Tuesday, February 5, 2013

NE NEWS - February 5, 2013

 Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene
 861 Fuller Ave NE - Grand Rapids, MI  49503 - PH # 616.459.2773

Northeast Community News – February 05, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, it was another ordinary day in the Lord this week….(smile). Now, you know better than that, don’t you? If discipleship or worship ever becomes ordinary it isn’t because God let us down, got bored, or didn’t show up, right? We serve an Awesome and Holy God who can transform even the most humble and ordinary into the extraordinary!
And guess what? God did it again this week, too! Through music and prayer – through study and preaching – through the receiving of the bread and cup – God’s Holy Spirit moved and transformed those gathered into something incredible! God is so good!

Given these facts perhaps it wouldn’t surprise you to discover God’s message to us came from 2 Kings 5:1-14 and was titled, “When the Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary.”

Naaman is a rich and powerful man! He is connected and important. He is a captain in the Syrian Army and has access to the King of Syria, but he has a big problem; he has leprosy and in that day it was incurable!  But he is fortunate! In his military exploits he providentially took captive a young Israelite girl who shares a cure is possible (v. 3).

Eventually Naaman arrives at the Prophet Elisha’s door, but instead of being greeted by the prophet, Elisha sends instructions through a messenger. Naaman, an important man from Syria expected the ‘red carpet’ treatment and is offended and enraged (v. 12).  He comes very close to missing the opportunity to be healed because his pride is hurt. Do we ever feel too important to let God use ordinary people as a means to help or heal us?

Not only does Naaman expect the ‘red carpet’ treatment, he expects the spectacular. Elisha had instructed the messenger to tell Naaman to wash 7 times in the Jordan River. Why, that seemed too simple for a ‘big important man’ with a ‘big important problem’ like Naaman. Naaman declares, “I thought that he (Elisha) would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the sport and cure me of my leprosy.” Naaman wanted the spectacular! Not something this ordinary!

Do we ever ignore the advice of someone when it seems too simple? We often speak of the healing power of maintaining the ‘discipleship essentials’ of daily prayer, Bible study, meditation, and weekly worship, and service, but are they too simple for you? I am convinced maintaining a right relationship with God cures a lot of our ills!

Finally, Naaman breaks through. Maybe it’s because he finally hurts enough or is scared enough or is desperate enough, but after receiving advice from his ordinary servants in v13, the rich, powerful, and proud Naaman humbles himself in v14 and obediently goes down to the Jordan River and dips himself 7 times as he was told. And you know what? “…his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy”(v14b)

What about you? Are you desperate enough – hurting enough – scared enough to finally set aside your pride and insanity and respond to Christ in humble obedience? Isn’t it time you just stopped the craziness, confessed your need, and let God begin to heal you?

We closed by gathering around the Lord’s Table and receiving the bread and cup. It was a final and profound example of how God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary!

I was doubtful! In fact, with the terrible weather coming I called Jean Christoffersen and told her not to come. I imagined Wednesday night would amount to Janie and I eating dinner together and trying to get Joe (our black lab) saved. (Trust me, if anyone needs Jesus, our dog Joe does!) But imagine my surprise when 20+ people turned out for the potluck (including two visitors) and they all stayed for the Bible study! God is good!

Are you grieving? While we often think of grief associated with the death of a loved one, we also grieve lost marriages and careers, too. Grief is a normal part of human life, but it often leaves us feeling lost and helpless wondering, ‘How can I go on?’

If you’re grieving you’re not alone! Join us to 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 how Psalm 32 can help us address our guilt. In the weeks to come we will examine sadness, acceptance, and hope, too! See you there!

Have you attended an Ash Wednesday service and ‘received the ashes?’ the 40-day season of Lent in the Church begins with Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, Lent is a time for many Christians of deep spiritual renewal through the disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, meditation, repentance, and self-denial based on Jesus’ life.

The Gospels tell us Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert being tempted by Satan before beginning his public ministry. The six Sundays are not counted because they each represent a "mini-Easter," a celebration of Jesus' victory over sin and death. Many commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxury as a form of self-denial.

