Tuesday, April 2, 2013

NE NEWS - April 2, 2013

Northeast Community News –April 02, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
What a sacred celebration we had together, Sunday! After reflecting on the price Christ paid on The Cross on Good Friday and acknowledging Jesus went to hell and back for us on Holy Saturday, we celebrated the end of Lent with communal learning, joyful singing, passionate prayer, preaching of the Word, and sacred moments around the Lord’s Table as we received the body of blood of Christ in communion! It was a sacred celebration!
What a blessing to see so many faces in church! Your warmth was overwhelming and your singing was robust and strong! God is good! Amen! God’s message came to us from the Gospel of John this week and was titled, “Where is He.” While other gospel accounts record additional women coming to the tomb on Easter Sunday, John’s records a single woman, Mary Magdalene, walking in darkness.
You may recall Luke tells us this Mary was the one who was cured of 7 demons and supported Jesus’ ministry out of her own means (see Luke 8:1-3). Mark tells us her purpose was to simply bring spices she had collected to anoint Jesus’ body (see Mark 16:1). But as she travelled in darkness we can imagine her feelings of love, confusion, fear, and anxiety. She loved Jesus deeply and supported His ministry, but as she arrived at the tomb she remained in the dark regarding His resurrection.
In John 20:1 she arrives at the tomb and finds the stone removed and in v2 runs to tell Peter and John and said, ““They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” (John 20:1-2). Perhaps all of them thought a bad situation just got worse! Regardless, they all run to the tomb to check it out! All find linens and evidence that Jesus had at least once been in the tomb, but none of them found Jesus!
When Peter and John decide to leave for their homes (v. 10), Mary stayed and then dared to look in the tomb herself (v. 11). Through her tears she was startled to see two figures dressed in white sitting on the slab where Jesus’ body had laid (v. 12).  Was she dreaming? Seeing a vision? Having a mental breakdown? Then they spoke to her and asked: “Woman, why are you crying?” (v. 13). She told the angels, “They have taken my Lord away”, she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him” (John 20:13).
Then, sensing another’s presence, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t recognize Him. Jesus then asked her the same obvious question: “Woman,” he said, “Why are you crying? Who is it that you are looking for?” (John 20:15a). Still unable to see Jesus as the man to whom she was speaking and thinking HE was the gardener she said, “If you have removed him, tell me where he is and I will get him” (John 20:15b).
In the depth of her darkness and grief Mary still had no clue she was speaking to the very Christ in whom she was seeking…. Well, until she heard Him speak her name! “Jesus said to her, “Mary”. She turned and cried out in Aramaic “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher) (John 20:16).  Everything changed when Jesus spoke her name! As she rushed to embrace him, Jesus cautioned: “Do not touch me” and asked her to go and tell His disciples. In breathless, heart pounding fashion she cries, “I have seen the Lord!” (v. 18)
Can you relate to Mary? Like the first Easter, many of us understand what it’s like to feel grief, intense fear and anxiety and to possess eyes blurry with tears on Easter Morning! From losing our jobs to receiving a bad diagnosis to struggling in broken relationships we can relate to a Mary who wonders, ‘Where is Jesus’ in all of our pain?
Like Mary, our sorrows and fears and pain can sometimes blur our vision preventing us from seeing recognizing Jesus standing in the midst with us, too. But take heart dear children of God and listen closely! The Good News of Easter 2013 is that Jesus knows your names, too, and is calling them! This Easter, listen for Him to call your name and then like Mary go and tell others with breathless joy, “I have seen the Lord!”

We are announcing the last chance for Spring Marriage Enrichment! No doubt you will see the church offer an opportunity for marriage and couple enrichment again, but to be honest, we have not heard from anyone who is 'interested.' We did receive a wonderful offer from Dick and Emily to open their home to us and we sure appreciate that! They're so much fun we might just go out there whether we have a group or not! In the meantime, if you are interested but haven't told us yet, would let us know this week so we know how to plan, re-plan, or simply try something else?

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 oraorban@nnu.edu

Work Day Thank You!
Thank you to everyone who showed up to help with our work day on Saturday. It is great to see so many who are taking ownership in the care and maintenance of our building and grounds! Thank you for helping! Don’t forget – monthly work days continue on the last Saturday of every month, from 8am-12pm.

