Northeast Community News –December 03, 2012
Dear Friends and Family,
What another glorious day we had in the Lord, Sunday! This week was the first
Sunday in Advent, so after Pat Parsaca gave us our announcements, Tracy Tamm
began our worship with a special Advent reading while Valda Einis lit the first
candle representing hope! What a blessing! After Pastor Amy Orban delivered
God’s message we closed by celebrating the Lord’s Supper as a Church Family!
God is moving! Can you sense Him? I pray you respond as He calls! Amen!
Blessings! Pastor Dan
This week God’s message came from Jeremiah 33:14-16 and was titled “Anticipate the Promise.” It is good for us to examine what Advent means to us today, and we will be spending these weeks leading up to Christmas talking about it. This week we started by examining God’s faithfulness to His promises as revealed in scripture, and the incredible hope that God’s faithfulness gives to us who believe in Jesus Christ. God continues to offer each and every one of us an invitation to live into the hope of His promises to us.
Have you noticed lately that it is not “normal” in our current culture to live the Christian life?
When Jeremiah’s words were first spoken, the first listeners lived in a culture that was used to sin and evil. Their government officials and even their religious leaders set the tone for a culture which was corroded by sin and idolatry. Sin was the general rule. So while many centuries have passed since Jeremiah’s time, our culture is not so different – sin is still the general rule.
This is the first point: no matter how much the world around us tries to make a sinful life out to be “normal” and inconsequential, sin is never God’s normal. Sin will always bring pain and break us off from relationships with others and with God. Sin will always hurt.
This is why it is so important for us to look to God and the Bible for our source of normal! As Christians, our God sets the standard, not our culture. When God created the world, He looked around at what He had made, and in Genesis 1:31a He said that creation was GOOD! This is the second point: the goodness of creation is what defines normal.
Before our first parents chose to reject God, life was good. Sin was not a part of the plan, it crashed into the world when Adam and Eve rejected God, and it has turned the goodness of creation upside down ever since. God’s original plan for our normal lives was one of goodness, of abundant life – abundant relationship with Him, others, and all of creation!
Through Jeremiah, God says that He will turn this upside down world of sin right side up again. He will restore goodness. He will provide a leader to stand in the gap caused by sin. Into the culture where sin is normal and where people have rejected God, God makes this incredible promise to the people, saying “the days are coming when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.”(v14)
What does this mean? It means that God Himself is sending a new leader, a savior to the people who will work to reconcile the broken world to Himself. This is the third point: God is restoring the normalcy of goodness!
But the people of Jeremiah’s time still had to live in the broken world, waiting and hoping for the fulfillment. Jesus had not yet come to them. God promised, and yet life with sin as the norm was still part of every day life for them. The promise then, was an invitation from God to trust Him. They had to face a lot of uncertainty while they waited on God to come through – and He did!
It is God’s faithfulness revealed in the Bible through the people of Israel which allows us to rest in the hope that God will continue to be faithful to his promises, specifically the promise that He will come again – the second advent. God was, is, and always will be faithful to us.
So just like the people in Jeremiah’s day, we are called to live into the hope of God’s promises – the ones already fulfilled, and the ones yet to come. Perhaps this is the fourth point, that He is inviting us to receive the hope of the gospel, today and forever!
So how does one go about living out the hope of God’s promises? We can really complicate this stuff. We can make it sound like more stuff to do, more effort trying to be being better people.
But for the people in Jeremiah’s time, God simply invited them to trust Him to make all things right. You see it had nothing to do with their own merit! They had turned their backs on God, yet He STILL promised to redeem them. He invited them to trust that He would be faithful, that He would do all the work necessary to bring about their redemption. He would save them. He would send a Messiah. He would repair our relationship with Him and with others. He would restore the goodness which sin had stolen away. He would fill us with His healing love.
To be clear, the gospel of Jesus Christ is something to be received. We are all sinners, make no mistake. Salvation is grace freely offered, grace which none of us deserve, we are not good enough. It is not another list of rules to follow. It is a gift which God has prepared our hearts for. And then He calls to us, drawing our attention to Him, so that we might turn and receive the gifts He has already prepared for us.
God is inviting us into His work of restoring the goodness of creation. God is inviting us into His work of restoring US. The whole Christian walk is a process of healing, healing from our lack of love, healing from the ugly sin-world we live in and contribute to with our own sinfulness. He is inviting us to let go of our sense of normal, the broken one – in exchange for a new normal – HIS normal. His normal is for us to be in relationship with Him!
It’s a process of returning to God’s goodness, and it’s one that won’t be complete in this life. It won’t be complete until Jesus comes back again. But it starts when Jesus calls us – when He calls out to the sinner – saying won’t you turn to me? Won’t you receive eternal life from me? Won’t you receive forgiveness? Won’t you repent and let me be Lord of your life?
It starts the first time we say yes to His invitation. It continues when we keep saying yes, again and again, every day. Do you hear His invitation? Have you answered it? You will never regret surrendering yourself to Jesus and allowing Him to consume your heart with His perfect love!
Wednesday Night Adult Bible Study
Last week we began a four-week journey of Advent leading up to Christmas! Maybe you aren’t quite sure what Advent is and why we celebrate it? My favorite question in the world to answer is the one which asks – so what, why do we care? Join me this week at 6:30pm and bring your questions for a time of discussion and Bible study!
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 three weeks. Thank you! Church
PLEASE NOTE! Beginning January 1, 2013, all correspondence with me will switch to a new email address: email@example.com. Please save me to your contacts, as I will be sending the newsletter and all other church information from this address. Thank you!
