Dear Friends and Family,
What a warm and wonderful day we had in the Lord, yesterday! While we have been experiencing a streak of warm weather outside the sanctuary (aren’t you thankful for air conditioning!), we have been experiencing a continued streak of warm weather inside the sanctuary, too! What a blessing to see the Holy Spirit continuing to burn in the hearts and souls of His people! God continues to move in our midst! Lives are being saved, sanctified, and redeemed! Praise God!
Do you believe God can do amazing, extraordinary things to build His Kingdom through the efforts of ordinary man or woman? Nehemiah teaches us God can do much to build with ordinary folks who remember His promises and act!
God’s message this week was titled, ‘What is it You Want’ from Nehemiah 2:1-10. Nehemiah had asked for an update on the work rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem in chapter 1, but by chapter 2 we find he is prepared with a plan when the pagan King Artaxerxes finally asks, “What is it you want?” (v. 2:4)
How did an ordinary cupbearer of the king come up with a detailed plan at the spur of the moment? Well, the right answer is he didn’t! Scholars tell us he had 4 months of time to prepare before the king asked. In those 4 months we discover Nehemiah prayed, planned, and waited for God’s timing.
In the last few weeks on Wednesday night we have been learning what new Christians need to know and one of the first things we discovered is Christians need to pray. Prayer is simply talking to God and listening to Him. So how did Nehemiah come up with a detailed plan for rebuilding the walls and gates in Jerusalem? Prayer! His ideas came from God! He listened as he prayed and sought God in prayer!
Nehemiah wasted no time preparing a detailed plan, either. Details of the plan include: how long it would take, safe travel, and where he would find materials to build the gates and a place to live (vv. 2:6-8). Why did Nehemiah plan? Because he expected God to answer his prayer to gather His people and rebuild the city. Do you begin planning for answered prayers? Will you be ready?
Finally, Nehemiah teaches us to wait on God’s timing. For 4 months Nehemiah has ached, mourned, wept, prayed, fasted over the destruction in Jerusalem, and for 4 months he has served the king wine, but on this particular day he makes his move (though very much afraid) after prayer (vv. 2:1-3) and the king grants his wishes and even sends along army officers and cavalry to protect him (vv. 2:8-9).
Nehemiah knew God had answered an impossible prayer and promptly gave him praise (v. 2:8). Do you believe God can do amazing things with someone like you? Will you be ready when your pagan king (boss at work, school, etc.) asks ‘what is it you want?’ Prepare by praying, planning, and then wait for God’s timing!
It is because we have watched God answer impossible prayers and do amazing things in our midst that today (July 02 as I write this) is so hard for us. It was on a day, much like today, that our beloved Jiquirria Vaugn Orban jumped into a lake and drowned as he tried unsuccessfully to swim out to a diving platform in the lake.
From our worship service we traveled to Oak Hill Cemetery where Pastor Amy led us, and other friends and family who had gathered, in a time of prayer, song, and reflection as we stood in God’s presence in front of Jiquirria’s grave.
Why did Jiquirria try to swim? Why did Jiquirria die? Why didn’t God intervene? These are good questions for which I have no satisfying answer. But I do know God loves us, brings light into our darkness, and Jiquirria is with Jesus! As the third verse of the song Pastor Amy selected reminds us:
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
And so it was as we stood in clouds and sunshine that the Savior abided with us as Janie laid a floral arrangement given on behalf of the church and the rest of us laid carnations, roses, and not a few tears on his grave in a clumsy and awkward attempt to convey the love of the Savior and the church while conscious Jiquirria isn’t here but rejoicing with Jesus where there are no more tears or sadness!
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). Amen and Amen!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Note: Both Pastor Dan and I will be at Indian Lake for the week of July 8th -15th. Pastor Dan is available via email and phone in the event of a crisis. I will be sending the newsletter out electronically, but if you usually get a printed copy, talk to one of us so we can get you a copy! This also means that no one will be here at the church for the week. See you in a week!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~NEWS & EVENTS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Remember – No Wednesday Family Night for Two Weeks!
Tonight – July 4th, enjoy the holiday with your family, because we are not having our usual Bible Study. Then don’t forget that next Wednesday, July 11th, there will be no Bible Study at the church, but everyone is invited down to the service at Indian Lake! Talk to Pastor Dan or Pastor Amy if you have questions or need directions.
