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Used Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Grand Rapids MI 49508   

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Land Rover Range Rover Evoque P250 SE

Here's a great deal on a 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. With fewer than 5,000 miles on the odometer, this 4 door sport utility vehicle prioritizes comfort, safety and convenience. Smooth gearshifts are achieved thanks to the 2 liter 4 cylinder engine, and for added security, dynamic Stability Control supplements the drivetrain. A turbocharger further enhances performance, while also preserving fuel economy. Top features include power front seats, leather upholstery, a tachometer, voice activated navigation, a trip computer, automatic dimming door mirrors, lane departure warning, and a split folding rear seat. Everything is where it ought to be, from the dashboard controls to the door locks and window controls. Safety equipment has been integrated throughout, including: dual front impact airbags with occupant sensing airbag, head curtain airbags, traction control, brake assist, a security system, an emergency communication system, and 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS. You'll never lose visibility with rain sensing wipers, which activate automatically when the drops start to fall. A Carfax history report indicates just one previous owner. We pride ourselves in the quality that we offer on all of our vehicles. Please don't hesitate to give us a call.


          

Used Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Grand Rapids MI 49508   

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Land Rover Range Rover Evoque HB Pure Plus

Outstanding design defines the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. Under the hood you'll find a 4 cylinder engine with more than 200 horsepower, providing a smooth and predictable driving experience. A turbocharger further enhances performance, while also preserving fuel economy. Comfort and convenience were prioritized within, evidenced by amenities such as: a power seat, an outside temperature display, front bucket seats, fully automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, and leather upholstery. Safety equipment has been integrated throughout, including: head curtain airbags, front side impact airbags, traction control, brake assist, a panic alarm, and 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS. With electronic stability control supplementing mechanical systems, you'll maintain precise command of the roadway. We have the vehicle you've been searching for at a price you can afford. Please don't hesitate to give us a call.


          

Used Land Rover Range Rover Sport Grand Rapids MI 49508   

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Land Rover Range Rover Sport 4WD V6 Diesel HSE

You can expect a lot from the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport. Under the hood you'll find a 6 cylinder engine with more than 250 horsepower, and load leveling rear suspension maintains a comfortable ride. The engine breathes better thanks to a turbocharger, improving both performance and economy. Top features include rain sensing wipers, front and rear reading lights, tilt steering wheel, heated door mirrors, skid plates, power windows, remote keyless entry, and voice activated navigation. With high intensity discharge headlights illuminating your path, you'll always appreciate maximum visibility. Safety equipment has been integrated throughout, including: dual front impact airbags with occupant sensing airbag, head curtain airbags, traction control, brake assist, a panic alarm, an emergency communication system, and 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS. Safety and maximum capability are assured via self leveling rear suspension, which maintains optimal driving geometry. We pride ourselves in the quality that we offer on all of our vehicles. Please don't hesitate to give us a call.


          

Used Audi e-tron Grand Rapids MI 49508   

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Audi e-tron Premium Plus Quattro

Experience driving perfection in the 2019 Audi e-tron. With fewer than 5,000 miles on the odometer, this 4 door sport utility vehicle prioritizes comfort, safety and convenience. All of the premium features expected of an Audi are offered, including: leather upholstery, front and rear reading lights, a built-in garage door transmitter, an automatic dimming rear-view mirror, tilt steering wheel, power moon roof, and power seats. Everything is where it ought to be, from the dashboard controls to the door locks and window controls. Audi also prioritized safety and security by including: dual front impact airbags with occupant sensing airbag, front side impact airbags, traction control, brake assist, a panic alarm, an emergency communication system, and 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS. Safety and maximum capability are assured via self leveling rear suspension, which maintains optimal driving geometry. We pride ourselves in the quality that we offer on all of our vehicles. Please don't hesitate to give us a call.


