Northeast Community News – August 28, 2012
Dear Friends and Family,
What a fantastic day we had in the Lord, Sunday! Our Sunday started with a Spirit led music practice with the praise team at 9am. Did you know the praise team also prays for the service every Sunday? Yes, after the music is sung we gather in a circle, hold hands, and share our joys and burdens with one another. Each week we pray that God wakes the slumbering, gives peace to those arguing, and encourages the broken, hurting, and desperate to come set aside their fears and burdens and be loved by God and by us! God continues to answer that prayer! Praise Him!
God’s message this week came from Nehemiah 6:15-7:3 and titled, ‘Completed and Ready to Serve.’ In verse 6:15 Nehemiah declares the wall was completed. While the actual construction took 52 days, the whole project took 9 months from the time Nehemiah heard the report to completion, including 4 months in prayer and fasting before even approaching the king!
The question is, ‘Now what?’ or ‘What’s next?’ Our passage today and through the end of the book of Nehemiah helps us understand how they should respond. It is important to remember that though the wall around the city of Jerusalem is built, the city within the walls is largely in shambles. It was a messy place with messy people who needed to move from construction mode to finding their real purpose!
Like some of us, Nehemiah shows us that messy people living in a messy place don’t have to have it all together before they walk with God. We can count on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us through our discipleship essential practices of Bible study, meditation, prayer, and worship.
Our role is to respond in obedience to God’s plan and purpose for our life. There are many potential points in our text, but God would have us look at three of them.
First, obedient lives display God’s power! In v6:16 Nehemiah tells us when the enemies heard they had been successful in completing the wall they ‘…lost their confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God’ (Neh. 6:16b). Want to baffle and confuse your enemies? Stay obedient to God and let them see what God can do in your life!
Second, obedient lives guard great victories. The completion of the wall was a major victory and some might have grown lazy and complacent. Not Nehemiah! The first position he appointed was for guards to protect the city (7:1). Before the singers, Levites, and city officials to run the administration were appointed, he guarded his victory. What victory have you had in Jesus? Whatever your victory is, you must guard against an ever-present enemy who wants to bring you down.
Finally, obedient lives serve God. The wall was complete and we might have expected everyone in Jerusalem to have a great festival! But, the people of God simply transition from one form of service to another. Surely God can be served in construction and rebuilding the broken down wall and burned gates, but in vv. 7:1-3 we discover that serving God is a natural part of an obedient life to God!
From gatekeepers, to singers, to teachers and preachers to administration folks, God had a place for everyone to serve in the city of Jerusalem and God has a place for everyone to serve at Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene, too!
Are you moving in the right direction? Do you know God’s purpose for your life? Engaging in the discipleship essentials of prayer, Bible study, meditation, and regular worship will help you discover God’s purpose. Respond obediently! Obedient lives display God’s power, guard great victories, and serve God!
This week’s Wednesday night adult study is ‘Christian Stewardship’ and will explore how Christians should respond to God with their time, talent, and treasure. Join us at 6:30pm to discuss the importance of stewardship! See you Wednesday!
Last week Janie and I went on our first Sunday afternoon bike ride with Lifestream Free Methodist Church. While there are two groups: Fun (who like an easy, short distance, ride), we chose the second group called Fun+ and rode from the boat launch at Riverside Park up to Rockford and back in a couple of hours and had a lot of fun! The fun group road about an hour and went half as far!
If you are interested, meet us at the Riverside Park trail off Monroe at 2:15pm on Sundays at the southernmost boat launch/parking lot (where Knapp meets Monroe). As Rev. Russ said: "We want to encourage family time, fun, fitness, and friendships.” It is a lot of fun and nobody is going to get left behind! 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!
NEWS & EVENTS
Game Night – Thursday, September 6th @ 6:00pm
Want something to do on a Thursday night? Show up at the church at 6pm for games and food. Bring your favorite game, some chips or pop, your kids and your friends – everyone is welcome! Once everyone arrives, we will order pizza from across the street. The cost is typically about $3 per person for pizza if you are able to chip in – but if not, there will be plenty to go around. We will meet in the annex upstairs – see you there!
Did You Know? We have libraries!
Did you know that we have libraries for you to use? Upstairs we have the adult library which is full of good reads. Downstairs we have the Jiquirria-Vaughn-Orban memorial library which was recently started by Julie Orban. Don’t know where you are going? Just ask! Please feel free to browse, and talk to Gerry Dawson if you want to check out a book. We would love to see everyone start utilizing these great resources!
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. Check out the poster on the bulletin board, and there are also brochures on the table for more information. We want ALL WOMEN to know that we are already planning for hotels, food, etc! So if you are interested, please talk to Janie Hathaway or Pastor Amy.
Registration Deadline + $25 non-refundable deposit due by: September 9th
Alternative Adults – New Sunday School Book Begins – September 9th
The alternative adult class which meets in the room at the bottom of the stairs is beginning a new book on Sunday September 9th. This is the third book in a series about our lives as followers of Christ. Each week, we get into the Word and we have rich discussion about how the Bible applies to our lives today. Please feel free to join this class at anytime! If you want a book, see Pastor Amy or Gerry Dawson. We have nursery coverage & children’s Sunday School during this time as well for those who have little ones.
