Hello dear friends and family!
We had another wonderful day in the Lord, yesterday! It began with a wonderful time of discipleship at 9:45! If you haven’t been to Sunday school in awhile, well, you just don’t know what you’re missing! Our worship service was a little different this week. While we surely sang praise, prayed, gave our offerings, and let God’s Word examine us, we also took time to affirm God two significant events!
First, Mary W. encountered God and He challenged this shy woman (who really prefers to stay behind the scenes) to step out boldly in faith. How? By calling on our shut-ins she has never met and take them a hand-made lap quilt she made especially for them! The exciting news is she said ‘YES.’ As a result, we took a few minutes Sunday to pray for the quilts she would give to shut-ins and our new ‘called out one.’ Praise the LORD!
Second, we received a report of God’s grace from Cherry and Valda. Valda had received word her sister (Lagita in VA) was at the end of her battle with cancer. While Valda wanted to talk to her about her salvation, without a car and means, it was impossible. But, then God stepped in! Though her car had problems, there was a looming snowstorm and wasn’t sure Lagita would be alive, and the snowstorm) Cherry prepared to go and asked us to pray.
Did God answer? Yesterday, we heard Cherry’s car did have a few small problems, but overall ran just fine! Lagita amazingly rallied the day they arrived and enthusiastically prayed to receive Christ. Sadly, within hours she dramatically declined and as Valda held her hand, 2 days later she went to heaven! The storm? Well, it waited just long enough for them to drive all night and make it home before it hit! Did God answer?
Yes, God answered prayer! At just the right time, He provided an obedient servant! At just the right time Lagita rallied and accepted Jesus! Valda was there when Lagita went home to Jesus and gave them strength them to make it home ahead of the storm! PTL!!
So, how is God speaking with you? How will you respond? Perhaps quilt making isn’t your gift, but maybe provided a ride is? Both Mary and Cherry demonstrated ‘little is indeed much when God is in it!’ Both not only heard God speak, but both said YES! Can obedience be scary? Sure! But, these ladies are living out the hymn, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus….No turning back, no turning back!” May this be so with all of us! Amen!
God’s message this week came to us from Acts 2:42-47 and was titled, “Sharing What We Have.” It was the 4th of 4 messages on stewardship. We learned stewardship won’t make sense until: 1) we acknowledge who God is as we learned in Ps. 106. We praise God, for He is good, for His love endures forever 2) and learn God wants us; all of us! Rom. 12:1-2 teaches God desires we offer our bodies as living sacrifices.
Last week we began to unpack what these changes would look like. After all, once we acknowledge who God is and yield ourselves fully to the Holy Spirit we are going to start thinking and acting differently….right? First, we begin to act differently by seeing the needs of others and their burdens and get involved. This week in Acts we see a little bit more of what it means to be all God wants us to be as we examine a healthy church!
What makes the church so healthy? First, they were in tune with God. How did they stay in tune with God? We find clues in vv. 42, 46, and 47. Here we learn they were devoted to the Apostles teaching (our N.T.) Bible), to the fellowship, to communion, to prayer, to regular attendance at church and praising God!
Second, they were a healthy church because they were in touch with the needs of others. We read in vv. 44-45. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone a he had need.”
The bottom line is people (inside and outside) matter to a healthy church. Their devotion to each other went beyond Sunday morning. They were committed to the physical, spiritual, emotional, and social needs of each other. Fellowship went beyond a cup of coffee – it was more than a program – it was a way of life!
Finally, we find a healthy church is generous. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that they should give cheerfully, not reluctantly or under compulsion (2 Cor. 9:6-7). If giving hurts then something is wrong. The Acts 2 church delighted in giving generously as needs arose. They gave of their time, talent, resources freely – joyfully – painlessly!
If giving hurts; if you find it hard to give, then it’s time for a spiritual checkup.
Are you in tune with God? Have you acknowledged all good things come from Him and He can be trusted? Have you offered yourself up as a ‘living sacrifice’ or find yourself ‘crawling off the altar’ and taking back control of your life? Are you reading the Bible, praying, coming to church regularly, and engaging in fellowship? Have you asked God to give you His eyes so you can see the needs in this world, community, and church?
Still not sure? Then ask the Holy Spirit to examine you. Ask Him what needs to change… trust me, He will be faithful to tell you what needs to change (if anything). But I’ll guess most of you struggling with stewardship already know what needs to change, right? So, the question to you is, are you willing? I’m praying for you! Blessings, Pastor Dan
NEWS AND EVENTS
DID YOU LOSE AN EARRING?
A single earring was turned into me Sunday morning and I’m guessing someone wants it back! If you lost an earring contact Pastor Dan, describe it, and we’ll get it back to you!
