Northeast Community News – March 12, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
What an amazing time we had in the Lord, Sunday! Actually, Saturday and Monday were wonderful, too! On Saturday, eight of us travelled to Perry MI, for the Tri-District Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries equipping event called “Team Day.” There we were blessed, taught, fed, and challenged! More to come! Monday was the second day of the Holiness Summit in Flint and God surely anointed His servants! God is good!
God’s message to us Sunday came from Luke 13:1-9 and was titled, “About Face! Beautiful!” What would it take for you to radically change those areas where you are out of alignment with God’s plan? For some of us, it took God permitting pain, loss, and even tragedy for us to finally decide to change the way we were headed.
In Luke 13:1-9 we find three stories that may seem a bit unrelated at first. In the first story (vv. 1-2) Jesus is asked if Pilate’s attack on the Galileans during their worship of God was the result of some terrible sin. Jesus responds, “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3).
To further His point Jesus rhetorically tells another story (v. 4) from recent memory about 18 who died when a tower fell on them in Siloam and asks, “Do you think they were guiltier than all the others living in Jerusalem?” He responds to this tragedy in the same way He spoke of the Galilean massacre, “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:5)
Then Jesus in v. 6 shifts to a parable about a barren fig tree and asks why it shouldn’t be simply cut down (v. 7). Though the gardener pleads for one more year to care for the tree and fertilize it to see if it will bear fruit (v. 8) even he agrees it should be cut down if it doesn’t produce fruit then (v. 9).
There are several points we can make about these seemingly unrelated ‘stories.’ First, Jesus makes it clear that tragedy strikes good and bad people and the level of sinfulness doesn’t have an effect on who suffers tragedy.
Second, Jesus makes clear that it is important to be ready to die. As my old pastor friend used to say, “Daniel, ain’t none of us going to make it out of this thing alive.” Regardless of how you die (and it could be very unexpected) you need to be ready by repenting.
Finally, Jesus makes it clear through the parable (vv. 6-9) that we are expected to do more than confess our sins (and then repeatedly return to them); Jesus expects us to repent (do an about-face) from our sinful way of living and produce fruit! Yes, we need to confess our sins, but Jesus expects more than confession; He wants changed lives!
The word “repentance” is often understood as a “change of mind” or a “change of heart,” but it is also understood as an about-face—that is to turn away from the old way of living and thinking and face a new direction and a new way of living.
Where might you need to make an about face? As you continue the Lenten journey I pray you listen to the Holy Spirit and embrace a new way of living – God’s way!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT ADULT GRIEF BIBLE STUDY 6:30PM
Join us this week as we examine what the Psalms can teach us about grieving. With just two weeks left in our study we will be examining Psalm 37 this week to see what God can teach us about acceptance and will finish off with praise! 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, 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
Order Your Easter Flowers!
You can order Easter flowers through March 17. The flowers will be delivered and will decorate the sanctuary on Easter Sunday; then you can take them home. Order sheets can be found in the Sunday program, and flowers cost $7.50. Just drop your order sheet and payment in the offering plate, or get them to Gerry Dawson by March 17.
Work Days Continue – Next: Saturday March 30, 8am-12pm
Our trustees continue to hold church work days on the last Saturdays of the month in order to keep up on the cleanliness and maintenance of our building and grounds. Many hands make the work lighter, so please come if you are able. No matter what your skills, they can put you to work! Talk to Pat Parsaca or Theo Orban with questions.
Alabaster Offering – Thank you!
Praise God for our Alabaster offering! We received a total of 223! 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.
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.
Current Diaper Total: 192 GOAL: 1500
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!
Indian Lake Nazarene Camp Events
If you don’t know, Indian Lake is a Nazarene campground where people from churches all over our district gather for District Assembly, children and youth camps, and various other activities. Pastor Dan and Janie own two cabins there, and usually invite everyone down to visit during family camp week in July. It is a beautiful place, and a lot of fun! Here are some upcoming events at Indian Lake as we approach Spring and Summer:
April 20 – Work Day and RV Pre-Opening Weekend. Includes breakfast, and sandwiches for lunch, but they ask that you please bring a side dish to pass for lunch.
May 21-23 – Work and Win Weekend. More work days to spruce up the camp after winter. The camp is including free meals and lodging for workers!
May 25-28 – Memorial Day Weekend. There will be family activities on Saturday, and a concert on Sunday morning.
We will be publishing more events as they draw closer. If you are interested, talk to Pastor Dan, or register with the camp at 269.649.2281. You can also go to their website: www.nazcamp.org
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. In May, 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.
Girl Scouts Meet in our Building! Next Meeting Mon. March 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.
March 27 Wednesday Night Soup, Salad, Bread dinner @ 5:30pm
March 30 Church Work Day 8am-12pm
March 31 Easter Sunday
March 31 Last day for diaper drive donations
April 07 New Membership Class begins
April 14 Northeast Community Potluck
April 20 Work Day at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp
April 22 Earth Day
May Marriage Enrichment Small group, dates and times tba
May 21-23 Work and Win at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp
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.
