Friday, November 8, 2013

NE NEWS - November 5, 2013

Northeast Community News – November 05, 2013
Dear friends and family,
What another wonderful day we had in the Lord, Sunday! I had meant to have you “look at your neighbor and say, ‘You are a Missionary’ to each other” last Sunday during our worship service but when I saw the larger than normal crowd gathered I thought, “they already get this!” Bless everyone who is looking out, engaging, welcoming, loving, and inviting people into God’s presence here at Northeast Community! Remember, you’re not a salesperson selling God or this church! You are merely an ambassador for Jesus testifying about what He has done in your life! Good News is infectious! Let it spread!
God’s message this week came from Ephesians 4:17-32 and was titled: “Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness.” We opened with the question, “Are you a beautiful person?” While goodness and beauty may seem unrelated to a pre-Christian who tends to limit beauty to outward appearances, Paul teaches us beauty and goodness flow from the inside out and are unrelated to physical appearance. Beauty and goodness come from an intimate relationship with Christ. As we abide in Christ, we become more like Him! Beautiful!
This is not to say we are not surrounded with angry people bent on evil. Oh, there are plenty of “un-good” people in the world, right! Right! But Paul tries to answer the question, “How are we to relate to the ‘un-good’ surrounding us?” Paul reminds us when we receive Christ we are different and we should live our lives differently! (see Eph. 4:17-31). We are to “put off the old ways” of sinful living and “put on the new ways’ of holy living.” These polar opposites are expressed in vv. 31-32:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians4:31-32)
While before we may have been bitter, angry, and ready to fight, when we receive Christ we are called to a different lifestyle; a Christ-like or Christian lifestyle. As Christians we are kind in opposition, compassionate when tried, and forgiving when we are treated poorly….just like God through Jesus treated and forgave us!
Live with a family torn by disagreement? Work in a dog eat dog workplace? Live in an unjust community? Good! Because when you respond with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness they might just see Jesus. In a world torn apart by deep hatred, bitterness, and rage I’m convinced there will be no such peace, until the Prince of Peace is received. Not only does the Spirit of Christ help us be good in a world so filled with bad, it is Christ this angry bad world really needs! Are you beautiful? You are when you are filled with the Spirit of Christ and become the kind, compassionate, forgiving disciple in a world that needs Jesus!
We changed the format of the adult Bible study! While we still examine God’s Word, we are now singing and praying first to give us enough time to pray! Sometimes this means we need two weeks to finish a lesson and that is ok! This week we examine ‘goodness’ in Psalm 107:1-32 as we continue our Fruit of the Spirit study. Hope to see you there!
Blessings, Pastor Dan

Hello dear ones from Pastor Amy. Since our ladies went to the “Come to the Fire” women’s conference and brought the fire home to our Sunday service to share with our church, we continue to see God on the move, breaking chains and blessing us abundantly. I asked our ladies to write up something that they could share with you about how the fire of the Holy Spirit is still burning in their lives. Below you will find some thoughts from Irene. She gives us a great reminder that while we encounter God powerfully in one moment, we also carry Him back into our daily lives, our homes, and our relationships!

COME TO THE FIRE! What a glorious time to sing and praise God with thousands of women. Soul searching and putting my desires under his command. That is part of our daily walk. But what about now, the unpacking the suitcases, paying of the bills, the change of seasons, and all the cares of living? My honeymoon was a great memory, but it is the daily hugs and smiles from my sweet Dan that keep me warm and loved. 

I was reading from Oswald Chambers this morning, “To turn head faith into a personal possession is a fight always, not sometimes. God brings us into circumstances in order to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make its object real. Until we know Jesus, God is a mere abstraction, we cannot have faith in Him; but immediately we hear Jesus say- He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. We have something that is real, and faith is boundless. Faith is the whole man rightly related to god by the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

 So today I need to listen for His voice and recognize the devil for the liar he is and refuse to accept his condemnation and discouragement. Jesus is saying you are my beloved woman and I adore you!
Not only that, but Jesus is enough! Do you live like Jesus is really enough? Will he really take care of me? It is not too hard to trust him for the big things. After all, I need Him for the thing that I cannot control on my own. Health, the future, aging, and even death are all things not to worry or be anxious about.
What about my heart’s desires? For over a year I have been excited about retiring, because then I could get a DOG! Dan wanted no part of this and especially wanted no part of taking care of an animal. So for several months, I have been checking pet rescue agencies of all kinds. I had such specific needs. Not a tiny lap dog, not a big dog, not a yappy dog, not a shedding dog. Etc.
We went to Virginia to spend the weekend with my son and family. In conversation, I said how I was having a very difficult task of finding a dog. My daughter immediately said “we have just the dog for you!”
Joey had been rescued by them six years ago. Then they rescued “Ollie” who attached himself to my son and became alpha dog. Joey was at the bottom of the pecking order with three other outside dogs. We gave him a bath and brought him inside. He just cuddled with us all weekend.
We brought him home last Monday and he has stolen our hearts. He does not jump on people, he does not shed, and he does not bark. He is TOP DOG now. I am overwhelmed to think that my God loves me so much to bring us together at the perfect time. I can trust him with all of my heart’s desires.                                                      
 Irene Pratt

