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Tag Archive | "Grace Evangelical Free Church"

Donna J. Cloud


Donna J. Cloud, 70 of Cedar Springs, died Saturday, May 31, 2014 at her home. Donna was born May 19, 1944 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the daughter of Kenneth and Louise (Dykman) VanDyke. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. Surviving are her husband, George whom she married on Nov. 3, 1964; sons, Joseph Cloud and Jeffrey Cloud; grandchildren, Laura, Hannah and Olivia; brother, Kenneth (Jackie) VanDyke; many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held Thursday, June 5 at 12 noon at Grace Evangelical Free Church, 4714 13 Mile Road, Rockford with a luncheon to follow. Pastor Kevin Reed officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Heart Association.

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

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What is Christmas all about?


Grace-ChurchPastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

Let me assure you that this is not another anti-santa and presents presentation from a delusional and out of touch Pastor. This is a heartfelt, honest, and open communication from a child of God who realized two months ago that he was no longer amazed like he should be by the Christmas Story. As I sat in my office with the task ahead of me of preparing a sermon series on Christmas, I realized that I didn’t want to preach on Christmas again, because I was sadly unmoved and unimpressed. I prayed that God would open my eyes and help me to stand in wonder at the story of the birth of His only Son. He did, and below is what He reminded me of. (This is a brief recap of 3 weeks of sermons that I shared with our Church. You can find those videos in their entirety online at www.gracerockford.com.)

1.  Christmas is about a Child. Isaiah 9:6,7:  “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…”

There is this great list in the following verse of all the things that this child will be: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.  It’s no doubt this child was special; but let’s not forget He was still a child, He was still a Son. Christmas is about God sending His one and only Son. What love, what mercy, what a miracle! As a father of four children, I would never consider giving them up for the welfare of another. After all, it’s my job to protect them. But on Christmas day, God gave his son up for the welfare of mankind. Christmas is about a child, let us not forget.

2.  Christmas is about a Savior. Luke 2:9-12: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born…”

There are many words that Scripture uses to describe this idea of a Savior. Words like rescue, heal, deliver, redeem, and atone. All of these words indicate that those being saved, have a problem that they can’t remedy. If they could, they wouldn’t need a Savior. Christmas is about God sending his Son to remedy a problem that you and I had and could not fix. The problem of our sin would have most definitely resulted in eternal condemnation unless someone came and rescued us, delivered us, redeemed us. Christmas is all about Jesus coming to do just that, set us free.

3.  Christmas is about a Cross. Galatians 4:3-5; 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…”

This child, that was born to save, could only do it by being crucified on a cross, and thus bearing our curse as he hung in our place. Many times we look at our nativity sets and everything looks so peaceful, but in reality that little baby was born in a manger to be murdered on a cross! Let us not forget that the peacefulness of Christmas will soon be destroyed by the punishment and the death that we each deserved being taken out on the perfect, innocent Son of God.

Christmas is about a Child, a Savior and a Cross.  I pray that this Christmas we will spend time worshipping the one who became a child, in order to be our savior, so that he might bear the punishment and death of our cross!

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Where’s Your Hope – 1 Peter 1:13-16


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy”(NIV).

I have to admit something. I am not much of an optimist. I wouldn’t classify myself as a pessimist, but probably more of a realist. Whenever I hear a story on the news, I usually tend to think that it’s probably not going to turn out good. I don’t expect the best, or even plan for the best. When it comes to people, I usually expect the worst and therefore I am rarely disappointed. I guess you could say I have lost my hope in the human race. It seems like we just keep getting worse and worse and it seems like I just start to place less and less hope in humanity. If we place our hope in people or even in this world, we will find ourselves constantly disappointed and eventually we will end up extremely frustrated and we may even get disillusioned. That’s why this issue of where we place our hope is extremely crucial for the Christian.

The reason many of us get discouraged and disillusioned is because we have placed our hope in the wrong place, or the wrong person. We have hoped in someone or something that let us down. We believed that a situation would turn out for good and it didn’t, or that a person we loved would eventually figure things out and turn their life around for good, but they don’t! We want to have a positive outlook and hope that things will turn out for the best, but it becomes harder and harder the more we are let down by the people and things that we put our hope in.

That must be why Peter told the believers who were scattered throughout the world at that time not to place their hope in people, or the government, or even each other, but instead he told them to “set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” In other words, there is only one certainty in this life, there is only one guarantee, and that is that Jesus is coming back one day and that he is coming back to take us to be with Him forever (John 14:1-3).

This is something worthy of placing your hope in! Jesus is one person you can place your hope in that will never let you down! This is one event that will turn out for good! This is one story that does have a happy ending! So, the next time you find yourself down and discouraged because someone let you down, or something didn’t turn out the way you hoped it would, remember to set your hope on the one person that won’t ever let you down. His name is Jesus, and one day, He’s coming back and he’s bringing grace with him in the form of an eternal dwelling place for all of his people!

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Keeping an Eternal Perspective


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Road, Rockford

 

John 14:1-3:“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am going.”

We believe that heaven is real, and we would probably even agree that we can’t wait to get there, but if asked the question, “How often have you thought about heaven this week?” most of us, if honest, would probably have to admit that we have been so focused on this life that we’ve had little time to meditate on the next. We are so busy that every spare second is filled with something. From work, to taking care of children, to running our children everywhere they need to be, to paying bills, to helping with homework, to fixing all the stuff the children break, and so on and so on, we are busy, and most of the time the things we are busy with aren’t necessarily bad. As a matter of fact, quite often they are necessary. And so we find ourselves so focused on taking care of the responsibilities we have in this world that we fail to ever take time to pull away and focus on the next.

