Posted on 17 November 2016.
Pastor Inge Whittemore
East Nelson United Methodist
9024 18 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs
Today as I sit to write this article I am looking out my dining room window at a gloriously blue sky with yellow and red leaves swirling in the breeze. It is a wonderful fall day at the cusp of a new winter on its way. The darkness overtakes the day and we begin to see our breath as we walk outside. Many people bemoan winter. It’s a long season and many of us simply endure it or retreat to warmer climes when winter moves down upon us. Of course there are those of us who really look forward to snow time sports, though I have to admit I don’t enjoy winter driving. But the season’s change is a blessing many in the world don’t get to experience. It’s always warm or temperate where they live and so they read about our experience and can only imagine how it feels. My sister lives in Tampa and in past years I’ve sent her colorful leaves from my yard just so she could enjoy the spirit of the season.
I guess this a lesson for all of us to check out our perspective on things. What one person enjoys, another may not. It’s really another way that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God gave us each individuality like none other on earth, before us or after us. So you think you are one in a million? If you are, then there are 7,000 people just like you since the population of the world is now over 7 billion (with a “b”)! You are one in 7-plus billion! Rejoice! God thought you up and made you like you are.
Love yourself because God loves you. He is good and cannot make mistakes. And, since he made each of us, we are not mistakes. Sometimes we get down on ourselves, we chastise ourselves and don’t believe in our abilities. I say, look to your Maker and know that you are His and He is yours. You are his beloved child.
Isaiah 43:1-28 ESV: But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.”
Posted in From the Pulpit
Posted on 06 September 2013.
Pastor Herb VanderBilt
East Nelson United Methodist Church
9024 18 Mile Rd. • Cedar Springs MI 49319
Acts 2:42-47: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 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.”
Community is important. According to some sources, the housing market is beginning to come back from the collapse a few years ago. Home ownership is part of what some perceive as the “American Dream.” Critical to the value of a house is its location, what kind of community does it belong to. People fixing up their homes, taking care of lawns and landscaping are also signs of a stable community. Another sign of a vital community is people care for their neighbors and those in the community who need help.
When Jesus ascended after his death and resurrection a new community was being built. Life in Jerusalem during the time of the Apostles was rather messed up. The Jews, a remnant of a once powerful and cohesive community, were now living in a broken down community of Roman law and oppressive laws being applied by the religious community, especially on the poor and disfigured. Jesus taught that God loved his people so much that he was willing to start a new covenant as the old one had fallen apart when the people began to fall away from God. This was Good News in a land that was desperate for some good news. As the message of God’s grace began to be heard by both Jews and Gentiles alike, a new community was being formed, a community based on the fact that both the Jews and the Gentiles alike were equal in this new way. In fact, one of the first names for the church before it became the church were “People of the way.” And what was this new way? Besides telling and retelling the story of Jesus Christ, they also came together and celebrated their new sense of unity and the things they had in common.
Today we read this scripture and say, “well that was a long time ago when everything was new and being a Christian was radical. Folks today just don’t get that excited anymore and many Christians can’t get along with each other.” Well that may be true in many places but there are signs that things may be changing in the Cedar Springs Community. Consider these as today’s signs and wonders:
The United Worship service at Morley park
Kid’s Hope mentoring program
EnGedi-an after school program
Plans for a school for troubled Teens (Second Chance)
North Kent Service Center and Cedar Springs Community Food panty
I am sure there are more so let’s thank God for our community.
Posted in From the Pulpit