Northeast Community News – September 17, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
What a Spirit Filled Day we had in the Lord, Sunday! It was a joy to join with the ‘family’ to be discipled, pray, worship, and hear the preaching of the Word by Pastor Amy! God is moving in our midst and we are blessed! Love and blessings, Pastor Dan
God’s message to us this week came from Luke 15:1-10 and was titled “Have You Heard the Gospel?” – or, have you heard the good news? Biblical scholars have called this passage “the gospel in the gospel,” “the mini-gospel,” or “the very heart beat of God.”
Unfortunately in our culture today, not everyone hears the gospel as “good news,” and many are bitter and jaded because of bad experiences with Christianity. This passage is about the good news that God seeks us before we seek Him, loves us before we love Him, and restores us to relationship with Him and with others when we turn to Him. In its simplest form, Luke 15:1-10 contains the plan of salvation: God seeks us, we repent, God forgives us and restores us, and heaven and earth throw a party. It is all good news!
In our text, Jesus was surrounded by “sinners and tax collectors,” and the Pharisees and teachers of the law were grumbling, because Jesus was hanging around with such low-down people (v1-2). Jesus responds to their grumbling by using the image of a shepherd (v4) to describe the nature of God as one who seeks out the wandering lost sheep, the broken, low-down sinners of the world. He also uses the image of a very valuable coin (v8) to show what great lengths God goes to in order to bring us back to Himself.
You see, before we ever think a right thought about God, He is knocking on our hearts, drawing us to Himself, and inviting us to turn to Him. We can deny it, we can try to ignore it, we can keep on sinning, but the Holy Spirit is always reaching out to us, and there is no lost cause person for God! This is good news, we are never too far gone!
While God starts this process by seeking us, we also have a part to play, a decision to make. Verses 7 and 10 both speak of the rejoicing which takes place in heaven when one sinner repents. When we repent, we stop walking into sin, and we start walking into Jesus. This means Jesus is Lord over our life. When we repent, we say yes to God’s seeking grace, and like a shepherd, He joyfully carries us home (v5). We cannot expect to know the love, peace, joy, and abundant life of walking with Jesus if we are still holding onto sin and refusing to let God be God.
Lastly, in verses 7 and 10, we see that heaven and earth throw a party when one lost person returns home to God and God’s people. The good news is not just about our individual salvation. It is also about returning to where we belong. We were created to be in loving relationship with both God and community. As a church, we are a community of repentant sinners, which means there is no spiritual superiority. This is good news. We are just sinners sharing the life-giving love of Jesus Christ with other sinners.
If anything, these parables show us the good news that God loves broken, wandering, sin-sick people. In fact, He loves them so much that He actually seeks them out, calls them to repentance, and carries them home to Himself and His people the church. As a church shouldn’t we do the same?
Let’s remember that we are people of good news, people not basing our evangelism on fear, anger, or superiority, but on the love of God for a sin-sick world in need. Let’s care about our wandering sheep, let’s pray for them, let’s do what Jesus does and eat with them and laugh with them and throw a party for them.
With love, Pastor Amy
WED. NIGHT PRAYER MEETING AND ADULT BIBLE STUDY AT 6:30PM
We have changed our focus in the adult Bible study on Wednesday nights! While we still examine God’s Word, we have decided to sing and then PRAY FIRST to allow us enough time to really pray! So, this means sometimes we don’t finish our lesson and that is ok! This week we will continue our new study on the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ by finishing our first lesson on Love! Join us Wednesday at 6:30pm to pray and discuss the fruit: love!
Healthy Living! It is a way of life as Holiness People!
“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive…So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:23, 31).
Everything we do or don’t do can bring honor or dishonor to God and be constructive or destructive to the temple of the Holy Spirit! With that said, we plan to bring a variety of articles, thoughts, and opportunities to keep the temple holy and honor God! If you have any thoughts or suggestions for an article or want to write one, by all means let us know!
This week we examine ‘tap’ or ‘bottled’ water! It is hard to believe that what once seemed impossible has happened! People are paying for water! But is it best to drink from a bottle instead of the tap? Read the following article and decide!
A bottle of water’s name and packaging may give you the feeling you are drinking the purest H20 around, but the truth be told, bottled water is not better regulated nor necessarily safer than tap water. Although some bottled water comes from natural springs, a great deal of it actually comes from a municipal supply. It’s regulated for safety, but bottlers are not required to list the source on the label.
Tap water that comes from your public water system is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and must meet strict safety standards. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your water is free from contaminants – it just means that the water doesn’t pose any serious health risks.
So what’s the best option? It all comes down to personal choice. Bottled water is a good, but expensive option [three 20 ounce bottles a day at $1 each= $1,095 vs. $2 for tap water]. Tap water is indeed safe, but you may want to consider a water filter to help purify your water. (Welcoa – August Issue – p. 5)
For the Christian we should also consider the stewardship aspect of our water choice. What could an additional $1,000 saved by drinking tap water provide for God’s Kingdom? What about the thousands of plastic bottles produced and recycled? While I am not claiming it is the best way, Janie and I purchased a Brita Pitcher to filter our water. We still enjoy purified water while saving money by using tap water and conserving energy needed to produce and recycle a lot of plastic bottles! Think about it!
Blessings! Pastor Dan
Hello from Pastor Amy, your Associate Pastor/Administrative Secretary
My office hours vary on Tuesdays, so 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, or a prayer request to publish, please contact me!
