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A glimspe into the Men’s India Trip

December 3rd, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on A glimspe into the Men’s India Trip)

My participation in the India Missions trip was phenomenal!  It was very possibly the most singularly significant spiritual experience of my life!

For starters, the trip challenged me to act in spite of any fears I had about travel to a third world country given the health risks and inconveniences associated with it..  I was blessed the Sunday prior our trip by Pastor Brent’s message on fear when he stated that, “the safest place to be is where God wants you to be!”  That sealed the deal and I knew I had to make the trip!

During our time at the Pastors and Lay Leaders Conference in India I was struck by several things:

1.  The boldness with which our Indian brothers and sisters practice their faith, despite the potential threats to their safety and welfare.  It struck me that by comparison we here in the United States are not nearly as bold in declaring our believe in our risen savior.

2.  Although we went there to teach, I felt we received several lessons from those we taught.  I, for one, was extremely impressed by the humility of those with which we had contact.  Never did I feel that anyone was attempting to impress me, and looking to be impressed, but we were simply embracing the opportunity we had to be in fellowship with other Christians.

3.  Finally, prior to leaving I was overwhelmed with all of the preparation required by me to get ready to take the trip.  As a result, I left home knowing that I needed to simplify.  Then upon arrival in India I was struck by the simplicity of the lives of those we encountered.  And, I was also impressed by the apparent joy they experience in their lives in comparison to the seeming lack of joy that so many of us exhibit.  They clearly demonstrated their understanding that joy is not predicated on what we have, but who you know and worship!  Praise God!

I actually love to travel, but am not a lover of long flights.  However, despite the 18 hours of flying each way, I would gladly make the trip again!  I feel somewhat selfish in requesting that because I know so many others in our congregation would benefit from that opportunity!

Make it a great day, and God bless…

Milt Fletcher

A Glimpse into the Women’s India Trip

November 13th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on A Glimpse into the Women’s India Trip)

Beautiful, eager, wide-eyed faces peered into my core with such steadfast hope that I effortlessly abandoned all fear and pride as a quasi, “wannabe” missionary.

We had our minds established on what the Holy Spirit desired and yet many of us were at a standstill as to the full embodiment of our written lectures when we arrived in India. Within 24 hours, a heavy feeling of oppression hit me. Only then did I realize the completeness of what needed to be said.

The full Indian experience gripped me when our team was separated from each other as we went out to small rural slum churches to share our testimonies. The reverent worship that I witnessed captivated and humbled me into deep reflection. The sin would be to witness this depth of devotion and not welcome change.

I personally feel this trip was a great success on so many levels. Through the abundant prayers and preparation our team held to a common theme as we spoke on our assigned topics (the Body of Christ, the Old Testament, Running the race with endurance, marriage, rearing children, prayer and Biblical counseling). We all used Daniel and his companions, Job, Ruth, Tamar and Rahab, reinforcing ancient yet radical principles that impact us generationally.

I Corinthians 1:27-31 But GOD chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; GOD chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. HE chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things –and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before HIM. It is because of HIM that you are in Christ Jesus, Who has become for us wisdom from GOD- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written:  “Let him who boasts boast in the LORD.”

Sleep deprived and in unfamiliar surroundings, the Holy Spirit was powerfully manifest through our simple desire to prepare ourselves and be willing and available to go.

Peace be with you as you hear HIS call to be sent out among the nations.

In Christ, Nevehya

I Love Riding My Bike

August 22nd, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Brent - (Comments Off on I Love Riding My Bike)

I love riding my bike.  There is nothing like flying up and down hills, leaning around bends, and watching the trees fly by while on a bike.  I love the feel of blood coursing through my body while I do something that is just pure fun!

But the other day I was caught off guard while riding one of my favorite routes.  Now let me preface this by saying that I ride a very good bike, but it isn’t a road bike; you know, one of those bikes just made for speed.  Well, that is my excuse anyway.  The route I was riding that day is often filled with high-speed bikers who regularly compete.  That is not me.  I was riding up a hill, pushing hard to get to the top, when two bikers coming towards me from the other direction, looked up and called out, “Way to go, girls.”  I was taken aback by their comment.  Yes, I had a helmet and all on, but could they really mistake me for a girl?  Then two women flew past me from behind, riding very sleek road bikes and moving very fast.  I was left feeling even worse!  I reminded myself that they were at least 25 years younger than me and their bikes were made for speed.  But still …

