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Thank you

Thank you

The Family of John Dekraker would like to thank everyone who helped to make his benefit a success last fall. John had a successful transplant January 25, 2016.

We look forward to helping others.

John, Gail Dekraker and family

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In Memory: Betty Jo Stults

In Loving Memory of

BETTY JO STULTS

November 4, 1938 – April 13, 2012

There are no words to tell you

What losing you has meant.

But now each day brings memories

of happy years we spent.

You’d want us all to smile again

And that’s just what we do.

Every time we reminisce

With loving thoughts of you.

You’re with us when

Each new day dawns.

And when we say goodnight.

Our guardian angel here on earth

And Heaven’s shining light.

Sadly miss by all.

 

Cheryl & Greg Fisk

Greg Jr. & Pam and girls

Roger & Tasha and boys

Alicia & David and kids

Kristina and girls

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Confident Grace

By Pastor Craig Carter, North Kent Community Church

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16 NIV).

What’s so amazing about grace? If we are honest, the longer we live and serve the Lord, the more we realize that God’s grace is simply amazing. One of the most profound things about God’s grace is that it invites us to God’s throne with confidence. Notice that the throne we are invited to is not one of judgment, but of grace. The writer of Romans gives us this same picture. He writes, “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:15-17). God provided abundant grace for this life. Now that’s a confidence builder in us all! God says this grace assures us we can reign in life. We can live confidently that if God is for us, who can be against us?

I think it is important to remember that grace is the unmerited favor of God. It is a favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that same person deserves. That is why we are invited to come to this throne without hesitation. In the above verse, we are instructed to come to this throne with “confidence.” Another translation says that we may “come boldly” unto the throne of grace. This word “boldly” is the Greek word parrhesia (par-rhay-see’-ah), which literally means to come with an all out-outspokenness, frankness and bluntness. It also implies that we can do so, without fear of some repercussions.

Let me ask you this question. When was the last time you went to God and spoke your mind honestly and openly, without fear of some repercussions? You may be uncomfortable with this, but that’s exactly what God’s grace allows us to do. I find it interesting that people harbor all kinds of thoughts in their heart that they would not even consider speaking with their mouth. Yet, they fail to realize God already knows their thoughts! They act as if they were to verbalize them to God, he would punish them with some consequence. They think a lightning bolt from heaven is going to strike them because they had the audacity to speak their mind to God. I frequently remind people, God is a big boy, feel free to tell Him how you really feel.

Let me challenge you today. Go confidently or boldly to God’s throne with whatever need you have. Do not be afraid to speak your mind to God, because mercy and grace await you. Grace invites you to its throne because it longs to help you.

North Kent Community Church, 1480 Indian Lakes Rd., Sparta, Church Phone #: 550-6398

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Thank You: Lyman Gates

Thank you for the cards and prayers at the death of Lyman Gates. It meant so much!

Thank you.

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ALTHEA B. WELCH

Althea B. Welch, 87, formerly of Cedar Springs, went to be with her Lord on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at Christian Rest Home, Grand Rapids. Mrs. Welch was born February 25, 1929 in Rockford, Michigan, the daughter of Arthur and Hazel (Hall) Bliss. She had worked at Wolverine World Wide before becoming a mother and homemaker. She was a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs where she taught Sunday School and Jr. Church for many years. She loved to cook, bake, knit, crochet, and spend time with her grandsons. Surviving are her son, Richard (Linda) Welch; grandsons, David and Jonathan; brother, Arthur (Delores) Bliss; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon in 2010; sisters, Lois Blakeslee, Lowella Husted, and Barbara Bliss; brother, Leland Bliss. The family greeted friends Tuesday, April 5 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was held Wednesday 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs. Pastor Dan Currie officiating. Interment Fairplains Cemetery, Sparta. Memorial contributions may be made to Christian Rest Home or Gentiva Hospice.

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

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BETTY G. RINGLER

C-obit-RinglerBetty G. Ringler, 85, of Cedar Springs, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 4, 2016 at home. Betty was born February 6, 1931 in Staples, Minnesota, the daughter of James and Jenny (Rink) Kubitza. She had worked at the Grand Rapids Herald and was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. She especially loved her grandchildren. She was a member of Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake and their Ladies Guild. She loved watching and feeding birds and playing card games. Surviving are her husband, Basil, whom she married on November 13, 1954; children, Janice (Mike) DeGraaf, Karen (Jeff) Sixbury, Douglas (Darlene) Ringler, Steve (Lisa) Ringler, Bruce Ringler, Chris Ringler; 13 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Helen (Chum) Woodard. She was preceded in death by eight brothers and sisters. The family greeted friends Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, where a Rosary will be recited at 7:30 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday 11:00 am at Mary Queen of Apostles with Rev. Fr.Lam Le celebrant. Interment Sand Lake Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Sacred Heart Elementary School, Staples, MN.

