Sharing with Steve
The world is a pretty ugly place right now. People are blowing themselves up in subways, train stations, shopping areas, etc. It is hard for me to understand the hatred and total disregard for life that this demonstrates. Thousands of people are being displaced and trying to move from country to country. An early welcome mat is being exchanged for a welcome mat of caution and even hostility. Several countries in Europe are even considering removing themselves from the European Union. What is a Christian to do?
As we move closer to home, things are not much better. Every day in the news there are reports of murder and mayhem. Campaigns are being run to choose the next president of the United States. Candidates seem to take pride in their ability to make another candidate look bad. There is very little substance. Polls show that over 50% of Americans believe that the top two candidates are not trustworthy. The middle class continues to struggle. Political correctness is more important than truth and Biblical values. What is a Christian to do?
Moving even closer to home does not change many things. We all know people who are struggling financially and physically. The home of someone very close to me was broken into and things were stolen. The thieves tore up the house looking for items of value. Our children are facing teaching in our schools that contradicts what we believe to be true. What is a Christian to do?
My thoughts go to Habakkuk. He was an Old Testament prophet. He questioned God because the people of Judah were so bad and he wanted to know what God was going to do about it. God responded that He was sending the great nation of Babylon to destroy the nation and take the people into captivity. Habakkuk then questioned God about his reasoning. The Babylonians were worse that the Israelites. Why was God allowing this super bad people destroy a nation that was bad, but not as bad as they were? God answers by basically saying that He is God and who is Habakkuk to question Him. God can do what He wants and Habakkuk has to trust Him. The passage closes with this:
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.
Habakkuk realized that there was nothing that he could do but trust that things would get better. He was going to rejoice in the Lord who was his strength. He knew that the Lord would guide him through those perilous times. May our faith be that of Habakkuk’s. These are not easy times, but God is still in control. Even when it seems that there is total chaos, God is still in control. Rest in His peace. Rejoice in His love. Be steadfast in your faith.
A few days ago, I started to get sick. It was just a subtle thing at first, a little sore throat, my voice was harsher than normal. I wouldn’t have even noticed if I wasn’t singing almost every night for rehearsals.
As you might imagine, I was horrified. I hate getting sick.
My first thought was about all the things it would interrupt:
Possibly the shows.
Time with friends.
With a sigh, I started to plan out how I would recover. I looked for places where I could add mental and/or physical rest.
I didn’t have any.
My day started at 5 a.m., so I could get exercise in, then writing over breakfast, then work, then writing or reading over lunch, then back to work, then capping off my daily word count or spending a few minutes with friends via Skype before heading to rehearsals. After rehearsal, it was dinner time and a few minutes to gather a breath before going to bed at 11:30, midnight, or sometimes 1 a.m.
When I charted it out, I was shocked I hadn’t gotten sick before now.
A schedule like that isn’t sustainable.
Why would I even set myself up for failure like that?
Because we all do it.
We all wear our busyness like a badge of honor. We think that a moment to breath or relax is a moment wasted.
We can’t live like this. Sure, we can keep moving for a little while, a week, a month, maybe a year or two, but there will come a point of breakdown; a point of collapse. If you don’t allow your body and mind time to rest, it will be forced upon you through injury, illness, or breakdown.
Now, I’m not saying we should all lounge around on a beach somewhere (Though I wouldn’t necessarily turn that opportunity down). Instead, take a few minutes and count up your commitments, the good, the bad, the excellent, and the mandatory.
Take out one.
I know this can seem overwhelming, but removing one activity could save you from crashing all of them.
For me, that was my morning work out. I had to talk to the instructor from the YMCA and let them know I wouldn’t be there. It won’t be forever, just until A Tale of Two Cities is over, but it means that I get another hour and a half or two hours of sleep.
It means I can recover faster and stay in this game of life longer.
It means more peace and less stress; more joy and less frustration; more focus and less fatigue.
It means I can serve God and others more effectively.
What other reason could you or I need?
Faith Promise Missions Rally Focuses on Kerala (India) Christian Mission
Our Annual Faith Promise Missions Rally takes place this month from April 10 to 24. Faith Promise is a promise to God to give a specific amount of money to missions through the missionary program of Meadowbrook Christian Church, in addition to your regular offering. It is an offering based on faith in Jesus Christ. It is not based on what you have now or what you might have to give in the future. Brochures have been handed out explaining what Faith Promise is all about. Commitment cards are included in the brochure.
The focus this year is on Kerala Christian Mission which was organized in 1978 for the restoration of New Testament Christianity in Kerala, India. They are engaged in evangelism followed by discipleship training. The mission gives assistance to establish self supporting, self governing, self propagating New Testament congregations and train young Christians to be preachers and teachers of the truth. They have started 37 congregations since 1978; 22 are now self-supporting.
