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Archive | Church Connection

BRIAN LYNN JOHNSON

Brian Lynn Johnson, age 59, passed away peacefully at home Thursday, February 28, 2019, after fighting his battle with cancer for the last two years. He was surrounded by his loved ones when he passed. Brian was born August 12, 1959 in Grand Rapids, MI to Lyle and Shirley (Paepke) Johnson. Brian and the love of his life, Penny, have been married for 37 years. They made Cedar Springs their home where they raised their two daughters, Brittany and Amy. Brian was a thirty year employee of Knape and Vogt and member of the Cedar Springs American Legion Post #287. Brian is preceded in death by his father, Lyle Johnson; father-in-law, Robert Hendges; brother-in-laws, Tim and Mick Hendges; sister-in-law, Kellee Carlson. Brian is survived by his wife, Penny and daughters, Brittany (Cory) Pike and Amy (Grant) Gould; grandsons, Deegan and Dawson Pike and granddaughter, Penelope Gould. Also, his mother, Shirley Johnson; mother-in-laws Marie (Ken) Baxter, Barb Hendges; brothers and sisters, Renee (Gary) Moore, Barron (Cheryl) Johnson, Vonda (Jeff) Hendges, Vicky Johnson, Brad Johnson, Kris (Tim) Johnston, Scott (Kim) Dewitt, and Dawn Douglas. He was greatly loved by all of his many nieces and nephews. Brian had an affinity for the outdoors. He loved hunting, fishing and spending time with his family. Brian always had the time to be present for anyone who needed him. He was always so thoughtful. Many remember him by his fresh lilacs or roses he would give. He spent lots of time camping and by the water. “Ozzy” loved sitting by the bonfire and listening to rock and roll. Rock on! Family will greet all those who loved Brian for a celebration of life held at the American Legion Post #101 in Greenville, MI on Saturday, March 9, 2019 from 1-4 p.m. Informal service at 1:00 p.m. with luncheon to follow. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to American Legion Post #287 in Cedar Springs, MI. 

Arrangements by Ofield Funeral Home, Kentwood, MI.

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JULIA M. WHEELOCK

Julia M. (Covey) Wheelock “Aunt Julie”, went to her heavenly home quietly in the early morning of March 1st, 2019 at the age of 75. The devotion of her family, friends and firm belief in God, supported her in this transition to her ultimate peace. Julie is survived by her husband of 57 years, David Wheelock Sr. of Saranac, MI; son, David (Cheri) Wheelock Jr. of Albuquerque, NM; daughter, Kathy Wheelock-Besson of Saranac and Bill Besson; Julie’s three grandsons, David Wheelock III of Crestview, FL, Trevor and Bryce Besson of Saranac; great-grandchildren, Piper and Calvin.; sister, Phyllis Morse of FL; brother, Ray (Sue) Covey of FL; step-mother, MariJo Covey of GA; sister-in-law, Leona (Clyde) Eckman of MI; stepsisters, Ruth (Lyn) Bradley of MI, and Bonnie Auld of GA; sister-in-laws, Harriet (Bruce) Davenport, Anna Niemela, Charllot Perry, and Dorothy (Arnold) Kimball, all of MI; brother-in-law, Dan (Evelyn) Wheelock of MO, and several nieces and nephews. Julie was preceded in death by her parents, Howard and Lillian (Sweet/Mathews) Covey; brother, Roy Covey; in-law’s, Leo and Lela Wheelock; niece, Tammy Morse; and brother-in-law, Lewis Niemela. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Julie’s Life, at 10 a.m., March 16th, at the Pathway’s Ebenezer Center, 4960 Portland Rd, Saranac, MI 48881, with an open house style reception to follow from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. The family is grateful for the condolences, but declines flowers; please, send donations to The Winding Creek Camp, 161 Summit Dr., Allegan MI 49010, Https://windingcreekcamp.org and or to the Faith Hospice, 2100 Raybrook SE, Ste 300, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, Https://faithhospicecare.org. The family would also like to thank the Sunrise Senior Living Community, the Faith Hospice and Comfort Keepers caregiving teams for their efforts, kindness and compassionate dedication.

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He said wut?!

Pastor Bill Dixon. Solon Center Wesleyan Church. 15671 Algoma Ave, NE, Cedar Springs

Have you ever heard someone say something so shocking that it made you take a step back and say to yourself, he or she said wut?!. A few weeks ago, I started a series called, He Said Wut?! As a church, we began to look at a few shocking things that Jesus said about everyday stuff like, anger, lust, marriage, promise-keeping, retaliation, and loving our enemies. 

