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Archive | Church Connection

Does the Bible really say that?

Pastor Barry Briggs

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs


The Bible is the most revered book in America, but it is also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches—all types of people—quote passages that sound like they are from the Bible, but actually aren’t in the Bible at all. These phantom passages include phrases such as “This too shall pass,” “Moderation in all things,” and “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” But probably the most quoted Bible verse that is not in the Bible would have to be “God helps those who help themselves.”

The phrase is often mistaken as Scriptural, but it appears nowhere in the Bible. The phrase actually comes from ancient Greek literature. It is illustrated by two of Aesop’s Fables. And it is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who used a variation of the phrase in his Farmer’s Almanac. And people commonly think the Bible says, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Ironically, the Bible actually teaches the exact opposite of this particular phrase. The truth is, God helps the defenseless and helpless.

Romans 8:26 (NLT) says, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.” And Psalm 34:18 (NLT) says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

All throughout the Bible we find examples of how God helps us when we can’t help ourselves. If you take a close look at the Bible you see that many times God comes into helpless lives and makes the difference. Just look at the life of Jesus. Jesus dedicated His life to helping hurting people.

In Luke 4:18-19 (NIV/NKJ) Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

He doesn’t say the Lord has sent me to help people who have their act together. To help people who can help themselves. To help people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps. No. Who did Jesus come to help? He’s very clear. He says, “I came to earth to help five specific types of people: the poor, the brokenhearted, the imprisoned, the blind, and the oppressed.”

What do all these people have in common? They are hurting. Later on Jesus says a doctor doesn’t come to help the healthy; a doctor comes to help the sick. Jesus came to help hurting people. Story after story in the Gospels you see Jesus helping hurting people. Jesus says, “It’s what I live for. I am here to help the poor, the broken, and the blind.”

In all of our lives there is a point of helplessness. It may be a point of helplessness over a relationship that you can’t get right, or a financial situation that cannot be solved, or a habit that you just can’t seem to break. It could be a point of helplessness at a point of growth that you just can’t seem to grow through, or a confidence that you just can’t seem to get. You’d like to be able to parent better, but you just can’t break through that confidence barrier. You feel helpless.

Be encouraged today. God wants to help you at your point of helplessness. He doesn’t say He will only help you if you can help yourself. He says He will help you if you will trust in Him. If you feel a little hopeless today because you’ve been helpless for a long, long time know that God cares. He loves you. He is close to the brokenhearted. He wants to help you, and He will if you ask Him to.


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Robert A. Shively, 56 of Cedar Springs died unexpectedly Saturday, June 7, 2014 in Glen Arbor Township. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Elvin and Jacqueline (Green) Shively; his sister, Linda LeMarbe; mother and father-in-law, Jerry and Christine Hulett; sister-in-law, Christine Gale Briggs. Bob was involved with his sons in many activities including, AYSO, band, Boy Scouts of America. He was a member of the Sparta Moose Lodge, a board member of the W. Michigan Snowmobile Museum and spent much of his time at the Sportsfisherman’s Service Center. Surviving are his wife Debora; two sons, Rob (Amber) of Germany; Jon of Cedar Springs; two sisters, Pat Tanner of Trufant; Judy (Larry) Aldrich of Grand Rapids; brother-in-law, Jim LeMarbe of Grand Rapids; sister-in-law, Lori Golden; brothers-in-law, G.I. Hulett and Dan Briggs; many aunts, uncles, cousins, special nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends Friday from 1-3 pm and 5-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where funeral services will be held Saturday at 10 am. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. Interment Graceland Memorial Park.

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

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50th Anniversary



Allen and Louise King of Cedar Springs are blessed to celebrate their 50th anniversary on June 27, 2014. They were married June 27, 1964 in the First Baptist Church of Sparta, Michigan by Allen’s uncle the Rev. John McKay. Louise is retired from Steelcase Inc. after working for 20 years in Corporate Communications. Allen retired from Cedar Springs Public Schools after 25 years in custodial/ maintenance. Their children are Scott and his wife Wendy of Jonesboro, Georgia, and Christopher and his wife Pamela of Clarkston, Michigan. Their three grandsons are Jacob, Eli and Tyler King. Allen and Louise will celebrate their anniversary with a family vacation hosted by their children, in Northport, Michigan later this summer.


The secret to their success is putting the other person first.

