Wednesday, January 16, 2013

NE NEWS - January 15, 2013

Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene
861 Fuller Ave NE - Grand Rapids, MI  49503 - PH # 616.459.2773
Northeast Community News –January 15, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

We had another wonderful day in the Lord last week! In some ways it felt like a family reunion! You know that feeling you get when you see those loved ones you haven’t seen in awhile? Well, that’s how I felt as many returned to church this week! I pray the ‘reunion’ continues! Remember, Jesus taught us no matter how long you’ve been away, and no matter what the reason, you’re always welcome to come home!  

God’s message to us this week was from 1 Samuel 3:1-20 and was titled, “Hearing God’s Call.” It is another familiar passage of Scripture to many of us and if we are not careful we might think, “What does a text about a young man hearing God’s call have to do with me? I’m not young, or called to full-time ministry.” Maybe not, but there are principles here we all need to discover and apply to our lives. 

First, we need to understand God that calls everyone. While the “word of the LORD was rare” (v1) and the times were getting darker (v2), “the lamp of God had not yet gone out” (v3). No, you are most likely not called to be a prophet as Samuel was, but God does have a specific plan and calling for your life. Do you know how and where God wants you to serve and minister? No, you are probably not called to full-time Christian ministry, but in these days of ever increasing darkness, God has called you to be a bright light of testimony somewhere, doing something, too!

But how do you know where and how you are to serve and minister for God? Our text teaches us we “hear from God” when we draw near and put ourselves in a position of availability to Him. While it is unlikely many of us will spend every day in our sanctuary as Samuel did (v3), all of us can engage in the discipleship practices of prayer, meditation, Bible reading, Bible study, and regular worship attendance. It is when we are closest to God that we are likely to hear His voice. 

Finally, our text teaches we are called to respond. Repeatedly Samuel responded incorrectly, but God continued to call until Samuel ‘got it right.’ The good news is that it is never too late to respond to God! Been away from God for awhile or been in rebellion against Christ or His plan for your life? No problem! Samuel teaches us it is never too late to respond to God and follow Him! May each us put ourselves in a position to hear God’s call, have the wisdom to be available, and the courage to respond obediently wherever we are called to serve and minister.

Cancer takes a loved one. Your marriage ends. You lose a child or a spouse or a dear one out of recovery to an overdose. You are feeling lost and helpless wondering, ‘How can I go on?’ You’re not alone! Join us Wednesday nights to examine what the Psalms can teach us about a compassionate, loving God who weeps with you, walks with you, and offers hope in the midst of pain. Last week we examined what Psalm 46 could teach us about ‘denial.’ This week we will examine how Psalm 62 can help us face our fears. In the weeks to come we will examine anger, guilt, and hope among others! Hope to see you there!
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


TEAM Day Coming! Saturday, March 9th 8am-3:30pm
Every year, our Michigan Districts gather together for TEAM Day, which is a day of training and information for leadership and lay people. There are a variety of workshops which take place all day, from children and youth ministry to adult ministry, discipleship ministries, praise and worship, outreach, and more. Lunch is also included. TEAM Day will be held at Perry Middle/High School, and we will meet at the church on the morning of Saturday March 9 to car pool together. Registration is due by February 11th. If you are interested, there are fliers on the table outside of the sanctuary, or talk to Pastor Dan or Janie Hathaway.

Missionary Books! – Will You Read?
Our Missions department has reported that so far this year we have read 54 missionary books as a church. We are doing great, but our goal of 75 books by June is fast approaching! Are you interested in reading a book? The books are very interesting, and they are a great way to learn more about missionary work around the world. Books are available for all ages, and even on CD if you would rather listen! Talk to Janie Hathaway.
Window Blessings!
Did you go downstairs to see the new windows in the Sunday school room, the kitchen, the bathrooms, and Pastor Dan’s office? They look great and they let in a lot more light! Not to mention that we are now better insulated and will be warmer for it! 