We are pleased to welcome Rajan Ipe, President of Kerala Christian Mission, and his wife Reni, to share with us on Sunday, April 17. Rajan will be speaking during the Sunday School hour for adults and teens and will bring the sermon message during the worship service.
During the Rally, we are seeking everyone’s support of a much-needed project for the Church of Christ in Pothra, Odisha, India. The church is in need of a Bore Well with submersible tubular electric pump as there is no water on the property. Show your support by helping to fill the “well” in the lobby. For every $100 donated, water will be added to show progress. The goal is to raise $1,500, which is the total cost of the project.
A pot luck will be held on April 10 to kick off the Rally. A sign-up sheet is posted to determine attendance; no need to identify what you are bringing. All are asked to bring a main dish; last name starting with A-M also bring a vegetable or salad; last name starting with N-Z also bring a dessert. Singles need only bring one dish.
Our annual Ladies Luncheon is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, at 11 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. The guest speaker will be Rutha Ebeling, a wife, a mother of five, and a missionary. She will be sharing how God took her and her family to Thailand and His plan as she endured debilitating health issues. A catered light luncheon with the flavor inspired by Thailand will be served. The cost is $22. Checks should be made payable to Meadowbrook Christian Church with Ladies Luncheon on the memo line. Registration forms are available in the lobby. Reservations and payment should be made by April 17 to either Shalon Cox or Debbie Stalling.
We will be starting our “What We Believe” Class on Sunday, April 24. The class meets at 9:30 a.m. in the library downstairs. This is a six-week class for people who are interested in becoming a church member or just want to know a little bit more about Meadowbrook, our history and what we believe. A sign-up sheet is posted in the foyer. Please see Steve for any questions.
The American Red Cross will be here on Wednesday, April 6, between 12:30 and 6:15 p.m. Since there is a shortage of O negative blood, the Red Cross is providing an incentive for O negative donors by offering a $20 Amazon gift card to O negative donors through the end of April.
The next Sisters in Service meeting will be May 23 starting at 6:30 p.m. A pot luck salad supper is the highlight of the evening along with games to close out the season. There will not be an April SIS meeting.
It is about that time of year again. The days are starting to warm up and the grass will turn green and grow with a passion. We have had several of our lawn mowers who have had to retire for various reasons. That means that we need able bodies who will volunteer to be on a mowing team. We have four to five teams which means you will be mowing about once a month. If you are interested, please contact Dan Bright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-651-6484. Thanks for your help.
Putting God First In All Things
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT
by Art Drake
Last month we discussed the lack of eternal value of the things of the world, and how things like material possessions, career success, and retirement dreams are not always as satisfying as they might seem. This month I will share what I have found to be intrinsically satisfying and of lasting value – that is loving the Lord and truly putting Him first in all things. As I mature spiritually, I learn to put away childish things of the world and focus more and more on Him.
So what does it mean to put Him first in all things? Years ago, I learned about the “Three Firsts”. This refers to giving Him the first moments of the day, the first day of the week, and the first fruits of your labor. To elaborate, the first moments of the day refer to your quite time. The first day of the week is observing the Sabbath and keeping it holy. The first fruits of your labor refer to tithing.
This was excellent advice and a good place to start. I observed the Three Firsts for years thinking I was putting God first. I was putting Him first in important ways, but now I realize I was not really putting God first in everything. I had hobbies and interests that were not necessarily sin, but I was devoting a great deal of time, and energy, to them. I was, in essence, putting them first in my life and devoting more time to their pursuit then to pursuing God.
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with having a hobby, or an interest, but when it starts to become your life’s passion that could be a problem, because Christ should be your passion. The litmus test for any activity is: does it prevent you from becoming closer to God? If it is coming between you and God, then we need to recognize it for what it is, ask for forgiveness, and get back on track.
As for me, I am seeing the value in devoting my time and energy into prayer and Bible study, rather than worldly interests. Instead of devoting just the first moments of the day to Him, I am with Him constantly throughout the day, praying quick prayers and asking His advice. I meditate on passages of Scripture. In the evening, I more often read the Bible instead of watching mindless TV shows. At night I often commune with Him and he talks to me and offers His instruction and guidance. While this may sound excessive to some, it’s the least I can do for the one who gave His life for me.
The Three Firsts are a good start, but I find as I mature spiritually that I want to put away the childish things of the world and turn more and more toward Godly things. I want to follow Paul’s example and live a quiet, simple life, running the race, being an example to others, and truly putting Him first in all things.
Theresa Meegan – April 12
Denis Couture – April 14
Ed Parrett – April 16
Sylis Cox – April 17
Nathan North – April 18
Traci Thomas – April 22
Jessica Johnson – April 23
Ruth Lindhagen – April 25
Laura Urteaga – April 28
Bill & Patti Bradford (Anniv.) – April 28
Nicholas Kapusta – April 30
Norm & Kathi Tope (Anniv.) – April 30