web analytics

Tag Archive | "north kent community church"

Power of Prayer


Pastor Craig Carter

North Kent Community Church

1480 Indian Lakes Rd. • Sparta, MI 49345

 

 

“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness”—Martin Luther.

For the last several weeks, I have been drawn to a more committed and deeper prayer life. Often we think, as Martin Luther wrote, that our prayers are somehow needed to “move” a reluctant God. When in reality, we are simply acknowledging and “laying hold” of God’s willingness. Do you see God as a willing person? Willing to listen? Willing to answer? Willing to provide? Willing to reveal and show His love to you?  Is your “picture” of God one of a willing Father or a resistant and reluctant God?

You see, your “picture” of God is critical to understanding prayer. It is essential to knowing Him as a loving and willing Father. Jesus taught this lesson to his disciples when he taught them about prayer in Luke chapter 11. We call this well known teaching of Jesus, “the Lord’s Prayer.” Luke 11:1-4 reads, “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us and lead us not into temptation.’”

Jesus had been with his disciples for some time now. They had witnessed him heal and deliver many people. They witnessed him repeatedly say, “I only speak what the father speaks,”  “If you have seen me, you have seen the father,” “I and the Father are one.” They also have witnessed him take time out of his demanding life and spend time in prayer. One day, upon returning from one of His prayer times, the disciples asked the Lord Jesus to teach them how to pray.  Their request was, “teach us how to pray, as John taught his disciples!” Notice this request? There was something different about how John was teaching people to pray. Jesus disciples knew about “prayer” but they wanted Jesus to teach them about the prayers that John’s disciples were praying. You see, up until this time, prayer was mainly one of reverence and adoration. Prayers, especially by the Pharisees and religious people, were known to be long and repetitious. In fact, Jesus warned us not to pray like this. So, what was different about these prayers?

As we read further in verses 2 – 4, we see that the Lord introduces the principle of praying to God as a Father. He includes in this communication our petitions and requests. We are encouraged to adore God as our Father and to share our requests and needs. In essence, He is saying, “please know you can ask your Father for what you have need of in your life.”

In fact, immediately following the Lord’s prayer, we see Jesus sharing a parable about a man who was rewarded for his persistence in asking for his need to be met. There was no rebuke, but a reward for his persistence! One translation says, he was rewarded for his “boldness.” As a child of God the Father, learn to communicate with him through prayer. Exercise your faith, your boldness, your confidence, during these times of pray. Make your requests and needs known.  For the Father’s ear is always listening. We are, as Luther said, “laying hold of His willingness.” Will you lay hold of it today? Will you be more consistent and persistent in your prayer life, because you know you have a willing Father who loves you. If so, you will begin to see the power of prayer in your every day life.

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

Heard from heaven


Pastor Craig Carter

North Kent Community Church

1480 Indian Lakes Rd. • Sparta, MI 49345 

 

 

2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV)

It is Sunday, November 24, at approximately 9 p.m., and I am taking a moment to reflect on one of the most amazing “Community Thanksgiving Services” I have ever attended. Tonight, I had the privilege, as did hundreds of others, to hear three powerful testimonies from three different men in our community. These men shared their stories with honesty, vulnerability and great a deal of humility. It took a lot of courage for them to share. Ultimately, their stories were filled with love, forgiveness, and redemption in Jesus Christ. They revealed how amazing God was to hear their cries and heal their lives. Their changed lives and testimonies have inspired me to write this article and remind men everywhere that Jesus Christ loves them! In fact, I am convinced that we are in a season of healing for the lives of people, but men in particular.

The souls of men have been beaten and left for dead, by the culture and cares of this life. Men are searching for meaning and purpose now more than ever. They realize that the pursuit of success and the accumulation of possessions do not satisfy. Men are being driven to fill this void with so many things, yet none of them bring the peace that Jesus offers. The overriding theme in these testimonies was that they were men who had come to the end of themselves. They were tired and weary from the demands of life, and the expectations placed on them as men. They humbled themselves and turned to God. They found a loving God who cared and was willing to save and heal them. God showed them He was listening to their hearts. So, He lovingly reached down from heaven and healed them and brought them peace.

