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Archive | Church Connection

OTTO J. FORD

C-obit-Ford-webOtto J. Ford 91, of Cedar Springs, died Sunday, October 12, 2014 at Lincoln Square Assisted Living, Grand Rapids. Otto was born May 18, 1923 in Quincy, Michigan, the son of Cecil and Luella (Newberry) Ford. He served in the U.S. Army, in the Pacific Theater, during World War II and was a member of the Cedar Springs American Legion. Following the war he came back to Cedar Springs and worked in his father’s gas station on Main Street. He also had been an auto mechanic for Jack Hough Ford and later worked on the grounds crew at the Grand Rapids Golf Club. Surviving are his wife, Winifred, whom he married on August 14, 1971; stepsons, Dean and Deb Parker, Dale and Jeny Ransom; grandchildren, Amy Ransom and Dana Aspinall, Jason and Cyndi Parker, Rick and Rene` Martin, Julie and Bob Robinson, Jeremy and Haley Parker; 9 great-grandchildren; sister, Greta Ackerly; sister-in-law, Inez Ford; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Lloyd and sister, Marjorie. The family will greet friends Friday, October 17 from 1:00 pm until time of service at 2:00 pm at Mamrelund Lutheran Church, Kent City. Pastor Leonard Dahlgren officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to Mamrelund Lutheran Food Pantry.

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

 

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Barry W. Harrold

C-obit-Harrold-webBarry W. Harrold 71, of Cedar Springs, surrounded by family went to be with our Lord, Thursday, October 9, 2014. Barry was born August 5, 1943 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the son of George and Lillian (Laski) Harrold. He served his country for 6 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, stationed in Sault Ste. Marie. There he met and married Phyllis, his loving wife of 51 years. He retired from Old Orchard Brands in Sparta, Michigan. Barry was a kind and generous man, who gave freely of himself to others. His wonderful charm was admired and appreciated by all who knew and loved him. Surviving are his wife, Phyllis (Kravis); children, Darren (Wendy) Harrold, Kelly (David) Kivell, Faith “Georgie” (Steve) Beeman, Rebecca (Isaac) Mallory; seven grandchildren; sister, Jackie (Tom) Gibbs. He was preceded in death by his parents. The family greeted friends from 1:00 pm until time of Memorial Mass Monday, October 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm at Our Lady of Consolation, Rockford. Rev. Fr. Tony Russo presiding.

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

 

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DONALD TIBBE

41-C-Mem-Tibbe-web

October 15, 2003

 

I pray you’ll be our eyes,

And watch us where we go.

I pray we’ll find your light

And Hold it in our hearts.

Help us find a place,

Guide us with your grace,

Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

Sadly missed by his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren

 

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Peanut butter pews

Hillcrest-Church-picPastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

Over the years, I have had the privilege of being used by God to help many people, marriages, and families through some very hard seasons in their lives. Too often, people get stuck in a bad place and really struggle to find a way out. In many cases, some have resigned themselves to give up, believing there is no hope.

As a pastor, my calling is to point them to the hope—Jesus Christ—who is the hope of the world! There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain and restore hope to those who seem stuck in a bad place. Each new assignment brings its own challenges, but none that God can’t handle, for those who will trust him with the outcome in every situation.

As I was preparing my most favorite sandwich in the whole wide world (Jif peanut butter and almost any flavor of jelly), I was meditating on one of the most recent victories. I was in awe of God, praising Him for His power and thanking Him for trusting me with His precious child. I am amazed yet again of His amazing power to transform relationships for His glory.

The peanut butter on my sandwiches is always quite thick (yum) and I dropped the knife in the middle of the peanut butter and it stuck there. I got the knife out and cleaned the peanut butter off, then the lid to the jelly dropped on the peanut butter and stuck there. My thoughts went to—“hmm, I would like to get stuck in a sea of peanut butter.” Then I was reminded of how often we can get stuck in a good place, too!

