What a wonderful time we had in the Lord this week! What a joy to see Pastor Amy take the first tentative steps of pastoral ministry. In June, she has giving our invocation, helped serve communion, and given the benediction and blessing! I trust you continue to pray for Pastor Amy as she continues her journey towards District License and Ordination. Hers is a daunting task that can overwhelm new pastors as they consider the work ahead of them! But God is faithful! Amen!
This was the second week in the new church year that begins June 1 and ends May 31. After our time of discipleship, worship, prayer, and our final stewardship challenge, we celebrated ‘last year’ during a special community potluck. What a joy to hear each department celebrate what God has done and ask for prayer! If you haven’t read an Annual Report, you should!
God’s message to us this week was the final message on Stewardship and was titled, ‘Seeing the Potential that God Sees’ from Matthew 9:35-38. What did Jesus see in you when He reached you in His grace? Can you remember? While everyone saw disaster in my life before Christ, Jesus saw pastor! As we look at others through the eyes of Christ, we begin to see the potential in everyone! Where our eyes see a body wrecked by disease, the eyes of Christ see wholeness. Where we might see a life ruined by sin, the eyes of Christ sees a committed Christian. As Christ-like stewards we are challenged to see beyond the immediate and see possibilities!
This passage gives us three points that help us look beyond our physical eyes and see people and situations as Jesus does. First, Christ-like eyes see the potential of restoration in v. 35. Jesus went through ALL the towns and villages, preaching the good news and healing EVERY disease and sickness. We need to move out in faith believing God really can do the impossible and will bring about restoration and healing needed for that deeply sinful family member or addicted loved one.
Second, to see people with Christ-like eyes requires us to use the right lens to see others and ourselves. Many see hurting people through the lens of cynicism. The cynic distorts the problems in broken messy people in an overly negative way.
In v. 36 we find Jesus saw people through the lens of compassion. When Jesus saw needy people he realized many of them were flawed and vulnerable. He compared them to sheep utterly lost without a good shepherd. He was moved by compassion to help them. When Jesus met someone who made bad life choices he had compassion on them. What lens do you use to see others?
In many, the lens we use to see others is directly correlated with how we see ourselves. If we want to see people through the eyes of Christ we need to begin by seeing ourselves as flawed and vulnerable, too. We need to recognize our own struggles, vulnerability to sin, and need of a shepherd, too. When we tend to see ourselves as superior and self-righteous (as the Pharisees did) it is easy to judge others and refuse kindness. But when we see ourselves clearly, and realize we, too, have made bad choices, we can respond like Jesus – with compassion.
Finally, we will begin to see people through Christ-like eyes when we join God in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to our home – our workplace – our school. In vv. 37-38 Jesus doesn’t see a hopeless situation, but potential! He wants to bring life, healing, hope, and victory to many deep in sin, but He needs us! He declares, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.’ Those who were once broken and far from God are now invited to carry on His ministry of sharing the good news! As our closing song declared, ‘freely we have received – let us freely give!’
This week’s Bible study is titled ‘Talking with God’ and teaches us how to pray. While we try to have our Bible studies completed before we arrive, 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 email@example.com
NEWS & EVENTS
Leona Atkinson Memorial Donation Thank You
Upon the passing of Leona Atkinson, our longest standing member here at NE Community, we have received generous donations from several of her loved ones in support of our church. Because Leona had a love for missions, your church board has decided to give the $425 to the World Evangelism Fund. A heartfelt thank-you to each one of you for your generous giving!
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.
Next Meeting Date: June 21
Kids Camp at Indian Lake
Indian Lake offers a camp week for boys and girls from 3rd to 5th grade. This is an awesome opportunity for our children! Our church is offering financial assistance if you are interested in sending your child. The deadline for registration is July 1st, so see Pastor Dan soon. Also, Youth Camp is also available for grades 6-12. The registration deadline was June 1st, but you can still register with a late fee!
