Thursday, January 3, 2013

NE NEWS - January 1, 2013

Northeast Community News –January 01, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

 I sit here at my desk writing on New Year’s Eve what will most likely be the first article published in the New Year of 2013. New Year’s Eve is always so pregnant with anticipation. It is a time when we are able to look back and forward at the same time! 2012 was full of so many blessings! Together we witnessed spiritual and material successes in the Kingdom! Praise God!
And yes, it would perhaps be satisfying to look back, feel accomplished, and dwell in the past, but that is not our role in the faith! Jesus is ever calling us forward out of the old ways and into a new day, a new year, a new walk with Him.
 How will you grow in grace this New Year? What new discoveries will you make in the faith? How will life be different? Those in recovery have defined ‘insanity’ as ‘always doing the same thing and expecting a different result.’ Do you know any ‘insane’ Christians? Are you one of them? This year as you resolve to make changes I pray you will have the courage ‘to do things differently.’ Let 2013 be the year you let the Spirit of Christ guide your steps and stop the insanity! Amen!
God’s message this week came from Luke 2:41-52 and was titled, “Being About the Father’s Business.’ Jesus has one focus in life: His Father’s business! If we are God’s children, we need to be about our Heavenly Father’s business, too!
 It might be a bit jarring to read about Jesus in the Temple at 12 years old so soon after His birth, but this may be on purpose! We may be tempted in the days after Christmas to forget Jesus moved beyond the ‘manger scene’ and grew becoming our Lord and Savior who died on the Cross and rose again! We need to move on from Christmas, too, and grow up and move into the real world of ministry, too!
We must not get sidetracked in the story of Jesus being left behind in Jerusalem only to be found 3 days later by anxious (perhaps angry) parents in the Temple. Jesus wasn’t lost or disobedient! If anyone was lost, it was Joseph and Mary!
There is much to this passage of Scripture, but God wants us to hear three things. First, Jesus is the Son of God. While all four Gospels declare this and Joseph and Mary received Divine revelation via angels and dreams to confirm it, they seemed surprised to find Jesus in the Temple listening, speaking, and asking questions.
Do we ever forget Jesus is the Son of God? Do we ever try to put the Son of God in a carefully wrapped box or manger scene so we can manage Him? This New Year let’s remember Jesus is God and we aren’t! If we want to “be about our Father’s business,” we need to allow Jesus to order our lives and direct our paths in 2013!
Second, Jesus loved His Father’s House! Jesus declares to His anxious parents, “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). Jesus loved to worship God; Jesus loved to learn, ask questions, and teach in His Father’s house. When we get serious about “doing the Father’s business” we will worship regularly, ask questions, and learn, too!
Yet, Luke 2:49 has a second interpretation that is slightly different, but still rich, true, and powerful. Listen to the ASV version: “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. Didn’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business?” While Jesus makes clear He is the Son of God and loves being in His Father’s House, Jesus also declares His earthly ministry is about getting at the work of His Father.
Throughout Scripture we find Jesus getting His hands dirty. Jesus walks along dusty trails, heals the sick, talks and teaches, listens and cries and chastises while He is on earth. Regardless of what He faced, Jesus was committed to completing the work God had assigned Him.
What work has God assigned to you? When you are serious about doing the Father’s business your worship doesn’t end at 12:15 on Sunday! When you are serious about the Father’s business, you will find yourself looking for ways to become involved in Kingdom work! You will actually look forward to Sunday school, work days, Bible Studies, and helping a person in need!
This New Year’s Eve as you make New Year’s resolutions, why not resolve to be more like Jesus? No, you can’t be the Son of God, but you can be more faithful in your worship and learning and be more involved in your Father’s business!
This Wednesday we are going to ask, “Who is Jesus?”  by examining Matthew 1:1-2:23 from an old Beacon Hill Bible Study! Join us at 6:30pm and together we will learn about Jesus’ ancestry, His birth, the Magi, and from Bethlehem to Nazareth!
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 three weeks. Thank you!
Church Office: 616-459-2773 My Contact Info: 616-514-9521 or
DON’T FORGET! Beginning January 1, 2013, all correspondence with me will switch to my new email address: 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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

First Friday Chinese Lunch Continues – January 04th @ 11:30am
Everyone is invited to attend a delicious Chinese lunch on the first Friday of every month. The group meets at the Hibachi Grill on Alpine Ave, located behind the Target. No reservations are required, and the food is cheap and delicious! Just show up, and join us for fellowship. Talk to Tracy Tamm if you have any questions.

Family Church & Communion—Sunday January 6th
On the first Sunday of every month, we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion during our morning worship service. We also allow our children to remain for the entire service on this day. This not only gives our children’s workers a chance to participate in Holy Communion, but it gives our children a chance to be part of our service, too!

Workdays Continue—Saturday, January 26th
The trustees are holding monthly workdays this year, scheduled for the last Saturday of every month, from 8am-12pm. No matter what kind of skills you have, there is always plenty of work to be done around the church, including painting, cleaning, organizing, and other odd jobs and maintenance. It is important to take care of our building and grounds! If you can help, just show up ready to work! Talk to Theo Orban or Pat Parsaca if you have questions.