March 12, 2013
TEAM Day Recap
At 7am on Saturday morning, a group of us climbed into Pastor Dan’s comfy green van to make the 90 minute drive to Perry, Michigan for TEAM Day. Over 600 Nazarenes from three different districts gathered together for a day of learning, inspiration, and equipping for service. It was not only great to hear what is going on in the larger church, but it was great to learn from leaders all over Michigan who are making a profound impact for God’s kingdom.
The day started with a powerful sermon from Dr. James Diehl. He talked to us about the importance of staying faithful to God, no matter what. Yes, it is important for us to have goals, to work hard, and to pray hard. But ultimately, we are called to be faithful to God, no matter what comes our way.
He used his own experience as a powerful illustration. He lost his son not long ago to cancer. They prayed for a healing miracle, yet- his son died. At some point, he had to make peace with God about this loss. He realized that his son was no longer suffering, but was with Jesus. He realized he had to keep preaching the gospel, no matter what, even in the face of the worst thing he had ever dealt with, the death of his own son. We are called to stay faithful to God, no matter what.
I asked our group members to send me a brief summary of key thoughts to share with those who were not able to attend. Here they are!
Lessons from Pastor Dan
“First, I really loved the workshop on ‘The Problem of Sin and Death’ taught by Dr. Leth, chair of the ONU religion studies. It helped me to see how Wesleyans view sin and salvation differently than some others. Jesus not only lived and died to free us from judgment by God, but His death and resurrection brings healing and order from disorder and death, freedom from captivity and bondage, and reconciliation from separation in our relationships with Him and each other! Wow! What a Savior!
Second, as a former Roman Catholic and ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene, JoAnn Bastien was in a unique position to teach us about ‘questions Catholics ask’ and ‘things they want Protestants to know’ when they visit our churches and mix with us. I found it enlightening to realize Catholics wonder if we are Christian and whether we embrace the Apostles and Nicene Creeds like Christians should. We have much to learn about and I was thankful Team Day taught me so much!
A Challenge from Shannen Parsaca
“What stood out for me was creating vision of the GOOD NEWS within our church for our children and the children in our community. I would like to see our church get more involved with the kids. Some are, but most are not. I would love to do VBS this summer but I would need to have many volunteers to be involved. I think that if 20 people volunteered for this we could do it. Maybe that could be a challenge?”
Overflowing with Blessings from Irene
“My second session was very impacting. Here are the highlights:
The Blessings of God are Conditional and Proportional: Purity in my heart precedes God's power in my life. Blessings always follow obedience. Desperation drives you to depend on God.
How to let Jesus be Lord of your life: Deal with the problem. Die to sin, self, and society. Ask God to fill you with His spirit.
The next session was on Prayer as a passion: Just do it. PRAY. One helpful thing was if you find yourself wandering in your praying, instead of criticizing yourself, go with it and see where the spirit takes you. I feel like a sponge that has so much to absorb and am already overflowing!”
Tracy Tamm’s Recommendation
“I went to a class called "Worshiping at Midnight". It was all about praising God, even in the midst of darkness, troubles and things happening that we don't or can't understand. I have been through many a dark time in my own life, and sometimes it is hard for me to remember that God IS there, even when I can't see Him or when I feel He is not there. The speaker told of a story from her own life where she was tested and not trusting God, but then later realized He was there all along. The speaker gave me hope, that God listens, understands, and loves us, even in the darkest times in our lives.
I love Team Day! This is my fourth year going, and I learn a lot at each workshop. My faith is also reinforced by things I hear in the classes, and it is just fun to learn and mingle with other believers. I would recommend Team Day to anyone who wants to learn more about God and grow their own faith.
Through the Eyes of Janie
“The journaling session reminded me of the importance of pouring your soul out to God. The speaker said ‘God knows your thoughts anyway, so why not write it out and tell Him?’
Last, I think we have to stand on Dr. Diehl’s sermon about being on fire and right with God! Also, I went to hear Ted Lee speak about lessons from a prior District Superintendent. It is interesting to be reminded that we need to pray for our District Superintendents and General Superintendents because they sometimes do not have all the answers and rarely get called with good news. He also reminded the pastors that we have to be strong supporters of the Nazarene faith – this means budgets and going to events. He too spoke of relationships and that pastors need to know that calling is the most important thing they do.”
Pastor Amy and Theo’s Takeaways
Later that night, Theo and I both reflected on the day. We agreed that the main idea we took away was the importance of relationships. We need to be in loving, authentic relationships with children, youth, and adults who need the love of Christ. We have to really invest in people, not just for right now, but for the long term. Jesus is our model of relationships – he came to be with us. We are challenged to change our focus, and put our priorities more on people than on tasks.
We also went to a Creativity workshop, led by Dave Clark, a professional musician and worship leader. He told us to “find what stirs you – and chase it!” So what stirs you? What makes the hairs stand up on your arms? What makes you melt? What gets you fired up? Figure it out, chase after it, let it inspire you, and use it for God’s glory!
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of the abundant nourishment we all received from TEAM Day. If you missed this year, plan on joining us next March!
With Love, Pastor Amy