Tuesday, November 13, 2012

NE NEWS - November 13, 2012

Northeast Community News – November 13, 2012
Dear Friends and Family,

What another wonderful day we had in the Lord, yesterday! Rev. Christopher returned from his revival services in Bay City declaring God is still alive and well! Lives were saved, sanctified, and the fires of revival have begun to spread! The same is true for Northeast Community, too! The Holy Spirit is on the move convicting, transforming, teaching, and empowering for service! May the revival fires that burn in our hearts spread into our homes, work, and schools! Amen!

Two weeks ago we began a three-part series on ‘Who are Nazarenes and what do they believe?’ First we learned Nazarene’s are a Christian people interconnected with all who declare, “Jesus is Lord.” Nazarenes join all Christians who affirm the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds, the essentials of all orthodox Christian belief.

While we share much in common with all orthodox Christians, Nazarenes do have one or two distinctive differences. God’s message to us this week examined the first one: holiness. In 1 Thess. 4:1-8 and 5:23-24 we discover God has called us to holiness, provided the means to become and stay holy, and makes available this gift to ordinary Christians with one requirement – we must choose to receive it!

In 1 Thessalonians 4:7 we read “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”  While declaring that heart purity and living a holy life is possible makes the Church of the Nazarene distinctive from other Christians, it is God who calls all Christians to live a life above a daily struggle with sinful living. We need not live a life filled with failure and mediocrity; we can live a holy life in victory over sin!

Second, in 1 Thessalonians 4:8 we discover the means to live a holy life – a life of purity of heart – the Holy Spirit! God gives us the Holy Spirit ‘continuously.’ Jesus declared to a troubled group of disciples, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17). The truth is you will never be able to achieve victory over sin and struggle in your own strength and will until you become sanctified! At sanctification God does an inner heart cleansing and the battle within your soul comes to an end!

Finally, in 1 Thess. 5:23-24 we discover sanctification is a gift that cannot be earned just like our salvation. God wants to set you apart – to sanctify you – to make you holy and He can do it, but He wants all of you and your permission.
Will you give God your past, present, and future? Yes? Wonderful! Then ask Him in faith to accept your life as a gift and sanctify you! As Nazarenes holiness is a core part of our identity because God has called us to it and provided the means to attain in sanctification! Indeed there is Victory in Jesus!

Dr. Frank Moore prepared three Bible study lessons to explain the three central values in the Church of the Nazarene: We are Christian, Holiness, and Missional. Join us this week at 6:30pm to take a deeper look at being a Missional People.

What a blessing it is to be your lead pastor! In 9 short days we celebrate the U.S. national holiday called Thanksgiving, but for Christians we can praise God and be thankful every day! The Psalmist wrote, “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving” (Ps. 95:2 - NIV). In the Message, Eugene Peterson translates this verse, “Let’s march into his presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns.” What are you marching into God’s presence and lifting the rafters with your singing of thanksgiving for this year?

For one, Janie and I are marching into God’s presence and thanking Him for you! October was ‘pastor appreciation’ month and for the entire month you blessed us with gift cards from Amazon, Visa for meals, Baker Books and Kohl’s! But as nice as the gift cards were, you didn’t stop there! How we appreciated and give thanks for the special 4-course dinner, the handmade card and the special wall plaque, newsletter articles and interviews and the YouTube video testimonials, too! We have so much to thank God for this year and you are part of our Thanksgiving! What a blessing to be part of such a loving and sacrificial church! Thank you for loving and appreciating us! We love you, too!
Blessings! Pastor Dan and Janie

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 My Contact Info: 616-514-9521 or amyorban@hotmail.com


World Evangelism Fund Thanksgiving Offering this Sunday!
On the Sundays of November18th and 25th during our morning worship service, we will be receiving our annual Thanksgiving Offering for World Evangelism Fund. The World Evangelism Fund is used to finance our global efforts to evangelize the world for Jesus. Some give regularly through our Faith Promise Gifts throughout the year. Others, give a special offering at Thanksgiving and Easter. Regardless of how you give, all of us are asked to give to help the Church fulfill the Great Commission. Remember, Jesus commanded his disciples 'to go and make disciples of all nations' (Matthew 28:19a)

What better time to give than during the Thanksgiving season?  Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to express our gratitude to God for His many blessings. God is a missionary! Let's join Him on His mission to redeem the world through Christ.

