Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 05, 2012

Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene
861 Fuller Ave NE - Grand Rapids, MI  49503 - PH # 616.459.2773
Northeast Community News – June 05, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

What another wonderful time we had in the Lord again this week! After a great Sunday school hour (hint: if you aren’t part of a small group or Sunday school class you really are missing out on something good for you) our service began with Pastor Amy praying giving the invocation. After we had a time of greeting Janie presented Dustin, Natasha, and Danasia Orban a Memorial Role Certificate that will benefit our missionaries in Jiquirria Vaughn’s honor. What a beautiful way to let the family know Jiquirria will never be forgotten!

This week we were also blessed with the singing of Tara Helmer, our daughter in law, who joined me this week to lead our worship singing. Many commented on how nice it was to have her sing and I agree. Our service concluded with Pastor Amy helping me serve Communion and her benediction and prayer. God is good!

God’s message to us this week was the third message on Stewardship and titled, ‘Seeing Wealth as God Sees It’ from Matthew 6:19-34. Those who pursue material wealth end up missing the real treasure. Stewardship is an attitude that requires us to examine our hearts to determine where we have placed our ultimate trust.

When we trust in God and put His mission first, we have far less to worry about and our wealth can be used to transform the world for Christ. Matthew 6:19-34 had many teachable points, but God seemed to zero us in on three. First, the way we view money (our attitude) determines how we will use it. In vv. 6:19-21 Jesus teaches we should invest in eternal things, not material things, and concludes in v. 21 ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’

In other words, ‘What do you value; what is important to you?’ What you value, Jesus declares in vv. 22-23, will drive you to give, either towards Godly things or less godly things. Jesus concludes you can’t have it all (v. 24)! You are forced to decide which has the highest priority and serve it; God or money (v. 24). This month as you examine your bank statement, ask yourself, ‘what do I really value?’ You see, what you spend your money provides clues to what is important to you!

Second, worry and the resulting anxiety is directly connected to your views on money and trust. Beginning in v. 25 Jesus says ‘therefore’, connecting his teaching to suggest when you place God first and begin value Kingdom priorities, you will worry less about temporary concerns like clothing because 1) from an eternal perspective you realize some of these things really aren’t that important, 2) it is largely beyond our control anyway, and 3) because God provides (v. 30).

Finally, to move us from dependence on self and dependence on God for our material well-being in v. 28 Jesus points to the lilies of the field. Jesus declares if God takes such great care of flowers, how much more will He take care of you (vv. 30-32). God knows what we need and will provide for those needs! Instead of chasing after wealth, Jesus offers a radical alternative: ‘…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’ (v. 33). So when we put God first, and not ourselves, He provides for our needs, too!

If you haven’t yet put God first, maybe this week you could begin by giving a set amount and working towards the tithe. Based on my experience and many others I can tell you when you put God first it all just seems to work out! Remember, our attitude towards money reveals whom we ultimately trust. Trusting God drives us towards the light, reduces worry, provides for our needs and gives us peace!

This week’s Bible study is titled ‘The Road Ahead’ and while we try to have our Bible studies completed before we arrive and be ready to discuss them, we want you to come regardless! If you need one they are on a table outside the sanctuary.
Blessings! Pastor Dan

Hello From Pastor Amy/Your Part-Time Church Secretary
My office hours will be on Tuesdays from 8am-5pm, but if you need to see me, you may want to call first. My responsibilities also include preparing our weekly program, so if you have an event that you would like to put in the program or newsletter, please feel free to contact me!

On Prayer Requests: If you have a specific praise or prayer request which you would like to appear in the program and/or newsletter, please make sure to fill out the tear-off sheet in the weekly program, or contact me at any time.
Please Update Me! We have a long, ongoing list of prayer requests. Please keep me updated. Requests will be pulled from the newsletter & program after 3 weeks. Thank you!
Church Office:616-459-2773  My Contact Info: 616-514-9521 or amyorban@hotmail.com

Ladies LIFT Continues
Our women’s group continues to meet on the first and third Thursdays of every month at 4:30pm in the upstairs of the church outside of the sanctuary. The women meet and share a time of devotion/Bible study, as well as snacks, good conversation, and crafts/recipe exchange. If you have not yet attended, you are invited to check us out! All women need the fellowship of other women, so even if you do not attend our church we invite you to join us. Bring a friend and come get refreshed by God’s Word and the company of other women. Questions? Talk to Irene Pratt.
June Meeting Dates: June 07 & June 21

Potluck and Annual Meeting This Sunday! June 10th
This Sunday immediately following morning worship we will be having one of our famous northeast community potlucks. Please bring a dish to pass if you are able, but if you can’t or if you forget, we still want you to stay! The food is always delicious and there is always plenty of it to go around. This is also a great time to invite a friend or family to church. This month we will also be holding our Annual Church Meeting during our potluck, which means that while you eat, our church board members will be giving short reports about all that God has been doing in our church this year. Everyone is welcome to attend. Talk to Cherry Pakiela to help clean-up.

