What brings you joy? What are you joyful about? We had “Joy Teams” that delivered cookies on Christmas Eve to various places where people were having to work. The teams found joy in delivering Christmas greetings and cookies and the people who received the cookies were recipients of joy as well. At our January Church Board meeting we discussed ways we can be joyful and share joy with others throughout this year, rather than just at Christmas. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “...the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Philippians is Paul’s letter of joy (even though written from a prison cell) and in 4:4 he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Psalm 66:1 admonishes us, “Shout for joy to God, all the earth!” In Galatians 5:22 we find that joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. In His teaching on the Vine and the Branches in John 15, Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Find your joy in Christ and then share it with others. You need joy, our communities need joy, your workplace needs joy, your school needs joy, your friends need joy, and our world needs joy. Share the JOY!
We have quite a few people in the church who are newer to the church and quite a few who have been a part of the church for a while who would like to know more about the International Church of the Nazarene, including our local congregation. Pastor Connie and I are going to be co-leading 6 week group beginning Sunday, March 3rd at 9:45AM called “Nazarene Essentials.” It will run during the Sunday School hour through April 7th. This class will prepare you to consider whether or not you would like to join this church. You will gain information that will enable you to make an informed decision on membership. We have many people who are very much a part of our church family, but have chosen not to become a member and that is fine. However, joining the church gives you more a sense of belonging and a sense of mutual commitment. Members are able to vote in church elections and hold office. We will look at what the commitment to being a member involves.
Anyone is welcome to come to the class. Where we meet will depend on how many people sign up. We will begin promptly at 9:45AM as we have a lot of material to go over in each hour session. Material will be provided to you at no charge. You can have the study book electronically or we will print it for you. If you are looking to join the church you will need to make every effort to be there each week.
Here is what we will be looking at:
March 3: The Basics—A Brief History and Our Core Values
March 10: Worship and Theology
March 17: Evangelism and Discipleship
March 24: Leading and Serving
March 31: A Closer Look at Wesleyan Theology
April 7: A Closer Look at Polity and any other topics that we need to cover in more depth
On Sunday, April 21st we will be taking in new members during the morning service so that they will be eligible to vote in our Annual Meeting the following Sunday.
Our apologies that the January newsletter did not get out to you until half way through the month. It was the month where if anything could go wrong with the newsletter, it seemed to. It is our goal to have it out to you in a timely fashion so that you are well informed concerning all things happening in your church. Have a great month.
In Christ’s Love,
From the Pastor’s Pen Laptop
Every once in a while I find that I have to hit “Restart” on my phone because it is messing up in some way. The same holds true with a computer, rather than just choosing “sleep” mode it needs to be shut down and restarted. Many electronic devices are the same way. If things aren’t working right, try restarting (or rebooting). Fortunately, God recognized that we need something similar built into our lives and designed an end to one year and the start of a new year to give us a chance to reboot. We can look at what isn’t working for us in the past year and make corrections in order to be healthier in some area of life. Of course, there are other times when we can reboot such as coming to Him seeking His forgiveness for sin and allowing Him to help us to make the necessary changes in our lives. Perhaps there are areas in your life where you are ready to give up (or already have given up) where what you need is to allow God to give you a reboot opportunity. You may be ready to throw something away when you just need to take the opportunity for a fresh start. I don’t know where you might need to apply this principle right now, but I know that if you are open the Holy Spirit will show you where to apply it. “God, where do I need a reboot in my life?”
As we start the new year I am beginning a new series of messages based on our favorite stories from the Old Testament and applying the timeless truths that we find in them to our lives today. The series is called “Ancient Words—Ever True.” Each Sunday, I or one of our pastors will be sharing a different story from the Old Testament and pulling out the truths for our lives today. Many of you have shared with me what your favorite stories are and many of them will be finding their way into the messages for the next several months. I am still developing sermon titles and choosing Scripture passages, but here is where we are going to be going for the month of January:
Sunday Morning Messages (11AM)
January 6 “Ancient Words—Ever True” –an introduction to the series
January 13 Creation
January 20 Adam and Eve
January 27 Noah and the Flood
In our Small Group on Sunday evenings we will be using lesson material from “The Discipleship Place” which is a ministry of the Church of the Nazarene that offers lesson material in Biblical topics, theology, and church leadership. Some of our people have used the site a great bit. If you are reading this online, just click on the name above to go to the site. Materials will be printed for the Sunday PM group, but if you cannot join us and want to do the study on your own, just click on this link: Old Testament Study. You may also request materials to be printed for you by contacting me. Here is the schedule for the Small Group study:
Sunday Evening Bible Studies (5:30-7PM)
January 6 “Introduction to Old Testament Studies”
January 13 “Literary, Historical, and Geographic Divisions and Important Archaeological Discoveries
January 20 “Introduction to the Pentateuch”
January 27 “Primeval History and Patriarchs/Matriarchs”
February 3 “The Exodus Event and Covenant at Mount Sinai”
February 10 “Entering the Promised Land and Call for Monarchy”
February 17 “Period of the United Monarchy in Ancient Israel”
February 24 “Divided Monarchy and 8th Century BC Prophets”
March 3 “The Period of the Exile”
March 10 “The Postexilic Period”
March 17 “Poetic and Wisdom Literature”
March 24 “Synthesis: With a View to New Testament Fulfillment”
In Christ’s Love,