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Archive | Church Connection

Hard of hearing

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

A husband and wife had been married for many years when the husband began to fear that his wife was going deaf. He implemented an informal exam. With his wife in the kitchen, the husband asked from the den, “What’s for dinner?” She didn’t answer. He repeated the question over and over, each time moving closer, and each time received no response.

Finally, he was directly behind her asking his question. His wife whirled on her heels and shouted, “George, for the hundredth time, I said we’re having chicken!” Often, others listen just fine; we are the ones who are hard of hearing, especially when it comes to describe deafness to the Spirit.

Maybe God used to speak to you, he once whispered in your ear, or stirred in your soul; or maybe you have never had such a sensation of God speaking at all. Regardless, now you’re stone deaf, but might be thinking it’s God with a hearing problem.

The troubling thing is, when someone’s hearing begins to erode, his or her life gets louder, only magnifying the problem. The TV volume is cranked up to the decibels of a jet fighter. Warning bells and alarms are ignored. Communication becomes difficult, a game of escalating voices.

Bring that scenario into the realm of faith. While we want God to shatter his perceived silence with thunderclaps, earthquakes, and firestorms, why should he speak to us over the noise of our lives? Why would he add to the commotion? His voice will only get lost; and it does, in the dissonance that surrounds us.

My friend David Beavers says it impeccably: “Along life’s way, you lose you. Your life gets covered, buried, and numbed out with addictions, distractions, medications, and busyness of all kinds. If you don’t believe me, spend the day alone, without a phone, book, or computer. There, listen to and observe the insane, obsessive, cyclical and compulsive chatter that drives you—inside and out. It is nothing more than noise, and noise is the problem.”

So, you might not be hard of hearing at all. It could be the pandemonium within and without; the sound and fury that has been absorbed into your heart, mind, and very soul. We have to turn down the volume around us, not to hear ourselves think, but to hear anything—even the Maker of the Universe—when he gently speaks our name.

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


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Patricia M. Wright

Patricia WrightPatricia M. Wright, 66 of Cedar Springs, went to be with her Lord and Saviour on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at Heartland Health Care Center, Grand Rapids. Patti was born August 2, 1948 in Grand Rapids, MI daughter of Harold and Neoma (Brille) Richardson. She had retired from Brookcrest Nursing Home. She enjoyed attending her grandchildren’s sporting events, traveling and camping. She loved her church, Solon Center Wesleyan of which she was a member. Surviving are her husband, Willard; children, Bill (Glenda) Wright, Bob Wright, Jim Wright, Linda Raisanan, Craig (Marsha) McIntyre, Diane (Terry) Lantz, Brenda (Rich) Stafford, Rachel (Tommy) McIntyre, Kristy Ciesielski; 21 grandchildren; 9 great grandchildren; brothers, Bob Richardson, Ed Richardson. She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Helen; son, Jerry. The family greeted friends Tuesday, Oct. 7 from 11:00 am until time of service at 1:00 pm at Solon Center Wesleyan Church, 15671 Algoma Avenue, Cedar Springs. Pastor Tom Holloway officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Michigan.

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

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C-Mem-Hyrns-webIn Memory of


April 28, 1930 – October 4, 2004


What a wonderful gift God gave us, to have had Ben in our lives. We will always hold on to a lifetime of memories and remember all of those great qualities.


Wife Helen, Steve and Cathy, Bill and Sue; grandchildren, Kamie and Stephen, Jason and Michelle, Ben, Lindsey and Matt, Zeb and Janell; greatgrandchildren, Benjamin, Faith, Hunter and expecting additional great grandchildren.


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C-Mem-Parker-webJuly 7, 1928 – October 2, 2013


To some you may be forgotten, to others a part of the past. To us, who loved and lost you, your memory will last forever because God only takes the best.


Sadly miss by wife Doris; brother, Leon and Dorothy; nephews, Gene and Kimberly, Jeff and Terri, Jamie and Sarah and families.


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Thank You

A sincere thank you to all who sent cards and well wishes, provided food and flowers, and donated to Hospice in Bruce’s memory. It was greatly appreciated.


The Smith Family

Sharon, Scott and Randy

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Thank You

Dear Family and Friends,


We would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone who sent cards, flowers and monetary donations. Also, thanks to those who attended the visitation and funeral.



The Family of Marguerite Fifield

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Thank You

We want to thank everyone for cards, phone calls, flowers and all the kind things that was said about Leonard. Your many acts of kindness were felt to the bottom of our hearts. Thanks to Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home. Special thanks to Kevin for all his kind works.


