I am excited about THE STORY. There has been a lot of enthusiasm as we have started this journey together. Almost 100 books have been purchased, not counting all of the different youth books that were purchased. I am enjoying the challenge of gleaning a sermon from each chapter. There is so much that can be shared that it needs to be trimmed down. Some of you have purchased books for friends and family members. The word is getting out.
Our condolences go to Dick Tenniswood in the passing of his wife, Joyce. Dick and Joyce were founding members of the Heart of the Hills Church of Christ which eventually merged with Central Christian Church in Auburn Hills to form Meadowbrook Christian Church.
Continue to keep Ken Bennett in your prayers. His health issues continue to be up and down. He is currently in rehab hoping to gain strength. Continue to keep Charity Clodfelter in your prayers as she battles cancer.
The leadership is starting a mentoring effort among our men. We are trying to look to the future. One of the things that we learned at the ReChurch Conference in Indianapolis is that you have to plan for the future. As leaders become older or move away, there needs to be those who will step into that vacancy. We are starting an effort to encourage our men to do that very thing. This will not be a quick process. There will be times of accountability, times of study, times of prayer, and times of participation. Please be keeping this matter in your prayers as we look to the future. Any questions that you may have may be directed to Mike Tingley, Ron Lindhagen, or Steve Martin.
I want to give a plug for our Wednesday evening program. Every other Wednesday is a time for adult Bible study and our youth meet at the same time. Currently we are in a study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians. We will be starting 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 this Wednesday (Feb. 3). This is a great time for study and fellowship. We go verse by verse and apply it to our daily lives. It is a non-threatening way to learn more about the Bible. Our teens meet at the same time. Lessons are prepared to help our youth learn about Christ and how that affects them in the world. We encourage our teens to come and grow in grace and in knowledge. Any questions can be directed to Nathan North, our family life minister, or Steve Martin.
Last night, I got to talk with one of my closest friends. We haven’t talked in months. We are both bad at figuring out times to actually call each other, but in a matter of fifteen minutes, we had already caught up and were well on our way to digging deeper into God’s call on our lives.
I’m called to be here, at Meadowbrook, getting involved in the community; growing deeper in God by leading others in study and discussion.
She’s called to be in New Orleans, literally rebuilding a city, both brick by brick and person by person.
Even though our callings are different, our spiritual lives are very similar.
We both feel like we’re running out of time; like we’re falling behind; losing at a game we don’t know how to play.
We both hear an invisible clock ticking away while we frantically fumble to reach our goals.
I think it’s a clock we all hear; sometimes loud, sometimes softly.
The clock ticks in our personal lives, (Single, to married, to parents, to empty nesters, to grandparent, and so forth)
In our professional lives, (High School, to College, to applications, to career,, to advancement, to retirement, and so forth)
It ticks, most deviously, in our spiritual lives (Non-Christian, to Christian, to baptized to . . . . . What?)
We aren’t alone.
This week I read Chapter 2 of The Story. It talked about Abram/Abraham.
He made a lot of mistakes. I always remember him for his mess ups.
This time, reading through, I had a realization: He was insanely faithful.
Think about this: Over the course of his entire life (175 years!) we have in scripture only 7 times where God speaks to him.
He didn’t have scripture to guide him, laws to direct him, a church to encourage him.
All he had was words from an invisible God.
Most Christians I know almost die of embarrassment when they confess they haven’t felt God move in a few months or years, but Abraham went sometimes DECADES without hearing from God.
No wonder he tried to hurry God’s promises along; he felt that ticking clock!
Once, when I was just learning to edit, I brought a partially edited manuscript to a professional writing friend of mine. Much to my dismay, when I opened it she exclaimed: “Yes! That’s editing. You’re doing it right!”
I didn’t want to be doing it right. I wanted some shortcut from her. Some grand revelation that would speed the process along.
She knew. She heard the clock in my head.
“Take your time. Enjoy the process. Allow yourself time to learn.”
