From the Pastor's Desk...
I am amazed each January when I see what the latest and greatest exercise equipment and programs are marketed to us. Elaborate contraptions with pullies and wheels and elastic bands all designed to promise you chiseled abs in 30 days or less. The latest diet craze where you only eat kale and chicken for six weeks and you will lose up to 50 pounds and feel better then you have in your whole life.
Each January we are given a chance for a fresh start. A time to reset, to get back on track, to set new goals, to achieve greater things, and to make resolutions. If you’re anything like me chances are by February 1 you are back to the way things were December 1.
Nonetheless, I suppose it’s good to have an opportunity once a year to give ourselves another chance. Our faith is certainly filled with opportunities for a second chance, afresh start, and a reset. Far more than once a year.
In Matthew 18 Peter once asked Jesus how many times he must forgive his neighbor. Peter suggests 7. Jesus corrects him by saying actually its 77 times. His point is not a specific number. His point is that forgiveness is endless. Our God is a God of countless chances. Everyday can be like January 1—in fact maybe it should. The longer I have been a Christian, the more I realize the depths of my own brokenness. The more I realize my need to begin daily with a fresh start that always begins at the cross of Christ. As the new year begins, perhaps you are working on new things in your life. Always realize where you start daily with your Savior. Always have the faith to start over again, to be willing to begin on your knees at his cross, and to believe you are forgiven time and time again.
~ Pastor Mark
Reflections from the Front Pew
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3
The song “What a Beautiful Name” was written by Hillsong Worship, a group that is well known for many worship songs. One of the first was “Shout to the Lord”, a song that’s actually been sung in churches since 1994. The songs this group writes are Biblical, often written directly from scripture and inspired by verses they hold as their core beliefs.
One of the songs we have just started singing is “Beautiful Name”, written in 2015. Hillsong used the ideas from Hebrews 1 & Colossians 1 to express “the supremacy of Jesus Christ – the radiance of God’s glory, the exact expression of his being, the creative conduit of his power”. They write that through Jesus, we come to know more of who God is – seeing his beauty, wonder and power. These are the exact words they use to describe the name of Jesus in this song:
“Beauty” evokes the tenderness of His love and the sweetness of His presence.
“Wonder” speaks to our gratitude for salvation, awe at the lengths of His sacrifice.
“Power” affirms His supremacy and Sovereignty—an exhortation to remember our access to the power of God in every situation, as we call upon and declare the Name of Jesus.
Jesus has the name above all others; he is the “radiance of God’s glory”. He has no rival or equal and his power is unmatched and absolute. As you worship through singing this song, remember that no matter what you face, be it triumphs or challenges, the beautiful, powerful, and wonderful name of Jesus is your assurance.
What a beautiful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
~ Joni Wagenmaker, Director of Worship& Music
Youth Ministries News
Middle School Youth Group will resume on Wednesday, January 9th. Intersect Lock-In information will be out in January - watch for details.
High School Retreat will be February 22-24, watch for information in January. We will be doing a retreat similar to the one we did last year.
High School Youth Group will resume on Sunday, January 6th.
Merge will resume January 6th.
SERVE - Muskegon SERVE will be July 13th - 20th, 2019.
We will be taking a SERVE trip to Virginia this summer from July 27th – August 3rd. We will be holding an informational meeting onSunday, January 28th at 5pm in the Fireside Room for anyone interested in this trip. Parents are encouraged to come to this meeting.
~ Brian Kingshott, Director of Youth Ministries
Emergency Response and First Aid Training Event
The Calvin Safety Team would like to encourage all members of Calvin Church to attend a free first-aid training seminar sponsored by Mercy Hospital. This seminar will focus on giving citizen first-responders crucial and life-saving information on traumatic injury care,CPR, and using an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED). Basically, this event is intended for all people who would be willing to try to help someone in an emergency situation. The event will begin after the Sunday worship service in the Family Life Center at approximately noon,January 13th, 2019, and a light lunch will be provided. If you would like to attend, please sign-upon the sheet over the drinking fountain or contact me, 231-206-4339.
~ Scott Wilbur, Safety Team Chair
Food Truck on January 5th. Our monthly meeting on January 8th.
Watch for things to come in the month of February.
~ Vern Borgman, Fellowship Chair
Hearts & Hands
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and ineveryone, it is the same God at work. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NIV
At our December meeting we were greeted with a beautiful table setting, a delicious dessert, and a gift bag which included homemade breads and a poinsettia plant. Thank you to our wonderful co-coordinators, Maryann Wolffis and Jeanne Maycroft! We appreciate all that you do for the members of this committee and for our entire church family.
We are very pleased with the tremendous response to the Christmas Card Ministry for special friends and military personnel. After the first week 98 cards were placed in the basket! Thank you to all of you who are participating in this caring ministry. We will let you know the final total in January.
Members of the Pickleball Program continue to bless us with generous donations. This month money from that fund will be given to support: Hearts and Hands and Health Project (a community benefit ministry of Mercy Health which provides medication, dentures, etc. to those in need).