If you are a man reading this article, how are you doing?  Do you know God is listening? Do you know He wants to heal your heart and free you from your burdens? You, like these three men, can find comfort and assurance in knowing God will, “hear you from heaven” and heal you. The Apostle Peter offered us this great advice when he wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV). If this is you, humble yourself! Cast your burdens on the Lord and he will remove them from you, because he cares for you!

Thank you to the three men who humbled themselves to God. Your lives are an inspiring example to us all!

Happy thanksgiving!

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

Moments of Selah


Pastor Craig Carter

North Kent Community Church

1480 Indian Lakes Rd. N.E., Sparta, MI 49345

 

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah” Psalms 46:10-11 (NIV.)

If you are like me, you have purposed this summer to slow down the busyness of life and enjoy your summer.  However, it is the first part of August already and it continues to go by so fast. There is a saying in music, the “beat goes on.” Life does go on also, and it often tends to find a “rhythm” like a good song. However, the great songs and songwriters always place “musical rests” or pauses in the song. They have learned that they enhance the music and often drive home the purpose of the song or the lyrics. That is exactly what this word Selah means.

The word Selah is used 71 time in the Book of Psalms and 3 times in the Book of Habakkuk. Most Bible scholars agree that this word has various meanings, but most agree on three that are most common. The first is to pause or rest; secondly, to measure or meditate; and thirdly, to lift up.

The first meaning is to rest. This rest is not like a Sabbath, known for a specific or extended time off, but is one that denotes a brief pause or a break. The writer of Psalms is asking the reader to stop reading at that moment and take break from reading. Why are they asking us to take a break?

This leads us to the second meaning, which is to measure or meditate. The purpose of Selah (rest) is to take a moment and meditate or reflect. Remember the “Selah,” rest or break was purposely placed in the psalm, by the writer, to stop you. God the author of our life purposely places moments of “Selah” in our lives to stop us. He wants us to slow down, stop for a moment and take time to reflect on what He is speaking or doing in our life. These moments by God often come in various ways, vacations, summer breaks, seasons of life and even difficult or tying times. But like a great song, we must place them and acknowledge their purpose in our life.

Thirdly, Selah means to lift up. When we take the time to incorporate and allow God to place these moments in our life, we live stronger more refreshed lives. They also cause us to “lift up” our hearts and lives to God. We are able to “Be still, and know that He is God,” We stop long enough to remember that God has everything under control. We once again are refreshed by this truth and fact in life as a believer. So although summer continues to go by fast and life itself does not stop, purpose to incorporate moments of “Selah” in your life! If not, God may just schedule them for you. Regardless of the season, circumstances, or situations you face, take a break and reflect on God’s goodness and faithfulness. Be still and remember He is God.

Just a final note to remind our readers that on Sunday, August 25,at 11am, our annual UNITED SERVICE will take place at Morley Park.  It is our time collectively as churches when we take a scheduled “Selah” together. We pause from our own church schedules and together reflect on God’s goodness. We hope you can make it. We know you will leave refreshed.

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

More than conquerors!


Pastor Craig Carter

North Kent Community Church

1480 Indian Lakes Rd., Sparta, 

Church Phone #: 550-6398

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39 NIV).

The Apostle Paul wrote these amazing words to the church in Rome. It was a group of people, whom the apostle Paul had never even met. Yet, he loved them so much, he wanted to remind them of God’s love for them. We see from this verse that he asks them a very simple, yet profound question. “Who or what can separate you from the love of God?” So, precious people of North Kent County, who or what can separate you from the love of God? I, like the apostle, have never met the majority of you reading this article, yet I am compelled to remind you of God’s love for you.

