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Archive | September, 2014

Maranatha Baptist Church announces new pastor 

Rev. Scott and Susan Sloan.

Rev. Scott and Susan Sloan.

Rev. Scott Sloan assumed the pastoral leadership of Maranatha Baptist Church, 12786 Algoma Ave NE, Cedar Springs, on September 7. Pastor Sloan comes to Maranatha after 15 years of ministry in Fruitland, Utah. He and his wife, Susan, have three adult children and one grandchild. He is a graduate of Spurgeon Baptist Bible College in Florida. Among other interests, he is a very active outdoorsmen and avid hunter.

There was an Installation Service on September 21. Rev. Timothy Teal, a longtime friend and mentor to Pastor Sloan, brought the installation message. Rev. Teal is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Alto, Michigan.

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Learning to pray

Pastor Barry Briggs

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs



Prayer may be the least understood, yet the most powerful action in a Christian’s life. It’s not just reciting a few trite religious words; it’s communicating with the God of the universe who wants to have a relationship with you.

I was thinking this week, why prayer is so difficult for people? Here’s what I think: We’ve had limited exposure to authentic prayer. The bottom line is this—a lot of us just don’t know how to pray. We haven’t been taught how to pray. Maybe the only time we’ve even heard prayer was around the Thanksgiving table or something like that. And because of that we don’t know how to pray or what to say. The reality is prayer is just telling God what’s on your heart.

Why else is it difficult? We think I’m not important enough for God to listen to me. I mean, after all, I can’t even get the cable guy to listen to me.  I call and he puts me on hold. And I wait. And I wait. Then, when I finally talk to the cable guy, what happens? He can’t even pinpoint a time when he’ll be here. “Sometime between sun up and sun down,” he says. So you stay home all day waiting for him to show up, you leave for five minutes for lunch, and he jumps out from behind the bushes where he was hiding and puts a note on your door that reads, “Sorry I missed you. I’ll be back… maybe.” We have those experiences all the time and we think, “If people don’t even want to talk to me or listen to me why would God?” But God isn’t like the cable guy. What you have to say is important to God. If you were important enough for Jesus to die for, you’re important enough to be heard.

We also believe that prayer doesn’t work because, when we’ve asked God for things in the past, He didn’t answer. Or He didn’t answer them quick enough. We are so into instant answers. We think God is like a vending machine; we put in our prayer request, push a button, and out drops an answer. And, because God doesn’t answer prayer that way, we think prayer doesn’t work.

The truth is God does answer prayers. What I’ve found in my own spiritual journey is that a lot of times God answers prayers based on what I need, not on what I want. I want a lot of things that maybe aren’t in God’s big picture and best plans for me.

The Bible tells us in Psalm 66:20 (NLT), “Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His unfailing love from me.”

Prayer can be learned, so let’s get practical. Here’s a couple suggestions:

Call on God first. What does that mean? It means that tomorrow morning, when you wake up, have these words be the first words that come out of your mouth, “Good morning, God.” Just try it. Start out your day tomorrow in prayer.

Get alone. Have a place where you talk to God. Maybe it’s in your car, maybe it’s in the shower, or maybe it’s in your bedroom. Find a place where you can get alone with God and just talk to Him.

Prayer doesn’t have to be awkward or confusing or uncomfortable. In fact, it’s not supposed to be. You can learn how to pray. Maybe learning to pray is the next step you need to take.

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40th Anniversary




Dave and Cyndy Lange of Cedar Springs will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday, Sept 28 2014. Married in Ludington in 1974, they have lived in the Cedar Springs area for the past 22 years. Previously, they lived in Texas, Georgia, Connecticut, and all over Michigan. They have four children; Jennifer and Jon Waters of Belmont, Jamie Lange of Belmont, Amanda and Tony Wright of Greenville, and David Lange of Grand Rapids, and 10 grandchildren. A family dinner followed by a Caribbean cruise is planned to celebrate.

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One year ago, you left us, but you will never be forgotten. The heart always remembers loving and being loved.


We miss you Mom & Grandma

Your loving family

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Memorial Service For BRUCE SMITH


A Memorial Service for Bruce Smith will be held on Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 2 pm to 5 pm at his home, 15173 Stout Ave., Cedar Springs.


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C-obit-FifieldMarguerite L. Fifield 93 of Pierson, died Friday, September 19, 2014 at Spectrum Health United Memorial Campus, Greenville. Mrs. Fifield was born March 1, 1921 in Sand Lake, Michigan the daughter of Robert and Esther (Anderson) Flintoff. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold in 1986; daughter-in-law, Mary; and grandson, Wayne. She enjoyed bingo, quilting and puzzles. Surviving are her children, Robert and friend Lynn, Richard (Alice), Bonnie (Gary) Woodruff, Gary (Dixie), Jim (Sherry), Roger (Nance), Mary (Rix) Robinson, Gerald, Wayne (Terri), Janet (Gerald) Skelonc, Nancy (Jeff) Olsen, Dennis, Donnie, Patty (Jack) Price, Mark (Annette); 33 grandchildren and spouses; 63 great grandchildren; 6 great great grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. The family received  friends Tuesday, September 23 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, where services were held Wednesday 11:00 am. Pastor Joel Cooper officiating. Interment Pierson Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Friends of the Michigan Veterans Home.

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


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Jameson Roy Mather was born on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm to parents Sean and Stephanie Mather (Mentzer). He weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and was 19.5 inches long. Jameson went to be with his heavenly Father at 12:45 pm the same day. Jameson has given us a lifetime of love during his short time on Earth. Jameson’s paternal grandparents are Jeff and Sandy Mather of Cedar Springs, Michigan and his maternal grandparents are Jim and Kim Mentzer of Overisel, Michigan.

