Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NE NEWS - February 10. 2013

Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene
861 Fuller Ave NE - Grand Rapids, MI  49503 - PH # 616.459.2773
Northeast Community News – February 12, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

What a wonderful day we had in the Lord, Sunday! It was a joy to see so many faces we hadn’t seen in a while! What a joy to see Brian and Landon Hauk, Robert, Abbie, and Eva Moomey, and Angela Vandersloot after she has been sick with bronchitis and pneumonia! Has it been awhile since you’ve been in church? Remember, no matter how long you’ve been away or why, we rejoice when you come home! We really do miss you!

God’s message this week came from Mark 1:4-11 and was titled, “Following Jesus in Baptism.” Baptism is important to Jesus. In fact, it marked not only the beginning of His ministry as we find in Mark 1:4-11, but was the central element in the Commission Jesus extended to all disciples at the end of His ministry, too! You will recall Jesus declared:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19).

Have you been baptized? Are you a disciple and letting God use you to lead others to a saving relationship with Jesus and their own moments in the sacred waters of baptism?

We can learn much from the way Jesus was baptized! First a bit of context! While we find in Mark 1:2-3 bits of Malachi and Isaiah’s prophecies that someone was coming to prepare the people for the coming Messiah, beginning in v4 this prophecy is fulfilled as John the Baptist calls them to prepare by confessing, repenting, and being baptized.

But then a startling thing happens! In the midst of the crowd of sinners, seekers and the curious preparing, Jesus steps forward to be baptized. While Jesus never sinned and does not need to confess or repent, Matthew tells us His baptism was needed to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). Jesus was being obedient to the Father.

Given this understanding there are 3 things we can learn from Jesus baptism. First, Jesus identifies and mixes with sinful and curious people. Unlike Naaman (last week) who sought special treatment, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was comfortable being largely unrecognizable in a crowd. Second, Jesus identifies and mixes with sinful people, too. He stood among those who desperately needed to be made right with God through confession, repentance, and baptism.

Are you comfortable as part of the crowd or do you need special treatment? How ought an understanding of Jesus teach us when we are in a leadership position? Should we seek ‘perks’ or identify with the ‘common folk?’ How does Jesus’ humility challenge you?

Further, are you comfortable mixing in a group of broken and hurting people or would you rather let others care for them? Are you among the first to greet a new person who God sends our way or do you find a subtle way to avoid them by engaging someone you are more comfortable with? To be Christlike challenges us to move outside our comfort zone and make an effort to know and then love broken, hurting, and misplaced people.

Finally, in His baptism Jesus demonstrates obedience (vv. 10-11). It is one of the most beautiful pictures in the entire Bible. Jesus, who had no sin or need to confess or repent, submitted Himself to the public humiliation of baptism to be obedient to God. Did Jesus “need” to be baptized? No, not in the way we “need” to be baptized. But He wanted to do what his Father wanted. Regardless of the cost, Jesus was completely obedient to God.

At the heart of Christianity is a desire to respond to the God who loves us obediently regardless of the cost or what the crowd might think or how embarrassing. Let’s face it, if you are a ‘back of the room person’ the idea of getting wet publicly and giving your testimony can be very hard, but following Jesus in baptism means your focus is less and less about you and more and more about being obedient to God regardless of the cost.

Have you been baptized? Do you reach out to those who need salvation and baptism? Baptism is not necessary for eternal life, but Jesus was baptized and clearly commanded His disciples to ‘Go and make disciples and baptize them.’ I trust the Holy Spirit is speaking to you and you will respond obediently.

On Feb 24 we will gather at Lifestream Free Methodist Church at 3pm for a Baptism Service. If you would like to be baptized it is not too late to let Pastor Amy or Pastor Dan know! If you have already been baptized please come and celebrate one of the high points in the Christian Church!

Answer? Apparently a lot of you do! Several months ago Pastor Amy and Shannen Parsaca suggested we start a Facebook page for the church. As your cutting edge tech driven pastor (so not true) I wasn’t sure about Facebook but felt anything that got our name out there and gave people a reason to talk about us was a good thing. But, if I was going to be honest I wasn’t sure how many people might actually be interested enough to read, comment, like, or post on our page!

 Can you relate? Well, if you were a doubter, too, you are also wrong like me! In fact, according to the stats we receive from Facebook, we reached 42, 116, and 63 people in the last 3 weeks alone! Praise the Lord! It’s good to be wrong, Amen?

Thank you Shannen for keeping our page looking so wonderful! While I am probably never going to ever be a high-tech pastor and check my Facebook account on a regular basis, I am extremely grateful God provided our church with people who do! God is good! (yup you got it – ALL the time!)

Have you attended an Ash Wed. 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 before 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.

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. While we will not be meeting on Ash Wednesday, next week we will examine how Ps.31 helps us address our sadness. In the weeks to come we will examine acceptance, and hope, too! See you next week!

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

Another Great Potluck!
We had another excellent potluck on Sunday, or so I heard! It sounds like while Theo and I were enjoying lunch with Grand Rapids West International, you all had a pretty good lunch over here, too. Thank you to everyone who helped out and praise God for everyone who stayed to eat and fellowship!

