We are called to bring people into a personal relationship with God through his son, Jesus Christ.
We accomplish this by bringing others into the community of the church through genuine friendship and fellowship. In this loving fellowship we grow in faith through the Word, community, prayer and worship.

Dylan and Tyler Balazovic and Bob Blome lead the congregation in the Affirmation of Faith.
These three young men just completed their confirmation class.  Congratulations.


Barbara Bergin, President-Personnel

Connie Warner, Vice-President

Paul Blume-Budget

Bob Zimmerman- Property and By-laws

Karen Vance-Education

Lynn Balazovic-Fellowship

Mike Ridley-Memorials

Jane Motshall-Missons


A chili cook-off will be held August 31 at 5:30 at Barbara Bergin's Home.  Everyone will bring a crock of chili and you get to taste them all and vote on which one was the best.


Pastor Mike will lead a bible study about bible translations. The studies will begin August 17 at 6:30.  Meetings will be held at the Church. 


"The Way We Walk" an informal bible study that meets in homes over a cup of coffee.    August 16 meet at Barb Shades at 10:00. Contact Karen Vance with questions (989-245-6080).

August 31-Chili Cook-off-5:30
Sept. 23-Eat for Heat/Silent Auction


Sermon-Aug.14-"Having a Really Bad Day"                                                  


by Pastor Mike
As the Summer Ends
 Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” 1 Peter 4.9 NRSV

 August 25, 2016

As August races to an end, we who live in the northern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan will soon wave good-bye to the thousands of tourists as they head back to their homes.

     It will grow much quieter after Labor Day. I like quiet. I like that I’m not dodging careless pedestrians crossing the highways as if they were in a mall parking lot. I like that in the grocery store, I won’t be bumped by dashing carts manned by people determined to cram as much “fun” into a vacation as possible. I like that the fireworks, speeding boats and loud parties will fade.

     But without the tourists, many of the businesses here would close. Jobs would be lost; people would have to move, causing other businesses to close, sending more people somewhere else looking for work, thus cutting the school enrollment. This would reduce the school aid and then...well, you get the picture.

     It seems to me that many of the things that we like to complain about are, in the long run, good for us.

I remember working my way through college as a night shift janitor. Some of the crew kept complaining about how messy and careless people were. I thought to myself, “But that’s why we have a job!” and kept on sweeping and mopping.

     So, come on up to Topinabee and Indian River for the fall color tours. And then return for sledding and skiing in our wondrous winters. Then, of course, visit the White Church on the Hill. We’ll hold the door open for you! 

 Prayer: Lord, so much of what I consider a nuisance or worse, is often the best that can happen to me. Open my eyes that I may see.

For A Good Harvest
Now there are varieties of gifts.” 1 Corinthians 12.4a NRSV

August 24, 2016
Billy spent many summers at his uncle’s farm in Illinois. His uncle grew awesome crops of corn and Billy soaked up that experience.

Years later, after putting twenty years into a career that was honorable, but not fulfilling, he had the chance to buy some farm land on the west side of Michigan.

That spring, he planted his first crop of corn.  The harvest was disappointing.  So Billy called and asked his uncle for advice. Over the phone, the uncle reminded Billy of all the necessary steps for preparing the soil, fertilizing and what variety of corn to buy.

The next year and then the next, the crop was still poor.

Hearing the pain in Billy’s voice, his uncle decided to take the long trip from the plains of central Illinois to the upper regions of the Michigan's lower peninsula.

They were in the field five minutes when the uncle turned to Billy and said, “Your problem is not your fertilizer or the seed. This is sandy ground. You will never get a great crop of corn. You need to plant what this soil wants, what this soil can produce in abundance.”

Billy was disappointed, having grown up a corn farmer, but soon his uncle’s simple wisdom soaked in. He traveled the area to see what other farmers were doing, and he studied their soil and crops. Several years later, he became a prosperous blueberry farmer, falling in love with that purple sweetness.

We each have our niche, the thing or things we do best. When we discover and embrace this simple truth, so much of our life falls into place. Besides, there is nothing much finer than blueberry pie with ice cream!

