Northeast Community News – February 26, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
What a wonderful day we had in the Lord, Sunday! Our day began with a wonderful time of discipleship! In the class I attend Sunday morning we learned about ‘salt, light, and yeast’ and how even a few Christians can make a huge difference in the culture! If you aren’t plugged into a discipleship class you really are missing out!
In our first service, God’s message came from Luke 4:1-13 and was titled, “A Wilderness Survival Guide.” Jesus moves from His baptism (Luke 3:21-22) where heaven opened, the Holy Spirit descended, and God spoke to affirm Him, to 40 days in the desert alone fasting and tempted by Satan.
Satan tempts Jesus in his physical hunger to turn stones into bread (4:3). Satan tempts Jesus to shift His worship away from God as a shortcut to gain glory for Himself and avoid the Cross (4:5-7). Last, Satan tempts Jesus to perform a dramatic jump off the Temple to prove His special relationship with God the Father (4:9-11).
Each time Jesus displays quiet confidence in his response by using His knowledge of Scripture and His relationship with God. While Satan eventually leaves Jesus for now, declaring he will wait for an opportune time (4:13), throughout this exchange we find something we all need to understand.
While we often think Jesus was weak having fasted 40 days in the desert alone with God in prayer and meditation, He was actually stronger! Satan had assumed this was a great time to tempt Jesus, but he was very wrong! This is the great truth Lent teaches us!
While the world might think we are weak and weird for going without or fasting or doing without some of our regular activities for 40 days, Jesus demonstrates if we want to be prepared for temptation; if we want to be prepared for the desert; if we want to have our own ‘wilderness survival guide,’ we need to set some good things aside, get alone with God, and embrace the discipleship essentials of prayer, bible reading, and meditation so we can become stronger and better resist the temptations of the Devil.
Will you set aside something good for something greater? Will you begin preparing for temptation before it happens? If the Devil promised to return and tempt Jesus further “at an opportune time” (4:13), you can be assured he’s coming back for you, too!
In our second service, 35 of us gathered at 3:00pm at Lifestream Free Methodist Church for a time of singing, preaching, testifying, and shouting as we watched the Glory of the Lord fall on three of our own as they were baptized by Pastor Amy Orban in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is a sacred and Holy time in the Church and we were blessed to be a part of God’s movement in our midst. While the water was “cold and a bit murky,” Kamrie Beck, Jeni Buchanan, and Joshua Cunningham, Jr. were warmed by the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit and their testimonies were crystal clear!
Kamrie shared, in part, “I told my pastor I wanted to be baptized and I couldn’t help smiling [during our 2/10 worship service] because I imagined Him saying ‘be free’ when I actually think God was speaking to my heart.” How wonderful is that? Speaking of her salvation experience she shared, “…[afterward] all the hurt and holes left in my heart were immediately filled by God…God healed the hurt and made all the other stuff fade away….” God is moving in the hearts of our teenagers, amen? AMEN!
Jeni shared, in part, “I chose to live a lifestyle that put me in harms way, and brought the Devil closer and I intentionally pushed God away for a long time….I want people who are like me to know that there is a way out, but the only way out is through being saved by Jesus!” Amen! Now that is Good News! Somebody ought to shout, ‘Praise God’!’ But I began to weep when she said, “I want to be baptized today because I have decided to change my ways, I want to follow God’s path. I want to always reach for Jesus’ blood- stained hand as He whispers, ‘It’s going to be okay, Jeni.’” Amen!
While these are only portions of their testimonies the message was clear! Sin is awful; God is awesome; the Spirit of Christ still seeks the hurting, broken, and lost, and Jesus still extends God’s amazing grace and rescues, saves, heals, and keeps us! What a joy to be part of such a sacred and powerful moment in the Church community! Praise God!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT ADULT GRIEF BIBLE STUDY
Are you grieving? We often think grief is associated with death, but we can also grieve lost marriages, careers, etc. Grief is a normal part of human life, but it often leaves us wondering, “how can I go on?” If you’re grieving you’re not alone! Join us as we examine what the Psalms can teach us about a loving God who weeps with you, walks with you, and offers hope in the midst of pain. This week we will examine Psalm 33 and see how faith in God provides hope. In the weeks to come we will examine faith and acceptance, too! See you next week!