Our next meeting will beheld on January 14, 2019 at 1:00 P.M.in the Fireside Room. We meet on the second Monday of the month. Please come and join us. We will welcome you!
~ Antje Waldo
Many people complain that they feel like their prayers have no power. It’s like God isn’t listening or doesn’t care. While listening to a Christian radio station, a minister addressed this very issue with specific words of wisdom. He said that we are always to pray to God the Father, not to Jesus or to the Holy Spirit. Also, we are to end our prayers with “in the name of Jesus”, not in His name or in your name or some other phrase we might have developed.
I have tried this which changed the way I was praying and I’m amazed at the affirmation I have. Please try it for yourself and see if it restores your sense of God’s care and presence in yourprayer life.
~ Mary Ann Mellema
The Deacons have been working on a schedule for our special offerings and we wanted to describe how the various causes are selected. Our special offerings are divided into generally three groups: denominational ministries, local ministries,and Christian Education. Our Christian Reformed Church (CRC) has a number of ministries that support various aspects of the work of our denomination. Missions, both local and international, are coordinated by Resonate Global Mission, a “new” agency that includes both our former Home Missions and World Missions agencies. When you see Resonate listed in the bulletin,please be praying for Christian Reformed missionaries, church planters, and all those who support and promote the work of mission in our world. Other denominational ministries that we support with our offerings include Gems and Cadets, Friendship Ministry, Back to God Ministries, Faith Formation Ministries, Office of Social Justice, Safe Church Ministry, Disability Concerns, Chaplaincy and Care Ministries and World Renew. World Renew is different from the other denominational ministries in that it is dependent on donations, lots of volunteering, and grants without any denominational funding. World Renew was just named one of the top 10 most trustworthy charities by the Canadian government.
Local ministries that we support include Family Promise, which houses, feeds and offers case management to homeless families. This year Calvin Church will host families twice. We also support Christian Care, a local facility for the elderly. Our church will sponsor six Feeding America trucks, SERVE, Teen Challenge, MAD Ministries,Crossroads Bible Institute, and Forgotten Man Ministries which provides spiritual support to men in prison. We also support Community enCompass and their various projects in the Muskegon area, which include housing, community gardens, Sacred Suds, and Youth Empowerment Project.
The third category of offering causes in our church is Christian Education. Our offerings for Christian Education support the ministry of Western Michigan Christian High, Muskegon Christian School,Grand Haven Christian School, New Era Christian School, and Fremont Christian School. With the cost of education increasing each year, your support of our Christian Schools is deeply appreciated.
Calvin Church is a generous church, and all that is given is for the work of our Lord.
Luke 6:38, Give, and it will be given to you.They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
~ Bonnie Bergman, Deacon Chair
Deacon’s Corner Too
I don't know about you, but I wake up every morning assuming that I will have food to eat, clothes to wear, a car to drive and a job to go to. At the end of my day,I assume I will have a nice cozy, warm bed to lie my tired body down. The essentials in life that we think will always be there, usually are, but this is not the case for many families in our community.
During this time of year, with all the hustle and bustle surrounding the holidays,it's easy to forget the many things we are blessed with. We take so much for granted on a daily basis and easily forget to be thankful for what God has bestowed upon us in abundance.
OurCrib Ministry at Calvin is a blessing to those in our community that are not asfortunate.
When I became a Deacon I was interested in becoming a part of this ministry. I remember when my youngest son, Alex was just a young child, he reached in his pocket and pulled out a $5.00 bill and placed it in the collection plate during the crib ministry offering. I asked him after the service why he had chosen to take his money and give it to the ministry. He proceeded to tell me, "Momma, every baby deserves a place to sleep and be safe."
So that is simply why we take up a collection for this ministry. Our church receives a request from Love INC from someone that is in need of a safe place for their baby to sleep. We use the money to purchase Pac 'n Plays (a type of play pen) and deliver the gift to needy families in our surrounding area.
Our congregation has purchased or donated hand-made quilts, blankets, burp rags and other items to this ministry and for that, I am extremely grateful. Without your generous gifts this ministry could not flourish and be such a blessing to these families and their new little bundles of joy…
~ Kristi Rop, Deacon
Books added to the Church Library
River’s Edge by Terri Blackstock (Book 3 of Cape Refuge Series)
Ben Jackson is sure to defeat Jonathan Cleary in Cape Refuge's mayoral race, until his wife turns up missing the day before a major debate.Suspecting foul play, Police Chief Cade launches an island-wide search. But it takes a psychic's "vision" to point police to the riverside-and Lisa's body.
The evidence implicating Ben in his wife's murder is convincing.But as a local scandal escalates into a national media circus, Cade's instincts tell him to dig deeper. And he's not the only one. Blair Owens of the Cape Refuge Journal is using her investigative skills to uncover a rat's nest of dirty secrets-and more than one person with a motive for murder. But Blair's methods are jeopardizing her relationship with Cade, and an unsolicited prediction from the psychic only adds to her troubles. Is the man's so-called gift truly from God, as he claims?
