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Community Building…Building Community?


Solon-Center-WesPastor Tom Holloway

Solon Center Wesleyan Church

15671 Algoma, Cedar Springs (just north of 19 Mile)

 

Community Building and Building Community—are they one and the same? They are the same words for sure. But do they mean the same thing? I hope that our answer in Cedar Springs is “Yes.” A community building is a place where a community would come together in a physical space that is common.  A physical space where the needs of the community are both felt and met. In order for this to happen, or course we need to first build a sense of community.

The “church” often feels this tension, too. When I say that I go to church at “such and such” church, for me that church is (Solon Center Wesleyan Church), to you it might be a different location. But when we say that we are going to church, does that mean that we go to a physical location that has an address? I’d say both yes, and no. For us at Solon Center, our physical location is at 15671 Algoma Ave, yet when we leave that place we are called to “Go be the church” to the communities, schools, workplaces and families we represent. That is what is so great about the church; it can be a location where we worship and do the things of God, and it is also a place from which we are sent to do the work of the church.

When the church loses focus on what they are called to do, they get off track.  When the church becomes so much about us and our own needs, we forget what we are called to do. The Great Commission spells is out:

Matthew 28:18-20: 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

A building that we call church is a great thing, and I am very proud of how warm and friendly our building is, but it is nothing without the people. Just look at all of the empty church buildings in Europe that have become nothing more than museums. When we fail to meet the needs of our community, our halls will grow dark and empty.

Right now in Cedar Springs there is great enthusiasm for a “Community Building” to be put together to meet the ever-growing needs of an ever-growing community.  Even now people are working hard just to find out what our community needs so that we can not only survive, but we can thrive. We have a vision for a building that will enhance the great things already taking place in Cedar Springs, and that will also take us to the next level. I’m sure that all of the details will be coming out soon to answer all of the questions that the community must have, but you can know for sure that our primary goal is not to just build a “Community Building,” but rather to “Build the Community” of Cedar Springs. I love these words spoken to the prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 33:3: 3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’”

When a community comes together united in their goal, and united in their love for their community ahead of there own personal interests, there is no end to what God can do.  We are called to be the church in our community, which means putting the needs of others ahead of our own. We as a community are called to see the needs of our current generation as well as the needs of future generations. Hang on—it’s going to be a great ride!

 

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Being a guide and having a guide


Pastor Chad Hampton

Solon Center Wesleyan Church

15671 Algoma, Cedar Springs (just north of 19 Mile)

Huntin The Truth Ministries

www.huntinthetruth.org

Solon-Center-Wes

 

The first day of October marks an extra exciting season in the life of a select group of people: deer hunters. This day marks the opening of archery deer hunting season. This time of year brings the excitement and anticipation of hopefully harvesting those deer that you have been watching on your trail cameras, dreaming of, and talking to other hunters about the entire year. This is not to mention seeing pictures of some of the nice bucks being harvested by our youth during the early youth hunt that builds the excitement! Speaking of youth, for a ministry I’ve founded called “Huntin the Truth Ministries,” this also brings the excitement of having the privilege and opportunity to fulfill our mission. We take youth and physically challenged men and women out into the fields to hunt those deer and use the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with them and help guide these men and women spiritually as they also “hunt” the plan that God has for their lives.

This year as I pondered the great memories we will make hunting and guiding other hunters, I began thinking about how God is providing for a new chapter when it comes to my family life and ministry. Even though I have been in ministry for 15 years, hunting for almost 25 years, and approaching my middle-aged years of life, this will be a season I have never been through before. Even though I have security of knowing that God is in control at every new season that life brings, I know that God uses people in our lives to help guide us along each journey, much like we do with the youth in our ministry during hunting season.We teach them where and how to hunt, how to use their weapons, and sometimes warn them of the dangers of what lies ahead based on the hard lessons we have learned from our successes and our failures. I began to realize that although I guide others and have gained experience from the years I have lived on this earth, I also need a guide, or a mentor, who God will use to lead me through this new phase in life.  I need a wise person with experience in this stage who will educate me on the ups and downs that occurred throughout a past season of his/her life.

The Bible actually tells us that even if we are wise, we will seek out and listen to more wisdom!  Proverbs 9:9 says, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: Teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” We see in Proverbs chapter 1 that Solomon declared that he wrote the Proverbs “That the wise man may hear, and increase in learning: And that the man of understanding may attain unto sound counsels.” Solomon, who God blessed with greater wisdom than anyone of his day, also had his share of failures even though he had wisdom to that degree. He is trying to teach us a great lesson from his life: Even though you might have much wisdom and experience, you always need more.