          

Used Cadillac CT6 Grand Rapids MI 49508   

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Cadillac CT6 3.0L Turbo Premium Luxury AWD

Experience driving perfection in the 2017 CADILLAC CT6. With less than 40,000 miles on the odometer, this 4 door sedan prioritizes comfort, safety and convenience. Smooth gearshifts are achieved thanks to the 3 liter 6 cylinder engine, and all wheel drive keeps this model firmly attached to the road surface. A turbocharger is also included as an economical means of increasing performance. Top features include rain sensing wipers, power trunk closing assist, a tachometer, a built-in garage door transmitter, automatic dimming door mirrors, power door mirrors, lane departure warning, and power front seats. The unique heads-up display projects vehicle information onto the windshield, including speed, gear selection and engine speed. Drivers benefit by not having to take their eyes off the road. Passenger security is always assured thanks to various safety features, such as: dual front impact airbags with occupant sensing airbag, head curtain airbags, traction control, brake assist, a panic alarm, onStar, and 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS. For added security, dynamic Stability Control supplements the drivetrain. You will have a pleasant shopping experience that is fun, informative, and never high pressured. Please don't hesitate to give us a call.


          

Book Review: Created in God’s Image   

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Story 410823961

“It’s difficult to exaggerate the importance of the doctrine of man”.[1] Anthony A. Hoekema begins his book Created in God’s Image with this bold statement and spends the next 243 pages exploring every implication and outworking of the Christian view of man.[2] He breaks his treatise down into two main sections: man as created in the image of God (chapters 2-6) and man and sin (chapters 7-10). The book then closes with a look at two important anthropological issues: man as a whole person (chapter 11) and man’s free will (chapter 12). Throughout the book, Hoekema carefully and methodically answers the question “What is man?” from a biblical perspective. In the process, he weaves together a compelling, measured, and scholarly anthropology that shows us how “the most important thing about man is that he is inescapably related to God.”[3]

Section One: Created Imago Dei

Hoekema sets the stage by pointing out that man does not exist autonomously but rather as a being created by (and dependent on) God. And at the same time, man is also a person, a being with a level of relative independence; what Leonard Verduin refers to as a “creature of option.”[4] While dependence and freedom may seem to be incompatible concepts, Hoekema points out that Scripture teaches we are both and, thus, “our theological understanding of man must . . . keep both of these truths clearly in focus.”[5] With that tension recognized, Hoekema then outlines the theological implications of man as a created person, including the origin of sin, how God redeems man, our covenant relationship with God, and restoring the image of God in man. These are all themes he will examine in greater detail throughout the rest of the book.

The author next takes a survey of Scriptural data regarding man being made in God’s image, concluding that man was created good and did not lose the image of God after the Fall. Hoekema also brilliantly connects the imago Dei with the incarnation: “It was only because man had been created in the image of God that the second person of the Trinity could assume human nature . . . In other words, the incarnation confirms the doctrine of the image of God.”[6] According to Scripture, the author concludes, our understanding of the image of God must hold that it is both (1.) an unlosable aspect of man, and (2.) something that was perverted after the Fall but can be restored and renewed via the process of sanctification.[7]   

Hoekema then turns from Scripture to a historical survey of Christian theologians on the topic of the imago Dei. He examines the views of Irenaeus, Aquinas, Calvin, Barth, Brunner, and Berkouwer, illuminating how theories and beliefs have evolved among Christian thinkers over time. Hoekema engages with each thinker, asking questions, and refusing to take their teachings as truth without holding them up to Scripture. His historical survey is made stronger by the fact that he both points out aspects in each thinker that he disagrees with as well as aspects he appreciates. While Hoekema only offers a high-level summary of each thinker, he nevertheless expertly takes the reader through the evolution of Christian thought, tracing the themes, theories, and missteps through the centuries.[8]

The author next summarizes the theological description of the meaning and significance of the doctrine of the image of God, concluding that “the image of God is not something accidental to man, which he can lose without ceasing to be man, but is essential to his existence.”[9] Hoekema looks at the structural and functional aspects of man being made in God’s image and at Christ as the true image of God. He then suggests that God placed man into a threefold relationship: with God (vertical), with his fellow man (horizontal), and with nature (also horizontal?). While the first two are indisputable, the Scriptural support for the relationship between man and nature, as Hoekema describes it is less compelling. Hoekema suggests God has given man a cultural mandate: “Man is called by God to develop all the potentialities found in nature and in humankind as a whole.”[10] While God’s injunction to Adam to work and take care of the Garden and to subdue and rule over the earth (Genesis 1-2) is clear and important, putting man’s relationship to nature on the same level as his relationship to God and his fellow man is debatable. After all, the Greatest Commandment—as Jesus gave it to us in Matthew 22:36-40—only includes our relationships with God and fellow man.

