Hello Dear Ones!
What a wonderful week we had in the Lord! That’s right a wonderful week! Last Wed., we gathered together for our Christmas Eve Service and sang carols and were blessed with 5 different Scripture lesson readers and then received communion together. Thank you to Tracy, Steve, Cherry, Beverly, and Anna for reading and everyone who brought cookies, too! While steady rain kept us from putting our luminaries outside, we did light candles to acknowledge our losses at the beginning of the service and finished by candlelight as we sang Silent Night together. A wonderful time was had by all as we prepared for Christmas!
On Saturday, we had the opportunity to gather together to celebrate the life of our dear departed friend Tom Christoffersen. What a joy to celebrate a man who spent his whole life dedicated to the Lord, his family, and God’s Mission! God’s house was full and most stayed for the delicious luncheon provided by the family. Thank you to Janie, Cherry, Larry, Phil, and Steve who helped set up, serve, and clean up at the luncheon! Praise the Lord!
On Sunday, we gathered for our regular worship service and it was wonderful, too! What a blessing to sing God’s praises, seek Him in prayer, and hear the preaching of the Word. We were especially blessed as Ed (Fran’s son in law) came and sang a special for us about God’s amazing grace! Then, in the afternoon, Jean and I led worship at Vista Springs! God is good!
God’s message Sunday came from Luke 2:22-40 and was titled, “Waiting for Christmas!” What were you seeking this Christmas? While we might be tempted to seek clothes, shoes, and money, in our text we discover two who wanted Jesus! In Simeon and Anna we find two people hungering for God, filled with the Holy Spirit, willing to boldly speak for God, and ready to encourage others. For these, Christmas had just begun!
What about you? As Dec. 25th passes are you leaving the Christ in Christmas behind and can’t wait to get back to normal (whatever that might mean) or are you still hungering for Christ? The text makes it clear Simeon and Anna were led, directed, moved, and filled with the Holy Spirit. When we are sanctified, our lives are led, directed, moved, and filled with the Holy Spirit, too! Christmas doesn’t end… it is just beginning!
As sanctified believers we find boldness in Simeon and Anna’s speech. They aren’t ‘playing it safe’ in their conversation with Joseph, Mary, or anyone else in the Temple. They shared the good news of Jesus with everyone! Even more so today than 50 years ago, we can’t let our fear of what others might think about us stop us from speaking boldly for God!
Finally, Anna and Simeon demonstrate that ‘we aren’t travelling alone’ when we walk with Jesus! While Joseph and Mary were indeed devout and righteous, they still faced all of the human feelings and struggles we do. No doubt their ‘unplanned pregnancy’ provided them plenty of shame, pain, and doubts in their decision to be obedient to God! But, here we find Simeon and Anna coming alongside at just the right time to encourage them! While they may have felt it from time to time, they are not alone!
The good news is you aren’t alone either! The Holy Spirit still sends people alongside us to comfort us, encourage us, help us, and strengthen us at just the right time! He did it my life and I’m sure He did it your life, too! But if this is true (and I think it is) then it seems likely the Holy Spirit is sending you out into the lives of someone else, too! As we leave Dec. 25 in our rear view mirrors let’s continue to hunger for God, yield to the Spirit, and allow Jesus to send us out to bring Christmas into the lives of others!
Blessings, Pastor Dan
NEWS AND EVENTS
NEW YEARS PARTY AT THE PARSONAGE WED. 12-31 AT 6:30PM
Ok, maybe you were wondering, ‘Will Pastor Dan do a Bible Study on New Year’s Eve since it’s on a Wed. night?’ Well, after talking with Janie, the answer is no, but we are hosting a New Year’s Eve party starting! So, bring your favorite snacks and games and join us starting at 6:30pm! Will Pastor Dan make it til’ midnight? Not a chance! But, we can spend a few hours of fun and food together before bedtime! If you’d like to help or have any questions, see Janie or call/email her at 616.204.2499 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ATTENTION TEENS! WINTER JAM 2015 CONCERT – JAN. 04 – ARE YOU IN?
Janie has declared Winter Jam 2015 at the Van Andel Arena is a must go to concert for all teens and young adults. Groups include Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429, For King & Country, Newsong, and Family Force 5. The cost is just $10 each, but the first 3 teens and 2 young adults that RSVP Janie at email@example.com will go free! This is going to a great way to start your New Year! Are you in? Hope so!
