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Tag Archive | "First Baptist Church"

What is Truth?


Pastor Robert P. Smith

First Baptist Church, 

233 Main St, Cedar Springs

 

This was the question asked by Pontius Pilate. Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea who presided at the trial of Jesus, God’s one and only Son. Now it’s a good thing when a politician asks about truth. It’s a good thing when they want to know the truth. It’s a really good thing when they rule by truth.  However, it’s even better when Truth rules them.

Last week a political commentator told a politician’s lawyer, “Truth is truth.” The lawyer responded, “Truth isn’t truth.” This led to an extremely entertaining exchange of truth versus truth. The lawyer reasoned resolutely there could be different versions of truth. You see it all depends on the one who is telling us what is true by what they believe to be true. In other words, each person has their own version of truth, and each believes their version is equally true. The consequence of this kind of thinking leads to an incoherent contradiction—truth isn’t truth. 

If truth is fluid, then truth isn’t fixed. Truth is settled. It doesn’t shift. It doesn’t turn and twist like a willow in the wind. Truth isn’t relative. Truth is reality. 

Pilate’s question was a rhetorical one. He was a cynic. He questioned Jesus about truth because of what he had said: “I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37 ESV). Unfortunately, because of the chaos outside the courtroom, Pilate capitulates to the crowd and condemns Jesus to be crucified on a Roman cross. Why? Although Pilate knew Jesus to be an innocent man, he acted against what was true.

Truth can be known. Pilate was so close to truth. You could say, “Truth was standing right in front of him,” for Jesus had said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6 ESV). Why didn’t Pilate accept the truth? The answer is found in what Jesus had already told Pilate: “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate heard Jesus, but he didn’t listen to Jesus. Pilate listened to another’s voice. He was persuaded by another’s perception to become his reality.

Truth is the reality known by God because God’s knowledge is perfect. Today, many in our community ask, “What is truth?” Truth isn’t relative. Truth is reality. Jesus is Truth and he is revealed in God’s Word, the Bible. 

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DR. RICHARD FRANKLIN DODD


On April 2, 2018, Richard F. Dodd D.D.S., aged 84 years and 11 months, passed from his life on earth into the loving, healing arms of his Savior. He was born to Guy and Genevieve Dodd in Ludington Michigan on May 3, 1933. Following graduation from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Richard was commissioned in the USAF and served as Captain in the Air Defense Command. After active service in the Air Force, he established a private practice in Kent County Michigan. He served as a dentist in Cedar Springs for many years. During his professional life he also served the community as a member of the school board and in township government. At the age of forty, Dick began “an affair with the violin” that presented him with ample challenges for the rest of his life. At the age of 71 he moved with his wife of 55 years to Kalamazoo, Michigan and again three years later to Hartselle, Alabama, where they have lived since. He was an active member of First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs, Algoma Baptist, The Journey Church, First United Baptist Church of Kalamazoo and the First Baptist Church of Hartselle. Richard is survived by his loving wife, Rebecca; daughters, Julea (Kevin) Moats of Decatur, Alabama, Al and Amelia Denslow of Hartselle, Alabama; two grandchildren, Steven Dodd Denslow of Grand Rapids, Michigan and Victoria Denslow of Birmingham, Alabama; his brother Larry (Donna) Dodd of Traverse City, Michigan; brother-in-law Karl (Angie) DeVries of Grayling, Michigan; sisters-in-law Martha (Ray) Vandee Panne of Cedar Springs, Michigan; and several nieces and nephews, who all loved their “UncaDick”. He is interred at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, Alabama.

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A perfect storm


Pastor Robert P. Smith

First Baptist Church

233 Main St, Cedar Springs

 

One of my favorite gospel songs is “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus.” I remember singing this song as a small child in church services. As a young person growing up in church, I remember hearing over and over again the Bible story of a man who took his eyes off Jesus and nearly drowned. 

Do you know this song? Is it one of your favorites? Do you remember the words to the chorus?

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.”

According to these words, it isn’t until we “look full” into Jesus’ face that we will look away from earthly things. I believe to “look full” is to give our complete attention to Jesus. It is to see Him and only Him alone through the Bible. The earthly things that appear to offer us so much satisfaction or security will be seen as shallow and superficial compared to the eternal reward of seeing Jesus.

One of my favorite stories of Jesus is when he directed his disciples to cross over to the town of Bethsaida while he went up on the mountain to pray. It was there, alone on the mountain, that Jesus noticed the disciples’ struggle out on the water. The Bible says, “the wind was against them.” 

The human tendency during difficulty is to imagine the face of God with blind eyes, but the Bible teaches the opposite. God sees. God knows. God cares. God acts. True followers of Christ are special objects of His sovereign care and compassion. We’ll know his care when we cast our concerns on him.