I began to realize this year—more so than ever—that our entire lives are cycles of seasons that we have never been through before. Whether you are a young boy or girl just entering junior high school, a young man or women who is entering a new marriage or having children, a middle-aged man or woman who is experiencing the empty nest, or a man or woman approaching retirement, these are all fresh stages in life; these are times we can navigate through easier with the wisdom and direction of someone who has already been through your current season.

So, let me ask you: Do you have a guide or mentor in your life who God could use to help guide you through this current season of your life and the seasons ahead? Regardless of our age, we have never been through our current stage of life, and I would recommend seeking God on whom that person or persons would be to help guide you! Furthermore, if you have never been a mentor to another person, I would recommend that you seek God and your church leaders concerning who you could mentor through times you have already experienced. God bless you, and if you’re a hunter, God bless your hunting!

 

 

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Endless Summer?


Solon-Center-WesPastor Tom Holloway

Solon Center Wesleyan Church

15671 Algoma, Cedar Springs 

(just north of 19 Mile)

 

My wife and I sat down early this spring and decided that this would be the summer of “No!” We would say no to anything that took time away from our family because we are so busy during the school year with ministry, teaching, and sports. We seem to run ourselves ragged from sun up to sun down, and we needed a slow-paced summer so that we could enjoy the weather and some much needed down time. So the answer to any and every request would be, “no”.

Well, the junior ball league really needed a coach, and without it they might not have had another team so I figured that I had better fill that need. My daughter got into this really great music camp, and it’s only 5 hours away, and it could be life changing for her so we signed her up for that. And since we sent her to that, we couldn’t really say no to this great basketball camp for my son (Tom Izzo is going to be there after all!).  My wife and the kids have always gone over to the other side of the state to visit her college roommate and we couldn’t really miss that opportunity could we? Oh, and I found out that I’m going to be honored at this camp in Indiana for some worship leading that I’ve done over the years, and I’d hate to miss that! Well, you can see where this is going! The summer of “No” has turned into the summer of “Yes of course I can do that!”

I believe that our lives are full of seasons. In fact the writer of Ecclesiastes (Solomon), tells us about that.  It was even made popular in the famous song, “Corner of the sky.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, 11-12. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance…
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”

Maybe this season in your life is not what you expected or even hoped for. Maybe you find yourself in a really difficult situation that you didn’t expect. But you can know that even though life is not what you expected, it is only for a season. There are seasons in our lives that stress us out, that make us wonder what God is up to. But we can take comfort in the fact that God has set eternity in our hearts, and if we have the “big picture” in mind we can have the “peace that passes all understanding”. So try to slow down this summer and take some time to “Be still and know that He is God” (Psalms 46:10). I’m going to try too! So don’t ask me to do anything! (Just kidding!)

 

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March Madness


Rev. Tom Holloway

Solon Center Wesleyan Church 

15671 Algoma Ave, Cedar Springs

 

As a sports fan, I love all kinds of sporting activities but most of all, “March Madness.” Though I don’t go in on any pools, my family all fills out their brackets and we battle each other for the title. I still can’t believe that my wife won last year after not knowing a single thing about college basketball, other than the fact that the best collegiate basketball team is the Michigan State Spartans!

The NCAA Tournament is the most exciting sporting event because of the opportunity for some unknown team to come up and make a huge run. We love to root for the Cinderella team. Why is that? We love to root for the underdog because we have it in our mind that the powerhouse is bad and the underdog is good. This goes back to the greatest underdog of all time, David vs. Goliath.

David, this young teenager with only a sling and a stone goes out against the 9-foot tall champion Goliath from Philistine. I’m taking some liberty here, but I would guess that down deep in their hearts, everyone was cheering for David (even the other Philistines). I believe it is just in us to root for the underdog because we all see ourselves as the underdog. So I think that everyone was rooting for David in this battle, except for one, and his name was Saul.

Saul was the King of Israel and had the most to gain from this victory, yet we see the first recorded “sarcasm” in the Bible. We find it in I Samuel 17:32–37. “32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”

“Go, and the LORD be with you.” In other words, “Good luck buddy!”

We know the rest of the story; David succeeds in defeating Goliath with his slingshot and a stone. But what gets sometimes lost is that David will go on to do great things and receive great honor for defeating Goliath, and this will make Saul extremely angry and jealous. In fact Saul will become increasingly miserable and bitter the rest of his life.

