Northeast Community News – October 9, 2012
Dear Friends and Family,
What a wonderful day we had in the Lord, Sunday! It started like many Sunday’s do with me turning the lights on and praying in an empty sanctuary. Of course, we know it isn’t empty because it is the place where we regularly encounter God.
This week was one of those weeks where you could feel the Spirit of God moving! From the praise team practice, to the Sunday school hour, to our time together in worship and communion this week, our ‘Lord’s Day’ had an ‘air of expectation’ and God did not let us down! Perhaps most powerful was a story I heard after the service of a woman who received the elements of communion for the first time.
She was indeed trusting in Christ for her salvation, but was scared to go up front to receive the bread and cup. She just didn’t know what was going on and what she should do. In her own gentle and loving Christ like way, Janie came alongside and offered her own cup and bread and coached this new ‘babe in Christ’ as we reflected on the ‘body and blood of Christ’ and consumed the elements together.
With tears rolling down her cheeks this new child of God consumed the bread and juice as one who was making the first steps in her Christian journey. Do you remember the first time you received communion and realized the grace, love, and price they represented? Praise God for such a great salvation!
God’s message this week came from Nehemiah 9:38, 10:28-39 and was titled, “Assuming the Responsibility: Paying our Tithe.” How do we respond to grace? How do we respond to God’s Amazing Grace? In v. 9:38 we read, ‘In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement…” The Jews had been in bondage for 70 years as a result of their sin and rebellion. After the walls had been rebuilt (c. 7), they began returning and hungered and thirsted for God’s Word (c. 8:1-5).
In His Amazing Grace God encountered them and they wept. As the Levites recalled their past, the people confessed (c. 8-9), and made three oaths. Real transformation requires more than empty promises and good intentions; real transformation makes a commitment and puts faith and words into practice!
The first written oath was to submit to God’s Word as the basis for determining truth and obey carefully (v. 10:29). While our generation faces post-modernism, all generations have had to decide what becomes the foundation for truth. In the book of Nehemiah the Jews realized their foundation cannot be based on family, feelings or politics, but on the unchanging truths found only in God’s Word.
The second written oath was to live holy lives (v. 10:30-31). Holy, or ‘set-apart’ lives do things differently than the larger culture. In Nehemiah we see holy or set apart people for God date differently, shop differently, and farm differently.
While some of the Old Testament Law is pretty arcane and doesn’t apply to us, it is still important to remember we are to live ‘holy’ or ‘set-apart’ lives. As holiness people, obedient to God, we will sometimes act and look different because we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20).
The final oath the Jews in Nehemiah make is to pledge to tithe and care for God’s house (v. 10:32-37). Real transformation requires more than empty promises and good intentions; real transformation makes a commitment and puts faith and words into practice and this includes our time, talent, and treasure, too!
So what about you? In view of hearing God’s Word and confessing your sin; in view remembering your bondage and how you were set free as a result of God’s Amazing Grace how will you choose to respond? I pray, like the people in our text you make an oath to submit to God’s Word as your governing authority; live holy lives, and pledge to faithfully give your tithe and care for God’s house!
WEDNESDAY ADULT BIBLE STUDY
This week’s adult Wednesday night study is called ‘Loving Others: Developing a Compassionate Lifestyle.’ Love is at the very heart of Christianity. It sums up in one word the very essence of the Christian faith. Join us this week at 6:30pm as we discuss loving God and loving others!
A Night of Christ-Centered Testimony – OCT 20th at 6:00PM
Have you ever longed to hear what God’s grace can do in the life of someone broken by alcohol, drugs, and other sinful passions left out of control? Have you ever wished ‘regular people’ could just get up front and share their testimonies and preach about what God has done without spending years getting educated? Do you ever wonder what church might look like if it was a bit more real?
If you answered YES to any of these questions then you NEED TO COME to our FIRST ‘Night of Christ Centered Testimony’ on October 20th at 6:00PM!
For weeks Pastor Amy has planned an alternative service where we can come hear what God is doing in the lives of his people! 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. Who will you invite?
Invitations will be available THIS Wednesday! Grab some and hand them out!
Pastor Amy is still looking for volunteers to speak 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 her! Also please note that this will be a casual night, and you do not need to be polished or profound at public speaking or wear a suit to share your heart for Christ with others! Won’t you pray you about it?
