Northeast Community News – December 14, 2015
Dear Friends and Family!
I can’t help myself! I just keep singing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” even though every one of my senses reminds me it isn’t! Surely, light rain and 60 degrees doesn’t look like drifting snow, right? Certainly the sound of cars ‘swishing’ by on Fuller doesn’t sound like plow trucks scrapping the snow off the pavement, and I’m certainly not going to go out and catch rain drops on my tongue instead of snowflakes (although snow and rain do taste strangely similar – smile). Still, my heart and soul are apparently ready for Christmas and so I sing on! Are you ready? Ready or not, Christmas is coming!
Perhaps it is fitting, then, the theme for the second Sunday in Advent is joy! While my human senses are telling me ‘be disappointed with your surroundings’ my soul is filled with joy! Thanks to Linda K. and Liz B. who lit the ‘rose colored candle’ this week and reminded us, ‘the dawn of Christ’s coming’ is right around the corner! Mary W. led us in the responsive reading reminding us the coming Messiah Brings Salvation! Joy is here!
God’s message this week came from Luke 3:7-18 and was titled, “One More Powerful.” While many of us remember the superhero endowed with superhuman powers named Superman, John the Baptist declares one has come vastly more powerful! Not only does Jesus stand for truth, justice, and freedom, but can set us free from the bad guys within!
Last week, we examined Luke 3:1-6 and understood we were all called to repent, be baptized, and make straight paths for Jesus where we will be radically changed! Those changes, John the Baptist declares ought to produce ‘fruit of repentance’ (v. 8). In v. 11, he answers the crowds, tax collectors, and soldiers questions on what this looks like.
To the crowd John said they would give clothing and food to those in need (v. 11). To the tax collectors, he said they would collect only what was necessary (v. 12) and to the soldiers he said fruit of repentance looks like soldiers who don’t extort money, accuse people falsely, and learn to be content with their pay (v. 14).
Before you think this teaching is for others, John is urging those who are trusting Christ for salvation to live differently, too! Give your stuff to those in need, get involved when you see corruption, and use power appropriately and be content! How? In v. 16, John reminds us Christ has come to baptize with fire! Holy Spirit fire that is! Everyone can give, get involved, and be content! Not in your strength, but His! Blessings, Pastor Dan
NEWS AND EVENTS
NEXT THIRD THURSDAY CHINESE LUNCH IS THIS THU., DEC. 17 AT 11:30AM
Our next Third Thursday Chinese Lunch is Dec. 17 at the Hibachi Grill on Alpine Ave. It’s a time to eat, share joys, concerns and even laugh! Questions? See Tracy or Linda!
INVITE A FRIEND AND JOIN US FOR OUR CHRISTMAS CANTATA – DEC. 20th
While the weather outside is certainly ‘not frightening’ and is definitely not ‘beginning to look like Christmas,’ Christmas is coming (ready or not) and we have had a dedicated group of people preparing to share the story of Christmas in song! Come, invite a friend and hear the message of Christmas at a special worship service on Dec. 20!
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE AT 6:00PM DEC. 24th
Make plans to invite a friend and come to church for a traditional time of ‘carols and communion.’ While we have had a variety of productions in the past, this year we are simplifying our Christmas Eve plans. Yes, we will still have an area where we can light a candle to acknowledge our pain and loss, and we will certainly sing ‘Silent Night’ as we close to candle light, but this year we’re planning to sing carols, read and reflect on the Christmas Story and receive communion as we focus on Christ this Christmas Eve.
NEW YEARS EVE PARTY AND COMMUNION DEC. 31!
Several of you have expressed interest in an alternative New Years Eve Party followed by Communion. This year we are making that a reality! Starting at 6pm, we’ll be praying board games and eating snacks until approximately 11:30pm when we will go over to the church, and receive communion after a brief devotional. Together, we can leave our ‘painful memories /failures of 2015’ behind and commit 2016 to living closer to Christ!
Yes, you may come and go between 6:30-11:30pm or just come to church at 11:30pm or sleep through the whole thing (as I have done in the past). We do plan to have two ‘nap rooms’ set up at the parsonage if you want to come and need to take a quick nap or two! Please RSVP if possible and if you have any questions, please see Pastor Dan or Janie!
THANKSGIVING W.E.F. OFFERING GLOBAL NEWS!
What a joy to read the following news from the Church of the Nazarene after our own record $625 giving! Stewardship Ministries announced global participation in the 2015 Thanksgiving Offering for the World Evangelism Fund was “extremely generous."
Through the gifts and mission commitment of Nazarenes everywhere, God continues to bless ministries around the world. More than $433,000 has been received, and more gifts arrive daily. “A gift to the World Evangelism Fund is one of the best kinds of gifts,” said Mark Lail, director of Stewardship Ministries. “These donations allow the Church of the Nazarene to offer hope and the message of salvation to people everywhere. We believe that these gifts will make an eternal difference.” Wohoo! God is good! Amen!
WED. NIGHT HAS MOVED TO THE PARSONAGE!
Although one person thought I was kidding (and found the church locked), we really have moved our Wed. night Bible study to the parsonage across the parking lot (883 Fuller Ave NE). We’ve done this to being good stewards by not heating the church over the winter. The Study is 6:30-7:30 and we will still eat ice cream! Hope to see you there!
HONORING CHRIST’S BIRTHDAY BY LOVING THE HOMELESS!
Christ's birthday is fast approaching and to honor His special day, we are giving gifts to the least of these in our community - the homeless. Steve H. has put together a list of items we're collecting through Dec. 20th. Purchase items or provide a financial gift with a blue giving envelopes marked 'homeless project' and we’ll shop for you!
ITEMS NEEDED (MUST BE NON-PERISHABLE)
· Small packages of crackers, granola bars, and/or chips, 2 gal. Ziplock bags
· Socks, knitted caps and mittens, chapstick, toothbrushes, dental floss
· Travel sized toothpaste, deodorant, tissues, combs, small hand sanitizer bottles
· Band-Aids, bottled water, mints or gum, cough drops, small tissue packs
· Favorite Bible verses / encouraging words / Sm. New Testament Bibles
Bless you for bringing and giving a little CHRISTmas to those who may need it most! If you have any questions, see Steve H. or call or text him at: (616) 929-2195!
MISSIONARY BOOKS ARE IN GREAT DEMAND!
Sherry reported readership is up dramatically! As of Nov. 15 we’d read 119 books! If you’ve got one, read it/return it so others can read them! Not reading? See Sherry J. on Wed. or Sun. and get started! God is on the move! Read about it in the Missions books!
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 giving hugs! Not sure what a fist bump is? It’s easy! Simply make a loose fist and gently reach out towards someone. In return, they will reach their fist out and gently ‘bump’ yours! It’ fun and easy way to say hi without catching the flu!
EAT SOUP AND GATHER BOX TOPS FOR NAZARENE INDIAN MISSIONS!
Thank you to everyone who is collecting Campbell Soup labels and General Mills box tops! While it seems small, the cash they generate really adds up! This program has provided PA equipment, computers, and even a 15-passenger van for Nazarene Sun Valley Indian School. Questions, labels and box tops should go to Fran S. and Sherry J.
Dec. 17 Third Thur. Lunch at Hibachi Grill on Alpine
Dec. 19 Cantata practice at 10:00am – 12:00Noon
Dec. 20 Christmas Sunday! Christmas Cantata
Dec. 24 Christmas Eve Service at 6:00pm