 Last Wednesday of the Month—Dinners Continue! January 30th @ 5:30pm
On the last Wednesday of the month, we gather one hour before our Wednesday night Bible Study to enjoy dinner and fellowship. The theme is soup, salad, and bread. Bring a dish to pass and join us @ 5:30pm. Talk to Julie Orban if you can help set-up or clean-up.

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 January 14th 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!
Please send any input or ideas to Shannen Parsaca at  
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
January 4         First Friday Chinese Lunch, 11:30am, Hibachi Alpine
January 6         Family Church & Communion, NO Children’s Church
January 26       Church Work Day 8am-12pm
January 30       Weds Night Dinner @ 5:30pm, regular Bible study to follow

Reflections from Pastor Amy
Weekly thoughts 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.                                    January 1, 2013

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Before I was a pastor, before I was a church board member, before I went through membership classes, before I came to church at all, before I met my husband, before I had children, before I knew anything about Jesus or light or healing or life abundant, I read this passage of scripture.

I was sitting on a small bed, which felt like a hospital bed, in a room that smelled like a hospital, in a building for very sick people. I had one small duffel bag with clothing in it. They took my music away. They took my perfume and hand sanitizer away. They rifled through all of my things and took away whatever they wanted. They snapped my picture and I gave up my rights.

This cold, damp room wasn’t much, but it was paradise to me. This place was paradise, because it was safe. This place was locked down. In this place, I could receive no phone calls, read no emails, and I had no access to my car keys. In this place, there was hot food. There was even fruit loops and orange Hi-C. In this place, no one could find me.

One would not think that a drug and alcohol treatment facility would be paradise, but to me, it was a welcome vacation from the ugly black whirlwind of my regular life. I was so sick, and so tired, and so sick and tired of being sick and tired that I just wanted somewhere safe and warm to lay my head, in a place where I couldn’t get in my car and drive to get what my sick body was desperately crying out for. And anything at all feels like a soft place to land when you finally jump ship from the out of control tilt-a-whirl you have been riding on for so long.

So I sat on that little bed, and I was just tired. So tired. I looked in my duffel bag, and pulled out a small devotional with a card in it. My sister must have slipped it in, after she dropped me off. After the very awkward drive-your-sister-to-rehab hour-long car ride in silence.

The card said something like, “Love you sister, here’s to a new beginning!” followed by a reference to this scripture passage from Lamentations and a brief devotional thought.

This passage has always stayed with me. This wasn’t so much a new beginning for me, because once I was released I went right back to where I came from and got just as sick just as quick. But a seed was planted, a seed of hope that haunted me, a seed of hope from God’s Word, written by the hand of Jesus living through my sister. And it whispered to the deepest place in my heart of heart – new beginnings are possible! God makes all things new!

It is so true. Almost five years later and this passage from Lamentations speaks to me in different ways, but it still speaks to the truth of a compassionate God, a merciful God, a God who gives us grace anew every morning, ever moment. A God who refreshed, who heals, who makes things new, who turns everything upside down and right side up in all of the best possible ways.

In the trials and heart ache and suffering that surround us, we see that the things of this world are dying. We cling to our present pleasures as if they can forever fulfill. We walk through the dark valleys as if they will never end. We look at the temporal rather than the eternal. Yet God makes all things new. Only He can renew our spirits, nourishing us into newness of mind, heart and life.

Are you ever tired? I mean just really, really tired? You know you aren’t that old, but your very soul is exhausted, dragging along like a chained, otherworldly prisoner? The weight of the fallen world can be heavy indeed, but the strength and peace and assurance which God gives us through Christ is greater. Like a flower blooming, He makes us new again and again.

This year I pray, O God-

Sometimes we become calloused and tired.

Sometimes we are all used up, sometimes we have nothing left to give.

Make new the fire in our hearts for You.

Make new the fire in our hearts for others.

Make new our desire to love others, starting in our homes, with our spouses, with our children.

Make new our desire to discover and follow Your Will.

Sometimes our consciences grow calloused and rough.

Sometimes our self-reliance takes over.

Sometimes we look at the sin of others instead of keeping our own house in order.

Make new our sensitivity to our own sin.

Make new our zeal for loving the sinner while hating the sin.

Make new our awareness of the insurmountable depth and height of our need for You.

Make new our understanding of grace, moment by moment.

Make new our hearts with a readiness to forgive.

Sometimes we sin in the quietness of our thoughts.

Sometimes our ideas are not in alignment with Your Will.

Make new our thoughts, direct them in the mind of Christ.

Make new our hunger and thirst for Your Word, may the Word richly dwell within us.

Sometimes our perception is colored strangely with resentment and depression.

Sometimes we cannot see You, though You are right in front of us.

Sometimes we can only see the struggle and failure, and we miss the glorious blessings.

Make new our eyes, to see what You see, give us wisdom and discernment.

Make new our perceptions, replace our despair with hope, replace our bitterness with joy.

Make new our song, may it always be a song of praise.

 In Jesus name, Amen.

 With love, Pastor Amy

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