Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NE News - July 24, 2012

861 Fuller Ave NE - Grand Rapids, MI  49503 - PH # 616.459.2773
Northeast Community News – July 24, 2012
Dear Friends and Family,

What a wonderful day we had in the Lord, Sunday! After Joan led us in our announcements, we received a ‘Camp Meeting Report’ from several who took part in the Camp Meeting last week at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. We discovered God moved mightily in the services and the conventions! Praise God! We also rejoiced with the addition of two more praise singers this week! What a joy to see Irene Pratt and Joan Grinwis join Pastor Amy and I leading the congregation in singing our hymns and choruses! God is so good to us! Amen!

God’s message this week was titled, ‘Building God’s Kingdom’ and came from Neh. 3:1-31. We remember Nehemiah taught us to look for and seek the broken places, turn to God, stay humble, pray, wait, and know God is readying the people for change. This week we discovered building or rebuilding God’s Kingdom needs the cooperation, teamwork, and efforts of the full community, including you!

First, Nehemiah taught us to put God first! The very first part of the wall to be rebuilt was the Sheep Gate nearest the Temple (v. 3:1a). Before we do anything else to build the Kingdom or rebuild our lives we need to start and maintain a vibrant relationship with Jesus. God needs to come first!

Not only does Nehemiah teach us to put God first, we also find the Holy Spirit bringing unity to the work. Throughout Neh. c. 3 we find the words ‘next to him’ used repeatedly. Men and women are working shoulder to shoulder without any conflict; expert craftsman are working beside perfume-makers, goldsmiths, and priests in perfect harmony. While our culture competes against one another, the people rebuilding the wall submit to the unifying leadership of the Holy Spirit. If we want to build the Kingdom, we need to let God lead, too!

Nehemiah also teaches us about sacrifice. Many of those working on the wall were from 15-20 miles away and would not benefit directly from the finished work. Yet, they set aside their own fields and families to build God’s Kingdom. Whether it is behind the scenes or up front, sacrifice is still needed in the church today! In fact, the church is unable to build the Kingdom without sacrifice.

Finally, Nehemiah taught us the importance of passion and going the second mile. Between vv. 20-30 we find many workers willing to repair another section of the wall! They could have said, ‘well, we did our part’ and gone home, but they stayed until the work was completed.

In v. 20, we discover Baruch was zealous about the work. He was passionate, deeply concerned and on fire for the Lord. Do we get excited about doing the Lord’s work or something else?

Nehemiah teaches us if we want to build the Kingdom we need to 1) put God first, 2) let the Holy Spirit lead and unify us, 3) sacrifice our gifts and talents to God, and 4) go the extra mile and be passionate about serving God! Let’s go!

This week’s Bible study is titled ‘Spiritual Growth.’ One of the great possibilities of the Christian life is endless spiritual growth. The Christian life should never become static. We must always be moving ahead to new levels of experience. Join us Wednesday at 6:30 and learn about ‘Spiritual Growth.’

Most know Pastor Amy Orban accepted a call to fulltime Christian Ministry and after being interviewed by Pastor Dan, our Church Board, and filling out the proper paperwork received her Local Pastor’s License May 20. The Local Pastor’s License is her first step in the long process towards ordination. She will need to complete her education, participate in many ministerial experiences, and face repeated examinations in the areas of ‘being,’ ‘knowing,’ and ‘doing.’

In the Church of the Nazarene education must be accompanied by practical experience. So, as Pastor Amy prepares to enroll in college this fall to begin her formal education, she must also have practical experiences to confirm her call and ‘flesh out’ pastoral ministry. Therefore, it is with great joy we announce Pastor Amy will deliver her first sermon on Aug. 05. Pray for her, invite friends, and prepare to encounter God through the heart and life of our new pastor.
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 is Taking a Break!
What a blessing it has been to see up to 20 women of many backgrounds come together to share food, fun, crafts, and a message of hope twice a month. Thank you to everyone who came, participated, and shared life. Irene Pratt has led this wonderful ministry for almost a year, but now senses it is time to take a break. So, effective immediately the Ladies LIFT program is on break. Thank you Irene for all of your hard work! Join us in prayer as we seek God’s leadership!

Come to the Fire 2012
Olivet Nazarene University is hosting the 2012 Come to the Fire Women’s retreat from October 11-13. This is an amazing opportunity for women to fellowship and be spiritually nurtured in a powerful way. We will have more details as well as brochures in the next couple of weeks, but we want ALL WOMEN to know that we are already planning! So if you are interested, please talk to Janie Hathaway or Pastor Amy.

Wednesday Night Dinners on Summer Break!
For the summer months, we will NOT be holding our once-a-month Wednesday Night Dinners. If you would like to be responsible for planning this dinner starting in the Fall, we would love to have someone creative make it their own! If you think this is for you, talk to Pastor Amy.

Don’t Forget About First Friday Chinese Lunches!
Just a reminder that on the first Friday of every month, several of us meet at the Empire Buffet on Alpine Avenue at 11:30am to enjoy fellowship and lunch. The food is delicious as well as cheap, and no reservations are required. Just show up and enjoy! Talk to Tracy Tamm if you have any questions. Next Lunch Date: Friday August 3rd @ 11:30am

Northeast Community Potluck: Sunday August 12
We will be holding another one of our famous potlucks on Sunday, August 12 immediately following our morning worship service. Bring a dish to pass, and invite friends and family to visit – everyone is welcome! There is always a ton of delicious food and good conversation. See Cherry Pakiela to help set-up or tear-down.

