Sharing With Steve
I try not to get involved in politics. I have some very strong feelings about being a Christian and serving in the political arena. We have made a decision here at Meadowbrook that we are here each Sunday to celebrate Jesus Christ and worship Him. We do not talk about politics from the pulpit or promote one candidate over another. That makes me no less interested in the presidential race that is currently taking place. I have struggled with both candidates. I am praying for clarity as November approaches. I receive a bi-weekly news magazine entitled WORLD. One major difference in this magazine is its strong Christian perspective. In June one of the articles addressed the topic of the presidential race. I would like to share the article with you. It was written by Joel Belz, one of the founders of the magazine. No candidate is endorsed in the article, but he does present a perspective that should help Christians.
“I can’t believe the mess we’re in,” one of my very savvy political friends fretted to me the other day. “How will we ever get it all straightened out by November?” Well, we won’t. But one of the wonderful things the Bible makes clear about our great God is that He never seems to be in a hurry. Quick to show mercy—yes! But undoing the awful calamities His people regularly bring on themselves? No, He’ll devote 40 years to one reclamation project, and maybe 70 years to another. Even in the New Testament when He was performing one-on-one miracles, He tended to frustrate folks by just taking His time getting to the scene of the problem.
Does God seem a little slow right now getting to the scene of the breakdown? Are you frustrated because He hasn’t made clear yet (to you, at least) which candidate should get your support in this fall’s presidential election—and maybe some other offices as well? Does it frustrate you to be reduced to phrases like “NeverTrump” or “Worser of Two Evils”? So keep this in mind, please: If the God of the universe takes His time sorting things out, why should you rush to judgment? If in His order of things, you’re allowed six more months to make up your mind about who should be our next president, why’s it so important that you show how smart you are by announcing your decisions even before God has made His purpose clear.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to latch on to your favorite candidate and then to give him or her the energetic benefit of your backing. I am saying it’s a bit presumptuous to assert that there’s simply no further evidence the Almighty could show you that could possibly prompt you to change your mind. Isn’t that at least part of the reasoning behind scheduling a fairly lengthy campaign? If we already know everything we need to make thoughtful choices, why not just settle for a three-day election cycle? No, we need that extra time—and a good case in point is right at hand. It’s fair to assume, I think, that an overwhelming majority of WORLD readers would, over the last few years, have put themselves in a pretty dogmatic “NeverHillary” category. But then along comes this fellow Donald Trump, with all his baggage—prompting a number of people to back off a bit and to qualify their “NeverHillary” to a more cautious “AlmostNeverHillary.” In a “lesser of two evils” contest, these folks would say, she doesn’t look quite as bad now as she did before. Well, now. Isn’t that what political campaigns are all about?
But it works just as well in the other direction. Significant numbers of WORLD readers, I sense, have been in the “NeverTrump” category. I’ll confess you could have legitimately slapped such a label on me. With all his negatives it has been hard for me, over the last six months, to imagine any development that might make me think more positively about Mr. Trump. Yet then, in mid-May, along comes Trump’s release to the public of his surprising list of 11 examples of the kind of jurists he would name to the Supreme Court if he is elected president. It was not only an outstanding list; its publication at this point in the campaign was an unprecedented gift to the voting public.“Did you see that?” a number of “NeverTrumpers” immediately asked me by phone and email. “Does that change your thinking at all?” Of course it does. Enough to back off the word “Never”? Maybe not—at least not yet. But maybe enough to make me question whether I should have said “Never” in the first place. There’s just so much to learn. There’s so much out there that God knows, but that I don’t know yet—and maybe never will.
Indeed, God operates with a very long calendar. He’s not in a hurry, just as He never has been, to share with us everything He already knows. For me, that’s enough to turn the traditional advice upside down and warn everybody instead: Whatever you do, don’t vote early! (Copied by permission from WORLD Magazine, Vol. 31, No. 12 – June 11, 2016, article by Joel Belz)
I was reading over the sermon on the mount today. If you want an easy read, this is a terrible idea.
I’ve read it many times over the course of my short lifetime, but it still calls me to a higher standard of living, of community, and fellowship with Christ.
Today I was commanded not to worry.
You are also called to forgo worry, it’s right there, in Matthew 6:25-34.
The beautiful irony is the immediate impact something as simple as: “Do not worry” brings to mind.
“I don’t worry . . . Do I worry? Do I worry too much? How much is too much worrying? Is this worrying? How do I stop doing things?”
The thoughts go on and on. It’s the classic conundrum of asking someone not to think about something: You literally have to think about the thing in question in order to comprehend the command not to think about it.
Or do you?
I have a natural streak of inquisition (not of the Spanish persuasion though).
My mind has to question in order to comprehend.
As I questioned my questioning as a potential form of worry, I realized I was looking in the wrong place.
Verse 25 starts with a key word: Therefore.
Cue the recitation of the age old adage: “When you see a therefore, you have to stop and see what it’s there for.”
You have my permission to roll your eyes now.
Truly, though, this brings the whole worry passage into perspective.
