web analytics

Archive | Church Connection

The Love of God 

Pastor Dick Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

 

Over the years, I have found myself many times contemplating life. Not the navel-gazing type of contemplation, but seriously wondering, where is my life headed? What have I done or haven’t done? Only to come up with a negative value. This process of self-evaluation is common to the human species. I have discovered there are a couple of questions that many people who take the time to reflect on their lives get stumped on—including me.

“What difference does my life make?”

“Does anybody really know or care about me?”

Personal inventories can have different results on different days, with different circumstances past or pending, different moods and a wide range of other factors. One of the triggers for me is that I’m not getting any younger, and considering my life, the good and bad, what have I really done for the Lord in those decades? Recently, I was in one of these processes (ruts), when God brought a scripture to my memory that really shifted my wondering into a positive light.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14 NIV).

In the Old Testament, we find King David meditating on the fact that it is God who made him. In truth, each of us was created, by God, for a purpose.  That is difficult for many to believe, especially as we look at the world around us and consider the prospects for our future.

There is an often-used phrase in many of our conversations today, “It is what it is.” We may look at this from a personal standpoint and conclude that “We are what we are,” and that’s that!  But the Psalmist’s words in Psalm 139:14 implies that yes, we are what we are, but that isn’t all that we are. I want to make clear that King David was not just saying these words fearfully. It does not mean we are made to be frightened or scared of the Lord. What is being said is that David, is being made (created) by God, and holds God in awe, respect and reverence.

None of us had a say in how we were made but we can have a say in what we become. We live in a world where many examples of a “successful life” would not be what God’s plan is for you. Some rock stars, athletic stars, entertainment stars or other icons may appear to be what we want to be, but in the end, we are better advised to choose what God wants us to be.

In any industry we find people who are the stars, at the top of their peers. While unseen, they were created by God and given their gifts or talents by him. And working under these people are the folks who actually make them what or who they are. Fame is fleeting.

When I look back, many of my years working towards the goals I set weren’t spent very wisely. Position, honor, admiration, reputation, security, etc. are certainly worthy human endeavors, but through the first half of my life, I didn’t consider what God’s plans were for me. To say it more clearly, “I didn’t include God in my plans.” There were many times that I looked at where I was at and circumstances that existed where I was at, and felt stomped on, aimless, and all too often worthless.

I have achieved each of those goals in some shape and form, but not one of them lasted. Even what I thought was security turned out to be more of a soap bubble that lasts just a short while. This scripture verse quoted above is personal to me, as it was one of the first that I really considered when I first began my life with Jesus. I discovered that I was made with a purpose in mind. Not what I had planned, but that God had a plan for me.

Every life is a gift of God, even when we don’t feel like it is. We have free moral agency to choose our path in life, and to choose whose counsel we will follow. We must remember that the god we choose to follow in this life will be the god we will serve throughout eternity. Scripture says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Choose your God wisely!

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on The Love of God 

DAWN R. KELLY

In Memory of

EPSON scanner image

DAWN R. KELLY

January 30, 1965 – December 4, 2012

A limb has fallen from the family tree

I keep hearing a voice that says, “Grieve not for me”

Remember the best times, the laughter, the song

The good life I lived while I was strong

Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you

Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through

My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest

Remember all, how I truly was blessed

Continue traditions, no matter how small

Go on with your life, don’t worry about falls

I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin

Until the day comes we’re together again

Loving and missing you more everyday!

Husband, Randy; kids, Ryan & Nickie, Brandon & Vanessa, Aaron & Blair, Adam & Chelsey; grandkids, Chase, Kyler, Caden, Brinleigh, Cameron & Kenzie

 

In Memory of

DAWN R. KELLY

January 30, 1965 – December 4, 2012

The tears in our eyes we can wipe away

The ache in our hearts will always stay

Your presence we miss

Your memory we treasure

Loving you always

Forgetting you never

Missing you more everyday!

