Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NE NEWS - September 18, 2012

Northeast Community News – September 18, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

What a wonderful day we had in the Lord, Sunday! We had 9 visitors with us and it was a blessing worship God together in song, prayer, and the cheerful giving of our offerings, too! After missionary moments led by Janie, she prayed for our alabaster offering and Jean played a marching hymn while we filled the little church to its rafters with our alabaster offerings! Praise God for everyone who joins God on his mission to seek and save the lost! God is good! Amen!

God’s message this week came from Nehemiah 8:1-18 and was titled,“Revive Us Again!” When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem he discovered more than broken down walls and burned gates; he found broken, burned out people! The Evil One tries to draw us away from God! If you are beginning to fall away or have never known the power and presence of God, you need revival!

Nehemiah chapter 8 points to many keys of revival and the first one is to have a hunger and thirst for God. In v. 1 we find ‘all the people assembled as one man before the Water Gate’ telling Ezra to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses (the only Bible they had at the time). In v. 3 we discover Ezra read for 6 hours a day! What were these people hungry for? For God!

If you want to experience the power and presence of God in your life you need to ‘check your appetite.’ You need to hunger for God more than a new car or iPad! Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matt 5:6). If you want revival, hunger for God, not possessions!

The second key to revival is surrender! In Nehemiah vv. 4-6 we find Ezra standing on a platform and all the people standing; all the people lifting their hands and responding Amen! Amen!; all the people bowing down! The people understood God was large and in charge and surrendered themselves to Him! If you want to experience revival you need to surrender to God, too! You need to yield to the Holy Spirit and say Amen! Amen! (so be it or let it be done)

The last key to revival is obedience! In vv. 10, 12, and 14-17 Nehemiah, speaking for God, instructs the people to go out and enjoy choice food, give to those who don’t have it, and build booths to live in and you know what? They did it! They responded in obedience! What was the result? They had greater joy and worship than they had had since the time of Joshua! They were revived and on fire! If you want revival, check your appetite, surrender to God, and respond in obedience!

This week’s Wednesday night adult study is called ‘Living a Holy Life’ and will explore how we ought to live as Christians! Join us at 6:30pm Wednesday to talk about how to live a holy life! It should be fun and enlightening!

Because of your continued faithful giving, new windows are on order for the classrooms in the basement fellowship hall! That's right! The same windows that let the wind blow papers off pastor's bookcase; the same windows that lack locks and the ability to open because they are being held shut with 'caulk and chunks of 2x4s' are being replaced with brand new vinyl windows in about 5 weeks!

It gets better! Your trustees got a quote over a year ago for $4349 to do the work, but guess what? THE PRICE WENT DOWN to $4098!!! Now, what do you know that has dropped in price like that? Nothing! We believe God is leading the way! Now, does somebody want to say Amen? (I heard that! I want to say Amen, too!)

There’s more! In addition to the windows the trustees also made a motion to accept a bid for new signage! That’s right! In a matter of weeks they will install professionally made signs so visitors will know where the nursery, church office, and bathrooms are located! God is good!

All right, I’ll tell you one more thing! The sewer pipe from the parsonage to the road has been filled with roots and needed cleaning every year or water would flood the basement. It cost us $300 to clean it out, but guess what? God arranged for us to meet another sewer cleaner who only charges $150 and they told us 2 weeks ago there weren’t any roots and we could wait 2 years this time! Now, if you aren’t blessed now by all God is doing, well, you might be dead! God is good!
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


Alabaster Offering Thank You!
We held our Fall Alabaster offering last Sunday, and we are thrilled to report that we collected $519! Every penny of this money will be used on the mission field for the purchase of land and buildings. This was an incredible outpouring of support for missions! What a generous offering, thank you and thank you to all who give!

Engage the Word – Small Groups are Coming!
As a church we are participating in a 40-day Engage the Word program. We have several people who are willing to lead small groups in their homes for 6 weeks. Meetings will include Bible study, discussion, and a time of prayer for one another. Our prayer is that everyone in the church gets connected to a small group and participates in this great program. Please be praying about this and consider plugging in. Here is what we have so far (more details to come):

Janie Hathaway: Thursday Nights
Irene Pratt: Saturday Mornings
Amy & Theo Orban: TBA
Julie Orban: Monday Nights

We will be releasing a sign-up for small group locations and times within the next week! If you are willing to lead a small group, it’s not too late –talk to Janie Hathaway or Gerry Dawson.

Kids Go to Chuckie Cheese Oct 6!
When the dust settled, 3 of our children read all 6 children’s missionary books last year (June 2010-May 2011) and won a trip to Chuckie Cheese’s! Congrats to Alannah Parsaca, Bradlee Toole, and Karlee Toole for all their HARD WORK! But there is more - you have 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!

Girl Scouts Meet in our Building! Starts in October
We are thrilled to announce that beginning October 1st, the Girl Scouts program will be meeting in our building every other week on Monday nights @ 6pm. If you have a girl who is interested in joining, there is a $12 registration fee, and the group will tentatively be meeting every other Mondays of the month. Also, if parents of girls are interested in volunteering, they are also more than welcome to register to be a part of the program! Talk to Pastor Dan for registration forms ASAP, the first meeting is only two Mondays away!

