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Spiritual Sticking Points

The-Springs-blurred-webPastor Barry Briggs

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs

Have you ever had a spiritual sticking point? A spiritual sticking point is something that blocks your spiritual journey. There’s an issue, an objection, a question, a concern that blocks your progress toward a spiritual breakthrough.

Have you ever been there? You hunger for a deep, authentic, personal relationship with Christ, but something stunts your spiritual progress. You’re attracted to a relationship with the God of the universe, but there’s something you just can’t seem to get past. If that’s you, you’re not alone!

Here are four of the most common spiritual sticking points:

Spiritual Sticking Point #1: I Can’t Believe

The first sticking point is when we say, “I can’t believe.”

This struggle is often expressed by people with intellectual issues blocking their spiritual path. A scientist might say, “I can’t believe the Bible because it conflicts with science.” Or the mother of a sick child might say, “I can’t believe in a God who permits my precious girl to suffer when so many evil people thrive.” Or maybe it’s a lawyer who says, “I’m used to dealing with evidence, facts, data, and logic; I can’t believe in something we’re asked to accept on faith.” A businessperson might explain, “I prayed my business would succeed, but it’s going down the tubes. I can’t believe in a God who ignores my prayers.”

This is the sticking point that Jesus’ disciple Thomas had. We hear it in John 20:25b where he said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (NIV).

How can we get past this spiritual sticking point? Actively seek God. Search the Scriptures. Investigate the evidence. When we do these things, God promises to meet us. Jeremiah 29:13 promises, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (NIV).

Spiritual Sticking Point #2: I Don’t Want to Believe

Now, few people will come right out and admit this, yet this is a spiritual sticking point that stops a lot of people.

Have you ever talked with someone who just wasn’t interested in hearing the evidence for God? They don’t think there could be any real evidence—subject closed.

At first this may seem to be an intellectual sticking point, and in some cases it may be. But sometimes, as you get to know the person, you’ll discover that there is another issue behind their rejection of the evidence.

Moral issues often get in the way of a person’s spiritual journey. They may be involved in an adulterous relationship, unethical business practice, or some other sin. Sometimes people reject the evidence as a way to hide their real concern that becoming a Christian would mean a radical life change that they’re just not open to. In other words, sometimes we love our sin more than we love the truth.

Other people have a similar kind of hidden obstacle: the fear of intimacy. They aren’t afraid of Christ changing their life; their unspoken fear is of intimacy. They feel attracted toward God, but they recoil from the prospect of relating to anybody on a deep level. And since the core of Christianity is a deep and dynamic relationship with Christ, these people find all kinds of excuses to say it’s just not for them.

One other variation of this spiritual sticking point is a hidden authority obstacle.  A person who struggles with this doesn’t want anyone, including the God who created them, to tell them how to live their life. So they find reasons not to believe.

Spiritual Sticking Point #3: I Don’t Know What to Believe

We’ve seen that some people say, “I can’t believe.” For others, the real issue is, “I don’t want to believe.” And now third, some say, “I don’t know what to believe.”

Today, people get confused because they hear all kinds of interpretations of the Bible. They see different denominations. They hear some people who take the Bible literally and some who say it’s just a general moral guideline. They hear people using the Bible to support contradictory positions. They try reading the Bible and get bogged down in Leviticus.

So they throw up their hands and say, “I don’t know what to believe. It seems like the meaning of the Bible changes according to who interprets it. So who is right?”

If that’s your sticking point, it’s important to know that the key to accurately understanding the Bible is the same as the key to understanding any communication—you must study to determine what the writer actually meant. Not what we want it to say; not to interpret it for our benefit; not to read our biases into it, but to figure out what the writer intended to communicate.

This is important because sometimes we let what we want the Bible to say to get in the way of what it’s really saying.  Our motives can radically color the way we interpret things. And people do that with the Bible to get around teachings they don’t agree with or don’t want to apply to their lives.

Spiritual Sticking Point #4: I Do Believe; Isn’t That Enough?

These people say, “I understand the gospel, and I believe it’s true. But I still feel like I’m at a sticking point. I feel like something is holding me back from experiencing the kind of relationship with God that other people talk about. Why does God seem to be distant from me? Why can’t I really connect with God?”

That’s because merely agreeing with the gospel isn’t enough. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder” (NIV).

It’s not enough just to nod our heads in intellectual agreement. As John 1:12 tells us, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (NASB).

There’s a simple spiritual equation that flows out of John 1:12: Believe + Receive = Become. We can’t become true children of God without both elements; we must believe in Him intellectually, and we must receive His forgiveness and leadership personally.

Where are you on the journey of finding God? What obstacles stand in your way? Now can be the time you get past your sticking points once and for all, if you’ll believe the truth, receive Christ, and become a child of God.

