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Archive | Church Connection

The Value of Focused Vision

Pastor Bobby Gray

Solid Rock Worship Center

11862 Shaner Avenue NE, Cedar Springs

(Office) 616.696.1900  

www.MySolidRock.CHURCH | FaceBook.com/MySRWC

What makes a great team in church work? Some say it takes a great leader; but without strong workers, the leader can only do so much. Some would say you need a great music team; but without a great outreach team, the music team will have no one to sing to. Another may insist, it’s all on the prayer team; but the church still needs some follow-through to be great.

It’s never just one ministry. It will be a mixture of strategies possessing a few common ingredients. The leaders and workers will learn how to triumph together. Not every church will do it the same, but they can have some dependable characteristics that will cause their church to grow and experience revival.

One characteristic is vision. It can’t be just words on a website or business card. I’m talking about a God-stimulated idea, something that moves the church out of its comfort zone. What is a vision? A vision is a God-inspired idea that causes the church to dream of what could be.

Vision is so important to a church leader. It should remain clear and simple. Don’t clutter your vision with too much busywork. Have a strong focus on a limited set of intentions. Do a few things with great intensity and high excellence. Be specific, choosy, and focused. The apostle Paul demonstrated his focus when he said, “But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). This kind of focus will cause us to realize that God is doing something special with us.

In Luke 10, Martha complained to Jesus about having no one to help her with her chores in preparing for Him. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha . . . one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part” (Luke 10:41-42). Sometimes we try to do everything and wind up not doing it to the best of our abilities. Let’s increase our focus and do our vision well.

When Nehemiah was rebuilding the broken-down wall of Jerusalem, Sanballet and Geshem wanted to meet with him to stop his momentum. Nehemiah’s answer is classic, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down” (Nehemiah 6:3). He refused to be distracted or disturbed. The vision must be the guiding force for the church or ministry. The vision is a picture of the chosen destiny. It is the church’s designed future. The vision gives direction. Without vision, we perish (see Proverbs 29:18).

Three elements of vision:

It Must Be PRECISE: If people can’t remember the vision, they will never catch it!

It Must Be MANAGEABLE: People should be able to communicate it to others in less than a minute.

It Must Be INCENDIARY: Ignite a fire of passion that moves people. It should burn in the heart but be too big to do on our own. The vision should cause growth in our spirit.

A vision that captures the church will have people who give their life to it. They are saying, “Give me a vision to die for and I will not miss coming to church. Give me a vision worth living for and I’ll get involved in it.” Everyone wants to be a part of something that is making a difference. The clearer your vision, the easier it is to do what Jesus called you to do.

Remember, good is the enemy of best. When you increase your focus, you decrease your options. Greater concentration equals higher power. As Christians, let’s seek Jesus! Let’s hear and see His vision so clearly that we are overwhelmed by it. Let it consume us to the point that it spills out in everything we do!

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Dan M. Christie age 76 of Sand Lake, died Monday, January 10, 2022 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus. Dan was born November 14, 1945 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Robert and Eleanor (Reminga) Christie. He was a graduate of Rockford High School and served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He retired from SBC (Michigan Bell) after 30 years. He loved horses and was a member of the Michigan Trail Riders Association and the Red Flannel Saddle Club. He enjoyed sports of all kinds and following his sons, especially wrestling. He drove bus for Rockford Schools for 10 years after retirement and for many of their sporting events. Surviving are his wife, Diane (Kilts) whom he married on May 2, 1970; sons, Kyle and Kirk; grandchildren, Karrigan (Daniel) Atkins, Kamri, Kalette, Kyrianna, Casey, Kylen, Evelyn, Hazel; great-grandson, Julyian; sister, Darla Ransom; many nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Dave, Dale and Doug. The family will greet friends Thursday, January 13 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Friday 11:00 a.m. Viewing will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pastor Ben Lester officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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

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Judith Goodell

Judith Goodell

The family will greet friends at 

Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home

13603 Northland Drive, Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Saturday, January 22, 2022

from 3:00-5:00 p.m.

