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Tag Archive | "From the Pulpit"

Don’t ring the bell

Solon Center

Wesleyan Church

Pastor Bill Dixon

15671 Algoma Ave NE

Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Don’t ring the bell

For those of you who may not know, the Navy Seal or BUD/S training is one of the most difficult military training in the world. Here is a brief description of the training known as hell week from NavySeals.com: Hell week “is the defining event in BUD/S training. It is held early on in the third week of the first phase before the Navy makes an expensive investment in SEAL operational training. Hell week consist of five and half days of cold, wet, brutally difficult operational training on fewer than four hours of sleep. Hell week tests physical endurance, mental toughness, pain and cold tolerance, teamwork, attitude, and your ability to perform work under high physical and mental stress, and sleep deprivation. Above all, it tests determination and desire. On average, only 25 percent of SEAL candidates make it through Hell week.” 

Now, in order for a candidate to quit or to end his training, he has to walk over to a bell and ring it. My goal with this message is to encourage ALL of us not to Ring the Bell, meaning, not to give up, not to lose heart, not to lose hope. The reality is, life can be hard at times. Right? Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble” (NIV). Jesus is not talking about lose your cell phone type of trouble here, he is talking about a type of trouble that has the ability to turn your world upside down and even shake your faith. Some of you reading this article might be facing what Jesus is describing here. Some of you maybe in a difficult season of life where it seems like nothing is working out, at least the way that you thought things would. Some of you might be struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed. Some of you might be thinking about ringing the bell—giving up. I’m here today to tell you, no matter what is going on, no matter what struggles you may be facing, DON’T RING THE BELL. Don’t give up. Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. 

Here’s why. 

1: You are not alone. God knows what you are going through and He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. (Deut. 31:6, Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 23:4) 

2: Your situation may look big but God is bigger. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. (Hebrews 12:2) 

Posted in Church Connection, From the PulpitComments (1)

Better Together

Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Road, Rockford


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).


With this week being valentines day, and marriage and love is on everyone’s mind, I thought I’d take the time to share some thoughts on Marriage.  No matter how long you’ve been married, we can all use little reminders at times.  Marriage is one of those things that God has called very good, and God has even designed marriage to provide for one of our greatest needs—intimacy. But marriage is also one of those things that if things aren’t going well, it can become one of life’s greatest pains and an incredible source of frustration. How does that happen?  How can something that God designed to bring so much happiness and satisfaction end up bringing so much pain and frustration?

It’s really quite simple; we forget that God has told us we are better together than we are apart. It wasn’t good for the man to be alone, so God made a helper, a counterpart just for him. And only after man and wife were together as one did God call everything that he had made “very good.” God is the one that established that apart we aren’t as good as we are together.

In a marriage, we face countless circumstances that cause conflict and (if we let them) strife. We go through a process of frustration leading to irritation and, ultimately, we make choices that land us in a very bad place in a marriage—isolation. We become angry, we sin against each other, and we end up holding things against each other. With all this conflict comes Satan’s lie, “You’d be better off without him/her,” or “he/she is just holding you back from being everything you cold be.” Over time many people begin to believe these lies and they start making negative choices that eventually result in an affair, a crappy marriage, or even a divorce.

The key to maintaining closeness in marriage is to never forget that you are better together. God has created your spouse just for you. He/she is designed to fulfill your needs in a way that no one else could do. You aren’t better without them, the truth is you need them, and they need you. When was the last time you told your spouse how much “better” they make you? When was the last time you thanked God for his gift to you in your spouse? When was the last time you chose to focus on the “good” about your spouse and not so much on the “bad”? Each day you make the choice to believe what God has said, “you are better together,” instead of the lies that Satan is hoping you’ll fall for.  Make the right choice!


Take the time to think of the ways your spouse “makes you better”.  Plan a time to sit down with them and share your list with them.

Right now, take a moment to thank God for your spouse.  Don’t ask him to change them, praise Him for them!

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“We Family”

We face decisions everyday that seek to divide us: Michigan or Michigan State  (Go Spartans!), Democrat or Republican (no comment), Coke or Pepsi, rock or country, and last but not least hymns or praise choruses. These decisions that we make can be of little importance or of great importance. I myself would love to see another Michigan football season much like the last, with maybe one or two less wins, but my best friend would have to be coaxed off of a ledge if that happened.  My wife on the other hand couldn’t care less if Michigan State won the national championship, unless it happened on Facebook.

On Sunday, August 30, we witnessed something historical in Cedar Springs and I hope you had the opportunity to attend it. The Cedar Springs Ministerial Association hosted the first annual worship service in Morley Park, and it was called “United.” We don’t have exact numbers, but it was estimated that over 500 people were in attendance at the 11:00 a.m. service, and many people stuck around afterwards for a free lunch of hot dogs and chips. After the lunch was a time of hanging with friends and family while the kids played on the dozen inflatable games, or in the park on the playground equipment. You could also take a turn at dunking your pastor in the “Dunk Tank,” which an un-named pastor broke! To conclude the day was a time of worship music provided by a worship team made up of people from over 6 area churches. It was an awesome time of unity.

Unity, as you might guess does not come easy, nor does it come naturally. If you have more than one child in your house, or if you have a sibling, you know that peace is not a natural outcome over time. In fact, Jesus knew, when He left this Earth, that, as Christians, we would have the natural tendency to divide. In John 17:21 Jesus prays that, “…all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Jesus was warning us that people who are not Christians will be watching what we do. Because let’s face it, we as Christians don’t have the best reputation when it comes to bonding together in unity. We have as many denominations as there are Baskin Robbins flavors. But I can tell you that the churches in our area are working together to unite on the things that we all have in common, and this has been a long time coming. As one song that we sang says, “Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city…”

I think one of our area pastors said it best when we ended our prayer for our area by saying, “We Family!” This pastor happens to be one of the football coaches here in Cedar Springs, and this is what they say everyday to conclude their practice. That, no matter what happens in the heat of battle, we’re all family.  Even though we may disagree on style, music, dress, hymns, etc…  We are united on the big things.  Like a family we are made up of different people, and we all have our strengths and weaknesses, not to mention that really weird aunt!  But together we can all agree on reaching out to our community to show the love that was shown to us. Great job Cedar Springs, and a big “thank you” from “En-Gedi,” our future community youth center that was given over $1,100 as an offering. Watch out for more community events from our ministerial association.

Rev. Tom Holloway, Asst. Pastor
Solon Center Wesleyan Church
15671 Algoma Ave., Cedar Springs

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