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C-ENG-Johansen-MartinezMrs. Christina Johansen is pleased to announce the engagement of her daughter Tiffany Johansen to Collyn Martinez. Tiffany is a graduate of Cedar Springs High School and Central Michigan University. Collyn is a graduate of the University of Louisiana and Jufetst. A November 22nd wedding is planned. They will be living and working around New Orleans, Louisiana.

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In loving memory of our Mother who passed away 2 years ago, November 17, 2012. Your memory we treasure, Mother!


Love and miss you,

Susan, Marjorie and Tommy

Lonny and Tammy

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EPSON scanner imageWilma M. Schalk, 77 of Henrico, VA formerly of Cedar Springs, died Friday, November 7, 2014 in Virginia. Mrs. Schalk was born on July 10, 1937 in Canton, Ohio the daughter of Harold and Ottillia (Branch) Karns. She was a homemaker and worked for her husband at their Veterinary Clinic. She loved spending time with her family, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and had enjoyed camping and horse racing. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star. Surviving are her husband, Dr. Lawrence Schalk; children, Debra (Dean) Parker, Robert (Dennise) Schalk, William (Leah) Schalk; grandchildren, Johnathan Schoommaker, Sarah, Samuel, and Savannah Schalk, Jason (Cyndi) Parker, Julie (Bob) Robinson, Jeremy (Haley) Parker, Rebbecca (David) McDonald, Laura, Kristin, and Ryan Schalk; 13 great grandchildren; sister, Barbara (Jerry) Dennis; brother, John (Raylene) Karns; cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents. The family will greet friends Friday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where services will be held Saturday 11:00 am. Pastor William Schalk officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Virginia, 1700 Bayberry Court, Suite 300, Richmond, VA 23226.

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


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Our security

Pastor Herb VanderBilt 

East Nelson United Methodist Church

9024  18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs MI 49319


Ephesians 6:10-18: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 

It is a dangerous world today and it seems that our foundation of security is being challenged. We live in the most advanced and prosperous country in the world and yet a little thing like a virus has shaken our security. When I saw a picture of the protection suit that Ebola health care workers have to wear it reminded me of the words from the apostle Paul to the little struggling church in Ephesus, who was not struggling with a virus but with evil. Today we still struggle with dark forces that keep us from connecting with God and each other.

The image portrayed in the text from Ephesians is roughly the armor that was worn by foot soldiers at the time, but we can also apply it to the protection gear that we see on the news every day. One of the issues with the previous failure of the hazmat suit was it left open skin exposed, and in Paul’s description he reminds us that we need to put on the full armor of God.

I tried to imagine what this kind of armor is. In ancient times it was hard and tough materials like leather or steel, but in our metaphor today it is high tech polymers and plastics that are designed to be water-proof and germ-proof but at the same time light weight. In other words, the armor of God does not have to weigh us down or be a burden. In fact, the armor of God that Paul is talking about to this little church in Ephesus is invisible to the eye but is something that we feel surrounding us.

Each piece listed on the suit of armor is important. Even the Hazmat suit, as we have found out, is not perfect and has some gaps. And so it is with our defense against all of the hazards of this world today. I think that is why Paul reminds us not just to hide behind our shield but to stay vigilant, stay alert and keep praying in the spirit. The true enemies in this life are not germs, viruses or even bad people; they are those temptations that we face every day that try to separate us from God. The Apostle Paul reminds us in the letter to the Romans that not even death can do that. With His armor in place, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ.


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Truly satisfied

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

An old Quaker farmer placed a sign on his land that read, “This farm will be given to anyone who is truly satisfied.” A wealthy merchant came riding along and saw the sign. He thought to himself, “If this man is so eager to part with his land, I might as well claim it, for I have all I need.” He walked to the front porch and explained to the farmer why he was there.

“Art thou truly satisfied?” the Quaker asked. The merchant responded, “I am. I have everything I need.” The old farmer answered, “My friend, if thou art truly satisfied, then why doth thou need my land?”

It is human nature to want, search, and covet even after we have everything we need. There is this insatiable desire within us that we can’t seem to satisfy, a hunger we cannot fill. But how does satisfy the hunger of the heart that so often drags us to our undoing?

There’s no easy answer. Whole religions have been built around answering that question; and everything from self-flagellation and asceticism to quiet meditation and psychotropic drugs have been tried to free humanity from itself. Yet, the heinous rate of consumption, the constant grabbing and clutching for more, continues with happiness levels as flat as ever.

But maybe the presence of desire isn’t the real problem. It’s not that “we want,” but that we want the wrong things. What is the object of those desires; what is it that we are after that we think will make us happy? Those might be the better questions.

See, we have been duped. We think that acquisition will satisfy us. We have been fooled into thinking that a shinier car, a bigger house, a younger wife, a better neighborhood, or the newest piece of technology will make us happy. But it’s an evaporating illusion. When you are chasing after what will never ultimately please you, getting more of it, won’t get it done.

