Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NE NEWS - April 23, 2013

Northeast Community News –April 23, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
 What another wonderful time we had in the Lord, Sunday! God is so good to us, Amen? Amen! While a large part of Grand Rapids is underwater (and a few of our homes have wet basements), there is nothing soggy, wet, or cold about God! From the time of praise singing practice, to our discipleship hour, to worship and even singing happy birthday to 6-year-old Rileigh, we sensed the warmth of God’s love moving in our midst! Amen!
 God’s message to us this week came from John 10:22-30 and was titled, “Tell Us Plainly.” The Scripture makes the assertion that “we hear what we listen for.” The Jews knew God had promised a Messiah, but Jesus did not come the way they expected. While Jesus had told them, they did not believe (v. 25). In fact, Jesus declares they don’t even believe the evidence of the miracles He has performed (v. 25). Hmm, do we ever limit the way God can work in our midst? Does Jesus ever fail to meet our expectations?
 Jesus returns to His shepherding metaphor to teach about right expectations and the need to be in a right relationship with Him! In John 10:27-28 we read: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
 In a right relationship Jesus is the shepherd and we are the sheep. As a shepherd, we discover Jesus 1) knows His sheep, 2) offers us life, and 3) provides us protection. Long before you trusted in Jesus or even cared, He knew you; long before you understood life beyond your sinful living, His Spirit was trying to give you eternal life; and long before you understood what your “yes to Him” meant, He was already protecting you from the Evil One. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep!
As His sheep, Jesus asks us to listen and follow (v. 27). The words “listen” and “follow” are present tense verbs. Present tense verbs describe continual action. In this context Jesus’ sheep don’t just listen once, they continuously listen; they don’t just follow once when they were a child, etc., they continuously follow. Our relationship with Jesus is dynamic and ongoing! Regardless of whether you have walked with Jesus for 6 hours or for 60 years, all disciples (sheep) are challenged to listen deeply, seek His will and plan for their life, and follow Him not once, but continuously!  Do you hear Him? Get going!

Do you need discipline? No, I’m not talking about whether you deserve or need a “time out” or sharp smack or two on the hand or posterior, but whether you find yourself lacking the self-control and discipline you need to live a life of deep, intimate faith?
Most of us want to be deep, strong, wise, and mature Christians, but we may not realize those attributes require discipline and concentrated effort! For the next several weeks we are examining the disciplines needed to help us connect with God, reach out to others, and stay on track! You can do this! I promise there won’t be a time out!
Blessings! Pastor Dan

Hello From Pastor Amy/Your Part-Time Church Secretary
My office hours will vary on Tuesdays, and if you need to see me, just call! 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 oraorban@nnu.edu


Wednesday Night Potluck Dinner @ 5:30pm THIS Weds!
Join us for our potluck dinner this Wednesday night before our Bible study and family night. The theme has been soup, salad, and bread, and we all just bring a dish to pass, a dessert, or drinks, and show up for food and fellowship. This is also a great time to invite family or a friend to church. Talk to Julie Orban with questions or to help set-up and clean-up. See you there!

Church Work Day – Saturday April 27th, 8am – 12pm
The trustees are continuing to hold church work days on the last Saturday of every month. It is April, and spring is here! This means that there will be plenty of work to do both inside and outside of the church building. Please join us to help keep our church maintained and looking great! No matter what skills you do or do not have, they will put you to work. Talk to Pat Parsaca or Theo Orban with questions.

Marriage Enrichment begins—May 05 @ 2:00pm
Our marriage enrichment small group begins May 05th from 2-3:30pm at Dick and Emily Morse’s house. If you are interested, please let us know asap so that we can order materials! We also want to extend an invitation to couples to who are not yet married, so if that’s you, consider joining us for a time of relationship enrichment! There is already a wide range of couples, with marriages ranging from 3 years to over 50 years! It’s going to be a great time! Talk to Pastor Amy if you are interested in joining us!

You Can Write to Larry!
Most of you know that Larry TerHaar was sentenced last week to 2.5 years in prison. There is no doubt that he could use some words of encouragement from his church family, and it is important for him to know that he is in our thoughts and prayers. If you want to write him, here is his address:
Larry David Shane TerHaar
c/o Charles Egeler Facility
3855 Cooper St.
Jackson, MI 49201-7517

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:

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: www.ilnccamps.org, or call 269.649.2281

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  May 06th at 6:00pm
The Girl Scouts program meets 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
April 24         Wednesday Night Potluck Dinner @ 5:30pm
April 27         Church work day 8am-12pm
May 03           First Friday Chinese Lunch @ 11:30am, Hibachi Alpine
May  05          Marriage Enrichment Small group begins @ 2pm, Morses’ house
May 12           Mother’s Day
May 21-23     Work and Win at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp

Pastor Amy’s Page
Parenting Boys: Not for the Faint of Heart

Some weeks I am pastor, leader, scholar, creative artist of words sublime, painting you a picture and capturing the essence of the raw things in life which we sometimes miss on our own accord. Other weeks, I am tired mother of boys. This week, I am leaning more toward tired mother of boys.

