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Archive | Church Connection

ILENE R. SCHOONMAKER

 

Ilene R. Schoonmaker, 89 of Cedar Springs, went to be with her Lord and Savior on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus. Mrs. Schoonmaker was born June 27, 1925 in Belding, Michigan the daughter of Glen and Lela (Brooks) Losinger. She graduated from Howard City High School in 1943, had been a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader and enjoyed gardening. She loved Jesus dearly and was a member of Hillcrest Community Church where she was a Sunday School teacher and had served on the Board. She was a strong pillar in her family. Surviving are her children, Marsha Porter, Joan (Randy) Hughes, Donald (Enya) Schoonmaker, Paula (Bill) Splitstone, Joseph (Sue) Schoonmaker, Pamela Ussery, Alma Katherine (Doug) Terrill, Lila (Daniel) Hodges; 29 grandchildren; 66 great grandchildren; 9 great great grandchildren; brother, Carl Losinger; sisters, Helen Bassett, Elnor Addington. She was preceded in death by her husband, Finley in 1968; son, Steven; daughter, Linda VanSplinter; one grandson; five great grandchildren. The family greeted friends Monday, Feb. 9 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was Tuesday at Hillcrest Community Church, 5994 18 Mile Road, Cedar Springs. Pastor Kristi Rhodes officiating. Interment Reynolds Township Cemetery, Howard City. Memorial contributions may be made to the Hillcrest Community Church.

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

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Past pain turned into present purpose

 

Pastor Craig Carter

North Kent Community Church

1480 Indian Lakes Rd. | Sparta, MI 49345 

“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10, NKJV). 

This verse tells a story about an amazing person. There have been many sermons preached about this man called Jabez, and his prayer to the Lord. Here are a couple thoughts that I think may be helpful to you.

First, Jabez was said to be “more honorable than his brothers.” We read after this that his mother named him Jabez because she bore him in pain. The name Jabez in Hebrew literally means pain. From birth, Jabez was given a “label.” Every time his mother called him for dinner, chores or other things, he was reminded of what she thought about him. When anyone used his name, he was identified with pain. Yet, Jabez was “more honorable than his brothers.” What does this mean? It means that despite the label placed on him, Jabez refused to be defined by this label. He rose above it. He trusted God. He prayed, and he walked in forgiveness. Jabez accepted God’s word, feelings and thoughts above the opinion of others.

How about you? Have you been labeled? Have you lived a life of pain or difficulty? Has it defined who you are, or have you risen above it? The bible tells us that even “though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalms 27:10). Also, God has adopted us “by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5-7). Through a personal relationship with Jesus, you are accepted and loved. Do not allow the labels of others or the pain of life define who you are. Know that you can, like Jabez, call out to God and he will hear your prayer and change your life.

Secondly, Jabez was known for his prayer. What he is remembered for is not some outstanding achievement, but a prayer. He did not win a great battle or erect a large building. He prayed a simple prayer and God answered it. When moving from the pain of your past to a purpose in your future, never forget that God hears your prayers. Jabez was praying that he might now be a blessing to others. He wanted his territory enlarged, so he could influence others with the same love and comfort he received from God. He wanted to be kept from evil and live a godly life, so he did not cause undue pain to others. Jabez’s prayer was never just about him. He was living in victory and wanted others to experience it, too. This is our purpose, too. God brings us through our pain, our past, and our troubles, and reminds us that they were never just about us. God wants to use you to bless others.

Are you dealing with your past, experiencing pain, or fighting labels? With Jesus Christ you can rise above it. If God is for you, who can be against you? Through God, “all things are possible.” God has a plan and purpose, and you will use your experiences to bless others.

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Stay connected to the Source 

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

Debbie Savely lost her Bible in 1974, a Bible given to her by her late father. Yet, last year, that Bible made its way back into her possession. It was found in a box of debris on the campus of Volunteer State Community College, and by way of relentless pursuit and the marvel of the Internet, it was returned to its owner 40 years after it was lost.