NEWS & EVENTS
Church Work Day—Saturday December 08th
The trustees will be holding another church work day on Saturday, December 08th from 8am-12pm. Anyone who wants to help can simply show up, and they will put you to work. There is always lots to be done, from painting to cleaning and raking leaves and more. Many hands make the work lighter, so come help take care of our building and grounds! Talk to Theo Orban if you have any questions.
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.
2nd Annual Thanksgiving Potluck Awards
Last Wednesday we had our 2nd annual Thanksgiving Leftovers Potluck and the
competition was tough! We had entries in the main course, soup, and dessert
categories, and after much laughter and a vote we decided the contest as follows:
• Best Presentation of a leftover – Kamrie Beck with her peppermint pie with leftover mints she crushed and folded into her pie.
• Most Unique use of a leftover – Pastor Amy Orban with her ‘mysterious but
delicious casserole’ which included turkey, steak, brown rice, and roasted potatoes and Italian dressing topped with sliced red apples, roasted garlic, and mozzarella cheese.
• Hardest to Explain leftover – Julie Orban for her delicious use of beans to
make a yummy soup!
• Best Tasting use of a leftover – Janie Hathaway with her turkey and gravy
concoction poured over baking powered biscuits.
While each winner received a token prize for their efforts, we had other entries
that were equally yummy and creative! Naretta made a caramel chocolate cream
pie of sorts that was delicious and Hillary Hiaeshutter created her own category by
bringing her leftover birthday cake, which, was also yummy. Thanks to everyone who participated or came to eat! We had fun, laughs, and good conversation. Hope to see more of you next year!
Buy a Gift for a Child!
We want to make sure each child in our church receives a Christmas gift, and we are asking YOU to help. At the back of the sanctuary is a list of all the children in our church. Simply pick a name and cross it off. Then buy a gift ($5 or less), wrap it and put the child’s name on it, and place it under the Christmas tree in the sanctuary. Gifts will be handed out after our Christmas service (Sunday Dec 23rd) or you can pick them up at the following Wednesday night Bible study (Dec 26). Pleas join us in making Christmas special for our little ones! The “Five and Below” store on Alpine between Target and Best Buy is a great place to find inexpensive gifts, including mittens, gloves, coloring books, and toys. See Linda Kastens or Gerry D with questions, and thank you for participating!
First Friday Chinese Lunch – Dec 07 @ 11:30am
We continue to meet on the first Fridays of every month to enjoy lunch and fellowship at the Hibachi Grill on Alpine. The food is cheap and delicious, and no reservations are required. Everyone is invited, and everyone is invited to bring friends! Questions? Talk to Tracy Tamm.
Emotions Anonymous Meets Here on Tuesdays
Do you often feel nervous, tense, or bored? Do you have trouble sleeping or sleep
too much? Do you often experience mood swings or feel useless? Well, you’re not
alone. Our building hosts one of the oldest 12-step Emotions Anonymous groups in
Michigan on Tuesday nights at 7:00pm. At an EA meeting you’ll find others who have
been where you are and experienced many of the same feelings, but found help.
If you would like more info you can find a small literature rack in the corner of
the ‘Community Room’ in the basement, ask Pastor Dan, or call Helen W. (leader
of EA group), at 616-363-7347. Helen is wonderful and a joy to chat with!
World Evangelism Fund Thanksgiving Offering – Thank You!
Thank you for making our Thanksgiving World Evangelism Fund (WEF) offering a big success! Over the two weeks we received $225.83 to finance global efforts to evangelize the world for Jesus! God is good! (You guessed it – ALL THE TIME!)
West Michigan Environmental Action Council Opportunity
WMEAC is a regional non-profit group who has worked in our area for over 40 years. Currently, they are partnering with DTE Energy to create a program that encourages energy efficiency in the home. They are offering a FREE home energy consultation. Here is what they say about it:
This special FREE program is an opportunity for the families in this community to take control of their energy bills and make their home more affordable. This program offers all DTE Energy customers a free home energy consultation that evaluates the energy usage of the home and provides energy saving tips. The appointment typically takes less than an hour of the resident's time… no strings attached.
If you are interested in this, the phone number is 866.796.0512, or view their home page at www.wmeac.org.
Christmas Eve is Coming! Want to Help?
We are already planning our annual Christmas Eve Service. We are already planning our annual Christmas Eve Service. We need lots of helpers! We need people to read, light candles, help set-up and decorate, sing, and create the luminaries we set up along the sidewalks. If you want to be a part of this, talk to Pastor Amy or Pastor Dan. Don’t forget—this is also a great time to invite someone to church!
Reflecting God- Devotions for Holy Living
Did you know that each quarter (fall, winter, spring, summer), our Nazarene Publishing House prints a small book of daily devotions called, “Reflecting God?” This book is a simple way to organize a time of daily bible study, prayer, and meditation around a key thought or insight in the Christian journey. Reading them each day is a simple way to draw closer to God. There is no cost, and they are located on the table outside of the sanctuary, please help yourself to one!
Postcard Greetings Now Available
Is there someone you’ve missed? Someone you used to look forward to seeing each week but they are missing? Maybe there is someone you would like to invite to church or to a potluck or to Sunday school, but you’re not sure how to go about it. Well, one possibility is to send them a postcard! We recently had postcards made and they are available to anyone who would like to send them to invite, encourage, miss, or welcome someone to the church! Interested? See a Sunday school teacher or Pastor Amy or Dan.
Girl Scouts Meeting in our Building! Next Meeting Monday December 17th 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!
Check out our Website – Find us on Facebook!
Here is the link:www.necommunitynazgr.
Please send any input or ideas to Shannen Parsaca at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.