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 info@healthyhomescoaltion.org.

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!

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.

New Website!
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 amyorban@hotmail.com. 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!

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 or Irene Pratt.

Upcoming Events
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:
Tracy Tamm                            First Friday Chinese Lunch                616-406-9602
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 29             SS –Janie Hathaway & Shannen Parsaca
                        Worship – Lindsey Wright & Tracy Tamm

July 29 – Larry & Terry

July 29 – Alannah Parsaca

Reflections from Pastor Amy
Weekly thoughts, life-lessons, and reflections from a redeemed child of God,
 a mother, a wife, a sinner under the Cross of Jesus Christ, and a Pastor-in-training.                                  July 24, 2012


I saw a friend yesterday. My friend is terminally ill. (I needed to say that out loud.) We have known this for some time. They have not given her a time frame or a “time-stamp” as she calls it, but we know that she will get progressively worse. There is much unknown in the timing. At some point, when she is sick enough, she will be put on a list for an organ transplant which she may or may not receive. This standard of “sick enough” is based on some objective measurement of counts having to do with blood cells and function and enzymes, all of which sounds like total gobbledygook to me because all I know is that my friend is very sick.

She is a close friend, and she has been there for all my major milestones. We share our recovery from drugs and alcohol, blessed freedom. She introduced me to my husband and raved at me like a lunatic about what a wonderful guy he is and I better not let him get away. She did my make-up at my wedding and has seen us have our two boys. She is my go-to person when I feel like a lunatic, and she pulls me back from the cliff of self.

She has good days, and she has bad days. There are the days when we talk about the heavy things, and there are the days when we don’t go there. But it’s always there, underneath, lurking, that heavy dark thing that you can’t wish away.

 On one of her better days, we talked about denial. It went something like this:

Her: “I know I’m in denial. I’m in denial and it’s just sick what my brain is doing. It’s like I look in the mirror, and I’ve lost all this weight, and I feel good, and I look pretty good, and I just have these flying thoughts that maybe the doctors are totally wrong, maybe it disappeared, maybe the illness is still out there somewhere and not really right here attacking my body like they say it is.”

Me: “Yeah but aren’t we all in denial? I mean, about everything bad really? It’s like, you’re sick, so it’s in your face where you can’t avoid it, but the truth is that I could still die before you do. We have no way of knowing, really. We’re all dying, and we’re all living like we’re not because we don’t know how to do it any other way. We can’t possibly live every moment in some impossible state of preparedness for that which you can’t prepare for. So you’re not really strange in that.”

I live in denial about my own death sure, but in that conversation I realized that I live in denial about her death too. The hard thing about seeing her yesterday, was that for the first time, she really looked sick. Her eyes looked tired, her skin a pale grayish color, the whites of her eyes jaundiced, her face wearing the grimace of pain. Her walk was slow and tender, and she was fragile in a way that I have never seen her before.

It is ever-so-startling when these moments of reality come crashing in on our denial, isn’t it? In a moment, sickness and death became a present reality to me instead of something from which I could continue to hide from, safe up on my intellectual mountaintop.

But God’s light shines into the darkness. Through this illness with which she suffers, we have been brought to a new point of friendship, one where pretenses are dropped and masks are flimsy at best. 

The important things now take precedence, and everything else is non-essential. There is now a simple love between us which is not fogged up by veils of character defects, attitudes, shortcomings, and differences. I guess reality is much more clear that way.

I know, I believe, and I have seen how God uses even the ultimate weapons of evil – sickness and death – to draw us closer to Him. As my favorite quote from Corrie Ten Boom goes, “God’s light shines the brightest in the darkness.” She wrote that in reflection of the presence of God with her while she suffered in a Nazi camp during WWII.

So there is hope and blessings in this part of our journey together too. Just in a different way, maybe in a way that is more real and more spiritual. Sometimes things are just heavy and sad, and there are no clich├ęs, no memory verses, and no one-liners to take that away. We spend almost all of our time on earth trying to pretend away the heavy sadness, so when it’s really in our face, I think it’s okay to just call it heavy and sad. I know that so many of us are now, or have been, in this heavy and sad place with the people we love dearly.

All over scripture we learn that we will indeed suffer in this broken world, but that God will comfort, and in turn we will comfort each other by our experience. The promise of suffering and comfort are inseparable, we cannot share in the one without sharing in the other. We share in both the light and the dark.  

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

I have found comfort in knowing that I can throw my big questions up to a bigger God. O God, why?  And I trust Him, even though He doesn’t answer me with the imparted wisdom which I so desire. Because I either trust Him or don’t, questions and all. And I don’t believe He requires me to be without questions. I guess if He does, I’m in big trouble.

What I do know, is that suffering is par for the course in a life full of the human condition, the condition which points all the more clearly to the need for the Savior. When it is darker, He is lighter. When I am frail, He is love.

So the frailty of my friend brings forth my frailty, but praise be to God who gives us the perspective to remain teachable and open to blessings even as we suffer and share in the suffering of others. He is the great comforter.

 My thoughts today are simple and a bit sad: pray for my friend, won’t you?  Pray for her physical pain and her mental pain. Pray that she has peace within her relationships and with God.  

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

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