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Tag Archive | "Pastor Kevin Reed"

PAULETTE L. FITZPATRICK


Paulette L. Fitzpatrick age 69 of Cedar Springs, passed away unexpectedly and went to be with her Lord on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at Spectrum Health – Butterworth Campus. Paulette was born December 12, 1948 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the daughter of Kelly and Eloise (Armstrong) Covey. She had been a longtime member of Solon Center Wesleyan Church and worked with her husband at Ed’s Auto Body. She enjoyed never sitting still, housekeeping and making her home neat and tidy inside and out. She loved her grandkids, making people laugh and helping others. Surviving are her husband, Edmund; daughter, Lynette (Aron) Bowser; grandchildren, Delaney, Macey and Preston; sister, Sonya Bigelow; brothers, Bryan (Sandy) Covey, Dean (Marie) Covey; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Dawn Heim. The family greeted friends Wednesday, January 31 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Thursday, February 1 at 11:00 a.m. Pastor Kevin Reed officiating. Interment Algoma Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.

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

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Finding rest 


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (NIV).

All you who are weary and burdened…” I am not sure about you, but that phrase tends to describe me quite often. Weary and burdened, translation = tired and weighed down. It’s in these moments when I begin to become overwhelmed with the burdens and pressures of life that I often think, “I just need a day off.”  Wouldn’t that be nice? A whole day to myself to do whatever I want. No responsibilities of dropping kids off somewhere or picking them up from somewhere else only to transport them to the next thing. No phone calls, e-mails, or texts from work. No honey-do list or chores to take care of.  Just me, a TV, a book and my couch.  I often find myself thinking that if I could just have a day like that, then everything would be better. I wouldn’t be so tired. I wouldn’t be so weighed down. Instead I would be rejuvenated and re-energized. “Yes, if I could just get a day off, then everything would be restored back to order and life wouldn’t be so weary and burdensome.” That is the lie.

The reality is that no matter how much rest or relaxation we may get, it doesn’t take long being back in our normal routine of life where we end up finding ourselves “weary and burdened.” The solution isn’t how much time we can find to rest but rather where we go to find our rest. While our couch, or the TV, or our favorite book may sound like a welcomed destination for relaxation, they will never provide the rest that our souls crave. Jesus knew this and that›s why when He was around the weary and burdened he didn’t tell them to take a day off, or find an afternoon where they could only do what they wanted to do. Instead, he welcomed the weary and burden to the only place where they could find rest for their souls—in His presence.

The invitation is simple; come. In other words, leave behind all that is weighing you down and simply come be with me, come sit with me, come dwell with me, and you WILL find rest for your souls. Are you weary and burdened down by the struggles and trials of life? The invitation is open to all. Come to Jesus. Sit in His presence. Let him carry the load and walk with you side by side . Stop trying to do it on your own, and stop trying to find what only Jesus can give in anything or anyone else. Come to Him, and you WILL find rest for your souls! It’s really that simple, the decision is up to you.

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Don’t give up


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (NIV).  

The very existence of this verse speaks to the fact that sometimes doing good can be a draining experience. This makes sense because anytime we as Christians set our mind to doing something good in this world that will result in God’s glory, the devil instantly wants to destroy it. And what is the easiest way to destroy it? By making the work hard so that the laborers give up.

Striving to show love in a world full of hate is hard work; raising godly children in a society that tries at every turn to deny the existence of God is hard work; putting Christ first in your marriage and serving your spouse when it would be easier to give up is hard work; being part of a community of believers that isn’t always perfect but is committed to work through the struggles with love and forgiveness is hard work; remaining pure in a morally filthy world is hard work. I am sure by now that you get my point. Anything worth doing in the kingdom of God is hard work because the devil wants to make it hard.

Odds are that right now there is a good work in your life that you are thinking about giving up on. Before you do that, would you consider the second part of this verse? The reason we are called to not grow weary of doing good is because if we persist, there is a promised harvest and this harvest is promised to come at the “proper time.” No matter how hard the good work you are doing is, the joy and satisfaction of the harvest is worth every ounce of pain and struggle to not give up. I promise you! God has promised that the harvest would come and He never makes a promise he doesn’t fulfill.

The unfortunate thing is that far too many of God’s children give up and move on to something easier before the reward of the harvest comes in. So today when the good work gets hard, instead of being tempted to give up, let us take it as an opportunity to push forward. Take a moment and pray that God would give you the strength to keep pushing until the harvest comes in. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

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Dependence on God in Prayer


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

Psalm 86:5-7: “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.  Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.”

What a blessing to know that we have a God who actually listens to our prayers.  That no matter where we are or what’s going on in our life, we can cry out to God in prayer and He will hear and answer us. But most Christians I know struggle with prayer, especially when it comes to truly depending on God in prayer. The typical sermon on prayer just tells us how to do it better and to do it more often like Jesus did, but that never seems to have much lasting impact in our lives, so we continue believing the lie that we will always struggle with prayer. That’s just the way it’s going to be.