Alabaster Offering – Sunday, September 16th
Our Fall Alabaster offering will be taken on Sunday, September 16th. What’s that, you might ask? Twice a year we take up a special offering, and every penny of the proceeds goes to support the buying of land and buildings for mission work around the world. Many people collect their loose change for several months and donate all of it, and you can also get your own alabaster box off of the sound booth at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for giving!
Healing Service Planned – Saturday, September 22 @ 6:00pm
In the church of the Nazarene, we believe that part of Jesus’ ministry to us is that of healing. In this service we will be considering the need for healing in all realms, that of the physical, but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual. Please join us for this special service and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart and life. Everyone is invited to attend, please feel free to bring friends and family members.
Monthly Work Days Planned! Can You Help?
The trustees are planning to hold monthly workdays beginning in August to take care of our building and grounds. There is always work to be done, from painting to raking to cleaning and repairs and everything in between. No matter what your skill level, the guys can put you to work! The workdays will be held on the LAST Saturdays of the month from 9am-12pm. Talk to Pat Parsaca or Theo Orban with questions or to help.
September Work Day: Saturday, September 29th
Northeast Community Walking/Jogging Club
Do you like to walk or jog and wish you had some friends to walk with? Do you need to loose a few pounds, make a few friends, or just want to hang out with a few Christians and have a few laughs while getting a little exercise? If you said yes to any or all of those questions we have good news for you!
Starting Tuesdays Aug. 28 through Nov. 20 we are gathering at the church at 6:00pm and then going to a nearby walking trail to walk or jog 5k or 3.1 miles for 13 weeks! Of course, during the weeks of ArtPrize we will be walking downtown! If you walk all 13 weeks you will have traveled 65k or 40 miles! You can do this!
Interested? Let Pastor Dan know or just show up and get some fresh air with good friends! Everyone is welcome! Our pace will be set by those who show up!
Last Wednesday Night Dinners are back!
The last Wednesdays of the month we are bringing back our potluck dinners before Bible study. Bring a dish, a salad, a dessert, or a drink to pass and show up at 5:30pm for dinner and fellowship. Everyone is welcome, bring friends and family and neighbors! If you can help set-up or clean up please talk to Julie Orban! See you there!
Next dinner: September 26 @ 5:30pm
Compassionate Ministries Food Drive Coming! October 7-13
Access of West Michigan has facilitated a food drive to support 60+ Kent County food pantries like North End Community Ministry (NECM) for many years. Every month, pantries (like NECM) serve over 20,000 people who have no other place to turn for help. Last year food collection dropped from 100 to 60 tons annually and they are seeking new ways to get critically needed food and personal care items.
Can you help? Between Sunday Oct. 07 and Saturday Oct 13 our local Compassionate Ministry team led by Janie Hathaway will be collecting food for the countywide food drive. All the food we collect will go to NECM and will stay in our neighborhood helping hungry people right here!
Want more information? See Pastor Dan or check out this link for the flyer!http://accessofwestmichigan.
A Night of Christ-Centered Testimony
Pastor Amy is planning an alternative service on Saturday October 20th at 6:00pm. Come and hear what God is doing in the lives of his people! We always hear the good news from the preachers and “professional” clergy, right? Well this is a night where you can hear great stories from all kinds of people about how awesome Christ really is. This is a great time to invite friends, family, neighbors, or anyone else who could use some good news.
Pastor Amy is looking for volunteers to speak for 10-20 minutes about how Christ has changed their life. If you are reading this and know that this call is to you, please see me! Also please note that this will be a casual night, and you do not need to be polished or profound at public speaking to share your heart for Christ! Won’t you pray you about it?
Three Kids are Going to Chuckie Cheese!!
When the dust settled 3 of our 11 children read all 6 children’s missionary books last year (June 2010-May 2011) and won a trip to Chuckie Cheese at Pastor Dan’s expense! (ouch!) Congratulations go to ALANNAH PARSACA, BRADLEE TOOLE, and KARLEE TOOLE for all their HARD WORK! You three set an example for all of us! May we all grasp the importance of reading our missionary books! Thanks to everyone who read to the kids, encouraged them to read, and believed in them! ATTENTION KIDS! Want to go to Chuckie Cheese next year? Start reading this year’s children’s missionary books! Let’s see if we can send 10 kids next year!
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!
New Website! New Facebook Page!
We have launched our new website!
Here is the link:www.necommunitynazgr.
Please send any input or ideas to Shannen Parsaca at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also check us out on Facebook under “Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene”
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.
August 28 Walking/Jogging Club begins @ 6pm
September 2 Communion Sunday/Family Church
September 6 Game Night @ 6pm
September 7 First Friday Chinese Lunch @ 11:30am, Hibachi Grill Alpine
September 9 Registration for Come to the Fire Retreat
September 9 New Sunday School book starts in Adult Alternative class
September 22 Healing Service @ 6pm
September 26 Wednesday Night Dinner @ 5:30pm, Family Night follows @ 6:30pm
September 29 Church Workday, 9am-12pm
October 7 Compassionate Ministries Food Drive Begins
October 11-13 Come to the Fire Retreat @ ONU
October 13 Compassionate Ministries Food Drive Ends
October 20 Testimony Service @ 6pm
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.