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Thank you

Thank you neighbors and friends who helped celebrate Ralph Wolfe’s heavenly homecoming. Thank you for standing by our sides, sharing Ralph’s memories, and feeding our bodies and souls. We were blessed by our friends and St. John Paul II Catholic Church, Father Lam Le, Father William Zink, East Nelson United Methodist Church, and Kevin Pike and his staff from Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home. We are truly grateful for your support.

Blessings, The Ralph Wolfe Family


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Not slaves, but sons and daughters

Ronnie McBrayer

Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer


There are some two million adopted children living in United States’ households today. These children arrive in their homes in a myriad of ways. Some are abandoned, are surrendered to children’s services, or have biological parents who are in no condition to provide a home.

Some are from the States; some from overseas; some come out of foster care; some come from an adoption agency; and some come from out of nowhere, it seems. But most all have this in common: They are loved. The adoptive parents want to provide a loving home for these children.

Two of those two million adopted children live under my own roof. When they were younger, and I suppose they need to hear it even more as they move toward adulthood, I would tell them, “Everyone is born, you know. But not everyone is chosen. Not everyone has the honor of being selected; but you were.”

Granted, this doesn’t settle all of their anxieties, and now in adolescence, they have all the existential anxieties of their peers – “Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I in the world? How do I fit in? What is my identity?” But those who are adopted often have these questions on steroids.

Some questions, I tell my growing young men, will be answered now. Some answers will come in adulthood. But some questions may never be answered. Yet, they cannot let all the unanswerable questions of their existence rob them of this essential fact: They are chosen and loved.

One of the New Testament’s more powerful images, as it describes God’s concern for humanity, is, fittingly, adoption. “By his great love,” the Apostle Paul said, “we were chosen for adoption into God’s family. You are not his slaves. You are his children.”

God’s choosing love might not squelch all anxieties or address all of our identity issues, but it’s a good place to start. For if we know that God loves us, then we can make allowance for the things that we don’t know; if we understand that we are chosen, then we can live with those things that can’t be understood; when we are certain of our acceptance, then we can accept other uncertainties.

I pray that these facts will serve as a grounding, stabilizing force for my sons as they grow into life. And yes, I pray the same for all of us.

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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Thomas H. Calkins

Thomas H . Calkins

Thomas H . Calkins

Thomas H. Calkins, 64, of Cedar Springs, died unexpectedly Friday, June 6, 2014 at his home surrounded by his family. Tom was born January 19, 1950 in Greenville, MI the son of Jack and Bessie (Horton) Calkins. He served in Vietnam in the U.S. Army in the 135th Infantry as an assault helicopter gunner. He was a truck driver all of his life, loved playing softball and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was a loving father and grandfather. Surviving are his children, Mindy (Josh Owen) Calkins, Lucas (Kandis) Calkins; grandchildren, Hunter, Kobe, Kaden, Silverado, Hailey, Cody, Taylor, Aaliyah, Arielle, Amaya; half brother, Jack Calkins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bud & Bess Young and Jack Calkins. The family will greet friends Tuesday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, where services will be held Wednesday 11:00 am. Pastor Tom Holloway officiating. Interment Spencer Mills Cemetery with military honors by the Kent County Veterans Honor Guard. Memorial contributions may be made to a fund for his grandchildren.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home

