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Tag Archive | "Pastor Inge Whittemore"

Words have power


Pastor Inge Whittemore

East Nelson UMC 

9024 18 Mile Road, Cedar Springs 

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14 NLT).

Many pastors recite this particular scripture prior to giving their message (sermon/homily). It is a reminder that there is a very significant burden upon us to speak and share the gospel in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. I am also reminded that these words were written by David for the choir master. They were sung at the end of a beautiful song that begins with the words:

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. 

Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known (Psalm 19 1-2 NLT).

This Psalm is for each of us to hold in our hearts because it reminds us of how words have more power than we appreciate. Even the heavens speak words of beauty! We all talk and converse and many of us are on social media, too. What we type is also the words and meditations of our hearts and our audience is as vast as the whole world now. Words have immense power to build up or tear down, comfort or belittle, help or harm. Our words reflect who and whose we are. Are the words we say AND type pleasing to the Lord? How can we be intentional about reflecting God’s love and the Good News through the words and meditations of our hearts in social media? 

If God was on Facebook would he click on “LIKE” for your posts? Yet, God doesn’t just “like,” He loves and His love is so much more than any of us could ever imagine. With that kind of love given freely and generously we are called to live out our lives in a manner that honors God.

Are our posts kind, helpful, inspiring, necessary and truthful? Forwarding things “as is” without fact checking or not watching a video through to the end before sharing may not represent ourselves well. How awful might it be if we were to share an article that turns out to be hoax or a lie. Would it not be better to respond to posts with grace, mercy and love? “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7 NLT)

King Solomon, a very wise man, said, My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.

(Proverbs 23:15 NLT).

So let’s put God first in everything we do including social media. What better way to show how God loves us than to love one another even in this way? 

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Love is all we need


Pastor Inge Whittemore

East Nelson Church

9024 18 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

 

“What the world needs now… is love sweet love. That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” I bet the tune came to you! Dionne Warwick sang the song back in 1968 and it was really needed in that turbulent year when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were killed. The Vietnam War was raging, and protests and riots filled the streets. This song about love pierced through the cacophony of anger and anxiety of those days.  

The funny thing is that someone recently sang that song at an event I attended and the words rang true again. The song is needed in these turbulent times of discord and division. It seems as though this is a time when no one knows what to believe anymore. No one knows whom to trust.

But love transcends time and is something to hold onto. It is in a simple answer that Jesus gave to an inquiring expert wanting to know which law was the most important. He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself» (Luke 10:27 NIV).

He simplified all the rules and laws into these two things. Love God. Love people. He didn’t qualify it in any way. It was and is a wide open entreaty to everyone and is as relevant today as ever.  

Love for God and neighbor is like two sides of one coin. They are two different things yet they are one. Still, we all know that love is complicated. It is a lot of different emotions and actions. Here are just a few ways to look at this complicated thing called love.  

Love is a function of surrender. Loving God is surrendering our will and our hearts and our trust to God. Surrendering to God means we set aside our own plans and look for God’s plan for us. The good news is that God wants the best for us! When we love God, it means we place our humble trust in Him and show others that God can be trusted with everything in our lives. The more we surrender to God, the more our human nature is replaced by a nature that looks more and more like Jesus.

Love is a function of commitment. We might feel warmed with gratitude when we consider all that God has done for us but love is more than being thankful. It is a stubborn, unwavering commitment to God and others. To love our neighbor is to imitate God by taking their needs seriously just as God takes our needs seriously.

Love is a function of compassion. Compassion for others is the reflection of God’s loving compassion for us. It is having an interest and concern in the welfare of our neighbor. It is the generosity of giving of ourselves; not just money but concern, interest, time and involvement. 

We humans search for love because we are made in the image of God and God is love. When we read deeply into the scriptures, when we don’t simply take a thin slice at them we discover that every action that God has taken toward humanity is because He loves us. So let us surrender to God, commit our lives, and be compassionate to others as we work to live the way of Jesus Christ in all we do. Love is all you need.   

