Northeast Community News – September 04, 2012
Hello Friends and Family,
What a terrific day we had in the Lord, Sunday! We started with a great hour of discipleship! If you aren’t part of a Sunday school class you really don’t know what you’re missing! Pat Parsaca led our time of announcements, we had five people lead our worship singing, we enjoyed singing, prayer, and a time to give our offerings to God, too! After the Word was preached we closed by sharing the elements of communion at the Lord’s Table. God is good! Amen!
God’s message this week came from Nehemiah 7:1-5, 64-65, and was titled, “Is your name written down?” In v. 5 God puts into Nehemiah’s heart the need to assemble the people and register them to repopulate Jerusalem, and genealogy is of critical importance. While Nehemiah doesn’t direct connect genealogy with salvation and eternal life in our passage, genealogies were vitally important for a Jew to be able to prove she or he is a descendant of Abraham. Failure to be recorded meant you were excluded from God’s chosen people. To be excluded from God’s chosen people meant you were outside the Kingdom and without eternal hope.
The Mishnah (the authoritative collection of Jewish oral history) suggested that those separated from God, or outside of the kingdom, existed for only one purpose – ‘to fuel the fires of hell.’ While this surely wasn’t Christ’s teaching, you do get a sense of how serious it was not to be included in the genealogical records.
While Christ didn’t suggest those outside the Kingdom of God were created to fuel the fires of hell, John declares in Revelation 21:27 “Nothing impure will ever enter it (heaven), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lambs book of life” (Rev. 21:27). So, those written in the Lambs Book of Life are going to heaven! Yea! But what about those who are not written down? Well, they are going to hell.
If you’re not on the list what should you do?
In Nehemiah’s day if your name could not be found on the list validating you were a descendant of Abraham you went to the priest administering the Urim and Thummim (v. 64-65) to make a prayerful decision.
But what about today? Does your family heritage or light and dark stones determine who goes to heaven today? In a word – NO!
Since the resurrection of Jesus some 2000 years ago you need, in faith, to simply receive and believe on Jesus Christ as Savior, Redeemer, Lord, and Friend! God sent Jesus in His love and grace to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The good news is your salvation and the possibility of heaven isn’t dependent on your family history or which stone the priest pulls out, but on your willingness to receive the love God has for you in faith!
This week’s Wed. night adult study is called ‘What God Really Wants’ and will explore the true nature of our relationship with God! Is God the enemy, a tyrant, or cosmic policemen or a kindly grandfather with a long beard that need to be manipulated into giving us what we want? Join us at 6:30pm Wednesday to talk about what God really wants! It should be fun and enlightening!
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
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!
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 This Week – 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?
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 6 Game Night @ 6pm
September 7 First Friday Chinese Lunch @ 11:30am, Hibachi Grill Alpine
September 9 Pastor Amy preaches
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 student, a sinner under the Cross of Jesus Christ, and a Pastor-in-training.
September 04, 2012
I have officially started classes in pursuit of my Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry. So far, as I adjust to hours upon hours spent devouring books and scripture, I have experienced moments sublime along with moments of panic. I am adjusting to the hunchback which comes along with hours spent in front of the computer screen writing paper. It is a new season in my life.
I tell you this because there was a point when I hungered and thirsted after reading scripture and writing and quietly reflecting. However since my classes have started, I find that I am reading, writing, and reflecting like a machine. With that in mind, I have decided that rather than coming up with something new for you each week, I may very well just share with you something from the vast well of things I am learning in my classes.
You may call this cheating, and that is a fair assessment. I hope I will not disappoint you, my loyal readers. I hope that you can find value in some of my more interesting and gripping lessons for the week. I hope you will want to learn with me, and I with you.
That being said, I would like to start with two questions I had to answer this week based on our required reading titled “How to Think Theologically” by Howard D. Stone and James D. Duke. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys theology or thinks it is important. The question went something like this:
Why is it important to think about our theology? In essence, why do we need to have a clear understanding of what we believe?
I argue that it is important because if we do not know well what we believe, we are sure to be tossed about by the circumstances of life. People often give up or push against the Christian faith because they have accepted a theology without really thinking about it, and it has failed them in some way. They never went any further than that to examine what the Christian faith really means. If we do not critically examine our faith and have a solid anchor, then the trials and crises of life will baffle us and leave us wanting to throw our hands up and give up on our faith. I have found this to be true in my own life, as well as in the lives of others.
It makes a serious difference in the real world whether or not we as Christians have a solid understanding of our faith, and whether or not we can communicate that understanding to others, especially because of the Great Commission. How can we possibly go and make disciples of all nations if we don’t know what it is that we are trying to pass down to other people? How can we share the Gospel if we do not have a working and accurate understanding of what the Gospel really is?
Examining our theology and knowing what we believe is important because our faith itself prompts us to seek more and more understanding of God. Our faith gives us the desire to live the kind of lives which He calls us to live. We have a responsibility, as recipients of grace through Jesus Christ, to examine and learn what it really means to be a follower of Christ. We must do this hard work, and we must be willing to discard ideas and practices which are incorrect.
This work must be done in order for us to be faithful to the Gospel of Christ. As humans we are quick to run wild with our own impulses and ideas, which can lead to all kinds of false beliefs and damaging theology. Serious damage has been done by Christians who have failed to think seriously about their faith and thus have hurt other people with misleading theology. We simply must know what it is that we believe, why we believe it, and how it plays out in the way we live our lives. We also must know how to explain and articulate it to a very confused world.
Another question: When has your theology (and your faith) been challenged by a crisis or been proved inadequate in the face of experience?
Most of you know that in July of 2011, our 12 year-old nephew Jiquirria died. They were at a campground and he was told not to go swimming until grandmother came down to the lake. But when he was taunted and challenged by some other boys there who were swimming out to a raft in the middle of the lake, he jumped in. They found him at the bottom of the lake almost an hour later and he was taken to the hospital, but pronounced dead.
My conviction that God was good and would carry us through this horrible thing never left me, however I was absolutely assaulted with an incredible amount of difficult questions which I found I could not answer – questions from grandmother, from his parents, from conversations with my husband, and from within myself. The desire to answer these questions, not only for myself but for the hurting people around me, led me to delve deeper into my faith.
Today I am certainly not totally resolved. No matter how much theological understanding you have, you sometimes still reach the point where you won’t see the answer to the WHY question on this side of Heaven. But this experience has broadened and deepened my faith, and given me the confidence to know that I can bring my big questions to a bigger God who loves me.
So if you think that theological thinking is only for the scholars, those weird guys who sit around in their office and use big words, think again. Theology is not just for ordained clergy and teachers. My theology brings clarity to what my role is as I try to counsel and love one of my non-Christian friends who is dying. My theology helps me to know with certainty that God is good despite all the death and suffering I see. Our theology and the understanding of what we believe is inseparably linked to the living out of our faith, especially in challenge or crisis.