Sharing With Steve
This will be my last article for The Messenger. After sixteen years at Meadowbrook I am retiring. A lot has happened in those years. I have seen young children become college students. We have shared joy and sorrow with many of you. We have made lasting friends. We have grown to love Michigan summers. We have seen young Christians desire to grow and become more mature in Christ. It is hard to put sixteen years into words so let me close by sharing a scripture.
Philippians 3:12-21 (CSBBible) 12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. 16 In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. 17 Join in imitating me, brothers and sisters, and pay careful attention to those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame; and they are focused on earthly things. 20 Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself.
Let me make some observations. We need to focus on the goal. We cannot do that by dwelling on the past. We learn from the past, but desire to move forward. Our goal is always Jesus Christ. We are to strive for maturity. Never be content with where you are in Christ; always desire to grow more in Him. Please do not regress. Taking it easy or sitting back will not be spiritually healthy for you. Set a good Christian example for others and look for those you can set a good Christian example for you. Be on your guard of those people who set bad examples, who have a greater desire to reveal themselves and not Jesus Christ. Always remember that we are just sojourners here. Our allegiance and our home is in heaven with the Lord. He is returning at some point, and we will be transformed. At that point we will be together again. The time apart will seem like a blip in eternity.
Both Phyllis and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It has been a joy to work with you and serve you. We love you and you will constantly be in our prayers. We hope to return some time and renew our friendship. You are always welcome to visit us in Oklahoma. Always remember, “Christians never say ‘Goodbye’ for the last time.” This past Sunday we learned a new song. It is the priestly blessing taken from Numbers 6. I close with these verses:
Numbers 6:24-26 (CSBBible) 24 “May the Lord bless you and protect you; 25 may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.” ’
Zoom in with Zack
How is it August already? We have burned through the summer months, quite literally. Just this week I was preparing all of Mirembe’s information to register for her new school. It will be just a matter of weeks before she starts. With all that is going on and time racing away so fast, it feels like so much is getting missed. I know that we have been canceling event after event and we have to be wondering what is next to be axed. But I think this is the wrong way of engaging our struggles today. If we become overwhelmed by what we have lost, it can become very easy to miss what we may have gained.
I remember watching an NHL game last year. In it, one of the players took a questionable penalty. He obviously disagreed with it. He argued his way all the way to the penalty box, slammed the door shut, and then proceeded to violently bang his stick against the glass inside the box. His team was able to successfully kill the penalty and he was about to enter back onto the ice. With play deep in his defensive zone, he exited from the penalty box all by himself at center. His team gained possession, passed him the puck, and he was off on a breakaway. One on one with the goalie and no defender in sight. He puts on his best move and fires the puck. . . but his stick snapped in two. The puck slowly slid to the goalie who easily covered the puck.
This player was so overwhelmed by the tragedy that befell him, what he believed was an unjust penalty, that he destroyed the golden opportunity that arose because of the penalty. He beat his stick against the boards and cracked it just enough that it broke when he tried to take the shot. His inability to cope with his struggles exacerbated the situation and caused his lost to be even greater.
As we engage the world around us today, where is our focus? Are we so overcome by what we have lost or are looking to what is next? Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This does not mean that God is going to make everything all right or that he is going to take the suffering away. What it does mean is that if we have the eyes to see and the faith to trust in him, God will take what is meant for evil and overcome with a victory. God is on our side and always working for us. Who knows, we might step out of the penalty box and have a gifted opportunity to score a goal. Unless we broke our stick before the opportunity manifested. For you, today might be struggle. But hold on, look forward, and don’t break your stick. Be ready for what comes next.
NEW SERMON SERIES
For the month of August we are going to look at our mission statement. It is:
Meadowbrook Christian Church exists to honor Jesus Christ by:
– Making Disciples
– Promoting Genuine Worship
– Building Community
– Supporting His work wherever He leads
August is a five Sunday month and so for the first four Sundays we are going to examine each point of our statement. Steve and Zack will be sharing the preaching duties. Here is the schedule:
Sunday, August 2 – Making Disciples (Evangelism & Growth) – Zack
Sunday, August 9 – Promoting Genuine Worship (Worship) – Steve
Sunday, August 16 – Building Community (Fellowship) – Zack
Sunday, August 23 – Supporting His work (Missions) – Steve
Sunday, August 30, will be Steve and Phyllis’ last Sunday with us. The service will be a passing of the torch. The ministers and elders will join together as Steve retires and Zack becomes the new senior minister. The situation over the past few months has made this transition more challenging than was expected. Please be keeping all of this in your prayers as Steve and Phyllis move on to retirement in Oklahoma and Zack moves into the new role of senior minister.
Brought to you by Deacon Dan
If you’re planning to visit Steve and Phyllis in their new Oklahoma home, here’s some things you need to know.
