SHARING WITH STEVE
I am having a hard time with this article. The thing that is on my mind is the election that will take place in just one week. I do not like to get political because we are not to be of this world. We are citizens of heaven. I believe that the pulpit is a place to honor God and preach the Word, not a bully pulpit to embrace one party or one candidate. Having said that, I still live in the United States and the outcome of the election will affect me. Our two main choices are candidates that the majority of people do not trust. This does not give me confidence for the next four years. A common idea this year has been that we have the choice of two evils and we must choose the lesser of the two. That is a frustrating place to be.
As Christians are we putting too much trust in those whom we vote for? Our salvation is not coming from Washington, D.C., but from Jesus Christ. The Church will survive, not because of who is the president or who controls the House and the Senate, but because the head of the Church is Jesus Christ. We may not like the direction in which our country is going, but that should not surprise us. Our leaders tend to be more and more of the world, and that is how the world acts. We are not good people that are slowly going bad, but bad people who only through the grace of God have been changed to live differently. It is only through His Spirit that we can continue to live such lives. The world does not understand that, so why should we expect them to love us and understand how we act and think. It seems (especially around election times) that we believe that our salvation and safety can only come as we elect the “right” people to those positions. I am sure that the early Christians were no fans of Nero, Caligula, Domitian, etc., but they endured and thrived. Paul even told them to pray for those who were in authority over them. The early Christians knew that their hope and salvation did not come from Rome, but from Jesus Christ. Several hundred years later when the government finally became “more Christian,” it actually hurt the Church. The Church started to become worldly. It was protected by the government. It was almost one thousand years later before godly men stepped up and reminded the people that the authority did not rest in man, but in God and Jesus Christ.
I do not know what will happen next Tuesday. I do not know how this will affect this country. I do not know how this will affect us as Christians. I do know that God is still in control. Elijah lamented that all was lost and threw a pity party for himself. God reminded him that seven thousand had not bowed down to Baal. He was still in control. God allowed Babylon to defeat Judah and take them into captivity, but He was still in control. Daniel and his friends continued to trust in God and God was faithful. I am reminded of what Habakkuk said when told by God that He was going to allow the country to go into slavery, Hab 3:16-19 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. No matter what happens God is still in control. Christ has conquered sin, death, and the grave. The Church will endure. God is faithful.
Today I was reading through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and one section really stood out: 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” This is one of the most quoted parts of the Sermon on the Mount. I’ve read it countless times, as I’m sure you have as well.
Today it has a little more meaning to me. Today it hit home.
This past weekend, we had the Fall Festival. It was a great time. If you didn’t get a chance to attend or help out, you missed out on a great time. When I was getting ready this year, I was exhausted. I don’t know if it was the weather or something I ate, or what, but I was having a difficult time focusing and self motivating. My mind told me there was too much to get done and it would never be good enough. I felt crushed under a spiraling to-do list.
I forgot I wasn’t alone.
Most famous athletes and actors give thanks away in vague chunks.
“I couldn’t have done it without you, the fans.”
“There are a lot of people to thank, so thank all of you!”
“This wouldn’t have been possible without so many dedicated people.”
I want to take a minute and thank two of the specific people I believe God provided to help me when I couldn’t do it alone: Phyllis and Debbie.
They showed up early and stayed late.
They helped keep me on task when my brain lost track of the to dos left undone.
They were an encouragement to me when they didn’t even realize it.
Thank you, Phyllis and Debbie. The Fall Festival would not have been doable without your help.
This Sunday, I also hosted a meeting aimed to communicate better with the parents of our kids and teens. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get parents more involved in their child/children’s spiritual formation. I’ve read countless articles and books on strategies to recruit volunteers and keep parents on board.
Ironically enough, all I had to do was ask.
The parents of this church care what their children are learning and who is teaching them. A step further, they are willing to invest their time, talents, and energies into helping expand and improve what we are able to do here at Meadowbrook.
If you were ever waiting or a time to see when or how you could get involved with the Teen’s or Children’s ministries here, consider this my ask, seek, and knock.
If you don’t feel called to help with either of those ministries, still consider this an ask, seek, or knock.
God has given us all gifts and abilities, from the grandiose to the practical and I believe Meadowbrook has a place for all of them.
Infants to Retirement Homes; Arts to Behind the Scenes; Beginner to Grandmaster.
Get out there today. Talk to someone else serving where you would like to serve or talk to Steve or myself about how you would like to get involved, I’m sure we would both like to help however we can.
ANNUAL MEETING COMING UP
The annual meeting for Meadowbrook Christian Church will be held on Sunday, November 13, following the morning service. Reports will be given by the ministers, the elders, and the deacons. Elections will take place for elders and deacons. The budget for 2017 will be presented for approval by the congregation. Please be keeping Meadowbrook in your prayers. God continues to work in us and through us. Please plan to stay for the meeting and show your interest and support.
The year of THE STORY is drawing to a close. Sunday, November 6, we will be looking at Chapter 31, the final chapter in the book. Sunday, November 13, we will have a final summary sermon. We have received many favorable comments on this series of sermons. People have a new or renewed interest in the Bible. We have seen how the Bible flows together into one complete story. We have seen how God’s plan has unfolded from creation, through the coming of His son, as the Church was established, and as He plans to return at some future time. Thank you for your support in this effort. We are already making plans for next year. The theme for 2017 will be revealed in December.
