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Archive | Church Connection

Barbara F. Pierce


Barbara F. Pierce of Cedar Springs passed away peacefully in the care of At Home Memory Care in her home on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. Barbara was born December 26, 1921 in Honolulu, Hawaii as Barbara Frances Smith. She was the mother of seven to Louis Patrick, Margaret Anita, Cynthia Sue and Martin Edward; grandmother and great grandmother and friend to many. Barbara was both mother and father to her children. She allowed her children to make their own mistakes but never said, “I told you so.” She was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon Harvey; sons, Donald, Michael and daughter, Patricia. She always had the best looking lawn in town. She was a hard worker, homemaker, gardener and all around beautiful person. Barbara loved going for walks or riding her bicycle around. She also loved a nice day when she would pull out her convertible, put the top down and put the pedal to the metal, letting her hair blow in the wind. She would like us to think of her, not gone but forever remaining in our hearts. We would like to thank At Home Memory Care for taking great care of our beautiful mother/grandmother. The family received friends Monday, February 23 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Interment Elmwood Cemetery.

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

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Responding to “50 Shades” 

Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

There has been a lot of commotion around the release of the movie “50 Shades of Grey,” which follows the very popular book by the same title. There are a wide variety of opinions as to whether or not Christians should watch this movie or read the book, and, as you can imagine, there are Christians on both sides of the argument. But the issue we face isn’t the release of this movie; rather, the problem facing Christians is with combatting the culture of sex that we live in.

Arguing with people or bashing/petitioning the release of the movie will not solve the problem. As Christians, we can’t expect the world to have our standard of morality, because they don’t know our God who has defined our standard.  If we want to combat our culture, which seems to glorify rampant sexual immorality, we must first start with ourselves. Instead of pointing the finger at the world’s immorality problem, we need to get ours in check. Listen to these words:

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality, that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (NIV).

So, as Christians, how do we combat the culture of sex that we live in? We live pure lives! Christians need to stop looking at porn. Christians need to stop having sexually dysfunctional marriages. Christians need to stop committing adultery. Christians need to stop having sex before, outside of, and in addition to marriage. Christians need to exalt and glorify Jesus in their sex lives. Only then will we begin to combat our culture that worships sex.

So, the next time you find yourself getting into a heated conversation with someone who doesn’t have God’s standard of morality, remember this: they need to meet Jesus, not have your moral standard self-righteously imposed on them. I am not saying we should remain silent; maybe just change what’s on the channel before we turn the volume up.

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Enough really is enough

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

Last summer an unfortunate woman was found dead in the basement of her Connecticut home. The first floor of her house had collapsed on her under the weight of all the stuff she had accumulated over the years. Her possessions, stacked to the ceiling with only a narrow, labyrinth-like pathway through it all, quite literally smothered her.

This is a dramatic example, of course, but accumulating those things that fall outside the realm of the necessary, will take your life just as certainly. Jesus said it like this: “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, but store your treasures in heaven. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else.” These words are directed at every packrat, collector, hoarder, attic squirrel, and garage-gatherer among us. If you aren’t using it, you don’t need it. Hang on to it, and it will take your life from you.

I’ve often said that the most deeply spiritual thing that some of us could do is have a garage sale; or sell a property, or dump a portfolio; because our spiritual lethargy is the direct result of carrying too much baggage, trying to manage too much stuff. We have too many possessions, too many obligations, and it’s a recipe for misery. When we simplify, we are doing much more than getting rid of the weight of physical possessions. We are making space to breathe, to thrive, to live.

By giving up some of the things we hoard, we aren’t losing, we are gaining; gaining freedom to pursue life. This was Henry David Thoreau’s motivation when he retreated to the woods of Walden Pond. He lived there for two years wrestling with the question, “How much is enough?” and more importantly, “How much does it actually cost a person to obtain his or her possessions?” He rightly concluded that the cost of a thing is not the financial price tag attached to it. It is the amount of one’s life it takes to get it.

Thoreau said, “Very little is actually needed to live well and to be free. Simplify, and once you have secured the necessaries, then you can confront the true problems of life with freedom.” And there Thoreau brings us to the universal human ambition: We all just want to be free and happy. But getting more won’t get it done, because more and more of what is not good for you will only smother you.

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

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Happy Birthday



February 17th

Grandma, we think

50 is Nifty!

Happy Birthday from Deven, Jayden and Ethan

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In Memory


January 16, 1931 – February 22, 2010

Those we love can

Never be more than

A thought apart.

As long as there is memory,

They’ll live on in the heart.

Your loving family

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Marjorie (nee Bird) Bailey

Grandma Bailey joined Grandpa in Heaven on Friday, February 13th, 2015. Grandma was greeted with hugs from David, Wes, Tim and Michael.

Grandkids; Tracy, Jim – Jackie, Penny – Charlie – Molly, Scott – Mac, Jason – Nick, Aaron – Holly – Sara – Lee, Lisa and Ben will be greeting with other family and friends on Friday, February 20th and Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home in Cedar Springs from 2 – 4 pm and 6 – 8 pm. Grandma’s memorial service will be Saturday February 21st at 11 am. Family will meet with folks Saturday at 10 am until the service.

God blessed Grandma and thru her, us.

