Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NE NEWS - March 26, 2013

Northeast Community News – March 26, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,
 What a wonderful and blessed time we had in the Lord, Sunday! While there are so many blessings to mention, I will mention three! First, we were blessed with a wonderful Sunday school hour! Downstairs, the alternative adults ran out of room and had to add another table! We were also blessed by the HUMONGOUS outpouring of diapers we received this week, too! Finally, we were blessed when Steve Hammond joined us on the Praise Team! How did God bless you this week? Go ahead and praise Him! Amen!

Palm Sunday is a bittersweet moment in the life of Jesus and the Christian Church. On one hand, we want to eagerly join the joyful throng of palm waving disciples singing: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38) On the other hand, we realize Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem turns quickly from triumph into tragedy as those same disciples who cheered Him now run from Him, deny Him, and even abandon Him to death on the cross.
How do you honor a king? How do you honor King Jesus? God’s message this week came to us from Luke 19:28-44 and was titled, “Praise Is God’s Alone.” Luke 19:28-44 is a familiar passage of Scripture to many of us. Jesus rides the prophetic donkey colt into Jerusalem as the people lay their coats before Him and all praise breaks loose. After the Pharisees suggest Jesus rebuke His disciples (v39), He answered, “…if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40b). So, we honor King Jesus with our praise!
But we often do not tie vv. 41-44 into this familiar Palm Sunday celebration. As the crowd cheers and Jesus rides into Jerusalem we read, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41). In v44 we read of terrible things that will happen “…because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:44b).
The Jews largely rejected Jesus in their hearts! God, who had come in the flesh “…to seek and save what was lost” (Luke 19:10) as the Son would die on The Cross to forgive, redeem, and free them was largely rejected and Jesus wept. So, we honor King Jesus not only with our praise, but when we trust and Him as our Lord and Savior, too!
How do you honor the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as enter Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter? Receive Him! Serve Him! Praise Him! Share Him! Amen!

Diapers from Africa? Yes, we received 72 diapers from Chad and Sara Hoffman and their three kids Sabra, Sam, and Aviya, from Nairobi, Kenya last week! The Hoffman’s know the Parsacas and wanted to support Morgan and her Students for Life group! The Hoffman’s are part of the ‘Journey247’ missionary group who passionately desires to see entire communities, cities, and nations transformed by the Glory and Presence of the Living God! You can check out their website here:
My point? Well, isn’t it obvious? If missionaries in Africa can get behind this effort and donate diapers to help prevent abortion, anybody can! What’s holding you back? 
GOAL : 1,500          COLLECTED: 2,336 (as of 3/20)

Are you a disciplined person? Most of us long to be people with depth, strength, wisdom and maturity and deepen our walk with Christ, but spiritual depth requires discipline! Join us during the next 12 weeks as we examine disciplines that help us connect with God, reach out to others, and stay on track! You can do this! 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.
Church Office: 616-459-2773 My Contact Info: 616-514-9521 

Wednesday Night Dinners Continue – March 27th @ 5:30pm – THIS Wednesday!
Our dinners on the last Wednesdays of the month continue. The next dinner will be on March 27th, which is this 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.

Good Friday is a sacred holiday observed by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and His death at Calvary. Traditionally, the Church has recognized the Passion of Christ (His suffering and death on The Cross) between the hours of 12:00 - 3:00pm.  While we will not have a formal service, the church will be open during the Holy Hours of 12:00 – 3:00pm for you to come and pray (perhaps a prayer of gratitude) and light a votive candle (representing Jesus - the Light of the world) or simply spend some time in quiet solitude as you reflect on the cost Jesus paid on The Cross to set you free. Come. Remember. Reflect. Weep. Give Thanks. Come.

Work Days Continue! 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.

World Evangelism Fund Easter Offering!
This week Christians around the world remember our Lord's suffering on the cross and celebrate His triumphant resurrection. As the alienation and agony of Good Friday gives way to the victory of Easter morning, Nazarenes will join in the joyful refrain, "He lives! He lives!" The spotless Lamb who lovingly laid down His life is now the mighty conqueror of death and the grave! Because He lives, we live and can live abundantly!Having received His life, we now have the God-given responsibility of sharing this life with those who still need Him! The annual Easter Offering is a way to share the life-giving gospel to those who are bound by sin and darkness around the world! Together, we are making a world of difference!

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.
July 4-6 – Family Festival. Fun filled days with activities for all ages, including a 5k walk, other sports, water slides and rides, animal show, crafts, swimming, ponies, pontoon boat rides, a climbing wall and zip line, an outdoor movie and more!

·        Discovery Camp (grades 1-2-3): July 1-3
·        Boys & Girls Camp (Grades 3-4-5): July 29-August 2
·        Middle School Camp (Grades 6-7-8): July 18-22
·        High School Camp (Grades 9-12): July 14-18

This year, Indian Lake is offering a special promotion! If we get three new campers to attend camps, the fourth goes for free! Registration for camp begins April 15th, so begin planning! Please note that scholarships are available to help pay for kids who want to go to camp. You can see the bulletin boards, the tables outside of the sanctuary, or Pastor Dan or Pastor Amy if you are interested and want more information. You can also go to the website:, or call 269.649.2281

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 Monday April 8 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
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 2-3:30pm
April 14         Northeast Community Potluck
April 15         Registration for Indian Lake kids/youth camps begins!
April 20         Work Day at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp/RV Pre-Opening Day
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

Pastor Amy's Page
Viewing life through the lens of Jesus Christ

What calendar do you look at when you plan your life?
There is the calendar of mother’s day, father’s day, Fourth of July, birthdays, and anniversaries. This calendar also includes things like St. Patrick’s day,  Mardi  Gras, Valentine’s Day, President’s day, baby day, grandparent’s day, Earth day, bring your kid to work day, teacher appreciation day.