Breaking News! The Church Board has just appointed Shannen Parsaca as our new Assistant Treasurer with plans (after 3 full months of training) to let Dick Morse lay down the accounting books at the end of our church year, May 31! Dick has served as our church treasurer since 1956 (that’s 57 years of continuous service! WOW)
Now, you may not know this, but we have been praying for over 2 years for God to provide us with a new treasurer because 2 years ago Dick told the church board he wanted to retire before he turned 90, and I will confess, as the date grew nearer we began praying harder and harder! Well, as the saying goes, “God is never late, rarely early, but always on time” and that sure proved true in this case!
About six months ago, Shannen began praying, “God, take me outside my comfort zone.” (Have you ever prayed this dangerous prayer?) She wanted to serve God with all her heart, but she wanted to be stretched! At the same time the church board met and suggested names of those we thought could be treasurer. Shannen’s name was brought up, but husband Pat said categorically “There’s no way Shannen would be willing to be our treasurer” and so we continued to pray.
When Pat came home he told Shannen about our suggestion and they both laughed at the thought….well, that is, until God reminded Shannen of her prayer to move her out of her comfort zone! (I told you it is a dangerous prayer!) After many meetings and a lot more prayer and fasting, Shannen felt sure God had called her!
Oh, and in case you are wondering, Dick turns 90 on July 22. If you are keeping track, that is just over 50 days after Shannen will take over as treasurer! So, from having no idea who our church board might select as the next treasurer to being sure Shannen Parsaca is God’s choice with just 50 days to spare! Coincidence? I think not! God is never late, rarely early, but always on time! Praise God!
PS. In case you are wondering (over the loud protests of Dick) we will be having a special celebration for Dick as we make the transition at the end of May! You see, not only did God provide us our new treasurer, but He provided one of the kindest, most Christ-like, and smartest men as our treasurer for 57 years. It is no exaggeration to say our church survived the lean years because of Dick’s leadership! Details to come!
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, because my schedule varies. 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.
NEWS & EVENTS
Last Wednesday Night Dinner – February 27 @ 5:30pm
Our last Wednesday night of the month soup, salad, and bread dinners continue. Join on the 27th before our Bible study for a delicious meal and fellowship. Bring a dish to pass, a dessert or a drink, and invite a friend or family member! Regular Bible study and Children’s program follow at 6:30pm. Talk to Julie Orban to help set-up or clean-up.
First Friday Chinese Lunch – THIS Friday- March 01 @ 11:30am
On the first Friday of the month you are invited to the Hibachi Grill on Alpine for lunch and fellowship. The food is cheap and delicious, and the conversation is even better! No reservations required, just show up and join us. See Tracy Tamm with questions.
Parsonage Landline Disconnected!
Most of you contact Pastor Dan via email or cell phone, but we wanted to let you know that the church board decided to have the landline to the parsonage disconnected, because it is almost never used. Pastor Dan can be reached via his cell phone616.204.1153, the church phone 616.459.0402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Church Work Day Thank You!
The trustees held another great work day on Saturday. Thank you to everyone who showed up to chip in and help care for our building and grounds! Work days will continue to be held on the last Saturday of every month. The next Work Day will be held on March 31st from 8am-12pm
Alabaster Offering – Thank you! And You Can Still Give!
Praise God for our Sunday Alabaster offering! We received a total of 207! Thank you all for giving! If you don’t know, twice a year we take up a special Alabaster Offering. Every penny of this offering goes to the global mission field for the purchase of land and buildings which are used for ministry around the world. Alabaster funds help provide land for many Work & Witness projects, and the entire Alabaster Offering goes toward the purchase of land and construction of churches, schools, medical facilities, and homes for missionaries and national workers. It is not too late to give! We will continue taking alabaster offerings again this Sunday, March 03.
We are holding our 3rd annual diaper drive to “keep em' covered” this year, but there is a wonderful twist! This year we are partnering with our own Morgan Barber (Pat and Shannen Parsaca's daughter) and her Students for Life Club to collect diapers to help make choosing life a little bit easier for those who might otherwise terminate their pregnancies due to the heavy cost of having a baby. Morgan is a passionate pro-life student leader who wants to do whatever she can to help women choose life. Will you join the Students for Life by donating a box or two of diapers? You may recall diapers are not provided by government assistance programs and are a huge expense for anyone, but especially those with limited income. Our goal is to collect 1,500 diapers through the end of March. There will be a play-pen set up in the back of the sanctuary for you to place your packs of diapers through March 31st.
Nazarene World Week of Prayer (Feb. 24 – Mar. 02)
Each year the Church of the Nazarene gather at the throne of God to pray for specific requests received from each Region. The gathering is called the Nazarene World Week of Prayer (NWWP) and is planned to coincide with the annual World Week of Prayer. This year, NWWP will be observed Sun., Feb. 24 – Sat., March 2. Prayer requests will be posted by February19 on the NMI Web site – www.nazarenemissions.organd daily on the PML Facebook page - Facebook.com/NMIPrayer.
Want More? Climb Higher! Tri-District Holiness Summit in Flint! Mar. 10-11
Dr. Anthony, District Superintendent from the Eastern Michigan District writes:
We spend so much energy, time and resources in the local church ministry and life in general. The climb gets steep, oxygen runs low, our climbing gear wears thin, and we need a bold, fresh boost of spiritual energy to climb higher. Your spiritual summit is not out of reach! Mainstream keynotes and musicians are not always available to the average congregation. That’s why we’re bringing them to you—for free! Whether you are a lead pastor, associate, staff member or leader in your local church, you will want to be a part of yet another Holiness Summit for all Michigan Nazarenes.
March 10-11, 2013 will be a time of renewal and a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the three Michigan Districts of the Church of the Nazarene. Pastor Dan adds, Consider yourself invited! I am planning on traveling to Flint Sunday evening to hear Dr. Diehl and Monday morning to hear Susie Shellenberger and Chad Bohi so you can ride with me if you're interested! While I won't stop Sunday night for dinner, we will stop for a fast food lunch before coming home Monday afternoon! This is an event that will challenge, lift, and encourage you! Let me know if you are interested!
Are you married or about to get married? Then you need serious help!
Seriously, the married life is regularly filled with challenges! From internal communication to unrealistic expectations to learning to disagree (fight) fairly within a Christian worldview, to the external pressures of family and a culture that has normalized temptation and divorce your church understands you often need some support, insight, and encouragement. This Spring, Pastor Dan and Pastor Amy and their spouses will be leading a 6-week class based on the book ‘The Five Love Languages.’ The class will most likely meet in our homes Sunday evenings but we will see who is interested and their availability. Let Pastor Dan or Pastor Amy know if you are interested!
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.
Membership Class is Coming in April!
Do you want to know more about the Church of the Nazarene, our local church, or are interested in becoming a member? Pastor Dan and Pastor Amy are leading a class on Sunday afternoons in April! Attendees will receive a copy of ‘Welcome to the Church of the Nazarene’ that will explain Nazarene history, polity, and what we believe! Let Pastor Dan or Pastor Amy know if you are interested! It will be a lot of fun!
Girl Scouts Meet in our Building! Next Meeting Mon. March 11 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!
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, children's 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.
February 27 Soup, Salad & Bread Dinner @ 5:30pm
March 01 First Friday Chinese Lunch @ 11:30am, Hibachi Alpine
March 3 Diaper Drive begins
March 3 Communion Sunday and Family Church – NO Children’s church
March 9 Tri-District TEAM Day in Perry
March 10-11 Tri-District Holiness Summit in Flint
March 27 Wednesday Night Soup, Salad, Bread dinner @ 5:30pm
March 31 Easter Sunday
March 31 Last day for diaper drive donations
April 07 New Membership Class begins
April 14 Northeast Community Potluck
April 22 Earth Day
May Marriage Enrichment Small group, dates and times tba
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.
February 26, 2013
I have these wonderful childhood memories of going on fishing trips with my grandparents at their cottage. They are those kinds of memories that you can feel and smell if you close your eyes, the kind that are so beautiful it hurts to know that they are gone, and you can’t even look at the old pictures without getting the lump in your throat and the misty eyes.