New Website Coming!
This week we are launching our new website!
Here is the link:

Please take the time to check it out, and understand that the site will be under construction as we build it up and get used to the new software. Please send any input or ideas to amyorban@hotmail.com.

Do We Have Your Contact Info?
It is once again time for us to update our directories. If we do not have your contact information, or if there have been changes, please let us know! You can also receive our newsletter every week via email. Please email or give your information to Gerry Dawson or Amy Orban.

Outreach Opportunity Coming! June 26th
We are working with North End Community Ministry to participate in a night of service at their NECM Supper House. We are inviting ANY WILLING VOLUNTEERS to come to the Supper House at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church on the night of June 26th to serve dinner and clean up. We believe our service should reach outside of our church walls, and that Jesus clearly instructed us to feed the hungry. So come get out of your comfort zone and serve your community! More information and details to come, but please see Pastor Dan to join us this effort!

Children’s Program
In addition to the weekly Children’s Church we have added two new programs for our Children!

At 10:00am on Sundays during our Sunday School hour, we now have a Children’s Reading time. During this 45 minute period before church we will be reading about missionaries from the Church of the Nazarene. We have a series of 6 books that will be read. These books will be read aloud by adults from the church. Children who attend regularly and listen to all 6 books will be treated to lunch at Chuckie Cheese! We will complete the readings by the end of May.
On Wednesday nights @ 6:30pm Pat and Shannen Parsaca have started the Caravan program, which is a scouting, or kids’ club, type of program. All children grades K – 6 are welcome!
In Children’s Church we have started a “Children Helping Children” program. This will be part of the semi-annual Alabaster Offering. Each child will have a box of their own. Every week they attend Children’s Church a quarter will be added to their box. In addition they may bring an offering to put in the box. All Alabaster Offerings are used to buy property and build schools and churches on the mission field. The Children will be able to march with their boxes on Alabaster box Sundays. We hope to see your children on Sundays and Wednesdays. If you have any questions please ask Cherry Pakiela or Gerry Dawson!
Want to help, but not sure how?
If you are wondering where to plug in, but are not sure how, we have opportunities. Current opportunities include a soundboard worker, nursery helpers, childrens workers, potluck coordinators, visiting our shut-ins, greeters and ushers, visitor follow-ups, Sunday School teachers, music leaders, people willing to shovel snow in the winter, and much more. It doesn’t matter how long you have been attending our church, serving is a great way to honor God and get to know the people around you! If you sense a call to a specific area or need some ideas to pray about, please contact Amy Orban or Cherry Pakiela.

Indian Lake Nazarene Camp – Summer 2012 is coming!
Summer 2012 is just around the corner! Indian Lake has all kinds of upcoming events, so get ready. For those of you who don’t know, Indian Lake is a Nazarene campground in Vicksburg, MI where people from all over our district gather. They have camp and activities for everyone, including families and children. Pastor Dan and Janie have two cabins on Indian Lake, and always invite everyone down to visit! We will be publishing more information on camp week in July and other events as they become available. Here are a few things so far:

June 9-10: Michigan Free Fishing Weekend – no license required
June 18-21: Middle School Camps
June 25-29: High School Camps
June 30-July 1: Family Festival Weekend, activities, parade, & more.
July 7-14: Convention Week
July 16-20: Boys Camp
July 30-Aug 3: Girls Camp

Note: If you have a child interested in attending camp, please talk to Pastor Dan or Amy Orban! We do have people in our church willing to help sponsor children going to camp even if you cannot afford it! We believe any child should be able to have this wonderful opportunity.
There are fliers posted on the bulletin board outside of the sanctuary if you would like more information, or you can also talk to the experts, Pastor Dan and Janie. You can also see the camp’s website at www.nazcamp.org

Upcoming Events
June 07            Ladies LIFT Meets @ 4:30pm
June 10            Annual Church Meeting and POTLUCK immediately following worship
June 21            Ladies LIFT Meets @ 4:30pm
June 26            NECM Supper House Volunteer Night
June 27            Wednesday Night Dinner @ 5:30pm, Regular Family Night to Follow
June 30/July1  Family Camp Weekend at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp
July 7-14         Convention Week at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp

Reflections from Pastor Amy
Weekly thoughts, life-lessons, and reflections from a redeemed child of God, a woman, a mother, a wife, a sinner under the Cross of Jesus Christ, and a Pastor-in-training.                                   
 June 05, 2012

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
For I’m part of the family, the family of God! (Bill & Gloria Gaither Gospel Song)

I was dragged for a walk through the valley this week. Depression strikes, and for the many out there who also suffer from it, you know just what that valley is like. Dark and exhausting, detached and unmotivated, irrational and sad with new grief lurking around every corner. My desire to do normal things evaporated into thin air and I spent several days simply surviving until I could take my next nap or go to sleep for the night. Not a great place to be with two babies and a load of responsibilities, right?

