web analytics

Tag Archive | "Jesus"

It’s all about balance


Pastor Herb VanderBilt

East Nelson United Methodist Church

9024 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs

 

 

“Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you (I Thessalonians 5:12-28).

Paul’s words of advice to Timothy, over 2000 years ago, are good advice even today. Basically he is reminding Timothy that life is a balance of holding onto the good and avoiding the evil.  Recently we heard a lecture by the noted New Testament scholar N.T. Wright, where he said that the message of the church also has to be in balance or in harmony. He used the metaphor of a quadraphonic stereo with a speaker in each corner of the room and how if one speaker is too loud, it distorts the sound and destroys the harmony. I think that the apostle Paul is also telling Timothy to look for this balance in helping people not only grow the early church, but also those who are just discovering Jesus Christ. We can also use this metaphor in how to find balance in our lives today. We all have people in our lives pulling us one way or the next and we also need to find the balance in our relationships with others. If we use the idea of four speakers we can think of our relationship with our friends, our job, our family and Church as the quadraphonic space that we live in. If one of these speakers is too loud it affects how we hear the others. If we turn down our friends and only listen to the other three, it will distort the melody of life and so on with the other three. All of these speakers keep the spirits fire alive in us; turn any of them off and we put out the spirit’s fire. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

 

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments (0)

Make Your Home with Me


By Ronnie McBrayer

Lately, one of Jesus’ more cryptic phrases has been making laps inside my head. These words were spoken on the last night Jesus was with his disciples: “Abide in me, and I will abide in you.” Jesus was welcoming his disciples to remain connected with him and to rely upon him. “Stay put. Don’t abandon your relationship with me,” Jesus was saying. Eugene Peterson translates Jesus words like this, “Make your home in me.”

That’s not so cryptic, as we understand home quite well. Home is where each day begins and where it ends. Home is where we eat, rest, relax, take shelter, play, and love. Home is where we go when there is no other place, and where we always return. Home is that glorious place where we walk around in our socks and underwear, scratch our backsides without worrying about who is looking, and lounge around on the weekend without showering or shaving if we so choose. Home is where we can drop all our burdens, barriers and coping mechanisms.

Home is sweet, it is where the heart is, and it is our castle. It is where we bring the bacon and where we wait for the cows to arrive. Home is like no other place in the world, and no matter where or how far we travel, home is where we always call, well, home. It is where we feel safe, secure, and ultimately, where we can be ourselves. Jesus said, “Make your home”—relax and be yourself—“with me.”

I believe that a large portion of our personal suffering stems from the fact that we often go looking for “home” in all the wrong places. The wrong career, the wrong person or relationship, the wrong ambitions: We are searching for that comfortable place where we can prop our shoeless feet on the coffee table and be accepted as the real, natural people that we are.

When that no-strings-attached acceptance is not forthcoming, we begin to work, worry, toil and sweat, manipulate and be manipulated, all in an attempt to get others to take us as we are. We end up being strangers to ourselves, living within the artificial structures we have created, but it sure isn’t home sweet home. It’s miserable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can give ourselves over to Christ, in total dependence, and find rest for our homesick souls.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.

 

 

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Light of Heaven’s Dove


Rogue River Community Theatre presented “The Light Of Heaven’s Dove,” a musical drama about the life of Christ, at the Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs last weekend.
It is a message play about Jesus the Christ, whose life and travels have touched all of humanity throughout history and will continue to do so in the times to come.
Jesus, of Nazareth, was played by John Hogan and Mary was played by Teresa Lautenbach. Patricia Rose, of Rockford wrote, staged, choreographed and directed the show.
Their next and last performance for this show will be Dec. 6, at 7:30pm at Basilica of St. Adalberts Cathedral, 701 4th St. NW, Grand Rapids.

