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39C-obit-Blower-bwCharles E. Blower of Rochester Hills, Michigan, age 65, went to be with our parents and brothers in Heaven after suffering a traumatic brain injury a year ago. He leaves behind his wife, Ramona, of 45 years of marriage; two daughters, Faith and Crystal; three grandchildren and sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Bill Smalley of Cedar Springs, Michigan. He was the best big brother a girl could have. As a child he was in Boy/Cub Scouts and enrolled in Civil Air Patrol. He also started working as a child. He had a newspaper route and worked at Glen’s party store, saving enough money to buy his first car. As an adult he continued to be a very hard worker, always holding more than one job at a time. Some of his other jobs included working at KFC, Arby’s, landscaper, custodial work, carpet installer, parking attendant at the Silverdome. He learned massage therapy and worked at the Pontiac Y.M.C.A. for several years, then worked at the G.M. Parts plant where he retired. He also received an award for saving a young lady’s life. He will be greatly and sadly missed but never forgotten.

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39C-obit-Brecht-bwRichard “Dick” Jackson Brecht, age 77 of Greenville, Michigan, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday, September 7, 2015. He was born December 14, 1938 in Quincy, Illinois, the son of Roma and Hazel Brecht. The family moved to Elmhurst early in Dick’s life. He graduated in 1938 from York High School and Southern Illinois University a few years later, with an Associates Degree in Mechanics. In 1961, Dick and his wife, Judi, were married after a lifetime of living across the street from each other. Dick was immediately drafted and served as a peacetime veteran in Thailand. The majority of his lifelong interests were related to cars and mechanics – mainly his love of his 1967 Dodge Charger. His occupational trade was as a welder and his talent and commitment to perfection were well respected within his industry. His welding and mechanical gifts were implemented in both his work, and his involvement with the local marching band and drum and bugle corp activities. Richard and Judi spent many years as member of the GWRRA where Richard often served in the capacity of Lead Tail Gunner on the annual charity event called the “Midnight Ride.” Sadly, the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis and dementia brought those activities to an early close. Richard will be deeply missed by his wife of 54 years, Judi, and their four children; Traci (David) Overeem of Sparta, Michigan, Brian (Heidi) Brecht, of North Carolina, Wendi (Jeff) Philley, of Greenville, Michigan, Kelli Brecht of San Diego, California, and his grandchildren; Jennifer, Emily, Moira, Olivia, Simone, Mitchell, Samantha, and Elizabeth; his brother, Dale Brecht (Penny), of Carol Stream, Illinois, and his brothers-in-law, Ray (Alice) Hughes and Michael Hughes, of Cross Village, Michigan. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roma E. Brecht and Hazel E. Brecht. A Memorial Service will be held at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, 908 W. Oak St, Greenville, Michigan on Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm, with a luncheon to follow. Memorial contributions may be given to The Wounded Warrior Project.

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Speak Life

Grace-ChurchPastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford


“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” Proverbs 18:21 (NIV).

God has given us an amazing gift in the ability to communicate. As people created in His image, we have a unique privilege and responsibility that none of His other creation has. We have the ability to communicate in a way that none of His other creation can. We have been given the power of life and death, and we hold that power in our tongues. The old adage goes like this, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The bruises that come from sticks and stones may stay for a while, but they quickly fade and heal. But the wounds that are caused in our life by others, who use their tongues to speak death into our lives, end up affecting us and hurting us for years after they are spoken.

There is nothing neutral about our tongues. Either death or life, those are the only two possible outcomes from the use of our tongues. Every conversation that we have, every word uttered under our breath, and every word yelled in anger or frustration is either bringing life or death. From our bosses to our co-workers; from our spouses to our kids; from the gas station attendant to the checkout clerk at the grocery store—every time we open our mouths, either life comes out or death comes out. There is no such thing as a neutral word.