Parents, Brothers and Sisters, Nieces and Nephews

Posted in MemorialComments Off on DAWN R. KELLY

EUGENE L. PARKER

 

EPSON scanner image

Eugene Parker

Eugene L. Parker, 50, of Sand Lake, passed away Monday, November 30, 2015. Gene was born August 17, 1965 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of Leon and Dorothy Parker. He graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1984 and was employed by Rowland Excavating. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, NASCAR, his truck and his little dog, Bella. Gene had a big heart and would do anything for anyone. Surviving are his wife, Kimberly Dilling; father, Leon “L.D.”; brothers, Jeff (Terri), Jamie (Sarah); nieces and nephews, Jake, Tyllor, Amy, Tayllor, Trenton, Tanner, and Trinity. He was preceded in death by his mother, Dorothy in 2014. The family will receive friends Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Friday 11:00 am. Interment Sand Lake Cemetery.

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

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on EUGENE L. PARKER

DONALD JON ROELOFS

 

Mr. Donald Jon Roelofs, age 62, of Howard City, passed away unexpected Thursday, November 26, 2015 at his home. He was born to Howard and Beatrice (Boersen) Roelofs on October 6, 1953 in Zeeland, Michigan. He served his country and flag in the United States Army. Don worked for Blackmer Pump for 30 years. In his free time he enjoyed fishing and driving his dune buggy on the sand dunes at Silver Lake State Park. He also enjoyed walking the Lake Michigan beach and watching the sunsets. He is survived by his soul mate, Kathy; mother, Beatrice; brothers, Gary (Susan) Roelofs, Martin (Sally) Roelofs, Douglas Roelofs; sisters, Linda (Bruce) McGoffin, Gloria (Gerry) Gebhardt, Sandra (Ron) Starr, Beth (Mitch) Cole. He was preceded in death by his father, Howard; sister, Susan. A time of visitation with the family was held from 5:00 – 8:00 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe St., Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service was held at 11:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at the Pederson Funeral Home. There was also a time of visitation one hour prior to the service. Those wishing to offer gifts of sympathy are encouraged to donate to a charity of your choice in Donald’s name.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home pedersonfuneralhome.com

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on DONALD JON ROELOFS

WALTER L. BOHO

 

Walter L. Boho, of Cedar Springs, age 91, passed away November 22, 2015 at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Walter was a veteran of WW II where he served at the Battle of the Bulge. Walter had been a teacher at Ferndale High School and retired to Croton Township, Michigan. In summers following his retirement, he and his first wife, Edith ran a motel and restaurant in Brevort Michigan. Walter is survived by his daughter, Pamela (Jack) Towner of Newaygo; his wife, Ilene Paepke-Boho of Cedar Springs; stepdaughter, Cindy L. Dobson of Cedar Springs; stepsons, Greg (Kelly) Paepke, of Howard City; Jeffrey (Shelly) Paepke, of Sand Lake; several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great great grandchild. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Edith and his daughter, Georgiana. Following his wishes, cremation will take place and a memorial service is being planned for the spring of 2016 with interment in the Big Prairie Everett Township Cemetery near White Cloud. Friends may send a condolence or share a memory with the Boho family online at www.crandellfh.com.

Arrangements by Crandell Funeral Home – White Cloud Chapel

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on WALTER L. BOHO

DONALD JON ROELOFS

Mr. Donald Jon Roelofs, age 62 of Howard City, passed away unexpected Thursday, November 26, 2015, at his home. He was born to Howard and Beatrice (Boersen) Roelofs on October 6, 1953, in Zeeland, Mich. He served his country and flag in the United States Army. Don worked for Blackmer Pump for 30 years. In his free time, he enjoyed fishing and driving his dune buggy on the sand dunes at Silver Lake State Park. He also enjoyed walking the Lake Michigan beach and watching the sunsets. He is survived by his soul mate, Kathy; mother, Beatrice; brothers, Gary (Susan) Roelofs, Martin (Sally) Roelofs, Douglas Roelofs; sisters, Linda (Bruce) McGoffin, Gloria (Gerry) Gebhardt, Sandra (Ron) Starr, Beth (Mitch) Cole. He was preceded in death by his father, Howard; sister, Susan. There will be a time of visitation with the family from 5:00-8:00 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe St., Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service will be 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 2, 2015, at the Pederson Funeral Home. There will also be a time of visitation one hour prior to the service. Those wishing to offer gifts of sympathy are encouraged to donate to a charity of your choice in Donald’s name.
Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, pedersonfuneralhome.com.