PS! If you want to praise God and give your testimony in another way, such as by singing a song or doing a power point presentation, your creativity is welcome!
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 three weeks. Thank you!
Church Office: 616-459-2773
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~NEWS & EVENTS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BLANKET DRIVE FOR MISSIONS HAS BEGUN!
Three years ago Mike Braun came to me and asked me for a blanket to give to Mel Trotter, but God had other plans! That first year, we collected 50 blankets and last year we collected 75! With God’s help we hope to collect another 75 blankets this year! BLANKETS = 14
KIDS WENT TO CHUCKIE CHEESE!
What a joy to see so many kids running around Chuckie Cheese last Saturday as a reward for reading Missionary Books. While not everyone went, we congratulate Alannah Parsaca, Bradlee and Karlee Toole, and Savannah Nickerson for all their HARD WORK! Thanks to everyone who made this possible! We had lots of fun and Pastor Dan took a well-deserved nap when he got home!
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!
CHILDREN’S CHURCH CHANGES!
Beginning this week, the children will remain in the service until after our family prayer time. Our children’s leaders think we may have children who would like to be at the altar praying, and there are probably some families who could benefit from a shared prayer time. 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!
Northeast Community Potluck – Sunday October 14!
After worship Sunday we will be gathering in the basement of the church for one of our delicious potlucks. This is a great time to invite friends and family to church, everyone is welcome to attend. Please bring a dish to pass if you can, but if you are unable or forget, please stay and eat anyways. There is always more than enough food to go around! If you can help set-up tables or clean-up, please talk to Cherry Pakiela. We need some extra helpers this month!
Girl Scouts Meeting in our Building! Next Meeting October 15th at 6:00pm
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!
THE WINDOWS ARE COMING! THE WINDOWS ARE COMING!
When I arrived in late August 2008 I was instructed to pick any room to be my office. After looking at the layout and what was currently available, I selected what is now our resource room and set up my bookcase along the windows. You may recall the winter of 2008 was a snowy and windy one! What you may not have realized is those windows allowed it be cold and snowy INSIDE, too!
Several times, the broken latches and gaps in the window frames allowed papers to blow off my bookcase. This was beyond draft! This was wind! While my office location changed and thankfully God sent people like Theo to come along and seal the windows with caulk so the wind no longer blows though, they are still a source of cold and our heat and $$ simply pours through the single panes of glass and old aluminum frames keeping our basement area cold and drafty!
What a joy then, because of your faithful giving, to know Window World is coming Wed., Oct. 10 (tomorrow) to tear out the old windows and frames and install new high insulation double pane windows! These new windows will not only be warm in the winter, but will include screens to let fresh air flow in the summer, are easier to clean, and will provide a better emergency exit! Wahoo!
While meteorologists are predicting a snowy winter in a few short months outside, because of your faithful giving and the careful stewarding of God’s money by your church board, it’s going to be warmer in the basement than it has been in a long time! Praise God for new windows and those who made it happen!
ENGAGE THE WORD CONTINUES!
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 25 we asked everyone to spend 40 days reading the Bible together, complete a brief devotional and spend some time in prayer.
Our study guide declared: “Reading the Bible 4 or more times per week improves a person’s emotional health and stability. Young people who read the Bible 4 or more times a week are less likely to be involved in sex outside of marriage, gambling, drugs, pornography, or other risky behaviors.”
Below you will find the Bible passages to read each day this week and a little information on the small groups! Note: It’s not too late to start!
Tue. 1 Kings 2:1-3:28 Give Your Servant an Understanding Mind
Wed. Psalm 23
The Lord is My Shepherd
Thu. Psalm 51:1-19 Have Mercy on Me
Fri. Proverbs 1:4-4:27 Trust in the Lord With All Your Heart
Sat. Proverbs 16:1-18:24 Commit Your Work to the Lord
Sun. Malachi 1:1-4:6 I Am Sending My Messenger
Mon. Matthew 13:1-58 The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…
PS. If you know someone who might be willing to read the Bible for 40 days pick up some materials and give them away! See Janie is you need anything!
Compassionate Ministries Food Drive ENDS SATURDAY October 13
Access of West Michigan facilitates a fall food drive to support 60+ Kent County food pantries like North End Community Ministry (NECM) every year. 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.
What a blessing to realize we have already collected 122 cans of food and 25 boxes of non-perishable food! Can you help? Until Saturday Oct 13 our local Compassionate Ministry team led by Janie Hathaway will be collecting food. 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.
Craft and Scrapbooking Weekend at Indian Lake: Nov 2-4
Chris Freed, Activity Director at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp (who is also Irene Pratt’s niece) announced a time for LADIES ONLY to bring their scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, and stamping, etc. to Indian Lake to enjoy a time of fun and relaxation for just $25 (and this includes meals). If you’re interested there are brochures on the table outside the sanctuary!
Alabaster Offering Thank You for $637.84 in coins, gold, and silver!
Last night our treasurer, Dick Morse, told us even MORE alabaster money ($46) had been received! When we added the $46 to what we already received we are thrilled to report that we collected $637.84 in our fall Alabaster Offering! Wow! Praise God! Remember! Every penny will be used to purchase land and buildings on the mission field! What an incredible outpouring of love and support for missions! God is good!
Northeast Community Walking/Jogging Club
Our walking club has begun to dwindle in size! Perhaps most of you don’t like to walk or lose a few pounds or make a few friends with some in your church family! Alas, I imagine it is probably more likely you are all busy doing other good things! But, if you would like to get a few laughs while getting a little exercise we will be walking 3.1 miles (5k) every Tuesday night at 6:00pm through November 20. If you are interested just show up! See Pastor Dan if you have any questions!
New Website! New Facebook Page!
Here is the link:www.necommunitynazgr.
Please send any input or ideas to Shannen Parsaca at email@example.com
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.
Oct. 11-13 Come to the Fire Retreat @ ONU
Oct. 13 Compassionate Ministries Food Drive Ends
Oct. 14 NE Community Potluck following morning worship
Oct. 20 Testimony Service @ 6pm
Nov. 2-4 Indian Lake Craft/Scrapbooking Weekend
Nov. 11 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Nov. 18 Preaching Ambassador Reed Sapp from ONU is coming
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.
October 9, 2012
October is Pastor Appreciation Month! This week in order to recognize and appreciate the Pastor’s spouse, I took a moment to talk to Pastor Dan about his amazing wife Janie, and hear firsthand about the incredible love and support which she has shown not only Pastor Dan but our entire church. Below you will find my questions in bold followed by his answers.
(I know this article is longer than usual, but as I began chopping and editing, I decided it is all too good to cut down, and everyone should read all of it.) Enjoy!
I have heard you describe Janie as your "earth angel." I have also heard you say that she led you to Christ. Tell me more about this.
I met Janie in a country bar while seeking an “earthy woman,” someone who was humble, gentle, kind, and easy to be around. It was Janie's second time in a bar. The first time was 2 hours earlier somewhere else! Well, she was led there by her former sister-in-law who was going to teach Janie how to be single, which meant bar-hopping to meet and dance with men. Well, as I scanned across the bar that night I saw a woman with a literal glow surrounding her just like that 90s show Touched by an Angel.' As I watched her for about 30 minutes, the glow remained, but she wasn't dancing even though she was bouncing to the music in her seat.
After a little bit more time I got up the courage to go ask her “what her story was.” You see at this moment in life I didn't need an “earthy country girl,” I needed Jesus, but to be honest, I didn't know that yet. After several comical exchanges and a few dances, we exchanged phone numbers and she was promptly 'whisked away' by the former sister-in-law. But after a day of anguish fearing if I called her I would ruin this beautiful girl’s life, I finally did call and we talked for 2 hours about everything and nothing!
She really was an angel, and modeled Christ to me in her words, thoughts, and deeds, but she never pushed me to accept her faith. Finally, after dating for 6 months we decided we wanted to get married and she finally convinced me to meet her pastor and go to church where I was loved and accepted with open arms. Seven weeks later I asked Jesus into my heart and my life was forever changed.
It would be several years later before I was sanctified and heard the call to preach, but I am convinced that God sent me this “earthly angel” to point me to a loving Savior who not only loved me, but wanted to forgive and redeem my past and make me whole. And it was Janie who encouraged me to use up all of our saved money to answer God's call. It was Janie who encouraged me in every class I took and every call I received including the call to leave her hometown and security of 23 acres in Hastings for a small lot in Grand Rapids in the city across from a 7/11, commute 45 minutes each way to work, and provide my healthcare and other expenses without any complaint. Not only did she support the call financially, she has supported it with her time, with her energy, with her love for so many who are so unlike her.