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Huggard welcomes their new pastor Rick Malone

Pastor Rick and his wife Deb

Pastor Rick and his wife Deb

Pastor Rick began his ministry to Huggard Bible Church, of Sand Lake, on Jan 1. He has a passion for people and the Word of God.  His desire is to help people make sense of this life, world through the Word of God. Pastor Rick and his wife Deb are looking forward to being a part of and ministering to our community.

We would like to invite you to join us at Huggard Bible Church as we and the community welcome Rick and Deb at his installation service on February 22 at 9:30 followed by a potluck.

Come join us as our new pastor helps us to make sense of life and the Bible, God’s Word.

Huggard Bible Church is located at 8860 21 Mile Rd, Sand Lake.

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Garden of light

The Rev. David Meyers

Holy Spirit Episcopal Church

1200 Post Dr., Belmont, MI  49306


Here, in the darkest, coldest part of the year, our mailbox is filled with names such as Gurney, Burpee, White, and Jung. For non-gardeners, these are popular seed companies. Their catalogues come with vibrant colors, promising great harvests and bouquets that make a florist weep. Sitting indoors, retreating from the weather, these colorful publications present tempting future possibilities. While it is dark and snowy right now, it will not stay that way forever. While we huddle from the cold, the catalogues prompt us to look ahead and plan for the seemingly impossible warmth of summer. Some would say, “Look around—why even think of summer?” Others say, “The cold and dark are only temporary and cannot resist the anticipation of the coming season.”

Isn’t that also true of life? Just when it is darkest, when we shiver from a chilled spirit, when our hearts are broken, a little light peeks through, reminding us that life is not all poverty, despair, and tragedy. There is the horizon of distant hope, whose roots take hold in the darkest times and grow until they again overcome the present and bring the fullness of life. That does not mean the darkness can easily be ignored or that it will depart forever. The worst continues to compete for our attention. Coldness will return. It is a part of life. But keeping focused on that sliver of light, however small, will allow a strengthened spirit to melt the burden of concern and sorrow.

The church is half way through the season of Epiphany; the season of light and good news breaking forth upon the earth. Just when the days were darkest—literally and figuratively—God broke in. A small but indomitable light was born in the form of the Christ child. That light, appearing to a lost world, gave a reason to hope and the relief that all was not dead. The Magi from the East introduced a new idea for the whole world. Other characters in the story carried that light to distant places.  And even in our own time, Epiphany brings the light of grace, shining forth to conquer the darkness in the furthest corners of the globe. The Epiphany vision of redemption introduced the idea that God’s promise was not only for a few but, through the inextinguishable light, the whole earth would enjoy the mercies of reconciliation.

Seed catalogues are the beginning of new life. It is time to dream and imagine what our gardens will look like, having renewed energy to push through the dark. Jesus is like those seeds. He brings the inspiration of a new world. His followers place their order, get the seed of life, and plant it wherever God’s plan can be fulfilled. The purpose of every person is to carry the seed of light to the world until it becomes the redeemed and transformed garden of love.

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Good all the time



By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

A.W. Tozer once wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I can hardly disagree. Our perception of God shapes our character and actions like little else.

So it’s no wonder that some people are the way they are: loving, helpful, sacrificial, kind, and giving. They think of God this way. But on the other hand, some religious people are angry, suspicious, unforgiving, and murderous. These folks, in turn, think of God in these terms and it shows.

By way of example, I have a friend whose thinking about God is sadistic. God, for her, is an always lurking bogeyman who must be continually appeased. He is vicious and eager to rub out a groveling sinner (or an entire city) if it suits him.

Thus, she lives in fear of God and inflicts her angst on everyone around her. Recently, however, I connected the dots between her thinking about God and the relationship she had with her father, when in an unguarded moment she told a forbidding story.

She was a child, and her father came home drunk, as usual. In his stupor he pulled a revolver from his pocket and called his daughter over to his lap. He cuddled her in his arms and then placed the revolver against the back of her head.

“I could blow your brains out right now,” he whispered. Then he put the gun aside and held her close again, only to return to the gun and the threat again and again over the space of the evening. One moment he was loving, and the next he had a gun barrel pushed against her skull.

This type of parenting has caused my friend all types of emotional disturbances over her lifetime, not the least of which is her thinking about God. For her, and I understand why she feels this way, God is just like her drunken father.

The moral and spiritual authority for her life is an erratic, cold-hearted bastard whose words of love are nothing more than an invitation to terror. Her God calls out for his children, takes them into his arms, and then threatens them with violence.

Such a God is unworthy of worship, incapable of being trusted, and impossible to love. Thankfully, such a God doesn’t exist, for Jesus has shown us that God is good, and he’s good all the time.

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

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Beulah M. Castor, 87 of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, February 5, 2015 at Faith Hospice – Trillium Woods. Beulah was born March 20, 1927 in Cedar Springs, Michigan the daughter of Frank and Carrie (James) Sheldon. She was known for her cooking and was a loving mother and grandmother. Surviving are her children, Brenda (Alvaro) Vega, Anna (Dan) Bekins, David (Terrie) Castor; 10 grandchildren; several great and great great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Albert “Fred” Castor in 1996; son, Freddie; one grandson; two brothers and two sisters. The family received friends Monday from 10:30 a.m. until time of service at 12 noon at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Rev. Fr. Lam Le officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Hospice 2100 Raybrook SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

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

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