An amazing truth! I have found that it is easier for people to believe that God exists, than it is for them to truly believe that He loves them—that He is crazy, head over heels in love with them and concerned about every detail of their lives. If our understanding of God does not go any deeper than His existence, we will continue to believe that the things of this life have somehow separated us from His love. God’s amazing love convinced the apostle Paul that there was nothing that could separate him from it. Do you believe this? Or are you like many of us who struggle to believe it? If you struggle with believing or accepting the love of God, then I encourage you to simply say, “Lord, convince me!” Then sit back and watch Him show you that His love for you is not tied to your behavior, good or bad, but in His nature alone. The nature of God is love. That is why I am continually convinced myself that God enjoys convincing us of His love. Are you convinced yet?

Why the hoopla over convincing us of His love? Because it makes us more than a conqueror! Notice what the apostle Paul said in verse 37, “No, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” We learn from this verse that his love reaches all things. There is not one area or circumstance of our lives that God’s love does not touch. Secondly, it makes us more than conquerors. The love of God not only gets us over circumstances but can keep us there. His love cannot only provide a job for the unemployed, but can pay every bill. His love cannot only save your marriage, but can make your love for one another thrive and flourish again. His love cannot only get you over depression but also can renew your hope and restore your joy for the future.  Now that’s being “more than a conqueror.” What made it possible? The love of God! Will you receive it today? Will you quit believing that God simply exists and start believing that he exists to reveal His love to you? If have never received God’s love, then open your heart and acknowledge this priceless truth, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17).” Enjoy the Love of God!

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

$12 Dollars Short!


Pastor Craig Carter
North Kent Community Church
1480 Indian Lakes Rd., Sparta, • Church Phone: 550-6398

I recently spent some time with a friend and his family. He shared a personal story about his son, who recently went through some legal difficulties. We had the privilege of praying for and encouraging his family and his son through these difficulties. Since that time, my friend’s story has profoundly touched my heart and life. It has reminded me of how much I need God and am dependent upon Him.
His story went on to include details about his son’s arrest. He shared that after having been arrested, his son appeared before the judge, where his bond was set.   His son had some money on him personally and was hoping to simply bond himself out of jail. Unfortunately, the judge set the bond amount for $12 more than he had on his person. He found himself $12 short! His financial shortfall required him to call his father for help. Of course, this was not want he wanted to do. His son’s desire was to just take care of his problem on his own.
Does this sound familiar? How many times in our lives as human beings have we tried to solve our problems on our own? We, like my friend’s son, respond the same way. We say, “I can take care of this myself.” The problem with this thought process is that God never intended for us to do things on our own. As a result, we too fall short. I do not like this feeling of “falling short.” It makes me feel inadequate and nobody likes that feeling. However, I have come to realize that is exactly how God planned it. Our “shortfalls” and inadequacies, if we let them, will cause us to rely on God for his help. The Apostle Paul knew this truth when he wrote, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Rom 3:22-24 –NIV). Paul reminds us that trust (faith) in Jesus Christ makes up the difference. We are redeemed from our sin, and our shortcomings, simply by trusting in God and His amazing grace. You cannot earn it, you must simply believe and receive it! In essence, God provides the $12 you need, but you have to ask Him for it. Have you ever asked God to make up the difference in your life? Have you ever acknowledged that you are a sinner and that you fall short? Even if you are a Christian, do you live with the realization that without God, you will always come up short of what you need?  Or do you live a self-reliant life? In another portion of scripture, the Apostle Paul said, “In Him I live and move and can’t get away from him (Acts 17:28 -The Message). We realize that without him we can do nothing. You have to come to realize that your self-reliant nature does not like this truth. That is what I have come to realize in this story.  My self–reliant nature always leaves me $12 dollars short of what I need. However, when I simply acknowledge my complete dependence upon God, He always makes up for what I lack. I just need to humble myself, like my friend’s son, and call my Heavenly Father.

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

Speaks of better things!


