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Tag Archive | "Pastor Kristi Rhodes"

Just watch and see!


Pastor Kristi Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs, MI 49319

616.696.9333

Have you ever wanted to ask God, “If you’re in control, why does evil so often win?” How can a just God ignore injustice?  Why does God allow the wicked to prosper? How can a good God use evil to accomplish his purposes?  

I was reading in the book of Habakkuk, a short book with only 3 chapters. He was one of the minor prophets of the Old Testament. He struggled to understand how God works (you know, in mysterious ways), but in the end he became convinced that he could trust God no matter how bleak or confusing the present circumstances appeared to be. We struggle with the same things still today, almost three thousand years later.  

Evil was on the rise—just as it appears to be in this hour! Corruption was rampant, unbelievable violence in the streets every night somewhere and even now there seems to be no justice or protection even for the law-abiding citizens.

Habakkuk cried out to the Lord, just as we are doing today—and the Lord answered! This is what God said in chapter 1:5: “Look at the nations and WATCH—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told!”  (NIV, emphasis mine).  

You will need to read this short book in the Bible to see how the events unfold, but you will discover that God is always at work, even when we don’t see it, He’s working.  God is in control even when it appears He is not. God uses people and nations, often without their knowledge, for His good purposes. At times the events seem evil, but the severity of God’s answer, like a surgeon’s scalpel, is working not to hurt but to heal.  

God does use evil to do good. But the reason He does is that He’s working to transform the tragic circumstances of a fallen world so that good ultimately prevails. It was evil that murdered Jesus on the cross, but it was by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge in order to accomplish His plan to save and reconcile a lost world unto himself. Then God raised Jesus from the dead freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him (Acts 2:23-24). God always wins! No matter what it looks like—God wins!

Maybe some of you have been praying for years for your circumstances or situation to change.  Know this, God is working even when you don’t see it. Wait for God’s answer. “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, WAIT FOR IT; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3 NIV, emphasis mine).  

Lastly, never lose hope. God wins! God ultimately always wins. It is impossible for God to fail!

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Shattered relationships


Pastor Kristi Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319


I am so happy to be able to write on this topic of reconciliation today. Way too often, the death of a parent unfortunately results in great strain on family relationships. The hope is that the loss of a loved one would draw family members together to help each other mourn in a healthy way, bringing comfort to each other and encouragement through the most difficult times. I am in awe of those families that grow stronger through this most difficult time. Those that realize life is too short to live angry and choose reconciliation are able to find peace.

Unfortunately, my family was ripped apart when my mother passed on. Soon it will be 10 years ago. It took more than 7 years of silence before the process of reconciliation began to even seem possible. I never stopped praying for that miracle and believed that one day it would happen. 

I know the scriptures tell us to seek reconciliation and peace as far as it depends on us or to do everything we can on our end to bring reconciliation or peace. Be persistent in your prayers! Don’t give up, no matter what it looks like. Trust God with the outcome as you lift your shattered relationship up to the Lord. Not all broken relationships are a result of a death in the family. Most are actually the result of miscommunication or misunderstandings. And not all broken relationships can or should be reconciled but we must do our part and trust God with the outcome. 

Unforgiveness robs us of joy and holds us hostage. Jesus said, “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” Matthew 6:15 NLT. And Paul said, “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you”Ephesians 4:32 NLT. 

Forgiveness is a gift from God who gives us the power to forgive even the worst offenses. Paul said, “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NLT.  

I just had lunch with my sister that God restored to me, and we talked for hours! What a tremendous gift of reconciliation. We are now closer than ever, convinced and determined to always give the benefit of the doubt and talk it out. We were both so miserable for so many wasted years! Please, don’t waste the years God has blessed you with! Life is way too short.

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Letting go to gain and grow


Pastor Kristi Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319


As I drive down the road, God draws my attention to the trees on the hillside. The beauty of all the fall colors takes my breath away. I watch as the wind blows strong but with a gentle strength as the leaves are pulled away from the branches and go flying around in circles following the breeze. The trees seem to try to hang on to the leaves for as long as they can, almost as a tug of war, ultimately letting go. The leaves chase after the wind for a while then eventually they fall to the ground in piles of multiple colors until they die and turn brown. 

We can depend on this process taking place every year like clockwork. Every year, the trees lose everything as the seasons change again and again throughout their lifetime. Their branches are left bare and cold for the winter. The greatest part of this little observation is that every spring, God restores everything those trees lost and then some. Each year the tree grows taller and bears more branches that produce even more leaves than the year before!

Maybe we shouldn’t be so afraid of letting go of things or people or jobs or lifestyles that have outlived their season in our life. Often God will ask us to let go of one season in order to bless us with our next season. His Promise is to restore that which was lost and redeem even years we may have lost. If we hold onto our hurts, we can’t receive our healing. If we hold tightly to our possessions, our fist is clenched and can’t receive the new and better blessings God wants to give us. If we hold onto our unforgiveness of others, we can’t receive forgiveness from God for our deeds. If you hold tightly to the wrong person you will not be available when God sends the right person your way. God’s plan for us far exceeds our own plans for ourselves. When we follow God wholeheartedly, as Psalm 1:3 says, we are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither (NIV).

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  

A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time (Eccl. 3:1-8, 11)

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Who’s leading you?


Pastor Kristi Rhodes | Hillcrest Community Church | 5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

I hope you had a wonderful Easter! Easter represents the greatest day in all of history for all mankind! Everything happened just as Jesus said it would, and just as the prophets foretold hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth. Jesus is Truth and He is incapable of lying or dishonesty.