As God’s children, created in His image, we should strive to speak life. We should strive to not tear down others with our tongues but instead build them up. We should not be caught up in grumbling, complaining or criticizing, but instead we should strive to encourage, uplift and edify with every word that comes out of our mouth. God gives the power to us but the choice is up to you.

Are we using the gift that God gave us to bring death or life? Are we looking for ways to speak life into a world that is hurting all around us? Or are we caught in the great hypocrisy—a mouth that on Sunday praises our God but then throughout the rest of the week curses and drags down those who are made in His image and His likeness (James 3:9-10)? The choice is up to you; will it be death or life? The power is in your tongue. Speak wisely!

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Less is more


By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

The Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). There’s no way he could have anticipated how those words would later be used. Printed on bumper stickers for aspiring marathoners; a benediction for victors of a football game; inscribed on the shirt of a middle-aged man attempting to reclaim his lost youth in the weight room. I don’t think this is what Paul had in mind.

The Apostle was talking about contentment, not accomplishment, borrowing an idea from the Greek Stoics. The only way one could be happy, per Stoic thought, was to rely upon nothing and no one. This was Stoicism’s highest ideal, and you have to admit that they were on to something. If you didn’t need someone else’s money, protection, or affection, if you could be free of all fear, expectations, and emotional hostage-holding, you would be truly liberated.

Thus, Paul and the Stoics both agree that a determined, “Can Do” attitude of self-sufficiency can lead to an extraordinary level of personal contentment. But they disagree on how to get there. The Stoic path was one of perfect detachment and internal strength, self-control, and fortitude. Paul offered a different path; not an “I Can Do” attitude, but a “He Can Do” submission. That is the context for his mantra, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

No, this isn’t about overcoming, but accepting. It’s not a call to Stoic-like effort, rather, it is positioning one’s self to receive the strength that Christ offers. Contentment is not the result of trying harder, no matter what the Stoics or iron-pumping athletes might say. It is the result of relying upon a Power greater than yourself.

This is why Paul’s words are often so grotesquely misappropriated. They are used as a form of defiance against the odds, used to magically conjure up our personal strength when we have none left, making us try harder, go farther, endure longer, and never surrender until we are victorious. This is the exact opposite of what Paul was saying. It is only in surrender, the surrender of our own power, that the power of Christ can be ours.

Tireless self-sufficiency will take you far in life, but to be genuinely content, and genuinely powerful, it won’t take more but less—less of yourself and more of Jesus.

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

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50th wedding anniversary

C-ANNIV-stoner-webHarold & Karen Stoner

Harold and Karen (Homrich) Stoner, of Cedar Springs, are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They were married on September 24, 1965. They met while working at Keeler Brass in Grand Rapids. Harold retired from General Motors in 1999 and focused his efforts on fishing, golfing, and hunting the elusive mushroom. Karen loved being a stay-at-home mom but redirected her attention to the home’s beautiful landscaping, golfing and Angry Birds. They enjoy spending time with their two lovely children, their families and babysitting the grandpets. A celebration with family & friends is planned in their honor.

Cheers to 50 Years!

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Arthur Cazier age 81, of Grant, passed away September 18, 2015 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus.  He was born January 17, 1934 in Grand Rapids the son of Cecil and Myrtle (Elliott) Cazier.  During his working years he worked at McInerny Spring and Wire for 38 Years before retiring from there.  He loved fishing, hunting and playing his harmonica which Art played at many locations.  Surviving is his sister, Bessie Smith of Marne. He was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy in 2011, and five brothers, Russ, Rex, Glen, Wes, and Jerry; and two sisters, Doris and Iva. Memorial services will take place on October 14 at the Cedar Springs American Legion Post from Noon till 4 pm.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Heckman Funeral Home of Howard City