Verse 24 cues the whole section to follow with the words: “No one can serve two masters.”
You can’t claim you trust God with your life and then spend your time worrying that He can’t do it.
You can’t seek hope in Christ while putting your trust in money, or self, or others, etc.
Putting your trust in anything other than God’s power causes worry.
Think about it: Worry is being crushed by tomorrow’s problems before they happen.
Worry is imagining everything that could possibly go wrong while not actually being able to do anything about it.
I do it.
I’m sure you’ve done it before as well.
We all do it when we take on the role of protector and provider, putting God to the side; dethroning him from our hearts.
Let me be clear before you think I try to live every day shirking money and running about whilly nilly.
God is also a god of order. He doesn’t expect us to live lives of chaos.
He does expect us to allow him to lead our lives instead.
We have to choose Him.
We have to choose not to worry.
“But what about tomorrow?!” My mind screams.
“I will plan what I can plan, then I will allow God to do as he pleases.”
“But what if things go wrong? What if I don’t have control?”
This is where worry threatens to overwhelm, this is where the sweating sets in.
The truth is this: You never had control in the first place.
You didn’t choose to be born, you don’t know when you will die, and you can’t control almost anything in between.
But you can choose where you place your trust.
You can choose not to worry.
Choose to trust God today, even for a few minutes.
He is there waiting.
His yoke is easy and His burden light because He carries your past and your tomorrows, all you have to do is live today for Him.
Youth Groups Resume This Month
Do you know a Middle or High student looking to dig deeper in God’s Word? Join us every other Wednesday at 7-8 p.m., starting September 14th, to dive into scripture and discussion.
After time off for the summer, the Adult Bible Study will resume on Wednesday, September 14, at 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall and meets every other week during the school year. We will be starting a new study when we resume, a study of the Book of Judges. There are parallels between the world of Judges and our world today. The last verse in the book says, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 21:25). This book describes a time in the life of Israel when God was not taken seriously except when He was needed to get the people out of a jam. Come and join us for what should be an interesting study. We study 45-50 minutes and then close with a time of prayer. For more information please see Steve Martin.
There will be no Sunday morning service on September 25 due to the running of the Brooksie Way Half Marathon. Therefore, our annual Saturday evening service will be September 24 around 6 p.m. This annual race brings thousands of runners to Rochester Hills which results in the road in front of our building being closed Sunday morning. Some of our men will be roasting a pig on the church grounds all day on Saturday for everyone to enjoy for supper at 5 p.m. Sign-up sheets will be posted in the foyer over the next couple of weeks. Be sure to join us for this laid back fun affair. Mark your calendars today.
We have finally entered into the New Testament in our study of The Story. We continue to receive positive feedback on our efforts. Sunday, Sept. 4th, we will be looking at Chapter 24, then taking a break from The Story on Sunday, Sept. 11th when Nathan North, our Family Life Minister, will be preaching.
Sunday, Sept. 18th, we will be looking at Chapter 25 and then take another break for the Saturday evening service on Sept. 24. Then over the next seven weeks we will conclude this series. There will be six chapters left and then a closing summary sermon. We still have books available for your purchase at $5 a book. Thank you for your interest and support in this effort.
3rd Annual Scrapbook Crop at Meadowbrook
Meadowbrook is hosting the third annual Scrapbook Crop on Sat., Sept. 17, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. It is open to church attendees as well as to the community. Proceeds will benefit our Teen Ministries to help finance outings like CIY. Registration forms are available in the church foyer, or by contacting crop coordinator Cindy Gerstenlauer, email@example.com.
Sisters in Service will be meeting on September 26 at 6:30 p.m. To kick off the new season, we will be having a pot luck dinner, and attendees are asked to bring a dish to pass. At this meeting we will make plans for upcoming meetings and organize the Community House dinner SIS will be hosting in October (more details on that later). Sisters in Service meets the 4th Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. (September 6:30 being an exception) to work on projects, hear speakers, support those in need, along with a devotion given by one of the ladies and refreshments. Please see SIS President Ruth Lindhagen if you want to learn more about Sisters in Service.
Sisters in Service Hosts Afternoon Tea
The ever-popular Afternoon Tea hosted by Sisters in Service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 11:00 a.m. Each table is hosted by one of the ladies as she creates a beautiful table with linens, fine disheware and glasses, and lovely centerpiece. Each table is unique and an expression of its hostess. Volunteers prepare a delicious array of tea sandwiches, fingerfoods, and desserts. You won’t want to miss this delightful day. A sign-up sheet will be posted in the church lobby. Be sure and invite your friends; they will not be disappointed. See chairperson Kathi Tope if you have questions.
Sisters in Service Garage Sale a Success!
Garage Sale Organizer, Elaine Bright, reports: “Our lord was so gracious to us. He provided great weather and good results. We are now able to do His works in the year ahead. The volunteers had a fun-filled four days and the fellowship was ever so good.” A BIG THANK YOU to Elaine and Dan Bright for hosting the Garage Sale at their home.
