From the Pastor’s Desk…
Be patient, then,brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.
The other night I was driving to the store when I found myself yelling out loud while pulling my hair out at the same time. It was near white out conditions with snow falling in large white clumps. Quite normal for us Michiganders. My dismay came when I realized that it was April 19. It was my winter breaking point. The point where I had had enough of it all and could not take it anymore. I had lost my patience, it’s time for spring! Fortunately, by the time you are reading this, our long-awaited season of growth has come. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this noble virtue of patience is not highly valued. Our food is demanded instantly, our speed limits are rising, decisions are made instantaneously, and all around us things are moving faster and faster. Patience—some of us excel at it,others not so much. I happen to be in the former camp. The Bible talks about it frequently and Paul raises the virtue to be included as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians. And here the writer of James urges the followers to strive for it as they wait for the Lord’s coming.
He mentions the farmer which is a fitting illustration when it comes to patience. The farmer puts all his hope in something which he does not actually see until the end of his season. The tilling of the field. The waiting for the sun and water to do its work. The constant weeding and maintenance. And then finally,hopefully, the reward come harvest.
That’s like patience when it comes to our faith. We wait for things we currently cannot see. All around us we see a world that is filled with pain, sin, and evil and we wonder where things are heading. Yet at the same time we are promised in our faith that God is in complete control and will make all things new through Jesus when he returns again. We tend to lose patience between those two things. Between the pain in the world, and the promises of God for hope, we lose patience because we put too much pressure on ourselves and think we are in control. The good news is that in reality we are not. The farmer can do all the work and fussing he wants, but at the end of the day it’s up to God’s provision for the harvest. We can let go and trust. We can loosen the reins of control and take the pressure off ourselves. When we are able to begin to realize that, the Spirit’s gift for us is patience. It’s a small reminder that I need to tell myself often, I pray that for some of you it is as well.
May our God grant you peace and patience this month.
~ Pastor Mark
Reflections from the Front Pew
Last month I ended my Caller article with this prayer:
Lord, thank you for the music that brings my soul such joy.
I talked in that article about how music can lift my spirits when I’m struggling; when I seem to have lost the JOY in my life.Notice I didn’t used the word “happiness”. I read somewhere that happiness is temporary, but joy is from the Lord. In other words, joy is permanent – through trials & suffering. During the last couple months, as we read through those 40 Bible verses together, many of those verses reminded me of the JOY that God gives. Along with music, God has just the solution for those down days – digging into his Word.
This month as the flowers bloom, the breezes blow, the leaves burst open, and the birds fill the air with their own unique songs, here are some of God’s words just for you. Just for those days that need a dose of joy, or for those days when things seem impossible, or just to put a smile on your face. Sit outside & enjoy these passages from God, himself, to you–
Psalm 16:11 - You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Psalm 19:8 - The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.
Psalm 119:91-93 - Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life.
Psalm 28:7 - The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
James 1:2-4 - Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Romans 15:13 - I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him.Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 126:5 - Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.
Romans 12:12 - Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
1 Peter 1:8-9 - Though you have not seen him,you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
May your heart be filled with the JOY that comes from God; the JOY that carries you through wherever your life leads. The final verse is one of my favorites – it’s short, but powerful:
Nehemiah 8:10 - The joy of the Lord is my strength.
*Rend Collective recorded a song called “The Joy of the Lord”. It’s worth a listen! Find it on youtube @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcG9HApTC_Q
~ Joni Wagenmaker, Director of Worship & Music
Children & Youth News
Thank you teachers and volunteers!
As we wrap up another season of ministry to our young people, we have reflected on so many ministries that have taken place over the last year. Children in Worship, Nursery, GEMS, Cadets, Little Peeps, Middle School Youth Group,High School Youth Group, Merge, Momentum, Family Service Night, Family Game Night, plus committee meetings, special events, prize store, serving food and the list could go on and on! Thank you to all of those who have taken time out of their schedule to volunteer and help make these ministries possible! They area blessing to our children, our parents, and to our community as well. 1 Peter 4:10 calls us to “use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Our church has done that in amazing ways this year! Thank you all who serve so selflessly. You are a testimony to the greatness of Christ through your acts of service and love to our children.
~ The Children’s Ministry Team
Youth & Missions
We have two Momentum students who will be traveling to the Dominican Republic during the month of June. Nick Brown and Andy Swords will be working with our missions agency and CRC missionaries through Resonate Global Missions to serve for a month doing construction and working with several ministries. Please be in prayer for them as they tackle this mission project.
SERVE St Thomas – we have a group of 24 traveling to St Thomas June 21-29 to do hurricane relief work. See the youth bulletin board for pictures and names of all participants that will be going. Please also be in prayer for this group as we travel and serve.
SERVE Muskegon – we currently have 104 individuals planning on coming to Muskegon from July 7-14 for Muskegon SERVE. This is a large group for us! Watch for ways in the beginning of June for how you can help out! This is a wonderful ministry and I would highly recommend considering getting involved in some way! SERVE is a tremendous blessing for our community, for student and leaders that come, but also for our students and church family as well. God has blessed so many lives through this ministry!
