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Tag Archive | "Hillcrest Community Church"

Weathering the storm


Hillcrest-Church-picPastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

Greetings Cedar Springs! As I write this article, we are driving straight toward the storms raging through the Midwest states. The destruction ranges from Texas—Oklahoma—Kansas—and Nebraska, with multiple tornados touching down. There have even been sightings of tornados with multiple vortexes! Wild, I know! Then there was 8 inches of golf ball size hail in Colorado Springs, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from our destination. The freeway was even shut down temporarily. Then the clouds lifted and the sun came out shining bigger and brighter than I’ve seen it in a long time. It was beautiful!

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like that with the storms of life? Just when you think you made it through a terrible storm, another one springs up that’s even worse than the one you just survived!

God has given you a mission in life and never intended for you to accomplish it without Him.

You have to keep going even when you want to quit. Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” It all depends on where your focus is. We need to focus on what God is doing for us instead of what Satan is doing against us.

There will be tough days on this journey called life. You have to believe that God has your best in mind even when you can’t see what He’s doing. And you have to trust God even when you don’t get what you want!

Rick Warren said, “We all know from personal experience that faith doesn’t exempt us from problems. It’s easy to trust God when life is going well and we feel strong. But faith develops in the valleys. When our dreams shatter and we feel helpless, that’s when we have to believe in God’s power and presence.”

Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matt.9:29). If you want God’s help, you must trust Him and believe He has the power to accomplish more than we can ever ask or imagine.

We must also realize that God’s ways are higher than our ways and He doesn’t always answer the way we want Him to. Still we must trust His plan. He loves us more than we can even imagine. God is still good, and that will never change. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Let’s come to God with a dump truck full of faith. God’s power and ability far outweighs the amount of our imagination!

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ILENE R. SCHOONMAKER


 

Ilene R. Schoonmaker, 89 of Cedar Springs, went to be with her Lord and Savior on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus. Mrs. Schoonmaker was born June 27, 1925 in Belding, Michigan the daughter of Glen and Lela (Brooks) Losinger. She graduated from Howard City High School in 1943, had been a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader and enjoyed gardening. She loved Jesus dearly and was a member of Hillcrest Community Church where she was a Sunday School teacher and had served on the Board. She was a strong pillar in her family. Surviving are her children, Marsha Porter, Joan (Randy) Hughes, Donald (Enya) Schoonmaker, Paula (Bill) Splitstone, Joseph (Sue) Schoonmaker, Pamela Ussery, Alma Katherine (Doug) Terrill, Lila (Daniel) Hodges; 29 grandchildren; 66 great grandchildren; 9 great great grandchildren; brother, Carl Losinger; sisters, Helen Bassett, Elnor Addington. She was preceded in death by her husband, Finley in 1968; son, Steven; daughter, Linda VanSplinter; one grandson; five great grandchildren. The family greeted friends Monday, Feb. 9 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was Tuesday at Hillcrest Community Church, 5994 18 Mile Road, Cedar Springs. Pastor Kristi Rhodes officiating. Interment Reynolds Township Cemetery, Howard City. Memorial contributions may be made to the Hillcrest Community Church.

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

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Life’s not fair and that’s okay


Hillcrest-Church-picPastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. 

Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

 

 

Life’s not fair. No big surprise right? When children are formed in the womb, a DNA chip appears in their brains. Not many scientists recognize it, but every parent knows it’s there. It’s called the “life should be fair” chip. Every child is born with it—without exception. Every parent has heard their children utter the same phrase, “That’s not fair!” It happens with birthday cake (his is bigger). It happens at bedtime (he gets to stay up later). And so on. And it doesn’t get better as they get older. The life should be fair chip doesn’t disintegrate naturally.

I’ve done it, too. How about the stockings at Christmas? We put the exact same things in each stocking, right down to counting the miniature candy bars trying to be fair. Was that fair? No! It was equal. What about the child that doesn’t like Mounds candy bars?

We want life to be fair. We think life should be fair. When someone else gets called into the doctor’s office first, that’s not fair. When life doesn’t provide us with the abilities, possessions, talents, or opportunities others have, we cry it’s not fair. But no one ever promised life was fair, nor should it be. Herb Shaffer says in his book, “From Where God Sits,” That’s okay! Life’s not fair—never will be, wasn’t created to be, and that’s okay! God’s in charge, we’re His kids, He loves us all the same, but He does not promise that life will be fair. In fact, Jesus promised just the opposite in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If we insist on fairness and strive to get it on our own, we often short-circuit God’s better plan. What the enemy plans for evil, God will use for good. Don’t curse the bumps. They are what we climb on.

We need to stop complaining about our trouble. Happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and say thanks to God for the troubles we don’t have.

