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Archive | Church Connection


In Loving Memory of Our

Mother, Grandmother & Great Grandmother


November 4, 1938 – April 13, 2012

We thought of you today

but that is not new

We thought of you yesterday

and the day before that too

We think of you in silence

we often speak your name

All we have, our memories and

your picture in a frame

Your memory is a keepsake

from which we’ll never part

God has you in His keeping

we have you in our hearts

Still Loved, Still Miss and Always Held Dear,

Your Daughter’s Family

Cheryl and Greg Fisk

Greg Jr., Pam, Samantha and Courtney Fisk

Roger, Tasha, Adrian and Ryan Fisk

Alicia, David, Corey, Tayla and Gavin Hamilton

Kristina, Sean, April and Miranda Santoni

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Ronny R. Merlington

C-MEM-RonnyMerlington-webRonny R. Merlington

September 1, 1937 to April 13, 2014

Your life was full, good times and good friends,

Many loved ones left behind.

Our hearts still ache with sadness, and tears still flow.

Your leaving us has left a void, we fill it with

Memories of all the love we shared.

We find comfort in knowing you are home with Your Lord.

We miss you and love you so much.

Loving wife Shirley, sons Dominic and Robert and their families

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Dean Richard Chapman Sr.

C-MEM-ChapmanDean Richard Chapman Sr.

October 24, 1966 to April 10, 1986

“Music speaks what cannot be expressed

soothes the mind and gives it rest

heals the heart and makes it whole

flows from heaven to the soul.”

Remembering all the good times and looking forward to making music with you again in God’s Kingdom.

We all miss you!

Love Your Family

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Living like He’s living

Pastor Jim Alblas

Pioneer Christian Reformed Church
Cedarfield Community Center

3592 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs

Cedarfield Community room


In life, often times things happen that we don’t expect. I was recently playing “Words with Friends” (Online Scrabble) and found myself down by a ton of points and considered the game unwinnable. However, as the game progressed, I slowly cut away at the lead and ended up claiming the victory! I certainly didn’t expect that. In the same way, when the women went to the tomb in the early morning of Easter, they did not expect Jesus to be alive. Even though Jesus had told them He would die and rise again, they did not recall His words. Perhaps the burden of their sadness was all they could think about. As a result they and others experienced a terrible feeling of sadness, disappointment and fear. He was alive, but sadly, they were living as though He was not.

Christians today can live the same kind of way. We may know that Jesus is alive, but we don’t always show it by our actions. We see this by how we react to some of the difficult things we face in life. When we see violence, injustice and tragedy, how do we respond? Sometimes we feel like giving up and believing there’s no hope for this world. When there are times of uncertainty, how do we respond? Sometimes we worry and are filled with anxiety. When there are challenging assignments that God hands to us, how do we respond? Sometimes we doubt whether or not they can get done. If those are our responses to the difficulties of life, it sure doesn’t seem as though we are living as though He’s living. Secondly, how do we sometimes interact with the risen Lord? Sometimes we neglect our prayer lives, fail to study His words and refuse to obey how He calls us to live. Again, we may know He’s alive, but when we avoid Him in these ways, we sure don’t show it by our actions.

But I write to you today to remind you that He has risen, He has risen indeed! And if you haven’t been, I invite you to live as though He’s living!

Rather than giving up on this world, remember that Jesus is alive and at work in the world today. He can still convict the heart of even the vilest person and offers comfort to those who are the victims of awful tragedies.

Rather than being a worry wart, remember that Jesus is alive and thus will guide us through all of our times of uncertainty. Rather than doubting whether or not we can accomplish an assignment given from God, remember that Jesus is alive and will help us to complete all that we are given to do. And rather than neglecting our relationship with Jesus, remember that He is alive and strive to get to know Him and be obedient to Him more and more.

Jesus is alive—let’s live as though He’s living.

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Now that’s a different story

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

The Hasidic philosopher Martin Buber told the tale of a Jewish grandfather confined to his wheelchair. The grandfather was a master storyteller and, one day, the old man’s grandchildren gathered eagerly around his chair and asked him to tell a story about his life. Happy to oblige, the grandfather began telling a story from his childhood—how his rabbi would leap and dance during his recitation of the Psalms.

The more into it the old man got, the more he seemed to incarnate his rabbi, until unexpectedly the grandfather jumped from his wheelchair! In telling the story and acting it out, it gave new life to the old man, and his grandchildren needed no further explanation. Martin Buber concludes his tale by saying: “Now, that’s the way to tell a story!” And, I would add, that’s how to live a life, particularly a life of faith.

People of faith, and I include myself in this assessment, often fall back on hardened dogma or cascading Scripture references to explain our way of life. But frozen facts and biblical sound bites do very little to inspire life or to invite others to explore faith. These do even less to heal a fractured world.

But if we become so immersed in the story of a gracious God, so connected to his powerful narrative of redemption, so skilled in incarnating Christ that we are animated and enlivened by it, then others just might be attracted to it. It just might do some good in the world. Faith just might become a story worth telling; a story worth believing; and a story worth living.

What does his story look like? It looks like Jesus. He was humble and compassionate; full of grace and truth; the epitome of sacrificial love; forgiving toward all, and welcoming to the most repugnant among us. If our reading and living of the Bible isn’t making us more like that—more like Jesus—then, simply, we are doing something wrong.

If, in reciting our favorite verses, memorizing the text, and proclaiming the truth, we only get more angry; more suspicious; more judgmental and fixed in our self-righteousness; more indifferent and apathetic toward the world; more greedy and egocentric—then we might know some religious quotes, but we haven’t yet learned to tell the story. But when we become what Christ was saying, rather than offer trite, formulaic answers, then that, is another story altogether.