Summer Youth Group Schedules will be out soon! See Brian for a copy or check the Welcome Center.
~ Brian Kingshott, Director of Children & Youth
We would like to honor this year’s high school and college graduates by placing their names and the school they graduated from in the June Calvin Caller. Please call the office 231-737-5207,send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a note letting us know the name and high school/college of your graduate by Thursday,May 18th.
~ Jean Wilbur, Deacon
Learning to Pray Against
Most of us have spent our lives praying for many things, but while listening to a radio preacher, I was challenged to start praying against Satan. He felt that the tool that enforces Satan’s defeat is prayer. He gave the example from Daniel Chapter 10, where one man on earth was able to move angels in heaven. We know that spiritual warfare goes on daily but think of how a praying church could influence world events.
We have read that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil” and that these spiritual forces are very real and powerful to cause ruin to a whole nation.
What would happen if as a church we prayed against the demons in charge of the spiritual ruin of the United States? We could pray that they become weaker and no longer able to destroy our souls through hatred, drugs, sexual sins, and the constant elevation of self. So let’s get on our knees and pray against those in charge of our destruction.
~ MaryAnn Mellema
Hearts & Hands
We are delighted to have most of our winter vacationers back with us, including Maryann Wolffis, who returned to lead Hearts & Hands.
Our card ministry has always been an essential part of Hearts& Hands. Linda Bos has an amazing ability to write the perfect note on each and every card. We then all sign each card, giving special thought to every person whose lives are touched with these cards. We do know the importance of reaching outwith words of love and concern, knowing what it means to everyone who receives a card. Thank you, Linda, for performing this very vital part of our ministry.
We continue to financially assist two neighborhood programs that are very special to Calvin. We help fund our Household Pantry, as well as support the breakfasts that benefit all who are involved during our food truck visits. Both programs lend assistance to many needy neighbors. It’s a great way to reach out and show how much we care. This is when we learn about the absolute goodness of people working these events – the ones who make sure these two programs continue to be carried out. We send our heartfelt thanks to all those involved.
Health issues have touched some of our own H & H members recently. Hopefully, we will have them all back soon and we will be whole once again.
Our next meeting will be held at 1:00 pm, Monday, May 14,2018….always the second Monday of every month in the Fireside Room. We encourage you to join us.
Our regular meeting will be Tuesday, May 1st at 7:00 pm. We will be meeting in the Fireside Room because of the size now of the committee.
Mother’s Day Breakfast will be Sunday, May 13th from 8:30 to 9:45 am. This is a Fund-raiser for the SERVE Trip to St. Thomas.
Remember to pick-up your Mother’s Day gift from Calvin Church. We will have a table set up in the narthex on May 13th.
~ Vern Borgman, FellowshipChair
Tarboro, NC: A Reflection on Our Work
It’s been 18 months since Hurricane Matthew dumped 17 inches of rain on this area. For a few of our clients the hardship will finally come to an end. Three of them have to leave their FEMA provided trailer this month so the rush is on to finish their homes. One of the women had to leave her FEMA trailer last Friday. She is living with her daughter in Raleigh until her home is finished and she is commuting 1 ½hours each morning to come to Tarboro for work and then return again. We expect to finish her home this week. We are working hard to finish 4 of the 5 homes assigned to us. We just started one home yesterday and we are pulling up flooring and removing the kitchen sheetrock. It will be a while before her home will be ready. Weekly volunteers will have to complete that work.
World Renew has completed 9 homes since last September when we opened this location.
The flooding in Tarboro occurred because the authorities had to release a dam further up the Tar River. Mary tells us that the police came and told them they had 1 hour to vacate and a pod was delivered to her home. She was told to place all she could into the pod in that hour and the pod would be moved to higher ground. When the hour was up the police came again and escorted the family out. With only an hour to pack many possessions were destroyed. After the flood waters receded, the fire department inspected every home for structural integrity and placed either a red, orange or green sticker on the window. Red meant the home was a total loss, orange meant they could be repaired and green meant the home was okay and the family could return. There are many homes with red stickers in Princeville and they are abandoned. FEMA gave many of them a “buyout” and their homes will be destroyed. Mary’s concern is many of her neighbors took the buyout and now she is fearful her neighborhood will no longer be safe. Mary’s home is nearly finished except for replacing the porch railings which took a beating in the flood and are not safe. Mary will return to a restored home but her life will never be the same.
~ Ric & Dee Scott from Tarboro, NC
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2
“In my Father’s house...” Pastor Heber and Monica Gil graduated from All Nations Seminary in 2014. Shortly thereafter the ministry couple took a call to serve a church in Veracruz.
From Juarez, a distance of over one thousand miles, Pastor Heber’s father’s house was about to take on a new purpose. His dad began to receive Heber’s messages via Skype. He enthusiastically invited neighbors and family members to meet in his house at 10 AM on Sunday mornings where they celebrated worship. They sang, prayed and heard Pastor Heber’s messages transmitted from afar.