Easter Egg Hunt Thank You!
The children of the church got to take part in an Easter Egg hunt on Sunday morning after morning worship. I know my kids still have a whole bucket of treats at home sitting on the kitchen counter! Thank you to Janie and Gary for planning, buying candy, stuffing eggs, and blessing our children on Easter Sunday!

First Friday Chinese Lunch – this Friday, April 05
One the first Friday of every month you are invited to a Chinese lunch at Hibachi Grill on Alpine, located behind the Target. The group meets at 11:30am, and you are welcome to bring a friend. No reservations are necessary, and the food is cheap and delicious. Talk to Tracy Tamm with questions. See you there!

Membership Class Starts this Sunday April 07 @ 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!

Next Northeast Community Potluck: Sunday April 14th
We will be holding another potluck after morning worship on Sunday, April 14th. This is a great time to invite friends and family to church! Bring a dish to pass and join us for great food and fellowship. Please remember that even if you are not able to bring a dish to pass, or you forget, we still want you to join us, because there is always plenty to go around. To help set-up, decorate, or clean-up, talk to Irene Pratt or Pastor Amy.

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: 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 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
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

Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene
Church - 616.459.2773                  
Parsonage - 616.459.0402
Pastor Dan Cell - 616.204.1153    
Pastor Amy Cell – 616.514.9521

Other Contact Numbers:
Gerry Dawson                 Sunday School/Children’s Church                       616-863-6808
Cherry Pakiela                 Sunday School/Children’s Church                       616-916-7595
Pat & Shannen Parsaca        Weds Night Children’s Program                616-272-6021
Theo Orban                           Weds Night Youth Group                           616-890-4045
Larry Branagan                     Trustee                                                           616-538-8765

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” -C. S. Lewis

March & April Worker Schedules
April   7          SS – Janie Hathaway & Jean Christoffersen
                        Worship – Anna Boeve & Alannah Parsaca
April 14         SS – Janie Hathaway & Tracy Tamm
                        Worship – Mary Danks & Gerry Dawson
April 21         SS – Janie Hathaway & Barb Buning
                        Worship – Anna Boeve & Valda Einis
April 28         SS – Janie Hathaway & Linda Kastens
                        Worship – Shannon Miller & Alannah Parsaca

Counters                                                       Announcements 
April 7—Larry & Terry                                   April 7 - Irene
April 14—Jerry & Pat                                     April 14- Pat
April 21—Terry & Larry                                 April 21 - Julie
April 28—Jerry & Pat                                    April 28 – Cherry

Note to counters: As of April, Dick will no longer be included in the counting rotation!