Also, we have a long, ongoing list of prayer requests. Please keep me updated. Requests will be pulled from the newsletter& program after three weeks. My Contact Info: 616-514-9521 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS AND EVENTS
This Just In – Fall Festival Outreach Event – Sunday October 20th
If you just read the sermon summary, then you know that God’s message this week was in part about seeking and searching for people who belong in the fold of God. Are you prepared to step out of your comfort zone, into your community, and love people who need to know the love of Jesus? Are you willing to rejoice like the angels in heaven (Luke 15:10), to celebrate, to even throw a party for these people? I hope so, because the Stewards are currently planning an outdoor Fall Festival in order to reach out to our community! The plan is to invite the community onto our grounds for a time of food, fellowship, games, prizes, pumpkins, music, and more!
So what part of the Fall Festival is God asking you to take on? Could you canvas the neighborhood, knock on doors and hand out fliers? Could you donate nice items to use for prizes in a raffle? Can you help plan food? Will you take on the role of greeting and welcoming everyone who comes? Can you pray for this event? Could you help make posters to hang in local businesses? We need your creativity and we need all hands in action! Talk to Irene Pratt!
Alabaster Offering – Thank you and continue giving!
If you don’t know, our Alabaster Offering comes from our Nazarene Missions International department, and is taken twice per year. Every penny we receive from this offering goes directly to the global mission field, to be used for the purchase of land and buildings. We held our Alabaster march on Sunday September 15, and we received $318.50! Praise God! It is not too late to give! The Alabaster house will remain up in the back of the sanctuary for 2 more weeks, so you can still bring your offerings! Thank you!
ARTPRIZE WANDERING! SEP. 19, 26, OCT. 03 – 6:00-8:00PM
Do you like art? Do you like fun with friends? Do you wish you could go to Artprize without having to drive downtown and park? Well, I’ve got good news for you! For 3 weeks you can join Pastor Dan in the church parking lot and ride the GRATA bus downtown, look at some art, laugh with your friends, and vote for your favorites, and ride back! The cost for the round-trip bus ride is $3 each, (but don’t let that stop you!) NOTE: The GRATA bus leaves PROMPTLY at 6:00pm from the front of the church and leaves promptly from downtown at 7:45pm arriving back at 8:00pm! Remember to check the evening temps and dress accordingly! Talk to Pastor Dan with questions!
Church Work Day! Saturday September 28, 8am-12pm
Please join the trustees to help with our next work day. We will be spending this morning doing various tasks around the church, and preparing the building and grounds for winter. No matter what your skills, we need your help, and there is always a lot to do! Breakfast is included! Talk to Theo Orban with questions.
Olivet Nazarene University Preaching Ambassador Visit – Sunday September 29
Every year we partner with Olivet Nazarene University to bring a student from their Preaching Ambassador to our church to bring us the message on Sunday. This is not only a great time to hear a message from a student and a future leader of the church, it is also a great time to see what a great job Olivet does in using our contributions to prepare future ministry and world leaders! This year, our Preaching Ambassador is Paul Griffin, and he will be bringing us the message on Sunday September 29th. Please be in prayer for Paul as he prepares to visit us!
Mission Mania & Missionary Visit – September 21-22
Everyone is invited to Mission Mania which is taking place in Grand Haven on Saturday September 21 from 5:30pm-8pm. Mission Mania is full of activities, as well as missionary speakers. But there’s more! These same missionaries, (Charlie, Carney, and daughter Alyssa) from Paraguay will be coming to our church the very next day on Sunday, September 22nd! Why not make it a Missions weekend, and attend Mission Mania and Sunday service with our missionaries? See details for Mission Mania on the bulletin boards or talk to Janie Hathaway. Please note we will also be taking a love offering for the missionaries when they visit us on Sunday the 22nd.
Wednesday Night Potluck Dinners Return in September!
We went on break for summer, but we will be continuing our Wednesday night dinners which will take place on the LAST Wednesday of every month beginning in September. Bring a dish to pass and join us for good food and fellowship! Regular Bible study follows at 6:30pm. Talk to Julie Orban to help setup or cleanup.
Next Dinner: Wednesday September 25 @ 5:30pm
TUESDAY MORNING PRAYER MEETINGS 9AM-10AM
Come pray with us on Tuesday mornings! Everyone is invited to join us for an hour of prayer. We all know many who need Jesus, and many who have other needs. We believe that prayer really does change things, and God really does love the world – especially those who don’t know Jesus yet! Who could you be praying for? It is a midweek blessing and encouragement to join with other believers in prayer! See you Tuesday!
Fall Events at Indian Lake
Craft and Scrapbooking Weekend at Indian Lake! This weekend is just for ladies and takes place from November 1-3. The cost is $25 per day which includes a table, meals, games, prizes, snacks, and devotion time. Lodging costs vary. More details at www.nazcamp.org
September 19 Artprize Adventure Week One, 6-8pm (arrive early for GRATA bus)
September 21 Mission Mania 5:30pm – 8pm Grand Haven, MI
September 22 Missionary visit during morning worship service
September 25 Weds Night Dinner @ 5:30pm
September 26 Artprize Adventure Week Two, 6-8pm
September 28 Church Work Day 8am-12pm
September 29 ONU Preaching Ambassador Visit
October 03 Artprize Adventure Week Three, 6-8pm
October 04 First Friday Chinese lunch, 11:30am, Hibachi Alpine
October 17-19 Come to the Fire Women’s Conference in Holland
October 20 NE Community Fall Outreach Festival