 Prayer: Lord, whatever You have designed me to be and do, thanks!

A Hard-Earned Blessing
Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1.12 NRSV
August 23, 2016
I advise young pastors that often they will triumph, not by force of intellect or by “winning” the many small battles, but by staying the course and standing firm.
This may not look very heroic and may not fit many of the leadership models out there, but it is nonetheless true.
The will to endure, the courage to stay a course when all around would give up, is far more powerful than cleverness or physical strength.
When we have endured, when we have come to the end of the trial and are still faithful to our purpose and kept the course, we are changed and so are those around us. That change is for the good and all are blessed. 
Prayer: Lord, You know I really don’t like the trials. But I’ve come to respect the person I am when I endure. Thanks.

Taking the Long View
“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance...” James 1.1-3 NRSV
August 22, 2016
James is calling us to change our perspective concerning the challenges we face. He wants us to consider the long view, not merely the immediate impact of a situation.
The last year I coached freshman basketball, I started the year by cutting three young men from the team.  There were simply not enough uniforms for all the boys that tried out.
I took each one of the three aside and told them the situation and then said, “If you want, you can stay on the practice team. There is a good chance that over the course of the season, some of these boys will drop off the team.”
All of them rejected my offer at first and left, but the next day one young man returned. Sure enough, through a combination of events and bad grades, he was soon on the team. By the end of the year, he had earned his way to a starting position and then finished the season with a fantastic performance against one of the perennial top teams in our conference.
He had at first responded the way many of us do to a challenge in life. But then he took the long view and gained the reward.
James says that when hard times come, we should make up our mind to consider it a joy that it will eventually work for our benefit.  
Prayer: Lord, whatever You have in mind for me is a good thing. Help me remember that You see the big picture.
They Seemed Normal

Doing wrong is like sport to a fool, but wise conduct is pleasure to a person of understanding.” Proverbs 10.23 NRSV
August 17, 2016
       We’ve all met them. Folks who seem normal enough much of the time and then wham! They say or do something that leaves us shaking our heads or nursing a wound. The next time we see them, it is as if nothing happened. Then wham! Upside the head they go again. Sometimes we’re the target, other times it’s the person next to us.
       We talk with them, reason with them and sure enough, they seem to straighten out. Then wham!
       I don’t know the technical term for this type of personality disorder so I just call them Crazy-Makers.  Despite my best efforts, I’ve failed to developed a system that really seems to help, but I have learned two important principles in dealing with Crazy-Makers:  
1.   The only thing that works for me is to keep my distance.
2.   The only person crazier than the Crazy-Maker is the person who keeps hanging around thinking things might change.  
Prayer: Lord, give me the wisdom to help when I can and walk away when I can’t.

A Safe Landing

 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15.1 NRSV

August 17, 2016
       “The key to a safe landing is the attitude of your aircraft,” said the flying instructor.
       The novice looked at the pilot and said, “Don’t you mean the altitude?”
       “No, it’s the attitude. The attitude is the position of the nose of your plane. If the nose is too high, you will come down too fast. You will suffer a very hard landing, causing you to bounce or worse. Too low and you might lose control and that’s never good.”
       He continued, “To do this right, you have to have the right attitude no matter how rough the atmospheric conditions are.”
       Translation: We should keep a good attitude no matter the atmosphere in which we find ourselves. We cannot always control the atmosphere where we work or in our interpersonal relationships, but we can control our response. And our positive and caring response may be the one thing that keeps us all from crashing that day.
Prayer: Lord, You know that sometimes we are tempted to return anger with anger and stubbornness with stubbornness. Help us find the better way.

