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Tag Archive | "Grace Evangelical Free Church"

From the Pulpit: Pastor Kevin Reed


 

Three questions for healthier relationships   

Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing to of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”

Relationships are a struggle. Don’t get me wrong; when they are good, they are great! But when they are bad, it seems to affect every area of our lives. We have all had relationships that we struggled in, and the odds are that if you have been in a relationship for any length of time you have experienced the good and the bad. My desire in my relationships is to experience more of the good and less of the bad. Philippians chapter 2 verses 3 and 4 provide three questions that I believe will change our relationships for the good if we would ask them of ourselves when things are getting tough.

1.   “What is my motive?”  

Whether we like to admit it or not, many times in relationships we have agendas, and those agendas are usually self-serving. Most relational struggles come when I am driven in a relationship by selfish ambition or vain conceit. In other words, when I am only concerned about myself and furthering my desires. My motive in a relationship should be mutual encouragement and benefit and my selfishness tends to ruin that. Checking my motive helps me to get rid of my selfishness and realign my relationships to a place of mutual benefit.  

2.   What is their value?

Often times when my relationships are struggling, it’s because I am looking at the other person as someone who is less valuable than I am. I feel that it is their job to serve me because I am the one who is important. When I stop and think about their value in God’s eyes it helps me to maintain the proper perspective. The reality is that the other person you are in a relationship with is made in the image of God, has infinite value and worth to Him, and He proved it by allowing His Son to die on the cross for them. They are important to God, and they should be important to you.

3.   What is my focus?

This one’s simple—am I thinking more about myself and my desires, or am I putting the other person’s needs and desires first?  Most relationships struggle because one or both parties are only thinking about themselves. God wants us to put others before ourselves. After all, that’s what He did in order to purchase our redemption, and that is what He has called us to do as we live out His mission on this earth.

If you ask yourself these 3 questions when it comes to your relationships with your spouse, your kids, your parents, and even your friends, I guarantee it will promote healthier relationships in your life. May each of us have the same mindset as Christ Jesus as we walk in relationship with others.

Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

www.gracerockford.com

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Don’t be afraid 


Grace-ChurchPastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

www.gracerockford.com

 

by Kevin Reed

No matter how many times it happens to me, I am still taken by surprise when it happens. How many times do we open our Bibles to read the word of God that was written years ago, and have a specific verse jump off the page like it was the very word that God was speaking to us today! Isaiah 41:10 is one of those verses for me. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Let’s face it, there is a lot to be scared about.  We live in a world  where violence seems to be the order of the day and common sense seems to no longer be so common.  For the 21st century Christian it is very easy to become bogged down with fear. As a matter of fact many of the ways I see some Believers responding to and interacting with the world today is purely a result of fear. But it should not be this way!

Fear actually has no place in the life of the believer. We may not know the outcome of tomorrow but we know the One who does.  We may not have the strength to make it through the day, but we have a promise from the One who does. For the Christian there is absolutely nothing in this world to fear because we have been promised the presence of the Almighty to be with us through whatever this world throws our way. And the last time I checked, when He speaks all of creation listens!

So, do not fear, the God who holds all things in His hands is with  you, and He has promised to be right by your side giving you everything that you need!

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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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What’s on your mind?


Grace-ChurchPastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

Jesus. Jesus is on my mind. Do you ever sit back and wonder how he did it? How did He live day in and day out, completely surrendered in obedience to the will of His Father, and never sin? He loved people perfectly. He walked around literally with the weight of the world on His shoulders, yet He never threw in the towel. He never exploded at someone because of stress. He never said an unkind word or, for that matter, thought an unkind thought about anyone. He never got His priorities all mixed up. He wasn’t distracted or discouraged by the things of this world because He was focused on a mission that was bigger than this world. And in the midst of being this amazing Superman, he promised that if we would just come to Him, He would give us the rest and peace that we desperately need, along with the wonderful promise that He would then carry our burden for us. Does that make any sense? Why would He do that for us? Why would He do that for me?

