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Archive | Church Connection

“Dependence Day”

No, that is not a typo! As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day for the United States of America, I am reminded of how our country gained its independence from Britain. It was with dependence on God. As a matter of fact, the very first resolution brought before the First Continental Congress, and immediately passed was the declaration that they would open every meeting with a prayer. Our founding fathers were dependent on God. Our country was founded on Biblical principles.

Have you ever actually read our country’s founding documents? I have and was pleasantly surprised. I was not aware of how many times God and Our Creator are mentioned and honored in several of our official founding documents. As Americans, we depend on the Constitution and these documents to guide our lives. Knowing our history makes us all better Americans. Just as knowing, depending on and living by our Bible makes us better Christians. Many who claim to believe the Bible have never even read it.

We become stagnant, when we become dependent on wrong or destructive things.

“Stagnation is seen often in people who abuse substances such as drugs and alcohol. Their emotional development likely stopped at the age they began to escape life through substance abuse. One cannot grow when one no longer participates in life” (Dr. Henry Cloud).  

This rings true in our relationship with God, as well, when we become dependent on anything else over God. Just as when we stop participating in our Christian life, stagnation occurs. The one and only thing we must become dependent on is God, our Creator.

Peter Scazzero states in his book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality,” Christianity is not about our disciplined pursuit of God, but about God’s relentless pursuit of us—to the point of dying on a cross for us that we might become his friends. The inexhaustible God loves us so intensely that every time someone turns to Him after wandering from His love for us, all heaven breaks out in a thunderous celebration (see Luke 15:7).

Most of us believe this in our minds. This is the message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Experiencing this infinite love in our hearts, however, is another matter. But only when we stop fighting God and submit to dependence on Him, will we ever be transformed and experience His infinite love in our hearts. Once God has won our hearts, we pursue Him with a hunger and thirst that can only be quenched by more of Him. Then spending time with Him and His love letter, aka, the Bible is not a duty but satisfying an inner craving to know Him more. Like me–if that is you, then you too will celebrate “Dependence Day”!

Pastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

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LEON AVERY

Happy 80th Birthday

C-BIRTHDAY-Avery-web80th Birthday Party Open House will be held for Leon Avery on Sunday, July 13th from 2 to 5 pm at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church in the Fellowship Hall. No gifts please, just your presence.

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ALLEN – HILL

C-ENG-Allen-Hill-webDoug and Char Allen, of Rockford, are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Amber Allen, to Adam Hill, the son of Bruce and Debra Hill, of Sand Lake. Adam and Amber are graduates of Cedar Springs High School. An October 2014 wedding is planned.

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PETER NAFFZIGER

In loving memory of our dear father and grandfather, Peter Naffziger, who passed away 48 years ago on July 5, 1966.

We thought of you with love today,

But that is nothing new.

We thought about you yesterday,

And the days before that too.

God has you in His keeping,

We have you in our hearts.

We miss and love you.

Sadly missed by Children and Grandchildren

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Alton and Irene White

In loving memory of our dear father, Alton White who passed away 49 years ago June 14, 1965, and our dear mother, Irene White, who passed away 39 years ago, July 10, 1975.

Your filled our hears with happiness and gave us all your love.

For all the years we shared with you, we thank the Lord above.

Sadly missed by

Roger & Diane White

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MARJORIE “PEG” HOUSE

Mrs. Marjorie “Peg” House, aged 83, of Grand Rapids, passed away peacefully with her family at her side on June 29, 2014. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph. Peg is survived by her children, Sue House, Mike (Brenda) House, Mark (Sherry) House, and Ted (Carol) House; 10 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren; brother, Charles Lewis of Elkins, WV; and many nieces and nephews. Peg was the spiritual influence to her family and was a faithful servant of our Lord and Savior. The Funeral Service was held at 11 am on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW with her pastor, Rev. Thomas Koon officiating. Friends visited with her family from 6-8 pm on Tuesday and from 10 am until the time of the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to St. Baldrick’s (Pediatric Cancer Research) or Ambassador Baptist Church, Elkins, WV. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to leave a memory or sign the guestbook online.

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DONALD RAY HINTON

27C obit HintonDonald Ray Hinton, age 78, of Rockford, passed away unexpectedly on June 25, 2014. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Hazel Hinton and one brother, Dick Donaldson. Donald is survived by his loving and dedicated wife of 50 years, Nancy (Cochran) Hinton; children, Donald Wayne Hinton, Mark Hinton, Timothy (Kelli) Hinton, Marie (Tom) Shick and Deb (Duane) McIntyre; precious grandchildren, Nicole, Donnaya, Sammy, Mark Jr., Tyler, Brianna and Autumn Hinton, Michael (Rachel) Turner, Melissa (Cory) Spitler, Charlie Shick, Megan (Brandon) Bouma and Logan McIntyre; four great-grandchildren, with another on the way. He is also survived by two sisters, Donna McDiarmid and Patty Nelson, and many nieces and nephews. Visitation was held at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 North Monroe Street NE, Rockford, Michigan on Sunday, June 29, 2014 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Services were offered at 11 a.m. Monday, June 30, 2014, with visitation one hour prior to service, at the Rockford United Methodist Church, 159 Maple Street, Rockford, Michigan. Contributions in his memory can be made to the American Diabetes Association, 1550 E. Beltline SE, Suite 250, Grand Rapids, MI 49506; or to Rockford United Methodist Church.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home

www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

 