What if being dependent on God in prayer had less to do with what we are praying about, how often we are praying, or even what we are saying in prayer, and more to do with the mindset behind why we approach Him? If we want to be people who are dependent on God in prayer, it begins with an honest evaluation of our condition apart from God (Ps. 86:1,13). We are poor and needy. We are lost, desperate, and in need of deliverance. We can’t remedy anything on our own; that is our condition apart from Him. Combine that with an accurate understanding of who God is and what He is capable of (Ps. 86:5-10) and that will lead us to complete trust in His ability to answer our prayers (Ps. 86:4,7, 11-17).

When we stop coming to God because we are supposed to, and we start coming to Him because we understand that He alone has the power and ability do something about the burdens and struggles on our hearts, everything changes! It is no longer a chore to pray, it becomes the first place we turn because we understand who we are, who God is, and that dependence on God in prayer is absolutely critical to the vibrancy of our spiritual life. Dependency on God then becomes a way of life, and not simply something that we are supposed to do. And when that happens, everything changes!

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Unexpected Gratitude


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The dictionary defines “thankful” as “feeling or expressing gratitude; being appreciative.” Paul tells the believers in Thessalonica that it is God’s will for us to give thanks in all circumstances. I am not sure about you, but I don’t find it that hard to be thankful when everything in life is going good, but I really struggle when life is hard to find reasons to be thankful. I believe, though, that in these tough seasons of life, that our “unexpected gratitude” is what God is really seeking, because in our thankfulness even when life is hard, God is most glorified. I have been thinking about this a lot lately as the season of Thanksgiving is upon us. My thoughts have been directed to three very distinct realities that all of God’s children can be thankful for regardless of the circumstances we are facing in our lives.

1. Our Salvation Provided through Jesus Christ. God has taken care of our greatest need. At one point we were all separated from God because of our sin and there was nothing we could do to remedy the situation. So, God stepped in and sacrificed His Son in our place so that we could have his life! No matter what is going on in our lives, this reality is secured once and for all for all those who put their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

2. The Indwelling of God’s Spirit. God didn’t just come to this earth, remedy our situation, and then leave us on our own. He has promised that all those who put their faith in Jesus will receive the Holy Spirit as the seal of our salvation and the power through which we can live the life of a disciple. No matter what circumstances we are facing in life, we are promised to have the very presence of God dwelling in us to comfort us and guide us.

3. The Gift of God’s Word in our Language. There have been many attempts over the years by various enemies of the cross to destroy the Bible, but God has sovereignly overseen the preservation and protection of His Word.  As a result, we are able to have the very words of God in our language that we can run to at any time. In this Holy Book, we find everything we need pertaining to life and godliness, we find everything we need to know about God and His character, and how He lovingly cares for us.  This truly is a gift that no trial on this earth can take away from us!

As we journey through the ups and downs of this holiday season, let us not forget that regardless of what we’re going through, we have so much to be thankful for!  I pray that we will find ourselves being able to express gratitude even when life is hard because after all, it is God’s will for His children.

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Speak Life


Grace-ChurchPastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” Proverbs 18:21 (NIV).

God has given us an amazing gift in the ability to communicate. As people created in His image, we have a unique privilege and responsibility that none of His other creation has. We have the ability to communicate in a way that none of His other creation can. We have been given the power of life and death, and we hold that power in our tongues. The old adage goes like this, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The bruises that come from sticks and stones may stay for a while, but they quickly fade and heal. But the wounds that are caused in our life by others, who use their tongues to speak death into our lives, end up affecting us and hurting us for years after they are spoken.

There is nothing neutral about our tongues. Either death or life, those are the only two possible outcomes from the use of our tongues. Every conversation that we have, every word uttered under our breath, and every word yelled in anger or frustration is either bringing life or death. From our bosses to our co-workers; from our spouses to our kids; from the gas station attendant to the checkout clerk at the grocery store—every time we open our mouths, either life comes out or death comes out. There is no such thing as a neutral word.

As God’s children, created in His image, we should strive to speak life. We should strive to not tear down others with our tongues but instead build them up. We should not be caught up in grumbling, complaining or criticizing, but instead we should strive to encourage, uplift and edify with every word that comes out of our mouth. God gives the power to us but the choice is up to you.

Are we using the gift that God gave us to bring death or life? Are we looking for ways to speak life into a world that is hurting all around us? Or are we caught in the great hypocrisy—a mouth that on Sunday praises our God but then throughout the rest of the week curses and drags down those who are made in His image and His likeness (James 3:9-10)? The choice is up to you; will it be death or life? The power is in your tongue. Speak wisely!

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What’s on your mind?