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


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Thanks for the Crud

Pastor Darryl Miller  

Sand Lake UMC

65 W. Maple, Sand Lake

South Ensley UMC, 

13600 Cypress, Ensley Township


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (NIV).

I recently gave a message based on this passage. God often reveals himself in the words he gives me but not in such an amazing way as when we looked at this passage. It is not an easy concept. Giving thanks in all things is easy when things are going well, but when the world seems to be crashing in around us things can seem different. Thankfulness comes much slower and with more effort. Not long after we looked at this passage at our church, a couple came to me and told of how they had begun to pray and give thanks for the cancer that the woman has been struggling with. Not surprisingly, they struggled with the idea of thanking a loving Savior for something as devastating as cancer, but they immediately noticed a difference. The anger, the resentment, (why did this happen to me?) and the anxiousness began to subside. Others came forward and told similar stories. Sure it goes against the normal way of thinking, but then again, God has often done just that. He is good at turning what we think is normal on its head; that’s why I love Him so!

C. S. Lewis once said: “How can we possibly learn to rely on God if the need never arises?” I have had several challenges on my life journey, not the least of which is being blind, but God’s presence has been there all the way. I have been able to connect with people who are leery of those who cannot understand what they are going through. And I have been able to steer some to a pastor friend who has different struggles and can relate to them because he has had experiences that I have not. And connecting with and building relationships with others who have had similar struggles brings us blessings as well. Winston Churchill once said: “If you are going through hell, keep going!” Soon we will celebrate Jesus victory over death. The victory came after struggle and pain. After His suffering on our behalf, He arose, victorious and enthroned. The struggle is part of the journey. Relying on God really does make us stronger. If you are struggling with challenges, let them bring you closer to God. Let Him reveal Himself in your life in ways you have never expected. Learn to lean on God and you will find a strong tower, a firm foundation, and a Savior who loves you.

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A Day to celebrate



By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

On this weekend twelve years ago, what proved to be last of the McBrayer children was born. Now, as he approaches his teen years, our son will finally get something he’s wanted: his birthday to fall on Easter. He’s always thought it would be grand to share the day with Jesus, what with all the egg hunts, feasting, festivities, and snazzy clothes. I hope he enjoys it, because it will be more than a decade before he has another Easter birthday.

As you know, Easter is not a “fixed” holiday. Rather, it falls on the Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or after the Spring Equinox. Consequently, Easter can fall on any date between March 22 and April 25 (and on those rare occasions, even on my son’s birthday).

Mercifully, I didn’t share all these lunar details with the birthday boy, of course. I just told him that if he were lucky, he would get to celebrate his birthday alongside the resurrection of Jesus four times in his lifetime. And if he’s as sturdy as his great-grandmother Artie was, he might even get five such celebrations.

But the truth of the matter is we get to celebrate every day, not just Easter Sunday. Celebration, in fact, is the Christian vocation. Because Easter is not so much a holiday about the past as it is a way of joyful, hopeful living for today—not tomorrow or reserved for after we die.

Adding to all the explanations of Easter’s dating and its various meanings are the usual sermons and songs about Easter as the doorway to heaven, an escape hatch from the troubles of this earth, or a coping mechanism for what lies beyond the grave. That’s fine for as far as it goes, but that’s not the main point the early church made in its proclamation about Jesus’ resurrection.

Rather, the point made by the first Christians was that because of Easter, everything about life has changed—life today—in the here and now. Quoting the late Marcus Borg, who was straightforward on the matter: “Easter is not for the sake of heaven later. It is about entering a relationship in the present that begins to change everything now.”

Indeed, Christianity is about getting in on Jesus’ gracious, revolutionary mission and experiencing life, full and running over, transforming us and the world. That’s reason to celebrate every day.

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

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In Loving Memory

C-mem-Goller-Sr-1Richard E. Goller Sr


C-mem-Goller-Jr-2Richard E. Goller Jr


Without them in it

The world hasn’t been the same

Those two dark haired hansome men

With the Goller last name

They made us laugh

They made us smile

They may have even made us mad

Every once in a while

But as most of you know

With their side slanting grins

They could liven the crowd

And bring laughter to friends

Reminiscing today

Not even time erases

The memory of their humor

As grins spread on our faces

We love and miss you Dick and Buzz!

The Goller Family

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C-obit-WeaverSeptember 7, 1956 – March 26, 2015

Please join family and friends of Patricia Lennox Weaver as we gather in a celebration of life, Saturday April 4th at 11:30am. Patty has not only blessed us with the memory of her mischievous smile and laughter, but also her loving family, Tom Sanders, Vallerie Merlington (Ross Merlington), John Weaver (Jenny Weaver), Amy Weaver, 8 grandchildren, and husband Darrell Weaver.

“Truly, it is in darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us” – Meister Eckhart

Memorial to be held at the North Kent Community Church, 1480 Indian Lakes Rd. NE Sparta 49354.

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Myrtle Leona Powell

Myrtle Leona Powell, age 94, passed away peacefully at her home on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 with family by her side. Myrtle was preceded in death by her husband, Philip E. Powell in 2003. Myrtle will be lovingly remembered by her children, Lawrence & Janet Powell, Pat & Robert Stone, Connie & Loren Bass; 8 grandchildren; 9 great grandchildren; several in-laws, nieces and nephews; many cherished friends and neighbors. Funeral services will be held at the funeral home on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 2:00 P.M. with Rev. Leonard Meyer officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. Those who wish may make memorial contributions to Heartland Hospice of Michigan. www.hesselcheslek.com

Arrangements by Hessel Cheslek Funeral Home, Sparta.

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