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


Our Teens are FUNDRAISING!
In an effort to raise money for summer camp at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp, our teens are selling World’s Finest Chocolate Bars. They have 
a variety of flavors, and the bars are $1 each. They are selling them on Wednesday nights, as well as after service on Sunday. This is a great way to support our teens and help them get to summer camp! Talk to Pastor Amy if you have any questions, or see Kamrie and Alannah to buy!

New Membership Class Coming!
Pastor Dan is planning a class for those who are interested in membership at our church, or for those who simply want to learn more about the church of the Nazarene and what we believe. The class will be made up of four sessions and will tentatively take place on the Sundays of November 24December 1,December 8, and December 15. Please talk to Pastor Dan if you are interested so that he can order materials.

Attention All College Students: You are Invited to The Send
Calvin College is hosting an event called “The Send.” We know at least one of our college students is going. Here are the details from the event’s Facebook Page:
All over the United States, campuses are mobilizing and crying out for Jesus’ love like never before! There is an intense hunger among 
this generation for the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe there is a call on this generation – to carry the burning light of the 
simple gospel into this dark world and to not only see the lost saved, but to unify the church and revive the body of Christ! We are inviting 
students from all over Michigan to join us for a night of explosive worship, inspiring testimony, and training to be commissioned back to 
your campus as a radical agent of change! Revival is here! Be there November 8th in the Recital Hall of Calvin's Covenant Fine Arts 
Center at 8:00 PM! 1795 Knollcrest Circle SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49546.

November Blanket Drive for Mel Trotter!
During the month of November, we are holding our third annual Blanket Drive for Mel Trotter mission. Three years ago we learned that the mission is often in need of blankets, and many of their people end up sleeping on beds without blankets during these cold months. So bring your new or gently used blankets in and add them to the pile in the back of the sanctuary. Talk to Janie Hathaway with questions. Our goal is 65 blankets!
Blanket Total so far: 3 blankets

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!

Indian Lake Nazarene Camp 2014 Summer Dates!
Here are confirmed dates for family festival, camp meeting, and camps for kids and teens in 2014. We will publish these dates again, but thought you might like to plan ahead.

2014 JUNE   Confirmed Dates
16 - 20           Middle School Camp
23 - 27           High School Camp
30 - July 2     Discovery Camp

2014 JULY    Confirmed Dates
4 - 6                Family Festival
7 - 11             Boys/Girls Camps
12 – 20          District Centennial Celebration Events
13                   Homecoming Worship Service
13 - 14           District Assembly
19                   Conventions (SDMI|NMI|NYI)
14 - 20           Family Camp

Upcoming Events
November                         Month-long Blanket Drive
November 08                    The Send @ Calvin College 8pm
November 12                    Tuesday Morning Prayer Meeting @ 9am
November 24                    New Membership Class Begins
November 27                    Wednesday Night Dinner @ 5:30pm, Bible Study to follow
November 28                    Thanksgiving Day