Grace-ChurchPastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

 

Jesus. Jesus is on my mind. Do you ever sit back and wonder how he did it? How did He live day in and day out, completely surrendered in obedience to the will of His Father, and never sin? He loved people perfectly. He walked around literally with the weight of the world on His shoulders, yet He never threw in the towel. He never exploded at someone because of stress. He never said an unkind word or, for that matter, thought an unkind thought about anyone. He never got His priorities all mixed up. He wasn’t distracted or discouraged by the things of this world because He was focused on a mission that was bigger than this world. And in the midst of being this amazing Superman, he promised that if we would just come to Him, He would give us the rest and peace that we desperately need, along with the wonderful promise that He would then carry our burden for us. Does that make any sense? Why would He do that for us? Why would He do that for me?

As I sit and ponder Matthew 11:28-30 and try to apply it to my life, the words of this old Hymn keep running through my mind, and I suddenly realize, that it truly is this simple. It goes like this…”Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” The key to what I need isn’t a solution for all of my problems, and it isn’t a better way to manage all my stress. The key to what I need is so simple that it is contained in one beautiful name…JESUS! And the only thing he requires of me is to “come.” I don’t need to bring anything, I don’t need to do any work, I don’t even need to get everything in order, I simply need to “come.” He’s saying, “come to me and I’ll give you the rest you need,” “come to me and I’ll take care of that heavy burden you’re struggling to carry,” “come to me and I’ll exchange all that struggle and stress for peace and joy,” “come to me and you’ll find everything that you need!” The invitation is simple. “Come!”

So, what’s on my mind? Jesus. And suddenly everything else that seemed so big and so important and so needy, grew strangely dim. Thank you Jesus!

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

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Responding to “50 Shades” 


Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

There has been a lot of commotion around the release of the movie “50 Shades of Grey,” which follows the very popular book by the same title. There are a wide variety of opinions as to whether or not Christians should watch this movie or read the book, and, as you can imagine, there are Christians on both sides of the argument. But the issue we face isn’t the release of this movie; rather, the problem facing Christians is with combatting the culture of sex that we live in.

Arguing with people or bashing/petitioning the release of the movie will not solve the problem. As Christians, we can’t expect the world to have our standard of morality, because they don’t know our God who has defined our standard.  If we want to combat our culture, which seems to glorify rampant sexual immorality, we must first start with ourselves. Instead of pointing the finger at the world’s immorality problem, we need to get ours in check. Listen to these words:

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality, that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (NIV).

So, as Christians, how do we combat the culture of sex that we live in? We live pure lives! Christians need to stop looking at porn. Christians need to stop having sexually dysfunctional marriages. Christians need to stop committing adultery. Christians need to stop having sex before, outside of, and in addition to marriage. Christians need to exalt and glorify Jesus in their sex lives. Only then will we begin to combat our culture that worships sex.

So, the next time you find yourself getting into a heated conversation with someone who doesn’t have God’s standard of morality, remember this: they need to meet Jesus, not have your moral standard self-righteously imposed on them. I am not saying we should remain silent; maybe just change what’s on the channel before we turn the volume up.

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MICHAEL JAMES LONG


50C-obit-Long-webMr. Michael James Long of Venice, California, age 43, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November 28, 2014. He was born Tuesday, November 16, 1971. Michael leaves behind his father Michael (Debra) Long, Sr. and mother Rebecca Jines-Linker; daughters Briana Skeen, Trisha Long, and Deija Long; grandchildren Nevaeh and Xavier; siblings Lori (Terry) Robinson, Mike (Michelle) Long, Jr., and Angie (Mike) O’Dowd; paternal grandmother Mary Merritt; maternal grandparents Martha (Bill) Sanders; grandmother Thelma Slocum; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins; and girlfriend Noel Wittnebel of California. He was preceded in death by his grandfather Van Merritt. There will be a time of visitation from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 11, 2014, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service for Michael will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 12, 2014, at Grace Evangelical Free Church, 4714 Thirteen Mile Road NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Pastor Kevin Reed will be officiating. There will be a one hour visitation prior to the service at church. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a donation to assist Michael’s daughters.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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Michael James Long


C-OBIT-LongMr. Michael James Long of Venice, California, age 43, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November 28, 2014. He was born Tuesday, November 16, 1971. Michael leaves behind his father Michael (Debra) Long, Sr. and mother Rebecca Jines-Linker; daughters Briana Skeen, Trisha Long, and Deija Long; grandchildren Nevaeh and Xavier; siblings Lori (Terry) Robinson, Mike (Michelle) Long, Jr., and Angie (Mike) O’Dowd; paternal grandmother Mary Merritt; maternal grandparents Martha (Bill) Sanders; grandmother Thelma Slocum; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins; and girlfriend Noel Wittnebel of California. He was preceded in death by his grandfather Van Merritt. There will be a time of visitation from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 11, 2014, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service for Michael will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 12, 2014, at Grace Evangelical Free Church, 4714 Thirteen Mile Road NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Pastor Kevin Reed will be officiating. There will be a one hour visitation prior to the service at church. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a donation to assist Michael’s daughters.

 

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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