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Amazing hope


Pastor Inge Whittemore

East Nelson Church

9024 18 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

 

Easter is coming! I remember looking forward to it as a kid because it meant Easter baskets, candy, those little fluffy yellow chicks with wire legs and feet, and then there were the marshmallow peeps–yum! That’s what Easter meant to me even though I was a life-long church going kid.

That’s because the story of Jesus rising from the dead was way too difficult to wrap my mind around. I didn’t really even understand death since I didn’t know anyone who had died. 

Now, I’m a whole lot older and have lived through many things. I understand the finality of death and the amazing hope found in the resurrection of Jesus. Why? Because I no longer feel condemned by the things (sins) I’ve done. I can live without regrets and guilt because Jesus handled it! Those things are behind me, gone, wiped out, buried and forgotten by God because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  

I know that God will provide. Any doubts I have I can bring to God. I can bring them to God and I don’t need to be afraid because God has shown amazing compassion to even those who really doubted (think Job or Thomas, who even required that Jesus show his hands and feet). If God loved those big doubters, He will surely love me.

I also know that I have a peace that has overcome the fears I’ve had. I know that my redeemer lives and because of that all my fear is replaced with awe, wonder and faith. I know that I can pray and I will be heard by a God who is so loving that he gave his only son for me. When I struggle, Jesus knows what that’s all about because he lived a human life and when I bring those struggles to him he gives me peace through the Holy Spirit.

See, if you are struggling, feeling overwhelmed, worried or fearful please understand that Jesus knows your heart and wants to step into it and conquer those difficult feelings. He creates a new heart and continues to work inside of each of us. We are new creations because of Jesus.  

That’s why Easter is exciting!

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CHARLES “DUANE” FISHER


 

Charles “Duane” Fisher age 83 of Grand Rapids, formerly of Cedar Springs passed away Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at home with his daughter. He was born in Craig, Missouri on August 19, 1934 to Charles and Loreen (Wright) Fisher. Duane is survived by his daughter Kristin Fisher-Kraemer, and her mother Tricia Fisher; grandson Brett (Falicia) Fisher; great-grandson Joxon Fisher. He was preceded in death by his wife Onalee in 2013. The family will meet with friends Saturday, March 24 from 1:00 p.m. until time of service at 2:00 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Inge Whittemore officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association 2944 Fuller Ave. NE Ste 101 Grand Rapids, MI 49505. 

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

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JERRY L. CADARET


Jerry L. Cadaret, 79 of Kentwood, died Sunday, July 30, 2017. Jerry was born May 16, 1938 in Toledo, Ohio the son of Paul and Ona (Lydick) Cadaret. He graduated from Godwin High School and served his country in the U.S. Army from 1959 – 61. He worked for A.J. Sparks Belting and was a member of the East Nelson United Methodist Church and a life member of the Doric Masonic Lodge, Grand Rapids. Jerry enjoyed bowling, fishing, hunting, traveling and camping. He was a hard worker and always put his family first. Surviving is the love of his life, Shirley (Tisdel) whom he married on June 2, 1961; children, Brenda (Tom) Voisin, Beverly (Roger) Carlson, Jeremy Cadaret and Susanne Aldridge; grandchildren, Cathleen Honeysette, Kenneth (Emily) Mol, Benjamin (Olivia) Mol, Christen (Chris) Chapin, Jacob (Lindsey) Mol, Timothy Mol and Christina Dean, Mackenzie Cadaret and William Ball; great-grandchildren, Reece, Randal, Brooklynn, Emma, Grayson, Ethan, Zachary, Autumn and baby Lucas on the way. The family received friends Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Thursday 11:00 a.m. Visitation Thursday from 10 – 11 a.m. Pastor Inge Whittemore officiating. Interment East Nelson Cemetery with military honors. Memorial contributions may be made to East Nelson United Methodist Church.