One thing I love more than riding though, is watching the Spirit work with all His energy through me, to accomplish things that I could not do.  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Colossians 1:29 (ESV).  It constantly amazes me, that the Holy Spirit would choose to regenerate someone like me, and then to work through me to do God’s work.  I hope you relish that experience as well.  As we submit ourselves to Him, allowing Him to fully control our will and desires, we have the awesome privilege of seeing Him work in ways we could never have imagined.  As we desire what He desires, and live for His glory alone, we find His Spirit’s energy coursing through our lives.  We thrill with the joy of serving, and marvel and the work of God.  There is no thrill like struggling with all his energy that so powerfully works within us.  Living for Him alone is life’s greatest thrill.

Brent Slater

Senior Pastor

“Are you not of more value than they?”

August 6th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Student Ministries - (Comments Off on “Are you not of more value than they?”)

vsco_0I had the opportunity to go Up North this past weekend to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. It was an absolutely incredible experience. Places like northern Michigan are places where I can’t help but think about our Creator. Spending all that time taking in the vast beauty of the lakes and dunes it’s nearly impossible to not stand in awe of Him. It seems as though everything is a reflection of Him and it is so easy to see Him in everything.

At one point during my exploration of the Sleeping Bear Dunes I walked to the very bottom of one of the dunes where I reached the edge of the water of Lake Michigan, which might I add was quite cold. I then turned around looked back up the daunting dune I had just descended. After seeing that sight I did what any smart person would do… avoid the climb as long as possible. So I decided to walk down the shoreline.

The walk was long, not because of the distance but because of all the unbelievable rocks along the shore. It seemed that every step led me to a pile of incredibly beautiful stones. I could have taken 5 steps and looked for hours, just to take 5 more steps with seemingly thousands of more stones. As I looked up and saw miles upon miles of sandy lakeshore I could only imagine how many stones were actually there, each incredibly beautiful and unique.

After a couple of hours I walked back towards the dune to make my ascent. On the seemingly never-ending climb to the top I could not stop thinking about the stones: the miles and miles of stones. God specifically designed and created each one individually, and they were all so beautiful. Then I began thinking of how much more creativity and thought went into creating me. Matthew 6 tells us that God values us more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Ephesians 1:4 states that he chose us before the foundation of the world. That means that he was thinking about you before he created every single one of those stones on the beaches of Lake Michigan. Luke 12:5 tells us that he values us more than he values many sparrows and knows the number of hairs on our heads!

He knows and loves you more than anything else. You were designed perfectly in His image just the way He wants you. He was thinking about you before the foundation and creation of anything else. And on top of all that He sent his son as a propitiation for your sin (1 John 4:10). We truly serve a God who loves us.

Jeremy Einem

Student Ministries

On the Cusp of Something New

July 27th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Missions - (Comments Off on On the Cusp of Something New)

When I was younger, I loved snow skiing.  There was this gripping blend of the thrill of downhill speed and the tranquility of nature.  I can remember, as I was first learning to ski, pushing myself towards higher, faster, unexplored, unknown, more difficult terrain.   Standing at the top of my first black diamond run, my heart racing, I slowly inched towards the edge.  I stop sharply.  I wait a second more.  I take a deep breath, grab hold of my ski poles, and dive in.  That brief moment of anticipation, which simultaneously seems to last forever and no time at all, is so vivid.

All of those emotions, the excitement and trepidation, the unknown, the coming challenges, the new places to explore, are welling up in my soul these weeks.  In two weeks, I marry Sarah White, the most beautiful woman in the world, and we begin a new adventure together.  We not only know that God has called us together as husband and wife, but that he has called as husband and wife to go where he sends us to build the kingdom.  There are so few fitting words to describe how we feel.  We have so many questions!  Where will we go?  What will God call us to do?  When will he call us?  What will life be like there?  What are the people like?  What will be the fruit of our work?  Will we suffer for the cause of Christ?  What would it be like to raise a family there?  As we ruminate over all these things, seeking the Lord for wisdom, there are a number of verses that remind us of God’s role in our call.

First, I think of Proverbs 16:9, which says “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  We have peace that we can make plans, all the while knowing that God himself will establish our steps.  Those steps may or may not be what we had planned, but we can rest in certainty that they are established and rooted by him.  Secondly, (and for me, even more exhilarating) is Ephesians 2:10.  Immediately after explaining that we are not saved by our works, Paul says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we may walk in them.”  Right now, Sarah and I are asking those questions I mentioned above.  I was reminded this week, however, that God has already prepared good works for us to do!  There is a job somewhere that God has prepared for us to do and He allows us to be involved in discovering what he has prepared for us.  We stand at the cusp a new, unexplored, and exciting chapter of life.  We await, with great anticipation, running the race that He has marked out for us.