We were blessed as a church to have an anonymous giver come forward and offer to pay for 50% of the cost to replace the rest of the basement windows (the others were replaced a few months ago). Not only did this person offer to pay 50% of the cost, but we found out when we went to pay the bill that they surprised us and actually paid for about 75% of the cost! So of the $1,020 total cost of the windows, this person has already covered $800! Wow! Praise God! God is moving in our little church and this is just more evidence of it! 

This Sunday there will be a special line in the church finance box for this project. You will see that we already have the $800, and if you would like to donate to this special project, please just write “window project” on your giving envelope this week. Thank you again to our anonymous donor and thank you to all who give and love our church! 

Upcoming Events!
It is a new year, and we are planning new events to look forward to in the coming months. We will be holding a baptism service in February, a membership class in April, and a Marriage Enrichment small group for couples. More details, times and dates will be published soon. If you are interested in being baptized, coming into membership, or joining our small group, please talk to Pastor Dan or Pastor Amy. 

Indian Lake Scrapbook Weekend! January 25-27
All women are invited to Indian Lake for a “beat the winter blues” scrapbooking weekend 
get-away. The cost is only $25 per day, and includes table space, devotionals, games, prizes, 
give-aways and all meals. Hotel lodging is available for $50 per night. You can call Indian Lake
with questions at 269.649.2281 or talk to Pastor Amy for registration forms. 

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. 

Next Northeast Community Potluck – Sunday February 10 
We will be holding another Northeast Community Potluck on Sunday, February 10 immediately following our morning worship service. Bring a dish to pass if you are able, and join us for delicious food and fellowship. Everyone is welcome to attend, and this is a great time to invite a friend or family member to church! If you would be willing to help set-up or clean-up, please talk to Pastor Amy or Irene Pratt.

Grand Rapids Taste of Soul – February 17, 1-4:30pm
African American History month is in February, and to celebrate, the Grand Rapids Public Library is holding their eighth annual Taste of Soul celebration on February 17th from 1-4:30pm. The event includes literature, history, storytelling, music, crafts, author visits, and food. If you are interested in attending with a group from our church, talk to Pastor Dan.

New Membership Class Begins –April 07
While the end of April may seem like a long time away, we wanted to let you know that we will be holding another new membership class for anyone interested in membership. If you are considering membership, you have plenty of time to pray, ponder, and ask questions. The class will run for four weeks, and will cover a book titled “Welcome to the Church of the Nazarene.” If you are interested, talk to Pastor Dan or Pastor Amy. 

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 28th 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 Pastor Amy or Irene Pratt.

Upcoming Events
January 26 Church Work Day 8am-12pm
January 30 Weds Night Dinner @ 5:30pm, regular Bible study to follow
February 1 First Friday Chinese Lunch, 11:30am, Hibachi Alpine
February 3 Communion Sunday/Family Church—NO Children’s church
February 10 NE Community Potluck following morning worship service
February 17 Taste of Soul Sunday, 1-4:30pm (details in newsletter)
February 17 Reverend Chris Christopher visits! (Sunday morning worship service)
February 23 Church Work Day 8am-12pm
February 27 Soup, Salad & Bread Dinner @ 5:30pm
March 9 TEAM Day
April 07 New Membership Class begins
April 22 Earth Day

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 15, 2013

Laundry Reflections
Almost every day, or at least most days, I find myself in the basement, folding laundry. With two little boys and a construction worker for a husband, you would be correct to imagine that the hum of the washing machine and the rhythmic swoosh of the dryer almost always make up the background music to our home. 

For awhile, I found this laundry task overwhelming. It was a time when I realized that my mom was no longer doing my laundry; that fresh-smelling sheets would no longer magically appear on the bed, and perfectly rolled socks would no longer be ever-present in my drawer. Rather, I would now be the mom doing the laundry; I would now be the magical laundry-fairy.
And I knew that just like my mother, I too would be taken for granted by those who never think twice about the drawers full of clean clothes and beds with fresh sheets.