G.R. POLICE DEPT. AREA MEETING (NORTH) W/CAPTAIN – JAN. 27 @ 7:00PM
As a part of Highland Park Neighborhood Association, I receive occasional flyers from the Grand Rapids Police Department. Last week, I received a flyer asking me to inform you the meeting for the North Service Area will be Wed., Jan. 27 at 7:00pm at the GRPS University at 1400 Fuller Ave NE.They plan to share their mission statement, confirm and/or identify priorities, and discuss their tools and tactics. I’m sure this would be a valuable meeting…BUT I will be attending our Bible study instead!
LADIES RENDEZVOUS – SAT., JAN. 30 AT 10:30AM
Cherry is planning the next Ladies Rendezvous for Jan. 30and all ladies are invited! Need a ride? Wonder what you will be doing this month? Call Cherry at (616) 916-7595.
COMPASSIONATE MINISTRY – IT’S CRISIS CARE KIT TIME!
Get your toothbrushes, wash clothes and beany babies ready! Our Nazarene Missions International Council has asked us to start collecting items for Crisis Care Kits starting this week! Crisis Care Kits are a cooperative effort between Nazarene global missions and Nazarene compassionate ministries to collect and send basic toiletries to those who have experienced a ‘crisis’ all over the world. You can either purchase items or donate money to purchased items! We want to collect enough for 6 kits! Our ‘overflow’ will be donated to N.E.C.M. Bless you for loving hurting people! Questions? Contact Sherry J.
Here is the shopping list to make 1 Crisis Care Kit:
· 1 Shampoo (12 to 18 oz.)
· 2 Bars of Soap (Bath size or larger)
· 1 Toothpaste (4.0 to 6.4 oz.)
· 3 Toothbrushes (in original packaging)
· 1 Box of Band-Aids (30 or more)
· 1 Fingernail clippers
· 1 Sturdy hair comb
· 2 Hand towels
· 4 Pocket sized pkgs. of Kleenex (tissue)
· 1 Beanie Baby sized stuffed toy
Each Crisis Care Kit (CCK) should contain only the items/quantities listed. Place all items into a 2 gallon zip-lock bag (or bring them to church and we’ll do it). Remember! You don’t have to buy a ‘whole kit’ just bring what you can and we’ll put them together!
OUR NEXT NORTHEAST COMMUNITY POTLUCK IS SUN., FEB. 14
Do you like to eat? Do you like to laugh? Do you like to share your struggles and share your triumphs? If you said yes, you need to come to our next Northeast Community Church Potluck! It’s a great time to life. Not a single potluck goes by that I don’t discover something about one of you! So, invite a friend, bring something to share, and stay after our worship service for December’s potluck! If you would like to help set up or clean up, contact (call or text) Cherry P. (616) 916-7595or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
MISSIONARY BOOKS ARE IN GREAT DEMAND!
Sherry J. reports readership is up dramatically! Last report had 127 books read. Sherry thinks if we get to 150 books read Pastor Dan should dye his hair red! Yikes! What do you think? Not reading? See Sherry J. on Wed. or Sun. and get started!
SAVE THE DATE! TEAM DAY IS SAT., APR. 02
Team Day is a day of equipping and motivating through a variety of workshops and has lots of opportunities to network with other folks from all three Michigan Districts. It’s also an opportunity to reignite your passion for ministry. Team Day brings together lots of workshops on topics relating to church leadership, discipleship, missions, and youth and children’s ministries. There is literally something for everyone.
Team Day takes place on Apr. 02 at Perry H.S. in Perry MI. Cost is $25 if you register before Mar. 01 ($35 if registered before Mar. 15). The cost includes the Keynote session, music by O.N.U. and a catered continental breakfast and box sandwich lunch. So, save the date! More details to come including workshop descriptions and registration info!
NEXT THIRD THURSDAY CHINESE LUNCH IS THU., FEB. 18 AT 11:30AM
Our next Third Thursday Chinese Lunch is Jan. 21 at the Hibachi Grill on Alpine Ave. It’s a great time to eat, share joys, concerns and even laugh! Questions? See Tracy or Linda!
CHURCH POSTCARDS ARE AVAILABLE! (POSTAGE IS .35)
Have you been missing someone, want to invite someone church, or want to encourage? Great! Grab some church postcards and send them out! A handwritten note is getting pretty rare these days, but they always bless! Find them on the table in the Annex.
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.
TURN AND DON’T GIVE SOMEONE THE FLU!
It’s that wonderful season when we use hand sanitizer and give our best ‘fist bumps’ instead of hugs! Not sure what a fist bump is? It’s easy! Simply make a loose fist and gently reach out towards someone. They’ll reach their fist out and gently ‘bump’ yours! It’s fun and it is a good way to stop the spread of the cold and flu!
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
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!
Feb. 10 Ash Wednesday (Lent begins)
Feb. 14 Valentines Day
Mar. 13 Daylight Savings Time begins (Spring Forward)
Mar. 27 Easter Sunday