The depression times are the hardest times for me to pray. Not only is my thinking foggy, but my connection to myself, to those around me, and to God is elusive; I just can’t seem to get a grip on anything. My usual love of devotional life is watered down to a silent acknowledgement that God is God, I am a mess, and it will pass, because it always does. He does not require any more of me in these times. He takes into account my pitiful state and simply carries me along, like the twig floating on the river.

Depression is the epitome of the rock and the hard place, because it’s so silent that no one knows about it unless you tell them. But to tell them, to actually talk about it, is agony. Yet to silently scream is also agony. So there you are, wanting to be known and wanting to hide all at once, playing the tug-of-war with yourself, wishing someone more reasonable could make the decision for you. God Help Me.

My need for help won out this week, no doubt with a push from my Heavenly Father. I slowly forced myself to tell the people around me that I was struggling. My husband, my blog, then an email.

The results were humbling.  Almost immediately, I was bombarded by emails with kind words, holding me up in prayer and love and beautiful words of comfort. My mom swooped in and watched the kids several extra times so that I could have a break. My husband helped the boys make me a plaque with their handprints on it in messy paint which reads “Best Mom Ever”.  Hugs and inquiries from many were made on Sunday morning. What more could I ask for?

I’m out of the valley now, but if I learned anything this time, it was the value of asking for help. I would rather not, most of the time. I would rather simply pray to God for help, and have Him drop virtue and strength directly out of the sky and into my soul, so I could then stand up, refreshed, and once again take on the world.

Sometimes my expectations are so askew that I can’t even see God answering my prayer right in front of me. I pray for help, and I look for it – where, in the sky? Or I still think it’s going to be something I dig deep down out of myself. But it comes from others, from other people who love God and love me.

There are people I know, people we all know and see every day, people we love, who see no use in the community of believers. Not only do many think they don’t need God, but they have also convinced themselves that they don’t need others either. So a type of flying by the seat of the pants occurs as they make decisions based solely on self, listening to their self-based feelings for guidance.  I have been there. And I can still go there, to the altar of the almighty self, trying to pull myself up by the almighty bootstraps. The truth? A lot of times I don’t even remember that I need to wear boots because it’s cold out, let only worry about my bootstraps…I need a lot of help.

So the world tells us you can only trust yourself, but we say we love each other unconditionally. The world speaks self-reliance, but we encourage each other to ask for help. The world says keep what you work for because it’s yours, but we give it away.  The world says get yourself together and put your happy face on, and we hold each other up in prayer as we struggle and wrestling with life together.

This is Jesus’ commandment brought to life in our present-day world that we are so blessed to experience firsthand as children of God: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)I am surrounded by a divided culture full of anger and fighting. No doubt as Christians we are not always faithful to Jesus’ command and we fight even amongst ourselves. But as part of His Church, we get to see glimpses of this love for Him and for one another, glimpses of what He intended for us all along.

And then there is the other part – the part that says the world will know we are His disciples by our love for one another. Our internal love for Christ spills out into active love for the people around us and the world sees and comes to believe. And we get to be a part of it all as He uses us for His good purposes! How awesome is our God?

So I am surrounded by a culture of ME, but I am so blessed to serve and take part in a community of believers whose overarching theme is WE.  This week I could not help but hurt for the many people who struggle all alone. When I struggle, if I ask for just the tiniest bit of help, I can immediately rest in the knowledge that a small army of saints is praying for me, loving me, thinking of me, and interceding on my behalf for mercy from Jesus.  Like just peeking out from behind a dark curtain and being surprised to see a beautiful sunset with a landscape of rolling hills, fields, and flowers – a little bit of asking for help goes a long way. It is indeed so sweet to live the countercultural life of the Christian.

Can you remember your own dark times when you were upheld by the small army of saints around you? This week ask yourself, how can I uphold a brother or sister who is struggling? The small acts of many can make an enormous impact in the life of one who is facing difficulty.

With love, Pastor Amy Orban                   Phone:616-514-9521 
                                                              Email: amyorban@hotmail.com

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