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Finding yourself

Did you know that you matter to God? Did you know that God has a will and plan for your life? It’s sad to see so many people in this world today think that they serve no real purpose and think they are randomly placed here on this earth by chance or accident. We all need to realize we have a real strong purpose in this world. God predetermined before He created the world that he had a plan for your life. (Ephesians 1:4: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…”) Before you were placed in your mother’s womb, God knew who He wanted you to be. (Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”) God wants you to find His will for your life; in other words, find your true self or seek your true identity.

Many times we think everything or every action we do in our life is God’s plan. That’s not true. He gives us the freewill to make our own choices. God does not control us like we are His robots or direct our every move like we are His marionette puppets. He gives us free choice to make our own decisions; however, He aggressively attempts to get our attention and influences us through His Word and the Holy Spirit. Why would God not control us and make us come to Him? Why would he not force us to be obedient and make us love Him? Because when you control someone or dictate every move they make, it does not show real compassion or real love towards another. God wants us committed through love. He wants a real, compassionate relationship with us, not one that is forced. Therefore, He allows ourselves to make decisions in this path called life in hoping we will find the predetermined plan God has for us.

That is the challenge we face. To stay focused on the direction and purpose God has for us without getting distracted from the things of this world. Satan loves to get us off track, which is why the Bible tells us to walk by the spirit not by the flesh (Romans 8:1). The flesh is drawn to the things and temptations of this world. The flesh is what gets us into the ruts we get into. When we walk in the spirit, we are more eager to listen and walk in God’s desire for our lives.

Remember, God loves you and He created you for a purpose and meaning. He has a real plan for your life. Every decision we make may not be part of God’s plan, however, then again many times it can be. When things go the way we want them it doesn’t mean that’s the way God intended it to be. And when things don’t go our way it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t God’s plan to happen the way it did. God sees the big picture for each one of our lives and He knows what’s best for us. The greatest thing we can do is stay close to God through His Word and prayer and stay focused on what our spirit desires and not the flesh. God has a plan and purpose for your life. He doesn’t reveal it all at once to us because we are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). If you stay on this path you will find your true identity—you will find your true self .

Pastor Ryan Black

Cedar Springs Christian Church
340 West Pine Street, Cedar Springs

 

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50th Anniversary

 

C-anniv-Woodhull C-anniv-Woodhull-2

GARY & BARBARA WOODHULL

Gary and Barbara Woodhull of Cedar Springs were married June 27, 1964 at the Michigantown Chirstian Church in Michigantown, Indiana. They have been blessed with two children, Patrick and Kristin Woodhull of Findlay Ohio and Darryl and Ann Stock of Carmel Indiana, and four grandchildren; Aubrey and Madeline Woodhull and Bryant and Brenden Stock. The family will be celebrating with an Open House on June 28th from 3 to 6 pm at their home. In lieu of gifts, please honor the couple with cards for their special day.

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Who you really are

 By Ronnie McBrayer

Ronnie McBrayer

Ronnie McBrayer

I received a mystery package recently and discovered a popular appetite suppressant inside. Sprinkle this magic powder on your food, and allegedly it would cooperate with your sense of smell to curb your cravings. And here it was in my hands—a whole box of the stuff. But I didn’t order it.

Shortly thereafter I received a second package. This time it was a set of CDs: “Quick and Simple Japanese; Learn to Speak the Language in 10 Days.” With the box still in my hands, and as I wondered about it all, a third package arrived at my door. It was a box of those super-absorbent hand towels sold on late night infomercials.

Then I knew what was going on. Someone had stolen my credit card information and was having his way with my account. We have a unique 21st century name for this type of crime: Identity theft. What a strange phrase that is; surely there is much more to personal identity than the digits on a piece of magnetic plastic. Of course, but most times we are content with the shallowness of it all, because most of us have no real sense of who we genuinely are.

See, we are made to be as Christ—as Paul put it so succinctly: “I have been crucified with Christ so I no longer exist. It is Christ who lives in and through me.” Yet, so few of us know that Christ-shaped self, the real person that Jesus would create in each of us. Instead, we have this edifice, this outer image we portray to others and protect at almost any cost. But it’s just that—a shell. We lack substance. We are just names and numbers without any real identity. We haven’t let the Christ-life be fashioned within us.

The short of it is this: We are un-crucified (if such a word exists). For when the weight of the cross, the cross that would crush and remake us, falls heavy on our shoulders, we crawl from beneath the load before it finishes its work. Yet, the forging of faith and the making of lasting Christ-centered identity is only accomplished by means of execution. By loss. By the death of the false self.

So as long as you protect what you think is yours, so long as you struggle to avoid all necessary suffering, so long as you refuse to relinquish the identity you have constructed, you will never become who Christ would make you—the real you—the you that can never be stolen.

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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