The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation provided a volunteer photographer to capture precious images of Jameson in the hospital. In lieu of flowers, we would be pleased to have you support their mission to help other grieving parents through their remembrance photography at nowilaymedowntosleep.org. A funeral service will be 11:00 am, Saturday, September 27, 2014 at Overisel Reformed Church 4706 142nd Avenue, Holland, MI 49423. Reverend André Batt will be officiating. Burial will be in Overisel Cemetery. Visitation will be from 9:30 – 11:00 am prior to the service at the church. To sign an on-line registry or leave a memory please visit www.dykstrafuneralhome.com.

Arrangements are by Dykstra Funeral Home – Downtown Chapel


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Arrow Danford Peters, 94, of Brunswick, Missouri died on September 18, 2014 at the Brunswick Nursing Home. Graveside services will be held at Elliott Grove Cemetery, Brunswick, Missouri,  Monday, September 22, 2014 at 1:30 P.M. Reverend Jonathan Rice and Reverend Bill Gamber officiating. He was born on May 6, 1920 at Laingsburg, Michigan, the son of Daniel and Bernice Miller Peters. He was married Dorthy Jean Bell on January 22, 1941 at Laingsburg, Michigan. Dorthy preceded him in death on July 5, 2014. He and Dorthy were former residents of Poplar Bluff, Missouri  and Cedar Springs, Michigan. He had worked as an automobile mechanic for several automobile dealerships. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed gardening. He was a member of the Brunswick Baptist Church and had taught young adult Sunday School classes in several churches over the years. He is survived by his daughter, Ruth Rice and her husband Herbert of Brunswick, Missouri; three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was also preceded in death by his parents, one brother, one sister and two half-brothers. Memorials may be made to: The United Indian Mission for the Broken Arrow Ranch, and may be left at or mailed to: Breshears Memorial Chapel, 207 W. Broadway, Brunswick, MO 65236.

Arrangements by Breshears Memorial Chapel


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The Pearl of great price

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

John Steinbeck’s literary genus is well known, but not many have read his penetrating little book called The Pearl. Steinbeck’s story begins with a poor Mexican pearl diver named Kino. He happily ekes out a living for his wife and son with a little canoe and a thatch hut on the beach.

When Kino’s child is bitten by a scorpion, his world is turned upside down, for he does not have enough money to pay a doctor to treat the child or a priest to pray for him. At this moment, Kino discovers a pearl as big as his fist: The “Pearl of the World,” the most incredible treasure the village has ever seen.

Now Kino will be rich. His son will be healed. Life will be transformed. But, things don’t work out that way. Greed takes over the village. Thieves attempt to rob him. Kino’s friends grow psychotically jealous. Kino begins to spend all his energies protecting his treasure.

In the end Kino loses everything: His home, his child, his little canoe by which he made a living, and his ability to escape to a better life. He and his wife stand on the shoreline and heave the evil pearl back into the ocean.

Steinbeck’s little story is about far more than a poor Mexican diver. It a tale of human nature; it is about getting what one wants, only to discover that the fulfillment of that desire is one’s undoing.

We all enter this world as treasure seekers. The search is intrinsic, natural, and good. Jesus spoke of it in a way that Steinbeck copied: We are searching for the “Pearl of Great Price,” that invaluable treasure of the soul worth more than all the world.

The glitch is that many of the things we seek are detrimental to us and to the world. My guess is that the majority of our suffering is the direct result of our improper and misguided searches. To quote an old country song, we go “looking for love in all the wrong places.” And when we go looking in all the wrong places, we end up with all the wrong outcomes.

But it’s never too late to find satisfaction. We just have to turn our attention to the true treasure of the soul, the Pearl of Great Price. We just have to search in the right place, and almost magically, we end up with the right results.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


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President and Congress should work together on military intervention 


By Lee H. Hamilton

In his speech last week outlining his plans to use military force against the jihadists of the Islamic State, President Obama gave Congress only passing mention. “I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL,” he said. “But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together.”

He’s right, of course. But that’s not the half of it.

Our process for deciding to use force has not caught up with these dangerous times. It has been decades since Congress asserted any meaningful role; its members prefer to avoid a potentially difficult political vote, let the President take the lead, and then criticize him if he was wrong.

There are certainly occasions when the President must act alone. If we’ve been attacked or hostilities are imminent or some emergency presents itself for which force is the only response, we’d expect the President to respond effectively.

But there are powerful political reasons for making the decision to use force abroad a joint one with Congress, in all but emergencies. When our nation must deal with controversial, complicated questions, there is great value to making the President articulate his analysis of the situation and the reasons for his decisions, and to test that thinking beyond close advisors who naturally tend to support him. The best place to do so is in Congress.

Moreover, military action supported by both the President and Congress carries more legitimacy at home and more conviction abroad. The U.S. is in a far stronger position before the world if it is clear that the branches of government are unified and we are speaking with one voice as a nation.

It is common wisdom that our Constitution is ambiguous on war powers, since it makes the President the commander in chief, yet gives Congress the ability to declare war. In a sense, though, the Constitution’s message is anything but ambiguous: by giving a role to each branch, it clearly considers the use of force to be a shared decision.

This imposes a responsibility on Congress. Congress cannot be a bystander when it comes to the grave decision to use our military abroad. It, too, needs to take ownership of decisions to use force, for the good of the American people’s understanding and acceptance of the issues at stake, and for the benefit of the nation’s profile abroad.

Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

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Intandem Credit Union
Ray Winnie


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