In a humble cottage on a large lake, my grandparents would bring small groups of their numerous grandchildren to stay for days at a time. For us, it was a blessed adventure, and there was nowhere we would rather be than there, swimming in the lake, napping on the dock under the hot sun, catching a never-ending supply of fish, waking up early to the fresh smell of lake-rain and the humid sunrise. We were so little then that we didn’t know it, but they were teaching us how to live life in a way that really mattered.
My grandmother taught me how to float. You could find her out in the lake beyond the dock, under the cloudless blue sky, floating calmly on her back, rocking with the gentle waves, at peace. At the time, she did not explain to me that being the mother of eight children and the grandmother of 20+ grandchildren gave her a whole world of things to think about while rocking with the waves. She did not tell me that life is so loud and hard. She did not give me the bigger, wiser motivations behind peaceful floating under the blue sky. She just showed me how to float.
She also taught us how to row a boat, and how to put a slimy worm on a hook. She would spend countless hours rowing us around the lake, letting us catch the abundance of pan fish to our heart’s delight. Then we would carry the fish back up to the cottage, where our grandpa taught us how to clean them, and cook them on the grill for dinner.
He did not explain the value of knowing how to catch, clean, and cook a fish. He didn’t warn us of the bigger picture, when life would change, grandparents would die, and the cottage would be forever sold into the hands of strangers. He just showed us how to clean and cook fish, and then sat down to eat the meal with us. We were squirrely, loud, busy little children, and undoubtedly we sometimes drove him nuts. But he was always just there with us.
They were the kind of people that had a way of making an impact just by their presence. No matter where you were or what you were doing, they were there cheering you on. With so many grandchildren, there was a wide variety of interests, from sports to music and everything in between. It would have been easy to feel like a nobody, like just another kid among a bunch of kids. But it never felt that way. They always cared deeply about us, individually.
As I look back, I miss them dearly, and I long for the day I will get to see them again in heaven. In the meantime, they visit my dreams, and like a soft wind they sweep through those quiet parts of my heart, reminding me, drawing me to what is important in this life. They take the heartache out of these memories by reminding me that there is another life where we will share friendship in more abundant ways than the glimpse we see here, however sweet and those glimpses may be.
My grandparents lived the ministry of presence. Like Jesus, they dwelled with us. And by their dwelling with us, we came to know that presence of Jesus which lived in them. Today I see it in my mom, who patiently gives undivided attention to my squirrely boys. I see it in my dad, who sings to them and shares his love of music with them. I see it in the other believers around me, in our friends who are just alwaysthere with us, come what may. I see it, and I connect it back to my grandparents, and I hear the whisper in my heart which says this is Jesus. He is with us in the people around us.
Why does God work through people? We don’t know why, but we know that he does. And this knowing has incredible implications for us. It means we are the presence of Jesus to the people around us, just as they are his presence to us.
Jesus did not keep people at an arm’s length. He came to be with us. He was born in a manger, entering right into the intimate stink of life. We show this love to others by simply being with them. We need not get caught up on results, on conversions, or on trying to make them what we think they should be. We do not have to have all the answers. We can’t fix the whole world, but we can know for sure that every small act of undistracted kindness shown to the people around us is an incredibly important way of sharing the love of Christ.
It is a busy world we live in, and we if we want to be present to the people around us, we have to do it on purpose. Distractions are screaming for attention constantly. We have to pay attention. We have to care. We have to have to draw near to Jesus, so he can fill us with his love for others.
I have kids of my own now, and I understand the value of floating undisturbed under the piercing blue sky, rocking with the gentle waves, letting the world turn without me. If I watch the lives of those who have been walking longest with Jesus, like my floating grandma, they seem to have captured the conviction that it is right to just be. They are able to let the world cling and clang and continue on with its frantic activity, while they practice contentedly being in Christ, and being the present love of Jesus to the people in front of them.
These are the people who give you their undivided attention, who care about the details of your life and remember the little things. These are the people who don’t tell you what to do, but instead let the aroma of Jesus in them attract your deepest senses and longings. I want to be more like them, because I think they are more like Jesus.
“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Cor. 2:15).
The very presence of my grandparents smelled of the sweet aroma of Christ. May we all slow down and be present with the people in front of us this week. May we be the sweet aroma of Jesus, the presence of his love in this tumultuous world.
With Love, Pastor Amy