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Tag Archive | "Rockford Springs Community Church"

Forgiveness


Pastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341

 

When the Lord Jesus Christ taught his disciples how to pray, in Matthew 6: 9-15, he guided them through what we have come to call the Lord’s Prayer. Every phrase is rich in meaning, every sentence is personal and relative to our lives, and every sentence is God centered and Christ exalting.

Note the prayer again: Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (ESV)

But the sentence that shocked us at Rockford Springs Community Church like jumping through a frozen Michigan pond is the sentence: 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Oh, we want forgiveness, and desperately need it… but we do not want our forgiveness compared to how we forgive others. And, as if that is not enough, the Lord immediately follows up the prayer with a comment directed specifically at this petition for forgiveness by adding this comment:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (ESV)

We are like a boxer reeling on the ropes after being hit by not just one punch, but by a volley of punches. We reel on the ropes, not just theologically, but also experientially.

Theologically we know that we are forgiven on the basis of the righteous life and death of Jesus Christ. His work is acceptable to God, and not mine. So clearly the action of forgiveness on our part towards others is proof of salvation, not the achievement of salvation. But that being said, how vital is this proof for without it we may indeed stand condemned, and not saved.

Forgiving each other is not an option.

The requirement of forgiveness towards each other is not removed due to any excuses I may draft up.

But we might as well as admit it. We cannot forgive without God’s help. Our hurts, too often, run too deep. Our tendency to carry a grudge is so strong. Our memory of what was said calls up the damaging event over and over through the night. Releasing the offender is not in our nature.

And so the Lord teaches us in this text to pray. We pray, and plead, and petition our God to help us. And when the joy of forgiveness comes through the resurrecting power of Christ, we worship him for the release it brings us of evil. To not forgive is evil. We know that. And Christ has the power to break the grip of evil in our lives. How wonderful it is to come to our Lord and ask of Him to do that which He has done for us. As Jesus said, pray then like this.

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The Separation of Church and State


Rockford-Springs-Church-webRev. David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church

5815 14-Mile Rd. • 696-3656

 

At Rockford Springs Community Church we have an adult Sunday school class that meets after our morning worship.  What I have grown to really appreciate as their pastor and leader of the class is everyone’s willingness to struggle with real life questions.  We try to take on topics that are relevant to our lives even though sometimes they are difficult issues.  Our goal is not to just share our own opinions but to determine what God’s Word, found in the Old and New Testament, says about a given topic.

Please join us as we seek to share with the Cedar Springs community our humble study on the topic: “The Separation of the Church and the State.”

We have concluded that the scriptures teach the following…

God is the author of three institutions: the government, the church, and the family; and uses them, among many other things, to maintain safety for individuals and communities so they can thrive, to promote good order, and provide justice.  God delights to bring us good laws so that we will be blessed.

We found that these three institutions bring blessing to each other, and to the society they were intended for, when there is collaboration and not alienation.

God, in His good providence, communicates His way for His creation to function through His Word.  His Word, when obeyed, brings order, joy, and liberty to a society.  But when ignored a society heads towards chaos.  We have seen in history where societies moved away from the teaching of God’s Word and stepped into this kind of chaos.  To restore order societies have turned to human authorities to decide what was right and wrong but in so doing ended up only limiting or even forfeiting freedom.  We thought of Hitler, or even the current leadership in North Korea as examples.  Think of other dictatorships, socialist control, or communistic dominance. So, the primary function of the church, in its relationship to government and society, is to communicate God’s Word so that God’s created world knows good law and is blessed, and liberty is promoted.  Other governments that have sought to remove the voice of God have less liberty, not more.

Another truth we discovered is that the voice of the church must not be separated from government since all creation is damaged by sin and hence needs the authoritative voice of God to bring about morality.  Who will decide morality if not God?  The only other answer is Humanity.  But Humanity is not able to since it is morally broken in the core of its nature.  We need God’s true standard like a carpenter needs a true ruler.

The United States of America has a history where the voice and work of the Christian church has brought blessing.  But we saw in our study that at times this was not true.  Where this was not the case we admit that the problem was not God and His Word, but rather the failure and sin of Christians to faithfully communicate and live out God’s Word.  For this we are sorry.

And finally we believe that everyone must be subject to the government, pay taxes, hold its representatives in honor and respect, obey them in all things that are not in conflict with God’s Word, and pray for them that the Lord may be willing to lead them in all their governing.  Hence instead of separation there must be support for the government from the church.

Therefore, we believe that the government would be blessed to hear and obey God’s Word to bring the greatest blessing and liberty to her people.  And we believe that the voice of God through His church should influence the conscience of our government.

We hope that our attempt at dealing with this question is of some help to our community as we wrestle with such an important issue.

May the Lord bless our Cedar Springs government, and the United States of America.

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Is God a dangerous elephant or a fluffy kitten?