Pastor Amy's Page
All Saints Day and Ghost Babies
November 1 was a rainy, cold day. Like many of you, I had what can only be described as a sugar hangover, the consequence of indulging too freely in the Halloween candy which was acquired from neighbors by my little elephant and little purple dragon the night before. 
         November 1 was also All Saints Day. Traditionally, the church held this as a day to recognize and remember not only the martyrs of the Christian faith whose blood helped to carry the church along, but to remember all those Christians who have led us, taught us, been examples to us, and gone to be with Jesus. On this day we reflect upon the “great cloud of witnesses” which surrounds us and encourages us. (Heb 12:1).
            There is nothing like looking one more time at the pictures of those who have died. The memories come, and with them the happy but sad knot that wells up in your throat and your stomach. Suddenly life feels like sand slipping through your fingers, like someone has pulled the rug out from under your feet. It is hard to put into words, even for this writer who dwells always in a cacophony of word-related delight.
            This year I realized, for the very first time, that I know a lot of dead people. Until recently, my dead grandparents held a cherished place in my heart, but their deadness was a very far away thing; a very unique and unusual thing. Over these past years, I have seen many more join them, including two great uncles and a cherished aunt who all made their way to heaven last month within days of each other. Death has come a bit closer to me.
            As I looked out the window at the sloppy wet leaves covering the driveway and sidewalk, I was hit by a grief-wave reminder. Death has come a bit closer to me not just by these relatives, but in my own home, in my own womb not too long ago.
            We had a miscarriage in July. It was not the first time, but that did not make it any less strange or painful. It was very early in pregnancy, but this also did not make it any less strange or painful. We were not expecting to get pregnant, but again, this did not make it any less strange or painful. We have two healthy boys already, but this too did not make it any less strange or painful.
            Statistics tells us that most women will have a miscarriage or several of them throughout the course of their life. Why is it that we hear so little about it? I have no scientific explanation for the quietness that surrounds miscarriage, but I can tell you why it simply had to be a lonely silence for me as I walked through it.
            When I found I was pregnant, I was stunned, which is pretty much always the case went you aren’t expecting it. Surprise quickly turned into enormous excitement because THERE IS GOING TO BE ANOTHER BABY, and my friends, there is just no way to not be excited about that!
            Hormones began to rage. I began to crave celery with grapes and blue cheese. Strange. The July heat led to headaches and nausea, part of the bitter sweetness of building a little person inside of you. We began to talk about how exhausted we already are with two boys, and how we might never sleep again. We began to cautiously dream of a quiet, soft, sweet little girl who would sleep through the night, snuggle with pink teddy bears, and generally not be another rough and tumble little boy.
So you begin to hope and dream, to imagine doctor appointments, labor, little fingers and little toes, curls and the smell of newborn skin. Big brothers. You experience the profound flicker of new life, the sense of wonder which makes you float like a balloon. And then, suddenly, the flicker goes out, like trying to light a match in the rain.
            Anger comes, and part of me couldn’t help feeling like God was a big mean bully dangling a piece of the best candy ever in front of my face, only to snatch it away when I was just about to taste it. My prayer life for a while consisted only of the question – God, what in the world was the point of this rollercoaster ride?
            Sadness and depression also came, and I walked around for weeks feeling like one big raw nerve ending exposed to the elements. Everything hurt, and something as soft as the wind blowing could send me into tears. More than anything else, I was tired.
            A few people knew, and I coveted their prayers, knowing the waves could easily sweep me away, and someone ought to be praying for me. Yet for the most part, I kept it to myself, like most women do.
            Why do we do this? Because while suffering alone is terrifying, it preferable to suffering in public. There are a lot of things that I will put right out there for everyone to see, like my testimony of being a drunken drug addicted spiritually bankrupt fool until I was redeemed by Jesus thank you God.
            But unlike testimony, which might help others, the thought of airing this searing pain in public was enough to send me running for the hills. All I had was a heavy sadness and a sense of blank emptiness – not only spiritually and emotionally, but literally physically too. I suffered in silence mainly because I had two little T-shirts in a bag under the bathroom sink (along with the positive pregnancy test) that both said “BIG BROTHER,” and I had been waiting for the right moment to put them on the boys and send them to see their grandparents. (The shirts are still there – I’m not ready to deal with that yet).
I didn’t want to talk about it because I had nothing to say, nothing but an overwhelming sense of nothing and stupid injustice and hateful death in a broken stupid Fallen world of misery.
Several months later I still don’t like it, but with grace I finally have enough acceptance that I think it could be helpful to others who suffer in silence.
It still feels unfair and really sad. But here is what I know – Scripture tells us that eternal life with Jesus is a real thing. Our little phantom baby of July is with Jesus, and with the rest of the Saints – and that is far more than I evercould have given that little one here.
            C.S. Lewis says this: “We are very shy nowadays of even mentioning heaven. We are afraid of the jeer about ‘pie in the sky’, and of being told that we are trying to ‘escape’ from the duty of making a happy world here and now into dreams of a happy world elsewhere. But either there is ‘pie in the sky’ or there is not. If there is not, then Christianity is false, for this doctrine is woven into its whole fabric.”
            Right you are, Mr. Lewis. While I don’t know what the other side looks like, I know that Jesus has my children – all of them, the ones on earth and the ones in that happy place with Him. God’s ways are not my own, because I want my babies, all of them, with me, today and forever, for my selfish enjoyment. His ways are better.  
            Maybe you know someone who is silently suffering with the pain of a phantom baby. Maybe instead of trying to be helpful or offering her rational comforts, you can give her this article, and leave her to lay in bed in all her emptiness. We have to live in that empty place for a time. She will come out of it, because God is full of grace, and because ultimately we mothers can’t help but come to the conclusion that we, in all our motherliness, are not the Savior, and in truth it is at once sad, but restful and wonderful to know that He holds our little ones.      
With love, Pastor Amy            

No comments:

Post a Comment