Sisters in Service will be meeting on Monday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. for fellowship, refreshments and devotion. Barb Stephens of St. Joseph Hospital has been invited to speak to the ladies about an “end of life” ministry at St. Joe’s that comforts patients and their families. Blankets and afghans cover the patient with a personal expression of love and caring. Ladies who knit or crochet will be making 6-1/2” squares for afghans – any yarn, any stitch. Squares can be made and donated at any time. See Ruth Lindhagen if you would like to contribute a square or two to this project.
What’s coming up at future SIS meetings?
January – Presentation by “Rosie the Riveter”
February – Prepare care packages for college students away from home and presentation by Crittention Hospital representative on “A Matter of Balance” – tips to keep your balance as you go about your daily business.
The Samaritan’s Purse project will conclude on Sunday, November 13, when we collect all of the shoeboxes and place them on the stage. We will be delivering them to the collection center the following week. There is still time to get a shoebox and fill it with special items for a girl or a boy. More information can be found on the display in the foyer or please see Ruth Lindhagen if you have any questions. “Operation Christian Child is a fantastic way to get your church involved in the evangelism and discipleship of children around the world! Every gift is an opportunity to share the Gospel. Many boys and girls also participate in our 12-lesson discipleship course, The Greatest Journey, where “they learn how to faithfully follow Christ and share Him with others” (copied from the brochure).
We have 14 student names and email addresses. All of these students attend Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City – the newest location for the expanding ministry of His House.
Once you have selected a student, here are some suggestions for making contact:
Introduce yourself and identify yourself as a member or attender at Meadowbrook Christian Church.
- Offer to pray for any needs/requests they want to share.
- Indicate your willingness to contact the student via email or letter on a regular basis.
- Share Scripture verses, experiences, or encouraging words.
- Pray for God to lead you as you communicate with your student.
- Be aware that this may start out slowly, and feel a little awkward at first. This is normal anytime you are beginning a new relationship.
- Visit the ‘His House NMC’ link at www.hhcf.org to familiarize yourself with events being planned for the His House group at NMC.
- PRAY for your student!
Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity to encourage and build up young people who are away from home, and facing challenges to their faith. God can use you to make a significant impact in their lives!
If you would like to encourage a student, please see Mike Tingley to receive a Name & Email card.
The Red Cross will be at Meadowbrook on Wednesday, Nov. 23, between 12:30 and 6:00 p.m. To make an appointment, please call the Red Cross at 313-530-0375 (indicate Meadowbrook Christian Church blood drive) or visit redcrossblood.org (sponsor code: Meadowbrookchristian).
Meadowbrook is partnering with Lighthouse of Oakland County to help provide food for Thanksgiving baskets for our neighbors in need in Oakland County. Please bring your donations on any of the following Sundays: November 6 or 13. There is a collection area set up in the foyer to place your items. Please see Linda Tingley if you have any questions or call 248-853-7593. Thank you for being a blessing to families in need this Thanksgiving season!
The Men’s Breakfast will be held on Saturday, November 12, at 8:30 a.m. in the fellowship hall. We will have scrambled eggs, sausage, and biscuits and a time of devotion and prayer. A sign-up sheet is posted in the foyer. All men are invited to join. See Steve for more information.
Saturday, Dec. 10 – Christmas Party
Sunday, Dec. 18 – Christmas Breakfast
From the Pew
by Art Drake
Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. Romans 1:5 (NLT)
I’ve wanted for some time to write about Paul. The Apostle has always inspired me as a great example of how to live the Christian life. With Paul being a central feature in The Story last month, this seems like a good opportunity to address some things I’ve been wanting to share.
I believe Paul’s life was defined by several characteristics that will also serve us well. The first of these is commitment. Paul was the epitome of the purpose-driven life. He knew why he was here and he never wavered in accomplishing the mission that God had given him. He ran the race with single-minded determination.
The next characteristic that comes to mind is strength. We read about Paul’s travels and all the trials he endured and it occurred to me that he had considerable physical and mental stamina to go through with his mission. He must have been somewhat physically rugged and was just as strong mentally through Christ. In Philippians 4:13 (NLT), Paul writes that, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength”. In reading Paul’s letters, we do not get the impression of weakness, but rather a picture of strength.
Another characteristic that comes to mind is discipline. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9: 26-27 (NLT), “So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified”. In 1 Thessalonians 4: 11 (NLT), Paul advises to, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands just as we instructed you before”. So we see Paul living a quiet, simple, disciplined life.
Paul also practiced contentment. In Philippians 4: 11-12 (NLT), Paul writes that, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything”. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little”.
Patience is another attribute Paul possessed. He patiently endured trials and suffering trusting God to see him through. One of my favorite stories, described in Acts 28:3-6 was when Paul was bit on the hand by a poisonous snake and he simply shook the snake into the fire and went on with his business. He didn’t get down, or question why God had allowed this to happen. He simply trusted God and went about seeing to his travels to Rome.
Several other characteristics come to mind. Paul had the courage to speak the message of Christ to angry mobs, and to the highest religious and civil leaders. He was also very candid in his letters to the various churches, correcting them when they got off track. He demonstrated humbleness, integrity, and a mature understanding of Christ.
Paul’s life is fascinating and a good subject for anyone doing a biographical study of the Bible. We would all do well to heed Paul’s example and live a life worthy of our calling as Christians.
Mimi Romaella – November 1
Phil & Jessica Johnson (Anniv.) – November 6
Bridget Kochan – November 9
Debbie Stallings – November 10
Andrea Schwartzenberger – November 16
Tabitha Martin – November 20
Bill Bradford – November 23
June Adair – November 24
Tristian Cox – November 24
Pattie Bradford – November 29
Jake Wundrach – November 30