Sunday School Classes Combine – July 8th and 15th
Because many will be on vacation, the Adult Alternative class will not be meeting for these two Sundays. Please join the upstairs class. Regular class resumes on July 22nd. Thank you!
Supper Night Report & Thank You!
We came, we fed, we were blessed! And so were the 180 people we served dinner to
at the North End Community Ministry (NECM) Supper House last Tuesday night. While our church is smaller, what a blessing to know we made a difference in the lives of so many! The Apostle John wrote, “Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you” (3 John 3). Special thanks to everyone who worked, including: Gerry Dawson, Janie Hathaway, Theo Orban, Gary Parker, and Irene Pratt. While the people we served were definitely ‘strangers to us,’ we were faithful to the teachings of Christ! Praise God!
Healthy Homes Volunteer and Services Opportunity
The healthy homes coalition of West Michigan is a non-profit organization that seeks to eliminate housing conditions that harm children’s health. They focus on environmental health, including lead poisoning, carbon monoxide and radon exposure, pest management, fire safety, asthma, accident prevention, and more.
Healthy Homes would love your help if you are interested in volunteering for them! They are also offering to install FREE smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors in homes with children 5 and under. This is available for homeowners as well as renters. This is a great coalition to check out, as they offer so many services to homes with children! For more information about healthy homes, talk to Pastor Amy, or call 616-241-3300, or email email@example.com.
Jiquirria Vaughn-Orban Memorial Children’s Library!
We are happy to announce that Julie Orban has donated $150 to start up a library for children in memory of Jiquirria. Did you know that he loved to read? In fact, at his funeral, we heard a poem that he wrote about his love for books. Julie thought that a children’s library in his name would be a great way to honor and remember him!
We invite ALL children to check out books at any time. Right now the library is located downstairs in the room for children’s church. We are praising God that we now have a children’s library in our church! What could be more important than ministering to our children through books and education? Thank you Julie! Interested in letting your children check out a book or helping to build up the library? Talk to Gerry Dawson.
Praise Team Singers Wanted!
Would you like to sing with Pastor Dan on Sunday morning? One commented they ‘didn’t know they could join me’ and she was surprised. Pastor Dan would love to see more folks use their gift of singing with him on Sundays. All he requires is a humble spirit, a willingness to attend practice on Wednesday night after bible study and Sunday morning at 9:00am, and a desire to worship God! Interested? Let Pastor Dan know!
World Mission Broadcast Thank You!
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! This year we have received $100 for this offering! That’s 25 minutes! Thank you all!
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
No July Children’s Program!
In addition to other July cancellations, we will NOT be holding any Wednesday Night Program for children. The children’s program will pick up at it’s usual time on the first Wednesday in August at 6:30pm.
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!
We have launched 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in helping keep our website updated, Amy would love the help of someone who is more adept at using technology, so let her know!
New directories are available on the tables outside of the sanctuary. Please take one!
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 or Irene Pratt.
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 9-15 Pastor Dan vacation week
July 11 NO Wednesday Family Night
July 15 Reverend Chris Christopher visits
August 3 First Friday Chinese Lunch @ 11:30am Empire Chinese Buffet
August 5 Communion/Family Church – NO Children’s Church
August 12 NE Community Potluck after morning worship service
Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene
Church - 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
July Worker Schedules
July 8 SS- Janie Hathaway & Emily Morse
Worship – Britney Toole & Alannah Parsaca
July 15 SS- Janie Hathaway & Barb Buning
Worship – Anna Boeve & Morgan Parsaca
July 22 SS – Janie Hathaway & Liz Bowman
Worship – Mary Danks & Alannah Parsaca
July 19 SS –Janie Hathaway & Shannen Parsaca
Worship – Lindsey Wright & Tracy Tamm
July 8 – Terry & Jerry
July 15 – Dick & Larry
July 22 – Jerry & Pat
July 29 – Larry & Terry
July 8 – Shannen Parsaca
July 15 – Mike Braun
July 22 – Joan Grinwis
July 29 – Alannah Parsaca
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.
July 4, 2012
In case you were wondering, running through the sprinkler in the yard on a hot summer day really is just as fun as I remember.
One of the things about having little boys, is that they have to, MUST, get outside on a regular basis. They desperately need the fresh air, they need to explore, they need to be able to wander and run and yell and burn off some of their little-boy energy. If they are stuck inside for too long, we all get on each other’s nerves, and quick! Not to mention the fact that things get broken, tables get climbed on, boredom leads to wrestling and meltdowns, and early naps are always threatened. The really great thing about this, however, is that I get walk through the wonderland of childhood discovery all over again while they learn and grow.