The author closes the first section of the book by looking at the question of self-image. Hoekema warns that man’s relationship to himself should not be thought of as “a fourth relationship alongside the previous three. It is, rather, a relationship that underlies all the others, and makes possible a person’s proper performance in his or her relationship toward God, others, and nature”[11] This was a very thoughtful chapter in light of the rise of existentialism in modern times. The author includes a compelling warning from Paul Brownback—“The greatest peril of self-love is that it is worship of self”[12]—and on that basis eschews the term self-esteem, opting instead to use self-image. Hoekema then follows his previous pattern and carefully examines the perversion of the self-image that came with the Fall, and the renewal of the self-image that occurs when God’s Spirit renews us.

Section Two: Man and Sin

This section opens with a fascinating examination of the origin of sin. “Did God create man as a sinful being? Or . . . did man become sinful sometime after his creation? If he became a sinner, how did this happen?”[13] The author begins unpacking these questions by first building an argument for a historical Adam, claiming, “The denial of the historicity of Adam is not only contrary to Scripture; it also has devastating results for the doctrine of man”[14] While he builds a strong case, it is difficult to fully embrace the notion that, as the author suggests, a symbolic Adam would necessarily tie sin to man’s humanity. After all, symbols stand for real things. As a historical Adam relates to sin as a perverted state of his humanity, so a symbolic Adam could relate to sin in the same way.[15]

Hoekema’s discussion then moves through myriad topics including the covenant of works, the fall of the angels, and the riddle of sin, where he ultimately concludes, “We shall never understand how a person who has been created in a state of rectitude, in a state of sinlessness, could begin to sin.”[16] From there, Hoekema turns to a discussion of the spread of sin, tracing the results of the first sin to the universality of sin, and considering how it is transmitted. Chapter nine surveys the nature of sin, where Hoekema notes that sin is “not something physical but something ethical. It was not given with creation but came after creation; it is a deformation of what is.”[17]  

The author offers a more pastoral perspective as he turns to the restraint of sin and the doctrine of common grace. He considers the question of how we can account for the degree of goodness we see in unbelievers—which we can sometimes view as unfair, akin to the attitude of the prodigal son’s older brother—and positioned it in such a way that we can see its ultimate value in glorifying God. Hoekema also guarded against the doctrine being construed as letting believers off the hook, arguing, “One of the important implications of the doctrine of common grace for us is that we must continue to work and pray for a better world.”[18]  

With the discussion of sin complete, the author then tackles two important anthropological issues. First, in chapter 11, he considers the make-up of the whole person. A consistent theme of Hoekema’s thought is the concept of unity, and the composition of the person is where that theme is seen most clearly in the book. Here, he analyses the dichotomy and trichotomy views but ultimately lands on a position he refers to as psychosomatic unity. According to Hoekema, this position says that “Man is one person who can, however, be looked at from two sides.”[19] He offers a great quote from Berkouwer which supports the idea that the make-up of man is less important than man’s relationship to God: “We may say without much fear of contradiction that the most striking thing in the biblical portrayal of man lies in this, that it never asks attention for man in himself, but demands our fullest attention for man in his relation to God.”[20] However, despite the author’s claim that, unlike dichotomy, the term psychosomatic unity “does full justice to the two sides of man, while stressing man’s unity,”[21] his term appears to be a distinction without a difference.

