It is the start of a new year. I have been reflecting on last year and looking forward to this year. I would like to share some quick thoughts.
– 2015 was a good year. Everyone seemed to enjoy the focus on Jesus. Our desire is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. That must carry on through the rest of our lives. I was encouraged by our additions this year. For the entire year we had ten additions. All of these people are faithful and involved in the ministry here at Meadowbrook. Our offerings have stayed very strong. 17% to 20% of our total giving goes to missions. You are to be commended for your faithfulness in giving.
– 2016 is a year of expectation. People seem to be excited about our focus this year on The Story. Please read the article about this focus in this newsletter to learn more about this effort and how it can affect us.
– We have a full-time Family Life Minister. We changed the name from Youth Minister to better reflect our focus for this ministry. Nathan North is not just ministering to our youth, but also to their families. I think we can look forward to good things happening with our youth. Though the name has changed everything else about the ministry is the same. Please be keeping Nathan and our youth in your prayers.
– We have several of our people who are facing serious health issues. Please be keeping Dick and Joyce Tenniswood in your prayers. Joyce is currently in ICU at Crittenton Hospital. Please keep Ken and Carolyn Bennett in your prayers. Ken has a progressive health issue and each day is up and down. Charity Clodfelter continues her fight against cancer. Please be praying for strength and health. Nona Wundrach has just had her second knee replacement (same knee) in 13 months. Please keep her in prayer as she recovers and starts therapy. Many of our elderly are facing those issues that come with getting older. Please keep them in your prayers.
– 2016 will mark the beginning of my 13th year here at Meadowbrook. Phyllis and I love Meadowbrook and it is a blessing for us to be here. We are grateful for your generosity at Christmas. Please pray for me that I will stay focused for the year ahead. Please pray for our leadership. We are looking at ways to improve our leadership and plan for future leaders. Please pray for Randy Gilbert and me as we work together on The Story to make our Sunday worship time meaningful, thought provoking, and a positive experience.
There you have it. We are off on a new adventure this year as we see how God’s story intersects with our story. Only God knows what is in store for us. Let us move forward in 2016 with trust and expectation. God will not let us down.
Welcome to 2016!
If you’re anything like me, you might read the previous sentence with shock and awe.
How can it be 2016 already?
I had so many plans; so many things to get done last year!
This thinking can lead in one of two ways:
1) What did I fail to do last year?
2) What did have I already accomplished?
Honestly, I tend toward the first response; constantly chastising myself for failing.
I look at all the things I didn’t do as proof of my laziness; my lack of accomplishment.
It has been eight months since I posted on my blog (Last year’s resolution).
I didn’t get enough editing done on my writing.
I’m not debt free.
I had broken vehicles and faulty phones.
I had to move . . . . Again.
Do you notice the theme?
It’s everything I don’t like about me; my shortcomings.
Let’s flip the question.
What has been accomplished in 2015?
I found a new job and loving church family at Meadowbrook.
The Elders of Jenison Christian Church ordained me with help from Steve and Mike.
Some of my friends invited me into their writing group.
I met over a hundred new people.
I was blessed with an apartment, furniture, and all the new place necessities.
When the question is flipped, it becomes about us; everything I was involved in; the people around me.
As God’s people, we are never supposed to be alone. Our work for His Kingdom isn’t self-centric.
His Kingdom is for all. We have the honor of being included.
Success isn’t measured in projects finished or comfortable living.
His success; our success is measured in inclusion; conversations had; relationships deepened; joys renewed; hope restored.
Here, still at the beginning of 2016, put this upcoming year into perspective. Dedicate it to God right off the bat.
Make this year about restoring hope; rekindling joy; restoring the lost; picking up the broken.
Make this year about God, about his people, about what we were created to be.
Our focus this year will be on The Story. This description is from the resource materials included in the church campaign materials. “The book called The Story is a best-selling abridged chronological Bible. There are no verse references in the text, and the segments of scripture are woven together with transition text written to connect the storyline so it reads like a seamless story. For people new to the Bible, this way of reading scripture reduces the intimidation one can feel when approaching the full-length unabridged Bible, and it gives them a holistic and sequential picture of the storyline of Scripture. For seasoned Bible veterans, the chronological arrangement of the essential texts reveals the way the whole Bible fits together in a single grand narrative. Reading through The Story triggers interest and understanding, and drives people back to the original Bible texts for further exploration.” This will be a year-long study. There are 31 chapters in the book. There will be 31 sermons preached corresponding to each chapter. Because of calendar conflicts the schedule will last through November. The first sermon in the series will be on January 24. This will be chapter 1. Chapter 2 will be examined on Sunday, January 31. There is a schedule in the foyer for the year. Please pick one up so that you will know which chapter we are on.
We are offering several additional materials for help in this study. The main resource is The Story. This hardback book is available for $5 in the foyer. If that is too much please take one anyway. More have been ordered and will be here by the 17th. Also available are books for our youth. The Story For Little Ones (ages 2-5) is available for $12. The Story For Children (ages 6-8) is available for $12. The Story For Kids (paperback) (ages 9-12) is available for $5. All of these are great resources for the youth. They correspond chapter by chapter to the adult book. We will also have wristbands to remind us that the story of God and Jesus relates and intersects with our story. We also hope to have weekly devotional sheets in this process. Please be keeping all of this in your prayers. We have already received encouraging words about this year’s focus.
Sisters in Service will be meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. This month the ladies will be preparing Heart Shaped Pillows from fleece fabric. Heart-shaped pieces are tied together to form the pillow, no sewing is involved. Pillows will be given to heart or mastectomy patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Refreshments will be served and a devotion presented by one of the ladies.
On Saturday, Jan. 9, at 8:30 a.m. the men will be meeting for a home-cooked breakfast featuring Tom Schwartzenberger’s “famous” made-from-scratch pancakes along with sausages. There will be a time of devotion and prayer.
Join the fun on Sunday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. for our Super Bowl Party. Kick-off is set for 6:30pm and will be shown on the big screen in the fellowship hall. Please bring snacks and food to share and a 2-liter bottle of pop. Come and cheer on your favorite team. If your team does not make it, come and cheer anyway. If you don’t like football, bring some cards or table games. There will be other football non-believers to share with you.
Warm up at annual soup luncheon
Time to warm up at our Annual Soup Luncheon on Sunday, Jan. 17, following the worship service. Bring your favorite soup or chili to share. A sign-up sheet is posted to indicate what category of food you’ll be bringing: soup/chili, crackers/bread or dessert.
Preston Tupper – January 1
Matt Cox – January 8
Don Edwards – January 14
Linda Tingley – January 14
Lothar Rossol – January 17
Darrell Cox – January 19
Aleczander Cox – January 25
by Art Drake
From the Pew is not available this month, but we wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. See you next month.