Being thankful is a state of mind. Use what God has blessed you with to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Life’s not fair, and that’s okay. When we accept that truth about life, it gets much easier to handle. We will accept the difficulties we are handed as a normal part of life instead of believing something is wrong when unfairness comes. Sometimes those who don’t deserve it are going to get things we never do. But by tossing out the lie that life should be fair, we give God the opportunity to make us grow from the unfairness into better people instead of bitter people. That’s when the life should be fair chip begins to disintegrate—and we can get on with doing life the way God designed us to do it.

 

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Peanut butter pews


Hillcrest-Church-picPastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

Over the years, I have had the privilege of being used by God to help many people, marriages, and families through some very hard seasons in their lives. Too often, people get stuck in a bad place and really struggle to find a way out. In many cases, some have resigned themselves to give up, believing there is no hope.

As a pastor, my calling is to point them to the hope—Jesus Christ—who is the hope of the world! There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain and restore hope to those who seem stuck in a bad place. Each new assignment brings its own challenges, but none that God can’t handle, for those who will trust him with the outcome in every situation.

As I was preparing my most favorite sandwich in the whole wide world (Jif peanut butter and almost any flavor of jelly), I was meditating on one of the most recent victories. I was in awe of God, praising Him for His power and thanking Him for trusting me with His precious child. I am amazed yet again of His amazing power to transform relationships for His glory.

The peanut butter on my sandwiches is always quite thick (yum) and I dropped the knife in the middle of the peanut butter and it stuck there. I got the knife out and cleaned the peanut butter off, then the lid to the jelly dropped on the peanut butter and stuck there. My thoughts went to—“hmm, I would like to get stuck in a sea of peanut butter.” Then I was reminded of how often we can get stuck in a good place, too!

We can get so comfortable in our peanut butter pews that we don’t want to go out and reach those who are lost or hurt, depressed, confused, or struggling in relationships, stuck in hopelessness. We can even become a hindrance to those who do. Those who won’t leave their comfort zone have lost sight of why the church exists in the first place. We dishonor God when we refuse to be used to expand His Kingdom.

When God has redeemed us and healed our broken relationships, healed our past hurts and scars, restored our dignity, and written our names in the Lamb’s book of Life, we should be so thankful that we want to help others. Just before Peter would experience the lowest point of his life thus far, Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31-32, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Peter was stuck in the worst place of his life—betrayal of his Lord—until he remembered Jesus’ words. Jesus’ powerful words restored Peter who in turn helped restore and strengthen his brothers. Let us be found faithful to Jesus’ Great Commission to “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19).

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Beyond the walls


Members of The Springs and Solon Center Wesleyan worked together on many projects Sunday, including planting flowers and weeding around signs.

Members of The Springs and Solon Center Wesleyan worked together on many projects Sunday, including planting flowers and weeding around signs.

By Judy Reed

 

Three church congregations proved last Sunday that worship doesn’t have to take place between four walls—and that serving and worshipping go hand in hand.

The Springs Church, 35 N. Grant Street, and Solon Center Wesleyan, located near the corner of Algoma and 19 Mile, met for a time of joint worship at Skinner Field Sunday, before heading out to serve the community. They sang with a praise team made up of members from both congregations, and then Springs Pastor Barry Briggs and Solon Center Pastor Tom Holloway gave the crowd of 300-plus a pep talk to help them get excited about the service projects they were about to undertake. The crowd then broke into groups to perform various tasks in the community. Members of Hillcrest Community Church also joined some of the teams.

Kids of all ages worked side by side with adults Sunday. Here, Wyatt Fisk washes a window. Photos courtesy of Solon Center Wesleyan.

Kids of all ages worked side by side with adults Sunday. Here, Wyatt Fisk washes a window. Photos courtesy of Solon Center Wesleyan.

The teams visited patients at Metron; did roadside cleanup; planted flowers; washed windows for customers at the Wesco gas stations in Cedar Springs and Sand Lake; worked at Alpha Family Center; visited Hope Network homes; built a sandbox for a family; handed out freezer pops to people; delivered cookies to businesses; prayed for the city government, schools, businesses, families; and more.

Kerr said that the kids in the family who received the sand box were really excited. “The team who built it said the kids were all smiles.”

While both churches have done similar days like this in the past with their own church, it was the first time they organized it as a joint effort

“I thought it went really well,” said Local missions Pastor Cherri’ Kerr, who has organized this event for The Springs for the last six years. “People were excited to go out and serve, and I got good reports back. Coming together with Solon was really neat.”

Holloway agreed. “The businesses were really thankful, and the churches working together worked out well. It was good to see the camaraderie, to see us united for a common vision,” he remarked. He also noted that it was the largest turnout they’ve had from their congregation in the five years they’ve done it.