In the final chapter, Hoekema examines the question of freedom, suggesting that, “Instead of asking whether the ‘will’ is free . . . we should ask whether the person is free when he or she makes decisions.”[22] This idea seems to be a distinction without a difference, as well, especially when considered from the perspective of psychosomatic unity, where one’s will and one’s self would undoubtedly be viewed as one person. Later, as the author skillfully works his way through man’s ability to choose and the origin of true freedom, he offers a very helpful and important distinction between man’s ability to choose and true freedom. He defines the latter as “freedom to do God’s will voluntarily, as a way of showing our thankfulness to him.”[23] Hoekema then applies the familiar lost-restored-perfected pattern as he considers how true freedom was lost, how it is being restored, and how it will be perfected in the life to come when, “as Augustine put it, we shall be in a state of ‘not able to sin’ (non posse peccare).”[24]

Conclusion

Hoekema’s analysis of the implications of the imago Dei is substantial and compelling, and he is fair and respectful in his handling of differing views. He presents various views on each topic, is candid where he disagrees, and yet presents his disagreement with gentleness and respect. The author’s commitment to Scripture in all of his arguments is also commendable. His sound and knowledgeable exegesis gives weight to his claims. Another strength is Hoekema’s commitment to redemptive history. He uses the storyline of Scripture—creation, distortion, redemption, perfection—as a framework for his examination of various aspects of the doctrine of the image of God. If there is a weakness to the book, it could perhaps be found in the fact that the majority of Hoekema’s sources are from Reformed thinkers. Although he mentioned in the preface that his intent was to present the doctrine of man from a Reformed/Calvinistic perspective, the book would perhaps have been stronger with more input from theologians of the Arminian persuasion. Lastly, in contrast to a writer like Grudem, there seemed to be more Hoekema could have offered in the area of personal application of the principles he was so ably presenting throughout this impressive work‌


[1] A. A. Hoekema, Created in God’s Image (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), p. 1.

[2] I use the word man (and pronouns referring to man) in the same generic sense that Hoekema does in his book: meaning “human being,” whether male or female.

[3] Hoekema, 1994, p. 4.

[4] Ibid., p. 6.

[5] Ibid,. p. 6.

[6] Ibid., p. 22.

[7] Ibid., p. 32.

[8] More than once I found myself wandering down a rabbit trail of research, most notably in trying to better understand Barth’s concept of an “I-thou” confrontational relationship.

[9] Hoekema, 1994, p. 66.

[10] Ibid., p. 79.

[11] Ibid., p. 102.

[12] Ibid., p. 103.

[13] Ibid., p. 112.

[14] Ibid., p. 116.

[15] I am not suggesting that I do not hold to a historical view of Adam personally, but simply challenging this particular argument of Hoekema’s on philosophical grounds.

[16] Hoekema, 1994, p. 131. We know that sin was already in the world, and if we combine that with free will, maybe that’s a way into a possible answer?

[17] Hoekema, 1994, p. 169.

[18] Ibid., p. 200.

[19] Ibid., p. 217.

[20] Ibid., p. 204.

[21] Ibid., p. 217.

[22] Ibid., p. 228.

[23] Ibid., p. 240.

[24] Ibid., p. 243.


          

Hope for the World   

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  It was shepherds who announced the coming of Messiah. The birth of Christ was an experience in wonder. A wonder-filled life is yours when you know the Christ of Christmas. “and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them”. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Lk … Continue reading Hope for the World

          

Restorative Practices in Action   

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I’m thankful that ministries within the denomination are partnering with Sherman Street CRC to offer a Restorative Practices training November 8 to 9. These practices have been transformational for my life and ministry, so I thought I would share some of my experiences with you. I can’t recommend this enough. (To sign up for the Growing Restorative Churches training, happening in Grand Rapids, MI, November 8 to 9, click here!

Restorative Practices (also known as restorative circles) are basically a structured way of having a conversation. Everyone who is involved in a community, or who is impacted by a conflict, sits in a circle, and each participant is asked the same questions. The use of a talking piece (any object that, when held, gives the holder the privilege of the floor) ensures that there are no interruptions or responses. The structure can seem rigid but it makes the conversation safe for the participants, and the safety allows people to speak honestly and listen closely. 

Here are a few examples of the ways we have used this process in our church: 

An Annoying Conflict Made Fruitful

My first conflict resolution circle came to me just two days after I had completed the training. A congregant told me how her feelings had been hurt at a recent evening event at the church. She told me she and her family were ready to leave the church over it. 

