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Tag Archive | "Pastor Craig Carter"

Sincere Faith


Pastor Craig Carter

North Kent Community Church

1480 Indian Lakes Rd. NE • Sparta, MI 49345

 

I recently had the privilege of performing the funeral of a gentleman who was born and raised in a small community near McBain, Michigan. In learning more about this family, I soon discovered he was the grandson of a family who raised 7 children in a small 2-bedroom home near the edge of the town. They were very devout Christians, who were very active in their community and church. It was clear that their honest devotion and sacrifice to others had made a huge impact on this community for years to follow.

I was reminded of a similar story in the Bible. In 2 Timothy 1:3-5, we read of the Apostle Paul’s memory of a family dear to him. It was the family of young Timothy. Paul says, “I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” (NIV)

Notice, Paul recalled the legacy of this family that began with Timothy’s grandmother and then was also passed on to his mother, Eunice. Now, Paul says he is persuaded, or convinced that it lives or exists in Timothy!

What was it? What did Paul see in Timothy? What family trait did Paul find had been passed down from one generation to the next?

In Verse 5, Paul calls it “Sincere Faith.” The Word “sincere” here in the Greek means real, without hypocrisy. In Latin, it comes from the word, “Sincera,” which means “without wax.” It was word used to describe pottery or sculptures made by artist that were authentic or flawless. Artist often made mistakes! The way they would correct them was to fill the cracks or flaws with wax. They would then paint them and cover them up. If the artist was not honest they would sell them as flawless or authentic pieces.

So, what was the Apostle Paul saying about Timothy and his family? What made Timothy’s grandmother and mother so effective in sharing their faith with Timothy? They were real! They were sincere! They were authentic! They did not try and hide their flaws. Interestingly, Timothy’s mother was Jewish and his father was Greek. One would be considered and believer and the other a non-believer. So, they had their flaws and differences. Every family has them. None of us are perfect, but if we are going to impact our families and communities with the love of Christ, we need to be real! I have been a probation officer, high school security officer and pastor for over 35 years now. People just want you to be authentic. Too often Christians try and portray this perfect image. We are good at filling our flaws with wax and then acting like we’re the real thing. You want to have a lasting impact in your family, church or community? You want to leave a legacy? Then live out a “sincere” faith first among your family and then others.

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Actress in Columbine film to speak at local church


 

Payton Christian, an actress, model and speaker, will speak at North Kent Community Church on Sunday, April 30, and be on hand to speak to youth that evening at a community-wide showing of “I’m not ashamed,” a film telling the story of Rachel Scott, the first victim in the Columbine shooting in 1999. Courtesy photo.

Payton Christian, an actress, model and speaker, will speak at North Kent Community Church on Sunday, April 30, and be on hand to speak to youth that evening at a community-wide showing of “I’m not ashamed,” a film telling the story of Rachel Scott, the first victim in the Columbine shooting in 1999. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

The shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 was a tragic event that people will not forget. And the stories that came out of it—like the shooting of Rachel Joy Scott—the first victim, are a reminder of the courage of many of the students.

“I am not ashamed,” a movie that tells her story and is based on Scott’s diaries, came out last fall. It will have a special showing next weekend, April 30, at North Kent Community Church, 1480 Indian Lakes Rd NE, at 5:30 p.m. Payton Christian, an actress who plays a Columbine student in the movie, will be on hand to give her own testimony during the 10 a.m. service April 30, and will speak to youth at the community-wide screening at 5:30 p.m.. She will also speak to youth at the En Gedi Youth Center on Monday, May 1, at 2:45 p.m. at Red Hawk Elementary.

Payton is an 18-year-old actress and model who lives in Erin, Tennessee. Her faith and family are both important to her. She lives on a 200-acre farm called Christian Farm, with her mom, dad, and grandmother. She was homeschooled from about second grade on, because of an auto-immune deficiency. “I would be sick all of the time, catch colds and flu really easy,” she explained. So her mom decided to keep her home and homeschool her. It’s gotten better as she’s gotten older, but it’s still with her. “It’s just something I have, it doesn’t stop me,” she said.

When she was 11, she was watching New York fashion week, and told her mom she’d like to do that. So they looked at agencies, and chose a Christian-based agency. “They told me I was a little short for modeling but they could put me in a movie here and there,” she explained with a chuckle.

Her first movie was “Rumors of War,” when she was almost 12. “It’s an intense, faith-based film about the end of days,” she explained. “Not for kids under 13.”

Payton has done a variety of movies—both secular and Christian, but said her heart is with faith-based movies. “I love God and love doing films about Him and his word, and how he’s worked through people’s lives,” she said.