Breaker’s Reef by Terri Blackstock (Book 4 of Cape Refuge Series)
When a famous mystery writer moves to Cape Refuge, ex-con Sheila Caruso-mother to Sadie and Caleb-is thrilled to get a job working for him. But when a teenage girl is found murdered, Sheila discovers that a scene in one of the eccentric writer's novels matches the crime scene. Exactly.
Then a second dead girl is discovered by Police Chief Cade and Blair Owens. And when this murder mirrors a scene in another of the writer's books, Cade is drawn into a web of trickery and deceit. Shockingly, evidence turns up in Cade's truck-evidence that points to Cade himself as the number one suspect!
Cade tries to clear his name, but when eighteen-year-old Sadie Caruso disappears, tensions mount to a fever pitch. Can Cade find the real killer before Sadie winds up dead? Is the author a demented killer or a hapless victim? And what does Sadie's own mother have to do with the crimes? Secrets are uncovered while lessons are learned about the sins of the fathers being visited upon their children. Will the consequences of Sheila's poor choice in life be fatal, or is there redemption and mercy for her and her children?
The Sinner’s Garden by William Sirls
At age three, Andy was permanently scarred for life by his abusive father. For the remainder of his growing up years, he kept to himself, by reading books and building his wall of anger. Andy’s uncle Rip was determined to break down Andy’s wall of anger. He is certain it’s the voice of God when Andy begins making prophetic announcements. Who would sneak thousands of dollars in gift cards into one of the poorest houses in town? Who would tend to a well-kept wildflower garden in an abandoned steel mill? Is it God?
An Untamed Heart by Lauraine Snelling (Prequel to Red River of the North Series)
Eighteen-year-old Ingeborg Strand feels destined to remain single---until she meets a university student from Oslo. But tragedy strikes,and her dreams evaporate. At her mother's suggestion, she decides to leave Norway to start afresh in America. But who will accompany her? Is widower Roald---an honest man with a young son---the answer to her prayer?
Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin (Book 1)
In 1897, Geesje de Jonge is asked to write a memoir about her experience emigrating from the Netherlands to Michigan. As Geesje recalls the events of her past---including the story of her one true love---a young visitor named Anna mourns a broken engagement. What life-altering surprises await the two women before the summer ends?
Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin (Book 2)
Troubled by information she's learned about her birth mother,socialite Anna Nicholson hires Pinkerton detectives to ferret out the truth---and discovers secrets that may be best left hidden. Her grandmother Geesje is the only one she can trust, but Geesje is facing her own challenges.Will the older woman's wisdom be enough to guide Anna?
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen (Book 1 of Tales from Ivy Hill)
Set in 1820 in the small village of Ivy Hill, England, is The Bell, a coaching inn. Jane finally wakes up after a year of mourning over her husband’s death, when the bank informs her that the loan her late husband had taken out is greatly overdue. She now has three months to prove that she can make The Bell profitable, or the bank will be forced to sell it. Jane now has a purpose and does the best she can do to save the inn.
The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen (Book 2 of Tales from Ivy Hill)
Unable to support herself, Rachel Ashford lives with her friend Mercy Grove. Jane Bell and some others urge her to open a circulating library with the books she has inherited. Rachel discovers mysteries hidden among the books the villagers donate. A man she once cared about helps her look for clues, but they both find more than they bargained for. Mercy Grove finds managing her girls school fulfilling. When several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes it is because of the beautiful Miss Ashford. She finds the truth surprising.
~ Lois Veenstra
Bless this year
with love and light.
Bless this year
with faith and sight.
Bless this year
with grace and ease.
Bless this year
with joy and peace.
Anniversaries: Our best wishes to the following couples who are celebrating their anniversaries this month (50+ years together)…
Rick & Jan Dethloff celebrating 50 years on January 24.
Gary & Anita Hasper celebrating 58 years on January 31.
Birthdays: The following peopleare celebrating their birthdays this month…
Jan 1 –Aubree Gillette Jan 13 – Ruth Boomer
Jan 3– LaPrea Anthony Jan 13 – Kristi Rop
Jan 3– Norah Thayer Jan 13 – Stefanie Bannink
Jan 4– Esther Betten Jan 14 – Nancy Spoon
Jan 6– Mike Harris Jan 15 – Dick Vanderlinde
Jan 6 – Kay George Jan 15 – Craig DeWind
Jan 7– Cindy Wickerink Jan 17 – Phill VanDyke
Jan 8 – Nick Brown Jan 17 – Bonnie Bannink
Jan 9 – Jason Murray Jan 21 – Al Henderson
Jan 11 – Scott Wilbur Jan 23 – Woody Brown
Jan 12 – Mary Verhagen Jan 25 – Brian Kingshott
Jan 12 – Darlene Hewitt Jan 27 – Bruce Schlukebir
Jan 12 – Nancy Johnson Jan 29 – Nancy Mellema
Jan 12 – Trey Moore
It’s time to give the Online Church Directory a try. It’s pretty awesome! You can call or email members right from the app or site. Call the office if you’re having difficulties. The 2019 Church Directory (not pictorial) will be published in February. Make sure to get those changes/additions in to Vickie in the office.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.