New Membership Class Begins in December!
We are holding a class for anyone who is interested in becoming a member of our church, and for anyone who is simply interested in knowing more about what we believe as Nazarenes. The five-week class will meet on Sundays from 2-3:30pm beginning on December 2nd. You will receive a book titled Welcome to the Church of the Nazarene just for showing up, and you can ask as many questions as you want! Talk to Pastor Dan if you are interested.

Blankets for Mel-Trotter Thank You!
After our month-long blanket drive, we are happy to announce that as a church we collected a total of 63 blankets! Each blanket will go to Mel Trotter Mission, where they will be put to immediate use by women, men, and children who come to the mission. Thank you all for giving, and for being the hands and feet of Jesus in our community!

Last Wednesday Night Dinner –November 28th- Thanksgiving Leftover Contest!
On the last Wednesday of the month we gather before our Wednesday Night bible study to enjoy dinner together. This month we will once again be holding a contest for the most creative use of Thanksgiving leftovers. Last year was delicious! The winner will take home a prize, just show up at 5:30pm with a dish to pass. Regular Family Night begins at 6:30pm. Talk to Julie Orban to help set-up or clean-up.

Olivet Nazarene Preaching Ambassador – November 18th – This Sunday!
We are happy to welcome our third student from ONU’s Preaching Ambassador Program. On Sunday November 18th, Reed Sapp will be bringing the message during our morning worship service. Reed is a Youth Ministry major at ONU. We will be blessed to hear the heart of the next generation of church leaders! Please be in prayer for Reed as his visit draws near.

Northeast Community Christmas Potluck – Sunday December 09th
Our next potluck will be Christmas themed, and will take place downstairs in the fellowship hall immediately following morning worship on Sunday December 09th. All children who attend will receive a special Christmas gift. Please bring a dish to pass if you are able, but there is always a ton of delicious food to go around, and everyone is invited to stay and eat! Talk to Cherry Pakiela if you can help set-up or tear-down. 

Birthdays and Anniversaries, Please!
Do we have your birthday and anniversaries? Please email them to Pastor Amy, or write them down and stick them in her mailbox located on the wall outside of the nursery, thank you!

Advent is Coming – Volunteers Needed!
Advent, our preparation period leading up to Christmas, begins on December 2nd. One of the special things we like to do during Advent is to have volunteers do special readings at the beginning of each Sunday service. The readings correlate with the lighting of the candles on our Advent Wreath. Would you be willing to read? Talk to Pastor Amy or Pastor Dan!

Girl Scouts Meeting in our Building! Next Meeting Monday November 26th at 6:00pm
We are thrilled to announce that beginning in October, 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!

Northeast Community Walking/Jogging Club – Two More Weeks!
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!
Please send any input or ideas to Shannen Parsaca at slparsaca@gmail.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.

Upcoming Events
Nov. 18           Preaching Ambassador Reed Sapp from ONU is coming
Nov. 22           Thanksgiving Day
Nov. 28           Last Wednesday Dinner @ 5:30pm, Regular Family Night follows
Dec. 02            Advent Begins
Dec. 07            First Friday Chinese Lunch, 11:30am @ Hibachi Alpine
Dec. 09            NE Community Potluck following morning worship service

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.                                    November 13, 2012

There is a little girl, and she is the most beautiful little girl you have ever seen, mainly because she is more like an angel or cherubim than like a little girl. She is exactly the little girl that frolics in a field of perfect flowers in your imagination, the precise way we tend to think the little ones in heaven must look, the way we know everything will look so perfect in that perfect place.  

Her hair is blond, so blond it is almost white, with long, roving sausage curls which fall down her shoulders and arms. Small white flowers are woven through the perfect curls. Her skin shimmers and her cheeks have a perfect pinkish color to them.

