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Archive | Church Connection

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

C-MEM-Hibbard

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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The Scars of Forgiveness

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

In 1939 General Francisco Franco, an ambitious Spanish military officer, became the absolute ruler of Spain. Franco took the title El Caudillo—the Leader—and he was ruthlessly so until his death more than 30 years later. He was responsible for the death or imprisonment of more than 50,000 of his opponents.

As Franco lay dying, a priest was called to his bedside. The priest, having lived under Franco’s regime, asked him what could have been a dangerous question: “My son, have you forgiven all of your enemies?” El Caudillo replied, “Father, I have no enemies.” The priest asked, “Then you have made peace with them?” Franco reportedly answered, “No. I have no enemies because I killed them all.”

That deathbed conversation defines the only two ways that we can be rid of our enemies. We can destroy them, the way of the world; or we can forgive them, the way of Christ. The latter way isn’t easy, yet it is necessary. It is the Christ-prescribed path for personal and corporate healing.

Healing, yes, but forgiveness is not a magic wand that puts everything marvelously back into place. No doubt, it can have incredible reconciling powers, but forgiveness doesn’t save every marriage, restore every family, or repair every broken relationship. It won’t necessarily make you feel good about your son-in-law, your ex-wife, or your step-son. And it is a guarantee that when you try to forgive or reconcile with some people, it will bounce off of them like a rock skipping across flat water.

Consider Christ himself. With the central act of God’s loving grace, Jesus died on a cross and was resurrected from the dead, bringing life and forgiveness to all. He did what he did, deliberately, becoming a suffering symbol of all that had gone wrong with the world, the personification of the shameful way humanity spurns God’s embrace, harms each other, and injures creation. But even the risen Jesus has scars, scars for those who will never in their lifetimes respond to this love.

Yet, his scars are undying signs that the damage that humans inflict on one another can mercifully end. His scars can resolve all disputes and end all animosities, not by means of unending revenge, but with eternal forgiveness. May we who bear the name of Christ, also bear on our bodies the scars that show we belong to Jesus—the scars of forgiveness.

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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Patricia Moore

Patricia Ann Moore, age 65, of Sand Lake passed away on March 7, 2014. She was born to George and Ann Wood (Glaze) on August 28, 1948 in Maysville, KY. Pat was a lifelong nurse and worked as an R.N. at Spectrum United Memorial Hospital in Greenville, MI, where she worked in Intensive Care and as a hospital Nursing Supervisor. Earlier in her career, she worked Intensive Care in Sandusky, Ohio and Labor and Delivery in St. Petersburg, Florida. Nursing was Pat’s passion and she loved her work, her co-workers, and her patients. Pat and her husband of 46 years, Cliff Moore, spent one year sailing down the Inter-coastal Waterway on their 32 ft. sailboat. Pat spent much of her life on the water, and she loved the sun and the outdoors. Her charisma and her love of life touched the lives of thousands of others, both in her nursing career and with her family and friends. Pat leaves behind her husband, Clifton Moore; son, Dale Moore; daughter-in-law, Julia (Tyson) Moore; granddaughter, Jordan Moore; grandson, Gavin Moore; brother, Nicholas Wood; sister-in-law, Judy Wood; sister-in-law, Wina Wood; brother-in-law, Joel Moore; and her very special nieces, nephews, and great- nieces and nephews. She is pre-deceased by her brother, Donald Wood. There will be a Celebration of Pat’s Life at The American Legion, Glen Hill Post 287, 91 First Street, Cedar Springs, MI on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City, www.heckmanfuneralhomeinc.com

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How Can I Achieve Financial Security Even in Uncertain Times?

Hillcrest-Church-picPastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

 

The Bible talks more about how to manage money than even Heaven and Hell combined. Even as times of prosperity come and go, financial hardship for many is just a way of life. It is a continuous battle but it doesn’t have to be that way. God is great at making ways where there seems to be no way!!

One of the great deceptions of wealth is its false sense of security. If the stock market crashes, millionaires can become paupers in one day. Also, there will come a time when we will have to account for our lives before God; on that day our money will be utterly useless. Your riches won’t help you on Judgment Day; only righteousness counts then (Prov. 11:4 LB). A person whose hope is in riches is headed for a fall (Prov. 11:28). Only trust in God offers true security.

Still, God gives us a wealth of information to help us have the right attitude about achieving and managing financial gain. Much of it is found right in the book of Proverbs. All in all, the consistent message can be summed up in three main principles that apply to our finances.

First, we should recognize that whatever we have is not ours and is the result of God’s blessing. That means we should hold our money with an open hand and give generously. God expects us to honor Him with our wealth, returning to Him a portion of our first fruits (not what’s left over) by giving to His work on a planned, consistent and priority basis (Proverbs 3:9). Just so we’re clear—God doesn’t need our money; what He wants is our heart. Where your treasure is; there your heart is also!

Second, we should work hard, earning our money honestly and spending frugally. God hates dishonest business practices while he delights in those who conduct y their financial affairs with integrity and honesty (Prov. 11:1).

Third, we should save in the good times for the times of need—unemployment, college, retirement, an emergency or any time when our income might be reduced. He who gathers money little by little makes it grow (Prov. 13:11).

In a nutshell—work honest and hard; pay God first; pay yourself second (savings); then live on the rest. That is living within your means. Don’t spend what you don’t have. Save up money for big purchases rather than borrowing money. The borrower is slave to the lender. God doesn’t want us to be in financial bondage; He wants us free to be able to focus on the bigger picture.

Finally, there is a way for your money to keep working for God’s Kingdom long after you have been called home in glory with our Lord.  Remember your church in your will. Many churches struggle with finances to do the ministries they feel called to do. You can help. The gift that keeps on giving for real! May God richly bless you in the powerful Name of Jesus, Amen!

 

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The End of the World as We Know It

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

The year was 387 and Irish pirates were plundering the Scottish coast. There they captured a young man named Maewyn and carried them back to Ireland where he became a slave. And there, Maewyn began to talk to God, and as the story goes, God began talking to him.

God instructed Maewyn to flee to the coast where the boy found a boat bound for Scotland. He was reunited with his family after many years. Then God spoke again, coming to Maewyn in his dreams. God wanted him to return to Ireland. Maewyn entered theological training, and at the conclusion of his studies, took the Latin name, Patricius. We know him as Padraig or Patrick.

When Patrick arrived in Ireland as a Christian missionary he had a decision to make about how to do his work. It was the custom of Christian missionaries – then and for the next 1500 years – not to introduce others to Jesus, but to make them citizens of the Empire.

A culture was “Christianized” not when it conformed to the words and ways of Jesus, but when it submitted to the rule of the Roman Caesar or the conquering king. The local culture was eradicated, replaced by that of the conquerors, and Christianity was used as an instrument in that process.

But rather than imposing an imperial faith on the Irish people, Patrick met them where they were and let faith erupt naturally. He did not overpower, he obliged. He did not impose, he invited. He did not attack, he adapted. He came in humility and simplicity, attempting to foster faith, not force it.

We still have much to learn from old Patrick: Vulnerability. Service. Humility. Meeting people where they are. Treating neighbors with dignity and respect. Honoring the lives and stories of those we encounter – plain civility – may be the only way to keep a society from devouring itself.

When we live with a no-compromise, never give-an-inch, militant attitude, and meet every person outside our circle with distrust, it creates a divisive, violent, negative, attack-based culture with an atmosphere of hateful rhetoric and suspicion. It destroys a community.

Of course, we could imitate St. Patrick by taking the way of peace, love for neighbors, welcome and inclusion. Living this way will end of the world as we know it as well – but it might be the kind of end that gives rebirth to the world.

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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Corey Crystal

March 24, 1977 to March 12, 1995

 

We do not need a special day to bring him to our minds.

The days we do not think of him are so very hard to find.

 

Sadly missed, always loved and remembered.

 

Mom, Dad, Carey, Casey and families.

 

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