Throughout this section of scripture, which begins in Matthew chapter 5 verse 21, Jesus follows a pattern. He always starts off by saying, “You have heard it said…” or something similar to that and then He goes onto mention an Old Testament Law. After this, Jesus always goes onto say, “But I tell you…” which is Jesus’ way of saying, listen to what I’m about to tell you. 

I want to do is share with you just one of the topics that Jesus addresses. It is a topic that is out of control in our world today—anger. Listen to what Jesus has to say and then I will point out a few things for you to chew on. 

21 “You have heard it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to his brother, Raca, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You Fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has anything against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. 25 Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (NIV)

Jesus equates being angry with…murder. Here is what I believe Jesus is getting at. I believe that He is saying that if you are angry with your brother (could mean anyone) you are no better in God’s eyes than someone who literally takes an innocent life. I believe He is saying that if you are angry with your brother (again, could mean anyone), you are a murderer. So, are you a murderer? Maybe not in your own eyes, but in God’s eyes you are. 

Before you decide to stop reading hear me out on a few things. 

1: Jesus is not saying that all anger is bad. There is such a thing as good or righteous anger. We know this because the Bible clearly teaches that God gets angry. And we know that God is good so there must be such a thing as good or righteous anger. In fact, if you look at the Gospels, Jesus gets angry. Go and read Matthew 21:12-13. Not long after Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, He entered the synagogue (Jewish Church) and looked around and saw that a lot of people were doing things that they should not of have been doing. So, what does Jesus do? Listen to what was written… 

“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling droves. It is written, he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers” Matthew 21:12-13 (NIV).

There are plenty of things going on in our world today that should make us angry, especially as Christians. The problem is our anger often times goes off the rails and becomes unrighteous/sinful. Jesus is talking about the type of anger that holds grudges towards others. He is talking about the times when we say and do things that are meant to hurt others—maybe not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. 

Here is the second point I want you to chew on. 

2: Jesus is clarifying (making known) the spirit of the law. 

The spiritual leaders of the day had the letter of the Law down pat. They knew and understood that God did not want them to murder folks. Many of us have the letter of the Law down pat as well. We get it. Murdering people is bad. But here is the thing. Jesus makes it clear that stopping short of murdering people is not good enough. He is making it clear that, like the leaders of His day, we are missing the spirit of the law. 

God is not interested in us becoming people who just stop short of literally murdering each other. No. He is interested in us becoming people who constantly value others. In other words, God is interested in us becoming people who constantly treat others with dignity, respect, and love. This is the spirit behind the law of ‘Do not Murder’ (Exodus 20:13). 

Let me end with a few questions: 

1: Are you in need of open-heart surgery? The reality is, unrighteous/sinful anger is a heart problem. Matthew 15:19 makes this clear. If this is you, if you are struggling with anger (valuing others), do this. Stop what you are doing and go to the Lord. Ask Him to do what only He can do, and that is this, to forgive you and to begin to transform you inside out by the power of His Holy Spirit. 

2: What is one relationship that you have that needs reconciling? Have you done or said something to someone in the past or maybe recently that has caused an offense? Instead of ignoring that you have wronged someone, here is what you need to do. First, ask God for forgiveness (1 John 1:9) then, go to the person, acknowledge your error, ask them for forgiveness, and then do everything in your power to bring about reconciliation to that relationship (read again verses 23-26). 

God wants us to become people who constantly value others. Who constantly treat others with dignity, respect and love. 

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MAX T. DEMOREST

Max T. Demorest Sr., age 62, passed away Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at Trillium Woods. Max was born April 18, 1956 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Donald and Thelma (Russell) Demorest Sr. He loved camping and boating. He coached his kids rocket football and T-ball and loved spending time with his brothers and family. He adored spending time with his grandchildren as well. He is survived by his children, Max Demorest Jr., Angelia Demorest, Eric (Bobbie) Demorest, Bradley Demorest; grandchildren, Austin, Makayla, Kiersten, Landon, Jarek, Claudia, Ava, Mason and Hudson; great-grandson, Rylan; brothers, Donald (Terri) Demorest Jr., James Demorest Sr., Craig (Laura) Demorest; sisters, Sally (Marty) Roelofs, Christine Shears; brothers and sisters-in-law, Dino (Tina) Masteropietro, Aldonna Spain; many nieces and nephews. Max was preceded in in death by his wife, Laura; parents; mom, Gloria Demorest; brother, Rusty; daughter-in-law, Danielle Demorest; brother-in-law, Brian Shears. The family will greet friends Monday from noon-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. until time of service at 6:00 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

