Northeast Community News – March 19, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
While I often say it was a wonderful day in the Lord and I mean it, last Sunday was a day I will not soon forget. For me it began with tears as Pastor Amy shared with the Praise Team what God had placed on her heart to share with us in her message. The Word had moved her and she moved us with the Word. I immediately thought of Rom. 10:14-16:
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-16).
Surely Pastor Amy has beautiful feet for bringing us the Good News! Amen? Amen!! I was moved by her message and challenged to ‘do a strange thing’ out of love for Jesus. But before she could even challenge us with God’s Word, one young woman lived it out by standing unashamed with tears streaming down her cheeks and singing her heart out as a living testimony to the Christ who saved her and set her free! Oh, that we might all have that sort of freedom to express our love to God in worship like she did Sunday!
I immediately thought of another Romans verse: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Rom. 1:16a). Surely, the Spirit of Christ was moving in our service this week! Praise God!
Our message this week came from John 12:1-8 and was titled “Extravagant Love.” To set the scene, we have Mary, Martha, and Lazarus holding a dinner for Jesus, to celebrate Lazarus’ return to health and life after Jesus raised him from the dead in chapter 11. Jesus has now gained many followers, and there is an open plot by the religious authorities to kill him.
Jesus, Mary and Martha, Lazarus, and the disciples are gathered together, enjoying a warm meal, celebrating Lazarus’ health, and celebrating Jesus’ presence with them. But this warm and comfortable scene turns strange and awkward when in verse 3 “Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
At this point, the sound of happy fellowship was probably interrupted sharply by a stunned silence as the disciples tried to make sense of what Mary did, and waited for Jesus to respond. You see women did not touch men, and women certainly did not let their hair down. In addition, Judas points out in verse 5 that the perfume Mary used was worth a year’s wages! Her act did not only seem strange, but even impractical and irrational!
Yet, Jesus defends Mary, saying “leave her alone…it was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (vs. 7-8). Why did Jesus defend Mary, and what do we learn from Mary?
First, we learn that Mary’s action is one of extravagant love, and it is in response to extravagant love. Jesus points out that the anointing perfume was for his burial (v7). When Mary anointed the feet of Jesus, it was a foreshadowing of Jesus death on the Cross, which was coming very soon. There is no greater illustration of extravagant love, than the picture of our Savior on the Cross. Mary’s act of extravagant love was a deep, heartfelt response to the extravagant love of Jesus.
Second, we learn that extravagant love pays attention to right now. What Mary did was an appropriate act of worship for that moment. For her, the time was right, and the time was right now. Jesus was going to die for the sin of the world, and rather than wait to use the perfume on his dead body, she chose to love him right now, while he was still physically with them.
In this sense, we see that extravagant love pays attention to the present moment, and says yes to Jesus in each moment that is in front of us every day. Extravagant love sees the needs that are right now, the opportunities to love right now. Do we ever feel moved to show love to others, but put it off? How often do our good intentions melt away into inaction and forgetfulness? The truth is that delaying God’s will for our lives will leave us restless and uncomfortable. Mary shows us that we need to love deeply right now, because we might not be able to do it later.
Next, extravagant love is not self-conscious. By letting her hair down and touching Jesus’ feet, Mary was going against all cultural constraints. How easy would it have been for her to stay in her place, quiet and composed, and let the disciples have all of Jesus’ attention. But Mary wasn’t worried about that and she wasn’t caught up on what they would think of her. No, she was so consumed by her love for Jesus that nothing else distracted her!
Oh that we could be so single-minded! How often are we so worried about the approval or disapproval of the people around us that we lose sight of adoring Jesus? How often do we let pride keep us composed and inhibited? What things could God do through us if we would be rid of all these silly distractions and simply focus on our one true love, Him?
Lastly, we ask what extravagant love will look like for us, today. Mary was physically with Jesus – we are not, so how can we love him this extravagantly? In Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus teaches us this simple but beautiful truth: when we love others, we are truly loving Jesus! When we begin to see Jesus in the poor, broken, downtrodden, imprisoned, hurting people around us, and when we begin loving them, then we are loving Jesus. Our extravagant love for Jesus is seen in the extent to which we pour ourselves out, showing kindness and mercy to the people of the world.
What an incredibly beautiful picture of extravagant love we see in Mary’s act. It is the reflection of our Savior’s love to us, reflected back to Him, like some glorious heavenly mirror of adoration. Aren’t you hungry for this? I pray that we see Jesus’ extravagant love for us a little more clearly when we look at the Cross, and I pray that respond in more extravagant ways.
With love, Pastor Amy
WEDNESDAY NIGHT ADULT GRIEF BIBLE STUDY6:30PM
Join us this week as finish the last lesson on Psalms and grief. We have learned what the Psalms say about anger, guilt, and hope, and we will now examine what God can teach us about praising Him even as we grieve! Hope to see you there!
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
Wednesday Night Dinners Continue – March 27th @ 5:30pm
Our dinners on the last Wednesdays of the month continue. The next dinner will be on March 27th, which is not this Wednesday, but next Wednesday. Our theme this year has been soup, salad, and bread – but the truth is that everyone pretty much brings whatever they want! So bring a dish to pass, a dessert, or drinks, and join us for an hour of food and fellowship before our regular Bible study and family night. This is also a great night to invite friends or family to join us! Talk to Julie Orban to help set-up or clean-up.
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.
Next Work Day: Saturday March 30, 8am-12pm
Easter Egg Hunt for kids!
We will be holding an Easter egg hunt for our kids immediately following morning worship on Sunday. All ages are invited to participate, but we usually give the little ones a head start! This is a great Sunday to invite friends and family! Talk to Janie if you would be willing to help stuff eggs and prepare the hunt!
Membership Class is Coming in April! Sundays 2:00pm-3:30pm
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, 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.
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 12 Mother’s Day
May 21-23 Work and Win at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp