Sharing with Steve
There is a lot of uncertainty in life. Just in my own life I have family members facing uncertainty in job situations and health situations. I have friends facing uncertainty because of the loss of loved ones. We all face uncertainty. I was seriously uncertain what I was going to write in this article. I looked at today’s (April 29) reading in My Utmost For His Highest, the devotional book by Oswald Chambers. He addresses the idea of “uncertainty.” I would like to share with you this devotion entitled, “Gracious Uncertainty.”
“. . . it has not yet been revealed what we shall be . . .” (1 John 3:2).
Our natural inclination is to be so precise– trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next– that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life– gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God– it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “…unless you…become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “…believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in– but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.
Summer is right around the corner.
Some of you may or may not believe it.
I choose to believe it, even going so far as to wear shorts and flip flops when it is barely tolerable.
I call it optimism or hope.
That hope led me to stand outside classrooms as friends took tests just to cheer them on as they entered and exited.
That hope kept me singing songs as I took orders in an unending, burrito starved Chipotle.
That hope makes me fight for the underdog; the broken and beaten.
That hope encourages me to start conversations with people I don’t know because they could become my new best friend or change my life in some other way.
That hope keeps me coming back to church every Sunday, because each and every time I attend, it may be exactly what I needed or it may be the time I get to encourage someone else to take the next step with God.
It’s that funny, quirky hope we are called to celebrate everyday through God. Not only that, but we get to share that hope with those around us, as Paul said: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15).
As summer starts ramping up, this is my prayer and I hope it will be yours.
I pray that as we end the school year, we do so with one eye always on those around us to encourage them. We are not in this alone and no one should feel isolated.
I pray that our hope and joy would spill over into our service times, that those who attend, new or old, will walk away from each service this summer renewed and restored because of the hope rekindled through another member of the congregation.
I pray that we will have a hope and joy filled summer, where we are unafraid of sharing the reason for our hope.
Be bold. Be joyful. Always hope.
Our High School students are excited to be attending CIY Move, an event sure to deepen their faith and challenge them to take the next step. We would appreciate your prayers for all of our students and volunteers who will be attending. If you would like specific people to pray for, please see Nathan North.
After a break for Easter and our Faith Promise emphasis, we are returning to The Story. This is the schedule for May:
May 1 – Chapter 8 – The book of Judges
May 8 – Chapter 9 – The book of Ruth
May 15 – Chapter 10 – The story of Samuel and Saul
May 22 – Chapter 11 – The story of David, from shepherd to king
We are getting many positive comments about this series. Don’t forget that study sheets for each upcoming chapter are located on the table in the back of the auditorium. Continue to pray that God will lead us through this series.
CARPET & TILE INSTALLATION
We want to give everyone a “heads up” concerning improvements to the fellowship hall. Tile is going to be installed in the serving area. This will greatly help with food and drink spills and the cleanup that results. Carpet is going to be installed in the rest of the fellowship hall. This is a big expense, but one that needs to be done. The present carpet in the fellowship hall was becoming so stained that it could no longer be cleaned. The installation will start on Thursday, May 19, and go through Thursday, May 26. Activities during that time will either be rescheduled or moved to other areas of our building. If anyone has questions please see Steve or Rick Sipe.
Sisters in Service is meeting for the last session before a summer break. To close out the season, we are having a Salad Supper on Monday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Youth Room as the fellowship hall is unavailable due to carpet installation.
Please join us for the last men’s breakfast before we take a summer break. We will be meeting in the fellowship hall on Saturday, May 14, at 8:30 a.m. for a cooked breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits, sausage, sausage gravy, and beverage. We will have a time of devotion and then close with a prayer time. There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the church foyer. Please see Steve for more information.
