Northeast Community News – March 05, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
We had another wonderful day in the Lord, Sunday! While I was glad to see all three who were baptized the week before in our service Sunday, I was especially impressed and blessed to see Kamrie Beck! Why, you ask? Well, when Kamrie realized her parents weren’t going to go to church last week, she got herself up, helped her two cousins get dressed and the three of them walked to church anyway! Wow, what an example!
Paul wrote, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (I Timothy 4:12). Thank you Kamrie for setting us an example of faith! God is moving in your life!
God’s message to us this week came from Luke 13:31-35 and was titled, “Jerusalem! Jerusalem!” What makes you cry? There are many reasons to cry, but actress and acting coach Jane Daily said, “It’s hard to cry unless you’re feeling something.” Perhaps, then, the question isn’t “what makes you cry,” but “what do you passionately care about?”
In our passage of Scripture this week, we find Jesus lamenting, hurting, or expressing disappointment, brokenness, tears, and sorrow over a missed opportunity. What makes Jesus cry? In v. 13:34 we find several clues as we hear Jesus expressing in agony:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing (Luke 13:34)!
As we read this verse we begin to understand the heartbreak and disappointment Jesus must have felt as the Son of God. As part of the Godhead, Jesus had certainly watched as Israel had rejected God’s overtures of love and grace and redemption and instead killed the prophets. And now, as He comes as God in the flesh they are doing the same thing!
The Jewish people had accepted the idea of a ruling King, a political Messiah, but they were blind and could not accept that God loved all people unconditionally. They would have no part of “For God had so loved the world He had sent His son…”
While Luke records these words as Jesus reflects on those needing salvation outside of Jerusalem, Matthew records these words in Matthew 23:23 as Jesus condemned the Pharisees for ignoring the more important matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
So what breaks the heart of God? What makes Jesus cry? When we combine these two verses, we discover God’s heart breaks over those who reject His Son, His teaching and His plan of salvation individually, AND when His Church and His people refuse to love, extend grace, and advocate for justice and reconciliation as Jesus did.
If we are not careful, individual Christians and the Christian Church will parallel the Jews which made Jesus lament; which made Jesus cry. The season of Lent is an opportunity to move beyond yesterday’s testimonies and a dried up religion of rules into a deeper, richer, dynamic faith that challenges us to be the Church instead of just attending one.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT ADULT GRIEF BIBLE STUDY@ 6:30PM
If you’re grieving you’re not alone! Join us as we 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 Psalm 100 and see how grief can affect our faith. In the coming weeks we will also acceptance and even praise! Hope to see you Wednesday!
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.
Daylight Savings this weekend! Spring Forward!
Spring is coming! Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to sleep on Saturday night this weekend. If you forget, you’ll be late for church on Sunday!
Alabaster Offering – Thank you! And You Can Still Give!
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. It is not too late to give! Our alabaster house is still up in the back of the sanctuary, place your offerings inside.
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.
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!
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 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!
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 9 Tri-District TEAM Day in Perry
March 10-11 Tri-District Holiness Summit in Flint
March 27 Wednesday Night Soup, Salad, Bread dinner @ 5:30pm
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 05, 2013
I Want to Tell Their Stories
Ever need a good reminder about how God works powerfully outside of the four walls of our church buildings? I was so very blessed todayto hear reports of God’s grace working to bring restoration to the ugliest, most sin-ravaged, back-alley kinds of places around. Truth be told, many of these people do not frequent the institutional church, but they are still a bright and fantastic beacon of light in this dark world, and I wouldn’t want you to miss it.
So today, if you are feeling discouraged, exhausted, overstretched, or simply need some hope, may you find it in their stories. If you are wondering where God is, you will see He is right here, today, in Grand Rapids, and everywhere, pulling people from the grip of evil, slavery, and death. Note: If you are wondering, I will not use real names out of respect for anonymity.
Story One: This young man is short and dark-skinned, with the biggest brown eyes you have ever seen in your life. You would not guess his actual age, because he still has the mannerisms of a 20 year-old thug. He dresses nice, and his tattoos climb around his arms, up his neck, and on his face. He is not only recovering from 15+ years of heroin addiction, but from a life of violence and crime on the streets - the only life he ever knew. Today, in his thick Puerto Rican accent, he thanked God for allowing him to overdose and get desperate enough to surrender his life. His message is one of single-minded surrender to God, with no masks and no double-lives. After a few years of clinging to God, he is starting to live a normal life. His words today are full of gratitude and hope for sinners.
Story Two: This young woman is a recovering crack addict who also lived a life of prostitution before cleaning up. Once morally, spiritually, and emotionally bankrupt, she now has a normal life, and you would never guess the depths of darkness in her past by looking at her. Todaywe drank hot coffee and talked about the way God changes us, through and through. Today, she is struggling with grief, but she has a message of gratitude in the midst of it. Today, she sets an example of doing the right thing, even when you don’t feel like it. Today, she lives outgratitude as an action word. Today, she has hope even in uncertainty, and gives God all the credit.
Story Three: This old boy lived a wild life until the ripe age of 60. He talks openly about spending most of his adult life drinking, playing poker, and being on a first-name basis with judges from Flint to Muskegon and everywhere in between. He was notorious for waking up in strange places and losing his car. He was a proud man who thought he knew everything; until he realized he didn’t. Today, he speaks a message of God’s goodness, even as he grieves the loss of his nephew who was recently killed in gang violence. Today, he testified saying,thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus I’m not who I used to be!
Story Four: This tan-skinned salesman lived the high life, rolling in money, women, and debauchery until he partied away his success, and wound up in a treatment center where he was forced to reevaluate his so called “success.” He quit his fancy job and started life over. Today,he has been free from drugs, alcohol, promiscuous women and debauchery for several years. Today, he spoke of a simple relationship with God who answers his prayers. Today, he said that real freedom comes from a hard workout at the gym, and a ride on his motorcycle in the bright sunshine. Today, his message is to be grateful for a more simple life, one full of love, laughter, friends, and faith.
Story Five: This woman was a heroin addict by the time she was 14. She made a living in prostitution, but then rose in ranks to become a madam, and got rich by running an underground escort service where she sold women for lots of money to support her habit. For over a decade, she could not string together more than a few days without a fix. After a heart attack and yet another overdose, she ended up in yet another treatment center. Today, she speaks of being blessed beyond her comprehension. Today, she has a real (legal) job, just got engaged, and is the happiest she have ever been in her life. Today, she has a message of hope, and is a walking example of a new life.
Story Six: He grew up in a small town, the kind of place where little children could be seen sitting in the laps of fathers who were puffing on joints. He learned young how to make a profit from this popular trade, and he learned even younger how to smoke it. By young adulthood, he added whiskey to his cigarettes and dope, and became one of the craziest pick-up-truck driving drunken hillbillies you could meet on this side of Michigan. Cancer and drunk-driving arrests led to other paths, and today he is a family man and a loyal church member. He is a man of few words, but his actions tell all. Today, he works hard to provide for his family, and always tries to do the right thing, even if he’d rather argue.Today, he loves God and others. Today, his life calls out the truth that people really do change!
I hope these illustrations add to the beautiful sunshine outside, and give you hope. Pastor Dan mentioned on Sunday that we need to look at what God is doing today. These are but a small sampling of God’s activity in our world, in this very day. If you are losing hope over someone you love who is living out in the wilderness, may these examples serve your heart today!
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds, praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud crashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
With Love, Pastor Amy