Honestly, Janie is the closest thing I have ever met to someone who could be called angelic; someone so much like Jesus! Janie continues to show me Christ's love and demonstrate authentic discipleship. Had God not arranged that Divine Appointment for me to meet her I am sure I would be dead today (and I mean that in all seriousness). She was, is, and forever will be my earthly angel sent as a gift from God. I could go on a long time, but I hope you get the picture! She really is God's gift to me and I will be forever grateful!
What unique issues do you see Janie face being the spouse of the Pastor?
There are many. First, she never gets any credit! I have never heard her complain mind you, but when people praise me for being a great pastor I just wish they would include her. Janie makes it possible for us to be here! The church was in near financial collapse, but Janie’s financial sacrifices have made our time here possible. Beyond that, Janie is behind the scenes keeping me sane, off the window ledges, and is often the person that makes the plans I will implement. She is the one I go to with my junk and heartaches and she is the one who lifts me up. But, because she is Janie she never looks for the spotlight - she never gets the recognition she deserves!
Second, some expect Janie to have the same commitment as a pastor's spouse as a traditional pastor's spouse who does not work. People remain surprised that Janie has a job outside the home and seem to forget she works and travels over 50 hours a week in ADDITION to her role as Pastor's wife and all she does. She often loses her nights and weekends to the demands of the ministry when most working people are relaxing and preparing for the next day of work. Because of these demands, Janie often 'works' 7 days a week and has little time to rest and renew. She is often exhausted by all of the demands placed on her and her friendships outside the church suffer as do her own hobbies and interests.
Over the years, how has Janie supported and encouraged your call to ministry?
She has supported and encouraged me financially, often sacrificing and denying herself stuff, emotionally, keeping me from going nuts, cheering me on, sacrificing her own wants (to live in the country for example) while never making me feel guilty for being obedient and helping me stay balanced, and physically regularly pitching in to paint, clean, watch babies, cook, run sound boards, teach Sunday school classes, bake cookies, call and counsel people, and spiritually, by regularly praying for and with me, and being the Christlike example I still so desperately need.
How can we as a congregation show love and appreciation to Janie?
Acknowledge her contributions and sacrifices through thoughtful cards, emails, and letters. There are just a lot of days when I am certain she gives away more than she receives and can feel dry and discouraged. Janie wants to feel what she is doing is making a difference!
Are there any other special stories, moments, etc regarding Janie and your appreciation of her which you want to share?
There are so many! I will share two:
First, I will never forget the day I came to her and said, “Honey, I think God wants me to go to college what do you think?”
Without batting an eye she said, “If you are sure it is God who is calling, then you need to go.”
“But,” I argued, “what about the cost - what about the time sacrifice - what about my poor writing skills?” (You see I graduated high school with a 1.56 GPA and wasn't even sure I could pass one college class let alone get a degree). In a classic Janie way, she said, “If God is calling you to do this, you need to do it. God will provide the money you need and I will take on your responsibilities to give you the time you need and I will help you write your papers and be behind you all the way!”
And you know what? She was! When I laid my head down on the desk in my first college class and wept because I thought I couldn't go on; when I wrote my first 500 word paper and Janie came alongside me and spent 8 hours on a Saturday helping me rewrite it 5 times; to when she got up at 1am to edit my last paper; to flying out to NNU and applauding loudly when I graduated, she was there all the way and kept her word!
Second, I will never forget her self-sacrifice going through law school and preparing for the bar exam. While I was selfish in school, Janie put everyone else first. From unexpected people who needed counseling, to work days at church and teaching Sunday school and running a sound board and being in the nursery, to helping two of our kids get married, to being there when both our mothers had challenging surgeries (including my mom and dog coming to live with us), to packing up a house and selling the 24 year homestead in Hastings and moving here, to traveling with me to LA and Cali, Colombia South America, and losing a grandchild to stillbirth and being there for our daughter, Janie put her own education and needs behind her love of God and love for others.
There is simply nobody else I have ever met that loves and gives and sacrifices like Janie! She is the best person I have ever met! And she is my wife and this church’s first lady! What a blessing to be part of her life! God is so good to us! Amen!
Thank you Pastor Dan, for allowing us to see Janie through your eyes!
Thank you Janie, for all the ways you bless us!
With Love, Pastor Amy