I doubt that Debbie needed it. Like all of us, she had access to millions of Bibles to read. What made this particular copy of the Bible special was its source; her father had given it to her. Thus, it was a link to one who loved her.

What if we learned to approach our own Bibles with the same sentiment? What if we stopped deifying the Bible (worshipping “God the Father, Son, and Holy Bible” as it were), and embraced it as a pointer aiming us in a more Jesus-like direction?

How do we do this? By being Christians, not Biblicists. A Biblicist is one who reads the Bible flat; that is, every word is given the same significance, so, “He that curseth his father shall surely be put to death,” is given the same credibility as, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (a drastic but accurate example).

Christians might be better served if our interpretive lens was Jesus Christ. As the living Word and Source, we look to him as we read, using his words to hold ourselves to his way, and to hold the Bible accountable as well. Refusing to do this schizophrenically puts the Bible and Jesus at odds with each other.

Maybe this is what Kurt Eichenwald was trying to get at in his recent Newsweek diatribe, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin.” He railed against biblical abuses, ignorance that impedes science, the foolishness of uniting church with state, and the suffering inflicted on the world by those who misapply the Bible. My response was, “Amen!”

But nothing will change about this state of affairs until Bible-reading, Bible-loving, Bible-believing people stop treating the Bible like it is God. Yes, I love the Bible, but not because every passage can be reconciled with Christianity. I love it because it helps me stay connected to the Source, to Jesus. After all, he is the foundation of my faith, and even as the Good Book says, there is no other.

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

 

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MARY S. WELCH

 

C-mem-Welch-fcOctober 21, 1930 – January 30, 2009

In loving memory of our mother and grandmother who passed away six years ago.

We will always remember the happiness you brought to our lives.

Mike, Sarah, and Terry, Jane and Nick, Jenna, Brian, Luke, Jake and Molly

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RAYMOND & THELMA GILLESPIE

C-mem-Gillespie-fc

June 21, 1921 – February 4, 2010

February 11, 1920 – June 23, 2010

We can’t believe it’s been 5 years.

We will never take for granted

How greatly we’ve been blessed,

For when it comes to parents,

Mom and Dad, you are the best!

You nurtured and protected us,

And taught us with great care.

And every time we’ve needed you,

You were always there.

Although our hearts are broken,

We know you’re in His care.

Your memory will remain alive,

Until we join you there.

We miss you every day,

Your Loving Family

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JAMES BERNARD CLOUSE

C-obit-Clouse-fcMr. James Bernard Clouse of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 65, passed away into the arms of his Lord and Savior on Thursday, January 29, 2015. He was born to Robert and Betty Jane (Chulski) Clouse on Sunday, June 12, 1949 in Grand Rapids, and had been a life long resident of the area. Jim received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University and later worked as a quality control engineer, a profession which he was exceptional at. He was also a veteran who proudly and courageously served his flag and country in the United States Marine Corps in London, England during the Vietnam Conflict. Jim loved many things in life. He was a great outdoorsman. He enjoyed fishing at the Pere Marquette River or deer hunting in the Upper Peninsula along the Paint River. He loved spending time with his family, being around his children, grandchildren, and his nieces and nephews. He also loved to tinker, always keeping a spotless garage. He was a selfless and altruistic man, putting others before himself, especially his family. His love for them was immeasurable. He was a loving father, proud grandfather, wonderful brother and uncle, and dear friend. His big-heartedness, kindness, and generosity will be deeply missed but fondly remembered by all those who knew and loved him. Jim is survived by his loving children Scott (Rachael) Clouse, Andrew (Karla) Clouse, Peter Clouse, Josh Clouse, and Kelly Clouse; adored grandchildren Lincoln, Paige, and Amber Clouse; siblings Dr. Robert (Carol) Clouse, Mary (David) Malecki, Michael (Cindy) Clouse, Gayle Barkey, Linda (Wesley) Ruwersma, Cindy (Neil) Kimball, and Diane (Ray) Weaver; and many, many nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; and nephew Gregory Clouse. A  time of visitation was held on Monday, February 2, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service for Jim was celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 3, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home. There will also be a one hour visitation prior to the service.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford, www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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SHERRY ELLEN BIVENS