Pastor Amy’s Page
“There’s nothing to writing…all you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
 –Ernest Hemingway
I gave up Facebook for Lent. There is some humor in this. I have to wonder what the saints of old would think, to know that Christians today are making such a grave sacrifice as giving up the strange luxury of social media. 
If you are a bit older than me, you might not relate to the magnetic vortex which is Facebook. If you are in your 20s and 30s, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you are a teenager, you perhaps think nothing ill of Facebook, since it has become normal in the same way email has become normal behind the generation who still remembers what it was like to send letters in the mail and talk face to face with loved ones.
Everything about our fast-paced, distracted, instant-gratification culture can be summed up by Facebook. On Facebook, you can sit at home in your pajamas, drink your morning coffee, know what your friend in Texas is eating for breakfast, and know what the weather is like for your other friend in Chicago who is about to be late for work because she is hung over and got on the wrong subway. And all this before you’ve even brushed your teeth for the day!
At its best, Facebook is a fantastic way to stay connected to people you might otherwise go years without talking to, and to celebrate the lives of those you care about who have moved away and started new lives and careers.
At its worst, Facebook is a cesspool of public drama in the Jerry Springer style, a place for drive-by political nastiness, a way to learn things about people that you never wanted to know, a way to get tracked down by ex-lovers you never wanted to talk to again, and a sorry excuse for  surface-level friendships.
Like most things, Facebook itself is not problematic nor sinful. It’s just like bacon, television, chocolate, coffee, and cheesy potatoes. The problem is not the object itself; the problem is me and my failure to live in balance.
Anything can become sin, even things which are naturally good or neutral.  I will not argue that we should never enjoy life for life’s sake nor indulge in luxury. These things are gifts from God, but the problem comes when our love is disordered, when we love things and people more than we love God. So this Facebook fast has brought out my sin, plain and simple.
Believe it or not, I was the last teen I knew to get a cellphone. I thought it was crazy stupid to have a way that anyone could get ahold of you at any time. In turn, it was 2011 that I finally upgraded to a phone that actually sends text messages and has the internet. I fought against becoming one of those people who walks into walls because they are staring at their little screens. I have always been one to say TURN IT OFF! The television, the cell phone, the video game, the IPad/Nook/Kindle Fire/Laptop/new shiny thing…whatever it is- just turn it off already!
Then suddenly I found myself checking my email while waiting in line at the grocery store, and looking at Facebook while stopped at a red light. What? How did this happen to me?
For those of you who know just what I am talking about, you probably hear that small, restless voice in your brain that sounds something like….entertain me! Entertain me! I’m bored! And then, knowing mindless entertainment is at the tip of your fingers, you unthinkingly browse pages for absolutely no reason, absorbing useless information at the cost of being present in the moment.
So once again, I have had to learn the hard lesson of seeking balance, intentionally, because it certainly isn’t going to happen if I let myself be guided by my inner restlessness.
Here you will find the lessons I have learned after 40 days without Facebook…
Lesson One: No one died as a result of my leaving Facebook for 40 days (including me!)
Social Media is good at giving us all the illusion that we are clever, creative, and important. It makes us think we are insiders, up on what’s happening all around us. The truth is that I walked away from Facebook, and no one cared. No one applauded, and no one begged me to return. Not so important after all.
Lesson Two: Facebook has some good aspects, too!
One thing I missed was being able to connect with my sister on a daily basis. Granted, we can do this with email. But on Facebook, she and I can upload daily pictures of our children, and share brief moments of motherhood insanity with each other. On the same note, I missed seeing regular pictures of my friends’ kids, as well as bragging about how cute my kids are to all of my friends.
Lesson Three: Without Facebook, I waste a less time thinking about stupid things that don’t matter.
I did not realize it prior to my Lenten fast, but Facebook fills me with a lot of useless information that I can live without, and really live betterwithout. While virtual political arguments can be entertaining and angry status updates making private things public might give me a chuckle, I have found that I am happier without knowing approximately 95% of the things I read on Facebook. Overall, I like everyone a lot better in real life!
Lesson Four: When I abstain from indulging in instant gratification, my brain slows down, and I am much more content.
Honestly, in some ways fasting from Facebook felt a little like quitting smoking. All of the sudden, I was less nervous, less antsy, and less worried about what to do next. There is something profound in subtracting things from our lives and time.
Lesson Five: Real life is better than Facebook
Without the world at my fingertips, I was definitely able to give more undivided attention to my kids. And my friends. And my husband. And my real life. I will not say there is no value in social media relationships, because I think that would be an exaggeration. I will say that being present in the moment right in front you, with the people you love, is far superior.
Lesson Six: I am not hungry for entertainment, I am hungry for God and rest.
These forty days, I have found myself spending more time in quiet, studying, reading the Bible, and focusing on one thing at a time. Life has slowed down, not literally, but internally. I have also been able to rest more, and fall asleep earlier at night. My restless feelings do not come because I need entertainment; they come because I need to practice self-care and spend time with my Heavenly Father.
My Lenten journey was far from super-spiritual, but I did learn some things. Sin can be subtle. The devil will use any subtle distraction to keep us away from God. Rather than shout loud objections at us, the devil will quietly drain us of time and energy, like a thief sneaking his hand into your purse unnoticed.
So spend time with God and yourself. The challenge for all of us is to keep our love and time properly ordered, to enjoy life while keeping God primary. I now see the value in guarding my time and mind to help make sure Jesus is really Lord of my life- not just in theory but in practice.
With love, Pastor Amy

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