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

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From the Pulpit: Finding Peace

By Pastor Ryan Black

There aren’t enough hours in the day to worry about all that is wrong. Whether it is world events, work, school, family or just life in general, there is always something to cause our fretfulness. Life creates many anxious moments. But when the pressures of life continually increase, you may feel anxious all of the time. The pressure can be so great that you wonder if you will be able to carry the load of anxiety even one step further. Fortunately, we have the anti-worry, anti-anxiety antidote: Jesus!

Anxiety is a mind thing. Jesus understands this issue and is with you when facing it as he can put your mind to rest. Christ himself suffered anxiety to the point of sweating blood. Whether you’re a Christian or non-Christian, stress is something we all face and agonize. For this reason, we need to recognize that Jesus is there for each and every one of us in our times of uneasiness. John 14:1 says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” Why do we go through stressful moments and phases in our lives? Scripture tells us it’s to build up our perseverance, endurance and faith (Romans 5:3-5). Typically, when we go through traumatic times, we come out of it stronger and more well-rounded as a person.

We are all afraid of something. And whether our fear is real or irrational, if we let ourselves get caught up in a sea of worry, we run the risk of drowning in it. While we can never be completely free from worry, Jesus gives us a sense of peace and comfort as we deal with it. John 14:27 reads, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Cedar Springs Christian Church, 340 West Pine Street, Cedar Springs

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GORDY MAY

13C-mem-MayWebNovember 24, 1933 – April 6, 2006

Gone yet not forgotten,

Forever in our hearts.

We love and miss you,

The May Family

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Duane W. Bradley

BradleyObitWebDuane E. Bradley, age 83, passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bert & Lottie Rens; sister, Shirley Flood; son in-law, Fred Taylor. Duane is survived by his wife of nearly 58 years, Ellen Bradley; his 6 children, Reba & Gerald Albritton, Janet & Doug Plumb, Yvonne Taylor, Dale & Jacki Bradley, Linda & Joe Maxim, Doug & Tracy Bradley; 15 grandchildren, Melissa (Scott), Nicole (Matt), Andrea (Reggie), Tim (Angie), Troy (Tiffany), Jessica (Nate), Tiffany (Scott), Krystal (Donte), Joanna (Lee), Derk (Bridget), Dalton (Lindsey), Dillion (Sam), Angie (Paul), Ashley (Eddie), Nicole Porter, Jacob Porter; 25 great grandchildren; sister, Pam & Gene Gibson; brother in-law, Harry Flood. Duane served in the United States Marine Corp and then the United States Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He worked for Ronda Tire for many years until retirement. He loved to play pool, golf, and cards and enjoyed his cocktails. He will be greatly missed by family and friends. Funeral services will be held at the funeral home on Monday, March 28, 2016 at 6:00 P.M. Friends may meet the family at the funeral home on Monday, Noon – 2:00 P.M. and 4:00-6:00 P.M. Those who wish may make memorial contributions to assist the family with expenses.

Arrangements by Hessel Cheslek Funeral Home www.hesselcheslek.com.

 

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Approaching Easter 2016

By Pastor Dick Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church, 2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

Almost two thousand years ago, on the Sunday following the crucifixion of our Savior the Friday before, two women approached the sepulcher where Jesus had been laid, to make the necessary preparations for his dead body. We read, “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:5-6 NIV).

For these friends of Jesus who came to the tomb, life and death would never be the same. This Jesus whom they loved and believed to still be in the grave, had risen from the dead, conquering death for us, our last enemy in this life.

Through the story of the resurrection and the promised Spirit of God, alive in us, we too must look at our own lives and answer for ourselves, “How do we approach Easter Sunday 2016?” Our answer has much to say in whether Easter makes a difference in our lives or not. How many Easters have we heard and heard again about the resurrection, and do we come to this day expecting to experience the same-o same-o, old routine? The women came to the borrowed tomb before sunrise on a Sunday, and surprise, the tomb is empty! Oh wow, like we haven’t heard this before!

Maybe we come not expecting anything more than what we’ve known before, after all, we know that God’s word is as Paul has written, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2nd Corinthians 1:20 NIV). It will be exactly as God has said it will be.

Then again, we may not spend much time reading our Bible, or attending worship services, but it’s Easter, and we know just enough to be curious, is there something there for me? Is there anything in the Bible or church that may make my life better? Our experience with Easter has always been good, but, what if we approached Easter 2016 with a heart that is open and expecting, exactly what, we’re not sure, but hoping that God will make the resurrection of Christ more of a reality in our lives?

If we come to Easter Sunday as people who have heard the story before, as people who can no longer be amazed, we will very likely leave the same way we came. We meet God where we are at. If we approach Easter in humility, repentant before God, knowing our absolute need for Jesus, he will never disappoint us. Christ’s resurrection is not just another story in the Bible, it is the central point in our faith as Christians.

How will we approach Easter 2016? Will this Easter be different? Are we willing to approach this day and the rest of the days of our lives, by joyfully allowing God to enter into our hearts, and begin a work within us that allows us to hear this story with spiritual ears, in a way we’ve never heard it before?

Approach God with an open heart, and hear with childlike amazement, God’s eternal truth in Jesus Christ!

He is risen! Indeed!

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