Bob Talbert Timely Southern Tips
“A new culture awaits y’all down south. If I asked you ”cane chew poet onna flow rye cheer? In an exaggerated Southern accent, would you know what I mean? The answer comes later, but first take a look at the hilarious list of “Tips for Visitors to the South”.
- Save all manner of bacon grease. You will be instructed later in how to use.
- If you forget a Southerner’s name, refer to him (or her) as “Bubba”. You have a 50% chance of being right.
- Just because you can drive on snow and ice does not mean we can. Stay in.
- If you do run your car into a ditch, don’t panic. Four men in a the cab of a four-wheel drive pick-up truck, with a 12 pack of beer and a tow chain, will be along shortly. Don’t try to help them. Just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.
- Don’t be surprised to find movie rental and bait in the same store.
- Do not buy food at the movie store.
- If it can’t be fried in bacon grease, it ain’t worth cooking, let alone eating.
- Remember,” Y’all is singular”. “All y’all’s” is plural possessive.
- There is nothing sillier than a visitor imitating a Southern accent unless it is a Southerner imitating a Boston accent.
- Get used to hearing, “You ain’t from around here, are you?”
- People walk slower here.
- Don’t be worried that you don’t understand anyone. They don’t understand you either.
- The first Southern expression to creep into a visitor’s vocabulary is “big ol’” as in “big ol’ truck or “ big ol’ boy” Eighty-five percent begin their new Southern-influents dialect with this expression. One hundred are in denial about it.
- The proper pronunciation you learn in school is no longer proper.
- Be advised: The “he needed killing” defense is valid here.
- If attending a funeral in the South, remember, we stay until the last shovel of dirt is thrown and the tent is taken down.
- If you hear a Southerner exclaim, “Hey, y’all watch this!” stay out of the way. These are likely to be the last words he will say.
- Most Southerners do not use turn signals, and they ignore those who do.
- Visitors can be identified by the spit on the inside of their car’s windshield that comes from yelling at the other drivers.
- The winter wardrobe you brought out in September can wait until after Thanksgiving.
- If there is a prediction of even the most minuscule accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It does not matter if you need anything from the store and don’t ask why; it is just something you’re supposed to do.
- You can ask a Southerner for directions, but unless you already know the positions of key hills, trees, rocks and where the ol’ school house used to be, you’d be better off trying to find it yourself.
The translation to my opening question is, “Can’t you pour it on the floor right here? “ How about “Cistern’s crine summers?” ( Sister is crying somewhere) or, “yo sam itch need mine eyes?” (Your sandwich need mayonnaise?)
And this classic Southern parting, “Cumbak seeusyear”. (Come back and see us, you hear!)
written by Bob Talbert, Detroit Free Press feature columnist, now deceased
Perhaps the most relevant word for 2020 is “flexibility.” In our families, in our jobs, in recreation, we have all been standing by and watching as planned events and activities have been changed, canceled, rescheduled, and changed again. So it is with the 2020 Missions rally featuring TCM that was initiated earlier this year. It had been our intention to welcome Jim and Dot Gregory as guest speakers to give us a first-hand account of the good work at TCM. That visit was originally scheduled for March 15. As coronavirus and lockdowns ensued, we postponed their visit to “late summer,” and now as that time approaches, we must concede that we will need to cancel our visit from the missionary couple. Sometime this fall, there will be one Sunday where we will have the official wrap up to the TCM “focus” that we started several months ago. In the meantime, feel free to pick up informational materials from the TCM table as you pass through the lobby and review them at your convenience.
Another one of our mission partners, His House Christian Fellowship, is also showing flexibility in the way they are conducting their annual “cycle the campus” event. As recently announced, this year’s event will be a “virtual” ride, where each participant will ride their own course instead of all riding together. A number of members of the Meadowbrook family have committed to riding and/or supporting riders in the virtual event, and are still encouraged to do so. In addition, Meadowbrook is donating $500.00 from the mission’s budget to help offset any shortage that might be caused by the change in format. Thank you to all members of the congregation for your faithful support of missions to make this special gift possible. And thank you also to those who are part of the virtual ride.
Finally, on the topic of flexibility, Cindy Gerstenlauer has learned that her planned medical mission to Kenya this October has been canceled due to COVID. However, the need for medical care in Kenya is still great, perhaps greater than ever. Meadowbrook missions’ team has agreed to provide a special gift of $500 to Kenya Medical Relief to help with needs that US-based medical personnel will not be able to address this year.
Please be praying for these needs and others who are adversely affected by the unexpected changes that continue to unfold this year.
Jeremiah Cox – August 4
Steve & Phyllis Martin (Ann.) – August 5
Mike & Cindy Gerstenlauer (Ann.) – August 6
Lynn Ross – August 13
Elaine Bright – August 14
Phyllis Martin – August 14
June Thomas – August 19
Brad & Mary Koster (Ann.) – August 24
Ron Murphy – August 30
Bonnie Iseman – August 30