Northeast Community News – September 11, 2012
Good afternoon family and friends,
We had another wonderful Sunday this week. Did you notice the new palms? Did you notice the returning visitors? Were you enjoying the sunshine along with the cooler weather as Fall approaches? Our praise team is growing stronger, Theo is getting more comfortable in the sound booth, and God is moving while we worship Him!
Our message this week came from Matthew 8:18-22 and was titled, “What Divides Your Heart?”
We see in the story of Abraham in the book of Genesis how God has always wanted to reign in our hearts unchallenged by anything or anyone else. God promised Abraham a son, and promised Him that through this son, Abraham would have offspring that numbered more than the stars, and that they would be a blessing throughout the entire world.
God was faithful to Abraham, and his son Isaac was born. Imagine the joy over this special son, this gift from God! But then, God tells Abraham to go, and sacrifice Isaac as an offering.
Hold on – What?? Yes that’s right, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. Abraham makes the tough decision to do what God tells him to do – He obeys God. But God stops him just in time. God saves Isaac, Abraham gets to keep his son, and God blesses Abraham for his obedience.
So what’s the point? The point is to show that God wants our total, undivided obedience! He wants our hearts to belong entirely to Him. Even good things, like love for our children, cannot take the place of God as master of our heart.
Jesus brings this truth to life throughout the gospels. In Matthew 8:18-22, we took three lessons about true discipleship and a heart that is undivided. The first lesson is this: Don’t underestimate the cost of being a disciple. Did you know that follow Jesus has costs?
In v.19, we see a teacher of the law come to Jesus, making the bold claim, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go!” and Jesus responds in v20, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head.” What Jesus was saying is simple – don’t underestimate the cost of following me, there is more to it than you can see right now.
Do we ever try to sell the life of discipleship like it is a Big Mac or a happily-ever-after Disney movie? The truth is that Jesus does not need us to advertise or sell him like the world advertises and sells things. Jesus gives us peace, but it is peace that passes all understanding, it is a different peace than the kind of peace the world gives (see John 14:27). The peace of Christ surpasses anything the world can sell or advertise.
If we are looking for popularity, materially stability, or and easy life, we should probably look elsewhere. It is getting harder to be a disciple of Jesus in our culture today without being seriously disliked. The life of discipleship to Christ is defined by two words: GO and FOLLOW. We are at the mercy of Christ, and we often live unsettled lives as He tells us to GO and FOLLOW whenever and wherever He needs us to. It can and will cost us, and He calls us to die to ourselves, and to rise to life to live for Him and Him alone. What divides your heart from total commitment to following Him? What cost aren’t you willing to pay for Jesus?
Second we come across a man who is already a disciple of Jesus. When Jesus tells him to follow him across the lake, the man says “Lord, first let me go and bury my father”, but Jesus replies “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” V21-22
Now these are harsh words from our Lord, and the debates are many as to what He meant in this statement. But one thing we can be sure of: In essence, Jesus was saying that no, not even your good-intentioned excuses and delays are acceptable. Follow me, now.
As Christians we try to be aware of the more obvious sins which separate us from God. We avoid blatant disobedience. But what about those things in our hearts which masquerade as good or noble but are really just sin in disguise?
I have, at times, made my heart the throne for my husband. I have allowed my sweet little children to be the idols of my heart. I have been guilty of loving them more than I love Christ. When I sensed God calling me into ministry, part of my resistance was based on a fear that He would call my family away from my parents, that my children would not get to be close to their grandparents. Good intentions, good desires, but no longer good if they trump Jesus as master.
You see, God gives us gifts all around us. They are in the form of our spouses, our children, our friends, our things. And instead of thanking God for these gifts He has given us, we have a way of turning and worshipping these gifts instead of worshipping the gift-giver. Sin has so twisted us that even our good desires, even our good intentions, even our well-meaning and appropriate love can be warped into idols and sin which quietly draw us away from Christ. These things must be torn out of our hearts like extracting a rotten tooth. They simply cannot be allowed to remain, because if they do, they will surely cause all forms of spiritual sickness. They have to go, and Christ must reign unchallenged on the throne of our hearts. God wanted this from Abraham, and it is what He has wanted for all of His children, all across time, even to us today.
This is a tall order – how can we do it? We are unworthy. We can’t rid ourselves of ourselves. Self is a big problem, it requires a big solution. This is the final point: With God, all things are possible! (see Matthew 19:26). Everything we need to turn our hearts to God has already been provided in the Cross. Our responsibility is to hunger after God, identify those things which divide our hearts, and surrender to His work within us. So what divides your heart? You will never know His peace which passes understanding until your heart is no longer divided!
Blessings to you all, thank you for allowing me to preach the gospel to you!
With love, Pastor Amy
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
School Pal-Paks Thank You!
We received enough donations to make 20 School Pal-Paks which will be sent to children who need school supplies! We also have some leftovers which will be donated to North End Community Ministry and will thus go to local children right here in Grand Rapids. Thank to you everyone who gives, it makes a difference!
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!
Alternative Adults – New Sunday School Book Began, Join Anytime!
The alternative adult class which meets in the room at the bottom of the stairs has started a new book on. 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 – THIS Sunday!
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!
Mission Mania- Saturday September 22nd
The church of the Nazarene is committed to spreading the gospel to all the ends of the earth. On the local level, we support worldwide missions through prayer, education, and financial giving. Each year, Mission Mania is a gathering where everyone in the district is invited to come see all the ways that God is moving through missions. It is a day of food, education, inspiration and fellowship. We will be leaving the church at 9:30am and coming back around 1pm. If you are interested in attending, talk to Janie Hathaway.
Missionaries Visit! Sunday September 23rd
We will be having missionaries to Kenya with us in service on Sunday, September 23rd. Russ and Donna Lovett have been serving in the Africa region since 2001. They will bring us the message from God and share their experience with us. This is a great time to invite friends or family to church. We will be taking up a special love offering for the missionaries. Plan on being there!
More Missions Celebration! 44 Books Read!
This year, our missions department has a goal for us to read 100 missionary books. They are proud to report that so far, we have read 44 books. You can check out the books, but they are also available in audio form on CD for those who don’t love to read. No excuses! Talk to Janie Hathaway to start reading.
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!
Please Note: NO WALKING CLUB TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 18th! RESCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20TH!
Last Wednesday Night Dinners are back!
The last Wednesdays of the month we are bringing back our soup, salad, and bread dinners before Bible study. Bring a dish 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
October Children’s Church Changes!
Beginning in October, children will remain in service during our time of family prayer. Our children’s leaders have decided that there may be children who would like to be at the altar praying, and there are probably some families who could benefit from a shared prayer time at the altar. The children will be dismissed to regular children’s church following our prayer time. Let’s encourage our children to come to the Lord and pray!
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?
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 email@example.com
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.
September 16 Alabaster Offering
September 22 Mission Mania
September 22 Healing Service @ 6pm
September 23 Missionaries Visit
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 7 Blanket Drive Begins
October 11-13 Come to the Fire Retreat @ ONU
October 13 Compassionate Ministries Food Drive Ends
October 20 Testimony Service @ 6pm