Posted in Arts & EntertainmentComments (0)

Lessons from Lazarus


Pastor Ryan Black
Cedar Springs Christian Church
340 West Pine Street, Cedar Springs

From the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, we learn certain lessons. The first lesson is about reason. You cannot have radical faith until you’ve exhausted all reasonable solutions. Mary and Martha didn’t send for Jesus until they’d done everything they could do for Lazarus. Be reasonable; if you can do it for yourself, God won’t do it for you. For example, unless you are willing to change your diet and start eating right, how can you go to God with confidence for healing? Unless you are willing to put the needs of your spouse above your own, what’s the point in praying for a happy marriage? James writes: “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18).
The second lesson is about relationship. Some folks only turn to God when they have a crisis. Prayer is a foreign concept to them until they have a car wreck, or their marriage falls apart, or they lose their job. Then, incredibly, they say, “God, why did you let this happen?” It’s hard to go to someone when you’re in trouble, if you’ve spent no time building a relationship with them. Jesus often spent time at the home of Mary and Martha, eating at their table. They were givers, not takers. “It was that mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick” (John 11:2). When you love the lord to that extent, you can go to him in faith knowing your needs will be met.
The third lesson is about relinquishment. As long as you believe you can handle the problem on your own, you will not reach for the miracle-working power of God. You have to be in a situation so terrible that you pray the prayer of relinquishment: “Lord, I’ve done all i know and things aren’t getting any better. So I’m through trying to fix it. I turn it completely over to you. I don’t know how you’re going to handle it, but I know you love me and want only what’s best for me. So here it is, Lord; it’s all yours.” This is not a prayer of defeat; it is one of total trust. David wrote: “Though i am surrounded by troubles…the Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, o lord, endures forever” (ps 138:7-8 ).
Before leaving the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, here are two more lessons: the fourth lesson is about radical faith. When somebody is dead and buried, that’s as “final” as it gets. To believe God in the face of such a situation requires radical faith.  Until this moment, Martha had “if only” faith. “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). But then she began to realize what Jesus could do, and moved to “even now” faith. She said to Jesus, “but even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Radical faith says, “Lord, I believe that my future can be greater than my past, that you can turn the situation around and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, that nothing is too hard for you.” Radical faith in the face of radical circumstances brings radical results.

Posted in From the PulpitComments (0)

Christmas Carries Over


Pilgrim Bible Church
West Pine St., Cedar Springs
Rev. Mike Shiery

Each Christmas we read again the stories of the birth of Jesus and the visits of the shepherds and wise men to His birthplace. These stories come with all the old charm, and their message thrills us again because of its wonder and meaning. I confess that the powerful truth of Christmas, that God loved each individual enough to give us all the Gift that we didn’t deserve, stirs and thrills me to the depths of my being.
I love the majestic simplicity of the Christmas story, as well as the lights, decorations, traditions, family time, feeling of good will, and even the snow and cold weather. One songwriter poignantly expressed the feelings of many people when he wrote: “If everyday could be just like Christmas, what a wonderful world this would be.”
Of course we know that Christmas Day will soon be past, the carols will no longer be sung, and the decorations will be packed and stored away for months to come. However, the spirit of Christmas does not need to be relegated to some box in the closet, but can forever impact us.
I believe that the road map for such living can be found in the story of the shepherds and the wise men. The Bible tells us that after the shepherds had been to the stable, they “returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.”
Then after the wise men had worshiped the babe, they returned home by a different route from that which they had previously traveled.
The thought that I would like us to consider is that the experience of the shepherds and of the wise men carried over in our lives. It wasn’t the experience of a day or an hour. It was an experience that would enrich their lives ever afterward.
It is the experiences which carry over that make life wonderful and beautiful and rich. Sometimes they are rather simple happenings; a boy will remember all his life the touchdown he made in an unimportant game; a girl will receive a school honor which brings pleasure all her life. Of course, there will also be outstanding events that carry over.
It is possible for us to have experiences this Christmas season which will carry over and give beauty and richness and meaning to our lives long after this Christmas is past.
I encourage you to make good memories, cherish family time, enjoy traditions, and revel in the joy of the Christmas season. But most of all, make the foundation of your Christmas experience a relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, He truly is the reason for the season.

Posted in Church Connection, From the PulpitComments (0)

advert
Advertising Rates Brochure
Ensley Team Five Star Realty
Kent Theatre

Get the Cedar Springs Post in your mailbox for only $35.00 a year!