The Post asked Payton how she became involved with “I’m not ashamed.”

“I had seen some talk about it, and I helped with some of the casting. My agency was doing the casting and I was there that day, and I listened and watched as the actors read for their parts. I later talked to my manager about it, and said ‘If there is anything I can do to be a part of it, I want to do it.’ So I was there from day one to the last day,” she recalled.

She said they were all happy with the response to the film. “So many people showed up at the premier, and huge groups came to see it,” she said.

Payton Christian loving on a parrot, on the farm she lives on with her parents and grandmother in Kentucky.

Payton Christian loving on a parrot, on the farm she lives on with her parents and grandmother in Kentucky.

When Payton is not acting, modeling, or speaking, she likes to spend time reading—“I have 500 books in my room,” she confessed. She also spends time with the animals on their farm. The farm is home to an array of animals, including regular farm animals as well as camels, zebras, and birds. But one of her favorite things is working with the rescue horses they take in. “I feed and help them put on weight and just love on them. I have a real passion for that. It’s a humongous this for me,” she explained.

Payton’s big heart is not just for animals. She is also involved in a foundation called “To write love on her arms,” a depression awareness and suicide prevention cause. And she also just started a new foundation called Bibles in Battle, a foundation to provide bibles to every soldier fighting overseas. She said she would have a donation box set up when she comes to speak in case people want to donate to that cause.

Payton said that she feels faith should be important to everyone. “People are worried about everything. But whenever we leave this earth, those things we worked so hard to get won’t be important. God doesn’t care how much money we make, where we live, what we drive. He cares that we love him and follow his word. He should be our number one priority.”

When she talks to the youth in Cedar Springs, she will try to impress on them that no one is ever perfect. “Don’t try to make yourself perfect. To God you are already perfect from day one—he loves you the way you are. It doesn’t matter what group you are in; you don’t need to prove yourself. You have God and that’s enough,” she said.

What does Payton see in her future? “My goal is mostly to do what my heart tells me—what God wants me to do—to spread his message and do as much good as I possibly can,” she said.

Payton has never been to Michigan, and is looking forward to it. “I’m overly excited that I get to be here and talk to everyone,” she remarked. “And I’m looking forward to seeing the sights!”

For more information on the showing contact Pastor Craig Carter at 616-550-6398 or craigcarter8282@gmail.com.

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CAROL A. PHELPS


 

Carol A. Phelps age 80 of Cedar Springs, passed away Sunday, February 5, 2017 at her home. Carol was born June 30, 1936 in Paw Paw Township, Michigan the daughter of Bernard and Maude (Sirrine) Schidt. She served as Nelson Township Clerk for many years. She loved the Lord and serving in church, most recently, North Kent Community Church. Surviving are her children, Debra Austin and Todd Phelps; grandchildren, Shawn (Katy) Austin, Troy (Kendra) Austin, Brandon Austin; six great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dale Phelps. Services were held Wednesday, February 8th at North Kent Community Church, 1480 Indian Lakes Road NE, Sparta. Pastor Craig Carter officiating. Interment in the spring in East Nelson Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to pay it forward with an act of kindness.

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

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What is this?


Pastor Craig Carter

North Kent Community Church

Sparta, MI 49345

 

Has anyone ever given you something and the first thing out of your mouth was, “What is this?” This happed to the children of Israel. The Israelites had just been brought out of Egypt, from a time of slavery, which was a very difficult season in their life. They found themselves in the middle of the wilderness in need of food. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this white substance appears. Exodus 16:31 says, “The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.” They called the bread “Manna.” The Hebrew word used here for “manna” was a compound word established from two words. The first was the word “man” meaning “what.” In fact, it is known as an imperative what, implying a question. The second was the word “huw” which is used for the word “this.” So, when you combine the two words together, it is literally translated “what is this?” The reason they said this was because they had never seen it before. This was the first time they had seen this white stuff.

Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Notice it says that God fed them with manna, which they, nor their fathers had ever known. So, what was this stuff called “Manna?” It was the provision of God! It was God meeting their need. It was God’s answer to their problem. Yet, their reply was, “What is this?” Why? Could it be it was because it came in a way and form unfamiliar to them? Could it be they just did not see it for what it was? I remain intrigued by the fact that the Israelites called it manna, not God. They named it, “what is it?” God didn’t. How many times do we name something for God? Have you ever rejected something from God because it did not come the way you envisioned? The Israelites did just that. In fact, after a while, what God provided was no longer good enough. So, they complained and asked for something different. Does this sound familiar?

