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Archive | Church Connection

Spring (time) cleaning

Pastor Craig T. Owens

Calvary Assembly of God

810 17 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

www.cscalvary.orghttp://craigtowens.com

 

 

 

Now that it appears that—let’s cross our fingers—Spring has finally sprung, many people will be throwing open the windows, airing out the house, and cleaning up some things that have accumulated over the long, icy winter. Ah, yes, the annual rites of spring cleaning!

One place that lots of things accumulate is our schedule. Between sports schedules, church activities, music lessons, grocery store trips, making meals, parent-teacher conferences, birthday parties, and so many other things, our schedules are packed chockfull.

In our relationships love is typically spelled “t-i-m-e.” So if you don’t have enough t-i-m-e to express your love, perhaps some spring cleaning is needed.

A few things to remember:

(1) Time is finite. You cannot call a time-out, you cannot bank up some time for another day, you cannot slow down the clock. Once you commit to something, that time is gone forever.

(2) It’s okay to say “No.” A friend of mine recently shared this thought: Whenever you say “Yes” to anything, there is less of you and your time for something else. So make sure your “Yes” is worth the “less.” If the “less” is t-i-m-e with your loved ones, please say a guilt-free “No, thank you.”

(3) Make your “Yes” mean yes. If you do decide to commit to something, then honor your commitment. Jesus said, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37). And wise King Solomon warned, “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).

(4) Time is your servant, not the other way around. Make your time work for you; don’t be a slave to the clock. A good indication that you’re the slave and not the master is that feeling like you are always running late for everything. Cut out some non-essentials like TV time or countless Facebook hours so you can make t-i-m-e for what’s really important.

Happy Spring (time) Cleaning!

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Kingdom curriculum

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

 

Once upon a time the animals organized a school. They adopted a curriculum of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. The duck was excellent in swimming and flying, but was extremely poor at running, so he had to drop swimming and stay after school for additional practice. This gave the duck’s poor, webbed feet calluses, so he became only average at swimming.

Meanwhile, the rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a complete mental breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming. The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but when her flying teacher made her start from the ground rather than from the treetops, her grades in all subjects plummeted.

The maverick in the school was the eagle. He was stubborn, independent, hardly a team player, and gloated in climbing class that he could beat everyone else to the top of the tree, but he always used his own way to get there. The prairie dogs stayed out of the school altogether because the administration would not add digging to the curriculum.

At the end of the year, none of the animals did very well. An unusual eel that was an exceedingly good swimmer, but that could also run, climb and fly just a little, had the highest cumulative score. He was selected as the valedictorian though his grades were barely above average.

I love that story. Always have. It teaches a lesson so easily forgotten or ignored: Nobody can be great at everything. But everybody can do something exceptionally well. Every person has his or her gift, his or her calling, his or her God-given ability. When it is properly employed, it works like magic. When it is not, or when we all try to do everything, it’s a disaster.

My experience in the church is that we often force individuals “to be something they aren’t,” demanding that everyone do everything. We create fine “animal schools” that foster frustration, shame, and false competition. Everyone ends up tepidly average, and we fail to allow individuals to develop their unique gifts and callings.

We are all gifted differently and radically so; and people must be allowed to explore, expand, and enhance their distinct talents. People must be given space and place to “to their part,” whatever part that is. It’s a principle that works, not only in the animal kingdom, but also in the kingdom of God.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me

 

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Vern & Linda Baker

50th Anniversary

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Vern & Linda Baker

 

Married on April 3, 1964, Vern and Linda (MacEachron) Baker, of Cedar Springs, celebrated their 50th anniversary. Their children are; Heidi and Doug Tackmann, Rich and Jennifer Baker, Eric and Kim Baker. Their grandchildren are; Austin and Katie Tackmann, Ethan and Nicole Baker, Avery Baker, Zachary and Zoey Paletta, Marc and Rachael Destine and great-granddaughter Ava Destine.

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RICHARD GOLLER

C-MEM-Goller-SrRichard E. Goller Sr.

Sept. 21, 1930 – April 4, 2011

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Richard E. Goller Jr.

Dec. 27, 1951 – April 5, 2009

 

Like a star in the night

Their memories shine bright

However distanced the passing years make us

Bound by our faith

We’ll reunite at the gate

To embrace with beloved Dick and Buzz

But not yet, although we miss you, not yet.

 

Love, The Goller Family

 

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JANE ALLEN

December 27, 1922 – April 1, 2013

Wonderful memories of one so dear,

Treasured still with a love sincere.

In our hearts she is living yet,

We loved her too dearly to forget.

 

Sandy, Carl & Deb, Amy & Chris, Laura, Drew & Piper, Mati

 

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Arlene L. Remmelts

Arlene L. Remmelts, 69 of Cedar Springs, died Sunday, March 30, 2014 at her home. Arlene was born July 11, 1944 in Romulus, MI the daughter of George and Bernice (Middleton) Loughin. She had worked for VanderHyde Ford retiring in 2006. Surviving are her children, Rod Remmelts, Roger (Virginia) Remmelts; grandchildren, Blake and Avery; sisters, Minnia Hanes, Beverly Reusser; sisters-in-law, Beverly Emmorey, Mary Gallup, and Ellie Barlow. The family would like a special thanks to her caregivers, Caroline Bartlette and Carol Rowe. Visitation will be Wednesday 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where services will be held Thursday 11:00 am. Pastor Darwyn Hassert officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the family to help with funeral expenses.