The very waves that the disciples feared became the way he entered into their struggle. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.” And when he got into their boat, the wind ceased. When “the wind is against you” do you know that he is with you? If we are not going to be beaten down by the storm we must believe in the One who can calm it. Remember his promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Storms will come. Who do you see in them?

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” Helen H. Lemmel, Singspiration

 

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Two words


Pastor Robert P. Smith

First Baptist Church 

233 Main St, Cedar Springs

 

“Thank you.” “I’m sorry.” “I do.” Words seem so ordinary. “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose,” is the paraphrase Dr. Paul Tripp gives to Proverbs 18:21 in his book, War of Words. Paul is a counselor, speaker, and a writer, with extensive pastoral experience. It’s true. Words are important. The two most important words for me are “But God.”

“There, but for the grace of God, go I.” This is a familiar phrase, but its author is unknown. However, we open the Bible and discover several characters who received God’s grace. In the first book of the Bible, Genesis 8:1, we read, “But God remembered Noah.” What was the condition of the world at that time? In Genesis 6:5, God said, “The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Today is similar to yesterday. There is evil in our world. People of grace aren’t excluded from worldly evil, but it serves a providential purpose. At the end of Genesis, Joseph said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20 ESV). But God.

When we encounter worldly evil we often wonder, “Why God?” Another Bible character, Asaph, a worship leader in King David’s court, wondered about good and evil. He thought, “Good things only happen to good people.” He thought that God’s people are excluded from worldly evil. Later he confessed, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:23 ESV). But God.

Who would I be if it were not for the grace of God? In Ephesians 2:4, the Apostle Paul declares, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us…” The grace of God guarantees that God loves us in His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross. But God. Think about these two words for a moment. But God.

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A thin line


Pastor Robert Smith

First Baptist Church

233 Main St., Cedar Springs

 

There is a difference between a Thinline edition of the Bible and a perspective that views the Bible as thin. I view one as helpful in ministry and I view the other as harmful. One makes Truth easy to grasp and the other loses the grip on Truth.

What is meant by the perspective that the Bible is “thin?” First, the use of the word “thin” implies that the Bible lacks substance, fullness, or abundance in meaning or purpose. In other words, the Bible is irrelevant. It doesn’t really address, at least with any substantive meaning, the real issues that touch our lives.

A second matter for us to consider, which is nearly as dangerous as the first, is seeing the Bible as merely a book of rules. Yes. There are commandments in the Bible, but the Bible is not a book of do’s and don’ts. The Bible tells us what has been done for us that we cannot do. It tells us of God’s one and only Son, Jesus, and why He came into the world. It tells us of the kind of life that Jesus called “abundant.”

A third matter, which is as dangerous as the second one, is to think of the Bible as merely a resource that one might turn to in order to find comfort in a time of crisis or to find wisdom in making a decision. Those who hold this view of the Bible genuinely believe it offers some general help, but not enough for the hard issues of life.

The Bible is not thin. It’s thick. It’s substantive. It is full of meaning. It’s rich in wisdom. Its abundance overflows to address every daily matter of meaning and purpose of our lives. If this is true, and it is, then why do people not see its relevance? Or for those who do, why do they see it merely as a resource, as if the Bible is one among many voices?

The Bible is more than rules for a well-ordered life. It’s more than a resource for some of the issues of life. It is relevant in all of life’s areas. It is God’s revelation of Himself. It will awaken and revive a soul to real life!

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ROWENA JOY SMITH


 

Rowena Joy Smith, age 62, of Cedar Springs, went home to be with her heavenly father on June 27, 2017 surrounded by her family. She was born on November 1, 1954 to Robert and Thelma (Rookstool) White in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rowena was a member of First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs where she taught Sunday School for 35 years. For years, Rowena served as a camp cook for Lincoln Lake Baptist Youth Camp. She was also the church custodian for many years. She loved spending time in her yard gardening growing vegetables and flowers. Rowena is survived by her husband of 34 years Dale Allen Smith; daughter, Katherine Joy (Curtis) DeJong; grandson, Cameron Dean DeJong; granddaughter DeJong; brother, Dan (Shelly) White; in-laws, Steven Smith, Michael Smith, Sharon (Jeff) Russell, Rose (Warren) Wright, Margaret (Robert) Parks, Vince (Brenda) Smith, Joani (Mike) Spicuzza, Debbie (Rob) Swider, James Smith; best friend, Sue VanEnk and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents. Visitation was held Wednesday, July 5, 2017, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church – Cedar Springs, with funeral services following at 12:00 p.m. with her brother Reverend Dan White, officiating. Memorials may be made to assist the family. Please share your memories of Rowena online at www.fieldsmckinley.com.

