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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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PENNY MARIE CASTINE

C-Mem-Castine

June 22, 1988 to July 13, 2000

 

Deeply missed,

Dad and Joe (JoJo)

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GINA CRAMER

 

*C-MEM-GinaCramerJanuary 21, 1932 – June 18, 1998

 

In loving memory of my mom, who passed away 16 years ago.

Even though it’s been 16 years, I still find myself reaching for the phone to call you. I want to share everything that’s going on – what the kids are doing, how the grandkids are doing, the sports games, the birthday parties. At every event, I feel the emptiness of not having you there – it does’t seem the same. I hear someone say Grandma, and I look around for you – instead they’re talking to me! The years go by, as they always will, and the memories and treasured moments we shared seem even stronger than ever. I love and miss you a lot, Mom.

Your loving daughter,

Robin

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THOMAS ALLEN GREEN

 

June 11, 1923 to June 22, 2011

 

In a quiet cemetery where gentle breezes blow,

Lies our beloved Tom who left us three years ago.

His place of rest we visit and place flowers there with care,

But no one knows our heartache as we turn to leave him there.

Though his smile is gone forever,

And his face we cannot touch,

Still we have the memory of the one we loved so much.

His memory is our treasure with which we’ll never part.

God has him in His keeping,

We have him in our heats.

 

Lovingly remembered,

Carolyn, Pat, Holly, Sherry & Families

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Thank You

The family of Justin Ryan Holloway would like to thank everyone for all the prayers, love, kindness and support given to us through the loss of our beloved Justin. Special thanks to Pastor Beasinger and the Pierson Bible Church, the American Legion #287 and Mary Goller-Kilts for the wonderful luncheon, and Kevin Pike of Bliss Witters & Pike Funeral Home.

With love,

The Robinson & Holloway families

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Can you hear me now

C-Cedar-Creek-Community-Church-LandscapePastor Dick Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

 

 

There is a large phone company that has grown their business by one advertisement, asking one question: “Can you hear me now?” They have actually capitalized on a phrase that most people that have used a cellular phone have asked many times. When it sounds like your signal is gone, it’s normal to speak into the phone and say, “Can you hear me now?”

We live in a society that seems to require the technological capacity to be in touch with anybody, any time and at any place, connected by cell phones that ring or vibrate us at all kinds of occasions. There is WiFi available just about anywhere you go today, smart phones, instant messaging, texting, and some of us have even hung onto our old land lines, just in case there is a gap in coverage somewhere. Yet with all that is available to us today, it really doesn’t mean that we communicate with one another any better than we did before.

With massive information beyond what would have been called science fiction not long ago, we can make connection over incredible distances, to some of the most remote parts of this planet, yet, when all the dust is settled, there seems to be a serious lack of real communication. Along with all the technological advances, it is apparent there are all the more opportunities for mis-communicating, or even dead zones where true communication flat lines.

I believe this is a good illustration of what has occurred between our heavenly Father and his creation. We find several times in scripture the admonition to hear what God has to say. I believe that God does talk to us today, and he will do so in any specific way he chooses—be that through other people, via nature, audibly, but most especially, through his written word, his holy scripture. We read Jesus words in the book of Revelation in each of the letters to 7 churches in Asia Minor, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13,22—King James Version).

These words are for today, and we would be well advised to heed what God has been telling people since the creation. God’s word tells us that “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 KJV). There are many voices screaming at us today, TV, Radio, Hollywood, Newsgroups, and more talking heads than we could possibly count. But there is only one voice that can assure us of eternal life.

God wants us to hear him, to listen to him and respond to his voice. All throughout history God has spoken to mankind, in fact the book of Hebrews begins, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.” (Hebrews 1:1 KJV). God is still talking to his people today, as scripture tells us, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28 KJV).

Listen! If you will, you can hear him now.

 

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Praying for Rain

Ronnie McBrayer

Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

 

There’s an old story that circulates in my family about my great-great grandfather, a fiery circuit-riding preacher named John Martin McBrayer. It was the early 1900s and drought was smothering the Georgia countryside. So a Saturday prayer meeting was called, a meeting to pray for rain.

The community gathered, and in time, John Martin came riding up on his pony. It took him a while to get inside, but when he did, he was carrying his saddle. “Well Preacher,” one man asked, “Why’d you bring your saddle in? You stayin’ the night?” Everyone laughed. John Martin gave a mischievous chuckle himself and answered, “No, I thought we’d be prayin’ for rain? I believe the rest of you will be ridin’ home wet.” Sure enough, that afternoon the rains came. And just as sure, most folks left on wet saddles and in drenched wagons (all while old John trotted home as dry as dust).

I often tell this story, not as a means of convincing people that they will always get what they pray for, but as an illustration of what faith looks like: Faith in God, not faith in a specific, pre-calculated outcome. This is reminiscent of an even older story found in the book of Daniel, the story of the “Three Hebrew Children”–Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

These boys were ordered to bow and worship an idol, a false god. This was sacrilege beyond the pale, so they refused. For their noncompliance the boys were to be burned alive in a fiery furnace. But before the sentence was carried out they were given a final opportunity to acquiesce. Their response is one of defiant faith: “God will rescue us from your power. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you that we will never bow.”

Mature faith is far more than a cheerful “happily ever after” post-scripted to every story we tell. It is trust in the God behind all outcomes. Enough of this faith that professes only the ability to change our circumstances; such faith is little more than a lucky rabbit’s foot.

Instead, we need a faith that gives us resiliency, faith that strengthens our souls. We need faith that serves, not as a payoff for our prayers, but as growing confidence in a Person. We need that faith that sustains us, if the hoped-for rescue or drought-breaking rains come or not.

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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