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Ruth E. Hayden, age 82, of Sand Lake, Michigan, passed away on January 5, 2022. Ruth was born on May 17, 1939 to Clayton and Mable (Gibson) Simpson. After graduation from Sand Lake High School in 1957, Ruth eloped with Nile Hayden and spent the next eighteen years as a military wife traveling with his career in the United States Air Force. Ruth was a very talented lady and known as “Mrs. Mouse” from her days owning The Mouse House Craft Store in Sand Lake. Her talents ranged from cake decorating to tole painting, and everything in between. Ruth took pride in being a Life Auxiliary Member of both the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans. Ruth is survived by her devoted husband of sixty-four years, Nile Hayden; her children, Cherrie Camilleri, Carrie (Warren) Smith, Charles (Martha) Hayden; six grandchildren; and her sister Carol Simpson. There will be a life-tribute gathering for friends and family this spring. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Ruth’s name can be made to the Sand Lake Fire Department, 2 E. Maple St., Sand Lake, Michigan 49343 or to the Nelson Township / Sand Lake Library, 88 Bass Lake Rd., Sand Lake, Michigan 49343.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

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Lonnie Dwyaine Armstrong, age 65 of Sand Lake Michigan, took his last breath on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. He was born to Lenny Gordon Jackson and Alexander Dwyaine Armstrong on April 17, 1956. He is remembered and is dearly missed already as a faithful servant, bold leader, intensely loving dad, tenderly fun grandpa, transparent friend, passionate coach, generous giver, and aggressive teddy bear. Lonnie grew up in Cedar Springs, Michigan and graduated from Cedar Springs High School, Class of 1974. CSHS is where he first found his passion for the sport of wrestling as a lightweight. It was also there that he met Gail Maureen Bailey, his best friend, confidant and love of his life. They married January 24, 1975 and began their adventure and legacy of unconditional love together. He may have been a lightweight in high school but when he started coaching wrestling around 1981, his larger-than-life personality thundered into the spotlight. It was also around 1981 that he came to know Jesus as his Savior and the legacy grew. Lonnie and Gail loyally raised four children in their beloved hometown. He worked at American Seating and then transitioned to business owner for FedEx all while coaching wrestling. Lonnie passed on the acceptance that he experienced from his high school wrestling team and from his wife’s family. It translated as a deep desire for every wrestler/young person to have the chance to know that they were capable, valued, and accepted – as the many youth that he coached and led over the last 40+ years can attest. He wanted everyone to be intentional about a purpose-driven life, to believe in each other as the power of a team, and to know that there is an opportunity of unconditional love because we are first loved unconditionally by our Heavenly Father. The walls of the Armstrong home are adorned with family photos and memories at every turn. He loved his family even more fiercely than wrestling and would get in his own way showing it. He loved to have control and actually chuckled with Gail at his pride during his abrupt illness. Lonnie was good at laughing at himself and knew that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. He lived that out by pushing other people to shine out their strengths, and trying so hard to learn to be better himself. Though you probably know he loved his land, business, and competition, his true legacy is the relationships that were built with those things as the tool. His family will treasure the memories of walks down the trails, dirt bikes at the sand dunes, camping at the cabin, quad rides with grandpa, learning lessons while chopping wood and delivering it to people in need, learning to hang deer stands and hunt, the lesson-based stories he told.. and re-told. He will be missed by the Calvary Baptist Greenville Middle School small groups, the 2022 Rockford Middle School Wrestling Team, the Men’s Saturday morning small group, all the people that called on him as a capable and loyal friend and brother, many others we don’t even know about, and most of all his family that he loved so dearly and truly, cherishing every relationship. Lonnie is survived by his gracious wife of 46 years, Gail Armstrong; children Aaron (Missy) Armstrong, Holly (Troy) Anderson, Sara (Jeremiah) Gitchel, Lee (Lindsey) Armstrong; the grandkids, Austin (Julia), Dawson (Ashely), Casen, Quaden, Brody, Ryker, Léda, Isaac, Avery, Eden, Porter, Brecken; the great-grandkids, Stella and Arbor; his sister Rhonda Davis; brother Rick (Jan) Pierman, many in-laws, nephews, nieces, and cousins. His memorial service will be held at a later date, to be determined. To honor his memory, please send a card to 16913 Penny Ave, Sand Lake MI 49343 with a note of a lesson, memory, or story that you remember of Lonnie or of the impact that he had on your life. Memorial contributions can be made to Calvary Baptist Church 12501 Montcalm Rd. Greenville, MI 48838 memo: Lonnie Armstrong Memorial – Student Ministries.