Kerr said that the goal next year is to get more churches involved in the project.

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The Greatest Honor


Hillcrest-Church-picPastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

Everyone knows that November is a month focused on giving thanks.  We even thank our Veterans on the 11th day of the 11th month and rightly so. But do you know that the greatest way to honor our veterans is to not forfeit our freedoms that they sacrificed their comforts to defend? A very sincere thank you goes out to all our Veterans today, this month, and always!

And do you also know that in the same way, we give thanks to our Lord Jesus who gave up the comforts of Paradise to come and enter into humanity and be the sacrifice for our eternal freedom? And that the greatest way to honor Jesus is to not forfeit the glorious freedom from the bondage of sin that He sacrificed His life for.

Jesus came to testify to the truth, which sets us free. As Christ followers, when we go through life believing the lies of the enemy, still in bondage to the very things Jesus set us free from, we discount His sacrifice and His power to bring freedom.

The power of God is truly an amazing thing. It redeems our past; communicates, guides, counsels and empowers us in the present; and secures our future! Too often we beat ourselves up over the past or get stuck there, not allowing ourselves to enjoy our freedom and move on. Or we get too farsighted, wanting to know the future and what is way on up ahead that we can’t deal with or enjoy the here and now.

I was reading a devotion the other day called “Jesus Calling,” by Sarah Young, who talked about the times God brings a peaceful fog over our difficult paths in life, obscuring our view so we can only see a few steps in front of us.  It is in those times we turn our attention more fully to God.

She goes on to say that the fog is a protection for us, calling us back into the present moment. Although God inhabits all of space and time, we can communicate with Him only here and now. Someday the fog will no longer be necessary, for we will have learned to keep our focus on Jesus and on the path just ahead of us, trusting our past and our future to Him.

We bring the greatest honor and glory to God by trusting in His salvation and not forfeiting the freedom He died for. He now lives in every Christ follower and is with us always and He knows what He’s doing.

Ps. 73:23-24 NIV says, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”

Let us bring the greatest honor with a very sincere and glorious thank you to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!

 

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United in worship


By Judy Reed

 

Hundreds of Christians from the greater Cedar Springs area left denominational differences behind and came together last Sunday, August 25, to worship together as one church.

Young and old rocked out to a praise band made up of members from area churches, and Pastor Kristie Rhodes, from Hillcrest Community Church, gave a message on the need for unity—unity between husbands and wives, unity in the family, and unity in the church.

After the service, attendees were offered a free picnic lunch, and kids had a blast in the bounce houses and played on the playground.

Goodwill was also on hand to take donations.

 

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Be ready always


Pastor Kristi J. Rhodes  

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

Recently there was a call-in radio show that had, as their guest, an atheist, who was sharing his views. While frantically trying to get a call through to the station, there were a dozen or more Christian callers talking to this man. It was appalling at the ease with which he was chewing them up and spitting them out! It seemed that every Christian who called was incapable of giving an intelligent reason for the faith that he or she held. “The Bible says such and such,” each would begin in trying to support what she or he was saying. The atheist would counter: “Well, why do you believe the Bible?” Every one of them was reduced to stammering out something like, “Well, I’ve got it down in my heart.” The atheist would answer, “Well, it’s not down in my heart, friend, and I don’t believe it.”

This is what prompted D. James Kennedy to write a book entitled, “Why I Believe.”

It’s especially important in these days for Christians to be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them. 1 Peter 3:13-17 (MSG) says: “If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are (defend what you believe), and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad” (emphasis mine).

Challenges from unbelievers and seekers confront us always. Television, books, magazines, and movies subject our faith to questioning in thousands of ways! As Christians we must be ready to speak to those who question our basic beliefs.  We sin against God when we remain silent because we’re incapable of defending what we believe.

Not only that—when we don’t stand ready with a reason for our hope and don’t know why we believe what we believe, we give others the impression that Christianity is a religion based merely on blind faith or emotional prejudice. Nothing could be further from the truth!

We often accuse those who reject Christianity without at least examining the evidence of being prejudiced. Then is it not also true that if a person accepts it without examining the evidence, then that too is nothing other than prejudice or gullibility?

The Bible tells us to examine all things and to hold fast to that which is good. Yet too often we’re not willing to do that just because it takes a little effort on our part to become workmen who need not be ashamed. When we don’t examine the grounds and foundation for our faith, we find that Satan will use our ignorance to attack our belief, and when we experience difficulties, he will sow doubts in our minds.

We must be better at knowing what we believe and why we believe it so we will be ready always to give a reason for the hope that we have in us. Read and know the Bible, which is foundational for Christian belief!

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