Rockford-Springs-Church-webPastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341

 

Let’s not be silly…He is neither. But He is our Father, Almighty.

From the very beginning of the New Testament church, the believers in Jesus Christ declared their belief in God as their Father, and as the Almighty. This beginning statement of belief is found in what came to be known as the Apostle’s Creed. This concise creed speaks of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and helps Christians verbalize what they believed about each part of the Godhead.

I have been impressed by the fact that when the early believers wanted to tell the world what they believed about God, they started by using two words: “Father,” and “Almighty.”  On the one hand, they understood their position to be intimate and generated by God so that they would be close to Him and safe. Yet, they also held Him in proper awe because of His breath taking power and infinite strength. Clearly this is how God reveals Himself in texts from the Bible such as when Jesus teaches us to pray in Matthew 6 with the words: “Our Father,” and as Paul writes to the Romans in Romans 8: “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (ESV).  This personal relationship with God, is recognized by the believer, as a relationship that God caused to happen by His grace.

This close personal relationship comes as a shock to the believer for at least two reasons. One, because God, in His nature, is holy which no human matches; and two, because of His almighty power that protects the holiness of His being. Verses like in Job 11: “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?” And Psalm 90 that asks the question: “Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?”  These verses leave us with a fear to enter the presence of His greatness and power.

But perhaps Psalm 91 brings these two truths together in proper unity: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” The ultimate protection we have from the wrath and power of God is God Himself. Jesus Christ became for us our protector from the almighty and the provider of our relationship with the Father.

And so the Christian says, “Thanks be to God, for what the Father desired (our salvation), the Almighty was able to provide. The believer is comforted by the tender touch of his Father that cares enough to wipe away every tear, and confident in the power of God to hold back every evil that could separate him from the love of God.”

And so we say today: “I believe in God the Father, Almighty.”

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HENDRIK J. SCHRIEVER


C-obit-schriever-webHendrik J. Schriever, 80 of Cedar Springs passed away on Monday, March 16, 2015 and is now resting in the arms of Jesus. He was born August 15, 1934 in Bosward, Netherlands the son of Hendrick and Marie (Brands) Schriever. He served in the U.S. Army from 1957 – 1959. He was a welder and steel worker for 60 years working for Haven Bursh, Valley City Sign, Couturier Iron Craft, and Industrial Resources. He had been a deacon and elder at Pioneer CRC in the 1990’s. Surviving are his wife, Geraldine “Gerri” whom he married on June 3, 1960; daughter, Loriann Meno; grandchildren, Stacie (Ken) Aalsburg, Tiffany Meno, Matt Cowling; brothers and sisters in the Netherlands, Bert, John, Nuy, Willameana, and Rieka; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a son, Scott; two granddaughters, April and Emily; and two sisters. The family will greet friends Friday from 10:00 am until time of service at 11:00 am at Rockford Springs Community Church. Pastor David Vander Meer officiating. Interment Blythefield Memory Gardens, Belmont. Memorial contributions may be made to Rockford Springs Community Church.

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

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DENNIS E. SOSNOWSKI


C-obit-sosnowski-webDennis E. Sosnowski, 70, of Cedar Springs, was called to his heavenly home on Monday, March 16, 2015. Dennis was born May 23, 1944 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of Stanley and Rosemary (Huckleberry) Sosnowski. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, family outings, cooking and watching TV. Surviving are his wife, Vivian; children, Scott (Lisa), Rick (Lynda), Jeff (Welarchie), Angela and fiance, Walt Honeycutt; grandchildren, Jennifer, Amanda, Marica (Zach), Cody, Michael, Haley, Wyatt, Ashley (Mike), and Tyler; 6 great grandchildren; brother, Pat (Dawn) VerDuin; sister, Jill (David) Mancewicz. The family will greet friends Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The funeral service will take place Saturday 11:00 am at Rockford Springs Community Church. Pastor David VanderMeer officiating. Interment East Nelson Cemetery. Memorials to Children’s International or Love a Child.

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

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Richard W. Bradshaw


Richard W. Bradshaw, 63 of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, April 7, 2011 at his home. Richard was born February 11, 1948 in Muskegon, MI the son of Desmond and Roselle (Evans) Bradshaw. Surviving are two children, Tyrone Bradshaw of Grand Rapids, Tammy (Dennis) Goodspeed of Cedar Springs; one granddaughter, Ashley Cook; 1 great granddaughter, Sophia Cook; brothers and sister, Danny, Desmond and Anita. He was preceded in death by his wife, Wanda K. Bradshaw in 1996 and a daughter, Anita Bradshaw in 2008. The family received friends Tuesday from 10:30 until time of service at 11:30 at the Rockford Springs Community Church, 5815 – 14 Mile Road, Rockford, MI 49341. Pastor Dave officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Rockford Springs Community Church. Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

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