Brad McCarthy

Missions

Dead to Alive

July 25th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Student Ministries - (Comments Off on Dead to Alive)

There is a good chance that you have heard a story or two about people who claim to have been to heaven and back. Television news and book publishers always seem to latch on to anyone who claims they have seen “the great white light” as they were pronounced dead and then miraculously brought back to life.

While I really don’t have much to say about the validity of these claims, I do know that it is an absolutely captivating story. Of course people flock to anyone with a story of what its like to be dead and then alive again! Its what the whole world is asking!

What’s amazing is that if you are a Christian, this is part of your story. You get to tell people about what its like to go from dead to alive. This happened to you.

The scripture that talks about this is overwhelmingly beautiful and powerful! So much so, that I am just going to get out of the way and let you read it for yourself and let the Spirit speak this truth to you. But before I do, can I challenge you to not just let this encourage you (although I hope it does), but also allow it to encourage those around you? Your testimony is one of the most captivating stories of all time. You went from dead to alive. That is a miracle.

Romans 6:1-6 ” What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

Luke 15:24 (Parable of the prodigal son) “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”

Ephesians 2:1-7 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience -among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 2:13-15 “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

-Brantley Vosler

Stumin Worship Director

Following the Call

July 14th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Dave K - (Comments Off on Following the Call)
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The call to follow Christ is not an easy one. It requires sacrifice and often an abandonment of our own agenda.  To truly follow Jesus, we must fully submit ourselves to His plans & purposes, regardless of the outcome.  When we do that, we experience a joy and peace that is transforming… but also very difficult for a watching world to understand.

Chris Norman had an opportunity to pursue a career in the NFL.  As Co-Captain of the MSU Football team and after a successful college career, the next natural step would be the NFL.  During his college days, however, the Lord grabbed hold of Chris and his plans changed. Chris fully surrendered His life to Christ and began to seek the Lord’s guidance & direction. Chris came to the conclusion that God was calling him to ministry and today – he joins the staff at HPBC.  Chris will work in the youth ministry as a Student Connections Coordinator and will also be attending Moody Theological Seminary full-time.  He will work with students at HPBC, Southfield Christian, and Westside Christian Academy – where several people from HPBC serve.

It is a joy for us to welcome Chris to the HPBC staff and we are grateful for his commitment to follow Christ – regardless of the cost and regardless of what the world may think.

Dave Kuntzman

Missions & Business

Note: for read more about Chris’ decision…. see:

http://www.mlive.com/spartans/index.ssf/2013/05/former_michigan_state_lineback_1.html

http://www.mlive.com/spartans/index.ssf/2013/02/michigan_state_linebacker_chri.html

 

Rooted

July 13th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Brent - (Comments Off on Rooted)

She did it again!  My wife has a way of pulling me out of my routine and splashing my life with wonder and joy.  This past week, it happened along the pictured rocks of Lake Superior.  Inell arranged for us to kayak along these splendid colored cliffs.  She also managed to pick a perfect day, with temps in the upper seventies and a sky that was cloudless and blue.

Many images captured my attention as we skimmed along: crystal clear water, majestic cliffs, waves crashing, waterfalls pouring over the edge and plunging into the vastness of Superior.  But one picture stays with me.

It was a tree that had grown tall and green right along the edge of the cliff, over one hundred feet above the water.  If that tree could speak, I imagine it would have felt that it had chosen the best of all possible locations.  For years it had delighted in the sun filled skies, cool breezes, and the vast expanse of water before it.  There was only air on its north side, so it had full sun and no competition for space or light.  But what caught my attention was that it was hanging upside down on the cliff face, clinging to a bit of soil and rock with a single root or two.  We had just watched another tree tumble over the cliff and into the water a few hours earlier.  I wandered how long this one could hold on.

Sometimes we think we have it made.  Our fortunes, our lot, our hard work have landed us in the best of places.  Some of us feel envy, wondering why we are hidden back further in the forest, never noticed and never feeling we have the chance of seeing limitless space and opportunity before us.  Yet the Psalmist reminds us:

“See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!”  But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.” (Psalm 52:7-8, ESV)

I would rather grow in the house of God, with roots sunken deep into the solid foundation of His Word, than to experience the thrill of living on the edge on my own, only to fall into the destruction I have prepared for myself.  I thrill in His vastness.  He is enough.  Let me live in Him.