Pastor Craig Carter
North Kent Community Church

1480 Indian Lakes Rd., Sparta,

Church Phone #: 550-6398
Heb 12:24: “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (KJV).
First of all, I would like to say how much I appreciated Pastor Ryan Black’s article in the February 17th edition of the Cedar Post. He wrote an article titled “Pattern of the Blood.” His simple writing about the importance of the blood of Jesus was very powerful. We often forget that there is truly “power in the blood!” As the great hymn goes, “power, power, wonder working power…” So, I just thought I would take a few moments to note a few things about the wonder working power of Jesus blood.

Better Things

We see according to Hebrews 12:24, that the blood of Jesus Christ speaks “better things” than the blood of Abel. You may remember this story about two brothers named Cain and Abel. Unfortunately, Cain allowed his heart to become hardened towards God and his brother, and thought the answer to his rejectionwas to kill his brother. Ever since, Abel’s blood has “spoken from the ground” it was spilled on. It has cried out for justice! The good news is that Jesus’ blood shed at Calvary speaks of better things. It says, there is mercy and forgiveness.  It says, although we deserved justice, He was willing to give us things we did not deserve. If that is not better, I do not know what is.
Better Hope
Hebrews 7:19 says, “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” The Blood of Jesus Christ provided a better hope. A hope not simply founded in the wishes and dreams of our own life, but on the life of Jesus Christ. It permits us to “draw close to God.”  The have a relationship with one who tells us that nothing we experience or face in life, will ever leave us hopeless.

Better Promises

Heb 8:1-6  says, “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” The Blood Jesus provided the assurance of “better promises.”  We have the blessing of the New Testament, full of wonderful promises to those who believe them. My favorite is found in Hebrews 12:5. This verse promises that God will “never leave you and never forsake you”!

Better and Enduring Substance

Heb 10:34 states, “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” What a blessing to know that the Blood of Jesus purchased eternal things. We live a life so focused on temporal things. Things that never provide the love, joy, peace and assurance we are looking for. Yet, through Christ, we have a better and enduring substance, one full of eternal assurances. That is why we are encouraged as Christians to “store up things” in heaven where moth and rust can not corrupt.

Better Country

Heb 11:16 reads, “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” This verse speaks of our eternal home called heaven. A place where Jesus said he went to prepare for us. A place, where all those who have received salvation through the shed blood of Jesus will go when they die.  A place where every tear will be wiped away and joy and peace will be ours for eternity. Now, this place is clearly a better than the alternative. A place that we do not often talk about, but is real none the less. A place called Hell. A place of eternal separation from God, where no joy or peace will ever be found. That’s why I desire the “better country.” How about you? It simple to go there.  thank Jesus for shedding His blood for your sins. Tell Him you are sorry for thinking other things are “better” and receive Him into your life.

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

Dunnemans sing at North Kent Community


Gospel singers Reg and Gretchen Dunneman will sing at North Kent Community Church, 1480 Indian Lakes, Sparta, on Wednesday evening, September 2, at 7 p.m. (They will also sing briefly at the United worship event in Morley Park this Sunday, August 30.)

The Dunnemans, from Binghamton, NY, sing their own special blend of gospel music, including southern gospel, traditional, hymn, classical, country, bluegrass and contemporary Christian styles. Their full-time ministry presents over 350 concerts a year, from Maine to Florida to Arizona.

They have produced several recordings that will be available at the service. Their latest recording, “Before the Throne” was released in early February. CDs are $15.

Reg Dunneman, a native of Stratford, Ontario, grew up in a musical family and played piano at an early age. He organized the Victors Trio and then the Tabernacle Trio, which sang in Ontario for years. For 20 years, he sang with Canada’s Galileans, a southern gospel quartet that toured Canada and the United States.

Gretchen has been a member of the Friendship Trio, singing in churches and Bible conferences. She also sang with the Broome County (NY) Savoyards, performing Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and in the choruses of the BC Pops, the Binghamton Symphony Orchestra and the Tri Cities Opera, all in Binghamton, New York.

Both Reg and Gretchen have sung with the Binghamton Madrigal Choir, which performs a cappella choral works.

For more information, call the church at 887-2478.

Posted in FeaturedComments Off


advert

LOCAL Advertisers

Kent Theatre
The POST
Bryne Electrical

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