While Pastor Dan will be on vacation, Pastor Amy Orban will provide an opportunity to ‘receive the imposition of the ashes’ at the end of the service. Receiving a small cross in ash on your forehead dates back to the Old Testament times when the faithful marked their humility and repentance with sackcloth and ash. Today the ashes still symbolize repentance, but they also remind us of God’s amazing grace and mercy.

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.
Church Office: 616-459-2773My Contact Info: 616-514-9521 or aorban@nnu.edu

Next Northeast Community Potluck – Sunday February 10 – This Sunday!
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.
Alabaster Offering – Sunday, February 24th
The Alabaster Offering provides funds for property and buildings around the world. While we understand the church consists of the people of God and not a building, buildings erected for the purpose of ministry help provide a sense of permanence, functionally enhance ministry efforts, and convey an attitude that the Church of the Nazarene intends to “put down roots.” 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. You can take an alabaster box off of the sound booth to fill with your loose change, or just bring whatever you wish to give!

Do you want to be Baptized? Baptism Class Feb. 10 – Service Feb. 24
Are you a new believer or someone who has just recommitted their life or someone who has never been baptized and you know it is your time? Terrific! Pastor Dan and Pastor Amy are leading a class on baptism on Feb. 10th in the parsonage at 5:00pm. The baptism service will be at the Lifestream Free Methodist Church on Feb 24th at 3:00pm. Let Pastor Dan or Pastor Amy know if you are interested!

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.

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! Blessings, Pastor Dan

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. Starting in April 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 of the church? Wonderful! Pastor Dan and Pastor Amy are leading a class on Sunday afternoons in April and you are invited! Attendees will receive a copy of ‘Welcome to the Church of the Nazarene’ free 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. February 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!

Nazarene Missions Int’l – Crisis Care Kits in February!
Every year our local missionary team asks us to participate in gathering materials for Crisis Care Kits (CCK). This year Tracy Tamm, a member of our local Nazarene Missions International (NMI) council is coordinating and leading our effort. What is a CCK and why should we help? A CCK is a collection of basic toiletry items every human needs, but often don’t have because of a catastrophic emergency forcing them to flee.
For example, they were provided to the victims of super storm Sandy recently, but have also been given to sufferers in Joplin, MO after the tornado, in Japan after the Tsunami, and in Haiti after the earthquake. CCK are collected throughout the year, ‘staged’ in warehouses around the world ready, and ready to be utilized in emergencies wherever and whenever they are found. As Christians, we do our small part to help meet the need of 100s of thousands around the world who are suffering.
Below you will find the list of materials needed to complete a Crisis Care Kit. Tracy wrote, “You can either buy carefully or donate money or let me do the shopping! There are very specific sizes for every item in the kits.  If the items are the wrong size, we will not be able to put them in a kit, but will donate them to North End Community Ministry (the local compassionate ministry center here in Grand Rapids.)” Here is the list:
1 shampoo (12-18 oz.)
2 bars of soap (bath sized or larger)
1 tube of toothpaste (4.0-6.4 oz.)
3 toothbrushes (in their original packaging)
1 box of bandaids (30 or more per box)
1 fingernail clipper
1 sturdy hair comb
2 hand towels
4 pocket-sized packages of Kleenex
1 beanie baby sized stuffed toy
All of these items will be put in a 2 gallon sized ziplock bag. Items can be found at any dollar store.  We will be staring the drive for donations for the crisis care kits on February 3 or the first Sunday in February and will be collecting items until the last Sunday in February (Feb. 24th). Need more info? See Tracy Tamm!

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.