 There was some injustice in realizing that it was my turn to be responsible for clean socks and clean sheets. For juice and spaghetti-o stains that sit too long on little boys’ shirts and ruin them. For learning what does and does not shrink in the dryer and on which settings. For making sure spare change, screws, tools, and other construction objects were emptied out of pockets before washing. For knowing the difference between small, medium, large, hot/cold, cold/cold, warm/cold, cottons, easy care, gentle, heavy, and pulse. For buying detergent and dryer sheets. For folding, folding, and folding. For forgetting to put the clean clothes into the dryer, discovering them days later, and having to wash them again. 

Today I can say I have successfully grown into this laundry business; in fact, I have come to enjoy it. It is a sort of reprieve to me, to disappear into the cool of the basement, pulling the fresh clean clothes out of the dryer and warming my cold hands by their heat. I fold, and I think. I fold, and I think so much that I could probably start another page and call it my “laundry reflections.” I fold, and in my hours of folding, I have come to believe that our hopes and our fears and our whole lives can be seen in our laundry.

I match and roll little boy socks, and it makes me smile, and I think of my Grandma Lorraine, mother of eight, and of all the laundry she must have done in her lifetime. I fold little boy jeans with rips and mud-stains, and marvel at how fast they grow. I fold shirts with monkeys and footballs and giraffes, and I am glad they are still little and innocent. 

I fold their soft favorite blankets, I fold their sweet soft Mickey Mouse pajamas, and I think about how uncertain the world is right now. Somewhere in the little pant legs and tiny socks, my heart begins to break for them, for me, for everyone. I think of this world and all of its dangers and hurts, and I wonder why they can’t just stay in these sweet little Mickey pajamas forever. 

Perhaps only a mother can understand the amount of grief and worry which can come with something as simple as folding your babies clothing. But it is serious and unavoidable. It is part of the motherhood deal, part of those kinds of blessings which at the same time stab your heart like the sharpest knife and leave you feeling disemboweled and helpless. 

Because someone might hurt them someday. Someone might make fun of them for wearing an elephant sweatshirt. Someone might tell them they look stupid, that their hair isn’t right, that their jeans are too short or their shoes aren’t cool. I wonder if they will be like me, and carry a self-conscious discontent around with them for 10 years because some mean kid pointed out my slightly crooked teeth when I was 8 years old, and I never forgot.

And my heart is preemptively broken for my little boys; I am already weeping on their size 2T pajamas because I know that there are dream-stealers and innocence-robbers out there and I just want to protect them from this uncertain world. I just want to be able to give them something, to point them somewhere where they will know that they are always safe and loved. 

I know that flowers bloom, and eggs hatch, and eventually baby birds fly and soar and find their own food and shelter and a mate and have their own babies. Usually they survive the whole ordeal and so do their mothers. But sometimes the weight of my babies in this ferocious world is enough to knock me down and drag me out to sea like a tidal wave. 

However, as is usually the case in my moments of panic, I remember that there is a God. There is a Savior, a redeemer, a shepherd-protector-nurturer-comforter-seeker-inviter-restorer-healer. A slayer of all things evil, one who has already won the battle against darkness and kidnappers and monsters and the boogeyman and bullies and mean words that tear us down. A Savior who says let the little children come to me….

Jesus loves my children; He loves them even more than I do. This is good news. My love for them is sometimes me-centered, as in: Dear Jesus please be with my children, because I am terrified of how much my heart could actually break otherwise. But He knows, even more than this mom knows, what is best and perfect for them. 

So I will continue with the folding of the laundry and the marveling at the sweet little boy clothes, and I will continue to learn that I cannot protect them from this uncertain world. I will continue to tell myself, oh mother, you are not able to make all things right for them; only Jesus can do that. I will continue to pray for them, to pray only that they grow up to love Jesus, with absolutely no other strings attached. Nothing else matters, not in this uncertain world anyways. 

I will fold and sing the song from Sunday:

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still, the calm assurance;
This child can face uncertain days, because He lives…
(Sing to the Lord #256 Because He Lives)

With Love, Pastor Amy

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