Dear Friends and Family!
Yes, it was another wonderful day in the Lord on the fourth Sunday of Advent! Our advent wreath reminds us Jesus’ birth brings hope, peace, joy, and love! On Christmas, we will light the Christ candle to remember His birth, death, and resurrection also brought us salvation. In the midst of the joy and struggle of Christmas, I pray you remember and receive the true gifts of Christmas Jesus came to bring! Joy to the world! Jesus has come! God’s message this week came from Matthew 1:18-25 and was titled, “The New Moses.” As we examine ‘Matthew’s Christmas Story’ we find 5 men, 5 dreams, & 5 prophetic announcements. Joseph, Herod, and three Magi all learn about the newborn King Jesus…but have two extremely different responses. In Joseph we discover when God declares ‘do not be afraid’ he’s not afraid. When God says ‘be afraid’ Joseph is afraid. When Joseph is told to take Mary home he takes her home; when he’s told to leave, he leaves, and when Joseph is told to stay; he stays. The Wise Men also act in obedient faith, too. Though outsiders in many ways, they obediently follow the star God has provided, bring gifts to worship the newborn King, and respond in faith obediently to the dream God had provided them by not returning to Herod as they’d been told. But, Herod learns of the birth of Christ differently and responds differently. Instead of hearing from God, he hears the ‘good news’ from the foreign wise men. Instead of worshipping Christ, he gives orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity under two years old (2:16). Like Pharaoh before him in God’s plan to deliver His people through Moses, Herod responds to His plan to deliver His people through Jesus with threats, violence, and the massacre of innocents.
As Advent ends and Christmas arrives where are you in this story and how will you respond to Christ’s birth? Perhaps, like Herod, you listen to what others say and fear and reject God’s plan of salvation…You find the meek Jesus in the manger foolish and in anger mock the Savior who loves you? If this is you, I pray you will lay down your sword and accept His grace instead. Perhaps, like the wise men from the east, you feel like an outsider as you come to Christmas. You’ve heard from God and want to respond, but many well-meaning Christians have made you feel inferior, unworthy, and unwelcome. I am sorry! May I be among the first to welcome you home! Regardless of your past or present you are welcome here at Northeast Community! Regardless, of where your journey begins, I pray we all strive to be like Joseph. Joseph heard from God and responded in obedient faith to the confusing and troubling events surrounding him. May God grant us the faith and strength to respond as Joseph did.
Blessings, Pastor Dan
I wanted to thank all of you for praying for our family and ask you to continue to pray. Dad (Dave) passed peacefully with family gathered around him yesterday morning (Sunday) in the Battle Creek Hospital. While Dad and mom love our church and were saddened when they were no longer able to make the drive and attend worship, they continue to feel part of our church and support us as they can. Pray for mom (Mary) and the family members traveling to the memorial. The arrangements for Dad’s memorial are as follows on Tue., Dec. 27th at the Royal Funeral Home (Battle Creek) www.royalfuneralhome.net. Visitation - 9:00-11:00am; Memorial - 11:00am; and Internment - 12:00pm (Fort Custer National Ceremony)
NEWS AND EVENTS
NEEDED: CHRISTMAS CAROLERS!
On Wednesday, December 21st, we are planning on going to the shut-ins and singing to them. Join in on the fun as we hope to be a blessing to these dear people! It has been said there will be hot chocolate! Please meet at the church and we will car pool. We will be leaving at 6 PM. [All your practicing singing along with the radio will not be in vain. :)]
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! Janie convinced the church to pay your way! You 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!
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
NORTH END COMMUNITY MINISTRY FUND RAISERNECM 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 PlainfieldMeijer until 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 or from Gerry Dawson. This is a great way to support NECM.
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.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2017 WORK & WITNESS PROJECT:
I'm writing to invite you and any members of your church to be a part of the largest Nazarene Work & Witness project called, One Heart - Many Hands Indianapolis 2017! This week-long service project will take place June 18-23. In a recent conversation with Dr. David Downs, the District Superintendent of the West Texas District, it came to my attention that many pastors are under the impression that One Heart - Many Hands (OHMH) projects are just for youth groups. In actuality, OHMH is a Work & Witness project geared for the entire church to participate in. Many churches bring multi generational groups who work on the project and learn from each other. In past General assembly years we have averaged 2000 Nazarenes serving together with OHMH to leave the fingerprints of God all over the General Assembly host city. I'm sure you receive hundreds of emails each year encouraging you and your church to be a part of something… OHMH is a unique Work & Witness project that not only affords your group the opportunity to be involved in missions together but also to experience the Global Church of the Nazarene in a very visible and tangible way as team members participate in the General Assembly services. Would you prayerfully consider encouraging your church to take advantage of this opportunity to serve alongside thousands of Nazarenes this summer in Indianapolis? For more information about this service project please contact our office at email@example.com or visit our website at www.oneheartmanyhands.com. Thank you, George Sisler
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. 21 Christmas Caroling – meet at church – leaving 6 PM
Jan. 22 Missions Sunday