Dear Friends and Family! Happy Labor Day!
While fall officially begins Sep. 21, every kid knows Labor Day is actually the day when summer ends! In fact, Carrie said her teen son Robert was having a hard time even enjoying this weekend knowing that Sunday was one day closer to returning to school and work!
So, how was your summer? Did you get your projects and vacations completed as planned? I haven’t! <sigh> I still plan to paint the parsonage and hope the weather holds! For those in a traditional setting, enjoy your well-deserved day off today! For the rest, make your own labor day this week! It’s never too late to appreciate all your work has accomplished!
God’s message this week came to us from Ps. 116:1-9 and titled, “Overcoming Trouble and Sorrow.” There are moments in life when we are hard-pressed, frustrated, and experience a life full of pain and suffering. In those moments as Christians we can press on filled with joy and deeper strength, trusting in the faithfulness of God, or give up and walk away defeated. Worse, some of us continue walking with God in misery and defeat.
In Psalm 116 the writer has experienced physical illness to the point of death or suffered a nervous breakdown and yet finds hope, deliverance, and peace. How did he do it?
First, he realizes death (hades, the pit, or hell) isn’t a passive reality, but an active force pulling him down. We read, The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me…” (116:3a). Hell itself has sent octopus-like tentacles to pull him under! Do you realize death is actively trying to pull you down? The difficulties of life are no coincidence! The Evil One really is actively trying to discourage you, pull you down, and defeat you!
Second, the Psalmist offers the way out in v. 4: “Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O LORD, save me!” When the Psalmist was entangled in the cords of death did he give up and walk away? Did he consider suicide? No, he ‘cried out to the LORD.’ He cried out to Jesus! He knew God’s character (see vv. 5-6) and was stronger than evil and could save him… and guess what? He writes, “…when I was in great need, he saved me” (v. 116:6b).
Finally, he realizes salvation and rescue aren’t earned or deserved! Feeling unworthy? Read Psalm 116:6a: “The LORD protects the simplehearted.” Surely, the simple include those with a low IQ, but it also includes silly people easily persuaded and enticed, like me. It is critical to remember, it is by grace you are saved through faith (see Eph. 2:8). When you’re in great need, don’t give up; cry out to Jesus so your soul may be at rest (v.7), delivered from death (v.8), and you may walk in the land of the living (v.9). Amen! Blessings, Pastor Dan
NEWS AND EVENTS
WE ARE HEALTHY AND CALLED A PASTOR!
Seven years ago Janie and I, along with Dr. John Seaman (our District Superintendent) met with what I would describe as a cautiously optimistic church board. A once strong and vibrant church had recently been going through hard times. Worship services were down to a handful of people, finances were painfully inadequate, and the building was falling into disrepair. Because of these reasons, Dr. Seaman informed the church board they had lost their ‘right’ to ‘call a pastor’ and a pastor would be assigned.
That day 7 years ago when Janie and I visited Dr. Seaman told the church board while we were present I would possibly be their last pastor and they had no choice. They had to accept Janie and I as their pastoral family. To be honest, (like what I have read about ‘arranged marriages’) it seemed awkward at the time. However, within days we were already in love with each other and God began to move us forward one step at a time!
On Sat., Aug. 29, 2015 Dr. Seaman came again and we again met the church board. To utter amazement, he announced Northeast Community had made great progress and was no longer in crisis! While more needs to be done, he found our finances stable, all our budgets paid (with a small surplus in the bank), our attendance sufficiently stable and growing, and great progress made repairing our facilities. For the first time in years, he declared Northeast Community a healthy church! Praise the Lord!
The next question to the board was, “Now that you are healthy, who would you like to call as your pastor?” Though Janie and I had been assigned in the crisis, now that the church was healthy they could ‘call’ anyone or start a new pastoral search. It is with great joy Dr. Seaman jokingly reported, like politics in Chicago, Janie and I received 14 votes from 7 church board members. If you were in church Sun., you know the results!
After 7 long years as your ‘assigned’ pastoral couple, Gerry Dawson (our Church Board Secretary) announced to the congregation our church was now healthy and they called Dan (Janie) Hathaway to be the pastor! Words cannot describe the joy we feel knowing you now ‘chose us’ instead of being ‘stuck’ with us! (smile) Is our work done? Far from it! But we move ahead, united, as we seek and follow Jesus Christ! To God be the Glory!
In a moment of deep affirmation, the church board presented Janie and I with a gift certificate for a free night’s stay at the ‘Old Harbor Inn’ in South Haven. No doubt, this will include a bike ride from Kalamazoo for Pastor Dan! Bless you for this wonderful gift of love and appreciation. Gerry concluded our time together by inviting Janie and I to kneel at the altar where the church board and congregation surrounded us and prayers of affirmation and thanksgiving were offered! God is good! (how often?) All the time!
PRE-WEDDING RECEPTION FOR JENN S. AND JESSE C. THIS SUNDAY (SEP. 13)
Don’t forget we’re having a “Pre-Wedding Reception” to honor Jenn S. and Jesse C. this Sunday RIGHT AFTER our worship service! Questions? See Cherry P. or Fran S.
SUNDAY SCHOOL HOURS HAVE CHANGED!
Don’t forget, Sunday school has changed to start at 9:45am(and ends at 10:30am) to allow the Annex area to be used as a place for fellowship to anyone arriving to church!
CHILDREN’S CHURCH BEGINS THIS WEEK! (SEP. 13)
Children’s church starts this week! We know children often worship and learn better when they can create something with their hands and get an opportunity to move! The kids are dismissed to children’s church right after offering time EXCEPT the first Sun. of the month when we receive communion together as a family! Questions? See Gerry D.