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Maverick Eli Hunt

C-Birth-Maverick-Eli-Hunt

Rachel and Joshua Hunt, of Kalamazoo, are happy to announce the birth of their son, Maverick Eli Hunt, born on Friday, April 7, at 6:09 a.m., at Bronson Methodist Hospital, in Kalamazoo. He weighed 6 lbs 14 oz, and measured 20 inches long.

Maverick was welcomed home by his big brother Atlas; proud grandparents Steve and Judy Reed, of Cedar Springs, and David and Julie Hunt, of Plainwell; and great-grandparents Bill and Pat Campbell, of Big Rapids, and Les and Jean Green, of Delton.

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65th Anniversary

65th Anniversary

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ROBERT & LUCILLE FANKHAUSER

Robert and Lucille Fankhauser of Trufant Michigan will celebrate their 65th Wedding Anniversary on April 22, 2017 at Victory Hall, 1645 Meddler Ave. Sand Lake, Michigan. They were married on April 22, 1952. Their children are Denise Vickery, Denny & Wendy (Smith) Fankhauser, Jim & Marcia (Fankhauser) Carrier, Charles & Darice (Fankhauser) Robertson, Doug & Amy Jo (Peckham) Fankhauser and Ryan Fankhauser. They are blessed with 46 grandchildren and 53 great-grandchildren.

The secret of their successful marriage is: Learning to depend on the Lord’s strength and wisdom; Choosing to love each other unconditionally; Putting your spouse’s needs and wants before your own; Keeping a good sense of humor; Listening then talking to each other (communication); Learning to work with each other, not against one another and being totally committed to stay together forever.

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JAMES J. PATIN

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James J. Patin 67 of Sand Lake, died Saturday, April 8, 2017 at Spectrum Health – Butterworth Campus. Jim was born March 29, 1950 in Cedar Springs, Michigan the son of Joseph and Ruth (Horter) Patin. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and had worked at Knape & Vogt for 41 years retiring 2013. He was a member of the Wolverine Skyhawks and enjoyed taking motorcycle trips. Surviving are his wife, Sandra; children, Melissa Patin, Jim (April) Patin, Gina (Craig) Dillon, Matt Patin, Becky (Rob) Baker, Jill Patin, Collin (Michelle) Patin; 20 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; brother, Donald (Maureen) Patin; sisters, Catherine Patin, Marie Patin, Patricia Patin, Gerri (Ralph) VanOcker, RoseAnn Patin; mother-in-law, Helen Beebe; many nieces and nephews and his dog, Teddy. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Mark. The family greeted friends Tuesday at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Mass of Christian Burial was Wednesday at Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery.

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

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EARL J. GORBY

 

C--obit-gorbyEarl J. Gorby 80 of Kent City died Friday, April 7, 2017 at Spectrum Health – Butterworth Campus. Earl was born June 6, 1936 in Kent City, Michigan the son of Ray and Crystal (Uhrbrock) Gorby Sr. He attended Trufant Elementary School and graduated from Lakeview High School in 1954 and served in the U.S. Army from 1959-61. He was a member of the Cedar Springs American Legion and retired from Sparta Foundry. He enjoyed deer hunting, golfing and watching and playing sports. He loved kids, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Surviving are his children, Dawn (Fred) Groenke, Kenneth Pope, Betty (Brad) Kahrs; 9 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; sister, Joyce (Bing) Downer; brothers, Pete (Gerry) Gorby, Harold Gorby; sister-in-law, Ardis Gorby; good friend, Steve Pope; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley in 2012; sisters, Erma Rowland and Verma Osburn; brother, Gordon Gorby. The family greeted friends Wednesday, April 12 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was Thursday 11:00 am Plainfield Christian Church. Pastor Bruce Wilson officiating. Interment Idlewild Cemetery, Kent City. Memorial contributions may be made to Renucci Hospitality House.

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

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BETTY JO STULTS

5 years ago you went away

Still sadly missed today

BETTY JO STULTS

11/04/1938 – 04/13/2012

On the anniversary of the

Day You Went Away

Today’s the anniversary

Of the day that we lost you,

And for a time it felt as though

Our lives had ended too.

But loss has taught us many things

And now we face each day,

With hope and happy memories

To help us on our way.

And though we’re full of sadness

That you’re no longer here,

Your influence still guides us

And we still feel you near.

What we shared will never die

It lives within our hearts,

Bringing strength and comfort

While we are apart.