The Power of Encouragement
 “But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him.” Deuteronomy. 3.28 NRSV

August 15, 2016
One brisk autumn night, I saw the power of encouragement played out by a mistake I made. The basketball game was at a turning point and my starting point guard had picked up a fourth foul. Needing him for the last few minutes, I turned to the bench and motioned to a player.
I put my arm around his shoulder, keeping my eyes on the play on the floor.
       “Your defense has steadily improved and you have quick hands. You can steal the ball from their guard. Now do it!”
As the guard from the other team crossed the center court, my substitute flashed out his hand and snaked the ball away. I looked at my player closer. When did he start wearing his hair like his brother?
I turned to the bench and saw his brother cheering him on. It was then I realized the wrong player was on the floor. They weren’t twins, but could have passed for twins. The boy now on the floor chewing up our opponent was the weaker of the brothers, often confused and hesitant. That is, until that night. 
To this day I don’t know if I motioned to the wrong boy or he simply thought I meant him. He stole the ball twice, knocked it out of bounds once and frustrated the other player to the point of a technical foul.
Kind words and encouragement give benefits far more reaching than most of us realize, accept, of course, when we receive them.
Prayer: Remind me Lord that greatness waits in all Your children if we will only call it forth.

Creating a Good Moment

“Peace to you. The friends send you greetings. Greet the friends there, each by name.” 3 John 1.15 NRSV

August 11, 2016

       Like many pastors, I like to greet my congregation as they exit the worship service or before. I’ve discovered that looking someone in the eye with a smile and welcome is a positive moment.

I was reminded of the universality of this experience in a grocery store. Standing in the checkout lane, I noticed that the cashier was being trained. Her supervisor stood to her right and whenever the trainee hesitated, he would softly give her instructions. As I was being checked out, he told her to push a button on the register and then he uttered softly, “And greet the customer.”
       She looked up, smiled, greeted me and we exchanged pleasantries.
       To acknowledge others and speak to them in a positive way might seem a trivial thing, but it isn’t. It may not change the world or make a house payment, but it often creates a moment of warmth for those of us on a cold day in a hard year. 
Prayer: Lord, let me be kind to those I meet today, for some are struggling with troubles I do not know.

Last Words
August 10, 2016

 “...But he who received one (talent) went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.”  Matthew 25.18 NKJV

A number of years ago, Kathy and I ended our one-year contract serving as the transitional pastor. The new pastor was on the way and I wrote these words as my last article in the newsletter:

As I was considering my last article for the Beacon, I remembered the words of a good friend of Kathy: It serves no one to play it small.

Do tour groups, architects and art aficionados travel to small, run down churches for inspiration?  Or do they thrill at the imagination and boldness of cathedrals? Yes, I do recognize the danger of egos and waste.

But should the dangers keep us from the attempting at greatness or excellence? Some timid souls will say “Yes”, but I am with those who say “No!” to small thinking, small dreaming and the inevitable small results.

Do we thrill to the biographies of the timid spirits or are our hearts caught up with those who dared to fly? Do we nod in agreement as those with small imaginations criticized those who flew? Or do our hearts soar with those who aim for the sky?

I once wrote, “Life is a great adventure or you have wasted His investment in you!” I’ll stick with that. 

Have faith. It all comes right. – Pastor Mike

Nobody Cares

“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’” Luke 14.18 NRSV

August 9, 2016

       In my life, those who simply rejected my excuses for underachieving and not staying on task have blessed me. 

There was the principal who said, “Nobody but your mama cares about your excuses. Work harder.” He was wrong about my mother. She didn’t buy my excuses either.

And there was my doctoral adviser who said, “When you are done with your excuses, I will tell you how to graduate in six months and not waste the last four years of study and research.” Why yes, that did get my attention. Funny how something can seem to be taking forever and then when you get a non-negotiable deadline (also known in some circles as a threat), the time and energy are suddenly there. Sort of like magic!

And along the way, I learned another secret to accomplishing those things that were giving me trouble. I learned to ask for help. As a child I really didn’t have much trouble asking for help, but as an adult it became harder. Still is sometimes.

One of the great truths of life is, “Ask and you shall receive.” Try it. It still works and certainly beats having to give yet one more excuse that no one really cares about and we don’t fully believe ourselves.

Prayers: Lord, You remember all the “reasons” I gave You as to why I wasn’t living the way You wanted? Scratch those.