We need perspective if we are going to make it through this world. It’s easy for all the stuff we go through and have to deal with in this world to cause our “hearts to be troubled,” and the only remedy for a troubled heart is to remember the hope and inheritance that awaits us in heaven. C.S Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

This is crucial to our walk with Jesus. We can’t become bogged down with the things of this world and live effectively for His glory. He knew that, and that is why He encourages his disciples to remember what is awaiting them. It’s the remedy for a troubled heart, it’s the medicine for a worn out body, it’s the perspective that each of us desperately need. Don’t focus so much on this world; instead keep an eternal perspective.

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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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The greatest among you


Pastor Kevin Reed
Grace Evangelical Free Church
4714 13 Mile Road, Rockford

“…Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… …Just as the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Matthew 20:26,28 (NIV).
There is an old song that we used to sing in Sunday school, and the words went something like this, “If you wanna be great in God’s kingdom, you gotta be a servant of all…” It is a catchy tune and still all these years later I remember it.  But lately I have been asking myself the question, “Do I believe it?” It is easy to sing about being a servant, it is harder to become one. It’s easy to quote the Bible verses where Jesus tells us to be a servant, but it’s harder to live them. It’s easy to praise Jesus for his selfless act of becoming a servant as mentioned in Philippians 2:5-11 (take the time to read it), but it’s harder to follow his example as we are commanded to in the beginning of that passage.
To serve others is a great idea, and we all believe it needs to be done, but at the core of our being we would much rather be served than serve, and therein lies the dilemma. Our society tells us to do what makes us feel good, well that is to let others serve us, while our Savior tells us to do that which goes against everything we feel, and that is to forego our perceived “right” to be served and use our lives to serve others. As Children of the Most High, this is a crossroads that we are faced with everyday. Whom are we going to follow? Whom are we going to listen to today? After all, being a “servant” seems so dirty, so low, so unamazing. Why would anyone want to voluntarily do that?
I would like to encourage you today that in becoming a servant we have the privilege of showing other people Jesus, and shouldn’t that be our number one goal as children of God? You see, it was Jesus who came to this earth and deserved the “red-carpet” treatment. He deserved to be worshiped, but the Bible tells us that he chose to serve rather than be served. There are enough people (Christians and nonChristians alike) in this world who want to be served, but there are few true servants who have realized that only in serving others do I have the privilege of showing them the greatest servant of all, Jesus.  And friends, may I propose to you that the world needs to start seeing less of God’s children and more of Jesus! The only way we can accomplish this is by being a servant, because only in becoming a servant can we reflect to this world our Savior! Think about it—who can you show Jesus to today?

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Robert Platt


Mr. Robert “Bob” Platt, age 85, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. As a young man he accepted Christ as his Savior. Bob was a member of Grace Evangelical Free Church and was a trustee emeritous. He was a 1943 graduate of Rockford High School. Bob had various jobs while in high school and during the summers he worked for many area farmers. He and June (Bailey) were high school sweethearts who began dating while in the 11th grade. They went bowling on their first date on January 21, 1942 with who would become their lifelong friends, Cliff and Lillian Atwood. After a loving courtship, they were married on November 10, 1944 at the old Rockford Baptist Church by Pastor Carl Wier. Bob worked at Burch Body, Morton Motor Sales, Rowden Ford, and then he opened his own business, Platt Auto Service. Later he became the Transportation Director for Rockford Public Schools. He set up bus routes, many of which are still used today. Bob then re-opened Platt Auto Service.  Bob enjoyed 24 years of retirement and took great pride in giving his grandchildren rides in his restored ‘40 Ford. He taught his children and grandchildren the value of family, work ethics, and mechanical skills. Bob also had a great dry sense of humor and was a true gentleman and protector. He enjoyed car races, boating, and camping. Bob was a man who could not say “no.”  His family would like to thank the caregivers of Renal Associates, Inc. for the love, care, and compassion given to Bob. He is survived by his loving wife June; children Carolyn Salisbury of Greenville, Suzanne Dahlstedt of Rockford, and Robert “Bob” and Anna Platt of Sparta; grandchildren Dena (Brian) Shotko, Charles (Tracy) Salisbury, Brenda (Steve) Bolin, Jason (Rachel) Blakeslee, Julie (Jason) Hoek, and Brian Platt; great-grandchildren Alek, Blake, Noah Robert, Abbey, Marley, Mallory, Alex, Lucas, Austin, and Tyler; brothers and sisters Ted (Helen) Platt, David (Marla) Platt, Violet (Jim) Robinson; sisters-in-law Mrs. Gordon (Irene) Nelson and Mrs. Helen Platt; brother-in-law Charles Brantner; nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Charley and Edith Platt, brothers Howard and Alvin “Buck”, and sister Jeanne Brantner. The service for Mr. Platt will be Saturday at 12 (noon) at Grace Evangelical Church with Pastor Kevin Reed officiating. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider Grace Evangelical Church, 4714 13 Mile Road, Rockford, MI 49341. Relatives and friends may meet with the family on Saturday form 11:00 a.m. until the service at the church. Arrangements by The Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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