Northeast Community News – May 21, 2013
Hello Friends and Family,
We had a great in the Lord this week! While Pastor Dan and Janie were finishing up their beach vacation in Punta Cana, we were here celebrating Pentecost .
Our message this week came from John 14:8-18 and was titled “I Will Not Leave You as Orphans.” We started out by seeing that we live in a world which tends to be obsessed with me and my personal experience of spirituality and religion. The world wants to teach us that all spiritual experiences are equally valid, all roads lead to heaven, and all that matters is how we feel and what we think is true based on those feelings. So what makes Christian experience any more valid than the buffet table of religious options out there? What is Pentecost, and what does it mean for the Holy Spirit to come in power? In our scripture this week, we find some guidelines about what it means for the Christian to experience God through Jesus Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit.
The first thing we see in verses 8-11 is that Jesus is God, and Jesus reveals God’s intentions toward humankind. Do you ever hear people saying that they wish God would just make Himself/Herself/Itself known so that we wouldn’t have to be so spiritually confused? The truth is that God has not been unclear about Himself, but has revealed Himself through Jesus. If you want to know God, you can start by not looking for Him in all the wrong places. Instead, look to Jesus, and read the Word!
This also means that anytime we are struggling and questioning God, we can look to Jesus on the Cross. Here we see God Himself dying for sinners. And not just that, but we see God Himself allowing us to kill Him. We killed God – and He still loves us, and still comes to save sinners. Do you look at Jesus and see that God is love in the most self-sacrificial and self-emptying way we can possibly imagine? We can look at Jesus and be confident no matter what our circumstances that God is on our side.
Next in verse 12, Jesus tells us that “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” The key words here are “because I am going to the Father.” In order for the Holy Spirit to come, Jesus had to die and go to the Father. The Resurrection brought the gift of the Holy Spirit. You see, the Holy Spirit IS the spirit of Jesus – they can’t be separated! This means that one cannot claim to know, experience, or have the Spirit without having Jesus Christ. It also means that regardless of what our culture wants us to believe, any spirituality without Jesus is false. The work of the Holy Spirit will always guide us more deeply into the truth of Jesus Christ as Lord.
Then in verses 13-14, Jesus tells us that He will answer prayer in His name. Does this mean that Jesus is Santa Clause and we can send Him our wish list? No! To pray in Jesus’ name means that we ask for things which Jesus would ask for – things that glorify the Father! To pray this way cost Jesus his life, and it will bring us cost too.
To know that the primary work of the Holy Spirit is point the world to Jesus Christ and glorify God also means that we sometimes need to check our motives. The Spirit is not given so that we can look more spiritual than other people. And while the Spirit works to transform us, MY transformation is not the arrival point. By this we mean that we do not get saved, sanctified, healed and blessed in order to simply sit in our pews, revel in our comfort, and say forget the rest of the world – I got mine!
No, the Spirit blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others. The Spirit leads us into salvation so that we can leads others to Jesus too. The Spirit heals us so that we can then be a healing power in a sin-sick world. The Spirit comforts us so that we can comfort others and transforms us so that we can bear witness of God to the world. This was true on the first Pentecost for the early church as recorded in the book of Acts, and it is still true for us today too.
We are so blessed in Jesus Christ, in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit lives – but it never ends with me and my experience. The Spirit empowers us to do more than just feel good about our human potential– the Spirit empowers us to be useful to God, continuing the work of Jesus Christ on earth until He returns. God will come to us powerfully in the Holy Spirit, but only for His glory, not our own.
Lastly, we discussed verses 15-17, in which Jesus makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is only given to those who love Him by obeying Him. Today our churches are full of people who profess that they love Jesus while their lives demonstrate an enormous disconnect between what they say they believe and how they live. In other cultures, to say you believe something while living something totally unrelated – that’s called being delusional, being a liar, or being a hypocrite.
So what we desperately need today is for the Holy Spirit to come and set a fire in our hearts. You see to obey Jesus is not easy, and it is NOT something we can do in our own strength. This is exactly why Jesus says that the Father will send us a helper, a counselor, an advocate and teacher who guides us into all truth – who will guide us into life with Jesus. When the Holy Spirit comes to us, He makes us less obsessed with ourselves and more obsessed with Jesus!
This also means simply means that we cannot expect the peace, love, comfort, empowerment, and anchoring of the Holy Spirit if we are not being obedient to Jesus Christ. If we are knowingly sinning and knowingly going against God’s will for us in any area of our life, we should not be surprised if we feel convicted, restless, and discontent.
In this world of endless spiritual opinions and options – in this world which begs for us to compromise, may we see clearly that the human search for life, meaning, and spiritual experience begins and ends with Jesus Christ. As we seek to grow closer to God and live in His presence, may we always make it more about Him and less about us. Let’s live lives of gratitude, remembering that the Holy Spirit is a gift fully dependent upon the work of Jesus, which blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to empower faithful disciples to follow Jesus Christ.
Was this a ridiculously long sermon summary? Yes! I hope you enjoyed it!