Her words crushed and restored me simultaneously.
In the same way, God is using all of us. Sometimes it is obvious; sometimes it is hidden.
Let him edit.
Enjoy the process. Live the day he’s given you.
You see, when I let the ticking in my head get too loud, I can’t hear His voice; I can’t hear the people around me calling out for help. Instead, I focus on myself; I pity myself.
Stop the ticking and start living.
God knows what you need.
We have begun our journey through THE STORY. We had a great crowd this past Sunday and a lot of enthusiasm as we examined chapter 1. We want to remind you to pick up one of the calendars so that you will know when we will be looking at the book. January 31 will be Chapter 2. February 7 will be Chapter 3. February 14 will be Chapter 4. We will take a break on Sunday, February 21 when Nathan North, our family life minister, will be preaching. We will continue on February 28 with Chapter 5. There are other resources located on the table in the foyer. Please be keeping this effort in your prayers.
Our Annual Super Bowl Party will be held on Sunday, February 7, in the fellowship hall beginning at 6 p.m. Kick-off is set for 6:30 p.m. Please bring snacks and food to share as well as 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.
Sisters in Service will be meeting Monday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. Ruth Lindhagen will make a presentation about “Inflammatory Diseases”, an important discussion that will guide us in the foods to eat for good health. As always there will be, refreshments, devotion, and fellowship.
Men’s Breakfast – Saturday, March 12
Annual Easter Breakfast – Sunday, March 27
Red Cross Blood Drive – Wednesday April 6
From the Pew
by Art Drake
New Year’s Resolutions
So, I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Galatians 5:16 NLT
Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Common resolutions are to lose weight, get in shape, or some other self-improvement regimen. The goal is to transform into something new and more desirable. I have made a New Year’s resolution for 2016. I resolve to improve myself by sowing to the Spirit. Sowing to the Spirit means to focus our thoughts and actions on things that please God. It means to be guided by the Holy Spirit instead of focusing on worldly desires. It means surrendering to God’s will and being willing to do what He asks and to serve Him.
Sowing to the Spirit provides many rich rewards. One reward is we can be free of worry, anxiety, and fear as we know our Heavenly Father has granted believers ever-lasting life to be with Him for eternity. What an amazing, wonderful, gift! Other rewards here on earth include being able to experience God’s presence and His supernatural peace. No matter what the situation we can rest securely in God’s high place of security, sheltered by His wings, as he watches over us and protects us.
By sowing Spirit we are also allowing ourselves to be transformed into His likeness and experience the fruits of the Spirit that Paul describes a little further along in chapter 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is nothing wrong with resolving to get in shape, or other self-improvement resolutions, but by the time you read this, most resolutions will already be broken. Regular gym members dread January as the gym is packed with new people, but they wait patiently knowing that by March the gym will be back to normal again. Even those resolutions that are followed through will likely not produce the desired result that was hoped for. Sowing to the world will eventually lead to disappointment. However, sowing to the Spirit will always produce the transformation we seek. I resolve in 2016 to put on the armor of God and to sow to the Spirit in every area of my life. Art Drake
A Couple of Footnotes:
1) I apologize for not providing a January article. I am spending much of the winter in Florida as I begin the transition into retirement. I don’t have access to my normal computer in Florida and technical difficulties prevented me from writing the January article. However, I believe these are now corrected and I should have no further difficulties.
2) Several people have stopped me to comment on my articles. While favorable, some are puzzled as to their purpose. It’s really very simple – I can’t sing – so I write. We should stay within our gifting and writing is my gift (meager as it is). I feel I have been called to share my Christian experiences in the hope that others might be inspired and encouraged in some small way in their own Christian walk.
Lothar & Arleen Rossol (Anniv.) – February 2
Leanna Thomas – February 3
Dave Deaton – February 5
Kaye Thompson – February 6
Nathanael Cox – February 15
Shalon Cox – February 22
Zain Cox – February 22
Charity Clodfelter – February 26