Brent Slater

Senior Pastor

Summer: A Time of Transitions

June 28th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Brian - (Comments Off on Summer: A Time of Transitions)

The summer is a big transition time in student ministries.  We welcome our new sixth grade class, pass our new freshmen up to high school and say goodbye to our exiting seniors.  I’ve been around for quite a few summers now and one of the things I have learned is that transitions are typically difficult.

Transitions tend to be hard because they involve two things that make us uncomfortable; change and the unknown.

Change is usually hard and the unknown is often scary.  Most of us would rather just stay where we are, where it is comfortable and familiar, but transitions are a part of life.

In the past couple weeks I have talked to parents who are transitioning into becoming empty nesters, a more seasoned saint transitioning into assisted living, a family learning how to live after the loss of a loved one, a recent college graduate looking for employment, and a friend who is changing jobs.

Change is everywhere.

But so is God.

When you find yourself in the middle of a transition, trying to hold tight to what you know instead of jumping into the unknown let me encourage you.

When life is changing too fast, remember that He is unchanging.

When the unknown is scary, remember that it is not unknown to Author of Life…who knows you intimately and loves you deeply.

He goes before and beside us.  He helps in the times of transition, change, and the unknown.

Transitions will come and Jesus will walk us through each one. We would love to hear how God has been faithful to you through transitions, tell us a story of God’s faithfulness during transition in the comment section.  Let’s encourage each other.

-Brian Atkins

Director of Student Ministries

Give Me A Break

June 24th, 2013 | Posted by bvosler in Dave - (Comments Off on Give Me A Break)

It’s officially summer – and all God’s people said, amen!  (I know there are some parents of school aged children who aren’t nearly that enthusiastic).

Sometimes we do need to get away from the routines, sameness, pressures and intense responsibilities of day to day life – for awhile at least.   And, if nothing else, summer schedules provide a welcome break up to the monotony and regularity of our typical schedules. Just the fact that it stays light outside until after 9:00pm – what a gift!

So let’s take a break.  How about (1) standing outside in the early morning or early evening to simply enjoy the beauty of God’s creation – listen, look, smell, silently praise.  No need to even dress up for this occasion.  Take a break, and . . .  (2) talk to your neighbors who tend to stay inside all winter, like we all do.  Be attentive to their stories, and the potential of a need in their life that you could assist. Take a break, and . . . (3) get some outdoor exercise – walking, working around the house, shop in places other than indoor malls.  Take a break, and . . . (4) focus on family, relationships, and farm fresh food.  After all, everything on TV is a rerun.  Baseball is best enjoyed at the ballpark – not in a living room.  The selection of Michigan grown products at this time of year is plentiful and delicious.

Taking a break from the routines of day to day life can be extremely refreshing.

More and more, though, the need for a break is being used as the reason for a summer sabbatical from being active in church.  After all, what better time than these summer weeks to make alternative Sunday plans?

So what about a break from church?

We only take a break from church if the church is a building, a location, a destination, or a weekly routine of coming and going.  Remember, we are the church.  We are followers of Christ who gather regularly for worship, encouragement, learning, growing, and serving – together.  Our life in Christ is just that – our life.  And gathering with God’s people is an expression of our life in Him.

We certainly wouldn’t consider taking a break from our walk with Christ.  Our passion for worship, encouragement, growing in Him and serving – is constant.  If who we are in Christ is the core of our identity, then taking a break is not an option.

So, as we all take a much needed break this summer, let’s use it to stretch ourselves toward furthering our walk with Christ – not taking a break.  Let’s keep up with the Bible reading assignments for the Cover to Cover series.  How about reading that Christian growth resource that sits on your shelf, or desk, or nightstand?  Would you consider getting involved in a ministry that is outside your typical commitment – like the upcoming Fun Fair in August?  Be looking for unique opportunities to give away and serve others – like our teams are doing this summer on their various mission trips.

Whatever we do this summer to take a break, let’s celebrate the change of pace, but at the same time remain fully engaged as a follower of Jesus, a member of His Church, and an essential part of His Body.  We are never given permission to take a break in the development of our life in Him.

David Borror

Ministry Administration