My first response to these kinds of conflicts is often anger. I wish people would give others the benefit of the doubt more often. I wish that they would just work it out themselves. I find it irritating that they would threaten to leave so easily. But really, most of my anger was just because I didn’t know what to do. But this time when the congregant came to me, I knew exactly what to do. I called a circle. They all came. We had a conversation and it was amazing. 

Normally these kinds of low-grade conflicts just fester under the surface. Maybe we convince the family to stay, but the resentments linger. Instead of that mess, I was amazed to see what came out of the circle. A new leader took ownership of her role. The group gained a new awareness of disability concerns, and all twelve participants committed to look-out for those who were new or might feel left out. And the family, whose lives had been full of experiences of rejection, heard over and over again, “We never meant to hurt you. We love you. We’re sorry.” The conversation brought healing, growth, and deepened community. 

Middle-Schoolers Taking Ownership

We recently had some conflict between a couple of our middle-school students and a couple of the teachers. The students were talking a lot, and both the teachers and students were frustrated. So instead of Sunday School one morning, I led all the teachers and students in a restorative circle. We asked each person these questions: 

    What is good about being here?

    What isn’t so good about being here? 

    How have you contributed to the problems?

    What can we do to make things better?  

In that conversation the students designed a ritual to begin each class to help them get out their jitters. They decided together how much they could swivel their chairs, and talked with each other about how they were impacted by each other’s misbehavior. They shared that they hadn’t understood the Bible readings and asked to use a different translation. 

The teachers agreed to do class outside whenever they could, and to choose the activities in the curriculum that allowed the students to move. One of the more disruptive students volunteered to open the curtains each class so that he wouldn’t feel so confined, and he offered to help a teacher in a wheelchair get out the door when they did class outside. 

They each signed the agreement and posted it on the wall of the class. The students asked if they could have regular circles to check in. 

A Contentious Decision

Earlier this year our elders decided to take the step of adding a full-time youth pastor to our staff, but knew that it was a controversial decision. Some of the parents were not supportive.

We held four separate circles on the same evening: parents, leaders, middle-schoolers, and high-schoolers. We asked them what they wanted out of a youth-group, what their concerns were about hiring a full-time youth pastor, and what they wanted the job description to look like. 

I led the discussion with the parents. In the opening question about their ideal youth-group we discovered that they shared a lot of the same vision. They all wanted their children to be connected to the rest of the church, to have meaningful inter-generational relationships, and they wanted deep discipleship rather than just entertainment. When they realized that they shared the same kind of vision for a youth group, the question of hiring a youth pastor became less contentious. Those who had been against the decision had been against it because they thought it meant their children would be siloed, playing silly games, but the conversation allowed them to see that youth-group didn’t have to look like that. Then they were able to tell us what they thought were the most important things for a new hire. I haven’t heard any push-back about this decision since. 

In a time when divisions seem to be deepening in every direction, Restorative practices offer tools that bridge divides, bring genuine empathy and healing, and help communities to have difficult conversation without further fracturing. 

I wonder, what might our church communities look like if we all used Restorative Practices regularly in our life together?

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532: Blake Hinson on auditioning and practicing   

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Blake Hinson serves as Assistant Principal Bass of the New York Philharmonic and teaches bass at Stony Brook University.  He previously served as principal bass of the Grand Rapids Symphony and was a fellow in the New World Symphony.

Many podcast listeners have requested Blake as a guest, and as I was planning my trip to New York City, I knew that I wanted to connect with him and talk about his time studying with Hal Robinson and Edgar Meyer at Curtis, his path through the audition world, practicing, and all kinds of other topics.

On a rainy New York weekday, Blake and I got some coffee and wandered down to Riverside Park to chat about all things bass.  We walked for 45 minutes and barely scratched the surface of what we could cover.  We’ll be doing a “round 2” with Blake in the near future for sure!

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Stamas, Pettalia join Bill Speer at Michigan Press Association annual luncheon   

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LANSING—Sen. Jim Stamas and Rep. Peter Pettalia attended the Michigan Press Association (MPA) Governor’s Luncheon with Alpena News editor and publisher Bill Speer on Friday at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids during the organization’s annual convention. Speer will be taking over as the MPA’s new president this year after serving as an […]

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2020-08-14 21:24:32