You may ask, what is so important about this? It is important because this lesson remains true for us today. God’s provision and direction often comes in ways and forms you may not understand. You may have never seen or experienced them before. The question is, will you receive it, as from the Lord? You may have lost a job, been struggling with your health, your marriage. You may be depressed and wondering if anyone cares. Is there a God and does He even care? The answer is, Yes He does! He sees your need in your “wilderness” experience, just like He did the Israelites and He will provide. Just realize He will probably do it in a way you do not understand. In fact, your current situation, as difficult as it may seem, may just be what is needed for you to trust Him and not yourself. Notice the end of verse 3 in Deuteronomy.  God did this to “teach you that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” He did this so that they would learn to trust God, not just for their daily needs, but for every area of their lives. Will you do that today? Will you give him every area of your life? Will you trust Him with your money, your marriage, your children, your problems? The test is to trust Him with everything we are and everything we possess. As I close, I leave you with a few other verses that encourage and challenge us to trust Him.

Proverbs 3:5-10: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

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Confident Grace


By Pastor Craig Carter, North Kent Community Church

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16 NIV).

What’s so amazing about grace? If we are honest, the longer we live and serve the Lord, the more we realize that God’s grace is simply amazing. One of the most profound things about God’s grace is that it invites us to God’s throne with confidence. Notice that the throne we are invited to is not one of judgment, but of grace. The writer of Romans gives us this same picture. He writes, “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:15-17). God provided abundant grace for this life. Now that’s a confidence builder in us all! God says this grace assures us we can reign in life. We can live confidently that if God is for us, who can be against us?

I think it is important to remember that grace is the unmerited favor of God. It is a favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that same person deserves. That is why we are invited to come to this throne without hesitation. In the above verse, we are instructed to come to this throne with “confidence.” Another translation says that we may “come boldly” unto the throne of grace. This word “boldly” is the Greek word parrhesia (par-rhay-see’-ah), which literally means to come with an all out-outspokenness, frankness and bluntness. It also implies that we can do so, without fear of some repercussions.

Let me ask you this question. When was the last time you went to God and spoke your mind honestly and openly, without fear of some repercussions? You may be uncomfortable with this, but that’s exactly what God’s grace allows us to do. I find it interesting that people harbor all kinds of thoughts in their heart that they would not even consider speaking with their mouth. Yet, they fail to realize God already knows their thoughts! They act as if they were to verbalize them to God, he would punish them with some consequence. They think a lightning bolt from heaven is going to strike them because they had the audacity to speak their mind to God. I frequently remind people, God is a big boy, feel free to tell Him how you really feel.

Let me challenge you today. Go confidently or boldly to God’s throne with whatever need you have. Do not be afraid to speak your mind to God, because mercy and grace await you. Grace invites you to its throne because it longs to help you.

North Kent Community Church, 1480 Indian Lakes Rd., Sparta, Church Phone #: 550-6398

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North Kent Pastors got talent


Pastor Craig Carter, of North Kent Community Church, rapped for the audience. Photo courtesy Wise Photography.

Pastor Craig Carter, of North Kent Community Church, rapped for the audience. Photo courtesy Wise Photography.

Local clergy sang musical parodies, danced righteous medleys, rapped with soul, and dazzled with Tae Kwon Do on Thursday, September 24, to raise funds for individuals in need throughout northern Kent County.

The second annual North Kent Pastors got talent event featured a spirited, yet friendly, competition of church leaders, from Rockford, Sparta and Cedar Springs. Close to 500 spectators and dozens of sponsors came to cheer on the pastors and pledge contributions to North Kent Community Services (NKCS).

More than $65,000 was raised, after expenses, for food and educational programs.

Pastor John Huizenga, of River Rock Church, tried some moonwalking. Photo courtesy Wise Photography

Pastor John Huizenga, of River Rock Church, tried some moonwalking. Photo courtesy Wise Photography

“We are grateful that these talented pastors graced the stage to help us raise these funds for families in our community,” said Claire Guisfredi, executive director at NKCS. “North Kent Pastors got talent continues to bring together a host of area leaders and generous community members to make a difference for so many of our own neighbors struggling simply to get by.”

The pastor that won the Judges’ Pick was Pastor Jon Huizenga, from River Rock Church, for his rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.”

The pastor that won the popular vote was Fr. Mark Peacock from St. Patrick Parnell for performing a musical parody about Pope Francis.

North Kent Community Services is located at 10075 Northland Drive, at 12 Mile. For more info on NKCS, visit them online at http://nkcs.org/ or call 616-866-3478.

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