In August 2017, Heber and Monica returned to Juarez to serve as chaplains at the seminary. Now Heber preaches every Sunday at a new mission-church plant...in his father’s house.
About three miles north of Sr. Gil’s house,Pastor Jose and Maribel Ramos recently began a new church plant. They graduated from ANS in 2015. A year ago they sensed the Lord’s leading to gather friends and family under a shade tree on the front edge of their lot.One Sunday morning they circled some folding chairs under the tree. Jose opened the Scriptures and taught them. Several months later the group hung a plastic blue tarp for shade. More people were coming each week.
And then, in December, funds arrived. The little tree was removed to make room for anew metal roof and block walls. Now the mission meets in an area measuring 30’ x 30’. Along with worship services and Sunday school, Jose and Maribel’s house serves as a gathering place for community ministry. Neighbors eat together and get to know each other. Practical classes for children and adults are taught.
It reminds me of Lydia in Philippi (Acts 16). On the Sabbath Paul met with god-fearing ladies by the side of a stream. Later,the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to the gospel and she opened her home to the apostles. As the Holy Spirit continues to guide His people, New Testament stories of church planting continue to happen in unexpected places.
Pray for the Gils as they plant a new church. Heber and Monica need vision and resources as they hope to buy a lot for a church building. Jose and Maribel Ramos are facing a problem which threatens to divide the mission. Pray for unity. Five students of NT Greek need prayer. They are struggling with understanding grammatical concepts and memorizing vocabulary. Pray for motivation and success. Pray for my co-worker, Rev. Eduardo Gonzalez. He has graciously been filling in as academic director. Pray for wisdom and guidance as students are taught, counseled and discipled. Give thanks that Jeananne and I could host the Resonate Mission Retreat in El Paso. Fifty people attended the four day event. We ate, prayed, fellowshipped, learned and planned. Pray for three students who were suspended. Pray that they may receive the correction in a spirit of humility and not bitterness and may grow in the Lord. Pray for Enrique as he and his wife have a common law marriage. After taking an ethics class, they decided to “tie the knot” respecting the state and church. Eduardo and I hope to officiate at their marriage ceremony in several months. Pray for single student Andres Barraza as he and his parents care for twelve orphans. They need more space for their ministry. Andres’ dad is Pastor Rodolfo. He and Andres study at the San Pablo Seminary.
~ Rev.Dan and Jeananne Kuiper
Serving with Resonate Global Mission in Mexico
Anniversaries: Our best wishes to the following couples who are celebrating their anniversaries this month (50+ years together)…
Kirby & Karen Swordscelebrating 56 years on May 26.
Birthdays: The following people are celebrating their birthdays this month…
May 1 –Kirby Swords May 10 – Bonnie Bergman May 22 – Audrey Kingshott
May 1– Greg Kamp May 13 – Jean Smit May 23 – Kelly Wierenga
May 4– Barb Rasmussen May 16 – Marilyn Vanderlinde May 24 – Donna Wickerink
May 4– Bill Sorensen May 16– Holly Gould May 27 – MaryAnn Mellema
May 6– John Wyn May 17 – Owen Milkamp May 27 – Andrew Swords
May 6– Andrea Heeres May 18– Roger Johnson May 27 – Aiden Kempf
May 6– Rosemary Datema May 19– Sheri Byers May27 – Julia Best
May 7 – Vi Wiersema May 20 – Ric Scott May 30 – Trudi VanTol
May 8 – Cheryl Veldman May20 – Kevin Datema May 30 – Char Reed
May 9 – Lexi Carlston May 20 – Maddox Mellema May 31 – Paul Wilson
May 10 – Chuck George May 21 – Dee Scott May 31 – Sue Milkamp
May 10 – Linda Bos May 21 – Kathy Jansen
Look for details on the pictorial directory final touches soon, especially if you haven’t had your picture taken yet. If you have had family pics taken recently and would like to use one, you may forward one to the office.
Make sure to download the Instant Church Directory app on your phone or go to instantchurchdirectory.com on your computer, follow the prompts using the email given to the church. If we do not have your email and you would like to gain access, please let the office know and your info will be updated promptly.
Reminder: If you have changes (address, phone, email, etc.) during the year, please let Vickie know and updates will be put in this section of the monthly Calvin Caller (but not included on the website).
Wise and Otherwise…
No winter lasts forever, no springskips its turn. April is a promise thatMay is bound to keep.
I believe in Christianity as Ibelieve in the sun – not only because I see it, but because by it I seeeverything else.
~ C.S. Lewis
A real Christian is a person who cangive his pet parrot to the town gossip.
~ Billy Graham
No revenge is more honorable than theone not taken.
~ Spanish proverb
No one has ever measured, not eventhe poets, how much the heart can hold.
~ Zelda Fitzgerald
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
~ dr. seuss
May your choices reflect your hopes,not your fears.
~ nelson mandela
One kind word can change someone’sentire day.
~ the golden rule
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