With Love, Pastor Amy
Dear Friends and Family,
Hola! This is a word Janie and I used probably 500 times over the last week as we enjoyed a business trip Janie’s company sent us to in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Roughly translated Hola means ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ in Spanish. Everywhere we went we were greeted with hola and a smile. It didn’t take long for us to start using it, too! Perhaps our greatest joy came when we warmly addressed those often overlooked with a ‘hola.’ It was neat to see the surprised looks and warm smiles from those trimming palm trees with machetes and women quietly cleaning the toilets as we stopped to say ‘hola!’
While Janie was on business, we had lots of time to enjoy the sun, waves, food, and to sip non-alcoholic pina coladas on a lounger under a cabana! It was definitely a time of relaxation and renewal for both of us! Thank you for praying, letting us get away, and for all you have done to make us feel welcome! Hola! We’re back! Praise God!
WED. NIGHT ADULT BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE AT
Most of us want to be deep, strong, wise, and mature Christians, but we may not realize those attributes require discipline and concentrated effort! This week we will examine the discipline of discipling! Jesus called us to ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Matt 28:19), but what does this mean? Join us to find out!
Hello from Pastor Amy, your Associate Pastor/Administrative Secretary
My office hours will vary every , 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.
NEWS AND EVENTS
Attention Children and Youth! Do You Want to go to Camp?
Indian Lake Nazarene Camp is located in Vicksburg, MI, and is a place where Nazarenes from throughout Michigan join together everyone summer for camp. Many who spent their childhood and teen years at summer camp will agree that camp is not only a lot of fun, but can be life-changing! This year, Indian Lake is offering a special promotion! If we get three new campers to attend, the fourth goes for free! Registration for camp has already begun, and the first deadline for the cheapest price is JUNE 3RD.
Please note that your church board feels strongly about making sure children and teens who want to go to camp can go! Therefore, scholarships are available to help cover expenses if needed. 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 269.649.228. The dates for different ages and camps can be found below:
CHILDREN AND YOUTH CAMPS!
Discovery Camp (grades 1-2-3):
Boys & Girls Camp (Grades 3-4-5):
Middle School Camp (Grades 6-7-8):
High School Camp (Grades 9-12):
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries: Special Offering for OK Tornados
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries is already in Oklahoma to help with the incredible destruction caused by the severe weather yesterday. Probably the most devastating news is that up to 24 children were killed in an elementary school which collapsed. There is still potential for severe weather in this area, so please continue to pray for everyone affected. We will be taking a special offering which will be given to NCMs efforts in this area.
40 Days of Prayer for Camp Meeting Starts
Dr. John Seaman, our District Superintendent wrote, “One of the three pillars that holiness of heart is built upon is prayer.” The District Office has put together a 40-day prayer guide leading up to Camp Meeting this summer at Indian Lake. Copies of the prayer guide are available on the information table outside the sanctuary. Would you make intercession a part of your daily prayer life beginning on and concluding on ? Bless you in advance for taking the time to pray for our District and Camp Meeting! God is good!
Feeding the Hungry – ! We need your help!
Do you realize there are people in Grand Rapids who are hungry and need food? There is more need than you realize! Jesus told us we love Him by caring for those who hunger, are in prison, are thirsty, and those who are sick (see Matt. 25:35-36). One way to do this is to partner with North End Community Ministry (NECM), pay for a dinner to feed 150 hungry people, and serve at the NECM ‘Supper House’ located at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church on . Will you help? You can give a financial gift (it costs us $200) or help serve and clean up (we need 10 servers). See Pastor Dan for more details!
This Just In – Pastor Amy is taking a Summer Writing Hiatus!
I would like everyone to know not to expect weekly writings from me over these summer months. Surely I will be inspired to share some things with you over the summer, but after a year of school and ministry, I am feeling like a well gone dry, and I want to take the summer to rest my creative writing muscles and my brains. Thank you all for so much feedback and encouragement as my love to write has bloomed into something very special for me this year! And don’t worry, you will still have to suffer through my teaching and preaching over the summer! Love, Pastor Amy
Our Night Potluck is May 29th @
We continue to hold potluck dinners on the last Wednesday night of every month one hour before our Bible study and family night. Our theme has been soup, salad, and bread. Bring a dish to pass, a dessert, or drinks, and show up for good food and fellowship! Talk to Julie Orban with questions or to help set-up or clean-up.
Church Work Days Continue! Next:
Our trustees continue to hold work days on the last Saturday of every month. Everyone is asked to come chip in and help keep up the maintenance of our building and grounds. No matter what your skills, they can put you to work. There is always plenty to do, especially now that the weather is warming up and we can get outside! Talk to Theo Orban or Pat Parsaca with any questions.
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:
– Work and Win. More work days to spruce up the camp after winter. The camp is including free meals and lodging for workers!
– Memorial Day Weekend. There will be family activities , and a concert morning.
– 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!
Postcard Greetings Now Available
Don’t forget, we have NE Community postcards 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 school teacher or Pastor Amy or Dan.
Girl Scouts Meet in our Building! Next Meeting Monday June 3 at 6:00pm
The Girl Scouts program meets in our building every other week nights @ . 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!
Work and Win at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp
Night Potluck @
Church Work Day
Communion – NO Children’s Church
First Chinese Lunch @ 11:3am, Hibachi Alpine
Potluck and Annual Meeting following morning worship service