I have heard it said by several people that parenting boys is not for the faint of heart. Three years into this thing, and I can wholeheartedly testify to this truth.
Last week, I woke up one morning and entered the boys’ bedroom, only to discover a room that smelled like week-old poopy diapers. It was still dark, and when Remi ran to me, I picked him up and swung him around my hip like I always do. Moments later, I realized he had pulled his own diaper off during the night. He was covered in poop, and so was I. So was the bed and the blankets. Upon looking into the light, I found poop in his hair, his ears, and smeared along the wood of the bed. Apparently he had been rolling around in it for some time.
So at 5:58 am I drank coffee, sitting on the bathroom counter while my one year-old played in the bathtub after I scrubbed the poop off of him. When we were done, I grabbed cleaning supplies to clean out the crib. While I was cleaning, Remi was running around naked. I heard a crash, and darted into the living room to discover that he had smashed a glass of water onto the hard floor. Glass everywhere….and that is not mentioning the puddle of pee I stepped in on my way into the living room. I often ask myself whether I have kids, or puppies, and really what is the difference?

Another morning that week, Remi snuck quietly out of his bed and into the bathroom, where he gathered all of my make-up out of the drawer, and brought it into his crib to play with. I discovered him, covered in blush and crumbled eye shadow, smiling at me while chewing on a stick of mascara. Again, a bath before 6am.

Another interesting act of terror this week included the systematic destruction of all the blinds in our house. Both boys seem to think that pulling apart the individual blinds and using them as weapons against each other is great fun. They also have taken a liking to pulling the shelves off of the nice bookshelf in their room. Again, this is of course for the purpose of weaponry against each other.  Add this nonsense to their compulsive need to pull all of the cotton out of the tiny hole in the chair and pretend it is “snow” or “ice cream” or “elephant food” and you might be starting to get the picture.

We also can’t forget Remi smashing a figurine my husband gave to me for our wedding. Oh and then also shattering the salt shaker on the floor (again, before 6am). Then there is the way Remi loves to randomly run up to his brother and pull his hair as hard as he can. Then there was the morning they somehow found the pencils and scribbled all over the walls, which is still there and I don’t care.

In terms of eye-popping frustration and near-heart-attack moments of parenthood, nothing can rival the destructive and intense nature of my one year-old Remi. It was summed up this week when we were at the park, and I would not let him run headfirst into the icy cold pond. He fell out on the ground screaming, and smashed his face into duck poop. This is Remi, and this is my life.

Then there is three year-old Theo, who watches with delight while his little brother destroys everything and gets in trouble. While Theo might not be as much of a hazard to himself as Remi, he is equally full of shenanigans and acts of war.

One of my favorites is the (almost) daily meltdown over which sippy-cup we use in the morning. When the elephant cup is dirty, it leads to an all-out meltdown on the kitchen floor, complete with the screaming and pounding of fists. Again, this is usually at about 5:58am while I have been awake for no longer than 30 seconds.

Another favorite is that he has taken a liking to unscrewing all of the large bolts out of our bedside table. And locking his brother in the bedroom closet until I notice and go looking for him. And stealing my cell phone while I am cooking, sneaking away with it, and calling Nana’s house. And pulling all of the pillows and cushions off the couch – not to play with, just to leave on the floor. Everything is better on the floor when you are a 3 year-old.

This week, most of our driving has been done in silence, because little Theo will have an emotional meltdown if he does not like my music choice. He also sobs uncontrollably if he thinks I am “not going the right way.” He falls on the floor crying when his dad leaves, and then does it again when his dad comes home.

Today, they are spreading the love by spending the day with grandma and grandpa. I hear that Remi has already pooped while in the bathtub, and dumped an entire bucket of wet dirt over his head for no good reason.

My mission for spring cleaning is to clear out their room. Of everything. Because they ruin everything. If I leave nothing but their beds in there, I guarantee they will chew their beds to pieces, and then use the pieces to hit each other in the face. They will find ways to destroy things, no matter what.

This would be a good place to insert a romantic guilt paragraph about how lovely parenthood is. Surely there are some who are wanting right in this moment to remind me that “these days just fly by” and so I should be cherishing every single second.
And I do – please know that I do. But all mothers of small children know that the cherishing is the sweetest when we can also honestly rant about the lunacy of parenthood. Without a sense of humor we will perish. They will eat us alive. Mother’s day is coming, and maybe I will write something on that day which better captures the good along with the crazy. Or maybe I’ll just take a nap.

I am currently learning to change my expectations. As in, don’t expect to have a home that is clean, and don’t expect to have anything that won’t get broken. The adjustment of expectations is healthy for me, and for them too. It is not that they are naughty….though sometimes they are very naughty. More than anything, they are just two little boys who are wired accordingly.

So I have nothing profound to offer you today, except that hopefully as you read this you had a good laugh at my expense. Today, the fact that I am sitting in a quiet office and no little boys are pecking at me like vultures or knocking over my hot coffee….this is pretty profound. Praise God for our children and all the joys and trials hey bring!

With love, Pastor Amy

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