A friend accurately wrote “He loved Jesus and is spending eternity with Him. He would love nothing more than to see you in Heaven with Him.”

Pass it on.

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Virginia Lou (Frandsen) Christensen, lifelong resident of Trufant, passed away Monday, January 3, 2022 at Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville after a brief illness. She was born May 18, 1936 in Trufant, the daughter of William and Christine (Albertson) Frandsen. Her brothers always told her she was born during a thunderstorm, and they had to stay in the barn with their dad. On March 20, 1954, Virginia married Charles Christensen. Together, she and Chuck owned and operated Chuck’s Standard Service from 1959 to 1971. From 1971 to 2014, they owned and operated Christensen’s Farm and Home Center. Virginia loved everything “Trufant”. She was original Chamber of Commerce member since its inception in 1978. She was a member of the Fireman’s Auxiliary for many years. She was a girl scout leader, a member of the “Mother’s Club (similar to the PTA)” in the 1960’s, and a member of St. Thomas Lutheran Church. Virginia was a correspondent for the Lakeview Area News, writing “Trufant Talk” about the Trufant area. She was a big supporter of local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, but her passion was for the Trufant Jubilee. She was a volunteer for the Jubilee from the beginning, and served as event chairperson for several years. While she loved everything about her Trufant community, her greatest love was her family. Virginia is survived by her children, Vickie (Ralph) Krantz of Trufant, Keith Christensen of Trufant, Roger (Deb) Christensen of Greenville and Scott Christensen of Greenville; granddaughter, Linda Christensen of Greenville; grandsons, Phillip (Katie) Krantz of Greenville, Paul (Amy) Krantz of Trufant, and Michael (Ashley) Christensen of Trufant; great-grandchildren, Elizabeth Christensen of Trufant, Alex and Abby Krantz of Greenville, and Peyton and Cohen Krantz of Trufant; sister-in-law, Shirley Frandsen of Spring Lake; and several nieces, nephews, cousins and many beloved frienids. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Chuck; grandson, Reed Christensen; brothers, Andrew (Mary) Frandsen, Albert (Betty) Frandsen, and Algar Frandsen; nieces, Marcia Tisdel and Connie Williams; father-in-law, Erving Christensen; foster parents-in-law, E.J. and Louise Hall; foster sister-in-law, Marlene (Don) Keeler; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. The family would like to thank the staff at Spectrum Health United Hospital for their excellent care and support during her brief stay. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, January 7, 2022 at Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville, Rev. Terese Whitten officiating. Visitation will be Thursday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Interment will be in Trufant Cemetery. Masks are recommended for both visitation and the funeral service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to St. Thomas Lutheran Church, the Trufant Firemen’s Scholarship Fund, or a charity of your choice, and memories and messages of condolence may be shared at www.hurstfh.com.

Arrangements by Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville

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Sue Ann Rexford, age 67, of Kent City, Michigan, passed away peacefully in her home on December 21, 2021. Sue loved her horses, dogs – Cinca and Penny (and many more that proceeded her in death), her goats along with her first and only love – Cary Rackett. She was happiest outside on her lawn mower or gator. Sue was a hard worker with a very big heart. She did not have much, but was always willing to help or give even though that meant keeping her heat down to 62 degrees to save on the heat bill so she had money to buy gifts. You never had to guess what was on Sue’s mind! She would tell you more than you wanted to hear. Sue is survived by her brother, Lyle Rexford; sister, Shirley Afton; and two nieces, Theresa (Tim) Beach and Tammy (Rolando) Soto. Sue was proceeded in death by her parents, Darrell Rexford and Dorothy Anderson; stepdad, John Anderson; brother-in-law, Tom Afton; aunts and uncles, Ramon (Donna) Rexford, Bob (Alice) Place, and Ward Rexford. Sue has asked that all contributions be sent to the Kent City Fire Department. She was very proud of her cousin, Mike Rexford (Fire Chief) and the department for all they have contributed to Kent City and the surrounding area over the years. A Memorial gathering will be held at a later time. Please check back on the Sparta funeral home website for updated information.