Pastor Dan is on vacation!
This week, from, February 11th until February 18th (Monday thru Monday) Pastor Dan is on vacation. Please feel free to contact me (Pastor Amy) with any needs you may have this week! Let’s also be praying for Pastor Dan, that he is rested and renewed during his week away. Thank you Pastor Dan, we love and appreciate you!

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.
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!

Baptism Service – Sunday Feb. 24 @ 3:00pm
Everyone is invited to come to our next baptism service which will be held on Sunday February 3rd at 3:00pm at Life Stream Free Methodist Church (800 Maryland Ave NE). You aren’t just invited, you are encouraged to come, and you should be there! Baptism is a significant and precious moment, and we hope you will come to support those who are being baptized. There will be a light meal afterwards. If you want to be baptized, please see Pastor Dan as soon as possible.

Nazarene Missions Int’l – Crisis Care Kits in February!
Every year our local missionary team asks us to participate in building Crisis Care Kits (CCK). This year Tracy Tamm, from our local Nazarene Missions International (NMI) council is 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. Kits 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, stored in warehouses around the world, and ready to be use 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!

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. February 25 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.

Upcoming Events
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 12, 2013
Lessons From My Two Year-Old
Little Theo is almost three years old, but until that day, I will continue to refer to him as my two year-old. As he learns to talk, I learn to listen. Not just hear, but listen. This week I found myself receiving my greatest lessons from him. Here they are:

1. Don’t Panic, it’s not that important.
One morning, I was making an intense effort at getting tasks checked off of my list for the day. In the background was the noise of little boys wrestling and playing. They were loud, and distracting. I felt my blood pressure begin to rise as distraction turned into totally unproductive confusion. It is simply not possible to accurately write checks, file bills, and gather correct paperwork while intermittently having to yell variations of  “don’t pound on your brother’s head!” and “don’t sit on your brother’s head!” and “don’t pour your milk on your brother’s head!”

As I huffed and puffed, little Theo walked up to me. “Mommy,” he said quietly.
“WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I answered irritably. He sits down next me, very serious. He raises his enormous brown eyes to mine, and says, “Umm….I love you. I love you and I just want to give you a hug.”

I am enveloped in shame for my irritability. He wraps his arms around my neck for a long hug and kisses me on the cheek. I tell him thank you. He says, “You’re welcome! I make you happy!” and he frolics off to fight with his brother some more. I proceed to wipe my misty eyes and reflect upon my panicked perception of what is important. I put away my tasks and pay attention to my kids.

2. Gratitude for the little things
Later in the week, little Theo is helping me make a batch of cookies. He stands at the counter on a chair, and we mix up the flour, sugar, and eggs. He is thrilled to get the privilege of dumping the bag of M-n-Ms into the dough. After it is all mixed up, I hand him the mixer parts so he can taste what is left of the dough and chocolate.

He stands there, licking the mixers and smiling, and says, “Dear Jesus, thank you for all of this cookie dough today and all of these cookies today!” Once again, I am reminded to take a step back from my task-orientation to see what is really important.

It is important that my son is big enough to help me bake cookies. It is important that this means a lot to him, to help mommy make something. It is important that he even thinks of thanking Jesus for this simple pleasure. It is important that he also is focused on getting the cookies ready for daddy, so that he can show daddy what he did when he gets home. It is important that I slow down and take these things in, because they are over with in the blink of an eye, and I am not always looking.

3. They actually listen and pay attention, sometimes
As parents, we spend most days repeating ourselves and saying “NO” so often that we sometimes wonder what the point even is. Do they ever hear anything? Or will they forever be ping-pong balls, bouncing off of the same wall, over and over again?

In an effort to be faithful regardless of perceived outcomes, we say a short prayer with little Theo every night. This week, I have started to ask him what he thinks we should thank Jesus for. Some nights, he is a typical wiggly little boy who is more likely to poke me in the eye or throw a stuffed animal at me than to answer the question. But other nights, he will, for just a brief moment, quietly reflect with me.

And I am amazed. My two year-old lists everyone he knows, from grandparents to cousins, aunties and friends, nursery workers, mom and dad and Remi and all of his elephants which he loves very much. He also remembers little things like, “auntie Tasha’s foot hurts” and “Remi is sick” and “Bump is at the cabin” and “daddy is tired.”

These are sweet, precious, wonderful little glimpses of heaven on earth. Every time I start to act like a real grown up, with our sense of self-importance, stress, and frantic activity, my kids somehow remind me to stop taking myself so seriously. They are little pieces of God’s grace, tangible and pitter-pattering around my home, pointing me to Jesus.

It is funny how we pray for things, and then entirely fail to have the eyes to see the answers which God provides. I pray to have a heart which loves others. I pray for eyes to see the blessings around me. I pray to be grounded in what is important. I pray for the strength and protection of our marriage and family. I pray for guidance and direction.

And then I expect….what? An email from God? Dearest Amy…here are all of the clear, black and white answers to every question you have. Perhaps a private letter in the mail?
A grisly old voice in the night, making all things clear?

I look in strange places for answers, but God is sending answers. Answers delivered by these little boys, by little fingers and little toes, through the little words they are learning to say, through the way that they give and receive love, through the way that brush against my heart and change it forever. I don’t know why God works through people, through our children, our friends. But today I am glad it is this way. I pray that we all have eyes to see it.
With Love, Pastor Amy

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