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on DONALD JON ROELOFS

Wildlife officials ask hunters to help  eliminate chronic wasting disease 

DNR wildlife pathologist Tom Cooley and Julie Melotti test deer at the MSU Wildlife Disease Lab as a result of a CWD-positive deer found in Meridian Township./

DNR wildlife pathologist Tom Cooley and Julie Melotti test deer at the MSU Wildlife Disease Lab as a result of a CWD-positive deer found in Meridian Township./

From the Michigan DNR

The 2015 Michigan deer season is the first being conducted following a finding of chronic wasting disease in a free-ranging deer in Michigan. The disease was first detected in an Ingham County white-tailed deer this past spring.

Wildlife officials are optimistic, however, that CWD can be eliminated in Michigan and are asking for hunters’ assistance.

So far, public response has been “overwhelmingly positive,” said Chad Stewart, the Department of Natural Resources deer and elk specialist.

“Most people right now are on board with what we are doing,” he said. “They seem to understand the regulatory changes we’ve made. Not everyone likes them, but they understand them.”

DNR summer interns Anthony Klein and Kurt Wolf collect deer carcasses along I-69 and U.S. 127 in Dewitt Township, Clinton County.

DNR summer interns Anthony Klein and Kurt Wolf collect deer carcasses along I-69 and U.S. 127 in Dewitt Township, Clinton County.

In April, Meridian Township police dispatched a 6-year-old female deer that was exhibiting signs of neurologicaldisease. An initial screening at the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory identified the deer as a CWD suspect. Soon, the National Veterinary Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the DNR’s suspicion: Michigan became the latest state to have found CWD in its free-ranging deer herd.

CWD is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The disease is an always fatal affliction for cervids—deer, elk and moose—that attacks the brain, causing lesions, which leads to emaciation, loss of fear of humans, loss of body control, drooling and, ultimately, death. It is not caused by bacteria or virus but by prions, which are mutated proteins. It is spread by animal-to-animal contact with saliva, urine, feces, blood or infected soil. There is no treatment for CWD in deer. The ailment has never been shown to cause illness in humans. For more than two decades, CWD has been present in free-ranging populations of mule deer and elk in Colorado. During this time, there has been no known occurrence of a human contracting any disease from eating CWD-infected meat.

Because of the occurrence of CWD in other states, the Michigan DNR has been vigilant about testing for the disease. Since 1998, tens of thousands of free-ranging deer have been tested in the state. The Meridian Township deer marked the second time CWD was identified in Michigan. In 2008, a single deer was found to be CWD-positive in a captive cervid facility in Kent County.

With the most recent finding, the DNR immediately instituted a policy that called for reducing deer numbers in the area of the infected deer and testing all deer—those taken by federal animal damage control officials as well as road kills—from the area for CWD.

In July, a 2-year-old buck found less than a mile from the initial CWD-positive female tested positive. In August, a 5-year-old CWD-positive female was found in close proximity to the other two. Genetic testing showed all three positives were related. Finding deer with CWD within the same extended family is not uncommon.

Wildlife officials are encouraged that so few additional CWD-infected animals have been found and that those found were closely related.

“When we found the first one, we didn’t know what we would find,” Stewart said. “Given that that deer was symptomatic—it obviously had the disease for some time—we expected to find additional animals. It’s encouraging that the ones we’re picking up are from the same family group and relatively close to where we found her. But we still have a long road ahead of us.”

Last week, a suspect positive deer was found in DeWitt Township, which is still pending final testing.