World Mission Broadcast Offering—June 24th—NEXT Sunday
World Mission Broadcast takes the Gospel to the world through radio, television and internet programs. On the air since 1951, World Mission Broadcast (WMB) reaches even the most remote parts of the world, with words of hope and holiness... and lives are changed. The cost to support one minute of WMB airtime is $4.00. That's right. $4.00 to air one minute of the Gospel somewhere in the world. How many minutes will you support this year? We will be taking an offering next Sunday.
Because July is a busy month due to summer and events at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp, we have several dates for you to note changes:
July 4th: Wednesday Family Night cancelled
July 5th: Ladies LIFT cancelled
July 11th: Wednesday Family Night cancelled
Family Camp Week at Indian Lake – You are Invited!
There is fun, food, and fellowship for everyone this summer at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. If you don’t already know this, Pastor Dan and Janie have cabins at Indian Lake and invite everyone to come down and check it out. Below are a few events we have planned during the week of Family Camp.
Sunday 7/8 – 5:30-6:30pm Potluck before the ordination service! Pastor Dan and Janie will provide hamburgers and hotdogs grilled to near perfection, lemonade and coffee, and paper plates, napkins, cups, and silverware. You bring a dish to pass! Then, stay and attend the Ordination Worship Service at 7:00pm (typically ends at 9:00pm).
Wednesday 7/11 – 8:30-9:30pm Free Ice Cream AFTER the 7:00pm service. Come to church at 7:00pm and receive a free coupon for ice cream from Pastor Dan at the Indian Lake Snack Bar when the worship service ends!
Sunday 7/15 – 1:30-3:00pm - Potluck before the final service of Family Camp Meeting! Pastor Dan and Janie will provide brats and chicken breasts grilled to near perfection, lemonade and coffee, and paper plates, napkins, cups, and silverware. You bring a dish to pass! Then, stay for the final worship service at Camp Meeting at 4:00pm.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask Janie or Pastor Dan!
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!
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 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
June 17 Father’s Day
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 4 NO Wednesday Family Night
July 5 NO Ladies LIFT
July 6 First Friday Chinese Lunch @ 11:30am, Empire Buffet Alpine
July 7-14 Convention Week at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp
July 11 NO Wednesday Family Night
Northeast Community Church of the NazareneChurch - 616.459.2773 Parsonage - 616.459.0402
Pastor Dan Cell - 616.204.1153
Pastor Amy Orban – 616.514.9521
Other Contact Numbers:
Julie Orban: Weds Night Dinner Coordinator 616-890-5550
Tracy Tamm First Friday Chinese Lunch 616-406-9602
Irene Pratt Ladies LIFT 616-949-4679
Gerry Dawson Sunday School/Children’s Church 616-863-6808
Cherry Pakiela Sunday School/Children’s Church 616-916-7595
Pat & Shannen Parsaca Weds Night Children’s Program 616-272-6021
Theo Orban Weds Night Youth Group 616-890-4045
Larry Branagan Trustee 616-538-8765
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” -C. S. Lewis
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 12, 2012
I order a medium black coffee at the speaker. My total flashes on the screen in red digital letters. Thank you, please pull ahead. I look up and say hello to the cashier who stands by the open window, typing on the screen of his phone. The cold blast of air conditioning pours out of the window and into the hot humid air, causing the corners of my dollar bills to ruffle. He absentmindedly grabs my money and hands me my change. He does it all with his eyes glued to his cell phone screen and never once looks up.
I buy our meat at the market down the street. I place my packs of meat on the belt and the cashier flicks the switch, moving them down the conveyor belt toward the register. I say hello and he grunts while looking over my head toward something or someone behind me. The register beeps as he slides my selections over the scanner. He looks at the customers behind me, at the clock, at the door. He barks out my total, I slide my card, and he thrusts my receipt at me and gives me the standard “have a nice day”.
We take long walks through our neighborhood. I pass a girl sitting on the front steps of her house. The space between us is less than two yards. She is tapping on the screen of her cell phone. I say “hello, your flowers are beautiful!” And her eyes never leave her cell phone. We meet a woman walking towards us. Little Theo looks up and says HI in his sweet little voice. Her eyes never even flit our way for one second.
