside service for Ellen in the spring.

Pederson Funeral Home

www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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FINCH – REEDER

C-ENG-FinchEugene Jr. and Lori Finch of Cedar Springs are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Chelsea Jean to Michael James Reeder II. Michael is the son of Rita and Michael Berndt of Grant, Michigan and Michael Reeder and Deb Campbell of Greenville, Michigan.

Miss Finch is a 2011 graduate of Cedar Springs High School and is employed at the United States Postal Service. Mr. Reeder is a 2011 graduate of Sparta High School and is employed at Wynalda Packaging in the Information Technology department.

A September 2015 wedding is planned.

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50th Anniversary

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ED & JANICE HOPKINS

 

Ed and Janice Hopkins were married on February 20, 1965 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Wyoming, Michigan. The late Rev. Fr. Felix La Pres, officiated the ceremony. Their journey together began four months earlier when two of their friends thought that they should meet on a blind date. They were right! They raised seven children in the Sand Lake area, living there for thirty-one years after moving from Grand Rapids. Their children are Jeff (Alene) Hopkins (Spencer, Jasen, Maddie and Abbey) of Cedar Springs, Melody (T.J.) Long (Jordan, Elaina, Tom and Anthony) of Wyoming, Michigan, Matt (Holly) Hopkins (Shelby, Chase, Heidi, and Ryan) of Cedar Springs, Rebecca (Jack) McHugh (Joshua and Logan) of Walker, Barry Hopkins of Grand Rapids and Mary Beth Hopkins, of Kentwood. Ed and Janice also have two great-grandchildren, Brayden and Ella. Their youngest daughter, Tammy passed away in the Fall of 1998. In 2002, the couple moved to Cedar Springs, while continuing to spend six months each year in Florida working for Walt Disney World. After leaving Florida and WDW, Ed began working at Spartan Distributing in Sparta, where he still works today. Janice is retired and has dinner ready and trips planned when he comes home. A two week Caribbean cruise was recently enjoyed to celebrate their 50th.

The secret to our success is to be willing to step outside of our comfort zones from time to time to find adventures together. But most of all, always being there for each other, not only as spouses, but as each other’s soft place to fall…..and laughing a lot and finding the silly in things, no matter how old we get….trying always to embrace that inner child.

 

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Happy Birthday DON REED

C-Birthday-ReedWe are so blessed to have you with us. You are the rock in our family. Thank you for your love, knowledge, the vacations and all you have done for us.

 

With lots of love from your honey, Barb, your kids and grandkids.

 

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Thank You

Our family would like to thank the community of Cedar Springs and surrounding areas for all of their support. The out pouring of generosity and love has been heartwarming. We have received an abundance of donations and gifts and want you all to know we are so very grateful. Thanks doesn’t seem enough, so we want to acknowledge the friends, family and community who have helped us in our time of need. We intend to pay all our blessings forward!

 

Thank you and God bless you all!

The Zain Family

Doug, Tonia, Marilyn, Gina, Alec, Dirk, William and Larraine

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Norma G. Engelman

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NORMA G. ENGELMAN

 

Mrs. Norma G. Engelman, formerly Norma G. Bunker, of Sand Lake, Michigan, age 81, passed away in the comfort of her home on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. She was born to the late Norman and Gladys (Ott) Wylie in Kent City, Michigan on Tuesday, October 24, 1933. She was a life-long resident of West Michigan. Norma enjoyed doing many things in life. She loved to relax with the feel of a good book in her hands. She would also do crossword puzzles with an ink pen, because she was that good. Norma was a loving and devoted wife, wonderful and caring mother, and the best grandmother anyone could ask for. She always cherished every moment spent with her family. Her love for them was infinite. She will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by family, friends, and all who knew her. Norma is survived by her beloved husband of fifteen years, Jerry LeMar Engelman; loving children Douglas Bunker, Kim VerHage, Kathy Hall, Keitha (Thomas) Sanders, Kari Tesch, Leslie (Walt) Steil, Sarah (Marty) Brown, Michael Engelman, Dan Engelman, Katherine Engelman, and Cameron Engleman; twenty-two grandchildren; thirty-four great-grandchildren; brothers Robert (Sabrea) Wylie and Dale Wylie; brothers-in-law Larry Engelman and Kip Babcock; sister-in-law Linda (Wilber) Moore; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; daughter Mary Jo Hall, son-in-law Rick VerHage; grandson Adam Howard; granddaughter-in-law Kim Sanders; great-granddaughter Shannon VerHage, and mother-in-law Velma Babcock. A time of visitation was held on Sunday, January 25, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, Michigan. The funeral service for Norma was held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, January 26, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home, with Ross Merlington officiating.  Interment will be at Rockford Cemetery, Rockford, Michigan. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a memorial contribution to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Memory of Shannon Dale VerHage, Attn: Development, Charles B. Wang International Children’s Building, 699 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3175; or online at  https://secure.missingkids.com/donate

Pederson Funeral Home www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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JACKIE L. “JR” REMMELE

EPSON scanner imageJackie L. “Jr” Remmele, Jr. 37 of Greenville, died Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus. Jack was born May 8, 1977 in Adrian, Michigan. He was a 1995 graduate of Cedar Springs High School and had been a volunteer with the Cedar Springs Fire Department. Surviving are his mother and stepfather, Jackie and Jim Davis; father and stepmother, Jack and Vicki Remmele; stepgrandparents, Jerry and Pat Davis; stepbrother, Joshua and Kristy Davis; stepaunt, Cindy Puffenberger; special friend and family, Tracy (Hill) Dorma and Gary and Janice Hill. A memorial luncheon and a time to greet family and friends will be held Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 12 – 3 pm at the Cedar Springs American Legion Post, 91 1st Street, Cedar Springs.

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

 

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EDNA ANDERSEN

EPSON scanner imageEdna Andersen, 94 of Cedar Springs, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Mrs. Andersen was born November 21, 1920 in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Jacob (Jack) and Bella (Kasen) Stoll. She served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was stationed in North Carolina at Moore General Hospital. There, she met and fell in love with a fellow soldier, Niels Andersen. They enjoyed 65 years of marriage and working together, living at 21 different addresses. Her associations included the Cedar Springs Women’s Club, founding member of REGM (Ruth Estrin Goldberg Memorial) for Cancer Research, and Cedar Springs Historical Society. She volunteered many hours calling for Red Cross Blood donations and spent many happy hours working with Niels in the Cedar Springs Museum Gift Shop. Surviving are her children, Soren (Diane Novak) Andersen, Beth Andersen, Karen (Ronald) Meier; grandchildren, Tony (fiancée, Claire Peters), Carmen (Tim) Sheehy, Joe, Jack, Steven and Tom; great granddaughter, Annabelle Sheehy; special friends, Waleed Howrani and Donna Clark. She was preceded in death by her husband, Niels in 2010. The family will receive friends Saturday from 10:00 am until time of service at 11:00 am at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Donna Clark officiant. Interment with Military Honors by the U.S. Army at Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Cedar Springs Public Library, 43 W. Cherry St., P.O. Box 280, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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

 

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