During our Faith Promise Missions Rally, Steve challenged us to pray intentionally for the missions that Meadowbrook supports. He advised us to:
- Pray for boldness – Ephesians 6:19-20
- Pray for Acceptance – Romans 15:31
- Pray for open doors – Colossians 4:2-3
- Pray for refreshment – Romans 15:31-32
- Pray for safe travel – Romans 15:31-32
- Pray for rapid evangelism – 2 Thessalonians 3:1
- Pray for protection – 2 Thessalonians 3:2
Meadowbrook supports 13 missions around the world which are listed in the Missions section of this website. Every month, the Messenger will publish prayer requests from selected missions. In some cases, specific actions are requested. This month, please pray for:
International Disaster Emergency Services (IDES)
. . . the people in Japan and Ecuador who are suffering after severe earthquakes. IDES is on the scene assisting with recovery efforts. To help the families affected with donations of basic necessities like food, water, blankets, and shelter, you may send a check to IDES, P. O. Box 379, Noblesville, IN 46061; designate either “Japan Earthquake” or “Ecuador Earthquake.”
TCM International Institute
. . . the professors, students, and volunteers who are teaching, studying, and serving as the academic year at Haus Edelweiss is underway.
His House Christian Fellowship
. . . students as they leave their campuses at the end of their school year. Pray that they keep the influence of His House close to their hearts while they are away from campus and His House during the summer. Consider supporting participants in Cycle the Campus taking place June 4, a major fund raising effort for His House. (See Cycle the Campus article below for details).
Ninos de Mexico
. . . the young people at Ninos, that God would continue to direct their paths and that they would recognize the steps that they could take that will destroy them.
Kerala Christian Mission-India
. . . Rajan and Reni Ipe as they travel through the United States visiting their supporting churches. Pray for safe travel, good health and energy on this extended 2-month trip, and for a refreshing and fruitful journey.
The annual Cycle the Campus fund raiser will take place on Saturday, June 4, in Midland to raise funds for His House Christian Fellowship. His House has ministries on twelve college and university campuses in Michigan. Team Meadowbrook will again be participating. To register to ride, go to www.cyclethecampus.org. Then encourage your friends and family to support you by donating on the website in your name to His House. Riders choose either a 50-mile ride, a 25-mile ride, or a 10-mile family ride. In the past we have had as many as 17 riders from Meadowbrook involved. Plan to participate this year for this fun and worthwhile event. Please see Ron Meegan or Steve Martin for more information.
It is that time of year again. The grass is growing and needs to be taken care of. We appreciate all of our volunteers who help in this effort and can still use a little more help. Please see Dan Bright if you can volunteer for one of our four mowing teams. This usually means that you will be mowing once a month. The Schedule for May:
May 1 – Green Team, May 8 – Red Team, May 15 – Orange Team, May 22 – Blue Team, May 29 – Green Team.
From the Pew
by Art Drake
A Good Soldier of Christ
Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 2 Timothy 2: 3-4 (NLT)
Last month we discussed what it means to truly put God first in all things. This month I would like to elaborate on what that means to me. As a former military person, I notice that Paul often refers to the military model to describe how we should think and conduct ourselves as Christians. Of course, our battle is “not against flesh and blood enemies”, as Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and the evil spirits in the heavenly places”. Paul goes on to say in verse 13 that we should don God’s armor and to stand firm in the faith. Further, in verse 18, Paul advises us to stay alert.
In 1 Thessalonians 5: 6-8, Paul again advises us to, “…be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and clear headed. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clear headed, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation”.
These are all military associated terms that Paul uses to describe what our priorities should be as Christians and how we should conduct ourselves. We should not be caught in the affairs of civilian life, but instead enlist in His Royal Army, donning His armor for protection against the evil one, and taking up the sword of the Spirit to carry the offense to the enemy. After all, no battle was every won being entirely on the defensive.
Next month we will discuss further the armor of God, being alert, and staying strong.
Ruth Edwards – May 2
Marjorie Stevens – May 3
Wanda Douma – May 9
Kiersten Zaremba – May 13
Randy Gilbert – May 13
Joe & Mimi Romaella (Anniv.) – May 14
Mike Gerstenlauer – May 18
Jerry Douma – May 21
Tom & Andrea Schwartzenberger (Anniv.) – May 25
Rick Sipe – May 25
Steve Martin – May 30