WED. NIGHT BIBLE STUDY (AND ICE CREAM) RETURNS ON JAN. 07 AT 6:30PM
The party will be great, but on Jan. 07 at 6:30pm it is back to our weekly Bible study. We’re using “Faith Connections,” a Bible based study centered on Wesleyan holiness and it comes with a study guide! In this time of non-stop busyness, you need to slow down a bit, let your soul drink deeply, and stay for ice cream! You’ll be glad you did!
OUR NEXT THIRD THURSDAY CHINESE LUNCH IS JAN. 15th AT 11:30AM
By our next Third Thursday Chinese Lunch even our Christmas exchanges and returns should be complete, the tree taken down, and life will be returning to normal! Why not come out to Hibachi Grill on Alpine (behind Target) at 11:30am and share your favorite Christmas 2014 story! Remember, to look for the coupon! Hope to see you there!
TURN AND DON’T GIVE SOMEONE THE FLU!
It’s that wonderful season when we learn how to use hand sanitizer and practice our best ‘fist bumps’ instead of hugs! It’s a fun, easy, and safe way to say hello! If you want to know how to make your fist bump ‘explode’ on contact, see Jesse or Jenn!
‘ENCOUNTER GOD WEEKEND’ COMING TO CLYDE PARK CHURCH JANUARY 30-31!
This Jan. the Grand Rapids Zone is hosting an ‘Encounter God Weekend’ at the Clyde Park Church of the Nazarene starting Fri. evening and ending Sat. evening on Jan. 30-31.
Encounter God weekends are an opportunity for Christians to experience deep spiritual renewal and change their life! By leading the participant through a series of lessons and experiences, this weekend can result in a visible, manifested change, by discovering how to establish a closer relationship with God, how to have direct fellowship with Him, and how to commit to His lordship in their lives.
Perhaps the best part is that you will learn how to experience forgiveness, emotional healing, how to experience freedom from spiritual and emotional bondage, and how to restore your sense of worth and value. This isn’t just hype, this is the real deal! Janie and I were in Cali Colombia where this originated and it is changing the world.
What: Encounter God Weekend
Where: Clyde Park Church of the Nazarene, 2545 Clyde Park Ave., SW, Wyoming, MI
When: begins Fri., Jan 30 at 4:30pm and Sat., Jan. 31 at 8:00am
Cost: $35 per individual; $60 per couple
How to register? Click on the link below!
WILL YOU HELP WITH A MIDDLE EAST GARAGE SALE?
With all of the problems in the Middle East, it’s easy to overlook the needs of the kids living there. While we can’t stop the violence, we can help these kids receive a quality education by DONATING quality new and used items to be sold in a spring garage sale. We hope to raise $250 to help our District raise $20,000 to support 4 Nazarene Schools operating in the Middle East who are shining stars in the midst of turmoil and conflict.
Bring your clean, gently used items (priced if possible) to church and place them on the table outside the classroom at the far end of the fellowship hall. If you would like a ‘tax receipt’ for your donation, see our Church Treasurer. Any questions? See Pastor Dan!
DO WE HAVE YOUR BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY, AND EMAIL INFO?
As you have probably noticed, we put our church family’s birthdays and anniversaries in our weekly program. Do we have yours? We also send a newsletter, prayer requests, and district information via email if we have your email. If you would like to be included just add your info to the ‘tear off tab’ on the program and drop it in the offering plate!
OUR NEXT MISSIONARY GATHERING IS JAN. 18 @ 4PM
Our missionary gatherings will resume after the first of the year, but in the meantime, pray for our missionaries! Holidays can be a real hard time for missionaries and their families ‘back home.’ Technology brings us all closer, but it’s just not the same!
Dec. 31 New Years Eve Party at the Parsonage 6:30-9:30pm
Jan.04 Teen / Young Adult Winter Jam at Van Andel 6:00pm
Jan.15 Third Thursday Lunch at Hibachi Grill on Alpine (11:30am)
Jan. 18 Missionary Gathering 4pm (at the parsonage)
Jan. 19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Jan. 23-24 District Celebrate Life at Kuyper College (Reg deadline Dec. 04)
Feb. 08 Northeast Community Potluck (after the worship service)
Mar. 07 Tri-District Team Day in Perry, MI