The ironic thing is that Saul had all of the things that people strive for. He was tall, dark, and handsome.  He had great power. He was the first King of Israel. He had God’s blessing. He had all of the tools to be successful. But he lacked one thing—humility.

When Jesus came to the earth, He was fully God and fully man. He was God’s Son, He had the knowledge, He could do all kinds of miracles, He had the right to demand and get anything He wanted. Yet we read in Philippians 2:5—11 that He chose to make himself nothing, He humbled himself.  When we humble ourselves, God will lift us up. In a few weeks we will celebrate the greatest story of all time—Jesus resurrection, where He defeated death. This is the ultimate comeback story. This is when “March Madness” turns to “April Gladness.”

Get out to your local church, or find one if you don’t have one, and celebrate the greatest spectacle, the power of Jesus’ resurrection. Join with me in praying for our community and our community leaders as we go through this great Easter season! And “Go State!” (Sorry, I had to do it!)

 

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Stroke and Osteoporosis Screenings at Solon Center


Residents living in and around the Cedar Springs, Michigan community can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture. Solon Center Wesleyan Church will host Life Line Screenings on Ma 10, 2011, at 15671 Algoma Ave., in Cedar Springs.
Four key points everyone needs to know:
1.    Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of permanent disability
2.    80 percent of stroke victims had no apparent warning signs prior to their stroke
3.    Preventive ultrasound screenings can help you avoid a stroke
4.    Screenings are fast, noninvasive, painless, affordable and convenient
Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women.  Packages start at $139. Screenings take approximately 60-90 minutes to complete.
For more information regarding the screenings or to schedule an appointment, call 1-877-237-1287 or visit our website at www.lifelinescreening.com. Pre-registration is required.

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“We Family”


We face decisions everyday that seek to divide us: Michigan or Michigan State  (Go Spartans!), Democrat or Republican (no comment), Coke or Pepsi, rock or country, and last but not least hymns or praise choruses. These decisions that we make can be of little importance or of great importance. I myself would love to see another Michigan football season much like the last, with maybe one or two less wins, but my best friend would have to be coaxed off of a ledge if that happened.  My wife on the other hand couldn’t care less if Michigan State won the national championship, unless it happened on Facebook.

On Sunday, August 30, we witnessed something historical in Cedar Springs and I hope you had the opportunity to attend it. The Cedar Springs Ministerial Association hosted the first annual worship service in Morley Park, and it was called “United.” We don’t have exact numbers, but it was estimated that over 500 people were in attendance at the 11:00 a.m. service, and many people stuck around afterwards for a free lunch of hot dogs and chips. After the lunch was a time of hanging with friends and family while the kids played on the dozen inflatable games, or in the park on the playground equipment. You could also take a turn at dunking your pastor in the “Dunk Tank,” which an un-named pastor broke! To conclude the day was a time of worship music provided by a worship team made up of people from over 6 area churches. It was an awesome time of unity.

Unity, as you might guess does not come easy, nor does it come naturally. If you have more than one child in your house, or if you have a sibling, you know that peace is not a natural outcome over time. In fact, Jesus knew, when He left this Earth, that, as Christians, we would have the natural tendency to divide. In John 17:21 Jesus prays that, “…all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Jesus was warning us that people who are not Christians will be watching what we do. Because let’s face it, we as Christians don’t have the best reputation when it comes to bonding together in unity. We have as many denominations as there are Baskin Robbins flavors. But I can tell you that the churches in our area are working together to unite on the things that we all have in common, and this has been a long time coming. As one song that we sang says, “Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city…”

I think one of our area pastors said it best when we ended our prayer for our area by saying, “We Family!” This pastor happens to be one of the football coaches here in Cedar Springs, and this is what they say everyday to conclude their practice. That, no matter what happens in the heat of battle, we’re all family.  Even though we may disagree on style, music, dress, hymns, etc…  We are united on the big things.  Like a family we are made up of different people, and we all have our strengths and weaknesses, not to mention that really weird aunt!  But together we can all agree on reaching out to our community to show the love that was shown to us. Great job Cedar Springs, and a big “thank you” from “En-Gedi,” our future community youth center that was given over $1,100 as an offering. Watch out for more community events from our ministerial association.

Rev. Tom Holloway, Asst. Pastor
Solon Center Wesleyan Church
15671 Algoma Ave., Cedar Springs

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