August 28, 2012
As I started a new devotional theme for this week on Monday morning, I was struck by one of the reflection readings provided in my book:
“When in doubt, incline always to obedience. Make acts of obedience wherever possible, not only because by doing so you can make sure of doing the will of God, but also in order to imitate Jesus in his submission in Nazareth and to obey his command to be like children.” –From Meditations of a Hermit by Charles de Foucald
When in doubt, what do you do? I freeze.
I freeze, often like a deer caught in the headlights. And then I resolve not to make a move until my doubt has been entirely erased and replaced by clear certainty (which is never). When in doubt, I incline toward self-preservation, toward personal comfort, toward the prevention of embarrassing myself or being wrong. But this is not the life of faith!
“When in doubt, incline always to obedience.” So much is implied in this small statement.
It suggests first that I will in fact, have doubt. My questions will not always be answered, the path will not always be entirely clear, the devil will try with all his might to confuse me and clutter my mind with options and uncertainties. Doubt is a part of my faith, doubt challenges my faith, doubt is what fuels my seeking of better faith.
“When in doubt, incline always to obedience.” I hear something like this and I immediately start judging myself and my actions, asking how this applies to me and how much I have failed.
When in doubt, do my actions aim toward kindness or am I motivated by fear? Am I quick to show grace, or am I quick to catch a resentment? Do I give the benefit of the doubt, or assume the worst? Do I step out to do something kind, or freeze in fear of not being received well?
My answers depend on the day, the circumstance, my attitude, my devotional life, and most importantly on the amount of quiet, private time I am spending with my Heavenly Father. But the answers aren’t that important. You see, this kind of spiritual temperature-taking only leads to more self-centered, self-seeking, self-justifying, burdensome reminders of my failings. Even my desires for the right kind of approval can twist into a ME-focused assessment of ME. Nothing like good old self to remind me how imperfect I am.
Am I good enough yet? Am I good enough yet? Am I good enough yet?
The hermit says that by inclining toward obedience, we are obeying Jesus’ command to become like little children. So I think of my own sons’ attempts at obedience.
Theo, help mommy pick up your toys please! He picks up an armful of blocks and walks over to the toy box. He drops most of them on the way. He gets a few of them in the box, and then gets distracted. I cheer for him anyways – good job! Theo, help mommy by putting your clothes in the hamper. He runs into his room with the dirty clothes, and throws them at the hamper, and they lay in a pile on the floor. Thank you Theo, good job! (Husbands seem have a similar habit, but I am less likely to cheer in my husband’s case.)
This is childlike obedience. He is willing to help, even though he can’t help me without my help in helping him. He can’t do it perfect, but he does it anyways. He doesn’t spend any time contemplating his imperfectness. He doesn’t struggle with gigantic anxious thoughts about whether or not he should even try to help pick up the blocks.
He is, very simply, just willing to do what I ask him. He does not agonize. He does not freeze in terror of the outcome of his performance. He just does, and then accepts my praise happily, without assessing his own progress or wondering whether or not he really deserves praise.
And you see, I care much more that little Theo is willing to help, than about the blocks he missed or the sock that didn’t make it into the hamper. His heart is right and I am proud of his efforts, even when they are silly and don’t fit my high standards of a clean and orderly home.
Are you willing to drop a few blocks on the floor when you say “yes’ to God? Or do you try to calculate exactly how many blocks you can pick up without dropping one?
God does not seek perfect performance from us, because He knows that we cannot deliver. Just like I know the limitations of my son, our Father knows the limitations of His children. He knows that even to serve Him, no matter how sincere our hearts our, we need lots of His help. That’s why He sent Christ. We have to start by knowing that as we try to live like he wants us to, we are covered by grace, we are filled with grace, in and out, up and down, through and through, and it’s there for us every time we fail.
God is calling us to a simple willingness, an inclination to be obedient no matter what kind of awkward or intimidating results might come with it. He is calling us to make right choices against sinning, but He is also calling us to a heart that is focused on Him before anything else. We can exhaust ourselves thinking we can somehow live exactly right – He knows we can’t.
So to give us rest, he provided every single thing we need through Jesus Christ. No more agonizing about not keeping every toe in line, no more heavy burden of rules and requirements. Just a simple love relationship with a Father who loves us, knows our need, and gives us Jesus. It is this very relationship which turns our hearts away from ourselves and towards Him. Inclined toward Christ = Inclined toward obedience. What great freedom!
Are you willing to be wrong for a God who loves us this much? Are you willing to look foolish by making every attempt at putting Him first? Do you believe he’s gracious and forgives us when we do our best and still miss the mark? It’s true, it’s true!
Oh God, today let our love for You be greater than our pride. Help us be obedient to you, make our hearts turned to You. Thank you for sending Jesus Christ to give us freedom and to change our hearts. Amen
With Love, Pastor Amy Orban