Blanket Drive Starts – October 7th
In addition to our food drive (see below), we are starting our annual blanket drive for Mel Trotter Missions on October 7th. When our compassionate ministries team set out to discover real needs in our community, they found out that often the homeless men, women, and children who come to Mel Trotter do not have blankets for sleeping. Please bring your new or gently used, clean blankets to give to this great cause! Thrift stores are a great place to look, and Wal-Mart usually sells warm fleece blankets for under $20. The drive will continue throughout the month of Oct, and there will be a table in the back of the sanctuary where you can put your blankets.

Healing Service Planned – THIS 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. We will be singing, worshipping, hearing a message from Pastor Amy and having a time of anointing with oil. Everyone is invited to attend, please feel free to bring friends and family members!

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!

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

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!

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.

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.

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.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/Flyer1.pdf

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?

Addition! If you want to praise God and give your testimony in another way, such as by singing a special song or even doing a power point presentation, your creativity is welcome!

New Website! New Facebook Page!
We have launched our new website!
Please send any input or ideas to Shannen Parsaca at slparsaca@gmail.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, children's 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
September 22   Mission Mania 9:30am-1pm
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 5           First Friday Chinese Lunch @ 11:30am, Hibachi Alpine
October 6           Kids Chuckie Cheese Party
October 7           Compassionate Ministries Food Drive Begins
October 7           Blanket Drive Begins
October 7           Communion Sunday/Family Church – NO Children’s Church
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 student, a sinner under the Cross of Jesus Christ, and a Pastor-in-training.                                    September 18, 2012

This week I was assigned to read a sermon by John Wesley titled “Catholic Spirit”. If you don’t know, the theology of John Wesley provides the foundation for our denomination, the Church of the Nazarene. At the core of his message was the holiness message – he believed that our hearts, minds, and souls should continue grow in grace and love and obedience for God throughout our lives.

This sermon answered the following question: what should be our attitude toward other Christians who do not agree with us about beliefs that are non-essential to our salvation, such as how we worship? He stresses to us the absolute importance of certainty in our own faith and understanding as a prerequisite to interacting with others. Here are my thoughts sure to be loved by some and to bore some others to tears. If you are interested in reading the original sermon by Wesley, see my final citation at the bottom of this article.

Wesley’s sermon, Catholic Spirits, is a call to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbors as ourselves. He speaks specifically about how this rule of love should play out in our interactions with other Christians who hold differing opinions than us on lesser issues.

We must know with certainty what it is we believe. Wesley is not calling us to embrace every opinion, rather he is calling us to take personal responsibility before God and our own consciences to have certainty in what it is that we believe. A catholic spirit begins with our own true and sincere love for God and neighbor, as Wesley described it, “in simplicity and godly sincerity.” If we start here, we do not have to feel threatened by the opinions of others, we will not be tossed around by every possible disagreement. Our eyes will be on ourselves and God, and on the command to love our neighbors, and to love our fellow Christians with true love. So to deal with diverse opinions within Christianity, we begin by knowing what we believe for ourselves and being sure of that.

When we can be totally convinced that our faith, in understanding and in practice, is as true and right as we are capable of it being in light of what we know, then we can join hands with other Christians without having to convince them of our own rightness and without having to try and convince them to come our way. “Is thy heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?” (2Kings 10:15). Wesley explains this question by saying our concern should essentially be whether or not the person with whom we are joining hands is loving God to the best of his ability and conscience, and that the person too believes that we also are doing so.

Wesley says we can unite under love for God and neighbor, and simply no more than that is required for us to “join hands” with others to glorify God and do His work. We do not need to try and convince others of our right opinions, nor do we need to bend to their opinions. Instead, united under love for God and neighbor, we can trust one another, love one another, and sincerely pray for one another. This is not superficial love with only tolerates, but true love that trusts and sincerely wants the best and the truth of God for both parties. Under love for God and neighbor we can unite with others who differ from us without being threatened, without being tossed about, and most importantly without losing our own integrity before God.

The problem with uniting with others in love even when we don’t think alike, is that there are many who are unwilling to do so – specifically there are many who define less generously what they will and will not call an “opinion”, and what is and is not an “essential” belief worth dividing over. Those are ones who would likely call John Wesley a liberal relativist and would accuse him of condoning far too open-minded of a spirit (despite the fact that he clearly is not arguing for this and addresses this concern within the sermon). I have close relatives who fit in this camp and we disagree regularly, sometimes friendly and sometimes not so much.

Truth be told, I personally find it easier to have a catholic spirit with my many non-Christian friends that I sometimes do with fellow Christians. With non-Christians, it is already my expectation that they operate from a completely different moral and philosophical compass than I do, thus I anticipate stark disagreement, and I know my role is just to love them and be a real friend to them. With Christians it can be more difficult to set aside lesser issues. This speaks to my own need to define my beliefs for myself. I am learning that there are more things which are not as black and white as I once thought they were, and I don’t have to be scared of that.

This sermon first and foremost challenged me to reach a place where I am firm and confident in my beliefs and practices, fueled by a sincere love for God and always willing, within that love, to let Him mold me. Working out our own individual salvation “with fear and trembling” seems to be a prerequisite to any kind of Christian unity. Once there, I am to stand firm while still taking hands with others who have a sincere love for God. This is simple love for God at its finest, putting aside every opinion which we can in good conscience put aside, all for His glory.                                                                                                   

Wesley, John. “The Sermons of John Wesley - Sermon 39 - Catholic Spirit.”  The Wesley Center Online at Northwestern Nazarene University. 1999 Wesley Center for Applied Technology, Nampa ID. 09/01/2012

With Love, Pastor Amy

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