Love Always From,

Greg and Cheryl Fisk and Family

Greg Jr. & Pam, Samantha, Courtney Fisk

Roger & Tasha, Adrian, Ryan Fisk

Alicia & David, Corey, Tayla, Gavin, Colton Hamilton

Kristina, April, Miranda Santoni

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Thank You

The Crawford family would like to thank everybody who helped and supported with the benefits for Emma Orr. We appreciate everything that has been done to help Emma’s family.

 

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Will you remember?

First-Baptist-church-currenPastor Robert P. Smith

First Baptist Church

233 Main St, Cedar Springs

 

There are many facts in life that we are called upon to remember—names, birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, deadlines, tax day, and even historical events of national significance: September 11, 2001, January 28, 1986, April 3, 1968, November 22, 1963, or December 7, 1941. These dates bring to memory the reality of loss, suffering, and death. And the same is true for us today as we remember, April 3, 33.

In less than three days, Christians are called upon to remember not a date, not even an event of national importance, but an eternal person of significance. We remember not a change in our world, but the One who created the world, turned it upside down, and one day He will bring a new world. On Easter Sunday, will you do as 2 Timothy 2:8 says: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.” 

The word “remember” is an important word if we are going to comprehend this command. A few years ago, a friend of mine returned to Michigan to reunite with his family for a special occasion. On that evening, after dinner, the family began to share some of their childhood memories when one of his sisters suggested they watch some of the old 8mm movies. At first, the idea sounded horrible, the reason for the reunion was painful enough, but to watch movies of their own growing pains was considered unbearable.

Nevertheless, they turned on the projector and my friend saw his father as a twenty-seven year old walking with his two sons. He was running alongside his son as he showed him how to ride a bike. He was a thirty-two year old teaching his kids how to water ski. But most of the time, he was not on the screen at all. He was capturing his family on film.

It was a bittersweet experience for my friend as he contrasted that young man on film with the frail man his father is now. That evening helped my friend remember his father not as the man who forgot his name or that he was his son, but as the man who for most of his years was full of life. Somehow, it helped to bring some joy in the midst of their deep sorrow.

Remembering the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is important for a number of reasons. It brings joy out of sorrow. It brings hope for tomorrow. And there is another good reason we remember: God is faithful. He keeps His promises. Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead is proof. Remember what the angel said to the women at the tomb? “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said” (Matthew 28:6 KJV). Notice the last three words, “as he said.” Will you remember?

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On being different

Pastor Darryl Miller

Sand Lake/South Ensley United Methodist churches 

616-636-5659

 

Acts 10:34-35 Common English Bible: “34 Peter said, “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. 35 Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him”.

One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein: “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree it will live out the rest of its life believing that it is stupid.” This is a profound statement and it is very relevant today. Far too many people compare themselves to others and judge their worth by that comparison. You have probably heard it before. “I could never sing as well as she does or I wish I could play piano like he does. He is such a great speaker; I could never speak like that.” And so on. The truth is that if you could sing, play, or speak as well as those others, you would not be able to offer your talents; you would just be a copy of those others. God made us all different, and that is a great thing!

The bible tells us that we are all different parts of One Body and that the different parts work together to glorify God. This tells us how important it is to be aware that God made you the way you are for a reason. We all have different experiences and abilities. When we come together, we can do so much more than if we worked alone. For example: I play bass guitar but do not sing. That alone would get boring fast, but if we add a guitar player, a drummer, and some who are good at singing, soon we are making worshipful music together. By being a team of people with different abilities, we can build a community. We do the same with the community of believers. By using our different experiences and our different abilities, we can share God with lots of different people.

You may think that you do not have talents or abilities but if you allow others to help you discover them, you will be surprised. The best part is that God made you that way for a purpose. More than once, I have asked members of our churches to take on a task and they hesitated, saying that they were not qualified or able to do what would be required of them. However, as they grew into the job, it became clear that they had a real talent in that area and they excelled in it.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Be the person that God made you to be and be that person for God.

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ROSEMARY HATFIELD

C-obit-Hatfield

Rosemary Hatfield, 65 of Sand Lake, died Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at Spectrum Health – Butterworth Campus. Rosemary was born April 14, 1951 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the daughter of Kenneth and Virginia (Smith) Johnson. She enjoyed shopping at Dollar Stores and Goodwill and was very proud of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Surviving are her daughters, Kimberly (Mark) Cooper, Michelle (Bob Hardin) Feikema; grandchildren, Ashlie (Glenn Ross) Feikema, Amanda (Richard) Oliver, Matthew Cooper; great-grandchildren, Maddelyn and Sebastian Oliver; sister, Carol (Larry) Sawyer; nieces, Lisa (Shawn) Scott, Shannon (David) Swan. She was preceded in death by her husband, Nathan in 2014. The family greeted friends Monday, April 3rd from 11:00 a.m. until time of service at 1:00 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Eva Walter officiating.

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

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