Prayer is a Relationship by PASTOR SCOTT SWIX Hope Community Church “Oh, God, please HELP with ____.” (Fill in the blank here—job, wife, husband, health, school, kids, mortgage, loved one, fear of flying, etc.) That’s a very popular prayer indeed, and has been for thousands of years. It’s often combined with “if you do, I will ____.” (Fill in this blank too, such as “never do it again,” “start going to church again,” “become a monk/pastor/priest,” etc.) Yeah, that’s a common prayer combination. Hey, we are human, and usually a bit self-absorbed, and tend to turn to God when are in a spot of trouble. And that’s not all bad. While making “deals” with God is discouraged, God encourages us to ask for help. There are lots of great examples of that in the Bible. Then again, is that the only time we talk to God? If it is, or if the rest of our prayer life is just a short nightly Lord’s Prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” a Hail Mary, or something similar, then we really should ask ourselves, “How does God feel about that?” How would we feel if someone claimed to be our friend, our really, really good friend, and the only time they called was when they needed something? Or, maybe they occasionally call really quickly, like a Facebook status post, and simply say, “I did this today” and then hang up. That’s a pretty one-sided and disappointing relationship. But it is an easy habit to fall into. Most of us tend to want God to be there when we need God, and want God to listen and answer our prayers, and then… well, then we’d really like to get back to our own life until we hit the divine 911 again. Listening to God takes time, and there’s always the risk God might actually say something that I don’t want to hear. It doesn’t take much to admit that God probably doesn’t find that a very fulfilling relationship. The really sad part, perhaps, isn’t that God is disappointed; it is that we are short-changing ourselves. Our own bad habit keeps us from God’s blessings. God wants to be part of our lives, wants to hear about our […]
Hope Community Church
Accidents and cardiac emergencies happen all too often, and being prepared for them saves lives. Hope Community Church is welcoming back instructor Tim O’Connor for a third annual CPR-First Aid class on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. “This popular class provides the first-response skills we need at work, in the home or on the road,” shared Pastor Scott Swix, “and Tim O’Connor is an excellent, enthusiastic and humorous instructor.” At the conclusion of the course, participants will be able to provide infant, child and adult CPR and first aid, including stating the warning signs of a heart attack, operate an Automatic External Defibrillation (AED), demonstrate CPR techniques on a mannequin, protect themselves against blood-born pathogens, perform an emergency situation scene survey, and treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. Certificates will be issued at the end of class, valid for childcare providers and others. O’Connor, certified by the American Heart Association and National Safety Council, is a firefighter/emergency medical technician and a member of the Kentwood Professional Firefighters Union. He has been conducting classes for 16 years. A $10 fee covers the cost of the class and completion certificate. Refreshments and light snacks will be provided. Please RSVP to Hope Community Church by Wednesday, Feb. 22, by calling (616) 874-4673 or e-mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope Community Church is located at 7000 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford, a quarter-mile north of Belding Rd.
When our hearts are heavy, hearing Christmas songs that describes “the most wonderful time of the year” rings a bit hollow. Instead we might feel we are living the lyrics of the 1957 hit “Blue Christmas” when Elvis Presley sings, “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you. I’ll be so blue just thinking about you.” Yet, even in the midst of this pain, there is the desire to somehow connect with God. We often feel afraid, angry, ashamed. That’s OK. God is there with us in our pain. Putting words to this season can often be difficult, but we do this together in our address to God. Hope Community Church of Rockford will again be celebrating a “Blue Christmas” this year for those who are coping with grief, loss, worry or fears. It may be the first Christmas without a loved family member who has recently died, or it may be filled with stress related to loss of employment or a broken relationship, or serious illness. The constant refrains on radio and television, in shopping malls and churches, about the happiness of the season, about getting together with family and friends, reminds many people of what they have lost or what they are missing. The anguish of the death of a loved one can make us feel alone in the midst of everyone else celebrating. We need the space and time to acknowledge our sadness or emptiness; we need to know that we are not alone. We need encouragement to live the days ahead of us. The Blue Christmas service is a bit quieter, with a couple of softer Advent and Christmas hymns, Scripture readings, special prayers and experiences where we can give God our burdens that are hard to carry. The service is shorter than normal worship and, at Hope, does not include a sermon. If your heart is heavy, or you wish to give the gift of encouraging presence to those that are, attend the special Blue Christmas worship service on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at Hope Community Church, 7000 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford (quarter mile north of Belding Rd.). For more information, contact the church at (616) 874-4673 or www.hoperockford.org.