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Mrs. Maria A. Schuitema of Solon Township, age 72, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Maria was born in Barcelona, Spain on May 29, 1942 and had been a long-time resident of West Michigan. For many years, Maria was a self-employed beautician. She will be greatly missed by many. Maria leaves behind her brothers and sisters-in-law, Margaret Kronberg, Larry (Cos) Schuitema, Bob (Jeanne) Schuitema, Bernie (Marie) Schuitema, Dorothy Lanting, and Margie Schuitema. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Blaine L. Schuitema on December 13, 2003; and brothers-in-law, Milo (Pat) Schuitema, Bud Kronberg and John Lanting; sister-in-law, Beat Winter. Services will not be held.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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23C obit PatinRosemarie “Rosie” T. Patin of Sand Lake, age 76, passed away Monday, June 2, 2014. Rosie was born to Walter and Josephine (née Mikulenas) Tursky on March 5, 1938 at her home in Grand Rapids on Front Street where the expressway now passes through. Her father was a shipping supervisor at Haskelite and her mother was a homemaker. There were four children in her family. She graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1955 and went to work in the office at Michigan Plating and Stamping. While attending a Catholic young adult dance she met John Patin. He was a hard working man who had purchased a farm in Ensley Center in 1949. Their first date was in August of 1958 and on November 21, 1959 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Grand Rapids they married. John had been a farmer all his life and frankly was a work enthusiast. But that did not deter Rosie, although having grown up in the city she joined right in, farming alongside John, working right along with him every day. Always an active member in the community she was involved in the Newaygo Farm Bureau, was secretary for the Ensley Township Farm Bureau, and secretary for the Ensley Grange for some time.  One can only imagine the changes she witnessed in farming and how many long hard hours she worked, enjoying the fruits….or rather vegetables, of their labor along the way. Faith and Family however were her top priorities. Sunday breakfast at their home was always a treat, as she was an amazing cook. Her whole life was devoted to her Catholic faith. She was a member of Mary Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church where she was a member of the Ladies Guild, a Liturgist, a Sacristan and a Eucharistic Minister. Rosie was also a professed member of Mary Queen of Apostles Secular Franciscan Order. Rosie’s living example of grace and faithfulness will live on in her many family members and friends. She is preceded in death by her loving husband, John A. Patin; her parents, her brothers, Walter George Tursky and Bernard Tursky, in laws Philip and Mary Patin, brother in laws Alphonso Patin, Joseph Patin and Henry Kalman, sister in laws, Ruth Patin, Mary Louise Patin, Patricia Patin. She is survived by her sister, Mrs. Marian R. Morrow, and her in-laws, Mrs. Charlotte Turskey, Sr Mary Philip OSF, Margaret Kalman, Fred and Mary Lynn Patin, Sr Mary Phyllis OSF, Peter and Carole Patin, Anthony Patin, Donna and Jack Dunaven and many beloved nieces and nephews. There will be a time of visitation from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. There will be a Praying of the Rosary at 8:00 pm following the visitation. A Mass of Christian Burial take place at 11:00 am on Friday, June 6, 2014 at Mary Queen of Apostles Church, 1 W. Maple Street, Sand Lake, MI 49343; Rev. Lam T. Le and Rev. Dennis Morrow will be presiding. Interment will be at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Sand Lake. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a memorial contribution to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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C obit CramerMr. Keith Douglas Cramer of Cedar Springs, age 73, passed away on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, after a year-long battle with cancer. He was born to Wayne and Iva (née Becker) Cramer in Rockford, Michigan on June 27, 1940 and had been a life-long Kent County resident. Keith enjoyed spending time in the great outdoors, hunting and fishing, as well as traveling with their camper; and it must also be said that Keith loved touring on his Harley, especially with his wife Sharon by his side. He was also a fifty-one year member of the Local #1102. Keith was a loving and devoted husband and wonderful father and grandfather. He will be missed by all those who knew him. Keith leaves behind his beloved wife of fifty-six years, Sharon; children Tom (Delene) Cramer, Sherri (Mark) Sias, Terry (Kitty) Cramer and Lee Frost; grandchildren David Cramer, Tom Cramer II, Jay Cramer, Crystal (J.P.) Deason Johnson, Donny (Aimee) Smith, Terry (Cassandra) Cramer II, Michael Cramer, Fawn (Jon) Reedy, Tim (Brandy) Frost, Kimmy (Don) McMeeken, Zack (Alexis) McMeeken, Ron (Mandi) McMeeken, and Crystal (Ray) Rayapurredy; twenty-eight great grandchildren; and one great, great grandson Hunter Lee. He was preceded in death by his daughter Sue Frost. As per the wishes of Keith, services will not be held. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a memorial contribution to: The American Cancer Society, 129 Jefferson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

 Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home www.pedersonfuneralhome.com


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M. Maxine Korcal 94 of Bad Axe, formerly of Cedar Springs, died Sunday, June 1, 2014 in Bad Axe. Maxine was born July 21, 1919 in Cedar Springs, Michigan the daughter of Clair and Myrtie (Peterson) Beach. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother and adored her family. Surviving are her daughter, Pat (Bart) Hartson; son-in-law, Vernon Rounds; grandchildren, Tim (Jody) Hartson, Todd Hartson, Mike (Leslie) Rounds, Mindy (Scott) Rambo; great grandchildren, Brady, Caitlin, Ashlin, Jerry, Brian, Courtney, Carly, Michael, Melissa, Tyler; great great grandsons, Louis and Dylan. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edmund and a daughter, Julie Rounds. The family will greet friends Thursday, June 5 from 12 noon until time of service at 1:00 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs.

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

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