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Alice M. Kelly, 84 of Lake City, went to be with her Lord and Savior on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at Belle Oakes Living Center. Alice was born June 10, 1931 in Gladwin, Michigan, the daughter of Reynold and Martha (Koenke) Kranich. She enjoyed writing and journaling and wrote many letters to missionaries over the years. Surviving are her husband, Gerald whom she married on July 25, 1959; sons, Craig (Finley), Dale, Ken (Heather); sisters, Flora (Floyd) Helling, Clara Maddox, Charlene VanWyk; brother, Norris (Marjorie) Kranich; sister-in-law, Marilyn Kelly; many nieces and nephews. The family will greet friends Friday from 10:00 am until time of service at 11:00 am at Calvary Baptist Church, Lake City. Pastor Brian Algie officiating. Interment Sherman Mesick Cemetery.

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

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Albert G. Heeringa, Jr. (Sparky Harris), 65, of Sand Lake, died Friday, September 18, 2015 at his home. He was born October 1, 1949 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Albert and Mildred (Winright) Heeringa. He lived and breathed music and was a musician all of his life. In 1969 during the Vietnam War he joined the USO for 16 months playing music for the troops. He graduated from Ferris State University with a mechanical engineering degree. He had worked for Klise Manufacturing for eight years and enjoyed wood craftsmanship as a hobby. Surviving is the love of his life for the past 26 years, Nina Marcinowski; sons, Buddy (Kat) Heeringa; Mike (Kelly) Garza; daughter, Bonnie Aguilar; many grandchildren; brother, Denny (Kathleen) Heeringa; sister, Gail (Tom) Szotco. He as preceded in death by his parents. A memorial service and luncheon will start at 12 noon on Wednesday, September 30, at the Cedar Springs American Legion Post #287, 91 First Street, and will continue with music through the day until 7:00 pm. Interment will take place later at Oakwood Cemetery, Lowell.

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

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Is God a dangerous elephant or a fluffy kitten?

Rockford-Springs-Church-webPastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341


Let’s not be silly…He is neither. But He is our Father, Almighty.

From the very beginning of the New Testament church, the believers in Jesus Christ declared their belief in God as their Father, and as the Almighty. This beginning statement of belief is found in what came to be known as the Apostle’s Creed. This concise creed speaks of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and helps Christians verbalize what they believed about each part of the Godhead.

I have been impressed by the fact that when the early believers wanted to tell the world what they believed about God, they started by using two words: “Father,” and “Almighty.”  On the one hand, they understood their position to be intimate and generated by God so that they would be close to Him and safe. Yet, they also held Him in proper awe because of His breath taking power and infinite strength. Clearly this is how God reveals Himself in texts from the Bible such as when Jesus teaches us to pray in Matthew 6 with the words: “Our Father,” and as Paul writes to the Romans in Romans 8: “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (ESV).  This personal relationship with God, is recognized by the believer, as a relationship that God caused to happen by His grace.

This close personal relationship comes as a shock to the believer for at least two reasons. One, because God, in His nature, is holy which no human matches; and two, because of His almighty power that protects the holiness of His being. Verses like in Job 11: “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?” And Psalm 90 that asks the question: “Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?”  These verses leave us with a fear to enter the presence of His greatness and power.

But perhaps Psalm 91 brings these two truths together in proper unity: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” The ultimate protection we have from the wrath and power of God is God Himself. Jesus Christ became for us our protector from the almighty and the provider of our relationship with the Father.

And so the Christian says, “Thanks be to God, for what the Father desired (our salvation), the Almighty was able to provide. The believer is comforted by the tender touch of his Father that cares enough to wipe away every tear, and confident in the power of God to hold back every evil that could separate him from the love of God.”

And so we say today: “I believe in God the Father, Almighty.”

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Thank you

The family of Jarrod Lee Welch would like to thank everyone for your support, calls and cards in the passing of JL and a special thanks to Aunt Deb and Uncle Philip Eadie.

Thank you from Shane, Kathy, Don and Joan, 

Cory and Angela Welch

Brother, Chris and sister, Anisa Mortensen

Gary and Connie Welch

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