We can get so comfortable in our peanut butter pews that we don’t want to go out and reach those who are lost or hurt, depressed, confused, or struggling in relationships, stuck in hopelessness. We can even become a hindrance to those who do. Those who won’t leave their comfort zone have lost sight of why the church exists in the first place. We dishonor God when we refuse to be used to expand His Kingdom.

When God has redeemed us and healed our broken relationships, healed our past hurts and scars, restored our dignity, and written our names in the Lamb’s book of Life, we should be so thankful that we want to help others. Just before Peter would experience the lowest point of his life thus far, Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31-32, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Peter was stuck in the worst place of his life—betrayal of his Lord—until he remembered Jesus’ words. Jesus’ powerful words restored Peter who in turn helped restore and strengthen his brothers. Let us be found faithful to Jesus’ Great Commission to “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19).

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Dancing, not marching

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

There is a story about two monks walking along the road when they come to a river. A beautiful woman is standing there. She can’t figure out how to continue her journey. So one of the monks picks her up in his arms—something he was absolutely forbidden to do, for touching a woman was against his vows—and he carries her across to the other side. Then, all parties continued on their journey.

After a few hours, the second monk was unable to remain silent about this misconduct. He blurts out, “How could you pick up that woman? It was against the rules!” The first monk replied, “Are you still carrying her around? I put her down hours ago.”

This is an instructive tale about two different approaches to spirituality. One can be mastered by a tightly controlled list of “dos and don’ts,” or one can move with the spirit. While the latter is not without its pitfalls, the former is certainly rife with peril. Managing our spiritual lists becomes a heavy, taxing burden.

Eugene Peterson, in his paraphrase of the Bible called “The Message,” gets right at this by casting new light on Jesus’ words from Matthew 11: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. You’ll recover your life…Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”

The “unforced rhythms of grace.” I don’t think there is a more incomparable phrase, and nothing any higher to which anyone could aspire: to express the life of faith with freedom, harmony, and loving kindness. What liberation; and I’m speaking not simply of Peterson’s translation but the Christ-infused spirit behind the words.

For the way of Jesus is indeed effusive and free-flowing. Nothing about it is coercive, heavy, or manipulative. Jesus does not require the imposition of shame, false guilt, “sacred” extortion, or browbeating to keep people on the path. Maybe that is why “rhythm” is such an appropriate word; because following Jesus is much more like dancing than it is marching.

Do you want to live the free and gracious life? Partner with Jesus. Move with him. Stay in step with him. When the music of mercy plays, follow his lead, and you’ll find yourself enjoying faith rather than enduring it. Following Jesus leads to recovery, not religion; to empowerment, not exhaustion; it leads to the laying down of our burdens. It leads to grace.

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

 

 

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LAMBERT GEORGE WROBLEWSKI

C-obit-WroblewskiLambert George Wroblewski, known to all that loved him as “Bud,” loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather left us peacefully to go Home, on Monday, October 6, 2014, at home with family present. He left many fond memories, but the most memorable are the memories of him walking his dogs, working diligently in the garage, camping, playing cards and sharing his views on politics and world topics, but most of all, spending time with his family and dear friends. He served his country proudly in the Navy as a machinist mate during WWII and left with honorable discharge after his service was complete. He then served as a Detroit police officer from 1949 to 1974. He was privileged to be a motorcycle police escort for Presidents Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He completed his service in Detroit, moved to the Newaygo area with his family, and continued to serve as a Newaygo County Sheriff Deputy, then finally retired. In his retirement he enjoyed his time as a Michigan State Park host.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jacqueline; son Daniel (Stephanie) and granddaughter Danielle (fiancé Ross); son Eric (Karen) and granddaughter, Valorie and great-granddaughter Emily, grandson, Benjamin, grandson Matthew (Tiffany) and great-granddaughter Cloe, great-grandson sEthan, Declan and Tadhg; grandson Matthew; daughter Jackie (Mike) and grand- daughter Yvonne, great-grandson Gabriel, grandson Dean (Alicia), great-grandson Evan and great-granddaughter Ripley, grand-daughter Joy (Channing) and great-granddaughter Veada; son Adam (Sonja) and granddaughter Amber, grandsons Joseph and Aaron.  Memorial services will take place at 11:00 am on Friday at Christ the King Catholic church with Father James Wyse presiding.  Visitation will take place on Friday from 10 am until time of services at 11 am. In lieu of flowers memorials to: MICOPS.org or Sophia’s House, Mercy Health Grand Rapids.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City