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

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The Spirit moves through us


Pastor Inge Whittemore

East Nelson United Methodist Church

9024 18 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

 

Before Jesus was taken to heaven, he had spent time with his disciples opening their hearts and minds to the scriptures. He taught them and then assured them that they would not be left alone to try to forge ahead without him. He told them to “GO and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). The thing to remember is that he also said, “LO, I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). He said to stay in Jerusalem because they would be clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49) and on Pentecost that power became known by the rush of a mighty wind and flames over each of the disciples. Then Peter spoke and the church was born on that very day. That spirit is still powerful to this day, as shown by the whirlwind of work done by the church throughout the world, and by the flames of the spirit in the hearts of all those who believe.

I read a poem by Roy Lessin recently:

He is seen in 

The love expressed through your heart,

The compassion revealed through your spirit.

The kindness displayed through your actions,

The blessing received through your life.

What a wonderful way to describe someone who seeks to live their faith in their daily walk with the Lord. Would that all we do and say be evidence of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.

In this season of Pentecost may you take time to recognize the Holy Spirit within you. May you honor the ways the Spirit has worked through you and moved you to be a faithful witness of Jesus Christ.

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Lent


C-East-Nelson-United

Pastor Inge Whittemore

East Nelson United Methodist Church

9024 18 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

 

At East Nelson UMC, the last 24 hours of Jesus Christ is our series of messages for Lent. Lent is the 40 days prior to Jesus’ crucifixion (not counting the Sundays) and it’s a time of reflection. We are reflecting on how so much happened in that last 24 hours. From that last Thursday evening to Friday evening, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples; shared his last supper; prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane; was betrayed; arrested; deserted; tried; convicted; sentenced to death; tortured; crucified; died; and buried. The season of Lent allows us the space to reflect, to meditate, to ponder, to ruminate over each of these profound events.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, treasured and pondered all of the events that led up to the momentous evening when the shepherds barged into the stable to “see this thing that has happened.” I love that Luke (2:19) shares her introspection. I believe it’s a beautiful example of how to hold a story close to our heart.  We have much to ponder also. The story of Jesus’ life on earth begins when Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” There’s the birth in the lowly stable, parable stories Jesus told, people of all walks of life who were healed. We can meditate on the words of the Sermon on the Mount, or the meals for hundreds made from a few fish and loaves of bread. And now, in Lent ,we can reflect on all that occurred to bring Jesus to the cross for us.

May we each find the space in our daily living over the next few weeks to ponder these things in our hearts.

Psalm118: 5-6, 13-14, 17 (NIV): 5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. 6 With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can mortals do to me?

13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. 

17 I shall not die, but I shall live and recount the deeds of the Lord.

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Fearfully and wonderfully made


C-East-Nelson-UnitedPastor Inge Whittemore

East Nelson United Methodist

9024 18 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

 

Today as I sit to write this article I am looking out my dining room window at a gloriously blue sky with yellow and red leaves swirling in the breeze. It is a wonderful fall day at the cusp of a new winter on its way. The darkness overtakes the day and we begin to see our breath as we walk outside. Many people bemoan winter. It’s a long season and many of us simply endure it or retreat to warmer climes when winter moves down upon us. Of course there are those of us who really look forward to snow time sports, though I have to admit I don’t enjoy winter driving. But the season’s change is a blessing many in the world don’t get to experience. It’s always warm or temperate where they live and so they read about our experience and can only imagine how it feels. My sister lives in Tampa and in past years I’ve sent her colorful leaves from my yard just so she could enjoy the spirit of the season.

I guess this a lesson for all of us to check out our perspective on things. What one person enjoys, another may not. It’s really another way that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God gave us each individuality like none other on earth, before us or after us. So you think you are one in a million? If you are, then there are 7,000 people just like you since the population of the world is now over 7 billion (with a “b”)! You are one in 7-plus billion! Rejoice! God thought you up and made you like you are.

Love yourself because God loves you. He is good and cannot make mistakes. And, since he made each of us, we are not mistakes. Sometimes we get down on ourselves, we chastise ourselves and don’t believe in our abilities. I say, look to your Maker and know that you are His and He is yours. You are his beloved child.

Isaiah 43:1-28 ESV: But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.”

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