PASTOR DAN’S PLANS! SEP. 15-22
Pastor Dan and Janie have plans to get away for a fall week of vacation (Sep. 15-21) and then attend the District Fall Pastor Workshop at Indian Lake (Sep. 21-23). If you have something that can’t wait, please contact Gerry Dawson (our Church Board Secretary). It will be a blessing to have Pastor Ed Douglas come fill the pulpit again on Sep. 20.
THIRD THU. CHINESE LUNCH IS SEP. 17 (AT HIBACHI GRILL)
Our next Third Thursday Chinese Lunch is Sep. 17 at the Hibachi Grill on Alpine! This is a great time to share our joys, concerns and even laugh over lunch! So grab a friend and come to Hibachi at 11:30! (Remember your coupon!) Questions? See Tracy or Linda!
NEXT ALABASTER OFFERING IS SEP. 20!
Our next Alabaster Offering will take place Sun., Sep. 20th. This is a “loose change” offering received twice a year and every penny goes directly to the mission field to purchase land and buildings. If you need an Alabaster box, just ask Sherry or find one on the railing of the sound booth or on the table under the missionary bulletin board!
2015 GIVING ENVELOPES ARE FOR EVERYONE!
Everyone is encouraged to give to God’s mission! If you use an assigned envelope, you will also receive an end of year statement to use with our friends at the IRS. Remember, your gift is considered a charitable contribution! See Anna B. if want offering envelopes!
DAILY DEVOTIONS – REFLECTING GOD IS AVAILABLE!
“Reflecting God” is a daily devotional guide our church makes available FREE to anyone interested in spending a daily time with God. The devotions provide a brief suggested reading and truth from the Bible for every day. It also has a section if you would like to try to read the Bible in a year and/or pray for our missionaries! Feel free to take one! You’ll find them located on the table outside of the sanctuary!
WED. NIGHT BIBLE STUDY IS HAPPENING! COME BE A PART OF IT!
Regardless of your age or whatever might be keeping you away, come join us this week at 6:30pm for a time of singing, prayer, and study. Remember, we always end our night with ice cream! Come, invite a friend, and be blessed! You’ll be glad you did!
READ AND RETURN YOUR MISSIONARY BOOKS!
Remember, Missionary books are written for all ages and there will be prizes for those who read them all! See Sherry J. if you need a book or are ready to return one! They are really good this year! Get a book and discover how God is moving in the world! Thanks!
MISSIONARY BOOK REPORT BY JANIE
Last month Isis, a relative newcomer to write a book report and she wrote one! Half-jokingly, I said to Janie, “Hey, you ought to do one, too!” Well, guess, what? She did!
World Changers by Ellen Decker
This book is filled with stories about missionary kids (MKs), how their lives were as children on the mission field with their parents, and where they are today. Two thoughts emerged as I read the book. First, I must remember that I too have influence over the children and teens I come into contact with. Second, I, too, can change the world by being obedient to what God calls me to do.
All of the MKs agree that they are where they are today because of their parents’ influence and their examples of relentless love for God. The MKs learned to not only love God but lean on Him in times of trial. In addition, they learned to love and serve others. Many of them feel that the mission field is really their home.
There are stories about the difficulty growing up at boarding schools and being away from their families. Some endured abuse. Some feel as if they do not have a ‘home’ because of being United States citizens yet only visiting here, being born on the mission field and then living at a boarding school most of their childhood. Others recognize the mission field as their home.
What are they doing today? Some are missionaries; others are doctors, business people or professors at Nazarene Universities. ALL are serving God and look for ways to help others in need. Such a reminder!
Can you imagine choosing to live in a place known as the worst place to live? Or to know that your life is threatened? Or to be without electricity most of the time? Or without running water? Or without a clean water source? The parents and some MKs have chosen to do so out of obedience to God. They are willing to go wherever God calls them to go.
There were two quotes I especially liked in the book:
A different world cannot be built by indifferent people; and
You can really change the world if you care enough.
We must be observant to the world around us. Often, we feel as though we are just one person in a big world and ask what will my efforts really accomplish??? Perhaps you will not know the answer until you get to heaven. If that is the case, it will be worth it all!
NEXT MISSIONARY GATHERING IS SUN, SEP. 27 AT 4PM(CHANGE)
Our next two missionary gatherings are set for Sun., Sep. 27thand Oct. 25th. Come enjoy a brief study (last mo. was 20 min!) to learn what our missionaries are doing, how to pray for them, and how to be missionary right here! Afterwards, we enjoy snacks and laughter together! So bring a snack, a friend, and come! You’ll be glad you did!
LAST CALL FOR THE OLD WOODEN BANQUET TABLES!
Come and get them while you can! On Sep. 14, we will sell or donate what’s left on Craigslist! See Pastor Dan if you would like one or all that is left! Thanks!
EAT SOUP AND GATHER BOX TOPS FOR NAZARENE INDIAN MISSIONS!
Remember! Campbell Soup labels and General Mills box tops are worth cash! While it seems small, it really adds up! This program has provided PA equipment, computers, and even a 15-passenger van for Nazarene Sun Valley Indian School. Give your labels and box tops to Fran S. and Sherry J. See Fran or Sherry if you have any questions.
GUIDELINES FOR PRAYER REQUESTS
Remember, to keep our prayer lists current, we only place requests in the newsletter and bulletin for 3 weeks without an update. If you want to keep your prayer request in the bulletin or newsletter just keep filling out the tear off tabs and keep us informed!
Sep. 13 Jenn S. and Jesse C. Pre-Wedding Reception (after church)
Sep. 20 Pastor Ed Douglas visiting to preach
Sep. 20 Alabaster Offering during our worship service
Sep. 21-23 District Fall Pastor Workshop at Indian Lake
Nov. 01 Daylight Savings Time ends (fall back 1 hour)