Sunday, September 17, 2017

Being Bold

Our services have returned to a 10:30 a.m. starting time. It was thrilling to see that we were short on space in the parking lot. Sunday school started up again, 9:00 a.m.

Announcements
--Darlene shared that Sunday October 8 after church there will be a meeting to discuss ideas for our Christmas program.
--Joanne Winship indicated that Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. there will be a planning meeting for future Family Nights. And Youth Group will be meeting at 6:30 p.m.
--Saturday, October 14 there is a Fish Fry & Silent Auction fund raiser planned.
--The church has hired Chris Hagameyer as church administrator. There will at some point church office hours established, but for now Tuesday and Thursday will be times to call the church.
--The Emotionally Healthy Church is the book that has been selected for study this year.

Chuck opened the service reading the story from the New Testament in which Jesus calmed the storm as a lead in to what he said was his favorite song, Master of the Wind. "He can calm the storm and make the sun shine again. I know the Master of the wind."

After an uplifting time of singing, we greeted one another for an extended time before taking an offering while singing a lively "I Saw the Light."

There were numerous needs shared during our time of prayer.

Being Bold

Today's message is based on the passage from Matthew 14 in which Jesus walked on the water.

Pastor Terry began by asking "How many of you here see yourselves as Bold? How many of you are the opposite of this? Some boldness is just the way we are. That is, it's our nature. Sometimes caution is the right attitude though, too. How do we know when boldness is safe and when it's not?

The full story in Matthew 14 is quite striking. It tells how the situation came about in which Jesus walked on the water, and invited Peter to join Him.

* * * *

At one point Pastor Terry talked about Mark Zuckerberg's comment that was in the news this week, "Why (after all these years) are we still dealing with racism?" Terry noted that the Bible answers this. The heart is desperately wicked. But humanism believes humanity is essentially good and simply needs to be educated. Truth be told, cruelty, racism, man's inhumanity to man should not shock us.

What's amazing though is not how bad the storms are. Rather, what's astounding is how resilient people are.

So Jesus invited Peter to step over the railing of the boat, to walk on the water. Peter responded by ignoring his rational thinking and took several steps in faith.

There are moments where we step out boldly and the payoff isn't there because it wasn't Jesus' voice telling us to step out. This is where being part of a community of faith is helpful. If something seems outrageous, we can get a confirmation of sorts.

Homework: How are we going to listen to God this week? Who do we need to forgive this week? Who do we need to go to lunch with? What would be the bold thing you could do this week? How much do we give up our time to help another?

What does God have for you this week?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Together

During the service Chuck interviewed Callie
about her trip to Africa 
Next week is the beginning of a new school year, and here at New Life Covenant we'll have our RALLY SUNDAY, with worship, lunch and activities both inside and outside. Our summer hours will yield to fall, which means worship starts at 10:15 a.m. There will be pre-service dialogue at 8:30 a.m.

Other announcements included the following:
--Darlene shared that Friday & Saturday is kickoff of our Faith & Fabric group which meets the Second Saturday each month 10-2. There will be soup on for all. Bring some other fixin's to share pot luck style.
--Paula shared that she will again teach a painting class. Contact Paula Saxin for details.
--September 17 will be the first day of Sunday School for the new year.

Chuck and the worship team led us in worship this morning with Darlene on piano. They opened with "He's Everything To Me." This was followed with "I Just Keep Trusting My Lord," a Roy Rogers and Dale Evans favorite. After several other songs from with blue hymnal an offering was taken and we spent some time in prayer led by Cheryl Borndal.

At one point in this early part of the service Chuck noted that Pam and Callie Johnson had just returned from a two week trip to Tanzania, Africa, where among other things they went on a safari and also climbed the 19,341 foot high Mount Kilimanjaro.

Together

Today's message came from Ephesians 4:1-16.  But he began by commenting on the key to climbing mountains: keep taking another step.

Terry has been a coach of team sports much of his life. What he's observed is that track and field is completely different. Team sports require practicing together and learning how to work together. In track you have a bunch of individual activities. Javelin throwers do not practice with pole vaulters or cross country runners. They are all doing completely different things.

Church, he said, is often more like an individual sport than a team sport. If we were working properly together we would see that each of us is part of a greater whole.

Ephesians 4
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Terry noted that there is something innate within us, the way we were designed, that desires to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It is excellent and right.

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  8 This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high, 
 he took many captives 
 and gave gifts to his people.”

Paul has referenced a passage from the Psalms, and then follows with an aside explaining its meaning:

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 

In the following segment Paul makes a list of gifts from God, explaining the purpose of these gifts. The list in this case is people. Each of us has a wide variety of gifts that we bring to the body of Christ, to our fellowship.

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Terry stated that one of the excuses people sometimes make when they leave a church is that "I'm not being fed." Often this occurs because individuals have gotten used to being recipients of the Word, and forgotten that they are in turn being fed for years in order to turn around and feed others. God's aim for us is to become a blessing to others, to help them attain the full measure of faith.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

As each part in the body does its part, then body life works. The body is called to grow together. If one finger grows huge and another finger remains the size of an infants, we end up a monstrosity.

This problem is a contemporary broken part of many churches today. Lay ministry is absent. The need for teachers is vast. Participation is at an all-time low.

As we enter into others' lives through ministry, our faith will become more real.

* * * *
At this we closed with a celebration of the Lord's Supper.