How can we be surrounded by so many people so close to us while simultaneously keeping ourselves entirely alone on our own little islands? At times I am so desperate for connection that when I finally get a friendly cashier in the check-out at Meijer I find myself in all kinds of personal and lengthy conversations - about kids, about husbands, about the joys of working in customer service, about life.
Sometimes I really do just want to be kind and ask you how your day is, and would you just please slow down and look at me as another human being here in front of you in this moment? Because I’d really like to know how you are doing and just share this moment together, is that so much to ask?!
Let me be clear – I am guilty of this too. I check my facebook while I wait in line at Wal-Mart. I may occasionally text while in the drive-thru. I cringe to think of how often you could probably catch me distractedly browsing on my cell phone while my husband is talking to me. I am at my worst when my kiddos are clinging to my leg, begging for mommy’s attention, waiting for mommy to detangle herself from the online world. I don’t want to imagine how much I have missed by simply not really seeing the people right in front of me.
It speaks to something deeper than just distraction though. It speaks to our self-centeredness. It speaks to the fact that we are culturally conditioned on a daily basis to think that we don’t need anyone else. It speaks to our own sense of self-importance at the cost of real relationship with the people around us. It speaks to the incredible disconnect of much of the human race from one another. It speaks to our hard hearts, our disbelief, and our disobedience of Jesus’ command to love.
Before I climb on the pedestal and critique the world today and all of these text-messaging face-paging distracted fools who only care about themselves, I should probably remember a few things: 1) I am guilty of it too (see above), 2) There was a time when I didn’t even see this as a problem and 3) God has changed the way I look at people, He has given me a new heart for people that I never have had before.
I want to focus in on #3. Here is a thought on this from the Word of God by the prophet Ezekiel:
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19
This was God’s promise to restore Israel, and this is God’s promise to restore us, today, here and now. Do you still have a heart of stone? Do you, as Pastor Dan said this week, continue to view the world around you through the lens of cynicism? There are all kinds of reasons we do this – fear, pride, and scars from past hurts. But it mostly boils down to our lack of love for God, without which we cannot possibly hope to love or even notice the people around us. We desperately need the work He does in us, and the work that Jesus already did on the cross.
I am a seed-planter. A small interaction with someone at a store that may only last for a minute may not even seem worth the effort, but I always try to remember that I’m not entitled to see the long-term results of anything I do for God. My role is to try to be obedient to God and take the best care of each moment which He places in front of me. Every small kindness can be used in big ways by God to point someone to the possibility of Christ crucified for them, too. Oh that He would make us aware of all the opportunities we have every day!
The really great thing is that while I might get ignored by the drive-thru attendant, the cashier, and countless others whom I encounter on a daily basis, I don’t have to beg for God’s attention. He knows what I need before I ask, and I do not have to wonder if He heard me because He is trying to play Angry Birds on His tablet while I am talking to Him. He doesn’t have more important things to do, He is not restlessly tapping His fingers, waiting for me to finish so that he can check his email.
My Heavenly Father gives me His full undivided attention, on a deeper level than I am even aware or capable of putting into words. He invites me into His presence to pray and to listen and to rest. He feeds me with His Word and allows me to drink deeply from His goodness until I am refreshed. He sends His Spirit to guide me and teach me. In doing so, he replaces my hard heart of stone with a heart from Himself, and makes it so that I am actually capable of caring about rude people who ignore me.
My natural (cynical) response to people : What is wrong with everyone? People are crazy…
God transforms my heart of stone response into his likeness: How can I be kind to this person?
Oh the things we receive from Him! Isn’t it delightful? All we have to do is ask, come into His presence, and let Him change us.
Lord, this week point out to us opportunities for kindness, opportunities which may make a bigger difference than we will ever know. Lord wake us up and make us aware! Help us be the people who point others to you. Destroy our hearts of stone and put in their place hearts which are receptive to you, to your Word and to your command to love you and love the people around us.
With love, Pastor Amy Orban Phone:616-514-9521 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org