 

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ROZILLA S. “POLLY” LEVESQUE

 

 

Rozilla S. “Polly” Levesque, 67 of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, October 2, 2014 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Polly was born April 26, 1947 in Boston, Massachusetts the daughter of Harvey and Rozilla (Chase) Roberts. She had been a paralegal for several law firms in the East before coming to Cedar Springs. Cremation has taken place and there will be no services. She will be buried in her family plot in Mount Feake Cemetery, Waltham, Massachusetts.

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

 

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RAYMOND E. FISHER

 

In Memory of our dear husband and father, Raymond E. Fisher. October 5, 2005.

 

Lily G. Fisher and family

 

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MARY JANE MIDDLETON

 

October 10th 1992

 

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel by our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train leaving us on this journey alone.

As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant, i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats. This train will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers, requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.

We love you. We miss you.

Dad, kids, grandkids & Miss Lila

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Trust and faith in God

Cedar-Christian-ChurchPastor Ryan Black

Cedar Springs Christian Church

340 West Pine Street, Cedar Springs

 

 

The Bible tells us that when we put our trust in our Lord Jesus Christ and obey His commandments, we are bound to achieve great and marvelous things through Him. But many of us have been involved in situations that resulted in frustration and disappointment. We thought we had faith in God’s power, only to see the results not go our way. Sometimes, we need a clearer understanding of what faith really is.

Faith is not just a concept that fulfills a mere wish. True faith is complete confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, which makes us follow His footsteps. (Hebrew 11:1)  In the book of Daniel, we are reminded of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused to worship the golden image created by King Nebuchadnezzar. Because of their stand for God, they were thrown into a fiery furnace. In faith, they believed that their God could deliver them. Their perseverance demonstrated the elements that are required of true faith in God and they came out without a single burn. They trusted in God even if things would not have turned out as they had expected.  Faith in Jesus Christ calls for total reliance on Him, even when some things do not always make sense to us. The trio knew they could trust in Him because they understood His nature, which does not change. They understood that God is in control of everything in Heaven and on the earth.

God has given us an opportunity to choose and to decide. Sometimes we are bound to be tested and he again assures us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that he will never let us be tempted beyond what we can endure. After the great challenges that we must all undergo, we can be victorious and emerge as stronger men and women of God. It’s not necessary that we go looking for trials and tribulations. They will find us. But when faced with them, our Heavenly Father gives us strength to overcome.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul was assured by the Savior that His grace is sufficient and that his strength is made perfect in weakness and his response was just amazing. He said, “I take pleasure in my infirmities, in accusations, in necessities, in persecutions, in distress for the sake of Christ.” He realized that during his very weakest moment is when he became very strong. Not strong in his own might, but strong in the Lord, allowing the Holy Spirit to empower and live in him.

When we trust in God, He is more than willing to provide help when we desperately need it. It doesn’t matter how challenging the situation is. This gives God’s spirit room to live in our heart so that He can constantly talk to us and lead us in the right direction.  True faith is based on trusting the Lord Jesus Christ and His ever willing desire to meet our needs. Daniel 3:15 says, “For surely He blesses and prospers only those who fully trust in Him.”

Faith in Jesus Christ is more than a system, tradition, or belief. He is a Person who knows our needs, feels our pain, and sympathizes with our weaknesses. In exchange for our trust, He offers to forgive our sins, to intercede for us, and to bring us to His Father. He cried for us, died for us, and rose from the dead to show that He was all He claimed to be. Conquering death, He showed us that He can save us from our sins, live His life through us on earth, and then bring us safely to Heaven. He offers Himself as a gift to anyone who will trust and follow Him (John 20:24-31).

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