Upcoming Events
February 10   NE Community Potluck following morning worship service
February 10   Baptism Class at 5:00pm at the parsonage
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 24   Alabaster Offering
February 24   Baptism Service at Lifestream Free Methodist Church at 3:00pm
February 27   Soup, Salad & Bread Dinner @ 5:30pm
March 9         Tri-District TEAM Day in Perry
March 10-11 Tri-District Holiness Summit in Flint – Climb Higher!
April-May     Marriage Enrichment, dates and times tba
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.                                   
 February 5, 2013
Grand Rapids West International
My Christian Ministry degree at Northwestern Nazarene University requires that I spend a certain amount of time participating in a cross-cultural experience. So for part of the month of February, I am spending Sundays with Grand Rapids West International church. While I miss seeing and worshipping with the usual Northeast Community family, I am definitely enjoying this experience so far!

If you do not know, Pastor Mathieu Pierre is from Haiti, and has been serving at GRWI since the mid 1990s. Much of the congregation is also Haitian. 

Here is a revealing confession: prior to this assignment, I did not know where Haiti was located on a map. When talking to my husband, I stared blankly, and said “Africa? No….maybe South America or something? The language is Creole…which is something like Spanish? Or maybe more like French?”

Despite the seemingly constant flow of news from Haiti, especially since the 2010 earthquake, I have been quite ignorant of this place and culture. I have heard snippets of mission trips, poverty, government chaos, and disaster relief efforts, but like many, my eyes don’t always look much further than the small world right in front of me.

That being said, here are a few facts I have gathered about Haiti, a country in the great wide world around us:

  •  Location: Caribbean Sea, between Cuba and the Dominican Republic
  •  Population: 10.1 million. There are around 600,000 Haitians living in the U.S.
  • Haiti was the first black republic to declare independence from France in 1804 after a long and massive revolt against slavery.
  • Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere
  • Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history
  • An armed rebellion led to the exile of the president in 2004, followed by continued violence and governmental instability.
  •  A democratic president and parliament was elected in 2011 by general election.
  •  A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, killing 300,000 people, leaving 1 million homeless, and devastating the economy.
  •  A cholera epidemic hit Haiti in October 2010, complicated by the wake of the earthquake as well as hurricanes.
  •  There is a large Catholic population in Haiti (80%), but over half of the population practices Voodoo, or a combination of Voodoo and Catholicism
  • Only 50% of the population is literate, and access to education is limited
  • Only 40% of the population has access to health care.
  •   At least 50% of children are unvaccinated, and 90% of children suffer from intestinal parasite and other contaminated-water-related diseases
  •  75% of homes lack running water, and unsanitary water contributes to the spread of infectious disease
  • 50% of deaths are from HIV, infection, meningitis, tuberculosis, diarrhea, hepatitis, malaria, typhoid, and other preventable diseases.
  •  There is an estimated .25 physicians per 1000 people, or 1 physician per 4000.
  •  There is an estimated 1.3 hospital beds per 1000 people.
(Sources: World Health Organization, CIA world fact book)

If you are wondering why we should care, a reading of Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 may shed some light on our responsibility to be aware of and care about “the least of these.” Most of us are already overwhelmed by the amount of need right in front of us, even in our own homes. But a good look at the needs of those around the world might serve to re-define how needy we really are.

On Sunday, I got to experience Sunday school and worship at GRWI. Worship music is a balance of singing praises to God both in English and in Creole. The preaching is in English, but followed closely by a translator who translates the message into Creole.

Have you ever heard the old hymn “Because He Lives” sung in a different language? It is a beautiful and powerful thing to hear the sweet name of Jesus being sung and preached in another language! I could scarcely do anything other than close my eyes and drink in the sweet sound. It truly reveals what we mean when we say the gospel is for all peoples and all nations. Praise God for the way he breaks down all barriers, boundaries, and differences to unite all people under the blessed love of Christ!

I have already been stretched and challenged by these new friends in Christ, who are incredibly warm, grateful, and hospitable. They would not let me leave with an empty stomach, and they went above and beyond in welcoming me. I have already gotten to take part in some interesting conversations and new perspectives which I look forward to reflecting on with you. In the meantime, continue to pray for Theo and I as we spend this Sunday worshipping at GRWI again! I love and miss you all.

With Love, Pastor Amy

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