So yesterday, despite the incredible heat, I knew we had to get outside. So we put on our bathing suits, swimming diapers (at least the boys did- I don’t usually need to wear those), sunglasses, and headed out in the yard to play. We filled up the pool and watered the flowers, drank out of the hose and poured buckets of water on each other. Little Theo frolicked and splashed and Remi ate pieces of grass and dirt and laughed while he watched it all.
But the real fun started when I pulled out the sprinkler. Little Theo had never before experienced the unparalleled delight of springs of water jutting through the air. He would run up to it, look at it, wait for the water to come his way, and then run screaming across the yard, over and over and over again. I joined him and also found myself squealing and running as the cold water hit me.
Pandora was playing my favorite reggae version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and I stopped to listen to the lyrics: “Someday I'll wish upon a star, and wake up where the clouds are far behind me. Where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops. That's where you'll find me. Somewhere over the rainbow…” For a minute we were just two kids running through the sprinkler and loving it. Talk about a warm fuzzy, heaven on earth kind of moment!
But life is heavy, like wading through a waist-deep pond of muck and slime, and it seems like every once in awhile (usually when I desperately need it) God just reaches right down and blesses me with a glimpse of paradise. These moments keep me going, they are the dash of salt that keeps my life tasting balanced. They whisper – Look! More of this is to come! Hang on a little longer!
What I really wanted to do today was write some well thought-out article on Independence Day and how it relates to our faith as Christians. I wanted to climb the intellectual mountain top with you and descend together in powerful words, smooth like an Olympic downhill skier.
The truth is that I am not equipped to do that. I will confess that I am like a lot of people in my generation. I am undereducated about the history of our country. I have some working knowledge of the principles on which we were founded, but I cannot quote the constitution. Maybe it’s because I was raised with a lot of loud, passionate, political discussion, but often when I hear the heated discussions begin, my eyes glaze over and I recoil into myself. I know in some ways I may be lacking in my duty as a Christian when I unplug from current news and stay mostly disconnected from the world of politics and government in our country. The truth is that it’s just not something I’m going to invest a lot of energy into. Change starts from one person talking to another about the truth of Jesus Christ, so that’s where I am going to start too.
What I do know, is that whether or not I understand it, military people are making enormous sacrifices so that I can play in the sprinkler with my son. Military people are making enormous sacrifices so that I can write and talk about Jesus Christ without being dragged before a firing squad and killed or beheaded. They are making enormous sacrifices for me exactly the way I am – undereducated, lukewarm, inadequately grateful, and most days entirely oblivious.
And first, before these military people, is Christ – who came to set us free, who came into a world which rejected him, who was persecuted by the men that abused His father’s Word, who was killed by the very hands he came to save. Christ, who knows we don’t always totally get it. Christ, who knows precisely that each of us should spend every second of every minute lying prostrate on the ground with our faces in the dirt praising him and thanking him for what He has done for us, yet He tells us to get up, to follow Him, to live in the sunlight, to frolic in the sprinkler of His blessings. And He even knows we will often take it for granted, but He gives abundantly to us anyways.
I find freedom in the glimpses of paradise I get, like my moment outside with little Theo yesterday. They are powerful reminders that God has already won, and that all will be made right by Him in His time. And I know this because of the high price that Jesus paid on the Cross, and because God raised Him from the dead. What Jesus offers us is GRACE.
What our military people in this country also offer us is GRACE. They give us these gifts of freedom, not because we deserve them, but in spite of the fact that we so obviously don’t.
All is grace, and it pours into our lives despite how much we take it for granted. My husband offers me this GRACE when he is exhausted from working all day only to come home and help me do more work, all the while bearing in love and tolerance my attitude which is almost always on edge by the end of the day. My mom knows I could never, ever make up or repay her for all the help she gives me with my boys, and my dad knows I can’t ever repay them for the years of help which I took for granted. Pastor Dan and
Janie shower this church with grace by pouring their lives and hearts into this place, all while knowing we may not do the same in return.
GRACE – where can you see it in your life today?
Dear Lord, thank you for this GRACE which I don’t totally understand. Help me to show it to other people as it is shown to me in so many different ways and through so many different people. Thank you for the freedom you offer to us sinners, thank you that we live in a country where we can hear and speak your gospel. Help us to live out our gratitude in action. In Jesus’ name, Amen.