Arrangements by Fields-Mckinley Funeral and Cremation Services

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ROWENA JOY SMITH


Rowena Joy Smith, age 62, of Cedar Springs, went home to be with her heavenly father on June 27, 2017 surrounded by her family. She was born on November 1, 1954 to Robert and Thelma (Rookstool) White in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rowena was a member of First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs where she taught Sunday School for 35 years. For years, Rowena served as a camp cook for Lincoln Lake Baptist Youth Camp. She was also the church custodian for many years. She loved spending time in her yard gardening growing vegetables and flowers. Rowena is survived by her husband of 34 years Dale Allen Smith; daughter, Katherine Joy (Curtis) DeJong; grandson, Cameron Dean DeJong; granddaughter DeJong; brother, Dan (Shelly) White; in-laws, Steven Smith, Michael Smith, Sharon (Jeff) Russell, Rose (Warren) Wright, Margaret (Robert) Parks, Vince (Brenda) Smith, Joani (Mike) Spicuzza, Debbie (Rob) Swider, James Smith; best friend, Sue VanEnk and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents. Visitation will be held Wednesday, July 5, 2017, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm at First Baptist Church – Cedar Springs, with funeral services following at 12:00 pm with her brother Reverend Dan White, officiating. Memorials may be made to assist the family. Please share your memories of Rowena online at www.fieldsmckinley.com.

Arrangements by Fields-Mckinley Funeral and Cremation Services

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Dorothy M. Olson


C-obit-olson

Dorothy M. Olson 91 of Cedar Springs, passed away Monday, May 8, 2017 at her home. Mrs. Olson was born May 23, 1925 in Sparta, MI the daughter of F.G. and Lena (Dargie) Reyburn. She graduated from Sparta High School and was a former member of First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs. She enjoyed gardening and was a member of the Iris Society. Surviving are her children, Dave (Barb) Olson, Ron Olson, Judy (Al) Ferguson, Sandra Olson, Tom (Denise) Olson, Steve (Deb) Olson, Karen Olson, Joanne Olson, Phil Olson, Paul (Judy) Olson; 18 grandchildren; 23 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Norman in 1988 and two brothers. The family would like to thank Spectrum Health Hospice for their help and care. The family will receive friends Thursday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Friday 11:00 am. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. Interment Greenwood Cemetery, Sparta. Memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice.

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

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Will you remember?


First-Baptist-church-currenPastor Robert P. Smith

First Baptist Church

233 Main St, Cedar Springs

 

There are many facts in life that we are called upon to remember—names, birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, deadlines, tax day, and even historical events of national significance: September 11, 2001, January 28, 1986, April 3, 1968, November 22, 1963, or December 7, 1941. These dates bring to memory the reality of loss, suffering, and death. And the same is true for us today as we remember, April 3, 33.

In less than three days, Christians are called upon to remember not a date, not even an event of national importance, but an eternal person of significance. We remember not a change in our world, but the One who created the world, turned it upside down, and one day He will bring a new world. On Easter Sunday, will you do as 2 Timothy 2:8 says: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.” 

The word “remember” is an important word if we are going to comprehend this command. A few years ago, a friend of mine returned to Michigan to reunite with his family for a special occasion. On that evening, after dinner, the family began to share some of their childhood memories when one of his sisters suggested they watch some of the old 8mm movies. At first, the idea sounded horrible, the reason for the reunion was painful enough, but to watch movies of their own growing pains was considered unbearable.

Nevertheless, they turned on the projector and my friend saw his father as a twenty-seven year old walking with his two sons. He was running alongside his son as he showed him how to ride a bike. He was a thirty-two year old teaching his kids how to water ski. But most of the time, he was not on the screen at all. He was capturing his family on film.

It was a bittersweet experience for my friend as he contrasted that young man on film with the frail man his father is now. That evening helped my friend remember his father not as the man who forgot his name or that he was his son, but as the man who for most of his years was full of life. Somehow, it helped to bring some joy in the midst of their deep sorrow.

Remembering the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is important for a number of reasons. It brings joy out of sorrow. It brings hope for tomorrow. And there is another good reason we remember: God is faithful. He keeps His promises. Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead is proof. Remember what the angel said to the women at the tomb? “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said” (Matthew 28:6 KJV). Notice the last three words, “as he said.” Will you remember?

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GERTRUDE J. GUST


 

C--obit-GustGertrude J. Gust, 99 of Cedar Springs, went to be with her Lord on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Gertrude was born November 27, 1917 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the daughter of Peter and Hattie (Huber) Koster. Her father died at a young age and her mother raised the children. She loved baseball and had played the violin. She enjoyed housekeeping and cleaning and for many years she volunteered to clean the Baptist Church each week. She was the oldest living member of First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs. Surviving are her son, James (Carol) Gust; grandson, Jason (Heather) Gust; two great-grandchildren; brother, Donald Koster; brother-in-law, Robert Remer. She was preceded in death by her husband, Alfred; sisters, Jane May, Madeline “Betty” Remer; brother, Robert Koster. Visitation and funeral was held Tuesday, March 21st at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Robert P. Smith officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs.

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

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