Prior to deer season, the DNR established a CWD Management Zone consisting of Ingham, Clinton and Shiawassee counties, as well as a nine-township Core CWD Area (also known as Deer Management Unit 333). The nine townships—Lansing, Meridian, Williamstown, Delhi, Alaiedon and Wheatfield in Ingham County; DeWitt and Bath in Clinton County; and Woodhull in Shiawassee County—have stringent regulations relating to possession of deer.

It is illegal to salvage a deer killed by a motor vehicle, and no rehabilitation of deer will be allowed within DMU 333. Hunters who shoot deer in the core area are required to bring the entire carcass to one of three DNR check stations within 72 hours. The DNR will retain the head for testing; if it’s a trophy-caliber animal, the DNR will work with the hunter to make sure the trophy is not marred but the necessary tissue is made available for testing.

Once the deer has been checked, it may be processed. All leftover parts should be disposed of in the garbage, a landfill, or the dumpster provided by the DNR at check stations.

Negative test results will be posted online at www.michigan.gov/dnrlab within a week after the head has been submitted for testing.  Hunters with deer that test positive will be notified by telephone. And although human health effects have not been documented for people eating CWD-infected deer, the DNR recommends that only healthy animals be consumed.

Hunters are reminded that there is no baiting or feeding of deer allowed in the three-county CWD Management Zone. Nose-to-nose contact of deer can spread the disease. Hunters who travel out of state to hunt deer, elk or moose are reminded that there are restrictions on bringing carcasses back from states or provinces where CWD has been found. Only deboned meat, antlers, hides and skullcaps that have been cleaned of all brain or muscle material may be brought into Michigan.

Any hunter who has been notified by out-of-state authorities that a deer, elk or moose they brought into Michigan tested positive for CWD must contact the DNR’s Wildlife Disease Lab within two business days and provide details. The DNR can dispose of any meat from a CWD-infected animal.

Extensive testing of deer from the CWD-infected area is ongoing. As of Nov. 13, of the 1,403 deer tested in DMU 333—and another 337 in the three-county area—only three have been determined to have chronic wasting disease, with a fourth suspect positive waiting final testing.

All 141 tested from other counties have been negative. Hunters who harvest deer outside DMU 333 and are concerned about CWD may submit their deer for testing at any DNR check station. (A list of check stations is available at www.michigan.gov/deer).

For more information on CWD in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.

Posted in Featured, ObituaryComments Off on Wildlife officials ask hunters to help  eliminate chronic wasting disease 

How to have a worship-filled feast

The-Springs-blurred-webPastor Barry Briggs

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs

 

The famous “theologian” Andy Rooney had this to say about Thanksgiving: “The emphasis is more on what we have for dinner this Thursday than it is on any other holiday. Once you’ve given thanks on Thanksgiving, there isn’t much else to do but watch football and eat.”

Is that true? Is Thanksgiving just a quick prayer followed by food and football and maybe a little online shopping? Thanksgiving can be so much more; in fact, it is intended to be. More than food, more than football, more than door busters, Thanksgiving can be a day of worship, and a chance to share a meal in Jesus’ honor. But how?

I’d like to share three secrets with you for turning an otherwise traditional Thanksgiving meal into a worship-filled feast.

Secret #1: Read a Thanksgiving Psalm together after you sit down to the table and before you say grace.

Colossians 3:16-17 (NLT) says, “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use His words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.  And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

One of the ways you can turn your Thanksgiving meal into an opportunity for worship is to incorporate Scripture into it. Reading a Thanksgiving Psalm before the meal lets the words of Christ live in your hearts and sets the table for a worship-filled feast. Some great Thanksgiving Psalms from the Bible include Psalm 30, 32, 34, 40, 66, 100, 116, and 138.

There are lots of ways to do this. Here are two: everyone gathered could read the Thanksgiving Psalm together in unison, or one person could read it out loud for the whole group. Be creative and have fun.  After you read the psalm, go around the table and have each person share what they are thankful for.

Secret #2: Give thanks before and AFTER the meal.

Deuteronomy 8:6-10 (NLT) reads, “Obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with springs that gush forth in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley, of grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, olives, and honey.  It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking…When you have eaten your fill, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.”