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

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ROBERT E. HIBBARD

In Loving Memory

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ROBERT E. HIBBARD

September 1, 1936 to March 28, 2007

 

We miss you Bob.

 

Love,

Pat and Children, Grandchildren and Great grandchildren.

 

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What We Carry

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

Accumulate. It’s a dangerous little word that is employed to describe gently falling snow or the harmless growth of lint on the top bookshelf. But those things that slowly accumulate can become merciless blizzards or a horde of cascading dust bunnies.

What the Bible calls “trials and tribulations” accumulate, too. A setback. A disappointment. A protracted illness. A wayward child. Deep, wordless pain. Without a sound, the weariness of life gathers until one day a look out the window reveals drifts the size of sand dunes crushing against the soul.

And sometimes it’s not the accumulation of various difficulties that grows so heavy; it’s the accumulation of time. A load that was once manageable becomes impossible to bear if it is carried too long. A case in point: consider the familiar case of the weighted water bottle.

Take in your hand a water bottle. It weighs very little. How long can you hold it in your outstretched arm? A few minutes and you won’t be aware of the weight. Hold it for an hour and you will develop pain, tremors, and weakness. Hold it for hours on end and you will end up in need of a chiropractor or orthopedist. The bottle’s weight, over time, will break down even the strongest person.

All of us suffer from accumulation: The accumulation of hardships or the accumulation of time—what we used to bear with ease, is now too much. What do we do then? Some of us have been taught to tough it out. Others are taught to ignore it.

So caught between comforters who offer no comfort and burdens that cannot be unburdened, those who suffer usually go crazy, grow numb, or give up. They suffer in silence, the accumulating pain gathering oh so steadily, until they break. But in the breaking is the deliverance.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens.” Obviously, he was offering more than harsh motivation or disparaging clichés. He was speaking to those who needed actual relief. “I will give you rest for your souls,” he said.

Quite simply, when one has been sufficiently broken—cracked open by life’s experiences—then the relief and redemption they so desperately need will be there waiting for them. As Leonard Cohen wrote, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” And that’s exactly how accumulated burdens get lifted.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me

 

 

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Thanks to All

 

I would like to thank my relatives and friends for the funny and beautiful cards I received for my 90th Birthday.

 

Lily Fisher

 

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Power of Prayer

Pastor Craig Carter

North Kent Community Church

1480 Indian Lakes Rd. • Sparta, MI 49345

 

 

“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness”—Martin Luther.

For the last several weeks, I have been drawn to a more committed and deeper prayer life. Often we think, as Martin Luther wrote, that our prayers are somehow needed to “move” a reluctant God. When in reality, we are simply acknowledging and “laying hold” of God’s willingness. Do you see God as a willing person? Willing to listen? Willing to answer? Willing to provide? Willing to reveal and show His love to you?  Is your “picture” of God one of a willing Father or a resistant and reluctant God?

You see, your “picture” of God is critical to understanding prayer. It is essential to knowing Him as a loving and willing Father. Jesus taught this lesson to his disciples when he taught them about prayer in Luke chapter 11. We call this well known teaching of Jesus, “the Lord’s Prayer.” Luke 11:1-4 reads, “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us and lead us not into temptation.’”

Jesus had been with his disciples for some time now. They had witnessed him heal and deliver many people. They witnessed him repeatedly say, “I only speak what the father speaks,”  “If you have seen me, you have seen the father,” “I and the Father are one.” They also have witnessed him take time out of his demanding life and spend time in prayer. One day, upon returning from one of His prayer times, the disciples asked the Lord Jesus to teach them how to pray.  Their request was, “teach us how to pray, as John taught his disciples!” Notice this request? There was something different about how John was teaching people to pray. Jesus disciples knew about “prayer” but they wanted Jesus to teach them about the prayers that John’s disciples were praying. You see, up until this time, prayer was mainly one of reverence and adoration. Prayers, especially by the Pharisees and religious people, were known to be long and repetitious. In fact, Jesus warned us not to pray like this. So, what was different about these prayers?

As we read further in verses 2 – 4, we see that the Lord introduces the principle of praying to God as a Father. He includes in this communication our petitions and requests. We are encouraged to adore God as our Father and to share our requests and needs. In essence, He is saying, “please know you can ask your Father for what you have need of in your life.”

In fact, immediately following the Lord’s prayer, we see Jesus sharing a parable about a man who was rewarded for his persistence in asking for his need to be met. There was no rebuke, but a reward for his persistence! One translation says, he was rewarded for his “boldness.” As a child of God the Father, learn to communicate with him through prayer. Exercise your faith, your boldness, your confidence, during these times of pray. Make your requests and needs known.  For the Father’s ear is always listening. We are, as Luther said, “laying hold of His willingness.” Will you lay hold of it today? Will you be more consistent and persistent in your prayer life, because you know you have a willing Father who loves you. If so, you will begin to see the power of prayer in your every day life.

 

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