As I sit and ponder Matthew 11:28-30 and try to apply it to my life, the words of this old Hymn keep running through my mind, and I suddenly realize, that it truly is this simple. It goes like this…”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.” The key to what I need isn’t a solution for all of my problems, and it isn’t a better way to manage all my stress. The key to what I need is so simple that it is contained in one beautiful name…JESUS! And the only thing he requires of me is to “come.” I don’t need to bring anything, I don’t need to do any work, I don’t even need to get everything in order, I simply need to “come.” He’s saying, “come to me and I’ll give you the rest you need,” “come to me and I’ll take care of that heavy burden you’re struggling to carry,” “come to me and I’ll exchange all that struggle and stress for peace and joy,” “come to me and you’ll find everything that you need!” The invitation is simple. “Come!”

So, what’s on my mind? Jesus. And suddenly everything else that seemed so big and so important and so needy, grew strangely dim. Thank you Jesus!

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

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Responding to “50 Shades” 


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

There has been a lot of commotion around the release of the movie “50 Shades of Grey,” which follows the very popular book by the same title. There are a wide variety of opinions as to whether or not Christians should watch this movie or read the book, and, as you can imagine, there are Christians on both sides of the argument. But the issue we face isn’t the release of this movie; rather, the problem facing Christians is with combatting the culture of sex that we live in.

Arguing with people or bashing/petitioning the release of the movie will not solve the problem. As Christians, we can’t expect the world to have our standard of morality, because they don’t know our God who has defined our standard.  If we want to combat our culture, which seems to glorify rampant sexual immorality, we must first start with ourselves. Instead of pointing the finger at the world’s immorality problem, we need to get ours in check. Listen to these words:

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality, that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (NIV).

So, as Christians, how do we combat the culture of sex that we live in? We live pure lives! Christians need to stop looking at porn. Christians need to stop having sexually dysfunctional marriages. Christians need to stop committing adultery. Christians need to stop having sex before, outside of, and in addition to marriage. Christians need to exalt and glorify Jesus in their sex lives. Only then will we begin to combat our culture that worships sex.

So, the next time you find yourself getting into a heated conversation with someone who doesn’t have God’s standard of morality, remember this: they need to meet Jesus, not have your moral standard self-righteously imposed on them. I am not saying we should remain silent; maybe just change what’s on the channel before we turn the volume up.

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MICHAEL JAMES LONG


50C-obit-Long-webMr. Michael James Long of Venice, California, age 43, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November 28, 2014. He was born Tuesday, November 16, 1971. Michael leaves behind his father Michael (Debra) Long, Sr. and mother Rebecca Jines-Linker; daughters Briana Skeen, Trisha Long, and Deija Long; grandchildren Nevaeh and Xavier; siblings Lori (Terry) Robinson, Mike (Michelle) Long, Jr., and Angie (Mike) O’Dowd; paternal grandmother Mary Merritt; maternal grandparents Martha (Bill) Sanders; grandmother Thelma Slocum; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins; and girlfriend Noel Wittnebel of California. He was preceded in death by his grandfather Van Merritt. There will be a time of visitation from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 11, 2014, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service for Michael will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 12, 2014, at Grace Evangelical Free Church, 4714 Thirteen Mile Road NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Pastor Kevin Reed will be officiating. There will be a one hour visitation prior to the service at church. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a donation to assist Michael’s daughters.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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Michael James Long


C-OBIT-LongMr. Michael James Long of Venice, California, age 43, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November 28, 2014. He was born Tuesday, November 16, 1971. Michael leaves behind his father Michael (Debra) Long, Sr. and mother Rebecca Jines-Linker; daughters Briana Skeen, Trisha Long, and Deija Long; grandchildren Nevaeh and Xavier; siblings Lori (Terry) Robinson, Mike (Michelle) Long, Jr., and Angie (Mike) O’Dowd; paternal grandmother Mary Merritt; maternal grandparents Martha (Bill) Sanders; grandmother Thelma Slocum; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins; and girlfriend Noel Wittnebel of California. He was preceded in death by his grandfather Van Merritt. There will be a time of visitation from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 11, 2014, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service for Michael will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 12, 2014, at Grace Evangelical Free Church, 4714 Thirteen Mile Road NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Pastor Kevin Reed will be officiating. There will be a one hour visitation prior to the service at church. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a donation to assist Michael’s daughters.

 

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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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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