Her eyes are incredible, a sea of green and blue waters which never end. She is a child full of childlikeness, but also full of the super-natural wisdom of eternity.

She is sitting on a fluffy white cloud, you see, and the light of God is shining around her and through her. Her slender hands with her perfect tiny finger nails are folded on her lap, and she sits with one leg crossed beneath her, and the other dangling freely off the edge of the fluffy cloud.

She looks down from her soft cloud, and she sighs, a sigh so sweet it smells like peppermint candy.

Below her, she sees us.

She looks down and she sees us, running about.

She looks down and she sees us frantic and scattered around a bunch of enormous, endless black holes.

The holes really are endless, that is no exaggeration on her part nor on mine. They areendless holes.

The holes are everywhere, and in observing from above, she can’t help but wonder at how futile our efforts are when it comes to filling and patching the holes.

She sees some of us, who seem to pretend the holes aren’t even there. We evade them with all the calculated cleverness of a serpent. We stay busy, bustling, moving, and keep our distance from the edge. We are typically the ones who deny the reality of the holes until we fall into one and it hurts.

She sees others who obsess about the holes. All they can think about are the holes. They are chasing after  anyone who can tell them anything about the holes, anyone who will obsess about the holes along with them.  They see how obvious and ugly the holes are, and this fact seems to consume their life. They never get past the holes, they just stare at them and continue to be appalled.

She sees many who seem to have reached a point of total reckless abandon, and they are throwing things into the holes, trying to fill them in vain. They throw strange things into the holes, things which clearly won’t ever fill the holes, but for some reason the people keep trying it over and over again. But the holes just get bigger and uglier for all their efforts.

After some time, she spots an obscure land without holes. When she looks closer she sees that the holes are still there, but somehow the people in this land have found a way to appease the holes. The holes are full of something – what is it? It looks like a soft fog, like clouds with a light breeze. It is the only thing which can fill the holes, why don’t all the other people find out what it is so they can fill their holes?

Upon further quiet observance she realizes, with a gasp, that the holes are all shaped like her Father! These people are looking for her Father but they don’t even seem to know what they are looking for!

 Now some of the people from the land without holes are talking to the people who still live with the holes. The hole-people are laughing at them. They turn back and keep ignoring the holes, or obsessing about the holes, or trying to fill the holes in ways that only make the holes worse.

But every once in awhile, one of the hole-people listens to the people from the land without holes. They follow them. They are exhausted. They take rest in the land of no holes and they are grateful.

The little angel girl smiles, and her teeth are so white it hurts your eyes, it’s so beautiful. She recognizes that the people in the land without holes must know her Father, and this brings her great joy. He is the great filler of holes, He is the one who stops the torture of the endless black holes. She is so pleased to see more of the hole-people coming to know her Father that she flutters off of her cloud, and flies off through the cloud-mist to sit in His lap and tell Him she loves Him and that He is wonderful…..

In his book The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer writes, “Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. It its stead are programs, methods, organizations, and a world of nervous activities which will occupy our time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of our heart.”

Tozer goes on to say that “When religion has had its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking God-andeffectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the and lies our great woe. If we omit the and we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.”

Do you know that you have a God-sized hole?

What is it that you try to pour into your God-sized hole to fill it?

Do you know that only God can fill the God-sized hole?

Do you know that the hole will continue to suck the life and joy and peace and rest out of you until God and God alone fills it for you?

Do you seek God, or do you seek God- and? What are your “ands” ?

Jesus and…successful ministry, all As in school, friends with transformed hearts who love Christ but give me all the credit, a husband who is always happy and at my service, kids who aren’t naught or stinky. Jesus and freedom from all the defects in my character, 
Jesus and no struggle whatsoever.

What do you mean I’m greedy?  Jesus is not like Santa Claus?

Strip me of everything, leave me with Jesus?  

We are busy, and we are complex. I often find myself running around like I am really someone important, like maybe all my running will fill my God-hole, or maybe I myself will even fill someone else’s God-hole. Today I remember that no amount of my frantic activity can take Jesus’ place in my God hole.

With Love, Pastor Amy                                                            616.514.9521/amyorban@hotmail.com

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