Jesus said, “The thief (the devil, Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that you would have life to the fullest (John 10:10). Satan comes to destroy your family, to destroy your mind, to destroy your health, to destroy your finances, to kill your hope and steal your peace. We are no match for the devil—he’s been around thousands of years.  But the devil is no match for Jesus! Jesus defeated the devil and death when he rose victoriously and conquered the grave. Jesus (the Son of God) appeared to destroy the devil’s work, (1 John 3:8b).  Follow Jesus through His Spirit and live free from the chains of destruction that Satan has tried to bind you with.  

You are a combination of three parts: your body (the flesh), your soul (the mind) and your spirit. We are a spirit that lives in a body that has a mind. Through your body, you relate to the world with your 5 senses. Through your spirit, you relate to the Spirit of light (God) or spirit of darkness (devil) to guide your life. Through your soul (mind), you decide which you will obey. I know it’s kind of deep.  But this is where decisions are made. Joyce Myers wrote a book on this called “Battlefield of the Mind.” You may find it quite helpful if you’re struggling in this area.  

This morning when I got up, I thought I might feast on the leftover chocolate cake for breakfast.  But looking at the swimming pool out the kitchen window, (that we will be opening up soon), I decided maybe that wasn’t the best idea. This was my conscience (mind) telling me that my flesh (body) is wrong. Although the cake was tempting, it was not the best choice.  

God wants us to walk in the Spirit and enjoy the life we were intended to have, life to the fullest, a life of favor and grace. When you make decisions today, listen to your spirit that has first surrendered to God. His still small voice is leading you in the direction your life needs to take so that you may walk in victory over the flesh and the schemes of the devil. You cannot walk in the anointing (Spirit) that God has for you and mirror the devil at the same time. If you follow where the Holy Spirit leads, you will never take a wrong turn!  

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23).  


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Conflict: the great distraction


Pastor Kristi Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

One thing everyone will come face to face with at some point in their life (some more than others), is conflict.  Sadly enough, it has the power to destroy relationships, friendships and even entire families. Just imagine the devastation it causes churches, which only distracts from the very purpose for their existence.

While watching a National Geographic episode on animal communities in the wild, it reminded me of the safari we were on in Africa a couple years ago. There were very large herds of antelope and other various animals. Normally they are very alert to predators. However, as two of the antelope began to fight, others in the herd seemed to become absorbed in the fight and soon they were oblivious to the fact that there was a lion prowling around just watching for an opportunity to attack.

This is the very picture that God paints for us in His Word. He tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour! This spoke to me as a strong warning for the Church. In the church, when we fight one another, we become distracted and vulnerable to attack. The more people that get distracted by getting involved in various disputes, the less effective we become for God’s Kingdom in ministry.  

I see it on a more personal level with individual families. If Satan, the enemy of our soul, can keep God’s children distracted by fighting each other, we won’t be fighting him. He will be able to just prance in and devour our young, weak and vulnerable. Then we wonder, how did this happen?

Life here on earth involves many battles in which God promises you victory through Jesus Christ. There are always going to be challenges, difficulties and problems to solve. Still there are times when they intensify, and we seem to be coming under major attack. Martin Luther King said that the ultimate measure of a person is not where we stand when things are going great, but where we stand in moments of challenge, moments of great crisis and controversy.   

There are many verses in Proverbs as well as throughout the Bible that contrast the “wise and the foolish.” A few things I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) 

  • Avoid unnecessary quarrelling—don’t sweat the small stuff or the disputable matters.  
  • Seek wise counsel; not just anyone who will listen. Don’t involve others in your disagreement. Gossip is another ugly distraction.
  • Trust that God can bring good out of evil. Turn it over to Him and follow His lead.
  • Strengthen one another. Pray for each other.

Let’s be vigilant as God instructs us. Focus on what unites instead of what divides.

We need unity in the family of believers, united in Christ for battle against the real enemy. Less fighting each other and more fighting the real enemy. That’s where we truly belong!

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From the pulpit: As Christians, should we obey bad rulers?


By Pastor Kristi J. Rhodes

Should we obey bad rulers?

Greetings Cedar Springs Community! I was asked a question recently that I will ask you now.

You can hardly get through a single day without hearing discussion about the upcoming presidential election. I have to say, in all my years (which are many), I have never witnessed such a bazaar journey to the Whitehouse, regardless of who gets in there! There are not many topics more polarizing than politics or religion. So why in the world would anyone open that can of worms? It’s really pretty simple. God has something to say about that.

As Christians, that’s where we get our instruction—from God’s Word—which is the Bible. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun,” Ecclesiastics 1:9 (NIV). There have been many bad rulers and God’s basic instructions before leaving earth gives us wisdom to live by.

The apostle Paul in speaking to Titus said, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men” Titus 3:1-2 (NIV).

Paul teaches that government’s authority is established by God to keep order on earth. If government lines up with God’s law, then Christians are right to obey it. However, if a human law runs counter to God’s principles, then it is not wrong to disobey. Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”(Acts 5:29 NIV). Bottom line is, we must obey the law of the land unless it conflicts with God’s law. Everyone answers to someone, but ultimately, everyone will answer to God. Even while resisting in those areas where government oversteps its bounds, Christians must still recognize the authority of government in its other functions.

The good news is that regardless of who is in the Whitehouse, God is on the throne and always will be! As Christians, we belong to the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God is NEVER in trouble! Hallelujah!

May God richly bless you and yours as you seek to honor Him with your choices.

Pastor Kristi J. Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

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10th Anniversary


41-anniv-lesperance

JACK & RILEY LESPERANCE

October 8, 2015

Jack and Riley Lesperance renewed their wedding vows for their 10th wedding anniversary. Officiating was Pastor Kristi Rhodes.

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