I’m assuming most of us give thanks before our Thanksgiving meals. But the idea of giving thanks afterward may be foreign to many of you. Giving thanks after a meal is a tradition that has been lost by most Christians, especially Protestants.  But it is a tradition that goes back to the earliest believers, and to Jewish practice as well. Tertullian, a famous early church theologian wrote, “We do not recline at a banquet before prayer be first tasted; in like manner prayer puts an end to the feast.”

Jesus Himself gave thanks before and after meals. We see Him modeling this at the Last Supper where He gave thanks for the bread at the beginning of the meal, and gave thanks for the cup at the close of the meal.

We get our word “gratitude” from the word “grace.” So saying grace before or after a meal literally means to give thanks or to give gratitude. After we have finished eating and our stomachs are full, it is only natural to express our gratitude to God for all He has blessed us with. Like Deuteronomy 8:10 says, “When you have eaten your fill, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.”

This year you might want to start a new Thanksgiving tradition of giving thanks after your done eating in addition to saying grace before your meal.

Secret #3: Make your meal a time for serving others, sharing love, and seeking reconciliation.

A quick sprint through the New Testament shows how thankful Paul was for his brothers and sisters in Christ. Romans 1:8a (NLT): “Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you…” 1 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT): “I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts He has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3 (NLT): “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.”

Thanksgiving is a great time to follow Paul’s example and share with others how thankful we are for them.

The truth is, for Christians this should be a daily practice, not just once a year on Thanksgiving. Acts 2:46-47 (NIV) describes how the first Christians lived a thanksgiving lifestyle on a daily basis.

“Every day they continued to meet together in the Temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

From the beginning Christians have broken bread and eaten together.  The act of breaking bread together is rich with symbolism. Jesus broke bread with His disciples at the Last Supper, making it symbolic of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Jesus fed a crowd of 5000 people with broken pieces of bread from 5 loaves, making it symbolic of care and compassion.  In the Old Testament the ritual of breaking the Passover bread symbolizes God’s power to deliver His people.

Thanksgiving incorporates all of this symbolism. It is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation, a time for care and compassion, and a time to give thanks for all that God has done to save us.

Turn your Thanksgiving meal into a worship-filled feast by having each person share what they thank God for in another person at the table.  Again there are lots of ways to do this, so be creative.  As dishes are being passed the person who is passing could tell the person they are passing to what it is about that person they are thankful for.

At the end of the day, our Thanksgiving meals should always be held in Jesus’ honor.  Jesus was the guest of honor at many meals.  I’m reminded of Matthew’s party, the meal at Zacchaeus’ home, when Jesus visited Mary and Martha’s home, and when Jesus visited Peter’s mom.

For those of you who are really extreme you might consider leaving an empty chair at the head of your table to symbolize that this meal is in Jesus’ honor and to remember that He is present with you.

This year, try some of these ideas to turn an otherwise traditional meal into a worship-filled feast. By incorporating Scripture, prayer, serving and sharing into your Thanksgiving meal you can do just that.

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on How to have a worship-filled feast

TIMOTHY RAMA

 

Timothy Rama, 59 of Sand Lake went to be with the Lord on Monday, November 23, 2015 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus after a long battle with cancer. Tim was born September 7, 1956 in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Leo and Mona (Vicchio) Rama. Surviving are his sister, Diane (Larry) Jenkins; brothers, Dan, Jack, and Jeff Rama; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, and a brother, Mike in 2013. Cremation has taken place and there will be no services.

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

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on TIMOTHY RAMA

Happy 100th Birthday

47C-b-day-Becker-web

KENNETH BECKER

An Open House celebrating Kenneth Becker’s 100th Birthday will be held on Saturday, December 5th from 2 to 4 pm at Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church, 10295 Meyers Lake Rd., Rockford. Please join us in celebrating his centennial birthday! It would make it very special for him to see all his family and friends come by and share cake and ice cream with him. Hope to see you there! (No presents please, your presence is present enough.)

Posted in BirthdayComments Off on Happy 100th Birthday