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

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JOHN E. ASPINALL

John E. Aspinall, age 70, passed away Sunday, February 24, 2019 in Grand Rapids. John was born July 9, 1948 in Evart, MI the son of Lonnie and Dorothy (Bodman) Aspinall. His grand kids were the light of his life. He loved to tinker on anything motorized. John also enjoyed hunting, fishing and listening to old country music. He is survived by his children, John (Brandy) Aspinall, Teri Aspinall, Tracy (Adam) Albrecht and Amy Aspinall; grandchildren, Corrine (Nate) MacDonald, Cortney Aspinall, Jaxson Aspinall, Justin Bogner, Jesse Johnson, Landon Johnson, Noah Aspinall, Brody Albrecht and Amiyah Albrecht; sisters, Sheila (Jim) Young, Shirley (Rick) Mockeman, Evy Drowley, Margie Vincent, Barb (Bill) Johnson and Linda (Gordon) Tower; brothers, Dick (Delores) Aspinall and Bob Fisher. He was preceded in death by his parents. The family will greet friends Saturday from noon until time of service at 1:00 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Following the service a luncheon will be held at the American Legion.

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

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WILLIAM GREGONES


William Gregones, age 73, passed away Sunday, February 24, 2019 in Grand Rapids. Bill was born June 18, 1945 in Grand Rapids, the son of John and Alma (Seaborn) Gregones. He was in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam and was in the active Naval reserve from 1975 – 1989. Bill was a former commander at the American Legion Post #287 in Cedar Springs and was a member of the Sons of the American Legion. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Brenda (Banta) Gregones; children, John (Brandy) Gregones, Matthew Gregones and Lisa (Paul) Hollenbeck; 11 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter; brothers, Michael (LaVonne) Gregones, Robert Gregones; sisters, Pam (Dale) Larson and Robin (David) Oie. He was preceded in death by his parents. The family will greet friends Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until time of service at 11:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, Cedar Springs. Pastor Bill Johnson officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Purple Heart Homes.

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

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Happy Birthday


ASHLEY (GAGE) PUTNAM

February 24, 2019

Happy 30th birthday to my beautiful daughter, Ashley. I love you so much.

Love mom, Cameron and Ethan

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In Memory of REX MORRIS


January 16, 1931 – February 22, 2010

Every day in some small way,

Memories of you come our way.

Though absent, you are ever near,

Still missed, still loved, and ever dear.

Your loving family

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EDWARD KIST


Edward Kist, age 85, of Cedar Springs died unexpectedly at his home on Tuesday February 19, 2019. He worked for 34 years at Lear Siegler. Ed loved to hunt, fish and camp at Bear Lake with family and friends. He and Gerry loved to go for Sunday drives. He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years Geraldine; daughters, Sue (Joe) Benedict, Shelly Kist; grandchildren, Jake (Amy) Benedict, Jesse Benedict, Cody (Elizabeth) Pike, Casey (Emily) Pike, James (Jessica) Streeter, Mike Streeter and Ty Robinson; 13 wonderful great-grandchildren; brothers, Floyd (Betsy) Kuhn, Fred Kuhn; sisters, Cathy (Jerry) Keller, Mary Kuhn; son-in-law, Darryl Pike; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Sandy Pike and brother, Will Kuhn. Services will be held at a later date. 

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

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DONALD VANDENBERG


Donald J. VandenBerg, age 86, of Sand Lake, died Sunday, February 17, 2019 at the Grand Rapids Home for the Veterans. Don was born September 18, 1932 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of John and Dorothy (Reitman) VandenBerg. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army from 1952-54 and retired from Dykema Excavating. Surviving are his wife of 54 years, JoAnn (Flynn Hiler); children, Michael Hiler, Cynthia (Rick) Dubay, Kim (Susan) Hiler, John (Christine) VandenBerg, DJ (Melanie) VandenBerg; 36 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandson; brother, Robert (Pam) VandenBerg; step brother, Jerry (Pat) Sorenson; step sister, Betty (Bob) Jones. He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Kelli Hiler; sister-in-law, Elaine Rogers VandenBerg; niece, Katie VandenBerg; great-grandson, Deegan. The family will greet friends Friday, March 1 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service will be Saturday, March 2 at 11:00 a.m. at the Pierson Bible Church Community Room. Pastor Jeffrey Wallace officiating. Interment in the summer at Crandall Cemetery.

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

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