We typically don’t forget our children’s birthdays, and the most lunatic kinds of mothers spend months planning a tediously themed party which no one will remember (strictly my opinion). We mark our calendars for vacation, and we spend the year anticipating the arrival of the week within the little red circle. We know when Menards has their next super savings sale. We anticipate the first day of spring, we impatiently wait to voice our opinions in election seasons, and we all know men who go missing around the opening day of hunting season each year.

We have fireworks on the 4th of July, where thousands of people gather to watch thousands of dollars in ear-splitting explosives fly across the sky, all while mindlessly devouring hot dogs and waving little flags. The entire city of Grand Rapids turns into a green-beer-drinking cacophony of chaos on St. Patrick ’s Day. We shamelessly adhere to Valentine ’s Day, the day which is forever faithful in providing couples another reason to be irritated with each other.

Now don’t hear me wrong. I am not condemning secular holidays. As Christians we have little basis for condemning days which honor our parents, bring attention to environmental stewardship, or celebrate our cultural heritage.

There is nothing inherently evil in proudly wearing your “I voted!” sticker after a heated political season, and I will most likely be the lunatic mother planning my three year-old an elephant-themed birthday party next month. By all means, please buy your wife flowers on Valentine’s Day, and as far as I am aware, there are no theological issues with growing your facial hair out for deer hunting season men.

Seriously though, the problem is not days, because we know that days are just days, and these holidays are just made up by well-meaning people. The problem has to do with what captures our attention. The problem has to do with what we center our lives around.
On the Christian calendar, this week is Holy Week. It began on Palm Sunday, when Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people shouted, waving palm branches and laying down their cloaks in the path of Jesus and the donkey. Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! (Luke 19:38). This marks Jesus’ last week of life, and we hold in tension our praise to God against our knowledge that Jesus will go to the Cross in just days.
For the Christian, this week is anything but just another week. It is the week that changed everything, for everyone, forever!
Holy week is also offensive. Our secular holidays are always celebrating (worshiping?) something or someone. These are happy days, sentimental days, days which claim an inherent ability to turn our attention toward “what matters.” These are the days which tells that “what matters” is that we are happy, well-fed, and recognized as important.
Holy week does the opposite, and has little to do with easing our minds or softening the blow. It gives us a sharp reminder that “what matters” is Jesus and what he has done to redeem the world through his death on the cross.
This week, we remember the suffering of our Lord. We read slowly about Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, we linger as He washes the feet of His disciples, teaching them to wash each other’s feet, to love one another in humble love.  
We hear Him telling us not to let our hearts be troubled because He is going to prepare a room in heaven. We hear Him promise the Holy Spirit in His absence. We see the baffled faces of the disciples, who even now do not understand what is happening. Then we hear Jesus pray for the disciples, and then he prays for us, too.
He is arrested, bound, and betrayed by Peter who denies him not once, but three times. He is questioned, beaten, flogged, and mocked. They clothe him with irony in a purple robe, give him a crown of thorns, and Pilate hands him over to be crucified.
He carries his own cross to Golgotha where they strip his clothes and nail him to the cross. A mocking sign is placed on the cross, reading “Jesus of Nazareth – King of the Jews.”
On Good Friday from 12pm-3pm, we remember that Jesus hung there for three hours. They pierced His side with a spear even after he was dead, raining blood upon the onlookers. He was dead, and submissive to the will of the Father to the very last breath.
God knew the world was being redeemed, but Jesus’ followers could only look on in horror. Jesus’ mother stood under the Cross, splattered in the blood of her son, most likely weeping hysterical with the other women and the disciple who remained.
What were they thinking? The Messiah is dead…It was not supposed to be like this…what have they done…God hates us all…
One can scarcely imagine the depths of despair which these gathered ones must have felt. Hope was lost, not just now, but forever.
The violent, humiliating death on the Cross does not make for a very good Hallmark greeting card. The birth of Jesus? Sure. The Resurrection? Absolutely. But not the Cross, not the suffering, not the blood mixed with tears and dirt and death and hopeless void unending.
We want to rush forth to the Resurrection. The Resurrection gives meaning to a seemingly nonsensical murder of God.
But for Holy Week let’s slow down and linger here in this place for a bit. Let’s look at the faces of Mary, tear-streaked with blood and the depth of human despair. Look into the faces of those who were there, and look deeply. Because they are mirrors of our faces, too.
To those who witnessed the crucifixion and to the 21st century reader alike, the excruciating and humiliating death of God on the cross is too much to comprehend. We cannot see purpose in such an act; how can we believe that God’s hand is in this?
This is not easy to think about. It is never easy to explain suffering. But this Jesus on the Cross, this suffering Jesus had a bigger purpose than could be seen at first. Jesus did not suffer for nothing – he suffered to redeem the world. Jesus died for sinners to be saved.
It may not be the warm consolation we all want, but Jesus on the cross also reminds us that our suffering in this world, too, is not without God’s greater purpose. We see our God is still in control, even when bloodthirsty crowds gather and hell seems to have come to earth.
This week my prayer is that suffering, both Jesus’ suffering and your own suffering, leads you deeper into Jesus who died for you.
With love, Pastor Amy

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