I think that’s what Jesus was getting at when he said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these other things will be added to you.” He was saying, “You’re going to desire, you’re going to want; just point those cravings in the right direction. Go for what counts!” Then you discover that living a satisfying life requires very little. You will discover that the hungry life can be replaced by the happy life.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


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Terrance N. “Terry” Bengtson

C-OBIT-bengtsonTerrance N. “Terry” Bengtson 72 of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, November 6, 2014 at his home after a long fight with non-hodgkins lymphoma, stage IV since 1994 with many good years in between. Terry was born March 22, 1942 in Traverse City, MI the son of the late Alvin and Jean (Chapman) Bengtson. He graduated from Mancelona High School and Northwestern Michigan in Traverse City. He was a State Farm Agent in Cedar Springs for 39 years, retiring in 2008. He had been a member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Sand Lake Eagles, Sparta Moose and past president and member of the Cedar Springs Rotary. Terry loved many years of sailing on Lake Michigan on his boat, “Premium Fund” as a member of the Muskegon Yacht Club, where many friendships developed. He also golfed on a league with his son, Jeff for many years. Surviving are his wife, Diane, whom he married on March 23, 1963; children, Christine (Rodney) Klenk, Jeffrey (Robin) Bengtson; grandchildren, Mackenzie, Natalie, Rock and Tori; step grandson, Trey Dunlap; brother, Jerry Bengtson; sisters, Julie (Joe) Hoskins, Debbie Richards, Cheryl (Mike) Coy; many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. Special thanks to Louis Marks, MD, Kathleen Yost, MD, Julie Kowacz, MD, and special nurse, Cathy Forest of Spectrum Health Hospice. The family will greet friends Saturday, Nov. 22 from 11:00 am until time of service at 1:00 pm at the United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St., Cedar Springs. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church or Spectrum Health Hospice, 4500 Breton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508. Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

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C-Birth-RussellKelli Destrampe, Jeremi Russell and sister McKenzie of Cedar Springs welcomed Jeremiah into the world on October 22, 2014 at 8:23 pm at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. He weighed 5 pounds, 15.6 ounces and was 19 inches long. Proud grandparents are Beverly Hale, Deb Bauer, Ted Russell. Great-grandparents are Beverly Bowyer, Larry and Sally Boarts.

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April 21, 1945 to November 8, 2004


In loving memory of our wife, mother and grandmother who went to be with the Lord 10 years ago. Your presence we miss,

Your memory we treasure,.

Loving you always,

Forgetting you never.


Jack, Robert, Jacqueline, Jerry, Levi and Cody


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C-MEM-VanHoutenIn loving memory of our beloved friend, Barb, who passed away 5 years ago, November 5, 2009. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of her and smile. She brightened our lives with her kindness, love and positive attitude and we learned so much from her. What a blessing to have her in our lives!


Love and miss you, Barbarino!


Terry & Robin

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Young and dumb

Keeping-the-Faith-RonnieMcBrayerBy Ronnie McBrayer


My adolescent son told me the other day that “teenagers should rule the world.” After I stopped guffawing at him, I remembered that scientists have proven that the adolescent brain is incapable of logical decision-making. Not enough physiological development has taken place, and it is impossible for a teenager to always behave or react rationally.

But I don’t think today’s teens could do much worse than today’s adults. We seem as immature as our children. Maybe science has figured out why. Researchers say that no living person, in reality, is very old; because the cellular matter in our bodies is constantly regenerating. The cells in our bodies, no matter one’s birth date, average about 15 years of age…so…we are all teenagers!

Yet, the relative youth of our bodies is no excuse for immaturity. We may not be born with the capacity to make healthy, rational decisions, but that is a virtue that can be acquired. Science, once again, has confirmed this fact as well.

In 2009, professors Dilip Jeste and Thomas Meeks published a major paper on their research into human wisdom. Among their discoveries was the fact that those who are genuinely wise have the benefit of age and experience on their side and, more often than not, bad experiences.

You have to fall on your face a few times, get caught in a self-manufactured disaster or two, and then wisdom mercifully begins to take root. Thus, the older you are, the smarter you should be, and the younger you are, the dumber you are. That too, is a scientific fact. Yes, we need what youth offers: Audacity, vision, zeal, and a healthy dose of revolutionary chaos on occasion. But like a fine wine, only time produces wisdom.

So it should be no surprise that our world is in its current condition. It is a world that values youth, childishness, and this month’s fresh face from L.A. more than it values the sense and wisdom that comes from age. It is a culture that sacrifices on the altar of youthful stupidity the wizened experience of its elders.

It does so at its own tragic expense, for a society that will not listen to the voice of history is a society that is doomed. There’s a proverb that goes, “Old age and cunning will always beat youth and exuberance.” For the sake of the world, I hope that’s true.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


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