The Family of Leonard E. Gould


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EPSON scanner imageWillis J. Tovey, Sr. 85 of Cedar Springs, died Friday, September 26, 2014 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Willis was born June 18, 1929 in Fremont, Michigan the son of Edward and Kathleen (Boulton) Tovey. He was a 30 year member of the Teamsters Union, enjoyed camping and coaching baseball. Surviving are his wife, Marcella (Hendrickson) whom he married on November 11, 1950; sons, Raymond (Janet), Willis, Jr. (Val), Larry (Diane), and Kenneth; 12 grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren; 1 great great grandson; sisters, Mary Luce, Helen Hones, Ann Sams, and Rita (Harold) Loveland; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, 6 brothers, and a daughter-in-law, Brenda. The family will receive friends Friday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, where a Rosary will be prayed at 7:30 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday 10:00 am at St. John Paul II Church, Cedar Springs. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Interment Graceland Memorial Park, Grand Rapids.


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


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Where will we go from here?

C-Cedar-Creek-Community-Church-LandscapePastor Dick Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta



We are so privileged to live in this time of history. The changes that have occurred, as mankind continues to discover and invent, are far beyond what anyone could have imagined just in my lifetime (70 yrs). We are on the upside of innovation, which all too often proves to have a downside, too. The prophet Daniel wrote, “But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge” (Daniel 12:4 NIV).

This appears to be a good description of our time in history. With developments in transportation, we see people being moved here and there all over the world at ever increasing speeds. We can get where we’re going much quicker, at ever increasing speed. Yet the downside is, at what cost? At what impact to our physical safety, our natural resources and to the environment?

Knowledge is increasing exponentially and data moves so fast that they’re going to have to come up with new words to describe the speed. Along with all the increase of power to build and utilize faster and better and bigger ways of life, there is the much politicized issue of climate change.

Jesus had much to say about a personal climate change. On one instance he specifically said to us, in his word, that one of the many signs of the end times would be, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12 NIV). Climate change isn’t only a global issue, but we see that even within the hearts of people, there will be a change.

I am reminded of times past when my son and I would head north to go deer hunting. Some of my least fond memories of those times are how cold it can be in the north country. We would leave our warm home to experience the frigid north. Sitting still in the wild often was a lesson in nature’s freezer effect on the body. We had to sit still and quiet in hopes of seeing a deer, with our ears freezing from exposure because we couldn’t hear through earmuffs, and it didn’t do any good to cover our ears with the frozen hands at the end of our frozen arms.

We are warned in scripture that in the last days, spiritual deafness will abound as people refuse to hear the word of the Lord. “Whosoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:13 NIV). Not only the ears and hands, but your feet feel like blocks of ice, numb from the cold, and you can’t walk them warm. We mustn’t stir or make any sounds, which can be a danger in itself as another effect of the cold is that you easily become sleepy.

Yes there is a time for rest, but when we allow spiritual coldness to settle into our being, the warmth of love is quenched. We must guard ourselves all the more as the wickedness that we see increasing can affect us to join the frozen chosen in spiritual indifference. When people grow cold in the Lord, they can’t sense the moving and wooing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that most will let their love grow cold in these last days, which will lead not only to apathy and indifference, but if we allow it to continue, will lull us ultimately into spiritual death.

“How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?” (Proverbs 6:9 NIV).

Are you feeling cold? Not in the flesh, but in your spirit? Let’s wake up while we can and let God bring life back into us and feel the warmth of his love and the power of the fire of the Holy Ghost.


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Come to the Table

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

October 5 is World Communion Sunday. It is an annual event, the first Sunday of each October, in which Christians worldwide celebrate our oneness in Christ. At the center of these celebrations will be, aptly enough, Communion. Some call it the Eucharist; the Lord’s Supper; the Sacrament of the Altar; or the Last Supper. The terms used by Christians are varied.

But regardless of the theological technicalities involved, it’s how we come to the table that is more important, I think. We must be careful with the familiar observance not to lose the wonder and sensation that Christ has given himself for us and the world. And we must endeavor to welcome all followers of Jesus to share the elements of bread and cup, especially those followers who we consider outside our particular tradition. All should be welcomed.

I was reminded of this when I recently attended an Episcopal service where a dear friend is the minister. It was a magnificent experience of sights, sounds, and beautifully orchestrated liturgy; so much unlike anything of my own Christian tradition, and infinitely more formal than my freewheeling approach.

It took me a while to catch on and to catch up. I sluggishly stood, always a few seconds behind the crowd, and wound up standing alone, dropping to the pew after everyone else took their seat. I fumbled with the order of worship, never able to find the readings or the songs on time. After the homily, and a number of other confusions, the invitation was offered to receive Holy Communion.

Finally something I understood! But I wondered: “Will I be welcomed?” because churches have tons of rules about who can and can’t participate—even fellow believers. I gladly discovered that the invitation was for all. Even those who felt out of place had a place at the table.

As I knelt at the altar, I was joined by a young family—dad, mom, and three small children. The youngest, four or five years old, stood right beside me at the rail, too short to kneel. I looked at him and smiled. He smiled in return, wiped his wet lips with the back of his tiny hand and coarsely whispered, in a voice that could have been heard at the back of the sanctuary, “This is going to be good!” And it was, because it’s always good to be welcomed to the table.

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



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