Arrangements by Hessel-Cheslek Funeral Home, Sparta

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Albert James Roemer, Jr. age 81 of Sand Lake, died Thursday, December 30, 2021 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus. He was born June 18, 1940 in Meadville, PA the son of Albert and Mary (Gay) Roemer Sr. He had owned and operated Roemer Auto Parts from 1970-82 and Roemer Muffler & Brakes from 1991-2010. He loved his motorcycle, traveling and antique cars. He was a member of Community Christian Reformed Church, Wyoming. Surviving are his wife, Kandy; children, Renee Keil, Karla (Barb) Page, Terri (Tim) O’Neill; granddaughter, Karly Perkins; great-grandson, Jaxon; sisters, Janet Roemer, Ruth Roemer. The family will greet friends Thursday from 11:00 a.m. until time of service at 12:00 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastor Dave Struyk officiating. Interment Pierson Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Community Christian Reformed Church, 150 Burt Ave. SE, Wyoming, MI 49548.

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

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Elaine “June” Schofield, age 81, of Cedar Springs, Michigan, entered her heavenly home on Thursday, December 30, 2021. June is survived by her beloved husband of 57 years, Ron Schofield, her children Ronda (Jason) Engle, Steve (Allison) Schofield, and grandchildren Austin, Caden, and Casey Engle. June was a selfless woman, taking great pride in caring for her family and giving of her time and talents. She had a contagious smile and could make a friend wherever she went. Some of her favorite activities included spending time with her family, especially playing board games or watching movies with her grandsons, and cuddling her adorable dog Buffy. June’s relationship with Christ was incredibly important to her and brought her much joy and comfort throughout her lifetime. She was a devoted member of Rockford Reformed Church for many years. Her family greeted relatives and friends Sunday, January 2, 2022 from 5 p.m. To 7 p.m. at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe St., Rockford. Funeral services were held 11:00 a.m. Monday, January 3, 2022 at Rockford Reformed Church, 4890 – 11 Mile Rd NE. Private family interment at Blythefield Memory Gardens. To share a photo, memory and sign the family’s online guestbook please visit www.plaisierfuneral.com

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

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Keith Schuldt, 89 met his Lord on Tuesday, December 28, 2021. Keith valued education and is well known for his generous contributions to various educational organizations and area churches. He donated an Olympic pool to Wartburg College in Iowa, computer buildings to a school in California, two classrooms and a baby grand piano to St. Paul’s Church and another to the United Methodist Church in Waverly. Keith was happily raised in an orphanage in Waverly. He would laugh and say, “We always had a baseball team.” He joined the Navy, was happily married to Joy for 58 years and had a successful printing business in Elsegundo, CA. He was the mayor of Waverly and a lifetime Rotarian. Keith moved to Cedar Springs from Waverly, Iowa and married (in the eyes of the Lord) Ariadne Winquist on September 1, 2015. They took up residence in the Cedarfield Park in Cedar Springs. Keith is survived by daughters, Jill Schuldt, Beth (Woody) White, 4 stepchildren, Bonita (Glenn) Stout, Sheri (Doug) Frye, Scott (Kristine) Winquist, Tom (Jacqueline) Winquist; 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. They all fell in love with this wonderful man. Many in Cedar Springs will remember Keith as a candy maker, having a great sense of humor, card player, a love of dancing and an active community member. His most recent passion was to gather all the Red Flannel Queen information and make it available on the internet. He coordinated his efforts with the Cedar Springs Museum. Keith was a highly valued member of each community he lived in. He will be missed by all. Funeral services for Keith will be held at the United Methodist Church in Cedar Springs on Monday, January 17, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. Lunch will be served following the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the United Methodist Church in Cedar Springs or the Ronald McDonald House, 1323 Cedar St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. 

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

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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