Dear Friends and Family!
What a wonderful day we had in the Lord, Sunday! Last Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent and what a blessing it was to begin the season of anticipation together as a faith family! We were blessed to have Pastor Ed and Annette Douglas come and sing special music! We were blessed to worship with so many of Fran S’s family! We were blessed to share in the struggles of a new face in our midst. God is on the move in our little church! Have you sensed it? Amen!
God’s message this week came from Matthew 24:36-44 and was titled, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!” As we begin Advent we are reminded we live in an era between two big surprises! The first surprise came after 400 years of silence as the Savior, Messiah, and King of Kings was born in unlikely place, to unlikely poor working class folks, in an unlikely form, a baby boy! As we prepare to celebrate Christmas we must resist the urge to hurry past these facts! Except for a few star gazing pagan Kings and His parents, nobody seemed to notice Jesus had come!
In all of the glitz, glamor, urgency, and pagan commercialization around us, let’s do our best to remember and celebrate the true surprise of Christmas! Joy to the World, the Lord has come!
But, in Matthew 24:36-44 Jesus predicts an even greater surprise! While there will be those who use His House as an opportunity to make money (c. 21), and misguided, rebellious, and selfish religious leaders (c. 22-24), and wars, famine, earthquakes, and persecution, there is coming an unmistakable day when Jesus is coming back for those who are saved (c. 24:30-31) and trusting in Him for their salvation and will take them to be with Him in heaven! Woohoo!
Anticipating questions regarding when it will happen, Jesus declares, “No one knows about that day or hour; not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).
The great surprise of Christ’s return will be good news for those who are Christian! In heaven there isn’t any suffering, pain, or persecution! But, for those who aren’t saved; those refusing to trust in Christ for their salvation; those who thought they could wait for a more convenient time, Christ’s return will be the worst of news. Comparing His second coming to the time when Noah responded in faith and prepared while the rest of world partied and perished, Jesus said: “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding wheat with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:40-41).
Are you ready for Christ’s return? Don’t delay! He could come before the Christmas party at school or at work and long before your gifts are purchased and wrapped. On the first Sunday of Advent Jesus reminds us the first order of business is to be ready for His return! How? In Mark we read, “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.’” (Mark 1:14b-15).
We become ready for Jesus’ return by repenting of our false gods, reliance on self, and worship of things. We let go of old hurts and turn our backs on destructive, violent, and selfish ways and ask Christ to forgive us! Instead, with the Spirit’s help we turn towards kind, gentle, and loving ways, ask Jesus to be Lord of our life, and resolve to be more like Him! Then, when the greatest surprise of all comes (Jesus) you will spend eternity with God! Amen! Blessings, Pastor Dan
NEWS AND EVENTS
ATTENTION TEENS! FREE WINTER JAM 2017 CONCERT – JAN. 08 – ARE YOU IN?
Janie has declared Winter Jam 2017 at the Van Andel Arena a must go to concert for all teens and young adults. Bands will include: Crowder, Tenth Avenue North, Britt Nicole, and Thousand Foot Krutch! It is already a deal at 10 bands for $10 bucks, but for teens the cost is FREE! That’s right, zip, zero, nada, because Janie convinced the church to pay your way! What? Yeah, now, ya gotta go! Young adults can come, too, but they’ll need to pay the $10! What’s stopping you? Text your friends and then RSVP Janie at firstname.lastname@example.org or text her at 616.204.2499! What a great way to start your New Year! Are you in? Hope so!
We will again be ordering poinsettias to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas Eve and Christmas day services. The cost of the 6 ½ pots will be $6.60. Order forms will be in the program for the next three Sundays. All orders must be in by Sunday December 11, 2016.
ATTENTION ALL KNITTERS
The stewards will be collecting items for bags for the homeless after the holidays. If you are a knitter and can make hats and/or mittens for men or women, they would love to add them to the bags. A complete list of all items will be available later.
CHANGES TO THE ORDER OF SERVICE
Changes have been made in the order of our worship service. The “Time of Greeting” has been eliminated. Please greet friends and visitors before and after service in the refreshment/classroom area. The sanctuary will be available for prayer and quiet reflection before the service. Please be respectful of those praying as you enter.
CHRISTMAS SERVICES SCHEDULE
Saturday, December 24 – Christmas Eve Service (time to be determined)
NORTH END COMMUNITY MINISTRY FUND RAISER
NECM is one the local organizations our church supports. They benefit from our annual diaper drive and when we receive extra items for our care kits, we send the items to them. They have been named as a recipient of gift cards from the Meijer Corporation “Simply Give” program at the Plainfield Meijer. From October 30 to December 31, 2016. If someone wants to participate, all they have to do is present a donation card to the cashier at the Plainfield Meijer’s and $10.00 will be added to their total grocery bill. The cards are available on the table at the back of the church for from Gerry Dawson. This is a great way to support NECM.
LADIES RENDEZVOUS AND COOKIE EXCHANGE
The next Ladies rendezvous will be December 3, where the ladies will be exchanging cookies. Please bring one dozen cookies to trade. Please contact Cherry for more info or if you need a ride! Call or text (616) 916-7595.
OUR NEXT 3RD THURSDAY CHINESE LUNCH IS THIS THURSDAY NOV. 17!
Our next Third Thursday Chinese Lunch is this Thursday, Nov 17, at 11:30am at the Hibachi Grillon Alpine. The food is good, but the fellowship is even better! Come, enjoy a great time to eat, share joys, concerns and even laugh! If you have any questions? See Tracy or Linda!
Deb Xia has been hired to be our church secretary. She will be working 5 hours a week and her responsibilities will mainly be doing the program and newsletter. Additional duties will be added when we are able to increase her hours.
THE PATH OF A PEACEMAKER
On Saturday January 21, 2017 the Michigan District is sponsoring “The Path of a Peacemaker” workshop at the Perry Church of the Nazarene. The Path of a Peacemaker is intended to assist all believers in resolving conflicts biblically with one another. The goal of Path is to bring healing, reconciliation, and restoration to relationships among believers in Christ. Through its use ministries will be renewed, grace will be promoted, and the witness of Christ greatly enhanced. The cost is $10.00. If you think you might be interested in attending, please see Pastor Dan.
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. or Sherry J.
CHURCH POSTCARDS ARE AVAILABLE!
Is there someone missing or would like to invite to church? Why not grab a few church postcards and send them out? A simple hand written note blesses everyone! You will find them on the table under the missionary bulletin board in the Annex.
DAILY DEVOTIONS – “REFLECTING GOD” IS AVAILABLE! FREE!!
“Reflecting God” is a daily devotional guide our church makes available free to anyone interested. The devotions provide a brief truth from the Bible every day. Reflecting God also has a section for reading the Bible in a year and praying for our missionaries! Feel free to take one! You’ll find them located on the table outside the sanctuary!
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!
Dec. 3 Ladies Rendezvous and cookie exchange
Dec. 24 Christmas Eve
Dec. 25 Christmas Day
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day