 

C-obit-Bivens-fcSherry Ellen Bivens of Howard City, age 48, passed away on Sunday, February 1, 2015 after being sick for so many years. She was born in Woodstock, Illinois to James Lamczyk and Charlotte Bivens in 1966. Sherry loved many things in life. She enjoyed watching NASCAR and other sports as well as watching the jewelry channel. She also liked Ford Mustangs. Sherry was a loving and devoted spouse, proud mother; wonderful daughter and sister, and dear friend. May her great sense of humor never be forgotten. She will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by all who knew her. Sherry is survived by her daughter Ashley; husband of twenty-seven years, Larry Huffman; mother Charlotte Bivens; sisters, Sue (Tom) Gwilt and Sonya (Joe Vega) Bivens; brothers Charles (Jean) Bivens and Bob (Becky Cunningham) Bivens; and her Yorkie Cassie. She was preceded in death by her father; and sister Brenda Lamczyk. There will be a memorial service for Sherry at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 7, 2015, at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. There will be a time of visitation with the family one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a memorial contribution in Sherry’s name to the American Diabetes Association, 1550 E. Beltline Avenue SE, Suite 250, Grand Rapids, MI 49506.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford, www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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GEORGE PECK III

 

George Peck III, 73, departed this life peacefully on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in Wellington, Florida. Born in Grand Haven, Michigan on August 18, 1941, he was the beloved child of the late George Peck, Jr. and Irmagene VerBerkmos-Peck. George honorably served in the USAF from 1961 to 1965. He married the love of his life, Sharon Johnson, on January 10, 1974 and together they relocated from Michigan to Palm Beach County a few months later. George retired from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in 1999 as a Deputy Sheriff. He will be remembered as a loyal and good man that was dedicated to his family, country, fellow Deputies and community. George leaves many wonderful memories to be cherished by his wife, Sharon; daughter, Bobbi Peck; as well as extended family members and friends, including numerous “kids” he “adopted” and loved as much as his own. He was predeceased by his daughter, Becky Tamara Peck on January 4, 2001. Family greeted friends from 5 to 6 pm on Tuesday, February 3rd at the Palm Beach National Chapel, Lake Worth with a Celebration of George’s Life to follow at 6 pm. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of George to: The Broken Star Fund, 3228 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33406. Condolences may be offered at www.palmbeachnationalchapel.com.

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ELLIS CARL PAGE

 

Mr. Ellis Carl Page of Cedar Springs, age 79 passed away Thursday, January 29, 2015. He was born in Muskegon, Michigan to Ellis and Bernice (DuPree) Page on June 15, 1935. Ellis worked for Thorn Apple Valley Meats for 34 years. He enjoyed his social time at the senior center, like playing bingo and the luncheons. Time with family and friends was very important. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him. Ellis also had a love for animals especially his canine companion Jake. He is survived by his children, Debbie Lewis, Richard McClure and Kathy (Marty) Hoogerhyde; 7 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and 1 great-great-grandchild. Ellis was preceded in death by his parents, and loving wife Betty in 2006. There will be a private graveside service for Ellis in the spring.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford, www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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DENISE TEESDALE GENTLE

 

Denise Teesdale Gentle, 52 of Sevierville, Tennessee passed away Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Denise worked at LeConte Hospital for 15 years. She loved the outdoors and especially loved her grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Gordon and Lillian Bassett, Newton and Ethel Teesdale. Her survivors include daughters, Chasity Young, Jennifer Teesdale; grandchildren, Renee Hughes, Charles Roberts; parents, Roger and Geraldine Teesdale; sisters, Debra Laws and husband Pat, DeAnna Huston; brothers, Kenneth Teesdale and wife Doreen; several nieces and nephews; special friends, Cindy and Chris Gaylord and Ronnie Elmore. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Atchley Funeral Home to benefit the family. A private service will be held at a later date in Michigan. Cremation by Smoky Mountain Cremation Center. Online condolences may be sent to www.atchleyfuneralhome.com.

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