Join the Men for Breakfast
A Men’s Breakfast is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10, at 8:30 a.m. The men will enjoy a home-cooked breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits, and beverage. Following breakfast will be a time of devotion and prayer. A sign-up sheet is posted in the foyer.
Through the generosity of our members who support Faith Promise for Missions, the Missions Ministry was able to contribute extra funds this month, in addition to regular monthly contributions, to satisfy the special requests from four of the missions we support.
International Disaster Emergency Services (IDES)
IDES sends financial and physical support to areas around the world devastated by natural disasters. This month, Faith Promise funds in the amount of $1,000 was sent to IDES to help with the Ecuador relief following devastating earthquakes.
His House Christian Fellowship
A new school season means increased expenses as His House Christian Fellowship reaches out to young people coming onto twelve Michigan campuses. A $700 check was sent to His House in support of a challenge to the ministry to raise an additional amount equal to a $41,000 gift from a generous donor who wants to help others find Jesus and thinks His House is the vessel that God can use for maximum spiritual growth.
Asia Christian Services
The ministry team in Asia makes its way around the country using motorcycles for transportation. Faith Promise is supplying $600 for the purchase of a motorcycle that will aid in ministers reaching out to fellow countrymen.
TCM International Institute
TCM rejoices in an increase in the number of students attending TCM International Institute this year, but that means additional expenses and the need for additional funding to provide classes, housing, and food for international students. A $700 check was sent to TCM to assist in these added expenses.
In Memoriam LaVerne Morse, Missionary, Educator and Founder of Asia Christian Services (ACS).
Our dear friend, LaVerne Morse, passed away on August 4th. LaVerne founded Asia Christian Services in 1964, and Meadowbrook has supported this mission for many years. The ACS website says: “Through this mission he has trained thousands of leaders. He modeled evangelism and loving one another. He helped in spreading of the Gospel in a number of ways. He influenced the starting of multiple Bible Colleges, radio broadcasts, medical evangelism through clinics and medical kits, Bible translations, the printing of Christian literature and church planting efforts in many new previously unreached tribes.
LaVerne went to China as a newborn and was raised there and served with his parents and brothers until WWII. He graduated high school in Tulsa, OK and began College at Minnesota Bible College. He transferred to CBS as a junior and graduated from CBS in 1954. He and his wife, Lois, went to Burma in 1955 and had a profound impact there. He later became the Missions Professor at CBS for 23 years, and through that time he influenced numerous students to spread the Gospel around the world.”
Through the Faith Promise Mission Fund, a memorial gift in the amount of $100 was sent to ACS. “Gifts to this fund will facilitate Asian evangelists to pioneer church planting in new areas of South East Asia”.
The Sword of the Spirit
Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Ephesians 6: 17 NLT
While the other items of God’s armor that Paul describes in Ephesians 6:13-17 are defensive in nature, the sword is an offensive weapon. Any military person can attest that you must go on the offense to win. Defense is necessary, but only by going on the attack can we win.
So, what does it mean to take the sword of the Spirit? It means to understand and spread the word of God. To me, we can do this in three ways. One, is to support your church. Two, is to support your missionaries, and three, is to influence our world.
The Church is God’s tool to further His work in the world. We should all strive to support our church, and our church leaders in every possible way. This is accomplished by prayer, financial means, volunteering, and regular attendance. The Church is an oasis of light in a dark world. We much love it, nurture it, and support it.
One thing I have been neglectful of in the past is supporting out missionaries. However, our missionaries are our representatives on the front line, bringing Gods word to the world. We cannot all be on the front line but we can support those who are financially, and with our prayers. Missionaries are the tip of the sword, spreading God’s word to those who need it most. We must support them.
Lastly, while we may not be missionaries in a foreign land, we can be missionaries in our community and to those around us. I look around every day and see a lost world. I see a lack of patience and great anxiety. I see trouble and hostility. I see basically the opposite of what Paul describes as the fruits of the Spirit. I see people barely holding it together and our society is in danger of coming apart at the seams. I truly believe this is because we have legislated, and shut God out of our lives.
We can do something about this. People are in desperate need of answers and we can provide those answers. People are hurting and need the joy and peace of God in their lives. We can take the sword of the Spirit and deliver the word of God to those in our work, in our family, and others we may come in contact with.
As last month’s From the Pew article stated, let the darkness fear us. Instead of always being defensive and reacting to the schemes of the evil one, let us go on the offense and make evil react to us.
Next month we will go deeper into the themes of defeating evil and shining light on a dark world.
Ruth Cagle – September 2
Ron Meegan – September 5
John & Stephanie Ciuba (Anniv.) – September 5
Rick & Pat Sipe (Anniv.) – September 6
Philip Johnson – September 7
Mike & Linda Tingley (Anniv) – September 10
Hector & Laura Urteaga (Anniv.) – September 12
Patricia Davis – September 17
Jaysun Thomas – September 23
John Ciuba III – September 25
Pat & Winona Wundrach (Anniv.) – September 26
Karen Hippensteel – September 27